When to change a water pressure reducing valve

By | Plumbing

Pressure Reducing Valve - Kelowna PlumbingIf you’re having issues with your water pressure (too high, too low, or fluctuating), it may be time to replace your home’s pressure reducing valve (PRV). Another tell tale sign is hammering or vibrating noise in your pipes. While it may seem like a minor inconvenience, there is good reason not to ignore it.

What is a pressure reducing valve?
A pressure reducing valve is a key piece that connects your municipal water line to your home’s water lines. Just as the name suggests, it reduces the high pressure coming from the water source down to a lower pressure for your home.

Why is it important to have a properly working PRV?
Aside from annoyances in water pressure and noises from water pipes, your home’s water lines, faucets, and appliances (dishwashers, hot water tanks, laundry) weren’t designed to handle this level of high pressure. This can lead to excessive wear and tear and an increased potential of water leaks.

How often should you change your PRV?
A PRV will typically last 10-15 years with some lasting up to 20. The lifespan will depend on a variety of factors. At the first signs of water pressure issues, water pipe noise, or visible corrosion on your PRV, you should have it inspected. It can potentially cause major issues if left ignored.

What else can you do to protect your home?
Monitoring issues in your water pressure can leave a lot of grey areas. One additional tool that you can add to your home is a water monitoring system. A popular choice is Flo by Moen. This can detect changes in water pressure such as leaks or a failing PRV. It connects to your smart phone and will alert you of any issues and also allow you to remotely turn off your water supply. It can add a lot of peace of mind if you’re vacationing and also potentially save money on home insurance. If you install at the same time as you replace a PRV, it will usually save you on installation labour. Read more on these monitors here.

Wondering if it’s time to change your PRV? Contact us and tell us about the issues you’re having. We offer free quotes.

Why You Should Consider Changing Your Furnace & AC at the Same Time

By | Air Conditioning, Furnace, HVAC

If your home heating and cooling system is aging or a major component has quit altogether, it can be tempting to only change a furnace or an air conditioner. There is a larger upfront cost to replacing both at the same time, but there are a few good reasons to consider it.

Furnace and Air Conditioner Installation

Installation Cost Savings

There is work efficiency for an HVAC technician to replace both a furnace and air conditioner at the same time. This can be a significant reduction in your installation costs, particularly if your home requires a complex installation. If you replace one of your major units and the other breaks down shortly after, it could end up costing significantly more combined.

Parts Work More Efficiently in Unison

The furnace and air conditioner work together and utilize each other’s components. When you try to pair a new, efficient unit to an older unit that isn’t very efficient by modern standards, one can drag down the efficiency of the other. This can lead to much higher operating expenses than if both are replaced. The only way to guarantee that a component works at its rated efficiency from the manufacturer is to pair it with a matching new unit.

Efficiency of New vs Old Units

If we look at just a furnace or AC on their own, there have been major efficiency advances in the past decades. For example, most furnaces made before 1990 are lower-efficiency models that average between 60 and 70 percent efficiency. New high-efficiency gas furnaces range from 95 to 99 percent efficiency. Imagine the impact a 20-30% increase in efficiency could have on your bills.

Replacing One Unit Could Lead to Premature Breakdowns

Imagine you’re in the best shape of your life and you go for a jog in broken down, old shoes. You end up working harder and could even risk injury. The same is true in your HVAC system. For example, an old air handler may not be capable of keeping up with modern components and cause undue stress on the system.

You Can Reserve an Air Conditioner Before Demand Spikes

Last summer’s record-breaking heat wave combined with manufacturing delays due to the pandemic caught a lot of people off guard. The heat wave across Western Canada and the US created an extreme demand that equipment suppliers just couldn’t keep up with, no matter what brand of equipment you decided to go with. Installing an air conditioner in the off season is the best way to ensure you’re covered when a heat wave comes. 

 

If your home heating & cooling system is nearing the end of its lifespan or not running efficiently, contact us for a free quote. Furnace replacements are eligible for up to $1150 in energy savings rebates from FortisBC’s energy saving rebate.

How to Claim FortisBC’s Furnace Rebates Up To $1,150

By | Furnace, Heating, HVAC
FortisBC Furnace Rebates

Is your furnace nearing the end of its lifespan? At a certain point, maintenance on an older furnace will actually become more costly than upgrading to a newer model.

Beyond the maintenance factor, there are some huge energy-saving advantages to upgrading to a newer high-efficiency gas furnace. Most furnaces installed before 1990 are lower-efficiency models that average between 60 and 70 percent. New furnaces range from 95 to 99 percent efficiency. If you’ve been considering adding air conditioning, your old furnace may also not be effective enough at distributing air. We’ve written about this in more detail here.

Wondering if you qualify for the rebate?

Here’s a list of eligibility requirements we’ve simplified for homeowners in the Kelowna area:

1. You must have an existing FortisBC account.
If you are making the switch from electric, wood, propane, or oil, the rebate unfortunately won’t apply.

2. The home must be a year-round primary residence on a permanent foundation.

3. Upgrades must be installed by a licensed heating contractor.

4. The new furnace must be your primary heating source.

5. The existing natural gas furnace must be at least 10 years old.

6. Warranty replacements or emergency replacements aren’t eligible.
In order to claim your rebate, your furnace has to still be operational. So it’s important not to wait too long until your furnace completely stops working.

7. Rebate applications must be submitted within 6 months of the invoice date and the model number of the furnace must be on the eligible list.
All new natural gas furnaces we install are eligible. We can advise you of the efficiency ratings and rebates available for each.

The full detailed requirements are available on the FortisBC website.

How much will a new furnace qualify for?

