Posts from the ‘Energy Saving’ Category

Financial Cliff Bonus?

HSC Services YouAs we avoided the “financial cliff” most people did not realize there was a lot more to the bills passed by Congress and signed by the President. There were political favors to certain States and industries which most of us were not aware of. But there was also some tax credits put in which are retroactive to 2012 so you will be able use them when you file your taxes for 2012. And, they are also in effect for 2013. So you ask, what are the strings attached. Here they are:

  • If you purchased a high efficiency furnace in 2012 or purchase one in 2013 up to a $200.00 tax credit.
  • If you purchased a high efficiency air conditioner or heat pump in 2012 or purchase one in 2013 up to a $300.00 tax credit.
  • If you purchased a high efficiency boiler in 2012 or purchase one in 2013 up to a $150.00 tax credit.
  • If you purchased a high efficiency Hot water heater in 2012 or purchase one in 2013 up a $300 tax credit.
  • You can get a credit up to a total of $500.00 limit going back to 2005.*

There may also be utility rebates in your area. DTE and Consumers Energy both have programs available with some strings:

  • If you purchased a high efficiency furnace up to a $510.00 rebates.
  • If you purchased a high efficiency air conditioner or heat pump up to a $260.00 rebate.
  • If you purchased a high efficiency boiler up to $1,110.00 rebate. **

Our furnace and air conditioning manufacturers have rebates for certain high efficiency equipment. These can add up to additional saving of hundreds of dollars.

With the low interest rates today you can finance your new energy saving equipment and save from years past when interest rates were much higher.

Also save during January, February, and March as it is our slower time of year and we are cutting our prices to the bone!HSC Saves You Dollars

Call today to start saving on the installation and on your utility bills year after year.

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

Home Service Corporation

Celebrating our 32nd year serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs.

*Check with your accountant to assure you qualify.

**Check with us to see if you qualify.

What are you breathing? (Part 2)

In the first article, we wrote about dust and VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). We discussed what they are, and some ways to reduce or eliminate them from the air in your home. These are the most talked about indoor air issues but there are several more to bring to your attention.

Home Service Corp.The first is that of bacteria, viruses, and mold can be in the air of your home. The American Lung Association discusses this issue on their website, http://tinyurl.com/c97dhu5. They mention the need for good airflow inside buildings including homes to reduce the concentration of any airborne bacteria. They also mention the need to keep the ductwork and equipment free of moisture as much as possible. How can these be accomplished?

For good airflow within your home, be sure that each room you use has the register open and the return air grille unblocked so air can circulate in the home. If you have a fresh air intake for your home, as we discussed in the last article, be sure it is operating properly. If you blocked it to “save energy”, open it up and allow fresh air into your duct system. Higher efficiency air filters can help to reduce the dust and other particles in the air which can hold bacteria, viruses, and mold spores.

Technicians often find water in the furnace when they inspect a unit that has not had semi-annual maintenance. The culprits here are the humidifier or the indoor coil of the air conditioning unit. If the humidifier is not serviced regularly, it can overflow or drip into the furnace and cause excessive moisture or puddles in the system. These become breeding areas for bacteria, viruses, and mold. When the indoor coil of the air conditioning system is dirty or the drain becomes plugged it can leak into the furnace causing the same issues. Both of these are maintenance issues which are best taken care of by a qualified Technician if you are not exceptionally handy and do not have all the necessary tools.

Other moisture causes can include a damp basement or crawl space since air can be drawn into the duct system from these areas. If you have ductwork under a slab area of your home, ground water can seep into the duct system. Plumbing leaks which may drip into the duct system can occasionally be a contributor to excess moisture. Mold on bathroom walls or other moist areas can release spores which can be distributed throughout the home via the duct system. These causes need to be checked and addressed.Home Service Corp.

