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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Silent But Deadly

In case you didn't know, there is a silent but deadly killer out there and it can impact anyone that uses a gas furnace to heat their home.  Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can happen within a matter of minutes and is responsible for more deaths than any other single poison. This odorless, colorless poison can hurt you slowly in low levels, cause permanent neurological dysfunctions in moderate levels or take lives in higher levels. Protection against this deadly poison is as easy as installing a simple carbon monoxide detector in your home or office.

Older and/or poorly maintained gas furnaces can produce hazardous amounts of carbon monoxide.  It is always best to routinely have your gas furnace checked at the beginning of every heating season by a qualified technician who knows exactly what to look for.  At Environmental, we actually have a special going on right now for furnace checkups.  Just give us a call and let one of our certified technicians come out and take a look at your gas furnace system, for peace of mind if nothing else.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays

From me and everyone else at Environmental, we wish you all a safe, warm holiday break!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Heat Pump FAQ

In this blog I just wanted to address the most common questions we get here at Environmental Heating & Air in regards to heat pumps....

How exactly does a heat pump work?  An electric heat pump is a single unit that both heats and cools your home. A heat pump is the most efficient heating and cooling system available today because it generates less than one unit of heat for each unit of energy it consumes.  In summer, it moves heat from inside your house to the outside.  In winter, it moves heat from the air outside to inside your home.  This is done using the refrigerant that is pumped by the compressor through the indoor and outdoor coils.

Do I need a supplemental heating system with an electric heat pump?  An electric heat pump operates most efficiently at temperatures above the low 30's.  When temperatures dip below that, some supplemental heat is required.  Which is where the heat strips come in, these are spring like coils that are heated by electricity and are located by the blower.  Heat strips are used in a heat pump system to assist in heating when the temperatures drop to the lower 30's and below.

Is it true that heat pumps will not get my home as warm as a gas furnace?  Some people think this is true, but actually what a heat pump does is keep the room temperature more constant than a gas furnace, so you're more comfortable all the time.  With gas furnaces, a lot of people find themselves being too hot or too cold quite often, whereas a heat pump corrects this problem by maintaining a more constant temperature.

If it maintains a more constant temperature, doesn't that mean it runs more often than a gas furnace?  Yes a heat pump does tend to run more often but you have to realize that it produces two to three units of heat for each unit of energy it uses (compared to less than one unit of heat from a gas furnace), so you end up with significant savings at the end of the month.
Well if it runs longer and during the winter and summer months, doesn't it wear out sooner?  Not really, heat pumps have basically the same life expectancy as a regular air conditioner with a gas furnace.  The difference in service life is very little, if at all.  Even the Gas Research Institute admitted recently that "As the efficiency of heat pumps is increased, their anticipated life increases as well."


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Previously Touched On

In case you haven't been outside in like the last three weeks, it's freezing cold!!  I'm sure your heat pumps and furnaces have been working overtime trying to keep your home nice and toasty.  I've touched on this before in a previous blog, but I can't emphasize enough the importance of these simple things you can do in your home to ensure warmth while maximizing the efficiency of your heating system.

  • Insulate attics, windows and doors. Heat escapes through every part of a building but especially through the roof of a building. Insulate between your roof and ceiling to keep the cold out and the heat in. Seal and weatherproof doors and windows to eliminate cold drafts. Heat escapes even through closed doors and windows.
  • Maintain your heating system!  That means keeping your filters changed and being proactive with any repairs or issues you might have with your system.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors to augment your smoke detectors and make sure they have fresh batteries. A good rule of thumb is to replace batteries every time you change to and from daylight savings time.
  • Reverse the circulation of your ceiling fan so that it pulls the air up towards the ceiling.  This is effective because it keeps the warm air moving so that it doesn't just accumulate at the ceiling, it's especially effective for homes with high ceilings.

Remember, these above simple steps can actually have a huge effect on how warm your home stays and how much your next electric bill will be.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010


In our ongoing efforts to give customers the best possible products and the most reliable service available, we have found an outstanding online review website called Customer Lobby that will verify customer's authenticity before publishing an online review.  What this means is, with most review programs like Google for example, anybody can post any kind of review they want without any verification or confirmation that this person actually had any service performed by the company.  Some companies actually have their employees go in and post positive reviews to make their overall review average higher!  Former employees and competitors will often go in and post horrible reviews for a company just to make the company look bad.

