Friday, 25 August 2017

Renting Furnaces and Air Conditioners

Several companies are now offering consumers rental furnaces and air conditioners. Many people in London rent their hot water heater, so they may think renting a furnace or air conditioner also makes sense.

There has been a recent article in the Toronto Star (click here to read the article) that explains some of the pitfalls involved in renting equipment for your home.

Some companies are now operating questionable door to door selling techniques in London. They will come to your door and give you the impression that they are with the government or gas company and that they want to inspect your furnace or water heater.

They will then tell you that there is something wrong with your venting or the way the equipment is installed. The solution they offer often will be to rent you new equipment.

It’s a very aggressive sales pitch and they are determined not to leave your house until they get a signed agreement.

How Can Salmon Plumbing and Heating Help?

  • The cost of a service call can quickly put your mind at ease.
  • We offer financing for all equipment we sell. It’s easy to apply for and the loans are fully open, which means you can pay them off anytime with no penalty.
  • You’ll be surprised that the monthly payments are usually very similar to rental payments. The difference is they will end, and you will own your equipment.
  • We offer service plans, extended warranty and 24hour emergency service. We take care of our customers promptly.
  • We answer all of our own phone calls, you do not get directed to a call centre.
  • We’ll visit your house for free, evaluate your needs and provide you with a simple no-obligation quote.
  • We only sell quality equipment, because we have to stand behind it.

What’s Wrong with Renting Equipment?

  • The low monthly payment looks attractive, but it never ends, and the payments are often more than if you purchased the equipment using a monthly payment plan. In the long run, rental equipment costs a lot more than buying.
  • Rental contracts are difficult and costly to get out of, even if you change your mind.
  • If you need to sell your home, rental agreements can ruin a sale. Often the buyer is not willing to take over contracts to rent the equipment and the cost for cancelling the contract can be significant.
  • Some companies renting you equipment will put a lien on your home, which can complicate the sale of your home or may prevent you from re-financing or securing a line of credit.

What are Your Alternatives?

  • If you suspect something is wrong with your equipment, have a reputable contractor with licensed technicians check it out.
  • Never sign paperwork from a stranger that shows up at your door, even if they appear to be reputable.
  • If there is something wrong with your equipment, it may make more sense to fix it, than to replace it.
  • If your equipment needs to be replaced and you don’t have the money, find out what it will cost to finance it before you enter a rental agreement.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Shutting Off Heating Vents in Summer

In a 2 storey home with an older furnace a common issue is the difference in temperate between the main and upper levels during the summer. A common but incorrect solution is closing vents. People think that if they close vents on the main floor, the system will push more cool air to the upper floor.

This strategy will often give you poorer cooling performance. When you are getting your furnace maintenance done our technician can assess your equipment. The repairman will take into account the age and size of motor, how it cycles, the duct-work, number of air returns and vents.

If you have a minimal number of vents you should not close any. If you have more vents than you need then perhaps you can shut some. In general, it is normally OK to close vents in a basement. It is on the main floor that you probably do not want to close any vents.

Your furnace fan is moving cool air in the summer months. If you reduce the number of exit points for the cool air, your furnace fan can no longer move as much air.

We think that by closing vents, we are able to force the air to go where we want, which is up. When we close vents we are actually restricting air flow. That means less cool air circulating through your home.

A better solution to keeping your second floor cooler is to run your furnace fan continuously. Without a fan running, the air in your home stratifies, with warm air moving to the highest levels of the house. With the fan running, the air is constantly mixing.

Many people are surprised to find out that when they replace their furnace, the air conditioning works better. That’s because new furnaces have more efficient fans that move more air.

A ductless split is another solution for cooling higher floors. With a ductless split, cool air can be delivered from high on a wall on your upper floor. Cool air naturally drops, so this makes more sense than your furnace trying to deliver cool air from the basement.

Your annual maintenance call is a great time to ask your technician the best way to operate your home comfort equipment. If you have questions, you can call us anytime at (519)451-8910.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Air Conditioner Sizing

When we recommend the size of air conditioner your home will need, we run through a series of calculations. Factors that we consider are the size of your home, number of windows and the direction that windows are facing.

