If you had to guesstimate how much of your monthly energy bill goes to cooling and heating your home, what would you guess? 25 percent? 50 percent?
How about 70 percent? (Yes, you read that right.) For most Canadian homeowners, a full 70 percent of their monthly energy expense goes towards keeping their home cool or warm, depending on the season.
This also holds true whether the energy source is electric, gas, propane, oil, or another type. We live on a planet with ever-dwindling natural resources, so energy of all types is at a premium.
But there is one exception—solar energy. Solar energy is economical, widely available, reliable, and totally renewable and sustainable. Knowing this, if you found out you could heat and cool your home using solar power—saving yourself cash and preserving the planet for your children—would you make the switch?
Read on to find out what you need to know to decide.
Geothermal is the Energy Source Our Planet Ordered
There has never been a better time than now for the HVAC industry to roll out a geothermal energy-based heating and cooling system. Called the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition, or CGC for short, this system harnesses indirect solar energy stored in the earth and water surrounding your home or workplace.
This energy has a zero-carbon footprint and requires no hazardous materials or processes to harness power. It is also cheaper than any other energy source currently available. Plus, since the sun isn't scheduled to burn out for another 5 billion years or so, there is no danger of not having enough energy for everyone who wants to use it.
How Geothermal Cooling & Heating Works
Did you know that, regardless of what your window thermometer reads, the ground outside maintains a consistent temperature of 55°F to 70°F year-round? This means that whether it is 20°F or 120°F, the ground right outside will stay between 55°F and 70°F.
This also means that conditions remain ripe all year to harness geothermal energy right out of the ground your home or business sits upon. Using a series of underground pipes, geothermal energy can be generated to keep your home as warm or cool as you like.
But this isn't all the good news geothermal energy has to share. Consider these facts:
For every $1 of electrical energy you use, you could be generating $4 worth of free solar (geothermal) energy.
The energy creation and conduction system is housed entirely underground in the underground piping system, so you won't have to hear any noise or endure the sight of any unattractive machinery around your home or workplace.
With the energy savings you will generate by switching to geothermal heating and cooling, you can potentially fully recoup your initial investment in the first five years.
Each single geothermal heating and cooling system installed offers the planet the equivalent of planting 750 new trees or taking two emissions-producing, fossil fuels-burning vehicles off the roadways.
The safety factor of geothermal heating and cooling can't be beat. Geothermal energy production requires no combustion and produces no emissions or fumes.
A geothermal heating and cooling system cleans your outdoor and indoor air simultaneously, removing common allergens as it does.
Geothermal systems installed under the auspices of the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition guarantee the most reliable, cost-effective, efficient and sustainable heating and cooling available on the market today.
While We're On the Subject of Geothermal....
Here at Gravenhurst Plumbing, Heating & Electric, we are so proud to announce that we have just become the very FIRST firm qualified to offer geothermal heating and cooling under the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition!
As an accredited and certified provider of geothermal based systems, we operate under the code of the CGC itself:
The systems we provide deliver the promised benefits.
The systems and installation practices are safe.
The designers, contractors, and installers are competent and reliable.
Full legal and regulatory compliance is guaranteed.
Participation in the CGC's process of accreditation and certification is 100 percent voluntary. We chose to go through the CGC's training program because we wholeheartedly believe that our planet's future and thus our children's future deserve our best effort to conserve natural resources and switch to sustainable energy sources.
We believe that by becoming trained, accredited, and certified as geothermal heating and cooling providers and installers, we can serve you even better, save you more on your energy bills, and provide you with systems that will be safe and reliable to use in your home and workplace over the long term.
P.S. Many of our customers are also able to qualify for energy tax credits by making the switch to geothermal heating and cooling.
What is it Like to Make the Switch to Geothermal?
Geothermal heating and cooling equipment is attractive and compact, and the majority of the system is housed under the ground outside. The main control box is small and nearly silent, and the entire system is Energy Star-certified, so you won't find a more energy-efficient option anywhere.
