Top 5 Tips For Winterizing Your Home

As winter approaches, it’s important to not only prepare yourself for the cold weather but your home as well. If your home is not properly winterized, it will leak both warm air and money. Here are some helpful tips to avoid winter complications!

Run Fans In Reverse

Many ceiling fans come with a switch allowing the blades to reverse their direction. By switching the blades from counterclockwise to clockwise, the breeze becomes warmer which helps heat your home! This small but effective tip is often overlooked yet it can make a difference in your home (and bills) over the winter months.

Draft Protection


Air leakage is very common in homes and cool drafts can increase the cost of heating your home. According to Union Gas, 30-40% of heat loss is due to air leakage. Here are some effective ways to protect your home from air leakage:

  • Add draft snakes along the bottom of drafty doors to eliminate breezes that sweep under doorways.
  • Install plastic window seals to stop drafts. These kits can be found anywhere, including the dollar store and require little to no labour.
  • Caulk gaps to effectively seal off air leakage for a more permanent solution.
  • Install storm windows and doors to stop the cold winter winds. Government incentives are often available if you choose to install storm windows and doors.

Change Furnace Filters


It’s important to remember to change your furnace filter every 2-3 months (depending on your model) in order to ensure your furnace runs effectively and efficiently.

Permanent filters are also a great, environmentally friendly option that will save you the trouble of having to remember to change your filters as often. Remember that you can always call on Afterglow for help getting your furnace ready for the wintry days ahead.  

Trim Back Your Trees

The arrival of changing temperatures and winter storms can often mean trees get a heavy coating of ice which can cause breakage. It’s crucial to trim back the branches near your driveway, roof or windows to avoid the risk of damage or injury.

Clean Your Gutters


Clogged gutters can cause water to pool and freeze creating ice dams, jamming the flow of water. This can cause damage not only to your gutters, but also cause leaks inside your home. When your gutters are clogged, the melted snow from the roof pools up, eventually seeping into the house. To prevent this issue, make sure all leaves and other debris are cleared from the gutter before winter.

You can prepare your home for winter by ensuring each of these areas receives attention before it develops into a larger problem. But if you are worried about whether your HVAC is prepped for winter, contact us to check that your major systems are ready.

5 Things to Look at When Buying a House

Buying a house can be stressful. With so many things to consider, it’s hard to know what to prioritize. Aesthetics are important, but don’t let the look of your prospective home overshadow the more vital structural elements. Faulty or outdated electrical components can quickly turn your new home into a headache as you try and bring it up to code and make it safe.

Do you know what to look for when prospecting? Here is a handy list of the top 5 HVAC-related things to look for when buying a home.

Electrical Panel

The electrical panel is one of the most integral parts of the home. It’s important to thoroughly check the electrical panel before buying a home to avoid paying thousands of dollars in unexpected costs.

Many older homes have undersized electrical panels, meaning that the number of amps is too low to accommodate modern demands. The electrical current should be between 100-200 amps in order to heat the home properly and for a home to be considered safe.

Make sure to inspect inside the electrical panel as well before taking the leap into home ownership. It’s a key safety feature when it comes to the electrical current running through your home, so you want to be sure it’s up to the job. Newer homes generally have a circuit breaker installed, but some older homes may still use a fuse box. A circuit breaker is the preferred option as circuits can be reset if they trip because too much current passes through them. But if a fuse blows in a furnace’s fuse box, the fuse will have to be replaced each time and could leave you without heat at an inopportune time. An outdated or faulty fuse box will need to be replaced before it begins to cause you problems.

Proximity to Hospitals

When it comes to the electricity that is supplied to a house, location is everything. Living in close proximity to a hospital is not just beneficial during a health emergency, it is also helpful in the event of an electrical scare as well. When power outages occur, emergency services such as hospitals are the first to get their power back, followed by surrounding areas. For those of you who desperately rely on power, living close to a hospital can help ensure that you are next in line to get your power restored and your HVAC systems back online.

