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Why Change Your Furnace Filter?

Most of us know that we’re supposed to take care of certain things around the house like raking leaves, cutting the lawn, vacuuming, dusting, etc. All of these little jobs ensure our home looks good and functions properly. One thing that many people fail to do or are intimidated to do is changing their furnace filter. While it might not seem like a big deal, changing your furnace filter is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your furnace is functioning properly and the air in your home is as clean as possible.

Indoor Air Pollution & Your Furnace Filter

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicates that indoor air pollution is typically worse than the air outside of your home. Replacing your furnace filter is the best way to reduce indoor air pollution and improve the efficiency of your furnace. As the efficiency of your furnace increases the costs are reduced, so by simply changing your furnace filter you’ll be saving money on your energy bills and in the long-term with reduce wear and tear.

Regular Checking

Ideally, your furnace filter should be checked on a monthly basis. Most furnace manufacturers recommend changing furnace filters every 3-6 months, but the duration is heavily dependent on a number of factors. These can include the quality of the filter, what time of year it is, if you have pets in the house, how sensitive you are to allergens, the usage of your HVAC system, and anything else that can affect the quality of the air in your home. As there are so many different things that can affect the life of your furnace filter taking a look from time to time is the best way to know when it’s time to change it.

Types of Furnace Filters

There are lots of different types of furnace filters, all at different price points and levels of quality. There are pre-cut media air filter pads, pleated furnace filters, electrostatic air filters, HVAC filters, and activated carbon air filters. Typically, fibreglass panel filters are the cheapest types of furnace filters and can be found at most hardware stores. The most expensive filters are reusable electrostatic filters, which are designed to trap smoke and smaller airborne particles. They can be rinsed in a large sink or with a hose when they get clogged up and dirty, and if properly maintained they will last for many years.

If you’re unsure about which furnace filter is right for your needs and lifestyle contact a professional HVAC technician at Novel Care today at 905-737-5016

Winter Furnace Maintenance

As the weather gets colder and the leaves change colour it’s clear that fall is upon us. While nature is busy making changes it’s important for us to also make some annual changes, particularly with some winter furnace maintenance. Our home heating systems work hard all winter to keep our homes and families warm, but it can’t be taken for granted that they will simply work without any attention. Your furnace is a machine and just like any other machine it requires a certain amount of maintenance to operate properly and efficiently.

Winter Furnace Maintenance Is Important

Your furnace is a big part of your home. It not only keeps your house warm in the winter, but it also circulates the air throughout the house, filters the air, and eliminates moisture in the air. As a result your furnace not only warms your home, but helps to keep it a healthy environment. This is one of the main reasons fall and winter furnace maintenance are so important.

Furnace Repair or Furnace Replacement?

As your furnace ages it slowly loses efficiency and at a certain point in time it will need replacing, but how do you know when that time has come? The best way to understand how much longer your furnace will last is to consult with a professional Novel Care Winter Furnace Maintenance Technician. They’re experts in furnace repairs and replacements and following an inspection can provide you with advice about furnace maintenance, what needs fixing on your furnace, and whether your furnace needs replacing or not. A Novel Care Furnace Technician will provide you with a free estimate for the necessary work. Prior to meeting with a furnace technician it’s important to understand your furnace and any signs of wear and tear. This information will help you understand the conversation you have with a professional furnace repair technician, and allows you to identify any warning signs in advance. Take a look at the infographic below for more information about inspecting your furnace as part of your winter furnace maintenance preparation.

Winter-Furnace-Maintenance

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Winter Means Professional Boiler Maintenance

Boiler Maintenance: Proper Servicing

Just like any other heating appliance or mechanical system, your boiler requires regular service and boiler maintenance to ensure it’s operating efficiently and safely. While there is some maintenance that building managers can carry out, it’s always advisable to have a professional boiler maintenance or HVAC technician take care of annual service needs.

What To Expect During Commercial Boiler Maintenance

Typically, if your boiler maintenance is taken care of by a professional HVAC technician from a reputable company like Novel Care then there should be little to no disruption in your building or facility. A regularly scheduled annual service request should take between 1 and 2 hours and leave your building with a boiler that’s running safely and efficiently.

During servicing a boiler maintenance technician will perform a variety of tests to find out what needs attention and what doesn’t. These tests are different depending on whether your boiler is oil or gas fuelled, and the resulting output will determine the type of maintenance required to keep your boiler working efficiently.

