Posted by & filed under Heating.

With a chill in the air on those cool late summer evenings, you can still enjoy your patio with a patio heater. A patio heater provides comfort and extends your living space in the cool weather of late summer and early fall.

 

Patio heaters are ideal for entertaining friends and family for a night on the patio. Patios are a great place for cooking, entertaining and relaxing. Heating your outdoor patio or deck will extend your outdoor entertaining season and allow you to enjoy your outdoor living space for a couple of extra months.

These units offer many versatile placement options, fuel options and an array of stylish designs. The right choice will allow you to lengthen your summer season, but there are several things to consider when choosing a heater that suits your needs the best.

Power Source

Outdoor patio heaters come in a variety of different power sources, such as gas, propane and electric, but which one is best for you as the primary heat source can be confusing. Consider your lifestyle when choosing your heater and when shopping, compare the heat output of different models. Use these considerations as your guideline.

A natural gas patio heater is convenient, and start-up is immediate, but you may find that you are restricted by where it can be located. For those who already have a gas line running to your barbeque, this is the ideal situation because this will reduce your cost of connecting to a patio heater, but you’ll still have to determine the location or the heater relative to the area of the barbeque.

Propane operated patio heaters offer you the versatility of where the heater can be located, but just like propane barbeques, propane runs out. There is nothing worse than running your tank out during a large gathering, so you must always have an extra tank as your backup plan. As for cost, propane will run you a bit more money, but the flexibility of location is worth the added costs.

From the point of affordability and flexibility of location, electric heaters are often a more practical choice, but you have to consider hydro prices if your outdoor patio heater is going to run a considerable amount of time.

Dual Heat & Radiant Heat

You can choose among outdoor patio heaters that provide dual heat settings. These settings allow you to control the heat output depending on your need. Also, some outdoor patio heaters provide radiant heat. These types of heaters provide you with more efficiency that helps to control your energy costs.

Safety

You should consider the safety requirements of operating an outdoor patio heater, such as the presence of children and/or pets in the house. Your patio heater should be anchored because a toppling heater can result in burns and property damage. And, remember to place the unit in an area where the electrical cord does not become a tripping hazard.

Enjoyment

Homeowners spend a lot of money and energy in making their outdoor spaces beautiful, expansive and extendable for the seasons.  A patio heater will ensure you get the most from this space and turn chilly nights into cozy, star-filled evenings enjoyed by friends and family.

Posted by & filed under Fireplaces.

An outdoor fireplace is a great addition to any backyard as a welcoming focal point for your home.  Having an outdoor fireplace is one of the latest popular trends for home renovations that combine comfort and warmth outside for many months.

outdoor fireplace

 

With an outdoor fireplace, you can enjoy the lit skies of summer or the beauty of winter in your backyard nestled by the heat of your outdoor fireplace. This is a year-round destination that can be enjoyed by family and friends as a great gathering spot.

During the winter months, adding an overhead heater is perfect with cozy blankets and a hot toddy. For many homeowners, an outdoor fireplace is considered a “must have” addition to any outside living combination.

Visual Appeal

An outdoor fireplace can enhance the look of the entire backyard, make your patio more private and cozy while adding interest to your home and backyard scenery. An outdoor fireplace can combine the best form and function as another area of your home and encourage you to spend more time outdoors while the flames crackle and your fire lights up the night. It can turn the area into a perfect location for nighttime entertainment with extended living space.

Home Value

Outdoor fireplaces are an investment worth considering because it can add value to your home if you ever decide to sell it. It can be a boon at sale time because not only are they attractive features that add character to your home and property; they can make your home stand apart from the others. They exude an ambiance that makes this investment worthwhile. According to the Marshall & Swift Residential handbook, outdoor gas fireplaces can add anywhere from $3,500 on average to $10,000 in home value depending on the size and scope of the renovation.

Location

Your first consideration in planning to have an outdoor fireplace built is to determine the location. You might want to consider locating it adjacent to your outside living areas, such as a deck or patio. Another alternative is to set it further back in the yard as a separate seating area.

Another factor that can influence your decision on the location might include the size of your outdoor space.