GFCI Outlets

Ground fault circuit interrupter outlets (GFCI) protect people against electrical shocks produced from an electrical system. These are used where water and high concentrations of electricity are present (primarily kitchens, bathrooms and occasionally outdoors). It is important to ensure these outlets are used in these areas of your home to ensure you and your family are safe. If GFCIs are not properly installed, it may be a good indication that there are other electrical or HVAC violations within the home.

Number of Outlets and Extension Cord Use

Placement of electrical outlets is something to consider when looking to buy a home. Outlets are one of the most overlooked features in a home, yet one of the most important. You may be sketching out your dream floor plan only to realize outlets aren’t properly placed to execute your vision. Skip the headache — remember to look at the location and number of outlets before making an offer. Otherwise, you may end up with extension cords snaking around your home to make things work.

Under no circumstances should you connect extension cords to air conditioner units or heaters with fans! Doing so can easily cause the HVAC units to overheat, leading to a hazardous fire.

You should also take note of whether the outlets are two-pronged or three-pronged. While most homes now have the three-prong outlet needed to power up your many devices and appliances, older homes may still have two-prong outlets. These will need to be upgraded to accommodate increased power requirements.

Wiring

Wiring is another large component (and potentially expensive upgrade) of any home. If it’s not up to code it is potentially dangerous. Look out for knob-and-tube wiring when prospecting a home. Usually visible within the basement, knob-and-tube wiring runs through porcelain tubes designed to keep the wires secure. You will also notice that unlike today’s plastic insulated wiring, knob-and-tube wiring is insulated with rubber.

This kind of wiring doesn’t have a ground wire, so is often indicated by two-prong outlets throughout the home. Why does grounding matter? It protects your home and everyone in it from surges of electricity, decreasing the risk of experiencing an electrical shock or fire. If the power were to surge at your home for whatever reason, a non-grounded system cannot handle this increase in voltage and may cause harm.

When looking at a potential home, it’s important to keep an eye out for any of the key issues outlined above. If you do encounter one or more of these problem points, see if you can negotiate and come up with a mutually beneficial solution.

Finding a professional inspector to accurately identify any issues present is key! If you would like to know more about electrical safety, visit Electrical Safety Authority. For all other HVAC related issues — or if you’d like to maintain the services in your new home — contact us!

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.

giphy (1) 

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.

spring-cleaning-dance

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.

too-tight

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!

IMG_7811

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!

Fastest Emergency Service in Waterloo Region

Emergency ServiceEmergency? No heat? No hot water? Call us now! If your furnace or boiler quits, Afterglow is here to help. Just give us call and our technicians will be at your home FAST.

How fast? From the time you make the call, there will be an Afterglow expert at your door within four-hours! That’s the quickest emergency service in Waterloo Region.

Whether you’re in the City of Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, the Township of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot, or Woolwich, our on-call technicians will be there to help. Meet Kitchener resident Shelley Payne.

Shelley had been having issues with her furnace all winter, until it stopped working completely. “It had been turning off and on for the past couple of months, until last week when it stopped working completely,” she explained. “I called Afterglow for it’s emergency service and they came right away.” When asked about the technicians who serviced her furnace she said they were “totally friendly,” and fixed her furnace’s problem quickly. She was especially happy to hear that her furnace will survive the rest of the winter.

No matter what type of furnace you have, you can rely on our factory-trained team for quality service. We fix every make and model, including: Olsen, Frigidaire, Maytag, Trane, Armstrong, Amana, Comfortmaker, Goodman, Ruud, Rheem, Heil, Payne, Bryant, Luxaire, York, Gibson, Lennox, Tempstar, Carrier, Burnham, Ducane, Keeprite, Weatherking, Coleman, Arcoaire, Janitorial and American Standard.

Afterglow is available for all your heating needs throughout the winter: 519-747-7732.

Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.