Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning.

Having central air conditioning in your home can help make those hot, humid Hamilton summers much more bearable.

There’s a usual sound an AC unit makes when the thermostat in your home tells it to turn on, and most of us recognize the familiar hum of the unit. What happens, though, when your AC starts to make some unfamiliar noises? Is it time to call in a professional repairman?

Here are a few noises you might find your central air conditioning unit making, and what they could mean, so you know how to handle them.

noisy ac unit

 

Banging AC Unit Sound

If you notice a banging noise in your AC unit, it usually means there are some loose parts somewhere inside the compressor. The loose parts are what is creating the banging noise. The banging noise could also mean it’s time for a compressor replacement. 

Clicking Air Conditioning Noises

Usually, when the unit is powering up or shutting down, clicking noises are common and expected, but when the clicking continues when the unit is up and running, there could be a problem. The continuous clicking could be a sign of a failing thermostat or a defective control. An AC unit has so many electrical parts to it, so if you notice any electrical issues, it’s important to check them out as soon as possible. 

Squealing AC Fan

Sometimes fans or blowers can make squealing noises either inside your home via the duct work or directly from the AC unit. Where the squealing is coming from could help determine what the issue is. If the squeal is coming from outside the home, it could be the blower motor as they tend to start squealing loudly when they’re about to go bad. The blower wheel can also squeal when it’s going bad, although a squeal is sometimes normal for some units. It’s important for you to determine if this is a new noise, or if this is a noise you normally hear when the unit starts up. 

Rattling Air Conditioning Unit

Over time, the parts of your AC unit will start to break down as they are used and experience wear and tear. Sometimes when the parts start to break down, they will cause rattling inside the unit itself. The rattling can be a sign that your AC overall is starting to deteriorate. You can eliminate some problem sources if you can check for loose screws around the outer casing of the unit, and by cleaning the condenser coils if you feel comfortable doing so. 

Screaming AC Unit Noise

If your air conditioner is screaming when it turns on, this is a very serious issue, and you need to call a professional right away. Oftentimes a screaming unit is a sign of a refrigerant leak, which can be very dangerous to the health of your family. The screaming could also be a sign of high internal pressure in the compressor, and that is also very dangerous. In either of these situations, your AC may actually turn off on its own – which is a good thing as it means there’s a sensor in the unit working to shut it down and prevent a hazardous situation. 

If you’re having problems with your AC unit, Hamilton Home Comfort is here to help. We serve the Hamilton, Ancaster, Grimsby and Binbrook region. Call us today and we’ll gladly come out and check out your home’s AC. 

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning, Furnace Maintenance.

 

The importance of wearing masks during COVID-19 is constantly being publicized through the media. However, as important as they are, they only protect the air that we breathe: HVAC systems work to keep a building’s airflow healthy. Here’s why having clean indoor air filters is always important – and even more so during our current pandemic.

dirty furnace filter

How Air Filters Work

Whether it’s a UV product, air purifier, or air filter for your furnace, indoor air products are used to provide healthy airflow inside our homes and buildings. By filtering airborne particles and debris, indoor air products get dirtier as the air gets cleaner. 

Although many air filters can only trap particulate matter that is bigger than virus molecules, higher quality air filters may be able to. Known as the MERV rating, the higher the rating that a filter has, the smaller the particle it can trap. This means that the coronavirus, a potentially deadly airborne virus, can possibly be captured by some indoor air products.  Due to this possibility, it is highly recommended that caution is taken when changing filters and disposing of them.

Air purifiers and UV products share the same goal as air filters: to maintain healthy indoor air quality. Like air filters, they, too, require regular maintenance to remain in optimal working condition.

Benefits of Indoor Air Products

Besides potentially filtering the coronavirus, having a properly functioning indoor air quality system reaps many benefits. For one, any lingering smells caused by pets, food, mildew, or smoke can be filtered, leaving the air fresh and breathable.

For family members with allergies, asthma, or upper respiratory health concerns, a quality air filtration system can help remove particles that exacerbate these health conditions. These include removing dust mites, pet dander, mould, and pollen. By removing these harmful air particles, fewer symptoms and reactions occur, leading to a better sleep experience.

