Is Your Geothermal Heating System Overdue for Routine Maintenance?
Geothermal heating systems are becoming more and more popular throughout North America. This type of HVAC system offers a genuinely sustainable source of heating in an era when very little else feels friendly to the environment.
Another reason for the geothermal buzz is that this type of heating is often touted as maintenance-free.
This is somewhat less accurate. All systems need some level of routine maintenance and inspection from time to time to deliver peak efficiency and maximum energy savings.
If you want to get the most from your commercial or residential geothermal system this winter, this is the post you need to read.
10 Geothermal Water Furnace Routine Maintenance Requirements
Some maintenance requirements can vary based on the exact type of geothermal system you are using.
But for general knowledge purposes, these are the 10 basic steps that must always be done when conducting routine preventative maintenance for a geothermal HVAC system.
1. Change the air filter.
The main challenge here is to be sure you are using the correct air filter that is rated for the type of geothermal system you have installed.
The air filter should be changed once per month. Your Bi-Temp HVAC technician will take care of this task for you in the month you schedule your routine geothermal maintenance service.
2. Clean the system.
Like all major appliances, your geothermal system needs a thorough cleaning at least once per year. This cleaning is dual purpose as it also gives you a chance to inspect the integrity of the whole system from end to end.
3. Check, drain and clean the condensation pans.
Your geothermal system's condensation pans offer a handy early warning system to alert you of any internal malfunctions. If the pans get clogged, the debris can plug up the drain and shut down your whole system.
But the condensate pans also need routine cleaning for another potential danger - mould and mildew growth! It is a good idea to check the condensation pans monthly to make sure opportunistic mould never gets the chance to take hold and spread.
4. Check, clean and repair air registers, vents and ducts.
It is so easy to forget all about the air registers, vents and ducts that partner with your geothermal system to deliver temperature-controlled air to the farthest reaches of your space.
Routine preventative geothermal maintenance simply ensures none of these valuable conduits are leaking, damaged or missing.
5. Pressure test loop pipe system for leaks.
For open loop geothermal systems, you will want to clean and flush your system annually to remove mineral and debris build-up.
Your closed loop geothermal system may need periodic pressure checks and pressurizing to keep the whole system working as it should.
6. Check refrigerant or antifreeze mixture levels.
Even though geothermal heating systems are designed to be environmentally friendly and safe, they still make use of a very specialized type of refrigerant or antifreeze mixture to create the right environment for heat transfer to occur.
It is important not to try to adjust these levels yourself. This is something your Bi-Temp HVAC technician can take care of during your annual preventative maintenance service.
7. Test and calibrate the thermostat and zone controls.
Different geothermal systems use different thermostat configurations. And there are pros and cons to battery-operated versus wired thermostats. Some newer systems offer the option to integrate with a programmable thermostat for maximum energy savings.
Testing the thermostat and zone controls for accuracy can indicate whether a recalibration may be in order.
8. Clean, repair and lubricate heat exchanger, coils and all mechanical components.
The heat exchanger is like the heart of your geothermal heating system. Over time, accumulated debris or mineral buildup can impact operation of the internal mechanics of your whole system.
Taking time to clean, repair and/or lubricate the heat exchanger, coils and all moving parts that make your system work is a smart choice.
9. Check, clean and test any auxiliary components.
If your geothermal heating system works in tandem with a desuperheater, hot water assist or other auxiliary components, it is important to check, clean and test these as well. A water pressure test and flow rate test should also be done at the same time.
10. Check and test the electrical power connections.
No geothermal system safety inspection is ever complete without testing the electrical power connections. Loose or frayed wires can quickly devolve into a fire hazard. It is well worth your time and peace of mind to check all electrical and fuel connections at least once per year.
Thinking of Switching to Geothermal Heating and Cooling Services?
By recycling ground-source or water-source solar energy that would otherwise be wasted, choosing a geothermal system immediately nets you four benefits with long-term appeal.
- Silent cycling and operation.
- Safe heating even around kids and pets.
- Cost-effective over time - and sometimes even a money maker!
- Friendly to the environment and the planet.
Some geothermal systems also handle your hot water needs through the addition of a desuperheater or hot water assist.
You can choose from air source, water source, vertical or horizontal ground source geothermal systems depending on your available space and overall heating, cooling and hot water needs.
It is easy to get the process started - just reach out to us using the contact information below and ask about a FREE QUOTE estimate for a new geothermal heating system.
Bi-Temp in Quinte West Is Your Geothermal Heating Expert
Bi-Temp Heating and Cooling is one of the first in the area to offer geothermal heating systems to our customers in the Belleville, Quinte, Ontario and surrounding areas.
When was the last time your geothermal heating system had its routine maintenance and safety inspection?
Boiler Repair Vs Replacement: Is Your HVAC System Ready for Winter?
In just a few weeks now, the first wave of true winter weather will be arriving. Is your heating boiler ready?
Maybe you answered with an enthusiastic "Yes!"
Perhaps you thought to yourself, "No, I need to schedule boiler service."
Or it could be you suddenly realized, "I really don't know what state my heating boiler is in right now."
Take it from us, now is the time to find out. You do not want to discover your heating boiler is on its last legs or facing a major repair need after winter has begun in earnest. You want to know now, when you still have time to consider all your options.
Does your heating boiler simply need its annual preventative maintenance and safety inspection? Is it time to schedule that major boiler repair you've known is coming? Or is this the year to upgrade with a boiler replacement?
At Bi-Temp heating and cooling, we provide boiler replacement, repair and preventative maintenance! Read on to make your choice.
When Should You Consider A Boiler Replacement?
If your heating plans this winter include use of a boiler that is 15 years old or older, this is definitely the time to start considering a replacement, according to Energy Star.
Of course, this isn't a decision you will want to make lightly. There are other factors to consider that can guide you to the most economical option from every angle.
The most pressing consideration is whether your heating boiler may be heading towards a major repair. The next section will tell you what to watch for.
Is Your Heating Boiler About to Drain Your Wallet?
As a general rule of thumb, if the cost of furnace repair or furnace maintenance exceeds half of what a new HVAC system would cost, it’s time to think about a full replacement - the same is true for boiler repair and maintenance!
What warning signs should you watch (and listen) for when a major boiler repair is in your near future?
- Strange sounds like rumbling, rattling, hissing, whining, banging and knocking.
- Uneven heating or delays in heating after the boiler cycles on.
- Your hot water output is more like lukewarm or room temperature water.
- Signs of condensation or leaking on or around your heating boiler.
- Unusual odours, including burning and rotten eggs smells.
- Constant high water pressure reading on the pressure gauge.
