How To Keep Your HVAC System Running at Peak Performance

Power bills are increasing this year. Lower your energy usage and utility costs using the tips explained in this content. These enhancements will pay you back all on their own!

Follow These Tips

Insulate – Insulating minimizes the amount of heat that gets into your house from outside. In a well insulated house, less energy is used battling heat conducted in from the outside all the way through walls and ceilings.

Seal up air leaks – A tightly sealed home reduces how much warm air that leaks into your house from outside. In a proper sealed home, less energy is consumed battling warm air leaking in from outside.

Use shades to stop the “greenhouse effect” – Don’t let your house heat up inside just like a car with closed windows on a hot sunny day. Closing window shades in the day will prevent sunlight from entering your home and heating it, decreasing the burden on your cooling equipment.

Swamp cooler – A swamp cooler provides cooling by evaporating water into the air, just as your body cools itself by sweating. Swamp coolers use a lot less energy than traditional compressorized air conditioners. You’ll want to go away your windows open while using one of these – air should only pass through the cooler once, so make sure to usher in fresh air.

Ceiling fan – A ceiling fan cools in summer by circulating air. The air temperature is not reduced, but people feel cooler due to the breeze.

Turn air con thermostats up a couple of degrees – Instead of cooling your home to 72 degrees F, try 75 or 78 degrees F. Every degree you raise the thermostat setting reduces the load in your cooling system.

Cool only the spaces you are in – Zone your cooling system or use window air conditioners or portable air conditioning units so you air condition exclusively the area you’re in. This will significantly reduce energy consumption.

Programmable thermostat – Set a programmable thermostat enroll in your calendar do it runs air conditioning only when you’re home.

Change or clean filters – Clean filters raise the airflow and efficiency of air con equipment.

Attic fan – Attics can reach temperatures of 160 degrees F during the summer. When this happens, heat a little distance from attic leaks into the living spaces of your home and also makes your cooling equipment work harder. An attic fan removes hot air out of your attic and replaces it with cooler air from outside, bringing the attic temperature right down to 15-20 degrees F above the outdoor temperature. Solar attic fans have lately been developed to offer attic ventilation while running no electricity at all.

Call An Expert

Speak to a local expert on heating and air conditioning service Vancouver if you are looking for ways to cut your fuel costs. Yes, it coast a little to have the service work done, but the savings in energy costs and the fact that your equipment lasts longer is reason enough to keep everything in top working order.

Leaving your HVAc system on its own to slowly grind to a halt is the biggest reason people have to replace equipment five to seven years earlier than the typical life span of an given HVAC unit. You’re looking for long term savings here. So forget about the small cost of regular maintenance and just get it done!

Four Furnace Repair Tips For The Adventurous Homeowner

Getting your hands dirty on a furnace repair task is something most of us would be happy to hand over to a professional. That said, it is a good idea to get the basics of how to repair a furnace yourself in case of emergencies. With winter approaching fast, you have to ensure that the heating system in the entire house is in order. If it suddenly gives out in the middle of a stormy or chilly night, getting a mechanic right away might be difficult. Some basic furnace repair skills would come in handy in such situations.

A look at Some Basic DIY Furnace Repair Tips:

DIY furnace repair tips – #1 – Check the motor – The first thing to do is to check the motor and see if it working properly or not. It may need oiling or the belt may need adjustments. Either way motor malfunctioning will lead to fan not working and thereby low or zero transmission of heat or air. This is true for electric as well as gas furnaces. Periodic maintenance will ensure that your motor is in working condition and can be repaired in emergencies. In more serious cases, it will have to be replaced but for that you need a professional contractor.

DIY furnace repair tips – #2 – Check the pump or air control – If you feel that your furnace is not generating the adequate amount of heat then check the pump as well as the air control mechanism. Make sure that the pump is regularly oiled and checked for performance. Problems in this area will lead to low heat generation and lack of hot air transfer inside the house. Defective parts also mean that you end up using more energy than required and later pay for serious damages.

DIY furnace repair tips – #3 – Check the air filter or gas burner – A blocked gas burner or a dirty air filter are chief causes of low heat generation from the furnace. Regular checking and maintenance is required to ensure proper machine function as well as avert any kind of disasters. Simply cleaning the air filter from time to time will do the trick. Make sure the gas burner is clean and well-adjusted so that the furnace is always in proper working condition. In case of emergencies these simple tricks will see you through the night before professional help arrive.

