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Father Does Know Best

by bplusw 0 Comments

I have grown up in a plumbing family! My father founded B&W Plumbing and Heating Co. in 1961 to provide central Indiana with both superior products and excellent customer service. I have spent the last 30 years committed to his vision for this company. A recent experience I had with my own plumbing made me realize again the importance of my father’s vision for B&W.

About fifteen years ago, B&W had a showroom where we featured products, including several brands of faucets. A sales representative attempted to sell us their line of faucets. My father declined to carry the line in our showroom, citing his belief that they weren’t committed to the industry. He felt that if a company wasn’t committed to the industry, they wouldn’t be around long term, making replacement parts difficult to find and very expensive to the customer. Since neither of these scenarios fit into his vision, he chose to carry more well known brands, like Grohe, Delta, and Kohler. Despite his warning, I purchased two of their bathroom faucets, mostly for the additional features, rather than a similar one from Grohe.

So, fifteen years later, I now have two faucets that don’t work, and parts for them are more expensive than purchasing new faucets to replace them, so I am having new faucets installed!  Had I chosen the Grohe faucets in the first place, backed by a lifetime warranty on parts, I wouldn’t be dealing with this situation now!

Certainly, buying new faucets wasn’t something I anticipated, but it is a great reminder of the vision my dad had for B&W.  Superior products!!  That’s where it all begins.  Who you buy from DOES matter!  Are they  committed to the industry?  Will they stand behind their products?  Do they offer a warranty?   We only carry  quality brands that our customers can rely on.  Lesson learned!!  I guess father really does know best!

 

An Unexpected Welcome Home

After 30+ years in the business Beth knows a lot about HVAC first hand, though the learning curve continues  as 2nd generation B&W owner, Beth Rovazzini, comes home after an installation of a new HVAC system.

“I walked into my house last night and the first thing I noticed was how quiet it was.  You know when snow falls late at night how quiet it is?  My house was snow falling quiet.  I never thought my system was noisy.  If you had asked me I would have said no, but then again time had slipped away from me and I realized last week talking to a customer my system was 22 years old.  It was working fine.  My air cleaner, ( Accuclean, humidifier and thermostat are all less than 5 years old).  I have maintenance check twice a year.  Truthfully, I don’t remember to have it done, Dave reminds me.  In 22 years I have had only 1 major repair.  Pretty good huh?  I attribute it to 2 things: buying the right equipment for my home and regular bi-annual maintenance.  I am actually looking forward to my next utility bill.  Twenty-two years ago, I installed the most efficient equipment available.  It is like computers when we had our first computer (with the old tv as the  monitor) it seemed so fast.  Today, 10 seconds waiting for computer and I am smacking the mouse and tapping the enter key to hurry it up.  Technology stands still for no one, even if you are in the industry. ”

Beth’s new heating system.

Beth’s new AC.

 

If you are experiencing higher than expected heating bills read on…

We’ve experienced many calls, from concerned customers, thinking their heating systems aren’t working properly. We understand this concern and have done some investigation that you might find useful. Here’s what we discovered…

Back in October Vectren predicted a 3% increase in heating bills this winter, that was with anticipation of a ‘normal’ winter weather.  Well, we all know -30 windchill is not the ‘norm’.  Natural gas customers can expect to pay approximately $30 to $50 more compared to the same time last year. That’s nearly a 20% increase.

An article, in the IBJ, goes on to say that not only does the 18% colder than usual weather drive up this demand, but prices for natural gas spiked in recent weeks as demand rose amid frigid weather. Citizens Energy expects bills to be about $178 for its average customer, which is up from about $132 in January 2013, the Indianapolis utility says in this article.

We submitted a question to IPL (or parent company AES.com) inquiring as to increases for electrical heat pump systems.

B&W asked – “To help our customer’s determine if they have a service issue with their total electric heat pump systems, approximately what should be the increase in your electric bill just due to the winter weather compared to last year. We are getting calls from people thinking they have a service problem because their electric bill increased. Some have had issues and some have not. I am trying to find a guideline to help homeowners avoid unneeded service trips. If their bill increased $40 or 15% would it be reasonable to assume it was due to the weather?”