Customer Lobby has formulated a way for customers to post honest reviews about a company that anyone can look at and know that it was a truthful review by an actual customer who had a job performed for them by that company.  I know this is immensely important when checking out which company or service you need to have performed, I do it all the time.  So check it out sometime when you get a chance, also if you are a fan of the Environmental Heating and Air profile page on facebook, the reviews will be automatically posted there as they appear on Customer Lobby.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Federal Tax Credits And A Big Solar Sale

There's only one month left before the federal tax credit for all new heating and air conditioning units meeting the minimum requirements runs out!  So if you're "on the fence" about getting a new system installed, it's go time!  These tax credits are great and as of right now there is no word on when or even if they will be coming back.

Environmental is having a HUGE sale on a range of solar products including items from system controllers to solar expansion tanks.  Again, solar products are the future and the sooner you get a jump on how solar energy works and how it will greatly reduce your monthly utility bills, the better off you will be!  So hop right over to Environmental's website and check out all the solar items for sale, don't miss out!


Monday, November 29, 2010

6 Furnace Warning Signs

'Tis the season for good food and family in a nice warm house.   A comfortable and healthy home environment requires an efficient and sound heating system.  Now imagine the worst possible time for your furnace to call it quits, because that's probably when it's going to happen.  I've compiled a short list of warning signs that it may be time to consider replacing your furnace:
  1. How old is your furnace?  The average life expectancy of furnaces these days is anywhere between 13 to 20 years.   If your furnace is close to this age or older, you should begin shopping.
  2. Have you noticed a rise in your energy bill?  Furnaces will lose their efficiency as they age, especially if they have not been properly maintained.  As a result, your furnace may run longer to maintain the set temperature.
  3. Are parts starting to go bad?  Furnaces are like cars, as they age parts will begin to give out.  Before you know it, repair costs will start to add up and you will spend a ton just trying to keep that old furnace working!
  4. Is your burner flame yellow instead of blue?  A yellow or flickering flame may be a sign that poisonous carbon monoxide could be created by your furnace.
  5. Is your furnace starting to make strange noises?   Have you heard any banging, popping, rattling, or squealing noises coming from your furnace?  As with most mechanical things, furnaces tend to start making excessive noises while operating as they get older.
  6. Is your furnace struggling to maintain temperature?  When you set your thermostat to a certain temperature, does your furnace have to run constantly to maintain that temperature or does it even reach that temperature?  This is a dead giveaway that something isn't right.
If any of the above things sound like your furnace, give us a call at Environmental and let us help make sure you and your family will stay warm this winter!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Fireplaces and Indoor Air Quality

For those people fortunate enough to have fireplaces in their homes, I'm sure you will be using them to save money on your heating bill and perhaps to set the mood with your significant other.  Either way, there are a few things you should know first to get the most from your fireplaces and how they will affect your indoor air quality.

Remember to turn off gas starters.  Some fireplaces have a gas line running to them to help start the fire. It's not uncommon to forget to turn off the gas line after the wood has started to burn, and this can lead to a surprisingly expensive heating bill!

Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are both quintessential tools in controlling humidity problems.  But as it relates to using your fireplace, a good humidifier can greatly reduce issues such as dry skin and the symptoms related to allergies and asthma.  The fixtures and fittings in your home or office, such as hardwood floors, wood furniture, and musical instruments can also be severely and adversely affected by dry air.

 Use ceiling fans to circulate that warm air coming from your fireplace and air vents.  I'm sure you've noticed that little switch located on your ceiling fan, just switch it over so that the fan blades are pulling the air up towards the ceiling instead of the normal down flow of air.

Close off other rooms in your house.  The show Mythbusters proved the theory that lighting a fire in the fireplace actually reduces the temperature in the other rooms of your home. Yes, it's true. Lighting a fire can make the rest of your house colder! One way to save money on your heating bills this winter season is to close off the doors to other rooms of the house as much as possible when burning a fire in the room where you will spend the most time.