You control your geothermal unit through an internet-based, cloud-based software program called Symphony that continuously monitors the entire system, from each component's functioning to a historical look at energy use to ongoing cash-saving thermostat adjustments. With Symphony's help, you can monitor, control, and tweak your geothermal heating and cooling system as desired.
Contact Gravenhurst Plumbing, Heating & Electric to Learn More
Gravenhurst Plumbing, Heating & Electric first opened the doors of our family-owned and operated business in 1945. In the ensuing decades, we have participated in many new developments in the energy and plumbing industries.
So whether you need maintenance for your traditional home or office plumbing and HVAC system or you are interested in transitioning to a geothermal-based system, we are honored to participate! Contact us by phone at 877.885.3403 or online.
If you have ever endured a power outage, you can probably easily recollect the feelings of helplessness this event can evoke. You may become acutely aware of just how much you take ready power for granted. The microwave doesn't work and neither does the stove. Your cell phone is down for the count, as is your HVAC unit.
But there is a way to ensure future power outages don't cause discomfort and possibly danger to you, your home, and your family. In this post, learn 6 key reasons why a standby generator might be the best investment you make this year.
Reason #1: No power? No problem!
If you look at the fundamental function of a standby generator, you will quickly realize its sole purpose is to provide power when there is no other ready power source. As such, a standby generator is your last-resort power supply for any need you may have, no matter how specific.
Reason #2: Customized options can meet your specific power needs
When you were shopping for your home, you may have felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. Some homes had these features but not those. Other homes were perfect in this way but not in that way. Finally, you walked into the door of that special, one-of-a-kind property that you now call "home."
Standby generators are just as customized. Whether your power needs are minimal or extensive, and whether you need your generator to be able to travel with you or remain stationary, you can find a standby generator to meet your needs.
This also holds true for emergency generator options. If you are comfortable with starting up your generator manually in the event of an outage, you can find an option that works for you. In the same way, if you need your generator to detect the loss of power and start up instantly and automatically, there is a generator that can meet your needs.
Reason #3: Today's standby generators are built with safety chief in mind
The whole reason to invest in a standby generator is safety for you and your family. Today's standby generators are built with safety listed at the top of the features and specifications list.
For example, you can choose between a range of safety options, including these:
Automatic transfer switches This specialized switch will automatically activate the generator in the event of a loss of power and deactivate the generator when the regular power source is restored.
Automatic voltage detection/regulation If the standby generator is wired to power sensitive electronic equipment (examples include computers, entertainment centers, home security systems), it will automatically block fluctuations in voltage so no harm will be caused to these devices.
Automatic safety shutoff If there is any internal issue that may cause the standby generator to malfunction (examples include low oil or coolant, overheating or other similar issues), the generator will automatically turn itself off for safety reasons.
Built-in circuit breakers This essential safety feature blocks excessive voltage surges that may harm the generator or any appliances or equipment that the generator is wired to power.
Liquid cooling option This newer cooling option is a specific fix for high-watt standby generators that have a tendency to run more loudly. With liquid cooling, even generators that can handle a very high wattage will run quietly and unobtrusively in the background, with no risk of overheating.
Reason #4: Easy manual operation (for manual standby generators)
Automatic-start and manual-start standby generators each come with their own unique set of considerations and options.
Even better, in addition to many of the features outlined here for automatic-start generators, the new breed of manual-start generators also offers these features:
Button-start operation So long as the generator's battery is holding a full charge, today's manual generators can be started with the press of a button.
Easy-to-read fuel gauges Know at a glance how much fuel is remaining to power the manual generator by looking at these gauges.
12V outlet options If there are batteries that need to be charged during the power outage, this special outlet can take care of that while the generator is running.
Wheel kits. For generators that are manual-start and portable, wheels make it easy to travel with the generator in tow.
Automatic idle. For manual generators that are needed only sporadically throughout a power outage, this feature will idle the generator engine to save fuel.
Reason #5: A standby generator saves perishables
There is no worse feeling than waiting out a power outage while knowing all the food in the fridge and freezer is slowly spoiling. Sometimes these perishables can represent hundreds or even thousands of dollars that become literally unsalvageable when the power goes out.
With a standby generator, this investment won't go to waste. For some families, this savings alone can more than justify the investment in a standby generator!