DIY furnace repair tips – #4 – Clean the furnace – A clean furnace is much safer than a dirty one will last much longer. Just because the furnace is tucked away in the basement or a closet somewhere out of sight, doesn’t mean you can let it collect dust. One of the worst enemies of a gas fired furnace is dust. It’s a simple matter of taking your vacuum to the furnace and clearing it of dust and cobwebs. Do the furnace cleaning job once a year in the warm months when the unit is turned off and it will repay you with a longer healthier life.

Apart from the blower motor, air filter, and the pump the other things that you need to check are the thermostat and the fan control system. Of course, not everything can be easily repaired by amateurs but the basic knowledge will at least hold fort till you get the whole thing fixed or taken care of.

Furnace maintenance is very important to avert disasters like fire, to prevent health problems from suffocating or stale air. Most housing laws also demand that you get your furnace checked periodically by state certified inspectors so that these situations do not arise. In case there is a problem and the old furnace is on its last legs then you should consider hiring someone for furnace installation Vancouver to replace your furnace.

Most housing laws also demand that you get your furnace checked periodically by state certified inspectors so that these situations do not arise. In case there is a problem you can hire a Furnace Repair Toronto contractor to repair or replace your furnace.

Understanding A Roof Replacement Estimate

You’ve decided you need a new roof. Several companies have given you estimates. How do you know which is right for you? It is important to understand exactly what a Vancouver roofing contractor is proposing when making a decision on your roof replacement. There are usually several products/services included on most re-roofing quotes.


The primary item on a roof replacement estimate is the actual roofing material. The estimate will list the manufacturer and type of shingles the contractor intends to use. It will also show the style of shingle. Architectural or dimensional shingles are the most popular. They create more interest and often mimic the look of other roofing materials such as slate or tile. It may include color choice or options if design was part of the initial discussion. The estimate will also indicate the length of the manufacturer’s warranty for that type.


If your roof has chimneys, dormers, and walls, then you will see flashing on your estimate. Flashing prevents water from seeping behind and under shingles, causing water damage to the structure.

Flashing is usually thin sheets of aluminum or galvanized steel. Many professional roofers will fashion their own from sheet metal. Flashing is installed over joints in the roof & wall construction. Possible areas are valleys, chimneys, dormers, windows, pipes, skylights, porches, decks and edges.

New flashing is often installed with a new roof. If flashing deteriorates or comes loose it can cause severe damage to your home. It is important to make sure it is installed properly to avoid unnecessary damage.


One item that should be included on every roof replacement estimate is underlayment. Underlayment is a layer of protective material between the roof deck or plywood and the shingles. Often called felt paper, it is the first layer of waterproofing for your roof.

Manufacturers reinforce the underlayment with fiberglass to strengthen and resist tearing, make installation easier and improve its waterproofing effectiveness.

Manufacturers are constantly developing new underlayment technology. Newer synthetic underlayment further increases the effectiveness, ease & safety to install and increases longevity. Some manufacturers have developed organic and green underlayment products.

It is usually recommended to use underlayment from the same manufacturer as your shingles as they are designed to work together. It may be required for a valid warranty.

A contractor will choose the best type of underlayment for your roof replacement based on the type of roof and climate in which you live. If you have any questions regarding their choice, they are the best resource for your specific project.

Drip Edge

Drip edge is another important and sometimes overlooked part of a roofing or re-roofing job. Even though manufacturers recommend it, and some require it for a valid warranty, some contractors do not include drip edge on their estimates.

Drip edge is metal strips applied along gutter lines, eaves and some rakes. It stops water from getting under the shingles and damaging the deck plywood and protects fascia. Properly applied drip edge will lengthen the life of the roof and further protect the home from water damage.

Drip edge is not expensive to include in a roof replacement project and the benefits greatly out way the cost.

Ice & Water Shield

The purpose of a roof is to protect the home from the elements; wind, rain, ice, etc. In most climates, ice and/or water are a concern you can’t ignore.

