mental health

Mental Health and Wellness Resources You Can Trust

2020 has been a year for the history books. What began with jovial celebrations and resolutions for making this year ahead one to remember and look back on fondly, has resulted in a true test of who we are as businesses, families, and individuals. COVID-19 has altered every aspect of our daily lives. While some individuals have thrived during this time, others have faced hardships that have also impacted their mental health and wellness

Mental health and wellness have become a topic of conversation across the country thanks to Bell Let’s Talk, an initiative “designed to raise awareness and combat stigma surrounding mental illness in Canada.”A stigma has typically surrounded mental illness, preventing individuals who are struggling, to speak up. The goal of organizations across the GTA, and our goal at AtlasCare, is to create a space where open conversations can be held and support can be provided on any required level.

We all need to feel supported, and have the opportunity to chat with others regarding the struggles we are facing, whether it’s related to what is taking place in the world at this time, or not. We are truly in this together, and that means that everyone should have access to the support they need.

While this list is not extensive, we hope it can act as a hub of information that you can make use of, or pass on to others who may find it helpful. The professionals who offer these services understand that it can be challenging to share what is taking place in our lives, and ensure that you feel comfortable throughout the entire process. To get to know the specific offerings of each organization, please contact them directly.

If you are in urgent distress, please dial 911 immediately.


Toronto Distress Centre416-408-4357


Kids Help Phone – 416-586-5437

Toronto Rape Crisis Centre416-597-1171 

Distress Centres Ontario416-486-2242

Good2Talk Post Secondary1-866-925-5454 (Students Helpline)

Crisis Services Canada1-833-456-4566

First Nations and Inuit Hope For Wellness Helpline1-855-242-3310


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Good News! Summer is finally here – May 28th Update

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As I write this the temperature outside is finally above 20° C. It has been a long time coming. The other bit of good news is that the Province of Ontario is starting to open things up a bit allowing limited recreation options as well as the opening of certain store front retailers. It is very welcome after 8 weeks of self-quarantine.

This, however, should not be construed as a return to “normal”. We are a very long ways away from whatever our new normal will be. Workers will not all be flocking back to work anytime soon for a couple of good reasons.

  • Physical distancing in elevators will severely limit the number of people going to work in high rise office buildings. One person calculated that it would take 36 hours to get all of the workers in the TD Centre up to their offices and just as much time to leave. I’m sure this is already a big issue in high rise condominiums as well.
  • The lack of childcare will be a stumbling block for many workers with young children and women will bear the brunt of most of this. A number of our employees have restricted availability because they have no childcare and/or share it with a partner.

The result is that many people for the foreseeable future will continue to spend the majority of their time at home. This is your safe haven.

One preventive measure that must not be overlooked is the cleanliness of the lowly furnace filter. Please check it at least once per month. All of this additional activity in the home keeps dust circulating and it all ends up in the furnace filter. If yours is dirty, we can get you a replacement and better yet order an extra when setting up your maintenance visit and our technician can leave it with you. Not keeping filters clean can cause serious problems for an air conditioner.

We are all used to waiting in line to get into the grocery store these days. The same will be true when the hotter weather arrives, and you find yourself needing service. There will be a lineup. Since so many HVAC contractors chose to defer maintenance for their clients or the clients chose to not have maintenance done this spring, there will be a backlog of demand. We have hired extra people in anticipation of this demand and will do our best to see that our customers are not disadvantaged.

With summer comes thunderstorms than can bring power surges and power outages. One product that is proving very popular is a surge protector for your air conditioner and furnace. This device can prevent an untimely breakdown of your AC system when you need it most. Ask your service technician about it when they come to do your maintenance service. Thank you and stay healthy everyone!

Roger Grochmal, P.Eng.

Life Member ASHRAE


Air Ducts

Keep the Respiratory System of Your Home, Healthy!

Too hot or too cold? Most homeowners simply have to adjust the temperature on their smart thermostat to force warm or cool air throughout their home. It’s become such an easy convenience that we barely think about our HVAC systems until they stop working as they should. It’s said in the industry that the HVAC system is the lungs of your home, but have you ever wondered how that cozy warm air or refreshing cool breeze circulates through every room, creating a comfortable place to relax and enjoy? Air ducts act as the home’s respiratory system, so when your air ducts become infected with dust, dirt, and grime, the air you breathe becomes infected as well.

Why Clean Your Air Ducts?