Indoor air products can also create energy efficiency. When the air is cleaner, furnaces and air conditioners do not need to work as hard to balance humidity levels and increase airflow.

Completing Proper Maintenance on Air Filters

The benefits provided by an indoor air filtration system can only be experienced when the system is properly maintained. The recommended replacement timeline varies greatly depending on the type of air filter, the overall indoor air quality, and the number of inhabitants in the home (including pets). 

An average suburban home typically requires a filter replacement every three months. For homes with no pets and minimal inhabitants, air filters should be replaced every 6-12 months.

COVID-19 Safety Precautions Taken by HVAC Professionals 

Because information surrounding the coronavirus is not completely known, HVAC professionals need to take extra care when completing maintenance and repairs. 

Technicians should wear protective gear & clothing and thoroughly clean surfaces while they work in a home or business. Additionally, filters are being disposed of on-site instead of being transported back to the shop.

Hamilton Home Comfort Helps Keep Your Home’s Inhabitants Safe During COVID-19

Whether it’s during COVID-19 or a regular cold and flu season, having a properly maintained air filter could provide you and your home’s inhabitants with protection. For more information about the HVAC services we provide or to schedule a maintenance appointment, contact us today.

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning.

While the world waits in lockdown to see whether or not we can eradicate the COVID-19 virus before summer, one thing is certain. Regardless of whether the pandemic subsides, summer is coming to the Hamilton area. It is coming to St. Catharines, Ancaster, Burlington, Oakville and all the communities of southwest Ontario. And whether you are stuck at home or not, you will want to be comfortable when you are at home. So if your home needs a new air conditioner, the time to start thinking about that is now.

Air Conditioner Unit

Now perhaps you think that your home is unsuitable for an air conditioner. Maybe old technologies have let you down before. If that is the case, you need to talk to the professionals at Hamilton Home Comfort. Air conditioners have come a long way over the years, and we are certain that we can find just the right model to suit your needs.

With Hydro Rates temporarily reduced across Southern Ontario, and more people working from home, there’s extra incentive to keep cool during those hot summer days.

Below we compare the pros and cons of several popular styles of home air conditioners.

Window Air Conditioners

Window Air Conditioners are simple units that are great for cooling single rooms and small spaces. Compared to other types of units, they are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. The main drawback, of course, is that they produce uneven cooling and can be downright noisy. 

Nevertheless, many people in the Hamilton and Niagara area find this a small price to pay to get some relief from the heat and humidity.

Portable Air Conditioners

Many people consider portable air conditioners to be the 2.0 version of window air conditioners. These are small standalone units that are usually meant to cool small areas. But instead of taking the outside air and cooling it, they take air from inside the room and cool that instead. This makes them more convenient for people who don’t want the hassle of installing and uninstalling a window unit each season.

Ductless Split Air Conditioners

A split air conditioner consists of at least two units – one to four units inside your home and one outside your home. These units offer greater energy efficiency than window units, and they are not as noisy. Unlike window units, however, they will require a professional to install them. These units work exceptionally well when you only want to cool certain parts of your home, like your bedroom.

Central Air Conditioners

With central air conditioners, the unit is located outside of your home and uses your home’s duct systems to evenly cool your whole house. With this system, you have the added benefit that the air is filtered and free of allergens. This is particularly helpful if members of your household have allergies or other respiratory issues.

Central air conditioners will give you the best cooling overall and offer quiet and reliable cooling for years. However, you will need a professional to do the installation.

Contact Hamilton Home Comfort today!

If you live in the Hamilton area and would like to prepare your home for the summer ahead by investing in a new air conditioner, Hamilton Home Comfort can help! 

At Hamilton Home Comfort, we install, repair and maintain Central Air Conditioners in a wide variety of models to match your budget.

A member of our team would be happy to talk to you about any of the options listed above and help you determine the type of air conditioner that is right for you.

Posted by & filed under Furnace Maintenance.

Your home’s furnace makes sure you have a warm, cozy place to enjoy the cold Hamilton winters, but how long can you go until you need to replace it? Replacing the furnace in your home can be a major expense that no one wants to handle, but eventually, you will need to replace the furnace as it’s not going to last forever. If you know when it was last replaced, you can estimate how much longer you have until you’re looking at buying a new one. So, the big question for every homeowner is: how long is my furnace going to last? Here’s what you need to know about how long your furnace will last, and how you can extend the life of it.

