Expensive A/C Bill? Here Are Some Quick-Tips to Save You This Season!

In the typical home, air conditioning uses more electricity than anything else- 
16% of total electricity used.  In warmer regions AC can be 60-70% of your summer electric bill, according to Austin Energy.  This is where the savings are folks, not in worrying that you left your cell phone charger plugged in too long.

Amana CondensorThe easiest way to save is to run the AC less often, and to dial the temperature up a degree or two when you do run it.  My tips below show you how to be comfortable at warmer temperatures.  I use these tips myself, and as a result I save hundreds of dollars every summer.  I could take a trip to Las Vegas every year from what I save by not using AC.  Even if you’re determined to not use your AC any less, we’ll cover ways to keep the heat out of your home, and more efficient air conditioners, which can still save you money.

Central AC is simply an energy hog.  A window unit AC uses 500 to 1440 watts, while a 2.5-ton central system uses about 3500 watts. That’s a lot of power.  A floor fan uses only 100 watts on the highest speed, and ceiling fans use only 15 to 90 watts depending on speed and size.

Watt-hours per one hour of continuous use
Central AC system (2.5 tons)  3500
Window unit AC, medium size  900
Refrigerator with door left open  358
Amount wasted by keeping the fridge door open  215
Desktop computer system  160
Refrigerator (normal use)  143
Ceiling fan (42″, on high)  75
Television (19″ CRT)  75
CFL light bulb (60-watt equivalent)  18
Leaving your phone charger plugged in
with phone connected after finished charging
 0.3 (too small to represent graphically)
Making do with less air conditioning. 
 
 
1. Raise the temperature:
Is raising the thermostat a degree or two really gonna kill ya?  I don’t turn on my AC unless it’s more than 96 degrees outside, and then only if my computer is running.  Each degree below 78°F will increase your energy use by 3-4%.  Follow the other ideas in this section, and you’ll feel cooler at warmer temperatures.  Remember, only losers set their AC below 80.
2. Install ceiling fans if you don’t already have them:
Fans can make you feel 3 to 8 degrees cooler, allowing you to dial your AC to a higher temperature and still feel just as cool. Put the wind-chill factor to work for you!  And ceiling fans are cheaper than you might expect to run: they usually cost less than a penny an hour. (A typical 36″ / 48″ / 52″ ceiling fan uses about 55 / 75 / 90 watts of electricity respectively at the top speed.) Central AC costs seventy times more to run than a fan.Don’t underestimate the importance of ceiling fans!

3. Make sure your ceiling fans are spinning the right way:

Make sure your fan is blowing DOWN, to send air past your body, removing the hot air that surrounds your body. If your fan is blowing up, it won’t do any good.  In fact, it’s worse than no fan, because it moves the warm air at the ceiling back down towards the living area.

(It’s true that a fan that blows down also pushes the warmer air down from the ceiling into the living area, but it’s blowing even warmer air away from your body, so the overall effect is to cool you down.)

Almost all fans have a switch to change the fan direction.  It’s an up/down or left/right switch on the side of the fan (between the light and the fan blades), and it’s usually unlabeled.  Make sure the fan is off (not spinning) before you flip the switch or you can damage the motor.  Once you’ve turned the fan off, it’s fine to physically stop the blades with your hand, just be gentle so you don’t bend the blades, otherwise the fan will wobble when you turn it back on.  With the blades stopped, flip the direction (summer/winter) switch, then turn the fan back on.

So how do you know which direction is up and which is down? For most fans, when you’re standing under the fan looking up, counter-clockwise blows down and clockwise blows up.  Check by standing under the fan when it’s on full-speed.  If you can feel the wind hitting you hard, then it’s blowing down. To verify, stop the fan, change the direction switch, then turn the fan on full-blast again and compare the difference.
The Air Conditioner Itself. 

4. Use and A/C timer or smart thermostat:

 

For central AC, your thermostat might already have a timer built-in.  If not, you can replace your thermostat with a programmable one.

For window unit AC’s, many modern units have a timer built in.  If not, you can use a simple plug-in timer if your AC has a mechanical On/Off switch (i.e., you physically move it into a different position when you turn the AC on).  But plug-in timers usually don’t work if the On/Off switch is electronic (i.e., you push a soft button on a panel to turn the AC on or off).

Set your timer or thermostat to turn off about the time you leave for the day, and to turn back on a half hour before you get home. Contrary to popular belief, this does NOT use more electricity than having the AC constantly maintain a cool temperature; it uses less.

