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.

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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.

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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?  

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Planning a DIY Installation? Avoid these mistakes

As a homeowner, one of the most important decisions that you'd make for your HVAC system is whether or not to perform a self-installation. As professionals, we recommend professional installation keeping in view the consequences of DIY installation that are reported by homeowners on a regular basis. But also realising the fact that professional installation does not always come under one's affordability and that there are people with different budgets, we do support the idea of DIY installation subject to the condition that prerequisites are not overlooked in this regard.
If you're planning to purchase or have purchased a new unit and are convinced to perform the installation yourself, here are some tips that we want you to consider in order to perform an installation that you won’t have to regret over later.

DIY AC Installation

Tip1 - ''One size fits all?'' Nope!

When it comes to Air Conditioners, the commonly heard advertisement slogan ''one size fits all'' is never true for them. Air Conditioners are of different qualities and sizes, designed by keeping in mind different sizes and requirements of homes. The most commonly made mistake is that homeowners fail to choose the right size realising not that it is not only a small AC size that can keep their home uncomfortable, a larger than required size creates, even more discomfort by making loud noises, bringing fatty energy bills and others. Therefore, it is highly recommended to either consult an HVAC professional before purchasing a new unit or make a detailed search over internet to confirm what AC size would best suit your home.

Tip2 - Make the airflow smooth and hindrance free

Alright so here's a question for you; What would happen if your plumbing and drain system has leaks? The leaks will not only affect the pressure of supplied water for everyday use, it will also cause the water to seep into the floor or walls giving way to mould and spores. Keeping it short, your system will damage your home and create more discomfort than comfort. The same is true for duct leaks. The airflow needs to be kept smooth and hindrance free for the system to work. So, while performing a DIY installation, make sure the units both indoor and outdoor are placed the right locations and the duct system is hindrance free to allow an obstacle free flow.

Tip3 - Seal it, Insulate it!

Installing the unit is not the only thing that you're supposed to do. Most homeowners forget that the home needs to be tightly packed for the Air Conditioning to take effect. Once the unit is installed whether it's a Central Air Conditioner or a Ductless Air Conditioner, make sure all the windows and doors are properly sealed. Also, if you've your home insulated and the insulation needs to be renewed, consider refilling your attic/basement whatever in order to enjoy the optimal efficiency of the newly installed unit.

Tip4 - Don't forget Ventilation

We did talk about properly sealing or insulating the home but that does not negate the importance of ventilation. Your Air Conditioner does not operate 24/7. Keep hours in which the home is allowed to breathe in some fresh air right from the outside. Keep some doors and windows that are opened during the time the Air Conditioner is off. A properly ventilated home maintains a good and healthy level of indoor air quality. So don't forget while installation that ventilation is important.

Tip -5 Cut Cost but carefully

We all love to save, do we? Yes! And when homeowners perform DIY installation, they fail to realise the fact that cutting cost by skipping some installation steps can turn out to be extremely costly. For example, some people prefer to install a new system over the old wiring which is although okay but can be damaging if the wiring was faulty and needed renewal. As HVAC professionals, our highly recommended suggestion, in this case, is to consult an HVAC tech before trying the cutting cost strategy in the process of DIY installation.

Need to have a Professional Installation?
It is possible that some of you might realise the importance of professional Installation that is both perfect and risk-free. At Furnace and AC Direct, we're offering affordable Installation services for the homeowners of Toronto and over 15 other GTA areas. Request a Free quote now for installation;
905-822-5550


         

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Save on Cooling Cost without compromising on Cooling Comfort

Hello, Toronto!
Enjoying Summer?
The heat waves have begun throughout Toronto and the full swing Summer is on the go. While some people are totally comfortable with this temperature in the indoors, there are yet others that are worried. And why worried? The primary reason that put homeowners into a worrisome situation in Summer is indoor discomfort and higher energy bills. Due to intense heat, the system seems to work non-efficiently while the energy bills keep on rising with every passing month.
So the question is: are there any ways to enjoy an optimal AC performance with reduced energy bills without making any compromise on comfort or investing on installing new devices?
Ummm yes! Not only is it possible, it is in fact very easily possible. Here we are mentioning some ways to help you save on cooling cost without compromising on comfort.

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1. Thermostat is your friend
The thermostat can help save on energy bills to a great extent if used properly. US Department of Energy says that it is possible to save up to 15% on energy bills just by raising the temperature on Thermostat when you're away from home. It is suggested to raise the temperature 7-10 degrees when leaving home. Keeping the Air Conditioner running at this temperature not only helps protect the home from the production of mould and spores (due to increased humidity in the case of AC completely turned off) but also keep the home comfortably cool. In order to cool the home according to your needs differently at different hours, Programmable Thermostats or Smart Thermostats can also be used. While Programmable Thermostats can be used to preset a Temperature at which you want your home to be cooled before you return home, a Smart Thermostat can be used to control your HVAC system from anywhere, literally anywhere using WIFI technology.
So the most important tip is to make a careful use of Thermostat in Summers if you're seeking to save on cooling cost.


2. Fans are your best friend
Remember the time there were no Air Conditioners? What did we have then? The Fans! They're our long old fellows. While some people think fans can't help in intense hot Summer, the truth is; they can, though in combination with the AC system. Fans help give a wind chill effect and you can actually raise your Thermostat up to 4 degrees without even noticing any difference in the cooling. Here's more:
A Central Air Conditioner System costs 36 cents for 3 kilowatts per hour. Contrary to that, our best friends cost only 1 cent for 30 watts per hour. This means, there's almost a 99% difference in cost. So when you use a ceiling fan in combination with the Air Conditioner and raise the Thermostat temperature, much less energy is consumed that keep you cool equally cool but reduce the energy bills.  


3. Open/Close Windows, Doors & Vents
Hey, hold on! Who told you that closing vents in unused rooms help save energy? Na man! It overloads the system and pressurises it. Do not close vents in the unused rooms. Instead, open the doors of the rooms so that cool air circulates throughout the home. The room doors need to be kept open as much as possible so that not only the air can circulate easily but also the suction of air through return vents can be made possible without burdening the system.
Done with doors and vents, now let's talk about the windows. It is simple! Keep your windows and blinds closed in the day when there's the sun outside but open them at night and in the early morning so that fresh air can circulate through the home. This cools the home too and you can raise the temperature on your thermostat in these hours. Saving you see.


4. Did you know of "OFF peak hours"?
If not, you must have wasted hundreds of dollars on utility bills that could have been saved. There are hours of the day when electricity is being used massively. On those hours, the electricity rates are higher than the off-peak hours when the applied rates are less. While it is not possible to turn off the Air Conditioner at the peak hours to save energy, it is yet possible to use other appliances that use massive energy i.e iron, dishwasher, washing machine etc in the off-peak hours. This way, not only the energy is saved but also no compromise is made on cooling comfort.


5. No Maintenance - Higher Bills
Did you know that one of the major reasons of why people have to face fatty energy bills is the lack of appliance maintenance? Appliances that are not given proper maintenance are prone to corrosion and repair. Moreover, they fail to provide the expected efficiency. It is, therefore, better to spend on in-time maintenance than to spend on sudden repair and heavy energy bills.
Before the season begins, let your system inspected by a professional.


Bottom Line: There are several ways to save without making any compromise on comfort. All it takes is some careful practices and responsible attitude towards the home comfort heating and cooling appliances. If you've been tired of high energy bills and want to reduce them, use the above-mentioned ways and reduce energy bills up to 15%.

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