Horizon Services will be running our program again this year called Horizon Hearts Charity. We are going to be recognizing our valued customers who have supported us every day, by donating to the Food Bank of the Rockies in their names throughout the year. Last year we donated $340.00 which provided 1,360 meals for people in need. This year our goal is to donate $2000 Did you know that just $1 donated to the Food Bank of the Rockies provides 4 meals? Meeting our goal to donate $2000 will provide 8,000 meals.
Donations from 2014 thank you to all of our customers who participated.
We’re just getting started; these are the customers who have participated in helping us donate to the Food Bank of The Rockies in February.
The Horizon team is going to be giving back to the community by volunteering to serve lunch at the Urban Peak Teen Shelter in March 2015.
Unwanted, Uninvited Guests
How to protect your home from mice
It is migration time for mice. They are looking to secure their home for the winter. Eating, chewing, building a home inside your home is the top priority for mice as the weather turns colder outside. After creating a secret nest they can multiply and establish a thriving, permanent colony inside your home. These unwanted, uninvited guests can wreak havoc on your property and your health. Here are a few ways to keep the invaders from infiltrating your home. If they have already taken up residence within your home we have a detailed eviction plan for you to implement.
A mouse can get in through a space as small as the diameter of a pencil. I know it’s gross to think about, however it is imperative you secure the border of your home in order to keep the free loaders out. You need to create a formidable foundation along the perimeter of your home. Look around your home for access points prior to the little critters finding their way in. You will need a flashlight and a bag of either steel or copper mesh to take care of holes or cracks you may find.
- Start in one corner of the garage; shine the flashlight along the concrete that divides the house from the garage. Look for cracks or holes to the house or basement. Be sure and look around concrete steps and doorways for access points into the house.
- Shove some of the copper or steel mesh in each hole or crack you find.
- Do the same thing along the exterior of your home.
- Once you have completed the outside, follow the same process inside.
- Look in kitchen cabinets that are close to the floor located on outside walls. Look for openings in the back corners. If you find holes, fill them with the steel or copper mesh.
- If your basement is unfinished be sure to pull the insulation out of the floor joist bay at the edge of the foundation, check for holes to the outside. If the hole is large install a board first and then fill in the final gaps with the steel or copper mesh.
The perimeter of your home must be sealed so mice cannot get in. You may have seen traces of a mouse or maybe you have seen one out of the corner of your eye. If you have seen signs of mice in your home it is time to do battle and get rid of the invaders. There are options available to rid your home of mice. You can hire a pest control company to spray the exterior of your home. Another option is to purchase poison, which the mice eat to drive them outside in search of water. Poison is effective, however, it exposes children and pets to potential danger. You can purchase spring loaded traps and set them yourself. No matter which option you choose it is important to remember mice can carry Hantavirus. Hantavirus is a life- threatening disease spread by rodents. Hiring a professional to eliminate the mice and clean the area is the safest way to reduce your possible exposure to Hantavirus.
- Spring loaded traps may seem “old-fashioned” however they are tried and true. Bait them with: peanut butter or meat snacks.
- Put out 15-20 traps.
- Either prior to setting traps or immediately afterwards, complete the steps 1-8 listed above so you only have to launch an eviction attack once.
If you must work in an area where contact with rodent urine or feces is possible, follow these recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- When opening an unused cabin, shed, or other building, open all the doors and windows, leave the building, and allow the space to air out for 30 minutes.
- Return to the building and spray the surfaces, carpet, and other areas with a disinfectant. Leave the building for another 30 minutes.
- Spray mouse nests and droppings with a 10% solution of chlorine bleach or similar disinfectant. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Using rubber gloves, place the materials in plastic bags. Seal the bags and throw them in the trash or an incinerator. Dispose of gloves and cleaning materials in the same way.
- Wash all potentially contaminated hard surfaces with a bleach or disinfectant solution. Avoid vacuuming until the area has been thoroughly decontaminated. Then, vacuum the first few times with enough ventilation. Surgical masks may provide some protection.
Take time to walk around your home to inspect the perimeter of your home each fall. By doing this you will keep you, your family and your home safe from unwanted rodents.
Is your furnace over 15 years old? It may be time to consider replacing it. Fall is the best time of year to explore your options. Trane is offering 0% APR with 36 equal monthly payments* or a cash rebate (up to $1,350). Their rebates are good through October 31, 2012. Xcel Energy has rebates on high-efficiency furnaces and high-efficiency air conditioners for their electric and gas customers (up to $1,120). Horizon Services will explain the rebate and financing options. Once you have a system installed, we will file all the paperwork for you!
