Do You Know If You Have A Mercury Thermostat?

Are Mercury Thermostats Dangerous and Should I Replace Them?

Does your Kitchener/Waterloo home still have a mercury thermostat? Many homes do. If yours is one of them, there are some things you should know, such as the potential dangers of having a mercury thermostat in your home and how to recycle the thermostat when the time comes to replace it.

But I Don’t Know if I Have a Mercury Thermostat!

Don’t panic! There are a few easy ways to quickly determine whether your home’s thermostat contains mercury. The first is simply to look at it. Mercury thermostats are manual, usually rectangular or circular in shape, and do not use digital displays. So, if your thermostat has a digital screen and curved edges, it probably isn’t a mercury thermostat.

If you can’t tell just by looking at the thermostat whether it contains mercury, take the face off it and look at its innards. If you see a little glass ampule full of silvery liquid, it’s a mercury thermostat. (That little ampule contains up to 12 grams of elemental mercury, making it the single largest source of mercury in your home.)

Mercury thermostats were the standard for nearly 200 years, however they haven’t been made since the early 2000s. New digital thermostats and programmable thermostats are designed to work without mercury. This is due to the hazards that have been discovered to be associated with mercury.

So What Are The Hazards of A Mercury Thermostat

Mercury poses a threat to both the environment and to your health. Direct exposure to mercury can cause neurological damage, behavioral problems, kidney disease and problems with the lungs and digestive tract that can prove fatal.

If mercury is released into the environment it can get into our food sources, most commonly fish. While eating fish is a form of indirect exposure to mercury that is unlikely to affect most people, it is dangerous for expectant mothers. Pregnant women are advised to avoid eating fish and shellfish because ingesting mercury can cause developmental delays and behavioral problems for the child.

What Do I Do With My Old Mercury Thermostat?

Here in Ontario it is illegal to throw away a mercury thermostat. This is because the glass ampule containing the mercury can burst, releasing the toxic metal into the environment. You must have the thermostat recycled by an authorized HVAC contractor like CJ Brubacher Ltd.

Many Ontario local government offices also host occasional household hazardous waste collection events where you can drop your old mercury thermostat in an official disposal bin, but why wait for one of these events when CJ Brubacher Ltd will take of the disposal for you when we replace your thermostat?

If You Still Have A Mercury Thermostat, Now Is A Good Time To Upgrade!

New thermostats are not only mercury-free and safe for your family, but programmable thermostats also help your home be more energy-efficient. Rather than make do with your aging mercury thermostat, call CJ Brubacher Ltd at (519) 669-3362 to have the thermostat recycled and replaced with something better.

Winterization Tips to Save Energy, Time & Money

One thing us Canadians seem to never be prepared for is the first snow fall. We seem to forget to get our winter tires on, or maybe we are just trying to hold on to Fall for as long as we can? As the winter has arrived, you should be taking this time to get your home ready for the cold months ahead. Being proactive will help avoid financial disaster and prevent any personal injury that could occur. From the inside to the outside of your home, winterizing your property will protect your investment while keeping you comfortable.

Furnace Inspection

The first thing on your list should be to call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace to ensure optimal efficiency. It’s also a good idea to stock up on filters and change them regularly. If you haven’t done so already, switching out your thermostat for a programmable one is a great step in the right direction. Updating the thermostat for your families schedule is an easy way to slash your energy bill. You can also set these type of thermostats by season.

If your home uses hot-water radiators for heating, the valves should be bled by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.

**Reminder to remove all flammable material from around your furnace***

Give us a call at (519) 669-3362 to setup an appointment to have your furnace serviced by one of our HVAC technicians.

Check all Exterior Doors and Windows

This step should be completed routinely for your health and safety. Inspect your home on the outside for crevice cracks and any exposed points of entry around pipes. If you notice them, seal them up. Adding weather stripping around your doors will help prevent cold air from entering the home. Also check the caulking around your windows to see if any cracks have appeared. If your windows have cracked glass, it is recommended to replace them. If you end up replacing the entire window, be sure to prime and paint any exposed wood to prevent any damage throughout the winter. Do you have a basement in your home? Consider adding plastic shields to protect the window wells.

Service Weather-Specific Equipment

Being proactive will aid you in preparing for when the bad weather hits and you will inevitably need your seasonal equipment. Pull out your snow blower and have it serviced and give it a good tune-up. Take a look at your shovels and replace any worn or broken ones. Have your ice chopper sharpened and buy bags of ice-melt or sand. Equipment you use in the summer should be prepared to be to be stored away. Items like your lawn mower should have the gas drained to avoid any rust.

Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

A good way to remember to change the batteries in your detectors is to change them when daylight savings time ends and begins. Ensure that you have a carbon monoxide detector installed near your furnace or water heater, or both. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly. This is also a great time to check your fire extinguisher and replace any that have expired.

Prevent Plumbing Freezes

Make sure you know where your main shut off is in the event of an emergency. To avoid any headaches, drain your garden hose, insulate exposed plumbing pipes, drain air conditioner pipes and if your AC unit has a water shut off valve, turn it off. If you plan to leave on vacation or for an extended amount of time, keep your heat on and set it to at least 12˚C.

Give us a call at (519) 669-3362 for any plumbing concerns, issues or advice.

CJ Brubacher has you covered!

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Severe weather can strike at any moment. Being prepared is key to keeping your family safe and comfortable. Your kit should include indoor candles, matches/lighter for use during a power failure. Having a battery backup can help charge your devices should you need to contact anyone during power failure. Pack extra bottles of water, non-perishable food supplies (don’t forget about your pets!), blankets, and a first-aid kits. This kit should be stored in a spot that is easily accessible and dry. You may want to consider a generator to eliminate down time at your home. Also, preparing an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency can give you peace of mind knowing that your family knows what to do. Putting the contacts of your utility companies, and trusted repair team, like C.J. Brubacher ((519) 669-3362), in your phone will help eliminate trying to locate them should an emergency arise.

Being proactive is always recommended, especially when dealing with an investment like your home.

Have any questions for our team? Need some assistance? Give us a call at (519) 669-3362 and book an appointment.

Benefits of Having a Humidifier Installed on your Furnace

One of the biggest health concerns majority of people suffer from is dehydration. Our bodies are comprised mainly with water, if the moisture leaves the tissue it dries up. With that, the elasticity goes and function declines. Besides having dry skin, the symptoms of dehydration can include raspy throat, sore eyes, joint and muscle pain and a lack of mental concentration.

There are two ways we can beat dehydration. The first is obvious, drink plenty of water and secondly, maintain the humidity in your home and office at a comfortable level with the use of a furnace humidifier.

Humidity and your Health

Did you know that inadequate humidity during cold weather is one of the major causes of respiratory infections? The cooler seasons when we require our furnace to be running causes people to have repeated winter colds. Most people blame winter for these problem, but the truth is, it’s caused by dryness. The dryness affects the membranes of the throat, nose and bronchial tubes. Relative humidity also has quite the effect on controlling airborne infections.

So what can we do? Have one of your HVAC technicians install a humidifier on your furnace in your home where you spend most of your time. For many, dry air can be an air quality issue. Some bacteria, viruses and respiratory irritants feed off dry air. Enough moisture in the body helps enable the immune system to defend better against indoor respiratory pollutants and irritants.

Humidity and your Comfort

The air in your home is constantly trying to reach its saturation point, meaning that it will absorb water from wherever it can find it. It will steal moisture from your body, your pets, your furniture and even your house plants. When the moisture is given up in your home to the air, your body (skin, nasal passages and throat) dries out and cracks causing some physical discomfort to you and your family. Some doctors will recommend to their patients that are suffering from allergies or asthma to have a humidifier set up in their home.

Humidity and your Home

Do you have any wood in your home? Chances are the air is stealing humidity from that too. When the dry air sucks the moisture out it causes the wood to crack and shrink, this can even affect your furniture. Some people will notice that their doors no longer fit properly in the frame as the moisture has been removed causing the wood to shrink.

Have you ever shuffled across the carpet only to touch something or someone and be shocked? Did you know that your body is capable of holding a 20,000 volt static charge? This may be the most annoying part of dry air in the home, static shock. This means that your body can wreak havoc on your computer and any other electronic devices. Keeping the relative humidity in your home above 35% significantly reduces the likelihood of static shock.

Humidity and your Wallet

You might be wondering how humidity can affect your wallet. Have you ever noticed that the humid summer air actually feels hotter than it is? That same idea applies to your home as well. By keeping your home at the proper humidity level, you can turn down your thermostat a few degrees while still feeling comfortable.

Want to discuss your options or have a furnace humidifier installed to keep you comfortable this winter season? Give CJ Brubacher a call at (519)669-3362 to book your appointment.

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