How to Easily Make Any Bypass Humidifier More Water-Efficient

Water rates in Ontario are rising even faster than our property taxes. In 2016, the average household water cost was $800 per year – and it’s climbed even higher in the years since.

You’ve fixed leaky faucets, shut down your lawn sprinklers, even tried to cut your showers short – but it hardly makes a dent in your ever-growing utility bills.

You’re not alone if you’re looking for new tactics to reduce your water use.

One of the common sources of water waste is something most homeowners haven’t considered: the humidifier. All humidifiers waste water, and unfortunately, the more convenient whole-home humidifiers tend to be big culprits.

But humidifiers are a lifesaver in our cold Canadian winters, especially when the humidity drops below 35%. Low humidity makes your home feel even colder, and the dry air can wreak havoc on your health and overall level of comfort.

Fortunately, if you own a bypass humidifier, there’s an easy way to drastically increase its water-efficiency and reduce water waste without turning down the humidity level.

Below, we’ll talk about:

  1. How your humidifier works;
  2. Why bypass humidifiers waste water;
  3. How to make your bypass humidifier more water-efficient

1. How Your Humidifier Works

Many people believe their furnace ‘removes’ moisture from the air and a humidifier puts it back. While it’s true that central heat makes your home feel dryer, it isn’t exactly taking moisture away.

Cold air expands as it warms up. If the amount of water vapour remains the same as the temperature rises, the relative humidity in the space drops. Humidifiers counteract this effect by increasing the amount of moisture the air. There are several ways to do this – some humidifiers produce steam, while others draw the air through a moistened ‘vapour pad’.

Humidifiers fall into one of two categories: whole home humidifiers that humidify the entire home and portable humidifiers than humidify the surrounding space. Portable humidifiers are ideal for small spaces (single rooms, dorms or small homes with no central HVAC system) but whole home humidification is significantly more convenient in the long-term because:

  • A home humidifier controls the humidity in the entire home at once.
    • You don’t have to continually refill it with water.
    • It’s quieter and less obtrusive than a portable humidifier.

Some whole-home humidifier units have a built-in fan (like the Lennox HCWP3-18 Humidifier) while bypass humidifiers like the GeneralAire Legacy 1099 Bypass Humidifier work off your forced air furnace’s blower fan.

2. Why Bypass Humidifiers Waste Water

Bypass humidifiers are ultra-quiet and highly efficient, but they have one drawback: water waste.

Some humidity is lost as the air travels through your central heating and cooling system before it reaches your living space. Water also drains off the unit’s water-soaked vapour pad. Most humidifiers include a drain line that carries this excess water into the sewer.

Exactly how much water a humidifier uses depends on:

  • How long the humidifier runs
  • How much air passes over the vapour pad
  • Chosen humidity setting (and how far it the desired humidity is from the baseline humidity in your home)
  • What is installed in the water line

That’s assuming your humidifier doesn’t have a leak. Just like a leaking toilet tank, a poorly-maintained humidifier can waste thousands more litres of water each year. If you suspect your humidifier is leaking, it’s time for a service call.

Modern humidifiers are far more efficient than their predecessors (using less water per day than washing a single load of laundry in a high-efficiency washing machine.) Still, all whole-house humidifiers waste at least some water while they run.

You want to reduce that waste as much as possible.

3. How to Make Your Bypass Humidifier More Water Efficient

Several years ago, one of the top manufacturers in the humidifier space decided to do something about water waste.

To date, their product remains one of the only devices on the market to effectively limit waste water in your humidifier.

The solution is simple: when the humidifier receives a call for water, the device automatically switches on and limits water supply to the vapour pad. The humidifier releases only the amount of water needed to keep the pad moist – no more and no less – so less water ends up down the drain.

Simple as it is, the WaterSavor™ is proven to cut water waste by a minimum of 50%. That’s using the default settings. If you fine-tune the settings to a specific humidifier model, settings and season, it’s possible to achieve savings up to 96%.

Most importantly, the WaterSavor™ doesn’t affect your humidifier’s output.

