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Can Ventilation Spread COVID-19? 

Bi-Temp Ltd. in Quinte Ontario provides updated recommendations on air ventilation and COVID-19

Can Ventilation Spread COVID-19? 

Up until just a handful of months ago, terms like "HVAC" and "ventilation" weren't exactly hot topics on the world wide web.

All of that changed, however, when the first cases of the new novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, were announced.

Suddenly the race was on to deconstruct the Wuhan, China, restaurant where the index patient dined and then infected nine other diners.

At first the pattern of infections in that restaurant seemed like an open and shut case. Until researchers noticed something strange: some of the diners who caught COVID-19 were seated too far from the index patient to blame a lack of social distancing.

That left only one other obvious culprit behind the virus spread: the restaurant's ventilation system.

Could air conditioning be at the root of the now-worldwide pandemic we are facing? In this post, learn what we know, what we don't and what you need to know to stay safe.

 

Can Coronavirus Spread Through Ventilation?

Answering this question is tough - especially if you don't want to spark a worldwide panic.

After all, ventilation is an essential component to two modern conveniences that are near-universally loved: air conditioning and heating.

This may explain why none other than the World Health Organization (WHO) itself recently issued two completely different position statements regarding the role of ventilation in potentially spreading COVID-19.

  •  Twitter (March 28, 2020): COVID-19 is "NOT airborne."
  •  WHO official brief (March 27, 2020): Airborne transmission "may be possible..."
  • Part of the challenge in interpreting the information in these WHO memos is that researchers are still arguing over the definition of "airborne transmission."

 

Could Proof of Airborne Transmission Be Found in Research Funding?

On April 2, 2020, the Canadian Government issued nearly half a million dollars in research funding to a team of scientists working to develop ventilation upgrades to protect against airborne transmission of COVID-19.

The team's stated goal for how they plan to use the research funds is to "make buildings safer."

Researchers say there is definitive evidence that infectious droplets containing active COVID-19 viral particles can go airborne and stay that way long enough to travel greater distances and potentially infect people.

The research team plans to delve even more deeply into the facts of how the air conditioning and ventilation system at the Wuhan, China, restaurant transmitted COVID-19 from the index patient to nine other diners who were not seated close enough for direct droplet transmission.

The team also plans to investigate a variety of HVAC filtration and air purification options to isolate how/whether certain measures have a greater impact on disrupting airborne COVID-19 transmission.

 

Ventilation Can Potentially Cause COVID-19 to Spread To Further Distances

From this information, it seems both smarter and safer to err on the side of caution and assume COVID-19 can potentially spread with help from ventilation air currents.

This is also scary information to take in! It means social distancing alone may not - and likely is not - sufficient to protect you, your loved ones and your workers from encountering virus droplets.

So, what now? What can you do to stay safe as researchers continue working to identify and introduce new protective strategies?

 

Air Filtration and Air Purification: Two Protections Available Now

We just talked about how the University of Alberta research team is spending their nearly half a million dollars in research funding to study air filtration and air purification.

The team wants to identify how varying the frequency of filter changes, the types of filters used and the indoor air quality aids installed may reduce the risk of COVID-19 airborne transmission.

 

How Air Filtration May Protect You From COVID-19

Let's start by looking at air filtration.

There are many types of air filtration that can be used with your garden variety residential or commercial HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) systems.

The type that is of greatest interest to researchers at the moment is called HEPA, or high efficiency particulate air, filtration.

HEPA filters are incredibly dense. They are too dense to work with the blowers in most residential and commercial HVAC systems.

But HEPA filtration can be added as a standalone filtration system to work directly with the ducts in a central HVAC system, bypassing the blower motor and simply filtering the warmed or cooled air before it enters the air ducts.

Portable HEPA filters can be used in non-ducted or single-room spaces in a similar way, simply by continuously filtering airborne micro-particles out of the air.

 

How Air Purification May Protect You From COVID-19

Air purification in this context refers to ultraviolet germicidal irradiation using short-wave band-C UV light - the most powerful type.

At close quarters, UV-C light can change the molecular structure of organic viral particles so the living RNA inside each molecule cannot function correctly.

UV light purification systems can be retrofitted to work with any central HVAC system, even if a HEPA filtration unit is also in place.

Portable UV purifiers are also available to neutralize airborne toxins in non-ducted and single room spaces.

 

Keep Changing Those HVAC Air Filters!

We also strongly recommend that you continue changing your HVAC air filters at least monthly, but even more often if you are able.

The cleaner your HVAC filter is, the less risk there is of toxic buildup that could get blown back out into your indoor air.

Right Now, Save Up to $1,000 With Spring Rebates

Mitsubishi and Bosch are currently offering rebates up to $1,000 on popular heat pumps and water heaters.

 

Contact Our Team at Bi-Temp Ltd. 

HVAC, plumbing, electrical and air quality are considered essential services here in Ontario province and Bi-Temp remains open for your emergency repair and service needs (read our COVID-19 service statement). Are you in need of heating and cooling services in Belleville, ONtario? Curious of the cost to install central air, ductless and other HVAC systems? Give us a call at 1-613-967-1066 or visit us online. Located in the Quinte area, we serve Belleville, Trenton, Brighton, Napanee and surrounding areas!

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Ventilation, Filtration, Purification: 3 Safety Essentials All Businesses Need to Implement

Rewind even just a few months ago and business owners were going about their days as usual - excited about implementing their carefully-laid out New Year's plans.

We were all anticipating the opportunity to launch into a whole new decade with gumption and gusto, generating new sales, welcoming new customers, evolving our businesses and achieving our goals.

Little did we know just how much gumption and gusto we would need to weather the storm up ahead. COVID-19 has shaken many businesses down to the studs, forcing some out of business and the rest to get creative at unprecedented levels in order to stay afloat.

Now, at last, the province of Ontario is slowly and tentatively beginning to open back up again. Some businesses are already welcoming local customers again while other businesses continue to operate for online or curb-side customers only.

Why the hesitation? There is still so much more to learn about in terms of how to keep ourselves, our staff, our families and our customers safe.

Thankfully, we also know a great deal more than we did about how the new novel coronavirus spreads. This has helped researchers identify three potentially effective methods to limit its impact - ventilation, air filtration and air purification.

 

Understanding Ventilation, Filtration and Purification

COVID-19 has brought with it a lot of new terms to learn. For instance, when washing your hands  it is vital to understand the difference between disinfecting and sanitizing, as well as which one can do the best job in killing active coronavirus particles.

In the same way, now that breaking research has all but confirmed that coronavirus can travel via air currents - sometimes at great distances - it is important to know the difference between terms like ventilation, filtration and purification.

Which one does what? How do they work together? If you have to choose, which is most important? Let's find out.

 

What Is Ventilation?

Ventilation refers to adding fresh air to a space. This is different from circulation. Air circulation refers to air movement - simply moving the air around.

Circulation on its own can't dispel or disperse coronavirus droplets. But when circulation is combined with ventilation, the risk of infection via airborne coronavirus droplets decreases.