Reason #6: A standby generator saves lives
There are so many known safety issues that can crop up during a power outage. But it is the unknown issues that are the scariest. For example, for some families who have an ill or recuperating family member who requires in-house powered medical devices, a standby generator is simply not optional.
Finally, in severe weather conditions, especially extreme heat and cold, young and elderly family members may rely on the temperature control function of a standby generator for their health and life.
Contact Gravenhurst Plumbing
Gravenhurst Plumbing has been serving the HVAC needs of the Muskoka and surrounding areas since 1945.
Contact us today to learn more about standby generator equipment and installation options at 877.885.3403 or online.
If there is one fact most Canadians can agree on, it is this: there are never enough warm summer days in Canada to enjoy each year. However, summer is less enjoyable in some households than in others. The reason for this is simple: uneven cooling.
It is easy to tell if your home is not cooling evenly and equally in each room: Look to see which room everyone crowds into on extra-hot days.
In this post, learn 6 tips to fix your home's uneven cooling issues before the short, intense Canadian summer arrives in earnest!
Tip #1: Check that your HVAC unit's thermostat is set to "on"
For most air conditioning units today, there are two options on the thermostat for using the inbuilt fan.
Auto. The auto setting will cycle on the unit's fan when the thermostat detects a need to cool the air. Once the air reaches the right temperature, the cooling and fan will power off again.
On. The on setting will leave the fan on constantly, both when the air is being cooled and when it is not.
The "on" setting is better for overall home air circulation. It can remedy minor issues with uneven cooling, especially if you live in a split-level house.
NOTE: Be aware that using the fan more frequently may add a few dollars to your energy bill.
Tip #2: Clean and maintain your air ducts
If you just recently bought a home with an air duct system or you've owned your home for some time but can't recall ever doing air duct maintenance, now is a good time to start!
Over time, air ducts can get clogged with dirt, dust, debris, and other matter. The worse the buildup becomes inside the ducts, the harder your air conditioner has to work to push cool air through. If air vents get blocked by built-up debris, a common side effect is hotter rooms in some areas of your house.
If this is the case in your home, there are two key maintenance tasks that can help:
Cleaning out your air duct system. With this service, all of that built-up debris is removed, along with particulate matter and allergens that can cause respiratory irritation. You’ll have fresher and cleaner indoor air and a home that cools more evenly from room to room.
Sealing and insulating your air ducts. Sealing up air leaks and placing extra insulation around your air ducts can keep more of the cool air in and all of that hot air out. For rooms with major leak issues, this could potentially be a total fix for uneven cooling in your home.
Tip #3: Install a zone system that links to your A/C
With a zone system, temperature sensors are installed in different areas, or zones, of your home. This permits you to more precisely control the air temperature in each of those zones.
So for instance, if your bathroom is always freezing and you boil in your bedroom, a zone system can adjust the temperature settings for each of those areas so the cooling is more comfortable and even.
And if you have a split-level home and notice the upstairs rooms becoming hotter as the warm air rises in summer, you can use a zone system to even out the ambient air temperature for each level of your home.
NOTE: While a zone system can represent an additional cost investment to implement, the potential cost savings can more than offset the investment you make.
Tip #4: Get an A/C unit that suits your house size
You may find that the air conditioning unit that was installed originally has become unable to handle the cooling tasks required of it. This is a frequent issue when homeowners decide to add onto an existing property.
As well, older model HVAC units lack the inbuilt energy efficiency features of their newer Energy Star-certified cousins. If your A/C unit is more than a decade old, lacks a programmable thermostat, is coping with an add-on to your existing home, or simply isn't cutting it for some other reason, you may find you can actually save funds by upgrading to an Energy Star-certified unit.
NOTE: Energy Star monthly efficiency savings are estimated to range upwards of 15 to 20 percent per month (or around $115 per year).
Tip #5 Tweak the placement of your air vents
When was the last time you checked out your air vents in each room? The air vents are the openings (often placed on the ceilings or walls in each room) that allow the air ducts to deliver temperature-controlled air to that room.
