Furnace Filters

It’s time again for another reminder to change your furnace filter. While I don’t have any statistics or researched data sitting in front of me, I would risk guessing that a large number of furnace repair service calls in Regina could be avoided if filters were being replaced regularly. I’m talking about maybe thirty or even forty percent of calls stem from this issue.

A clogged filter will reduce the airflow returning to your furnace that will then be heated and delivered to your heat registers. This reduction in airflow causes the furnace to overheat and shut down due to safety concerns.

Don’t feel bad though if you are one of those many people who had to call for service only to fin out a clogged filter was the culprit. Our lives themselves are very hectic and it’s easy to forget about the filter duct away in the furnace. Generally your standard filter should be change every three months. This time line varies though deeding on the type of filter you have. I personally use a filter that only needs to be changed once a year. Others are reusable and simply need to be cleaned.

Always remember to point the arrow marked on the filter TOWARDS the furnace, as well, another good tip is to write the month it was installed directly on the filter to help you remember when it needs to be replaced.

I hope this helps!

Thanks,

Brenden

5 Tips for finding the right faucet/fixture

A common question I get asked by clients is what kind of fixture they should buy for their upcoming renovation. Walking into Home Depot or Rona you can become overwhelmed with aisles full of faucets, shower trim, and toilets. It’s hard to tell where the quality fixtures are hiding and which ones are just shiny pieces of stainless steel. Here are some quick guidelines to help you make the best purchase possible.

1) Stick with the big names: Moen and Delta are the general go to’s. They have been around forever and aren’t going anywhere soon. This means that if a repair is needed the technicians have likely seen this problem before, have experience fixing it and replacement parts will be readily available. Large department stores don’t often carry the parts for their in-store brands. You may save money up front but will pay extra once it breaks down.

2) Cheaply priced, cheaply made: If you pay next to nothing for a kitchen faucet (less than $100), it would be considered a cheap faucet. It is likely made with a lot of plastic which degrades quickly especially depending on the hardness of your water. Sometimes it will be hard to stomach the price tag on some faucets but trust me, you’ll end up replacing the cheap faucet  well before you replace a more expensive counterpart.

3) What about high end?: There are some very nice faucets and fixtures out there if you have the money. Two notes to remember for this category are the more expensive the fixture, usually the cost of install will rise as well. And as I’ve mentioned before, fewer clients go for the high end fixtures which means technicians have had less experience installing them which can lead to mistakes on the install.

4) Stick to the middle of the road: This will give you the most reward for your money. Not too expensive and not too cheap. These fixtures and faucets will check off all the boxes. Look nice, repair parts available, and technicians have experiencing repairing.

5) What type of toilet should I buy?: This is another common question. Now while there are some pretty cool fancy toilets out there, your money likely could be better well spent. I mean c’mon, we all know what we use it for! For around $150 you can find a lot of quality toilets.

If you find yourself standing in Home Depot scratching your head feel free to call Family Plumbing and Heating with any questions. We love talking about this stuff!

When is the best time to replace my boiler?

Recently Family Plumbing and Heating replaced a boiler for a home in South Regina. We were originally called on site for a no heat but after diagnosis, the conclusion was that replacement parts were going to be hard to source (if they were still even made) and the client’s money would be better spent on a new system. (The existing system was almost old enough to collect a pension!)

 

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Working tirelessly, we were able to bring this 1960’s system up to 2018 standards over the course of three days. Luckily we have been experiencing a fairly warm winter and Family Plumbing and Heating also provides portable heaters for our clients’ if they need to be without heat overnight. Now in the previous example when there is no other choice, replacements need to go in ASAP. But if possible, the best time to replace a boiler is in warm whether while it’s still operational.

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But why would I replace it when it still works? You’re going to have to hear me out on this one. Boiler replacements are not as straight forward as other heating systems. 9 times out of 10 furnace replacements are easily done in a day, while updating boilers systems can sometimes feel like you are starting from scratch. With all the work involved, the last thing you want as a technician is to feel rushed during an extensive install. And for the financial investment a homeowner is going to make would they want the technician to rush either? Doubtful.

This is why, if possible, homeowners should try and look ahead and plan for replacement before total failure and plan for a summer installation when turning the heat off is not a concern. Allow the technicians as much time as needed to ensure your installation receives the quality workmanship it deserves.