Types of Fuel

Additionally, you will have to decide whether your fireplace is going to be wood burning, propane or natural gas. If you decide on wood burning or propane, you can locate it anywhere on the property; however, if the fireplace is going to be fueled by natural gas, your choices are limited. Since the natural gas line is unusually fed directly from your home, the location for the fireplace will be determined by its proximity to the gas line. Gas fireplaces tend to cost more than wood-burning ones and the farther from the house that the gas line must run, the more costly the installation will be for the fireplace.

Design

The design of your fireplace is another consideration, but adding an outdoor fireplace is an easy process because you don’t have to tear down existing walls in your house. With the help of a professional landscape company, you can turn empty and unused space into a beautiful outdoor focal point. A popular choice for many homeowners is the built-in style, which attaches the fireplace to an outside wall of the home. Another common choice is the freestanding style that can be located anywhere on the property. The sky is the limit regarding styles from modern to rustic, and a professional designer can help you choose the style that fits the look of your home.

Enjoy

With an outdoor fireplace, you have many advantages, beauty, home value, outdoor destination and extra living space. It’s a location that adds year-round pleasures from your deck or patio.

 

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning.

The costs associated with keeping your home cool can be easy to forget…until you get your monthly hydro bill! And once you get your first high energy bill, you’ll probably start brainstorming ways to avoid it next month.

air conditioner

 

Besides turning your air conditioning unit up to a degree or two, implementing some energy efficiency tips can make a huge difference to your household’s cooling costs. Check out our suggestions below!

1. Keep the Interior of Your Home as Cool as Possible, Naturally

Up to 30 percent of unwanted heat can easily penetrate through your home’s windows, causing the inside temperature to increase.

Reduce this from happening by keeping blinds and curtains closed throughout the day. Even better? Invest in some blackout curtains, which can naturally insulate the room they’re installed in.

Interior lighting can also create some heat, so be sure to keep as many unnecessary lights off as possible.

2. Use Your Home’s Fans Effectively

Did you know that ceiling fans – which help move cool air produced from your air conditioning unit throughout your home – need to be adjusted seasonally?

When set to run counter-clockwise at a higher speed throughout the summer months, ceiling fans create a wind-chill breeze effect to keep you cooler.

Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans can also be used to pull hot air away from their respective rooms effectively.

3. Cool Necessary Rooms Only

If you and your family predominately use only a handful of your home’s rooms, then keep the unused rooms’ doors closed tightly. Consider blocking off the vents in these rooms, too.

Doing so ensures the cool air produced from your air conditioning unit isn’t being wasted in unused rooms.

4. Sleep Cooler

Many people enjoy sleeping in cooler temperatures. But before reaching for the thermostat during the evening hours to make your home cooler, try some no-cost methods, first!

Use cotton sheets on your bed as it breathes easier and stays cooler than flannel and fleece. Switch your pillow to buckwheat, which has naturally occurring airspace that won’t hold body heat like a conventional pillow.

5. Invest in Energy Efficiency

Keep your home cooler for summers to come by investing in an energy efficient air conditioner!

Older A/C units produce greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. Not only are new air conditioners better for the environment, but they use less energy – keeping more money in your pocket.

Keep Cool this Summer while Efficiently Using Your A/C Unit!

With this summer already reaching record-breaking temperatures, most air conditioning units are working at full tilt.

But instead of just turning your air conditioner down to further cool off your home, use some energy efficiency tips like described above.

Your home will remain cooler – without increasing your home’s energy costs!

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning.

It’s been a long wait but summer is finally here, and it looks like it’s going to be a hot one here in Hamilton! While you may enjoy the summer weather, sometimes the heat and humidity can get to be a bit too much. The last thing you want is an air conditioner that isn’t working properly or one that has to work so hard to keep your home cool that it sends your energy bills through the roof.

ac repair

 

Here are a few tips to make sure that your AC is ready for summer.

Before you begin any work or repair on your air conditioner, it is important to make sure that the power to the condenser is turned off. You should find the disconnect box beside the condenser. This is an extremely important first step to eliminate the risk of electrocution.

Now that you have taken this important safety precaution, you can get your AC summer ready.

Make sure you have clean filters

Changing or cleaning the filters to your furnace/air-handler should be done at least twice a year or whenever they have collected a lot of dust. When too much dust collects in these filters, it makes the airflow less efficient, and your air conditioning unit uses more energy to cool your home.

