Home Ventilation: What is it and How Can You Improve it?

Diving a little deeper into ventilation; the “V” in HVAC.

What Do You Mean When Mean When We Say Ventilation?

Ventilation means replacing old air in a home with new air from outside to improve the indoor air quality. Out with the dust, smoke, odours, moisture and even bacteria. In with the new fresh air.

Why Is Home Ventilation Important?

Proper home ventilation also keeps your family healthy and home comfortable. Whether it’s from a forced air system, natural ventilation, or other mechanical means, home ventilation systems rid your home of airborne particles, like allergens, that can cause health issues.

Additionally, ventilation systems control the humidity and moisture levels in your home, saving you from uncomfortably humid rooms and structural damage caused by excess moisture.

Kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms are the biggest sources of moisture and odours in your home. If you’re experiencing excess moisture in your home, one solution is installing exhaust fans. Take it to the next level and capture the energy you’d be losing by simply exhausting this air out with a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV).

How Can You Improve Your Home’s Ventilation?

If you are experiencing poor ventilation, there are a few things you can do to help circulate the air and remove pollutants from your home:

FurnaceFilter Ventilation1. Purchase a high-efficiency furnace filter for your HVAC unit. High-efficiency furnace filters trap more particles than normal furnace filters, keeping the air you breathe healthier — look for MERV 8 rating and above.

Tip: It’s important to keep in mind that higher MERV ratings are not always a good thing. Furnaces are built to operate with certain airflows, so using a different air filter than what it was built for can cause problems. To find out what kind of MERV you currently have (and if yours can handle a higher rating), check the side of your filter, the packaging it came in or contact us.

Cellphone2. Call an HVAC professional. If nothing else is working to increase the ventilation in your home, you may have problems with your primary ventilation system or your home’s natural ventilation. If you decide you do need an HVAC professional, contact Afterglow: 519-747-7732.

Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.

Start 2016 Off Right — HVAC New Year’s Resolutions

New-Year_Resolutions_listLike all New Year’s resolutions, HVAC resolutions are only beneficial if you’re faithful about keeping them. What are the benefits of HVAC resolutions? They will help you save money, improve your home’s comfort and prolong the life of your heating and cooling system.

Here are four HVAC resolutions to start your 2016 off on the right foot!

1. Install a Programmable Thermostat

If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, consider installing one. They are inexpensive and, when used correctly, can help bring significant savings on your utility bills. Program the thermostat to lower energy usage during times when the family is sleeping or away from home.

What temperature should you program your thermostat to? We recommend setting the thermostat to 16°C at night or when you’re away. When you are home, set it around 20 to 21°C.

Learn why a programmable thermostat may be a problem for the elderly.

2. Schedule Tune-Ups

We get it, it’s easy to fall behind on tune-ups and repairs for your HVAC system. However, proper maintenance can prevent small problems from snowballing into big ones with big, scary price tags.

A checkup of your thermostat, sensors and controls will ensure your system is running efficiently, and ensure that you’re getting the most for your energy dollars.

3. Consider System Upgrades

As you review your finances and budget plan for the New Year, consider having a whole-house purifier or dehumidifier added to your HVAC system. A purifier will trap and filter pollutants such as pet dander, mold, dust and smoke, and a dehumidifier will reduce excess moisture and allergy-causing mold and mildew. Get all the details from Afterglow’s Air Quality page.

4. Make this YOUR Year

Resolutions don’t have to be abandoned in February, and they don’t have to be tackled alone. If HVAC is on your mind, get ahold of the folks who have it on the brain 24/7!

Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.

The Five Historical Facts You Didn’t Know About Furnaces

The start of 2016 has brought big blasts of winter to the Waterloo Region. From frigid temperatures to icy conditions it’s no wonder everyone is seeking out the solace of their heated homes.

In a little over 100 years, furnace technology has significantly advanced to improve our at home comfort. Heck, we wouldn’t be able to live in Canada without this technology! But who invented it? How long did it take? Where did it come from? Let’s take a look.

