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!

Is An HVAC/Plumbing Service Plan Really Worth Your Money?

Think of the last time you had a service technician in your home. Once they were finished working on your HVAC or plumbing system, the tech probably took some time to suggest a few ways you could prevent future problems. There’s also a good chance they asked if you were interested in a service or maintenance plan ‒ paying a fee in return for a discount on their services or other benefits.

You’re not wrong to view these agreements with some skepticism. Every year, the Ontario consumer services ministry receives a number of written complaints from homeowners about heating, cooling and plumbing maintenance packages.

The truth is, there are so many service companies offering so many different plans in Ontario that it’s practically impossible to generalize them. We’ve seen many service plans that provide a great deal of value…and others that aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

To help provide some clarity on this often-confusing issue, we’ve put together some important facts on maintenance and service plans for your home’s heating, cooling and plumbing systems.

  1. What is a service plan?
  2. What a service plan typically includes
  3. Situations where a service plan can save you money
  4. Questions to ask when you’re considering purchasing a service plan
  5. Other service plan tips

What is a Service Plan?

In simple terms, a home maintenance or service plan is an agreement between you and a service contractor.

You pay a recurring fee to the contractor in return for same-day emergency service or a discount on their services and/or other benefits such as priority service, discounts on repairs, parts and labour, or free annual safety and efficiency inspections.

There are many names for these agreements in Ontario, including service plans, protection plans and maintenance plans.

What’s Included in a Service Plan?

Each company with a service plan offers you something different. No two heating, cooling or plumbing contractors in the GTA have identical plans. This makes it difficult to lay out a concrete list of things that are included in a plumbing, air conditioning or furnace maintenance plan.

Below is a list of things that are typically included in many service plans, but keep in mind that no two plans are totally alike:

  1. Free annual check-up or inspection
    Your annual furnace, air conditioning and plumbing inspection may be covered as part of the plan.
  2. Discount on repair or diagnostic services
    Often a percentage off the total cost, not including the dispatch fee. May be limited to a certain number of repairs per year.
  3. Reduced dispatch fee or no dispatch fee
    Many service companies charge a small dispatch fee on top of the cost of parts and labour. A service plan may lower or eliminate that fee for members.
  4. Discount or credit on parts and equipment
    When it comes time to upgrade your equipment or repipe your plumbing, the plan may provide full or partial coverage of the cost of the equipment.
  5. Priority Service

You could be entitled to a reduced service window (such as a promise to arrive between 8AM and 11AM instead of 8AM and 4PM), first-in-line emergency service or priority service on the busiest days of the year.

7 Times a Service Plan Pays for Itself

Not all service plans are created equal. However, there are definitely times where the benefits of a comprehensive service plan far outweigh the membership cost. In these situations, the plan essentially pays for itself!

1. Fast, No-Hassle Service

Scheduling is often one of the biggest headaches of dealing with a service company. It’s bad enough to have to wait on hold and Press 1 just to talk to a real person, but many contractors will make you wait even longer on the day of the appointment.

If you’ve ever been told that a technician will arrive between 8AM and 4PM…you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. Long service windows mean you have to take hours off work just to wait for the contractor, causing you to lose out on more money on top of the service fee.

Many service plans, including our Protection Plans at AtlasCare, solve that problem by giving you priority service and guaranteed shorter service windows. We offer same-day and next-day appointments to everyone, of course, but members come first.

2. Solutions for Outdated or Complex Systems

Say you bought a house with a temperamental mid-century plumbing system, or a century home with old, radiant heating. You might not be ready to replace them just yet, but unfortunately, these systems tend to require a lot of attention ‒ and the repair bills add up fast.

In this case, a plan that provides coverage for ongoing repairs could pay for itself in no time.

3. Premium Service at a Discount

Consider air duct cleaning, a service that can save you a considerable amount of time and money by helping your equipment operate more efficiently.

At full cost, many people will forego having their ducts cleaned as often as they should, but a plan that offers a discount off the bottom line makes this a far more viable option.

