Archive for April, 2010

Hydro Rate Increase

April 30, 2010

May 1, 2010 Toronto Hydro is raising the rates an average of 12%. If you have a smart meter, off peak rates are increasing by 25%. It seems like we are heading towards the expensive power model of Europe.

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2 People Arrested For Entering Sewer System in Toronto

April 27, 2010

Do you know that there are huge networks of sewers deep under most big cities. Many movies have been filmed in underground sewers showing dramatic chases. There are some “explorers” who venture into these underground cities to photograph and map these hidden treasures and display them on their blogs and websites. The only problem is that entering these areas are illegal and dangerous and these explorers often get arrested or even risk their lives as they drop down 30 feet or more by a rope through small openings on top of these sewers.

Michael Cook, 27, of Toronto, and Andrew Emond, 35, of Montreal were arrested Sunday after a perplexed citizen saw them enter the sewer near Ossington Ave. and Dundas St. W. Both face charges of mischief to interfere with property.

Both men are urban explorers and photographers. Cook runs http://www.vanishingpoint.ca/tailrace.html, and Emond runs http://www.undermontreal.com/. Both have explored drains for several years and most recently, the men were exploring the sewers that replaced Garrison Creek, in the western section of downtown.

Isn’t it interesting what people find amusing these days. With fears of terrorism, these types of escapades can cause a lot of fear and anxiety in our citizens.

Check out the entire article in The Toronto Star.

Save Energy – Update Your Equipment

April 26, 2010

Do you know that upgrading your Air Conditioner from 10 SEER to 15 SEER will save around $500/year on energy costs. If your air conditioner was installed before 2005, you probably have a 10 SEER unit. Now you can get units as high as 21 SEER.  Even upgrading to 15 SEER will save you alot of money on your electricity. With energy rates rising and the new HST added to your electricity bill, it makes sense to upgrade now. There are rebates availalble for upgrading but the rebates will not be around much longer. The Federal rebates were abruptly terminated and the Provincial rebates will not be around much longer.

Don’t get stuck with an energy hog when electricity rates soar and the rebates are cancelled.

Is it time to buy a new high efficiency air conditioner?

April 25, 2010

As reported on the Green Energy Efficient Homes website, If your unit is more than ten years old, or cycles rapidly when in use (on / off / on off), it is probably time to buy a new energy saving air conditioner, as efficiency standards for air conditioning systems keep increasing, and you will probably save more than 20% on your electricity bill by upgrading to an energy saving air conditioner. If your central air conditioning system is more than ten years old, it may have been oversized at the time of installation, as installing oversized units was once common practice. An oversized unit, it turns out, is much less efficient than one slightly undersized for the area being cooled, so even if modern air conditioning systems weren’t more efficient on average than 10-year-old units of the same BTU output, you could wind up saving money by upgrading. To see if your unit is oversized, ask an HVAC contractor to check its BTU rating for you and to do a sizing on your house to determine whether it was oversized.

Snowmelting Is it Cost Effective

April 23, 2010

In a recently published article in The Plumbing and HVAC magazine, Roy Collver calculates that melting snow, rather than having a snow removal contractor plough it away, will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint. Click this link to see the article.

We at Premi-Air, use High Efficiency Triangle Tube boilers to melt snow due to their reliability and efficiency.

The Green Energy Act – Unveiled

April 22, 2010

What is the Green energy Act (GEA) and why will it cause our energy prices to soar?

The Province of Ontario has a problem with energy supply and distribution. We have not built a new generation facility in years and our distribution grid (the wires that distribute the power throughout the province) is severely undersized for our growing needs. Additionally, the province does not want to rely on electricity generated by burning fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas as it is not “Environmentally Friendly”. Instead they want to encourage the generation of electricity using renewable resources such as solar and wind. Unfortunately, these technologies are not sufficiently developed to be financially viable. Therefore, they are offering to pay as much as 80 cents/kwh (yes that is 80 cents and not a typo) for small generation facilities all around the province. This is being paid for by the FIT (Feed In Tariff) program which passes these costs on to consumers by increasing the electricity rates across the province. The advantage of many micro generation facilities spread across the province is that much of the electricity will be generated close to the point of consumption. This reduces the load on our grid since electricity will not have to be transmitted long distances through the wires. However, this comes at a great expense. The FIT program mandates that the utility must connect any micro generation plant to the grid. This means that if a farmer in a remote field wants to build a small “solar farm”, the utility must incur the expense of connecting even a long distance to the solar farm. Of course this cost will also be passed on to consumers in our utility bills on the “Delivery” line. You can expect this line to increase dramatically in the short term future as many people take advantage of the FIT program.

