If there is one weather fact we can count on here in Canada, it is this: you just never know what a Canadian winter may bring.
This particular winter season is shaping up to be a memorable one for sure, earning an array of daunting headlines such as “grim,” “old-fashioned deep freeze” and “classic Canadian winter.”
But the good news is, it is never too late to warm up your home and workplace with efficient, effective heating solutions that can be installed without disruption to your home or work routines.
In this article, we review the newest heating technology so you can choose the option that best fits your space and needs.
All Heating Options Are Not Created Equally
If there is one thing we have learned in our 70-plus years of service to date, it is this: all heating options are not equally cost effective and efficient to install and use.
As well, some options take extensive renovations or retrofits, while others can feel as simple to install and use as plug-and-play.
Here, more space to heat doesn’t necessarily have to mean more complex heating solutions, either. Thanks in large part to the new wave of heating technology developed to address the unfolding concerns regarding climate change, today’s options are more compact and customization-friendly than at any other time in history.
Here are three examples of simple, turnkey heating solutions we particularly love:
One example is the Fujitsu Halcyon systems we love. These are zone-based ductless heating furnaces. These simple, compact, efficient, and low-maintenance heating systems can work equally well in a single-room efficiency apartment and a multi-story family home.
Best of all, the zone system makes it possible to target precise areas to heat and avoid spending to heat unused spaces.
Nuheat is an innovative new system to heat the cold floors by simply laying down customized mats, cables, membranes, mesh, or a suitable combination of these options.
Nuheat can be safely placed beneath tiles, wood flooring, marble, stone, laminate, and other types of flooring, including inside showers and sauna rooms. The heating is even and consistent and a Wi-Fi thermostat attachment (sold separately) can help you control heating and energy costs even further.
Electric Radiant Heating
An alternative to Nuheat is traditional electric radiant heating, which is now available in both permanent installation and portable versions. This is another way to provide even, targeted heating in specific areas within your space without paying extra for wasted heat energy.
Even better, with electric radiant heating, you don’t suffer the drying effects of traditional heated air systems, which can leave you more susceptible to cold, flu, nosebleeds, allergies, and respiratory discomfort.
’Tis the Season for Standby Generators
With all of our wonderful modern technology, it is so easy to forget all about the pure power of nature. One deep snowfall, one furious winter squall, one batch of ice sheeting, and there goes all of our modern winter comforts!
This makes winter a particularly ideal time to consider adding a standby generator as a source of limited or whole home emergency power. A standby generator can provide extra comfort during seasonal power outages. But it can do much more than that.
For those family members who rely on oxygen or assistive at-home medical devices, having a standby generator installed that will kick in when the power goes out can make the difference between life and death. In other areas as well, a standby generator can more than earn back your investment in just one incident by providing the power to save the food stores you have tucked away in your refrigerator and freezer.
One of the best ways to determine if now is the right time to invest in a standby generator to support your existing power grid is to ask yourself what is at stake if your power goes out for 24 hours or more. The questions in this blog post can help you determine whether this is the year to make this type of valuable long-term investment.
Rent a Heater—Yes, It Really Is Possible!
Sometimes it just isn’t the right time to invest in new heating equipment. Perhaps you don’t plan to live in your current home long-term or you have already made another significant investment and new heating equipment just isn’t in the budgetary cards at the moment.
Did you know you can rent heating equipment very affordably just for the times you need some extra heat?
Here at Gravenhurst Plumbing, Heating & Electric, we don’t want any family to have to shiver their way through the epic Canadian winter season! For this reason, we have started to offer heating and cooling equipment on a rental basis.
Our rental agreement is very economical. For every $1,000 in equipment value, you pay $15 per month per item you are renting. So, for example, let’s say you want to rent a furnace for six months. Here, you would pay less than $100 (with taxes) for your rental term.
There is also an option to purchase the equipment at any time during your rental term or at its conclusion. If you are ready to purchase new heating equipment but are not in a position to purchase it in full right now, this permits you to pay down a portion of your costs month by month until you are financially ready to make your purchase.
Perhaps the best perk that can come from renting heating equipment is the chance to try out a particular heating system to see if this is what you want to commit to on a long-term basis.
Get In Touch
Give us a call at 877-885-3403 to find out how our 70-plus years of heating expertise can support you so you can have the safest, warmest winter this year and every year!
