Reduce Your Home’s Carbon Footprint This Earth Day

Celebrated every year on April 22, Earth Day is the largest environmental event in the world! More than six million Canadians participate in an Earth Day activity in their community.

How can you get involved? Consider reducing your home’s carbon footprint with these strategies.

Properly insulate your home’s doors and windows

Afterglow1Did you know the average home loses up to 30% of its heating and cooling energy through air leaks? Yikes! Clearly, air leaks can waste a lot of your hard-earned dollars.

One of the quickest energy and money saving, tasks you can do is caulk, insulate and weather-strip all cracks and openings to the outside.

Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs

Afterglow2FACT: The electricity used over the lifetime of an incandescent bulb costs 5 to 10 times its original purchase price. That’s why when your incandescent light bulbs burn out, you should replace them with CFL light bulbs! They use approximately 75% less energy!

Purchase ENERGY STAR labeled products

Afterglow3Make energy efficiency a primary consideration when choosing a new furnace or air conditioner. Products that have the ENERGY STAR label are recognized for having superior efficiency. The EPA estimates that over the last two decades, ENERGY STAR products have kept almost two billion metric tons of greenhouse gasses out of our atmosphere. That’s amazing!

Adjust your thermostat

Afterglow4Simple adjustments to your home’s temperature can make a big difference for our planet. Keep your house two degrees warmer in the summer and two degrees cooler in the winter, and save big on your energy bills.

How much can you save? Up to 15% on your energy bill.

 Use cold water whenever possible

Afterglow5For tasks such as laundry and dish washing, use cold water (unless the items being washed must be washed with warm water). This will eliminate wasting energy on heating the water! If you don’t think washing your clothes in warm water is wasteful, consider this: washing every load on the hot/warm cycle for one year is equivalent to burning 182 gallons of gasoline in a car.

It’s obvious that you can reduce your home’s carbon footprint for little to no cost! All it requires is changing habits and using energy more efficiently.

Happy Earth Day Waterloo Region!

Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors – It’s The Law!

Carbon Monoxide detectors mandatory by April 15th in Ontario homes

The deadline is tomorrow! By April 15, homes in Ontario must be equipped with a working carbon monoxide (CO) detector.

The Ontario regulation requires single-family homes to have the detectors installed near sleeping areas. The alarm MUST be able to be heard when you’re sleeping with the door closed. CO alarms must also be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into the wall.

Did you know that CO is known as the “silent killer”? That’s because it’s a tasteless, odourless, invisible gas that is toxic. Exposure can cause flu-like symptoms, like dizziness, nausea, burning eyes, drowsiness, and prolonged exposure can cause death.

Here are some over tips to avoid exposure to CO:

  • Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year;
  • Avoid running a car inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open;
  • Seek medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling the symptoms listed above;
  • Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home!

CO detectors are available from Afterglow for about $35-$60 dollars at our offices. If you’re having trouble installing yours, please give us a call: 519-747-7732. We will be happy to stop by and make sure your detector is installed and working correctly.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Visit the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management website for a list of questions and answers pertaining to the legislation.

Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.

Air Filters: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

dirty air filter

Dirty air filter

You seldom see them, but air filters are in many of your household appliances – your fridge, dryer, vacuum, furnace and air conditioner! Air filters are a vital part of your home’s air quality, which means that they require regular tender loving care.

If you avoid replacing or cleaning your furnace and air conditioner’s filters, it can lead to unwanted mechanical issues and repair costs!

What Can Go Wrong

A system that has a dirty filter can suffer from “pressure drop,” which can lead to reduced airflow resulting in less heat. This will also cause your system to work harder, putting stress on the unit, ultimately causing system failure! Uh oh.

Also, dirt and dust that is exposed to condensation can become damp, which causes mold to grow. This leads to serious health consequences AND a compromised unit that will require servicing or replacing.

For filters, we recommend the disposables. Cleaning filters has the added risk that the dirt and dust will become air-borne again and you are right back where you started.

Tips on Changing the Filter

1. Turn off the unit before replacing the filter.
2. Remove the filter and note its size – use the proper size for your unit.
3. For furnaces only: Make sure the airflow arrow is pointing towards the furnace.
4. Make sure there are no gaps around the filter’s frame. If there are, you may have the wrong filter size.
5. Use a cloth to clean up any remaining dust before and after you replace the filter.
6. Turn the unit on and observe it. Make sure the filter stays in place.

Tips on Cleaning the Filter (for those of you insisting on using them)

1. Turn off the unit before cleaning the filter.
2. Once you’ve removed the filter, wash it with soap and water.
3. Allow the filter to dry completely.
4. Re-insert the dry filter.
5. Turn the unit on and observe it while it’s operating to make sure the filter stays in place.

If your until fails to turn back on, the fan is slow or makes excessive noise, or you notice moisture intrusion from an unknown source, give us a call: 519-747-7732.

We are always here to help the Waterloo Region!

Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.

It’s No Miracle, It’s Afterglow

Programmable thermostats may be a problem for the elderly and infirm.

If you are helping look after a senior or someone infirm, check the programming on their furnace thermostat.

We recently received a call from an elderly neighbour because she didn’t have any heat! YIKES! She was concerned that her furnace may have broken down over this very, very cold Canadian winter.

Luckily, we had a technician right around the corner, so we stopped by to take a look. As it turns out, her furnace was in fine working order, however, her thermostat had been mis-programmed!

It was a quick fix with no charge at all, and her house started to warm up before we left. “That’s a miracle!” she said. No, that’s Afterglow!

This is not the first time we’ve visited a senior’s home this year to adjust the night-time set back on thermostat. Believe it or not, we feel it is a pretty big problem.

With so many technical aspects to a modern furnace, there are bound to be unexpected issues. To prevent unexpected breakdowns, losing heat in the winter or A/C in the summer, you should:

Afterglow1. Test your thermostat and check the programming,
2. Replace your filter monthly, and
3. Receive regular maintenance.

And as always, Afterglow is available 24/7 for any of your heating, cooling and ventilation emergences! Our expertise will take care of all your HVAC problems.

Did you know Waterloo Region experienced the coldest February in recorded history, by never venturing above freezing? That puts a lot of stress on a furnace! It’s no wonder she was concerned that her furnace had broken down.

Waterloo Region trusts Afterglow for all its HVAC needs: 519-747-7732.

Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.