- Pilot light is orange or yellow instead of blue (if applicable).
- You see a fault code on the boiler display.
A Major Boiler Repair Could Trigger a Boiler Replacement
1. Rust and Corrosion
The heating boiler tank is one of the important and expensive components.
When your heating boiler begins to develop rust or corrosion on the tank itself, this is definitely an indication your boiler may be heading towards replacement.
Rust and corrosion can occur due to undiagnosed air leaks or water leaks, chemicals in your water supply or the presence of minerals or sediment that builds up inside the tank.
When combined with high water pressure, a rusted or corroded tank could turn into a tank explosion - a truly damaging and dangerous situation. In addition to a boiler tank replacement, you could be looking at extensive water damage with attendant mould remediation and restoration repairs.
A poorly maintained heating boiler with a missing or caked-over anode rod is one of the biggest causes of corrosion or rust that leads to premature replacement.
So be sure to schedule your boiler annual preventative maintenance and safety inspection to avoid this.
2. Pump Problems
If your heating boiler's pump goes out, it is kind of like your boiler's heart just failed.
Reason being, the pump is what moves the heated water or steam throughout your space - similar to how a duct system moves hot air generated by a forced air furnace or heat pump system.
When your heating boiler simply stops producing heat output, often it is the circulator pump that is to blame.
3. Smaller Boiler Repair Needs
Other common heating boiler repair needs that are generally manageable on their own become less so as they pile up.
Igniter replacements, whole system flushing, leak repair and sealant and zone valve failures can easily put a dent in your wallet each on their own. Together, you can easily cross that 50 percent threshold we spoke of earlier.
Start With Heating Boiler Preventative Maintenance
What will your Bi-Temp HVAC system technician do during your boiler annual preventative maintenance and safety inspection service?
- Check and test all safety valves and pipes.
- Inspect for condensation or leaks in and around the boiler.
- Inspect and clean pilot/ignition system, including flame sensors and burner.
- Analyze combustion performance (vital to guard against carbon monoxide emissions).
- Test and recalibrate operation controls and thermostat and clear any error codes.
- Inspect and clean vents, flues and fuel train system.
- Inspect all connections, pipes and wiring.
- Test and adjust water pH.
- Check for rust/corrosion or sediment/mineral buildup.
- Do a thorough test run of the whole boiler system and make adjustments as needed.
- Address any performance issues or questions you may have.
When you consider how much you rely on your heating boiler during the long, cold winter season, taking the time for a once-annual preventative maintenance service and safety inspection starts to seem like the smartest choice.
Quinte West Bi-Temp Handles All of Your Heating Boiler Repair, Maintenance And Replacement Needs
Bi-Temp Heating and Cooling has a long record of superior customer service in Belleville, Ontario, and surrounding areas. Our HVAC system technicians are adept at maintaining, repairing and installing all makes and models of heating boilers and HVAC equipment.
We are also proud to offer hot water tank rentals as an economical alternative to buying. Need a heating boiler replacement quote? Ours is fast and free!
Give us a call at 1-613-967-1066 or visit us online to schedule your heating boiler repair, maintenance or installation.
Why Now Is the Time to Do Your Pre-Winter Furnace Maintenance Checkup
With the onset of climate change, every season brings its surprises. But one thing we can still count on here in the far north is an extended period of cold weather each and every year.
If you are new to Canadian winters, you may be tempted to take this with a grain of salt. We advise you not to. Winter can be very hard on people as well as on their heating appliances.
Which is why now is definitely the time to put your heating plans in place. What is on your heating to do list? Do you need to upgrade your furnace? Schedule preventative furnace maintenance? Ponder a minor or major furnace repair or upgrade? Let's talk about it!
Understanding Ontario Winter Weather
You might be reading this because you are new to Ontario, Canada, and have heard some pretty drastic stories, but aren't really sure what to expect this winter.
The first thing we want to say is - give yourself five stars for being so proactive!
The second thing we want you to know is - most of those stories are probably true.
Canada's winters are both the reason for the annual influx of snow sports enthusiasts and the annual migration south of those who love warmth.
So if you are new here, consider this question: how warm do you like to be in winter?
Then consider this question: how well is your current house set up to keep you warm? And here we are not just talking about warm at zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit)
It may only get down to these low temperatures for a day or few here and there, but we guarantee if you are not ready those will be the coldest days of your life to date. So be sure you are ready!
Preventative Furnace Maintenance Is Key
Another key consideration when preparing for a Canadian winter is to take a look at how well your furnace, heat pump or boiler does under pressure....literally.
You can expect to be using whatever heating system you have every single day starting around mid-October and potentially continuing through March or even April.
Can your furnace handle the heat? If you answered "yes," how would you know for sure?
When was the last time you had your heating equipment serviced? Preventative furnace maintenance isn't only important to give your whole heating system a thorough cleaning, which avoids dangerous dust burn-off that can lead to awful odors and home fires.
It is also vital to identify small furnace repair or maintenance needs that can suddenly implode and plunge your family into the bitter cold right in the middle of winter.
If you own a newer heating appliance, preventative furnace maintenance can also be critical to keep your warranty active. Check your warranty to be sure you are meeting minimum maintenance criteria to avoid denied claims if something goes wrong.
Perhaps the most important reason to schedule preventative furnace maintenance is to check your carbon monoxide levels inside the house. Carbon monoxide has earned its reputation as the "silent killer." You can't see it or smell it coming and once it affects you, you won't have time to react. Carbon monoxide poisoning is quickly fatal.
If you don't currently have a carbon monoxide detector installed, your Bi-Temp service technician can help you with that essential addition during your preventative furnace maintenance call.
Indoor Air Quality and Humidity Balance This Winter
A newer concern in the wake of the pandemic is indoor air quality and adequate indoor humidity. Winter is typically a very dry season here in Canada. Indoor humidity levels can easily decline to 10 percent or lower.
This is well below the 40 to 60 percent humidity range now being recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to help reduce the risk of contracting COVID and seasonal flu.
And, of course, even higher indoor humidity can only do so much to protect you when your indoor air quality itself is low. Poor indoor air quality makes your immune system work harder and lowers your resistance to all kinds of health challenges.
So here's another question to consider - when was the last time you changed out your furnace air filter? This is one of the checkpoints in every preventative furnace maintenance service call. If your air filter is dirty, your air is also dirty.
Winter is the season when we spend the most time indoors. This means it is also the season when your indoor air humidity balance and purity matters most. This is especially important to remember for anyone in your family who may be very young, elderly or immunocompromised.
Want to Lower Your Energy Bills?
