Advantage Airtech Blog

Power Vented or Gravity Vented Water Heater: Which Do I Need?

December 12th, 2014

Water heaters are essential in any household, but there are so many different types available that it may be difficult to decide which unit is best for your new home. Do you need a tank or tankless water unit? And what size should it be? Gas-fired or electric? These are all questions to discuss with an installation technician, but one question many people don’t know to ask is whether they need a gravity vented or power vented water heater.

The gravity-vented water heater is the most common category of gas-fired water heaters. These involve the installation of a conventional gas-fired storage tank water heater and some piping to connect the unit to an exhaust pipe or chimney. This is so that the combustion gases formed as a by-product of heat production have someplace to go, instead of posing a fire hazard or the threat of contamination.

Power vents are somewhat less common and may be more expensive to install initially, but offer their advantages. They won’t need to be hooked up to a vent pipe or chimney, so for some home designs and placement choices, this is ideal or necessary. Instead they vent combustion gases through a vent installed directly on the wall near the heater. An existing vent pipe sometimes restricts the capacity of the water heater that can be installed, but when you choose power vents, the vent can be sized so that it is large enough to accommodate any sized water heater.

As a warning, however, a power vent water heater can ONLY be used with the separate ventilation system. If it is installed incorrectly, or if your installer attempts to hook it up to the chimney or an existing vent pipe, it could result in dangerous consequences for your home, including the potential for a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Always rely on specialists anytime you are dealing with combustion gases.

It’s difficult to say which type of water heater you need, as a trained expert is the best person to decide what’s right for your home.

Call Advantage Airtech to learn more about gravity vented units or installing power vents in Whitby.

What Can Go Wrong with D-I-Y Heating Installation?

December 4th, 2014

D-I-Y projects are all the rage right now, as online tutorials and forums provide many “do-it-yourselfers” with the ability to perform repairs, make something new, find a creative outlet, or assemble and install a new home fixture. While tinkering with a new recipe, building an arbor, or figuring out how to install that new DVD player may all be jobs you can do with little experience and some help from a D-I-Y guidebook or website, there’s a reason that heating and air conditioning installers go through years of training before they are considered experts: it’s simply not a job for amateurs.

You’re spending a good amount of money on your new heating system, so it’s only natural to look for ways to cut corners and save some extra cash. However, attempting a home installation can actually end up costing you far more than you save in the long run, so that it may hardly seem worth it in the end.

Any type of heating system—whether it’s a forced-air unit like a furnace or a hydronic heating system that involves the use of a boiler or hot water heater—is generally large and complex. There are many moving parts that must be secured in a particular way, and a technician with a trained eye can best ensure everything is where it should be for proper installation. When just one part of your system is a bit off, all of the other parts have to work harder to keep up which could lead to broken down parts and frequent repair.

Of course, the worst case scenario is that you’ll need heating replacement. Unfortunately, this is all too common in homes where the heating system is improperly sized or secured. Heating systems must be the right capacity for the necessary heating load in your home. Sizing involves some complicated equations, and if it is too small, your heater will not provide adequate temperatures and could break down early from the over-exhaustion. Similarly, one that is too large will run frequently, wearing down some key parts.

One of the final reasons you should always consider professional installation first is the possible risk to your health and safety. In order for a system to generate heat, it usually also produces by-products like carbon monoxide and water vapor, but an expert can ensure there are no leaks that threaten your home.

Contact Advantage Airtech for professional, succinct heating installation in Pickering and the surrounding areas today.

Why More and More Homeowners Choose In-Floor Heating

November 26th, 2014

Are you looking for a better way to heat your home than what you’ve had in the past? In-floor radiant heating comes highly recommended from our customers and from heating experts all over the world. Many people with in-floor heating boast of greater comfort and energy savings. In this guide, learn for yourself why new homeowners choose to install in-floor heating in place of a radiator or forced-air heating system.

In-floor heating involves the installation of a hydronic heating system (some type of hot water heater or boiler in the home) and a piping system underneath the floor boards. Often, this installation is done in new homes, but it can certainly be retrofitted into older homes as well. A boiler produces hot water which then moves through a network of piping that runs underneath the floors. Radiant heating is emitted and your entire home fills with heat quickly and efficiently.

The Advantages of Radiant Heat

Radiant heating is often described as more comfortable than forced-air heating. A forced-air heating system such as a furnace warms the air and then blows it into the home so that it can warm people. But this means that the warmest part of the home is the area directly in front of the vents. Because heat rises, much of the warm air moves upward, so it can take a long time for your home to truly feel warm with a furnace.