In short, we all must get used to paying much more for our energy and get prepared for these huge increases. Now is the time to make the necessary equipment changes to protect our selves from unmanageable cost of living increases.

Energy Rates on the Rise

April 21, 2010

Have you checked your Hydro bills lately? Electricity rates are rising in alarming proportions. Even if you are locked into a long term contract, you will not escape the sharp energy increases. In a recent article in the Toronto Star, John Spears reported that for homes equipped with the new “Smart Meters”, prices will increase by an average of 9.5% starting May 1, 2010. However, for most  families that are careful to use much of their electricity in off peak times, the increase will be from 4.4 cents/kwh to 5.8 cents/kwh, an increase of a whopping 25%. This is just the beginning of our increases. Recently, Bill 150 The Green Energy Act (GEA) passed by the Ontario Government on May 14, 2009, paved the way for our electricity rates to increase to 25 cents/kw/h within the next 5 years. This is further aggravated by the new HST which will add an additional 8% to your bill starting July 1, 2010. Based on an average frum family who currently pays around $3,600/year, the current increase will bring their bill up to $5,184/year, an increase of $1,584/year. Once all the increases due to the GEA and the HST materialize, the average frum family can expect to pay close to $21,600/year in electricity. These drastic increases highlight the need to ensure that our homes are as energy efficient as possible. While changing our energy consumption habits and changing our light bulbs will help a bit, the greatest consumers of energy in our homes are our heating and air conditioning systems.  New high efficiency equipment is our most effective defense against these sharp increases in energy costs. This is particularly relevant to  families who do not set back their temperature during the day because someone is always home.

For the last number of years, the Federal and Provincial governments were offering significant rebates through the Eco Energy Rebate for people who replace their heating and air conditioning equipment with high efficiency equipment in order to encourage energy conservation. It is no coincidence that the Federal government abruptly ended the Eco Energy Rebate just as our electricity rates soared. Now people will upgrade their equipment just to avoid sharp increases in their electricity bill. Fortunately, the Provincial rebate will remain to assist people in upgrading. However, we do not know when the Province might abruptly end their program. It would be prudent for all families to upgrade their equipment now, while provincial funding is still available.

Please see the news release from the government of Ontario regarding the Eco Energy Rebates on the sidebar.

Check out this article from CBC about Radon

April 20, 2010

I found a very interesting and informative news article on the CBC website. Did you know that the action level recommended is 200 Bq per cubic metre? Did you know that over 15,000 Canadians die of lung cancer each year? Check out the article.

ASD – Active Soil Depressurization

April 19, 2010

There are actually 3 types of ASD. In homes with poured concrete basement floors, the slab is penetrated as you saw in the video in yesterday’s post. Some homes have sump pits that can be used to suck the radon from. This way no holes need to be drilled into the concrete basement floor. Check out this video to see how this type of system is installed. However, in homes with crawl spaces on open soil, a tarp must be spread across the soil and sealed to the walls to act as a barrier between the soil and the crawl space. Once the tarp is sealed, an intake pipe can be attached to the tarp to route the radon up into the air. A length of perforated pipe is laid on top of the soil running the length of the crawl space. The pipe will collect the radon from beneath the plastic sheeting when connected to a fan.

Perforated pipe is used to collect soil gas laid on floor of crawl space.

A high density, cross laminated polyethylene sheeting is then laid on the soil. This type of sheeting is very durable and resists tearing.

High density polyethylene lay on dirt with edges and seams sealed

The seams should be overlapped and sealed. The edges should also be sealed to the walls of the crawl space, to ensure system efficiency and to help keep the plastic stationary. The use of a durable plastic prolongs the life of the system and may allow storage in the crawl space.

After the plastic has been installed, a solid PVC pipe is connected to the perforated pipe beneath the plastic. The PVC pipe is then routed to the radon fan.

The Great Radon Bypass

April 18, 2010

Active Soil Depressurization is the best way to mitigate radon because it allows all the radon in the soil beneath your home to bypass your house into the air above your home where it will be harmless.

Active soil depressurization (ASD) has proven to be a very cost-effective and reliable technique for radon reduction. ASD systems collect the radon from beneath the building before it can enter. The systems can be simple or complex depending upon the design of the building. Operating costs of the system fans are modest, due to their low power consumption (typically less than 90 watts per fan).

The system draws the radon-laden soil gas from beneath the foundation and exhausts it outside of the building, far enough away from windows and other openings that it will not reenter. The system typically consists of a plastic pipe connected to the soil either through a hole in a slab floor, through a sump lid connection, or beneath a plastic sheet in a crawl space. Attached to the pipe is a quiet, continuously operating fan that discharges the radon outdoors.

Please check out this video on how the ASD system is installed.