Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

Carbon Monoxide, the silent killer as you might already be aware of is a gas that is used in heating/cooling appliances, engines, stoves, generators and other everyday appliances. While it is a useful gas when used to run appliances, it turns out to be fatal as is inhaled by humans or animals. Nonetheless, the presence of the Carbon Monoxide around us and in our homes necessitates some safety measures that could save us from the dangers that it carries. Here we mention some CO safety tips and tricks and at the end a brief mention of the symptoms of CO poisoning.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

CO Safety - Tips & Tricks

* The best ever safety tip is to have a maintenance and safety check of heating appliances; Furnace, Boiler, Water Heater etc as well as CO and smoke detectors in order to make sure they are posing no danger

* Since CO is produced by engines as well, do not run them in enclosed rooms. Opening the doors and windows won't suffice. Make sure the area is all open around the engine. For the engines that are meant to run constantly on the outside or corner of the home, keep an eye on them as the CO leak, if it occurs, would find its way into the home

* In winters, don't perform the warming of the car action in the garage. Start the car and quickly drive out to warm the engine outside in open air

* Any seals and blockages in the flues, chimneys and fireplaces can cause the carbon monoxide to spread all around. If you can't make sure your appliances and heating elements are all well, call a professional before starting using them in winter

* Here's an important one; Dirty Filters hinder the air flow that further burdens the system and results in CO leaks. Have your filters cleaned/replaced every 3-6 months

* Your home need to have ventilation whatsoever. So, if you have a well insulated home, make sure you also have a ventilation system installed

* The Carbon Monoxide Alarms need to be installed in every portion of home separately and in the middle of every sleeping area. While you can sense the leak when awake, it is difficult and often times too late to sense it when you are asleep

* Different CO detectors offer different functions and different manuals. Always read the user manual in order to make sure the right installation and follow the right cares

* Once you're done with installing the unit, don't forget to keep it maintained. The maintenance is keeping its outside clean and changing the batteries as prescribed by the manufacturer

* The snow and dust build-up on vents is a leading cause of CO leaks. For dust, make it part of the maintenance routine to clean the vents and surrounding area. But perform the cleaning specifically after snow storms

* When there's a barbeque plan, celebrate the grilling enjoyment outside. Charcoal and gas grills produce CO

* It is also important to make sure the alarm of CO is audible and everyone at home recognises the alarm while it is also important that homeowners know about the emergency to-do's

Now that the tips and tricks are over, we are mentioning some symptoms of CO poisoning.

Symptoms of CO poisoning
3 early symptoms
* Headache
* Nausea
* Dizziness

3 worsening symptoms
* Hallucination
* Blurring of vision
* Increasing heart rate

3 absolute danger symptoms
* Chest pain
* Loss of consciousness
* Coma  

For all of these symptoms, try to take the victim in the open fresh air and to the hospital as quickly as possible. Do not try any supposed DIY remedies. CO poisoning is fatal and causes death if action is not taken in time.
Take care of yourself and family. Follow the safety tips and tricks to enjoy all seasons without coming at a risk of deadly dangers.


Make Winter the time to strengthen relationships

While it might seem odd to find a relationship blog on an HVAC related blog, the truth is; there is a link between the two. And even if there’s not, let’s create one. We are not only concerned about your outer comfort, we are also concerned about you inner comfort that is for the majority of the times affected by relationships directly or indirectly. We are HVAC professionals secondly and yours truly friends firstly. So here we are; sharing with you today how you can utilize the extreme winter season in order to strengthen relationship issues, particularly of the familial relationships. 

Make winter the season to love more express more

There’s no denying the fact that technology has offered us with a hundred of benefits and has contributed significantly in making our lives comfortable but on the other hand, it is also true that the same technological advancement ; (or maybe its wrong use) has adversely affected human relationships. There was a time when family members would sit together to talk, communicate regarding important matters, contribute to resolving familial issues and much more. And today we are in the times of extremely busy schedule and intense hustle & bustle where even the family members don’t have time for one another. And even when they have; they are busy with their smart devices instead of getting busy with one other. One of the basic human needs according to psychologist Abraham Maslow is the relationship bond of a human with a human. While we do have so many acquaintances today; there are only a few or in some cases none, who we could really consider the people of solace and reliability just because the bonds are weak. 

