Fair this year, the place to beat the heat was at the QMIX-Reliable Comfort Cool Zone!
It was THE place to be during the fair, especially with the extraordinary heat wave during fair week.
The idea had been kicked around for several years between Reliable Comfort and QMIX. Fortunately, this year all the elements came together. The basic idea was to be the “coolest place at the fair.” Of course, it worked out better than they imagined! The buzz was all about the air conditioned oasis. While the temperature outside was between 90 to 110 degrees, inside the Cool Zone it averaged a refreshing 75 degrees.
Michelle Hardcastle, QMIX Sales Manager, said that they wanted to work with a handful of partners at the fair to have a unique, multi-company booth. Since it usually is hot during fair week, having a fun and new way to draw fair goers to the exhibit would be an exciting experiment. The idea to build the Cool Zone took form. Planning took weeks prior to the fair to work out and construct.
The Cool Zone was a 500 square foot tent built inside Building 3. The tent had to be enclosed to keep the ambient temperature cooler than the rest of the building, yet allow for people to walk in and out of the booth without obstruction. Reliable Comfort worked with the tent vendor to construct the booth and get the circulation from the two A/C units used just right for the anticipated traffic through the exhibit.
Aaron Ruddick from Reliable Comfort said, “We have cooled other atypical structures before, so the Cool Zone wasn’t so unusual for us. We have installed air conditioning units for outdoor event tents, horse barns,chicken coops, and dog kennels among others. The equipment used for the Cool Zone was no different than you might find in your home. The challenge was to cool only a portion of the building.”
Aaron went on to say “QMIX is a great partner for the fair. With the other partners they enlisted, the Cool Zone wasn’t just an air conditioned tent; it was truly an oasis with flowers, prizes and a really fun place to spend the week!” Reliable Comfort appreciates their relationship with radio station, and the terrific staff they worked with throughout the year. QMIX staff did everything they could to make sure all the fair partners had whatthey needed for a successful week.
Michelle returned the compliment. “Reliable Comfort did an awesome job with the tent and keeping us cool. This was the first year for the Cool Zone and the response was outstanding!”
Look for the Cool Zone next year -- planning has already begun and it looks like this hot ticket will be bigger and cooler than this year!
Story written by Joyce Lucke.
With the rising temperatures of Indiana (and rising energy costs associated with these temperatures), many homeowners consider the efficiency of their residential HVAC unit. Every unit has a rating defined by the total cooling provided by the unit, or BTU, divided by the total energy used to maintain the temperature over a period of time. This rating is known as its “seasonal energy efficiency ratio” or SEER.
The efficiency of a central air conditioning unit is regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy, and minimum standards moved from 10 SEER to 13 SEER during the Clinton Administration. By 2030, it is estimated that consumers will have saved approximately $186 billion from this standard. In 2006, SEER units under a 13 SEER rating were not allowed to be manufactured or installed. It is safe to say that efficiency standards will continue to grow as old units are replaced by new technology and innovation. Replacing the standard 13 SEER residential HVAC unit with a 21 SEER efficiency unit can save thousands.
Features of 14-16 SEER Units
R-410A Refrigerant vs. R-22
Many air conditioners have a 14-16 SEER and operate on a R-410A refrigerant rather than R-22, the coolant used for years on the standard 13SEER units. The R-410A refrigerant is safer for the environment, and the EPA mandated that all new models manufactured must use R-410A refrigerant by 2010.
Many of these units also feature easy to clean coils which is important to maintain the life span of your air condition and to increase efficiency. These air conditioners usually feature higher quality materials and are better engineered, which increases the life span of residential HVAC units.
Features of 17-21 SEER Units
On one of the biggest features that makes 17-21 SEER rated units so efficient is their use of a two-stage cooling. Many single stage units provide one cold temperature. This causes more temperature extremes and demands that the units have frequent stops and starts that increases energy usage. In high efficiency units, there are either two speed compressors or actually two compressors in the unit that operate on two levels in a two-stage cooling system.
The lower speed is utilized to maintain a temperature, while the faster speed is only used for extreme spikes in temperature. This creates an even and consistent distribution of air throughout the home, keeping a steady temperature as needed.
Two-stage cooling systems also dramatically decreases the amount of humidity. This is important because a higher humidity means a better chance for pollutants and mold in the system and ductwork. Also the lowerhumidity makes the air feel so much more comfortable. Because of the even distribution of two-stage cooling, many high efficiency units are remarkably quieter than standard units.