Horizon Services does not charge you to speak to a Home Comfort Consultant. It is important to understand your options so you can make an informed decision.
Don’t delay; contact us for a free in-home site assessment and equipment presentation.
*The Home Projects® Visa® credit card is issued by Wells Fargo Financial National Bank, an Equal Housing Lender. Special terms apply to qualifying purchases charged with approved credit at participating merchants. The special terms APR will continue to apply until all qualifying purchases are paid in full. The monthly payment for this purchase will be the amount that will pay for the purchase in full in equal payments during the promotional (special terms) period. The APR for Purchases will apply to certain fees such as a late payment fee or if you use the card for other transactions. For newly opened accounts, the APR for Purchases is [27.99%]. This APR may vary with the market based on the U.S. Prime Rate and is given as of [07/01/2015]. If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00. If you used the card for cash advances, the cash advance fee is 5.00% of the amount of the cash advance, but not less than $10.00. Offer expires [12/31/2016].
Is this the summer you are going to either add air conditioning to your home or replace your existing air conditioner? According to public data regarding homeownership, most homeowner’s purchase on average 1.5 air conditioning systems in their lifetime. Since this is an infrequent purchase, most homeowners use skills they have developed in making other more familiar purchases and apply it to this purchase process. Are you aware of the fact that 50% of how an air conditioner operates is affected by installation? It is a good idea to know the company that you are going to hire for the job. Many people are under the misconception that the model, brand and size of unit to be installed are the most important facts of the purchase. They also think that as they look at proposals they are comparing “apples to apples”. The integrity of the installation company, the skills of the installer, quality of the ancillary components used, the way the system works and cools your home, and the follow up afterward are the things you will remember long after the installation. Do you want good memories? If so, then the integrity of the company and their track record should be the first item on your list to investigate.
Let’s start with “who” Horizon Services is, then we can delve into how you can apply this benchmark to companies in your area. Horizon Services is a boutique heating and air conditioning service provider. The word boutique is descriptive of our style and level of expertise. We specialize in truly, one of a kind installation using state of the art equipment and installation practices. It is our focus on integrity and taking care of our customers that sets us apart and creates a boutique style business. At Horizon Services we have NATE Certified Technicians on staff to install the air conditioner at your home. They have been trained to take the time during the installation to perform the manufacturer’s recommended start up. Because of our high quality installation and proper commissioning of the system, you will get what you purchased; a system that performs to manufacture specifications, is reliable and operates at the lowest possible decibel level. At Horizon Services our service technicians receive 50+ hours of training every year.
When you purchase a system from Horizon Services you are not exposed to any risk as to whether or not you will get a well designed and installed system. The Trane Company sends out a survey to every homeowner after we have performed a service call or an installation. The survey asks about all aspects of their encounter with Horizon Services. They ask questions regarding their experience from the time the first call is placed to our office, through the work, the follow up, our respect for our customer’s home, the price of the work performed and their overall impression of the service people, the work and the company. Horizon Services is the only company on the web site within a 5 state region with 100% satisfaction rating from our customers! That means that EVERY customer was satisfied with the service, the installation and the people at Horizon Services.
You may be wondering if a boutique service provider has elite pricing searching for financially elite homeowners. The answer is no we are not. Our prices are competitive; it is our workmanship that is in the elite category. We tend to attract homeowners who are looking for a company they can trust to do a great job, every time they call us. Our customers want a company that will do a complete job from start to finish while showing the utmost respect for their home, family and pets.
Now the question is what kind of a buyer are you? Do you like to have the job done completely and well the first time? Are you looking for comprehensive service or do you tend to shop for the lowest price and expect quality service? Do you trust your gut? Do you think you can trust the person in your home making a presentation because they seem like they know what they are doing and they seem trustworthy to you? Are you working under the assumption that you can look at proposals and compare “apples to apples”?
The best way to learn about a company is to ask your friends what company they used. It is also a good idea to call previous customer’s and get their opinions. We can provide you with names and phone numbers. Have a list of questions before you call them. Ask questions regarding:
- Their evaluation of the overall job
- Their satisfaction with temperature in their home
- The cleanliness of the work
- The respect shown for their home, family, pets etc
- The permit and inspection process
- Would they use them again?
If you are in the market to replace an air conditioner or add one to your home, we offer free on-site estimates. We will do a complete heat gain calculation as well as gather information regarding the ductwork in your home. To complete a heat gain calculation we measure every window in your home, measure exterior wall space and height of ceiling. This information will assist us in determining how much heat your home takes in during a hot summer day and what size air conditioning we need to install to overcome the heat entering your home. We will clearly communicate what you can expect the system to achieve and how best to use it. Our goal is that you will select us for the installation and then become a customer for as long as you live in the Denver area. Give us a try. There is no risk.
