Mechanical systems

Mechanical systems and plumbing are at the heart of a home's operation. We cover heating and air conditioning, ventilation, electrical systems, efficient water management and renewable energy production. Informed decisions on design and product selection can affect comfort, efficiency, durability, operational cost and above all, health for occupants.

Smart Door Lock Buying Guide - Easy DIY Project
Mechanical systems

Smart door lock buying guide

Smart door locks offer convenience & security, especially when teamed with an optional camera & smart doorbell with siren. Like screening calls on your mobile, unwanted visitors can be filtered out - or open the door remotely. What is a smart lock for a home? Smart door locks are deadbolt front door locks that can…

Do you need a backup heat source with central heat pumps in a power outage?
Heating and cooling

Do heat pumps need a backup heat source?

Heat pumps are still perceived as a new concept to many homeowners in the US and Canada and as they've improved considerably in performance over the years there are many misconceptions about heat pumps needing backup heating. Ecohome investigates. Having a backup heat source that can operate without electricity…

A Renewable Natural Gas refinery built in Quebec with misguided public funding?
Renewable energy

Renewable Natural Gas (or not), RNG or Biogas Under The Microscope...

Many recent press releases are selling us on using public tax dollars to fund private enterprise in the shape of biomethanization plants to "revalorize" food waste and feacal sludge into biogas - what is Renewable Natural Gas & is RNG even a good idea. Recent articles have praised major public investments in…

Wash Clothes in cold water? Only if Washing Better! - © Robert J. Pierson
Hot water

Save money by washing clothes in cold water - Especially as it can wash better!

It's tempting to run your washing machine on cold water to save some dollars, but many people will tell you that it's not effective for washing clothes properly or for removing stubborn stains - and that's not quite true. So, a little background story, I always called my mom "Laurence, the guardian angel of…

Which Heat Pump is the Best for reliability, efficiency and cost?
Heat pumps, geothermal and AC

Heat pump buying guide: review of the top 10 heat pumps

Choosing the best heat pump can be difficult. Heat pumps are poorly understood, they have often been over-sold, poorly installed, and placed where they can be a noise nuisance. But the best heat pumps are a really good choice for heating green homes. How do the best heat pumps work? A heat pump works very…

Furnace not heating? Furnace Troubleshooting & Easy DIY Fixes
Heating and cooling

How to troubleshoot a furnace that won’t work.

There is little more unnerving that losing heat in our homes during winter. Having a reliable heating system, and even a backup heating system, can help you rest easier at night so if your furnace isn't working, try this. There are a few things that will cause any furnace to either stop running, or only deliver cold…

Natural Gas is being phased out - why & when?
Heating with gas and oil

Why Natural Gas is Being Phased Out of New Home Construction (and When?)

Natural gas for heating & cooking in homes is so convenient & relatively affordable - so why have governments & local cities across North America & Europe taken the radical decision to phase it out, & when is natural gas going to be banned. So why is natural gas being phased out?   Natural gas is being phased out of…

How to fix noisy baseboard heaters
Heating and cooling

Fixing noisy baseboard heaters, How to stop that clicking easily !

One of the questions we're often asked is about noisy baseboard heaters. They click, they bang, they tick, tick, tick constantly, and most of all, electric baseboard heaters or hot water heated baseboard heaters keep people awake. So, how to fix that. Noisy baseboard heaters -yeah, it's a thing... Over the years…

Are Small Wind Turbines for Homes Any Good?
Wind power

Is this the safest and most powerful small home wind turbine yet?

We were told about the PowerPod compact home wind turbine appearing on a Kickstarter campaign, but having seen a fair few home wind turbines in the past that failed to deliver on their promises, Ecohome decided to investigate. Countless inventors are stepping up to the plate with the latest and greatest green…

Renewable energy wind farm
Renewable energy

What is clean energy?

If you want to improve your carbon footprint but can't afford your own rooftop solar array, you can purchase clean energy credits and have renewable energy offset your power use. What is the cleanest energy?  Despite how commonly  the term ‘clean energy’ is used, there is actually no such thing. At least not in the…

Why Electric Heating Systems are Best for Sustainable Homes
Heating with electricity

Heating with Electricity - The Best Choice for High Efficiency & Zero Energy Homes?

When building a new home, especially sustainable high-performance eco homes like Passive House or Zero Net Energy in a cold climate, some heat is still necessary. Is the greenest option Electric Heating? Read on to find out. More and more homebuyers are starting to demand energy-efficient new homes and are pushing…