Ice and water protection should be discussed for almost every residential roofing project and will likely appear on your estimate. Ice and water barriers allow proper water flow preventing damage caused by high wind and rain storms and ice build-up known as ice dams. It strongly adheres to the plywood roof deck providing a second line of defense to the underlayment. The barrier is applied to the most vulnerable parts of the roof. Depending on the type of roof this could be the valleys, eaves and rakes, or the entire deck surface. Contractors may also suggest applying it around chimneys and other areas where leaks are likely to occur.


A valley is the angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes to provide water runoff. Because of the amount of water passing through that area of a roof, it is important to consider how the area will be protected when replacing an asphalt shingle roof.

There are different methods for shingling the area with dimensional asphalt roofing material. Closed cut valleys are most popular aesthetically. In a closed cut valley application, shingles from one side of the valley extend across the valley while shingles from the other side are trimmed back a few inches from the valley centerline. Any flashing is not exposed. When using the open cut valley roofing method the flashing is visible. Open cut valleys may be used to create visual interest or enhance features on some design styles.

Some contractors will use ice and water shield under the shingles, others will choose to install metal flashing. Further, some contractors will install both for extra protection. A professional roofing contractor will consider many factors and make a recommendation as to the best method and style for the specific project. A detailed estimate will include these recommendations.

Ridge Vent

All roofs need to be vented to allow moisture to escape and prevent damage to the roof and the entire home. There are several types of roof ventilation systems. The most popular are ridge vents. They are installed along the ridge or peak of the roof and allow hot air to escape and draw cool air in the soffit vents.

A detailed roof replacement estimate will include which type and style of vent is going to be installed. Ridge vents come in several styles to match the home, shingle design, and homeowner’s preference as to how much they stand out or blend in with the rest of the new roof.

Chimney Cricket

If the home has a chimney, a professional roofing contractor may recommend installing a cricket if there isn’t one already. A cricket is a peaked construction at the back of a chimney to help prevent snow and ice build-up and to deflect water around the chimney.

Pipes & Fans

Pipes and fans on the roof should be addressed in the estimate. These are vents that allow air to escape the home from the attic, bathroom, or other household needs. A contractor will indicate how they will treat these during the project. Will they keep the same ones, replace with new pipes or recommend a different type of ventilation or fan.


When replacing a roof, it is a good time to consider replacing gutters as well. Either on your request or their recommendation, an option for gutter replacement may appear on the estimate. It may specify the length in feet, type of material, the type of construction (seamless, sectional), the size or width in inches and the size of the downspouts that will be used. Gutter installation Vancouver estimates may include leaf protection, which is a covering that allows water to flow and keeps leaves and other debris from causing clogs in the gutter and downspouts.

Soffit & Fascia

  • Often replacing soffit and fascia will be recommended.
  • Fascia – Connects the roof to the soffit, where gutters are attached.
  • Soffit – Covers the underside of the roof overhang.
  • Both of these play a large part in protecting the structure of the home.

Plywood & Sheathing

Under all the underlayment, ice & water shield and shingle material is the decking. This is the wood that makes the solid structure of the rooftop. During a roof replacement project, it may be discovered that some of this decking has been damaged and needs to be replaced. A roofing contractor may indicate this expense in different ways. If they see obvious damage they will note that in the estimate and the type of material that will be used. This could be plywood, Luan or other coverings. However, sometimes this damage is hidden until the replacement project has begun. Some contractors will also include the additional costs that may be incurred if a problem is found.


  • Most roof replacement estimates will mention warranties and guarantees with limitations and for a specific number of years.
  • Manufacturers’ warranties usually offer coverage when there is a defect in the roofing material that causes leaks under normal conditions. A manufacturer’s coverage will typically cover the cost of replacing the materials, not the labor to do so. They also do not cover replacing the entire roof, just repairing or replacing the defective areas.
  • Manufacturers’ warranties often exclude damage due to pre-existing conditions of the roof. If the shingles were installed improperly or the roof structure and gutter design was faulty, coverage may be denied. Many warranties are prorated, meaning the longer the roof is on your home the less coverage you have.
  • Manufacturers may recognize quality professionals that they trust. These contractors may be able to offer additional or extended manufacturers’ warranties.
  • Be sure to understand the coverage and limitations of a manufacturer’s warranty before using it to make your roofing decisions.
  • While a good warranty to cover defects is important, choosing your roofing contractor is as much so.
  • Manufacturers’ warranties do not cover problems arising from installation. This is where a workmanship guarantee comes in.