If someone has partially or completely closed the air vent in a certain room, or if it has become covered by dust or blocked by furnishings, cleaning and re-opening that vent may be all that is needed to even out air flow to that room!
Tip #6: Change out your air filters
While this may not remedy uneven air flow throughout your home, it can certainly help, particularly if you have multiple air filters for your HVAC unit.
When the air filter gets filled up with debris, you can know two things for sure:
The air filter is doing its job well.
Your A/C unit is working harder than it should to cool your home.
Experts recommend changing the air filter(s) every 30 days for the best air circulation and most even cooling in the home.
Questions? Need Help?
Contact Gravenhurst Plumbing by phone at 705.687.3402 or online here. Our experts can help diagnose and repair any cooling issues you might be experiencing. If you are looking for for help in the Sudbury Region please contact Campeau Heating for repair and cooling issues.
Which type of furnace you choose for your home depends on a number of factors. All modern furnaces are designed to maximize efficiency and provide comfort and energy savings, and there have been significant advances in the safety features of furnaces.
Choosing the right furnace for your home may depend on fuel availability and budget or even space. Some places do not have access to piping infrastructure, and this limits options. There are benefits and drawbacks to using both types of furnaces. Below, we give you the comparisons between the two.
Fuel Efficiency Rating
This is one of the first things a homeowner should consider when choosing a furnace. This rating is often referred to as Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)—it’s a way to measure the efficiency of the combustion of a furnace. A higher AFUE rating means the product has a higher degree of efficiency.
Many oil furnace manufacturers will claim their products get an AFUE rating of up to 90 percent. There are natural gas furnace manufacturers who claim their products’ AFUE rating is up to 98 percent. Newer furnaces are all more efficient than older ones by as much as 29 percent and more.
Gas Furnace Versatility
A natural gas furnace is able to be used in any type of home, and also operate well with a water heater or any other type of system that requires heat. They are very dependable systems and seldom require repairs. This is important during cold winter months. Natural gas is a clean-burning fossil fuel. It is a heating system that provides no harm to the environment.
Oil Furnace Versatility
Using heating oil is very safe: it won't ignite until it achieves a temperature of 140 degrees. This means if a flame were accidentally put into heating oil, it would be extinguished (the heating oil would react as water in this situation). It's also easy to tell if there are problems with an oil furnace. It will provide noticeable warning signs that something is wrong, like soot, smoke, or some type of odor.
If an oil furnace is properly maintained, it could last an owner three decades or longer. A gas furnace on average lasts less than 15 years. At the same time, it is important to consider the volatility of oil prices, as well as the possibility of getting the oil trucked to your home and having clear access.
Reality of Gas Furnaces
As mentioned, a natural gas furnace may have a higher heating efficiency rating than an oil furnace. The fuel costs may be less, but will provide a home with lower heat per BTU when compared to oil. Gas furnaces are typically about 24 percent more expensive than an oil furnace of similar size. In addition, the home must be located in an area where a supply of natural gas is available.
A gas furnace will require little maintenance, and is able to operate cleaner and quieter than an oil furnace. It's possible for a gas furnace to work even if the electricity is out, and since the natural gas system is underground, fuel outages are rare.
It is extremely important for a gas furnace to be regularly serviced by an HVAC professional; it emits a low level of carbon monoxide, and if not handled properly, it could become a health safety issue.
Reality of Oil Furnaces
To have an oil furnace, the homeowner must have an on-site tank to which oil must be delivered. An oil furnace is easily serviced, and some oil delivery companies will offer a service contract for maintenance.
That said, the maintenance required is often extensive. This is because an oil furnace creates a buildup of soot and dirt in chimneys that needs to be cleaned regularly. It's also essential to frequently change the oil filter.
The costs associated with operating an oil furnace are dependent on oil prices that can fluctuate from one winter season to the next.
When considering either an oil or gas furnace is gather information, gathering the facts and pricing information is a good place to start. Fuel regulations need to be taken into consideration as well. Legislation can have an impact on the supply of natural gas as well as oil. It's also important to know if there is more than one oil supplier in an area, so a homeowner can get the best possible price for their fuel costs.