Over the past few months, we’ve all been spending most of our time at home. We’ve missed date nights at the restaurant down the road, have been unable to spend time outside with neighbours and friends, and have instead been using the home as a place to keep our family healthy and safe. With so much added activity in your home, you may be noticing the gradual impact that poor air quality can have, especially as we enter allergy season. There are a number of variables that could have a negative impact on the air that is circulated through your home’s systems multiple times a day and should be considered.

Take a moment and answer these questions for us;

  • Do individuals smoke within your home?
  • Do your loveable pets shed hair and dander?
  • Does a member of your family have allergies or asthma?
  • Have you recently renovated or remodelled your home?
  • Are you currently making the exciting transition of moving into a new home?
  • Has it been 3-5 years since your air ducts have been properly cleaned?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, the air quality in your home could be compromised. The solution is to give the air ducts in your home a thorough cleaning, and you may want to investigate other indoor air quality (IAQ) solutions as well.

Our Perfected Process

Have you been taking time this year to spring clean your home? Isn’t it a wonderful feeling when the house is clean and everything is in its place? While you have worked hard to deep clean your home, we work hard to clean what is hidden behind your walls; your air ducts. Our process is tried and tested, as we aim to provide peace of mind while working within your home.

From the moment you schedule an appointment, you experience the AtlasCare difference. When our technician is on their way, we send you a quick text message with an image of our chosen technician paired with a short biography. We believe it’s essential that you know who you are opening your home to, now more than ever. You will be able to tell when our technician has arrived, as they will pull up in one of our customized duct cleaning trucks! Featuring a 150-foot, heavy-duty vacuum hose, our vehicles are capable of cleaning up to 50,000 square feet.

Before we begin, we provide our red carpet service. Cleanliness is what we aim for. In no time, our team will lay down red carpets in the areas they will be working in, and adorn themselves with bootie covers to further prevent dust and dirt from entering your home.

Duct cleaning removes approximately five pounds of dust, dirt and debris from your ducts. Before we begin the process of sealing each vent and utilizing our equipment, we place a camera in the ductwork to show you what has been lurking inside. After we have completed our work, we provide a full camera inspection once again to show you just how clean the air ducts are. Some customers choose to have our team finish their duct cleaning service with the Benefect Botanical Disinfectants and Cleaners. Professionals use this formula for a variety of purposes as it is capable of killing 99.9% of remaining bacteria, mould and fungal spores. The only thing that Benefect Botanical Disinfectants and Cleaners leave behind is the soft scent of lemon and thyme.

When our team has completed the cleaning process, we remove the vent covers, vacuum the areas where we worked, roll up the red carpet, and allow you to enjoy your home. We leave you with the peace of mind that the air you and your family are breathing is now cleaner and healthier.

If you would like more information about our process, please watch the short video below, which was filmed prior to COVID-19.

Breathe Easy Every Step of the Way

As a member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, we understand how important it is to feel safe and secure within your home. We not only focus on providing exceptional service so that you can breathe easier, but we work to ensure that your family feels taken care of. Our team is continuing to provide air duct cleaning solutions, and are taking the necessary measures to keep both you and our team safe as COVID-19 continues to impact our lives.

The goal of every person at AtlasCare is to help you enjoy your home to the fullest. We do this by working with the best products, offering safe and effective solutions, preventing HVAC or plumbing emergencies from happening, and ensuring your safety. Let us assist you and create a home in which you feel comfortable spending your time. Contact our team today and see how we can help.

basement, flood, backup sump pump

The Backup Plan Your Basement Needs!

Amidst the news updates of COVID-19 across Ontario, there has been an increasing number of reports of flooding along the shores of Lake Huron and Lake Ontario. Homeowners have watched as rising water levels and rainstorms have damaged their properties both inside and out. We all know that floods can happen at any time of the year. The spring months can be particularly challenging, however, as rainstorms increase, adding to the already high water table caused by our typical Canadian winters. Since floods are the most expensive natural hazard in Ontario as they can significantly damage your home, it’s crucial that when the rains come and the power goes out, your home stays protected. 

What Causes Basements to Flood?

Basement flooding is one of the most common types of floods that can take place in your home. As floods are generally caused by melting snow, ice jams, high water levels and rainstorms, all of this extra water has to go somewhere. The GTA is particularly prone to flooding as there is less natural space for the water to go. As water typically collects at the lowest point, the basement is where it tends to go. 

You may believe that your home has been built to withstand flooding, but there are many ways that water can find it’s way inside. Groundwater can enter into the basement through cracks in the home’s foundation, or through walls, windows and doors that are at ground level. Extensive landscaping, run-off from higher points on your property, or an improper foundation drain or weeping tile system can also contribute to basement flooding. Even underground wastewater or stormwater pipes that have become clogged or overwhelmed can cause this excess water to find its new home in your basement. 

