Get Your HVAC Maintenace Under Control With This Easy Guide

You have a lot on the go, so it’s normal if tending to the needs of your furnace, air conditioner, and other HVAC equipment often comes last on the list of priorities.

That’s why we have compiled this primer on common HVAC equipment and care. Whether you have recently moved in to a new home or gotten new equipment, or it has been a while and you need a refresher, this guide will help you gain an understanding of your equipment and the basic maintenance it requires.

Maintaining Your Air Conditioner, Furnace, and HRV/ERV

This following schedule is based on the use of a standard 1″ furnace air filter. If you are using a thicker filter you will be able to change it once or twice a year, depending on your home’s attributes, respiratory sensitivities, and personal preference. 

HVAC Equipment Maintenance Schedule

Replacing Your Furnace FilterClean Versus Dirty Furnace Filter

Turn off your furnace at the switch. Generally the air filter cabinet is on the left or right side of the furnace in a vertical position, and is 1 – 5 inches wide. You should be able to pop off the front panel by hand.  To see if your filter is dirty, hold it up to the light and compare with a clean filter. If the filter looks dirty and is near the prescribed length of time it is supposed to last, it is time to replace it.

Why to Get Preventative Maintenance

Just like a car, your home comfort equipment requires regular tune ups. Manufacturers recommend having your furnace and A/C professionally maintained annually to preserve efficiency and extend the lifetime of the equipment. In some cases it may even be required to keep your warranty valid. Since a maintenance includes cleaning and checking of all functions, these visits often catch small issues before they grow and lead to big repair needs or equipment failure.

5 inch furnace air filter

Did You Know?

The air conditioner ventilates through the furnace, so it is still extremely important that the furnace filter be changed throughout the cooling season. Cool and warm air travel differently, so use a filter no thicker than .5” or 1” during the cooling season to avoid restriction of airflow. A thicker filter with a high MERV rating can be used in the heating season.

Understanding the Purpose of Your ERV/HRV

Your home either has an energy or heat recovery ventilator, whose purpose is to exchange stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air. This ventilates carbon dioxide, fumes, cooking odours, dust, and excess humidity out of your home.  A new home can take 12 – 18 months to fully dry out from the construction, so you may run your ERV/HRV more during this initial period.

Cleaning Your ERV/HRV Filters

1.   Unplug the unitVanEE HRV

2.   Remove reusable filters and vacuum off dust/dirt

3.   Wash with warm water and dish soap. Rinse and let dry completely before replacing

Cleaning the ERV/HRV Core

This should be cleaned once/year at the end of summer. Vacuum the plastic core with a soft brush and then soak in a mild soap solution for 3 hours. Rinse it and let it dry completely before reinstalling. During your furnace maintenance a technician can do this for your upon request.

Controlling the Humidity in your Home

As a rule of thumb, set your ERV/HRV to run intermittently in the winter and do not run it in the summer. Acceptable humidity levels in winter are 15 – 25%, while in summer you can expect 40%. You can adjust  your humidity levels from your thermostat/humidistat or a control on your humidifier.

For more tips check the FAQ page, or email service@hy-mark.ca.

Save on HVAC Costs in 2015

Save on HVAC costsDid you know as much as 60% of an average home’s energy use is going towards heating and cooling costs?  No matter what type of HVAC equipment you are using; from air conditioners, to furnaces, to ventilation units, you can save on HVAC costs and increase your comfort.  How?  The answer may seem simple, but it is as easy as properly maintaining and upgrading your HVAC equipment.

HVAC Maintenance:

Regular furnace maintenance and air conditioner maintenance will help extend the life of your HVAC equipment.  For the average homeowner this would include changing filter every two to three months.  At Hy-Mark we recommend taking it one step further and participating in our Annual Maintenance Programs.

HVAC Upgrades:

If you are in the market for a new air conditioner or new furnace, you are in luck!  With the Heating and Cooling Incentive offered by the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) you can save up to $650.00 on qualified new Energy Star® furnace and central air conditioning units.  Click here for a great outline of what you need to know when installing a central heating and cooling system.

This incentive is available to homeowners and businesses in Ontario who purchase the new equipment through a certified contractor, such as Hy-Mark.  To learn more about the rebates, and to see if you qualify, visit our Promotions page for more details.

Will Your Furnace Last All Winter?

We have already had our first glimpse into winter this year. Have you thought about whether your furnace is ready for the change in temperature? Before the cold sticks around for longer than a week, here are the top three tips to make sure your Cold Winterfurnace is winter-ready.

  1. Replace your filter

Furnace filters should be replaced every two to three months depending on the type of system you have, and the quality of filter you are using. It’s possible you don’t remember the last time you changed your furnace filter, since you have not been using the unit for quite a few months. As a general rule, your filter should always be free of dust and debris. For more information see our FAQ “How do I change my furnace filter?”

Reminder: always remember to shut off your furnace power before attempting to replace your filter for safety reasons.

  1. Double check your vents and registers

The first time you power up your furnace you will want to pay attention for any strange noises in your vents. Also, you should walk around your home to make sure there is nothing blocking your heat registers; furniture, drapes and toys can all be a fire hazards. The registers may also need to be adjusted in order to achieve a consistent temperature throughout your home. Warm air rises, so you may want to restrict airflow to all the warmest rooms, thereby increasing airflow to the coolest rooms.

  1. Schedule an annual maintenance

Arranging for a professional to inspect your furnace will ensure your unit is functioning at its best. When your furnace runs well there are many benefits: it runs less frequently, burns less energy, and heats more efficiently. Furnace service also ensures that clean air is passing through your unit, making your home dust and allergen-free.

Reminder: if you have a warranty with your furnace, it likely stipulates that you need to have an annual maintenance performed in order to be covered.