Our homes at Islington2000 are, mechanically, far more complex than the houses where most of us used to live. Better understanding of some of the features of this modern high-rise complex may add to your comfort and enjoyment.
One Cooling System & Two Heating Systems
Within the walls of each suite are two heat exchangers, similar to a forced-air furnace in a house. In the winter these heat exchangers are warmed by hot water which has been heated in a central boiler using natural gas. In the summer they are cooled by cold water that comes from large central, economical chillers. This is the core of our principal heating system and our air cooling system.
The other heating system consists of the familiar baseboard electrical units, which operate on the same principle as those in a house.
None of these systems introduces fresh air into our suites; that comes from the rooftop via a vent near the disposal room in each hallway. However, the cooling and principal heating system does filter and circulate air within our suites.
Why Two Heating Systems?
- Using baseboard electrical units alone is just too costly. Even in the late 1970’s, when our buildings were designed, it was recognized that electric heat was becoming far more expensive than natural gas. Today Hydro is offering us incentives to cut back on the use of electricity and penalizing us if we use too much. Now most Canadians recognize that natural gas is the preferred route to meet our heating needs.
- However, individual thermostats in each room control the electric baseboards and permit greater flexibility to meet the temperature ups and downs so prevalent in the Toronto area. Should a high wind affect one room in our suite, we can add a little heat to that area quickly.
- Also during spring, when the central system has not yet been converted from heating to cooling, or in the autumn when changing from cooling to heating, (this takes several days), warmth can come from these baseboard heaters.
- Meanwhile, the central system is more cost-effective and permits us to filter our air year round plus provide an effective cooling system during the summer months.
How to Avoid Wasting Energy
- Adjust all thermostats so that the central units are the main source of heat. Low settings on the central thermostats and high settings on those for baseboard heaters defeat the whole purpose of the double system.
- Open windows and doors to the balconies judiciously. We shouldn’t try to heat (or cool,depending on the season) the outside world.
- If at all possible do laundry and dishwashing in off peak hours.
- If we expect to be out of our suites for an extended period during the winter months (longer than a weekend), we should turn off all the thermostats that control the baseboard heaters, and turn down the two thermostats controlling the central units to the bottom of the normal range. If we expect to be out of our suites for any extended period during the summer months we should turn up the two thermostats controlling the central units to the top of the normal range.