Did you know there is a direct relationship between preventative furnace maintenance and winter heating bills?
The longer your heating equipment goes without a tune-up, the higher your energy bills are likely to become.
This is because preventative furnace maintenance identifies the exact kinds of internal issues that can cause heating bills to skyrocket.
Air leaks. Incomplete combustion. Dirty air filters. Thermostat recalibration.
Here in Canada, most homeowners report spending up to 61 percent of their annual home energy budget on heating.
What if you could bring that down to even 50 percent? Would it be worth spending a hundred bucks or so if you end up saving more than double that?
Give us a call!
Contact Bi-Temp Heating and Cooling in Belleville, Ontario
Bi-Temp Heating and Cooling in Belleville, Ontario, is celebrating 50 years of serving all your HVAC needs!
And here at Bi-Temp, the way we serve you is everything. Our service technicians are professional in every way and experienced at installing, maintaining and repairing all makes and models of HVAC system equipment.
Is Your Heat Pump Costing You More Than It Should? What To Do Now
Heat pump technology is not new. But as climate change continues to produce summer heat waves, more people are choosing heat pumps for their air conditioner needs.
Heat pumps provide an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional forced air heating and air conditioning.
The heat pump can also deliver up to 100 percent energy efficiency when properly installed.
But not every heat pump is able to do its job as well as it could. In this post, we explain what reduces heat pump efficiency and how to fix it.
What Is A Heat Pump?
Heat pumps are an HVAC system that works by moving heat around
There are two terms you need to know if you want to maximize heat pump efficiency and save money on your energy bills.
These two terms are heat source and heat sink.
The heat source is the place where the heat energy comes from. The most common source is air, but heat pumps can also extract heat energy from the water or the earth (geothermal).
The heat sink is the destination for that heat energy. A heat sink is always a higher temperature than the heat source.
The transfer of heat energy from source to sink is accomplished with the use of a pump - hence the name of the technology, "heat pump."
How a Heat Pump Heats and Cools Your Space
Now that you understand where the heat energy comes from and where it is headed, let's tackle the question of how a heat pump does its job year-round.
How does a heat pump heat your home in winter and cool your home in summer?
It accomplishes this by changing the location of the heat sink, the higher temperature destination.
In the winter, the home is the sink. So the heat pump pumps the heat energy into your home, providing heating all winter long.
In the summer, the home is the source. Here, the heat pump pumps the heat energy out of your home, lowering the indoor temperature and keeping you cool.
How Do You Lose Efficiency With a Heat Pump?
With these basics in mind, we can turn to the question of the two most common places where heat pumps loose efficiency and cost more to operate.
1. Source to sink temperature difference.
The first place a heat pump can lose efficiency is the least well known, but also the most common.
It is important to choose the right size heat pump for the size of your space and to choose the heat source and heat sink locations with care.
This is especially critical with air-to-air heat pumps, which are the most common heat pumps here in Canada.
When there is a large temperature difference between the heat source and the heat sink, this is when your heat pump will have to work harder to transfer the heat and lose efficiency.
This also means it will cost you more money to operate your heat pump.
2. Using the electric backup heat source.
The second and more obvious (at least on your monthly power bills) cause of efficiency loss is choosing to use the built-in electric supplemental furnace included with many heat pumps.
Heat pumps are not designed to function effectively when temperatures dip below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.7 Celsius). This is why some heat pumps come with an inbuilt supplemental electric furnace that is extremely expensive to operate.
To save your wallet, you will want to consider adding a dual fuel (natural gas or propane) emergency backup heat source for those few days when temperatures really plunge.
Tips for Correcting Heat Pump Efficiency Losses
There are a number of adjustments that can be made to improve heat pump efficiency and maximize energy and cost savings.
Unless you are familiar with heat pump installation and maintenance, you will want to have your Bi-Temp service technician take care of these adjustments for you.
1. Change heat pump fan settings seasonally.
In the winter, using the heat pump's auto or high fan setting will boost heat delivery. In the summer, a low heat pump fan setting will support increased cooling and better humidity control.
2. Change the direction of heat pump airflow seasonally.
Changing the direction of airflow from vents can increase comfort. Summer airflow should be directed at the room occupants. Winter airflow should be directed down into the room.
3. Adjust your heat pump defrost settings.
Make use of the demand setting (if applicable) to reduce the number of defrost cycles. Turning off the inside fan can also help reduce energy use during defrost cycles.
4. Ensure appropriate temperature set point for supplemental heat.
The ideal set point for the supplemental heat source to turn on is within 2 to 3 degrees of your heat pump set point.
5. Install a programmable smart thermostat for your heat pump.
Not only will the use of a programmable smart thermostat keep you from heating or air conditioning an empty home, but it can also help you anticipate severe weather and extreme short-term temperature shifts that cost you money.
6. Do not neglect routine heat pump preventative maintenance and tune-up service.
A well-maintained heat pump is an efficient heat pump. You want to be sure to change air filters regularly and clean major components like the compressor and coils.
Contact Bi-Temp Heating and Cooling in Belleville, Ontario
Bi-Temp Heating and Cooling in Belleville, Ontario, has spent nearly a half-century serving the HVAC needs of the greater Quinte West and surrounding areas.
Discover the Bi-Temp difference! Our highly trained, prompt, polite and skilled service technicians are trained to install, service and repair all makes and models of HVAC system equipment, including all types of heat pumps.
We Know the Secret to Maximum Furnace Energy Savings
It is no secret that winter is not just the longest, but is also the most expensive season here in Canada - at least when it comes to energy bills.
While we still have our fair share of residents who go without air conditioning during the brief summer season, the same is not true for heating.
Heating is simply not optional with the type of severe winter weather we get here in Ontario, Canada.
But budgeting for winter heating bills can be anxiety producing, especially as the cold temperatures linger on and on.
The good news is, our furnace experts at Bi-Temp know the secret to getting the most heat from your furnace for cheaper! Read on to learn the key to trimming your heating bills.
Thermostat Differential - What It Is & Why It Matters
If the term "thermostat differential" is not exactly ringing a bell, you are definitely not alone.
This is actually one of the least-known features of the modern furnace. It is also your first key to maximizing furnace efficiency and minimizing energy bills.
Thermostat differential is a term that refers to a built-in factory pre-set that triggers your furnace to cycle on or off.
Here, "thermostat" refers to the temperature you select on your furnace thermostat. And "differential" refers to how many degrees above or below that temperature your furnace needs to reach before cycling on or off.
How to Adjust the Furnace Thermostat Differential
Having a wider thermostat differential can be helpful in the summer to ensure maximum compressor lifespan (which is a complicated topic better suited to a different blog post).
