Comfort zone Premiere Issue
PLUMBING OPTIONS Water Heaters
Family owned and operated since 1977
DOES YOUR AC
Need a Check-Up?
A Great Investment
Rubber Duck Race
Serving Hampton Roads, Peninsula and Southside since 1977
SPREADING THE WORD ABOUT
There’s cool, and there’s perfectly cool. Our best home air conditioners make the distinction with two-stage technology. Lennox® air conditioners are the most efficient and quietest you can buy. Having a comfortable home goes way beyond temperature settings. Lennox Residential is a leading global name in home comfort. Russell’s Heating and Cooling gives you the personal touch you expect from your Indoor Comfort Professionals.
COMFORT AND CARE
Serving Hampton Roads, Peninsula and Southside since 1977 757.424.1000 â€˘ RussellsHVAC.com
In This Issue
Greetings from Buddy Smith President, Russell’s Heating & Cooling
Choosing the Right Brand and Model
Which Water Heater is Best For You?
Russell’s Supports: Hampton Roads Rubber Duck Race
Many Uses For Ultraviolet Lights
by Tori Wexler
by Clair Cameron
by Tori Wexler
by Elliot Roberts
Is a Duct-Free Air Conditioner Right For You?
Why a Heat Pump is a Great Option
What to Expect When You Call Russell’s
by Jacqueline Cross
by Elliot Roberts
What Is Blown-in Loose-Fill Insulation? by Clair Cameron
The Solar Powered Alternative
Why Get a Second Opinion?
Cool Air Isn’t Necessarily Good Air
Russell’s & Geothermal: A Perfect Match
Why Your AC Needs a Check-Up
Hybrid Dual Fuel: Heating & Cooling
After a Severe Storm, Take Precautions
Protein-Packed Berry Burst Smoothie
Meet the Team
What are Maintenance Agreements?
by Maxine Reneé
by Clair Cameron
by Jacqueline Cross
by Tori Wexler
by Maxine Reneé
by Elliot Roberts
by Jacqueline Cross
by Nate Freyburger
© 2015 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 Russell’s Heating and Cooling. If you would like copies placed at your business please call our offices at 757-424-1000. 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™.
GREETINGS from Buddy Smith, President Russell’s Heating and Cooling
ver 36 years ago, my parents, Russell and Audrey Smith, founded Russell’s Heating and Cooling. They worked tirelessly to get this company off the ground and to make a living doing what they loved to do the most – serving people, and improving the comfort and safety of their customers. I am privileged to carry on their legacy as the owner of Russell’s Heating and Cooling. I learned the value of honesty, diligence and hard work at a young age from my parents, and I am proud to say that we have an amazing team of people who reflect their values and live out their mission every day here at Russell’s. About eight years ago we took some time to capture the essence of what we do and what can be expected from us in a few short statements: Do the right thing – be on time – deliver what you promise – be dependable and accountable. Thank you for choosing our company to help with your HVAC and plumbing needs. I appreciate the trust you have put in us, and I can assure you that our team is well-trained and eager to always serve your needs. We are here to serve you, today and far into the future. Call us any time at 757-424-1000 or visit russellshvac.com to learn more, and while you’re there please check out our reviews and the awards that our team has won, from the Chamber’s Small Business of the Year to the Best Places to Work in Hampton Roads.
OUR PURPOSE STATEMENT: “I take personal responsibility to deliver extraordinary service to you each and every time, without exception.” This purposeful statement guides how we treat ALL people – our coworkers, our valued clients and our vendor partners. They are all people who deserve to receive our best, and to be treated with great respect and appreciation. I talk often with our team about how easy it is to serve people when they are nice or when they treat you like you want to be treated…it is only commendable when you swallow your pride and deliver your best to everyone regardless of circumstance or how you “feel”. This is the point where cheap talk about service goes away and you demonstrate that you are the very best at serving others.
OUR VALUE STATEMENTS: • • • •
916 Business Park Dr Chesapeake, VA 23320
Buddy Smith, President RussellsHVAC.com
Above all else we will do the right thing. We will be there when we say we will be there. We will do what we say we will do. We will always support each other in a positive and encouraging way.