Home spaces today come in all shapes and sizes. For instance, some homeowners like the modern, contemporary look, while others prefer a rustic, outdoorsy vibe. But regardless of how different your home may look from your neighbor's, you can always find one thing to commiserate about: the costs of home ownership.
In other words, owning a home is expensive! From routine maintenance to emergency repairs, unexpected weather damage to that first time your teen driver makes contact with your garage door (literally), if you own a home, you already know there is always something you could be fixing, maintaining, or updating.
So when it comes to major repairs to or replacements of your air conditioning and heating, it helps to consider whether buying or renting a new unit makes more sense costwise. In this post, we share our expert insights about the benefits of renting versus owning your HVAC equipment and how to decide.
What Happens When You Buy a New HVAC Unit
First things first: there is absolutely nothing wrong with simply buying a new HVAC unit outright!
In fact, we consult with our clients every day about the pros and cons of purchasing this unit versus that unit. We also regularly assist our clients by talking through warranty and service agreements and helping with installations and maintenance for brand-new units.
One aspect we specifically like to emphasize is that your responsibilities will be different when you buy a new HVAC unit outright than if you rent a unit that you will eventually relinquish back to the rental company.
When you own a unit, you are responsible for:
Vetting the warranty to be sure it offers the most comprehensive coverage (versus what other distributors are offering for the same unit)
Ensuring maintenance and repairs can be handled by local contractors, and that there is a system in place for handling unsatisfactory repairs
Reviewing user testimonials to be sure the unit can live up to its distributor's claims
Maintaining and repairing the unit as needed (or hiring a contractor to do so) so as not to void the warranty and/or incur extra costly repair charges
Purchasing replacement filters and parts as needed for maintenance and repairs
What Happens When You Rent a New HVAC Unit
In some situations, it can make sense to consider renting air conditioning and/or heating equipment.
This especially holds true if you plan to occupy the home for just a short time or if your budget simply won't stretch to cover another major purchase.
When you rent a unit, you are responsible for:
Selecting a reputable rental company to do business with
Understanding what your monthly rental fee includes (just the equipment only, maintenance and routine repairs, emergency service, replacement filters and parts, etc.)
Understanding what happens if you need to get out of your contract early for any reason (say, if you have to move for your job); is there an early-termination penalty, and if so, are there reasons excluded from that penalty?
Calculating the total estimated rental cost over the time you will need it and deciding whether it makes better financial sense to rent versus own the unit.
A "Rent Versus Own" Example
Here at Gravenhurst Plumbing, Heating & Electric, we offer HVAC units both for purchase and for rent. We do this because we know there is no "one size fits all" option—some of our clients will be best served through owning, while others will find renting to be a better choice.
For the sake of this example, let's say you are considering a particular HVAC unit that retails for $3,000. You are trying to decide whether to purchase or rent the unit. You know there is no right or wrong answer, just what is right for you in your current home ownership and financial situation.
You have three options:
Buy the unit outright for cash.
Finance the unit with interest.
Rent the unit for a flat rate per month.
Buy the unit outright
In this situation, you plunk down $3,000 to buy the unit. You plan to apply for energy efficiency rebates at tax time to try to reduce your total investment. In the meantime, you have some additional costs that won't wait:
Installation fee (one time)
Maintenance fee (annual plan)
Filter replacement cost (per month)
Depreciation (annual basis)
Total costs: $3,000+.
Finance the unit
You can also opt to purchase the unit outright by applying for financing rather than paying cash up front. In this case, you will get a much lower monthly cost, but you will also have to pay interest on the unpaid balance. Plus, you will still have all of the additional costs of owning a unit as detailed here.
Total costs: $3,000+.
Rent the unit
When you decide to rent the new unit instead of purchase it, your costs immediately go way down. Instead of having to pay interest on the financed cost or fork over the cash to buy the unit outright, you will have a flat-rate monthly payment over the lifetime of the contractual period.
Typically, each of the following is included in a quality rental agreement (which is why it is important to read the rental contract very carefully!):
Maintenance and repairs
Option to renew with perks
Total costs: $15/month for the life of the contract (so, for one year of renting, this would add up to a flat amount of $180).
Contact Gravenhurst Today
If you are trying to decide whether to buy or rent a replacement HVAC unit, we can help! Call us at 877-885-3403 or contact us online.
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.