You always have choices when it comes to your heating, cooling and plumbing systems. For many people, a service plan gives you far more options to choose from!

4. Experience and Stability

There are so many benefits to having a go-to service company. A company that knows you, your home and your equipment can deliver far more personalized service. If a customer is pleased with a technician’s work, we always try to send that same technician on the customer’s future calls.

Having a service plan with a reputable, established company guarantees you’ll get personalized treatment. At AtlasCare, for instance, we allow our technicians to do the little things for members at no extra cost. This enhanced level of care saves you in many small ways that adds up over time.

5. No Hard Choices

Your HVAC and plumbing systems aren’t always top of mind. When there are multiple bills to pay and things to fix, things like leaky faucets and air conditioners tend to fall to the bottom of the list. Unfortunately, these kinds of problems tend to get worse (and more expensive to repair) over time.

With a plan that offers discounted or free service, your home’s most important systems won’t fall to the backburner. This can save you from having to bear significant future repair costs.

6. Dependable Emergency Service

One of the biggest advantages of being on a maintenance plan is knowing who you’ll call in a plumbing or HVAC emergency. An emergency situation could include:

When your home is hit with an emergency, you’re under a lot of pressure to find a solution fast. Far too many contractor horror stories begin with a desperate person calling the first company in the phone book or the first one that shows up on Google.

If it’s an emergency, AtlasCare is open 24/7, 365 days a year. Your safety is our highest priority.

7. Never Forget Annual Maintenance

Furnaces, air conditioners and any other piece of home comfort equipment is a major investment. A well-maintained unit should last you well over 10 years. It’s worthwhile to protect this investment by following the manufacturer’s instructions to perform annual maintenance.

Maintenance is important for your plumbing system, too, since it’s an opportunity to spot small problems that could turn ugly if they’re left unchecked.

Plans that offer free or discounted maintenance are a great way to keep up the minimum service requirement on your home’s essential systems.

What to Ask When Purchasing a Service Plan

Remember: not all service plans are worth the cost. It’s important to ask the right questions and shop around before choosing the right service plan for your family.

  1. Is the plan charged in weekly, monthly or annual fees? Are there administrative fees on top of the membership?
  2. Which parts of my home does the plan cover? Are there additional costs for additional coverage? (furnace, boiler, water heater, air conditioner, humidifier, pipes and plumbing fixtures, etc.)
  3. Does free or discounted service include the dispatch fee, parts, and/or labour?
  4. Do offers relating to service and repairs extend to emergency service, weekends or holidays?
  5. What does your company consider to be ‘emergency service’?
  6. Do you offer discounts on parts and equipment purchased and installed through your company?
  7. Will you send the same service technician to my home every time?
  8. Does the plan renew automatically?
  9. What are my options if I’m not happy with the plan?
  10. Do you guarantee your work?

Other Service Plan Tips

Purchasing an HVAC service plan is a financial decision, of course, but also an emotional one. It’s important that the plan gives you peace of mind.

That said, you should never feel pressured to start a service plan. It’s normal for service technicians to offer you a plan during your appointment, but a reputable company will never put you on the spot. You should always do your own research before you decide, especially if it’s your first time working with the company.

At AtlasCare, we offer two types of optional membership plans to suit different needs.

  1. Essential Plus Membership is a basic furnace or air conditioner maintenance plan available for as little as $6.95/month. Members receive one FREE emergency service diagnostic per year and a 15% discount on all repairs.
  2. Optimum Plus Membership includes everything in the Essential Plus plan, plus 100% repair coverage for a furnace or air conditioner, in addition to annual maintenance, for as little as $25.99/month.

We service every brand of home comfort equipment currently on the market including: Lennox, Carrier, Trane, KeepRite, York, Weil McLean, Ruud, Coleman and Bryant among others.

Call us at 647-952-2012 or contact us online to learn more about any AtlasCare or Bosco protection plan.

Why a Frost-Free Hose Bib Is a Must-Have for Canadian Homes

As the weather starts to change and the temperature drops, you’ve probably already started preparing for the long winter season.