ONE OF HAMPTON
ROADS MOST AWARD WINNING COMPANIES
• 10 YEAR WINNER BEST OF CHESAPEAKE
The PureAir™system improves air quality throughout your home.
• 2012-2014 BEST OF THE 757
No home is immune to indoor air quality problems. Dust. Chemicals. Mold. Mildew. Bacteria. Viruses. Pet dander. These tiny particles (measured in microns) are all very common in homes, and they can cause problems that can inhibit the simple joys of life, like spending time with loved ones. That’s why Lennox has developed the innovative PureAir™, air purification system. You can breathe easier knowing that the harm you can’t see is virtually eliminated—leaving you with cleaner and healthier air.
• BEST PLACES TO WORK IN HAMPTON ROADS 2004-2007 • HALL OF FAME BEST PLACES TO WORK IN HAMPTON ROADS 2008-2011 • CHESAPEAKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR 2004 AND 2011 • 2014 LENNOX CIRCLE OF EXCELLENCE – TOP 70 DEALERS NATIONWIDE • 2012 ANGIE’S LIST SUPER SERVICE AWARD WINNER
OUR AWARD-WINNING TEAM IS READY TO SERVE YOU! lennox.com
THE RIGHT BRAND AND MODEL
hen you start shopping for your new system, it would be great if you knew exactly what brand and model you want. Unfortunately, that’s very difficult to determine. There are many brands to choose from, such as Trane, Lennox, York, Carrier, Rheem, Ruud, Goodman, and many more. In order for your to work like it’s supposed to, all major components (including the refrigerant lines and duct system) have to be matched exactly to each other. That’s not so easy to do. You could come up with literally dozens of combinations within one brand alone! There are all kinds of different models of furnaces, condensing units and evaporator coils as well as different efficiency levels, capacities and sizes. It’s mind-boggling to think of the possibilities. And once you start taking bids, you’ll see how many different choices you’re given. How can you decide what you need? Most Hampton Roads air conditioning contractors will give you an estimate on one or maybe two different brands. That’s probably what they warehouse and sell, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just remember this; it doesn’t matter what brand you choose if the system is installed improperly! Of course, the top-quality brands will generally last longer, but nothing impacts the life of your new system like the installation process. Most of the problems that arise after you purchase a system (including shortened equipment life) are caused by the installation and/or improperly sized equipment. If you find a contractor you can trust, it shouldn’t make much difference what kind of equipment they install. The brand issue is secondary since the wholesale price to the dealer is not much different between brands, so that shouldn’t make much of a difference in the estimate. A lot of the cost differences are installation-related (it costs more to do it right). If they can do it right, let them use whatever they want. If you have a personal preference, let them know and they can probably get that brand. Unlike car dealerships, HVAC contractors are pretty much free agents. You’re better off with their brand properly installed than your brand improperly installed.
7 DAYS A WEEK, YOU CAN TRUST YOUR COMFORT TO RUSSELL’S HEATING AND COOLING
PRESTIGE HD PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT Equipped with a large, full-color display that’s easy to read, allowing you to accurately make adjustments from anywhere in the home. Control temperature and humidity levels from this single device, which can be automatically programmed to your specifications. Best of all, it could save you up to 30% annually on energy bills. And unlike other thermostats, there are no complex buttons or unnecessary hidden compartments.
Serving Hampton Roads, Peninsula and Southside since 1977
757. 424. 1000 • RussellsHVAC.com
Journey by Tori Wexler
“It’s really satisfying to have a relationship with clients that goes back more than 20 years. Some of the relationships even date back when my parents started the business in 1977.” 10 COMFORT ZONE
at Russell’s often enjoy playing golf together. The office staff takes an annual paid-day-offwith-shopping-money shopping spree. The installation department takes an annual paid ski and snowboard trip. Coffee, bagels, and bonuses keep the staff happy and loyal. They lounge in the chill room on bean bags, shoot baskets in an outside basketball net, and play indoor corn hole in the office. “We also have a huge assortment of nerf guns,” Smith says. “We definitely have a lot of fun.”