If you live in an older area and your home was built before the mid-1970s, your home may be at a higher risk of flooding as the original connections to weeping tiles, foundation drains, and downspouts may be connected directly to the wastewater system. This can overwhelm the system, causing flooding to occur. In 1975 when the first Ontario Building Code was introduced, stormwater systems were required in newer builds to give water another place to go. If you are living in an older home, ensure your wastewater and stormwater systems are operating as they should be. 

How Can You Protect Your Home?

While there are many ways that you can redirect water away from your home, a sump pump is an excellent way to remove excess water that has collected in the sump pump basin or pit. What happens, however, if your primary pump stops working or if you lose power to your home? 

A battery-operated backup sump pump acts as a secondary sump pump for your home. If the primary pump were to fail, a backup pump activates to remove excess water and prevent it from pooling. A battery-operated sump pump only engages when the primary pump has stopped working, whether its due to a lack of electricity or issues with the pump itself. 

At AtlasCare, we rely on pumps developed by Liberty Pumps to do the job due to their quality and leadership in the industry. Each pump we carry, whether it be the Liberty 441, or the Liberty 442 models which have the option for WiFi integration and real-time audible alerts, draw power from Interstate batteries. These batteries can last up to three days depending on how long the backup pump is working. 

The installation of a sump pump with a backup sump pump system is considered as well. Our team removes the old pump and installs the new pumps with the secondary pump placed higher than the primary one. We also install a new check valve to ensure that the entire system remains operational, rather than relying on existing elements of the system itself. We also inspect the discharge pipe and sump pump pit and ensure that all connections to your home’s piping system are secure. Finally, we ensure no issues are lurking within the pipes and that the entire system is running efficiently and quietly. 

As severe storms increase in frequency, and flooding continues to be a year-round concern, know that your home is always protected. If you are unsure if your home has a properly working stormwater and wastewater system and are looking to install a new sump pump with a battery-operated backup pump, let us help. We will safely inspect and advise you on what you need to keep your home protected all year round. Trust the experts, so that you can continue to have peace of mind in your home. 

Helpful Tip: If you are in an area that is prone to flooding, gain access to Ontario’s Flood Forecast

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Air Conditioning & COVID-19 – April 27th Update

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We recently received some calls from customers about a news item circulating in some media outlets online suggesting that air conditioning can cause COVID-19 to spread between people. As we all know, COVID-19 is spread mostly by human to human contact. Secondly, it can be obtained from surfaces where droplets land which is why we should not touch our faces. I read the research paper about the one case being cited in Wuhan. A team of Chinese engineers identified that both the supply and return vents for the central AC system in a restaurant were right above the table of some infected patrons and may have contributed to people at the next table becoming infected. In this case, the researchers were unable to come to a conclusion about the impact of the central air conditioner. However, they recommended that improved ventilation with fresh air could have made a difference.

People using their home air conditioning are not at risk of infection, especially if they are remaining at home, having no contact with the rest of the population. The key as always is not the temperature of the air but rather the quality of the air. Generally speaking, the poor quality of indoor air can help in the spread of all diseases and other pollutants. One key factor is humidity. COVID-19 lives longer in a dry environment. It is important to ensure that you maintain a humidity level in your home at all times in the range of 40%-60%.

We have been seeing strong interest in other solutions to improve the quality of the air in homes. The first is mechanical ventilation. The installation of an ERV/HRV air exchanger is now in the building code for new homes. We recommend an ERV because it does a better job of managing humidity in our climate. Every home, not just new ones, should enjoy the benefit of continuous fresh air.

The second item is an ultraviolet light. There is no proof yet that a UV light will kill the COVID-19 coronavirus. However, these lights have been proven to kill other viruses. Installation by a knowledgeable professional is important as UV light can damage certain plastics if the light shines directly on them.

Lastly is improved filtration. Filters can’t filter out virus particles on their own but can filter out other particles that the virus might attach itself to. A hospital grade HEPA filter is a good option as is the Lennox Pure Air filter.

There is no silver bullet here. I have always taken the approach in life and in business to minimize risks wherever I find them. For the past 20 years, every home I have lived in has had the 4 solutions above, namely, steam humidifier, ERV, UV light and HEPA filter. These are proven solutions and working together give me the best quality air with the least amount of contamination at all times.

Is it time you to upgrade the quality of air in your home? In the meantime, stay healthy and safe.