Keep Your Humidifier in Top Working Condition

Like all parts of your heating and cooling system, a whole-home humidifier requires proper care and good maintenance to perform at its best. Regular service is also important to avoid costly humidifier leaks – which can trickle away for months or years before it’s discovered.

Homeowners in the Greater Toronto Area can contact us 24/7 to schedule service for any type of humidifier, from drum-style humidifiers to flow-through bypass humidifiers and more.

You can also reach out to learn whether a WaterSavor™ is right for your humidifier.

10 Air Conditioning Mistakes That Make Your Hydro Bill Soar

Good news: the temperature is rising.

Bad news: your hydro bill is soaring, too.

You want to stay cool this season, but at what cost?

For most Canadians, central air conditioning only accounts for 3% of their overall energy use. But if your wallet is feeling the heat, it could be because you’re driving up costs without knowing it.

These are among the most common, avoidable mistakes we see on air conditioner repair calls that have a big impact on your cooling efficiency.

1. Having A Clogged Filter

The air filter is an essential component of any air conditioner. It catches dust and debris so it doesn’t blow around your home. A dirty filter can lead to poor air flow or freezing up your unit’s evaporator coil and can add 5 to 15 % to your hydro bill.

Solution: Filters should be changed once every 3 months on a central air system, more often if it is running all the time.

2. Not Installing the Right Size System

Air conditioners are sized according to the amount of space they need to cool. An air conditioner that is too big will create inconsistent temperatures throughout your house and cycle on and off frequently. One that is too small will work too hard trying to cool your space trying to keep up with the thermostat and wear out prematurely.

Solution: Consult an HVAC professional to make sure you get the right size for your home.

3. Not Installing your Unit in The Right Location

Choosing a poor location for your air conditioner can hamper the ability of your unit to perform at its best. In the wrong location, it has to work harder to cool your home, sending your hydro bills up.

Solution: Make sure your air conditioning unit is located in a shady spot out of direct sunlight and not blocked by bushes.

4. Opening Windows

Keeping windows open is a good way to undermine your HVAC system’s ability to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. If your aim is to take advantage of a cool breeze, don’t run your A/C unit at the same time. Otherwise, your unit will have to work harder to keep down the humidity.

Solution: Instead of opening the windows, consider running a ceiling fan.

5. Not Making Use of Window Coverings

Keep blinds and shutters closed, and curtains drawn on hot sunny days to block the sun’s rays from heating up your place.

6. Not Using A Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can save you hundreds on your annual A/C bill by adjusting the temperature when you are not at home and when you return. The newest generation of smart thermostats are user-friendly and easy to program.

Solution: Install a programmable or smart thermostat like the iComfort® S30, which features a beautiful 7” HD colour touchscreen.

7. Incorrect Positioning of Thermostat

Most thermostats measure the temperature of its immediate surroundings. Positioning one right beneath the sun’s rays could throw off temperature readings and cause your unit to run unnecessarily.

Solution: Make sure the thermostat is positioned in a central location away from direct sunlight or heat sources. You could also invest in a smart thermostat that uses multiple sensors like the ecobee4.

 8. Incorrect Use of Thermostat

A common misconception is that you will cool your home quicker by lowering your thermostat.

In reality, your air conditioner works just as hard to lower the temperature 1 degree as it does for 20 degrees. It just takes a longer. You’ll usually end up with a colder home, and later you’ll have to adjust it again to raise the temperature, forcing your unit to work even harder.

Solution: When you consider that you will cut up to 3% off your energy bill for every degree you raise the temperature, you might want to be patient while your body adapts to the current temperature.

9. Not Running Fans

Installing any type of fan, but particularly ceiling fans, can help move cool air around your home and take the burden off of your air conditioner. You can also use a ceiling fan to help distribute warm air in the winter.

Solution: Look for an energy-star rated ceiling fan and be sure it is turning counterclockwise in the summer.

10. Cooling Unused Space

There’s no need to waste energy cooling parts of your home that are not in use. While we don’t recommend closing the registers in unused rooms, you can reduce the load on your A/C by shutting the doors.