Many homeowners see a high SEER rated system as costly, even though prices continue to drop, but the truth is that a residential HVAC system, when properly maintained, can last up to 20 years. With this in mind, the difference between a 13 SEER unit and a 21 SEER unit can be a few hundred dollars in annual savings. Not to mention that the lower humidity and lower speed of atwo-stage cooling system can mean less maintenance. All in all, this can save a homeowner thousands of dollars over years and be a smart investment.
Invariably, when your air conditioning unit decides to go on the fritz, it will be on the hottest day. Before you call a residential HVAC contractor, there are a few things you can do to help you troubleshoot your system. While there are several issues that only a professional can fix, in many cases, it may just be a simple problem that's causing the malfunction, particularly if your system is newer and has not had any issues in the past.
1. Make sure the unit is turned on. Set your thermostat up high, and then turn it well below the current room temperature. Listen for the system to turn off. If it does not, there are two possibilities -- the breakers or fuses have blown, or the thermostat may not be functioning properly.
2. Check the breakers or fuses for the air conditioning unit. For a breaker box, open the panel up and check to see if any of the breakers have tripped to the "off" position. Move these back to the "on" position, and have someone else click the thermostat. If the breaker throws again while you're standing there, there may be an electrical issue with the air conditioner. If you have fuses, these will typically be located in a fuse box outside, next to the unit. Turn the fuse switch to the off position and examine the fuses. If any appear burned, or if they make a noise when you shake them, replace the fuses. Turn the switch back to the on position and then click the thermostat.
3. Check the air flow to the system. Blocked air flow is a common reason why air conditioners suddenly quit working. Go outside and check around the unit. If there are weeds or grass around it, trim these away and try the unit again.
4. Examine the unit for any visible signs of problems. If all of the above steps have failed and your unit still will not function, look for issues such as ice build-up on the indoor coil, leaking water from the unit, or oil that has spilled from the unit's casing. These are signs that you will need to contact a residential HVAC professional.
After you go through these troubleshooting steps, you'll need to find a residential HVAC contractor in your area.) Check the name on your system before you begin calling. (NO,NO,NO!!!) For a great way to find a service company check out our other blog ( Characteristics of High Quality HVAC Service Techs) While a general HVAC company can typically solve any issues you're experiencing, if your system is still under warranty, you definitely want to pick the right company so that you don't void your warranty.
Check with online review services, such as Angie's List, to get an idea of the ratings for the residential HVAC companies in your area. You can also check with the better business bureau, or ask your friends in the neighborhood who they have worked with in the past. In larger areas, you can also use your phone's Google map or places app to get reviews of local companies. These can be very useful in narrowing your search.
Keep in mind that on severely hot days or stretches where the weather is very hot, you may not be able to get a service tech out to your location immediately. If you or someone in the home has health issues that could be worsened by high temperatures, let the residential HVAC company know -- they'll make an extra effort to get you taken care of.
In case you missed that, that was a parody from a song several years back. That does raise a valid question. What is a furnace/ air conditioner filter good for?
A filter can provide 3 basic functions, but only if the proper one is chosen.
Keep system clean
The primary function of a filter is to keep the components inside the system clean. This is what the basic filters are designed for; as the air travels the ductwork and arrives at the furnace the filter will trap all large debris and particles from the air. The result is air that is cleaner passing through the furnace to be delivered back to the home.
Although no furnace filter is designed specifically to dust your house, a better quality filter will trap more and smaller particles and reduce the amount of particles delivered back to your ductwork and home. One common misunderstood point is that only a small amount of the “dust” in your home will actually make its way into the ductwork to even cross the filter. It would be nice, but any filtration system will only provide minimal help with dust.
A high quality filtration system can go along way to help reduce allergy issues. There are several type that can help, the best ones out there use heap filtration. This can provide significant relief. There are also electronic filter that provide good relief. Then the high end cartridge filters that help with minor allergies. These can be fitted into your existing system with only minor changes.
As you can see, filters can provide many solutions to your home. However if you try to accomplish a specific task with the wrong filter it will lead to frustration and wasted money. Pick your contractor carefully and be sure the are confident and educated on each type filter and how they might help you.
Like most other appliances and equipment inside a home, home heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems must be periodically replaced. This is just a natural fact. Of course, the air conditioner and furnace, although generally run through the same vents, are two separate entities and must be purchased, or replaced separately. Due to this, when someone is considering a new air conditioner, they may wonder if they should purchase a new furnace along with it. Well, it isn't typically as simply as just saying yes or no, as a residential HVAC may not need an upgrade for both systems at the same time.
