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Gas fireplaces need an annual inspection

All gas fireplaces need an annual inspection by licensed gas technician in order to operate properly. This is a very important practice. Because gas fireplaces burn clean and are very easy to take care of, some assume that this means it doesn’t need cleaning. While it is true that gas fireplaces are both efficient and low maintenance, it’s a known fact that any appliance can become a nuisance if neglected. That is why you need an annual inspection of your gas fireplace. By cleaning your fireplace and chimney, you can put your mind at ease when you start your unit this season.

Every fireplace or insert should be cleaned annually. This is due to the hard work a fireplace puts in with each use, when it is heating your home. It‘s best to get your fireplace checked each spring; that way you will have a flawlessly functioning fireplace all year round, but whatever schedule is easiest for you will work for the fireplace too.

Debris & gunk

  • Debris likes to hang out in the vents, in the flue and inside the chimney. This needs to be removed, as it will restrict airflow and might smell bad. Gas fireplace debris includes:

Deteriorating logs

  • Ceramic or faux log inserts can eventually deteriorate with use, clinging to the sides of the insert and getting trapped.

Dirty Glass doors or frame

  • Chipped or scratched glass can become a hazard over time. It can meddle with the heat output of your fireplace, and no one wants that. If this is the case, you will need to get it cleaned or replaced.

Residue

  • The inside and outside of a gas fireplace needs to be cleaned once every few years. Think about it, after all those gorgeous fires it’s bound to get a little dirty in there. It is very important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and use approved products for cleaning. Check with your technician, to see if they offer cleaning services.

Remember: If you have a masonry fireplace with a gas log set insert, inspect the logs with every annual inspection.

 

What Happens during an gas fireplace inspection?

During an inspection, the technician will first take a look at the exterior. This includes making sure glass is not chipped, cracked, or dirty, and that the framework is holding up sufficiently. While checking for dents or debris, the technician will also look at the interior gas ignition under the log structure and make sure it is lighting flawlessly. They also make sure your log set is not deteriorating in any way. Often times, the face of the unit will to be taken off, so they can inspect the valves and connections underneath your fireplace or insert. They will make sure your fireplace’s heat output is correct, and clean up any residue that has started to block any ports or vents. After a routine check, your technician should make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors, and that you are aware of any repairs your gas fireplace may need. Certified gas technicians have a wealth of information and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your fireplace or insert, don’t be afraid to ask.

Source : Nepoleonfirfeplaces . com

Why door-to-door sales are not for HVAC equipment

Thousands of Canadians get deceived each year by untrustworthy salespeople coming to their door selling everything from air conditioning units to hot water tanks to new furnaces. They say they’re from a legitimate business or utility company and seem to have compelling proof – a nametag or an official-looking clipboard. But in fact they are attempting to persuade unsuspecting homeowners to purchase products they don’t need, and at an inflated price. At this time of year they might tell you your air conditioning unit is outdated, against code, even contains dangerous refrigerants.  They aim to frighten, and in some cases convince people to sign into multi-year rental or payment schemes that are impossible to get out of.

You can protect yourself by checking to see if the seller has a well-marked vehicle and asking for proper identification. Ask them to leave their business card, and advise them you will contact them at a later date once you’ve done your research.  If they insist the offer is limited to that moment, this should set off warning bells. And never let them into your home unless it was arranged in advance, once their credentials have been assessed.Utility companies and respected heating and AC suppliers rarely sell door-to-door. Similarly, if a utility is servicing an area, it will inform residents in advance, and never ask to see a bill as it already has that information on file.

When buying or renting a water heater, furnace or air conditioner, do it from a trusted store or through a licensed contractor. Make sure you have plenty of time – days even – to review the product information, the options and, most importantly, the fine print. Consumers can learn more and locate a qualified contractor to service their furnace and air conditioning systems by going to our Contractor Locator pageHRAI You Tube channel or calling 1-877-467-HRAI (4724).  All HRAI Member Contractors have been prescreened and have the required trade licenses, technical certifications and insurance coverage.

Source : HRAI .CA

Top 5 money-saving tips for renos and repairs

Reno RepairWhen starting a new renovation project for your home, you want to hire only the most qualified tradespeople to make sure the job gets done right. After all, if you wouldn't hire an uncertified doctor to look after your health, then why would you consider contracting an uncertified electrician to wire your home?

In Ontario there are 156 skilled trades, 22 of which are compulsory, meaning anyone practicing the work of these trades is legally required to be certified and a member of the Ontario College of Trades. This includes work on your plumbing, electrical, refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

Ensure the tradespeople you're hiring to perform compulsory work at your home are certified to perform the work by checking with the college, the regulatory body for tradespeople in the province.

“Before you have any work done on your building or renovation project, or any work that involves a compulsory trade, check the Public Register on the College's website and quickly find out if the tradesperson you are speaking with is qualified to do the job,” recommends Bob Onyschuk, the director of compliance and enforcement at the College. “If they don't have an active membership, they are not legally certified to perform the trade in Ontario.”