A workmanship guarantee is offered by the contractor and covers all defects related to installation work only. A qualified contractor will know what type of material to use on your roof and how to install it properly, reducing the possibility of roof leakage. Your contractor will also recognize potential problems such as structure, drainage and ventilation issues and address those ahead of time so they won’t damage your new shingles in the future. A reputable contractor will offer a labor warranty to cover any issues that may arise for additional peace of mind.

When considering your new roof investment, be sure to look at the coverage warranties offer and especially the quality and knowledge of the company installing them.

Common Renovations in Southwest BC

Although home renovations can sometimes be a chore it is important to make sure that the end result is exactly what you desire. When this happens, no matter how long the renovation takes or how much it costs, your family and friends will be in love with the final result.

Why a Renovation?

Renovations are one of the best investments a homeowner can make to their existing place of residence. Renovations themselves help add value and appeal to your home which can easily help with the future, especially if the house will be sold down the road. Today renovations can be made for anything including the standard rooms such as the basement or kitchen along with the ability to add extra space or create a more modern look. Since renovations help improve the value of your home it is important to think about what your needs are along with any ideas that can help add your personality. Home renovations are great for families that will be moving in the future, near or not, but love the area and their home too much to do so right away. Combining renovations that excel the look of your home will pay off in the long run. This article will be focusing on the basement and how this area can truly add appeal to a home.

Why the Basement?

One of the most common renovations being completed is the basement. The basement is usually the most creative designed area of the home as it is not always in the open and in view when you walk in. This provides homeowners with the ability to design this room however they see fit, turning it into a home theater ambiance, another bedroom or a recreation room. The basement usually provides homeowners with full control in terms of more intricate designs, allowing imaginations to run wild. Anything that can be dreamed of is possible.

Types of Basement Renovations:

Pure Entertainment: This idea takes your basement renovation to a new level focusing on creating the most amazing entertainment experience possible. This can include a full theater with the proper seating to make it feel like you are at the movies. This pure entertainment basement renovation will increase your home’s value while providing some relaxation. Friends and family will want to come over often just to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere.

Added Space: A basement renovation can be transformed into a bedroom/apartment for a growing family or with the purpose to rent it out for some extra income. This type of basement renovation helps to add space while allowing families to stay in their homes for a longer period of time. The value added with this space could be a potential negative as the market narrows as less people are looking for bedroom/apartment basements in a home. This could lead to a longer selling period. Although this could be the case it is important to perform a renovation for you and your family, not worrying about if the house will sell when put on the market. You cannot go wrong with a home renovation as it pays off in the long run.

Home Gym/ Open space: Maybe a basement renovation is needed to create new space to relax. This is the perfect opportunity to add an area that may or may not have a defined characteristic. With larger basements more options are available to the homeowner as multiple ideas can be molded into one. This may include a combination of a gym area, relaxation area and space to do other things. No matter the size of the basement it is possible to make the space look more open with the proper placement of furniture and unique designs.

Sub-Contractors: An important part of any home renovation is which companies complete the trade tasks under the general contractor. In many cases general contractors hire sub-trades for technical work. For instance, we will hire a local plumber in vancouver we have worked with in the past, to do all the plumbing. This way we are quite certain that portion of the job will be done to everyone’s expectation.

Although renovations are possible throughout any part of the house, the basement is a prime location to renovate. The value of your home will increase dramatically compared to other minor renovations such as bathrooms or bedrooms.

Renovation Ideas Example

Get The Plumbing Inspected Before You Buy

If you are in the market for buying a new home there are a lot of things to do so adding another task into the mix may not sound very appealing. However, when you are looking at investing in the purchase of an older home, and even some not-so-old ones, there is an important task that everyone should do before you commit to buying it. And that task is a thorough plumbing inspection.

Getting the plumbing inspection done is a no-lose situation. If a problem is identified, you get to have the current owner make the repairs prior to signing the contract. If no problems are found, you will get a sense of security knowing that there are no hidden repairs lurking in your pipes that could cost you big later.