But in the winter, when compressor run-time issues are less of a concern, a narrower thermostat differential is possible - and greatly beneficial to trim those exorbitant heating bills.
Most new HVAC units that feature an in-built programmable thermostat will also come with a pre-set thermostat differential that is adjustable.
But an older HVAC unit with a manual thermostat may not have this feature. For an older furnace that has a static thermostat differential pre-set, read on to learn about an easy, affordable solution.
(Our friendly, qualified Bi-Temp HVAC service technicians in Belleville can take a look at your furnace’s make and model to determine if adjusting the thermostat differential is possible.)
The Best Thermostat Differential for Reducing Heating Costs
For our customers who have the option to adjust thermostat differential, this is what we generally recommend:
Air conditioning: between 0.8 and 2 degrees.
Heating: between 0.5 and 1 degrees.
This differential strikes an optimal balance between too-frequent cycling, which can prematurely age your compressor, and excessive energy draw between cycles.
Programming Your HVAC Thermostat = Instant Savings
There are two ways to program your furnace thermostat.
The first and easiest way is to use a programmable thermostat. The second way is to manually adjust your thermostat.
Many of our customers who have older model furnace units do not realize it is often still possible to use a third-party (after market) programmable thermostat with these systems.
And for our customers who have newer model furnaces, using a programmable thermostat is typically as simple as programming the one that came with your unit.
Yet, it can feel oddly daunting to decide how to program your thermostat!
In order to start trimming your heating bills, you first have to spend some time getting to know your own daily schedule and heating patterns.
Once you have done this research, it is much easier to program your thermostat in a way that will start showing an immediate energy savings payoff.
Just like with setting your furnace thermostat differential, the goal when programming your furnace thermostat is to strike just the right balance between too-frequent cycling and excessive energy draw between cycles.
The Department of Energy states that you can trim up to 10 percent off your heating bills for every one degree you lower your thermostat setting. The easiest way to start realizing these savings is to think in terms of zones.
For example, when everyone is gone during the day on weekdays, you can lower the setting on your programmable thermostat by 10 degrees. And in the evenings when everyone is bundled up in bed, you can lower the setting by five degrees.
If you don't have a programmable thermostat (or the option to retrofit your furnace with a third-party unit), you can manually adjust these settings before leaving each morning or retiring each night.
How Much Can You Save By Understanding Thermostat Differential?
The average Ontario, Canada homeowner spends about $2,358 per year on energy. 62 percent of that goes to heating the home, which is about $1,462.
If you made just one adjustment to your furnace thermostat to save 10 percent, you have already put $142 back in your pocket!
Contact Bi-Temp LTD. In Belleville for All Your Furnace Needs
Click here to schedule your preventative annual furnace maintenance and tune-up with Bi-Temp. Our friendly technicians are happy to evaluate your thermostat differential during your tune-up!
Is Your Furnace Leaking Carbon Monoxide? Warning Signs To Watch For!
Keep your family safe this winter season!
This has been a historic weather month here in North America, but the really historic and shocking thing is that the historic weather hasn't taken place here.
It has been happening far to the south of us in Texas and much of the southern United States.
This week's news has highlighted just how devastating it can be to go into a major winter storm warning unprepared. Loss of power, heat, water, shelter - these events can quickly turn deadly.
One of the worst perils is also the least likely to introduce itself. It is silent, odourless, colourless and quite capable of claiming lives in minutes. This killer is called carbon monoxide.
This week, NPR called carbon monoxide poisoning a "disaster within a disaster," with more than 450 reported incidents in the last week. In this post, find out how to tell if your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide and stop it before it is too late.
If you are worried about a carbon monoxide leak in your home right now, contact Bi-temp Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning in Belleville immediately! Our team of technicians will ensure that this is fixed as soon as possible for you.
With families coming together to stay indoors this winter, due to both the extreme weather and the pandemic, keep your family safe this winter is a huge priority! We can help!
Questions to Ask About Furnace Carbon Monoxide Leaks
During the warm season, we all tend to forget our furnace even exists. But when our longest season of the year arrives, suddenly our furnace is the star.
We rely on our furnaces to keep us warm and safe. But in order for your furnace to do its job, you need to know how to tell when operating your furnace is becoming dangerous.
Asking these questions can help you identify if your furnace may be leaking carbon monoxide.
1. How are you and your family feeling?
Major carbon monoxide leaks kill quickly. Often affected individuals don't even really have time to link their health symptoms to CO leaks before it is too late.
Smaller leaks, however, are much more likely to produce low-grade chronic health symptoms that don't resolve no matter what you do.
Common carbon monoxide-related health symptoms include:
- Flu symptoms
- Mental fogginess
- Chronic headaches
- Burning eyes or nasal passages
- Chest pain
- General confusion
- Gastrointestinal upset
From this list, it is easy to see why you might miss the warning signs and think you have allergies, a cold or the flu.
2. How old is your furnace?
According to Energy Star, the average furnace will run for up to 15 years before it is time to start seriously thinking about a replacement.
There are a number of smart reasons to consider replacing an older furnace:
- Rising energy bills and furnace repair costs
- Inefficient or noisy operation
- Uneven airflow
- Uncertainty about how long the unit will last
These can all be good reasons to replace your furnace!
But the best reason is when you have answers to other questions you will find here that all add up to a furnace that could potentially cause more harm than good.
3. What colour is the furnace pilot light?
Simply having a pilot light is already a warning signal that your furnace is past its expiration date. In most cases, old school pilot light furnaces are upwards of two decades old!
If you do have a pilot light furnace (whether constant or intermittent), the furnace light should always be a blue colour.
If you see any other colour (yellow being the most common) this is a warning sign of incomplete combustion.
Incomplete combustion occurs whenever the conditions are not optimal to allow complete consumption of fuel. When incomplete combustion is occurring, two things happen:
a) The pilot light changes from a blue colour to a different colour.
b) By-products produced include carbon monoxide.
4. What do you hear when your furnace cycles on and off?
All types of furnaces will make noise occasionally. Even the quietest units may rumble or hum a bit when cycling on or off.
But if your furnace sounds like you have a family of raccoons (or elephants) trapped inside, or if you hear clangs, bangs, knocks, rattles, whines and/or similar sounds, these are all indicators something is amiss inside your unit.
5. How much are you paying for heat-related energy bills?
Many different things can trigger an increase in heating bills:
Rising energy costs
Increased furnace usage
Air leaks inside your space
An aging furnace
All of these can drain your wallet during the winter season!