Dust, VOC’s, bacteria, viruses, and mold are an even greater concern for those with breathing problems. This can include those with asthma, allergies, small children, infants, and those with compromised lungs. Extra precautions may need to be taken to provide the best air quality for these individuals. These precautions include assuring the duct system is clean and sanitized. The filter system can be upgraded to extra high efficiency style such as HEPA type. Ultra-violet systems can be added to the ductwork. Self-cleaning humidifiers can reduce possible bacteria or mold formation in the system. Fresh air intakes can be added to the ductwork to keep VOC’s levels down. Each of these is available from us today.

In our next article we will cover two very dangerous gases which could be in your home and how to determine if you need to take action.

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

Home Service Corporation

Celebrating our 32nd year serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs.

What are you breathing?

Home Service Corp.One of the areas of recent concern for the average homeowner is the “quality” of the indoor air. There are multiple facets to this word when it is use to describe the air inside of a home. So it will vary depending on the individual home, its contents, and the life style of the homeowners. Let’s look at a few of the things that contribute to lessening the quality of your home.

Most homeowners think of dust control and elimination when they think of indoor air quality. Dust is visible on furniture and sometimes in the air. We think of the air being “dirty” when we see it. The standard filter in most systems does little to remove dust unless the particles are quite large. An upgrade to a high efficiency paper filter or an electronic filter can minimize this problem. Dust which is not airborne and channeled through the ductwork to the filter cannot be removed by any filter. Once it settles on furniture, unless disturbed, it is going to remain on the furniture until you clean it. Just as dust settles on your furniture, it can settle in the ductwork of your home along with other debris and create a health hazard. Having your ducts cleaned every 5-10 years can help eliminate that issue. Ducts can also be sanitized to reduce the chances of mold or bacterial build-up in the duct system.

There are other issues we must look at when we talk about indoor air and improving the quality of the air we daily breathe. We have chemicals in the air often designated as VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Many are harmless and present in our homes. Others can be cariogenic or aggravate other health issues such as asthma. Homes built fifty or more years ago had more infiltration of outside air causing more changes of the air inside of a home. This would dilute the concentration of the VOCs. With upgrades to the older homes and the tighter construction of newer homes, the infiltration is much less, thus there is less dilution of VOCs. We have also introduced a much greater variety of materials into the construction and the furnishing of our homes. Many of these materials have not been tested for the pollutants they may give off. Newly built homes have a requirement for outside air to be ducted into the system to assure enough fresh air is getting into the home to help dilute these VOCs. There are also charcoal filters and special UV lights which can reduce the VOCs in your indoor air. Homeowners can also reduce the VOCs within the home by selecting building materials and furnishings which give off fewer VOCs. For example, many of today’s paints will have fewer VOCs or are designed to give off zero VOCs.Home Service Corp.

In our next article, we will discuss how to reduce mold and bacteria in your home’s air. We will also cover special situations for those with airborne allergies. Check us out in the weeks to come.

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

Home Service Corporation

Celebrating our 32nd year serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs.

Mistakes Homeowners make when replacing a furnace or air conditioning unit

Home Service Corp. replaces furnaces, hot water heaters, air conditioners, and electrical.Purchasing a new heating, cooling or air quality system for your home is one of the most important buying decisions you and your family will make. Before committing to such a large investment, it’s important to do your research and ask some serious questions so you can avoid making the following mistakes:

1. Choosing an Unqualified or Unlicensed Contractor

Picking the right contractor could be the most important part of the furnace or air conditioner buying process yet most people don’t ask enough questions to make sure the contractor is properly qualified and experienced for the installation. Be sure to check with your community to be sure the contractor has the proper license and that the Technicians are certified by the manufacturer and the North America Technician Excellence testing group (www.natex.org). Also that the company has appropriate liability and workman’s compensation insurance.

2. Getting Only One Estimate

When you’re shopping for a new gas furnace or central air conditioner, you should always get more than one estimate. Select two or three contractors with excellent reputations in your area. Ensure that each estimate is written on a proper form and always take the time to review and compare the quality of the equipment and warranties offered. Does the estimate include the removal of old equipment and materials? Are permits included in the estimate?