What you need to remember here is that ventilation equals additional quantities of incoming fresh air.

 

What Is Filtration?

Air filtration refers to separating solid particles from air, liquid or gas. Filtration can be accomplished through a number of mechanisms - biological, mechanical or physical.

The type of filtration we are most familiar with is the air filter on our furnace. Every so often you have to take out your air filter and either clean it and put it back, or replace it with a new one.

Here, what you want to remember is that filtration REMOVES solid particles from the air.

 

What Is Purification?

Purification is a process that hinges on first categorizing some substances as "pure" and some substances as "impure" and then rendering (neutralizing or changing) the impurities apart from the pure air.

There are different methods of purifying the air, including ionic, ozone, heat or light. Ultraviolet light is the purification method recommended for targeting airborne coronavirus droplets.

With purification, what you need to remember is that the process primarily works on gases and liquids, rather than solids.

 

Improve Your Indoor Ventilation

Last month we blogged about the confirmed link between dirty air and increased COVID-19 risk.

While concerns about dirty outdoor air are legitimate and documented, the toxicity of our indoor air has long been a much greater source of concern.

The EPA has confirmed that, on average, our indoor air is up to five times more toxic than our outdoor air. Indoor air is the air we breathe for 90 percent of the average day. For this reason, it is indoors where our greatest ventilation needs attention.

The simplest way to add more fresh air to any space is to open a window or door. Turning on a ceiling or floor fan helps circulate that fresh air faster to diffuse concentrations of coronavirus droplets and reduce risk of infection.

Additionally, upgrading air intake vents, adding a heat recovery ventilator, equalizing air pressure throughout a multi-room space and increasing air flow are all proven methods to increase ventilation.

 

Upgrade to HEPA Air Filtration

Standard residential and commercial HVAC systems typically do not have the capacity to work efficiently with HEPA grade air filters without risk of causing the blower motor to overheat dangerously.

These incredibly dense, intricate filters are rated to trap and remove up to 99.97 percent of airborne solids - particles as small as 1/100th the size of a single human hair.

A loophole is to install a standalone HEPA air filtration unit that bypasses the blower motor and works directly with your ducts. Portable models are a good choice for ductless spaces.

 

Add Ultraviolet Air Purification

There is no purification agent more powerful than our sun. Ultraviolet band C is the strongest band of ultraviolet light emitted by our sun. Synthetic short-wave UV-C radiation can effectively penetrate, damage and neutralize coronavirus on contact.

Strong evidence now exists to support coronavirus transmission via air ducts over longer distances. Once coronavirus liquid particles start to evaporate, they get lighter and can become airborne.

But when those liquid droplets come in contact with ultraviolet-C light, they are damaged and cannot infect you. This is one of several reasons why the province of Ontario is now recommending moving group activities outdoors whenever possible.

The best way to add UV air purification is to install an ultraviolet air purification unit to work with your HVAC system's ducts. Portable UV air purifiers are a good choice for ductless spaces.

 

Get in Touch

HVAC, electrical, air quality and plumbing have been deemed essential services in Ontario.

As one of the oldest heating and cooling companies in Belleville, Ontario, Bi-Temp is dedicated to offering the highest quality products, service and knowledge to the Quinte area and beyond. With our highly qualified technicians, we bring years of experience and professionalism in providing your residential, commercial and industrial business with quality heating and cooling services. Please read our COVID-19 contact guide to learn about the safety measures we have implemented to serve you safely!

Give us a call at 1-613-967-1066 or visit us online.

 

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Ban Dirty Indoor Air to Stay Safe During the Pandemic

quarantine safely at home

Over the past few weeks, we have learned much more about the new novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

But we still don't know enough. Right now it seems as if every day brings new information, some of it confusing or even conflicting.

A few weeks ago, the “hot topic” was face masks and gloves - do they help or don't they? Now the big debate revolves around air quality. Does it matter?

Thankfully, on this topic, we have solid data to support a definitive answer - YES.

Dirty air and coronaviruses are clearly linked. The more polluted the air we breathe, the more risk we bear of contracting a serious or fatal case of COVID-19.

In this post, we are going to tell you what to do to clean up your indoor air ASAP.

Dirty Air Leads to Increased COVID-19 Deaths

Recently, a team of Harvard University researchers convened to evaluate air quality throughout the United States. The study extended to cover 98 percent of all populated areas.

Study data highlighted a clear link between airborne concentration of fine particulate pollutants (PM2.5) and increased risk of death from COVID-19.

Specifically, for every one microgram increase in airborne PM2.5, the risk of COVID-19 fatalities increased by 8 percent.

This data sounds rather dry and impersonal. It isn't.

Researchers estimated that if the area of Manhattan in New York City had been able to reduce its airborne concentration of PM2.5 by just one microgram over the last two decades, it would have saved 248 lives that have now been lost due to COVID-19.

Why is this relevant to us here in Ontario? Because areas of our own province have a very similar level of air toxicity to what is present in Manhattan.

Industrial Toxins Polluting Ontarians' Air Supply

A research study published just a few months ago highlights serious air quality issues unfolding in areas of Ontario and Prince Edward Island.

One of the biggest concerns is the concentration of benzene, a liquid chemical that is both naturally occurring and produced due to petrochemical refining and manufacturing processes.

Benzene exposure is linked to a normally rare form of leukemia. Three times more Canadians living in affected areas have developed this cancer than anywhere else in Canada.

Benzene is not a PM2.5 toxin. But yet another research study proves that exposure to both PM2.5 particulates (many of which are also linked to operations within the petrochemical industry) and benzene can raise the risk of birth defects as well as serious illness.

What does all of this scary information have to do with you?

Simply put, it is vital to know what is polluting your air before you can take action to clean it up!

3 Key Steps to Take to Clean, Filter, and Purify Your Indoor Air

While COVID-19 is definitely getting the lion's share of the spotlight at the moment, it is far from the only serious disease that can be caused or worsened by exposure to dirty air.

By taking the steps we are about to share here, you protect yourself and your family from not just the coronavirus but also from many other health risks both minor and major.

1. Ventilate your indoor space

Ventilation is the process by which your indoor air supply is continuously refreshed.

By simply sitting in your space and breathing, the air becomes depleted of oxygen and rich in carbon dioxide.

Many activities you do in your home can add other toxins into the air. Do you use air fresheners, perfumes, or colognes, commercial cleaning products, wood or gas-fired stoves or fireplaces, or tobacco products?

All of these can release both PM2.5 particulates and volatile organic compounds such as benzene into your indoor air.

Scary, right?! What can you do about this?

A neat appliance called a heat recovery ventilator can send your now-toxified, stale, oxygen-poor air back outside.

At the same time, ventilation pulls in fresh, oxygen-rich outdoor air into your space, removes excess humidity, and works with any indoor air quality aids to filter and purify it.

Ventilation with a heat recovery ventilator ensures that you always have a ready, steady supply of clean, fresh indoor air to breathe. As a perk, HRVs can also recycle otherwise wasted energy to lower your power bills.

