Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Why Do Annual Maintenance?

Furnace manufacturers and fuel suppliers (natural gas, propane, oil and electrical) all recommend annual maintenance for your home comfort equipment. Many people wonder if this is really necessary, as equipment will often run for several years trouble free.

There are several important reasons that make annual maintenance a wise choice.


Equipment that is not cleaned regularly and adjusted properly, accumulates dirt and moisture residue. This causes it to use more energy (up to 30% more). Even a small improvement in efficiency will pay for a service call. Homeowners can do some simple tasks themselves. Changing filters on a regular basis, replacing batteries in the thermostat yearly and keeping your outside unit clear of debris and shrubs are jobs that you can do yourself. Modern furnaces are complex, so you do need a licensed technician to 'check under the hood'.


This is of particular concern on gas, propane, oil or wood heating systems. These systems all produce CO gas, which is deadly. A licensed technician will measure CO levels in your home as part of his inspection. Furnace exhaust fumes must be ventilated from your house properly. A cracked heat exchanger on your furnace can be very dangerous. It is now law in Ontario to have a working CO detector in each and every home.


Many new furnaces and air conditioners come with 10 year warranties on parts. All warranties require annual maintenance inspections to keep the warranty valid. Failures on properly maintained equipment are less likely. Parts on older equipment can be quite costly, so you’ll want to keep your warranty in place.

Air Quality

Dirty filters will cause your equipment to run less efficiently. Many new homes are also equipped with air exchangers. New furnaces also rely on outside air for combustion. Many home owners do not really understand how all their equipment works. In addition to heating and cooling your home, your equipment helps improve the home's air quality, which directly affects you and your family's health.

Water Damage

Many people do not realize that modern equipment requires drains that are operating correctly and clean. In the summer your air conditioner produces condensate that drains the entire time its running. High efficiency furnaces also produce condensate in the winter months. Humidifiers also drain water as they run. Plugged drains on your furnace can produce as much damage as any other leaking water source.

Equipment Life and Reliability

Just like your car, properly maintained home comfort equipment will last longer and be more reliable. Equipment will often fail when it’s under the most stress. Failures will occur on some of the coldest or hottest days of the year (and not usually Mon-Fri between 8-5!). These are also the days that contractors are the busiest, so they cannot always get to your home immediately.

The Hayter Group employs only licensed technicians to visit your home and inspect your equipment. We often receive testimonial letters about the professionalism of our staff. We offer annual maintenance programs for our valued clients at reduced rates and no after hour’s charges. You don’t have to remember to call us every year and we’ll provide you with an affordable price for quality annual maintenance.

Chad Hayter

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Geothermal Heating Pays Off for Local Chicken Farm

In 2006, The Hayter Group was approached by a Lambton County, Ontario chicken farm looking to double the size of their operation. They were operating a 32,000 square foot barn that was heated by a radiant in-floor system and natural gas fired boilers.

In Canada, the chicken you are serving for dinner was likely raised on a family farm. Chicks are shipped in large plastic trays, about 100 at a time. They arrive at a chicken barn and are placed on the concrete floor of the barn, which has been prepared with fresh bedding of clean shavings or straw.

Chicken barns are warmed up to almost 90°F when the chicks first arrive. Food and water is delivered through special bins that are within easy reach of the chicks. The barn is kept very warm for about a week. The barn temperature is then lowered by 2° to 3° per week as the birds begin to grow. Larger birds give off their own heat and start warming up the barn themselves.

As the chicks grow, the special feeding bins are raised higher for easy access. Chicks are able to roam freely throughout the barn. The feed is adjusted as the birds grow to be optimal for their development. Once the chickens are ready for market, the barn is completely cleaned and fresh bedding is put down for the next flock.

Chicken Barn Feeding System

The Lambton County farmer felt that he already had the best possible heating solution when he approached us about his expansion plans. The radiant heating system heats up the concrete slab, right where the chicks are. He was able to keep barn temperatures lower, because there was no need to heat the air above the chicks. The natural gas boilers were able to deliver the peak heat required for the first week and then could be adjusted downwards as the chicks grew.

The Hayter Group suggested a solution that had never been tried before. It made economic sense to use a geothermal system to heat the new barn. The system would require a larger up front investment, that would pay off over time in energy savings.

To produce 5 units of heat, a geothermal unit requires 1 unit of electrical input and 4 units from the earth (essentially free energy). The system would cost far less to run than paying to fuel a natural gas boiler.

The new geothermal system would heat both the existing barn and the new barn. We estimated that the geothermal system could provide 97% of the heat needed for the two barns. The existing boiler was integrated into the system to provide extra heat for the short period of time when the chicks are first introduced to their new home.

The installation was far larger than a typical residential geothermal system. Four WaterFurnace units were required along with two 120 gallon holding tanks. A 14,400 foot, 3/4” pipe loop was installed under existing farmland. The ground above the loop is still being used for crops.

This installation has attracted quite a bit of industry attention. In 2007, the farm owner received the Innovative Farmer of the Year Award. The operation also received The Premier’s Award of Agri-Food Excellence.

Eden Energy Equipment distributes WaterFurnace products in Ontario. They are featuring a case study of this installation on their web site. Farm journals from as far away as Africa have reported on the installation. Geothermal heating is now being used in all types of livestock operations around the world.

WaterFurnace Logo

The Hayter Group is currently one of Ontario’s largest geothermal dealers. We’ve developed several innovative green energy strategies, including geothermal and solar, that are paying off for our agri-business customers. Many farming operations are large volume businesses running on low operating margins. Controlling inputs like energy costs is an area where The Hayter Group can contribute to the success of our rural customers.

The Hayter Group

Chad Hayter