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Winter Water Heater Breakdown: Warning Signs and What to Do

Bi-Temp in Belleville provides necessary water heater breakage warning signs.

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.

Looking for affordable hot water heater rentals? Our friendly, experienced Bi-Temp technicians are happy to help. Call us at 1-613-967-1066 or come visit us online.

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Can Your Furnace Help You Stay Healthy This Winter? Experts Say Yes!

Protect your indoor air this winter with furnace maintenance by Bi-Temp LTD. in Belleville, Ontario.

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.

Looking for affordable hot water heater rentals, HVAC repairs or commercial HVAC services? Give our friendly and highly qualified Bi-Temp technicians a call at 1-613-967-1066 or come visit us online.


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Essential Furnace Maintenance for a Safe and Healthy Fall

Bi-Temp Provides Furnace Maintenance and Repair For a Safer And Healthy Fall

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

Our enhanced pandemic safety protocols at Bi-Tempt LTD. in Belleville, Ontario, ensure we can continue providing you with prompt and professional 24/7 emergency service.

Looking for local HVAC specialists? Give our friendly and highly qualified Bi-Temp technicians a call at 1-613-967-1066 or visit us online. We service Quinte and the surrounding areas!

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Ventilation & Air Quality Upgrades to Keep You Safer This Fall

Ventilation and Air Quality Upgrades To Keep You And Your Family Safer This Fall

Ventilation & Air Quality Upgrades to Keep You Safer This Fall

Boy has this year felt like a rollercoaster! For starters, the new decade had barely begun when we went into quarantine.

From there, we have heard one set of conflicting instructions after another, leaving us without a clear idea of how to avoid getting COVID-19.

Recently, the Ontario education minister released a $500M fund designed to upgrade the air quality and ventilation in schools this fall.

$500 million is a pretty forceful number - wouldn't you agree? This decision is in alignment with what air quality engineers and research virologists are now asserting: that the virus that causes COVID-19 is primarily an airborne pathogen.

Scary, yes, but it is also good to have actual facts to work from. Whether or not you can control the air quality at your children's school or not, you can absolutely improve the air quality at your home. We will explain how in this timely post.


Improve Air Filtration

Even back before research confirmed the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had already released updates encouraging the use of portable or central air cleaners.

Here, the term "air cleaner" refers to both air filtration systems and air purification systems, however, all air cleaners are not equal when it comes to addressing concerns specific to COVID-19.

In particular, you want to avoid any air cleaner that produces ozone as a by-product. You also need to be aware of the limitations of basic air filters (lower-rated MERV HVAC filters).

The type of air cleaner that is being widely used in hospitals, clinics and laboratories worldwide is called a HEPA filter.

HEPA stands for "high efficiency particulate air" and it refers to the filter's ability to trap airborne solid particles, in effect straining them out of your indoor air.

Of course, this is exactly what your normal MERV filter does but HEPA filters do it much, much better.

A HEPA filter can remove particles as small as 1/100th the width of a single one of your hairs! Are you in need of your own HEPA filter to help improve your at-home indoor air quality? Contact our team at Bi-Temp in Belleville, Ontario! 


Can HEPA filters trap SARS-CoV-2 particles?

The short answer is "yes", however, it is important to understand that the particles that carry the virus are liquid droplets, not solids. What happens is that a liquid droplet containing viral RNA hitches a ride on a solid particle.

The solid particle with its viral hitchhiker then gets propelled by air currents into the HEPA filter, which then traps it and permanently removes it from your indoor air.

The average size of an airborne viral droplet is 0.125 microns, or 125 nanometers (so, basically, it is very small).

HEPA filters can trap solid particles as small as 0.01 microns, or just 10 nanometers, and they can do it with 99.97% efficiency.

Installing a HEPA filter is a reliable way to trap any airborne droplets that have attached to airborne solids such as dust particles, specks of ash, mould or mildew spores, bacteria and other micro-solids.

The key here is making sure that the entirety of your indoor air supply passes through the HEPA filtration unit before it reaches you.

This can be accomplished in one of two ways: either through installing a central (ducted) HEPA filtration system that works with your existing HVAC system or through adding a portable HEPA air cleaner to your indoor space.

WARNING: What you don't want to do is go out and buy a HEPA-rated furnace filter and install that in place of your normal furnace filter. Unless your HVAC system is rated to handle a HEPA-grade filter, you risk a blower motor burnout, home fire and extremely expensive energy bills trying to clean your air this way.


Increase Air Ventilation

Circulation is the method by which you ensure that every single bit of your indoor air supply has to pass through whatever air cleaner system you choose.

Ventilation, however, is still the single most important ingredient to protect you when you are inside a space where infectious virus droplets are also present.

This is because ventilation is what reduces the concentration of infectious droplets and other toxins so that they are less dangerous if you come into contact with them.

Ventilation is the reason that people are being encouraged to hold necessary meetings and gatherings outdoors whenever possible. When you are outdoors, even if an infected person is in your immediate vicinity, the amount of infectious viral matter is likely to be at a lower density with so much fresh air surrounding it.

You can add ventilation by opening a window or door to the outside. Turning on your HVAC fan or running exhaust fans can also improve ventilation indoors.

The heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is the gold standard for adding back fresh, pure outside air into your indoor space. HRVs are a good choice for homes and buildings that have existing ductwork already installed.

Where it is not possible to boost ventilation in any of these ways, air cleaners are your best bet to reduce the risk of infection.


Add Air Purification

Air purification is another way to clean the air. The most powerful purifier on Earth is ultraviolet light from our Sun, and specifically the UV-C light band.

