Staying Safe and Looking to the Future
As I write this, the decimating effects of the coronavirus are coming into full view. None of us are escaping unscathed. My deepest hope is that you are well, and have not lost someone close to you.
By the time you read this, I have no idea if we will still be in lockdown mode, or if the coast will be clear. I’m sure you can appreciate the challenges this creates for a business like, which that takes care of people in their homes. Early on, we decided that our priority was the safety of our people and customers.
I couldn’t be more proud of our team, and the commitment they’ve shown our customers and community. They have been fantastic about adopting strict precautions when entering customers’ homes. They are working from home, and being exceptionally responsive. I am likewise thankful for the appreciation our customers have shown them, and the precautions you have taken to keep both them and yourselves safe.
The fact of the matter is that when we are spending so much more time at home, the cracks begin to show. Heating, plumbing and A/C systems that run more than usual during the day hit a tipping point of breakdown. Or you start noticing things that are increasingly annoying, like an old water heater that starts running out of hot water.
If there’s something you want to explore, call us. If the time is not quite right to have us come in, we can get you on the schedule for when it’s OK again. We do expect a surge in pent-up demand, especially around A/C issues. If you are thinking about a new system, definitely reach out to us now to get on the list.
Of course, all of this is extremely fluid. I wish you and your family the best, and look forward to brighter days.
Free Tank Monitor — for a Limited Time
We have a limited number of tank monitors we have purchased for our customers. If you’d like one at no charge, call us to schedule a 15-minute installation appointment. (We have already installed more than 900 of these reliable monitors.)
A tank monitor is ideal for all customers — especially those who have less predictable fuel usage because they have vacation homes or ancillary heat sources.
The Gremlin tank monitor attaches to your tank, sending readings to our office over your Wi‑Fi connection. You can also download an app that shows your tank level, the fuel you’ve been using and your next approximate delivery date.
For this to work, you must have a basement tank. We have time to install these now on a first-come, first-served basis. So please contact us if you’d like to add an extra level of confidence to your home comfort.
Smart thermostats like the Ecobee let you manage heating and cooling remotely from your smartphone. They will even send you low-temperature alerts, which customers with vacation homes really appreciate.
Unlike a typical thermostat, which monitors the temperature in a single location, the Ecobee uses multiple sensors throughout your home to monitor the temperature in every room. The Ecobee can be used with an Apple HomeKit, which integrates all the smart systems in your home — temperature, lights, even locks — giving you total control.
Call us or contact us through our website to learn more.
10 Signs Your A/C System Needs Service
If you never got around to scheduling your annual cooling tune-up, you may experience various problems. From feeling, seeing, hearing and even smelling, here are 10 signs that let you know you should schedule a service call with us.
- The A/C unit is on but blowing warm air. This usually means that your A/C is low on refrigerant or having a problem with its compressor.
- The airflow is weak. This often indicates that the compressor is failing or that you have a duct leak. Either way, it means less comfort and higher bills for you.
- Your electric bills increase. Higher than average bills can result from problems ranging from duct leaks to a faulty thermostat – and everything in between.
- Your air conditioner is “short cycling.” If your air conditioner runs for short lengths of time and then shuts off before completing a full cooling cycle, it’s working harder than it should. There may be problems with the electrical system, the refrigerant may be low or the air filter may be clogged.
- Your home is cool but too humid. The main cause is usually an oversized air conditioner. A system that is too big and powerful for your home operates fast enough to cool your home, but not long enough to draw out the humid air.
- You hear strange sounds. Unusual sounds – including grinding, scraping and squealing – usually indicate that there is a worn or loose part somewhere. Serious air conditioning repairs are on the horizon if you ignore this problem.
- You notice unusual smells. An electrical smell often means that wire insulation has burned out somewhere in your A/C system. If you detect a musty smell, you may have moldy ductwork.
- Water or refrigerant is leaking. Liquid around your A/C unit could indicate a serious problem – a refrigerant leak, for example, or a clogged condensate drain that causes water to back up in your home.