These are just a few tips that will hopefully help you out this winter.  Remember, if you have any questions at all about your indoor air quality or any heating questions in general, just give Environmental Heating & Air a call!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get a job

Obviously, the need for heating and air-conditioning exists all over, as residents in Tucson would suffer from heat exhaustion in the summer without air conditioning while those in Buffalo in the winter would freeze without heating.  The hvac industry in America is absolutely huge, from residential homes all the way up to gigantic industrial complexes, they all have a dire need for conditioned air.  There are technicians that specialize in specific areas of hvac like installations or maintenance and repair, though typically they will be trained in both areas.

Wake Technical Community College offers a great apprenticeship program for those interested in hvac that want to get a solid start for their future career.  Wake Tech covers such areas as:
  • HVAC Electricity and Electrical Equipment
  • HVAC Controls
  • Comfort Cooling Systems
  • Oil, Gas, and Electric Heating Systems
  • Maintenance and Servicing HVAC Equipment
  • Schematics and Diagrams
HVAC technicians are in high demand in all areas these days and with the technology and sophistication of the newer systems being produced, there is no sign of this demand slowing down.  Employment of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to increase 28 percent during the 2008-18 decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.  So if you're looking for a job that's in high demand and will remain recession-proof for a long time to come, hvac is a wise choice my friends!



Thursday, November 11, 2010

The significance of UV Lights in your home

Now I know I have touched on this subject in a previous blog, but I can't stress enough the significance of UV lights in your system for the cold and flu season.  Homes with children and/or senior citizens are especially at risk for illnesses during the colder months.  It's in your best interest to do what you can to tip the scales in your favor when combating germs and "bugs" while at home.

UV lights have actually been used to destroy airborne pathogens since the early 1900s.  Common uses were in food processing plants, butcher shops and slaughterhouses. It’s only been in the last ten years that UV systems have been developed to operate effectively in environments such as HVAC systems where cold moving air passes over the lamp.  Simply put, every HVAC system is a mold factory…with no exemptions.  This is caused by the condensation that occurs at the cooling coil. This dark damp environment is the perfect breeding ground for mold and other harmful microorganisms; they don’t stop reproducing until you do something about it!  Studies have shown a significant reduction in allergy symptoms, sinus problems, and related upper respiratory problems once a UV light has been installed in the household's hvac system.  So don't delay, get one of these lights installed today or you're sure to have a long stuffy winter season!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Some quick info about hvac brands

When it comes to your household heating and air system, selecting the right brand can be a real hassle if you don't know exactly what you're looking for.  FYI, almost every major manufacturer makes multiple brands - and in almost every case, different brands of equipment made by the same manufacturer are identical except for the color and/or the logo sticker.  The list of major brands is as follows:

1. American Standard also makes Trane.
2. Carrier also makes Bryant, Payne, Day & Night, ICP, Heil, Tempstar, Comfortmaker, Arcoaire, Keeprite
3. York makes Luxaire, Coleman, Evcon.
4. Nordyne also makes Philco, Gibson, Westinghouse, Frigidaire, Tappan, Gibson, Intertherm, Miller.
5. Rheem also makes Ruud.
7. Goodman also makes Amana.

Perhaps what is actually more important than the brand you choose is who you get to do the installation.  There is a very thorough process that any good hvac business worth its salt will do to make sure it is the right system for your home and that it is installed correctly.  Here at Environmental, we employ NATE certified technicians and installers to ensure that you get the most knowledgeable and technically proficient service possible. Environmental has a one year labor warranty on all new installations, at additional cost you may purchase up to  ten years of labor warranty for your new system.  Most major brands come with a ten year parts warranty on all their new units.  Whatever business you decide to go with for your new system installation, just make sure they have the experience and certifications needed to give you the proper service and reliability you deserve when purchasing a new system. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Reaching Out To The Community

Ask any small business owner anywhere and they will all tell you the same thing, without loyal customers their business could not exist.  Providing quality products and service will gain the trust of the customer and will keep them coming back.  But to really drive home the point that Environmental is all about our local community, we went out and got involved!