In its short-wave form, UV-C does a fantastic job of damaging the active RNA (the part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that can harm you) so it cannot replicate and make you sick.

Here, again, it is vital to make sure that any infected air inside your space passes through the UV-C light band before you breathe it in.

And here again, as with HEPA air filtration systems, there are two main ways to achieve this: either install a central (ducted) UV air purification system or add a portable UV air purifier to your space.


Get in Touch With Bi-Temp LTD. In Belleville

Our pandemic extra safety protocols at Bi-Tempt LTD. in Belleville, Ontario allow us to continue providing our clients with prompt and professional 24/7 emergency service - including nights, weekends and holidays!

Looking for local heating and cooling specialists? Give our qualified technicians at Bi-Temp a call at 1-613-967-1066 or visit us online. We service Quinte and the surrounding areas!

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Essential Tips to Use Your Air Conditioning Safely During COVID-19

Bi-temp Air Conditioning Safety Tips

Essential Tips to Use Your Air Conditioning Safely During COVID-19

It’s difficult to comprehend that just a few months ago we were going about our lives as usual. We had no idea that a new novel coronavirus had been unleashed and a pandemic was about to hit the world.

The learning curve has been steep and sometimes feels never-ending, but we are getting there. We are learning how to stay safe and navigate a level of change that is unlike any other we have faced over the last century.

The latest learning curve we are tackling focuses on the role of air conditioning and ventilation in possibly spreading coronavirus droplets. Last month’s blog post focused on the potential link between ventilation and coronavirus.

This month, we bring you up to speed on what researchers know about safe use of your air conditioner during the pandemic. These essential tips will help you stay safe inside your home and/or workplace.


Should You Or Shouldn’t You Use Air Conditioning Right Now?

The first big question on everyone’s mind these days is simply: should you use your air conditioning right now or should you switch it off and sweat?

Which option is safer?

As of late May 2020, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health was asked to look into whether coronavirus droplets could potentially spread through central HVAC ducts.

At the same time, a survey of 100 hospitals from the hard-hit state of New York produced evidence suggesting that poor ventilation can work in tandem with HVAC systems to spread COVID-19 at greater distances than current social distancing guidelines protect against.

No one in the HVAC industry (or any other industry) has been happy to hear this, but it doesn’t mean it is safe to just switch off your A/C, especially with one heat advisory after another sweeping across the nation.

The under-appreciated dangers of heat stroke and heat exhaustion can cause fatalities long before a COVID-19 droplet is even a gleam in the eye of your immune system.

You need to stay cool. This simply has to be your first health priority. If you can stay cool without using your air conditioner and that helps you feel safer, then do that.

Otherwise, using your air conditioner is strongly recommended, especially if someone in your family is very young, very old or health-compromised in some way.


How You Use Ventilation Is More Important Than Whether You Use A/C

With further research, scientists and HVAC engineers now believe the link between ventilation and the spread of COVID-19 is a two-way link.

In other words, ventilation can potentially increase or decrease the risk of catching COVID-19.

1. Airflow from ventilation can propel infectious droplets further inside a space.

2. Inadequate ventilation can cause buildup of infectious droplets inside a space.

So let’s look at each one of these issues separately...

Too Vigorous Ventilation Airflow

In the case of the original restaurant in Guangzhou, China, where the pandemic is said to have started, researchers traced the trajectory of the infection from the index (first) patient to the other infected diners.

The path pointed directly back to where the index patient was seated and which direction the air conditioning vent was pointing.

In this case, the vent was directing airflow at the index patient and then outward towards the other diners who would later become infected.

Here, researchers now believe the presence of ventilation was not the primary problem. Rather, it was the directional airflow that caused additional infections.

Inadequate Ventilation

In the case of the 100-hospital New York survey, which delivered the shocking news that 66 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were already sheltering in place when they became ill, the issue appears to stem from the exact opposite problem.

When the air inside a space becomes too stale (i.e. not enough fresh air from ventilation is coming into that space) then the concentration of infectious droplets can rise.

This is one potential explanation for why the number of COVID-19 cases continued to rise in New York, a city where multi-unit, multi-floor housing is the norm, even after the stay-at-home order was issued.


4 Essential Tips to Use Your Air Conditioner in the Safest Way This Summer

These four essential summer safety tips will help you use your air conditioner safely.

1. Having a clean air filter in your HVAC system really matters!

If your air filter is dirty or is not properly installed, what you are going to get is an increase in toxins circulating throughout your space.

This is simply vital to understand, since scientists now believe infectious droplets get lighter due to evaporation and can attach to solid particles of dust and dirt and get sucked into your HVAC system, where they can travel much greater distances!

2. Air conditioning maintenance can make the difference between clean air flow and dirty air flow.

A dirty air filter will transport toxic particles into the guts of your HVAC system - the blower motor, the fan blades, the belts and the ducts. So you need to clean all that out before adding additional air flow.

3. Do not overcrowd your space so that proper ventilation is not possible.

Social distancing is important even inside your home, since scientists now know that a completely symptom-free person may still be carrying COVID-19 and can infect others.

In other words, you want enough ventilation inside your home or workplace to counteract the potential for an accumulation of infectious droplets that no one realizes is present.

4. Directional airflow matters in safely ventilating a space.

You don’t want the fresh incoming air to be blowing on you or at you.


Get in Touch With Your Bi-Temp Technicians

Our team of qualified technicians at Bi-Temp are here to serve your HVAC, ventilation, air filtration and purification needs. Located in Belleville, Ontario, Bi-Tempt services Quinte and the surrounding regions. We are also currently providing contactless service and payment options during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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


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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


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.


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.


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.


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.

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