Archive for the ‘Troubleshooting’ Category

Cottagers CAUTION!! Cold Weather Can Bring Mould

December 2, 2012

Hello Friends,

Below is an actual email exchange I had with one of my wonderful clients who just completed his first season in his brand new cottage. He went up for a brief visit this weekend and was met with a serious problem. Thankfully, I was able to give him some simple suggestions that will work. I have changed the names to protect his privacy.

From: Carefree Cottager

Sent: Sunday December 2, 2012 6:21 PM

To: Joseph Simon

Subject: My cottage

Hi Joe. Hope you are doing well.  Without getting into too many details on an email, suffice it to say, Renata and I visited the cottage Saturday evening and were horrified to find serious, active mold on all the windows, clothes in the Master closet etc. I know Monty mentioned this and you provided a suggestion. We cleaned to the best of our ability but there were many hard to get to areas. The moisture in the house was actually being controlled by a de-humidifier but that wasn’t sufficient. You provided me the name of a colleague of yours up north (forget his name and coordinates). Should I be consulting him, or can you assist me? I can also, if need be, use my own HVAC guy from my business. I need to know 2 things:

How to best control the moisture going forward and how to get rid of the mold in my house. I want to also understand the nature of the health risk as it stands and whether I should be avoiding further use of the cottage until it is resolved.

Monty is going tomorrow to have a look. Most of the readily apparent mold was removed as per your instruction to Monty.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks very much.

Concerned Cottager

Sent via BlackBerry on the Bell Mobility network

Hi Concerned,

I am assuming that your windows were dripping and that was the source of the moisture in your cottage. Monty mentioned to me that his windows were dripping as well.

Dripping on your windows is caused by the warm moist air in your home contacting the cold windows and the moisture in the air condenses on the windows similar to what happens to a can of cold soda when removed from the fridge.

There are two strategies to prevent this from happening.

Firstly, we must reduce the moisture level in your home.

Secondly, we must reduce the temperature in your home.

I suggest you employ both strategies.

The way to reduce the moisture level in your home is to admit dry outside air into your home. This can be accomplished simply by leaving a window open about 3″. (In my home, there is always a window open. It reduces excessive moisture and provides clean fresh ventilation air to keep my home healthy and fresh.) Leaving a window open will of course add cold air to your home and will increase your energy bill. Another problem is that there is no way to control this method since you will not be present most of the time. You can install an HRV, which is a heat recovery ventilator. This automatically brings in the right amount of fresh dry air, exhausts stale humid air and transfers much of the heat from the exiting air to the fresh air, thereby saving energy. This appliance will cost around $2,000 installed properly but will pay for itself over time in energy savings.

The second strategy is to keep your house at a cool temperature to reduce the contrast in temperature between your home and the surface of your windows. This will reduce the condensation of your windows.

You must make sure not to keep your house cooler than the minimum temperature that your furnace can safely operate. Typically this is around 60 deg. F but you must check the furnace manual for your specific model.

Regarding the mould, I would just spray the affected areas with bleach and wipe them down. It would also be a great idea to run a HEPA filter while you are up at the cottage to ensure the air you breathe is always safe and allergen free.

If it is impossible to wipe away the mould, you might have to employ the services of a mould remediation professional. I am pretty sure that Clayton from Link would know someone in your area.

I would recommend you contact Clayton at Link ClimateCare in Beaverton. He will be able to help you with these items and is also very familiar with the weather challenges and construction practices in your area. I have copied him on this email so he will be aware of the issue when you call him.

You can reach him at 1-877-426-7831.

Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to discuss this further. You can call me anytime.

Best Regards,

Joseph Simon

Please visit my Blog for great information on the latest HVAC issues Please check out our websites for the latest information on our products, services and specials.

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Is Your AC Really Working?

June 21, 2012

With the extreme heat we’ve been having, is your system cooling as good as it can? It has not been this hot since 1942. When the weather is mild, even if your AC is not working 100%, your home will still be comfortable. However, when the heat is extreme, you need 100% of your AC capacity and you can’t afford even the slightest drop in performance, Here’s a couple of tips to ensure you have 100% capacity. Hose down the outdoor unit. A small amount of dirt or grass clippings can reduce your cooling up to 30%. Make sure your furnace filters are very clean and open all the vents in your home. Also make sure to leave your fan in the ON position. It is a good idea to get your AC tuned up by a reputable heating contractor. I would get into a service plan so that gets you priority service so that just in case your AC fails, you can get it fixed right away.

Beware of Shoddy and Careless Workmanship

January 4, 2011

We were called by a new customer to investigate why their newly installed rooftop heat/cool unit was not heating properly. The customer found us on Homestars and saw our reviews and reputation as a good contractor. What we found truly amazed us. Right on the side of the unit there is a big label that says “This label must be removed” It was not removed and was starving the unit for combustion air. This caused the unit to burn itself. See the burn marks in the unit. The heat exchanger also suffered from this poor combustion situation. The second photo shows a heat exchanger that looks 10 years old rather than 3 months old. You can clearly see the hot spots and wear. It is so important to hire contractors who are well-trained and diligent to do quality work. Anyone who can read would have seen this label and removed it as per the manufacturer’s instruction.

I’m glad that we found this problem and corrected it for the customer.

Remember to call us for all your heating and air conditioning needs and we will always do the job right.

See the photos below.

View this document on Scribd

BE Lies and is Incompetent!

