Winter is already on its way and that means it’s time to start thinking about your annual furnace maintenance checklist. The weather has already started hitting the freezing mark in some parts of Ontario, which means a lot of citizens are using more heat and their furnaces are already going into overdrive. Performing a yearly furnace maintenance checklist around this time of year can help you avoid some major problems later on and maximize your furnace’s efficiency while also cutting down your heating costs this winter.

Why Is It Important to Conduct Annual/Bi-Annual Furnace Maintenance?

The most obvious reason for conducting routine annual or bi-annual furnace maintenance is so that you can guarantee that your furnace is in perfect working condition before the winter months hit. The last thing you want to happen is for winter to come and have you and your family be stuck without a working furnace.

Plus, maintaining and repairing your furnace will help extend its lifespan while also keeping you and your family toasty and warm all winter long. Performing regular maintenance checks on your furnace is a lot more cost-efficient than having to replace it every couple of years. With proper maintenance and routine repairs or part replacements, your furnace should last you on average about 10-15 years or longer.

An annual or bi-annual maintenance check ensures that your furnace is functioning properly and that your heating system is as energy and cost-efficient as possible, which could end up saving you a lot of money at the end of the year.

Bi-Annual Furnace Checklist

If you’re wondering how often to do furnace maintenance checks, the answer is as often as possible. In fact, you shouldn’t wait until your furnace stops working before you decide to check on it. Most HVAC experts will recommend that you check the efficiency and functionality of your heating system at least once every six months. You can perform a bi-annual maintenance check on your own, but you should bring in an expert at least once a year to do a full inspection as well.

Here’s a helpful bi-annual furnace maintenance checklist that you can do on your own:

Test Your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

Carbon monoxide is often referred to as “the silent killer” because it’s completely undetectable to the senses. In October 2017, the Government of Ontario made it mandatory for all residential properties to install working carbon monoxide detectors on each floor to protect homeowners, their families, and their pets. Before that, only residential buildings that were constructed after 2001 were required to have them. Carbon monoxide is an odourless, tasteless, and colourless gas, which makes it extremely dangerous. That’s why you need to double check that your carbon monoxide detector is working properly on a regular basis.

Inspect Electrical Connections

Be sure to add checking your ignition and pilot lights to your gas furnace maintenance checklist if you haven’t already. If they’re not working properly or are flickering yellow, then this could mean that there’s an overabundance of carbon monoxide in your gas furnace. Excessive amounts of carbon monoxide can cause a gas leak, which is dangerous for you and your family.

Inspect and Lubricate All Parts

Lubricating all the moving parts of your furnace from time to time will help keep it functioning efficiently a lot longer and extend its lifespan as well.

Test the Safety Features

It goes without saying that you should test out all the safety features of your furnace to ensure that they’re working properly in the event of an emergency. Your furnace has five main safety features that you should check on a regular basis as part of your preventative maintenance checklist. These include the following: limit switch, thermocouple, mercury flame sensor, the air pressure switch, as well as the carbon monoxide detectors. It’s important to make sure that all of these safety features are always in perfect working condition because they could someday save your life.

Set Your Thermostat for Optimum Usage

Lowering your thermostat by about 2-3 degrees for eight hours a day can actually help maximize its usage while also lowering your monthly energy bills by about 10% annually. Purchasing an automatically programmable smart thermostat is the best way to go. Every time you leave the house—whether it’s for a long or short period of time—you can control the settings from the accompanying phone application. The app will keep you updated on the current temperature inside your home so that you can make the necessary adjustments from a remote location as you see fit.

Make Sure Your Thermostat Is Properly Calibrated

It’s important to make sure that your thermostat is properly calibrated. Improper calibration could actually cause your furnace to work in overdrive, which will inevitably run up your energy bill much higher than it should be. Inaccurate calibration can occur if dirt enters the calibration system or it gets moved by something.

Annual Furnace Checklist

Annual furnace checklists should be far more detailed than bi-annual ones and for that reason it’s recommended that you hire a professional certified HVAC technician to do it for you. Here are just some of the maintenance tasks they’re qualified to perform:

Update Maintenance Records

HVAC technicians tend to keep detailed records of the services they deliver and that includes recording model and part numbers for each unit they service. Logging this information in a safe and secure system makes it easier to access it later on in case further repairs or maintenance are needed. You’ll also be provided with an itemized list of all of the repairs and maintenance that were done for your personal records.

Clean the Chimney and Vents

HVAC technicians have professional chimney and vent cleaning equipment along with a great deal of experience to thoroughly clean your chimney and vents for maximum safety during maintenance and repair work.

Change Furnace Air Filters

Dirty filters not only make your furnace less efficient, but they can also damage it over time. Since they’re so cheap and easy to replace, you might as well include this in your annual maintenance plan.

Schedule an Annual Maintenance Appointment Early with MDM Mechanical

MDM Mechanical is a family-owned and operated professional HVAC company. We specialize in commercial and residential furnace installation, maintenance, and repairs throughout Toronto and the GTA. We’ll make sure that every item on your gas, induction, and vacuum furnace checklist is properly ticked off to ensure maximum operational efficiency before winter comes. Contact us today to schedule your service maintenance appointment.