Besides, forced-air heating systems can use up a lot of energy and may be more prone to breakdowns as there are more electro-mechanical parts. And there is a high chance that heat can escape from the ducts before much of it reaches your home. Poor insulation and duct leaks are reasons that as much as 30% of the energy your system uses to produce heat isn’t used to heat the majority of homes.

Radiant heat instead provides a consistent warmth in a room as heat radiates to every object and person that comes into contact with the floor. Imagine stepping out of bed in the morning to a floor that feels warm to the touch. Radiant heat also saves energy and is considered healthier as you don’t have to worry about particles cycling through the ducts.

Learn more about how you can get unsurpassed comfort and greater savings Advantage Airtech offers many choices for heating in Ajax and the surrounding areas.

3 Ways to Improve the Indoor Air Quality in Scarborough

November 19th, 2014

The air inside your home is not as pure as you may believe. In fact, it’s likely infested with all sorts of contaminants. Animal dander, insect parts, viruses, bacteria, dust, and pollen are just a few of the common air pollutants that homeowners breathe every single day. These contaminants can provoke allergic reactions, cause illnesses, and generally lower the quality of life for everyone in the house. So, what can you do about it? Read on to find out.

Air Purifiers

The most common solution to indoor air quality problems is to install air purifiers throughout the house. These come in a variety of types. HEPA filters are like normal air filters, but finely woven enough to capture even microscopic viruses. UV air purifiers bathe an area in ultraviolet light, killing or sterilizing certain germ strains that cannot withstand the exposure. Electronic ionizers generate an electrostatic field, attracting airborne particulates and trapping them within the device to be disposed of later. There are a multitude of options, with each addressing a different set of air pollutants.

Duct Cleaning

All of these contaminants travel through your forced air system’s ductwork to spread throughout the house. Some of them, however, tend to actually originate in the ducts. Water leaking and pooling into the ducts leads to the growth of mold, which then releases spores that are blown around the house. Insects tend to live and die in the ducts, leaving all sorts of waste that is light enough to become airborne and cause allergic reactions. Regular duct cleaning can mitigate this problem by removing any unsanitary material that could be compromising the ductwork. Duct cleaning can even save you money. Forced air heating systems lose about 20-30% of their heat on average to duct leaks, which ends up costing you a lot of money. Duct cleaning can find and seal these leaks, in addition to improving your air quality.

Humidifiers

The winter season often brings with it extremely dry weather that can affect the quality of air in your home. A humidifier is a good choice for keeping the dry air in your home at comfortable levels, while keeping you and your family comfortable as well.

If you’d like to know more about improving your indoor air quality, call Advantage Airtech. We provide indoor air quality services throughout the Scarborough area.

How Often Should I Schedule Geothermal System Maintenance?

November 12th, 2014

Regular maintenance is a standard and essential part of caring for your home comfort system. Whether you have a gas furnace or an air-source heat pump keeping your home comfortable, scheduling routine maintenance from a heating and cooling specialist is an important task to ensure that the system remains energy-efficient and reliant and returns you the longest lifespan possible on your installation investment.

That last point is particularly important when it comes geothermal systems. Installing a geothermal heat pump for a home is a significant undertaking and investment, but can they reward their homes with decades of quality heating a cooling, lasting many years longer than other comfort systems. But without regular maintenance, they won’t give that great return on investment.

Advantage Airtech offers geothermal system maintenance in Pickering, ON and the surrounding areas. We strongly recommend that you schedule maintenance once a year for your system, the same way you would for any heater or air conditioner. Geothermal systems have relatively simple inspections and tune-up jobs, but it is crucial for technicians to discover any possible problems with the components and operations as soon as they can so they can prevent larger issues and more expensive issues. Should trouble develop with the underground coils (which is rare but can happen) you will be very thankful that the maintenance specialists caught the problem in its early stages.

The inside heat pump elements of the geothermal system require the same kind of maintenance that other heat pumps do, and will need replacement parts and repairs sooner than the underground coils. During maintenance, the technicians will look over the coil of the pump, lubricate the motors, change the air filter, and check on the electrical systems: these are the standard maintenance steps necessary to see that this section of the geothermal heat pump does not wear down rapidly.

