In-floor heating, also known as radiant floor heating, is a method of heating your home that provides heat through the floors, wall panels, and ceilings of your home. Not only is radiant floor heating more energy-efficient than many other forms of indoor climate control, but it can also be an excellent alternative to other types of forced air heating for those with allergies. If you have radiant floor heating in your home, do you know how to maintain the system and preserve its longevity? If you’re considering a home with radiant floor heating, here are some tips for maintaining your system. When radiant floor systems are well-maintained, they rarely experience breakdowns, and are a fairly hassle-free heating system.
Radiant floor heating relies on your pump being in good condition, and problems with pumps should be fairly infrequent if maintained properly. However, one sign that the pump may need an HVAC technician’s inspection is if it begins to make noise, as pumps generally operate silently. Keep in mind that equipment more than a few years old may operate at a louder noise level than new pumps. Get acquainted with what your pump sounds like when it’s healthy, so that you can quickly detect changes.
Afterglow offers a yearly maintenance package to keep pumps functioning in peak condition, and if you stay on top of maintenance, you shouldn’t encounter any problems with your radiant floor pump. However, if you do encounter a problem, our technicians at Afterglow are experienced, and can provide service in any emergency.
Radiant floor heating is meant to be a closed system, meaning that leaks should be rare. The best way to prevent leaks is to have an HVAC technician inspect your radiant floor system and make sure it’s functioning at optimal pressure. Low pressure can indicate a leak somewhere in the pipe system, which may not be disastrous at first, but will mean that the system isn’t functioning as efficiently as possible over time. Radiant floor heating can operate 25-40% more efficiently than other heating systems, but these efficiencies won’t be realized if a leak exists somewhere in the system.
We’re always here for you at Afterglow, whether you need routine maintenance or whether you’re facing an HVAC emergency! We offer a four-hour emergency response time, and our certified HVAC technicians are always happy to provide service for all your heating and cooling needs.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Like all industries, we have many acronyms in the Heating and Cooling business: HRV, ACH, ECM, AFUE, SEER, and HVAC. Have you ever wondered what they stand for and the difference?
HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. Thing is, if you deal with a company that calls themselves Heating and Cooling, you are dealing with a HAC! We joke about this, because a HAC (hack) is a professional that does crappy work.
So, what’s the difference? The difference is ventilation. At Afterglow, we’re in the HVAC business.
You can’t ignore ventilation!
Ventilation means replacing air in any space to control temperature or remove dust, smoke, odours, moisture and even bacteria. Ventilation includes moving air from outside of the building as well as within the building, and doing it efficiently. Good ventilation gives you humidity control and fresh air without odour.
As new homes get tighter and tighter to keep up with new building standards, the importance of ventilation has become more obvious. There is a need for fresh air, in terms of air changes per hour (ACH). And there is an increased need to address moisture, and a lot of time mold, in the home.
The three key exhaust units in your home are:
1. HRV, Heat Recover Ventilators
2. Range hood
3. Bathroom fans
Kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms are the biggest sources of moisture and odours in your home. Start by address these areas with exhaust fans. Take it to the next level and capture the energy you’d be losing by simply exhausting this air out with an HRV.
Older HRV models were big and hard to fit into homes. Today, compact units can fit almost any home.
For a true HVAC professional, or with any HVAC related questions, give us a call: 519-747-7732.
Now for the other definitions:
HRV – Heat Recovery Ventilator
ERV – Energy Recovery Ventilator
ACH – Air Changes Per Hour
ECM – Electronically Commutated Motors
AFUE – Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency
SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (to measure Air Conditioning efficiency)