hen Buddy Smith was a kid, he soared down the street on a skateboard and never thought about what he was going to do when he grew up. He lived an “idyllic” life, having fun playing individual sports, and enjoyed a stable and loving home environment. All that playing helped develop good leadership skills. Today, he owns and operates Russell’s Heating and Cooling and his staff comes, not only to work, but to play. “Work can be hectic so we spend a lot of time having fun,” he says. Since 1977, Russell’s has provided homes and businesses with HVAC services, and employees with a good time and a rewarding career. Many of the employees
So much fun that Russell’s was voted the number one place to work in the second annual Top 25 Places to Work in Hampton Roads, VA in 2004. The Inside Business Journal featured Smith and his wife, Lauren, on the July 5th cover. One of the key categories in judging was employee loyalty, and at Russell’s, employees stayed. Russell’s also enjoyed being ranked in the Top 25 another four times since 2004. . Russell’s clients remain loyal too. Smith says, “I see my sales staff come in with a current client’s order form describing a new comfort System purchase, and I remember when I was the person who was out at their home 15 to 20 years ago.” In his youth, Smith says he wanted “nothing to do with the family business.” After graduation, he didn’t know what he 757.424.1000
wanted, and found a job working in the automotive industry. Neither parent ever pressed the issue of joining the family business. He was 19 and enjoying a young career of setting sales records, due to a simple and honest approach to serving customers. One day he spoke seriously with Russell’s right-hand-man, Mark. Mark had asked him if he really wanted to stay in the car industry, then made a suggestion that Buddy join the Russell’s team. “We sat down and hatched out a plan,” says Smith. “All of a sudden, I really loved air conditioners and heaters! I had all these really nice suits and all these little sales achievements that were great for building the confidence of a teenager. But, I traded all those in for a crawl suit and some on-thejob training.” Soon Smith was installing, and then servicing equipment. He explored the sales and marketing sides. Then, he went to a dealer seminar and listened to a diverse group of consultants and trainers in the industry. “I thought, ‘This is what I want to do.’ Then, I just started working on the business.” His parents continued to work until his father retired in 1999, and his mother followed in 2000. He bought them out several years later. Buddy, his wife Lauren; daughter Alyona; 6, daughter Jillian, 5; and son Liam, 2; live four miles from his parents. Alyona began her life in another country. It took six years and “a lot of red tape” to bring home Alyona, which has influenced his civic participation. “You can change a life forever,” says Smith. From Dad, Smith learned the value of taking a stance. From the start, his father had emphasized customer service and COMFORT ZONE 11
emergency service. Smith says many HVAC companies realized the bigger dollars were in replacing equipment. His father was more focused on service – fixing existing equipment. That made for slow growth. “But, also made for the best possible foundation for a business, because even today, as much as we’ve grown, service comes first and service drives everything else,” says Smith. “We have almost 4000 maintenance agreements. Those customers are faithful and loyal. We do nearly 16,000 service calls a year and that keeps us very busy.” During his 22 years in the business, Smith’s intuition and experiences have directed him to changes and invited some marketing decisions. One business decision was prompted by a personal experience. In 2000, he bought a car. It had numerous problems, but the car was never covered under the Lemon Law in the state of Virginia. The problems frustrated and disappointed him. “We had expectations that we bought something great,” Smith says. The lesson sparked a change in Russell’s policies. Smith implemented a “test drive” based on his car experience. In real life, he was stuck with a flawed vehicle. Imagine, however, if people were unhappy with a car, and even after several months, they were able to return it to the dealership, hand over the keys and get a refund, or, start from scratch.
12 COMFORT ZONE
That policy became his 365 Day Buy Back Guarantee, which states, “If in the first full year you aren’t 100 percent satisfied with your new equipment installation or your service repair, we will remove the equipment or the part(s), clean up our work areas, and give you a 100 percent refund!” (go to russellshvac.com for full disclosure). Smith says the policy has helped save clients, and if they left Russell’s, Smith knows his technicians did their best. In the past 10 years, Russell’s installed between 4300 and 5000 systems, and removed roughly five systems. “Many people who push to have their system removed and refunded say, ‘Seriously? You’re really going do that?’ And we say, ‘Of course! That’s our guarantee.’ And the response has been,
and presentable. The kind of people you can leave in your house while you run up to a store. Those are the only people we want,” he says. Russell’s participates in community activities and civic organizations. “I like the privilege that comes along with being able to give back and do things,” Smith says. “We focus on things that will have a direct impact on someone’s life.” Smith is a longtime supporter of the Rubber Duck Race, an annual fundraiser for the organization, Children’s Health Investment Program (CHIP). In 2010, Russell’s sponsored another fundraiser, the Amazing Race, based on the TV show. Community spirit permeates the Russell’s work place.