It’s a myth that it takes less energy to run the AC all day, rather than leaving it off and turning it on when you get home.  Running the AC all day when you’re away definitely uses more energy, no question.
The reason is that with the AC constantly running, it’s constantly cooling your home, making it a heat magnet.  Heat goes to where it’s not, so when your house is cooler, more heat will try to enter.  So more heat gets into your house, and the AC has to remove that heat, over and over again.

But if you leave the AC off, then the house will heat up during the day and then stop heating up. It’s already hot so it’s no longer a heat magnet.  When you get home and turn on the AC, the AC has less total heat to remove than if it had been running all day.
Yes, I’ve tested this, of course.  In my test, running the AC all day used 317% as much electricity as waiting until after work to turn it on.  It was a pretty crude test and I won’t be surprised if the typicalpenalty is actually much lower, but the point is, there’s definitely a penalty by running the AC all day.  I hope readers will run their own tests and let me know the results.

5. Clean the filter:
Clean or replace your AC filter every month.  A dirty filter makes your AC work harder, which uses more electricity.  Your home improvement store sells permanent filters which you can easily rinse off so you don’t have to replace the filter each month.

6. Replace your air conditioner:

Before replacing your existing central AC, consider the alternatives to a traditional AC listed in the special section below. They include room-by-room systems (so you don’t have to pay to cool the whole house if you’re using only part of it), whole-house fans, and geothermal systems.

If you’re determined to keep using a traditional AC, then use an efficient one.

Energy Star models use 15% less energy than other new models, and up to 30% less than models ten years old. (EPA)

Whatever system you get, look at the energy ratings (SEER for central systems and the EER rating for window units). The higher, the better. SEER 13 are 30% more efficient than SEER 10. (EPA)

As of 2006, AC’s must have a SEER of at least 13, although they go as high as 19. Both the inside and outside units should be a similar SEER for best efficiency. (See more about SEER from AC Doctor.)

Whatever you get, make sure your AC is sized properly.

7. Don’t oversize when you buy a new unit:

Bad HVAC contractors will try to sell you oversized equipment, either because they’re upselling or because they’re using old-school rules of thumb for sizing rather than modern load calculations.  Buying a system bigger than you need is just wasted money.

8. Shade your condenser or window unit: 

 

Condensers in the shade use up to 10% less electricity than those in direct sunlight.

9. Don’t block the condenser unit:

 

Tall grass and other debris on or around the condenser can restrict air flow and use more electricity.

10. Clean the condenser and evaporator coils at the beginning or each season: 
You can wash the fin coils on the outside with a garden hose. Unless you know what you’re doing, have the coils on the inside serviced by an AC specialist.

Alternatives to traditional HVAC systems: 

11. Mini-split ductless systems:

 

Mini-split systems are neat. You have an outside condenser, like with a central system, and that runs directly to a cooling vent in each room — without any ductwork. Think of it as a window-unit AC that you mount on the wall instead of the window, and which is a lot smaller since the actual cooling apparatus is located outside. These save a lot of energy compared to central systems because you cool only the rooms you need to cool rather than the whole house, and because there are no energy losses through ductwork in a hot attic.

12. Whole-house fans: 

 

A whole-house fan is a large fan that mounts in your ceiling. It draws in fresh air from open doors or windows into the attic, where it’s then pushed out through attic vents.  This creates a cool breeze through your house, and at the same time gets the super-hot air out of your attic.
H.O. Services is proud to offer solutions and accomidate all jobs as described above. While we hope that this has  been helpful for home owners from Seattle to Florida we are have been proudly servicing the Greater Boston area since 1990!

H.O. Electric has won the coveted STAR AWARD for 2014

Pulse of the City

Based on the independent research of The Pulse of the City News

H.O. Electric

has won the coveted STAR AWARD for 2014

by combining superior construction product and excellent customer focus!

www.PulseoftheCityNews.com

www.PulseoftheCityNews.com/company-details/64z21364w2/H-O-Electric

Our Terrible Experience with Home Advisor / www.homeadvisor.com

When running a smaill business there are a great many companies that will help you run smoother, meet new potential customers and hopefully grow. We as a company have been around 25 years and have seen it all. There are businesses that we partnered with that have lasted 7-15 years and there are bad companies taht make promises they can not keep. Home Advisor is one of those bad companies.