If you have been having a hard time making an understanding with your spouse, are struggling with having quality time with your children or haven’t served your home in years like you once used to, peak winters is the time when you can fix all these relationship problems that bother you throughout the year. Since the extreme escalation of winters bound people to stay at homes, this homebound time can be used wonderfully. Here are a few tips that we would like you to consider;

  1. If you are an elder, reduce your use of smart devices and instead give time to your children by sitting with them, visiting their rooms, making discussions about their life affairs.
  2. It would be effective to initiate activities that would involve all members or at least the one you need to strengthen your bond with. It could be a game, some random cooking together, watching a movie or exploring old family photos.
  3. While the above mentioned is a general suggestion, the particular suggestion in order to resolve familial relationship matters is to give yourself time and contemplate on how would you repair the bond. Then use this homebound time to actually discuss the matter with the other person. Be careful to not end up worsening the matter as you have no place to go after a hot debate; it’s chilling cold outside. 
  4. Winters can be a wonderful time to learn new habits. As the schedules change altogether, some useful practices can be adopted that will keep the familial bonds stronger even after the winters have passed. For example; playing an indoor sport together at a particular time could be adopted as a habit. This will increase the time that the members will spend together while also will provide the family members with some memorable time to spend together. 
  5. Don’t forget to express love to your family. A kiss, a hug can do wonders. Winter is expressive so let it make you expressive as well.

Some other winter to do’s that will make your winters soulful

  1. Relationships are not limited to familial relationships. Extreme winter can be used to mend some long lost relationships with friends or relatives. 
  2. Think of the people you haven’t talked you in years. Make them a call 
  3. Post and home delivery services remain available even in extreme winters although with some delay. Think of some people you should express your love to; parents, grandparents, an old friend etc. Send them a gift, a handwritten card, a hand cooked dish, a hand-sewn sweater or whatever you think will please them the most
  4. Don’t forget to make the beautiful season of winter, the season of making the much-needed apologies. A sorry call, message or email will make your heart light enough to enjoy the season even more

Winter is beautiful but it does not remain beautiful when you have a sad heart and a torn soul. Make this season of Furnaces and Fireplaces the season to lit the fire of love and forgiveness by strengthening the relationships bonds. And in doing so; keep your family your priority. The best of all times is the time well spent with family.
A very happy winter!


Furnace Gas Burner - Leaks, Flames & Emergency to do’s

Did you know that 9/10 house fires in Winters are caused by heating appliances? Gas fired Furnaces and Water Heaters are widely used today in Canadian homes. It is, therefore, important that homeowners know about the issues that should be taken seriously. One of them is the gas burner leaks. How can a common homeowner get to know that his gas burner is leaking? Before we learn about that, learn about the importance of fresh air for the heating appliances.

Why does heating appliances need fresh air?

It is your home actually that needs a constant supply of fresh air else it causes back drafting which is a super serious condition that pulls residual gases back into the indoor. In order to check whether or not your home is having a sufficient supply of fresh air, do this;

Close all windows and doors and turn on all exhaust fans of your home. Then turn up Furnace, Water Heater or any other gas vented appliance that you want to test. Holding either an incense stick or a lit matchstick, go to the air intake of the burner draft hood. If the smoke resulting from the incense stick/matchstick goes up inside in the hood, congratulations! your home has a sufficient supply of fresh air, however, if the inverse happens, i.e the smoke is blown away from the hood, you could be experiencing back drafting. Call a professional immediately to fix the problem.

What to do if you suspect a gas leak?

There are many ways you can suspect a gas leak. One has been mentioned above but the other most simple way to suspect a gas leak is the smell. You can easily differentiate between any other types of indoor odours and the gas leak odour. Once you smell it whether close to a Gas Furnace or a Gas Water Heater, here's what you are supposed to do;

- Rush outside! You have no idea what quantity of gas has already been leaked. So just turn off any electrical connections and quickly rush outside

- Call an emergency service to suspect the leaks in detail and fix them

- If you know where the main gas valve is located and find the time to shut it off, do shut it off as soon as the gas leaks are suspected

What are the right colours for burner flame?