Be sure to pay attention to the Sales Consultant  or Technician to see how knowledgeable and professional they are. How long have they been in the business? Did they explain all of the rebates that are available for your system? Your experience with the Sales Consultant could be a good indicator as to what type of service to expect from that contractor later on.

3. Always Going for the Lowest Price

You should always select a contractor that promotes the quality of their installation service and equipment at reasonable rates, rather than just picking the one that offers the lowest price. The lowest price does not necessarily mean the best value. For example, the less expensive contractor might not offer valuable services such as 24-hour emergency response or maintenance and service agreements after the installation. Other items may also be missing from the quote.

4. Thinking Price is the Only Factor

The purchase price should not be the only important factor in your decision. The noise level of your new system is something you will have to live with every day, while the energy efficiency of the system will determine how much your heating or cooling costs will be (energy efficiency is determined by the SEER ratings – be sure the Sales Consultant fully explains what these numbers mean). Choosing the right product for your lifestyle and length of time you will be in the home will allow you to live comfortably and save money.

5. Ignoring the Fine Print in the Warranty

It is important to fully understand the warranty that is being provided by each contractor. You should always inquire if the warranty covers parts only or both parts and labor. Also ask if there any extra charges above and beyond the warranty coverage, such as an after-hours service labor charge. Always ensure that the contractor provides you with a written warranty form for your records. Some contractors only have in house warranties which are only as good as the contractor or as long as he is in business. Be sure to select a contractor that has been in business for at least 10 years, which means they are more likely to be in business to honor your warranty.

6. Forgetting to Ask About Insurance

The contractor you deal with should always have public liability and property damage insurance. If sub-contractors are utilized, the contractor should also have the proper liability insurance. If the contractor isn’t insured, you could be held fully responsible for any damages to the equipment or your home during the installation process as well as any medical costs if an installer is hurt on the job.

Always make sure the contractor has coverage for their employees with workman’s compensation insurance. Are all the employees drug tested and are their backgrounds checked?

7. Making Too Big of a Deposit

If a deposit is required, it should never be more than 25% of the total job and all payments should be made directly to the company named in the contract.

8. Not Asking for References

Reputable contractors will be more than willing to provide you with the names and addresses of customers they have done work for. Ask neighbors, family, friends and co-workers their opinion of any contractor they’ve used in the past. Also check the online reputation of your contractor.

9. Believing Your System Will Never Break Down

In case something goes wrong with your system, it’s always a good idea to make sure that the company you choose has after-sales service capability. Inquire if they have a full service department and ask how many service vehicles they have on the road. Do they respond to calls after 11 p.m. or on weekends? How quickly can they be there if you have no heat?

10. Lack of Proper Training or Instruction

Most contractors have a habit of installing the furnace or air conditioner and then leaving without explaining how to properly operate or maintain the system. This leaves you, the homeowner, with the task of trying to figure out exactly how to reset electronic thermostats and replace furnace filters (which can become quite costly if not done properly). Be sure you receive operational instructions and a person to contact when you have questions.HSC installs new furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters and electrical

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

Home Service Corporation

Celebrating our 32nd year serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs.

Cider Time?

We have just passed from summer into fall and the change in weather confirms it. The kids are back to school, cider mills are open, and the football season is in full swing. Our days of 90+ degrees have ended for another 9 or so months, the baseball season is quickly winding down, and the shorts and flip-flops are put into the back of the closet. The maple trees are showing their color and the others will be soon. This morning there was frost on the grass in our backyard. So why am I discussing the weather and the season change?Home Service Corp. your full service heating company

Well, it’s that time of year to have your furnace, humidifier, and air quality equipment checked out. Your furnace will be running very soon if it isn’t already providing warmth for you and your family. It has set idle for the past several months with the exception of the blower and although it started up when you cranked up the thermostat, it may not be running at its peak performance. “What does that mean” you ask? If your furnace isn’t running at its peak performance, it may be in need of a repair or it may need to be adjusted to assure you are using the least amount of natural gas possible. The National Comfort Institute tells us that even a newly installed furnace does not operate at peak performance without proper adjusting and testing at the time of installation. A furnace that has been installed for several years will need to be checked to assure your money savings that furnace promised. Our NATE certified technicians can check and adjust your unit to keep it running at its peak.