Solution: Close doors to rooms that are not in use.

Has Your Air Conditioner Had a Tune-Up Lately?

Your air conditioner needs regular maintenance to run at its peak energy efficiency and prolong its life. Plus, you can minimize energy consumption up to 30% by having proper adjustments and regular cleaning each year.

Indoor air quality is another concern. If you have a poorly-maintained system, it can become contaminated with bacteria which can lead to health problems as well.

Investing in a Protection Plan when you purchase a new air conditioner will ensure your system gets the attention it needs to run efficiently and safely for its lifetime.


6 Signs your Air Conditioner Might Not Make It Through the Summer

It may be mild today, but you know that summer is just around the corner. And based on the past few summers we’ve had in the Greater Toronto Area, this one could be another scorcher.

Are you confident your air conditioning unit will keep up during a heat wave?

If your air conditioner is a recent addition, you probably have nothing to worry about – just follow a few A/C safety precautions and you’ll be fine. But if you’re relying on an older unit, you’ll want to watch out for the common signs of an ailing air conditioner.

Keep an eye out for red flags such as:

  1. Your home not cooling
  2. A/C making strange noises
  3. Water leaking from the A/C
  4. A/C running all the time
  5. Poor air flow
  6. Sharply increasing hydro bill

Read on to learn why it could mean your air conditioner might not make it.

Your Home is Not Cooling

When the outdoor temperature is rising, the air conditioner is on and your home is not cooling, it is an obvious sign that something’s wrong.

One way to gauge if your A/C unit is running correctly is when your home’s temperature drops at least one degree per hour.

If your temperature is not dropping at this rate, here is a checklist of things you can run through while your central air conditioner is turned off:

  1. Clear away any dirt and debris such as leaves, grass and pollen from around your unit.
  2. Ensure that any shrubs or trees near your unit are trimmed back so there is at least two to three feet of space between the compressor and any plants or shrubs, and five feet of clearance with any trees above the unit.
  3. Remove any covers and coil blankets you may have had on your unit over the winter.
  4. Repair or replace damaged pipe insulation. Pipe insulation that leads to your home can become damaged over winter by moisture and ice.
  5. Inspect the condensate line inside your home. Clear any moisture or build-up from clogging your condensate hose and drain.
  6. Inspect your air filter. Install a high-efficiency pleated air filter that effectively filters outside air so that your system pumps out cleaner air.
  7. Schedule an inspection. Minimize energy consumption by up to 30% by having proper adjustments and regular cleanings each year.

Your A/C Unit is Making Strange Noises

Any noise other than a quiet steady hum is a reason for concern. Loud squealing or grinding noises could indicate that something is loose and needs tightening.

The sooner your failing air conditioner is serviced the better. If problems are caught early, they can save you money in the long run.

Water is Leaking from Your A/C Unit

A puddle of water around your unit is a sign that it has sprung a leak. The two main causes for a leak are the refrigerant line or the condensate line. Fortunately, both are easy repairs. A leaking condensate line will limit your system’s efficiency and can cause water damage in your home. It can be easily spotted by moisture near your condensate drain pan, or near your exterior unit.

A more serious leak would be from the refrigerant line since it contains Freon and becomes a health risk. Freon is an odourless gas that can cut off oxygen to your lungs. Scheduling an annual inspection can detect any potential refrigerant line leaks.

Your Air Conditioning Unit is Running All the Time

If your A/C unit is more than 10 years old, it may be losing its efficiency. As air conditioners age, they become more susceptible to rust and corrosion from excess water. Your air conditioner may also be undersized for your home.

It might be time to upgrade your air conditioner.

Air Flow Issues

Just like your refrigerator, if it smells bad, it’s not a good thing. Musty smells could indicate mold or mildew in your air ducts. Luckily this is an easy fix with a service call to have your ductwork inspected and cleaned.

Poor air flow is another sign your A/C system needs attention. Built-up debris such as pollen, dust, bacteria, pet dander, and carpet fibres can all build up in your ductwork and restrict air flow. Having your ductwork cleaned regularly is a great preventive measure.