You know there’s a lot to do around the home this season, but one area you might overlook is your hose bib ‒ or, as many people call it, your outdoor faucet.

During the summer, you might use your hose bib to water the garden, wash your car, or even hook up the sprinkler for your kids. When the warm season comes to a close, you pack away the hose, shut off the valve and move onto something else.

But what about the water that’s still sitting in the pipe?

Even if you purge the line, you could still end up with costly water damage if you don’t have a frost-free hose bib.

Let’s take a look at how a frost-free hose bib can help you avoid a burst pipe this winter! Read on to learn:

  1. What a hose bib is, and what it does
  2. How a hose bib is connected to the rest of your plumbing system
  3. Purpose of a ‘frost-free’ hose bib
  4. What can happen if your hose bib freezes
  5. How to prevent your hose bib from freezing this winter

What Is a Regular Hose Bib, and What Is It For?

The hose bib is the small faucet on the exterior of your house. It’s essentially an outdoor tap that allows you to run water from the inside of your house to the outside. You use this tap to attach your garden hose for many different jobs.

A hose bib is also called a:

  • Exterior faucet
  • Spigot
  • Sill cock
  • Hose faucet
  • Outdoor tap
  • Hose valve
  • …and many other things!

A regular hose bib typically features a ½, or ¾ inch threaded pipe that lets you screw on a garden hose, and a handle on the top to open the valve on and off.

Inside your home, there is usually a shut-off valve that lets you stop the flow of water leading from the valve to the end of the pipe.

How Does a Hose-Bib Work with the Rest of Your Plumbing System?

Your hose bib is connected to the entire plumbing system in your home, which is what allows you to get water to the exterior of the house. The pipes lead from the end of the hose bib to the main supply in your home.

As mentioned, many homes, especially in the north, have a separate valve inside the house to help prevent the pipes from freezing. But one issue many homeowners run into is that the valve is still too close to the exterior of the home.

When the valve isn’t far enough away from the hose bib, the water is still sitting dangerously close to the freezing zone.

A frost-free hose bib prevents that issue from occurring.

What Is a Frost-Free Hose Bib?

From the outside of your home, a frost-free hose bib looks the same as a traditional one. The difference between the two happens inside the house.

The pipe on a frost-free hose bib is longer than a regular one, and the shut-off valve is further inside the house where the temperature is warmer.

We always recommend having a licensed, certified plumber install your frost-free hose bib, since they can ensure that it sits at the proper angle to keep water from draining to your home’s foundation.

What Happens If Your Hose Bib Freezes?

If your hose bib freezes, it could lead to cracked pipes and water damage. When the pipes break, the damage could spread beyond the valve, which would cause the main flow of water to spray inside your home. Since these pipes often lie near essential components of the house, such as breakers, electrical wiring, and appliances, we consider this a plumbing emergency.

How to Prevent Your Hose Bib from Freezing in the Winter

The best way to prevent your hose bib from freezing this winter is to install a frost-free hose bib.

We understand how important your home is to you and how much time you spend taking care of it, so the last thing you should have to worry about this winter is water damage!

The team at AtlasCare is happy to help you protect your home this winter. Call us or contact us online to learn more about having a frost-free hose bib installed in your Greater Toronto Area home.


Benefits of a Humidifier for Your Furnace (Especially in Winter)

When winter falls in Toronto, it’s time to kick up the heat and make sure your family is comfortable. While your furnace may throw off a lot of heat and warm up your home, we often neglect to think about all the negative effects that dry heat has on our bodies.

We want to help you understand the importance of having a furnace humidifier and how installing one can ensure everyone stays nice and cozy this winter! Here, we’ll cover:

  1. Benefits of a humidifier in the winter
  2. Difference between furnace humidifiers and standalone humidifiers
  3. Types of furnace humidifiers: Bypass, Drum, Flow-Through and Whole-Home humidifiers
  4. What’s required to maintain a furnace humidifier
  5. How to install a furnace humidifier

Why Do You Need a Humidifier?

