Carbon Monoxide. Danger Can Lurk In Your Furnace.

You’ve probably seen it in the news. The silent killer, carbon monoxide strikes again. Carbon Monoxide or CO often comes from heating appliances in your home such as your furnace, boiler or water heater. That’s why it’s worth it to have you heating system serviced annually to ensure safe operation for your family.

Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless, tasteless and non-irritating. It’s why it’s called the silent killer that takes many lives in Canada every year. Every homeowner living with fuel-burning appliances is potentially at risk to CO poising.

CO can be circulated throughout your home by the heating system. Once released, CO is heavier than air. That’s why it is particularly problematic in bedroom areas and why many homeowners die in their sleep.

How do you avoid the dangers of CO?

  • Obviously have working CO detectors on each floor of your home and make sure the batteries are changed annually. Ask your heating contractor where to properly place detectors in your home. But remember, a detector is no substitute for proper heating repair and maintenance.
  • Secondly, have your furnace or boiler serviced and inspected. If your furnace is older than ten years, it may be a danger and time to replace it.
  • The savings you get on a new higher efficiency furnace may make it worthwhile when you think of the fuel savings over the next ten years and the invaluable safety for your family.
  • Keep areas around your water heater and furnace clear so air can properly circulate and maintenance work can be performed.
  • Have your chimney inspected if you’ve had it for a number of years. A deteriorating chimney may become blocked and prevent CO from properly venting to the outside.
  • Cars produce a lot of CO, so back your car out of the garage to warm it up on those cold winter days to keep the CO from entering your home.


9 Ways to Keep Your Home Toasty in Winter


AtlasCare’s Dick Thomas, Vice President of Operations, was recently interviewed for by Walmart Canada’s Live Better Magazine, about saving heating costs during the cold months of winter.  We are honoured that Walmart thought so highly of our expertise in the Heating and Cooling industry and we are pleased to share this article with you in case you didn’t get a chance to read it in the November issue of Live Better magazine.

Feeling The Heat – 9 ways to keep your home toasty in winter.

With freezing temperatures on the way, your home heating costs will likely start to increase. How do you keep that heating bill from burning a hole in your budget? Here are nine things you can do that may lead to big savings.

By Martha Li

  1. Install a high efficiency furnace: “It’s the number one way to reduce your heating costs”, says Dick Thomas, Vice President of operations at AtlasCare, an Oakville, Ontario based contractor specializing in installation and service of residential heating and air-conditioning equipment. If you have an old furnace, look into replacing it with a high efficiency one – Thomas says, “it can equal savings of 30 percent or higher off your current heating bill.”
  1. Clean or replace furnace filters: “A furnace with a dirty filter is not allowing the maximum airflow to go through the house, and therefore the furnace is not operating at its most efficient level,” says Thomas. How often to replace your furnace filter depends on the type that’s used. “If it’s a one inch disposable filter, it should be replaced approximately every two months,” says Thomas. “A furnace using a pleated filter should be replaced once or twice a year.”
  1. Install a programmable thermostat – and use it: Nowadays there are Wi – Fi thermostats that allow a homeowner to adjust the temperature from virtually anywhere by using their smartphone, tablet or laptop. Just make sure it’s programmed to automatically lower and raise the temperature based on peak consumption times and periods of the day when the home is vacant. A properly programmed thermostat can reduce heating costs by up to 10 percent.
  1. Ensure your attic and basement are properly insulated: Together, these areas represent as much as 15 to 30 percent of your home’s overall heating and cooling losses. “Adding insulation in these areas can curb your homes overall heating loss,” says Jennifer Smith, vice president of corporate relations at Burlington Hydro In Ontario.
  1. Check your home’s humidity: “If a house has the proper humidity, it’ll feel warmer than if it’s dry,” Thomas says. “Look into getting a whole house humidifier, not just ones that service single rooms.”
  1. Close heat registers in unused rooms: Close the door, too, adds Smith, since shutting doors means you’ll only heat the rooms used most often.
  1. Let the sun in: “Open curtains during the day to let the natural heat from the sun come in,” says Smith. “At night, close the curtains to minimize heat loss.”
  1. Eliminate drafts: Seal or caulk drafts around windows, doors, and air vents, and install insulated plates on electrical outlets – doing so can shave off up to 25 percent of total annual heating costs.
  1. Turn down the heat: For every degree lower, you’ll save up to two percent on heating costs, according to Epcor Utilities Inc. in Edmonton. The most commonly recommended settings are 20 °C (68°F) during the day, 18°C (64°F) for sleeping and 16°C (61°F) when you are away from home.

Why Have Your Ducts Cleaned?

Before you turn your furnace on for winter warmth, remember that over the past year, your ducts have been building up pollen, dust, and even bacteria. So, when your furnace comes on you’ll be blowing all that buildup into your home. With windows closed tight, the debris stays in your air. If you’ve had a renovation, or there’s building going on your neighbourhood, you could have a particularly bad build up in your ducts.

Breathing the best possible air is important to your health and the health of your family. Be sure you have a trusted, proven and favourably reviewed company because there is good duct cleaning and bad. Make sure you get a firm price on the job and that you’re not being given a low price and then upsold on extras.

Dryer Vent Fire Dangers

Did you know that dryer vents can cause dangerous house fires? As you can imagine, the dry, fluffy material is highly flammable. The problem is, once there is excessive buildup, it can cause the dryer over heat and ignite the fluff. It can take just a few seconds once ignited to get out of control.

Depending on your dryer usage, thoroughly cleaning your dryer vents should be a regular routine. Clean your filters every time you dry a load, and have your entire dryer vent system cleaned every three years. For your protection, be sure to use reputable technicians who know how to get at every nook and cranny of your dryer vent system from dryer to the outside walls.