When we started, we talked right in the beginning about the importance of the fresh air that the home and the heating appliances should be getting and only then they can perform with the expected optimal efficiency. In order to maintain a balance between gas & air for the burner, the burner should be producing a levelled amount of gas and should also be getting the sufficient amount of fresh air. When both these supplies are just right, you will see a blue burner flame which is soft-edged while a light green inner flame. However, when the air supply is deficient the burner flame will be having a yellow tip and a lazy inner flame. In case of too much air supply, a blue flame with sharp outlines can be observed with a hard-edged inner flame. Find the balance and keep yourself and your family safe. Also, don't forget to call an HVAC professional once every year for a safety inspection.


Cold weather on the way - Take precautions for kids safety

Kids, compared with adults are more prone to weather changes and this necessitates that more care is taken when the climate begins to get harsher and harsher. Following some wise precautions, you can not only protect your children from getting sick but can also save the hard earned money that will otherwise get spent on appointments from the physician. They say; ''Prevention is better than cure'' and of course they say it right. Let us learn how can we keep our children safe from the monstrous effects of harsh Winters while also allowing them to enjoy the season fully.


Care with layer
You might feel irritated with a double or triple layer of warm clothes in Winters since you are an adult with better body heat, your child, nonetheless needs it. From an early age, make children used to of covering themselves up completely and fully. This is the best and easiest remedy you could do to protect them from Winter effects. However, beware to not cover small children with scarves and hood strings since they have a potential to cause accidental strangling

Safety with alarms & awareness
One major reason for house-fire in Winters is the heating elements that are, no doubt, a potential threat to the safety of home and homeowners. Whether or not you have children, install fire and carbon monoxide alarms. They will help protect you in case of an emergency situation. Also, teach your children how to evacuate in case of an emergency and to keep away from appliances that can cause harm.

Comfort with Humidity   
Often times, children find it harder than adults to enjoy a comfortable indoor environment when there's a drop in humidity. And that is especially true for infants. If you find your child suffering from breathing unease, skin irritation or simply complaining about dry air, consider installing a Whole-home Humidifier or at least a room humidifier.

Hydrated with warm drinks
In Winters, everyone in general and children, in particular, tend to drink less water. They, at the same time, are losing water through their breath. This sometimes causes dehydration that can be life-threatening. So know what your children's daily need of fluid is according to their age and keep them hydrated with warm drinks and soups etc

Skiing with helmet
While you need to make sure children are safe in the indoors, you should be equally concerned about making their outdoor activities safe. Since they love to make snowmen, do skiing and play ice-hockey, it's wonderful if you let them enjoy the Winter with a full swing but it is also important that you teach them the safety measures to enjoy without getting hurt in any way. They should have proper clothing for outdoor Winter activities which include warm clothes, snowshoes and most importantly helmet for games like skiing, ice-hockey, snowboarding and sledding etc

Bottom Line
It is by taking precautionary measures that you and your family can enjoy every season. Childhood is the best time one gets in his lifetime. Let your children make their best of the best memories in Winters by providing them with a safe and secure season through wise precautions.

What other Winter precautions do you consider for your children?  


Recent HVAC Trends

Technology is improving and a lot of advancements are being made in all industries. HVAC industry is no exception. The recent trends in HVAC industry are changing the level of home comfort by making more ease for homeowners without even creating any environmental threats. Let's talk in particular about the heating cooling and ventilation trends in 2017 and how they are changing the HVAC industry.

HVAC Trends

- Trend to build eco-friendly appliances

The trend to build eco-friendly appliances has increased more than ever before. It is secondarily because of the harmful effects the older technology HVAC appliances have caused to the environment and primarily because of the awareness among consumers regarding the energy efficient and eco-friendly appliances. It is for this reason that the year 2016 observed a massive change in consumer choices and the same continued for the year 2017. Eco-friendly appliances had more sales compared with non-eco-friendly appliances and this has convinced the manufacturers to stop engineering appliances that are a threat to the environment in one way or the other.

