Leaving one’s home country for another takes courage, conviction, and dedication, even when coming to a welcoming country such as Canada. Millions of people have moved here to pursue their dreams, and their success stories add to the rich history and cultural fabric of our great nation.
Leaside residents Joe and Marion Kelly are one such couple with an amazing story of hard work, commitment to family, and community involvement that will continue to give back to our area for generations.
Their story starts between Donegal Bay and the Blue Stack Mountains in the historic picturesque town of Donegal, located in Ulster, Ireland. It was here that Joe and Marion met, became high school sweethearts, and began their journey through life together.
“Joe and I met at a local dance,” says Marion. “Joe had his hair cut in a very trendy Beatles style. After a few years of dating, we made plans to get married, but both of us had ambitions to leave Donegal for greener pastures. Joe found the perfect place for us here in Canada.”
Acting upon the advice of his brother, Joe sought housing and work here in Toronto so he and Marion had a firm foundation to start their life together. In 1973, after one year away, he returned to Ireland to marry her.
“We had a small ceremony in Donegal,” Marion says. “And then we packed up and moved to Toronto the very next day!”
Joe and Marion purchased their first house on Soudan Avenue. Seeing real estate as a great way to provide for the present and build their future in their new country, Joe began buying houses, digging out basements and renovating the upstairs for tenancy while working at his day job. The hours were long, but Joe was known throughout the community as always being cheery and having a positive outlook.
He was also well supported by Marion, who stayed home to raise their four children: Helen, Sharon, Neil, and Joy. The children all attended local schools and went on to attend McMaster, Western, York, and Western Universities, respectively. The Kelly family has now grown to include seven grandchildren: Myah, Hannah, Cooper, Jules, London, Mason, and Kelly.
In 1981, Joe launched his own business, Kelly’s Heating and Air Conditioning, in Leaside. The idea to enter the trades came from his father, Niall Kelly, who recognized Joe’s skills early on.
“Joe has always shown an interest and aptitude in mechanical work,” Marion says. “His skills were so profound that his father suggested he attend trade school in Ireland.”
In the beginning, he worked completely on his own, personally taking phone calls, writing up invoices, and performing all the installation, service, and maintenance work himself. But through determined effort, and with the help of his son Neil, what was once a one-man operation grew over the years into a full-service team of nine employees.
Neil is now the company vice president, running its daily operations. He started working with his father on weekends during his high school years, and then went on to obtain his gas fitters license and bachelor of administrative studies in 2006. Counting his father as his biggest inspiration, Neil continues to provide the honest work, quality craftsmanship, and trusted advice that Joe built the company’s reputation on.
In 1985, the family settled in the old church house beside St. Cuthbert’s Anglican Church on Bayview Avenue. This home has since been converted into offices that house both Kelly’s Heating and Air Conditioning and The Bayview Natural Heath Clinic, which is owned by their their daughter, Sharon, who’s now a doctor of naturopathic medicine.
The other two Kelly children are also in the field of health care. Helen earned her degree in nursing and currently works at North York General Hospital. Joy graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in sociology of health and aging, and is currently on maternity leave.
Despite commitment to their various careers, the Kelly family, now numbering 17 in total, makes sure to get together at Joe and Marion’s house for pizza night every Friday. They also travel as a group, having made annual visits to Aruba for the past 20 years. Joe and Marion now spend their winters there, but are never alone for long as their children and grandchildren all come to visit throughout the winter months.
Following local sports such as the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs is another favourite pastime, as is sponsoring local baseball and hockey teams. The family also co-sponsors the Bessborough Drive Elementary and Middle School Fun Fair each year.
It’s these acts of working together and giving back that have integrated the Kellys into our community, a spirit that Joe sums up quite nicely.
“We have always loved this neighbourhood,” he says. “Community has always been important to us, and we’ve always supported local business and in turn have been supported as well. Leaside has a real sense of peace, community, and security, and all with a small town feel. The small boutiques, wide choice of restaurants, and truly caring people make this a great neighbourhood to live in!”
