Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Have you looked at how Centerpoint Energy now charges you for your natural gas? Centerpoint has put in place a new rate structure that charges you more money per therm of gas the more you use. Centerpoint says this is to promote high gas users to find more efficient heating options and conserve gas. What I find strange is usually the more of something you buy the cost goes down. When you buy bulk at Costco you get a discount because the cost per transaction goes down when volume goes up. With the new plan a tier 3-5 customer will pay 25-48% above the cost of gas. Minnesota Attorney General is now investigating this program as they have found 42% of Centerpoint customers in MN top 10 highest poverty communities are paying the max tier 5 rates. These are the people that have old homes and heating systems that they can’t afford to improve the efficiency. So is it fair to charge them an inflated high price because of this? Especially knowing if one customer uses a lot of a product looking at a business side they should be paying the lowest rate. Comfort Matters is a huge supporter of helping our customers save money on energy use and we want people to come to us for answers. But why could a company just raise their rates like Centerpoint when a homeowner has no other option but buy gas from them? You can read the Fox News article about the Attorney General request to suspend the current rate structure here: http://ow.ly/58n89
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Did you ever wonder why there is daylight savings time?
Energy savings is the root to this all. Thank you to www.abc15.com Chris Kline for helping answer some of these questions. So as you will learn below saving energy in America is what started this, but as everything there is always a catch.
The history of daylight saving is tied to energy conservation. Switching to DST in the summer means more sunlight at night, which in turn means homes don't have to turn on lights as early.
According to the U.S. Government , that leads to energy and fuel savings.
Over the course of the last 100 years, the United States (including Arizona) has gone on Daylight Saving time in both World War 1 and World War 2, but then gone off after the wars were over.
In 1973, a more permanent federal law was enacted to help with the oil shortages of that time. But Arizona asked for – and was eventually granted an exemption. Unlike almost everywhere else, Arizona doesn't observe Daylight Saving Time (DST), and hasn't done so for the last 40 years.
According to an Arizona Republic editorial from 1969, the reason was the state's extreme heat. If Arizona were to observe Daylight Saving Time, the sun would stay out until 9 p.m. in the summer (instead of 8 p.m., like it does currently).
"[Data] clearly show that we must wait until about 9 p.m. DST to start any night-time activity such as drive-in movies, moonlight rides, convincing little children it’s bedtime, etc," the editorial stated. "And it’s still hot as blazes!"
Another Arizona Republic editorial from 1968 stated, "Drive-in theaters, the parents of small children, the bars, the farmers and those who do business with California" were against Daylight Saving time while "power companies, the evening golfers, the late risers, and the people with business interests on the Eastern seaboard" were for it.
But don't be fooled by Arizona's DST stance. Not every corner of Arizona is exempt from Daylight Saving Time today.
The Navajo Indian Reservation follows DST, but the reservation stretches across four different states.
If all of Arizona were to re-evaluate its stance and choose to observe DST, here's what would change.
Instead of sunrise at 5:30 a.m. during most of the summer, the sun would come up at 6:30 a.m. And at the end of the day, the sun would set at 9 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. Winter sunrise and sunset times would remain the same.
So what's the catch?
DST has many benefits on sporting, entertainment and other activities after work, but have had questionable effects on farming and other night time entertainment that is tied to sunlight.
A 2009 Michigan State University published by the American Psychological Association study showed that DST has adverse effects on the American workplace.
"Following [the start and end of DST], employees slept 40 min less, had 5.7% more workplace injuries, and lost 67.6% more work days because of injuries than on non phase change days," explained the study, which looked at mining injuries between 1983 and 2006 from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
If you are feeling pretty board or just got that geeky urge like I did you can also find a lot of info on DST at Wikipedia.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Jonathan Metz had been trapped for two days in his basement with his left arm stuck in a broken furnace. Smelling rotting flesh, he decided that amputation was his only hope.
So he fashioned a tourniquet near his shoulder and began cutting. He made it almost all the way through, but wasn't able to free himself.Read the rest of the story...
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Four Reasons Why Your Home May be Uncomfortable
If you asked a number of people to define a comfortable home they might say; a place with nice furniture, a place that is warm and dry, a place that has a lot of space. When we get a call from a customer who says their home is uncomfortable it usually means they are having problems controlling temperatures and humidity within the home.
