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FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED SINCE 1951

WHAT ARE MAINTENANCE AGREEMENTS? FEEDING THE HUNGRY IN LOUDOUN & FAIRFAX COUNTIES

AC NEEDS A CHECK-UP WHY YOUR

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PLUMBING TIPS EVERY HOMEOWNER SHOULD KNOW

YOU CAN TRUST YOUR HOME COMFORT WHEN YOU GO WITH “THE FLOW!” meflow.com


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Celebrate SUCCESS

M.E. Flow and American Standard have teamed up to commit themselves to high quality craftsmanship from every heat pump and air conditioner that bears the American Standard name. Readers of a national product testing and research magazine rated American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning’s natural gas furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps as the most reliable brand among leading manufacturers.�


Celebrate THEINDOORS 703-539-5306 meflow.com


IN THIS ISSUE OF COMFORT ZONE 6 MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

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WHY CONVERT TO A MODERN HEAT PUMP HEATING & COOLING SYSTEM?

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A WINNING MEATLOAF RECIPE

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”SUMP PUMPS” THE FRONT LINES

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WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU CALL M.E. FLOW

YOUR INDOOR AIR SYSTEM 14 KEEP HUMMING LIKE NEW WITH

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SHOULD YOU REPAIR OR REPLACE YOUR FURNACE? TAKE THIS QUICK QUIZ

SCRUBBER PLUS 16 AIR BREATHE CLEAN AIR

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WHICH WATER HEATER IS BEST FOR YOU?

WITH THE FLOW 7 GOING SINCE 1951 OUR NATIONS FIRST: 10 HONORING THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT

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FEEDING THE HUNGRY IN LOUDOUN & FAIRFAX COUNTIES

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REGULAR CHECK-UPS

BOILER SERVICE 18 EXPERT BOILERS ARE OUR BUSINESS!

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HOMEOWNERS SHOULD 20 WHAT KNOW ABOUT PURPLE

WHAT IS NATE AND WHY IT MATTERS...

WOOD? 22 GOT WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR WOOD FLOORING.

24 HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

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© 2016 DeWayne Thomas A Media Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted, we require that prior permission be obtained in writing. Comfort Zone™ is a free publication owned by DeWayne Thomas A Media Company, Inc. and distributed locally by M.E. Flow. If you would like copies placed at your business please call our offices at 703-539-5306. Produced in whole or in part by CustomDesignMags.com & DeWayne Thomas A Media Company, Inc., 4305 62nd Street East, Bradenton Florida. 34208 We do not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the articles and or advertisements, nor are we responsible in any way for the products and services advertised or promoted within these pages. For information on this or other printed publications produced by CustomDesignMags.com & DeWayne Thomas A Media Company, Inc. Please call our offices at 941-538-7770 or visit us on the web at customdesignmags.com . This magazine is printed on 40% recycled paper and 60% reforested paper. All ink is SOY ink and all gloss resins are vegetable based.

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38

NINE PLUMBING TIPS EVERY HOMEOWNER SHOULD KNOW

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MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC DUCT-FREE WHY DUCTLESS COULD BE THE ANSWER TO YOUR COMFORT PROBLEMS

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WHEN PIPES LEAK

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M.E. FLOW COMMERCIAL SERVICES

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COMMERCIAL PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE

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M.E. FLOW SCORES A TOUCHDOWN IN SUPPORT OF ALEXANDRIA HIGH SCHOOLS

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HYBRID DUAL FUEL HEATING & COOLING

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WHY A FURNACE MIGHT BE RIGHT FOR YOU

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HISTORIC HOMES

61 WHAT ARE SERVICE AGREEMENTS?

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CARBON MONOXIDE: IS YOUR HOME SAFE?

SCRUBBER 62 LAUNDRY THE SMART SOLUTION FOR

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DEBT FREE PATHWAY TO A CAREER

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FLOW KNOWS WATER

46 58 58 MEET THE TEAM 60 UNDERSTANDING WARRANTIES 52

DOING LAUNDRY

703-539-5306 meflow.com 703.539.5306 I COMFORT ZONE

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MESSAGE

FROM THE PRESIDENT From the time my grandfather started the business there has been many changes in the industry. It used to be that an HVAC technician would only deal with heating and cooling–but today we are trained to mitigate health hazards existing in the home from indoor air quality problems. Today, we are trained Indoor Air Quality Specialists (IAQ) and have helped many of our clients who deal with allergies, mold, dampness and dryness. One of my most memorable stories is when one of our service technicians made a recommendation to the homeowner to install a low-level carbon monoxide monitor. A few weeks after the monitor was installed, the homeowner was alerted to a problem and called the fire department. We arrived shortly after the fire department and were able to locate the source of the deadly gas. The recommendation by our HVAC service technician literally saved lives. Stories like that are the payoff to our commitment to training, serving our customers, and protecting their health, comfort and safety.

We are thankful to our customers for letting us serve them over the years. I believe they stay with us because of the foundation that the business was built on by previous generations.

We are thankful to our customers for letting us serve them over the years. I believe they stay with us and refer their friends to us because of the foundation that the business was built on by previous generations. M.E. Flow has many long-term customers who tell us they use us because they like that it’s a family business– one of honor and integrity. Many of our customers knew my father, too. If he knew you, he was always checking-in– via phone or in-person– on his fellow business friends, customers and employees, and those in our community who were in need. He was a relationship-person and a caring individual.

T

It’s an honor for me, and my sister to be celebrating 65 years of serving great customers like you! When you go with “The Flow” you’ll get a winning combination of team work that translates to excellence in customer satisfaction. We do quality work and always use the best brands and the best products. We hope that every customer is a customer for life.

M.E. Flow is a third generation family-owned business that started back in 1951 in a basement in Alexandria. Since then, we have grown to cover the entire Northern Virginia area, and we credit our success to our caring and dedicated team members and the relationship we have with our customers. We respect our customers and strive to deliver peace-of-mind every time!

Sincerly,

hank you for choosing M.E. Flow as your heating, cooling, plumbing, and contracting needs. I hope you were satisfied with your recent service and that we exceeded your expectations! It is an honor for me to fill the shoes of my grandfather and my father as the company president.

Scott Goulet

The New Degree of Comfort

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TM


GOING WITH THE FLOW SINCE 1951

by Adeline Moore

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hreescore and some five years ago in Alexandria, Virginia, Milliard E. Flow could have been described as a bit of a polymath, or Renaissance man, – “A man can do all things if he will,” – is the ancient adage. And Milliard was that kind of man; when he found something he wanted to do, he did it. During World War II, Milliard was a train engineer—he drove for the Norfolk Southern line, then known as the Southern. He was also a pilot. And he was a real estate agent. The pioneering entrepreneur had lots of ideas; one day it came to him that heating and cooling a home was at once vital, and likely, a rewarding business endeavor. So in 1951, Millard re-invented himself yet again and added a heating

and cooling company to his portfolio. The family speculates now that at the time he may have even understood that his last name could be an asset: “Air flow, water flow—it was meant to be,” says his grandson, and now company president, Scott Goulet. And remember Millard was also a pilot with a small fleet of planes; planes that pulled banners and did skywriting for area businesses and others – another of his many enterprises. So he engaged his planes and pilots to do a bit of his own

advertising: “Go with the Flow,” written in the sky with the company phone number was quite the novelty in the late 60s and early 70s, and a pretty effective marketing and advertising tool. Over the course of the next 30 years, M.E. Flow grew steadily. Company president Scott Goulet says that the business his grandfather ran was focused primarily on heating and cooling. The company was, as Scott calls it, a “15 to 20-man shop.”

“I was always taught by my father to treat customers the way you want to be treated” 703.539.5306 I COMFORT ZONE

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In 1989, while living in Leesburg, Scott, then later his father, joined the company that was located in Alexandria; his father as company CEO and president, and Scott as a 22-year-old at the very start of what would become a lifelong career. “When Dad and I came in, Dad hadn’t been involved in the business at all prior, but he saw the need for us to expand,” Scott says. His father spearheaded an expansion of services to include plumbing and even more significantly, a geographic expansion to include Loudoun County where they were living. Last year we were quite surprised when the Mayor of Leesburg recognized M.E. Flow as a Legacy Business for being in business for 25 years here in Loudoun.

“Our goal is always to provide quality service and we want a customer for life,” Scott says. “And it’s the same with employees. I have a lot of long term employees here. I treat my employees the way I’d want to be treated.”

“Under his leadership the company expanded to Loudoun County and then to Winchester in Frederick County,” he says. “And by 2001 we’d added plumbing to our 8

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mix of services,” Scott says. “Being able to deliver quality from Fairfax to Alexandria to Winchester and Loudoun in between was, and is, really important to us.” The family business has enjoyed tremendous success over the past 20 years in large part due to its dedication to its employees and customers. And that was in large measure due to Scott’s father’s vision for the company—remembering the Golden Rule. “I was always taught by my father to treat customers the way you want to be treated,” Scott says. Sadly, Brian Goulet passed away in 2012. Scott speaks about the loss of his father, the much beloved company patriarch. “One of the greatest challenges we all faced here at M.E. Flow was the tragic and unexpected loss of my father,” Scott says. “Everyone here loved and cared for him because he genuinely cared about them, and they knew it.” Scott tells the story about when supplier Northeastern began a program of recognizing their top American Standard dealers: “My father got the award and was happy to have received it,” Scott recalls. “He would tell everyone that he was the ‘top American Standard dealer in the nation.’”

“Basically we have a job to do—service our customers’ needs. That’s our job. And to do it the best we can. Every day.”

er’ for three consecutive years. Their plumbers cover the gamut from the inside out: clearing a clogged toilet or servicing a well. The plumbers are also your go-to for water treatment solutions too. M.E. Flow is fully licensed, and our technicians are highly trained and experienced in the latest energy-efficient heating and cooling and plumbing technologies. And new to M.E. Flow is its electrical de-

partment. The company brought on a master electrician this past year and Scott says they’re proud to now offer electrical services for their clients. “We strive to provide excellence in every aspect of every job we do,” Scott says. “And we’re here to answer any questions customers may have, and provide expert advice on all the latest innovations in their homes or businesses. Basically, we have a job to do— service our customers’ needs. That’s our job. And to do it the best we can. Every day.”

But the company went on and with the family values infused by Millard and Brian, it grew and continues to grow. “Our goal is always to provide quality service and we want a customer for life,” Scott says. “And it’s the same with employees. I have a lot of long term employees here. I treat my employees the way I’d want to be treated.” With three locations in Leesburg, Alexandria and Winchester, M.E. Flow offers sales, installation, service and repair of all HVAC systems including: AC, furnace, boilers, heat pumps, air cleaning systems, ductless heating and cooling systems, water heaters, water purification systems; and maintenance, service, and installation on all plumbing and heating services. And the company has won praise, accolades and awards for its work. M.E. Flow plumbers, for example, have won the award of ‘Best Loudoun County Plumb703.539.5306 I COMFORT ZONE

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At M.E. Flow, we decided to use a powerful and majestic symbol for the premiere edition of our Comfort Zone magazine for several reasons, not the least of which is that the Washington Monument is representative of our philosophy as Americans and local business-owners. We believe in the indomitable spirit and fierce drive of Americans to be the best we can be through hard work, honesty and integrity.