At the same time, the technician can check the operation of your humidifier. Your humidifier provides moisture into the home for more comfort at a lower temperature, reduce static electricity, protect furniture, and keep your family healthier. The filtration system will be checked along with other indoor air quality equipment you may have installed.

If you have a boiler, we can check it out and adjust it for peak performance. Our technicians are well trained on the operation of boilers and there special controls. There are many energy saving techniques for your boiler which will save on your gas bill and provide better comfort.

HSC Your full service plumbing, heating and electrical company.If the technician finds something that needs to be repaired or something that would provide benefit to your family’s comfort, he will give you a quote before he does the work. While he is at your home, be sure to ask him how you can save money on this call and future services.

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

Home Service Corporation

Celebrating our 32nd year serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs.

OH-Oh! No Hot Water!

Water HeaterWe often receive calls from homeowners with gas hot water heaters who are without hot water. Like many appliances, your water heater will need occasional servicing to maintain peak performance. Sufficient air flow is crucial to the proper operation of your water heater. If the water heater is in a small tight area, a source air for combustion is needed. If the area around the water heater is large and a source for combustion air is available from the space, there may be other causes. The signs of restricted air for combustion are yellow flames, pilot outage, soot, unstable flame, or no hot water. Before starting any service or repair, consult the sections of your owner’s manual dealing with condensation, air requirements, gas supply, venting, and cleaning the air intake screen. Also, make sure that your heater is properly sized for your home. An undersized heater may result in condensation which can drip onto the flame causing a pilot outage.  Your water heater is built to the current industry safety standard and meets all FVIR (flammable vapor ignition resistant) requirements. This assures that any flammable vapors drawn into the combustion chamber and ignited cannot ignite remaining flammable vapors on the exterior of the heater causing a fire or explosion. This design includes a flame arrestor and one or two air intake screen(s). These screen(s) prevent larger particles of dust or lint from entering the heater, thus restricting air flow and causing improper combustion.  The owner’s manual asks you to visually check and clean the screen(s) as necessary.  Smaller particles may pass through these screens and lodge in the flame arrestor.Hot Water Burner Assembly

A second cause of many of these calls is a direct result of the hot water tank corroding and a leak developing in the tank. The appearance of water on the floor around the hot water heater is a visual symptom of a leak. It’s just time for a replacement.

Tankless heaters also require periodic maintenance. This includes deliming of the internal heat exchanger. This will be a more significant issue if you have a water supply with a high mineral content.

If you have an electric hot water heater, the answer could be a burned out heating element. There would not be water on the floor around the tank if an element has burned out.  There may also be a circuit breaker tripped or malfunctioning.

We are so used to just turning on the faucet and having hot water, that it’s a real surprise when the water flow is only cold. Most of these Issues require training and expertise to properly repair so be sure to call a professional. Our Technicians are factory trained to service all types of hot water heaters.

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

Home Service Corporation

Celebrating our 32nd year serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs.

You Can Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later

You can pay me now or you can pay me laterThis phrase was used by an oil filter company several years ago to remind us that our cars and trucks need regular service. The commercial advised us that if we fail to change the oil and filter at regular intervals as recommended by the automobile manufactures, we would be paying the auto repair shop for major repairs at a later date. Most car owner realize they need to change the oil and filter, check the tire pressure, check the radiator fluid, change the wiper blades, and do the other regular maintenance to keep the car safe, operating, and maximize the life of the vehicle. When a vehicle is purchased the dealer covers the details about the vehicle including the regular maintenance needed. They put you on a mailing list to remind you about maintenance, they email you, they offer discounts for coming in for service, and they even telephone you to remind you about maintenance.

