" "

Union Gas EnerSmart Magazine

The Union Gas new Spring/Summer 2012 EnerSmart Magazine is live and is also delivered through newspapers! This magazine is full of a variety of articles relating to homes.


One of my personal favourites is this article…

Cooking with Natural Gas

Natural gas ranges and stoves offer many benefits for cooking, safety and financial savings. They produce instant heat and precise temperature control with a direct, variable flame. From low simmers to robust boils, your natural gas range delivers excellent heat control.


Enjoy… Im sure over the next little while I will share tid-bits of information as its quite valuable!

Tips to Save Water at Home – Water Conservation

With the launch of the new “Because Water Matters” Website by the CIPH – Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating in honour or Earth Day, this article below is one of the links you will find on their website. This information is directly from the Alliance for Water Efficiency website to save water when you are at home!

Some very useful tips! Be sure to check their website for their Business Tips For Saving Water as well!


When doing laundry, always wash full loads.

•Conventional washers built before 2011 typically use about 40 gallons per load; resource-efficient washer may use as little as 15 gallons per load.

•Adjust the water level in the washer to the amount needed for the load. Some of the new efficient washers will do this automatically.

When it’s time to replace the clothes washer, choose a high-efficiency washer with a low water factor.

•The smaller the water factor, the more efficient the clothes washer.

•Energy Star models currently have a maximum of 6.0, although many well-performing machines are available with lower water factors. Look for the lowest water factor available to achieve the highest water savings.

•For more information and resources, visit the AWE Residential Clothes Washer Introduction Page.


If washing dishes by hand, fill the sink with water rather than continually running the tap.

Install an efficient dishwasher.

•Technological advances in dishwashers make it possible to use less water to achieve the same goal. Selecting a new dishwasher that uses less water per cycle will reduce household water use.

◦Dishwashers use less water than handwashing, particularly if you limit pre-rinsing.

•For examples of dishwasher models and their water use, visit the CEE Qualifying Residential Dishwasher List

Only wash full loads of dishes in the dishwasher.

•For more information and resources, visit the AWE Residential Dishwasher introduction Page.

Avoid using running water to thaw frozen foods.

•Instead, defrost in the refrigerator overnight.


Find and fix any leaky faucets.

•A faucet leaking 60 drops per minute will waste 192 gallons per month. That is equal to 2,304 gallons per year.

Install efficient faucets and/or faucet aerators.

•The U.S. EPA WaterSense program labels efficient faucets and aerators that use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute.

•Look for the WaterSense label when selecting new faucets or aerators.

Turn off the faucet.

•When lathering hands, shaving, or brushing teeth.


If an irrigation system is used, make sure it is properly set up and maintained.

•Irrigate hydrozones based upon the plants’ water needs.

•Install a weather-based SMART irrigation controller. It is essential that SMART controllers are properly programmed and maintained.

•Install and maintain a rain sensor, either wireless or wired, on the irrigation controller if it does not have one built-in.

•Regularly inspect the sprinkler heads to make sure they are not damaged or malfunctioning. 

•Adjust sprinklers so they are not spraying water on paved surfaces such as the sidewalk or driveway.

•For more information, visit the AWE Landscape, Irrigation, and Outdoor Water Use Page and the Xeriscape Council of New Mexico’s Xeriscape Principles Page.

Landscape with water-wise landscaping principles.

•Use native plants or plants that require little water to thrive in your region.

•Plant turf grass only in areas where people will use it actively for recreation.

•Organize your landscape into hydro-zones. Hydro-zones are areas of landscape with plant and vegetation that have similar water requirements. This prevents over-watering some plants and under-watering others.

•Keep soil healthy and add mulch to prevent water loss through evaporation.

•If watering with a hose, make sure it has a shut-off nozzle.

•Water in the morning to prevent water loss due to evaporation. Avoid watering when it is windy.

•Use a rain barrel to collect water for use in the landscape.

•Add a graywater system to collect water from your washing machine or shower and bath, and use it in the landscape.


If it takes a long time for the hot water to reach the shower, use it as an opportunity to collect water for other uses, such as watering houseplants.

Replace showerheads that have a flow rate greater than 2.5 gallons per minute (the current national energy policy act standard).