2. Filter your indoor air

Solid PM2.5 particulates are incredibly tiny. Regular furnace filters are no match for these microscopic floating toxins.

The only filter that is dense enough to trap and remove PM2.5 particulates from your indoor air is the HEPA air filter. HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters were first invented during World War II to protect scientists from inhaling radioactive particulates.

Today's HEPA filters are even better and can trap micro-particulates as small as 1/100th the width of a single human hair.

HEPA filters offer a higher grade of filtration than what N95 masks can provide. Whereas N95 masks can trap up to 95 percent of micro-particulates, HEPA filters can trap up to 99.97 percent of the same.

3. Purify your indoor air

The last step you need to take is the most important for combatting the coronavirus directly. This is because the coronavirus is a liquid airborne pathogen.

Liquid and gaseous airborne pathogens are less easily captured even by a HEPA filtration system. For this, you need an ultraviolet air purifier.

Ultraviolet air purifiers use synthetic UV-C, the most powerful ultraviolet light band, to damage the thin outer membrane of liquid and gaseous viruses, volatile organic compounds, and other toxins. Once irradiated by UV light, these particles cannot cause harm.

Get in Touch

HVAC, electrical, and plumbing have been deemed essential services in Ontario. Our team is working remotely, but we are still here to serve you.

Please read our updated contact guide to learn how we can help you and your family stay safe and healthy.

Give us a call at 613-967-1066 or visit us online.

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6 Simple Immune-Boosting Safety Tips You Can Use Now

coronavirus

These days, it is clear our minds are all focused on one topic: the coronavirus.

Staying healthy and safe is the number one priority right now. There is no subject more interesting or worthy of extended conversation and debate.

After nearly a half-century spent in the HVAC, ventilation and plumbing industry, we have learned a thing or two about how to help people stay healthy in their own homes.

In this post, we share our six favorite immune-boosting safety tips to help you keep your family in good health.

Understand how Coronavirus Spreads

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that the coronavirus spreads in three ways:

  1. by touching an infected person (a carrier)

  2. by touching a contaminated surface (door knob, drinking glass, etc.)

  3. by breathing in airborne viral particles (e.g., after someone has coughed or sneezed)

What many people don't realize is that a person can be a carrier for coronavirus without showing any health symptoms at all. Many people who are carriers are not even aware that they have COVID-19.

This is why it is so important to stay at home, practice social distancing and be especially cautious to protect elderly or immuno-compromised loved ones from exposure.

6 Immune Boosting Safety Tips to Use Now

These six simple safety tips can help to boost your immune system function while we are under the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order.

1. Change your furnace filter every month

This may seem like a very simple safety measure - too simple to combat something like a coronavirus.

But guess what your furnace filter gets so dirty with? All that yucky black and grey stuff you see is dust, dirt, pet dander, pollen, bacteria, mould, mildew and other micro-toxins.

Your furnace filter is like a set of lungs for your house. Just as you want to keep your own lungs clean, you want to keep your home's lungs clean.

This way, your own lungs aren't having to work twice as hard to filter incoming air and keep you healthy.

2. Wash your groceries with warm water or cook them

There is a lot of conflicting advice circulating about how best to sanitize produce and groceries.

Please do not use bleach! Bleach is a potent toxin of its own and can cause respiratory irritation and internal injury. Bleach is not supposed to be used on food and will make your immune system work harder to deal with this poison.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that the coronavirus breaks down readily in the presence of heat or warm water.

Just by cooking your food or washing your produce in warm water, the heat will naturally break down any micro-particles that may be present.

3. Add vitamin C and other antioxidants to your diet

Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemical compounds that are present in many fruits and vegetables. The word "anti-oxidant" means "stops oxidation." Oxidation basically means deterioration.

So when you increase your intake of antioxidants, you give your immune system some much-needed expert assistance to fight free radicals and other dangerous matter that is trying to invade your body.

4. Know how to wash and disinfect your hands properly

Even during our current shelter-in-place orders, there may be times you cannot avoid going out.

When this happens, it is vital to know what to do to wash and disinfect your hands properly.

The CDC states that the best way to wash your hands is to use good old-fashioned soap with warm water (remember that heat breaks down the viral particles). Soap your hands thoroughly and rub them together for 20 seconds under very warm water.

Alternately, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol content. Thoroughly coat your hands with the sanitizer and rub them together for 20 seconds or until they feel completely dry.

5. Keep your home and vehicle clean and disinfected

This may not sound like fun (especially when there is so much to watch in your Netflix queue!) but it really is vitally important to keep everything you use regularly squeaky clean right now.

Clean and disinfect all shared surfaces like door knobs, light switches, fan pulls, counters and cabinet pulls, toilet handles and seats, water fixtures, steering wheels, keys, appliances, computer keyboards and mice, etc.

You can use any EPA-approved surface cleaner or any cleaner that contains at least 70 percent alcohol. Wearing disposable gloves is highly advised.

6. Get as much rest and high-quality sleep as possible

If there is one single thing you can do to truly give your immune system a head-start against COVID-19, it is this: get enough sleep.

When you are asleep, your body and brain take that time to do repairs on organs and systems, balance metabolism, flush toxins and lower stress levels. Science tells us that sleep is so critical that a chronic shortage can literally shorten our lifespan!

While the average adult needs seven to eight hours, more is better during this coronavirus pandemic. Your immune system needs all the help it can get.

We Are Still Here to Serve You

Here in Ontario, heating, air conditioning and plumbing have all been deemed to be "essential services" during the coronavirus pandemic.

This means that here at Bi-Temp Heating, Ventilating and A/C, we are here to serve your emergency repair and service needs.

We aim to continue to be of service in a way that safeguards your health and also the health of our service technicians and work crews. As our COVID-19 update explains, this means we will be working remotely, just like so many other Ontarians.

If you need emergency repair services, you can contact us by phone at 613-967-1066 for help. We will also be offering contactless payment methods for all repair needs.

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Want to Save Up to $1,000 & Cut Energy Bills, Too? Read This!

Canada has long been a leader in the conservation of natural resources. As a nation, we are committed to reducing our collective and individual carbon footprint more every year.

Here in Ontario, one of the ways this is taking shape is through energy rebates.

These rebates are offered annually to provide you with extra financial support when you make energy-efficient choices.

It is always great to get money back when you need to upgrade your home appliances. But the best part about taking advantage of these energy savings rebate programs is actually what happens next: lower energy bills!

This year, you can save up to $1,000 upfront on the purchase of energy-efficient appliances. Then you can start saving money right away on the cost of running your new appliances. Keep reading to find out all the details!

What Is the Ontario Energy Savings Rebate Program?

The Ontario Energy Savings Rebate Program is a province-wide incentive program to help you do two things:

  1. Afford the purchase of new energy-efficient appliances and products

  2. Afford to run those appliances and products through year-round energy savings

The program has three goals:

  • Release $200M in funds over a two-year period to support energy-efficiency upgrades

  • Provide savings of up to 25 percent on the purchase of select items

  • Provide point-of-sale rebates of up to $1,000 on the purchase of select items

The funding is being released to retailers of all sizes to be passed on to you, the consumer, at the time of purchase.