Not only can dirty filters cause your energy bills to go up, but that added dust being blown around your home can be a health hazard as well.

Clean the coils on the condenser

If you have central air, the condenser is that large box outside your home. Over the year, the coils on this box can collect a lot of dirt and debris. If you want your AC to work at top efficiency, you need to make sure that leaves, debris and other foreign objects are not jammed in the coils.

Check the insulation

The various tubes running between different parts of your air conditioning unit are usually wrapped with insulation. If the insulation is damaged, this could affect how well your AC will work. If you notice spots where it is damaged or missing insulation, you can replace it if you know how.

If you are unsure of how to do this, it is best to have it done by professionals.

Test your AC

When your air conditioner is clean and dry, it is time to try it out. Unfortunately, even if you have taken all these steps, it is possible that your air conditioner might not be working the way you would like. If you find it is not working, it is time to call an air conditioner repair company to diagnose and fix any problems.

It is always best to make sure that your AC is functioning properly before the really hot weather of summer strikes. If you require help getting your air conditioner ready or if you are in need of repair, call the experts from Hamilton Home Comfort today.

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning.

Now that the sizzling summer heat is almost upon us, our thoughts turn to keeping our homes cool. For many of us, that means flipping a switch on our air conditioners and letting the equipment do the work to reduce interior humidity and heat.

While it’s almost unheard of that most homeowners don’t have some air conditioning system, there are those brave souls who do not enjoy the benefits of having cold air blow through vents.

For those who opt for air conditioners, the ability to cool your house is simple. For those folks who live through the heat of the summer without an air conditioning unit, there are several things that you can do in your home to keep it reasonably comfortable.

fan cooling

 

Finding the best method that will cool your home, keep it dry and save on energy bills is an important factor in determining which route you should go that will work the best for you.

Here are different options to choose among to keep your house cool and dry this coming summer season.

Central Air Conditioning

Central air conditioning is the gold standard of relief from summer heat throughout the entire house. This type of system is usually installed in conjunction with your furnace or air handler. The compressor pumps a chemical called refrigerant through the system which lowers the temperature in the house to keep you cool and comfortable.

Window Air Conditioner

Window air conditioner units are not as functional as central air, but they can still do the trick for fewer renovation costs, but only if you have more than one. These are a single-room unit that consists of a portable box design wedged into place in a window. It’s a completely self-contained unit that includes a condenser, evaporator, thermostat, directional slats and fan to input cool air into the room to reduce the interior temperature.

Keep Your Blinds Closed

This is the simplest advice offered for reducing incoming heat into your home. As noted by the Family Handyman, up to 30 percent of unwanted summertime heat comes from your windows. By utilizing shades and curtains, you can keep the house cooler while saving up to 7 percent on bills. Closing blinds and curtains prevent your home from becoming overheated, especially in the case of south and west facing windows.

Blackout Curtains

One step up from closing your curtains and drapes is to invest in blackout curtains. These curtains block sunlight out completely, naturally insulating the rooms in which they are installed. It is recommended to invest in neutral coloured tones with white backings to repel the sun and reduce heat inside by up to 33 percent.

Ceiling Fans

If you have ceiling fans, now is the time to make the seasonal adjustment to your fans for the oncoming summer months. Many people don’t realize it, but ceiling fans generally have a two rotation system, clockwise and counter-clockwise. Setting your ceiling fan/s to run counter-clockwise at a higher speed will increase the airflow and create a chill breeze effect that helps to keep your home cooler and more comfortable.

Close Off Doors

By closing off doors to unused rooms, this tip will help to keep the house cooler because it prevents cool air from permeating these areas during the hottest part of the day.  In the nighttime, you’ll want to take advantage of the cooler night hours, so letting air flow naturally through the house will help cool it down and set you up for the upcoming morning heat.

Keep Cool This Summer

There are a few more tricks you can use to keep your house cool this summer, like swapping your sheets and turning on bathroom fans, but the above tips are the main highlights. By following some of these suggestions, you’ll enjoy a more comfortable home with less hot, sticky humidity being locked indoors.

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning, Heating.

Did you know that heating and cooling accounts for nearly half of your home’s energy costs? Most homeowners dread getting their utility bills because rates have skyrocketed in the past years making heating and cooling more expensive than ever before; however, there is something that you can do to combat the costs with the new technology of smart thermostats.