The winter air is dry, and it does quite a number on your respiratory system and skin. During the winter, we notice things like cracked skin, stuffy noses, sinus problems, and colds. These issues are due to the dry air outside but also from the dry air inside your home.

Having a furnace humidifier helps add moisture to the air, which makes your home more comfortable. The moist air can even help your house feel warmer while still burning the same amount of fuel.

Fluctuating levels of humidity in the home are not only harmful to your body, but it also wreaks havoc on your wood finishings. Too much humidity can lead to dry rot and mold.

There are many different types of humidifiers, so it’s essential to understand each one and how they differ.

The Difference Between Furnace Humidifiers and Stand-Alone Humidifiers

First things first: we want to make sure you don’t confuse furnace humidifiers with the traditional stand-alone ones.

Furnace humidifiers are installed into your HVAC system, so the air coming from your heating unit is humidified throughout the entire house.

A traditional, stand-alone humidifier plugs into a wall outlet and sits on the floor. These are the kind of humidifier you’ll find at stores like Costco or Canadian Tire.

Stand-alone humidifiers only expels the moist air directly from the vents on the unit. This means that the air around the humidifier has the most moisture, and the further you get from the unit, the dryer the air.

To humidify your home with stand-alone humidifiers, you would have to purchase a unit for nearly every room of your house. Not to mention they’re an eye-sore that take up floor space and adds to your electric bill as well!

Plus, stand-alone humidifiers require daily maintenance of filling and cleaning the water tanks. An HVAC humidifier would only require a check at the beginning and end of winter.

Furnace humidifiers require a bit more of an investment upfront, but the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial cost!

Types of Furnace Humidifiers

There are three primary types of furnace humidifiers: bypass/drum-style humidifiers, flow-through units, and whole-home humidifiers.

Bypass/Drum Humidifiers

These install directly to your HVAC system, and they act as a moisture supply to your furnace blower.

When the hot air blows through the bypass, it runs through a rotating wet pad. These must get connected to your home’s water supply, and they usually have a humidistat.

You set the humidistat to the desired humidity, and when the sensor drops below that level, the unit kicks in!

Flow-Through Unit

This unit does require a water supply, so there is less maintenance but a higher cost.

For these, the unit will detect the level of humidity in your home and kick on when necessary. When the humidifier comes on, it will draw water from your main supply to soak a water panel. The hot air will pass through the water panel and supply moisture to the home through your ducts. These humidifiers have no stagnant water for the pad to run through.

Whole-Home Steam Humidifier

These humidifiers work separately or with your furnace. They hook up to your home’s water supply, and the water is heated. When the humidistat determines that the humidity is below your desired level, it kicks on.

The humidifier will heat the water and convert it to steam and then pass it through your home using the ducts. This choice is most useful for larger homes and people looking for the best long-term solution to dry air.

Installing a Furnace Humidifier

Installing a furnace humidifier does require a certain level of knowledge and skill. Installation instructions come with the units. Drum style and flow-through units install on your home’s bypass duct so they can use the supply plenum to draw air.

For many furnace humidifiers, we recommend hiring a professional to take care of the job. Humidifiers run on 24 or 120 or 240-volts, which can require an extra circuit in your electrical panel. As we said, the upfront cost is minimal when you look at the long-term benefits and lack of necessary maintenance on these units.

Additionally, in many cases, you must hire a professional in order to maintain the humidifier’s warranty. Installing the unit yourself can leave you without coverage in the event of a problem!

Furnace Humidifier Maintenance

Although they don’t require as much day-to-day maintenance, furnace humidifiers do benefit from service from time to time. Basic furnace humidifier maintenance includes:

  • Checking pads or panels for sediment build-up at least once per year.
  • Cleaning the entire unit once per year.
  • For whole-house humidifiers, having a professional check the heating element every few years.

Overall, maintenance of a furnace humidifier is limited as long as you keep up with the unit and the beginning and end of the winter season.