December 28, 2010

After my customer called BE and let them have it about their lies and showed them that the part was in fact available and that he caught them on their lie, they agreed to come first thing Monday morning equipped with a new IDB induced draft blower. What do you know…they replaced the IDB and the furnace still did not work. MISDIAGNOSIS!! At this point, my customer was livid and screaming at BE for a competent service technician. Finally, on Wednesday someone came and got the furnace working. They still don’t know what caused the problem. This whole issue should have been solved in 10 minutes 5 weeks ago when the trouble first started but the incompetence of BE is just so unbelievable. I just can’t understand why people continue to use them.

I’m happy that at least for now, my customer has heat. I told the customer to switch their service plan to Premi-AirClimateCare and they will not have these problems anymore.

Heating Protection Plan offers Poor Service

December 26, 2010

Last Sunday, one of my customers called me that his furnace was not working. We had installed this furnace 2 years ago. My customer decided to have his maintenance with a large company that offers a heating protection plan. This plan includes free repairs 24/7/365.

My customer called to tell me that his furnace had not been working properly for 5 weeks now. The big company we’ll call BE had been there 5 times and the furnace still did not work properly. They were there on Saturday and decided that they need a new induced draft blower. They claimed, that this York furnace, is now obsolete and the parts are no longer available. They advised the customer to get a new furnace because even if we wait until Monday, we might not be able to get the part we need.

I was livid. Firstly, I did not believe that a new IDB was needed. Clearly, if they were there 5 times and still could not get it right, they were just guessing. I know that IDB last at least 5 years. Secondly, the part was available in large quantities at York in Oakville and at many suppliers throughout Toronto. BE was just trying to avoid paying their technician to pick up the part on weekend time and avoid the premium paid to suppliers to open their warehouse on a weekend.

I gave my customer the emergency weekend telephone to york and he called them. They said that they had over 50 units in stock.

What liars BE are!!

In my next post I will tell you what happened. They did not have heat until the next Wednesday!!

I don’t understand why people still use BE with their horrific service and dishonesty.

Help – My House is Cold – Furnace Broken

December 19, 2010

Now that the weather is getting cold, I’d like to give you a checklist of what to do if your furnace stops working and you are cold. These are things you can try yourself before you call a service company.

  1. Make sure your thermostat is set to heat and the temperature is set to 21 Celsius or 70 Fahrenheit.
  2. Make sure the switch and electrical breaker for your furnace are set to the on position.
  3. Make sure your filter is clean. See the video below for how to change your air filter.
  4. Check the vent termination outside to make sure it is not blocked with snow or other obstruction. See the video below on how to do this.

If all these items are fine, call your service company or try calling Premi-AirClimateCare at 416-781-1054

Save $1,500 in Energy

June 19, 2010

Yesterday I surveyed a home in the Riverdale area of Toronto. My customer wanted to change out his old air conditioner as part of a renovation project. The first thing we do on a comfort assessment visit is a heat loss/gain calculation. This is accomplished by measuring all the outside walls, windows and doors. Once we gather the data, we enter the data into our heat loss/gain program to determine the correct sizing for the home comfort equipment. We were amazed that the existing furnace which was only 5 years old had been severely oversized. The furnace was a 100,000 BTUH mid-efficiency unit. The required size was around 50,000 BTUH. After a complete analysis, we realized that a new furnace and new air conditioner, once we factored in the $2,000 worth of rebates, would cost approximately $5,000. The yearly energy savings we calculated to be at around $1,500. This worked out to a 27% ROI, return on investment. We were really glad along with our customer to have discovered this great opportunity to save energy. This was only possible because we performed a full heat loss/gain study. Whenever you need new home comfort equipment, make sure that your contractor does a heat loss/gain study and analyzes your energy use so that you can also make the best decisions.

My House Feels Hot

June 15, 2010

These days, as the temperature hovers around 22 Celsius or 72 Fahrenheit, many customers call and complain that their homes are uncomfortable. Their thermostats read whatever they set the temperature at but it still seems warm. This is typical in cooler humid weather since your air conditioner does not run long enough to remove the humidity. The simple solution to this is to lower your thermostat by 1 degree celsius or 2 degrees fahrenheit. This will allow the unit to run longer and remove the moisture from your home. Once the weather warms up, you can raise the temperature a few degrees.

So you see, it was easy…all you needed was a bit of information!

Happy and comfortable summer to all!

Heatwave – How to stay cool.

May 31, 2010

We have received many service calls from people who are hot because their Air Conditioners are not working. Many of these problems are due to dirty filters. Please make sure to clean or change your filters right away to make sure that your air conditioner works at peak performance. Better even is to have us come out and do a maintenance on your system.

Beware of the Crooks-Fix My Furnace- Who Should I Call?

March 12, 2010

There is no worse feeling of hopelessness than not knowing who to call when your furnace breaks on a cold night. Let me give you some pointers about whom to call.

You must be aware that many companies are just looking to sell you a new furnace whether you need it or not. They look at every failed furnace as an opportunity to sell a new one even if repair is a valid option. Stay away from these companies!!

Other companies will fix anything even if replacement is the better option. This will allow you to throw out good money repairing a furnace that should be replaced. Stay away from these companies!!

In my next entry, Iwill show you how to decide between replacement or repair.

So how do I know which company is a predator and who cares to do what’s best for me?

The first thing I would do is go to Homestars Website and search for a company. This website allows consumers to leave reviews about their experience with a contractor. It is a great resource for homeowners just like you to find good people to work in your home. I urge you to visit Homestars whenever you need anything done in your home and I urge you to return the courtesy to future seekers and leave your own review on any contractor that you use.