 

Nest Smart Thermostat

 

Smart thermostats are the next generation of temperature regulators by offering more control over your home’s temperature and climate through automation. These thermostats are efficient, allow you to use less energy, help the environment, and offer homeowners greater savings each month on their energy bill.

Smart Technology

Today’s technologies for many types of appliances have come a long way and smart thermostats are no exception. Smart thermostats offer Wi-Fi capabilities that go beyond temperature control. These Wi-Fi thermostats contain sensors, which control the heating and cooling in a home and work in conjunction with your HVAC system. What’s really neat is that they allow homeowners to connect these units to their devices.

This means that you have the ability to control your home’s temperature even when you’re not home by logging in from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. You can make corrections to your thermostat, so if you ever forget to turn down your settings before going to work or on vacation, this feature is very helpful!

Human Error

Smart thermostats take the human error out of the equation by learning your schedule and preferences, making it easier to be energy efficient. The automation allows the thermostat to handle the dropping and raising of the home’s temperature while you come and go, leaving the task out of manual control to smart technology. Anyone who has ever experienced leaving the AC or heater running all day while away from the house will appreciate the way a smart thermostat operates.

Not only do these units offer you peace of mind, but they are like a window into your home, keeping an eye on your house. A smart thermostat allows you to check the companion app while you’re away from home to see if the heat or cooling is running and at what temperature. That’s a world of difference from the old, outdated, manual operation that most of us have messed up in the past.

Flexibility

With smart thermostats, you have flexibility in the palm of your hands. Whether you’re coming home early from work, heading home from the airport or still in bed and wish it was a bit warmer, you can adjust the temperature from anywhere with your mobile device.

You can get emailed alerts in the event of your home’s temperature falling or rising outside of your pre-determined range and make the correct adjustments. If your network is experiencing a problem, such as a power outage, you can be notified of that situation, too.

Easy to Use

Thanks to the modern screen design and companion apps, smart thermostats are easy to use and program. Unlike some of the difficulties operating older programmable thermostats, this generation of smart thermostats are well designed, simple to operate and offer a range of benefits unlike anything before them.

You can even analyze your energy usage with their new technology. Track your energy usage each month and get an easy-to-read monthly report. The report can provide information about how much your heat ran last month or tell you how much energy you used compared to other users. Now that’s smart!

Get in the Groove

Smart thermostats are all the rage these days and can help you be more energy efficient, save you money on utility bills and provide a tremendous amount of smart technology, flexibility and ease of operation, so get in the groove and update today.

Posted by & filed under Fireplaces.

Studies have shown that sitting by a crackling log fire causes our blood pressure to drop and leaves us feeling more at ease. The reason for the relaxing effect harks back to prehistoric times when Stone Age man socialized around campfires and felt safe and warm while bonding with friends.

The longer people watch a fire, either indoors or outside, the more relaxed they become.

 

relaxing with hot chocolate by the fire

The Fireplace Effect

Fire has been part of human evolutionary history since the earliest times. It was essential for survival, heat, and light, warding off predators and cooking.

Although this role has changed over time, a fireplace is often a focal point in our home, providing warmth, ambiance, and social environment. There is nothing more inviting than sitting around a fire in the house, an open pit when it’s cold outside, or a campfire. The sights and sounds we experience actually induce relaxation and positive health benefits.

Studies have shown that fire along with sound is the most influential in effecting the relaxation response.

The results of a study by researcher Christopher Lynn at the University of Alabama, published in Evolutionary Psychology (2014), confirm that “hearth and campfires induce relaxation as part of a multi-sensory, absorptive, and social experience.”

We not only love the decorative appeal of a fireplace, we can understand why we love to watch and listen to a fire that helps us to unwind, relax, and feel calm. After a hectic workday, there is nothing more inviting than to switch into home comfort mode with good food, your favourite TV series, and your fireplace.

The sight and sound of fire triggers different emotions to different people, but if you’re one of the fortunate ones, you’ll enjoy those sights and sounds in a positive way which contributes to relaxation and good health.

If you’re looking to add a little relaxation to your own home, contact the professionals at Hamilton Home Comfort.

Posted by & filed under Fireplaces.