AtlasCare Announced Title Sponsor of Golf Fore MS Peel-Dufferin

September might just be our favourite month of the year.

Granted, it marks the bittersweet end of the summer season (and the start of six to eight months of cruel weather.) But it also brings us one of the single most anticipated events on the AtlasCare calendar: the annual Golf Fore MS Classic.

This year’s event takes place on Wednesday, September 25th, 2019, at the Royal Ontario Golf Club. We know many of you have already secured your spot in the tournament – but if not, you can still register as a participant today.

We’re counting down the days and can’t wait to see you there! In the meantime, here’s a bit of background on what makes this event so special to the AtlasCare team.

What Is the Golf Fore MS Classic?

Golf Fore MS is an annual charity golf tournament organized by the Peel-Dufferin Chapter of the MS Society of Canada. The funds raised here go towards supporting two very important causes: researching the cause, cure and treatment of MS, and helping people in our community who are affected by MS.

Each September, Golf Fore MS takes place at the beautiful Royal Ontario Golf Club in Milton, located just off Trafalgar Road. The tournament kicks off at 8 am and continues into the early afternoon, with plenty of food and refreshments to go around.

For those of you who aren’t the best golfers, you still have a chance to win other fun awards, like the Best Dressed Foursome!

This event is one of the Peel Dufferin Chapter’s biggest and most important fundraisers. In 2018, the Peel Dufferin Chapter contributed close to $55,000 towards funding MS research and provided $60,000 worth of support to individuals living with MS!

AtlasCare continues to be a lead organizer, title sponsor and eager participant in the Golf Fore MS tournament.

Why AtlasCare Supports the MS Society

Charity is at the core of our company culture, and MS is a cause that is very close to our hearts.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is classified as an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and optic nerve.) The disease impacts the function of nerve impulses, resulting in a variety of symptoms that have numerous impacts on daily living.

Many people who have MS experience unpredictable remissions and relapses, alternating between manageable periods and difficult ones. You don’t really know when it’ll come knocking at your door. For others, MS is a progressive condition that steadily worsens over time, and it is common for people to gradually transition from one type of MS to another.

Researchers aren’t certain what causes MS, but they do know that Canadians have the highest rate of MS in the world. There are over 77,000 Canadians living with MS today, including people here at home in the GTA.

Multiple Sclerosis has personally affected the Grochmal family twice. Roger Grochmal lost his first wife, Kathy (Michael’s mother) to the disease in 2003, and Michael’s mother-in-law also passed away from MS in 2012.

The MS Society of Canada provides information, support, educational events and other resources for people and families living with MS across Canada. The organization also contributes millions of dollars to research, leading to significant breakthroughs in diagnosis and treatment since 1948.

Our local Peel-Dufferin Chapter provides education sessions and webinars, facilitates self-help groups, and provides quality-of-life grants to individuals. Last year, the Chapter contributed $60,000 to help 80 people in the Peel Dufferin area purchase important equipment like wheelchairs, walkers and lifts.

How You Can Support Golf Fore MS

  1. Turn out and play in the tournament! We promise you’ll have an absolute blast. Flip to page 50 of our Culture Book to see what you’d be missing.
  2. Make even more of an impact leading up to the Golf Fore MS Classic by asking your friends, family and co-workers to support your day on the course!
  3. Can’t make it on the 25th? You can still donate to support other participants. Pick your favourite team and help them race to the top!
  4. Become a Golf Fore MS Sponsor! If you miss the opportunity to sponsor this year’s event, you can always plan to do so next year.
  5. Help spread the word about the event on social media – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or wherever you like to hang out!

We’re grateful for your support and can’t wait to see you on the green!

How Our Business Gives Back to the Community – And You Can, Too

Since our start back in 1932, helping others has been an integral part of AtlasCare’s company culture. Whether it’s raising funds, spreading awareness or donating our time to a local cause, we’re always looking for ways to give something back to this community we call home.

Sometimes, we all get together to contribute as a team – but we also support individuals on our team who give back in their own way.