But the most concerning reason is when you have incomplete combustion, which requires more and more energy input to produce the same heat output.
And along with that heat output, you will be getting a side order of carbon monoxide.
6. What was your last major furnace repair or furnace maintenance need?
One of the best ways to determine whether your furnace is getting close to replacement age is when you see repairs that escalate in cost and seriousness.
7. When was the last time your furnace had a tune-up and safety inspection?
Every year, many people move into a home with an existing furnace that has a sketchy maintenance history.
Did your home's previous owner provide you with any maintenance and safety inspection records?
If the answer is no, you want to get this done as quickly as you can.
Does Your Furnace Have a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide detectors are not only your best defence against carbon monoxide off-gassing. They are also your only defence.
Because carbon monoxide is odourless and colourless, there is literally no way you can determine levels inside your home or workplace without a detector.
Carbon monoxide detectors save lives every single year.
When you have your regular furnace tune-up and safety inspection, be sure to have your carbon monoxide detector inspected too.
Bi-Temp Handles All Your Quinte Furnace Repair, Maintenance and Installation Needs
If you need us, we are on call for you with 24/7 emergency repair services.
Call us at 1-613-967-1066 or visit us online. (When you call, ask us about our COVID-safe contact-less service, payment and invoicing options.)
The Boiler Blues: 10 Troubleshooting Tips to Get Your Boiler Working Again
Throughout winter, if you rely on your water boiler for more than heating water for your morning shower, you sure will notice if it conks out!
I’m Your family members will also notice. They will also likely be keenly impatient for you to troubleshoot and get the household boiler working again.
Remember, Bi-Temp in Belleville, Ontario, provides 24/7 emergency repair service for both homeowners and commercial business owners. We provide maintenance servicing for Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation Systems. If these troubleshooting tips don't set things to rights again, pick up the phone and give us a call.
Heating Boiler 101: Mastering the Basics
Every day, somebody somewhere buys a home that has a different type of heating system than what they are used to.
Before you can start to troubleshoot, you have to understand what a boiler is and how it works.
A properly functioning boiler system does two main things:
1. A boiler heats water for your tea, shower, dishwasher and clothes washer.
2. A boiler heats water to warm up your home or workplace.
The ways that a boiler does these two jobs can differ depending on the exact system you happen to have and its power source (electric, natural gas, propane, oil, et al).
10 Common Boiler Problems & Troubleshooting Tips
As with all major appliances, boilers typically don't just stop working all at once.
First, you will start to get warning signs.
If you don't pay attention or simply don't understand what these warning signs are trying to tell you, one day you will wake up to a non-functioning boiler.
This is never a good way to start your day.
We hope these tips will help you identify common boiler problems so you can troubleshoot yourself! Or, give Bi-Temp Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning in Belleville a call to troubleshoot for you!
1. Erratic Heat
While you may think that erratic heat output points to a major repair, sometimes this is actually the easiest issue to troubleshoot and resolve.
Often, the problem actually stems from the thermostat - the small control box that tells the mechanical components of the boiler how hot you want it.
There may be a blown fuse or a dead battery. Sometimes the thermostat just needs recalibration. If that doesn't fix it, however, it is time to move on to other troubleshooting tactics.
2. Strange Noises
Quiet whirrs and low rumbles are considered normal for modern boilers. Sounds that make you imagine that last riveting Netflix episode of "72 Dangerous Animals" are not.
Bangs, pops, screeches, whistles, clangs, gurgles and anything that sounds like elephants on stampede require prompt attention - and likely professional service!
Have you been hearing strange noises from your boiler system? Now is the time to contact our Bi-Temp Heating Technicians in Quinte, Ontario to schedule a maintenance appointment.
3. A Funny Smell
If strange noises are waking you up at night, funny smells may simply keep you up.
The most concerning odours that require immediate attention include burning, rotten eggs or an acrid sharp smell in your home. These smells could be originating from your boiler system and require immediate attention. Call our Bi-Temp team in Belleville for 24/7 Emergency HVAC repair services!
4. Black Stains
Black stains on or around your heating elements or your pilot light point to incomplete combustion.
Not only does incomplete combustion force you to pay for more energy than your boiler actually uses (which means your heating bills will go up without giving you any more heat to show for it), but it can emit dangerous toxic gases into your indoor air.
5. Strange Health Symptoms
Speaking of carbon monoxide, since this gas is odourless and colourless, the only warning sign you are likely to get will come in the form of health symptoms.
Headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness, nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, confusion, fainting - these are all urgent warning signs that may point to toxic levels of carbon monoxide.
6. Pilot Light Changes Colour (or goes out)
Pilot light problems are always considered urgent problems, whether yours happens to be a pilot light that won't stay lit or a flame that can't decide what colour it wants to be when it grows up.
(By the way, you always want your pilot light to burn blue.)
A yellow, green or other colour pilot light is an indication that there is an imbalance in the fuel-to-oxygen ratio required to make maximum use of fuel input.
Like black stains near the heat exchanger or pilot light, changing pilot light colours can point to dangerous carbon monoxide emissions inside your home.
7. Constant Small Repairs
A high maintenance boiler is often trying to tell you that its days are numbered.
Your Bi-Temp service technician will be able to advise you on whether it makes better financial sense to invest in a new energy-efficient boiler or not.
8. Increasing Heating Bills
Steadily increasing heating bills without a corresponding increase in heating output is one warning sign you will only catch if you are watching your bottom line carefully.
Often, the fix is as simple as scheduling your annual preventative maintenance, tune-up and safety inspection.
9. Fuel or Water Leaks
Finding small puddles of water, hydronic fluid or fuel can seem minor at first glance.
Anytime your boiler springs a leak, no matter how small, it is always time to power down and call in the pros.
10. Your boiler just had its 10th birthday.
A high quality, well-maintained boiler can easily last 10 to 15 years.
However, if your boiler is giving you trouble and has just had its 10th (or 15th) birthday, it may be more economical to simply replace it! That’s where your trusted heating services at Bi-Temp in Belleville come in! Our experienced technicians are on-call and ready to replace your boiler system this winter!
Bi-Temp Handles All Your Quinte Heating Boiler Unit Needs
Our friendly, knowledgeable service technicians at Bi-Temp in Quinte are here to serve your boiler, water heater, HVAC and indoor air quality needs.
And don't forget about our popular 24/7 emergency repair services - nights, weekends, major holidays, we are still here for you!
Vital Indoor Air Tools to Help Protect Against COVID, Cold and Flu Season
It is definitely furnace season here in the Quinte area. We are staying indoors this year for safety reasons as well as for warmth!
