Thursday, 24 December 2015

Boilers Explained

Heating using a boiler system has been in use for a long time and while not well known it is becoming increasingly popular again, with in-floor heating, as people find out about its' benefits.

Traditional furnaces heat air that is pushed through ductwork with a fan. A boiler heats water and distributes the hot water through piping to radiators throughout the house. Modern radiators now look more like electric heaters. New homes with in-floor heating generally use a boiler, but for small areas the water heater may be the source of heat. This type of heating is known as hydronic heating. There is no duct work in this system, although a hot water coil can be installed in a duct system, which is used to distribute heat throughout the building.

A boiler system is a very efficient way to heat a building, so in the past larger buildings such as airports and schools used hot water heating. It is very comfortable, providing nice even heat throughout the building.

The temperate does not rise and fall quickly like it will with a forced air furnace. There are more gradual temperature changes with hot water heating. Once the boiler turns off, heat is still emanating from the radiators. People who have hydronic heating are quite pleased with it.

One downside is the complications involved in adding other options to this system. Cooling, humidification and air quality need to be provided by other equipment. Boilers are a little more expensive than furnaces, but historically they last longer than a furnace.

We sometimes get calls to do furnace repairs and arrive to discover that the customer has a boiler. When people buy a home with a boiler, they sometimes think that they'll need to replace it with a standard furnace.

We try to do our job educating people about what their options are. We suggest they run their boiler through the winter and experience its' performance. For cooling, we can easily install a ductless split system to cool the space.

We would prefer a boiler system in many cases, but most new homes do not come that way. The best time to install a boiler system is during the initial build. In general, a forced air system goes into new housing because it is less expensive to install. Custom homes on the other hand are installing in-floor heating systems. It is an extremely comfortable way to heat a home. The Salmon Plumbing shop on Clarke Road is heated by a boiler system with in-floor heat and we have a separate system for cooling the offices and adding fresh air to the building.

If you have a boiler system and need repairs done, Salmon Plumbing & Heating has a lot of expertise in this area. When we get a service call, it is important for us to know that it is a boiler. You need to work on boilers to know them and not everyone has that level of experience. At Salmon Plumbing & Heating, we employ specialized technicians that have extensive experience with boilers.

For more answers to common boiler questions, click here.

For information on new boilers sold by Salmon Plumbing & Heating in London, Ontario, click here.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Belt-Drive Furnace Fans

If you have a forced air furnace that is more than 30 years old, chances are that it has a belt driven fan. There is a large fan that is joined to an electric motor with a fan belt, much like you would see in a car.

Many modern high efficiency gas furnaces use a direct drive fan with an ECM (Electronically Commutated Motor). These motors use a fraction of the electricity needed to power an older belt drive system. Many new furnaces also have variable speeds for the furnace fan. This also saves energy because your fan runs slower when it's not as cold outside and you do not require as much heat.

Modern homes also rely on the furnace fan to move cool air produced by your air conditioner, in the summer months. Modern ECM's will move more air, more efficiently, which leads to improved air conditioner performance.

Older belt drive, chimney vented furnaces are only about 60% efficient. Many new high efficiency furnaces will be 95% efficient or greater. There's a big saving on your gas bill. The ECM also creates a big saving on your hydro bill.

In addition to the energy savings, you'll experience a big improvement in home comfort. Many people are surprised when their new furnace actually keeps them more comfortable during the cooling season. This is especially true in two storey homes. The upper floor will always be warmer than the lower floor in the summer months. A new furnace will move more air, doing a better job of balancing the temperature of your home. In addition, with the ECM motor, if you decide to run your fan continuously to help minimize the temperate difference between the floors in your home the cost for the hydro to run the fan will be significantly less ( up to 80% less).

What are the Energy Savings?

This varies depending on the age and size of your home. We can tell you for sure that if you have an older chimney vented furnace with a belt drive fan, a new furnace will pay for itself.

It costs nothing to have Salmon Plumbing & Heating come out to your home and access your home comfort system. We have financing programs in place so you can purchase your new equipment with low monthly payments. Your energy savings will offset some or all of these payments, depending on the age of your current furnace.

A new furnace can pay for itself. Click here to see our website page.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Floor Drain Back-ups



There are signs that your sewer is beginning to block up. Here are things to watch for and actions to take to prevent a messy situation.
If you notice water backing up from your floor drain while doing laundry or after a heavy rain, you need to be concerned. The water will often drain away slowly and people will think the problem is solved. The reality is that the problem did not go away. It's an indication that the line is getting partially blocked and under a heavy load it cannot handle a large amount of water.
When the water has nowhere to go it will back up into your basement. When there is a heavy rain, newer homes in London, Ontario have sump pumps that the weeping tiles are connected to. If there is a backup in a newer home, it would probably show during laundry. 
In London, Ontario's older homes that do not have a sump pump, the weeping tile is more likely to be tied into the drain. In a heavy rain the water is trying to go down the sewer which is partially blocked, so then it backs up into the basement.
At Salmon Plumbing, we suggest if you notice issues, get us out to your home. We will get the sewer line cleaned out. With cameras we can tell what is going on and advise you if there is anything further that should be done. In most cases a sewer clean-out is all that is required. It is just a matter of getting it done. Some people need to get drains cleaned regularly if they live in an older part of London. 
Salmon Plumbing & Heating Drain Camera
Drain Camera

Ignoring the warning signs can lead to major problems. The damage that is caused by a backed up sewer can be very expensive, with flooring, drywall and family treasures being destroyed. Simple sewer maintenance is all it takes to prevent such an episode.

We have recorded answers to several common plumbing questions and put them on our website. To listen to plumbing questions and answers, click here


Salmon Plumbing & Heating, London, Ontario, Canada