Heating and cooling your home accounts for approximately half of your home’s entire energy costs. Finding ways to improve on the efficiency of heating and cooling has real dollar savings. Replacing entire systems is costly but smart thermostats can make real improvements and the upfront cost is marginal.
Most homes currently have digital programable thermostats. These thermostats allow home owners to schedule what time they get up in the morning, what time they leave the house, what time they return and what time they sleep. The thermostat then adjusts the temperature accordingly. These thermostats are great, but what we find is that most people stop using the programmable feature because daily schedules change too much.
People want and need technology that is adaptable.
SOUND THE TRUMPETS!
Here come the smart thermostats…
There are two key players in the market of smart thermostats: Ecobee and Nest. Both manufacturers have produced user-friendly models with sleek design and they contain features that will actually save you money. Features, that ensure the upfront costs are repaid.
Forget having to rely on a pre-programmed schedule. Built in motion sensors at the thermostat will determine if anyone is actually home and then heat and cool accordingly. Additional sensors are also optional and can be placed throughout the home to provide other points of reference so that temperatures remain consistent.
Smart thermostats also run off of your home’s Wi-Fi. This allows you to ‘check in’ when you are outside of your house and adjust the temperature on the fly remotely. Coming home from work early? Heading home from the cottage? Lying in bed and wished you had turned down the temperature a few degrees? No problem! The free, easy to use app on your smart phone is a game changer.
And, for those of you that travel regularly, you will absolutely love the peace of mind of emailed alerts. You do not need your neighbor to check in on the furnace while you are away. Should the heat fail, you will be promptly notified and can then contact your local heating company to assess the situation.
These thermostats are easy to use, environmentally friendly and save money.
As a heating contractor I encounter some issues on repeat in our neighborhood.
1. New homebuyers that purchase without a site inspection from an HVAC professional only to find out that their new house contains a system that:
Has not been maintained properly and requires significant service
Is unsafe and has code violations
A general home inspection frequently overlooks specific issues that relate to HVAC equipment. It is our recommendation that we are called in before purchases are made because often these issues can be diagnosed and the costs associated “transferred” to the seller so repair can be taken care of prior to your move in.
2. Renovations where the builder did not consult with a mechanical engineer for the HVAC design.
We repeatedly see brand new equipment that needs to be replaced because it was undersized, or improperly installed, and therefore doesn’t allow the equipment to function properly. In a lot of cases, this unfortunately leads to new drawings, purchases and install.
Moral of the story…
Contact a qualified HVAC contractor prior to signing on the dotted line of a new purchase or renovation design.
Don’t underestimate this step! Involve us early on.
Forcing mechanical designs to match a layout that has already been constructed can be extremely costly and have negative effects on the performance of the system.
We are here to help and happy to trouble shoot with you over the phone, be involved in your round table meetings and site inspections.
Let us help you purchase and build with confidence.
Some say ignorance is bliss, but nothing could be farther from the truth when it comes to carbon monoxide (CO).
Known as the silent killer, it is a gas that is tasteless, colorless and odorless. Exposure can lead to illness and even death. Wherever combustion takes place, CO is present - whether that be from a wood burning fireplace, gas stove, gas dryer, furnace, water heater, or even the engine from your vehicle. This gas is harmful because it can rapidly accumulate in the blood, depleting the ability of blood to carry oxygen.
It is imperative that preventative measures are taken to ensure the health and well being of your family.
According to Statistics Canada, Carbon Monoxide exposure has accounted for 380 accidental deaths in Canada between 2000-2009. Many may remember the tragedy that occurred in Brantford, ON in 2008 that involved OPP officer Laurie Hawkins. A lack of carbon monoxide alarms in the home in conjunction with a blocked chimney vent resulted in the death of officer Hawkins, her husband and two children.
The following is a list of the most important actions you can take to keep your family safe and prevent this type of tragedy from reoccurring.