Russell’s participates in community activities and civic organizations. “I like the privilege that comes along with being able to give back and do things,” Smith says. “We focus on things that will have a direct impact on someone’s life.” more often than not ‘Well, that just confirms I picked the right company to start with so let’s just address the issue we have and keep the system.’” Satisfying clients’ needs puts a huge demand on finding high-quality people. The EPA certified technicians at Russell’s are equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment. Russell’s hires only “superstars.” The hiring process includes a drug test, reference research, and intuition. “We have guys that go into a house who clean it and leave it the way they found it. They‘re articulate, friendly
Technicians have used their own money to buy filters or thermostat batteries for their clients if they were unable to get to the store. Office employees sponsor children through Compassion International and World Vision, for education and medical care. Of all the awards and recognitions Russell’s has received, Smith says he is most proud of “Best Place to Work” award. “It says something about how our company treats our people,” he says. “Nobody cares at the end of your life how many air conditioners you put in. Or, how much money you made. Or, about your car your house, or anything else. It just matters that you can provide for other people.”
YOU’LL FEEL RIGHT AT HOME WITH A YORK® HOME COMFORT SYSTEM — BECAUSE WHEN IT’S BUILT BY YORK, IT’S BUILT RIGHT. IN EVERYTHING WE DO, WE STRIVE TO BRING YOU THE HIGHEST QUALITY SERVICE FROM OUR PRODUCTS AND OUR PEOPLE.
BUILT RIGHT. BUILT BY YORK.
A York® air conditioning unit provides the quality and dependability you need to keep cool, no matter how hot it gets. Our broad lineup of energy efficient air conditioners makes it easy to satisfy your budget and comfort level: From our economical Latitude™ Series to the innovative LX Series to the ultra energy-efficient Affinity™ Series models.
Serving Hampton Roads, Peninsula and Southside since 1977
757.424.1000 • RussellsHVAC.com
WHICH WATER HEATER IS BEST FOR YOU?
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. 14 COMFORT ZONE
by Clair Cameron Conventional water heaters use a storage tank. The storage tank is full of water, which is then pumped where it’s needed. A tankless water heater can have a gas, propane or electric heating device, but they only heat water on demand—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 state-ofRussellsHVAC.com
the-art technology to heat your water to an optimal level very quickly, and they will continue heating until you turn off your tap. There is some delay before the water is heated, but the amount of water wasted is typically less than a gallon. Over the years, the efficiency of tankless heaters has improved greatly. Overall, tankless hot water heaters (also called on-demand 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
Russell’s uses quality products that conserve water and save you money. We have the expertise to install and service new systems and components. 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. 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. 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 757.424.1000
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 Russell’s Heating and Cooling at 757-4241000. The experts there can help you make an informed decision, and get you a water heater that’s right for your home or business. COMFORT ZONE 15
HAMPTON ROADS by Tori Wexler
16 COMFORT ZONE
RUBBER DUCK RACE
very year, one day in April, people can view a large blob of bobbing and weaving yellow mass floating down the Intracoastal Waterway at Great Bridge in Chesapeake, VA. A throng of humanity stands along the shore, yelling and screaming, cheering and clapping, as the yellow splits off into little pieces of . . . rubber? Specifically, rubber ducks! For approximately 1/8 mile no one is allowed to rescue the dancing ducks, and it’s up to each duck to race to the finish line. Welcome to the Hampton Roads Rubber Duck Race! The ducks put the fun in this fundraiser that benefits Children’s Health Investment Program of South Hampton Roads. CHIP is a 501(c) (3) non-profit agency that provides a number of services to families with young children to ensure they have a happy, healthy start in life and enter school ready to learn and succeed. Services include case management home visitation; and parent support, education and referral. CHIP works with the department of social services, schools, public health institutions, and more. The Rubber Duck Race has raised the profile of the agency, according to Trish O’Brien, President and CEO. More importantly, investing in the first 2000 days in the life of children makes a developmental difference. Back nine years ago, when Trish came on board with CHIP, she searched for ways to financially support the organization that would excite and involve the community. When she approached the board with the idea of the Rubber Duck Race, “They looked at me like I was crazy,” Trish says. “I was surprised we didn’t have a rubber duck race. Until you see one, it’s hard to envision what the whole event looks like.” The first race exploded on the scene in 2007. Selling tickets proved to be a chal-