No matter what type of air conditioner you have, a clogged air filter will limit the air flow. Remember to clean the air filter in your window or portable air conditioner periodically to maintain good air flow and indoor air quality.

Your Hydro Bill is Increasing

If you notice that your electricity bill is significantly higher than it was a year ago for the same time period, this could be a warning sign that your air conditioner needs attention. When your A/C unit isn’t running efficiently, it runs at a high level trying to cool your home. This translates to higher energy costs. Your unit needs to be serviced as soon as possible.

Make Sure Your A/C Lasts the Summer

Don’t sweat the predictions that the summer of 2019 could be one of the hottest yet! Be prepared with an effectively-running cooling system.  Whatever air conditioning system you own, give your unit the TLC it needs to deliver peak performance when you need it.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, give us a call. We offer the highest ranked air conditioning services in the GTA.

6 Ways to Start Your Spring Cleaning While There’s Still Snow Out

After a long and cold winter, spring has finally sprung – or, so we hope! With sun and warmer weather around the corner, the last thing you’ll want to do on a nice spring day is spend it indoors cleaning. That’s why now is the perfect time to get an early start on your spring cleaning. As you build a list of chores to conquer throughout your home, it’s important not to forget about your home comfort products. During the winter months, snow, ice and colder temperatures can have a serious effect on your HVAC system. When it’s cold, your furnace works extra hard to evenly distribute heat throughout your home. Oppositely, chances are your air conditioning unit has been sitting unused throughout the course of winter. It’s important to check-in and have these units serviced prior to the warmer weather to ensure that you’re not without A/C on a hot summer day!

Change Your Furnace Filter

During the winter months, no appliance in your home works harder than your furnace. Most people typically get their furnace filter changed before winter to help trap dirt, dust and harmful pollutants. This is just as important of a task come spring. Switching your air filers is perhaps the most impactful HVAC furnace maintenance task you can undertake. Not only does it help with air quality – protecting your family, but it can also reduce energy usage by as much as 15%. There are many benefits to scheduling regular preventative maintenance of your furnace, including prolonging the lifecycle of your heating and air conditioning equipment.

Air Duct Cleaning

After a long and tough winter, chances are your ducts are not in prime condition. Your homes air ducts have one job to do; but it’s very important – circulate warm and cold air throughout your space. During the winter months, your ducts can accumulate mold and mildew spores, cobwebs and grime; all of which are harmful to your family. Before spring hits, achieve cleaner air in your home with duct cleaning and air quality services.

Clean Your Outdoor Air Conditioning Unit

Although at a much slower rate, weeds and grass still grow during the winter months. With the weather improving and spring showers looming, these growths will continue to grow at a much faster pace. Any unwanted plant growth encroaching on your air conditioner can restrict air flow, risking the effectiveness of your unit. Take time this spring to clear weeds, grass and growth away from your air conditioner – keeping growth at least 2’ away from your AC unit. It’s recommended that you cover your outdoor AC unit with a tarp or cover during the winter months – either way your condenser could still use a spring clean. As the snow melts, it’s easy to see that winter leaves a considerable mess of dirt and grime. Take a peek in your unit to clear it of all debris including, leaves, twigs, stones and dirt!

Replace Batteries in your Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Detector

Throughout the year, it’s important to test the batteries in your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors – this can help avoid irreversible damage to your home or family. Spring is the perfect time to replace the batteries in your home detectors. In fact, dust that’s caught within your smoke or CO detectors can prevent them from working properly. A properly working smoke detector can increase odds of survival during a home fire by 60%. As well, having a properly working CO detector can protect your family from potentially fatal situations – as carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless.

Declutter Your Home

The most popular spring-cleaning chore is decluttering some of the mess that’s accumulated over the winter. Not only does removing clutter free up extra space, but it helps with your HVAC maintenance too. The more clutter in your home, the more dust and allergens can accumulate on – especially items not used on a regular basis. Although sitting dust won’t circulate through your home, the moment it is disturbed, it moves through your home and worsens your indoor air quality.