Make sure you have a working (CO) detectors installed in your home. It is mandatory to have one installed on any floor that people are sleeping on. If you are awake, you may feel the symptoms of (CO) – headache, vomiting and confusion. But these will go unnoticed while sleeping. Make sure to change the batteries each year and set a note in your calendar. Additional (CO) detectors are recommended on remaining floors but are not mandatory. Please note that you should not install a detector beside a window or door leading to the outside of your home.
Have all gas burning appliances checked on a yearly basis by a qualified technician.
During a power outage or furnace breakdown, NEVER use your gas oven to heat your home, or bring in your gas barbeque or gas generator indoors.
Keep all vents clear of snow, debris, or even garbage bins as these may block your exhaust systems.
If you have an attached garage, NEVER run the vehicle idle while inside the garage.
In the event that your (CO) alarm does go off – promptly open doors and windows to ventilate your home. Turn off any gas appliances and contact a heating professional immediately.
These steps are important to ensure your family remains safe and further carbon monoxide tragedies do not occur.
Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Typically, 44% of your utility bill goes for heating and cooling. No matter what kind of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system you have in your house, you can save money and increase comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment.
Set your thermostat as low as it is comfortable.
Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month.
Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed; make sure they're not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes. Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans wisely; in just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed or cooled air. Turn fans off as soon as they have done the job.
Keep draperies and shades open on south-facing windows during the heating season to allow sunlight to enter your home; close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
Close an unoccupied room that is isolated from the rest of the house such as in a corner and turn down the thermostat or turn off the heating for that room or zone. Do not, however, turn the heating off if it adversely affects the rest of your system.
It might surprise you to know that buying a bigger room air-conditioning unit won't necessarily make you feel more comfortable during the hot summer months. In fact, a room air conditioner that's too big for the area it is supposed to cool will perform less efficiently and less effectively than a smaller, properly sized unit. This is because room units work better if they run for relatively long periods of time than if they are continually, switching off and on. Longer run times allow air conditioners to maintain a more constant room temperature. Running longer also allows them to remove a larger amount of moisture from the air, which lowers humidity and, more importantly, makes you feel more comfortable.
Whole house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. They are effective when operated at night and when the outside air temperature is cooler than the inside.
Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
Don't set your thermostat at a colder temperature setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and therefor unnecessary expense.
Set the fan speed on high except in very humid weather. When it's humid set the fan speed on low. You'll get better cooling.
Consider ceiling fans to spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
Don't place lamps or TV sets near your air conditioning thermostat.
Plant trees or shrubs to shade air-conditioning units but not to block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
Replace or clean your furnace filter. You should replace or clean your furnace filter(s) three or four times yearly. This is a quick, easy job every homeowner or tenant can do. A new filter makes your furnace more energy-efficient and saves money, too.
A furnace that is not running at peak performance can be deadly. Carbon Monoxide is a natural product of incomplete combustion. Virtually every gas furnace produces some Carbon Monoxide, which is usually carried away from your home through the furnace's venting. A clean, efficiently burning gas furnace produces very small amounts of carbon monoxide, while a dirty, inefficiently burning one can produce deadly amounts. Carbon Monoxide is odourless and colorless. It causes flu-like symptoms, disorientation, confusion, and even death.
It is highly recommended that you have your furnace cleaned and checked every year. The older the furnace, the more important this service is. Newer gas furnaces are equipped with many features that shut the furnace off when a problem is detected. Older furnaces have no such devices. Over time, furnaces can develop small cracks in the combustion chamber. These cracks may not be visible to the naked eye. It is through these cracks that Carbon Monoxide can leak into your home.
It is also important to change your furnace filter regularly. The filter usually is found just inside the front cover of the furnace. It may have its own access door on the front of the furnace. A clean filter will help your furnace burn more efficiently, and will help keep dust from being circulated through your home.
Keep the area around your furnace clean and unobstructed.
Keep the burner area of your furnace clean.
Furnaces that require lubrication on the motors and bearings should be attended to by a qualified heating technician once a year.
Do not have anything combustible within six inches of your vent pipe.
Do not close off more than 20% of the registers in your house. This can cause high resistance and unnecessary heat build up in the furnace.
Do not store combustible material such as paint thinners, gasoline, etc. near your furnace.