From the Mouth of a Service Tech
Manufactures have been recommending annual maintenance on heating and cooling equipment since they have been producing these types of equipment. Yet, why are the majority of homeowners unaware of the need for this important annual check-up and tune-up? Well, this brings me to why this article is being written. As I stated before, manufacturers like Trane, Carrier, Lennox, York, American Standard, and Goodman (just to name a few) require that their equipment be maintained by a professional HVAC contractor. This goes for furnaces, as well as, air conditioners. It is stated in the warranty section of the installation, service, and maintenance manual that to keep the warranty up to date and valid, the equipment must be maintained, or the warranty will be voided. I like to use the oil change on a car analogy to explain it like this; If you purchased a brand new car and did not change the oil on the brand new engine for 15—20,000 miles, and then took it in for service because the car was having issues with the engine, the car manufacture and the dealership would not warranty the repairs because the maintenance was not performed at regular intervals.
The same requirements apply to air conditioning equipment. The parts sent in for replacement that are still under warranty, are randomly selected to be inspected and checked for defects by the engineers that designed them. And, they can be declined warranty, if the maintaining contractor does not provide maintenance documentation. Some people think it’s expensive to maintain and keep their equipment running properly. But in comparison to a $1000+ repair where warranty was declined—the price of maintenance sounds pretty inexpensive.
There are a couple other unseen things to consider when annual maintenance is neglected. I have taken quite a few classes to get certified, educated and licensed for my career path. A lot of the air conditioning classes I take, mention that if the refrigerant charge inside the air conditioning system is off by 10% it can hinder the efficiency of the unit by 30%. This “off charge” can mean too much refrigerant or not enough. It will turn a top of the line “20 SEER” air conditioning system into a “14 SEER” system; it could also turn your “14 SEER” system to a sub-par “10 SEER” system. To get a little technical, a system not charged correctly does not allow proper heat exchange through the refrigerant inside the lines. This could cause excessive amp draw on the compressor and ultimately lead to an uncomfortable situation throughout the home. A lot of people just want their AC to blow cold air. The air may still be cold coming out of the registers even if some of the vital parameters are off.
With that being said, the annual maintenance should be a pretty thorough inspection along with some minor cleaning to components. The inspection part of the annual maintenance is basically an evaluation of the AC system, as it provides a snapshot of every component and gives the contracting professional a basis (basis of what?). At that point, they can alert the homeowner to any discrepancies in amp draws on any motors, or temperatures and pressures throughout the system. As part of the yearly cleaning service I check to see if there is “water leaking around my AC.” If so, that is usually a clogged condensate drain or condensate drain trap. This condensate drain line should get thoroughly cleaned as part of the maintenance. Another way to help justify the cost of the AC annual maintenance is to think about the cost of water damage and water restoration. If a system is in an attic, on a second floor, or even next to a finished floor and that AC drain clogs up and leaks, it will create an unseen puddle that you may not notice for months. Imagine the cost of getting the water damage cleaned up, and getting the mildew under control. I would prefer reducing the chances and trying to prevent this from happening by just doing that annual maintenance.
I hope this helps some of the homeowners out there understand what “maintenance” is. It’s not just an inspection or cleaning. It’s not just a tune-up or preventative measure. It’s not just a filter change. It’s a skillfully planned service to keep the AC running efficiently, and promote the longevity of the system. You can rest assured, it will be money well spent.
A couple of months ago the newsletter included an article about drain cleaning. At that time we taped a video about drains, what clogs them and the different ways to clear them. Quite honestly the video wasn’t worth posting. One of the ways of clearing and cleaning the drainpipe entailed removing the trap from under the sink. In the video we talked about how to loosen this to get to that. How to clear what was obstructing the flow of water. YUCK! It was gross! It was difficult and time consuming. It was also risky. So, in the end, the video was deleted.
The days following the taping of the two options for drain cleaning it became very clear that the second way is easy, effective and it smells nice! It is quite remarkable. The first process was gross and difficult the other way was using a biodegradable, safe, easy-to-use product. It is easy on the pipes and safe to put into the water system. Bio-clean was used as the alternative way to clear and maintain a drain. Here’s what happened. This product was super easy to use and amazingly effective.
When taping a video, there are usually a few retakes before it is satisfactory. As the videos were being taped and re-taped, we kept putting doses of Bio-Clean down the drain.
Although the video was scraped, we saw that the drain, which had a couple of doses of Bio-Clean was completely clear. That drain has been working like a champ ever since. Here we are, two months later, and it is still working like a champ.