The Value Of An In-depth Inspection

All home buyers will get an inspection of the property done by a home inspector, but this only covers a very superficial inspection of the plumbing system. A home inspection is crucial and this article does not in any way suggest that a home buyer should skip it. But it is strongly recommended that every potential buyer get a licensed plumbing professional to inspect the plumbing. Only a plumbing expert will be able to really let you know the condition of the plumbing in the house.

The problem with an unfamiliar house’s plumbing is that it can’t be seen. Even if a house has been renovated and is in great condition, it does not mean the plumbing is good. Plumbing is not like chipped tiles, a crack in the ceiling, or a bad paint job. It is beneath the surface and needs a professional to look at it closely.

You should have a professional plumber use a video camera to inspect the drains and check the pipes around the house. This is important to be done to make sure you aren’t being put into a position where you may have to spend thousands of dollars later to fix a cracked line in the drain tile. This may seem extreme, but it’s well worth the time and the expense, especially if there is something wrong. If nothing is found, then at least you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing a thorough inspection was performed.

Avoid Hidden Expenses

All too often we hear stories of people either not wanting to spend the money or not even thinking about getting a plumbing inspection done when purchasing their dream home. Sadly, soon after they buy their home they find they need thousands of dollars of work to repair a damaged plumbing line that they could have found before signing the purchase offer.

So hopefully, now you see the importance of a plumbing inspection when purchasing a home, and will call a licensed plumber to do it on your behalf. Then once this has been done and you are satisfied that the plumbing is good then you are ready to proceed. It’s a small price to pay to have the knowledge and security that there is nothing wrong with the plumbing. If something is found, that’s fine too. You can always negotiate the repairs into the purchase price. Either way, you win.

If you need a plumbing inspection by a professional plumber Vancouver company, give Pioneer Plumbing a call. When you call us you will be choosing a company with a reputation for quality service and value.

Pioneer Plumbing & Heating Inc

Pioneer Plumbing & Heating
Phone: (604) 872-4946
626 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC V5T 3K4

Proper Maintenance Of Heating Systems

For most of us who live where winters get cold, there is no other option but to have a well functioning comfort system in our homes. Nevertheless, it can get expensive having a Vancouver plumber or heating technician come to the house to effect repairs. Everyone should be able to do some simple repairs, but not everyone knows how. Here are a few simple tips about furnace repair that can save the budget.

Regular Maintenance of Your Heating  System

Just like most of us have regular maintenance performed on our vehicles, maintenance is also important on a central heating system. There are many things that homeowners can do, but there is nothing wrong with signing a maintenance contract with a local professional furnace service. For many, boiler service once a year is sufficient, but don’t let it go beyond two years.

Increase Energy Efficiency

If you have not already done so, take some time now to increase energy efficiency of radiant heat being used. When heat is being lost through cracks around windows and doors, money is being wasted in higher energy bills. It is not difficult to caulk around these cracks and keep the home warm and toasty when the weather outside is cold. Ask local plumbers for advice about other tips to keep the cost of heating your home as low as possible.


Sometimes, the only thing wrong with forced air furnace is that the pilot light has gone out. It is easy enough to check to see if this has happened, and just as easy to follow the instructions on the furnace to re-light it. Thermostats that operate on battery power may just need replacement batteries to keep them working properly. Then again, a check of the circuit breaker or fuse box may turn up the culprit.

Central Heating Help

When all else fails, one should never be embarrassed to call in reinforcements. Professional furnace cleaning technicians are always there to help. If all the basics have been checked and problems still exist, boiler service from trained plumbers may be the only thing left to do. Unless you are absolutely sure you know how to do repairs, it is worth spending a little on furnace repair rather than risking doing further damage to the system.

Time to Update

There comes a time when all heating systems must be replaced. After years of giving good service, it can cost more than the unit is worth to continue repairing it. When this time comes, the only sensible thing to do is update it to a newer version with a new Vancouver furnace installation. Besides, newer units are more energy efficient and the savings will help pay for the unit with lower energy bills. They also require fewer costly repairs which spells even more savings.