lenge. Trish tells a story of an incident at one of the businesses offering “ducks” to purchase for the race. A woman came out of a store frazzled and in a hurry. Trish’s light and airy approach took her by surprise, when Trish asked sprightly, “Do you want to buy a duck?” The woman turned to her with a stunned look and said, “Lady I have four kids. I don’t have time for a duck.” Every year, more people join the fun, and in 2014, close to 3000 people came out. The financial goal of the race is substantial. The prizes are plentiful and generous. The whole community comes out to cheer, and hundreds of cell phones are recording the action. Trish says, “It’s become a staple, a family fun event. We have a duck mascot. It’s a great showcase for businesses to be a supporter. Local restaurants sell food to the public, but the money goes back to CHIP. We try to keep it affordable for all families. And, we couldn’t do it without volunteers.” How does a non-profit, with so many immediate human issues to solve, acquire 10,000 ducks? “My board took a leap of faith with me and invested in, and bought the ducks,” says Trish, laughing at their gullibility, yet knowing these folks will have a blast when they see the ducks sailing down the race “lanes.” “We literally have to store them in a garage that would hold a fire truck,” she adds. Participants purchase ducks at various businesses, from banks to pet stores, spas to hair salons. One of the founding members, Buddy Smith, with Russells Heating and Cooling, sponsors the race each year. If entrants cannot find a participating business, in Greenbrier, Battlefield, Great Bridge, Western Branch, Deep Creek, 757.424.1000
South Norfolk, Virginia Beach or Norfolk, they can visit the CHIP’s headquarters at 1302 Jefferson St., Chesapeake. (757) 543-9100. Entrants may purchase a single duck for $5; 10 for $45; 25 for $110; 50 for $215; 100 for $410; over 100, $4 each; over 1,000, $3.50 each. On the day of the event, the cheering crowd watches as 10,000 rubber ducks launch into the water. Oil booms line the path so the ducks stay within a confined space. Each participant hopes his/her number crosses, or rather, floats over the finish line first. A number is written on each duck corresponding directly to the number on an entry ticket. Multiple duck entries are assigned a different duck identification number for each duck entry. The person whose name appears on the entry ticket to the corresponding duck that crosses the finish line wins the prize. The 2014 duck race granted a car for the Grand Prize. The entrant whose duck came in second won a shopping spree at a furniture store. With so many factors at stake, what could go wrong? Well, one year, a boater sped too close to the oil booms, creating a huge bow wave. Soon, spectators could see rubber ducks flying over the booms, randomly heading out to sea. Fortunately, a rescue team raced out and retrieved the ducks in time to continue the race. You don’t know what to expect, so mark your calendars for next year’s Hampton Roads Rubber Duck Race and join the fun. And, don’t forget to buy your duck. For more information on the Hampton Roads Rubber Duck Race, please go to HamptonRoadsDuckRace.org.
COMFORT ZONE 17
THE MANY USES FOR Ultraviolet Lights
by Elliot Roberts
ening bones. Yet, too much UV radiation in too short a period of time can cause cellular damage, resulting in sunburn. Sunscreens, or “blockers,” include ingredients such as avobenzone and oxybenzone that absorb UV rays. Fortunately, the ozone layer filters out the vast majority of UV radiation, enabling humans and vertebrates to exist in sunny climates.
voltage wires near the light do the rest. Consumers purchase UV lights for tanning lamps, UV-protected sunglasses, reptile aquariums, and as cleaners for air and water systems. Additionally, hospitals and food and drug companies use short wave UV “germicidal” lamps to sterilize surgical equipment and the air, and for disinfecting water supplies.