HONORING OUR NATION'S FIRST:

The Washington Monument

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n a hot, steamy August afternoon in 2011, an extraordinary and very strong magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Virginia. The largest U. S. quake east of the Rocky Mountains since 1944, it was felt in a dozen states and even into Canada. In fact, more people felt the Virginia quake and its aftershocks than any in the nation’s history. Fortunately, there were no fatalities and only minor injuries were reported. But buildings that shook, in many cases, did suffer damage, albeit minor for most. One that did sustain damage was perhaps one of the most famous and recognizable in the world: the Washington Monument. Following the quake, an inspection revealed cracks near the top of the 555-foot stone obelisk, the tallest in the world. The Washington Monument was shuttered for repairs and not re-opened until May of 2014. So for

nearly three years, visitors were left to marvel at the stone monument on the National Mall in Washington D. C. from afar. Built to honor and commemorate the first American president, George Washington, he’d long since passed away when construction of the monument to the country’s first commander-in-chief began in 1848, nearly a half century after his death in 1799. But the work stopped not long after it began for myriad of reasons, including lack of funds. And then, in 1861, the Civil War began and that intervention halted work until 1877, when masons and laborers went back to their task. By 1884, the exterior stone structure was completed but internal iron and other work including finishing touches were not all completed until 1888. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848 and it

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was dedicated the next year and officially opened to the public in October 1888. At the time, The Washington Monument was the world’s tallest edifice. A year later, the Eiffel Tower took that distinction. If you have never been, it’s a great time to go. And if you have, perhaps it’s time to revisit the Washington Monument. PLAN YOUR VISIT The National Park Service website has lots of great tips and detailed information about visiting the Washington Monument, but here are the basics: Tickets: Same-day, free tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are limited. Or, pay a $1.50 per ticket fee to make advance reservations, although good luck this way as a cursory search plugging in


various dates had no tickets available. Best bet is to show up early at the ticket window at Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street adjacent to the Washington Monument before it even opens. Advice: While waiting for the tour you need to know that you’ll be outdoors and exposed to weather elements. Also, there are no bathrooms, water, food, or other amenities inside the Washington Monument. The nearest restrooms are in the Washington Monument Lodge. And, for those who aren’t comfortable with heights, enclosed spaces, crowding, or elevators, perhaps this tour is not for you. There are signs outside the monument that designate waiting areas; expect to be subject to security screening. Strollers are not allowed but wheelchairs are permitted. The Tour: Once inside, you’ll board an express elevator to the observation deck at the top of the monument, 500-feet above ground. Enjoy the view! Then proceed down the steps to the 490-foot level museum where you’ll find exhibits. Re-board the elevator for the descent which includes stops at select areas of the monument’s interior. For more information, visit the National Park Service website at nps.gov/wamo.

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“We’re two of the richest counties and we have people here who are still really hungry. I go in there (Loudoun Interfaith Relief) and I see the lines of people waiting for food,” Goulet says.

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Feeding the Hungry in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties

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orbes magazine listed both Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia among the top 10 wealthiest in the entire nation. But that does not mean people do not go hungry here. Loudoun Interfaith Relief and Catholic Charities’ Christ House Food Pantry in Leesburg and Alexandria know this all too well. So too does Scott Goulet. “We’re two of the richest counties and we have people here who are still really hungry. I go in there (Loudoun Interfaith Relief) and I see the lines of people waiting for food,” Goulet says. According to Loudoun Interfaith Relief (LIR), last year the agency “directly served” more than 13,000 people, fully half of them were children, and distributed more 1.2 million pounds of perishable and non-perishable food as it serves some 70 families a day. A food pantry directly serves people while a food bank stores thousands of pounds of food, including food from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The food banks help to supply pantries with free and discounted foods, but sometimes, the full need is not met and pantries rely on their local communities for help. That’s where you come in. Pantries are often in dire need of specific items, most especially proteins including canned meats, canned tuna and peanut butter.

Catholic Charities’ Christ House Food Pantry in Leesburg and Alexandria, which provides the St. Lucy Project, says tens of thousands of people in its diocese are hungry. Food is distributed through its pantries in several locations, including Leesburg and Alexandria. Currently, there is a desperate need for the following items: canned meats; peanut butter; jelly; tuna; canned fruits and vegetables; cereals; pasta; instant potatoes; macaroni and cheese; coffee; cooking oil; and baking items like flour and sugar. President of M.E. Flow Scott Goulet reminds folks that “people are hungry in our county and I hope people will get behind that and try to help.” Goulet provided office space for Catholic Charities, he says, “Because they are a very good organization trying to feed a lot of hungry people in our county.” Goulet says that while he prefers not to share publicly what he and his company do to support agencies like Loudoun Interfaith Relief and Catholic Charities among others, “because we don’t do that for a pat on the back,” rather, he hopes that calling attention to the level of hunger experienced in counties where the wealthiest Americans live “is the right thing to do.” For more information or to donate to either pantry, visit ccda.net or InterFaithRelief.org

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KEEP YOUR INDOOR AIR SYSTEM HUMMING WITH REGULAR CHECK-UPS by Clair Cameron

A

heat pump is an all-in-one heating and air conditioning system that works year round to keep you comfortable. During warmer months, a heat pump works as a normal air conditioner. It extracts heat from inside the home and transfers it to the outdoor air. In colder weather, however, the process reverses and the unit collects heat from the outdoor air to transfer inside your home.

tainly going to be more expensive than a maintenance appointment.

Unlike a furnace that turns fossil fuel or electricity into heat, the heat pump collects heat that already exists in the outdoor air so a heat pump will produce two to three times more heat than the energy it uses.

The longevity and health of your system is only part of the reason why regular upkeep is a great idea. Annual maintenance assures that your system is working as efficiently as possible, using only the amount of energy it needs to get the job done. In short, keeping your system clean and tuned-up improves energy efficiency, and will likely save you money on energy bills.

Your air conditioner and/or heat pump are among the hardest working appliances in your home, and both deserves special attention. At least once a year, it’s important to have your AC or heat pump receive a full inspection and tune-up to ensure they’re running smoothly when you need it most. Any number of issues may develop in the systems while they’re actively working overtime to cool or heat your home and, conversely, your system may also develop problems while it’s dormant during the winter months. Servicing your unit allows any potential concerns to be spotted early, before they become worse. If you live in a warm climate, chances are your air conditioner runs constantly for a large portion of the year. During that time, filters will become dirty, coils can become caked with dust, blockages may develop, and system leaks may become worse. If your air conditioning system has a small problem that you allow to spiral downward, a major repair could be in your future. The cost of an A/C repair – or worse, a full system replacement – is almost cer-

Look at it this way: If your car needs an oil change and you neglect to take care of it, you could end up blowing the engine. Your air conditioner works much in the same way; you have to maintain it regularly, or you risk causing serious damage that could end up costing you a small fortune.

For older systems, this annual maintenance is even more important, and not just because it’s at an increased risk for breaking down. Older systems are less energy-efficient and, combined with the rising cost of power, saving money while using them can be a real hassle. By paying for a relatively inexpensive service call once or twice a year, you’re almost assuredly going to get that money back in terms of what you’ll save on bills. A service call keeps all systems running at an optimal level, and for older systems it may be what prevents a major malfunction. Regular maintenance has an upfront cost, but neglecting to do it could be far more expensive. In the end, a large repair bill is going to cost you far more, and the savings you’ll reap on energy bills are worth the cost of an appointment. Remember, no machine is designed to work forever. Your A/C system needs to be taken care of properly, and doing so could expand its lifespan well beyond the years the manufacturer ever intended.

During the hot summer months, chances are your air conditioner runs constantly for a large portion of the day. During that time filters will become dirty, coils can become caked with dust, blockages may develop, and system leaks may become worse. 14 COMFORT ZONE I MEFLOW.COM


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IOND T C SFA E E

KID ED T TES

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AIR SCRUBBER

THE CLEANEST AIR YOU’LL EVER BREATHE by Kyle O’Connor

A

ccording to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the quality of indoor air can be 2 to 5 times (and even up to 100 times) more polluted than the worst outside air, which is why they’ve ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental dangers. Poor air quality can cause a host of health problems, such as coughing, sneezing, eye irritation/itching, fatigue, dizziness, headaches and migraines, as well as congestion in the sinuses and chest. It can also exacerbate allergies and preexisting respiratory conditions, including dyspnea (difficult or painful breathing), rhinitis (inflammation of the nose, runny nose), epistaxis (nose bleeds), pharyngitis (sore throat), lung disease, and asthma or worsening asthma.

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“We purchased our Air Scrubber about two years ago and noticed a difference in our home air quality almost immediately. We both have allergies plus a dog in our home but the Air Scrubber cleans the in home air quite well. We have replaced the UV light once since the installation but the cost was minor compared to our on going health.” - Tony Berger, Satisfied ME Flow customer Most if not all of these issues can be controlled or even eliminated by significantly improving the quality of the air in your home. Don’t assume it’s fine because it very well may not be. Ignoring this puts not only your health at risk, but the risk of your entire family, including pets. So what can you do to improve your indoor air quality? Most people have some sort of air purifier, whether it’s part of your air duct system or portable, that uses a filter (usually multiple ones), electrical attraction, oxidation, or a combination of these. Air purifiers using these technologies, however, often leave much to be desired when it comes to actually improving your air quality. Enter the Air Scrubber Plus, a seamless, fully integrated 24/7 home air purification system. It makes cleaning surfaces, reducing offending odors, and harmful airborne contaminants as simple as turning on your furnace, fan, or air conditioning system. The Air Scrubber Plus also freshens, purifying the air in your home while reducing strong odors such as those from cigarette smoke, bacteria, pets, and cooking by naturally absorbing the particles that keep those odors lingering. This allows you to spray and scrub surfaces far less, and odors won’t simply be disguised with toxic chemicals— they’ll be eradicated. Additionally, the Air Scrubber Plus purifies your air. Unlike air filters that are passive, Air Scrubber Plus actively treats the air by continually sending out ActivePure® scrubbers throughout your home to greatly reduce chemicals, dangerous contaminants, mold, odors, and pollutants in the air. The peer reviewed ActivePure® technology was derived from an air purifying system designed by NASA for the International Space Station. It’s 50 times more powerful than

the average HVAC filtration system and can reduce up to 99.9% of the harmful contaminants throughout your home. The way it works is through specialized germicidal UV light waves, along with a proprietary catalytic process that creates enviroscrubbing molecules of oxygen and hydrogen, just like in nature. The key components of the Air Scrubber Plus are the honeycomb surface and UV light. The surface, which is coated with a titanium oxide and a proprietary formulation of reactive metals, creates a catalytic reaction that generates charged clusters of hydrogen and oxygen.

CLEANS FRESHENS PURIFIES

The Air Scrubber Plus will improve your environment, and therefore your overall health. Many of the health issues mentioned earlier will resolve, as the Air Scrubber Plus reduces harmful airborne toxins. It reduces black mold by up to 99.9%, MSRA Superbugs by 99.8%, Avian Flu by 99%, Staph and Strep by 98.5%, and E. Coli by 98.1%. Tom Lozano, Executive Director at Air Scrubber Plus, has seen extraordinary results over the company’s eight years. “Every time we do a test at a school or a business where they keep track of attendance, we see a significant drop in absences due to sickness, up to 80 to 90 percent,” he says. Air Scrubber plus has done two major studies, both peer reviewed, and they’ve corroborated what Lozano claims. The Air Scrubber Plus extends the life of your existing heating and air conditioning system. A protected HVAC system can last up to 15 years or more at peak efficiency. This will save you money on your utility bills and reduce the need for expensive service calls. An unprotected system will become dirty, causing it to break down in as little as five years.

One of our heating and cooling technicians can easily install the Air Scrubber Plus. A standard unit covers up to 3,000 square feet when operating and begins working at once. The unit is not visible inside your home—a small 4” square cut is made into your existing duct work and the unit is mounted directly above your HVAC’s air handler. Once that is done, you’re on the way to breathing the cleanest, freshest air of your life During your seasonal tune-up talk with your service technician about installing Air Scrubber. For additional information go to www.meflow.com/indoor-airquality/air-scrubber/ or call M.E. Flow at 703-539-5306 and speak to a professional indoor air quality specialist.

