Cut Costs by Shrinking Your Carbon Footprint

As most of us know, your “carbon footprint” is a way of measuring how much your daily activities and consumption of energy affect the environment. Since your carbon footprint is calculated in part according to how much energy you use,  when you start to consider the health of the environment by shrinking your carbon footprint, you also end up saving money! Here are our top tips.

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  1. Use a carbon footprint calculator to pinpoint where you can improve:
    Find out which areas of your life (whether it’s gas mileage, electricity use, or your food consumption) are contributing to your carbon footprint. Awareness of your energy usage is the first step to shrinking your carbon footprint, as we often forget that many of our daily activities have an impact on both environment and our own expenses.EcoBee
  2. Control your temperature and energy usage with a programmable thermostat:
    During cold weather, use a programmable thermostat to lower your home’s set temperature at night and during times of the day that you won’t be home. Lowering your set temperature by as little as 2 degrees can add up to huge savings.air filters
  3. Change your HVAC filter regularly:
    Did you know that regularly changing your HVAC air filter can reduce your energy usage by 5-10%? When you don’t change your HVAC’s air filter on a regular basis, the system has to work harder because airflow is restricted. Eliminate wasted energy by getting the filter changed once a month.o
  4. Find a reliable HVAC technician:
    Asking your technician to perform regular maintenance on your HVAC unit, before there’s a problem, can save you tons of money in wasted energy. A technician can inspect and seal your heating and cooling ducts, which can increase your HVAC’s efficiency by up to 20%, and technicians can also perform any necessary maintenance or upgrades that your unit might need.

At Afterglow, our technicians are here to help you get the most of your HVAC unit. We want to keep your HVAC equipment running optimally, so we can all work together to decrease our carbon footprints and keep our costs down. 

How Do KW Weather Conditions Affect Your HVAC?

Afterglow relies on weather projections from local news outlets, the University of Waterloo Weather Station, and Environment Canada to help us predict when more people might need help. Weather projections help us anticipate when severe conditions or excessive precipitation might cause flooding, power outages, or any other conditions that might overwork your HVAC unit, so we can have as many technicians on standby as possible to help you. So what weather patterns has Kitchener-Waterloo seen in the last year?

Kitchener Flooding (Photo credits: Dan Lauckner)

Excessive Precipitation and Flooding

In August 2016, Kitchener-Waterloo was hit with almost 50mm of rain in only a couple of hours, which caused flooding throughout the city. Anytime excessive precipitation accumulates quickly, it’s important to check on your HVAC unit. If your unit is exposed to water, this could damage the electrical components. Be safe, rather than sorry, and make sure you schedule an HVAC checkup with one of our technicians if there’s any chance your equipment has been exposed to flooding. And if flooding happens, no problem—at Afterglow we’re always ready to help with any emergency!

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Fluctuating Temperatures: Program Your Thermostat!

Although the Farmer’s Almanac predicted a harsh winter this year, January and February have seen fairly mild temperatures, with some fluctuations into colder territory in January. The best way to take control of drastic changes in temperature is to invest in a programmable thermostat, which allows you to program your thermostat based on your desired usage. Even decreasing the set temperature at night by a couple of degrees can help keep your HVAC unit from getting overworked. Even more importantly, you’ll save money when you let the thermostat do the work for you.

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Warmer Winter: Schedule Your Tune-Up!

When the winter temperatures are mild, it’s easy to take your HVAC unit for granted. 2016 was one of the warmest years in decades, and even if you’re not relying on your furnace as much this winter, it’s important to schedule regular tune-ups with a skilled HVAC technician. Regardless of how warm or cold it is outside, your HVAC filters still need to be changed on a monthly basis to maintain high air quality.

No matter what the weather is like outside, Afterglow wants to help keep you comfortable. Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced technicians, and find out how we can help!

Common Causes for HVAC Breakdown

During cold Canadian winter nights, your HVAC system becomes the number one asset in your home. However, if not working properly, it can become one of the most expensive liabilities. Without fail, every year we get phone calls from people that are both frustrated and scared when their furnace stops working. We want to help! Take three minutes to check out main causes for a HVAC breakdown and how you can prevent it:

1. Lack of proper maintenance

One of the reasons for breakdowns is the lack of proper maintenance of the HVAC unit. Failing to get your furnace or boiler checked at least once a year will slowly run down the system, which results in lower efficiency and could lead to an expensive breakdown. Alongside maintenance, remember to replace filters every one to two months to ensure that your unit is working properly.