Some insects, birds, and some children in laboratory conditions can see UV light. In normal human vision, the eye lens blocks most light in the 300-400 nanometers wavelength range. However, for people with aphakia, (missing lens), UV light comes through as whitish-blue or whitishviolet. Seeing “beyond” can be compared with dogs having the ability to hear “beyond.” Whistles produce a sound wave that humans cannot hear, but dogs can.
Artificial sources of the UV spectrum have many effects and uses. For curing polymers in the dental field, scientists developed low-cost LED flashlights that emit specific wavelengths in the UV range. Some skin conditions, such as psoriasis and vitiligo receive ultraviolet radiation treatments. UV lights are applicable in label tracking, barcodes, black lights, extreme ultraviolet lithography, optical sensors for instruments, forensic analysis for drug detection, medical imaging of cells, detection of forged bank notes, and digital printing.
UV lights can be installed in air conditioning systems to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Long exposure to UV light breaks apart molecular bonds and destroys cells. Because microbes and mold must be close to the light source in order to be affected, UV lights are placed near the air conditioning coil and condensation pan. Without UV lights, the coil and pan could provide the perfect setting for microbes to grow. Installing UV lights can help keep your system’s evaporator coils germ-free.
When the doctor tells you to go outside to get your Vitamin D, he’s referring to the UV rays that are responsible for strength-
On the home front, a bug zapper can save a back yard picnic from annoying biting bugs. UV light attracts the bugs; high
To find the ideal UV light air purifier for your home or office, contact Russell’s Heating and Cooling at 757- 424-1000.
erived from the Latin ‘ultra’, meaning “beyond,” Ultraviolet (UV) light has a higher frequency than violet light—the highest frequency of visible light. The spectrum of UV radiation can be subdivided into a number of ranges in nanometers, from 10-400. These subdivisions allow for various applications of UV light in a number of industries, such as health, astronomy, detection and inventory.
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At Delany Electrical to service all of yourContracting, our goal is or small. With over 15electrical needs large both the residential years of experience in we are able to diagnand commercial fields electrical issue you mose and repair any ay have. WE SPECIALIZE IN: • Property managem • Energy efficient cu ent service • Service upgrades stom landscape lighting • Hot tub installation • Pool light/pump re placement • Ceiling fan installatio • General troublesho n oting and repairs • Same day, emergenc y, and after hours service available
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delanyelectric.com VA License 27051531
COMFORT ZONE 19
air conditioners offer multiple
BENEFITS by Jacqueline Cross
20 COMFORT ZONE
The cost savings can be significant in terms of installation and energy use.
uct-free HVAC units can be a useful alternative to cool and heat homes and businesses. HVAC companies nationwide are installing them in multifamily housing units, renovated older single-family homes, and office spaces. Perfect for residential and commercial consumers alike, they: •
Come in a variety of sizes
Are capable of controlling the air temperature in individual zones of a building or home
Offer economic and environmental advantages
Offer a unique way to save energy by only cooling areas that are presently being occupied
Offer cost-savings for those on a budget
Duct-free systems, as the name implies, have no ductwork, and consist of an outdoor condenser and an indoor airhandling unit. These are linked together with tubing that houses the power cable, refrigerant, and a drain for condensation. In many ways, they operate in a manner similar to a standard air conditioning system. Dave Harris, Service Manager at Russell’s, says that the advantages of duct-free systems include the ease of installation, energy savings, and flexibility in terms of the system placement. “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,” he says. “Options for interior design include ceiling and wall mounted units, drop ceiling applications and even a picture gallery unit that allows the owner to customize the look of the space.” Most indoor units have profiles of about eight to eleven inches deep. Floor-standing models are also available. The aesthetic-designs fit into any home or office. All models offer a remote control to easily make adjustments to the system’s air flow pattern or temperature. The remote can control the on and off button if the unit is positioned high on a wall or suspended from a ceiling. “I would caution against using a company whose technicians are not proficient in duct-free unit installation, 757.424.1000
as each unit must be correctly sized and placed,” says Dave. “An error here could result in wasted energy, improper temperature or humidity control, and greater long-term operational expenses.” Buddy Smith, President of Russell’s, encourages home and business owners replacing existing systems, building new or remodeling, to consider duct-free systems. He says, “The cost savings can be significant in terms of installation and energy use without compromising the comfort level of the rooms or occupants.” COMFORT ZONE 21
WHY A Heat Pump Is A Great Option by Elliott Roberts
hen it comes to home appliances, would you agree that the more efficient, the better? Installing a heat pump for heating and air conditioning may be the best solution for keeping your home comfortable year round. During warmer months, a heat pump works as an air conditioner, extracting heat from inside the home and transferring it to the outdoor air. In colder weather, however, the process reverses. The unit collects heat from the outdoor air to transfer inside your home.