Don’t Wait, Get Your Air Conditioner Serviced

As the weather warms, sudden breakdowns are not only inconvenient but can mean higher repair costs. To guard against unexpected costs, it’s important to get your air conditioning unit serviced regularly.

Could 2019 Be Toronto’s Hottest Summer Ever?

Over the last four years, we have experienced the warmest years in a row on record. 2016 was Toronto’s hottest summer yet, with the next couple of years coming close as well. While it’s possible that 2019’s summer could follow the last couple years, there is reason to believe that 2019 could be our hottest summer ever.

What’s Happening Worldwide

How do we know that this year is likely to continue the heat incline? The short answer is a combination of El Niño and climate change.

Not sure what El Niño is? As explained in this recent article, El Niño is a natural climate pattern where sea water in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean is warmer than average. El Niño is a major contributor to the severe precipitation and weather patterns that have impacted the Southern United States this year.

It must be noted that El Niño is a natural climate pattern that has occurred for thousands of years – lasting anywhere from 4-16 months at a time. With that said, extreme weather is on the horizon as El Niños are expected to grow stronger.

Between increasing impact of El Niño and the streak of increasing temperatures over the last four years, Samantha Stevenson, a climate scientist from the University of California, believes that 2019 could be the hottest year yet.

Impact on Toronto’s 2019 Summer Forecast

We know what to expect on a global scale. But how does this apply to Toronto?

Let’s look back to the summer of 2018 . We experienced heat waves, especially on Canada Day weekend, which was some of the most summer extreme weather that Toronto has seen in years. Temperatures remained in the 30s and felt like mid-40s with the humidity. Environment Canada called this weekend the “most significant heat event” while noting that the last time June temperatures were around the mid-30s, was 50 years ago.

While Toronto didn’t experience heat-related deaths like Montreal, we did experience widespread flooding – something that we may see more of as temperatures increase.

There’s no telling what will happen a few months from now, but global patterns and recent trends indicate it’s best to prepare for the most extreme conditions.


How to Prepare for Extreme Heat

So, what are the next steps to prepare for a hot summer like 2018? Here are a few ways to ensure you are covered when anticipated heat waves hit:

  • Make sure your air conditioner is tuned-up and ready to go before the busy season hits. Don’t wait until it breaks! As the weather warms, requests for service/installation increases – which means longer wait times.
  • Write down the number for emergency air conditioner service just in case.
  • Purchase a fan or two to have a backup to hold you over in case your air conditioner needs repair.
  • Find out where you can go to cool down if your cooling system is unexpectedly out-of-commission (the power goes out or your air conditioner breaks down.)
  • If your air conditioner is nearing the end of its life, look into upgrading to an energy-efficient model like the Lennox XC21 which will save you on cooling costs. That way, you can crank up the A/C and feel comfortable without worrying about the cost.

If you’re unsure if you should tune-up or replace your air conditioner just yet, consider that it’s often better to take action in cooler months. You can never be too prepared, especially when the weather can be unpredictable.

Follow these tips and you should be covered (and be able to actually enjoy the hot Toronto summers!)

3 Smart Reasons to Replace Your Air Conditioner in the Winter

Replacing an air conditioner during the summer months is common. Sometimes, unforeseen problems arise and there’s no way around it. However, if you anticipate that your air conditioning system is in need of replacement, winter is the best time to do it!

We’ll discuss why below.

1. It’s the Low Season

HVAC companies are usually swamped in the summertime. Replacing your air conditioner in the winter means that your HVAC professional’s schedule is more flexible.

You should be able to pick and choose a time that works for you more easily, and there should be no delay in ordering the appliance promptly.

Plus, who wants to replace an air conditioner in the heat of summer? Replacing it in the dead of winter means that you’ll avoid any unwanted discomfort when temperatures – and demand – soar.

2. You Can Take Your Time

Replacing your air conditioning unit in the winter means that you’ll have more time to consider your options. You won’t have an immediate need to cool your home and you can tackle the process at a more gradual pace.