If you have any questions at all, feel free to give us a call at 705-687-3402, or contact us online. We're happy to discuss your questions or needs and advise on the best, most economical solution that will meet your needs.
- Greely and more,
Last April 1, the Ontario government passed a law to protect consumers from door-to-door sales agents trying to switch their hot water heaters to another rental supplier.
Sales agents are still knocking on doors. But many have found a more lucrative pursuit than replacing water heaters.
Now they’re pushing you to replace your furnace and air conditioner under a 10-year lease. While a water heater costs $25 a month to rent, a heating and cooling system can be $150 to $175 a month (plus HST).
Moreover, you won’t own the equipment when the contract ends. You’ll have to pay a buyout fee to take ownership or a removal fee to get it out of your house.
I’ve heard from many readers about rental sales pitches. Some said they were taken in by deceptive claims at the door and wish they had investigated before signing up.
Here are some comments about why they agreed to a deal...
Web-Enabled Home Comfort PlatformThe moment youâ€™ve all been waiting for is here. Symphony is ready to provide you with the power to control and monitor your WaterFurnace geothermal unit from any web-enabled device. By marrying the Aurora controls of a WaterFurnace system with the Aurora WebLink router, Symphony provides access to the comfort system from practically anywhere.Symphony is Wi-Fi enabled and cloud-based so thereâ€™s no software to install, and it provides control over the entire geothermal systemâ€”not just the temperature as in other â€œsmart thermostatâ€Ě systems. WaterFurnace is leading the way and is the only geothermal manufacturer to offer an in-house developed comfort platform. That means itâ€™s custom-tailored for the units you install and isnâ€™t reliant on third party development or changes.
Energy & Performance MonitoringSymphony gives you the power to monitor and track your unitâ€™s energy use instantaneously or as a daily, weekly or 13-month history. Symphony gives you the power to track trends visually and provides the information you need to reduce consumption even further. Make tweaks to your thermostat and watch the effect on your bills!Your WaterFurnace Dealer can also monitor your system remotely giving you piece of mind whether you are travelling or if this is a second home with immediate alerts to any equipment issues that may come up.
Aurora WebLinkThe Aurora WebLink router communicates directly with our Aurora control board rather than simply connecting to the thermostat. This provides you and your dealer with access to unit sensors, energy use and system information rather than the limited information a typical thermostat sees.
Symphony ThermostatsAn internet-enabled thermostat allows homeowners to change temperature, set a schedule, monitor vacation mode, and more via smart phone or tablet. Connect to the personalized dashboard for remote functionalityâ€”all from the comfort of your sofa.
Invisible ThermostatThe concept of a dedicated thermostat is becoming outdated. If youâ€™d rather not have a thermostat cluttering your walls, install an invisible flush-mount â€˜mud-inâ€™ temperature sensor (pictured above) and use a Symphony-based smartphone or tablet to control your home comfort levels instead. - optional feature.
Water/Sump AlarmSymphony can also be expanded to prevent water damage from household equipment failure. External water sensors provide you email/text notification in the event of a sump pump malfunction or washer hose failure. - Optional Feature
Advanced Zoning SystemRemotely control temperatures and programs in up to six areas of your home with our IntelliZone2 zoning system. WaterFurnace is the only geothermal manufacturer to offer its own zoning solution, and now weâ€™re the only ones with online control. - Optional Feature
Symphony DashboardThe personalized dashboard provides quick access to your systemâ€™s settings, operational status and history, alert history, energy usage, and zone temperatures as well as local weather. - Accessible from anywhere
WaterFurnace manufactures and sells more geothermal systems for homes than anyone else in the business. Why? Because we offer a wide variety of residential geothermal products. Our dealers and installers are the most highly trained in the industry. And we are wholeheartedly committed to customer support. All that makes us the firstâ€”and smartestâ€”choice for a residential WaterFurnace system: the system that's "Smarter from the Ground Up."Geothermal energy has been used to heat and air condition buildings for several decades, and, during that time, these geothermal systems have been called many different things. Some of the more popular variations include geo-thermal, geoexchange, ground-water, ground-water assisted, ground-water-source, water-to-water, and even our company name, water furnace heating and cooling.All of these terms, though, convey the same thought: use of geothermal heat pump technology to tap the energy in the earth's surface and drive a heating and air conditioning system for both residential and commercial uses. The result is a green or natural heat pump that saves energy and benefits the environment.
