In the Press: Hy-Mark Leading in Safety Standards

This month Hy-Mark was featured in Plumbing + HVAC Magazine for our commitment to safety standards.  

We’re proud to be recognized for our efforts in Safety, but that’s not why we do it.  We do it because we take industry law seriously, and because everyone deserves to get home safe at the end of each day.  Hy-Mark’s investment in industry-leading P.P.E. (Personal Protective Equipment) and Safety Training Programs pays off every day when our team stays safe, and we’ll never stop continuing to improve when it comes to safety.

Visit our Health & Safety page.

Join the Hy-Mark team!  View current Career Opportunities.

 

 

 

 

4 Everyday Things That Are Clogging Your Drains

1. Hair, hair, and more hair

Hair is one of the number one culprits for drain clogs, particularly in the bathroom.  Though you may only see a few strands going down a day, little by little it does build up in your pipes, especially when it combines with soap to form a sticky gob that is just, well…not pleasant.  Long strands are the worse offenders, but even short hairs can contribute to clogs.drain

What to do

Fit your tub and sink drains with a strainer that will catch hair and any other small particles, and then clean that strainer regularly.  You won’t believe how much gunk you’re saving your drain from.

2. Grease

We’ve all seen the solid fats that form from cooled cooking oil or animal grease. So why are we surprised when it looks like that in our pipes?  The truth is even though you can wash fat down the drain while it’s hot, once it is out of your sight it will cool and form clumps, forming a drain blockage.  And yet we’re not going to give up bacon any time soon, so…

What to do

While it is still hot, pour as much excess grease as possible into a container. An empty tin can works well. You can keep this can covered with a lid in your freezer, which will minimize odours.  Rinse the rest of the grease off your cookware right away, while running lots of very hot soapy water to help break down the oil and help flush it down the drain.

3. Food

Even small bits of food can build up and expand in your pipes.

What to do

Again, use a drain strainer to catch food scraps.  And keep that veggie peeler away from your sink!

4. Bathroom products

Despite being labelled as “disposable,” many bathroom products can still cause clogs. Flushable wipes, super thick ply toilet paper, and feminine hygiene products are all liable to clog up a home’s pipes.  In general, only high powered public toilets can manage to handle these products.

What to do

Dispose of “flushable” wipes and feminine hygiene products in the garbage.  And stick with regular toilet paper. We promise no one will think you’re letting your bum slum.

Still got clogged pipes or backed up drains?  We can help! Call us at 800 727 0750.

We Did it Again!

We are beyond excited to say that once again, Hy-Mark has been recognized as outstanding. We are part of the Reid’s Heritage Group of companies, and RHG has been recognized as One of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Small & Medium Employers Winner 2016 Employers for 2016!  

RHG made this list in 2015 as well.  This year, we can say the honour is even greater.  That’s because every year, 25 percent of the companies on the list are removed and replaced with new companies.  What that means is that every year our companies make this list, it is because we are not the same, but better than the year before.

From the RHG press release:

“This year, some of the reasons why the Group of Companies was selected as a recipient were:

  • Reid’s Heritage Group of Companies encourages employees to save a little for the longer term with matching RSP contributions 
  • Reid’s Heritage Group of Companies supports ongoing employee development with inhouse training, tuition subsidies for job related courses (to $1,000 each year) and subsidies for professional accreditation 
  • Reid’s Heritage Group of Companies is a forward looking home builder that’s a member of the Net Zero Energy Housing Council — a unique industry initiative that is leading the way in designing and building affordable homes that produce at least as much energy as they consume”

It is reminders like this that let us know that Hy-Mark is a truly special place to work and makes us proud to be part of the RHG team. We congratulate our other RHG companies on this win: Reid’s Heritage Homes, Reid’s Heritage Construction, and Reid’s Heritage Properties.

Program Your Thermostat and Save $180/year

iComfort ThermostatMost homes these days have programmable thermostats. Yet amazingly, one study found that 53% of programmable thermostats in homes were not even set up.  If this includes yours, it’s time to get programming, and start

saving!

In theory, manually adjusting your thermostat as needed will work.  The problem is, none of us are perfect, and that means we don’t remember to turn down the heat or cooling every time we leave the house.  We often also don’t realize just how long our systems have been running once we are comfortable.  Manually handling the temperature also means you will always come home to a temperature you’re not comfortable with, and have to wait while your system kicks in for your house to cool or warm up.