1. Undersized or Oversized Furnace or Air Conditioner
When someone designed your home, part of the design included the heating and cooling system. As with most homes, yours may have been modified since that original design. Or, if your home is new, the comfort system design may not be adequate for the home you are living in. We can evaluate the comfort and performance of your system based on the way your home is now. This includes any design changes, new insulation, windows, the addition of furniture, draperies, carpets and the hundreds of other items that can affect the way your comfort system performs.
For example, if your heating system isn't able to "keep up" on colder days, there's a good chance it's undersized. If it turns on and off constantly, chances are it's oversized. If your cooling system just won't cool your house down on the warmest days, there's a good chance it's undersized, or wasn't installed correctly. If it cycles on and off constantly and doesn't seem to pull the humidity out, it's likely oversized. This condition also wastes a great deal of energy and causes unnecessary wear and tear on your equipment.
2. Incorrect Duct System
Most homes have a heating and cooling system that was designed for ideal scenarios. Unfortunately most homes are never ideal and often the air delivery systems do not work the way they were designed. In some cases, a duct system may be installed improperly or was damaged at some point so that it's not delivering the correct air into each room. This usually results in an uncomfortable home. Our technicians can check the airflow into each room and evaluate if your system is delivering the correct amount for the size of each room in your home.
3. Poor Air Quality
The funny thing about air quality is that you can't always smell it, but you can often feel it, and it can be a major contributor to discomfort in the home. Poor air quality can be anything from excess humidity in the air to bacteria and mold spores or even gasses emitting from your furnace or air conditioner. We have a variety of methods to check your home's air quality and report back to you. Some problems may be a minor nuisance and others could be life threatening.
4. Home Ventilation and Pressure
Even when you're not home, there are a variety of physical activities taking place that you can't see. Your home is a living and breathing entity with constant air movement - even when the heating or cooling system is turned off. The degree to which your home is sealed up or unsealed affects pressures that determine the way air travels throughout the home. This pressure can be controlled through proper venting and ducting depending on what is required. Air balancing can help correct these pressure imbalances. This process should only be performed by technicians who are trained and certified, and have the right instruments to measure and adjust the air in your home.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Here are some additional things you should consider when purchasing heating or air conditioning systems. The information provided below by Service Roundtable will help you make the best investment.
© 2006 Service Roundtable
Because of the investment, replacing a heating and air conditioning system necessitates more due diligence. The best company to select for a replacement is a contractor who has performed satisfactorily for you in the past. An established, successful relationship is always the best gauge of what you can expect in the future. Relationship or not, the following are four items you should insist upon.
1. Will the company offer an AHRI Certified combination?
The Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute certifies product efficiency. If you are replacing your air conditioner or heat pump, a reputable contractor will present you with a certification of performance from ARI. Without replacing the condensing unit (outdoor unit) and the evaporator (air handler or indoor unit), a contractor cannot promise you will receive the efficiency you pay for, or even that the system will operate correctly over time.
2. Will the contractor permit equipment replacements?
If you replace your heating or cooling system, you should insist that the job is permitted. When jobs are permitted, a municipal inspector will review the installation to ensure the job can at least meet current building codes. Like licensing, building codes are the minimum standard.
3. Is the company willing to provide references?
If you do not know anyone who has done work for a company, ask for references. The contractor should be willing to provide you with three to five recent customers you can call.
4. Will the company provide you with a copy of a “load calculation?”
A load calculation is a method of sizing equipment. It’s often called a “Manual J®” for the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s Manual J®, the standard for sizing residential equipment. Once measurements are taken, load calculations can be conducted quickly using computers. Contractors should be able to show and review the load calculations and provide you with a copy if you authorize the company to proceed with the replacement.
3 Things to Beware
Be especially careful about the following four pitfalls.
1. Beware the lowest price
You want to spend the least amount possible, which often eliminates the lowest price. Cheap contractors typically cut corners, which costs more in the long run. Cheap contractors cannot afford to fix mistakes, resulting in the need to pay twice. Often the lowest price is not the lowest at all.
2. Beware the yellow pages
Selecting a contractor from the yellow pages is tantamount to throwing a dart. Maybe you will get lucky. Maybe not. The yellow pages should be used as tool of last resort.
3. Beware anything that sounds too good to be true
Usually, something too good to be true really is too good to be true.