Why Do I Need Boiler Maintenance?

By ensuring you book annual boiler maintenance your effectively extending the lifecycle of your boiler, and ensuring it’s proper functioning until the next boiler maintenance appointment. Each boiler comes with unique specifications that dictate how it should be configured and operating, which is uniquely set by the manufacturer. Adhering to these guidelines helps make sure that your boiler lasts as long as possible, and reduces the risks of accidents, faults, and other expensive repairs.

As time passes the efficiency of any boiler decreases, no matter how often maintenance and repairs are performed. This is a result of soot production from the combustion, which coats the heat exchanger. Decreased performance can also occur as the air/fuel ratio changes over time due to the gradual wearing of different components. Boiler servicing removes the soot from boiler components and adjusts the air/fuel ratio as best as possible to achieve optimal combustion.

Thinking about your boiler like an automobile is an easy way to remember that it needs regular maintenance and attention to maintain efficiency and proper operation.

For more information about boiler maintenance and professional boiler services contact Novel Care today. With over 30 years of experience serving Toronto, York Region, and the rest of the GTA Novel Care has the knowledge and skills you needs to get your boiler up to its optimal levels. Call: (905) 737-5016.

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Working With Toronto Furnace Repair Experts

Depending on the age of your furnace one of the best ways to keep it running efficiently and smoothly is to ensure it receives regular maintenance. This means more than just changing the filter once a year. Proper maintenance means having a professional Toronto furnace repair expert from a reputable company like Novel Care come in and perform professional furnace maintenance.

It’s important to remember that furnaces are mechanical pieces of equipment that need regular professional maintenance to ensure all components are working properly, and it’s running at optimal efficiency. Whether you live in Toronto, York Region, or somewhere else in the GTA it’s important to have a professional inspect and maintain your furnace.

Proper Toronto Furnace Repair & Maintenance

Once you’ve made the decision to hire a Toronto furnace repair expert from a company like Novel Care, it’s important to understand what’s going to be done to your furnace. While some companies may simply change your filter and make a few adjustments, other companies like Novel Care perform an extensive inspection, thorough maintenance, and only essential repairs that cover all aspects of your furnace and venting systems. They include but aren’t limited to:

  • A Thorough Inspection: A professional Toronto furnace repair and maintenance expert should perform a full visual and point examination of all mechanical and essential parts of your furnace and duct system. This is the best way for a technician to uncover any issues, or reveal any signs of wear that may become issues in the near future.
  • Lubricating: Like other mechanical equipment, your furnace needs lubrication in order to reduce friction between all moving parts. Any full-service furnace repair and maintenance package should include proper furnace lubrication.
  • Gas Pressure & Pilot Adjustment: Over time the gas pressure coming into your furnace may slightly change. A Toronto furnace repair technician from an established and reputable company like Novel Care will evaluate and adjust the gas pressure as needed, and do the same for the pilot light in order to reestablish them to original specifications.
  • Filter Replacement: While this is something you can do on your own, Toronto furnace repair experts like those working at Novel Care have a large supply of air filters and can often provide great deals on new replacement filters for your furnace. Any annual service call with an experienced furnace maintenance technician will include a filter replacement, and if it doesn’t then it’s definitely time to find another HVAC company to take care of your annual furnace maintenance.
  • Free Estimate: Planning your annual household budget is an important part of your household finances, and all of us know how all the little costs can add up. Many Toronto furnace repair and HVAC companies will charge you for an estimate prior to any work being done. At Novel Care we provide free estimates for all work, so you can easily decide what you can afford and what can wait until later. We treat all of our clients like good neighbours, which is why we’ve enjoyed working in Toronto, York Region, and the GTA for over 30 years.

Overall, annual furnace repair and maintenance is a small short term cost that can save you big money in the long run. It’s also important to work with experienced, reputable, and knowledgeable Toronto furnace repair and HVAC companies like Novel Care. This ensures that you not only get great services and experienced technicians, but free estimates and guarantees on any work performed. For more information about how Novel Care can help you call: (905) 737-5016.

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Gas Furnace Maintenance: Getting Ready For Winter

As the leaves start to change and temperatures drop, our thoughts turn to the winter season that’s on its way. In Toronto, that means you need to make sure that your furnace is ready to go to work for a hard 6 or 7 month run. This means performing gas furnace maintenance yourself, as well as scheduling an experienced professional from a reputable company like Novel Care to perform proper maintenance.