Environmental Heating & Air sponsors a Rookie League softball team and a Rookie League baseball team right here in Cary through the Town of Cary Parks & Recreation Office.  Both of Environmental's teams are doing really well and we are behind them all the way!  Co-owner Ryan Profitt is a board member of the Wake County Chapter of First in Families of North Carolina.  The goal of First in Families of NC is to support people with developmental disabilities and their families to create the lives they want now and in the future.  Co-owner Chris Montana is a volunteer and constant contributor to the Best Friend Pet Adoption agency located right here in Cary.  BFPA is a no-kill animal rescue organization committed to helping dogs and cats in need of homes.  Environmental salesman John Van Orden is a volunteer and member of his Raleigh church outreach program which volunteers at the local homeless shelter and partakes in local charity fundraisers.  Enviro NC is also a member of the National Federation of Independent Business, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that represents the consensus views of its members in Washington and all 50 state capitals.  Environmental Heating & Air owes all of it's success to it's local community and the outstanding citizens who rely on them 24/7 for great service and peace of mind about their home's heating and air needs, and for that we say thank you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tips on keeping your home warm and safe

It's that time of year already, Halloween just ended and the Christmas advertisements have already started!  I remember a time when the Christmas stuff didn't make an appearance until right after Thanksgiving, the times they're a changin'.  I digress, the following are some tips from us here at Enviro NC to remind you of some ways you can stay warm and perhaps save a few bucks in the process this winter.

  • first and foremost, there is nothing better you can do than have a professional service come and check out your furnace or heat pump system to make sure it is fit to handle the upcoming cold temperatures
  • perhaps the most valuable thing you can have done by the aforementioned professional service is have them inspect your heat exchanger for cracks. A cracked heat exchanger is dangerous in that it is a leading cause of carbon monoxide in the home.  This is one of the first things that our technicians here at Enviro NC check when we inspect your system
  • make sure there are no items that are flammable located anywhere near your furnace
  • change your filters regularly
  • when you first turn on your heat there will probably be a fairly strong odor which is completely normal, but if strange smells continue to arise, shut down your system immediately and notify the professionals
  • your ceiling fan, believe it or not, is one of the best heat distributors you can use in your home.  Just flip the switch on your ceiling fan so that it pushes air up instead of the normal down airflow.  This is great because it will force the warm air that rises to your ceiling to keep moving about the room.  This can save on heating costs and it cuts down on the condensation that occurs on windows and glass doors
  • no matter how old or new your heating system is, BUY A CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR!  It could save you and your family's lives
  • your nice, new heating system won't make much of a difference if your insulation isn't up to par!  A well insulated home can save you a ton of money on heating costs.  Generally, R-30 insulation is the minimum a home should have.  Of course this depends on the location and age of your home, newer homes will have R-30 or better insulation while older homes might not, it's a good idea to check.
  • finally, it would also be a good idea to check the weather stripping on all of your windows and doors.  You'll want to replace it if it looks old and cracked or there is an abundance of gaps

Remember, common sense is your best tool for safety and fighting high energy costs in your home due to your heating system.  If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to give us a call or ask a question in the comment section below and it will be answered the same day.  Until next time, stay warm!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Is bigger really better?

As it pertains to business in the world of hvac, bigger definitely does not mean better.  Here at Environmental, we have always had to bid against the unlicensed, uninsured fly by night guys and the larger mechanical companies.  So naturally, as with any small business, you really have to dig deep to form a trusting relationship with your customers that will keep them coming back to you because they know that your business will always take care of them.  The trouble with these larger companies is just that, they often overlook the needs of some customers because their client base is so large that it's really no big loss for them to lose a customer here and there for whatever reason.  That's really where the big advantage for smaller businesses begins, our ability to spend more time focusing on each customer's needs and getting things right the first time around.

We are full believers in the idea that if you sell quality products and services that you can always compete with the "big boys".  Your business's actions and efforts will speak for themselves.  People want to know that the company they use for their hvac needs is going to stick around for the long haul and not be gone tomorrow.  Environmental Heating & Air of NC has been around for almost three years now with a wealth of experience and there are no signs of slowing down!  So come and check us out online or swing by the store at 210 High House Rd. in Cary, we would love to hear from you.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Who can you trust these days?