The main factor anyone considering a new furnace along with the air conditioner must take int account is the overall age of the two appliances. If the house is on the newer side, chances are both the air conditioner and the furnace were both installed at the same time. This means, theoretically, both systems are going to wear down in roughly the same amount of time, possibly give or take a year or two. However, if the house has had multiple owners in previous years, the air conditioner may actually be several years older than the furnace. When replacing both systems, it makes sense to do so if both are roughly the same age. However, if the furnace is five years or more newer than the air conditioner, it still has plenty of life in it, making it rather pointless to install a new air furnace at the given time. New furnaces and air conditioners are now Energy Star efficient, so less electricity and gas are used to run the equipment, but the cost of a new furnace far surpass possible savings when there is still life left in the equipment. So, if the furnace is considerably newer than the AC, only installing a new AC into the residential HVAC is the most logical and cost effective option.
If the furnace isn't running ragged, despite being the same age as the AC unit, a valuable option is to bring in a home HVAC inspector to see if the furnace is serviceable for an extended period of time. These professionals are able to make recommendations as to if a new furnace is necessary, or if the current equipment is able to function further into the future.
A rather large upside to installing both a new AC and furnace into a residential HVAC system is a cost reduction. Most service provides reduce the total equipment and installation cost when both devices are installed at the same time. This way, the warranty for the two devices runs out the same time, the equipment both is able to run energy efficient, not to mention a home owner doesn't have to worry about having their utility space or basement under minor construction at two different points in time. This by far is the more convenient method to go about improving the heating and cooling of the house.
Often times this just comes down to a personal preference. If a home owner believes they will be staying in the house for an extended period of time and the furnace does not need replacing, than installing just the AC unit is cost effective and corrects any current problem in the residential HVAC system. However, if the home owner is considering selling the house, upgrading and installing a new furnace, along with the AC, looks good to possible interested house shoppers, not to mention the new equipment improves the overall value of the house, making it easier to sell the house for a desired price.
All homeowners have heard at one time or another that they need to clean their residential HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) ducts. But why? There are two primarybenefits to cleaning a house’s HVAC system: the removal of health risks, and energy conservation.
Indoor Air Pollution
Most people wrongly assume that they are more exposed to air pollution while outdoors than when indoors. But (barring disaster conditions outside), indoor air pollution is far more detrimental to health. One of the main reasons for this is that on average, Americans spend at least 80% of their lives indoors. (For many, that number is 90% or more.) So indoor air conditions deserve much more of our concern than the air quality outside.
Indoor Air Contaminants
Dust and biological contaminants naturally build up over time in HVAC ducts. This buildup leads to poor ventilation. As a result, biological contaminants such as mold, pollen, and bacteria are deposited into air ducts. Allergies that are thought to have outdoor sources are often actually caused indoors, by dirty residential HVAC systems. Chemical contaminants, such as carbon monoxide and harmful particulates released into the air from toxic cleaning products, cause indoor air pollution and Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).
Individuals who live and/or work in "sick" buildings often exhibit symptoms of SBS, including much higher incidence of illness than is found in populations who work and/or live in healthy buildings. Symptoms felt immediately upon entering a house with SBS include: fatigue, headache, migraine, asthma, (irritated) red eyes, and sore throat. SBS most often causes allergic reactions such as coughing, sneezing, and wheezing.
Most people who experience symptoms of SBS find that their pain or fatigue is relieved simply by leaving the building. However, there are long-term health damages from SBS that often go undetected, mostly due to lingering neurotoxins (substances harmful to the nervous system) inhaled in "sick" buildings.
Those most at risk for these dangerous effects on their health include: children, pets, asthmatics, the elderly, and unborn babies (via polluted air inhaled by their pregnant mothers). Cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are much worsened by the dust and contaminating particles inhaled from residential HVAC systems.
Adding an immediate risk to everyone living in these buildings are accumulated oils, ash, lint and other flammable materials. And not only are the effects felt almost immediately as short-term consequences of exposure; long-term health problems can also be caused by indoor air pollution.
Short-term health effects:
- irritation of the eyes, nose and throat
- upper respiratory infections
Long-term health effects
- respiratory disease
- lung cancer
- cardiovascular disease
- nervous system damage
- premature death
Higher energy costs due to dirty residential HVAC
The effects of indoor pollution can be very expensive in terms of work productivity and healthcare costs. But residential HVAC systems also cause needless spending on energy bills. HVAC ducts are simply more expensive to run when dirty. Dirty ducts slow air circulation, making the entire HVAC system work harder.