- You need frequent repairs. If you’ve been calling for A/C repairs the last few years, it’s probably high time for an A/C upgrade. This is recommended if you have an A/C system that uses old R-22 refrigerant, which is not being manufactured anymore. Replacing R-22 refrigerant that has leaked out of your system is a very expensive repair.
- Your A/C system is past retirement age. Today’s air conditioners typically last 12 to 15 years. Towards the end of its life cycle, your air conditioner will start to drop in efficiency, especially if it has not been properly maintained. By investing in a new, high efficiency HVAC system, you will ultimately save enough to offset the cost of your equipment.
Are you seeing any of these signs with your home air conditioner? Contact us today to schedule A/C service. And don’t worry: If your A/C breaks down in the midst of a long, hot summer day and you’re an air conditioning service plan customer, you will receive priority emergency service, along with savings on repairs.
Quick Tips to Save Energy and Money
These five tips will help you keep your cool and save money too.
- Raise the temperature when A/C is not needed. If you’re away from home for at least eight hours or asleep for the night, program your thermostat for a higher temperature. However, there is no need to raise the setting if you go out for a short while; this wastes money. If you have a smart thermostat, you can change the setting remotely anytime you want from your smart phone.
- Maintain your A/C. The efficiency of your air conditioner could drop 5% or more in a single season if it’s not properly maintained. Stay on top of routine annual maintenance by enrolling in a service plan. You should also check the condition of your air filters on a regular basis.
- Clear obstructions. Don’t cool your chair – cool the air! Rearrange your furniture to make sure it doesn’t block your A/C vents.
- Cool in moderation. Keeping your air conditioner around 78°F is a good starting point to balance performance and comfort.
- Use ceiling fans. Air that keeps circulating in your home feels cooler — kind of like a summer breeze. In the summer, fan blades should turn counter-clockwise (as you look up at them). This pushes cool air down.
Ask the Expert
Q: How do I reset the Wi-Fi on a smart thermostat or the Gremlin monitor?
A: Older smart thermostats have a reset button; newer models require you to access a menu to reset. To reset the Gremlin, the small battery on the unit needs to be removed and then placed back in.
Q: Why do I need to reset my router?
A: The router needs to be reset so that it will be able to communicate with other devices again.
Q: How do I reset the router?
A: You simply unplug the router and then plug it back in.
Joel Kollar, service technician, discusses ways we can help you get your Wi-Fi-controlled, fuel-related devices back online.
3 Tips to Improving Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
- Maintain equipment properly. This is easy to do, especially if you’re enrolled in our service plan.
- Add IAQ systems. Consider adding an air cleaner, purifier, ventilator or humidifier.
- Buy natural, organic cleaning and construction products. Skip the toxic chemicals. Choose paint with low levels of volatile organic compounds (low-VOC paint) and other healthier materials for remodeling and home-improvement projects!
Our New WI-FI Tech Package
For a nominal cost, sign up for our Wi-Fi Tech Package. It covers the price of a service call and labor to diagnose and fix any problems associated with a Wi-Fi-enabled, fuel-related device (replacement not included). In most cases, the problem is with the Wi-Fi connection, which we can check and reset for you.
Included in this coverage is the Gremlin tank monitor, which we will install for free if you’re covered by the program. We’ll also pick up the cost of the monthly tank monitoring fee.
The Wi-Fi Tech Package covers the labor costs of resetting of smart thermostats like the Ecobee, Nest or Lyric, as well as resetting the LeakBreaker device for your water heater.
Prevent Water Damage
Your water heater could fail at any moment. When it does, the incoming water supply could flood your home before you become aware of the problem. LeakBreaker®, the latest Wi-Fi-controlled product in our lineup, protects your home and property by turning off the incoming water supply to the leaking water heater, thereby limiting the damage.
LeakBreaker includes a wallmounted control unit, which attaches to the water shut-off valve, and a water sensor that is placed on the floor. LeakBreaker provides status alerts, via email or text to your mobile phone, whenever a change occurs. The device can be installed on any style of water heater.
the cost of failure
- cleanup and repair costs: $2,000 to $10,000+
- lost or damaged personal items (photos, furniture, etc.)
- mold growth after 12 to 48 hours
- inconvenience, stress and waste of valuable time