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IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO A COMMITMENT TO QUALITY

AT M.E. FLOW, BOILER SERVICES INCLUDE REPAIRS, SERVICE, INSTALLATIONS, ADVISE AND IN-HOME CONSULTATIONS.

by Adeline Moore

W

hat’s the difference between a boiler and a furnace? They both heat your home but in decidedly different ways. A boiler heats the water, and pumps circulates heated a water around your home though pipes, baseboards and radiators. And according to M.E. Flow, if you live in Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington, or Leesburg, there is a chance you heat your home with a hot water boiler. And M.E. Flow knows boilers since the company has been installing and serving them for as long, as boilers have been around. Well not quite that long but you get the idea. It was at about the end of the 19th century when basement coal-fired boilers delivered hot water to iron radiators throughout the house. Those boilers aren’t fired with coal anymore, but the premise remains the same. Now, they’re often referred to as hydronic boilers.

M.E. Flow knows a lot about boilers since their use is common in Northern Virginia, and with well over half a century of experience, they get the diagnostics right the first time. The company relies on the tried, tested and true Weil-McLain brand, which has been providing “hydronic comfort heating systems for residential, commercial and institutional buildings since 1881.” Rodney Baker, General Manager at M.E. Flow Alexandria says. Weil-McLain hydronic boilers and indirect-fired water heaters integrate the latest in advanced controls and materials including cast iron, stainless steel and aluminum heat exchanger technologies, and are engineered with aesthetics, functionality, safety and structural tolerance in mind. They provide a wide range of energy-efficient, high quality gas and oilfired boilers for residential heating.

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At M.E. Flow, boiler services include repairs, service, installations, advice and in-home consultations. One of the featured boilers M.E. Flow installs is the Weil-McLain Gold Series Gas Boiler. Baker says the success of the company’s boiler heating division “boils down to” its two-decades-long relationship with its supplier; its technical expertise; 100 percent satisfaction guarantee and its strong work ethic as a family-run business that’s b e e n p a r t o f t h e fabric of the communities of Northern Virginia for more than 65 years.


CAN ONE COMPANY

deliver unmatched performance across any heating application?

The answer is YES. With the broadest line of high efficiency boilers for home and business, the answer is always Weil-McLain.

in partnership with

Visit www.Weil-McLain.com/products-services for more information.


WHAT DOES PURPLE HAVE TO DO WITH HIRING AN HVAC CONTRACTOR?

What you need to know…

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hether you’re investing in a new HVAC system, simply need service, or maintenance on your HVAC system the best thing you can do to protect yourself from being ripped off, or burdened with the aftermath of subpar work is to do it right the first time. So, what does this purple logo have to do with making sure my HVAC system is installed, serviced, and maintained correctly? As a homeowner, purchasing a home comfort system is a major investment, which means you should protect that investment in every way possible-from installation to service and maintenance. That’s where understanding the importance of what’s behind the purple logo by NATE comes in. NATE, short for North American Technician Excellence (www.natex.org), the nation’s largest independent, non-profit certification body for HVACR technicians. Here are just some of the ways you can benefit by working with a contractor who employs NATE certified heating and air conditioning technicians:

• Fewer callbacks and warranty returns • Increased energy efficiency, resulting in lower utility bills • Job done right the first time • Fast, efficient service • Equipment that runs at peak performance, year after year • Higher customer satisfaction

Most consumers are unaware that the HVACR industry does not require technicians to take mandatory competency tests. However, you can help ensure a job well done by opting to work with a contractor who employs NATE-certified technicians. NATE-certified technicians are skilled professionals who have proven their knowledge in the HVACR industry by passing specialized industry-recognized certification tests. NATE-certified technicians are qualified to properly install and service equipment, which translates to maximum home comfort and energy savings. As homeowners continue to adopt eco-friendly, highefficiency products and appliances, it’s important to realize that even the greenest equipment can waste money and energy if it’s not installed, serviced and maintained properly. By working with NATE-certified technicians, you can have confidence that your HVACR equipment offers the energy efficiency it promises! With over 33,000 NATE-certified technicians nationwide, it’s easy to find a professional who demonstrates a commitment to quality work. To find a local contractor who employs NATE-certified technicians, look for the NATE logo on their website, uniforms, vehicles, and other promotional materials, or visit HVACRAdvice.com

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by Vallerie Briggs


BRINGING COMFORT TO YOU

LOOK FOR THE

RHEEM TRAVELING TRAILER IN YOUR AREA

The New Degree of Comfort

TM

INNOVATION WITHOUT LIMITS www.rheem.com


Your Wood Floors Deserve Better Protect Your Investment with Aprilaire Humidification Products

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How are You Protecting Your Wood Floors? If you’ve invested in wood flooring, or you’re lucky enough to have them in your home, you know how easily they can be damaged and you likely take great measures to keep them clean while working to protect them from scratches. What many may not consider until it’s too late, is the damage that can be caused by relative humidity in your home – extreme moisture from high humidity or very dry heated air. The cost to repair damage from cracking, gaping and cupping, crowning, buckling and warping of your coveted wood flooring can be a very costly proposition. According to FlooringProfessionals.com, during the summer, when humidity is high, wood floors absorb the moisture and expand. Even after just a few days of exposure to high humidity, wood floors can begin to cup. When wood floors cup, the edges are higher than the center and it can often take quite a while for the wood to restore its internal moisture and flatten out again. But when humidity or moisture expands that wood significantly, the adjoining boards begin to press against one another and in some extreme cases this pressure can cause wooden floors to lose their structural integrity and crack. Ideally, all this damage can be avoided if you don’t allow the humidity in your home to exceed 65 percent. And during the winter, as you might expect, when the humidity is far lower, the opposite occurs. When a house is heated and the air is very dry, your wood floors lose some of their moisture and contracting occurs causing gaps between planks. And while this process is common, once spring arrives and the heat gets turned off and humidity levels increase, the gaps that appeared often close up. But to avoid this scenario all together,

keeping the humidity in the 40 to 60 percent range during winter will prevent the issue.

Whole-Home Humidification products to the rescue! The best way to manage problems associated with uncontrolled relative humidity is to have an HVAC professional install a wholehome humidifier rather than just a single room portable humidifier. A whole-home

door relative humidity. Also, Aprilaire humidifiers work on their own,or in combination with your HVAC system, or with other indoor comfort products like dehumidifiers, air purifiers, air freshners and thermostats. Together they can address all aspects of your indoor air giving you total control of your indoor air comfort. Not only will a whole home humidifier be good for your flooring and wood furnishings it will also enhance your health and comfort. Without a whole-home humidifier you may notice other signs of dry air in the winter such as: • Static electricity and painful shocks • Itchy Skin • Dry and cracking skin • Sinus pain • Scratchy throat and dry nasal passages •Damage to the wood furnishings, cracks in drywall, and wood flooring.

Whole-Home Humidifier

humidifier functions as part of your homes heating and cooling system—the benefits that come from perfect whole home humidity include; home protection, health, improved comfort, and energy efficiency. Having perfectly humidified air will actually help you feel warmer at cooler temperatures and that will allow you to lower your thermostat. And according to the EPA every degree you lower your thermostat can result in 4% savings on your heating bill.

Take away the worries of damaging your wood flooring and furnishings get additional information about Aprilaire products and watch a video series at www.meflow. com/indoor-air-quality/ or call M.E. Flow at 703-539-5306 and speak to a professional indoor air quality specialist.

As a trained indoor air quality (IAQ) specialist M.E. Flow has the expertise to help homeowners protect their wood floor investment while at the same time keeping their homes comfortable in all seasons. Aprilaire humidifiers automatically deliver the exact amount of humidity based on the outdoor temperature and the in-

A Whole-Home Dehumidifier

A WHOLE-HOME HUMIDIFIER FUNCTIONS AS PART OF YOUR HOMES HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEM…WHICH DELIVERS THE PERFECT AMOUNT OF HUMIDITY FOR YOUR HOME AND YOUR HEALTH.

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Loudoun County Habitat for Humanity, building dreams one house at a time. It’s a Hand-up, not a Hand-out. by Ellyn Santiago

H

orrific and incongruous violence stole Erin Peterson from her family, friends and community in April of 2007 on the campus at Virginia Tech. But Erin’s inner light could never be extinguished; her spirit lives on in many places, and in many ways, throughout Leesburg County, Virginia, mostly in hearts, but too in quiet contemplative gardens and on moving memorial plaques. And in a small St. Louis neighborhood where families live in homes built by their own hands and those of volunteers from their community. That the sub-division created by Loudoun County Habitat for Humanity is named for Erin is perhaps one of the most beautiful tributes to her. It’s a place where family love is sown and will grow. At the entrance to the small community of homes are a bench, memorial plaque, tree and manicured landscaping all dedicated to Erin. A non-profit Christian housing ministry, the Loudoun Habitat for Humanity has built a total of 18 new homes with partner families and volunteers and rehabilitated 14 homes. A total of 114 Leesburg County residents now have a home through the efforts of Habitat volunteers and through their own

sweat and tears. The Loudoun County Habitat for Humanity mantra is that what it provides, a ‘hand-up, not a hand-out.’ Not unlike so many Habitat affiliates around the country, the Loudoun County Habitat was born of humble and grassroots beginnings. In 1993, it was conceived with a $3,000 donation from the Woman’s Resource Center. A year later, the first housing lot was dedicated with the first ‘partner’ family moving in their new home in 1996. Within two years, Loudoun County Habitat had built its first duplex and two partner families moved in. And it was in 2001, that the Habitat had purchased the Mary Jane Jackson subdivision purchased in St. Louis with money donated by five Middleburg churches. Six years later, three homes were dedicated there. In 2008, Habitat for Humanity of Loudoun County dedicated its new subdivision in the hamlet of St. Louis that is named for Erin, the 18-year-old Virginia Tech mass shooting victim. There were a string of important milestones to follow including the opening of the Habitat ReStore, purchase of several new homes for affordable housing for the community, and Loudoun Habitat’s

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first ‘Faith Build’ known as Matthew 25. In 2014, which is described as a record year, Habitat built and/or rehabilitated seven homes. By the end of June of 2015, an additional four rehabilitated houses had been completed. For the last six years, M.E. Flow has been lending a hand to Loudoun County Habitat for Humanity. Plumbing manager Mike Hays says the company has provided plumbing services on new construction and in Habitat homes that have been remodeled “from the ground up” including water and sewer lines, water treatment, water heaters and fixtures for cost. “M.E. Flow is a family-owned and operated company and in that spirit, it’s important to give back to our community and helping Habitat is just one way we do that. To see someone take ownership of a home that has had to actually put time and effort into the home as it is being built or rehabbed is worthwhile.” For more information or to support or volunteer, visit the Loudoun Habitat for Humanity website at LoudounHabitat.org


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WHY CONVERT

TO A MODERN HEAT PUMP Efficiency

A heat pump heating and air conditioning system (HVAC) is very efficient. It works differently than a gas or electric furnace since, as the name implies, it works by moving heat instead of creating heat. Consider that heating and cooling typically account for at least half of energy bills. Depending on your current system, at optimal operations, a heat pump could save you up to 30% of your energy costs. A reliable indicator of efficiency is COP or Coefficient of Performance, which in easier to understand terms means “how much do I get for my money?” To illustrate this, a common resistance electric heater has a COP of 1, while a heat pump that is installed and running correctly has a COP of between 3 and 4. In other words, for every dollar of energy you get put into the heating system, you get 3-4 times as much heating power out of it with an efficient heat pump system. Since heat pumps work by moving heat into your home in the winter and out of your home in the summer.

Are you interested in saving money? Don’t wait until there is a repair or replacement needed. Begin the dialog, ask questions and become educated about the benefits of a heat pump HVAC system.

Safety

Heat pumps are safe because they move heat, not create it, there are no flames or hot surfaces and they do not need oxygen to burn, as with gas. Since no flame is produced, no exhaust flue is required and that reduces dangers of carbon monoxide fumes entering your home, although proper venting will still be required for any other gas fired appliances.

Eco-Friendly

There are no fumes or smoke added to the air, and air is filtered, which helps remove odors and dust, which can benefit people with allergies or asthma.

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HEATING & COOLING SYSTEM? Reliability

Heat pumps have been in common use for over 100 years. You thought they were a new invention? A refrigerator is one example of a heat pump, although it operates in only one direction.

