Wednesday, April 2, 2014

“High Tech” vs. “Low Tech” - For what it’s worth.

By now you've heard it from many sources Air Conditioning manufacturers, Utility companies, and even home automation and security companies: “Control your Air Conditioner from your computer or cell phone.”

Not so fast! Home automation, especially when it comes to your AC system, may not be a good idea for everyone. The internet and all the wonderful things we can do with it has opened the door for such technology and all kinds of possibilities for controlling and troubleshooting your homes air conditioning system from afar.

For manufacturers most of this new technology is applicable only to their Cadillac systems that contain more complicated parts and controls with a steeper price tag. OK, if first it’s the right system for your home and needs, all other components of your system such as duct work and filtration are optimal and of course your budget allows for it.

Secondly be sure you have a reliable internet service that is compatible with your new Thermostat control. Wi-Fi is mandatory for off site management of your thermostat control via your iphone or Blackberry and for the manufacturer to send program updates as needed. We have many satisfied customers that are using the newest technology and a few with regrets. One of our technicians made an interesting comment that makes you think: “We took a control as basic as a light switch off the wall and replaced it with a computer to control the air conditioning.”

Another challenge facing service companies is training seasoned A/C technical staff on internet 101 and distinguishing the difference between control problems from an internet problem and remaining efficient in the delivery of service. There is much more to consider than savings only by continually controlling your thermostat. Good solid efficient air conditioning must have well designed installed and sealed air duct systems. What good is done by installing high tech expensive air conditioning equipment on an old inefficient delivery system? Don’t let manufacturer incentives and utility rebates take precedent over the proper design and installation that’s needed for your particular application. There’s plenty of financial incentives available but better to take a little less and get the right system that does the right job for lasting results and satisfaction.

Be informed and know all that you can before taking the plunge into the world of high tech control. Remember the purpose of air conditioning is to heat, cool, and filter the air within our homes without noticing that it is even there. If you like to tinker with things such as the VCR and TV remotes you will no doubt adapt to wi-fi thermostat control easily. But for those who prefer simplicity the option is still available to own a very reliable and efficient new system without the Bells and Whistles.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Endless Game of Catch-Up

It sure does feel like we are always playing catch-up – at work, at home, with our friends and family – the list goes on and on and there is never enough time to do it all. I can’t tell you how many times I think of something I need to take care of or something that I know needs to be looked at by a professional, but I never actually get it done because there is always something else more pressing – usually it is the “something” that has just broken.

It is the same thing with home comfort systems. We rarely think about what they may need until they are not working at all. It seems a little silly, doesn’t it? We would never take a 3 month journey in our car without first at least having the oil changed, but year after year, we turn on our furnaces without a single thought as to what condition they may be in or if they will even work at all.

Having our systems serviced every year is an absolute must. It truly is the equivalent to having the oil changed in our cars. The only difference is that our cars ding and flash “change oil” notices to us relentlessly until we get it done. Our heating systems really should do the same thing. If they are not serviced properly, they will not work as they should no matter how cold it is or how badly you need it to.

In order to break the cycle of playing catch-up and make sure your system is serviced for the next season ahead, read “WARNING… Approaching System Failure”.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How Can You Keep Your Family Safe This Winter?

It stands to reason. Over-the-counter medications that you select on your own don’t tend to do the job nearly as well as prescriptions you get from your doctor that are based on his or her diagnosis.

By the same token, off-the-shelf carbon monoxide (CO) detection isn't nearly as effective as the professional diagnosis you get from a home comfort expert. And just as the wrong medicine at the wrong time can yield really wrong results… so can inferior and inadequate CO detection. Hospital emergency rooms see about 50,000 visits a year just due to CO poisoning. So there’s no question this is a problem. But what’s the solution?

The “retail” grade detectors aren't always able to give “early warning” signs – but typically kick in with alarm bells when the air situation reaches distress level.

That’s why your home needs the attention of a professional grade CO detector that can warn you immediately when CO poisoning starts to seep into your home’s air.

