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.

Winter home protection tips.

Waking up this past Saturday I can’t say I was thrilled to see the snow that had fallen. Gladly most of it has gone away since then but we all know sooner than later Regina will see a downfall that decides to stay.

Flashing back to a clip I saw last week on the morning news. The segment was about how to winterize your home. They had an “expert” on to give his tips and advice. What proceeded between the “ummms” and the “uhhhs” was a 3 minute commercial for his company. TV interviews due often have such strict time windows that it’s almost impossible to really share any steak. You really only are given time for the sizzle. The following is Family Plumbing and Heating’s $0.98 opinion.

The morning news expert wasn’t all wrong. (C’mon, I gotta give him a little credit) He did have a couple things right.

Regularly replace furnace filters: This cannot be said enough because it is always forgotten. Generally speaking filters should be replace every 3 months. I’ve talked about it before that if you pull your filter out and hold it up to the light, if the light does not shine through, time to replace. A clogged filter reduces the air flow in the home and will cause too much heat to stay trapped within the furnace and you’ll soon overheat the equipment.

Have your furnace maintained: This cannot be said enough, because number 1 is so often forgotten. Too many homeowners are just trusting that because their furnace hasn’t had any problems the previous years there’s no need to worry. Don’t let yourself fall into a false sense of security. Having a TRAINED, QUALIFIED technician who has previous experience working on your furnace can help stop problems before they happen or at the very least identify any issues that may be coming your way.

(I don’t know if anyone noticed how I was holding down the caps lock button when I typed trained and qualified, but it’s very important. You can hire the “expert” to send out a random tech to service your furnace but I first hand have seen apprentices 3 weeks in to the trade misdiagnose and charge homeowners for repairs they didn’t need. Simply because they had no idea what they were up to.)

Now lets get to some of the tips he left out.

Fill the cracks: You could heat your home up as much as you want but if the structure isn’t sealed tight your just wasting money. If you live in a older neighbourhood in Regina it would beneficial if you had your home inspected for any possible leakages. Old windows, doors, siding, and poor insulation all contribute to allowing the heat to escape from your home. If there are visible cracks, grab some weather resistant caulking and seal them. New weather stripping can also help on old doors. And worst case Ontario, install the ever so ugly plastic wrap on the windows.

Hopefully you’ve already cleaned your gutters. Buildup in the eavestrough can lead to ice damming on your roof which will begin to seep inside your house. The not so costly investment of a roof rake is worth it during Winters with heavy snowfall. The less snow you keep on your home’s roof the better.

Cover the air conditioner: Wether you have a cover or you simply bought a tarp with some bungee cords, covering the ac will help it withstand some brutal Winter weather.

What about the sprinklers and hose bibs?: If you haven’t yet it’s probably too late now but make sure to blow compressed air though to clear out any water in your sprinkler system to avoid ice build up that will end up breaking the pipe. While your at it turn on the valves that lead to your outside taps for the same reason.

Bundle up: Oh no, my Grandma was right! Wearing warm clothes inside can help raise your body’s temperature and reduce the need to run the furnace.

Keep doors closed to unused rooms at all times to help hold in the heat.

My last little known fact of the day is if you have a ceiling fan, many of them can be reversed so the blades spin the other way. This will help force any warm air back down closer to the floor. Just remember to flip it back come Summer.

Even with all the advice in this post, there is probably a lot I’ve missed and maybe some other things I haven’t seen yet. The main point I am suggesting is that we all know Saskatchewan Winter’s are tough and due to the regularly extreme cold stints can be very hazardous to our homes and businesses. Protecting your investment from Winter damage is always worth the money. The more you can stay ahead of these problems will help keep the value of those investments. Now lets hope for a mild Winter and an early Spring!

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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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.