Lower maintenance – fewer parts

Typical heat pumps installed are all in one units’, no need for two systems, a furnace and a separate air conditioning unit.

Rebates

M.E. Flow can help find manufacturers and utility rebates that may apply.

BENEFITS INCLUDE: • EFFICIENCY • SAFETY • ECO-FRIENDLY • RELIABILITY • LOWER MAINTENANCE THAN A COMPARABLE GAS FURNACE/AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM • MORE SAVINGS WITH AVAILABLE REBATES

WHEN TO CONSIDER A CONVERSION » Current HVAC system is more than 10 years old » Frequent repairs or noisy units » Higher energy bills » Rooms that are too cold or too hot » Humidity problems » Excessive dust Are you interested in saving money? Don’t wait until there is a repair or replacement needed. Begin the dialog, ask questions and become educated about the benefits of a heat pump HVAC system. Learn about the available rebates and savings before an emergency arises and a decision has to be made. Take advantage of the current rebates and lower the overall cost of heating and cooling. M.E. Flow can assess needs, provide options and pricing, determine eligibility for rebates, and provide a plan to make the switch when the time comes to replace, repair or upgrade.

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AUNT BONNIE’S

Winning Meatloaf Recipe

When you work in a family business you spend a lot of time together both at work and out of work. One of our favorite past times is getting together for family dinners. Amongst us, we have a fun competitive side and recently had some fun with a meatloaf competition. The following winning recipe is a family recipe that was originated by our Aunt Bonnie. Does someone in your family enjoy making meatloaf? Why not start your own family fun meatloaf competition. And if you’re in need of a few judges…let us know!!

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DIRECTIONS by Heidi Micale

1 pound of hamburger or ground beef 1 onion yellow small to med ½ cup water 3 beef bouillon cubes ½ cup of breadcrumbs plain ½ cup of parm cheese 1 egg 1 stick of butter salt and pepper Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Saute onions in about 3-5 tablespoons of butter until limp and lightly browned. Add the water to the limp onions and the bouillon cubes until melted. Let this mixture cool some before pouring into the hamburg mixture. In another bowl mix the hamburger or ground beef with the egg and all the other ingredients. Then pour in the wet onion mixture and mix it up really well with your hands. Shape the meatloaf like an egg and place in pan. Before placing in oven cut up remaining butter and place over the outside which will allow it to form a crisp crust. Cook uncovered until done. Cook at 375 for 40-45 minutes. I have always tripled the recipe and use only 1 med size onion, and maybe just over a cup of water.

From left to right: Heidi, Michelle, Scott & Karen

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A

SUMP PUMPS

When it comes to protecting your home, early warning systems are an absolute must. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, more than 60 percent of American homes suffer from below-ground wetness. But even more homeowners are likely to have to deal with a flooded basement at some point. It doesn’t take much water to cause thousands of dollars of damage. A moist basement can also lead to mold and mildew growth, bringing with it all its related health and breathing hazards. Wet basements are an epidemic in United States homes. However, in many cases the problem isn’t with the basement itself, but how water is handled outside. Water that falls on the ground near the foundation can seep in through the basement walls. The very foundation of our homes, the strongest point most of the time, is actually our most vulnerable. To combat this, “invasion”, from mother nature a sump pump is utilized at the heart of a basement or crawl space as a self sufficient waterproofing system. This electrically powered device does the heavy lifting to keep your basement dry. It pumps water out of your basement (or crawl space) after the water collects in a sump pit dug into the floor. Usually triggered by pressure sensitive check valves, sump pumps will push water out through piping leading away from the home.

It is always recommended to get a pump that has a battery backup, in case your problem also comes with no electricity. A pump with a battery backup can keep pumping water even when the lights go out.

war rages between the Earth and manmade structures each and every day. The constant barrage of weather damage from factors like flooding play a pivotal factor in threatening the, “American Dream” of happy homeownership.

It is always recommended to get a pump that has a battery backup system or a pump that works off of your city water pressure in case your problem comes with no electricity. A pump with a battery backup can keep pumping water even when the lights go out. Along with a battery backup it is important to equip your sump pump with an alarm indicator. Local companies such as, M.E. Flow in Virginia have championed sump pump installations. These installations are fully equipped with not only back-up battery systems, but early warning alarm systems that let homeowners know when their homes are at risk— as well as placed at strategic locations to maximize home protection from water runoff that could lead to damages. Victory favors the prepared, and when it comes to home preservation against the water element, sump pumps are key. 30 COMFORT ZONE I MEFLOW.COM

“THE FRONT LINES”


Celebrate SUCCESS

I F YO U ’ R E A N A M E R I C A N S TA N D A R D D E A L E R , CO N G R AT U L AT I O N S. R EA D E RS O F A N AT I O N A L P RO D U C T T ES T I N G A N D R ES EA RC H M A G A Z I N E R AT E D A M E R I C A N S TA N D A R D H E AT I N G & A I R CONDITIONING’S AIR CONDITIONERS AND HEAT PUMPS AS THE MOST RELUABLE BRAND AMONG L EA D I N G M A N U FAC T U R ES. T H I S CO M ES A F T E R RANKING HIGHEST IN OVERALL DEALER STISFACTION SIX TIMES IN THE LAST EIGHT YEARS.* SO CLEAR A LITTLE SPACE IN YOUR TROPHY CASE. *Based on survey results compiled in April 2013 by the independent research firm Business Insights, funded by Ingersoll Rand.

703-539-5306 meflow.com

Celebrate THEINDOORS


WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU CALL M.F. FLOW

“It’s a terrific day at M.E. Flow, How may I direct your call?”

“I need maintenance/service on my air conditioner.”

We will verify your name, address and the make of your system. Then, we will schedule an appointment. 32 COMFORT ZONE I MEFLOW.COM

“I would like a free estimate on a new air conditioner”

Our Technician will be dispatched to your home.


Our installation team will install your new air conditioner.

Our Comfort Advisor will provide you with a full system analysis and options for replacements.

Serving Northern Virginia with offices in Leesburg, Alexandria and Winchester Your technician will diagnose your problem. Provide up front pricing and coordinate the repair.

Equipment is registered and warrantied with manufacturer.

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Should You Repair or Replace YOUR HOME COMFORT SYSTEM?

I

by Adeline Moore

t’s a tough one especially when considering the costs associated with repairing versus replacing. But if you’re frequently applying band-aids with seemingly regular repairs, it may just be more cost efficient to replace your furnace and/or your cooling system. There are a number of questions to answer before making that call, including:

old, if your equipment requires frequent repairs and you notice your energy bills rising, again, the equipment has likely become less efficient and it may be time to replace. Also, if you’re facing a significant repair on a major equipment component, like a cracked heat exchanger, it may be more cost effective to replace than repair.

HOW OLD IS YOUR SYSTEM?

INCONSISTENT OR PROBLEMATIC AIR TEMPERATURES IN YOUR HOME?

If your furnace, boiler, or AC is more than 15 years old, chances are its efficiency is far lower than a much newer unit. Even if you’re not facing repairs, the unit, if built before the early 1990s is likely far less efficient, as much as 60 to 70 percent less efficient, than newer models; less efficiency equals higher operating costs. The amount of money you’ll save in heating and cooling costs will help mitigate the cost of a new unit. And the fact is, if the unit is more than 15 years old and you have not as of yet faced costly repairs, knock on wood, because it’s just a matter of time.

FACING FREQUENT REPAIRS? Assuming your system is less than 15 years

Some rooms are too hot or too cold; the house is too humid or has excessive dust. Some of these may point to, hopefully, minor and repairable issues. For example, inadequate insulation, leaky duct issues or minor improper equipment operation may be culprits and each can be handled with a repair. But, it may not be that simple. Your system should be providing you with balanced, comfortably regulated air, and if it is not, the only way to know for sure whether it’s time to repair or replace, is to give M.E. Flow a call. If it’s been over six months since your system has been serviced, we’d

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suggest having it serviced by one of our service technicians and let the technician know about your concerns. However, if your system has been recently serviced and you’re still having problems, it may be time to talk about its replacement with a Home Comfort Advisor.

ASSESSING THE HEALTH OF YOUR SYSTEM

There’s no substitute for having a highly trained and qualified technician provide a reliable and honest assessment of your equipment. The fact is that some decadeold systems need to be replaced for a variety of reasons including lack of proper maintenance, and some 20-year-old systems, while perhaps not as efficient as newer models, look like new because of regular and preventative maintenance. An M.E. Flow Home Comfort Advisor will know exactly what to look for to determine the health and longevity of your unit. Each and every situation in each and every home, office or commercial facility is different and the only way to determine what makes the


Is it Time to Repair or Replace Your Faulty System?

Take The Quiz! 1. Age of your unit? a. 1-7

5. Does your home have humidity problems?

b. 8-12

a. Yes

b. No

2. How much have you spent on your 6. Are some rooms in your home often too unit in the past year? cold or too hot? a. Under $600

b. Over $600

a. Yes

b. No

3. Are your energy bills increasing 7. Is your Furnace unusually noisy? each month? a. Yes b. No a. Yes

b. No

4. Do you regularly maintain a. Yes

b. No

0-2 POINTS REPAIR Based on information you provided, your HVAC system should be repaired! In order to fix your unit, please reach out to our team of experts to request a diagnosis. Remember, regular maintenance for your HVAC system is required to keep your unit operating properly. Use these tips to prevent future problems: don’t skip routine maintenance, make a call to service when there is an unusual problem, keep your coils and filters clean, and keep the outdoor unit free of debris. Better yet, let us remind you when it’s time for service by signing up for a service

most sense for your situation is to have a Home Comfort Advisor make an assessment that would include telling you what it will cost and what your potential savings will be with a newer, high efficiency unit. It’s your decision and we understand it’s based on a number of factors including cost, your comfort and, for many, environmental and energy efficiency considerations. Consider letting an M.E. Flow Home Comfort Advisor help you make the right decision.

8. Does your home have excessive dust? a. Yes

maintenance agreement. You’ll never forget to care for your system again! 3-5 POINTS ASSESSMENT Although your system is running now we recommend that you take the opportunity to discuss your replacement options with one of our professional Home Comfort Advisors. This will give you peace-of-mind knowing that you are prepared when that day comes. There is no charge for this in-home consultation to further inspect your unit! In order to give you the most accurate advice, please reach out to our team

b. No of Home Comfort Advisors to schedule an appointment. 6-8 POINTS REPLACE Based on the information you provided, your HVAC system should be replaced! In order to determine the best new system for your home, please reach out to our team of experts to request an in-home consultation for a no-obligation quote from one of our Home Comfort Advisors. Did you know that if your system is more than ten years old, it could be using twice the amount of energy that a new one would? Call the request a quote hotline today at 703-348-3484.

1: New units can have up to a 20 SEER efficiency rating,reducing monthly costs significantly. .

2: An oversized unit’s constant cycling leads to poor humidity control and premature failure. 3: Leaky ducts can pull particles and air from attics or basements and distribute them throughout your house causing an increase in household dust. KEY: 1. a-0, b-1 2. a-0,b-1 3. a-1, b-0 4. a-0, b-1 5. a-1, b-0 6. a-1, b-0 7. a-1, b-0 8. a-1, b-0 703.539.5306 I COMFORT ZONE 35


WHICH WATER HEATER IS BEST FOR YOU?

by Clair Cameron

G

one are the days where all homes have a conventional water heater. For all water heating needs, there is now a variety of options for you to choose from. But before you choose a new water heater, take a look at some of the options that are available.