Regular Maintenance

Much like cars, the life of a furnace could be much longer if regular maintenance is performed on it. As the furnace gets older it may need more work, or there could be parts that need to be replaced. If you perform yearly checks on your furnace and replace the filter often you can extend the life of your furnace and, potentially, decrease the cost of your utility expenses.

Correct Furnace Sizing

When the furnace was replaced in your home if one that is either too big or too small was selected then this could decrease the life span of your furnace. If the unit is too big for your home, it will quickly heat your home and turn back off again but will then need to turn on much sooner – so the process of starting up and shutting down too often will cause premature wear and tear on the parts. Similarly, if the unit is too small for your home then it will be running constantly and will also cause parts to wear out more quickly.

Warning Signs

Sometimes a furnace might just quit, without any warning signs but for the most part, there are signs you’re nearing the end of your furnace’s life if you just know what to look for. If you are calling for repairs multiple times over the winter, and repairs are getting more costly, this could be a sign that it is time to replace your furnace. Additionally, if you notice your heating bills are increasing in cost you might have an issue that needs attention.

So, how long will the furnace last?

There isn’t really a firm answer on exactly how long a furnace will last. Many factors such as regular maintenance, initial installation and usage can go a long way in determining the life of a furnace. If you are having issues with your Hamilton area furnace, we would be happy to come out and look at it. We can give recommendations on how much longer you can expect it to work and ways to extend its life. With regular inspections, even on an ageing furnace, you can extend its life and make sure you don’t have to face the big expense of replacing the furnace prematurely.

Posted by & filed under Furnace Repair.

Pricing is a huge factor when it comes to choosing a new furnace to install in your Hamilton home. But system options are equally important! The furnace you install should last for many years – so consider the following when choosing one for your home.

furnace and hot water tank drawing

Fuel Source

Many furnace options are available in gas, electric and oil heating. Although the most economical furnace is gas, some homeowners do not have gas lines available on their property. When that’s the case, oil or propane furnaces provide powerful sources of heat although they are dirtier and more expensive to operate.

The electric furnace, which produces heat from electricity, is the costliest type of furnace available. The electric-powered heat pump is a more economical solution.

High Efficiency

Investing in a high-efficiency furnace may cost more initially but will produce more savings on heating costs over time. In Canada, energy efficiency regulations are provided by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) metric. To be considered energy efficient, a minimum AFUE of 90 percent is required, although some furnaces may be as high as 98 percent. Comparing various furnaces’ AFUE ratings provides a quick way to choose the most efficient unit.

In furnaces that feature multi-stage heating levels, the heat exchanger and ductwork remain warm for a longer period, creating better efficiency. Variable-speed blower motors automatically adjust to heating and cooling demands, resulting in a longer lifespan than conventional blower motors.

All modern furnaces now come with electronic ignitions rather than pilot lights. Only when the thermostat calls for heat does the burner ignite, which produces energy savings.

Warranty

Installing a high-efficiency furnace is one of the biggest investments you can make in your home. An average furnace is meant to last 16-20 years and most furnace companies offer a 10-year guarantee on parts. For premium units, a more extensive warranty is typically provided.

Whoever installs your furnace will have their own warranty on their service.

Humidity Control

With Hamilton’s proximity to Lake Ontario, residents must worry about maintaining proper humidity levels in their homes. Too little humidity results in dry skin and respiratory problems and too much humidity can create the formation of mould and mildew.

Many furnaces come with built-in or add-on humidifier units, making it easier to independently adjust a home’s humidity and keep it at optimal levels.

Furnace Installation Cost in Hamilton

You may have chosen the best furnace on the market – but without proper installation, it won’t produce the results you’re after.

Choosing a quality HVAC contractor comes down to researching a company’s experience, professionalism and trustworthiness. You want to choose someone who is fully qualified, with the proper insurance, licenses and certifications and has a solid reputation for quality work.

The workmanship the contractor performs is crucial to the furnace’s lifespan – so choose wisely!

gas insert

Posted by & filed under Fireplaces.