Here, we’d like to introduce you to a few of the efforts we’ve undertaken and organizations we’ve supported over the years. We hope that these stories can inspire you to do some good, too!


Care to Share Charity Program

Whether you’re a volunteer, a donor or a beneficiary, you can surely name at least one charity that has made a positive difference in your life.

There are literally thousands of charitable organizations doing important work in the Greater Toronto Area. As a local family-owned business, we have seen their impact on our communities first-hand.

Sadly, many of these organizations have urgent needs that are not being met. That’s why we started our Care to Share program.

Care to Share invites anyone in the community to tell us about a worthwhile charity and nominate them for a monetary donation. We revived the program in 2017 to celebrate our 85th anniversary. That December, AtlasCare made three cash donations totalling $8,500 to three worthwhile causes:

  1. Eagle’s Nest Association of Waterdown, which provides compassionate support and numerous services for local families in need.
  2. The Dale Ministries, which supports people experiencing poverty in Toronto’s Parkdale Community by providing free meals, drop-in programs and on-the-ground outreach.
  3. Scientists in School, which brings hands-on science and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workshops to over 660,000 students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 each year.

We had the privilege of meeting representatives from each of these organizations at our offices in Oakville. There, AtlasCare President Michael Grochmal and CEO Roger Grochmal presented each organization with funds in support of their essential services!



Everyone has a unique skill or expertise they can put toward helping a worthy cause. We encourage our staff to get involved in the community hands-on, and we often get together to volunteer together!

Earlier this year, we spent a day at the Compass Food Bank in Mississauga. Our duct cleaning technicians cleaned the facility’s duct system top-to-bottom, while the rest of the team helped to organize and prepare meals. We were thrilled to donate our services so that Compass could have cleaner air and a smoother-running HVAC system. The Compass Food Bank is always looking for more volunteers and donations of food and household essentials, so you should give them a call if you’re in the area!

The AtlasCare team has also been long-time volunteers and supporters of the Oakville-based charity SafetyNet. SafetyNet provides a wide range of services for kids and families, including free bicycles, clothing and household items. They also offer tutoring and music lessons for children who don’t have access to these services otherwise. We love volunteering at the SafetyNet warehouse, and just about anyone who wants to pitch in for a few hours can help with sorting donations! If you happen to musically or academically inclined, you can also make a big impact as a volunteer tutor or music instructor.

Fundraising and Sponsorship

We’re eager participants in a variety of local fundraisers – especially when we can take part as a team! In 2017, Roger and Michael Grochmal participated in Ovarian Cancer Canada’s Walk of Hope to help raise funds towards improving the lives of people living with ovarian cancer.

Our success as an HVAC and home services company has also given us the ability to sponsor organizations in the community. This year, we had the privilege of supporting  Burlington Soccer Club (Go Bayhawks!) as a sponsor. AtlasCare is also the Title Sponsor of the annual Golf Fore MS Classic event – a fundraiser golf tournament in support of our local chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Canada.

The funds raised at Golf Fore MS go towards helping to achieve two very important missions: researching the cause and cure of MS while providing services for local people affected by MS. Last year, our local Peel-Dufferin Chapter of the MS Society contributed $55,000 towards MS research and provided close to $60,000 in support to individuals in our community (including purchasing 63 pieces of equipment like wheelchairs and lifts.)

MS is a cause very close to our heart. It has affected the Grochmal family personally, along with many other families in our community. Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, affecting an estimated 1 in 385 people and over 77,000 Canadians overall.

AtlasCare continues to be a lead organizer, title sponsor and participant in the Golf Fore MS tournament. It’s a wonderful way to honour the memory of our loved ones while raising money to support those who still live with MS.

We hope you’ll join us at the 2019 Golf Fore MS Classic on Wednesday, September 25th! You can learn more about the event or register online right here.


Education and Mentorship

We believe technical excellence comes from a commitment to continuous learning, whether it’s discovering new products or simply a better way to work. We’re also eager to encourage and nurture the next generation of HVAC professionals – which is why AtlasCare proudly supports skills competitions at technical colleges and through Skills Ontario.

