It is great to turn the corner on the cold weather and look forward to warm and sunny temperatures. But before we get too deep into the heat, make sure that your home comfort system is in good working order. We have some tips to make sure your start to summer is not met with indoor sweat.


Sound familiar? Every year we get calls for this. The extreme heat may surprise us, then we reach for the thermostat only to hear the air conditioning unit outside whimper. Someone forgot to take the cover off! And while you are out there, check on the cabinet to see if any animals have nested, or if there are spiders near the controls.


Don’t wait until until the 2nd day of a 30 degree heat wave. When it is around 20C, turn the cooling system on and see how it performs. If you think it might not be working, call Afterglow before the rush of calls come in – you get the air conditioning service faster and maybe cheaper.


A dirty filter may be the Number One culprit for service calls. Check your home air filter at least once a month, and replace it if necessary. VALUABLE TIP: buy the pleated filters, they let the dust and debris build-up in the valleys and air to still flow through – call Afterglow for details.


Change the program of your thermostat to reflect your summer activity. Remember, you don’t want your house to be a walk-in freezer – it will be expensive and unhealthy.


Unless the Landfill Site is next door, open your windows to let some fresh air in, especially around this time of year – before it gets too HOT!

Enjoy the Spring and good luck with the cleaning.


Afterglow is attending and is a proud Waterloo Region Apartment Manager Association Trade Fair Sponsor tonight. It is an annual trade fair for residential landlords, condo managers, and property managers.  “We have been members for more than twenty years.” Says Stephen McDonald, GM of Afterglow.  “It is a great place to connect with our clients and meet new customers.”

The WRAMA Trade Fair begins at 5 pm at St. George Hall with a buffet dinner, followed by the trade show from 7-9pm.  Admission is free with a donation to the Food Bank.

More than 3500 area property managers, owners and condo mangers are invited.  There are over 50 exhibitors.  “Afterglow is an event sponsor, we believe that this event is a really important place to network.”

Click here to learn more about the Trade Fair.

Huge Heating Savings for Multi-Residential

Herb Layh and the residents of the Eastview Apartments were fed up with their heating situation. “Our oil system was an absolute nightmare.” Herb Layh, the COOP President explains. “One day I came in and I found black powder so thick we had to shovel it out.”  Oil was expensive to heat the building. The COOP was struggling with costs that averaged nearly fourteen-thousand a year including the repair bills.

The COOP made the decision to rip out the oil heaters and move to natural gas.  After reaching out to ten heating and cooling companies, they decided to work with Stephen McDonald GM, from Afterglow Heating and Cooling.  “Stephen listened to what we needed.” Layh says the Coop didn’t have a lot of money, “So he tailored the system to meet our needs.”

Afterglow installed an innovative multi-boiler system that can heat the entire building on the coldest days and not cost the COOP an arm and a leg to maintain on the average days. Stephen McDonald explains, “we designed and installed a system that is an extremely efficient way heat the building, and also save them money.”

The multiboiler system has paid for itself in savings for the COOP says Layh. “Our savings are around 40% a year. And the treasurer tells us we have more money in our reserve than ever before. “  That great working relation continues between the coop and Afterglow.  “We have a maintenance agreement, we come every year to do the necessary service. “ Explains McDonald, “It’s a great win win situation.”  Layh has high praise for Afterglow and McDonald. “We consider him a friend and a partner,” Layh says. “He is very attentive and he doesn’t overcharge. He wants the system to work for us.  Working with Stephen is one of the best relationships I have had with a company.”


Remember The Richardson’s?

Just before Christmas, in 2012, the Richardson family was surprised with a free furnace from Afterglow. Industry partners including; Tempstar Heating and Cooling, McKeough Supply and BMC Mechanical donated supplies while our Afterglow team provided their time and free labour.  In a matter of hours we were able to install a new high efficiency furnace and complete necessary duct work around the house. We followed up with Heather Richardson to see how she felt about the experience and how her family was enjoying the new furnace!

Heather’s mom had entered her family in the Afterglow contest so the news was a complete surprise when the Richardson’s were told they were in the top 3 families. Heather said, “my mom was quite ecstatic even when we got to runner up”. The Richardson’s were in great need of a furnace replacement since their old one was over 25 years old. It can be very costly to replace a furnace and that’s why many people put it on the backburner. It’s one of those major expenses that are difficult to afford and tough to plan for most families. “We didn’t actually have the money to buy a new furnace”, Heather told us, “we would have needed to get a loan from the bank so we were crossing our fingers that nothing happened right away”.

