Archive for February, 2014

Heating and Air Conditioning Myths

There are a lot of myths that circulate about how to save energy. A look at your last gas or electric bill may help you to decide it’s time to save some of that precious stuff. Technology in newer heating and air conditioning systems has changed the way your system works.  Systems of the fifties and sixties operated so differently that what was true 30 plus years ago probably is not true now, and modern technology has created its own set of urban myths.  Read on to learn things that really going to reduce your utility bill.

MYTH: If it’s off, it’s off

FACT: Many appliances use energy after you turn them off; they’re known as “energy vampires.”  Look around; do you see that little light that’s glowing even HomeServiceCorp.com after you’ve turned off your television, DVD player, computer monitor, etc.? All those little lights and the units are using energy. Some appliances, such as your television, may even use energy when there’s no light glowing; they need to be in standby mode to accept instruction from your remote control. They’re using electricity every second of the day and night. Other “energy vampires include computers, electronics chargers, dvd players, cable boxes and dvrs. The best thing you can do is to keep these appliances on a power strip and turn them all off when you’re done using them, then turn them on again when you need to. For a list of all the energy vampires you may be powering and how much energy they’re using, visit http://standby.lbl.gov/summary-table.html.

MYTH: If you don’t use a room, close it off to save energy

HomeServiceCorp.comFACT: This may have been true when we were using fireplaces for heat or low-efficiency furnaces and air conditioners 30 years ago, but with today’s technology, it’s simply not the case. Closing registers in unused rooms does not have the intended effect; in fact, it may even force your system to work harder because of the uneven temperatures in your home. While closing off one room that is far away from your furnace won’t have much of an effect, closing off more than half of your home or the rooms that are close to the furnace can create pressure and air leakage issues.

MYTH: Block the fresh air duct near the furnace

FACT: If your home is less than 10 years old or if your furnace and water heater are in a small room, there probably is a fresh air duct near the furnace and water HomeServiceCorp.comheater for combustion air. There may be a fresh air intake for the house connected to the return air duct system near the furnace also. Common sense tells us that we will save energy if we close off these openings. In reality combustion air for the water heater or furnace will be drawn into the house through other sources such as air leaks around doors and windows, down the flue of the fireplace, or through exhaust fans in the bathrooms or kitchen. If it cannot get sufficient air, improper combustion takes place and there is a strong possibility of carbon monoxide could be produced and enter into the home.

MYTH: Ceiling fans keep the home more comfortable when they are left on all the time

HomeServiceCorp.comFACT: They only make your home feel more comfortable when they move air across your skin.  They have nothing to do with the air’s temperature. Turn them on only when you’re in the same room as they are.

MYTH: It’s too hot/cold in here…crank the thermostat

FACT: Just like pushing an elevator button several times doesn’t make it come any faster, changing the temperature dramatically HomeServiceCorp.comdoesn’t make your air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace work any faster. Today’s systems are sized and operate to meet the needs of a home by working at a set pace.

MYTH: Nothing makes a difference

FACT: Little things can make hundreds of dollars of difference in your utility bill. Here are several you can do today.

  • Changing incandescent light bulbs for LEDs can save electricity every month and pay for themselves      quickly.
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room for more than ten minutes.
  • Turn off your computer, or at the very least, put it to sleep; if it goes into timeout mode, it still uses      plenty of power.
  • Wash clothes in cold or warm water unless they’re quite dirty.
  • Check the seals around windows and doors. Repair or replace them if they are worn or damaged.

Contact us for more information or visit our website at www.HomeServiceCorp.com.

Home Service Corporation serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs since 1980.

Related Posts

21 Things to ask a contractor!

An unwanted surprise coming?

Resolution Time

Pros & Cons of a Tankless Water Heater

There has been a lot of hype in the last few years about replacing

Home Service Corp. Service

Which Saves you Money?

a home’s tank type water heater with a tankless style heater. For many homes and homeowners it is a great alternative. They are compact and they can provide continuous hot water for those using a lot of water. There is little energy loss from a tank filled with hot water. Many are very energy efficient during operation. Perhaps the reason many get them is it’s the newest and greatest (at least by the advertising hype).

Let’s take a look at things to consider when you need to replace your existing tank or decide to replace your existing tank.

Installation Cost

Most tankless heaters require a natural gas line to them as does your tank type heater. The difference is the tankless requires a supply of gas about 6 times that of your tank type of heater in order to provide a continuous supply of hot water. That does not mean it uses 6 times as much gas it just uses it over a shorted time. This being the case, often the piping from the gas meter to the tankless heater must be increased in size which requires much more in materials and labor.

The high efficiency tankless heaters vent the flue gases out through plastic piping not through the chimney. In some cases, especially condominiums, there is not a practical way to do this. If it can be done once again additional labor and materials are required.

Older tank type heaters do not require an electrical power supply. The tankless type heater will require an electrical power supply which may add cost.

Installed cost will typically be 3-5 times the cost of a tank type water heater. It could easily take 20+ years to overcome the installation costs and receive a payback.

Instantaneous Hot Water

Home Service Corp. Plumbing

Tankless Installation

The burners of a tankless water heater come on in seconds of the call for hot water. There is hot water leaving the tank but that does not mean instant hot water at the faucet. If the faucet is a distance away from the tankless heater, you will still have a wait for hot water. This can be overcome with a tankless or tank type water heater by installing a recirculation system. This is an additional expense to either water heating system.

If you turn on a faucet at a very low hot water flow, a tankless heater may not sense it and cause the unit to fire providing hot water as needed.