When it comes to having strangers in your home to do home improvement work, you want a company or business whose employees you can grow to trust. A great, trusting business relationship starts with the small things; communication, punctuality, and that extra initiative taken by the company or business even when it's not needed.  This goes without mentioning the obvious; reliability, discount prices, and your sense of value to that company or business.

"When trust exists in an organization or in a relationship, almost everything else is easier and more comfortable to achieve"--Susan M. Heathfield

I'm not trying to bore anyone out there with this info, I'm just trying to emphasize the seriousness of a business/client relationship.  When a company trusts and treats it's employees with high regard, great things are going to happen all around.  The customers stay happy and the structure and bond that holds a reliable and successful business together remains strong.  So which would you rather have come and work on your heating and air system, a sullen and downtrodden looking person who has no interest in listening to you?  Or an upbeat, knowledgeable technician who cares about your opinion and will take his/her time in explaining things to make sure you understand?  I know my choice would definitely be the latter, and I'm sure yours would be the same!


Friday, October 22, 2010

How A Heat Pump Works

Have you ever wondered about what makes a heat pump a heat pump?  Well, I'm here to tell you it's not as complicated as you may think.  This blog will be a crash course on the heat pump and how it works, and also the key things to remember when it comes time to replace your current system.

  1. A heat pump is a device that uses a small amount of energy to move heat from one location to another
  2. Heat pumps are usually used to pull heat out of the air or ground to heat a home or office building, or they can be switched into reverse to also cool a building
  3. Heat pumps are a unique kind of heating system because they can do the work of both a furnace and an air conditioner
  4. Heat pumps can also work extremely efficiently, because they simply transfer heat rather than burn fuel to create it
  5. Heat pumps work best in moderate climates
  6. If you live in a moderate climate, using a heat pump instead of a furnace and air conditioner can help you save a lot of money on your utility bill
  7. Remember that most heat pumps are somewhat limited in the cold, so it is important that you learn which kind of heat pump is best for your area before installing one in your home or office building

Now, given that our climate(central North Carolina) is considered moderate, when you go to look into replacing your system it might just be worth your while to go with a heat pump  To find out more just give us a call!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Repair or Replace Your Heating & Air System?

The decision to repair or replace your heating and air system can be a difficult decision to make without knowing all the facts.  Questions like, how old is my system?  is my system leaking?  will replacing my system now be more expensive than the cost of repair for the next couple of years?  I have included a great article that covers these issues and gives some great advice for this all important decision.  Like I said before, this is great info for you the customer, so read and take heed.

Repair Vs. Replace

Is your heating and cooling system not running optimally? You could be wasting money. Is it circulating low quality air through your home, and consuming more energy than necessary? Try calling a professional contractor to help you upgrade your HVAC system if;
  • Your air conditioning unit or heat pump is older than 10 years.
    • Replacing an old system with a new high-efficiency unit that uses the eco-friendly R4 10A refrigerant should translate into big savings. Depending on what you're replacing and what you replace it with, you can save up to 50% on your cooling costs.
  • Your boiler or furnace is older than 15 years.
    • You might want to install a new high-efficiency furnace. They are at least 15% more efficient than conventional furnaces and typically, the older the system, the less efficient.
    • Looking at a boiler? Standard models are 5% less efficient than a high-efficieny boiler.
  • You  frequently repair equipment and your energy bills cintinue to climb. (Doesn't everybody's?).
    • With all these repairs, your cooling and heating equipment may have become less efficient. It might be time to consider AC and heating system replacement.
  • You have rooms in your home that are too hot or cold.  Any of these could be the cause:
    • Improper equipment operation
    • Duct problems
    • Inadequate insulation
  • There is no one home for long periods of time. Do you have a programmable thermostat?
    • From basic to touch-screen, a good contractor can install and instruct you on a programmable thermostats use. Start saving energy and money while you're away or sleeping.
  • You notice more dust than usual in your home.
    • Distributing air through your house with poorly sealed ductwork may be pulling particles from attics, crawl spaces or basements while also congesting your equipment. Check out our Indoor Air Quality section to get educated on the subject.
  • You hear your air conditioner or heater running, or frequently kick on and off.
    • Undersized return air or ductwork could be the problem. Maybe it’s the indoor coil of your cooling equipment.

