Waterloo Heating Services: Fireplace VS Furnace

Waterloo Heating Services: Fireplace VS Furnace

As cooler weather approaches, it’s a good idea to consider the pros and cons of different ways to heat your home. Get advice from professionals who specialize in providing heating services in Waterloo. Know the difference between fireplaces and furnaces so you can heat your home as efficiently as possible.

Fireplace vs Furnaces Explained 

Fireplaces and furnaces are both common for residential heating purposes. Some homeowners like the warm glow of an active fire, while others prefer the efficiency of electric heating.


A fireplace sits under a chimney within a hearth and burns wood or gas. Fireplaces have been around for a long time, and are very good at heating the room they’re in. They require attention, maintenance, and tools such as pokers, grates, brushes, pans, tongs, screens, and storage racks. They work in tandem with a flue inside a chimney which must be opened before the fire starts, and closed when it is out.


A furnace is a heating appliance that operates on electricity or gas and efficiently distributes warm air through vents in your home. Furnaces are usually located in the basement or a central utility closet inside the home. They require maintenance and upkeep but do not require raw materials, chimneys, or flues.


Furnaces are safer than fireplaces since they do not require an open flame, raw materials, or produce sparks. If a chimney is not regularly cleaned, it can catch fire easily. There is a risk that furnaces could catch fire due to bad wiring or gas leaks, but this risk is low. A commercial heating service can come and inspect your furnace for any leaks or malfunctions.

Fireplaces also produce smoke, ash, soot, and creosote that can create breathing hazards. Animals and pets may be at risk for asthma, allergies, and lung conditions. Fireplaces have to follow air quality regulations and are susceptible to carbon audits. Furnaces rarely produce any odours or exhaust.


An electric fireplace is much easier to install than an electric furnace. Electric fireplaces do not require a chimney and only need a flat wall to house their inserts. Furnaces always require the services of a licensed professional. Permits will have to be pulled, wires and gas will be assessed, and the building will need to be inspected for safety and feasibility.


Installation costs for a furnace compared to a fireplace can range depending on your home. The ongoing costs, however, tell a different story. Cost factors depend on how cold it is, how much you use your heating system, the price of fuel and wood, and the overall heat loss or efficiency.

Wood-burning fireplaces are extremely inefficient, losing about 90% of their heat through the chimney. They are only good at heating one room. Then you must pay to heat the rest of the house somehow.

For furnaces, gas is almost always cheaper than electricity. Electric furnaces tend to cost more because they are tied to the market fluctuations of the power grid. That being said, you are able to customize the output of your electric furnace with a thermostat and smart technology, which can save you money.


The average lifespan of a fireplace is about 30 years, while a furnace will last about 20 years. All heating systems should be inspected annually to make sure they are in good condition for the long haul.

Rely on CJ Brubacher for Heating Services in Waterloo

We have been in business for almost 100 years, offering high-quality furnace repair, maintenance, and installation at affordable prices. Our A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau speaks to how satisfied our customers are. Request an estimate today.

Waterloo Heating Services: Is A Burning Smell In Your Furnace Normal?

Waterloo Heating Services: Is A Burning Smell In Your Furnace Normal?

The heating system in your home or a commercial facility is necessary for the colder winter months. While heat is essential for keeping people warm, it is also vital for the maintenance of your property. Without heat, pipes can freeze, windows can break, and so much more. If you do not have heat, contact an expert in furnace repair in Waterloo

However, not every apparent issue requires a technician. For example, many homeowners freak out when they smell something burning after turning on their HVAC system for the first time. Is the smell normal? Is it something to worry about? 

Is It Normal To Smell Burning?

A slight burning or hot smell does not always warrant a call to a residential furnace repair company. When a system is shut down for a while, like most systems are during the spring and summer months, a minor odour is expected as the system kicks back on.  

A stagnant system collects dust throughout. When the furnace kicks back on, it is burning the existing dust within the motor, heating elements, and other components. The burning that takes place after a while of inactivity is considered normal and nonthreatening. Still, that does not mean that all burning smells are natural. 

What Smells Are Not Normal?

Whether dealing with residential or commercial furnace repair, some odours are unnatural and require the attention of a seasoned expert. Some smells can indicate problems with specific components, and others can represent issues with entire systems. Homeowners must know the differences between these odours to explain the scent to a technician and determine the feasibility of a repair. Depending on the severity of the damage, a new system might be advisable. 

1. Rotten Eggs

Most HVAC systems use natural gas to operate. Natural gas is odourless, which is dangerous, so gas companies add mercaptan to it, producing a rotten egg smell. Without the rotten egg odour, people may not realize they have a gas leak, which can result in death or severe injury. 

If you smell rotten eggs when you turn on your furnace or HVAC unit, you should shut it off immediately and call the gas company or a licensed HVAC professional. A crew should arrive on the scene quickly to inspect and repair any issues.  