This waste of energy has been estimated to raise monthly energy bills as much as 20%. Additionally, debris collected in the ducts can cause damage to, and even failure of, a household's HVAC. Repair or replacement costs are very substantial.These monetary savings, added to the health benefits of maintenance and cleaning, make the case clear that HVAC ducts do need to be cleaned.
After learning about the risks and costs of dirty residential HVAC units, many homeowners ask themselves: "When was the last time I had my ducts professionally cleaned?" For health and safety, it is recommended that residential HVAC ducts are cleaned every 3-5 years. Call a professional duct cleaning service today- it will give you instant peace of mind.
When your residential HVAC is on the fritz, you might feel tempted to choose the first company you find in the phone book. This technique, however, can end up costing you time, money and the health of your HVAC unit. Interview your top service tech candidates and look for characteristics that make them worthy of caring for your home.
Characteristics to Look for in an HVAC Service Tech
- NATE certification: Offered by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE), the NATE certification program is the only one of its kind that’s operated, owned, developed and governed by the HVACR industry. When a residential HVAC tech holds a NATE certification, you can have confidence that this individual is highly experience, well trained and knowledgeable in his or her field.
- Appearance: When it comes to establishing trust and making a good first impression, looks matter. A quality HVAC service tech should have a clean uniform or work clothes that are appropriate for the job.
- Grooming: Good grooming can be a reflection of an individual’s attention to detail. If a service tech doesn't care enough about his or her own personal grooming, there may be a chance that this individual will not care about the minor yet important details related to your residential HVAC unit.
- Boot covers: When a quality residential HVAC service tech is customer-focused, this individual treats a customer’s home as if it were his or her own. This means that a quality service pro takes the necessary steps to help minimize the work you need to do, like clean your home. Boot covers are a sign that an HVAC tech respects you and your home.
- Timeliness: A quality service tech arrives to an initial consultation on time and has a reputation for his or her timeliness. When shopping around for an HVAC service provider, learn about each company’s history of showing up to a job on time, time management skills and completing a project within the estimated amount of time originally quoted.
- Prepared: Forgetting tools or equipment is a bad sign in a residential HVAC service tech. A quality contractor evaluates your needs so he or she can fully prepare to focus on your home because this individual doesn't like to waste time.
- Cleanup: Quality service techs know that homeowners hate picking up after contractors. A good contractor leaves the area he or she worked on in the same, if not better, condition than how it was found. Thorough cleanup after completing a day of work is a sign of professional integrity and respect for the customer.
- Eye contact: Communication skills are essential for any individual that you invite into your home. Eye contact and other good communication skills are signs that a service tech is confident in his or her skills, wants to understand your needs, wants you to understand the solution and values your business.
- Longevity: Consider the length of time a residential HVAC service tech has been in the business. A tech who has been in business for several years with the same company should be able to provide you with solid references and trusted, experienced workers help you address your home’s needs. Longevity is also an indication of the company and how it treats its people. Longevity provides confidence in a company’s fairness to its people and community, which means you can trust them.
- Vehicle cleanliness: A vehicle’s appearance is just as important as a service tech’s personal appearance. A clean vehicle is a sign of company pride, organizational skills and commitment to continually impressing customers.
Looking for the best residential HVAC service tech isn't just about finding a company that will simply give you a good deal. It's worth your while to find an individual who will give you the quality, professional work that you deserve without taking advantage of your trust. Anything else could result in you not receiving the quality work that is needed or that you hard earned money is paying for.
Unfortunately, almost anyone can call themselves a “contractor.” Hand-outs, fliers, internet ads and other informal media often offer HVAC services performed by an individual who turns out to be a contractor in name only. Homeowners in central Indiana should apply due diligence and strict standards when selecting a residential HVAC contractor to install or work on heating/cooling equipment. These are complex systems and more than your household comfort depends upon proper operation—your family’s health and safety does, too. While the state of Indiana doesn’t require licensing of contractors providing residential HVAC service, local regulations may apply in some towns and counties.
Residents should check with local authorities to determine what if any official requirements affect their locale. Here are a few other considerations to keep in mind when choosing an HVAC contractor
Ask the contractor to provide three nearby references and call each one to verify the contractor’s work record, competence and customer satisfaction. Also contact the local Better Business Bureau to see if there is a history of complaints against a specific residential HVAC company.
Ask whether the contractor’s technicians are NATE-certified. The non-profit North American Training Excellence (NATE) program provides extensive testing and certification of HVAC technicians. NATE certification indicates that the contractor is an established professional who hires trained, front-line service personnel
Expect a written contract and if one isn't offered consider it a negative sign. Read the contract. Make sure it includes an accurate description of the work and specifies a deadline for completion. Down payments and other financial arrangements should also be clearly spelled out. See if the contract grants the homeowner a 3-day right to cancel the contract. The contract should also state that any changes to the contract be made in writing and signed off by both parties.
