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.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Summer is a great time to get together with friends and family and enjoy BBQ meals. And while cooking and eating outside can reduce the number of dishes you’ll have to wash, there is still some cleaning involved. Yep, those barbeques, grills, and smokers all need to be cleaned regularly.

 

 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because the food was cooked at a high temperature, you don’t need to clean the grill afterward. Yes, the high heat does kill off any bacteria, but old fats and oils that are left on the cooking surface can still make you ill.

So here are our tips for cleaning your barbeques, grills, and smokers.

The Outside of the BBQ

Depending on how often you use it will determine how regularly the outside needs to be cleaned. If you leave your barbeque outside all summer, you should probably clean the outside at least once every couple of weeks. Do this by wiping it down with a cloth and some hot soapy water.

For the Grill

The grill should be cleaned before and after each use. Turn on the heat for a few minutes in order to burn off any food debris and then scrub the grates with a spatula. You can do the same thing when you are finished cooking. Every once in a while, it is also a good idea to clean the grates with hot soapy water and leave them to air dry.

For Hot Plates

It can be easy to get baked-on food stuck to the hot plates of your barbeque. Using a balled-up newspaper is a good option for scrubbing the hot plates as it will not damage them. Clean hot plates while they are hot before and after each use.

For the Drip Tray

The most challenging feature on your barbeque to clean is the drip tray, but it is important to clean it at least after every four to five uses – otherwise grease can build up and pose a fire hazard. To make the job easier, cover the drip tray with aluminum foil and fill the pan with sand to absorb the grease. When it comes time to clean the tray, remove the foil and sand and throw them away. Clean the tray with hot and soapy water and leave to air dry before replacing the foil and the sand.

Bonus Tip: Reconsider that wire grill brush!

Wire grill brushes have received a lot of press recently because the wires can sometimes break off and get stuck to the food. If ingested, these wires can puncture the inside of the digestive tract and result in a trip to the emergency room for the unfortunate victim.

As a result, you may want to use alternative cleaning utensils such as wood or stone scrubbers. If you still wish to use a wire brush, experts recommend that you replace it every season as wires are more likely to break off of older brushes.

For more information on how to care for your barbeque, grill, or smoker contact 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 sort of air conditioning system, there are lots of tricks to help your air conditioner not overwork to put a strain on the unit.

Having air conditioning is a simple solution to cool your house but finding the best method that will cool your home, keep it dry and save on energy bills is an important factor in determining how to operate your system.

 

 

Use AC only when required

If you don’t need the air conditioning on, don’t leave it on. If you’re going downstairs, for example, you should turn off the AC upstairs. Turn off your AC whenever you leave the house too.

Install A Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat is a perfect way to make sure that you’re not overusing your air conditioning system. A self-programming smart thermostat can adjust itself based on the temperature in the room. In addition, some newer thermostats can even detect motion in a room and adjust themselves accordingly.

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 with 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, your system will run more efficiently and not work so hard. You’ll enjoy a more comfortable home with less hot, sticky humidity being locked indoors.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature is important not only for the enjoyment of your home but also for the health of you and your family. And a comfortable home starts with a properly installed and well-maintained HVAC system. In this article, we will review some of the qualities that you should look for in an HVAC contractor so you can be confident that your home’s HVAC system will be keeping you comfortable all year round.

 

HVAC contractor at work

Has a Good Reputation

In an age of easily accessible information, it shouldn’t be too hard to find out whether the HVAC contractor that you are considering working with has a good reputation. Check out their rating with the BBB and read their online reviews. You can also get referrals from friends and family members.

Is Properly Certified

Ensuring that your HVAC system is properly installed and running the way it should doesn’t just ensure your home stays at a comfortable temperature, it also helps ensure that your home is safe. HVAC professionals must meet strict training criteria in order to become certified and licensed. If a contractor is not certified, they shouldn’t be working on your home’s HVAC system.

Provides Written Estimates and Offers Regular Maintenance Contracts

Before you have any work done on your home’s heating or cooling systems, a reputable contractor should be willing to provide you with a written estimate. This helps to give you peace of mind that there won’t be any surprises in the bill when the work is done.

Since regular maintenance on your home’s HVAC system is recommended to help prevent major repair problems down the road, it is also recommended that you choose an HVAC contractor who offers regular maintenance contracts.

Sells Quality Products

Whether you are looking to purchase a furnace, air conditioner, fireplace etc., it makes sense to buy it from the same company that is going to install it. This saves you the hassle of dealing with multiple companies and will likely save you money as well.

This means that when choosing an HVAC contractor, you should choose one that sells quality products. Look for a contractor that sells energy-efficient products from reputable brands such as Napoleon, Lennox and Goodman.

Works Locally in an Office or Shop

Finally, when choosing an HVAC contractor to work with, we recommend finding someone who is local. When your contractor is local, it means that they will be more reliable in keeping their appointment times because they are nearby.

It also means that they will be able to send a technician to your home more quickly should you ever require emergency service.

Choosing an HVAC contractor is an important decision, so it’s important to take the time and compare what different companies have to offer and ask questions about their experience and certifications. If you are currently looking for an HVAC contractor, we hope you’ll consider Hamilton Home Comfort. For more information, call us today.