Posts tagged ‘Energy Saving’

11 Warm Weather Energy Saving Tips

With warmer weather there are several things every homeowner should do to prepare their home’s plumbing and air conditioning system for the spring and summer seasons. These are activities that will help to assume proper operation of the systems, prevent damage and save energy costs.

  1. Remove the cover you may have put on your air conditioning unit. Be sure the power is on to the outdoor air conditioning unit. This will allow the oil to warm up and freely flow when you need to turn the unit on.
  2. Carefully clean weeds and plants that may interfere with airflow to the outdoor air conditioning unit. Clean any debris around the unit. Don’t let the weed-wacker near the unit’s coil as it might damage the unit.
  3. Use some car polish to clean the cabinet of your air conditioner. It will not be an eyesore in your yard.
  4. Install a new filter in your furnace for the cooling season. A dirty filter is often the reason for a service call that could have been prevented.Home Service Corp.
  5. Turn off the water supply to your humidifier and if there is a damper for the humidifier be sure to put it in the summer mode. It’s also a good time to clean the humidifier removing the calcium buildup and replace the media to be ready for fall.
  6. If you have a setback thermostat, now is the time to set the cooling setbacks and check to see if you changed the time for daylight savings.
  7. Check the insulation on the air conditioner piping from the outdoor unit to the point it enters the wall of your home. This insulation helps save energy by not allowing the refrigerant to operate properly.
  8. Check to be sure that the ground around your outdoor air conditioning unit has not shifted and caused the unit to lean. This can cause the unit to fail prematurely.
  9. Turn the water on to the outside faucets. Check inside the basement and the faucets themselves for any leaks. Also it’s time to start-up the sprinkler system and check for leaks at piping or at the sprinkler heads.
  10. Check the outlet of the sump pump to assure free flow for the water to discharge at least 5 feet from the house.
  11. Our trained technicians can check the mechanical portion of your air conditioning system to assure efficient operation to save you operating costs and continuous operation when you need it. Every manufacturer recommends semi-annual checks by qualified technicians on your heating and air conditioning system.Home Service Co

Call us early for preseason savings on system checks! If your system is 10 years or older it may be time to consider replacing it with a quiet high efficient unit. 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.

An Unwanted Surprise Coming?

Home Service Corp.We are experiencing low temperatures and wind chills we have not had in our area for several years. If you haven’t noticed, your furnace or boiler has been running more often and for longer times than it has in at least two heating seasons. There will be surprises in the next several months when you open that gas bill. Hopefully your system has been running effectively without interruption. Here are a few tips to assure better running efficiency and safety.

  • Be sure the filter is clean. A dirty filter can reduce the airflow causing less comfort and higher heating costs.
  • Check the humidifier for operation. Proper humidity in a home creates more comfort and can save heating costs.
  • Remove any clutter around the furnace to avoid the possibility of a fire.
  • If you have not had maintenance on your furnace or boiler in the last year or longer, a precision tune-up can cut operating costs and provide better comfort.
  • Many homes have attached garages. Be sure to keep the garage door closed to hold in as much heat as possible. DO NOT start the car with the door closed or any other engine such as a snow blower. Carbon monoxide is deadly!
  • Close doors tightly and drapes or blinds to keep drafts from forming but be careful that ice does not form on the inside of the windows with the drapes closed.
  • If the heat is uneven in your home, you can turn the furnace fan to “on” which will cause the fan to run constantly and often even the temperature throughout the home. That setting is on your thermostat.
  • If you have a boiler, be sure to clean the baseboard units. Dust and dirt impede the airflow which reduces the output of the unit and increases your heating bill. Also check that the dampers on the baseboard units are open.
  • If your furnace or boiler acts erratically, call us at once. With the stress on units, we are very busy. The sooner you call the sooner we can be at your home and assure you have heat.
  • There are no “magic” heating units that you can just plug in and heat your home comfortably. They operate on electricity which is more expensive than natural gas and they do not have the capacity to heat an entire home.FurnaceOld012013

Another money saving thought

Congress included a tax credit for replacement of a furnace or boiler at the end of last year for 2013. The utility companies have substantial rebate programs in effect, our furnace and boiler manufacturers have rebates, and we are ready to give you our lowest prices of the season if you choose to replace that old furnace or boiler with a new energy saving unit. We replace your unit in one day and don’t leave until the heat is back on. We have low cost financing plans available and what better way to use your tax return money than to invest in saving your family money in the years 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.

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.

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.

Instant Coffee…Instant Tea

Air Popcorn PopperIt seems there is a least one new gadget for the kitchen every year. Some have been around for a long time such as the blender and others have disappeared after only one Christmas season, such as the air popcorn maker, the pasta maker, or the rotisserie chicken oven. These gadgets promised better tasting more nutritional food. The promised convenience and time-saving. They promised to make you a gourmet cook. They were shiny and we were told everyone must have one of these. Well, let us suggest another gadget for your kitchen.

This gadget has been around for decades. It is small, doesn’t take up counter or usable cabinet space and those who have it use it daily. It operates automatically, doesn’t require washing, and saves energy. It is always ready to provide for the gourmet cook or casual user. It is available in a variety of styles and finishes to match your kitchen. It does not require polishing or cleaning after use and can perform a multitude of functions for the cook and family. It won’t create a mess with use. So you ask, “What is it?”.

It’s a gadget called an instant hot water dispenser. It mounts on your kitchen sink near the faucet. It is available is all the same popular finishes your faucets. It comes in several style to match your kitchen style. It mounts under the sink, at the rear wall of the sink cabinet up out-of-the-way. It does require a simple water hookup and an electrical outlet to plug into. Once installed it does not require maintenance and will often outlast the other appliances in the kitchen. An instant hot water dispenser is always ready for use.

How can it be used? The most common and marketed uses are for making coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. These are all great and convenient ways to use it. With new “instant” coffees such are Starbuck’s Via you can now have a gourmet cup quickly and without the mess of coffee grounds. For the tea drinkers, the ability to immediately have hot water is so helpful and time-saving. Of course we wouldn’t want to forget about little Johnnie or little Susie would we? You can have hot chocolate ready for them when they come in from a cool fall day of play or their walk home from school.Instant Hot Water Dispenser

There are numerous other uses for this little kitchen tool. Products such as instant soups, Mac and cheese cups, Ramen Noddles, and other such products can be prepared quickly and without muss or fuss. Also that baked on mess on the skillet or baking pan can be much easier to clean when very hot water is put into it. Other cleaning tasks can be simplified when you have very hot water available. Thawing out foods with very hot water can speed up meal preparation. Warming a baby bottle is easy. Rinsing out a cup with very hot water will clean it and take the chill off of it so your coffee will stay warmer longer. On a cold day a cup of hot water with or without a lemon wedge can warm you up with out calories and we are all encouraged by doctors to drink more water. If you add one to your kitchen, you will surely find other uses.

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.

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.