Maintenance

Tank type water heaters require very little maintenance over a life of 6- 12 years. Ever those with power vent units are quite simple. A tankless heater has some sophisticated controls and systems inside of the unit which could be very costly to repair.

Another issue can come into play with the heat exchanger of a tankless heater. The passages for the water to flow through can be narrow. Mineral build up in these passages can cause them to malfunction and require extensive service. This is especially true in areas with hard water conditions or other mineral content in the water supply.

Uniqueness

Each home and family is unique. Their needs are unique. We install a variety of hot water heating systems to meet these unique needs. We can help you decide which system will best meet your family’s needs.

Contact us for more information or visit our website at www.HomeServiceCorp.com.

Home Service Corporation serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs since 1980.

Related Posts

21 Things to ask a contractor!

An unwanted surprise coming?

Resolution Time

Pro or What-to-be?

HomeServiceCorp.com

A toolbox full of tools does not make a Professional

With the slower economy over the past several years, many jobs have been eliminated with the unemployed or under employed looking for additional sources of income. Additionally teachers, firemen, and policemen have had schedules that allow them to have a second career. Some believe that they have the skills of a professional and decide they can be as effective as a professional in a repair or installation project. To be perfectly frank, they often can do many of the simpler tasks a professional Plumber, Air Conditioning/Heating Technician, or Electrician can do. But then again, we have followed behind many “simple” tasks that have been totally messed up by a handyman.

I am always amazed how a parent will look out for the safety of their children in many ways but look to save a buck and jeopardize the safety of their family in other ways. Most parents wouldn’t think of buying a black-market car seat for their small child. They wouldn’t consider a cheap bike helmet for their son or daughter. They wouldn’t buy milk or fruit that was not pasteurized or free of pesticides. They don’t shop for the cheapest tutor or coach. Yet when they have someone make a repair to a faucet that could scald a child, a heating system that uses natural gas as the fuel, or a circuit that needs to be properly grounded, they will have someone with little or no experience do the work just to save a dollar.

So what makes the difference between a handyman and a professional?

·        The definition of a professional from Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “relating to a job that requires special education, training, or skill”.

·        The definition of a Handyman from Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “a person (especially a man) who is skillful at doing small jobs (such as household repairs)”.

That’s quite a difference. Each of these trades requires hours of classroom training, years of working with a master, testing and ongoing training. The time frame to become a master in these trades is at least 5 years of work and study. Many have associates degrees or full bachelor degrees in business and construction. Their experiences of working in hundreds of homes similar to yours help them quickly and effectively diagnose the problem and often offer a variety of solutions. They back their work and will solve the issue to your satisfaction.Home Service Corp.

As Glenn Haege, The Master Handyman, often says, ”The best tool in your tool box is often your checkbook, call the professional.”

We have professionals ready to meet your needs Call us today to be assured of a successful outcome.

Contact us for more information or visit our website at www.HomeServiceCorp.com.

Home Service Corporation serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs since 1980.

Related Posts

21 Things to ask a contractor!

What’s Behind the Washing Machine?

“Mom, Our basement stinks!”

Home Service Corp. Plumbing

Finished Basement

Have you ever had an offensive odor in your home that you just could not find the source? Have you been able to determine it’s coming from the basement? From time to time we receive a call from a homeowner wanting us to send a Technician out to check into “a bad” odor in their home emanating from their basement.

The customer tells our Customer Service Rep that they have checked to be sure the dog or cat has not left a surprise for them in the basement. A search of the basement has not come up with a dead critter of some sort either. The children didn’t have an issue and put soiled clothing in the basement laundry basket, and the husband didn’t drop his sweaty gym clothes or sports equipment in the basement. The customer has tried covering up the odor with one of those new sprays but to no avail.

So we send a Technician out to the home to check out the situation and determine if there is a plumbing problem. When the Tech arrives, he will ask several questions of the homeowner to help him hone in on the source of the customer’s problem. Although the customer may have told the Customer Service Rep on the phone, the Tech will ask questions to be sure he fully understands the customer’s need and clarify any information he received from the office.

As the Tech begins his investigation of the odor, he will check into all the plumbing in the basement. An unfinished basement is often much easier to check since walls, floors, and ceilings are exposed and the plumbing can be traced. The Tech will check the drain piping for leaks and possible cracks. If there is a laundry area or a bathroom in the basement it will also be checked for cracked or leaking piping. The drain traps for each of these will be inspected to be sure there is water sealing each of the traps. If the trap is dry, sewer gases can escape from the system and enter the home causing the noxious odor. Although the Technician is not a general contractor or mold inspector, he/she would look for signs of mold near plumbing fixtures and other common mold occurring areas of the basement. Some forms of mold can have noticeable smells which we find offensive and could be a health hazard. The Technician would also check to be sure drain cleanouts plugs are in place and sealing the system and he/she would check the floor drains to be sure they have a good water seal in them.

Home Service Corp. Plumbing

Typical Trap

Many of these possible causes will require the expertise of a plumber or specialty contractor to solve, but a simple solution is often to add 2-3 cups of water to the floor drains in the basement on a monthly basis. This should also be done if there are plumbing fixtures that are rarely used in the basement since the water seals in the traps for those may dry up allowing sewer gas to escape into the home. Occasionally we find a floor drain trap that has rusted through the piping and requires the floor drain to be replaced.

If you have checked everything out without finding the source of the odor, give us a call. We can help.

Contact us for more information or visit our website at www.HomeServiceCorp.com.

Home Service Corporation serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs since 1980.

Related Posts

21 Things to ask a contractor!

What’s Behind the Washing Machine?

Lead in Your Water?