We asked Heather what her kids thought about winning the new furnace. “They were quite excited”, she told us, “the night before we all prayed about it, if the furnace was meant for us, and if not we knew someone else would be thankful to receive it.” For the Richardson family it meant a much warmer upstairs and getting rid of many cold drafts. Heather said “It’s wonderful and the kids notice it too”.

Since installation, we are happy to report the furnace has been running smoothly and heating all parts of the Richardson’s home. We were delighted to be able to bring this gift to the Richardson’s just before the holidays. Heather left us with some very kind words, saying our crew, “went above and beyond what they needed to do and what the contest was. They cleaned up after themselves, put in a new vent and they were just fantastic. It didn’t take very long at all. They were all amazing people. It was quite an experience”. Congratulations, once again Heather, and enjoy the warmth you and your lovely family deserves!

See Previous Furnace Give-away Announcement

What you need to know about Furnace Maintenance.

Do You Ever Wonder How Your Furnace Works?

Watch our latest video on how your furnace works and how to keep it safe and save money.

At Afterglow, we want YOU to understand your furnace and know how to care for it before it’s too late! Taking care of your furnace regularly can prevent many furnace breakdowns. Just like your car, your furnace should be cared for regularly. If you perform regular maintenance checks, you are far less likely to deal with breakdowns and expensive repairs. We recommend a 15 point check once a year to keep your furnace clean and in top condition.

You’re probably thinking: “I don’t even perform maintenance checks on my car!” And it’s true that many people do not. If you’re one of those people, you’ve probably also experienced unexpected breakdowns and expensive repair bills, maybe even on your furnace. All this can be avoided by getting your furnace, (and car!), checked regularly. Don’t take the risk!

Get a 15 point check!

A 15 point check includes cleaning, adjusting for optimal fuel efficiency, checking carbon monoxide levels, replacing your filter, and everything else your furnace needs on a yearly basis. It is important keep your furnace clean and change your filter regularly. Your furnace circulates warm air throughout your house. This is the air you breathe whenever you’re at home!

Care for your furnace, family and finances by making sure your furnace receives a 15 point check once a year.

Afterglow GM’s Stephen McDonald article in “Suite Talk”.


Whether you are shopping for a home heating system or an upgrade for an apartment or commercial building, there will be three main features that will be different from the equipment of the past. Although heating technology has made great strides over the past 10 years, recent advancements including multi-stage burners, high efficiency motors, and controls have set the standard for the following generations of heating equipment.

Multi-Stage or Modulating Burners

High efficiency furnaces and boilers have been around for almost 20 years – so that is not that new to the industry. What is new is how the burners in these units operate. Once-upon-a-time, burners were simply ON or OFF: petal to the metal, or stopped. Now 2-Stage burners are common, but the best are multi-stage or modulating burners. These burners will incrementally increase or decrease the burner size when it is firing to match the heating load. This mimics highway driving in a car versus city driving stops and starts. “Highway driving” heating cycles are longer, easier on the equipment and more efficient. Modulating burners are available on furnaces, boilers and water heaters.

High Efficiency Motors

Today’s motors, either to run furnace fans or boiler pumps, are turning to high efficiency technology to save electricity. Commonly referred to as ECM or DC motors, they are Electronically Commutated Motors powered by a DC electric source. What it means for the Heating Industry is that there is dramatic cost savings versus a typical AC motor, and superior controllability.

BC Hydro conducted a study in 2007 of two identical apartment buildings, one equipped with an ECM pump, the other with a single speed AC pump. The results showed a 76% savings for the ECM pump. Depending on the size of the motors, this could offer significant operational savings.


To complement the improvements to burners and motors, controls have also improved. Where once analog controls dominated, today digital communicating technology is the preferred control strategy. Building management systems and home thermostats can measure outdoor temperatures, humidity levels, and temperatures from multiple rooms. Some systems feature alarms to let you know about problems. And connecting to these systems is easier than ever with friendly interfaces and remote internet access. With ease, you can check your home or building`s temperature from your Blackberry.

It feels like the future is here!

Stephen McDonald is the General Manager of Afterglow Ltd, and the President of the Waterloo-Wellington Chapter of HRAI. He is available at

What we are doing to help bring Warmth to Youth in the Community!

At Afterglow, we are committed to more than just heating and furnaces!  We believe this community is better when all youth have a warm dry roof over their heads, on a cold winter night.  That’s why Afterglow is working with ROOF, an organization providing service to homeless youth in Waterloo Region, with a monthly donation.

Why we support ROOF.

ROOF is a very important organization in our community. They aim to provide health and safety, resources, access to medical care, education and opportunities to youth experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.

ROOF is equipped with an emergency shelter program that can care for up to 10 to 15 in need youth on any given night. While staying at ROOF, youth are assigned a primary worker who assists them with securing appropriate housing and setting short and long-term goals.

