Thermostats: Basic to High Tech...The Choice is Yours!

Remember when it was a simple task to buy a child a toy?  The biggest choice in deciding on a doll, for example, was the clothes it was wearing.  My niece asked for a doll for Christmas, but it was a specific doll that could crawl, laugh, cry, eat and need a diaper change.  I looked at dolls for what seemed to be an eternity before finally deciding on one.

Believe it or not, you might feel the same way when you look at thermostats today!  Most thermostats are digital.  Outside of that, there are lots of options to choose from.  To make it a little less overwhelming, check out our feature breakdown below to help you make the best choice for your home or office:

Basic Thermostat:   A basic digital thermostat will accurately control the temperature in your home or office.  This type of thermostat has buttons which can move the temperature up and down.  It is not programmable so the buttons are used to manually change the temperature as needed.  It's ideal to have a thermostat that shows two readings:  a set temperature (what you want it to be) and an inside temperature (what it actually is).

Programmable Thermostat:  A programmable thermostat is a digital thermostat designed to allow the user to set programs to control the temperature of the house or office.  There are two types of programmable thermostats:

  • 5/2 Programmable:  This type of programmable thermostat allows Monday-Friday to be set on one program and Saturday-Sunday to be set on another program.  This is a great option for people who have a set work schedule Monday-Friday.  Here is a sample program for a 5/2 thermostat:  6am temperature set to 70 degrees (comfortable when you wake up in the mornings).  8am-5pm temperature set to 65 degrees (lower temperature when no one is home to save on utility costs) 5pm-11pm temperature set to 70 degrees (comfortable while at home).  11pm-6am temperature set to 67 degrees (save on utility costs while sleeping).  A different program could then be set for Saturday and Sunday when you are home during the day.
  • 7-Day Programmable:  This type of programmable thermostat allows a different program to be set every day of the week.  This is a great option for people who have flexible work schedules.  You may work from home one day, volunteer at your child's school one day and work in an office one day.  This type of programming allows each day to be scheduled according to your time at home and away.

There are some additional differences to these types of programmable thermostats.  A 7 day often has a touchscreen, whereas a 5/2 programmable will have buttons.  Some thermostats may also show the indoor humidity level.  This is a great feature to quickly know if you need to adjust your humidifier.

Wi-Fi Thermostat:  This is a digital, programmable thermostat which has Wi-Fi capability so the thermostat can be controlled through a phone, tablet or computer.  This is a great option for people who travel or for those that simply enjoy having the latest technology!  Additional features available on a Wi-Fi thermostat compared to a programmable thermostat include weather forecast, humidity control (meaning the humidifier can be controlled through the thermostat), usage charts, and alerts.  HVAC equipment manufactures are even offering Wi-Fi thermostats that can communicate with high efficient equipment.  One of the biggest benefits to this is an alert that will be emailed to you if there is a problem with the system.

Technology has come a long way!  What's the best fit for you?  We install all types of thermostats so please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions!


Making a Statement with HVAC in Indianapolis

We love  jobs in which the homeowner or business owner wants to make a statement.  Maybe their home is in a historical district and they want (or need) the home to reflect that.  Perhaps the homeowner lives in a condo and wants an "industrial" feel.  Maybe the homeowner has eclectic taste and wants that to shine through.  Maybe the restaurant owner wants to create a specific atmosphere for his customers.  Whatever the job may be, we love the creativity and challenge involved in working the heating and cooling into the master plan.

We recently completed a job for a couple that purchased a home in Fountain Square, Indianapolis.  The home was in bad shape; another house beside it has actually been torn down.  This couple worked with their contractor and gutted the home.  While they left some things in place, such as the staircase, they opened everything else up in order to bring their vision to life.  As discussions started regarding the heating and cooling, they shared the things that they viewed as most important:  An industrial look on the inside, efficient and quiet equipment, and humidity control topped their list.

  Home in Fountain Square Indianapolis before renovations

photo 4

We came up with a plan to meet all of their wants and needs...plus a couple of other perks!  The finished HVAC project includes a Lennox high efficient 17 seer heat pump with a variable speed air handler.  This heat pump is so quiet that when they step out their back door, they can't hear it!  A bonus to this system is that it is solar ready.  In the future, they can add solar panels to their roof to power the heat pump.  The Lennox communicating wifi iComfort thermostat also gives them the ability to control their HVAC equipment through their phone, tablet or computer.  Many two story homes have a problem with temperature differences between the first and second floors.  Their home will be zoned to drastically reduce temperature fluctuation.  A whole-house humidifier was also installed to create optimal humidity levels throughout the house.

Lennox 17 Seer Heat Pump

Now, on to the look.  We used galvanized, exposed spiral ductwork to create the industrial look they were after.  The ductwork is used in the kitchen, living room, bedrooms and halls.  It matches the look of their lighting and appliances.  In addition, we kept 99% of the ductwork out of unconditioned areas.  This will create a lighter load on the equipment during peak hot and cold days, resulting in lower utility bills.

Creating an Industrial Feel in Indianapolis

Creative HVAC Solutions in Fountain Square

 The transformation of this house is amazing and it was a lot of fun for us!  Who said HVAC can't be functional and eye catching!?

 


Tax Credits Are Back for High Efficient HVAC Equipment!