- Government regulations

After the matter had been discussed on international forums several times, governments collectively have shown concern about the environmental threats that the HVAC industry has the potential to cause and thus have become more strict and strategic regarding the HVAC regulations. Earlier, the SEER value for Air Conditioners was 9 SEER which has been increased to 13 SEER in the recent years in almost all of Southern and Northern America. The efficiency rating for Furnace in Northern America is set at 90% while 80% is so far regulated in the southern America. The purpose of these regulations is to reduce energy consumption and also to provide better and more efficient cooling. The regulation benefits consumers and the environment alike by reducing the risk possibilities for both.

- HVAC appliances demand - trend worldwide

Due to an increase in the climate severities, the demand for HVAC appliances has increased worldwide be it for Air Conditioners, Furnaces or other heating, cooling and ventilation appliances. People all over the world are purchasing latest technology appliances to suffice for their HVAC needs and this is, of course, a good news for the HVAC appliance manufacturers. The growth rate of HVAC appliances demand has overall increased that has increased the competition in the HVAC industry as well.

- HVAC Automation Trend - Increased

Life is busier than it was ever before. We have a lot more distractions that we ever had so it is practically not possible to keep oneself so hooked with appliances so as to tune and tackle them constantly. The load of work would make you forget about turning your Air Conditioner off when leaving home, the changing schedules will make it harder for you to schedule Thermostat daily and the list goes on. HVAC industry felt the need to make HVAC appliances more automatic than they were ever before. While the Thermostat had already done half of the job some years ago, more advancements are being made to make HVAC equipment automatic and consequently offering more relief. The latest technology Smart Thermostats are the loop of the same chain. Talking in particular about Smart Thermostats, the HVAC system has been made so automatic through them that for heating and cooling system, multiple schedules can be set for up to 7 days and more. Once set, go worry-free with the wonders of automation.

- Online Connectivity - A leading trend in HVAC

People from the HVAC industry have found the online world a wonderful place to advertise their business and connect with relevant customers and contractors. The recent trends have shown a massive increase in the use of the online forum, SEO strategies and other internet tools by the HVAC servers. In addition to that, use of mobile applications for HVAC appliance search, reviews and product purchases have also been observed.
These were 5 out of many HVAC trends observed in the recent years. We'll be sharing more. Stay tuned!


Time to get your Furnace ready for Fall

Enough with the scorching Summer heat. It's time to get ready for the cool breezes of Fall and get yourself and your home ready to encounter the upcoming seasons. Let's talk in particular about the residential Furnace, the much-needed heating element that keeps your home comfortably warm during Winters. Just like nature gives you time to make up your mind for the intense cold climates after the intense hot climates by giving the time period of Fall, you should also think of giving the home comfort heating elements to enjoy this privilege and take a warm-up session in the Fall after they are done taking the long Summer rest so that they could efficiently keep you warm when the actual times of cold blows come.  
So how really to make your Furnace ready? Here are the DIY tips that will help you:

Clogged Filter - Change it!

While the Furnace was shut off, the Filters have still worn sheets and sheets of dust. Had you make the mistake of turning the Furnace on without changing the Filters, here is what will happen;
- The Furnace will fail to warm the house as desired
- The Furnace motor may burn due to putting an extra effort in blowing the air through clogged Filters
So before you make this mistake of turning your clogged filter Furnace on on a cold Fall evening, clean or replace the Filters. Here's another tip when you're replacing; Check if there's a latest Filter in the market that's compatible with your Furnace type and replace the older one with that. Using better quality Filters help clean the air more efficiently.

Blocked vents? Change the settings

As the seasons change, we make changes in the interior settings of the home. If you use a Ductless Air Conditioner in Summers, you might also place furniture, carpet or other stuff in front of the vents. But don't forget to change the setting back as the fall arrives. That is because vents that are blocked hinder the incoming and returning air and thus affect the Furnace's efficiency. Clean all the blockages and before you turn the system on, allow the vents for few days to breathe in.