Even during winter’s coldest days, a fireplace can instantly add comfort and hospitality to a home. Although many homeowners still enjoy a wood fireplace, others are choosing to install a gas fireplace insert. Designed to be placed directly inside an existing masonry fireplace, gas fireplace inserts can quickly create a high-efficiency source of heat by using either natural gas or propane. The best part? They can provide that heat at the touch of a switch or a flick of a button!

The Benefits of a Gas Fireplace Insert

Gas fireplace inserts conveniently fit most existing wood fireplaces and are an efficient way to fix cold chimney draft. Installs can be done fairly easily since the insert uses the existing chimney to hold and support its venting.

Once you get a gas fireplace insert installed, no longer do you have the cumbersome, untidy task of constantly keeping firewood at the ready. Choose from natural gas or propane to keep your fireplace working and your family warm at the touch of a button – even during a winter storm with a power outage.

With plenty of design options available, installing a gas fireplace insert can create an instant facelift to a room. Choose from contemporary, modern or traditional design options.

Compared to an old wood-burning fireplace, gas inserts are a much more efficient way of creating heat, resulting in lower energy bills. As sealed units, they don’t pull already heated air out of the room and instead, keep heat from leaking out. This results in a gas fireplace insert being 75% more efficient than an open fireplace. Your carbon footprint is also reduced compared to wood. 

Inquire about possible energy rebates associated with installing a gas insert.

Many Options Available

Ready to transform your inefficient existing wood fireplace into a highly efficient, convenient gas fireplace? With a wide variety of fireplace inserts available, choosing one to fit the size of your existing fireplace shouldn’t be a problem.

Whether you need a gas insert that will accommodate a small, mid-sized or large opening, we have a gas insert that will fit. Some inserts come in traditional or decorative designs, making it easy to choose an insert that suits your home’s style. Contemporary and modern inserts can often be created with a glass bead or rock-style burner, adding a special touch to your living space.

Need Help Selecting a Gas Fireplace Insert?

As Hamilton’s heating and cooling experts, we can help you choose an appropriate gas fireplace insert for your home. Some of our fireplace inserts can even be customized to suit your room! Besides helping you choose your insert, we can install and maintain it for you, too.

Whether you’re located in Hamilton or one of the surrounding areas, we can be trusted to keep your fireplace operating safely and efficiently. Learn more about the benefits of having a gas fireplace insert installed by contacting our office today.

Posted by & filed under Fireplaces.

During the cold winters that we experience in the Hamilton and Niagara area, there is perhaps nothing more comforting than curling up in front of a warm and cozy fireplace with a good book or your favourite beverage. However, while wood burning fireplaces can be nostalgic, they are also messy and require a great deal of maintenance. But there is a simple solution that allows you to keep that feeling of nostalgia while making your fireplace more convenient to use – and that is by installing a gas insert.

Here are five reasons why you should consider upgrading your traditional fireplace with a gas insert:

Increase energy efficiency.

One of the drawbacks of open fireplaces is that they allow a considerable amount of heat to escape from your home – even if the damper is closed. A gas insert seals your home, keeping the heat inside so you are not having to heat cold air continually.

Furthermore, fireplace inserts allow for zone heating – that is, they heat the areas of your home where you spend the most time. When using your gas insert fireplace, you can turn down your furnace (saving you money) and simply allow your gas insert fireplace to heat the most important areas of your home.

Experience greater convenience.

Turning on a gas insert fireplace is as easy as touching a button or flicking a switch. You can even program it to come on and off at a specified time or do it remotely with your smartphone! That is certainly a lot more convenient than chopping, storing and lugging around firewood. And unlike traditional fireplaces, you can even set your fireplace to a specific temperature.

Reduce your carbon footprint.

Gas insert fireplaces produce fewer greenhouse gases than traditional wood-burning fireplaces and masonry chimneys. As one of the cleanest fossil fuels available, natural gas creates very few particles when it burns, and that means fewer emissions, which is better for the environment. 

Heat your home even when the power is out.

Another advantage of gas insert fireplaces is that they can heat your home even when the power is out. In the Hamilton and Niagara area, we usually experience at least a couple of power outages each winter, but with your gas insert fireplace, you and your family can still stay toasty warm.

Even though gas insert fireplaces do use electronic ignition, these have battery back-ups powering their receivers and ignition packs so you’ll still be able to get instant heat even when a winter storm knocks out the power.

