Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Heat pump qualification.

I have many customers ask me about their heat pumps. The questions often come from a lack of understanding of how they work. I am going to go through what may seem to be an oversimplified explaination of how a heat pump works. So here goes. The first thing that happens is there is a call for heat which means that the temperature has dropped to the point that the thermostat is "calling" for the heat to come on. This is what is called a first stage call for heat. At this point, depending upon the outside temperature the outdoor unit comes on in reverse of the air conditioner to bring the heat from the outside into the space. Now this is where the problem happens. Often a heat pump has no control on it to turn it off when it is too cold outside and the customer feels the "cold" air blowing on them. The air is not necessarily cold but is not very warm so it is referred to as cold. Because often there is nothing to stop the outdoor system from trying to heat even when there is not enough heat to be practical, the customer has to wait until the thermostat temperature falls 1 degree and at this point the backup heat is staged in. This is called a second stage call for heat. Depending upon the type of system you have the backup heat can be electric or gas. When this call happens, this is when the real heat begins to pour out of the register. Now for those of you who have no mechanism to shut off the heat pump when it gets too cold outside (That is a majority of people from what I have seen but not if you're one of my customers), you have a choice. At about 20 degrees outside, the heat pump is close to what is called it's balance point which simply means that it is using more energy to make heat than it is giving you. At that temperature and below you could simply go over to your themostat and turn it to emergency heat. There is a button on the thermostat that says exactly that. Just don't forget to turn it back to heat when the temperature gets above 20 degrees. Or you could have a professional come and install a new thermostat that can do that automatically. This is the way I now make all my systems operate. For those of you that are colder natured and have electric backup heat, we can also stage your backup heat in which simply means that at say 30 degrees we run not just the heat pump but one stage of electric heat to make the temperature warmer. Mind you this will cost you more to operate but it will make it run warmer. Just a note, when the electric backup heat comes on is when the meter really starts to spin so if you don't have to run that much, you will have a lower electric bill.
Now for those of you who have a hybrid which simply means that you have a gas furnace as your backup heat source, your system is a bit different in that you cannot stage this system on with the heat pump. These two systems never operate at the same time. Either the heat pump is on or the backup furnace is on. But you can and often will have a two stage gas furnace as your backup system. This means that the furnace does not come on at full at first. Most of the two stage furnaces come on at about 80% for first stage and then 100% at second. For us in Indiana, there are many days in the spring and fall that a heat pump is practical but in the winter, You will be using a lot of backup heat source. A hybrid system does qualify for the tax credit. If you have questions or would like to have an evaluation of your system for free, just give us a call.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pumping systems that keep up with the times.

"Environment One" is one of the most progressive companies that keep up with the pumping needs of this era. In fact they have been doing so for more years than most other pump companies out there. They have both their own fully packaged pumping stations complete with control panel. But they also offer an aftermarket grinder pump. You may be asking what that is. This is a pump that will replace your old centrifugal style grinder pump. This is the ones with the float switches in the pit. All of the junk that is in the pit comes out and a single pump simply sets down into your current pit. This simplifies the station and it comes as a complete package. One of the best things about Environment One is that they come with a two year warranty. Most all other pump companies only allow a limited one year warranty. The difference is that Environment One will pay me to come out and fix your pump and send me the parts free of charge. Try to get that from another pump company. My company has been servicing Envirnment One pumps for over 22 years. I like to think that we are the experts in working on Environment One Grinder Pumps. I would never tell you that their product is flawless, but of all of the grinder pump companies that have entered the market in the last few years its good to know that you are dealing with a pump company that has been doing it for many years. That is Environment One. Of course if you own a grinder pump that is operating in sewage everyday, you have to expect some degree of service being needed. This is where we come in. We are your local experts.

"Give us a chance to prove to you our excellent service"

McConnell Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning.

Why Home Warranties Make Sense!