Whether you live in Toronto, York Region, or somewhere else in the GTA, here are the things every homeowner should be doing to make sure their furnace won’t break down on the coldest night of the year. If you want to avoid emergency repair costs, possible frozen pipes and a lot of discomfort, just follow these easy steps.

  1. Make sure your furnace area is clear of stored belongings: Most of the things we store in our basements are a fire safety hazard. By storing items too close to your furnace, you’re risking a fire. Part of proper gas furnace maintenance is ensuring that the area around your furnace stays clear all year round.
  2. Replace your furnace filter: Part of proper gas furnace maintenance is replacing your furnace filter. It’s designed to protect your furnace from getting clogged with hair, dust, and other debris, but once it gets clogged your furnace has to work harder to pull air in. For the 1-inch pleated filters, most filter manufacturers recommend checking the filter monthly while the furnace is in use, and replacing it every 3 months at the most. If you have a more intensive filtration system or air cleaner, rely on the guidance of a professional furnace technician from a reputable company like Novel Care.
  3. Check the exhaust vent and fresh air intake: Vents like these outside your home need to be kept free of yard litter, plant overgrowth or animal nests. The vents should be able to open freely to suck in fresh air and expel contaminated air.
  4. Open all of your indoor air vents: Make sure that none are blocked by furniture or carpets, and that the vent covers are free of dust. This not only helps your gas furnace move air throughout your home, but it will improve the overall air quality in your house.
  5. Remove all vent covers and inspect your vents: If they appear dusty, consider booking professional duct cleaning appointment with a knowledgeable and experienced company like Novel Care. If they show any signs of mold, you should definitely consult with a gas furnace maintenance expert. Mold can be extremely hazardous to your health and lead to a plethora of respiratory issues.
  6. Do a test run: Turn your furnace on before the first really cold day of the year. If it won’t fire up or it’s making lots of noise then it’s the perfect time to schedule a gas furnace maintenance appointment.
  7. Check your thermostat settings for maximum efficiency: Set the temperature to go down when you’re away from home and overnight while you’re asleep. Remember, lower temperatures will save you money. For every degree you reduce your overall temperature, you can reduce your heating costs by 3% to 5%.
  8. Check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors: If your CO (carbon monoxide) detector is more than 5 years old, replace it to ensure the safety of you and your family. Carbon Monoxide detectors are very inexpensive and are available at most hardware stores. While odorless and colourless, CO is highly toxic and a buildup in your home could be fatal.

Most importantly, book a professional heating technician to check and clean your furnace. This will help make sure there are no problems, and will help your furnace run at peak efficiency. That means you’ll be reducing the cost to heat your home all winter long. You can learn more about what’s included in an Novel Care furnace servicing appointment here.

Gas Furnace Maintenance Essentials

•    Dirty filters make your furnace work harder.
•    Small problems with furnace parts can make other parts work harder, increasing the wear and tear on your system. This reduces the working life of your furnace and makes a breakdown more likely. Regular gas furnace maintenance is one of the best things you can do for your home’s HVAC system.

Request a Free Quote for Gas Furnace Maintenance from Novel Care

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Meet Julie: Novel Care HVAC & Furnace Repair Technician

Julie Brousseau-Rooley is a Novel Care furnace repair technician. She’s one of the best, and is a rare woman in the trade. Her expertise lies in repairs to both commercial and residential heating and cooling equipment of all kinds. Julie kindly agreed to take a few moments out of her busy schedule to share her perspective and advice with us.

1. How long have you been working in the HVAC industry as a furnace repair technician?

Julie: About 3 years, since 2011.

2. What inspired you to become an HVAC & furnace repair technician?

Julie: My entire family are trades. I’ve always loved working with my hands. As an HVAC technician, I get to do a little of everything – mechanical, electrical, gas, plumbing. There’s never a boring day!

3. Do you find that customers are surprised to see a female HVAC & furnace repair technician arrive at their door?

Julie: Constantly! Some people think it’s a scam and won’t let me in. Women are always happy to see me though – they think it’s great that there are women who can do this kind of work.

4. Do you meet a lot of other female HVAC technicians?

Julie: Not really, but I know of one from my hometown of Sudbury. She went to the same college I did.