Fireplaces have been a longstanding tradition for providing comfort indoors during the wintertime. But with the many options available in fireplaces, it can sometimes be difficult to choose the best one for your household’s needs.

White Fireplace in modern living room

 

Below, we discuss the three main fireplace types – wood, gas, and electric – in detail to help make this decision easier for you!

Wood Fireplaces Create a Beautiful Ambiance But Require Physical Effort

Traditional wood-burning fireplaces are the best way to create that warm, crackling fire and wood-smelling aroma. Although creating a wood burning fire requires more physical work with lighting a fire than the other options, the ambiance it creates is definitely worth it!

Efficient wood fireplaces that are airtight and prevent heat from escaping can easily heat your entire living quarters. Another major benefit of owning a wood fireplace includes having a stable source of heat regardless of whether the power goes out!

Different wood creates different types of fires – ie. long-burning, extra aromatic, etc. The options regarding the type of wood to burn means you are free to create your own ambiance.

However, wood fireplaces do require you to always have a wood supply on hand. In addition, extra caution needs to be taken around this type of fire since ashes can easily re-spark.

Annual maintenance is normally required for insurance reasons. If your damper does not close sufficiently and drafts occur, you may find your utility bills increasing.

Gas Fireplaces Provide Convenience at the Touch of a Switch (but Can be Costly)

For quick, easy access to a fire using a switch, thermostat, or remote, gas fireplaces provide the solution! Even when the power goes out, your gas fireplace can be used to keep you warm.

Besides being efficient and requiring minimum maintenance, you can zone heat with a gas fireplace. This means you can switch off the central heating system and turn on the gas fireplace in the room desired.

Gas fireplace installation can be high, and even more so if you need to install a gas line, too. Unlike wood-burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces lack the sound and smell of aromatic firewood.

Electric Fireplaces: A Significant Heat Provider, but Not Without the Cost!

As the most significant heat provider, electric fireplaces are easy to install and source. Because they only require a plug, electric fireplaces are a convenient heat solution for locations that cannot accommodate other types of fireplaces.

However, since they create fake fires, they don’t look as natural as a wood fireplace. Also, they tend to be more costly, and don’t work during power outages.

Finding a style that matches your décor can sometimes be more difficult with electric fireplaces versus gas or wood-burning fireplaces.

Contact Hamilton Home Comfort for Your Fireplace Needs!

Looking for the best fireplace installer in the area? Then look no further than Hamilton Home Comfort!

Whether we are installing, repairing or servicing a wood, gas or electric fireplace for you, you can count on us to provide the best in quality products and service.

Contact us today to discuss your fireplace options with us!

Posted by & filed under Energy Saving, Fireplaces, Heating.

Gone are the days when you needed to painstakingly stack wood and carefully light a fire. Gas fireplaces make creating a relaxing, warm atmosphere as easy as switching a little switch!

Fully Installed Home Fireplace

 

Although most homeowners know how easy and convenient gas fireplaces are to use, knowing where the best location for a gas fireplace to be located can be difficult. And like many questions, the answer to where you should locate your gas fireplace is not straightforward!

Choosing the Most Efficient Place to Locate Your Gas Fireplace

Because gas fireplaces primarily heat the immediate room that they are located in, it’s best to place them in rooms that are normally cooler – yet are frequently used. In many homes, this means the basement.

By placing your gas fireplace in the room that is more frequently used, ambiance and warmth can be instantly added. Over the cooler months, many families tend to hibernate in their basements – and since the basements tend to be cooler, a gas fireplace becomes quite popular in this room.

Any heat that does extend past the basement has a chance of reaching the rest of the home since heat rises.

Family Room: Another Great Option for a Gas Fireplace

For people that either don’t have a basement or don’t utilize it often, think about which room you do use frequently. Main floor family rooms are sometimes the answer to this question.

Placing a gas fireplace in a room that you and your family frequently utilize means that the immediate area is heated, which contributes to energy savings.

Gas fireplaces use less BTU’s then furnaces (typically about a quarter less), so when your furnace does not need to be used as often due to a gas fireplace, less energy is consumed.

Efficient Gas Fireplaces Contribute to Energy Savings

Savings add up on your monthly energy bill when you install an efficient gas fireplace!