Roger Grochmal, P.Eng.

Life Member ASHRAE


Spring has Sprung! – COVID-19 April 20th Update

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We have had several customers raise the issue of whether what AtlasCare does is an “Essential Service”. This is a valid concern, but I want to put it to rest. The Premier’s Office laid out a list of essential services and had this specifically to say about what we do:

“Businesses that provide support and maintenance services, including urgent repair, to maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial industrial and residential properties and buildings, including, property management services, plumbers, electricians, custodial/janitorial workers, cleaning services, security services, fire safety and sprinkler systems, building systems maintenance and repair technicians and engineers, mechanics, (e.g. HVAC, escalator and elevator technicians), and other service providers who provide similar services.”

Last week AtlasCare began moving into full swing with spring maintenance services. As expected, we identified many common problems that we were able to rectify that could have led to emergency service calls down the road. In some cases, we identified furnaces and air conditioners that were of an age and condition where replacement was more appropriate than a costly repair. We also found a number of plugged dryer vents that needed to be cleaned out. Plumbing and drain issues continue to lead the list due to the ongoing hygiene precautions we have all adopted and the extended time we are all spending in our homes. We would like to offer a complementary plumbing or drain inspection for our loyal customers who think they may have a potential issue developing in their home.

We have had some great feedback from our customers over the past week. One customer wrote: “On my Spring Maintenance Service of April 14th, 2020, Sean, the service technician was sent as per Nimo to do the Spring tuneup on the A/C and followed the guidelines set forward by AtlasCare. And in conversation with Sean, one of the main reasons he is with AtlasCare is his manager Nimo. Thank you to Nimo for his caring of his staff and customers in this very trying time.”

Our spring schedule is starting to fill up and we are now booking into June for our maintenance visits. Don’t hesitate to call to schedule yours. Remember that these are placeholders and can be rescheduled if need be. If you have any health concerns and would require an earlier service, please call and we will do our best to accommodate you. In the meantime, stay healthy and safe.

Roger Grochmal, P.Eng.




Improve Your Home’s Air Quality

For 88 years, AtlasCare has cared about the health of our customers’ homes, but it has never been more important than it is now. With quarantine and social distancing in place due to COVID-19, our homes are where we spend most of our time. Staying indoors can, without a doubt, affect our quality of life in many ways. Our home’s air quality plays a huge part in our physical and mental wellbeing, as well as how we experience our home on a day to day basis. Here are a few ways you can improve your air quality and ensure you have the cleanest air in your home.

HEPA Filter

With the season changing, the High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter might be your best bet. A HEPA Filter is designed to eliminate very fine particles and is crucial in limiting the spread of airborne bacterial and viral organisms which could lead to infection. Because it is a mechanical filter that doesn’t use negative ions or ozone gas, there is also little risk of developing any side-effects like allergies or long-term respiratory illnesses such as asthma. However, it does not filter out gasses and odour molecules.

UV-C light

When you think of UltraViolet light, the first thought that might come to mind is skin cancer and harmful radiation. However, the effects of UV light vary according to wavelength. UV rays from the sun are composed of a combination of UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C rays which clean our environment naturally. The UV light with the shortest wavelength, which is therefore the most powerful, is UV-C. It can destroy microorganisms by scrambling their DNA. This makes it a very effective form of air purification, sterilization, and disinfection. UV lights are chemical-free and can kill and sterilize mold and bacteria that may be growing in your HVAC unit, which can be highly beneficial for people who are allergic to chemicals and dust.

Lennox PureAir System

Small air cleaners may be great for targeting specific rooms in your home, especially dusty ones, but they don’t address pollutants that are circulating through your entire home. The Lennox PureAir System is a filter that offers a solution to this. This system is designed to improve air quality throughout the whole house. Unlike most air purifying systems, the Lennox PureAir System cleans 3 types of air pollutants:

  • Airborne particles: pollen, dust, pet hair
  • Germs and bacteria
  • Chemical odours and vapours

This system also does not generate any ozone which eliminates the chances of lung irritation. Because of its carbon filtration, it also helps to reduce ozone generated by other sources that may be found in your home.

With COVID-19 still in action, taking precautions for your health is the best and safest way of keeping you and your loved ones protected. At AtlasCare, we care about our customers. If you’re unsure which filter you need for your home, give us a call. Our team of experts is always there when you need us!