How can you support ROOF?

We have a great idea for the next time you need a lunch catered! Try Lunchbox!  It is a social enterprise program at ROOF. You can purchase a nutritious lunch.  It is the perfect opportunity to help youth help themselves.

A warmer tomorrow

Afterglow believes in ROOF and the many reliable programs they offer. Helping the youth in our area is a critical step in preparing for our future. We need able, healthy and educated youth in order to see our community grow. At ROOF, youth have the chance to get back on their feet while they gain the knowledge and essential skills necessary to secure a bright future.

We hope that by pairing with ROOF, we can help provide a warm, safe environment for any youth in need.

The Blackberry Lazarus

How much abuse can a smartphone take? None, right? Gone are the days of ‘Takes a Licking, Keeps on Ticking’. We are in the age of planned obsolescence. If they make a gadget that will last for decades, you won’t buy another one for decades. So every year you’re replacing one of your major appliances, or your car, computer and of course, cell phone.
Then again, maybe one manufacturer is building something of substantial quality. Take Blackberry, our local titan.
Afterglow’s general manager Stephen was out for a January walk in Monarch woods with his kids, throwing pebbles in the stream. Unfortunately, his Blackberry Torch fell out of his pocket and bounced into the creek. Sadly, the water was too deep and murky to find it. He left the woods without his phone, determined to go back and retrieve it.
Two days later, Stephen took another shot at looking for his Blackberry in the light of day, but this time, the water level was lower. Sure enough, there it was – submerged in the creek. He reached into the icy water and picked it up. Following the wisdom of his father, he put the drowned Torch in a bag of dry rice to absorb the water.
Stephen took the dried Torch to a specialist, only hoping to retrieve his files, but lo and behold, the phone was returned – working!  Stephen’s Blackberry Torch came back to life, and as of three weeks later, it is still going.
We believe that this is a testament to a level of workmanship that is all too rare in this age of planned obsolescence. Afterglow is a proud believer in Blackberry’s secure network and robust construction.
Share your story about a phone coming back from the dead! Comment on this blog and let us know how your phone was resurrected.


The Richardsonʼs receive the gift of

warmth this Christmas!

Heather Richardson started to cry when she opened the door to the Afterglow team in Santa hats. The Richardsonʼs are the winners of the Afterglow Free Furnace Give-Away!

“We were really struck by the Richardsonʼs nomination, they have opened their home and adopted several children. Yet their current furnace wasnʼt heating the upstairs bedrooms. We were determined to fix that.” Said Stephen McDonald, GM of Afterglow.

The entire Afterglow team donated its time and labour. Several industry partners including; Tempstar Heating and Cooling, McKeough Supply and BMC Mechanical donated supplies. A special thank you to Bruce Sweet, Minister at Emmanuel Church for joining the judging committee. The Free Furnace Give-Away is estimated at over $5000.

“Thank you so much,” said Heather Richardson, “and Merry Christmas to all of you”

The old furnace was over 25 years old and was not heating the upstairs bedrooms. It was removed and the new high efficiency furnace was installed. New duct work will help bring heat to the second floor. The Richardsonʼs will now have the gift of warmth this Christmas

It was an emotional day for everyone as the spirit of Christmas was overwhelming. Afterglow employee Chad Pare said, “it IS better to give than to receive! Merry Christmas.”

Have a Merry Christmas!

Blown Softener

Your experience of turning on the faucet and being rewarded with hot water is a daily luxury you probably take for granted.  When the taps yield no heat, it’s easy to assume that there is a problem with the water heater.  In this case study, the innocent tankless water heater is the victim of another appliance’s downfall.

Everybody knows the water in this town is very hard, so water softeners are very common. For tankless water heaters, a softener is pretty much mandatory to prevent lime from clogging them up. Unfortunately, the water softener can fail, and when it does, the problem can disguise itself. The softener’s resin tank let go, and the zeolite – tiny little rubbery plastic beads – was released into the home’s plumbing, which clogged up the water heater.

If you think about how a tankless water heater works, you can imagine how little tiny obstructions make a big problem.  While a conventional tank has a heat exchanger in the middle of a large volume of water, the tankless water heater works on a different principle.  Otherwise known as an on-demand water heater, the tankless water heater warms up cold water as it flows through multiple tiny conduits in the heat exchanger.  If those conduits are blocked by a failed softener’s zeolite, you won’t get any hot water.

While some technicians will rush into a no-hot water situation trying to find the problem with the water heater, Afterglow’s  technicians take a broad view and approach problems systematically.  The homeowner in this situation was lucky to have someone patient, experienced, and smart to diagnose and solve the problem. Call Afterglow when you have a problem and you want to get lucky.

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