Instead, take advantage of your thermostat’s functions.  Set a program to run that follows your daily schedule. When you are getting ready in the morning, have it set to your comfort level, and when you and your family leave the house for the day have the heat/cooling running at a low speed.  Set the system to kick back in to your desired temperature about 45 minutes before you normally arrive home.  Program the system to dip down again at bedtime and stay working at a low speed throughout the night. A tip: you can be comfortable with less heat in the winter and less cooling in the summer than you might think.

Be sure you set up a different program for your weekend schedule, and also adjust the program before you go on any vacations.

According to energy efficiency experts, programming your thermostat could save you $180/year.  So why not take advantage of your thermostat’s functions?

Hy-Mark offers several options in our product catalog for programmable thermostats.  Want even more control and capabilities?  A WiFi-enabled thermostat allows you to control your home comfort settings from your mobile device, with automatic changeover from heating to cooling and humidity settings, all from an intuitive and modern touch screen display.

Check out our product catalog of thermostats here.

 

 

How To Beat The Heat

Lower Humidity, Increase Comfort

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-fan-image15439020

In Southern Ontario we are all too familiar with humidity at this time of year.  Did you know that humidity is the second contributing factor to your home comfort? Indoor humidity levels should stay between 30-50% for ideal comfort.  Having a high level of humidity can affect the ‘felt temperature’ by as much as 8 degrees(1).

Why is humidity bad for indoor environments?

Having high levels of indoor humidity can cause the following to happen:

  • Encourages the growth of mold, mildew and other bacteria
  • Contributes to sleep problems
  • Wood swells and doors stick
  • Stains the ceiling and can cause paint and wallpaper to peel
  • Speeds up the rust and oxidization process
  • Causes your hair to frizz – while this is not a major concern for most, for some this is a disaster!

How to deal with humidity

There are multiple ways to combat humidity and stay comfortable this summer.  The conventional route is exploring the two products that focus on maintaining optimum humidity levels:

  • Humidifiers and dehumidifiers
  • Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs)

Most people are familiar with humidifiers and dehumidifiers.  They have been around for quite a while and focus on adding or removing moisture in the air to maintain a healthy and comfortable environment.  The newest product lines are the HRVs and ERVs.  They are becoming the new industry standard and a requirement in new home construction.  Homes are built to be more energy efficient, but that also lends to humidity problems.  The more air-tight your home is, the less air that is exchanged and increases humidity levels.  To learn more about the differences between HRVs and ERVs check out our FAQ page here.

There are also natural ways to deal with humidity levels.  A full list of options can be found here.

Having the correct indoor humidity levels in the summer will allow you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher without compromising comfort.  This will help save energy and keep your energy bill more cost effective.

1. http://comfortmatters.lennox.com/getting-comfortable/the-four-biggest-factors-affecting-the-comfort-of-your-home/

Tips for Changing your Filter

The much debated question about your home heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is: how often should the filter be changed?

There is no one answer to this question, as there are many factors to consider.  These include:Types of Filters

  • Type of filter being used – there is a clear distinction between a 1” filter compared to a pleated MERV 16 filter that is 5” thick.
  • Type of furnace and AC – if you have a new high efficiency furnace and/or air conditioner it will help increase the lifespan of your filter in comparison to a 15+ year old system that is tired and needs all the help it can get.
  • House specific – the size of your home, where you live, how many people and pets are living in your home all factor into how long your filter will function at an optimal level.
  • Season – the filter efficiency is also dependent on the time of year and how often you run your equipment.

There are many different sources you can reference for guidelines to this question.  According to energystar.gov and Consumer Reports the average filter should be checked every month and replaced at least every three months.

Regardless of what type of filter you have, and how often you choose to change your filter, all homeowners should understand why a filter needs to be replaced.  Heating and cooling systems have a filter to remove airborne particles before they reach the blower motor and cause damage.  The filter also ensures that the air being pushed through your vents is clean and dust free.  When the filter is replaced often, it allows your furnace and air conditioner to run at optimal efficiency, and that is reflected in your monthly energy bill.

For all instructions as to how to replace the filter in your HVAC system please reference your owner’s manual, or see our FAQ post How do I change my furnace air filter?

The Dangers of DIY Plumbing

DIY PlumbingThe DIY mentality is here to stay.  With information at our finger tips we can proclaim ourselves to be experts at anything with a few clicks.  Almost any kind of home repair solution can be found online, and when budgets are tight you are careful with every dollar spent.  The question we’re asking: is the risk really worth it when it comes to plumbing?