Although your investment in home comfort system is not as great as a new or used vehicle it has become a major investment in your home. The technology and construction of the new units has increased the efficiency of the system, but it has also increased the initial cost and the repair cost substantially. Over the last couple of decades, the installed cost of a new furnace and air conditioning unit have more than doubled. The components of each are much more sophisticated which increases cost and setup. So as an experienced heating and air conditioning contractor, I ask you, “Do you want to pay me now or pay me later?” Twice yearly maintenance on your system can eliminate many of those costly breakdown issues. It will also substantially increase the life of the unit saving you replacement money for many more years. The added bonus is the utility cost for operating your system will be minimized with a well maintained system.

Every manufacturer of heating and cooling equipment strongly recommends semi-annual maintenance. They publish it in their literature and always advise the consumer of that recommendation. Your utility also strongly recommends twice a year maintenance checks on your system. For many, they have partial rebates on maintenance checks to reduce the use of natural gas and electricity.

Call us today for a maintenance check on your system. We can setup a regular schedule so you will be automatically be contacted for your next maintenance checkup. This plan includes special savings on any service or purchase from us, gives you priority service, and protection on your investment. And as an added bonus, we will give you a free inspection of your plumbing system (at your convenience) to help you save utility costs and detect potential issues before they become major emergency problems.Furnace and Air Conditioning Maintenance

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

Home Service Corporation

Celebrating our 32nd year serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs.

A New Heating & Air Conditioning Idea

We have been asked by customers if there was a way to cool and heat a family room addition on the back of their home. Maybe they just had a duct from their home system or a wall heater without air to provide comfort in that room. Now they would like to have air conditioning and an upgraded heating unit. We have just the thing for them. It’s a ductless split system or as it’s called in the industry, a mini-split unit. These units are compact and very energy efficient. Mini-splits have been used in Europe and Asia for decades so the technology is well beyond the first generation of product. They come in a variety of capacities to meet the needs of your room or rooms. Did we say room or rooms? Yes we did. They are capable of cooling and heating as many as eight rooms at different temperatures and on different schedules.

Ductless Heating & Cooling System

But you say, “I don’t want some big ugly unit in my room or rooms and I definitely don’t want a bunch of units sitting in my backyard.”  The indoor units are small and come in a variety of shapes and designs. Some can mount in the ceiling or high on a wall. Some are like a baseboard unit and some can actually have artwork on the front of them. All the piping, wiring and other “stuff” is enclosed within the units. The outdoor units are thin and very compact with some able to be wall mounted so they don’t junk up the yard. When you have multiple rooms to heat and cool, a single outdoor unit can usually handle it.

If it’s a room that you sleep in or a family room where you watch television, you want a very quiet system. These are very quiet systems which won’t interfere with your daily activities. There is another great feature for the homeowner; there is no wall thermostat to clutter up your room or rooms. These units have remotes which can be stored in a drawer out of the way when you don’t need to change the temperature or fan settings. When you have a unit cooling and heating multiple rooms you can also have a master or central control to manage your comfort.

Mini-Split Indoor Unit

Are there other locations that these systems could provide the comfort you are looking for? The answer is yes! These systems are often used for older two or three story homes which were built without air conditioning and baseboard heat. The second or third floor can be cooled and heated with each room having individual control. Finished basements are another great application. Homes originally built on slabs with baseboard heating are regularly cooled with these systems. These units are also used in many commercial applications.

There are several manufactures of these units with different capacities and designs so we can find one that fits your needs. Call us today for a quote to solve that area of your home that is too warm in summer and too cool in winter.

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

Home Service Corporation

Celebrating our 32nd year serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs.

What is that big thing in Joe’s backyard?

Lately we have been receiving calls from customers asking what that big thing is in their neighbor’s backyard. There used to be a cute little air conditioning unit (which made quite a racket when it ran) but that’s gone and there is this new big box unit of some sort out there.” What’s going on?” They ask.

Let me explain what has happened in the heating and air conditioning industry over the past few years. We have had a tremendous amount of change within the industry.