Let me be the first to say that I have always hated extended warranties. But since I have been involved with a home warranty company, I have changed my mind. This is not just a prejudice developed by my cooperation with the warranty company. I have personally seen people have several items go bad and need replaced and the total bill of all of the replaced items including the labor out weighed the annual warranty premium. Of course, with all insurance plans there are risks and you take the gamble. One thing to remember, find a company that is very highly rated and has good reviews. There are some companies that I will not even work with. Some of the companies have so many loop holes in the contract that they can find a way not to pay the claim.
My experience with First American Home Warranty has been overall very positive both for me and my customers. I want a company that is treating my customers well and paying me without too much hassle. This is what I have found them to do. I'm sure there are those who have gripes and complaints with First American, but overall I would give them a favorable score. One of the down sides of using a warranty company is that you have very little control over what they use to replace items with. As you would expect they are going to use the least expensive items. In some cases, this is okay but when it comes to heating and cooling equipment, I hate to take out a first class piece of equipment and install a third class piece. This is what happens as part of the home warranty experience. First American will allow the homeowner the option of taking a buyout. This just means they assign a figure to what it would cost them to replace the equipment and you can make up the difference for better equipment. It is still a great deal of help compared to nothing. This way you get what you want. Many people do not know that this option is available to them. So the next time you have to deal with you home warranty company, keep in mind that there are options. You don't have to just take what is being offered. Ask the service provider about the possibilty of taking a buyout.

For more information or questions. Visit my website above. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why switch to the new "R-410A" refrigerant?

Many times we are asked to buy something that is a new product because "It is good for our environment" This always begs the question, is it really or are we just being told this for other reasons? Maybe I'm the only one that thinks this way, but I think that there are many more of you out there that thinks the same things. Well, this is one of those times when we are asked to think of the environment and suck it up. But the interesting fact is that the "R-22" refrigerant that we are letting be phased out has a greater ozone depletion potential than the "R-410A" but the "R-410A" has a greater carbon dioxide polution potential. Its funny how the unintended consequences of our many government laws cause use to wonder who is making these senseless rules that cost so much money to implement and for what purpose? Just my rambling thoughts.
On a side note, the R410A systems also run at much higher temperatures and pressures potentionally causing shorter life spans as compared with the old systems. Who am I to question these wizards that throw down the regulations. I guess I'm just some guy that is supposed to do what I am told. Oh well I guess I will have to conform. Finally to answer the question, why switch because its the only choice you now have and it works.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Where did all the business go?

I have heard from many others that this economy has sucked the life out of small business. I am here to testify that this is what I have found to be true right now. But if we as small businesses are to survive we must continue to fight and cut our expenses and increase our productivity so that what we offer is the best product and/or service for the customer's money. I think that is really what we have always tried to do, but now it is critical that we do just that. My hope is that when we see the economy turning around we will be able to thrive because we will have a lean mean business machine. My customers have depended on my company for many years and I want them to be able to continue to depend on us for years into the future. I am not willing to roll over and play dead. Now is the time to fight for life. The lazy part of me wants to say, oh well I tried, but the other parts of me say, I'm not about to give up on so much hard work. If I am preaching to the choir just let me look like a fool here. I have the feeling, though, that there are many people out there who share my concerns as well as my hopes for the future. If you are a small businessman and are reading this, drop me a note and let me know your thoughts. For those of you who were hoping for mechanical solution, I am sorry but I took this opportunity to rant. Now that this is out of the way maybe I can clear my head and get back to writing about mechanical solutions. Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Way more incentives available right now.

This is definitely the time to think about your heating and cooling systems. There are sooo many incentives to do an upgrade right now. If you are on Vectren for natural gas, they are offering a $200.00 rebate for the installation of a new 95% furnace. Here is the link to their
The state of Indiana is offering a tax credit of $300.00 for the installation of a new 95% furnace. And the Federal tax credit for the installation of a new 95% gas furnace is 30% of installation up to $1,500.00. These are some very enticing incentives to install a new high efficiency furnace. Along with these incentives, you get to save on your energy bills from now on. That is the biggest savings since it keeps on coming. If you have an old inefficient furnace, now is definitely the time to think about an upgrade.
One of the systems that often gets overlooked is geothermal. Right now there is a big state tax credit of $1,000.00 for the installation of a geothermal system and a Federal tax credit uncapped of 30% and a huge energy savings once the system is installed. Now one of the incentives that often gets overlooked on geothermal is the property tax exemption that is available once you have a system installed. That is a huge advantage since it keeps paying you year after year. I will not kid around about the first cost of installing a geothermal system. It is quite costly but the long term return is just as sweet. We are your professionals for installing a geothermal system. We are IGSHPA certified and Water Furnace trained. We also have our own boring equipment to install the loops.
Don't forget about tankless water heaters. They are also on the list for rebates and incentives. The tankless water heater that we handle is 98% efficient and is not like most of the others. It stands head and shoulders above the rest. Again they are not cheap to have installed, but the long term payback is sweet.
If you have questions about any of these systems, we have the answers. Please do not hesitate to call us at 765-644-5290 or 317-773-8495.
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