So we are unveiling the new and improved video for drain clearing, cleaning and maintenance. It is not gross or difficult. This job does not require any tools, buckets, rags, or nose plug! Watch the video and call immediately afterwards to order Bio-Clean. You will save yourself thousands of dollars in the future by caring for your drainpipes on an ongoing basis.
Incandescent, Compact Florescent (CFL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED), how do you know where to use which bulb?
- Can it be tossed in the garbage when it no longer works?
- In the event that one breaks, can you clean it up with a broom or a vacuum?
- Which one is bright enough that it can be used for reading? Is the color rendering the same on all bulbs?
- They can get very expensive, which one is the most cost effective to use?
I know, I know, what a pain these questions are. They are a pain because they make you realize that the lighting industry is changing and we need to know more about what we are buying. It is time for a light bulb education. This is important information. Let’s dive right in!
The incandescent bulb is being phased out by the Federal Government. The phase out is to begin this year with the 100 watt bulb. If there are areas where you would like to continue using this bulb, you would be wise to stock up on them, today—if you can find any on the store shelves. The entire phase-out is to be completed by 2014. The incandescent bulb uses 60-70% more electricity than a CFL bulb. It makes sense to reduce our energy consumption. However you need to know more—
CFL’s have limitations. They are not the ideal bulb for every application. Listed below are several areas that the CFL is not the best choice. If you do use them in any of the areas listed, please know that they will not last for the listed life expectancy as stated on the box.
- Frequent On/Off: Areas such as closets and pantries where you pop in for a minute, turn on the light, find what you need and then turn it off. The 10,000 hour life expectancy is greatly reduced when used in this type location. An LED or Incandescent is better suited for these areas.
- Dimmer Switches: Very few CFL’s are dimmable. Read the box before buying or installing. The bulbs hum and the life expectancy is greatly reduced when used on a dimmer switch. You may be able to find a CFL that can be used with a dimmer switch. Read the boxes carefully before purchasing and/or installing.
- Outdoor Use: Low temperatures can reduce light output. Read the box to ensure that it is rated for outdoor use at low temperature. In a garage the CFL is slow to respond and give off enough light as a result of the cooler temperature.
- Recessed applications: Light fixtures and sockets that create a heat build-up will reduce the lifespan of the CFL. It is recommended that you buy a specially designed CFL’s for this application. An incandescent or LED is better suited for this use.
- Recycling & Clean-up after breakage: CFLs contain small amounts of mercury which is a toxic metal. This metal may be released if the bulb is broken, or during disposal. The CFL bulb requires recycling. Ask your retailer if they have a program available.
LED’s are a higher initial cost bulb. Look for Energy Star and UL certifications on the box. The lifespan of this bulb is greatly affected by the manufacturing. Not all LED’s are created equal. Buyers beware of low cost LED’s!
- Warm/Cool light: We are accustomed to the warm light from incandescent bulbs. The LED emits a cool almost bluish color. LED bulbs, which emit a warm color light, are available. The cost for the warm color rendering is much higher than any other bulb.
- Overheating the bulb: A side challenge in manufacturing is that when the bulbs are made to burn very bright, they also become very hot. The heat reduces the life expectancy of the bulb. To overcome this challenge, the high brightness bulbs have a small fan built in it. The fan is similar to a processor fan. This bulb uses dramatically less electricity than an incandescent and a CFL.
- Initial Cost: To replace a 60 watt incandescent bulb with an LED bulb with matching color rendering will cost from $40.00-$80.00. Most bulbs sold do not match the color rendering and the sell price is much lower. The price for these bulbs will range from $10.00-$36.00, typically.
The purchase price for an LED bulb will definitely cause a gasp the first time you price one. Since they are purported to last 50,000 hours, you should only need to make one or possibly two purchases of a bulb over your entire lifetime. If this is accurate, and the science says it is, you will want to purchase the brightness that you are looking for and the color rendering that you like. This bulb is going to be illuminating your home for the rest of your life! If you plan on being in your home for at least 20 years, the LED will pay for itself. It costs the most up front, however it lasts the longest (by at least 5 times) and the operating watt usage is 1/10th to ½ of the other choices.
Here is the bottom line regarding my decision-making.
LED bulbs are making technological and manufacturing advancements at a rapid rate. As the sales go up for these bulbs the price will continue to come down. The goal at my house is to convert to LED’s, eventually. I have also decided that if I move, I am taking my LED’s with me. After the studying that I have done concerning bulbs, recycling, concerns regarding the mercury released if the CFL is broken, cost, color of light and volume of light, I have made determinations of what type of bulb I will use in different locations in my house this year. This is going to be a topic to revisit yearly as we continue through the phase out of the incandescent bulbs.