Add a beautiful focal point to any room.

Finally, gas insert fireplaces come in a variety of beautiful designs to ensure that your fireplace remains an attractive focal point of your room. Gas inserts are designed to fit into the existing masonry of your home, so there are no major renovations when you decide to upgrade your traditional fireplace.

And with a wide variety of styles and models available, you are sure to find one that suits your home beautifully!

At Hamilton Home Comfort, we are committed to helping you find the best heating solutions for your home. If you are interested in gas insert fireplaces or any of our other products, contact us at our Stoney Creek location today. 

Posted by & filed under Fireplaces.

Fireplaces make a home feel cozy, welcoming and warm. If you custom built your home, chances are you were able to put a fireplace (or two) exactly where you wanted them and you selected whether you wanted them to be gas or wood-burning. If your home is older, though, you might not have a fireplace. Not to worry – fireplaces can be retrofitted to almost any home in Hamilton, Burlington, St. Catharines and surrounding area so that your family’s living space looks like it belongs in a magazine. Before you make the big purchase, here’s what you need to know about fireplaces.

Budget

Like all home renovation projects, you need to determine what kind of budget you’re working with. When it comes to buying a fireplace, you aren’t just purchasing the unit itself. You will need to consider your cost of installation unless you can do it yourself. 

Type of Fireplace

There are a number of different energy sources you can use to heat your fireplace. You can choose electric, gas, wood-burning or bioethanol. The type of fireplace you can have may be limited by certain requirements or the set up of your home. If you have a professional come out to look at where you want the fireplace to be, they can let you know what your options are and what you’d need to do for everything to work.

Design

When it comes to the overall appearance of your fireplace, there are many options out there. You may even find a way to have a custom made mantle, should you want one. You will have to know what you want the finished look to be so that you can choose the appropriate products for installation. You can select brick surrounds, tile ones, or wood mantles – basically, if you can imagine it then you can likely find this option for your fireplace.

A Flue System

Once you have decided which type of energy source you’re going to be using for your fireplace, you will need to make sure your home has the appropriate flue system so that there isn’t any harmful smoke or gas going into your living space. For example, if you select to have a wood-burning fireplace then you will need to make sure you have the appropriate chimney.

Ventilation

No matter what kind of fireplace you have, you need to make sure your home has the appropriate ventilation in place.  A fireplace is meant to create a warm space for you to enjoy, but the smoke created as part of that can cause respiratory issues for you and your family. This is especially important if you have a gas fireplace because you don’t want gas leaking back into your living space.

Adding a fireplace to your home can go a long way to making your home feel more inviting and keeping it warm during those cold winter months. Each home, if it doesn’t already have a fireplace, may not be suitable for just any kind of energy source so it’s important to do your research and make sure the fireplace you want is compatible with your home.

If you live in Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Grimsby, Burlington, Ancaster, Dundas, Milton, Oakville or St. Catharines, and you are considering adding a fireplace to your home, we would love to help. Contact Hamilton Home Comfort today for a consultation. 

Posted by & filed under Fireplaces.

When the snow comes, there is almost nothing better than curling up with a blanket and a good book beside your fireplace. This is especially true in cities that tend to get a lot of snow like Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Grimsby, Burlington, Ancaster, Dundas, Milton and St. Catharines.

With regular use, like almost anything, your fireplace will need to be inspected and maintained to make sure it’s safe and efficient to use. The best time to get your fireplace inspected is right before the winter, as the winter is the time it will get the most use. Here’s why it is so important to get your fireplace inspected annually.

The Logs

Even if your fireplace isn’t actually wood burning, chances are you have some form of ceramic, fake, logs. Over time these logs will wear down due to the heat within the fireplace, and they have even start to get stuck to the fireplace insert. It’s important to check before the start of each winter season that the logs are in good shape and aren’t too old. If they need to be replaced, you can make arrangements to get that done before the really cold weather starts.

Clean Residue

Over the winter, with regular use, your fireplace will have a build-up of residue on the inside and outside of the insert. You can clean this residue off, on your own, after every time you use your fireplace or you can hire a professional service company like Hamilton Home Comfort to come in and do a yearly clean.