For any homeowners interested in the expected remaining life expectancy of their current heating system, Family Plumbing and Heating offers full system maintenances and free estimates on replacement systems.

The Ace of Spades and King of Hearts

Across all the content Family Plumbing and Heating releases we continually mention that we are both the most accessible and transparent plumbing and HVAC contractor in and around Regina. These two expectations are what Tyler and I are working to use, among others, as pillars to help lift this company up further and further. But other than buzzwords to use for advertising, what do we mean by accessibility and transparency?

On the surface, accessibility is the easiest to describe. Phone, email, text, social media, etc. We put ourselves out there as much as we can to directly interact with our customers. We like to make sure anytime a homeowner has a question or concern that we are available to help guide them in the best direction for repairs. Our social media is also filled with volumes of our previous work and a look into our lives. Family Plumbing and Heating isn’t a hat we put on in the morning and take off at supper. (Reminder: order Family Plumbing and Heating hats!) The goals and values we set for our company are very much the same we carry in our personal lives. Being there for friends and families is important and its always better to make a relationship than make a dollar.

 

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Always feel free to hit us up on social media

 

Transparency has always been important to us at Family Plumbing and Heating. Tyler and I feel so strongly in our abilities and the service we can provide that we are more than willing to face any scrutiny that might come our way. When a customer allows us into their home they know exactly what to expect. There is never a mystery about what technician is showing up. Too many times I pulled my hair out when I saw techs being dispatched to calls they had no business attending. Its understandable that not every tech might know the solution as soon as they see the problem. But an issue with larger companies is they send out technicians that can’t even recognize the problem in the first place. We also do not hide ourselves behind a logo to validate our worth. We use our logo as a backdrop and stand proudly in front, ready to repair every leaking pipe and broken furnace that comes our way.  At every turn we try and lay our cards on the table, you might as well call us the Ace of Spades and King of Hearts.

Family Plumbing and Heating is always working hard to deliver the best service and build the strongest customer relationships. We are without a doubt the most convenient plumbing and HVAC company to reach in Regina. And if your not already following us (why wouldn’t you be?) finish reading and immediately head over to our Facebook and Instagram and follow along.

Furnace Efficiency Explained…..I hope

Hello Regina, now I know that everyone who reads this blog is a bona-fide intellectual and wold never ever need anything dumbed down for them. But lets just say for the sake of argument there’s that one lost soul whose stumbled upon this website and isn’t as up to date on all the plumbing and heating happenings like you or I are. Today’s post is going to be about efficiency and what it means when a plumber talks about it.

Efficiency, generally speaking, means accomplishing a task using the least amount of wasted energy. In my examples energy will be represented as natural gas or propane, and our task will be heating a home. Furnace efficiency ratings are commonly expressed as AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). This rating will express what percentage of energy is used for actually heating the home vs. how much will be wasted. For example if a furnace had a AFUE rating of 80%, your furnace is using 80% of the energy to raise the indoor temperature while the remaining 20% is lost as exhaust. Financially that means for every $1 you spend on your heating, 20 cents is essentially wasted.

This is also taking into account your furnace is working to it’s best performance. There are plenty of furnaces in Regina that have been hidden away by their owners and denied proper maintenance. Blower motors packed with dirt, hair and who knows what else cannot operate properly and will cause you to run your furnace longer, which in turn costs you $$$. An 80% efficient furnace from 2000 will likely be closer to 70% or lower depending on how much it has been cared for. And for all you holdouts out there who vehemently argue that your 30+ year old furnace is just as good as any new one, your likely anywhere in the range 50%-60%.But money is not the sole reason a homeowner should be thinking about efficiency. The older the furnace, the more carbon being produced and released into the atmosphere.

Anyone in the market for purchasing a new furnace will be looking at what is considered high efficient. This means anything 90% or higher. What achieves that high rating is the inclusion of the secondary heat exchanger. Basically the secondary heat exchanger recaptures and extracts heat that would normally be lost in the exhaust of a mid or low efficient furnace.

To sum it all up, the higher the efficiency rating the more money stays in your pocket. I hope this little blog helped. Later this week I’m hoping to have some time to explain single stage, two stage, and modulating furnaces.

See ya soon!