Please remember to go to http://epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup.html for detailed instructions on how to clean up if you break a CFL in your home. Read it today so that you will be prepared when you find yourself dealing with a broken bulb in your home.
Although there is more to say on this topic, I have to go. I am on my way to the local hardware store. I am going to buy a few incandescent bulbs so I have them on hand when I need them this year for the areas that I have dimmer switches, reading lights, and outdoor lights, since I live in a cold region. Oh, I also need them for the recessed lighting fixtures. I am going to switch to medium cost LED’s for areas where I turn the lights on and off frequently, such as the powder room and the closets. CFL’s? I can’t say where I would want to use them. I haven’t figured that out yet. One thing I do know is that I don’t want to worry about the clean up if I break one, or the recycling. The exhaust from my car as I drive to the recycling center may negate the reduced environmental impact of using the CFL in the first place. Whew! Who knew that there would be so much to learn about a light bulb???????
Ok, let’s start at the beginning……….
The furnace should be maintained yearly by a service professional, (as recommended by the manufacture) and you need to be changing the filter regularly as well. There is or there should be a filter in your furnace. All disposable filters need to be changed on a regular basis.
A filter that is overly dirty can cause many problems and possibly a dangerous situation in your home.
- Reduced airflow to rooms in the house.
- Over heat the furnace, causing it to turn off at the limit switch.
- Cause smoke and possible fire.
The most common reason that emergency calls are placed to heating contractors is because of dirty furnace filters. A dirty filter can actually cause the furnace system to shut down. Once the service technician is in the home and discovers that the furnace is not working because of the dirty filter, they usually find that the system has not been maintained and there is a lot of work needed to make the system work safely, effectively and lower the operating cost.
Have you ever changed the filter in your furnace, or any furnace? Watch the video below for step- by- step instructions on how to do it.
If you have questions, call us (720) 519-0953
What type of filter should you buy? There are 3 basic types of filters available at the hardware store.
- Fiberglass (usually blue). This type filter will keep the motor safe from large particles. This filter will not address cleaning particles out of the air you breathe. A couple of reasons to use this filter are: the furnace at your home is located in a crawlspace and/or your system has low airflow through the vents. This filter should be replaced in the beginning of the heating season and then again ½ way through.
- Media Filters (usually pleated). This type filter is often advertised showing the MERV rating of the filter. The higher the MERV rating the more dust, dirt and allergens it will trap. This filter is typically 1” in diameter and should be changed every 1-3 months depending on the environment. Check it every month to verify the condition of the filter. If it looks very dirty, change it and note the amount of time that the filter was in there. It is not advisable to go to a high allergy arrest filter or MERV rating over 11 for a home heating system. As the rating goes up the ability to allow for good airflow goes down. A high MERV rated filter can reduce the temperature in those hard to heat rooms as a result of reducing airflow.
- Electrostatic Filters. In the Metro Denver area, this filter is not recommended for home heating systems. As with the high MERV rated filters, this style filter is too restrictive. It inhibits airflow and can over heat the heat exchanger in the furnace.
Why do you care about changing the filter? There are two basic reasons:
- To protect the motor and other components in the furnace.
- To capture dust, dirt particles and allergens from the air.
The furnace system moves air throughout your home. Prior to the air going through the furnace, the filter captures dust and dirt. The type of filter you put in the system will protect the motor and depending on the type you choose, it can also improve the air quality in your home.
It is important to change the filter regularly. Prior to putting in a new filter, write the month on the side of it. This will help you to remember when it was installed so you can track how long it lasts.
Remember do your part to keep the furnace system running properly and avoid unexpected, costly breakdowns. Have the furnace serviced yearly and change the filter often.
Next month: CFL’s. Where to use them, how to dispose of them and what to do if you break one.
The easiest thing a homeowner can do to protect and maintain their homes comfort/indoor air quality system, is to replace the air filter, or clean the air filter, but it is also the most neglected. Dirt, pollen, and other particulate matter is the number one issue with poor indoor air quality and the major cause of breakdowns and loss of efficiency in a comfort system. There is no system that does not require care, and just as you would not neglect the maintenance on your daily driver, the same goes for your homes comfort system.
The best practice is to schedule a routine to replace filters either monthly or as required, to ensure that you eliminate any unnecessary expense due to preventable service visits. As equipment continues to gain in efficiency they are more and more susceptible to this dirt and debris, due to the increased operational safety parameters, safety devices and construction.