Not only do gas fireplaces decrease the amount of fuel consumed by your furnace, but using an efficient gas fireplace can reduce home heating bills by 20 to 40 percent!

The Benefits of Having a Gas Fireplace

It’s no secret that homeowners love their fireplaces! In fact, owning a gas fireplace is one of the top features on the list of amenities that home buyers look for when buying a home.

By being accessed with a remote control or a wall switch, there is an ease associated with using a gas fireplace. In addition, a certain type of ambiance is created – perfect for entertaining with friends or enjoying a relaxing night in as a couple.

Contact the Experts at Hamilton Home Comfort

Gas fireplaces can be installed basically anywhere you want to enjoy a fire’s comfort. Choose from a variety of styles to find the perfect one to match your home’s decor!

Have your house feel more like a home with the addition of a gas fireplace! Contact the professionals at Hamilton Home Comfort to find out more about installing a gas fireplace in your home.

Posted by & filed under Fireplaces.

A fireplace mantle can significantly enhance the look of any living room, family room or even kitchen and offers great decorative value. Unlike medieval times when their sole purpose was to catch smoke, today’s mantles are accessories as part of the home’s interior design and ornamental element.

Santa sleeping in front of the fireplace

 

Regardless what mantel theme you decide upon; simple, classic or an elaborate design, the fireplace has become a centerpiece of the entire room. Not only does it beautify and decorate an otherwise ordinary looking fireplace, but it serves a functional purpose as well. Mantels are used to display knick-knacks, candles, family photos, heirlooms pieces, and other items of interest that you wish to display.

Considering the Types

Once you’ve decided to invest into a fireplace for your home, you’ll first need to consider the importance of its design and which one will be suitable for your interior. There are several types of materials that can be used in constructing fireplace mantels, ranging in styles from rustic and natural to contemporary and elegant.

When choosing a fireplace mantel, it also helps to know what’s available and features of each type. It should match the fireplace design and room interior to provide a uniform and overall appearance in your home.

The rustic style remains one of the most popular styles for fireplace mantels. A stone fireplace immediately conjures up the image of warmth and comfort; however, more modern mantels made of wood are becoming quite popular these days. Modern designs using materials like steel, marble or stucco have gained in popularity and offer a creative approach to mantel designs with intriguing ideas.

  • Wood – Most fireplace mantels are made from wood because it’s a material builders can easily construct and maintains a natural look. Wood is the most popular and also the most affordable material since you can paint and stain it to suit the colour theme and décor of your interior space. Wood has a lot of flexibility because it can be carved, manipulated and designed into various styles and shapes. Wood mantels come in a variety of wood types such as oak, cherry, walnut, pine, maples, cedar and many other hardwoods.
  • Stone – Stone mantels are also popular because they are especially resilient to damage. Stone is more expensive than wooden mantels, but the expenditure is worth it because of their durability, fireproof, heatproof nature and easy maintenance. Stone mantels are generally precast and simply fitted to surround the fireplace. Stone mantels can be constructed from limestone, sandstone, granite, river rock or travertine and available with different colors and textures of stone. Stone mantels are best suited for rooms with a large fireplace.
  • Marble – Marble mantels are the most expensive and cost thousands of dollars. The marble is usually hand carved and provides a rich, elegant and formal look to the room. Marble is a study and extremely hard material. Not only beautiful and elegant, marble is known for its longevity and durability.
  • Brick – Brick mantels are simple, affordable and ideal for creating different looks. Brick is usually available in a single colour and best suited for interiors that have a country feel. Since brick is an exceptionally heavy material, it will need additional support at the fireplace.
  • Ceramic Tile – Ceramic tile mantels are similar to stone mantels in that ceramic tile mantels are precast using ceramic solid units. Ceramic mantels give you the option of customization depending on the room interior and they come in a wide range of finishes, colours and styles
  • Metal – Metal mantels can look either contemporary or historical, such as a Victorian style that’s finished with hand-rubbed gold. Metal has the flexibility in experimenting with unique shapes and sizes. They come in a variety of materials such as aluminum, bronze, stainless steel and brass and particularly attractive in a room having a contemporary decor.

It’s Your Choice

Whichever material you ultimately decide upon using for your fireplace mantle, a mantle will add beauty, charm and style to your interior décor.