This article is from http://www.acdoctor.com/pages.php?pageid=120

I hope this great article was helpful, and as always if you have any questions don't hesitate to call us!



Friday, October 15, 2010

The roof is on fire

So, my boss and Environmental Heating & Air owner Chris Montana, has decided to find out first-hand how well some of the new solar products we have here at Environmental work by installing some solar panels and a hot water heater on the roof of his house.  He asked yours truly to help out and I was excited because I wanted to see myself how this whole solar installation process goes down.  Well, within just a couple of hours of starting we already had the manifold and cyclonic vacuum tubes installed, no problem!

Installing these solar products has given us the chance to be able to better describe the processes and the ins and outs of the installation process.  For example, when installing these solar products on your roof you have to be very thorough with sealing any and all screw holes made on the roof.  This is actually the most important thing to remember, if you don't do a good thorough sealing job you can end up opening a whole different can of worms with leaks in your roof which will obviously cause severe water damage if not immediately recognized and corrected.  Bottom line is that this whole process is fairly easy and inexpensive and it will end up saving you a ton of money in the long run, not to mention this kind of stuff is the future!  The entire hvac industry is migrating towards alternative energy so the sooner you start the better off you will be!  Hope everyone has a great weekend!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Season o' the sniffles

The Fall season brings with it the changing in color of the leaves, the sniffles, and turning your clock back one hour.  One easy thing to remember for this time of the year, and this is just a suggestion, is when you turn that clock back one hour(this happens on November 7th @ 2 a.m. this year), go ahead and change the batteries in your smoke detectors and thermostat(s).  We've actually encountered situations where a customer calls us to come out because their system has stopped working, only to find out that the batteries in their thermostat have died!

Speaking of the sniffles, the flu has already started rearing it's ugly head this year.  The Center for Disease Control has reported that the common flu will be as strong as ever this year and the H1N1 virus will also be continuing to infect people.  The CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available in your area.  A great thing to also help combat illness this season is purchasing a UVC Light to be installed in your current heating and air system.

Treating air that passes through an HVAC unit with ultraviolet light will reduce, or eliminate DNA-based airborne contaminants (bacteria, viruses, mold spores, yeast, protozoa), and provide much healthier air to breathe.  Direct exposure to 254nm UVC radiation, given appropriate exposure time, will inactivate the DNA and RNA of microorganisms.  They are fairly easy to install and do wonders for fighting and preventing illness in your home, especially if you live in a household with multiple people.  So all this being said, I wish you a healthy and sniffle-free fall and winter season!



Monday, October 11, 2010

Is Your Heating & Air Company Legit?

Sure, this new hvac company you've found offers you way cheaper prices than any of the other places in town, but is it a legitimate business?  Are they licensed with the town in which you reside?  These types of unlicensed, shade tree operations are a fairly common occurrence here in the Triangle area and you have to be careful that they won't leave you high and dry.  You have to consider "How much is this going to cost me?" People advertise things like "the lowest prices in town”, “We’ll beat any estimate”, “No job too small or No job too big", “We'll fix any problem" or “We can do it all”.  This sounds very good and maybe they really do know this profession that well, but in reality if they are the lowest price in town and can beat any estimate they may not have a Privilege License, proper insurance or bonding.  You also have to consider if they will be in business for possible warranty work required in the future.  Also, when done properly it costs money to protect you, the consumer.

Before doing business with any “company”, verify if they are registered, licensed, bonded and insured. Additionally find out how long have they been in business.  Reputable service people and companies are easy for you to contact. They should have a business card or photo identification, business address, phone, fax line, cellular number, e-mail address and maybe even a website that you can contact them through.  If you think paying a professional is expensive, you will be shocked to see how much an amateur will really cost you in the end.  Below I have provided a link for you to do an easy check to see if the business is legit, this is the official North Carolina licensing website.  Just type in the name of the business where it says 'Business Name' and then hit 'Go' and it will present a list of licensed businesses with that name in North Carolina.



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

President Obama Goes Green!