Tankless Water Heaters

These come in several varieties. Some units are small, designed to work in part of a home or to be used in an outdoor extension, like a pool-house. Other tankless heaters are whole-house systems, powerful enough to provide hot water for your entire home and replace your old hot water tank forever. Conventional water heaters use a storage tank. The storage tank is full of water, which is then reheated continuously. A tankless water heater can have natural gas, or propane gas, but they only heat the water when it’s called for. There is no tank nor water storage system. Meaning, when you turn on your tap for hot water, that’s when the system begins heating, and it shuts off as soon as it’s done being used. You may be thinking that it takes a while for the water to heat up, or that the water coming out of your tap won’t be as hot as you like. However, those assumptions are incorrect. Tankless heaters use stateof-the-art technology to heat your water to an optimal level very quickly, and they will continue heating until you turn off your tap. Over the years, the efficiency of tankless heaters has improved greatly. Overall, tankless hot water heaters are designed to save you money on energy bills. Since there is no tank being constantly filled and heated up, there’s no wasted energy. A tankless system does not use energy until you tell it to, and it doesn’t continue to burn energy throughout the day, since there’s no tank that cools off. They also don’t require a ton of power to operate, meaning that a system will eventually pay for itself in terms of money saved on utility bills. 36 COMFORT ZONE I MEFLOW.COM


Bradford-White Electric Water Heater Tankless systems can last for decades, and are typically easy to repair. They can even be mounted on walls, making them perfect for apartments or condos. Early versions were not recommended for very large homes, but modern systems come in a variety of sizes and can heat just about anything. In other words, it’s a near guarantee that there’s a tankless water heating system out there that will fit your needs.

Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heaters use electricity to heat a water tank. Unlike gas systems, they require very little upkeep and are relatively inexpensive to install. They can be placed anywhere in the home, and smaller tanks can even be placed under sinks. Newer models are also very efficient in terms of their power usage.

Navien Tankless Water Heater

Bradford-White Gas Water Heater

The disadvantage is that they take longer to heat the tank and use more energy than a conventional gas water heater. They also do not recover as quickly when the hot water tank cools off or is emptied, and unlike tankless systems, electric water heaters don’t heat water on demand. Still, because they are convenient and easy to maintain, many consumers discover that an electric water heater is ideal for their home, especially if they don’t tend to use a lot of hot water.

Gas Water Heaters

This is the classic American staple for water heating. They use gas to heat a water tank and, while their energy efficiency has improved, the basic technology hasn’t changed in decades. The advantage of gas water heaters is that they heat water relatively

quickly and are fairly cheap to operate, since they don’t burn a ton of gas. However, since they are reheating a tank of water whenever it cools down or is used up, they consume more energy than a tankless system. They require some attention – pilot lights can go out, and gas units don’t generally last as long as their electric counterparts. Still, they heat water relatively quickly and, depending on where you live, they may be cheaper to run than an electric tank-based system. The best way to find out which hot water heating system will save you the most money and fit your needs is to call M.E. Flow at 703-539-5306. The experts there can help you make an informed decision, and get you a water heater that’s right for your home or business.

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NINE

PLUMBING TIPS EVERY HOMEOWNER SHOULD KNOW

1

2

3

4

5

6

DISHWASHERS & WASHING MACHINES

It may be a wise idea to run your dishwasher and washing machines at night or while you’re busy with other things. This helps conserve warm water and stabilize water pressure in the home. Remember to keep these machines clean – remove any debris from filters and drains.

WATER QUALITY

Have your water tested for any imperfections, and always filter your water before you drink it. Most homes would also benefit from a complete water purification and softener system. These remove hard minerals and filter out unwanted additives that can damage your water using appliances.

DRAINS

GARBAGE DISPOSALS

Never pour grease and oil down the drains. Avoid and remove any hair or food that may be blocking the flow of water. After doing dishes, let the water run for a minute to assure that any grease and debris is washed away.

Turn the disposal on before you add food, and watch what you throw in there. Avoid bones and other difficult-to-grind foods that could damage your unit. After use, continue to run water in order to flush food particles down the line.

OUTDOOR WATER FLOW

TOILETS

Keep your gutters clean and free of debris. If your property contains a drainage ditch, remember to keep it mowed and remove any tree branches or other items that could potentially block the flow of water. The goal it too keep as much water as you can away from your home.

Never flush paper towels, cotton swabs, wipes, personal hygiene, or anything other than tissue paper. Make sure to check to see that your tank refills and flushes properly. If you notice any clogs or slow draining, fix it immediately.

7

VALVES

Turn your valves on and off from time-to-time to prevent them from sticking. Consider adding some sealant or lubricant to stop outside valves from rusting shut.

8

WATER HEATER

To prevent burns, keep your water heater turned to a safe temperature. If your water heater is over 12 years old, consider a replacement. It’s likely burning too much energy and if it ends up failing, a repair could end up costing you big.

9

WASHING MACHINES

Periodically check your washing machine supply hoses for wear. This could save you from a sloppy wet mess someday!

Need someone to help keep your plumbing in check? Speak to a plumbing specialist about a plumbing service agreement—it’s a once a year check that could save you from a sloppy wet mess someday!

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MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC COOLING & HEATING

by Maxine Reneé

WHY DUCTLESS COULD BE THE ANSWER TO YOUR COMFORT PROBLEM...

D

uctless mini-split or duct-free HVAC systems are proving to be a great alternative to cool and heat homes and businesses. Through a variety of sizes and capabilities of controlling the air temperature in individual zones or rooms in the home, they offer both economic and environmental advantages. HVAC companies like M.E. Flow are installing them in new houses, historic row homes, ones with boilers, as part of home renovations and in businesses’ server rooms. Through emerging technologies ductless is raising the bar on efficiency and is becoming a popular choice for today’s energy conscious consumer. Duct-free systems, as the name implies, have no ductwork and consist of an outdoor condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. These are linked together with tubing that houses the power cable, refrigerant tubing, and a drain tube for condensation. In many ways, they operate in a manner quite similar to a standard air conditioning system—but with minimal maintenance. Scott Goulet, President of M.E. Flow, noted that the main advantages of duct-free systems are ease of installation, cost savings, quiet operation, energy savings along with the individual room control. Consumers love the fact that with ductless they can cool and heat their entire home or just one room at a time. Goulet also highlighted the fact that his company is recognized as a Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Contractor, which means the customer gets a 12-year warranty versus a 5- to 7-year warranty from non-Diamond contractors.

Mitsubishi Ductless Cooling

40 COMFORT ZONE I MEFLOW.COM

Mitsubishi Ductless Heating

Jim Dean, who manages the home comfort advisors, noted that they’ve proven to be a great permanent solution to fixing the hot upstairs in the vast number of 3-story homes we have in the area. And because these systems by Mitsubishi Electric can be cooling only, this was a great option for our client in Front Royal who heated their home with a boiler and never had air conditioning. In that home we installed an 8 port system!


The benefits are often overlooked by customers, but we like to point out that duct-free systems can be installed in places where conventional ducted systems simply can’t go. “These benefits are often overlooked by customers, but we like to point out that duct-free systems can be installed in places where conventional ducted systems simply can’t go, and because there is no ductwork required, there are worries about creating a big mess. Options for interior design include wall-mounted units, ceiling-recessed, and floor mounted units,” he says. “Floor-mounted models are ideal for areas that don’t have as much wall space. Ductless allows you to maintain the architectural integrity of your home too. Each indoor unit has wireless remote control to easily make adjustments to the system’s air flow pattern or temperature.

continued. “I would caution to use an HVAC contractor whose technicians are proficient in this type of installation, as each unit must be correctly sized and placed. An error here could result in wasted energy, improper temperature or humidity control, and greater long-term operational expenses.”

Mitsubishi Electric Duct-free systems can also help to keep your home safer because there is only a small hole for the tubing to pass through the wall. Window-mounted and through-the-wall room air-conditioners, unfortunately, can provide an easy entrance for intruders.

Our professional Home Comfort Advisors are trained to help customers determine the best options for cooling and heating their homes. Even if there is one trouble spot, like a hot upstairs, they provide an in-home consultation, at no charge, to help you decide the best solution to your comfort problem.

“For many of our customers, the unique advantages of this type of system are important. Our installers are highly trained, they attend handson training as well as up-to-date factory training and testing,” Goulet

With the option to install a single zone or multi zone application many homeowners who have older homes opt for the multi zone and have additional rooms done later. Some have even replaced their existing HVAC systems, with ductless.

MITSUBISHI PROFILE:

M

ore than three decades ago, Mitsubishi Electric launched its North American HVAC division bringing ductless systems to the U.S. Within seven years, it had begun its campaign to enlist quality dealers and by 2009, it introduced its Star Lineup, many are EnergyStar

rated and qualify for federal tax credits. Just two years later, its split-ductless systems won the Top 10 Product Award from BuildingGreen. For decades now, Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc. Cooling & Heating Division’s advanced climate control systems have provided personalized comfort while conserv-

ing energy and promoting environmental sustainability. Mitsubishi Electric is proud to be the third largest manufacturer of cooling and heating systems in the world. But its goal is to be first globally in providing “comfort without compromise.”

703.539.5306 I COMFORT ZONE 41


plumbing maintenance call. Normal use of faucets and showers can cause these issues over time, but it’s still good to solve them early if you’re interested in saving water and money. WATERLINE Waterline leaks are those that occur wherever water flows – in pipes behind walls, under the floorboards, and underground. If you notice a pipe leaking or mysterious water flowing from your wall or floorboards, that’s a sign of a problem. However, most line leaks won’t be that easy to spot. Detecting leaks in unseen pipes isn’t easy, and will require an experienced professional to properly identify.

WHEN PIPES LEAK

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he first sign that you may have a water leak is a bill that’s higher than normal. Water leaks can occur anywhere, and they may not always be easy to find. If you notice water flowing where it shouldn’t be or your water bills mysteriously rising, it may be time to call a plumber. The cause of a leak may be hard to determine, and fixing the issue may not be as simple as a patch job. Here are some common areas in your home where leaks may sprout and how you can help identify them. TOILET Toilets do a lot of work every day, and as a result they are one of the most common places you’ll find a leak. Something as simple as a toilet tank with a flapper that doesn’t close all the way can cost a small fortune over time, wasting thousands of gallons of water in as little as a month. Times are tough and money is tight, so any wasted water is too much. And if you’re someone whose home uses a well, that leaky toilet equals higher power bills.

Luckily, toilet leaks are easy to identify and are typically accompanied by the noise of running water. If you notice yourself having to jiggle the handle to stop your tank from filling, flush multiple times, or if you’re hearing running water when you shouldn’t, it’s time to get your toilet fixed before your monthly bills take a hit. SHOWERHEAD AND FAUCET When you turn your faucet off, the water should stop flowing, right? Well, sometimes water continues to drip out of the faucet even after you’re done using it. If it drips for a few moments, there may not be a problem. But if your faucet continues to leak long after you’ve closed the line, it’s time to fix it. Showers and sinks that leak even tiny amounts of water can waste gallons over time. If you notice yourself having to over tighten the faucet in order to stop the dripping, it isn’t working the way it should. Faucet and showerhead leaks are typically easy to detect and fix during a routine

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Leaks in pipes that aren’t easily visible may require the use of specialized equipment for detecting leaks. If a leak is found, the pipes will need to be uncovered or bypassed in order to be repaired. There may be symptoms of hidden line leaks that you can see (i.e. flooding in your yard), but many times the only indication that there’s a problem will come from higher water bills. It’s also a wise idea to pay attention to your water pressure; a sudden or gradual change in water pressure can also be an indication that things aren’t flowing so well or that you have a leak. Because of the complex and insidious nature of waterline leaks, a professional plumber is the only person who should be trusted to diagnose and solve these problems. Repairing and replacing damaged pipes inside your walls and under the surface isn’t a do-it-yourself task, since you could end up making mistakes that will cost you a fortune. Always hire a professional. Pay attention to what the water in your home is telling you. Keep an eye on your utility bills and water pressure, and keep your ears open for any strange noises. Be diligent when it comes to your plumbing, since water can cause major damage over time. The best way to stop leaks is to seal them before they happen. Annual plumbing maintenance is recommended so that problems can be solved before the first drip. For more information about plumbing leak detection, head to the M.E. Flow website at meflow.com.