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2. Items around your furnace

The area around your furnace or boiler should be cleared of any debris. Storing salt bags or chemicals nearby can adversely affect your HVAC unit. Debris close to the unit that obstructs the flow of air to and from the HVAC system can also contribute to a breakdown.

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3. Improper sizing

Getting an HVAC system that best fits your household needs is very important. Installing a system that is too small for your household will decrease the unit’s lifespan, as it will be overworked. Oversizing results in excessive burner cycles. Our trained technicians at Afterglow will ensure that you get a unit installed in your home that will best fit your household needs.

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4. Improper installation

Improper installation of an HVAC unit can reduce its efficiency by up to 30%. When it comes to repairs, maintenance check-ups, or replacing and installing a new furnace or air conditioner, our Afterglow technicians have the expertise to get the job done quickly and efficiently. We guarantee it!

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Afterglow offers emergency service when you need it and guarantees a four-hour response time to ensure your comfort and safety.  We’ll send one of our trained technicians to your home to take a look at the problem. We’ll provide an honest assessment of the issues with your system and what needs to be done to have it working again.

Stay Warm!

“Green” Gifts That Save Money

It’s that time of year again! Do you have someone on your list who’s interested in saving money on their heating and energy bill in 2017? We came up with a list of three products that will help make any home more energy efficient so you can give the gift of savings! Perfect for anyone interested in making their home more energy efficient or environmentally sustainable, here are our top three picks.

Programmable Thermostats

If you’re not familiar with the Ecobee or Nest thermostat systems, it’s time to get on board! These two companies are changing the programmable thermostat with settings that are customizable from your phone, build schedules to remember your heating and cooling patterns, and eventually automatically reduce your heating and cooling usage when you’re away from the house.

If you’re going to be away longer than you planned, you can change your thermostat to an “away” setting, keeping your home a few degrees cooler while saving more than a few dollars.

With a sleek design, and an easy to use interface, these thermostats are sure to be a hit under the tree.

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Smart Power Strips

Did you know that phantom power could be wreaking havoc on your energy bill without you even knowing it? Phantom power is when an appliance or electronic is turned off but it is still using power when plugged into the outlet. According to the Ministry of Energy a common product, like your desktop computer, still uses lots of energy even when turned off.

Smart power strips are the best way to help combat phantom power which can increase your hydro bill up to 20%!

By investing in a smart power strip, it can detect when an electronic is in standby mode and fully power down, helping to reduce your phantom power and your monthly electricity bill.

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Solar Christmas Lights

Nothing gets us in the festive spirit like a beautifully decorated home! But all of those lights come at a cost – especially when the kids want them kept on day and night!

Solar string lights turn off in the daylight while they recharge and only turn on once it’s dark. No more going outside to plug in the lights or reminding yourself to set a timer! Not only is it efficient for your lifestyle, it’s efficient for your energy bill!

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Do you have any other “green gifts” that you’ll be giving away this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy Holidays from Afterglow!

Top Five Cool Night Tips

Fall is finally here! As our nights start to cool down and your furnace begins to kick in, we’ve put together a list of our top five tips that can help you and your family stay warm and save money on your heating bill.

Set your ceiling fan clockwise.

If you have a ceiling fan, in the cooler months it should be set on a low setting running in a clockwise direction. Since warm air rises, this gentle draft will push the warm air resting near the ceiling back down towards the floor. This can help the room feel warmer, allowing you to lower your thermostat temperature and help keep your heating bill a bit lower. 

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Let the sun heat your home.

On a sunny day, if your home has large windows that directly face the sun, keep the curtains open to let the sun heat your home! Just be sure to close the curtains at night so that warm air doesn’t escape.

Replace thin curtains.

Speaking of curtains, something that many of us don’t consider is that thinner curtains can let the heat escape much easier out of your windows. By replacing them with thicker, heavier curtains in the winter months and keeping curtains and blinds closed atnight, it can prevent the amount of heat lost through windows.

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Seal windows and cracks.

When the heat “escapes”, it can go out small cracks or gaps that you might not even realize are there! By thoroughly checking all windows and doors and adding caulking and/or weatherstripping, it can help conserve the warm air inside.

Keep your ducts clean.

Schedule ductwork maintenance before turning on your furnace to ensure proper circulation and efficient air flow. If the ducts are clogged with debris and dust, your unit will work harder to try and heat your home which can potentially result in a higher energy bill.

Additionally, dirt and dust restrict the airflow and circulation – letting allergens and dust accumulate, pushing them back into your home.

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