Winter can be a particularly dry time of year here in Canada, which is not always good news for our health. After all, there is a reason winter has earned the nickname "cold and flu season."
Only this year, we are facing "cold and flu and coronavirus season." This means the stakes are even higher if we let ourselves get sick!
Many people don't realize that how you use your furnace in winter can actually have a direct impact on your health during the cold season.
In this timely blog post, our team at Bi-Temp in Belleville shares top safe furnace tips to help protect you and your family from COVID, cold and flu. How? By making your indoor air toxin-free!
The Connection Between Winter, COVID-19, Cold and Flu
COVID-19, cold and flu share some similarities.
All three are primarily spread through airborne transmission. All three are viral illnesses. And all three seem to get worse in winter.
Is there a connection?
Many health officials believe people get sicker in winter for two key reasons:
- Winter is a time when we tend to stay indoors breathing stale air.
- Winter is a time when humidity is low and the air we breathe is dry.
The Danger of Dry Winter Air In Your Home
Humidity has gotten a bad rap because too much of it can lead to mould and mildew growth. However, too little humidity can also cause problems, ranging from increased risk of fire, to reduced resistance, to respiratory illness.
There are two main reasons dry winter air is especially concerning this year:
1. Dry winter air keeps viral aerosol droplets lighter so that they can stay airborne for longer and travel farther distances to infect more people. This holds true whether the viral aerosol droplet is carrying cold, flu or coronavirus.
2. Dry winter air also makes it harder for our respiratory tissues to mobilize beneficial mucus to trap viral matter as we breathe it in. With no mucus to fight back, the viral droplets travel quickly and easily down into our lungs.
How Humid Should Your Indoor Air Be?
So how humid should your indoor air be to keep you safer from viral illness?
According to a widely-cited Yale University study published earlier this year, the recommended indoor air humidity range is 40 to 60 percent.
The closer you can get to the 50 to 60 percent range, the safer you are likely to be, all other factors remaining equal.
How Can You Add Back Humidity to Your Indoor Air in Winter?
There are a number of ways you can add humidity back into your home or office space. Our team of cooling technicians at Bi-Temp in Belleville have the cost effective solutions to keeping your home’s humidity at a healthy level this winter.
The easiest way is simply to install a portable or whole-home (central) humidifier. Humidifiers allow you to change the relative humidity in the air quickly and easily. That way, regardless of the effects your heating and air conditioning has on your air, you are able to maintain a proper humidity level.
If you are a concerned about the cost to install central air humidifiers, here are some other easy ways to boost the ambient humidity that don't require the purchase of a humidifier.
- Houseplants will naturally increase the humidity (as long as you remember to water them!).
- You can place bowls of water near your heating elements for natural evaporation.
- Allowing a pot of water to boil on the stove. Removing the lid will disperse humidity into your kitchen.
- Similarly, keeping the door open after a warm bath or shower or leaving the washer door open after a clothing cycle will allow humidity to naturally dissipate into your indoor air.
Our heating and cooling specialists in Belleville, Ontario have years of experience handling indoor air quality. Having been in business since 1968, we have the knowledge and equipment you need to help protect your home and family this winter season.
How Can You Keep Your Indoor Air From Getting Stale?
Stale indoor air is air that contains a higher concentration of potentially harmful toxins. These toxins may range from dust and pollen to bacteria and viral aerosol droplets.
There is only one way to keep your indoor air fresh and that is ventilation.
Ventilation basically means "adding fresh air." You can add more fresh air to your indoor space naturally or artificially. Keep reading for Bi-temp’s air ventilation tips!
- Examples of natural ventilation include opening a window or door to the outside and adding more houseplants that "inhale" carbon dioxide and "exhale" oxygen.
- Examples of artificial ventilation include running your furnace fan continuously or installing a heat recovery ventilator.
Contact our team at Bi-Temp in Belleville for more information about our ventilation services!
Are There Other Ways to Detoxify Your Indoor Air?
In addition to adding back humidity and fresh air, it is also important to do everything you can to keep toxins out of your indoor air in the first place.
Switching to natural cleaning supplies and personal care products will help to keep toxic chemicals out of your indoor air. As will taking smoking or vaping outdoors!
At a higher level, the two main defences you have against toxic indoor air are air filtration and air purification. Both have gotten a lot of news coverage this year in the wake of the global pandemic.
It is important to understand how both of these factors work alongside your HVAC system. Without proper air ventilation and air purification, your HVAC system could be causing more harm than good!
Air purification primarily acts on gaseous and liquid toxins, such as aerosol viral droplets. Ultraviolet light purification is the most powerful air purifier.
Air filtration primarily acts on solid toxins such as dust, pet dander, pollen, mould and mildew spores and bacteria.
The best way to improve indoor air filtration is to make sure to change your furnace filter each month and to schedule preventative HVAC maintenance twice a year to clean dust and toxins out of the inner components of your air conditioner and furnace system.
Does your heating system need servicing this winter? Contact our qualified team of HVAC experts for a furnace repair or furnace maintenance appointment.
You can also add a portable or central HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration system to filter out even microscopic solids from your indoor air.
Bi-Temp Belleville Handles All Your HVAC System Needs
Bi-Temp Heating, Ventilating and AC in Belleville is an essential service. We remain open to serve you this winter for all your heating and hot water needs. Read our important COVID-19 update here!
Contact us to schedule your preventative furnace safety inspection, cleaning and maintenance service.
Winter Water Heater Breakdown: Warning Signs and What to Do
This winter is predicted to be a cold one....a very cold one! And if there is one event guaranteed to create lasting winter memories, it is not being able to take a hot shower.
You may not want to remember this, but you likely won't be able to forget it, either.
The truth is, no water heater lasts forever. First-time homeowners often learn this when their first water heater suddenly calls it quits.
Long time homeowners learn this by keeping up with preventative maintenance, making minor repairs when called for and always keeping an eye on the ticking clock of our water heater's useful life.
This winter is likely going to be harder on your water heater than any in recent memory. With COVID still sweeping through the country, you are also likely to be using it more than you ever have while you are cooped up indoors.
Want to avoid your winter water heater breaking down this year? Be sure to follow these tips provided by our qualified team of heating experts at Bi-Temp in Belleville, Ontario! Don’t forget to contact us for more information or if you think your water heater requires maintenance this winter.
Warning Signs Your Water Heater Is Headed for a Breakdown
These are the most common warning signs that our Bi-Temp technicians have seen over the years! All of them have led to customers calling us out to make a major repair - or a new water heater installation!
1. Your water heater runs hot and cold.
It is one thing when the hot water just runs out, but it is quite another problem to deal with when your water temperature seems to change on its own after you set it.