WHY NAVIEN TANKLESS WATER HEATERS MATTER TO SMART HOMEOWNERS

Navien Tankless Water Heaters are the professional’s choice for high efficiency commercial grade domestic water heaters and whole house boiler systems. WHY SHOULD HOMEOWNERS CARE?  Continuous hot water for as long as you need it.  Lower energy bills: utilizes $.98 of every $1 spent to heat water.  Space savings: up to 80% smaller than traditional tank-type water heaters.  Less environmental impact with lower CO2 output.  Best industry warranty: 15 Years Heat Exchanger, 5 Years Parts, 1 Year Labor. Navien Tankless hot water heaters produce continuous hot water (no more waiting for hot water after someone takes a long, hot shower!) as opposed to regular tank–type heaters that keep your water hot all day long, every day. Navien heaters are the lowest operating cost heaters available in the market today. Typical tank-type heaters only utilize $.62 of every hard-earned $1 you spend to heat your water. Navien Tankless heaters reduce CO2 output by 1,217 lbs. per year compared to traditional tank-type heaters; this would be equivalent to 62 gallons of gasoline in your car, according to the EPA. Navien’s industry-leading warranty is far superior to tank-type water heaters, which carry only a standard six-year warranty. Navien offers an industry-leading 15-year warranty on its dual stainless steel heat exchangers, a fiveyear warranty on parts, and a one-year warranty on labor on qualifying units.

The leader in Condensing Technology

What a space saver!


M.E. Flow HVAC & PLUMBING

Commercial HVAC M.E. Flow’s commercial services division offers businesses the highest quality options available in today’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. Our installation, maintenance and repair technicians are certified to service systems ranging from the smallest commercial to 100-ton rooftop and split system air conditioning units. Highly trained professionals, our team works with businesses like restaurants, offices, and multi-family housing units such as condos and apartments each day. The M.E. Flow team is well versed in the art of customer service and appreciation, and will provide your business with the very best commercial service possible.

Some of the commercial services we provide are installation, service and maintenance of rooftop units, gas packs, heat pumps, exhaust fans, ducting and ventilation, ductless mini-splits, chillers and boilers. With preventative maintenance programs, the maintenance of your business’ equipment is guaranteed, and you can rest assured that the equipment will maintain its use and function for many years to come. Businesses encounter obstacles frequently, it’s the cost of doing business. M.E. Flow’s motto is 'Growing by giving great service'. It is our experience that the cost of doing business is reduced when the customer is satisfied and their obstacles are eliminated. Our commercial services division focuses on providing solutions to your businesses problems and providing excellent service. If your business is in need of an installation, repair, or maintenance, M.E. Flow is the only option that will provide you with top quality service and equipment. Call us today to find out more about our services – we’re looking forward to working with you!

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ROOFTOP UNITS

COMMERCIAL SERVICES GAS PACKS DUCTWORK

HEAT PUMP SPLIT

CHILLERS VENTILATION

BOILERS

PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE

EXHAUST FANS BD EUSII LG DN SERVER ROOMS

INDOOR AIR QUALITY

INSTALL

DUCTLESS MINI-SPLITS EQUIPMENT REPLACEMENT


M

.E. Flow commercial division manager Tim Shufran has a mantra: “Preventative maintenance is key.”

When M.E. Flow maintains your HVAC and plumbing systems you can expect to be rewarded for entrusting all your commercial comfort needs with us. M.E. Flow is firmly committed to preventative maintenance programs that will increase comfort, and with that may come increased productivity and the profitability of your commercial endeavor: happier workers, employees and tenants are good business. And, M.E. Flow’s customized professional maintenance program will save you money by eliminating equipment downtime as it extends the life of your systems. The result is improved energy efficiency, longer and better equipment service life— which can mean postponed capital replacement cost expenditures—and, ultimately, overall cost savings. But perhaps it ’s peace of mind that you’ll most value, knowing that your vitally important HVAC and plumbing systems are being serviced by the best team possible. And M.E. Flow will be there when you need us most. Whether it’s a church, office building, restaurant, bank, vehicle repair shop, manufacturing facility or warehouse building, we can provide you with the right commercial HVAC system to fit your needs. And we can help you save energy while controlling indoor air quality with a high efficiency industrial air filtration system. Balance your building pressures using exhaust fans and make-up air units to remove dust, fumes, or other airborne contaminates. Commercial Plumbing Our commercial plumbing services include: water heaters; backflow device services including certification and testing; building renovations, gas piping, drain cleaning and jetting; professional design service; and plumbing fixtures and products.

COMMERCIAL PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE

Whether it’s a church, office building, restaurant, bank, vehicle repair shop, manufacturing facility or warehouse building, we can provide you with the right commercial HVAC system to fit your needs. 703.539.5306 I COMFORT ZONE 45


M.E. FLOW SCORES A TOUCHDOWN… …with its support of Alexandria-area high schools

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s high school athletic programs suffer from budget cuts, local businesses often step in to help where they can and M.E. Flow is no exception. Its goal (pun intended) is to help make those Friday night lights brighter through its sponsorship of Alexandria-area high school’s athletics programs through scoreboard advertising. Stepping up to the plate, or goal line, in this case, when M.E. Flow was approached about helping, it was game on. Side Effects Inc. is an Ohio-based company that partners with school athletics’ departments to design and create products like scoreboards—often at no cost to the schools—and then reaches out to the business community for sponsorship opportunities to help pay for it. When Side Effects contacted M.E. Flow about the possibility of a sponsorship in Alexandria, company marketing manager Heidi Micale jumped at the chance to give back by helping to support Hayfield, West Potomac and Mount Vernon high schools score new digital game scoreboards. Last fall M.E. Flow was invited to Hayfield High School in Alexandria for the dedication of its new digital score board. “We arrived to a warm welcome,” says Heidi. “This was one of those times when you truly are thankful to be presented with an opportunity that supports the local community in Alexandria.” The night was filled with great energy and unexpected events when the local supporting businesses were called out onto the field and were recognized and thanked by school members. Later, the cheerleaders presented all the local business sponsors with their Hayfield thank you package. “It was a night of great fun and a great game,” Heidi says. “We feel we scored a touchdown and want to say thank you for welcoming M.E. Flow in Alexandria as one of your partners.”

GO, HAWKS!

From left to right: John, Heidi & Rich

“We arrived to a warm welcome,” says Heidi. “This was one of those times when you truly are thankful to be presented with an opportunity that supports the local community in Alexandria.”

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by Elliot Roberts

HYBRID DUAL FUEL

HEATING & COOLING

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During fall and spring, the dual fuel system still incorporates the furnace, but without using any burners, just its air distribution features. The heat pump sends hot refrigerant through the air conditioning coil within the furnace.

H

ow can an air conditioner system provide both hot and cold air to a building or home environment? No mystery. Just a heat pump, an electrically powered climate control unit.

HOW TO HEAT OR COOL A HOME OR BUILDING – CONVENTIONAL METHOD

Air conditioners change the air in a room from hot to cool, with the help of an air handler, coils and refrigerant. The refrigerant, a liquid that turns into gas, works like a sponge. It soaks up the heat from indoor air and then through a compressor, transports it to outside where the heat is squeezed out into the air. The air leaving the air handler is much cooler than the room temperature, and a fan pushes that cool air through ducts and registers. To warm a room, a furnace consumes gas, oil or electricity. As fuel is burned, the heat moves through ducts or pipes, then is blown out of registers, radiators, or heating panels. When the outside temperature drops to 32 degrees and lower. Conventional heating systems operate with less efficiency and the consumer pays higher rates.

DUAL FUEL TO THE RESCUE Dual fuel heat pumps attach to an existing furnace and look and work like high-efficiency central air conditioners. Both have

a compressor that circulates refrigerant through indoor and outdoor coils. An air conditioner can move refrigerant in only one direction. But, a heat pump can force refrigerant in either direction, for heating one way and cooling the other. The furnace fan draws air from the home’s cold-air returns and blows that air over the warm coils and then sends the warmed air throughout the house. In the summer, the heat pump reverses the refrigerant flow so cold liquid flows over the coil and cools a building, just like a conventional air conditioner. In those mild spring and fall months in Northern cooler states, dual fuel systems provide inexpensive heat just as well as they do in the South. As the temperatures drop, the heat pump shuts off and automatically switches to supplemental gas heat for better efficiency. During the coldest times, the fossil fuel furnace burns at its greatest efficiency. By combining the efficiency of a heat pump during its peak operating period with a high-efficiency gas furnace, oil furnace or boiler for the times when it is less efficient, a dual fuel system provides the greatest efficiency. A home can be heated for less than if only one source of heat was used. Why? • A furnace kicks in for only the coldest months.

• Heat pumps save energy because transferring heat is easier than making it. Depending on the region and fuel cost, this can save money in the long run. • Upgrading a system to dual fuel may qualify for an energy-savings tax credit plus rebates. • Under ideal conditions, a heat pump can transfer 300 percent more energy than it consumes. In contrast, a high-efficiency gas furnace is about 90 percent efficient. Who should install a dual fuel system? People who already have furnaces in their homes and whose central air conditioners need replacing. People who want a heat pump to work in conjunction with their existing furnace. Dual fuel heating provides a second heating system, which can save money, as dual fuel rates mostly remain stable year round. If a home-owner lives in an area in which fuel costs are low but electricity runs high, he may not see savings immediately, but, a dual-fuel system will save. A thorough inspection from an HVAC service representative can evaluate whether or not the homeowner should install a dual system. If so, these systems provide the maximum efficiency, payback and comfort level on the market.

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A RIGHT FOR YOU WHY A FURNACE MIGHT BE by Kyle O’Connor

ccording to the Department of Energy, space heating is the largest energy expense for the average U.S. home, accounting for roughly 45 percent of energy bills. Because of this, it’s important to choose the heat system that’s best for you, and there are many. Furnaces used to be considered inefficient, mainly because many of them were, but the newest gas models are anything but, and might be right for you and your family.

FURNACE ADVANTAGES: Efficiency: The majority of furnaces produced within the last several years are up to 98 percent energy efficient, meaning 98 percent of the energy taken is used to generate or distribute heat. This is as high as any efficiency you’ll find with other heat sources. Flexibility: There are many different models and sizes that can run on a range of fuel types. Also, this means finding a furnace that will ideally suit a particular home isn’t difficult. Another thing that makes furnaces so flexible is that they can often be hooked up to existing ducts. So if your home already has ductwork installed, you can easily connect a furnace without having to install extra pipes, radiators, and baseboard heaters.

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Classic Plus Series up to 80% (gas)

Prestige Series up to 80% (gas)

Size: Furnaces come in a variety of sizes and can often be quite small, with the burners,


Furnaces used to be considered inefficient, mainly because many of them were, but the newest gas models are anything but, and might be right for you and your family.

KEEP YOUR HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM CLEAN AND YOUR SYSTEM RUNNING SMOOTHLY

heat exchangers, and blower arranged together in a compact manner. Boilers, on the other hand, require large tanks of hot water and thus take up more space. Location: Furnaces are often called central heating systems because they usually occupy a central location inside your home. In most instances, this will be in the basement, which won’t lower the aesthetic value of the home.

Classic Plus Series up to 96% (gas)

Faster Heating: Furnaces work almost immediately to bring heat into your home, whereas a heat source like a boiler has to heat up a full water tank each time you need warmth. This can take a while. Newer, high efficiency furnaces use a two stage burner, which not only provides faster heating, but also better distribution of that heat. The benefits are twofold: you don’t waste energy (and money) by overheating when turning the furnace on, and your home is more evenly heated, no noticeable hot and cold zones.

HELPS YOU GET THE JOB DONE NUCALGON.COM

703.539.5306 I COMFORT ZONE 51


M.E. Flow Helps to Preserve American History

by Ellyn Santiago

“We were there at 4 a.m. to do a thorough drain cleaning on the original drain system,” Hays says. “ These could have been bricks George laid himself.” M.E. Flow was also recently called to install a boiler and repair a sewer at a Cornwell Street NW home in Leesburg. The house is historically significant because it kept safe one of the most important documents in U. S. history—the original Declaration of Independence.