•If the showerhead is not labeled, the flow rate can be checked by catching the water in a 1-gallon bucket. If it takes less than 24 seconds to fill up, the showerhead flow rate is more than 2.5 gallons per minute. The U.S. EPA WaterSense program labels efficient showerheads that use a maximum 2.0 gallons per minute.

•For more information and resources, visit the AWE Residential Shower Introduction Page.

Take shorter showers.

•Reducing a 10-minute shower to 5 minutes will save 12.5 gallons of water if the showerhead has a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute (even more if the showerhead has a higher flow rate).


Replace toilets installed before 1994 (1992 for Texas and California) with High-Efficiency Toilets (HETs).

•Replacing an older toilet that uses 3.50 gallons per flush (gpf) with a HET that uses 1.28 gpf will save 2.22 gpf. The EPA WaterSense program labels efficient toilets that use a maximum 1.28 gpf.

•If the toilet is flushed an average of six times each day it will save 13 gallons per day or 4,745 gallons per year. Some older toilets may use as much as 7 gallons per flush.

•For more information and resources, visit the AWE Toilet Fixtures Introduction Page and WaterSense Labeled Toilets Page.

Check toilets to verify they are working properly.

•Make sure the water level is not too high, the fill valve is working properly, and the flapper is not leaking. A running toilet can waste hundreds of gallons of water per day.

•For more information on checking a toilet, visit the H2Ouse Water Saver Home Toilet Page.


Check water bills for any instances of high water use, as this may be an indication of a leak.

•Leaking faucets, leaking toilets, and leaking pipes all have something in common, they waste a lot of water! Your water bill will often show abnormal water consumption if there is a leak. Many water utilities have information on how to read your water bill online. For more information and resources, visit the AWE Household Leaks Page.

Composting food wastes saves water by reducing the water needed to run a garbage disposal.

Pool owners can use a cover to reduce water loss through evaporation. A pool cover can also save energy and reduce the need for chemicals.

Sweep outdoor surfaces with a broom instead of using a hose.

Wash vehicles at a carwash that recycles its water. If washing at home, make sure the hose has a shutoff valve.

Original Information can be found on the: Alliance for Water Efficiency Website – Home Water Tips

..© 2011 Alliance for Water Efficiency. All Rights Reserved.

Thinking of Decorating?

When you are thinking of re-decorating your home please keep in mind the location of your thermostat and all of your heat and cool registers.

Why is this important?

The other night I was watching a decorating show on a popular channel (that happens to be one of my favourite channels), the decorator wanted to hide the “nasty” thermostat… what she was hiding it with was a 1-2″ deep frame (depth was under neath) and this would infact then completely cover (and prevent ANY air flow from getting to) the thermostat. The frame was much like a shadow box, but with the depth to the back to cover the thermostat.

Why does this matter?

The way a thermostat works is it has a sensor in it, this sensor senses when the temperature in the room drops below the tempterature set on your thermostat, thus calling for heat. When the thermostat is completely covered like this there will be NO air flow, the customer will then keep raising the temperature to get more heat into their home OR will call a service tech to find out why their home is not reaching the temperature the stat is set to… a waste of money in this case.

Some of the benefits of our most commonly used thermostat, the Lennox Comfortsense 7000 are:

  • Large, clear display with soft blue backlight shows the current and set temperature, day/date/time, indoor relative humidity and outdoor  temperature (if optional outdoor sensor is used).

  • Dehumidification measurement and control
  • Humiditrol EDA Capability
  • Dew point adjustment control
  • Smooth Setback Recovery starts system early to achieve setpoint at start of program period.
  • Compressor short−cycle protection (5 minutes).
  • Real−time clock keeps time during power failures and automatically adjusts for daylight savings time and leap year.

  • Maintenance reminders let user know when to service or replace filters, humidifier pads, ultraviolet lamps, plus two user or installer defined custom reminders.

  • Programmable fan offers increased performance when combined with whole home indoor air quality products.

  • Outdoor temperature display (with optional outdoor sensor) shows current outdoor temperature.

As you can see from some of these features of this particular thermostat it is essential for there to be air flow for proper operation, not only proper operation of the thermost but of the heating and cooling equipment that the thermostat is controlling.

Heat & Cool Registers…

Why is it important to ensure there is adequate air flow around these registers?

No matter what the age of your heating and cooling system, without proper air flow and circulation to and from the system, this can not only cause issues within your home but also in the system.