What Could Go Wrong? 

Plumbing is a precise trade that requires practitioners to go through a long apprenticeship in order to obtain a license.  When you don’t fully understand all facets of the job, a minor misstep can turn into thousands of dollars in damage.  In fact, did you know that most insurance coverage will not apply if you do the work yourself, as opposed to hire a professional?

Hy-Mark is here to help.  We have outlined steps homeowners can take for the most common plumbing mishaps.

Drain Clogs

First and most importantly, do not use any chemicals.  The most effective approach is to fill your sink (if you have a dual or double sink, fill both sides) with hot water and pull the plug(s) to let the hot water run through all your pipes and release the blockage.

Wet Spots on your Ceiling

When you notice a wet spot on your ceiling, the first thing you need to ask yourself is ‘what was I just doing?’. Was I using the toilet, taking a shower, having a bath? These answers will help identify if this is a water related issue.  If the answer to any of these questions is yes, immediately stop using that fixture. The next question to ask is ‘can this wait until tomorrow?’.  The reason to consider this is because you are likely noticing this spot in the evening.  Having a plumbing technician come for an after-hours inspection will likely come with an after-hours emergency fee.  We recommend watching the wet spot over the next 30 minutes to see if it grows.  If yes, call Hy-Mark immediately to reach one of our emergency plumbing technicians.  Otherwise make a service appointment for the next day.  This will ensure a solution is found, but at the most affordable price.

To learn more about all plumbing services Hy-Mark offers click here.  Call our office to learn more about our annual plumbing maintenance packages available.

In the Press: Innovation in Duct Materials

At Hy-Mark we pride ourselves in living out our company Core Values each and every day.  Core Value #7 states that ‘We are world class innovators.’  In the March edition of the Plumbing and HVAC magazine, Hy-Mark was featured for our Plumbing and HVAC Magazineinnovation in our use of different duct materials.

Hy-Mark takes a unique approach with duct materials, from standard sheet metal, to duct board, to flex ducting.  All of these duct materials are being used and tested in residential applications.  The article in the March edition of Plumbing and HVAC magazine compares flexible duct to standard sheet metal duct in a townhouse.  Click here for the full article on page 26 and see the results for yourself.

For a full overview of all residential equipment Hy-Mark offers check our Residential menu.

 

March Break Staycation Activities

March Break ActivitiesFor some, the ideal vacation is flying to a tropical location to beat the winter blues.  This may not be the case for everyone; the hassle of planning a trip, and the high cost at this time of year can be demanding.  If you are enjoying a March Break Staycation, here are fun and budget-friendly family activities for you to enjoy this week:

Butterfly Conservatory

Every March Break the Butterfly Conservatory in Cambridge puts on a special themed week that is geared towards the kids.  This year you can enjoy Bug Feast 2015, and find out if you are brave enough to eat a bug!  Learn more.

Public Skating and Swimming

In Guelph there are many recreation centres offering public skating and swimming sessions.  For a full listing of what is being offered each day, read the article from the Guelph Mercury here.

March Break Madness at Chicopee

If you and your family do not want winter to end, take advantage of the many packages and promotions being offered by Chicopee Ski Resort.  The season ends March 22nd, so don’t delay!

Enjoy the comfort of your own home 

For true quality time, why not take advantage of all the great activities to do right in your own home?  This can be as simple as learning a new board game or having a family picnic while watching a classic movie.  If you want to end your week with a bang, plan an indoor camp out! Get your family excited for the upcoming camping season by pitching your tent, pulling out the sleeping bags and roasting s’mores by the fireplace.

At Hy-Mark we are committed to your home comfort.  With spring almost here, we recommend a free in-home inspection to ensure you are as comfortable as possible! Learn more about the services we offer here, or call our office.

 

 

One of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers

Hy-Mark is part of the Reid’s HeCanada's Top Small & Medium Employersritage Group of Companies, and yesterday we were named one of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers! The 2015 winners were announced in The Globe and Mail, and Reid’s Heritage Group (RHG) is proud to be among them.

This competition looks at small and medium-sized businesses in a similar approach as Statistics Canada, limiting the field to private-sector organizations with less than 500 employees.  All companies are evaluated on the same eight key categories, with the winners having “outstanding workplaces with enlightened human resources policies”.

We would like to pass along congratulations to our fellow RHG companies; Reid’s Heritage Homes and Reid’s Heritage Construction.