Which Products and Appliances Are Eligible for Rebates?

The following Energy Star-certified energy-efficient products and appliances are included in the Energy Savings Rebate Program for 2020:

  • Washer

  • Dryer

  • Washer & dryer combo

  • Dishwasher

  • Tankless condensing water heater

  • Air purifier/room air cleaner

  • Smart thermostat

  • Ductless mini-split indoor unit (i.e., air-source heat pump)

  • Room air conditioner

  • Ceiling fan

  • Dehumidifier

  • Refrigerator and/or refrigerator freezer

  • Electric vehicle home charger

  • Induction stovetop

How Much Will You Save on Energy Costs?

While nearly everyone is familiar with the concept of Energy Star-certified appliances and products, you may feel less familiar with how much of a difference the purchase of an Energy Star-certified item may make to your bottom line.

In this section, we aim to demystify the potential for energy savings with an example you can use to plug in your own expenses and see how much you may save.

According to recent nationwide residential spending data, we know that the average Canadian homeowner in Ontario reports spending around $2,358 per year on energy.

We also know how this energy gets used* inside the typical Canadian home:

  • 61 percent: heating

  • 3 percent: cooling

  • 19 percent: hot water

  • 14 percent: appliances

  • 4 percent: lighting

* data cites rounding as the reason for a 101 total score.

Since home heating represents the single greatest energy output and expense for the typical homeowner, let's start there to build our formula.

Starting with our annual energy expense of $2,358, we can calculate that 61 percent of that is $1,438.

The Energy Star program tells us that you can save an average of 20 percent on energy costs by upgrading to an Energy Star-certified furnace.

Now we can calculate that 20 percent of $1,438 is $287 per year. This is the energy savings you can potentially reap upfront just by upgrading to a new Energy Star-certified furnace.

To increase your energy savings, you can also choose to undertake various home improvement projects, such as weatherstripping (10 percent) and duct sealing (30 percent savings). Your savings will depend on the degree of maintenance required as well as your energy use patterns.

So now you can take this formula and plug in your own numbers. Start with your annual energy costs. Take 61 percent (or whatever feels reasonable for your usage patterns) and that is what you spend on heating. Deduct 20 percent of your annual heating costs to account for upgrading to an Energy Star-certified furnace. Then deduct another 25 percent off the cost of your new furnace for your Energy Star savings rebate.

How Much Can You Save for Different Products and Appliances?

There is a lot more to learn about how much Energy Star-certified products and appliances can help trim your home energy expenses.

Here are some averages as reported by the Energy Star program for the products and appliances covered by the 2020 rebate program:

NOTE: There is currently no Energy Star-certified statistical history for the savings to be reaped from induction stovetop ranges. However, general data shows that you can gain 10 percent energy savings (90 percent efficiency) by switching to induction cooking.

Get in Touch

Here at Bi-Temp, we are proud to be a designated participating retailer for the 2020 Ontario Energy Rebate Savings Program.

When you purchase any of the listed products or appliances you just read about, we can provide you with point-of-sale rebates to help you save money on your new energy-efficient choice!

Give us a call at 613-967-1066 or visit us online.

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Boiler, Heat Pump, Furnace: What Does Each Do & Which Do You Need?

three way direction arrow

On one level, heat is heat. You know when you have it and you sure notice when you don’t!

But when it comes time to replace your existing system, suddenly it seems as if there is a world of new terminology to master first.

Perhaps you inherited your current heating system along with your home when you moved in. Maybe you have space heaters, radiant heat, a central furnace, a heating boiler or a heat pump.

If your system is old or you’re not pleased with the overall performance or the cost to run your current heating system, you may wonder if a change could do your body (and budget) some good.

In this article, to help you choose, we take a closer look at the most popular types of heating appliances today and explain what each system does.

What Is a Heater?

The word “heater” is a catch-all term.

It could mean anything from a wood fireplace to a geothermal heat pump, although in most cases, "heater" is used interchangeably with two heat sources: a furnace or a space heater.

What Is a Furnace?

The modern furnace began its evolution as a simple enclosed oven. Today’s furnace has evolved to run using a variety of fuel sources, including electricity, gas, oil and propane or a combination thereof.

The gas furnace is the most popular for residential and commercial use today. Natural gas is a cleaner-burning fuel and tends to be a more economical fuel choice overall.

Some newer high-efficiency furnace models can take both propane and natural gas, giving you options as fuel prices fluctuate.

There are two types of furnace systems: central (ducted) and ductless.

What Is a Heating Boiler?

As the name implies, a heating boiler boils water to generate heat. By transforming water into steam, the boiler's heat energy becomes easy to transport.

The most common way that steam is transported is through pipes or ducts.

One of the most popular aspects of heating boilers is that they pull double duty: heating your home and your hot water too. They are also efficient in that any unused steam is sent back to the starting line to be reused.

What Is a Radiant Heater?

Radiant heat uses the same principles as the sun. When you stand in a sunbeam, you instantly warm up.

Radiant heaters use the same electromagnetic, infrared waves to heat whatever those waves encounter. In other words, they heat you and not the surrounding air.

There are two main types of radiant heaters: boiler-based and electricity-based. If you have (or choose to switch to) a heating boiler, the type of heat generated is radiant. Electric radiant heaters use electricity as power to generate the same basic type of heat waves.

What Is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump works by pumping heat into or out of your home depending on the season.

In the winter, a heat pump will gather the extra heat energy in the incoming air and use it to pre-heat your home, lowering your heating bills.

In the summer, a heat pump will gather the extra heat energy in your indoor air and move it outside to reduce the burden on your air conditioner in cooling down incoming air. Again, you benefit, with lower cooling bills.

There are two main types of heat pump: air source and ground source, or geothermal.

Air source heat pumps are more compact, much easier to install and more affordable. Ground source heat pumps are wildly efficient (up to 400 percent in some cases) but are more of an up-front investment and more complex to install.

What Are Ductless Heaters?

In North America, ducted homes are fairly common. But in other parts of the world, homes with central ductwork are actually rather uncommon.

Ductless heating systems have become popular outside of North America for their quiet, compact and highly efficient heat output. The inside component is wall- or ceiling-mounted and connected to the outside component via a thin cable. There can be one or many inside components, depending on the size of the space, which also allows for zoned temperature control.

The most common system is called a “ductless mini-split.” This system provides both cooling and heating.

What Type of Heating System Do You Need?

If you are ready to upgrade your existing heat system or are choosing a heater for new construction, you may wonder which system will serve you best.

This is a great question! It is smart to research potential efficiency gains and energy bill savings before your current system calls it quits. If your current furnace or heating boiler is 15 years or older, replacing it could net you anywhere from five to 15 percent gains in efficiency according to Energy Star.

Choosing the most cost-effective new system requires analyzing how much heater you need to efficiently warm your space. This, in turn, can require a complex set of calculations and is best delegated to an HVAC industry professional.