The latest news coming out of the White House indicates that President Barack Obama has opted to go Green!  A great new article published on cnn.com reports that solar panels and a solar hot water heater are being installed at the White House.  The announcement comes on the one-year anniversary of an executive order signed by the president that called on the federal government to lead in the establishment of a clean energy economy.  Read more about it from the following article from CNN:


This is huge news for the world of alternative energy and the future of energy usage in America.  The times are changing folks and the sooner you know about it, the better off you will be.  Even doing something as simple as hanging your clothes on a clothesline instead of using a dryer is a step towards energy independence.  Solar energy is successfully being used for cooking, cooling, heating, communications, driving spacecraft, lighting and many more purposes.  According to scientists, the Earth receives more energy in just one hour from the sun than the entire populated world uses in one year!  If you are curious about the steps needed to cross over into energy independence with your hvac system, check out our website and/or give us a call.  We'd love to hear from you!



Monday, October 4, 2010

John The People's People Person

There are three keys to being successful as a salesperson in the business world:
  1. Take care of the customer
  2. Take care of the customer
  3. Take care of the customer

Everybody knows the classic salesperson; pushy, persistent, annoyingly friendly, and just an all around bad person.  Now, try to imagine a salesperson that you would be comfortable speaking with; likely honest, to the point, and easy on the eyes.  Well, when the knowledgeable and incredibly down-to-earth John Van Orden crossed paths with the owners here at Environmental, magic happened!  John is a family man with great business ethics, he is super nice and yet has no fear of being brutally honest when it comes to informing you about prices and special deals, and that's why we love him! 

Whenever we get customers who come to us because they are disappointed with their current heating and air company, which by the way happens quite often, they always say that the salesperson they talk to just seems interested in getting the commission and pays no attention to what they are saying and asking.  Purchasing a new system can be a fairly large expenditure and you should get every penny's worth in comfort from it.  That's where our salesman John comes in!  So go ahead and give us a call and fire any questions you have at him, 919-535-8422, or simply ask on here and I promise I can have you an answer in no time!



Friday, October 1, 2010

Now is the time to make sure your heat is going to work!!

Now if you haven't done so already, it's the perfect time to flip that thermostat on over to heat and make sure your heat is going to come on properly.  The absolute WORST thing you can do is wait until the temperature dips way down only find yourself with a fault in your heating system and you're freezing your butt off waiting for the heating and air guy to get to your residence!


Winterizing your home
  1. As mentioned in a previous post, remember to check your air filter(s) and change it if necessary.  The cleaner the filter the less work your system will have to do, thus getting peak efficiency from your system!
  2. Get a carbon monoxide detector!  Even if you have a fairly new system it never hurts to have one, they are pretty cheap these days and it's a small price to pay to protect you and your family's lives!
  3. This one may sound a bit ridiculous but nonetheless important, make sure all vents are opened and unblocked by furniture or other items. This will ensure that the air is evenly distributed through the home.
  4. When it does actually start getting cold and you've got your heat running, try reversing the switch on your ceiling fans so they blow upward. This is especially valuable in high ceiling rooms where heat that naturally rises is forced back down into the room.
  5. Finally, if your heating system is old, you might consider updating it. A pre-1977 gas furnace is probably 50 percent to 60 percent efficient today.  Modern gas furnaces, on the other hand, achieve efficiency ratings as high as 97 percent!  Replacing an old heating system can cut your natural gas use nearly in half!
I hope these tips will help you out in preparing for this up and coming winter, stay toasty my friends.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gas Furnace vs. Heat Pump: The Battle For Supremacy

Probably the most common question we get in the hvac business is this; which is better, gas furnace or heat pump?  Well folks, it all pretty much comes down to your location.  If you live in a colder area of the country, a gas furnace may well be the best thing for your home, whereas in areas of the country that are typically moderate to warm(our area) a heat pump can be much more cost effective.

An older gas furnace with a pilot light has an efficiency of only 65 percent, modern gas units have an efficiency of 80 percent. A heat pump is often up to 50 percent more efficient than a furnace. If a heat pump is sized to run continually, more money will be saved as efficiency will be maximized as it will not cycle on and off too often. Too much cycling produces wear on the components. The main loss of efficiency with a ducted gas system is loss of heat through ducts. If your ducts are well insulated, the heat loss can be minimized.