5.  What is your favourite thing about being an HVAC technician?

Julie: I love that it’s a challenge. Every situation is different, with something new to learn. As a repair technician, I love the troubleshooting aspect.

6.  Is there anything you find really challenging?

Julie: Not a lot. Some older people think a woman can’t do the job, so I love winning them over. I have some customers who only want me to work on their HVAC  equipment, and will wait for me to be available!

7.  What is your favourite thing about working with Novel Care?

Julie: There’s a couple of things. I love the variety of equipment I get to fix: one moment I’m working on a commercial rooftop unit, the next it’s a boiler or a residential furnace. I also love the camaraderie at Novel Care. Everyone understands each other really well and works together.

8.  What kind of schooling and licences do you have to get to become an HVAC & furnace repair technician in Ontario?

Julie: I have a 2-year HVAC Technician diploma from Cambrian College. You have to pass the provincial exams with 75% or better for every kind of licence you get. I have my oil, natural gas and propane licences.

9.  What are the most important personal qualities that an HVAC technician should have?

Julie: You need two things. You have to be friendly, because you’re going into people’s homes all day. You also have to be smart so you can figure out what’s going on with the equipment.

10.  Is the industry changing a lot as time passes, and if so what do you do to keep current?

Julie: The trade changes every year. There are new code regulations to learn, and also new products coming out all the time. I attend a lot of workshops to help keep up to date.

11.  Do you have any favourite furnaces or air conditioners right now?

Julie: I love Lennox, because they really stand behind their products.

12.  Do you have any tips for homeowners that will help them get the most out of their home heating equipment?

Julie: Change your filters. That’s what will really extend the lifespan of your furnace, because they keep the dirt and hair from getting in.

13. Do you have any advice for young people who are thinking of becoming HVAC technicians?

Julie: Come on in! There are tons of jobs, especially with so many technicians retiring in the next few years.

 

Our Friendly Furnace Repair Technician

Julie is a very friendly and talented furnace repair technician on the Novel Care team, and exemplifies our values of expertise and great customer service. If you are having trouble with your home’s HVAC heating and cooling equipment, give us a call at (905) 737-5016.

Request a Free Quote Online

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5 Benefits of Installing A Humidifier

Cold winters mean drier air, which can cause annoying static electricity, make you feel colder and even increase your risk of getting sick with colds, flu and other viruses. A humidifier is an excellent start to solving some of these problems.

Maintaining the optimum 30% to 50% humidity range in your home during the winter is essential for comfort and health, and a whole-house humidifier is the best tool for ensuring optimum humidity levels.

How a Whole-House Humidifier Works

Installed directly into your Toronto HVAC system and connected to a water source, a whole-house humidifier sends water down a hole-filled panel between your blower and duct. As air passes through the panel, it becomes humidified before entering your duct system to be delivered to your rooms. A humidistat attached to the system lets you control the amount of humidity in your home. Essentially, it connects directly to your furnace and works in tandem with your duct system to ensure the humidity in your home is optimal.

A whole-house humidifier will benefit you in five key ways:

1. Save Money on Heating

Have you ever noticed on hot summer days that “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”? The same principle applies once winter hits: humidity in the air makes it feel warmer. A whole-house humidifier provides enough humidity to allow you to turn down the thermostat by a few degrees, saving you money on energy costs.

2. Help Prevent Illness

Recent research shows that flu, cold and other viruses are more stable in dry air. Droplets of moisture containing these viruses evaporate quickly in dry air, enabling them to stay airborne longer and increasing your chances of breathing them in.

Additionally, low humidity dries out the nasal passages, causing tiny cracks that are an open invitation to viruses looking to make you sick. A whole-house humidifier will prevent the droplets from evaporating before they settle out of the air, and will prevent your mucous membranes from drying out.

3. Preserve Wood and Paint In Your Home

When humidity levels drop, any wood in your home like flooring and millwork becomes prone to splitting and cracking. Wood flooring manufacturers sometimes even include humidity level maintenance as a warranty condition.  Similarly, paint on your home’s walls can chip once the humidity level drops too much.

4. Prevent Static Electricity

Dry air promotes static electricity that makes your hair stand on end, zaps you at every turn and may damage your electronic devices. Increasing the humidity level in your home will put an end to annoying static electricity.