Get in Touch

Do you need some help thinking through your heating options and choosing the best system for your space? We can help!

Give us a call at 613-967-1066 or visit us online.

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Humidity, Filtration, Purification – How to Clean Up Your Indoor Air in 2020

hepa filter

It is no secret the outdoor air on Earth is getting increasingly toxic. We are lucky here in Canada to have some of the cleanest outdoor air of any country… but we aren’t quite so lucky with our indoor air.

The trend toward airtight residential and commercial construction has created very energy-efficient buildings. But we now know that, in solving one problem, the construction industry has unwittingly created another.

Now our homes and workplaces are so airtight they have become toxic air zones. Stale air can’t get out and fresh air can’t get in.

To this end, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that indoor air in North America is up to five times more toxic than outdoor air in most places on the continent.

Is there anything you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your workers? You can definitely take action to clean up your indoor air. Read on to learn what to do.

Why Is Canada’s Indoor Air So Toxic?

According to Breathe: The Lung Association, the average Canadian spends up to 90 percent of their daily time inside.

This is not good news for our lungs. Not only are there greater numbers of toxins in our indoor air, but also they exist at higher concentrations.

In most cases, the specific types of indoor air toxins are the result of personal choice. Most of the indoor toxins creating so many serious health conditions for Canadians today are introduced by us!

Smoking and vaping, use of personal fragrances and care products, use of commercial cleaning products, craft and home renovation projects, pest control poisons, so-called air fresheners, radon gas, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds arising from incomplete fossil fuels combustion (like those from stoves and fireplaces) all release chemicals into the indoor air.

The outpouring of so many different chemicals, gaseous, liquid and particulate, into enclosed indoor spaces is making our indoor air toxic.

Health Symptoms Associated With Indoor Air Toxicity

Many people today still do not realize that many of the products they are using for cleaning, air freshening and personal care are actually loaded with toxic chemicals. So often, it takes recurrent health symptoms before you start to put two and two together.

For example, have you ever been sitting in the break room at work when the cleaning staff comes through to mop the floor or wipe the countertops? If your eyes started to water, your throat felt raw or you started to cough, it is likely that you are sensitive to the harsh, chemical-laden cleaning products they were using.

In the same way, handling pesticides, idling your car, lighting a scented candle or using a perfumed air freshener (and similar choices) can release dangerous chemicals into the air.

Here are some of the most common health symptoms that are now linked to indoor air toxicity at home or at work:

  • Respiratory: coughing, runny nose, congestion, watering or dry eyes

  • Skin: rash, irritation, allergic reaction

  • Allergy and asthma symptoms getting worse

  • Dizziness, nausea, vomiting

  • Mental fogginess, trouble concentrating, chronic fatigue

  • Recurrent sinusitis or bronchitis

  • Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing

  • Mood: irritability, anxiety, depression

  • Systemic: heart and lung damage, cancer

Today's research highlights the link between indoor air toxicity and health complications in highest-risk populations, including unborn babies, pregnant women, the very young and the elderly.

For instance, low birth weight, premature babies, autism, childhood asthma and allergies, delayed childhood development, neurological issues and other health concerns are linked to toxic indoor air.

How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality At Home or Work

There are four main steps to take to begin cleaning up your indoor air at home or at work. If you commit to taking these steps, don’t be surprised if you, your family and your employees start to feel better right away!

Change your habits

Perhaps the most important step to take is to start paying much closer attention to what you do and which products you use inside your space.

Switching to all-natural cleaners, giving up chemical fragrance or air fresheners in favor of essential oils, taking vaping or smoking outside, installing exhaust vents and range hoods and similar choices will make an immediate impact on the quality of your indoor air.

Ventilate

Because of the airtight construction standards we mentioned here earlier, today’s homes and workplaces literally cannot breathe on their own.

There is no inbuilt mechanism to exhaust stale air or bring in new fresh air. This is why the City of Toronto has mandated that all new construction must include a heat recovery ventilator (HRV).

This appliance does three important things. It ensures a continual influx of fresh air and a continual exhaust of toxic stale air. It balances the humidity. And it lowers energy bills by recycling heat energy.

Filter

There are three main kinds of airborne toxins: particulate, gaseous and liquid. HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters handle the first type of toxin: particulate matter.

HEPA filters can trap particles as small as 1/100th the size of a single human hair and prevent them from entering the air supply and your lungs.

Purify

Ultraviolet air purifiers handle the second two types of toxins: gases and liquids. Ultraviolet light has the ability to change the molecular structure of gases and liquids so they cannot do any damage.

This is especially important with bacteria, fungi and viral matter, which are rendered harmless after exposure to ultraviolet light and cannot make you sick.

All three of these systems can be retrofitted to work with any central (ducted) air delivery system. Portable filters and purifiers also exist.

Get in Touch

Are you ready to clean up your toxic indoor air? We can help!

Give us a call at 613-967-1066 or visit us online.

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Should You Buy a Gas Or Propane Furnace? You Might Not Have to Choose!

home fuel tank

Purchasing a new furnace system is one of the biggest decisions most homeowners ever have to face. Happily, once purchased, a new furnace typically lasts for a good 15 years with basic preventative maintenance.

However, in many cases, a home may change hands one or more times before the furnace ever needs replacing... and the homeowner tasked with the challenge may have never researched or selected a new furnace before.

That homeowner could be you, reading this article right now.

If so, we want you to know about a new furnace option that provides more flexibility with fuel choice and more efficiency (thus lower energy bills) than ever before.

This furnace is going to have a number of features that give you a great deal of control over its operation and what you have to spend to stay warm in winter. Read on to learn about the new breed of high-efficiency, dual-fuel furnace you are guaranteed to fall in love with.

Fuel Conversion from Natural Gas to Propane Is Now Possible

Here at Bi-Temp, we are proud to stock, sell, repair, maintain and install the full line of Carrier furnaces.

Carrier is a company at the leading edge of furnace and HVAC technology and offers furnaces for every budget and size of space, as well as every type of heating need.

One of the neatest features that nearly all Carrier furnaces offer is the option of switching from natural gas fuel to propane. 

This innovation was the result of a long-time request from Carrier’s Canadian customers, because fuel prices can and do fluctuate from one province or region to the next, and often from rural to urban areas as well.

While making the switch back and forth between natural gas and propane (or vice versa) is not considered a do-it-yourself task, it is relatively easy and certainly quite affordable to accomplish.

A natural gas Carrier furnace can now run on propane gas as well by replacing burner orifices, installing specialized screws and switches, and making certain of other minor modifications. 

What the Average Homeowner Spends on Heating

Keeping your home warm during our notoriously rough and tumble winter season is one of the biggest expenses of owning a home here in Canada.

Natural Resources Canada (NRC) estimates that a full 61 percent of most homeowners’ typical energy bill is devoted to just one utility: home heating.

To that point, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario’s (FAO) recent homeowner survey indicates the average household spends about $2,358 per year just on energy.