We had been read out to from Home Advisor 3-4 months back to particitpate in their lead program. We don’t mind some lead sites, they give you an oppertunity to take customers who don’t yet have an established relationship with a contractor and make them into your lifelong customer through great service and quality work. We were hesitant to get on boards at first because Home Advisor used to be called “Service Magic”. We worked with “Service Magic” 7 years back and found them to be terrible. Our account executive explained that they are under new management and told me about a 3 month trial that would be perfect to prove his statement. If you have never worked with Home Advisor, they charge contractors around $20-$80 per lead (dependent on the type they deliver ex: furnace install, smoke detector repair, etc). When we first signed up for Home Advisor we did so on a recorded phone line and Home Advisor records all their calls as well. We settled on a 3 month trial (a special they have been running) but told our account executive that we need to know what their policy was on bad leads. They explained that if a lead with false information or a duplicate came in they would refund us for the amount. I asked the account representative what happens when a lead states via email or on the phone that are only shopping for the cheapest price? My account executive explained on a recorded line “Dan, we are not going to charge you for bad leads and will take care of any shoppers”. He went on to state that Home Advisor provides only quality leads. I told my executive that we would participate as long as they waived the automatic renewal at the end of the 3 months. He got approval from a manager to do so and even agreed that Home Advisor would read out to us 2 weeks prior to the end of our trial to review our results and talk about if we wanted to sign up for a full term.

We began getting leads the next day. We received around 6-8 leads over the week and deemed them all to have no potential for any work. If seemed that these prospect customers where just looking for advice, asking about projects that they may do if their son finally moves out of the basement, and last but tnot least they wanted only pricing over the phone for jobs that where impossible to give anything better than a $3000-$4000 price range difference do to the lead not wanted to have us come out to their home. I called Home Advisor and they declined crediting us for the bad leads and went on to advise that we pause the leads for the maximum amount of time of 3 months. This surpassedour trial that we had so with no renewal agreed upon made our campaign cancelled unless we chose to reopen it again.

The rest of our trial term went with no leads as requested and all of a sudden out of the blue we got 2 leads over a weekend totalling $144 or so. I reached out to Home Advisor and they stated that they do not ever waive the auto renewal. I told them to pull the call on their end and listen to the agreements I made with the account representative. They explained rudely that they do not save their calls that are older then a month and no longer had the call available. I told them to make it right and waive the cost for the past 2 leads so we could part ways on a neutal note. The manager who I explained this to said he was sure thay could resolve this and would get back to me. 3 days later I had to call back whereas nobody reached back as promised. I got a different manager who was even ruder than the last and demanded that I produce my recordings to exonerate me of the $144 they had charged for leads I did no ask for. At this point I told him if they were going to make me dig into recordings that were 3 months old I was just going to expose their company for who they are online with them.

In summarizing: I will be posting the recordings to youtube, vemio, wordpress and every other social site to advise great small businesses to stay far away from Home Advisor. They use illegal practices and would rather suck $144 out of your blood then deliver decent service.

Feel free to send messages with any questions or advise and don’t let big companies ruin small business America!

H.O. Services has a new location! – Receive Huge Deals This Off-Season!

Since 1990 H.O. Services has been “Boston’s Home Team” for residential electrical, heating, cooling and drain cleaning. Established in Belmont we are excited to announce our new office location at 83 Concord Street right near Belmont High School!  
Because we want home owners to be as thrilled about our new location as well are we are offering massive off season savings on both heating and cooling services! Hire our company between now and May 15th, 2015 and save in the following ways:
– $25 off any heating or cooling job under $300 
 
– $50 off any heating or cooling job over $500
 
– $200 off any heating or cooling job over $1000
 
– $500 off new installation on select models for cooling and heating! 
 
– $59 heating or cooling inspection! 
*can not be combined with other offers
*expiration May 15th, 2015
*limit one per household
H.O. Services is proud to offer energy efficient systems that are better for the environment and can save you on bills this season and throughout the life of the system. We even offer systems with lifetime warrantees, so that it is the last system you ever have to buy!
With winter almost out of style and summer closer than you think now is the time to save on your home!
Are you ready to save money? Call H.O. Services today at

1-844-HELLO-H-O or 617-489-6324 

H.O. Electric Receives 2015 Best of Belmont Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Best of Belmont 2015

Belmont Award Program Honors the Achievement

BELMONT March 10, 2015 — H.O. Electric has been selected for the 2015 Best of Belmont Award in the Electrical Contractors category by the Belmont Award Program.

Each year, the Belmont Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Belmont area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Belmont Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Belmont Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Belmont Award Program

The Belmont Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Belmont area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Belmont Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Belmont Award Program

CONTACT:
Belmont Award Program
Email: PublicRelations@awardsystem.org
URL: http://www.awardsystem.org

$59 Basic Cleaning on you heating/cooling system!!!

Call H.O. Services now to get your safety inspection basic tune up now!* It’s never too soon or too late to have your system checked.