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ecause of its reputation for excellence, M.E. Flow has been called to provide plumbing, electrical and heating and cooling services at historically significant Colonial-era locations in Northern Virginia; houses and buildings that were integral to the founding of the nation. It’s an honor, company president Scott Goulet says, "to be called upon to work inside sites that are part of the very fabric of the birth of the nation, like George Washington’s Mount Vernon." Mount Vernon was built as a modest one-and-a-half story family farmhouse by Augustine Washington in 1735, it was then called Little Hunting Creek Plantation. The nation’s first president would later inherit the house, and in 1758 began construction expansions on what would become a 2 ½ story mansion, dwarfing other Colonial-era homes. Being asked to provide plumbing services at George Washington’s Mount Vernon was at once an honor and a privilege, says M.E. Flow’s plumbing manager Michael Hays. Hays says that he and his plumbing staff needed to arrive pre-dawn for the job; visitors to the home of our first president is a popular tourist attraction with more than 1 million visitors a year. Hays says the whole experience was very memorable.

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According to an online historic digest, the story goes that on August 24, 1814, the day of the British attack on Washington, the Declaration was on its way to Leesburg. That evening , while the White House and other government buildings were burning, the Declaration remained safe for several weeks at the Cornwell Street house until the British had withdrawn their troops from Washington, and their fleet from the Chesapeake Bay. Again, Goulet says, providing services at powerfully symbolic and historically compelling locations is an honor, but he adds that his company wouldn’t be called upon to do jobs on sites of this stature if it were not for the expertise and skill of his plumbers and HVAC technicians.


SIMPLIFY THE

And speaking of skill, a homeowner in Lovettsville praised company techs for their work on her Colonial-era h o u s e . Te c h n i cians installed a Mitsubishi Ductless mini-split in a circa-1790 home, taking tremendous care and with the “precision of surgeons,” the owner said, removed windows and was also “gentle while drilling through 200 year old bricks.”

WAY YOU WORK

DiversiTech is North America’s largest manufacturer of air conditioning condenser pads and a leading supplier of components and related products for the heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) industry. “We don’t sell everything to everybody, but we sell something to everybody”

At the Birkby House, a circa-1770 estate home in Leesburg, M.E. Flow was asked to install a boiler. The Rev. Thomas Birkby House, on the National Register of Historic Places inside the Leesburg Historic District, is what is called Georgian-style Colonial-era house. Another historic structure in which M.E. Flow has been entrusted to provide service and install HVAC systems is the Marshall House (formerly Dodona Manor) in Leesburg, a National Historic Landmark.

diversitech.com

®

THERMAFLEX FLEX DUCT HELPS MAKE YOUR SYSTEM RUN SMOOTHLY Thermaflex ® is a global leader in the flexible duct product industry for both commercial and residential HVAC applications. Founded in 1953, the company has experienced significant growth and now has a team of more than 600 employees that work across four strategicallylocated, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities.

Thermaflex

®

thermaflex.net

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CARBON MONOXIDE IS YOUR HOME SAFE?

C

arbon Monoxide gas is known as the ‘silent killer’ because it’s odorless, colorless, and completely undetectable to the human senses—yet, it can be deadly. To protect your family and pets from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, you need to have a CO detector installed in key locations on every floor of a home, if you use any gas appliances in your home such as a gas-fired furnace, water heater, or stove. This early warning system can save lives. M.E. Flow is a certified HVAC contractor in carbon monoxide and combustion diagnostics and can help protect your family against the odorless and colorless gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning affects more than 20,000 people every year and there are upwards of 500 annual deaths caused by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Yet, not everyone remembers to install CO detectors, let alone check them regularly. Just like smoke detectors, having working carbon monoxide sensors in your dwelling are vital to ensure the air you breathe is clean and safe. CO detectors work by measuring the toxicity of the air. If CO levels exceed a certain threshold, the device will let out a loud beep to alert anyone in the vicinity of the potential danger. This typically happens before anyone starts noticing any of the symptoms of poisoning mentioned above, and before any damage can be done to any of the people and pets who live in your home. If carbon monoxide is released, you and your family may not know until it’s too late. Symptoms of poisoning include heart palpitations, confusion, drowsiness, fatigue, and vomiting. “Over exposure to carbon monoxide causes neurological damages, illness, coma, and death,” says Frankie Swart, Service Manager at M.E. Flow. “Inhaling any significant amount poses a serious risk to your health.” The state of Virginia has adopted laws and codes regulating the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in

rental and leased dwellings. Swart advises anyone with a fuel-fired appliances should have CO detectors. “If you’ve got a gas-burning furnace downstairs, you should have one on each level of the house,” Swart says. “It should be within ten feet of the bedrooms on each level.” As a certified contractor for National Comfort Institute (NCI), M.E. Flow recommends, sells and installs NCI’s NSI 3000 LOW LEVEL carbon monoxide monitors, which will keep your family, pets and home safe and healthy. We recently received a customer testimonial attesting to the NSI 3000’s superior quality and life-saving attributes: “We recently switched to M.E. Flow, and you literally saved our lives by recommending the installation of the NSI Carbon Monoxide Monitor. The alarm got us out of the house and the fire department arrived right away! The other CO detector did not alarm, even when the CO levels were rapidly increasing. M.E. Flow came right away. The builder had installed a furnace seven years ago, and it failed. Plus, we found out that the exhaust pipes were never glued (behind the drywall ceiling). I’m a realtor, and I’m recommending M.E. Flow to all my clients.” The reason perhaps the other monitor did not alert is the very reason M.E. Flow recommends low level monitors. All CO monitors are not created equal–you want a low level CO monitor. A low level CO monitor lets you know there’s a problem before reaching dangerous, even deadly CO levels long before the other CO detectors even begin to work. For more information about carbon monoxide and services provided by M.E. Flow that will keep your family safe, call 703539-5306 or visit us online at www.meflow.com/carbon-monoxide.

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HOT JOBS, COOL INDUSTRY GO WITH THE FLOW! Debt-Free Pathway to a Career

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as a career path. But some companies are so anxious to recruit new technicians they have their own on-the-job training programs. And M.E. Flow is one of those companies.

But there are simply not enough skilled techs joining the workforce. Less than 6 percent of high school graduates look at skilled trades

M.E. Flow offers generous wages and benefits, overtime and a merit-based advancement policy. But it is M.E. Flow’s ‘Careers in the Trades’ program that is perhaps the most exciting. M.E. Flow offers a debt-free pathway to a career in HVAC service, installation and repair, as well as plumbing and electrical. Partnering with local technical schools and community colleges, the company’s apprenticeship program allows participants to get hands-on training—and get paid for it—even as they attend classes toward certification. M.E. Flow pays up to a 100% of trade school tuition for employees in the apprenticeship program. In addition, the employees earn a wage while working as an apprentice in the HVAC, plumbing, or electrical trade. Employees in the trades can also advance into supervisory roles and other opportunities in the industry. Participants must be 18, have a high school diplo-

or every three HVAC techs leaving the workforce (retiring mostly), there’s only one trained technician entering the field. Or try this: Job growth in the HVAC field is double and in some states, even triple that of all other occupations. Not convinced yet? How about this: The median income for an HVAC tech is about $50,000. Still not convinced it’s a smart career choice? Well, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth in jobs and salary is expected in the immediate future for HVAC specialists, with job growth expected to top 30% and salary growth projected to increase as much as 40%, with salaries upwards of $70,820 annually. Finally consider this fact: HVAC jobs cannot be out-sourced; these jobs are here to stay. Not to mention, essentially every home requires heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical products, service and repair. Talk about job security.

ma or the equivalent, pass a drug screen and background check and have a valid driver’s license. And, perhaps most importantly, be willing to study and work hard. But the rewards for that work can be measured in not just dollars and cents—given the high salaries—but in job growth potential and, for many most importantly, job security. The industry is recession-proof. Company human resources manager Ann Utt says the program is important because “younger people interested in the trades are hard to find.” “It seems that young people aren’t encouraged in high school to look at the trades,” Ann says. “We add a couple of apprentices every year to have a pipeline of trained and experienced technicians in the workforce.” For more information about M.E. Flow’s employment opportunities and the ‘Careers in the Trades’ apprenticeship program contact Ann Utt at 703-539-5306 or visit meflow.com/hiring.

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rine treated water is another reason why consumers of city water choose to treat their water supply. “With city water the biggest complaint is the taste of the water. They taste chlorine,” Hays says. “We have whole-home filtration systems that can take that taste away or point-of-use systems for just one sink. The system we use will make your water taste better, make your water healthier for you and your home and take 80 to 90 percent of the bad stuff out.” Other Reason to Install a Whole Home Water Treatment System For many people, health concerns prompt them to purchase bottled water for drinking and cooking. And people often opt for a portable solution to treat their water but soon realize that it’s a Band-Aid and not a real solution. A real solution to the problem of hard water, foul-smelling water, iron or bacteria-laden water is a whole-home water treatment system. Consider the benefits:

Flow Knows Water by Ellyn Santiago

D

o you know what’s in your water? Whether it’s your well or ‘city’ water in Northern Virginia, there is a laundry list of reasons to treat your water supply. By treating your water you ensure that your family, pets, home appliances and heating and cooling equipment are free from damaging contaminant effects of water such as:  Hard water – which shortens the life of water-using appliances  Iron – Which often leaves permanent staining as well as an unpleasant smell M.E. Flow knows water well, very well, and as simply stated by company plumbing manager Michael Hays, “There’s not a water issue we can’t take care of.” So those water woes may only be temporary, if you ‘Go with the Flow.’ Well Water Woes The three primary issues with well water in Northern Virginia a re p ro b l e m s t h at M.E. Flow can fix. Low ph. (water that’s too acidic) is a “huge issue,” says Hays. "This water can leave greenish-blue stains and can cause piping and fixtures to thin and

can cause pinhole leaks, which can be costly to repair.” Hard water, which is the number one cause of problems with water heaters, calcifies and clogs equipment. Iron in well water is a “huge issue out here that really ruins everything,” Hays says. Iron leaves brownish-red stains, which are often permanent. And also has a sulfurlike smell (akin to rotten eggs). Hays says it’s not sulfur, rather it's iron bacteria, that while not harmful, are considered by many to be distasteful. All of these concerns can be fixed by M.E. Flow with CSI water treatment products and services including water softeners, iron/sulfur filters, UV lights and more. City Water Woes In an effort to improve the taste and quality of the water, chlorine and chloramine and other chemicals are added to the city water. However, many homeowners still opt to install water softening and filtration systems to treat the hardness and other remaining issues some city water supplies leave behind. Which the hardness of water plays havoc on the inside of your pipes and all the appliances that it goes through. The taste of the chlo-

“There’s not a water issue we can’t take care of.”

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 Better tasting water  Lead, toxins and other chemical by-product removal while retaining healthy minerals  Lower cost  Cleaner laundry  Better food preparation  Improve the health and well-being of your family  Avoid costly repairs to damaged heating and cooling systems and appliances According to Hays, a question that comes up during their whole home plumbing inspections is the customers concern about their showerhead: ‘Why isn’t the water pressure good?’ What’s the white stuff on the outside?’ Then there’s that ‘ah-ha’ moment when the customer sees the harmful evidence of scale build-up first hand and then asks us how to treat it. Go With the Flow to Keep Your Water Safe Get a customized solution to your water woes visit our website for additional information www.meflow.com/water-quality/ or call M.E. Flow at 703-539-5306 and speak to a professional water quality specialist. M.E. Flow uses CSI water systems and products as well as Easywater and Revitalife drinking water systems and products. With M.E. Flow, forget those water woes.