If you have an open-loop configuration for your heat pump (i.e. it runs water from the municipal supply through the loops) it will occasionally need an acid flush during maintenance to clear out mineral build-up. Technicians will be able to tell if it is time for this service during the annual visit.

We offer excellent geothermal system maintenance in Pickering, ON and throughout the greater Toronto area.

At Advantage Airtech, we want you to receive many decades of service from your geothermal heating and cooling system so you end up with immense energy savings.

Can I Replace My Older Heating System with a Different Type of Unit?

November 5th, 2014

One of the great advantages of replacing an old heating system is being able to choose a different kind of heating system for your home. There are a lot of choices available for homeowners these days, but working with a trained specialist from Advantage Airtech can help you find a replacement heating system in Whitby that fits you and your home perfectly. If you are ready to move forward with a new installation, call Advantage Airtech today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts.

Types of Systems Available

Here are the types of systems we carry at Advantage Airtech:

  • Gas boilers – boilers have been around a long time, and for good reason: they are reliable, durable and energy efficient systems. Boilers can be used for radiators, radiant floor heating and baseboard heating, as they are part of a hydronic system.
  • Radiant floor heating – the most popular forms of radiant floor heating are electric and hot water. Electric radiant floor heating uses cables that heat when electrical current flows through them. Hydronic floor heating uses durable tubing to heat floors via hot water.
  • Furnaces – furnaces are some of the most popular heating systems around. There are two main types of furnaces from which to choose: electric and gas. Both are energy efficient, so deciding which type of furnace is best for you will depend on your needs and the needs of your home.
  • Heat pumps – heat pumps can provide your home with both heating and cooling, something many homeowners appreciate. Heat pumps can do this thanks to a component called a reversing valve. There are several types of heat pumps from which to choose, and working with a trained professional can help you to determine which one is best for you.

As you can see, replacing an old, outdated heater can open the door to a new kind of heating system replacement in Whitby.

If you are ready for a new heating system, call Advantage Airtech today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation specialists.

Prepare Your Home During Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month

November 4th, 2014

Did you know November is Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month? Prepare your home by installing a CSA-approved CO alarm on each level of your home. If you already have CO alarms, be sure to check the batteries or replace the alarm if it’s more than 7-10 years old. Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless and colorless so you may be unable to detect it the way you would detect smoke or a fire in your home. Effective October 15, 2014 carbon monoxide alarms are required in all households in Ontario regardless of the age of the home.

Advantage Airtech supports the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation in bringing awareness about carbon monoxide and how to make your home safe for you and your family. Many people are aware of the dangers and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, but do you know what to do in the event that your CO alarm goes off? Here’s a list of steps to take in the event of an emergency:

  1. Pay attention to the type and frequency of beeps coming from the alarm. Check the manufacturer’s user guide when you install your alarm so you are able to differentiate between the beeps. It will have a separate beep for low battery, end of life of the alarm, and an emergency. Emergency beeps are typically 4 short beeps at 5-second intervals. If you hear this, treat it as an emergency situation.
  2. Evacuate the home or move to an open window or door where you can access fresh air, even if no one is experiencing CO poisoning symptoms. Then call 911 or the fire department.
  3. Check to make sure everyone in your home is accounted for and no one is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning.
  4. Stay outside or near a fresh air source until emergency responders have investigated your home and give you clearance to re-enter your home and reset the alarm.

CO Alarm Info

 

 

Some Common Repair Issues with Gas Boilers

October 29th, 2014

Gas boilers are a fantastic choice for heating installation in Ajax. These systems are extremely efficient, as natural gas is an inexpensive source of fuel, and there are very few mechanical elements. And many people prefer gas boilers over furnaces because furnaces are not known for distributing heat in a uniform manner. Besides, ducts are prone to air leaks and may be poorly designed or have inadequate insulation. With a gas boiler, hot water is pumped into the rooms of your home and heat is emitted from a radiator or via piping underneath the floorboards.

Furthermore, gas boilers are durable, and many won’t need any repairs for a long time after installation. While a furnace owner may make frequent calls to a technician for maintenance or repairs, boiler breakdowns are less likely because there are few moving parts. However, at some point in the life of your system, it is likely to run into trouble.