Sixty-one percent of $2,358 is just over $1,438. That is quite a lot of money to spend just on heating! During some months, heating bills alone can readily top $300.

NOTE: For actual costs, you can use the easy formula of [my annual energy costs] x 0.61 = [my annual heating costs] to adjust the FAO’s numbers.

How Furnace Efficiency Lowers Your Heating Bills

If you have an older furnace that is nearing its less-than-golden years, you may be getting anywhere from 70 to 80 percent energy efficiency.

This is because most older units are equipped with only a single heat exchanger, which means a lot of potentially usable heat gets wasted with every cycle.

New high-efficiency Carrier furnaces are equipped with a secondary heat exchanger, or condenser. This cutting-edge feature is able to recycle otherwise lost heat energy to recapture 10-plus percent of the heat generated from the combustion process itself.

It also brings the efficiency rating up to anywhere from 90 to 98.5 percent for today’s modern furnace.

So what might that look like in terms of energy savings?

We just learned that the typical homeowner spends around $1,438 per year just to run the furnace in winter. Based on this general number, what would you save if you got an extra 10 to 20 percent efficiency from the fuel you are purchasing?

An extra 10 percent efficiency would net you around $144 back in your pocket. An extra 20 percent efficiency would get you to the $288 range – that’s saving almost a full 30 days of heating costs each year!

Meet the New Breed of High-Efficiency Carrier Furnaces

Today’s Carrier natural gas (or propane gas) and oil furnaces are designed with a wide range of homes and homeowners in mind.

But all Carrier furnaces deliver high-efficiency performance to a range of 90 percent to 98.5 percent AFUE (average fuel utilization efficiency).

Carrier’s premium Infinity® series furnaces each feature quiet, multi-stage operation and even home-wide humidity control. Certain models also feature the proprietary Greenspeed™ adaptable modulating gas valve, which can adjust heat output precisely in 1 percent increments (range 40 to 100) to adapt heating needs to seasonal shifts.

Carrier’s mid-range Performance™ series furnaces find the perfect middle ground between premium perks and affordable budget-friendly features. Many models feature Carrier’s proprietary SmartEvap™ and ideal Humidity System® technology to help balance humidity levels seasonally.

Carrier’s budget-range Comfort™ series furnaces provide the perfect blend of economy and efficiency for smaller spaces and smaller budgets. These simpler furnace systems also incorporate many of the latest comfort control features to keep you warm and cozy for years to come.

All three Carrier furnace lines offer the option of customized operation and thermostat control with programmable thermostats.

Get in Touch

Are you ready to upgrade your furnace to a new high-efficiency, fuel-saving model? We can help!

Give us a call at 613-967-1066 or visit us online.

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Want to Save Up to $1,000 on Winter Heating Bills? Read This Now!

caulking

Here in Canada, current weather projections indicate our winter is going to be even colder than normal.

If you have prior experience with Canadian winters, you know that is really saying something!

Every year, we get those emergency calls from customers who are facing a sudden mid-winter furnace outage. We sure don’t want this to happen to you!

But neither do we want you to spring for a new furnace prematurely if your current furnace just needs some TLC to do its best work once again this winter.

In this timely post, we share our favorite tips for making a decision between furnace replacement and furnace repair before winter arrives in earnest.

Evaluate Your Furnace’s Current Performance

The first question to ask is whether you feel your furnace is performing up to expectations. To consider this, you will have to think back to the end of last winter.

What were your energy bills like? Were you hearing any strange sounds coming from the general direction of your furnace equipment? Did you feel your home was evenly heated from one room to the next? Was your furnace operation reasonably quiet?

The reason we want you to start here is that sometimes when you are dealing with heating issues, it isn’t actually the furnace that is to blame! When you take the time to identify exactly what you are dissatisfied with, this can lead you back to the real culprit for a timely fix.

Take a Good Look at Your Air Ducts

Here is one common example: your furnace bills start escalating and certain rooms are warmer than others.

But when your HVAC service technician comes out to do a tune-up and safety inspection, you are told that your furnace is in tip-top shape!

So what could be causing the problem? This is always the right time to stop and consider when the last time was that you checked your ducts.

The average duct system has a one- to two-decade shelf life before major repairs or a full replacement becomes necessary. Sometimes ducts can last longer than this, but it is the exception rather than the rule.

A system of older ducts is more likely to be the recipient of patchwork repairs and fixes over the years, including hand-wrapped insulation, tape around connection points, sagging ducts that are propped up on boxes or bins and so forth.

The more degraded your ducts become, the more air leakage will occur. This is especially the case around connection points near the central blower.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that poorly maintained ducts may allow up to 30 percent of temperature-controlled air to leak out before it ever gets to its destination at the other end of the duct.

If your indoor heating is uneven from room to room, this is another prime indicator that you have damaged ducts that are leaking air.

Once our technicians go in to repair and/or replace damaged ductwork, our customers are usually surprised and delighted to discover that their “problem furnace” was never the problem at all!

Potential savings: The average Canadian homeowner spends $2,358 on energy annually, with an estimated 61 percent of that, or $1,438, going to running the furnace. You stand to recuperate up to 30 percent of the air you are paying to heat by simply sealing up your ducts and making strategic repairs or replacements as needed. Recapturing that extra 30 percent trims your heating bill by $431.

Weatherstrip, Seal and Insulate

If your ducts aren’t letting the warm air out, there is a good chance it is your home itself that is letting the air escape.

And if you live in an older home, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that up to 20 percent of your heating and cooling costs annually can be chalked up to air leaks.

Not every homeowner has an inner do-it-yourselfer inside them, but if you do, weatherstripping, caulking, sealing and insulating tasks are simple enough to do during your spare time. If your inner DIY-er is missing, we would be happy to work with you to get these tasks checked off your list before winter arrives.

Potential savings: Using the same average numbers as in the previous example, recapturing that 20 percent of lost warm air nets you a $287 savings on your furnace bills.

Schedule Your Fall Furnace Inspection and Tune-up

It isn’t a stretch to understand how a poorly maintained furnace might deliver sub-par performance. But what is even more important, and what we continually stress to our customers, is that a poorly maintained furnace also represents a significant home fire risk.

When you go more than one winter without scheduling at least a basic safety inspection for your furnace components, your risk of a home fire increases exponentially.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), nearly half of all home fires take place in December, January and February. The number one cause of furnace-related home heating fires is failure to clean and maintain the equipment.

On a happier note, when you do schedule a tune-up and safety inspection, you will reap rewards of up to 20 percent in energy efficiency improvements, trimming yet another big chunk off of your winter heating bills.

Potential savings: Once again referencing our average data, 20 percent of $1,438 is $287.

You Just Saved $1,000 On Winter Heating Expenses

Repairing and resealing your ducts recaptures up to 30 percent of warm air. Weatherstripping and sealing recaptures another 20 percent of warm air. A basic annual furnace tune-up recaptures still another 20 percent of warm air.

This is recapturing up to 70 percent of the warmed air you are paying for, for a potential winter heating bill savings of up to $1,000.

Get in Touch

Ready to save this winter? We can help!