Be skeptical of any residential HVAC contractor requiring an unusually large down payment. Generally speaking, you should never agree to a down payment of more than 10 percent of the total cost of the project or $1,000, whichever is less.
Indiana requires contractors to provide formal notice explaining the homeowner’s potential exposure to liens on their property by subcontractors, workers or suppliers on projects that add value to a property, such as a residential HVAC installation and replacement. This is more commonly known as a “mechanic’s lien” and any reputable experienced contractor will supply this information. Read the information and note ways that you can protect yourself should the contractor default on payment to the other parties.
Price alone is a risky criteria for selecting an HVAC contractor. Low upfront prices often end up costing you more in the long term. The cheapest HVAC contractor rarely provides the highest-quality system, nor invests the time to make sure it's correctly sized and professionally installed, tested and balanced. Turnover in cut-rate HVAC contractors is high: Can you be certain the outfit installing your A/C system today will be around to make an emergency service call if it fails during a heat wave next August?
An established, locally-owned company with a track record of customer satisfaction, NATE certification and authorized name-brand sales and service is your best assurance of comfort level and consumer satisfaction.
Membership has its privileges and more often than not a member receives more discounts than he or she realizes. The Columbus Indiana Comfort Club is a key example of this. By offering a generous membership package that covers the heating and cooling needs of customers, it meets its goal. But by offering bonus benefits from local merchants it becomes a deal that is simply too good to pass up.
Reliable Comfort offers three distinct levels of membership to customers. These levels are: Value, Comfort and Freedom. Each level offers various prices and discounts on select services. Each level also comes with additional services that can be purchased at a heavily discounted price. Though each level does vary in pricing there are features/services that come standard. Some of these are: 24 hour emergency service, inflation protection, priority service and never an overtime charge. These are by far not the only basic provisions offered to Club members.
Heating and cooling needs are fairly standard. A household simply cannot function without adequate heating and cooling. Any homeowner with an HVAC system knows that equipment breaks down over time and needs repair. A membership in the Comfort Club helps ensure that repairs are discounted. It ensures reliable service across the board. It places faith by knowing that the job is going to be fixed in a timely manner and be cost effective. Club members do not have to search the yellow pages or Google to find reviews for a repair company. They have access at their fingertips.
On top of the Club coverage at the varying levels, Reliable Comfort offers benefits from local merchants. The list of benefits from area merchants spans marshmallows, pizza and even printing services. So what does this do for the local merchants, Reliable Comfort and potential members? It shows community spirit and a dedication to service. It shows loyalty to the customer. That is important in this economy. Customers have many options and many want additional perks if they are going to buy a membership to anything.
The addition of the bonus savings from local merchants is the proverbial icing on the cake. Club members get an incredible amount of savings on services for their HVAC systems and they also get discounts at merchants for everyday items. That is a winning combination for all parties involved. Comfort Club members can now save money on costly repairs and maintenance and also get discounts and even free items from local merchants in Columbus.
Are you a savvy homeowner that knows what geothermal heating is? If not, don’t worry. Many homeowners do not understand the benefits of using a geothermal system to heat their home. Today, we will provide a better understanding of what geothermal is and how it can provide extremely reasonable utility bills for your home.
Geothermal heating and cooling is a process of heating and cooling a structure by using water as a medium. Most geothermal systems consist of a heat pump that uses water to gather heat in the winter and reject heat during the summer. This is accomplished by a refrigeration circuit similar to any other air conditioner or heat pump.
The simple refrigeration circuit is in the geothermal equipment, which is located inside your home, while the water is in a “loop” buried in the ground in your yard. The pipes which create the “loop” will take the water from your house, and run it under the ground where it can extract or deposit it’s heat into the earth. The process works extremely well since the earth is a constant temperature five feet below the surface.
The geothermal principal is based on the fact that water transfers heat better than air. This provides a more consistent performance during winter, and the water stays much warmer at a temperature of anywhere between thirty and fifty degrees, as opposed to the typical heat pump, which operates at a temperature between zero and twenty-five degrees. This allows for a much better production of heat by your heat pump. Plus, you have the added benefit of the geothermal system because it never has to defrost itself like a typical heat pump, therefore saving you money!
You may still have many unanswered questions about geothermal heating and cooling, so check out our pages for more information!