2. Mustiness

Sometimes, homeowners will turn on their furnace and notice a strong musty or mouldy smell coming from the vents. The odour usually indicates mould growth in the ductwork or evaporator coil. The vents and system will need to be cleaned to eliminate the odour. 

Unfortunately, depending on how bad the mould growth is, it often represents more significant problems. You might want to hire a mould remediation company to assess the rest of the property for mould. Sometimes, mould remediation is the only way to rid an entire property of mould risks. 

3. Electrical, Metallic, or Plastic

Electrical and metallic burning smells can indicate an overheated blower or another component. The best thing you can do is shut down the system and ask an HVAC technician for assistance. If you continue to run the system with malfunctioning parts, you risk damaging the heat exchanger or other critical components.  

The smell of burning plastic is not typical, and it can be hazardous. Plastic and similar materials can release fumes into the air that are toxic. If you smell plastic, shut off the HVAC system, open windows, and contact an HVAC specialist. 

Have you noticed strange odours coming from the vents in your home or facility? If so, contact CJ Brubacher Ltd. and schedule an assessment. The HVAC, Plumbing, and electrical specialists will send out a qualified team member as soon as possible.

The Best Commercial Heating System For Your Kitchener Warehouse

The Best Commercial Heating System For Your Kitchener Warehouse

Keeping a warehouse heated correctly can be difficult. It’s not only workers who need to be kept comfortable. You may have products that require special temperatures. You have multiple options to heat your warehouse, so you should understand the benefits and disadvantages of each to know what type of commercial heating system will work best for your needs.

Commercial Heating Options

Choosing the right heating option avoids poor heat distribution through your facility and energy waste because your system is overworked. It also helps avoid uncomfortable employees.

Radiant Heating

Radiant heating is a newer type of system that is usually suspended from the ceiling or on panels on the walls. It can also be installed in floors. Instead of blowing hot air, the radiant heaters deliver heat much like a desk lamp. It runs quietly and is more dust-free than heaters that blow air. It’s very energy efficient, but it can be expensive to retrofit a building with radiant heaters. It’s more popular for new construction. It’s also dependent on a boiler, which can add to the installation costs. You may also hear this type of system referred to as infrared heating.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps use a refrigerant to pump heat through your space. One of the benefits of heat pumps is that it uses the natural environment and doesn’t rely on fossil fuels. They’re very environmentally friendly. The downside is that the installation can be significant, but heat pumps can last up to 50 years. They also have less maintenance than other types of units. Heat pumps can be duct or ductless, which can be beneficial if you don’t have space for ductwork. Although heat pumps generally rely on electricity, which reduces your carbon footprint, your heat pump can be paired with gas for a colder climate.

Factors to Consider When Installing a New Heating System

Warehouses are often large buildings with high ceilings. You don’t want to waste energy by heating every square inch of the building, which is often unused space. There are methods that can re-circulate the warm air that rises to the occupied floor level. You’ll also want to consider the square footage of the building and the insulation present. If you have loading docks in use through the day, that is another thing to look at. You’ll want to think about the space on your floor. If you have limited floor space, you may want a heating source that can be mounted on the ceiling. 

Don’t forget to think long-term about the maintenance and longevity of the unit. Paying more for a system that has a longer life span can actually save your business money. Look at utility costs and sustainability, because the world is moving towards a greener planet. Should you ever want to sell the warehouse, you want to appeal to buyers.

CJ Brubacher Ltd. provides heating services in Kitchener from residential or commercial AC installation, repairs and maintenance. We can help you get the best heating option for your warehouse that does what you need it to do. Contact us to schedule service or for a consultation about your heating system replacement. We’re available 24/7 for emergency services also.

Waterloo Furnace Repair: What Is a Ductless Heating System?

Waterloo Furnace Repair: What Is a Ductless Heating System?

Maintain comfortable indoor temperatures all year with a ductless heating system. Also known as a mini-split, this dynamic option can be a great choice for your cooling and heating services in Waterloo. Learn more about the pros and cons of a ductless system today to see which type of heating system is right for you.

What Is a Ductless Heating System?

A ductless system uses a heat pump for residential heating and an air conditioner for residential cooling services. They use a small outdoor unit and one or more wall-mounted indoor units.

They’re named ductless systems because they don’t rely on the ducting in your home. Instead, they have a line that directly connects the exterior unit with the interior ones. The same wall-mounted unit can send both hot and cool air throughout your home. Explore the pros and cons of this type of system to see if it’s right for your home.

Con: Upfront Investment

If you’re just looking for a straightforward heater or air conditioner, a ductless system can be more of an investment. Unlike a window air conditioner or an electric heater, these systems require professional installation, which adds to the cost of installation.

Depending on your situation, however, a ductless system can be a better long-term investment. You may save more on your monthly energy bills thanks to the energy-efficient design of these systems. Discuss pricing with a local contractor to see whether a ductless heating system or other option is more affordable for long-term heating.