AtlasCare has been involved with Skills Canada for many years.  Dick Thomas, our VP of Sales (and part of AtlasCare for over 40 years!) serves as the Skills co-chair for HVAC. He, along with our HR Coordinator Catherine Brelik, also lend their insight to several college advisory boards to help ensure young people learn the skills they need to succeed in our industry.

Dick also invited a group of local Scouts to AtlasCare’s offices to learn about trades in the mechanical fields. During their visit, the scouts got to see the rewards of a career in the trades!

Discover More About Our Culture

We couldn’t possibly fit all of our community engagement into one blog post, but you can learn all about us in the AtlasCare Culture Book! Here, you can see even more photos and stories about the things we do here at AtlasCare. Give it a look, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our company.


Red Flags to Watch Out for When Choosing an HVAC Company

When it comes to your house, you want to ensure things go smoothly. Choosing the right contractor to carry out work on your HVAC system in your home can be difficult, stressful, and if something goes wrong, expensive.

One of the most important things to do when choosing an HVAC company is to research.

In the sea of searching, it may be difficult to notice qualities that companies have that will be best for your needs.

While everything a company says may sound good, there are some red flags worth looking out for when making a decision.

Long Wait Times

We’ve all been there. The one thing we need, breaks suddenly.

HVAC problems can be sudden and serious such as heating issues in the winter. What do you do?

As a customer, you want a long-term relationship because you want to ensure quality. You need someone to be there when you need it. The last think you need is to wait all day for the services you require.

It’s important to find a company that prioritizes you as a customer. Fast emergency service windows and working around your schedule gives you the flexibility, but the security to know you’ll have the services when you need them most.

Poor Reviews and Photos

An online presence is important for many people. Reviews and photos are a good indication of the service you’ll end up receiving.

No one company is perfect, so generally a few negative reviews can be expected. However, a large number of negative reviews is a red flag.

What‘s important to differentiate one company from another is what they do when the customer is displeased. Companies that provide a money-back guarantee for any poor quality of work shows that they are both confident in their skills.

It indicates they are focused on making you happy and creating a long-term partnership between you two.

No Established Reputation

People want to know that companies will be there when they need them.

Without an established reputation, you have no guarantee how long they will be around or how reliable they are.

Companies with long histories and numerous awards provides a solid foundation and a reliable reference for their services.

You can count on companies to be there for you in the years to come.

High-Pressure Sales Tactics

No one should feel pressured to buy something. High-pressure sales tactics can make customers feel like the only option they have to end a stressful situation is to say yes.

If the HVAC company you’re considering is using these tactics to sell you their services, they may not be the company for you.

A few of the main high-pressure tactics are:

  • Endless chatter
  • Limited Time Offers
  • Emotional Manipulation

When it comes to solutions to your problems, there’s never just one way. Don’t feel pressured by a company to solve it a certain way.

You should always look to explore options and figure out together what works best for you.

Lack of Transparency

The best way to know if a company is right for you is often through referrals.

But be careful when using online referrals. There is a growing number of referral businesses that exist solely to acquire customer leads and funnel them to various other service companies for a fee. “Fake” referrals that have led you to finding a company you’ve never heard about doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best service.

The best referral is from someone you know or who has an active local presence. Everyone knows the best kind of service is the “I know a guy” kind of service. You know the company that’s recommended will deliver what you need, with business transparency.

With any business transparency between client and the company is key.

By definition, business transparency is clear, unhindered honesty in the way they do business. It is a lack of hidden agendas.

A transparent company with an active local presence will have your best interest in mind.

Bottom-Barrel Pricing

Most companies like to say they have the best pricing out there.

But when you’re looking into several companies regarding one service and you find an unusually low price, it might not be best to go with them.

If all a company wants is to earn a quick buck, you’re not going to get quality work.

When it comes to certain things, the cheapest option out there is often not the one you need.

You often get what you pay for.