Storm Windows - Try now

You might already be having Storm Windows installed at or within your windows but if you don't, it's time to have them. Storm Windows help reduce energy loss up to 50% while also increase building's comfort and the Furnace’s heating efficiency. Before the installers get too busy to be available, hire a professional now to replace/install/renovate Storm Windows for you so that you could enjoy an ultimate Autumn.
There are other benefits that the Storm Windows offer. As the name suggests they are Storm Windows, these fixtures help protect the home and the homeowners from the hazardous effects of intense storms by providing an improved protection from high winds.

Thermostat problems? Have it checked!

Since the weather of Toronto is always highly unpredictable, you never know when the weather conditions will make it impossible for you to reach a technician to have your long postponed HVAC repairs and issues solved. If you've had a hard time with your Thermostat in the Summer or the last Winters, it is the best time to have it checked by a pro otherwise the Thermostat may fail to accurately sense the temperature and would eventually fail to provide a comforting indoor environment.

Tune Up! Most important to do

It is always wise to have the systems checked up when they are restarted after a long duration. Other than dirt and debris accumulation, there are other issues that arise as the system is completely put to rest. So before you kick the back of the system, make sure it has the potential to perform as efficiently as an active horse. And for that, have the heating element; Furnace, ductwork and other HVAC components inspected by a professional.


Cool as a Cucumber - Beat hot Summer Nights without Air Conditioner

Is that really possible? Really? To spend Toronto's Summer nights with approximate comfort without an Air Conditioner? Well, that sounds like a wonderful idea if it does not suggests sleeping in the open air. The open air sleeping, as you know, has its own cons and not everyone has a roof or garden to lay a bed over there. So, let's focus only on tips that can best suit everyone.
What if you don't have an Air Conditioner and Summer arrives or your Air Conditioner is gone for a repair? A lot of people think it is close to impossible for them to spend a night comfortably without an Air Conditioner in hot Summer. But guess what? It's more possible than it is impossible. There are numerous practical ways that can be adopted to maintain a fair indoor temperature even on a hot Summer night.


Tip#1 Alter your eating and cooking routines

What? How on Earth is eating and cooking related to cooling the home? Well, actually it is. When you cook, heat is produced and when you eat certain foods, your body produces the relevant effects too. While it is already hot and we're looking for cooling, shouldn't we abstain from producing more heat? When there's no Air Conditioner, better eat either cooked food from outside or eat stuff like salads, sandwiches and fruit juices. Eating such foods not only help prevent the production of heat but also lowers the temperature of the body and lets you feel less hot. Contrary to this, eating hot foods increase the temperature of the house and also of your body making you more ill-at-ease. Therefore, control! And alter your eating and cooking routines.

Tip#2 Wonders of Ventilation

There's no alternative to the natural ventilation. A natural cooling effect can be gained by depleting the indoor heat following the open door/windows strategy. At night, cool air blows and by keeping the doors or at least windows open, the indoors get a chance to have the fresh air, automatically making the indoors cooler.
Also, make use of exhaust fans to throw the indoor heat outwards.

Tip#3 Go to bed with an Ice-bed?

A killing idea? Are we suggesting you to sleep over an ice bed? Naah! You always misunderstand man. Have some positivity, please. The ice bed idea basically talks about placing ice or ice bottles in the bedroom close to the fan and bed. Take a tub and fill it with ice or if it is possible to arrange ice blocks, do it. Place that ice tub or ice blocks in front of the fan. This helps produce cooler air than usual and thus make you feel good. As a side idea, consider placing frozen water bottles at the bedsides or on the foot sides. This works similar to the ice block mechanism and helps produce a cooling effect to make you feel good and sleep tight.

Tip#4 Have a Basement? Wow!

If your home has a basement, your fan will suffice for you there. Lower portions are cooler than upper portions. And basements, they are much cooler than you could've imagined. Some people prefer shifting to the basement portion in the Summers in order to keep themselves comfortably cool without having to make an excessive use of air cooling appliances. (And this is a wonderful idea to follow by the way). Even if you don't wish to shift there completely, make adjustments to accommodate yourself there for the unlucky hours; the no Air Conditioning hours.

What other ways do you follow to keep yourself cool when there's no Air Conditioning available? Share with us.