Take advantage of this time to do some research about the different types of air conditioning systems and which is best for your home and comfort needs, carefully consider contractors, and request estimates.

3. You’ll Save Money and Energy

Air conditioners aren’t in-demand over the course of the winter compared the peak of summer. This can result in significant savings for many reasons, including:

  • When HVAC companies make room for next season’s models, many will start offering great deals beginning in the fall all through the winter – the perfect opportunity to upgrade to an energy efficient air conditioner or to improve the comfort in your home.
  • Spending time doing the research means you’ll choose the unit that’s right for you and won’t have to worry about replacing it anytime soon.
  • You’ll be ready for the heat long before you even have to worry about it.

An air conditioning system is an expensive investment. Ask about our financing options for air conditioner installation when you contact us with your inquiry.

Schedule Your Air Conditioner Installation

Of course, keep in mind that there may be circumstances in which it’s best to schedule an air conditioning repair or replacement during the peak season.

The average lifespan of an air conditioner ranges anywhere from 10 to 15 years. There are many reasons your air conditioner might not be working as well as it used to and many factors that play into replacing the appliance. Age, frequent breakdowns, soaring electricity bills, excess noise, lack of comfort or huge temperature swings as well as leaking refrigerant are all common problems that typically require replacement.

Whether it’s summer, winter, spring or fall, we’re here to help with your air conditioning needs. Contact us to speak to our experienced team of HVAC professionals.

Ontario Energy Rebates: Furnace & Air Conditioner Rebates You Can Get in 2019

Update: the provincial government has announced that the Save on Energy Heating and Cooling program is cancelled effective April 1st, 2019. We will leave the information in this post for reference and update this post as new rebates become available.

Ontario homeowners upgrading their heating systems or air conditioners in 2019 may be eligible for rebates under Ontario’s Save on Energy Heating and Cooling program. Improve your home’s energy-saving potential and save up to $850 by upgrading to a new high-efficiency furnace and ENERGY-STAR® certified central air conditioner.

With the Save on Energy program, homeowners can apply to:

  • Save up to $250 on a new furnace
  • Save up to $600 on an air conditioner
  • Save up to $4,000 on an air-source heat pump
  • Get a rebate of $50 on a smart thermostat
  • Get a rebate of $30 on a circulator pump


How it Works

Update: the provincial government has announced that the Save on Energy Heating and Cooling program is cancelled effective April 1st, 2019. We will leave the information in this post for reference and update this post as new rebates become available.

To be eligible for the heating & cooling program rebates, Ontario residents need to use a participating contractor to purchase and install the eligible equipment. If you live outside of our service area, you can find a local contractor by using the Save on Energy’s contractor locator.

After installation, your contractor will then submit your rebate application for you. Once you have confirmed your details and submitted your proof of purchase, receive your rebate cheque within 8 to 12 weeks.

High-Efficiency Furnace Rebates

With our cold and often long Ontario winters, you need a reliable heating system that keeps you warm and comfortable yet doesn’t drain your bank account.

With changes to your heating system can save up to 25% in heating costs in one year—plus get the comfort you can count on with a new high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® qualified natural gas furnace.

That’s piece-of-mind and more money in your pocket!

ENERGY-STAR® Certified Central Air Conditioner Rebates

Stay cool and comfortable during the hottest of summers with a new central air conditioner (CAC), while you save up to $600 with Ontario’s Save on Energy rebate. Get dependable performance and reduce your energy consumption with a new central air conditioner.

Check out our Spring BOGO: Buy a Lennox® Furnace, Get a Lennox® Air Conditioner FREE—available for a limited time!

Air-Source Heat Pump Rebates

Get a rebate of up to $4,000 for an air-source heat pump (ASHP) for homes where electricity is the main heating source. Unlike like many furnaces, heat pumps run instead on electricity. Heat pumps can provide air conditioning in the summer and work well in conjunction with your existing heating system in the winter.

Smart Thermostat Rebates

If you haven’t already jumped on the smart thermostat bandwagon, now is a good time to make that move and get your $50 rebate! Designer and user-friendly smart thermostats like the iComfort® S30 and the ecobee4 are designed to save you money by programing your ideal home heating and cooling temperatures.