Code requires a unit that will provide anywhere from 80% to 125% of the calculated load on a design day. In London, we design with an outside temperature of 86°F (30°C), and an indoor temperature of 75°F (24°C).

If It is determined that your home requires a 2½ ton unit to meet design, you can choose anything between 2 ton and 3 ton and still meet code.

The 2 ton unit will work fine on mild days, but will not keep up on design or over design days. If we have a stretch of weather over 86°F (30°C), or if you want to maintain an indoor temperature of 72°F (22°C), you should consider a 3 ton unit.

There is a price difference when you move up to a higher capacity unit. The price differences are not that great when you consider that you will likely own your unit for 15 years plus.

If you find your current equipment does not keep your home cool enough on very hot days, we have some recommendations. Keep your windows closed with your blinds drawn on sunny windows. Keep your unit running all the time. Do not shut it down and do not open windows on milder days. Your air conditioner is drying the air, which helps make you feel cooler. Opening windows allows humid air back into your home, which will make you feel warmer quicker when the temperature starts to rise again. It also makes more work for your air conditioner when you turn it on again, to have to remove the humidity from the air.

Regular maintenance is required to ensure that your unit operates at maximum efficiency. A poorly maintained unit will not operate at its’ designed capacity, or run as efficiently.

We have had customers that report their air conditioning worked better after they replaced their furnace.Your furnace fan also impacts your system performance. New furnaces have more efficient fans that move more air.

Have us out to maintain your furnace and air conditioner annually. Our technicians can tell you if it looks like you should consider replacing your equipment. If it’s time to look at new equipment, we will visit your house for a no-cost, no-obligation assessment of your home comfort needs.

A new furnace and air conditioner will keep you more comfortable and are more energy efficient than older equipment. New equipment also carries worry-free warranties of up to 12 years. In addition, there are energy rebates to help cover the cost of new equipment.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Carbon Monoxide Detectors are Now Mandatory

As of October, 2014 CO Detectors (Carbon Monoxide Detectors) are mandatory in all residential homes. Carbon Monoxide can kill you. It is created when fuels are not properly burned. Common fuels around the home that can produce carbon monoxide include:

  • Natural Gas
  • Propane
  • Heating Oil, Wood, Coal, Kerosene, Charcoal, Gasoline

Anything that burns fuel can produce carbon monoxide if it is not running properly or not vented properly. Common household appliances that can produce carbon monoxide are:

  • Natural Gas Furnaces
  • Natural Gas Boilers
  • Natural Gas Hot Water Heaters
  • Fireplaces, Wood Stoves, Barbecues, Kerosene Heaters, Gasoline Engines

The CO Detector should be placed inside or near primary sleeping areas. You should have a detector installed on each level of your home. CO Detectors are available from your local hardware store. They are easily installed by homeowners. Normally a CO Detector needs to be replaced every 10 years. Batteries in CO Detectors should be replaced annually.

The following is a list of physical and environmental indications of Carbon Monoxide:

  • Headache, nausea, burning eyes, fainting, confusion, drowsiness that will improve when you have left the house for a period of time.
  • People with heart or respiratory conditions, the elderly and children are particularly sensitive to carbon monoxide.
  • The air in the home feels stale or stuffy.
  • Strong smell of gas when furnace or other fuel burning appliance turns on.
  • Pilot light and burning flames are yellow/orange, not blue.
  • Pilot lights go out.
  • Chalky white powder or soot around exhaust vent or chimney.

For more information on Carbon Monoxide, we'd recommend visiting the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs page.

Annual furnace maintenance by a licensed contractor is important to protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning. Improper furnace venting or a failed heat exchanger can cause elevated CO levels in a home. Salmon Plumbing & Heating technicians check CO levels when we service your furnace. If our technicians find elevated CO levels, they are trained to identify the source and will take immediate steps to protect your family.