This early warning sign is easily overlooked - you can even chalk it up to your mind playing tricks with you.
Inside your water heater's heating element, the struggle is real, whether due to a failing heating element, mineral deposits or simple old age.
2. Your water pressure is MIA.
Another commonly overlooked warning sign of an impending water heater outage is a reduction in water pressure while using the hot water.
Here, mineral deposits are typically the culprit, but a pipe leak is not out of the question either, especially in the dead of a brutal Canadian winter.
3. You haven't used the hot water, but there is water leaking around it.
Yet another issue that can too readily be passed off as something unrelated is standing water around the hot water heater.
If your water heater is leaking, you may not see the micro-drips that can lead to standing water around the unit itself. When you see puddles forming, however, this is a clear signal to look more closely in order to find out where that water is coming from.
4. The water looks, smells or tastes different.
Most of us can easily tell when the milk in the fridge has gone bad, but how about when your water quality has changed?
Signs That Your Water Quality Has Changed:
- Corrosion in the pipes
- Bacteria colonization
- Mineral deposits building up
All of these signs can cause the water to turn cloudy or discoloured, smell strange and taste even stranger.
5. The water heater sounds like the brass section of your local orchestra.
Clangs, bangs, pops, whistles, knocks, crackling and other sounds may indicate that those pesky mineral deposits are interfering with the operation of the unit. If the dip tube is compromised, this can also cause noise.
6. Your hot water runs out faster and faster.
This is the number one reason our HVAC team at BiTemp gets called out to service a hot water heater. Everyone notices right away when there is no hot water - especially in the winter months!
Most hot water heaters have two heating elements. When one goes bad, you won't completely lose hot water, but you will have less of it to go around.
How To Keep Your Water Heater Happy This Winter
You know what they say - when your water heater is happy, your family is happy (or something like that). At least that’s what our families at Bi-Temp in Belleville tell us!
Here is what our hot water experts at Bi-Temp recommend in order to keep your water heater humming:
SAFETY NOTE: For safety, ALWAYS power off your hot water heater AND turn off the main water supply valve before doing any type of inspection, maintenance or hot water heater repair.
1. Schedule a tune-up.
The best way to keep your water heater happy this winter is to schedule your annual water heater inspection, cleaning and tune-up as soon as possible. Do you need your water heater inspected this winter? Contact our hot water heater experts at Bi-Temp in Belleville!
2. Insulate your water heater and pipes.
The best way to safeguard against frozen pipes and also boost your water heater's efficiency is to insulate the tank and pipes.
3. Flush out the hot water heater tank.
Flushing out the hot water tank is the best way to remove built-up sediment and residue and improve output. What can make this task difficult is the location of your hot water heater.
If it is below ground level, you may need a pump to drain the tank. Alternately, our team is happy to help with this task.
4. Test out the pressure release valve.
If your valve does not send out a strong stream of hot water when opened, it probably needs to be repaired or replaced.
You definitely don't want to neglect this task, since this valve is all that stands between you and a potential hot water heater explosion.
5. Check the anode rod.
The anode rod works to draw mineral deposits to it and away from the tank walls. But over time, all those sediments can build up and cause corrosion, or worse!
A simple visual inspection can indicate whether the rod may need to be cleaned or replaced.
Bi-Temp Belleville Is Here to Serve You
Bi-Temp in Belleville is open to serve you with safe, contactless HVAC service, invoicing and payment options. Contact our heating experts today to schedule your preventative winter furnace and water heater maintenance.
Can Your Furnace Help You Stay Healthy This Winter? Experts Say Yes!
If there is one part of the body that is really in the limelight this year, it would have to be the lungs.
We are all talking about them, thinking about them and trying to do everything we can to keep toxic or infectious particles out of them!
Despite our best intentions and efforts however, COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in Ontario.
And now we are heading into another long, cold, dry Canadian winter, with cold and flu season still up ahead.
What does all this have to do with your furnace? As it turns out, your furnace can become your ally in keeping your lungs clean, strong and healthy this winter - read on to find out how!
If Your Furnace Is Dirty, So Are Your Lungs
We now know that COVID-19 is airborne. We recently also learned that just wearing masks and observing social distancing is still not enough protection against catching the virus.
The American Lung Association states that there is a direct link between residential heating emissions and lung health.
In other words, a dirty furnace equals dirty lungs.
This year, taking time to schedule your annual preventative furnace maintenance can do more than prevent an untimely and expensive mid-winter heating outage. This one small choice can potentially make the difference between catching COVID-19 and staying healthy.
A poorly maintained furnace can potentially emit a toxic cocktail of volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and airborne particulate solids.
This is especially the case with gas furnace systems, but is still an issue with all types of HVAC systems.
Inhaling these toxic emissions can lead to a wide variety of well-documented respiratory health symptoms including wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, inflammation of the respiratory passages, asthma attacks, chest constriction and decreased lung function.
If Your Furnace Has Clean Lungs, You Have Cleaner Lungs
Research studies have confirmed we are more stressed now than we were at this time last year.
As stress levels go up, so do levels of infection and illness.
This has many of us grasping at straws for something - anything - to do to protect ourselves and our families.
Rising stress can also cause us to overlook the obvious fix we can take care of right now.
That fix is your furnace filter.
If your lungs are the filters of your body, then your furnace's air filter is the lungs of your HVAC system.
It is true there has been some ongoing concern about how to safely handle air filter changes during the global pandemic, but the general consensus now is that it is much safer to change your air filter regularly than to leave it in place for too long.
The reason for this is simple: COVID-19 is airborne. The more solid particles floating in your indoor air, the more transported airborne coronavirus droplets have to attach to. So, the cleaner your indoor air remains, the fewer vehicles those droplets have to reach you!
Best practices state that you should use the highest quality furnace filter that your HVAC system is rated to operate with. This will keep particles like dust, dirt, ash, pollen and pet dander out of your furnace and out of your indoor air supply.
Then you can add a standalone HEPA filtration system and/or an ultraviolet air purification system to work with your existing furnace.
Change out your furnace filter at least every 30 days or more frequently as needed. Bi-Temp in Belleville, Ontario can provide you with the highest quality furnace filter for your HVAC system. Contact our qualified technicians today for more information!
What to Expect When You Schedule Preventative Furnace Maintenance Service
Preventative furnace maintenance service is designed to achieve three big goals:
1. Give your furnace a thorough exterior and interior cleaning.
2. Make minor tune-ups and repairs to prevent a major repair or sudden outage.
3. Ensure your furnace is operating safely and efficiently.
Amazingly, all three of these goals can typically be achieved in a service call of one hour or less, but scheduling preventative furnace maintenance also achieves a fourth, less visible goal. A goal that National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, states could be the most important goal of all for fighting COVID-19 this winter.