There are two potential rebates for upgrading your furnace. More basic high-efficiency furnaces offering efficiency from 95-96.9 will qualify for a rebate of $800. More advanced models offering efficiency of 97-99% will qualify for the maximum rebate of $1000. We install Honeywell WIFI connected thermostats with all of our new furnaces, which makes you eligible for an additional $150.

Interested in learning more about a furnace replacement? We’re a member of the FortisBC Trade Ally Network and can help you along the way. Contact us for a free estimate or click here to learn more about our furnace installations.

Interested in financing? Find out financing details and prequalify here in 5 minutes.

The Top Reasons to Add UV Filtration to Your Home

By | Air Conditioning, HVAC, UV Filtration
AC Installation UV filter WIFI Thermostat

Modern airtight homes are excellent for efficiently maintaining your home’s temperature. One of the downsides of this, however, is that particles such as mold spores, viruses and odours can be trapped inside. One solution for this issue is adding filtration to your central air. UV sterilization has an extensive history in settings such as hospitals and restaurants. Recently, it has become increasingly popular in the home, particularly for those with a sensitivity to allergens.

Here are some of the top reasons to consider adding UV to your heating and cooling system.

Mold & Bacteria on Air Conditioners
Mold and bacteria can thrive in moist cool conditions like your air conditioner’s evaporator coil. Adding a UV filter will kill contaminants in the home such as mold spores, bacteria and viruses.

UV Filtration Increases Efficiency and Lifespan of HVAC Components
When contaminants build up inside your AC coils, it can force the system to work harder to circulate air. This reduces efficiency, increases your bills, and can also shorten the lifespan of your equipment because it’s working harder.

UV Filtration Requires Less Maintenance
UV filtration uses light rather than cleaning with a physical filter. This leads to less maintenance than alternative home filtration systems. UV filters only require maintenance when a bulb needs replacing.

If you’re interested in adding UV to your home, contact us for a free estimate.

Until April 30, we’re offering free UV filtration systems and WIFI thermostats ($700 value) when you have an air conditioner installed. Air conditioners start from $3,850 for the unit and installation.

 

Looking to remove odours from a shared dwelling or from a home with pets?
Upgraded models of Honeywell UV air filtration systems feature odour absorption. This makes it a popular option in homes with multiple units and a shared central air system. If tenants cook meals with unappealing odours or have pets, this helps to reduce smells in the home. If this is a feature you’re interested in, talk to us about upgrading. We’ll take the price of the base model and installation cost off of your bill during our air conditioner deal. 

How Mini Splits Can Offer Major Savings on Energy Usage

By | Air Conditioning, Heating, HVAC, mini split, Plumbing

Ductless mini split systems have been popular in more moderate climates for decades. In recent years, advances in technology have made them an excellent heating and cooling solution in colder northern climates like the Okanagan. They offer significant savings on costly baseboard heating and function as a dual purpose air conditioner in the summer.

If your home doesn’t have central air ducts, has smaller ones that are inadequate for modern furnaces, or even if you have a more modern ventilated system that produces hot and cold zones, mini splits can be an excellent solution to keeping your home comfortable. Here are a few of the top reasons we recommend considering them.

 

What is a Ductless Mini Split System?

A mini split system functions both as a heat pump in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer. This consists of one or more wall-mounted indoor units and a heat pump located outside your home. The two are connected by small refrigerant lines, making installation locations much more flexible.

mini split heat pump and ac


What Are The Benefits of Mini Splits?

A Solution to Hot and Cold Zones in the Home

Even new homes with brand new duct distribution systems can have issues maintaining a balanced delivery of air throughout the home. When the summer sun bears down, it’s common to have hot spots in top floor, westward facing rooms. In the Okanagan, the hottest parts of the day are between 2-6pm and those rooms with full exposure aren’t going to be as nice as the dark basement or eastern facing rooms. The best solution is to add a mini split heat pump AC unit to help make those spaces more tolerable for living and sleeping. The reality is, those hot spots are also cold spots in the winter, so you’re covered with the heat pump during winter months and stay cozy throughout the year.

Energy Savings Over Baseboard Heating

If you’ve been running baseboard heating through the winter, you know how electrical bills can rack up. The addition of ductwork requires a major renovation, so central air isn’t an option for most homes without it. The flexibility of installation makes a mini split system our recommended solution. A single interior head unit can often displace 4-6 baseboards in a main living area, each at approximately 1000 watts. While the savings will vary depending on the home size and layout, the heating costs are often cut by 20%-50%. In ranchers or single-level homes with open plans, a single indoor head unit can adequately heat and cool the entire space.

Mini Splits Are Dual Purpose with Air Conditioning

One other drawback when your home isn’t equipped with ductwork is air conditioning in the hot Okanagan summer. For years the only option was to hang an AC unit out of your window. Similar to baseboard heating, a mini split is much more efficient than a window unit. These systems will also increase home security because an open window isn’t required.

Improved Air Quality and Quality of Heat

A mini split system provides air circulation that improves indoor comfort in a few ways. First, because of the airflow, the filtration system inside will remove dust and allergens from the air throughout the year. The other advantage of air circulation is that it will provide more consistent temperatures throughout the home as opposed to warm and cool spots created by baseboards.

Create Climate Controlled Zones

In a home with multiple mini split heads, each one can be zone controlled for that particular space. This can offer further energy savings if units are switched off in infrequently used areas.

Energy Efficiency Rebates

While mini splits will require an upfront investment, there are incentives beyond the savings on energy bills. FortisBC offers energy savings rebates of $1,200 on a single head installation and $2000 on an installation that uses two or more units.

Interested in discussing a mini split system in your home? Contact us for a free estimate.