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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.

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New Years Resolutions for your Home (Part 2 of 2)

We hope you are on your way to achieving your New Years resolutions and goals.  Earlier this month we encouraged you to add home maintenance into your New Years resolutions.  We are now adding ways to increase your home safety as well as  recommendations to save money on your home.

Increase your homes safety.

  • Check your smoke detectors and ensure you have a carbon monoxide detector.  Carbon monoxide detectors should be located where your family sleeps.
  • Schedule maintenance for your furnace and AC units.
  • Consider a home management system such as Nexia Home Intelligence.  http://www.americanstandardair.com/products/nexia-home-intelligence.html This wireless technology can manage your home from your computer as well as your mobile device. Adjust temperature, lighting, and even security with the added  Schlage® Home Security Kit.
  • Schedule a “Homeowners 101 Inspection” inclusive of “Home Comfort Audit” and “Plumbing Inspection”. The more you know about your home the better especially in cases of emergency. Call 317.243.3581 for more information.
  • While vacationing

    • If your water softener regenerates on a timed schedule, and not demand, consider putting it on bypass.
    • Most water heaters have a vacation mode. This will keep the water heater pilot lit, but it will not continually heat water you are not using.
    • Use light timers inside and outside. (Nexia Home Intelligence has this feature)

Reduce costs and/or save money on your home:

  • Check that your homeowners insurance is up to date. Here are some issues that our customers have had in the recent past.   Some policies have added basement back up or sump pump failure exclusions.  You may have had the same policy for 20 years but the insurance company sends updates and policy information periodically. If you are like me you don’t always read the fine print. Pull the policy or call your agent and check.  If you are currently renting your old residence , be sure your agent is aware of this change. We have had  more than one customer that did not realize renting out a house you could not sell changes everything to the insurance company.
  • Vow to install a programmable thermostat and save money. Why heat or cool your home when you aren’t there? Adjust the temperature back to your comfort level when you’ll be there.
  • Increase your home value by making upgrades such as a bathroom remodel or new kitchen sink. (Be sure and consult with your homes insurance provider as many upgrades may cause adjustments to your policy.)
  • Contact a home comfort expert to compare the energy costs of your current heating system to a new energy efficient system. For many systems there are utility and manufacturer rebates that can reduce your initial investment.

We hope you found this article helpful. Don’t hesitate to contact our team at 317.243.3581 with any questions you may have.

 

New Years Resolutions for your Home.(Part 1 of 2)

With a new year comes New Years Resolutions.  While health goals top many lists don’t forget to set some goals for your home.  It is probably your largest financial investment anyway, so protect it.  We’ve included 3 major areas and will divide them into a two series blog.  Below we cover many plumbing and heating maintenance tips that go unnoticed.   Later this month we will add part 2 sharing many cost saving and energy efficient goals for your home as well as increasing your homes safety.

Monthly:

  • HVAC filters should be checked.  Filters 1” or less should be changed.  Depending on conditions, in your home, the larger media filters may last 3-6 months.  Did you know burning candles can plug your filter in just a week?
  • Every home owner should know where to find the main water shut off, water meter pit (if on city water) and natural gas shut offs.

Quarterly:

  • Test smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries.  Carbon monoxide detectors should be located where the family sleeps.
  • Clean all shower heads. (Simply tie a bag of vinegar and let sit, when removed, lightly scrub with small brush or an old toothbrush.)
  • Check your plumbing shut off valves so that they open and close properly.

Seasonally:

Winter – 

  • Prevent your pipes from bursting by leaving a slow drip (of warm water), when temperatures outside are freezing, and open your cabinet doors.
  • Make sure your humidifier is working. An HVAC tech can test the humidity in your home.

Spring –

  • Check for plumbing leaks inside and out.  A slow trickle can increase your water bill.  You can also turn off the water and look at your meter.   If you see activity then call a plumber.
  • Your humidifier should be off.
  • Prepare your AC system by scheduling a service/maintenance.
  • When you use your outside faucet for the first time in spring, carefully check inside your home to verify it did not freeze and burst over the winter.
  • Test your sump pump, make sure there is nothing in the pit. Dump water in the pit and verify the pump clears the pit.

Fall- 

  • Unhook your hoses outside to prevent freezing.
  • Test your sump pump.
  • Schedule maintenance on your furnace.

Upgrades to consider.

  • Consider a home water softening system.  Your hair and skin will appreciate it.  Also, sediment build up on your fixtures and in your toilets and water heater will be greatly reduced.
  • Just changing the kitchen sink and faucet can make the entire kitchen look new.
  • Contact a home comfort expert to compare the energy costs of your current heating system to a new energy efficient system.  For many systems there are tax credits and utility rebates that can reduce your initial investment.
  • A whole home humidifier greatly reduces static and improves comfort.  Besides the benefits to your family did you know a whole house humidifier extends the life of your wood furniture?

We hope you found this article helpful. Share your comments on any other tips you include in your home maintenance.  Stay tuned for part two later this month on home safety and money saving tips for your home.

Happy New Year!