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Air Conditioning Season will be here Soon – COVID-19 April 13th Update

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AtlasCare was founded in 1932 during the depths of the Great Depression. It was not the best of times to start a business, but I suspect Harry Bach found himself out of work and decided to create his own job. Fast forward 88 years and we now find ourselves in the throes of another great upheaval in human history. AtlasCare was born in turbulent times and we are here for you as an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

We have now begun our transition from the heating part of our seasonal cycle to air conditioning. This is going to take on greater importance than in the past, not only because we are all going to be confined to our homes, but also because there are no alternatives. If your air conditioner breaks down, you can’t go to the theatre, shopping mall, hotel, relative’s home or take a walk in the park. We are all staying home for the greater good.

We have started performing essential maintenance services and I would like to review our key procedures:

  • We just received a supply of surgical masks and our staff now have them for added protection.
  • Please make a sink available for our technicians to wash their hands. They carry soap and towels to follow the recommended Health Canada procedures for handwashing.
  • Please ensure that you maintain 6’ – 10’ of physical distance at all times from our technician both inside and outside the home.
  • We need to make adjustments to your thermostat during the tune-up process. Let our technician know if you would prefer to adjust the thermostat yourself.
  • Upon completion, our technician will provide findings and make recommendations verbally from a safe distance or phone you from his/her truck to discuss.

Thank you to everyone in advance for helping us keep the AtlasCare community safe and healthy.

We are also starting to understand how being confined to home has affected mechanical systems.

  • As I mentioned in my last update, we are starting to get calls for backed-up drains due to wipes being flushed down the toilet. We even had one drain back up from cigarette butts. Nothing should go into a toilet but toilet paper.
  • A sewer back up can be prevented with a backflow preventer installed in the floor drain in your basement. This is now part of the building code and many municipalities have subsidies available to put one into an existing home. Again, like AC, if your sewer backs up, you have no place to go.
  • People seem to be doing more laundry and dryer vents are getting plugged. If your clothes don’t seem to be drying as well as they used to, you may have a plugged dryer vent. Call us to clean it out for you.

We have also seen our first round of price increases come through from our suppliers. At this stage, it is being driven by the reduced buying power of the Canadian dollar vs the American dollar. However, we do expect supply chain shortages to have an impact as well over time. We will continue to keep you updated. Stay healthy.

Roger Grochmal, P.Eng.


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COVID-19 Update March 30th, 2020

As expected, AtlasCare has been recognized as an essential business. This recognizes the role that HVAC contractors play in maintaining the integrity of residential infrastructure, especially in extreme situations. For example, we were called to a home this past weekend of a customer who had just returned from Florida to find their basement flooded from a leaking water heater. We were able to respond and get the water heater changed out today.

We have implemented some updated screening procedures over the phone regarding recent travel and the health of occupants in the home so that we can fully understand what kind of a situation we will be walking into when we attend at a home and any special protective measures our staff would need to take. We will be asking for credit card numbers where required at the time of booking a call so that you do not have to physically interact with our technicians. No charges will be made until the work is completed.

WARNING: Do NOT flush anything down a toilet other than toilet paper. We are all using disinfectant wipes, paper towels and even Kleenex to wipe surfaces down. If any of these items are flushed down the toilet they can fairly quickly lead to plugged drains. None of these items are biodegradable and can easily get caught up in a drain. If you sense that you are having problems with drainage from any fixture, please call to have a plumber clean it out for you before you experience a backed up drain.

If we haven’t called you, we will. We are scheduling air conditioning tune-ups with the mild weather we are experiencing. Our priority has been customers with known health conditions, those who are uncomfortable starting up their systems before we have had a chance to perform the tune-up and those with attic air conditioning systems. This state of physical distancing will be with us for awhile and we know there will be significant demand when it gets hot. Most of our maintenance time is spent outside the home with little interaction required. In addition to expected pent up demand, we have diminished capacity to perform work as some of our staff members have personal health conditions or are caring for elder family members.

Lastly, there is a lot of bad information in the public domain about miracle products that can filter out and/or kill viruses and protect you from COVID-19. Don’t believe it. We have some very good products such as HEPA filters and UV Lights that do a very good job in cleaning the air. We are happy to give advice on what might work best in your home. However, they are only one line of defense. Physical hygiene and physical distancing from others are essential.

We’ll keep the conversation going. Every day we learn more about COVID-19 and its potential impact.  You can check in with us for updates on our new website at about how we are responding. If we have something to share with you, we will. In times like these, we want you to know that we will be “Always there when you need us”. Thank you for your ongoing business and placing your trust in AtlasCare. During this challenging time, we’re working hard to give you the confidence to have AtlasCare in your home.

Roger Grochmal, P.Eng.