5. Increase Your Comfort

Let’s face it, no one likes dry air in the winter. It makes skin, hair, eyes, nose and throat dry out and feel scratchy. We Canadians spend up to 90% of our time indoors, so we might as well make the experience a good one!

A Humidifier Can Change Significantly Your Home

Talk to your friendly Novel Care representative about whether whole-house humidifiers are right for your home. They could help you endure cold and flu season much better, and get more enjoyment out of the coming winter.

Request a Free Humidifier Quote – No Obligation!

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Be Safe: Chimney & Fireplace Cleaning

It’s hard to imagine a fireplace cleaning without an image of a sooty Dick Van Dyke popping into your mind, doing a little soft shoe and over-pronouncing his vowels. It seems like a profession from another time, but chimney sweeps are very much still around. And while modern chimney sweeps are not known for their tendency to burst into song while on the job, they still are “as lucky as lucky can be.”

More accurately, someone who doesn’t use a chimney sweep can be very unlucky indeed. Without proper cleaning, a fireplace and chimney can be extremely dangerous. Every year, approximately one thousand Ontario homes fall victim to chimney fires, which can start suddenly and spread quickly, engulfing the whole house in a matter of minutes. For this reason, we recommend getting your furnace and chimney inspected annually, and scheduling regular fireplace cleaning.

Creosote: The Fire Starter

The culprit is creosote, a chemical created whenever wood is burned. Creosote clings to the sides of the fireplace and chimney, obstructing proper airflow and posing major risks to the homeowner. It is extremely combustible: the smallest spark can cause it to burn.

Check Your Fireplace and Chimney

To check your fireplace and chimney you’ll need a small flashlight and a particle filtering face mask.

Step 1: Ensure that there is no backdraft coming down your chimney. If there is a draft, open a door to increase the pressure in your house.

Step 2: Check the hearth of your fireplace. Look for buildups of black, grey or brown soot. If you see any, don’t touch it.

Step 3: Check your chimney. Use the flashlight to look for any buildups .

If you find a small amount of creosote, there may be no reason for concern, but as little as one eighth of an inch of the stuff coating your fireplace and chimney can start a fire. If you notice anything, have your fireplace and chimney inspected by a professional.

Proper Fireplace Cleaning

There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet about how to best go about this. We recommend calling a licensed fireplace cleaner, like AirTech!

The reason we suggest this is that creosote, along with being extremely combustible, is also a known carcinogen. So, if you do attempt to clean your fireplace, please use a particle respirator face mask and protective gloves.

Do not use chimney and fireplace cleaning logs. These logs do not work nearly as well as advertised, and may make matters worse rather than better.

Step 1: gather the following supplies:

  • A wire brush or heavy nylon brush

  • Rubber gloves

  • A breathing mask

  • Baking soda

  • Vinegar

  • Newspaper

Step 2: Mix the baking soda and vinegar in a large bowl

Step 3: Place the newspaper around the fireplace to keep the soot off the floor

Step 4: Scrub the inside of the fireplace with a brush wet with the baking soda and vinegar mix. Make sure you’re wearing your breathing mask so none of the soot gets in your lungs.

Step 5: Clean up. Use paper towel or a sponge and rinse the fireplace with cold water

This will take care of much of the creosote in your fireplace. However, it’s very difficult to get all of it. A professional cleaner will use industrial strength cleaners and cleaning techniques and tools to ensure that your fireplace is completely clean. Consider getting your fireplace professionally cleaned at least once a year.

Chimney Sweeps & Fireplace Cleaning To The Rescue!

Cleaning your chimney by yourself is not advisable. To do a proper job and eliminate the creosote buildup requires expensive tools and years of training and experience.

A good modern chimney sweep will be able to clean your chimney without heading to your roof, with extendable vacuums and other tools to get the job done quickly and effectively. When you pick a chimney sweep, make sure that they are WETT (Wood Energy Technology Transfer) certified.

Every year, approximately one thousand Ontario homes fall victim to chimney fires, which can start suddenly and spread quickly, engulfing the whole house in a matter of minutes. Don’t be a statistic. Get professional chimney and fireplace cleaning and inspections on an annual basis. At AirTech, we work with a company whose chimney sweeps are licensed and professional. We can clean your fireplace and chimney in one visit. Contact us to arrange your inspection or cleaning today, get rid of that nasty creosote, and sleep easier.