***LIMITED TIME OFFER***

Image

Call now to get your $59 Basic spring time special basic cleaning.

H.O. Services is your residential Electrical-Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Specialist in Greater Boston. We show up on time and in uniform, and most jobs can be completed the same day. They offer upfront pricing, meaning that you will know the price of the job before the work begins. Please call us at: 617-489-6324. http://homeownerservices.com/
No job big or small, H.O. Services does it all! This is what makes us “Boston’s Home Team for Your Home”!

* Not all systems apply, Other plans available, Discounts on all plans available. Exp. End of April, 2015

H.O. Electric Selected For “Watertown, MA’s Best Businesses For 2014”

H.O. Electric Selected For “Watertown, MA’s Best Businesses For 2014

H.O. Electric of Belmont, MA has been honored with a recognition byBestOfSurveys.com in its selection of Watertown, MA’s Best Businesses For 2014.”

Belmont, MA March 5, 2015— Announcing a special recognition appearing in the December, 2014 issue of BestOfSurveys.com published by Market Surveys Of America. H.O. Electric was selected for the following honor:

Watertown, MA’s Best Businesses For 2014

A spokesperson from H.O. Electric commented on the recognition: “This is quite an honor for us. The fact that BestOfSurveys.com included H.O. Electric in its selection of Watertown, MA’s Best Businesses For 2012,”signals that our constant efforts towards business excellence are paying off. We are proud to be included in this recognition.”

Add a special “About Us” paragraph to this news release telling all of your customers and potential customers all about you and your business.

Following the publication of H.O. Electric‘s selection for BestOfSurveys.com‘s Watertown, MA’s Best Businesses For 2014 list, American Registry seconded the honor and added H.O. Electric to the “Registry of Business Excellence™”. An exclusive recognition plaque, shown here, has been designed to commemorate this honor.

For more information on H.O. Electric, located in Belmont, MA please

This press release was written by American Registry, LLC with contributions from H.O. Electric on behalf of H.O. Electric .

American Registry, LLC is an independent company that serves businesses and professionals such asH.O. Electric who have been recognized for excellence. American Registry offers news releases, plaques and The Registry™, an online listing of over 2 million significant business and professional recognitions. Search The Registry™ at http://www.americanregistry.com.

Contact Info:
H.O. Electric

Email Address: customerservice@hoelectric.com

H.O. Electric Selected For Watertown, MA’s Best Businesses For 2014“.
Source: H.O. Electric

Stop Ice Dams From Destroying Your Home

Stop Ice Dams From Destroying Your Home

Don’t Let This happen To You!Ice Dam Signs

Does your house look like this one in the winter? I drive down the road all winter long and see house after house with the tell tale signs of ice dams. Those massive icicles hanging down from the roof eaves are a sure sign of a potential ice dam problem in the near future.

Ice dams are the result of several factors all working at the same time. They include:

  • Inadequate ceiling insulation
  • Poor soffit and ridge vent ventilation
  • Cold temperatures
  • Sunny days

Ice damIf you live in a cold, snowy region, you already know about the damaging effects of ice dams. The gutters clog up with ice, then water runoff from the roof gets trapped by the dam and eventually backs up the roof, travels under the shingles, and leaks into the house.

While a permanent fix for ice dams usually requires roof heating cables, there is a simple way to diminish the damage after the dam has formed.

Fill the leg of discarded pair of panty hose with a calcium chloride ice melter. Lay the hose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. If necessary, use a long-handled garden rake or hoe to push it into position.

The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice and create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters or off the roof.

Heat cables

Or… You could call H.O. Electric to resolve your issue. Roof de-icing cable prevents this water and ice damage by providing a clear path for melting water to flow off the roof. It keeps roof edges, gutters and downspouts ice-free.
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We’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
 
Save 
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Clip & Save! Get $25.00 off any electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling  service & repair with H.O. Services. Call 617-489-6324 anytime to schedule your appointment. www.hoelectric.com.
Cannot be combined with any other offer.

H.O. Services of Lexington, MA Receives Best Of Houzz 2015 Award

Houzz

 

Over 25 Million Monthly Unique Users Rated Top-Rated Home Building,

Remodeling and Design Professionals in the United States and Around the World

 

Lexington, MA USA, January 19, 2015H.O. Services of Lexington, MA has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Customer Satisfaction by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The Electric-Drain Cleaning-Heating-Cooling Specialist Company was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers.” Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2015” badge on their profiles, helping Houzz users around the world who discover and love a professional’s work to learn even more about that business’ popularity and satisfaction rating among their peers in the Houzz community.