1885: Radiators

For about 100 years home heating in North America was dominated by wood and it really wasn’t until 1885 that this changed.

By the end of the 19th century the invention of low cost cast iron radiators would bring central heating to homes. At about the same time, in 1885, Dave Lennox built the industry’s first steel coal furnace. His invention transported heat by natural convection (warm heated air rising) through ducts from the basement furnace to the rooms above. How clever!

Fun fact: These furnaces helped households move away from burning wood to the more efficient coal. Don’t worry Joey, this shocked us too! 

shocked_joey_friends

Late 1880s: Building the Bunsen

Even with Lennox’s advances many were still struggling to stay warm and continued to develop new technologies. It was the late 1880s when German inventor Robert Bunsen’s burner technology came on the scene. He was the first person to create an open flame to produce heat without soot, fuelling the development of gas, propane and oil fired heating systems. Pilot lights on gas-powered furnaces are a great example of this technology and are still used today.

1905: Exciting Electricity

In 1905, American Albert Marsh discovered the metal chrome, allowing him to construct a heating element 300x stronger than others on the market. Dubbed “the father of the electrical heating industry,” March’s heaters converted electricity to heat that could warm individual rooms.

Similar to pilot lights, electrical heating technology has changed very little and is still produced and used the same way.

1919: Wonderful Wall Furnaces

It was Alice Parker who invented the first central heating system that we have all come to know and appreciate. Her work allowed homeowners to regulate the temperature of their central heating systems and heat their homes more efficiently.

Fun fact: Her invention led to the first coal fuelled, electric fan and ductwork distributed forced air wall furnace around 1935.

Today’s Technology

There are many different options available to heat your home, from oil to natural gas, electricity and even geothermal technologies. Plus, today’s programmable thermostats allow for the fine-tuning of temperatures, giving you more control over your home environment than ever before.  

If you have questions about your furnace, please don’t hesitate to contact your trusted Waterloo Region HVAC professionals at Afterglow. Also, remember that your furnace needs professional maintenance every year as well, so don’t forget to schedule your tune-up!

When cold wind is blowing outside and the temperature drops below freezing, we are grateful for the warmth and comfort that furnaces provide.

519-747-7732

Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.

Improve Indoor Air Quality With These 5 Indoor Plants

Indoor plants help brighten up your home, and they can also clean the air!

As the winter approaches, we will opt to stay inside our warm climate-controlled homes rather than face the frost. That’s why Afterglow knows it’s important for KW residents to prime their home’s air quality.

On average, indoor air is five times more polluted than the air outside.

Fortunately, there are solutions available to improve the air in your home. Beside replacing your furnace filter on a monthly basis, we recommend purchasing some indoor plants. That’s right, plants.

Here are five houseplants that seriously clean your home’s air.

Aloe VeraAloe Vera: This plant’s oil is commonly used for sunburns, but it can also improve your indoor air quality. How? Studies have found that it helps keep your home free from benzene, which is commonly found in paint and chemical cleaners. The best part of the aloe plant is that when harmful chemicals become excessive, it will start to show brown spots. Warning you and your family! What a swell pal.

Plant2

English Ivy: Have a pet? You need an English Ivy plant.

It can reduce the amount of airborne fecal matter. It also absorbs formaldehyde, a chemical commonly found in some household products, furniture, or carpeting treatments.

Plant3

Spider Plant: Fun fact, within just two days of having a spider plant in your home, it can remove up to 90% of airborne toxins. How? The spider plant’s leaves grow fast and absorb harmful substances like mold and other allergens.

Cool, right?

Plant4

Peace Lily: This plant reduces levels of mold spores that grow in the home by absorbing them through its leaves.

Put your peace lily in the bathroom, as it will keep shower tiles and curtains free from mildew.

Plant5

Boston Fern: Not only are Boston ferns beautiful, they have an abundance of health benefits as well. Its biggest being  its ability to act as a humidifier and help restore moisture in the air, which is perfect in the cooler months when air tends to become stale and dry.

If you want functional decorations this winter, look no further than these great houseplants.

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.