Living in cold climates should not mean anyone has to be uncomfortable in their home. By maintaining the heating system in good condition, this will never happen. Homeowners can affect many repairs on their own, but it never hurts to have the phone number of a good North Vancouver plumber handy just in case.

Water Damage Restoration

A flooded basement or home can be a heartbreaking affair. Cleaning up the mess, restoring structural components of the building and replacing valued possessions can be a monumental task, when something like this happens you will need professional help. Not only will clean-up, restoration and drying be required there will be insurance to deal with if your policy covers it.

Technical Knowledge Required

A great deal of knowledge and skill is required in a restoration, in addition to the experience needed to deal with insurers and authorities. Some of the things you are faced with during water damage restoration include:

  • Water and sludge removal
  • De-humidification
  • Mold remediation
  • Insurance claims
  • Deodorization

Specialized Equipment

A well established plumbing and restoration company will have the experience to deal with flood and fire restoration and the latest equipment to get the job done right. Their team of specialists know how to locate and identify hidden damage that might cause problems later, particularly the possibility of mold that could make your family sick after the event.

Potential Mold Problems Must Be Eliminated

If you have had a disaster such as described here, you need to pay attention to getting it done right so as to eliminate any chance of mold developing. You have probably heard of the sick building syndrome. It is a real possibility when there has been water damage. When this type of growth starts you are faced with mold remediation and restoration regardless.

If wet construction material like drywall is allowed to dry on its own it probably will not dry out completely. If that was to happen there will be mold growth. Once mold takes root you are looking at spores in the house and other nasty viral things that can destroy your health. A poor restoration job such as that done by amateurs is playing with fire. You are asking for trouble if the damage is not restored to its original dry condition.

Do not try to cut corners when you have had a basement flood or similar trouble with water damage. Call a professional plumbing and restoration company who deals with it regularly. You will not regret the decision.

House Painting Tips

Here are 10 tips we found on to make your painting projects go smoother and faster while giving you a professional-looking finish that you’ll be proud of. You’ll also find ingenious tips that can cut your cleanup time in half and extend the life of your paint brushes.

Tip 1: To avoid lap marks, roll the full height of the wall and keep a wet edge
Tip 2: Mix several cans of paint in a large bucket for a consistent color throughout the room
Tip 3: Let the paint dry, then cut the tape loose for a perfect edge
Tip 4: Paint the trim first, then the ceiling and walls
Tip 5: Prime and texture wall patches to avoid a blotchy finish
Tip 6: Clean dirty surfaces so the paint can form a strong bond
Tip 7: Roll paint along the edges for consistent texture
Tip 8: Use cotton drop cloths rather than plastic
Tip 9: Feather out paint where you can’t keep a wet edge
Tip 10: Sand trim between coats for an ultra-smooth finish

When you are preparing a house for paint there are numerous things you need to do ahead of time. If you are a novice at this then these tips may be helpful, but it is recommended to hire a professional if quality is important to you.

First of all you need to scrape the old paint off because it tends to lift over time and the surface must be clean and dry, free from grease, oils and flaking or loose paint. With most paints you also need to prep the walls with primer.

The nest thing to do is remove anything around the exterior walls that may get stepped on or ruined by paint dripping on it. Turn off any power to exterior appliance like a BBQ or anything like it. Then go around and remove anything you don’t want painted such as the mail box, light fixtures, shutters and decorations.

Patch Work

If there is anything needing putty or possibly a new board somewhere, now is the time for those types of repairs. If you have a power washer and know how to use it then this is a handy tool for removing loose paint. If you have no experience with this type of tool it can actually ruin the exterior surface, so be careful. If you do use a power washer then you will have to wait until the walls are dry before scraping and sanding.

Final Preparations

Once you are down to the surface you want then you need to feather any roughness out with finer sandpaper. Before sanding, fill any cracks and let it dry before proceeding. After all the finer sanding is done, wash the house once again to remove the dust. Go around the house once again and remove the window screens, storm doors, storm windows and anything else that should not get painted. Once you are satisfied that the old pain is gone and the house is clean and grease free, let it dry. Too much moisture under new paint will ruin the job, so make use it is completely dry before proceeding.

If this seems like too much work then we recommend you find a good house painting contractor with references.