MEET THE TEAM Scott Goulet President

Scott has worked at M.E. Flow since 1989 when he began as an apprentice. He has served in every area of the business, from the metal shop, HVAC installation and service departments, up to sales, then management. Scott has his master license in HVAC, Gas Fitting and Plumbing. Scott is NATEcertified and has served on numerous trade association boards. Scott enjoys spending time with his three children. Hobbies include hunting and fishing.

Michelle Goulet-Swart Vice President

Michelle has worked at M.E. Flow for 25 years. She has held several positions through the years. Michelle enjoys spending time with her family, being a mother, and working with the team at M.E. Flow. Hobbies include cooking, volleyball, photography and horse training. Michelle and her husband Frank have 1 daughter.

Rick Ross

Chief Financial Officer

Rick is a relative newcomer to the company who handles all aspects of the company’s finances. He is a CPA. He and his wife Grace have two adult children: Jordan and Courtney. Hobbies include golf and skiing.

Charlotte Arter

Jim Dean

Charlotte has been with the company for 3 years. Prior to working at M.E. Flow Charlotte was a CPA with expertise in government procurement and banking experience. With husband James, they have three children: Joshua, Samuel and Rachel. Hobbies include reading and working out.

Jim has been with the company for 2 years. He works with our team of home comfort advisors, and has over 20 years experience building and managing great teams. Prior to joining M.E. Flow he was in the telecommunication field. Jim is married to Danielle and they have 7 children. During Jim’s time off he spends time with his kids and raises and sells All Natural Texas Longhorn beef.

Controller

Sales Manager

Rodney Baker

Craig Dunn

Rodney started his career with M.E. Flow over 6 years ago. He has a total of 31 years in the business. He is married to Tammy and they have 2 sons who are serving in the military. During his time off he loves to travel with his wife and attend baseball, and football games.

Craig has been with the company for 10 years, and started his career in the HVAC industry back in 1987. He is married to Robin and has 3 children. During his time off he enjoys being on the water in his boat and spending time with his family.

General Manager Alexandria

58 COMFORT ZONE I MEFLOW.COM

Installation Manager


Family Owned and Operated Mike Hays

Frankie Swart

Mike is a 6-year employee with the company who is a Class “A” Contractor, Master Plumber, Master LP Gas Fitter and Master Natural Gas Fitter. He has specialized training in water conditioning and is a Navien service specialist. Mike and his wife of 30-years, Michelle, have three grown sons: Justin, Matthew, and Joshua. Hobbies and outside interests include family, church and the American Legion.

Frank has been with the company for 19 years. Has over 30 years experience in the trade ,and is NATEcertified with a Virginia and Maryland master license for HVAC. He has specialized training in carbon monoxide safety. Prior to M.E. Flow, Frank worked at the Dulles Airport utility division. Frank and his wife, Michelle, who is the vice-president for the company, have 1 child. Hobbies and outside interests include family, daughter’s volleyball interest, riding his Harley, dirt bikes and target practice

Plumbing Manager

HVAC Service Manager, Leesburg

Brian Haberle

Heidi Micale

Brian has been with the company for 1 year. He holds a certification for master HVAC and has a total of 18 years in the business. He is married to Heather and they have 5 children. When Brian is not working he enjoys hunting and baseball.

Heidi started in 2012 and works with her cousins Scott, President and Michelle, Vice-President of M.E. Flow. Prior to joining Heidi was enjoying life in sunny Florida with her shih tzu, Stella. Heidi coordinates the marketing for M.E. Flow and especially enjoys the enthusiasm of the company employees. She also enjoys biking, fitness, the great restaurant in NOVA, a game of corn hole, and vacationing in Florida.

HVAC Service Manager

Jeff Patten

Plumbing Manager

Jeff has been with the company for 1 year .He is a Virginia Master Plumber. Prior to moving to Virginia and joining “The Flow”, he was a Master Plumber in New Jersey. He is also backflow certified. When Jeff is not working he enjoys coaching baseball.

Marketing Manager

Donna Adams

Call Center Manager

A 5-year veteran with the company, Donna discovered many years ago that customer service is what she enjoys. Prior to working at M.E. Flow, she was a customer service manager for a local stair company. Donna has two children. Hobbies include reading and working out.

Tim Shufran

Commercial HVAC Service Manager

Tim started his career at M.E. Flow over 6 years ago. Prior to working for M.E. Flow Tim worked for another commercial HVAC company. Tim is married to Luanne and has two daughters. During Tim’s time off he enjoys spending time with his family and getting together with friends.

Jason Dewey

Installation Manager

Jason Dewey started with M.E. Flow in June of 2005 as an installer. He’s been in the trade for over 18 years. He is NATE-certified and successfully completed the M.E. Flow apprenticeship program. He has three girls, and in his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family. Jason is also an avid Washington sports fan!

703.539.5306 I COMFORT ZONE 59


UNDERSTANDING

WARRANTIES

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hank you for choosing M.E. Flow to supply your indoor air quality needs! Here are just a few words on how to maximize your investment by understanding warranties. When you purchased your new air conditioning system, it included a manufacturer’s warranty. You should have received a copy of this warranty from the manufacturer, which contains their terms and conditions. If you can’t find your warranty paperwork, call our customer service department. We’ll be happy to help you! Manufacturers are beginning to enforce the terms and conditions within your paperwork. These changes may affect you. Most manufacturers allow you to transfer warranties to the new owner upon the sale of your property for a small fee and within 30 days of the closing. Manufacturers are now requiring the use of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts. There are thousands of possible OEM parts for any of the multiple manufacturers, which make using and obtaining OEM parts

60 COMFORT ZONE I MEFLOW.COM

difficult, and we can no longer use generic stock parts to replace a unit that is under warranty. However, it is our priority to repair your equipment as quickly as possible. Manufacturers do not cover costs for labor performed. M.E. Flow includes a one year labor warranty with all systems. We also offer extended warranties that covers labor and other items not covered by the manufacturer's parts warranty. This means that if you need service after one year, labor charges will apply. Manufacturers often require yearly maintenance by an authorized dealer/servicer in order to keep a warranty in good standing. If you are not currently having maintenance done on your equipment at least annually, please contact us or an authorized dealer/servicer in your area as soon as possible. Please call our customer service department if you have any questions or to schedule maintenance. We have several maintenance plans, and our professional staff will gladly explain them to you and help you choose the one that best fits your needs.


WHAT ARE

SERVICE MAINTENANCE AGREEMENTS?

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Regular maintenance keeps your system running efficiently, saving you money on utility bills, and prolongs the life of your heating and air conditioning system. Potential problems can be prevented or corrected early. Plus, regular maintenance keeps your warranty in force. Other benefits induce fewer repairs, and improved capacity from your system. Agreements are transferable.

hether you’re installing a new heating, ventilation, or air conditioning (HVAC) system or you’re having an old system repaired, chances are a maintenance agreement will benefit you. A maintenance service agreement is designed to save consumers money on routine maintenance, while also protecting their equipment from potential problems.

contractor, is the maintenance reminders—you’ll never forget to give your system the service it needs. For HVAC it’s a reminder for cooling season to service you’re A/C and during winter season you are reminded to schedule the maintenance service of your heating system.

Maintenance agreements are held between you and a heating, ventilation, or air conditioning (HVAC) contractor and for your plumbing system a plumbing contractor too. Wherein you prepay for maintenance at a discounted rate and you receive other additional benefits. They cover routine needed service that will keep your system in check and also help protect your warranties.

Aside from saving money the best part about these plans is you’ll never forget to have the necessary maintenance because we’ll remind you to take care of it.

Most of us know we should have our system checked but we simply forget to do it. We are only reminded to care for their system when there is a problem. Similar to how your car requires an oil change in order to keep it running, your HVAC system needs regular service as well.

Just remember that warranties require regular maintenance. That’s one of the reasons why maintenance agreements exist—to help mitigate the cost associated with regular HVAC service calls. Keep in mind that a maintenance agreement is far cheaper than a major system problem caused by a lack of upkeep; having your system routinely serviced could save you big down the line.

One of the biggest perks of having a service agreement with a reputable

HVAC Service Maintenance Agreements

Put your HVAC and plumbing maintenance on autopilot with a service agreement plan!

WE HAVE PLANS FOR: • Heating and cooling system • Plumbing system • Combined HVAC for more savings!!

PLUMBING Service Maintenance Agreements

703.539.5306 I COMFORT ZONE 61


IOND T C SFA E E

KID ED T TES

M O M

ATI S A % 100A U R

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G

VED

RO APP

Never purchase laundry detergent again! by Kyle O’Connor

"I wanted to be sold on this product before we introduced it to our clients. I’m sold! I had it installed in August 2015 and have not purchased laundry detergent since. The smell of the clothes after they are washed reminds me of when my grandmother would hang the clothes on the line to dry—fresh and clean! The company offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee which is amazing!" -Heidi Micale, Marketing Manager & Client Relations M.E. Flow 62 COMFORT ZONE I MEFLOW.COM


 Clean Without Bleach: combining the power of ActivePure Technology with the cleaning action of activated oxygen, Laundry Pro lifts dirt and grime away from the fibers of fabric, preventing the growth of odor-causing bacteria.  No Maintenance: no cleaning or maintenance required for Laundry Pro to operate at peak performance. • Better for Sensitive Skin: no detergent, bleach, or chemicals. Eliminates the itching and irritation caused by detergents embedded in clothing and linens.  Easy to Use: simply put your clothes in the washing machine, set for cold water only, and turn your washer on.  Whiter Whites, Brighter Colors: through the cleansing power of oxygen, Laundry Pro keeps clothes looking their best.  Certified Space Technology: Laundry Pro uses ActivePure Technology, a variation of the technology originally developed for use on the International Space Station.

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ashing our clothes is something we all have to do, but most people don’t realize just how expensive doing laundry is. Based on information compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy, the average American household does around 392 loads of laundry per year at an approximate cost of $1.12 to $1.49. The costs include detergent, fabric softener, hot and cold water, and energy produced by whatever system you use. Annually, this is upwards of $585 without factoring in the cost for your washing appliance and necessary maintenance. Laundry Pro by Aerus (formerly Electrolux) is a revolutionary way to do laundry, inspired by nature. Not only is it better for your laundry, your family, and the environment, it will also help you save money too—up to $462 per year.

Laundry Pro incorporates the power of their innovative, exclusive ActivePure Technology (a certified Space Technology) with the cleaning action of activated oxygen to lift dirt and grime from the fibers of fabric and prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria. It is an amazingly effective cold water laundry system for residential use with many features, described below.  No need for Detergent: instead of expensive, chemical-laden detergents, Laundry Pro uses oxygen, peroxides, and other gases that bubble into clothing to lift away dirt and odors.

 Earth Friendly: Laundry Pro helps protect the Earth by using cold water only also not requiring laundry detergent, which means less energy use and no bottles to throw away.  Made in the USA: Laundry Pro is designed and built in the USA for reliability and durability.  Easy to Install: no modifications or additional plumbing is required, as Laundry Pro connects to your existing washing machine with standard hoses. Are you ready for the Laundry Pro? Visit our website for additional information and download our brochure. Go to www.meflow.com/plumbing/laundry-pro/ or call M.E. Flow and speak to a professional.

 Makes Clothes Softer: detergent build-up can weigh down your towels, linens, and clothes. Laundry Pro restores their natural softness over time by lifting old detergents out of fibers. 703.539.5306 I COMFORT ZONE 63


Innovation without Limits

The New Degree of Comfort

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Next-Generation Innovation From top to bottom, inside and out, our newest heating and cooling lines are some of the most contractorfriendly, innovation-driven products we’ve ever built. Guided by our Rheem 360º+1 product design philosophy and input from real professional contractors, we evaluated and reevaluated what elements and features would radically improve the Performance, Installability™, Serviceability, Integration and Partnership behind each and every product. Then we delivered it all... And then some. Altogether, our latest furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps—30 model families in all—offer 136 features and upgrades that make them unlike any other heating or cooling solution on the market.

M.E. Flow Comfort Zone 2015