Boston‘s Home Team!

“Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize H.O. Services among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Follow H.O. Services on Houzz http://www.homeownerservices.com

About H.O. Services

Building 36

H.O. Services is your residential Electric-Drain Cleaning-Heating-Cooling Specialist. We are an electrical contracting company providing homeowners the best Electric-Drain Cleaning-Heating-Cooling repair service in Greater Boston. This family owned establishment shows up on time and in uniform, and most jobs can be completed the same day. They offer upfront pricing, meaning that you will know the price of the job before the work begins. If you’re looking for residential Electric-Drain Cleaning-Heating-Cooling service or electrical repair in the Greater Boston, MA area and are interested in scheduling an appointment with this company, please call us at: 617-489-6324.

 

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin and Sydney. For more information, visit www.houzz.com

# # #

 

Home Furnace Maintenance Tips

Home Furnace Maintenance Tips
Furnace Repair 1Furnaces are often uncomplicated and relatively easy to keep up. The purpose of systematic maintenance is effective operation and efficiency so you save on heating costs.  Whatever kind of furnace that is heating the house, there are several steps to take to preserve the heating in prime operating condition. At H.O. Services we specialize in furnace maintenance as well as installation of new systems. If you’re interested in maintaining your furnace but want someone else to get their hands dirty please consider joining our Membership Club for free maintenance.

Three Components of Heating System
When a heating system does not work correctly, one of the three workings, the source of heat, the circulation system or the thermostat, may be the cause of the problem. If the furnace will not run, the issue is most likely at the heat source. Possible causes could include loss of power, fuel not reaching the unit or failure of the oil or gas to ignite. If the furnace does turn on, but the warmed air does not spread to the rooms, the difficulty could be in the blower. A defective thermostat will stop the heating system from turning on or could make the furnace turn on and off. We recommend the Nest thermostat as you can control it remotely with your smartphone or tablet and it learns your energy needs to save  you money.

Initial Steps to Furnace Maintenance
There are initial steps to take to work on a furnace. Be certain that the heating unit is receiving power by checking for fuses that are blown or circuit breakers that are tripped at the main panel. Check the reset button which is close to the motor housing. If the motor has been running, wait 30 minutes for the motor to cool down and then press the button one time. If the unit doesn’t start this time, wait another 30 minutes and press the reset button again. Try one more time if necessary. If the furnace has a different power switch, turn the switch on. Set the thermostat at the proper temperature. If the furnace is powered by gas, inspect the gas source to be certain it is turned on and the pilot light is burning. Double check for a sufficient supply of oil.

Safety Features When Working on Heating System
Several safety factors should be considered before working on the furnace. Turn off all power to the heating unit before working on it. At the main electrical panel, remove the fuse that regulates the furnace or trip the circuit breaker. Another alternative is to take out the main fuse or trip the circuit breaker for the power for the entire house. If the circuit trips or the fuse blows continuously when the furnace is turned on, then the problem exists in the house’s electrical system. This issue should be repaired by a professional electrician.

Maintaining a Clean Furnace
If the furnace is dirty, the heating system will run less efficiently and waste fuel. Dirt can reduce the efficiency of all three workings of the system, so cleaning is a significant part of system maintenance. Belt adjustment and lubrication are important steps.
Precautions with a Gas Furnace


Furnace Repair 3If the furnace has a gas power source, and gas can be smelled in the home, the home owner should not turn off the gas and should not use any lights. The first step is to call the gas company and leave the doors open.

Annual Professional Furnace Check

To maintain the heating system in top condition, the furnace should be serviced by a professional once a year. The end of the heating season is the best time to get the furnace maintained. This is the least-busy season for service professionals, so it is possible for the homeowner to get a discount. Service is more likely to be completed more rapidly.
Warranty for Heating System
Another step to take is to purchase an extended home warranty when purchasing the furnace or when arranging to have the furnace serviced. The furnace will be serviced on a regular basis with parts being guaranteed. No matter what kind of heating system a house has, the homeowner must not wait until the furnace stops working before calling for maintenance. If a heating system is kept up, the homeowner will save cost on fuel and lengthen the life of the furnace.

For more information on maintaining your furnace please contact us

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Call H.O. Services today at 1-844-HELLO-H-O to schedule your appointment, or visit us on the web at
 
We’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
 
Save 
$25 Logo
Clip & Save! Get $25.00 off any electrical, drain cleaning, heating, cooling  service & repair with H.O. Services. Call 617-489-6324 anytime to schedule your appointment. www.homeownerservices.com.
Cannot be combined with any other offer.