AES Response:  “Thank you for your recent inquiry. Yes we would attribute the recent increase in bills due to the record low temperatures that we have been experiencing recently as heating and  cooling attribute approximately 50% of your bill.” -Customer Service, AES

We hope this helps you understand the increase in your heating bills and can save you from scheduling a service call that may not be necessary.  We are here for you if you do need help. Stay warm, and don’t hesitate to contact us at 317.243.3581 if you would like to schedule a service call, or if you have any questions on how your heat pump should operate or perform.

Source Links:

Tips for staying warm outside.

Many of us have been told at one time or another, “Put on your hat! 80% of heat loss is from your head, so cover up.” This popular myth has been shown to be untrue, it is a good idea to cover your head along with other body parts, to reduce chances of frostbite, hypothermia and more.*  Our home comfort experts want to share tips for you (and your family) to stay more comfortable while outside this season.

So, what should you wear outside to keep warm?

  • Layers – inner for moisture control, insulating outside for wind/water/elements, remove layers as needed to avoid sweating.
  • Shoes with grips for icy conditions. We’ve also found a video demonstrating helpful hints to be more stable on the ice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heDei0TuT8w
  • Accessorize for warmth by wearing gloves.  Mittens are ideal for longer periods of cold temperatures as they heat of your body will keep them warmer, but depending on your activity gloves may provide better mobility. Consider keeping both in your pockets and switch as needed for your winter activity.
  • Scarves are fashionable and functional in more ways than you may realize. While warming the neck and face, they also assist in warming the air as you breathe in.  If you suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions you’ll appreciate breathing in warmer air. **
  • Don’t forget sun and wind protection.  Tis the time of year for chapped lips and yes you can get a sunburn (aka windburn) in the winter months.

Here are a few other tips to keep warm while outside.

  • Avoid drugs, alcohol and tobacco. These substances have been proven to reduce the bodies natural ability to respond to cold temperatures.*
  • Keep a thermos of a hot beverage and/or soup handy.  While scientifically this does nothing to increase body temperature, it sure does feel good (and doubles as a hand warmer).  A hot drink or soup is comforting on a cold blustery day and synonymous with childhood memories of fun in the snow.
  • Keep moving to warm up. Increased circulation will make your day outside more enjoyable plus the added health benefits of moving.

Go ahead, make those snow angels, go sledding, cross country skiing, build a snowman or simply enjoy the fresh air outside. We hope you found a few of these winter tips helpful.

Source:

*http://shs.osu.edu/blog/medical-mythbusters-do-you-really-lose-80-of-your-body-heat-from-your-head

** http://www.healthcommunities.com/asthma/tips-winter-asthma.shtml

 

 

 

 

10 Tips to Welcome your Holiday Guests

Tis the season to entertain.  Since comfort is our speciality our staff put together tips to ensure your guests are comfortable, while visiting, during the holidays or winter season.  Have your family members help you prepare by dividing this list along with your home cleaning, organizing and holiday meal planning.  The more you can get done in advance means the more time you’ll have to enjoy your guests and the holiday season.

Welcome Guests
(Image source: addicted2decorating.com)

  1. Ensure your pathways  are clear of ice and snow and light the way by checking that your bulbs are in working order.  (If using salt on your sidewalks, consider walking your pet in the snow as to not irritate his/her paws, or consider dog boots.  Check your local hardware store for pet safe products.)
  2. Roll out the red carpet, or shall we say the welcome mat?  Offer a place for your guests to kick the snow off of their shoes outside and inside your door.  If you have a guest in a wheel chair look into renting (or purchasing) a portable ramp. http://www.accesstoday.com/
  3. Inside your home create a drop zone by having a coat rack or closet, with empty hangers, nearby.  Consider placing a bench or chair, for boots, to be removed.  Also, plan an area for purses and gift bags.
  4. Appeal to the senses.  Wether you have a candle burning, a pot of apples and cinnamon, or a plug in scent, nothing speaks holidays and warmth than a pleasurable scent.
  5. Warm your guests from the inside out by offering coffee, hot cider, cocoa or more as they enter.
  6. Adjust your programmable thermostat a few degrees down when you anticipate the oven heating up and a full home of added guests.  Plan this ahead as you may forget with last minute preparations for your guests.  Lay out a few throw blankets, around your sofas or in a basket, in case your guests prefer a higher home temperature. It’s hard to please everyone, but it’s much easier to set a few degrees low and offer a blanket to Granny than to cool down others.
  7. For overnight guests prepare a basket of towels and travel size necessities that may have been forgotten, like a toothbrush, shampoos, lotion, etc. (Consider adding a mint on the pillow before bedtime or a welcome note from your kids.)
  8. Check that your water heater is ready for the extra guests. If not, consider a larger capacity unit or make a shower schedule to ensure warm water for everyone. If you want to impress guests add one of our wireless Moxie Speakers to your shower head.
  9. Prepare a warm and welcoming breakfast in your crock pot for your overnight guests. We’ve tried this one and it’s fantastic (healthy too).  There are many online versions depending on your health goals and restrictions. http://www.theyummylife.com/Slow_Cooker_Apple_Cinnamon_Oatmeal
  10. Wrapping up our list. Keep some extra wrapping paper and tape accessible for any guests who bring a last minute gift without wrapping. (You may even want to plan an extra gift or two in your closet in case you forgot someone.)

