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!

HVAC vs HAC

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)

Get to know your water heater

If you want to know about water heaters, give us a call!

Afterglow’s trade secrets have been passed down from generation to generation. Seriously! My dad, George, has been working in this business for a quarter of a century.  Now both my brother and I are following in his footsteps at Afterglow. What I love about my dad is he is a fixer. He is always looking for the best value for our customers and he taught all of us at Afterglow to think the same way.

So…back to the water heaters: If you’re looking for endless hot water or to save on energy or space, Afterglow can help find the best water heater solution for you.

There are a few things we look for when finding the right water heater for your needs:

·      High Efficiency

·      Electric or gas

·      Tank or tankless

·      Capacity

Did you know a tankless water heater could reduce gas consumption for heating domestic hot water by 35% a year? That’s money in your pocket!

But maybe you don’t need to replace your tank at all. 

Keeping your water heater clean is important. Approximately 20% of home energy costs are related to heating hot water. Keeping your water heater clean and well maintained will help improve your energy efficiency and keep your energy bill from skyrocketing.

Get to know your water heater. Things to look out for are: a decrease in hot water flow, excessively hot water, or a rumbling or popping noise from your heater. These are good clues that your water heater needs to be inspected. It might just be a de-liming you need. Give us a call at Afterglow and we can help.

If you want to learn more about how your water heater works, check out this video.

We would be happy to teach you some Water Heater 101. It is an important piece of your homes infrastructure you should get acquainted with.  Whether you have a gas, electric or oil water heater, we can help.

We love talking about water heaters.

Give us a call: 519-747-7732.

Afterglow

Water – Warmth – Well-being

Highlights from the March WRAMA Seminar

Flapper for your Crapper

A big March snowstorm could not keep our WRAMA faithful away! Right around seminar time, the skies cleared up to show a brilliant sunset. Inside our four speakers were keen to share their tips for saving utilities.

Leading off was none other than yours truly… me! I shared some information on TIPS and TRENDS for boilers, water heaters, furnaces and ACs. It boils down to keeping an eye on your systems, doing the fundamentals like replacing your filters, and getting ANNUAL MAINTENANCE done.

Next, Josh Halbert from Canadian Water Conditioning spoke about water and water treatment. Water quality management is important for tenants, infrastructure and equipment like boilers and water heaters. There are alternative treatment techniques including Parafos, a food grade scale and corrosion inhibitor for non-potable applications.

Ruth Hildebrand, from the Region of Waterloo, spoke about promoting water efficiency. The Region’s Water Master Plan will be voted on in June, including the Flapper Replacement Program. Flappers are one of the most common sources of water leaks – check your own toilet! Don’t know much about your flapper? Watch here.

Lastly, Wayne Brabazon from the Region spoke about ICI water efficiency. They help offset audit costs and rebate for water savings. There is opportunity for the multi-residential sector for savings and it will be worth a call to the Region to investigate: 519-575-4426. Wayne’s message: track your utility consumption for your home, business or building.

Stephen McDonald, Afterglow Ltd, smcdonald@afterglow.ca

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