A heat pump may be much cheaper to run than a gas furnace, depending on the costs of electricity and gas in your area. A heat pump may be slightly more expensive to install which may not make installing one cost efficient if you already have a working gas furnace. If you are installing from scratch, a heat pump will be a lot cheaper than a new gas furnace.

Life Span
Gas furnaces have an average life span of 15 years, which is only slightly longer than a heat pump.  Because a heat pump is used all year round, it usually has a shorter life span than a separate furnace and central air conditioner.

Bottom line is that for our area, a heat pump is probably going to be more cost efficient.  Plus, you're not going to have to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning from a heat pump.  But as mentioned above, both systems have their advantages and disadvantages so it's ultimately up to you and what you think will give you the most bang for your buck!


Friday, September 24, 2010

A Tale of Two Thermostats

September 24, 2010

The HVAC industry of today is making technological advances leaps and bounds faster than any previous time period.  Co-owner Ryan Profitt and I experienced a great example of this yesterday when we installed a 2.5 ton heat pump split system at a business near downtown Raleigh.  We were all the way done with the installation, and the business owner explained to us that sometimes when they go out on jobs that they might not come back to the office for a couple of days at a time and with the temperature becoming quite moderate in the next couple of months it would be hard to set the thermostat for the right temperature so that when they get back to the office it wouldn't be freezing cold or boiling hot.  So with a quick explanation of how his new programmable thermostat operated and how he could not only program in the desired temperature for certain days, but also set the hours of that day for the desired temperature to be in effect.  Technology is crazy!
  Also, keep in mind that the older mercury filled thermostats can often prove to be quite inaccurate at sensing temperature.  Now, it may seem unnecessary to fix something that you think isn't broken but little do you know, that old thermostat can actually cost you a lot of money in the long run due to it's horrible efficiency.  So if you think your energy bills are starting to be unusually high for some reason, it might be a good idea to check out whats going on with your hvac system.  Alright folks, that's all for now but stay tuned for some more blog droppin'!



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

An interactive blog for you, the customer...

First things first, I created this blog to try and help out you the customer with questions and comments you may have.  As for my background, I have been an employee at Environmental now for a little over a year and it has been quite a learning experience to say the least.  Before Environmental, I was in the Air Force for 8 years and my job had many elements of hvac work involved with it.  I was able to travel all around the world and experience things that most Americans will probably never have the chance to experience, I am one lucky individual.

I digress,  to those of you who might be unfamiliar with the acronym 'hvac', it stands for Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning.  Now that you are well on your way to impressing all your friends with this hip new lingo that will surely make you sound like you know all the ins and outs of the heating and air industry, just remember that the best thing to do with your system at home is to use common sense and keep it simple.  By keeping it simple of course I mean:

  1. Keep those filters changed!  (especially if you have pets, animal hair and dandruff can dirty up a filter in not much time at all.  Having a dirty air filter can put a huge strain on your system, leading to higher energy bills and shortened lifespan.  Also, make sure and always buy pleated filters, don't settle for the cheap fiberglass filters as they barely filter anything out of the air.)
  2. Keep the area around your outdoor a/c free of obstructions, i.e. shrubs, grass trimmings, anything that would block airflow from flowing freely through the coils.
  3. Be sensible with your thermostat, depending on the season, you can't turn it up/down or off all day while you're at work and then come home and turn it back on and expect your house to be immediately cool or warm because it's not gonna happen even with the best of systems.  To do it right, just set the temperature for just a few degrees apart from what you will want it to be later, so that way when you do go to set it to the desired temperature it only takes a little while to get it there with less strain on your system.
  4. It never hurts to sign up for a yearly contract for preventative maintenance, it's only going ensure that your system is in fact working at peak efficiency.  No this was not a sales pitch, that's not the intent of this blog I assure you.

I came to my bosses at Environmental with the idea to create an interactive blog to make it easier on the customers with questions and allow them to maybe pick up some helpful tips in the process, Ryan and Chris(owners) said that this was a great idea!  So with all this stuff said, I would genuinely like to field some questions and pass on some knowledge to you the customer from someone on "the inside."  I'm here for you folks so let it fly...