The duct work in your home is designed for air flow to each room with hot and cold registers for proper air flow. The heat comes out of the hot air return register and then the cold air return register takes the air back through the system again.

Your heating and cooling system is chosen and the duct work designed on your whole home size (square footage), which includes the air flow to and from each of the rooms. So if you have a piece of furniture in front of your cold air return your furnace cannot get adequate air to run the cycle, which could over time cause the system to over heat or break down prematurely. Having the registers blocked can also cause the A/C to lockout on high pressure.

This also can cause dust and dirt build up within the rooms of your home behind the furnace and if ever suddenly sucked through your vents and duct work can cause unneccesary build up in your ducts and within the furnace filter. By not having proper air flow within your home this can contribute to mold and mildew problems as well, which will then affect breathing.

By ensuring your registers are clear from furniture you can prolong the life of your heating and cooling system, as it will be operating properly and efficiently, and also improve the air quality in your home, as dust particles will be caught in the furnace filter rather than built up around your home. Especially if you are thinking of or just did upgrade to an Energy Efficient HVAC System – you want to ensure proper air circulation to reep the savings rewards!

World Plumbing Day ~ Celebrate & Appreciate Plumbers

It is World Plumbing Day, March 11th, every year, everywhere…

I am sharing some valuable information from the World Plumbing Day website.

The key elements from this epidemic that are addressed by the plumbing industry worldwide:

DESIGN: It all begins with the design of the product itself. A trained engineer will know

which materials are viable options for the production of a P-trap and call for these

specifications in his design.

PRODUCTION: Next is the manufacturer. If there is an ISO 9001 Quality Management

System in place, audited regularly by an accredited third party body, the manufacturer is

likely to recognize a deficient material being used in a product and make the correction

before the faulty product can go to market — in this case, the bolts that rusted,

compromising the water seal in the floor drain trap.

STANDARDS TESTING: Similarly, this defect could have been caught during testing at

a properly accredited product-testing laboratory. Standards dictate the allowable

materials, design, function, etc. for a given product. If the product standard calls for

galvanized bolts, for instance, any product not using the specified bolts would not pass

testing to show compliance with the applicable standard(s).

PRODUCT CERTIFICATION: Without meeting the required standards, the product

cannot be certified and listed by a third-party certification body suitably accredited to

grant Marks of Conformity to products. Authorities Having Jurisdiction (a city’s building

inspector, for instance) look for these Marks of Conformity when determining which

plumbing products they will allow for installation within their municipality.

CODES: The adoption of building codes within a municipality goes a long way toward

ensuring the safety of a city’s residents from system failures such as the one at the Amoy


INSTALLATION: A workforce highly trained and educated to the existing code language

is essential to the proper installation of a plumbing system. If the plumber who installed

the P-trap at the Amoy Gardens was properly certified to perform this work, it is quite

possible he would have recognized the potential for failure in this particular product.

INSPECTION: In the same vein, a similarly certified plumbing and mechanical inspector

might have red tagged this installation during his code-dictated on-site inspection of the

installer’s work. This red tag could have required the installer to remove the faulty P-trap

and replace it with the proper part before the plumbing system could be approved as

being compliant.

MAINTENANCE: Over the life of a plumbing system, periodic maintenance is required.

The chances of the system continuing to function in the safest manner possible grow

exponentially when the person performing that maintenance is trained professional

plumber. During routine maintenance of the building’s plumbing system, the failed P-trap

might have been discovered and repaired before the SARS Coronavirus was introduced to


When all of these steps work in concert with each other, it drastically reduces the

likelihood of the type of failure that facilitated the spread of the SARS virus in Hong

Kong. In developing nations, many of these steps are often bypassed, with increased

health risks illustrated by statistics; for example, as many as 7.5 percent of deaths in India

are attributed to water and sanitation related causes, according to statistics from the

World Health Organization — a staggering figure in a nation of 1.1 billion people.

World Plumbing Day seeks to provide additional awareness of these goals and how tools

such as “Health Aspects of Plumbing” contribute toward reaching these humanitarian


Safe, clear drinking water and basic sanitation is possible in any nation, big or small, when simple, sound plumbing practices are adopted.

Contact www.worldplumbing.org to download your copy of Health Aspects of Plumbing today.