We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season, and hope you find our tips helpful. Feel free to post any of your comments or suggestions, for getting through the holidays with guests, here or on our facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/bigblacktrucks

 

Why I love being part of a Small Family Business

by bplusw 0 Comments

As Small Business Saturday approaches we asked Beth Rovazzini , of B&W, why she loves being part of a small business. Here is her response.

A couple of weeks ago I was participating in an Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce networking group. The icebreaker question was “If you could do or be anything you wanted, what would you be?” I searched my mind for what I would rather be doing if time, money and influence were not a factor. Running a small family business is exactly where I want to be.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have this job.

To me running a family small business is microcosm of life. It is an adventure, there is risk taking, problem solving, interpersonal relationships, joys, sorrows, victories, defeat.  It is like being on the front line of a battle 24/7. You are responsible for the success and the failures. I wish you did not learn more from failures than successes. To me it is only a true failure if I repeat it. One of my favorite quotes is Thomas Edison, “I did not fail I just found 10,000 ways that did not work.”

If you like clear boundaries and order then running a family small business is not for you.  The lines of family, work, and personal time are blended together, and it is possible to be in all three simultaneously.  Just dealing with people can be challenging and working with people you are related to can be messy, chaotic and fun.

When you run a small family business you get to experience both sides of the people equation.  In dealing with customers we strive to develop relationships, solve problems, offer choices, listen and ultimately improve the comfort and satisfaction of our customers home (or business).  We have been in business long enough that some of our customers have passed away.  Just this past weekend the husband, of a long time customer, called for service.  My heart went out to him, I remember talking to him during her illness.  She wanted to get some things done in the house so it would be easy for him.  We had to coordinate installation with her treatments and how she felt.  It is amazing the connection you can have with someone when you just speak to him (or her) on the phone.  One of the first customers I ever took a service call from, fortunately is still with us, she raised her children and then helped raise grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Just thinking about her makes me smile.

Behind the scenes our team is bonded, working side by side everyday, supporting one another at work and beyond.  I attend school events, graduations, weddings and even funerals.  I keep toys in my office for the little visitors when they come and pick up their Mom or Dad.  When my son was a baby I brought him to work with me.  We hung a baby swing in a doorway near my desk.  His first words were “Hi Guy”, because all the employees walked by and said, “hi guy” to him.

Running a small business is rewarding to be able to see your accomplishments and know I helped that to happen. When I worked at the Big 8 accounting firm, I never felt like I made a difference or could make a difference.  When I left they just plugged in another accounting major and continued on.  In a big company the individual doesn’t matter, there are job descriptions and titles and they are filled with applicants.  In a small business the talents of the individual are critical.  If every member of the company doesn’t see the small business as a living entity it is noticeable.  You can’t hide indifference in a small business.

I like the hands on approach to life.  It really is my goal to find the best products, know how to install them in the right applications, and provide exceptional service.  Customer satisfaction provides job satisfaction to me.  Most of our calls are from people having an unexpected problem. T hey are expecting to spend time and money.  If we can solve their problem with the least about of interruption in their lives and at the best price, we have achieved our goal.

 Beth Rovazzini

Discover why the utility company may be turning your AC off during peak usage.