Geothermal System Types
Learn more about All-In-One Geothermal Systems All-In-One Learn more about Split Geothermal Systems Splits Hydronic Systems explaination Hydronic All-In-One Systems: Provide year round comfort. Built to heat through the winter months, and provide cooling all summer. WaterFurnace geothermal heat pump systems replace the traditional indoor furnace/outdoor air conditioning applications.
WaterFurnace 3 SeriesÂ® units benefit from technology thatâ€™s been refined through 30 years of research, engineering advancements, and manufacturing experienceâ€”all at a great price point.
The dual capacity 300A11 offers efficiencies reaching 22.3 EER for cooling and 4.1 COP for heating in closed loop conditions (27.3 EER and 4.5 COP for open loop). These ratings are significantly greater than any ordinary conditioning system. Our Aurora communicating controls work in unison with system components to provide simple setup, troubleshooting, and diagnosis for the contractor, in addition to providing confidence and peace of mind for you.
All 3 Series units are ENERGY STARÂ® rated and were engineered in the HVAC industryâ€™s only in-house EPA/ENERGY STAR Recognized Laboratory. Best of all, 3 Series units use the stored energy in your yard to provide savings of up to 70% on heating, cooling, and hot water.
3 Series FeaturesÂ Meets or exceeds Energy StarÂ® guidelines
Powerful Heating Down to -15Â°F Outdoor TemperaturesHeating capacity at low outdoor temperatures was improved by adopting a large heat exchanger and a high capacity compressor. Rated heating capacity is maintained up to 20Â°F. This new model can operate down to -15Â°F.Base Freeze PreventionRLS3H outdoor models are equipped with a base heater that prevents condensate from freezing.Â The cultivated base design discharges melted water through many holes.Â Without a heater, freezing condensate can cause noise, damage to fan blade, condenser, and system performance.Energy Saving Program (ESP)Halcyon system knows how to save you money even when you forget. If you leave the room without turning the unit off, ESP knows that you left and 20 minutes later, set temperature is increased by4Â°F when cooling and reduced by 8Â°F when heating. When you come back to the room, it returns to previous operating mode. This prevents wasteful operation to save energy without you having to think about it.Programmable RemoteWeekly timer can be easily set by wireless remote controller. ON, OFF can be set up to 4 times in one day and up to 28 times in one week. For other modes, program timer and sleep timer can also be selected by pushing a single button.World Class PerformanceSince mini splits have little to no ducting, they forego those energy losses typically associated central forced-air systems. Duct losses can easily account for more than 30% of energy consumption, especially if the ducts are not sealed tight or in an unconditioned space such as an attic or crawlspace. With ratings as high as 33.0-SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), systems 9RLS3H, 12RLS3H and 15RLS3H are among the highest rated efficiency equipment available anywhere!Â Quiet OperationDuctless heat pumps and air conditioners are comprised of an indoor and outdoor unit, allowing for a peaceful inside environment by enabling components like compressors and motors outdoors to be installed outside.Inverter TechnologyThroughÂ advanced technology, Inverter air conditioners are more economical to operate and quieter to run than conventional units. They can handle greater extremes in temperature, are smoother and more stable in operation, and reach the desired temperature more quickly than conventional air conditioners.The Inverter component allows the outdoor unit to vary its speed and output to match the required capacity of the indoor unit. Thus, the Inverter model can achieve 30% more operating efficiency than conventional models and therefore, is much less expensive to run.
|Other Standard Features Include:|
|Wireless Remote ControlSleep TimerWeekly TimerDry ModeAuto Louver: Up/DownAuto ModeQuiet Mode (Indoor)Economy ModeLow Noise Mode (Outdoor)||Program TimerAuto Restart/ResetAuto Changeover*Low Ambient HeatingApple Catechin FilterIon Deodorizing FilterMinimum Heat (50Â°F/10Â°C)Powerful Operation Mode|