Simply put, it gives you peace of mind.
When your peace of mind increases, your stress level decreases.
And when your stress level decreases, your immune functionality improves.
The moment your preventative furnace maintenance service concludes, you will know you have a furnace that is clean, safe and economical to use. You can breathe a sigh of relief - literally.
Other Indoor Air Quality Aids for a Safer Winter
These are additional safety precautions you can take to improve the quality of your indoor air.
1. Don't bring airborne toxins into your home.
Smoking or vaping, burning candles or incense, using commercial cleaners or so-called "air fresheners" and chemical-laden personal care products are not going to be friends to your lungs this winter.
2. Install a whole-home or portable HEPA air filter.
HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air. A portable or whole-home HEPA air filter can remove even the smallest airborne aerosol infectious coronavirus droplets.
Contact Bi-Temp in Quinte for the highest quality HEPA air filters for your heating system this winter.
3. Add a portable or whole-home ultraviolet air purifier.
Ultraviolet air purification mimics the protection offered by our own su, but inside your space. These systems use a synthetic form of the most powerful band of natural ultraviolet light - UV-C.
When UV light comes into contact with airborne or aerosol coronavirus droplets, the light damages the viral RNA so it can no longer replicate to infect you and your family.
Are you interested in installing a portable or whole home ultraviolet air purifier? Contact Bi-Temp in Belleville today for the highest quality UV Air Purifier options.
Get in Touch With Bi-Temp LTD. In Belleville
Click here to schedule your preventative annual furnace maintenance and tune-up with Bi-Temp. We now offer safe, contactless service, invoicing and payment options.
Essential Furnace Maintenance for a Safe and Healthy Fall
It is FINALLY official - fall has arrived!
While it is true that we have another full month or so to go before temperatures start their downward spiral, you don't want to wait until the big chill arrives to discover that your furnace isn't up to the task.
If ever there was a year when you want your home and workplace heating equipment functioning safely and at peak efficiency, this would be the year!
Essential preventative furnace maintenance isn't just about trimming dollars and cents off your bottom line this year. It is about safeguarding your health.
In fact, taking safety precautions now could actually lower your risk of contracting not only COVID-19, but also cold and flu germs.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if you avoided both COVID-19 and cold and flu this year? Read on to learn how timely essential furnace maintenance from your trusted Bi-Temp Heating and Cooling company may help you achieve this goal.
FACT: Cleaner Air Is Safer Air
Regardless of what the threat may be from year to year, this fact remains constant:
Cleaner air is always going to be safer air.
Add to this that the three biggest cold season health threats - COVID-19, colds and flu - are all airborne.
In fact, COVID-19 cases here in Ontario are already on the rise yet again. To that point, recent news reports warn of a "more challenging" second wave of COVID-19 coming to Ontario this fall
The reason is simple: we are headed back indoors to wait out the long, cold and often dry winter together.
Worryingly, data shows that the single greatest accelerator of COVID-19 cases is larger concentrations of people in enclosed spaces together for longer time periods.
This makes the number one safety factor the quality of the air we are all breathing. This is where our qualified HVAC technicians at Bi-Temp in Belleville come in! We provide the right knowledge, the right heating and cooling products and the right service to ensure that you are breathing in clean air.
Three Important Benefits of Preventative Furnace Maintenance
When most people think about preventative furnace maintenance, they think about preventing home fires and increasing energy efficiency.
These are two of the three biggest benefits of scheduling fall furnace maintenance.
The third benefit, as you just read about, is improved air quality.
And this third benefit is perhaps the most important of all as we face down the continued threat of COVID-19 this winter season.
Does Your Poorly Maintained Furnace Make You Sick?
If you are like most of our customers, you haven't powered on your furnace since early this year. It has been months since your furnace has had to do anything more taxing than sitting idly by, gathering dust.....lots and lots of dust.
Dust, dirt, debris, insect waste and remains, pollen, mould and mildew, bacteria, pet dander - all of these micro-particles have drifted down and settled into and onto your blower motor and fan blades, evaporator and condenser coils, belts and other movable parts.
Have you ever wondered what causes that signature "burning smell" so many furnaces emit when powered on for the first time each fall? That smell comes from part of all that debris burning away.
The rest gets pushed out and back into your indoor air supply. Then you breathe it in. Then your respiratory passages and lungs have to work harder to clean the air and filter out micro-toxins as you breathe.
With a part of your immune system constantly engaged in this low-level resistance work, it is easier for more serious threats like cold, flu and COVID-19 to slip in unchallenged and take hold.
How DOES Preventative Furnace Maintenance Help You To Stay Healthier?
If you are like most of our Bi-Temp customers, you have probably been reading a lot about air cleaners and air filters lately.
Powerful indoor air quality appliances such as HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration systems and ultraviolet air purifiers are big news this year.
The typical residential or commercial HVAC system cannot handle high-density MERV 17-20 or HEPA air filters. However, the option exists to retrofit an existing HVAC system with a standalone HEPA air filtration system and an ultraviolet purification unit.
COVID-19 has hit a lot of people in the wallet this year though, and not all of our customers have the budget for these types of radical indoor air quality upgrades.
The good news is, there is a lot you can do to upgrade your indoor air quality without going into the red financially.
A simple preventative furnace maintenance cleaning and tune-up with our Bi-Temp furnace technicians will remove solid sediment and micro-particulates that could otherwise serve as tiny transport units for COVID-19 droplets, cold and flu germs.
The less floating matter you have in your indoor air, the less likely it is that invading infectious droplets will be able to find transportation that will allow them to stay airborne for longer and find their way into your lungs.
In other words, the more micro-particulate solids you remove from the air, the safer you will be. Anything you can do to achieve this goal will stack the health deck in your favour.
The Three Most Essential Furnace Maintenance Tasks for Better Health
We truly do understand that some of our regular Bi-Temp customers have more limited financial means this year, due to COVID-19's impact. Our technicians have come up with three affordable maintenance tasks that can hugely benefit your indoor air quality without costing you a lot of money.
If you can do nothing else, be sure you tend to these three essential furnace maintenance tasks:
1. Change your furnace filter at least every 30 days.
2. Clean and dust the air registers, return grills and exhaust vents.
3. Remove all debris and clean the outside and inside units.
Reach out to schedule affordable preventative furnace maintenance service to protect your health this winter.
Get in Touch With Bi-Temp LTD. In Belleville
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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!