As a homeowner, there are a lot of potentially high-cost factors that you need to consider from time to time including your energy and water usage. Water heaters can be an expensive upfront investment, but if you choose the right one for your dwelling and administer regular maintenance and repairs, you could also end up saving a lot of money in the long run. The key is deciding whether you need a tankless, tank, or indirect water heater for your home. This decision relies heavily on your budget, water usage, and above all, the infrastructure of your home. Keep reading to learn more.

What Are the Different Types of Water Heaters?

A high-end and durable water heater is a worthwhile investment for your home, but you need to make sure that you’re choosing the best one based on a number of factors. First and foremost, you need to consider your monthly water usage and how many people are living in your home. Simply put, the more people living in your home at any given time means that you’re most likely going to need a large capacity water heater for things like laundry, cooking, showering, watering your lawn, washing dishes, drinking, and more. Water is such an integral part of our daily lives that we often don’t realize how much of it we actually use until the water bill comes or it’s time to repair or replace our water heaters.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to compare and contrast between the three main types of domestic water heaters: tankless, tank, and indirect.

Drawing Comparisons between Tankless, Tank, and Indirect Water Heaters

If you’ve been researching the different types of water heaters and trying to determine which one is a good fit for your home’s infrastructure and the needs of your family, then this table contains a lot of useful information.

Water Heater Type
Tankless/On-Demand Water Heater Tank/Traditional Water Heater Indirect Water Heater
Cost Between $1,000-$2,800 (factor in installation costs and additional piping) Between $952-$2,098 (factor in cost of installation, materials, labour, required permits) $800-$1,500
Energy Efficiency Between 24-34% more efficient for households using 41 gallons of water or less; 8-14% more efficient for households using 86 gallons daily Depends on the type of energy being used (natural gas, propane, or electricity) the size of the tank, and daily water usage About 96% energy efficient if connected to a modern modulating/condensing boiler
Heating Time About 15 seconds About 30-40 minutes to heat water in the tank, but hot water delivery is instantaneous About 10-15 minutes, depending on what boiler system is being used
Water Usage Provides water at a rate of 2-5 gallons/minute Can store about 20-100+ gallons of water at a time Uses boiler or furnace to heat water
Repair Costs $150-$800 depending on type of repair About $50-$1,200+ depending on what needs to be repaired, parts, and labour About $250-$600, unless the tank develops a leak. In that case, the tank would be covered under warranty for life.
Available Sizes Electric: 10" high x 7" wide
Gas: 30"high x 20" wide
20, 40, 60, 80, or 100 gallons 30-100+ gallons depending on boiler, number of people, and water usage
Maintenance Frequency About once a year depending on regional water conditions and heating temperature Either every 6 months or once a year, depending on water hardness Less maintenance than direct water heaters because they have fewer parts
Average Lifespan About 20-30 years About 8-12 years About 15-20 years

How to Determine which Water Heater Is Best Suited for Your Needs

The first and most important step in choosing the appropriate water heater for your home or business is to schedule an onsite consultation with a fully trained, licensed, and experienced technician or HVAC installation company like MDM Mechanical. They can thoroughly inspect your current water heater, advise on any repairs or part replacements that need to be made, and recommend brand new top of the line water heaters that are perfectly suited for your needs and fit within your budget long-term.

A certified HVAC technician in your area will explain the differences between the different types of water heaters currently on the market, including the difference between indirect vs. tankless water heaters, potential energy saving between tankless vs. tank water heaters, installation and maintenance costs, and so much more.

The above table should only be referred to as a general guideline. Actual costs and energy efficiency ratings will vary depending on a number of factors including the number of people living in your domicile, water usage per person, as well as the size, make, model, and energy source of each water heater.

What Is the Best Water Heater for Domestic and Commercial Use?

With so many different models on the market today, selecting the right water heater for your home or business can be tricky. As mentioned, a number of important mitigating factors need to be taken into serious consideration. These factors will inevitably determine the type of water heater you need.

Unfortunately, what you need doesn’t always perfectly coincide with what you can afford, which is why it may be necessary to crunch some serious numbers or adjust your overall water usage practices.

For example, depending on the brand, size, storage capacity, and energy source, indirect water heater installation can cost anywhere from a minimum of $400 to $6,000 or more.

Commercial enterprises inevitably spend more on water heating and energy than a single household ever will, so water storage capacity and heating time also need to be taken into consideration. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of tank vs. tankless water heaters can be useful.

Simply put, if you need hot water instantaneously, then you’re probably better off purchasing a standard tank water heater. But if energy efficiency and lower long-term costs and maintenance are your game, then you’re better off choosing a tankless water heater.

For more detailed information and assistance with choosing the right water heater for your property, contact the experts at MDM Mechanical. Our comprehensive services include onsite consultations, installation, routine maintenance, and extensive repairs. Give us a call today!

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