Give us a call at 613-967-1066 or visit us online.

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Fall Furnace Maintenance: Is Your Furnace Ready to Keep You Warm?

child reading by window in the fall

Fall is a time when many Ontario homeowners’ thoughts quite naturally turn to pondering the challenges of the winter season ahead.

Canadian winters are no joke! Not only is winter the longest season in our year here in Canada, but it is also the most expensive and undoubtedly the hardest on our HVAC systems.

With the potential for as much as five months’ worth of extra cold, snowy, extreme weather lurking just around the corner, now is definitely the time to schedule your fall furnace fire safety inspection and preventative maintenance check-up.

Trust us – your wallet will love you for it and you’ll have peace of mind.

How Furnace Preventative Maintenance Helps You Save

It is no secret that winter brings some of the highest energy bills of the whole year.

Natural Resources Canada (NRC) estimates that a whopping 61 percent of most homeowners’ annual energy bills goes straight to heating.

According to the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO), the typical homeowner spends around $2,358 per year on energy bills.

This means that about $1,438 of that amount is devoted to keeping warm each winter.

According to the Energy Star program, taking the time to perform basic air sealing and weather stripping combined with preventative duct and furnace maintenance can shave up to 20 percent off of the top of your winter heating bills.

That would mean an extra $287 back in your pocket. Considering that the average cost of a preventative furnace inspection and tune-up is around $150 (less if you opt in for an annual protection plan), right away you have saved nearly $200!

Why Furnace Preventative Maintenance Keeps You Safe

We haven’t yet talked to any client who doesn’t find the idea of saving $200 to $300 per year on heating costs quite appealing.

However, there is an even more compelling reason than cost savings to schedule your preventative fall furnace maintenance: fire safety.

The National Fire Protection Association reports (NFPA) that heating equipment is currently one of the leading causes of home fires throughout North America.

Not only has heating equipment caused 15 percent of all home fires historically, but it has also been the cause of 19 percent of all fire-related fatalities.

The number one reason cited for heating equipment-related home fires is a simple failure to clean and maintain the home heating system. Here, four types of systems are especially implicated: space heaters, stationary central heaters, fireplaces or chimneys and water heaters.

And consider this: almost half of all heating equipment-related home fires occur during December, January and February, which are just up ahead on our calendar.

What Is Included With a Furnace Safety Inspection and Maintenance Checkup?

An annual furnace safety inspection, tune-up and maintenance service is the best way to make sure your HVAC system is not a fire risk or an energy hog.

Here is what you can expect to happen during your preventative furnace maintenance service:

  • Thorough cleaning of the exterior and interior of furnace components

  • Cleaning of interior and exterior coils

  • Test of refrigerant levels with leak detection (if indicated)

  • Test and cleaning of blower motor, amp draw and air intake grill

  • Test for leaks, fumes, pilot light or ignition, pressure, burners

  • Test and repairing or replacing of thermocouple (if indicated)

  • Inspection of all systems and parts

  • Recommendations for minor maintenance, lubrication and repairs

  • Thermostat accuracy test and calibration (if needed)

  • Change or cleaning/replacement of air filter

  • Checking and cleaning drain pan and line (if needed)

  • Test of air flow through air registers and exhaust vents

  • Test of electrical connections and outlets

  • Test of all furnace safety controls and combustion gases (including carbon monoxide)

  • Full test cycle to evaluate overall performance

At the end of this comprehensive safety inspection and maintenance checkup, your furnace will be in good shape to achieve maximum energy efficiency and reliable performance throughout the winter season.

Additional Timely Ways to Save on Energy This Winter

Saving up to 20 percent on winter heating bills with an annual furnace tune-up is always appreciated. Here are several additional ways you can save even more on heating bills this winter!

Programmable Thermostat

We always love informing our clients that you can save up to 15 percent on heating costs with a programmable thermostat.

Change your air filter monthly

It is amazing how many homeowners forget this one simple task, but taking the time to clean or change your furnace air filter each month can trim your energy bill by as much as 15 percent.

It is also one of the most protective actions you can take to guard against home fires this winter.

Seal and insulate windows, doors and structure

You can save up to 32 percent on year-round HVAC energy costs by adding weather stripping, insulation and seals around windows and doors.

In most cases, this is an easy DIY weekend project if you are handy and so inclined, but we are also happy to take care of this energy-saving task for you.

Seal and insulate ductwork

Leaking or sagging ducts lose up to 30 percent of the heated or cooled air your HVAC system generates – before that air ever reaches your air registers!

You can save an additional 20 to 30 percent by having your ductwork cleaned, maintained and insulated.

Upgrade your furnace

If this is the year you decide it is time to upgrade to a new energy-efficient furnace system, you will save up to 15 percent, according to Energy Star. If you are replacing a heat pump, your estimated annual energy savings is 20 percent.

Get in Touch

Are you ready to save money on energy all winter while investing in your own peace of mind? We can help!

Give us a call at 613-967-1066 or visit us online.

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New-Construction HVAC Selection: Tips to Make the Perfect Choice

new home construction hvac

Building your own home or custom workspace can be so exciting. Finally, you can have everything just the way you want it instead of having to make someone else’s vision work for you.

But having the chance to bring your own vision to life can also add to the stress of the process – you want to do everything right the first time. Plus, if you are like most homeowners, your budget isn’t unlimited and mistakes can cost you.

Choosing your new-construction HVAC system may not be the most glamorous aspect of your new-build process, but get it right and we guarantee it will be one of the comfiest!

From heating and cooling options to ductwork decisions, cost estimates to installation approaches, learn what you need to know to make the perfect HVAC decision.

1. To Duct or Not to Duct

In past eras, any new construction consisting of more than two rooms would automatically be a candidate for ducting and installation of a central HVAC system.

Ducted systems

Central HVAC systems with a traditional air conditioner paired with a traditional furnace are still the reigning favorite and give you the most options for how to combine your heating and cooling equipment.

Heat pumps are becoming more popular today and also pair well with ductwork. Compact and energy-efficient air-to-air heat pumps are great for smaller spaces. For larger spaces with more available land, geothermal heat pumps offer the greatest energy efficiency and a very long useful life.

But today, you have another cooling option that doesn’t require ductwork: the ductless mini-split.

Ductless systems

A ductless mini-split offers quiet, efficient cooling and heating along with the option for zoned thermostat control, which means you can adjust the temperature as needed for up to eight different zones.

Ductless components are non-invasive, simple and compact. The indoor component can be installed on the wall or ceiling. The outdoor component connects to the indoor system by means of a single slim cable.

If you live in an area that doesn’t require air conditioning, a heating boiler paired with a radiator system is yet another option for non-ducted heating. As a perk, a heating boiler can heat your water, too.

2. Fuel Type: Electric, Gas, Propane, Oil, Off-Grid, Combination?

Homes and workplaces today have a dizzying array of options when it comes to fuel.

Fossil fuels are slowly being phased out in favor of more planet-friendly resources, but this process takes time and sometimes traditional fuel sources are still the most readily available and economical choice.