First the efficiency of both the furnaces and air conditioners have had a substantial increase. So what has happened, you ask? The furnaces actually have decreased in size with most of them less than three and half feet tall. They have new types of components such as an additional heat exchanger to capture more of the heat for your home rather than it going out the flue pipe. The blower motors are a much newer technology which run quieter and use far less energy than the older motors. Just like your car, the controls to operate the furnace are more complicated and require much more knowledge on the technician’s side and computers (circuit boards) run the furnace for even more safety and energy savings.

Let’s move on to that big box in Joe’s backyard. Believe it or not that is Joe’s new air conditioning unit. Often the units are 50 – 100% larger than the older unit it replaced. If you went into Joe’s home and looked at his furnace and ductwork you would see that the inside portion of the air conditioning system (the indoor coil) is also much larger than the old one. There are several reasons for this. First the new efficiency standards cause the physical size of the units to be much larger. Next because of increasing electrical costs many homeowners are electing to install units with even greater efficiency to reduce the electrical operating costs. So the unit grows larger. An additional reason is in the phase out of the long used refrigerant, R-22, and the introduction of the refrigerant (R-410A) which has replaced it. It also contributes to increase in side of an air conditioning unit. Although they do not contribute to the size of the unit, most have computer controls (circuit boards). Additionally, some will have variable or stepped capacity to save energy but once again it does not add to the unit size.

With homes being tighter, causing less air change from outside, the quality of the indoor air has become increasingly scrutinized.  Many new products have been introduced to humidify the air, clean the air, and replace the inside air efficiently. These can really improve the health of your family especially if a family member has airborne allergies or asthma. Depending on your needs these can be added to an existing system or included on a new system.

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

Home Service Corporation

Celebrating our 32nd year serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs.

Keeping the Heat On

What to do? If you have a second home or if you are away from your home often, I’m sure you are concerned about the safety of your home while you are away. You may have an alarm company to protect your home from intruders, fire or possibly vandals but what about the operation of your heating and air conditioning system? Damage from frozen water lines bursting or mold from an air conditioning unit not operating can be a huge expense and much more than a simple inconvenience. Even if you are away for work during the day, you home, pets, or furnishings can suffer if the heating or air conditioning systems fail. Then there is the energy used if you don’t wisely control your systems.

Recently, several manufacturers have come out with a totally new concept in thermostats for your home. These thermostats not only register the temperature in your home and turn on your furnace or air conditioning unit when the temperature in your home varies from the setting you have chosen, but they do a multitude of tasks.

Here are some of the things this new breed of thermostat can do.

  1. These thermostats connect to the internet via your wireless router in your home.
  2. As long as your wireless internet is up, you can control the temperature, humidity and ventilation from your computer or smartphone. Yes, anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection. You’ll note I said control your thermostat not just read the current temperature.
  3. They are designed to work with just about every residential system made, both new and older systems so you are not dependent on selecting a particular brand of equipment, you can select the one best for your needs.
  4. The thermostats are upgraded automatically as new features are added.
  5. They have built in reminders for filter changing and humidifier service.
  6. They can tell you when the system needs to have maintenance.
  7. They have intelligent temperature setback recovery. They decide when to start heating up the home after a night setback so the home is at your desired temperature when you step out of bed.
  8. They can display the weather for the new several days and use the outside temperature to decide when to start the setback recovery mode.
  9. They have short term temperature override so if you are staying up late you can be comfortable.
  10. Some have sensors that put the system into energy saving mode if the thermostat does not sense someone in the home.
  11. They can warn you be email if the system is not working correctly. They can also warn you if your sump pump or other device is not working.
  12. They can also send emails to your contractor or a friend that the system is not working properly.
  13. They are very user friendly.

Are these new thermostats astronomically expensive you ask? They are more expensive that a basic thermostat, but considering the energy savings and peace of mind you get in return, and the price is reasonable. We have several units we recommend depending on your needs, so contact us today for detailed information.