  • Water Leaking from the Boiler: Water may leak from the boiler at one of many locations, such as the pressure relief valve or from a loose connection in the pipes. If there is a leak from the tank, it could indicate serious corrosion that may indicate the need for replacement.
  • No Heat or Not Enough Heat: Insufficient heat is often due to water leaks, although the problem could also be a faulty thermostat or a broken pump.
  • Noisy Operation: Boilers are known for their relatively quiet operation, so unusual noises should be a cause for alarm. One common noise you may hear is a knocking noise which usually results from “kittling.” Kettling occurs when too much sediment builds up in the tank, increasing the volume and causing an imbalance with the pressure in the boiler.

Gas boilers are complex systems that must be repaired by professionals. Anytime you deal with a gas line, you want to make sure you hire knowledgeable technicians who can apply proper safety techniques and ensure proper operation. For questions or concerns about gas boilers in Ajax, call Advantage Airtech today!

When you experience any of the following problems common with gas boilers in Ajax, call on the trained technicians at Advantage Airtech.

The Steps of a Furnace Tune Up

October 22nd, 2014

When your furnace was brand new, it was at peak efficiency, heating your home as quickly as possible and using little energy to do so. Over time, however, the parts begin to wear down and you may notice less than satisfactory heating or higher energy bills. Luckily, there is a service you can schedule that may reduce your heating bills and make your system run nearly as well as when you first bought it.

Calling a professional for a furnace tune up can restore a lot of the efficiency that your system loses over the course of a year. When you schedule a heating tune up every year, you may start to notice your home heats up faster and you’ll even see lowered utilities. When you schedule a heating tune up in Scarborough with Advantage Airtech, a technician will thoroughly inspect and clean your system and may make a few adjustments. We’ve detailed these steps below.

  • Inspection: First, a technician will carefully inspect your unit, testing the furnace for proper operation and ensuring there are no problems that need repair. Some minor adjustments can be made during maintenance, but others may need to be scheduled later on. However, catching problems early on means they won’t worsen as time goes on. And with a gas furnace, you may be at risk for a hazardous gas leak, which is why it’s especially important to have a professional check your system from time to time.
  • Cleaning: The technician will also clean any dusty components. Dust and dirt on parts of your system mean that it’s not running in optimal shape. Furthermore, debris may get in the way of the fan motor, but a maintenance technician can remove this debris and let you know if you need to replace your filter more often to prevent the problem in the future.
  • Adjustment: Finally, if there are any loose components or minor repairs needed, the technician may be able to adjust these on the spot.

It’s never too late in the heating season to get furnace maintenance. When you decide that it’s time to schedule a heating tune up in Scarborough, call Advantage Airtech today!

How to Tell if You Need a Heat Recovery Ventilator

October 15th, 2014

Today’s homes are more energy efficient than ever. This is great for you, your family, your home and your wallet, but it can be a problem for your indoor air quality. The problem is that a home that is too air-tight may not have enough ventilation. But there is a solution that provides fresh air and better energy efficiency: a heat recovery ventilator in Manchester. Heat recovery ventilators, also known as HRVs, can help you achieve better ventilation and indoor air quality while also saving energy. We’ll explain how the device works below, but as with any upgrade to your heating system, it’s important to hire professionals for installation. Since 1987, Advantage Airtech has been helping customers with heating, cooling and indoor air quality, and we have the products and trained technicians to help you with any of your HVAC needs.

What Is a Heat Recovery Ventilator?

A heat recovery ventilator is a device that exhausts the stale, warm air from your indoors and brings in the cool, fresh air from the outdoors. While the two air streams are in the HRV, the heat energy from the outgoing stale air is used to warm up the incoming cool air; this is done in the device’s heat exchanger, and the air streams do not cross. Small fans help to exhaust the stale indoor air and bring in fresh, cool air, and a filter in the system removes particles from the incoming air. The result is a constant stream of fresh, pre-treated air flowing into your HVAC system.

Do I need an HRV?

Here are some signs that you need an HRV:

  • Stuffy indoor air – when your home is too air-tight, there isn’t enough fresh air circulating; the result can be a stuffy feeling in your home.
  • Condensation on windows and surfaces – without proper ventilation, moisture can build up inside; if there is enough moisture, condensation can form on the inside of windows and on surfaces.
  • Excess dust – the average household creates 40 pounds of dust per year. This dust will circulate throughout your home and, without proper ventilation, can build to excess.

An HRV can help you have fresh, clean air in your home while helping to reduce the stress on your heating system with pre-treated incoming air.

If you’ve been struggling with the ventilation in your home, call Advantage Airtech and schedule an appointment to discuss how a heat recovery ventilator in Manchester can help you.