It seems that the fiscal cliff news had the attention of most Americans.  Did you know that as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which was signed in early January 2013, the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credits were retroactively reinstated?  To say that simply, the federal tax credits that expired at the end of 2011 are back!  The tax credits are available for energy efficient improvements made to your home between January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2013.  What exactly does this mean for you?  What qualifies as high efficient?  How much are the tax credits?  How do you claim the tax credit?  It's time to dish the details!

What does this mean for you?  If you purchased certain high efficient equipment or made high efficient improvements in 2012 or plan to make a high efficient purchase in 2013, you may be eligible for this federal tax credit.  Improvements include the installation of high efficient furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps.  Other eligible improvements include high efficient water heaters, windows, doors, insulation, and some roofing materials.  

What qualifies as high efficient?  Qualifying equipment includes 95% or higher efficient gas furnaces, split system air conditioners that achieve 16 SEER and 13 EER, split system electric heat pumps that achieve 15 SEER, 12.5 EER and 8.5 HSPF and advanced main air circulating fan (found in gas, propane, or oil furnaces) that use no more than 2% of the total energy usage of the furnace.  Your heating and cooling company will provide you with an AHRI certificate which certifies that the new equipment meets these specifications.  

How much are the tax credits?  The tax credit is $150 for qualifying furnaces, $300 for qualifying air conditioners, $300 for qualifying heat pumps, and $50 for qualifying fans.  The total amount of the tax credit is capped at $500.  If the tax credit was taken in the amount of $500 in a previous year, you can't take it again.

How can I claim the tax credit?  The tax credit is claimed on your 2012 or 2013 taxes, depending on the year the improvement was made.  It's always best to consult with your accountant to properly claim the credits.  Since the tax credits are retroactive and available to be claimed on 2012 tax returns, the IRS is having to update their system.  Therefore, if you're claiming the tax credit, you  may not be able to file your taxes before the end of February.

If you are considering new HVAC equipment, now is the time to consider high efficient.  In addition to the federal tax credits, most utility companies are still offering rebates for high efficient equipment as well.  Also take into consideration the energy savings over the years and it really adds up!  Feel free to contact Renee at 317.430.1716 or renee@LCSheatingandcooling.com if you have questions or would like to discuss.

 


LCS Quarterly Promotion: Save on a UV Light!

We're starting the new year off with a promotion designed to clean the air in your home!  Flu season is in full force and with that comes bacteria and viruses.  Add to that the lack of fresh air due to it being too cold outside to open the windows and you just might start to feel that you are living and breathing stale air.  Well, it's not just a feeling...you are!  Homes today are sealed very tightly so the air in your home re-circulates hour after hour.  Without a good filtration system, it's no wonder that sickness seems to pass from person to person.

UV lights purify the air by using germicidal ultraviolet irradiation.  UV lights were first used in hospitals and labs to purify the air.  They are now used in homes, schools, nursing homes, office buildings, etc.  Just as UV rays from the sun are used to clean the air outside, UV lights are used in a similar way to clean the air inside.

UV lights are installed directly on the ductwork.  The UV light kills airborne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew.  A reduction in airborne pathogens equates to a reduction in illness and allergies.

An added benefit to having a UV light is the elimination of odors.  As an example, imagine being able to paint a couple of rooms and not having to deal with the lingering paint odors and fumes!

Get your own UV light and receive 25% off the installation with the purchase or renewal of an annual maintenance plan.  Regular price on the UV light is $600, so that makes for a $150 savings!

Contact Renee with questions or to schedule an appointment!  She can be reached by phone, text or email.  317.430.1716 or renee@LCSheatingandcooling.com.


What is a Service Call?

It's a Wednesday morning and your alarm goes off at 6:00am.  As you get up, you notice it's a little chilly in the house.  You move to the thermostat and see that even though it's set for 70 degrees, it's only 62 degrees in your house!  Your heart drops and you think...I don't need this today!  Has this ever happened to you?  If it ever does happen, here's what you can expect when you make that call to have your furnace repaired:

An appointment scheduled for a furnace repair will include a service call.  What is a service call?  A service call is an initial fee which covers the drive to your home, the diagnosis of the repair needed, and the first 30 minutes of labor.  Here at LCS Heating and Cooling, a service call during regular business hours is $79.

If it's a quick fix and there are no parts needed to complete the repair, $79 may be the final bill.  If parts are needed for the repair, your technician will explain the problem and tell you how much it will cost to complete the repair.  At that point, you can choose whether or not you'd like the repair done.  Whether you choose to repair the problem then, wait, or seek a second opinion, you'll still owe $79 to cover the cost of traveling to your home and diagnosing your HVAC problem.

We are asked occasionally if the service call can be reduced or waived.  There are a few occasions in which the service call is altered from the original $79.  These are:

  • If you are in need of service within 30 days of your last service, there will be no service call charge.
  • If you have an annual maintenance plan, your service call and repairs will always be at a reduced rate.
  • If the repair needed is over $300, the service call will be waived.

Hopefully you won't need a service call this year but if you do, it certainly helps to have an idea of what to expect!  As always, keep in mind that regular filter changes and regular maintenance will keep your furnace running at its best!  Call us to schedule your furnace maintenance, furnace repair or to sign up for our filter program!