Included in every HVAC cost:

  • the price in your invoice accounts for the company’s licensing,
  • insurance,
  • equipment, etc.

If the price is too low, something is missing.

Ultimately the choice is up to you, but don’t rush through your decision without researching first.


How to Protect Your Home from Flooding this Spring

Significant snow melt combined with heavy rainfalls spelled the recipe for disaster in many Northern Ontario communities this spring. Many roads in the Bracebridge area, Ontario’s main cottage country, were washed out by floodwaters, as water levels from nearby lakes rose dangerously high.  This prompted the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to activate a disaster recovery assistance program to the Ontario communities of Renfrew County, Pembroke, Bracebridge and Huntsville. 

Are spring floods the “new normal”? 

If floods across the province are the result of climate change, homeowners will have to consider how to adapt and take any prevention measures they can.  

Dealing with the aftermath of a flood can be a real headache. Basement flooding can cause millions of dollars in damage to personal property. Anyone who has ever experienced a flooded basement, realizes the misery of loss of personal value items that simply cannot be replaced. It is in the homeowner’s best interest to never experience a basement flood at all. 

If you have experienced flooding in your home  

If your home has been damaged by flooding, keep safe by not entering a flood-damaged basement until the utility company, fire department or licensed electrician has removed the home’s electrical meter from its socket. A licensed HVAC professional can advise you whether your heating and cooling system can be salvaged. Contact your insurance company for an assessment of the damage and for any recovery steps they can take as soon as possible. 

For same day or emergency service call 1-905-829-1296

What steps can you take to protect your home from basement flooding? 

Be Aware of Any Flood Risk in Your Area

Talk to your municipality about potential for flooding in your area. Find out what type of services you have to your home and if the municipality has a plan to address any flooding in your community. If you have experienced any flooding, it’s important to let your municipality know. The more reports that are filed from a given area the more resources are likely to be committed to understanding the problem. 

If your home is situated on a known flood plain, you may even consider relocating. When this is not possible, you will need to prepare for the worst-case scenario. 

Inspect the Plumbing in Your Home

Understanding how your home’s drainage and plumbing systems will help to reduce the risk of basement floods. To understand vital elements of your home’s plumbing system, such as your foundation’s drainage, sump pumps, sanitary and storm sewer laterals, and backflow valves, you may wish to engage a licensed plumber. 

Sump pumps, when maintained and working properly can safely pump excess water above and away from the foundation. If the pump cannot keep up or fails to operate (in the case of a power outage), the water eventually spills on to the basement floor. 

Be sure to have your sump pump maintained regularly to avoid preventable issues such as clogs, motor breakdown, and remote starter shorts during a flood.  

Installing a flood switch can save you time and money by stopping any highwater overflow before it becomes a problem. This simple inexpensive device can prevent an over-filled tank or pond from flooding and causing damage. 

Contact us today to book your repair, service or installation. 

Understand Your Insurance Coverage

It’s advisable to understand what your home insurance policy covers regarding plumbing before you are in a crisis situation. Does it offer coverage for sewer backups from the storm or sanitary sewer system? What about overland flooding due to heavy rainfall, or sump pump failure due to power outage. If you were to make a claim, how would it affect your rates, and your future insurability? 

Consider Waterproofing Your Basement

Waterproofing will protect your foundation, keeping moisture out and save you thousands in potential damage. If you are experiencing musky smells, mold, or water seeping through floors and walls in your basement, these are signs you may have an issue with your foundation’s waterproofing. 

Let one of our basement experts come and give you a free waterproofing estimate. 

Simple lifestyle changes that help 

  • Avoid pouring fats, oils, and grease down the drain 
  • Reduce household water use during heavy rains 
  • Avoid storage on your basement floor 
  • Avoid making the basement high-value living space 
  • Keep nearest outdoor catch basins clear of debris 
  • Seal the cracks in your foundation walls and floor 
  • Maintain you eavestroughs and downspouts

Be sure to take advantage of our spring specials and promotions on now until May 31, 2019. 

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