Here are five tips to consider when planning your next project that will save you money and stress:

1. Maintain and grow your property investment and experience fewer of the costly mistakes made by unqualified workers.

2. Keep your family safe from work performed by uncertified workers by hiring certified tradespeople to do the job.

3. Get discounts from your certified tradesperson's preferred suppliers and use their recycled materials and retrofitted equipment wherever possible.

4. Never pay the full amount up front to ensure the work gets completed.

5. Check if the compulsory tradespeople you plan to hire are certified by visiting 

Source : College of Trades & NewsCanada

CNET and Coldwell Banker real estate join forces to define just what makes a home ‘SMART'.

The term 'smart home' has been a big buzz word for many homebuyers and homeowners looking to upgrade their houses with the latest technology. However, as more technology is created, the term 'smart home' is shifting. Twenty years ago, writes CNBC reporter Diana Olick, a porch light timer was considered smart technology. Today, a thermostat that can learn residents' habits is the new standard.

CNET, a tech news website, teamed with Coldwell Banker Real Estate to finally define the 'smart home' and stop people from abusing its meaning in sales tactics. The definition is as follows:

  • A home that is equipped with network-connected products (i.e., "smart products," connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or similar protocols) for controlling, automating and optimizing functions such as temperature, lighting, security, safety or entertainment, either remotely by a phone, tablet, computer or a separate system within the home itself.
  • The home must have a smart security feature or a smart temperature feature in addition to a reliable internet connection. It then must include at least two features from a list of smart options, including appliances, entertainment, lighting, outdoor sensors, and safety detectors.
  • Coldwell Banker says the definition will help protect consumers against fraudulent claims and hopefully create a 'search term' for prospective home buyers looking on the internet for an technologically advanced home.

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY BUILDER MAGAZINE ON MAY 11, 2016.

Winter gas fireplace maintenance tips

A functional fireplace is essential for many homeowners, especially those who have to deal with harsh Canadian winters. There are a number of different kinds of fireplaces available to consumers, including wood-burning, electric, and gas models. Gas fireplaces can perform just as well as wood and electric alternatives, but they can also be more difficult to maintain. At Home Improvement leads, we know that understanding the ins and outs of your gas fireplace is crucial in order to achieve maximum efficiency and function. Here are some of our top tips to help you keep your gas fireplace performing its best throughout the year.

DIY maintenance checklist

Gas appliances of all kinds have highly technical specifications and unique parts. While many repairs require the expertise of a trained gas professional, there are several things you can do to keep your gas fireplace in good condition. Keeping your fireplace clean and free of dust, cobwebs, and debris is one of the most important things to remember. Regularly cleaning glass doors and coverings, both inside and out, will keep your fireplace looking great and working efficiently (the professionals at Gas Fireplaces recommend doing this monthly). Periodically removing dust and cobwebs in and around the fireplace is also good practice for gas fireplace owners. During your regular fireplace check, it’s also a good idea to examine the fittings and vents, both interior and exterior, for damage and debris. If your fireplace has a door, check that the latch and mechanisms are all in good working order in order to minimize the risk of a gas leak.

When to call in a professional

Although gas fireplace owners can—and should—carry out basic cleaning tasks and safety checks on a regular basis, there are some situations that require a trained and qualified gas professional. All gas fireplaces should be inspected and cleaned thoroughly at least once a year by an engineer. Most likely, your fireplace installer will be able to perform this annual maintenance check-up for you, but you can always contact other local gas engineers for quotes and recommendations if you are unsure. You can find out more about gas safety rules and regulations at the Ontario Technical Standards and Safety Authority website. If, between annual visits, you notice any problems with your fireplace, such as loose or broken connections, cracked glass, or damage to the fireplace itself, do not hesitate to contact a professional to inspect your fireplace. It’s important to remember that gas appliances are complex and potentially dangerous, so you shouldn’t attempt to fix any major issues yourself. (That said, many gas fireplace issues concern either the pilot light, thermocouple, or thermopile; if you have previous experience in gas appliance maintenance, the DIY experts at doityourself.com have several tips for troubleshooting these parts of a gas fireplace.

General gas safety tips

Because gas is an unpredictable and potentially hazardous substance, there are several things homeowners with gas appliances need to know to keep themselves safe. First and foremost, make sure that your home is fitted with carbon monoxide alarms. These alarms should be installed near all gas appliances, including your fireplace, gas boiler, and furnace. While the recommendations for exact placement vary, generally these monitors should be fitted directly above or next to the appliance, no more than five meters away. Test your carbon monoxide alarms regularly and replace them immediately when necessary. Most importantly, be aware of the air quality in your home. If you begin to feel sick or dizzy, smell rotten eggs, or suspect one of your gas appliances has a leak, leave the house immediately and seek help from emergency services. In the unlikely event of a gas leak, you can never be too careful: while a well-maintained gas appliance should work perfectly well without leaks, things can change in an instant.

Article By : Kaitlin Krull

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