Plus, whenever we install a thermostat, we take the extra time to help you understand and learn how to use it.

ECM Circulator Pumps

Using a circulator pump with electronically commutated motor (ECM) technology to circulate water in heating, air conditioning and hot water systems is highly efficient and can save you even more money. An energy-efficient pump seriously improves the energy profile of any home.


Note: the Save on Energy Heating and Cooling program is cancelled effective April 1st, 2019. We will leave the information in this post for reference and update this post as new rebates become available.


Image: KMR Photography

Winter 2019 in Ontario — When Will It End?

Canadians across the country are eager for the cold temperatures and the consistent snowy weather of winter 2019 to come to an end. This winter has brought record snowfalls, freezing cold temperatures, damaging winds, and whiteout blizzard conditions to all parts of Ontario.


A polar vortex brought weeks of extreme cold temperatures to the region in January, with Toronto experiencing its coldest January 5th in the city’s history with a temperature of -23c. Then on January 29, the city of Toronto got levelled with an overnight snowstorm. So much so that it shattered the previous single-day snowfall record from 1968.

If you keep active in winter by skiing, skating outdoors, snowshoeing or snowmobiling, this is that ‘old-fashioned Canadian winter” youve been dreaming for with record-breaking snow accumulation. Total monthly snowfall accumulation for January has almost doubled over a year ago in many areas of the province. Ottawa recorded 101.8 cm this January, compared to 63.8 cm a year ago.

But if youve been hibernating most of the winter, avoiding the extreme cold temperatures and wind chill into the minus 30 temperatures, you will be counting the days until you can bid this winter a fond farewell. And what about the snowbirds making their annual trek down south to Florida? Florida and other destinations in the southern U.S. have also experienced below average temperatures during the first few months of 2019.

Groundhog Day

According to legend, the fate of predicting the coming of spring rests on the shoulders of some furry groundhogs annually on February 2 a day we have come to know as Groundhog Day. Most of the groundhogs in North America were in agreement that day this year, not seeing their shadows thus predicting an early spring. While this prediction may warm the heart, you’re probably better off not taking this too seriously.

Farmer’s Almanac

In reality, we will need to brace ourselves for a longer winter than normal this year. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts continuing snow and cold temperatures for the remainder of February and into the first week of March. Early March brings rain showers that convert to snow showers in parts of the province. Cold temperatures linger until the end of the month. Winter is expected to hang on through April and even into early May.

Staying Warm

A long heating season can put an extra strain on your home heating systems and your finances too.

You’ll want to ensure that your heating system stays the course. It’s a good idea to keep your furnace running optimally with scheduled regular maintenance visits to fix potential problems before they escalate into an emergency furnace breakdown. This is usually the time of year you may start to hear some unusual noises from the furnace that you haven’t heard before. Don’t ignore these new noises as they are telling you something. Not only will a broken furnace put the safety of your family at risk, your home’s water pipes can freeze costing thousands of dollars in repairs.

Many Canadians turn to gas fireplaces as their source of heat. A gas fireplace offers the convenience of instant warmth and comfort by the click of a button. A fireplace tune-up can prevent problems, and ensure your fireplace is operating at peak efficiency to keep you and everyone in your home warm during the extended heating season of Winter 2019.

What Most People Don’t Know About HVAC Warranties

HVAC warranties are supposed to give peace of mind. When it comes to your family’s home comfort, it’s important to know you can count on the warranty to cover you. Unfortunately, homeowners who thought they had warranty coverage too often find themselves on the hook for substantial repair costs.

Why are HVAC warranties so often a source of frustration? Is there a way to make sure you’re covered in the event of an emergency furnace or A/C breakdown? The truth is, there’s no such thing as a fool-proof manufacturer’s warranty. Warranty coverage can vary greatly between manufacturers, and even between different product lines from the same manufacturer, in terms of:

  • Which components are and aren’t covered
  • When the warranty coverage begins and ends
  • How to make a warranty claim
  • What can void or end your coverage
  • The requirements to extend or continue the coverage

To add to the confusion, your warranty coverage can change after the system has been purchased and installed.