We have had several air conditioning service calls this summer from customers requesting service because their air conditioner is not cooling the home properly. After arriving, to diagnose the problem, we  noticed they had an energy saving box, on their air conditioner, that was installed by the local utility company.

Meter Pictured (not energy saving box)

“Have you signed up for an air conditioning energy saving program with your utility company? Keep this in mind.

This box is designed to turn off the power to the air conditioner during peak times of electricity usage.

 

Here is how to see if you have an energy saving box..

  • Look outside on your meter.  (possibly near your air conditioner).
  • Look for a small box with two lights on it (one light is red).
  • This box allows the utility company control to cycle your air conditioner off and on during certain peak times of the day. Either keep on saving or call IPL to have it removed. (B&W technicians are unable to remove this device.)

Below is a brief description of IPL’s & Duke Energy’s program.

IPL’s program is called CoolCents, it’s a small device installed on the outside of your home near your central air conditioner. This device allows IPL to safely cycle your air conditioner on and off for brief periods during hours of peak electricity usage. Your air conditioner will typically not be cycled on weekends, holidays or after 6 p.m. on weekdays.  Air conditioners cycle, meaning they run for a certain amount of time “on,” and then shut “off.” This on-off cycling maintains the temperature at a certain level. The CoolCents® device, when active, will shorten the number of minutes your air conditioner is “on.” The fan on your air conditioner will continue to operate. In fact, you may not even be aware that your air conditioner is being cycled because your house should remain comfortably cool.

Duke Energy’s program is called Power Manager. Depending upon the option you choose, your air conditioner is cycled off and then back on approximately one time each half hour for the length of the cycling event. Cycling events normally last two to three and a half hours and will not occur on weekends or holidays (except in a system emergency). To help keep you comfortable, the indoor fan continues to run to circulate air throughout your home.

Both of these programs share the same goal in keeping electric costs low by reducing the demand for electricity and delaying the need to build additional power plants in our region. Both offer an incentive savings for participating.

Please visit the links below and/or call B&W for more information. We hope you find this article useful.

Links:

Cool Cents IPL: http://www.iplpower.com/Content.aspx?id=176

Cool Cents Facts: http://www.iplpower.com/content.aspx?id=177

Perfect Cents Rebate Information: http://www.iplpower.com/Content.aspx?id=2147484005

Duke Energy Power Manager: http://www.duke-energy.com/indiana/savings/power-manager.asp

Duke Energy Power Manager Video: http://www.duke-energy.com/indiana/savings/power-manager.asp

From The Ask The Expert Mailbox….

by bplusw

 

We have a Aprilaire model # 550 furnace humidifier and water

is continuosly draining from it even though our furnace isn’t on.  Is there a problem with it?

 

Ron, Indianapolis, Indiana

 

 

 

Ron,

 

Thanks for contacting us & your question. Water should be coming out of the humidifier drain when there is a call for humidity in the heating cycle. If water continues to come out of the drain, the solenoid valve may be stuck in the open position or the solenoid valve is getting continuous power not allowing it to close. The humidifier pad should be replaced and the humidifier serviced at the beginning of each heating season. Please e-mail or call me at our office at 243-3581 with any additional questions.

 

 

Thank you,

 

Dave Mejean

HVAC Manager

B&W Plumbing and Heating Company, Inc.

From The Ask The Expert Mailbox…..

by bplusw

 

What is the best name brand do you recommend for a heatpump

system and the price?

Renita

 

 

Renita,

 

Thank you for contacting us. We handle the American Standard brand for the reliability and durability through the hot Summer months and frigid Winters. All of our furnaces, air conditioners & heatpump systems come with a 10-year parts and labor warranty. There is currently a state rebate on hi-eff heatpump systems of $500.00 as well as federal tax credits up to $1500.00 & a state tax credit of up to $100.00. This is a great time to purchase a heatpump system.

    Sizing your system is very important for proper operation. I will need more information from you to give a proper price such as square footage of your home, window & insulation conditions, size of existing system & ductwork. We can also come to your home at no charge to you to do a survey & provide you with a proposal. Please call me with any questions at 243-3581.

 

Thank you,

 

Dave Mejean

HVAC Manager

B&W Plumbing and Heating Company, Inc.