Make Sure it’s Safe

When a technician comes out to your home to inspect your fireplace, they will do a thorough check of the whole unit to make sure it’s completely safe. When there’s a gas line coming into the unit, they will need to check and make sure there aren’t any leaks in the line and the connection is tight. They will also look for any chips or cracks: even though the unit is built to withstand really high temperatures, there can still be some compromises to the structure with repeated heating and cooling.

Catch Small Issues

With smaller issues on the fireplace unit, you can likely replace individual parts as needed. If you wait and don’t perform regular maintenance then the issue could become so much bigger.  Remember that replacing small parts right away is usually much easier and less costly than waiting and having to replace the whole unit! What’s more, is that smaller issues could do damage to the mantle or other parts of the house surrounding the fireplace if they aren’t fixed, and that could mean very expensive repair bills.

If your gas fireplace hasn’t had an inspection lately, contact Hamilton Home Comfort. We happily serve Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Grimsby, Burlington, Ancaster, Dundas, Milton and St. Catharines. Our technicians have years of experience behind them, and we are flexible to work with your schedule and make sure your fireplace maintenance is completed when you need it. Give us a call today to schedule your annual fireplace maintenance appointment with Hamilton Home Comfort!

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning.

During the hot summer months, you want your air conditioner running at peak efficiency so that you are comfortable in your home.

 

 

Unfortunately, many homeowners may discover all too late that this essential equipment is not performing optimally. If you’re sweating while sitting on your couch and doing next to nothing, that’s a visible sign. Other signs are less apparent, but they can be important indicators that you need an air conditioning repair or maintenance.

Some of the signs to look for when figuring out what might be wrong with your AC operation are airflow, strange noises, odours and leaks. By being proactive and aware, you’ll be able to maximize air conditioner efficiency and know when to schedule an inspection by an HVAC technician.

Here are a few reasons why your AC may not be working correctly.

Weak Air Flow from the Vent

Central air conditioning works by taking warm air, transferring it outside your home, and then blowing cooled air throughout a space.

If it’s blowing warm air, it could be a problem with the AC compressor or a sign that your air conditioner is low on refrigerant. If the air is cooler, but the airflow is weak, it could be caused by a dirty air filter in the return vent or the air handler. It could also be a frozen evaporator coil, an air duct problem or an issue with your blower fan.

The AC is Making Strange Noises

Air conditioners are complex machines with a lot of moving parts, so they all make some noise. However, if you begin hearing new, strange noises from your AC, it could be a warning sign that it’s not working correctly.

A squealing sound could mean that a component in your AC unit, perhaps a blower fan or compressor fan, needs to be lubricated. A whistling sound might indicate a refrigerant leak. A grinding noise can be a sign of a potentially serious AC compressor problem. Anything out of the ordinary should be serviced immediately.

Moisture or Leakage

If you see leaks around your air conditioning system, you’ve got a problem to address.

If water is pooling or dripping near your AC unit, it may not be that air conditioner not working, but that the drain tube for condensation is blocked. An AC tech can unclog the tube and treat it with a chemical to prevent rust or mould growth that can block the tube and cause flooding.

In other cases, the moisture could be from a leak that is a serious problem. If you suspect that the leak is refrigerant, you’ll want to schedule air conditioner repair immediately.

Strange Odors When the AC is Running

Any strange smell is not welcomed in your home. If it’s coming from your AC it’s time for action. Some potential causes for the smell:

  • A pungent smell could be a sign that wire insulation in your HVAC system is damaged.
  • A smell of exhaust, such as with a gas engine, can indicate a fluid leak.
  • A smell of dirty feet often means that mildew or fungus is growing near your air conditioning equipment.
  • If there’s any strange smell when your HVAC system is running, it’s time for professional air conditioning service.

Sudden High Electricity Bills

Heating and cooling a home can account for nearly 50 percent of a home’s electricity use. The scorching heat of summer puts demands on your central air conditioning. That means electricity bills will increase during times of peak usage. However, if a sudden unexpected spike occurs, it might be time for a service call to investigate.

CONCLUSION

Central air conditioning is a complex system that requires maintenance. So, as you try to stay cool during the hottest months of the year, make sure your AC is working properly by having it inspected for any out of the ordinary problems.