Con: Fuel-Based Backup May Be Necessary

Winters can be particularly cold in Waterloo. While some ductless heating systems are designed to be used in subzero temperatures, you’ll notice a drop in energy efficiency in cold temperatures. Extremely cold temperatures may require a backup heat source, particularly if your home isn’t properly insulated.

Pro: Quiet Operation

Ductless systems are quieter than most traditional air conditioners and heating systems. Wall units in one or more rooms of your home or commercial space tend to be inconspicuous. Simply set the desired temperature and many mini-split systems will switch between cooling and heating as necessary to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.

Compare the sound of a furnace and blower or window air conditioner units with a ductless system. The quiet fan can discretely blow cool air around a room to keep you comfortable.

Pro: Improved Energy Efficiency

Ducted systems lose energy as the air travels through the ducting. The air in your home warms up, or cools down, as it travels through the ductwork, which caused a central furnace or air conditioner to work harder to maintain temperatures throughout your home.

The efficiency of a ductless system helps you save money over time. They’re particularly efficient when the outdoor temperature isn’t extreme. A multi-speed system allows ductless units to speed up or slow down the system. This design uses less energy than a central air system and can avoid the additional starting and stopping issues that can wear out blower motors.

Pro: Compact Design

Compare the streamlined size and design of a ductless system. The sleek unit doesn’t take up room in your utility room or floor but can be installed on the wall out of the way.

A ductless system is particularly compact in design for new residential or commercial constructions. Consider this residential or commercial heating solution to avoid investing in any ductwork. A building without any ductwork has significantly more space in the basement or crawlspace.

Work With CJ Brubacher To Install a Ductless System

Reach out to a local HVAC specialist to learn more about ductless heating services in Waterloo. Request an estimate today to see how you can afford the right heating and cooling system to save you money and fit your lifestyle.

Why Is HVAC Maintenance Important In Commercial Buildings?

Why Is HVAC Maintenance Important In Commercial Buildings?

It’s easy to take your commercial HVAC system for granted as long as it provides heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. Your commercial heating unit creates the best environment in your space for employees and customers. The HVAC system not only controls the temperature, but it also moderates humidity in your building and maintains good air quality. When your HVAC system is operating efficiently, your business runs smoother. Here are five reasons to invest in regular HVAC maintenance for your commercial building.

Reduces Operational Costs

A professional completely checks the HVAC system during a routine maintenance inspection, which ensures that your AC and furnace are operating at peak performance. A unit that is struggling to work costs more to operate. It uses more energy. You can save on your utility bill through regular maintenance. In addition, you make sure that the HVAC system lasts for its full life, on average 15 to 20 years, which also saves you money on operational costs. Many times, our technicians can catch small issues before they turn into costly repairs, which also saves you money.

Avoid Breakdowns

Enticing customers into your store that doesn’t have heat or cool air will be difficult. Your employees may balk at working when the AC or furnace isn’t working. You can avoid unforeseen breakdowns through regular maintenance. By cleaning the unit, checking all the electrical components and lubricating parts to keep them working properly, your unit is ready for the worst days when it will need to work harder to maintain comfortable temperatures for your business. Regular heating services in Elmira prevent disruption to your operations.

Comfort for Customers and Employees  

In the summer, your AC system doesn’t just keep the air temperature comfortable, it removes humidity from the air. Not having heat in the winter can impact your staff’s productivity. You want your employees and customers to have a comfortable environment. Regular maintenance includes professional cleaning and safety checks that ensure peak performance in both summer and winter temperatures.

Improves Air Quality

The air filters in your HVAC system reduce dust particles and pollen that circulate throughout the building. Our technicians check your vent and ductwork system for leaks and gaps, which also keeps your system more efficient and improves air quality through your building. This, too, increases the comfort for customers and employees. We also make sure your heater isn’t contaminating your building with radon or formaldehyde. If you have a carbon monoxide detector, we can make sure it’s working sufficiently as well.

Extends Life of the Equipment

Regular maintenance for your HVAC system prevents the moving parts from wearing out before their time. Our technicians keep all major components of your system working efficiently for as long as possible. If your commercial HVAC system is under warranty, regular maintenance may be part of keeping that warranty from being void. This keeps your overall repair costs lower, too. You can better plan for upgrades to your building, which lets you save for the right time.

Peace of Mind With Regular Maintenance

Soot buildup in your HVAC system can lead to fires. When your furnace doesn’t get enough air, it can cause low oxygen levels. If your AC system gets blocked, it can cause water damage. You can avoid these problems with regular service to your system, giving you peace of mind that your building is protected from major problems. We recommend a service call in the spring when you get ready to turn the AC on, then another service call in the fall when the temperatures turn lower, and you want to heat. Schedule service for commercial or residential heating systems using our online form. CJ Brubacher Ltd. can help you keep your HVAC operating efficiently