A model that many home comfort specialists are recommending is the CO-Experts Low Level CO “Health” Monitor. These monitors give warnings at various levels as the detection of carbon monoxide increases in severity.

Homeowners have the option to silence the warnings if the levels are not deemed serious enough for action, but you’d also become sensitive to the potential for problems.

Models like these are fully self-monitored. They know when their sensor accuracy is off or life span is capping, and they’ll let you know too. They also provide data recall, even so much as a timeline of CO exposure, when the incidents peaked, the time that elapsed since the last occurrence and the duration of exposure.

Basically, a professional grade CO monitor gives you a professional way to help keep your family breathing safely. We’ll be glad to tell you more. Just give us a call. Schedule an appointment or learn more about Climate Magic here.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Oh, the Complaining that we can do…

Frustrations are a part of life, unfortunately. And as homeowners, it’s easy to complain about all the work we have to do (and sometimes money we have to spend) to keep things running smoothly.

It seems there’s never enough time in the day to tend to everything that pops up on our to-do list. And yet, while some things do happen that are beyond our control, there are other things that we can do now to prevent future frustrations.

In this season, one important prevention involves preparing our home for winter. This is just a basic philosophy that proves true year after year. If we take a little bit of time now to make sure our furnaces are working properly, then we've taken the best step we can take to avoid a break- down on a very cold day in the near future.

Think of it this way. Your furnace needs a little TLC so it can provide the same to you. It’s a piece of equipment, after all. It can’t take care of itself. But if you put a little bit of maintenance into it, you’re helping your furnace function at optimal levels. Then it will take care of you. And nobody’s going to complain about that.

So avoid your future frustration right now. Read “Walking the Walk” to learn more about comfort system maintenance.

Friday, January 31, 2014

5 Things To Think About This Winter

By the time the cold winds start to blow, it is too late to worry about whether or not your home is ready for the cold winter ahead. What’s done is done, and what’s not done – well, it could cost you hundreds of dollars in home repair. Luckily there’s no time like the present to make sure you’re prepared before your hindsight kicks in…
  1. Have your heating system cleaned and tuned. A pre-season tune-up is a good investment as it reduces the chances of breakdowns in the middle of winter, improves safety and pays for itself through more energy efficient operation.
  2. Test your system for hazardous carbon monoxide, which can be produced by a dirty or malfunctioning furnace or water heater. We can also install a low level carbon monoxide alarm.
  3. Have your duct system tested for air leaks.Many think that windows and doors are the major causes of a home’s air leaks. But according to recent research by the U.S. Department of Energy, gaps and cracks in the typical home’s duct system are much more significant. The typical duct system loses 25 to 40 percent of the energy put out by the central furnace, heat or air conditioner.
  4. Get your home’s air checked to find out if the air you breathe is unhealthy. Your indoor air can be up to 12 times more polluted than what is outside, and with all the time spent indoors during the winter, you’ll want to ensure your family’s health, safety and comfort. For free tips on keeping your air clean and your home healthy, visit our website.
  5. Consider replacing your old furnace or heat pump. Just like a car, heating equipment doesn’t last forever. If your system is more than 12 years-old, and you are planning to stay in your home more than a few years, it is wise to consider replacing it before it fails permanently. A new system is safer, more dependable and can pay for itself through energy savings as it is up to twice as energy efficient.
Schedule an appointment today!

Monday, January 27, 2014

What are YOU breathing?

Indoor air quality is a hot topic these days whether it’s discussing musty old basements or dusty vents, but the thing you should really be concerned about breathing in is carbon monoxide. Not only does this gas make you sick, it is also potentially deadly.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are so similar to so many other illnesses that doctors have difficulty diagnosing it. Many people simply feel they are coming down with the flu when all the while their own home is poisoning them.

Feeling concerned yet? Well, the good news is there are things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones. It is imperative to have your home’s heating system serviced every year by a professional technician and ensure that it is properly vented. It is also a good idea to install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home for added protection.

Read “The Hazards of Winter” to make sure your home is safe this winter.