It can be smart to survey power costs for your area before deciding to go all-electric, gas or propane-powered, for instance. Don’t just look at the price today but also examine the trends going back a few years to get a good idea of what you will spend annually (talking to your neighbors can also help here).

Off-grid options like solar and geothermal can require more up-front investment. However, to compensate, they are historically low-maintenance options with a useful life of up to 50 years, meaning these systems typically pay for themselves early on and can even make you money if you can sell unused stored power back to the power company.

In many cases, it is possible to mix and match electric, gas and off-grid options to conserve energy and keep your power bills manageable.

3. Ventilation: How & How Much

As concerns about our planet’s dwindling natural resources continue to increase, there is rising pressure on the construction industry to create new air-tight construction practices to conserve energy.

This has been great for the average homeowner’s power bill but not so great for people’s health. As indoor spaces become more airtight, the ventilation that ensures a continuous supply of fresh, oxygenated air is increasingly absent.

This means it is no longer enough to open a window or door on nice days, especially during the hot summers and long cold winters when the result is a corresponding need to crank the cool or heat.

Ceiling fans aid greatly in air circulation, which can help you conserve energy and lower power bills by inching your thermostat up without feeling noticeably warmer, but they don’t serve a useful ventilation purpose.

In the Toronto area, all new construction is now mandated to include a heat recovery ventilation system – you can think of it as a set of mechanical lungs for your home, since most new construction spaces can no longer “breathe” on their own.

Heat recovery ventilation not only ensures a steady supply of fresh incoming air but it also helps conserve otherwise wasted heat energy and balance the humidity inside your home.

4. Energy Efficiency Appliances & Fixtures

Once you have created your master list of systems and accessories, it is time to get down to the business of choosing the specific appliances and fixtures to outfit your new space.

From low-flow faucets and fixtures to high-efficiency HVAC units to tank vs. tankless water heaters and more, today’s appliances and accessories elevate conserving energy to a fine art.

Choosing the perfect mix of energy-efficient appliances and fixtures is one part selecting complementary systems and one part ensuring your space is set up to maximize their impact.

Selecting the right insulation, applying strategic weather stripping, identifying the optimal thermostat location, installing the right window type and even choosing landscaping that provides shade can all further reduce your carbon footprint and your monthly energy bill.

Why Choose Bi-Temp for Your New-Construction HVAC Needs?

We are licensed and insured to consult on air conditioning, heating, water and other needs for new-construction projects throughout Ontario.

We can also help you with expert installation on all makes and models of new systems and apply on your behalf for all available energy efficiency credits and rebates.

Get in Touch

Give us a call at 613-967-1066 or visit us online.

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Is Your A/C Winding Down Just as Summer Heats Up? 8 Warning Signs to Watch For

sweaty man due to broken ac

Summer is not the season to have your air conditioner suddenly conk out on you.

Yet of course this is the time of year when A/C outages are most likely to occur, since you are using the heck out of it as temperatures climb.

If you do experience an A/C outage, don’t panic. We are just a phone call away and we can get you back up and running (and cooling down) in a jiffy.

But if you know the most common warning signs to watch for, you may be able to stave off an actual outage by making some timely air conditioning repairs.

In this post, learn about eight warning signs that your air conditioner needs maintenance.

1. You start hearing things

An air conditioner in the prime of its life that is running smoothly isn’t going to be “talking” to you. And while it can be tempting to ignore the first minor attempts your A/C unit makes to strike up a conversation, you can be sure that if a whisper doesn’t work, it will escalate to a yell.

Bangs, clangs, squeaking, clanks, rattles, buzzing, whining and low-level white noise – these are all clear signs that your air conditioner needs some overdue attention.

2. Your house smells… funny

Many homeowners don’t initially notice this warning sign because it is easy to get acclimated to your home’s “homey” odour. Using fragranced candles, air fresheners and perfumed household cleaning products can also mask the scent of an air conditioner that is starting to stink.

But if one day you walk inside your home and your nose wrinkles, and all efforts you make to locate the source of the scent still leaves you coming up short, the culprit might be your HVAC system.

If you have central air conditioning that uses a system of ducts, the issue might also be microbial matter (mould, mildew, bacteria) that has colonized your ducts and is sending out its unique stinky signature along with each blast of cooled air.

3. Your home seems more humid

Humidity often increases in the warm summer months, but if your air conditioning system is working properly, you should only feel it when you are outside your house. When your indoor air starts to seem warmer and more humid no matter how much you run your A/C, this may point back to a problem with the air conditioning unit itself.

Older homes with lots of natural ventilation (leaks, cracks) may also benefit from refreshing the weatherstripping, caulking or insulation. In newer homes built to be airtight, the addition of a heat recovery ventilator can help your air conditioner cope with a lack of natural ventilation.

4. The air coming out of your registers feels warm

If there is one deeply dissatisfying experience most homeowners are familiar with, it is running a cooling cycle only to feel warm air blowing out of your registers and vents! Why does this happen?

It could be any number of things, from restricted air flow to a refrigerant leak to an accidental nudge of the thermostat setting from “cool” to “fan” mode.

Anytime refrigerant issues are involved, it is always best to call a pro. Refrigerant may work wonders for cooling down your indoor air, but it is a potent toxin and should only be handled by a professional who knows how to work with it and dispose of it safely.

5. You start to miss the sound of silence between A/C cycles

An air conditioner that never seems to stop running is not only burning a hole through your wallet energy-wise, but it also probably isn’t doing its best work in keeping your home cool.

Too-frequent A/C cycles can point to anything from an improperly sized or installed unit to a simple need for a cleaning and some minor repairs.

6. You hear your A/C working but very little air comes out of your registers.

When your air conditioner is running but you don’t feel much air coming through your registers, this doesn’t always mean your air conditioner itself is malfunctioning. It could also signal an issue with blocked air ducts or simply a dirty air filter.

But there are times when the air conditioner itself is to blame, and often the reason is a malfunctioning blower motor.

7. Your ceiling springs a leak

Finding a water leak inside your home is one of the most stressful experiences you can go through as a homeowner. It can also turn into one of the most expensive issues if you don’t quickly find and remedy the issue.

When your air conditioner starts leaking, it could be something simple like a blocked drainage hose or an overflowing drip pan. But it could also mean there is a refrigerant leak somewhere in your system, and this always requires some help from an HVAC pro.

8. Your cooling bills start increasing

Keeping a close eye on your energy bills can give you an early heads-up that your A/C isn’t doing its best work. When all else remains the same but you start paying more to keep your home cool, it is time to schedule A/C maintenance!

Earn Up to $100 Just By Mentioning Your A/C Service!

How does a cool extra $50 or $100 in your pocket sound? 

All you have to do to earn this extra cash is start telling your network about the great A/C or heating service you get with Bi-Temp - make sure they mention your name when they call to schedule service.

For a furnace or A/C purchase, you earn $50. For a combo package, boiler or installation, you earn $100.

Get in Touch

Give us a call at 613-967-1066 or visit us online

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