At AtlasCare, we understand that heating and cooling equipment is a substantial investment. Not only is a new furnace or air conditioner costly, but it affects your family’s comfort and wellbeing as well. It’s important you know exactly what you’re getting (and what you’re not getting) out of your HVAC warranty coverage. We’ve outlined what you should look for when it comes to reading HVAC warranties.

Types of HVAC System Warranties

Not sure if your equipment is under warranty? First, understand that there are several types of warranties to consider:

  1. The manufacturer warranty is an agreement with the company that made the equipment and comes with your purchase. These warranties typically offer limited coverage that begins when your equipment was purchased or installed, with the option for extended coverage upon registration.
  2. The installation warranty or contractor warranty is an agreement with the HVAC contractor that installed your equipment. It covers defects or accidental damage that occur during installation. Reputable HVAC repair companies in Ontario Canada guarantee their work with an installation warranty. Our unconditional warranty covers everything we install for five years, including all replacement parts and labour.
  3. In some regions, a home warranty may cover the HVAC units that comes with new construction. However, here in Ontario, your Tarion warranty coverages do not cover HVAC equipment.
  4. This article mainly concerns manufacturer warranties on furnaces, water heaters, air conditioning, and other heating and cooling systems.

Things You Might Not Know About HVAC Manufacturer Warranties

Planning to replace your furnace or buy a new air conditioner? Take a second look at the warranty before you make your choice.

  • You need to register your equipment to unlock the extended warranty. Warranty registration is a crucial step in installing a new furnace, air conditioner, water heater, or any other significant part of your HVAC system. Usually, you have a 60-day or 90-day window.
  • System and parts warranties may not cover labour. The manufacturer may have you covered when it comes to replacement parts, but not the HVAC contractor’s labour. Some manufacturers, like York, do cover labour on their air conditioners and furnaces – but only for a limited time after installation. Always check the scope of the warranty before you buy.
  • Different components may have different warranty terms. The manufacturer warranty often sets out different terms for different parts of the system. For example, Lennox’s Signature Series Furnaces have a 20-year or limited lifetime warranty on the heat exchanger but only 10 years on other parts.
  • You can lose your warranty if you don’t have your equipment serviced annually. Many manufacturer warranties for big-ticket appliances like furnaces, air conditioners, or water heaters are void if you skip your annual tune-up. When it comes time to use your warranty, the manufacturer may require documentation from your service technician as proof. It’s not the only reason to invest in annual service for your furnace or air conditioner, but it’s an important one.
  • If the wrong person services your equipment, the warranty on that equipment is void. Most HVAC warranties are void if the equipment is installed by someone who isn’t a certified technician. This goes for accessories like smart thermostats, too. Don’t let your eagerness to do-it-yourself lock you out of your warranty coverage.
  • If the unit is under extended warranty, only a dealer of that manufacturer can claim back the warranty for you. Keep this in mind when dealing with a third-party dealer.
  • Finally, although the warranty may cover the cost of HVAC repair, that doesn’t necessarily mean fast HVAC repair. Manufacturer warranties seldom cover the additional cost of emergency service or service after hours.

What to Do If Your System Isn’t Under Warranty

In a best-case scenario, the manufacturer warranty on your heating or air conditioning system has you covered. Sadly, that isn’t always the case. You might be surprised to find out that your coverage isn’t as solid as you thought.

AtlasCare takes steps to ensure our customers get the most out of the equipment we install for them. We take care of the warranty registration, organize the documentation in a custom-made folder, and provide an unconditional five-year warranty on parts and labour. Although diagnostic charges are not covered under a manufacturer warranty, if you complete a service contract with us, it is covered.

Beyond that, we encourage our customers to invest in a Protection Plan that covers home comfort equipment beyond the limited warranty. Given that a well-kept furnace or air conditioner can last for 15 to 20 years, it’s a worthwhile investment.