A heat pump also produces savings while cooling a home. A SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating measures cooling efficiency. A higher SEER number produces greater savings. A SEER of 12.00 to 13.00 is typical in homes over eight or ten years old, and a new, higher efficiency heat pump can be as much as 50 percent more efficient. If a consumer’s non-electric furnace is still working, an add-on heat pump is an effective option. A dual-fuel system shares the heating load, but never at the same time.
Each system operates when it is the most cost effective. The heat pump will be the Cool or cold outside air, nevertheless still primary heating and cooling system. Howcontains some heat. When there’s not ever, when the temperature drops below enough heat in the outside air to meet the heat pump’s ‘set-point’ (the point the demand of the thermostat setting, at which the heat pump no longer is the an electric heater supplements the outmost efficient source of heat) the furnace door air to warm the home. Instead of a will take over until the temperature rises furnace that turns fossil fuels or electricity into heat, the heat pump collects heat enough for the heat pump to operate more efficiently. that already exists in the outdoor air. It’s a matter of producing versus collecting. A “Heat pumps are efficient, quiet and provide heat pump produces two to three times significant savings,” says Buddy Smith of more heat than the energy it uses, and Russell’s Heating and Cooling. “The amount today’s heat pumps produce warm and a consumer can save depends on many comfortable air. factors, including building temperature, construction quality and electric rates. “We get to capture the sweet spot of efficiency and comfort for each system. This is a very popular system and most of our customers choose to go this route.”
“Heat pumps are efficient, quiet and provide significant savings, says Buddy Smith of Russell’s Heating and Cooling. The amount a consumer can save depends on many factors, including building temperature, construction quality and electric rates.” To learn about heat pumps and how they can save on energy costs, contact Russell’s Heating and Cooling at (757) 424-1000.
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NEXT GENERATION REME
The REME HALO by RGF helps to eliminate sick building syndrome risks by reducing odors, air pollutants, VOCs (chemical odors), smoke, mold, bacteria and viruses. This is one of the most potent and capable air purifiers manufactured today.
â€œClean Your Air By Reducing Germs and Odorsâ€? rgfairpurification.com
What to Expect “It's a great day at Russell’s, How may I direct your call?”
“I need maintenance/service on my home” (Maintenance Agreement Customers receive Priority Scheduling)
We will verify name, address and schedule appointment
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“I would like a free estimate on getting a new air conditioner”
Our tech gets dispatched to your home (Reduced diagnostic charge for maintenance agreement customers)
u C o all Y n e h W
Comfort Advisor provides you with good, better, best offer and schedules installation date
Unit is installed (We pride ourselves on clean installation) Final inspection is passed
Equipment is registered and warrantied with manufacturer.
Diagnosis made, check for price and availability. You will receive a detailed service report regarding the condition of your unit. (No hidden fees)
CALL US TODAY! 757.424.1000
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Blown-in Loose-Fill Insulation? by Clair Cameron
lown-in loose-fill insulation is an easy and affordable way to save money on utility bills. If your home is more than 10 years old, there’s a good chance you don’t have enough insulation. Unfortunately, even newer homes could be lacking proper insulation due to builder shortcuts. No matter your situation, blown-in insulation can fill in the gaps where your home loses heat and cool air, keeping your family comfortable for less. Blown-in loose-fill insulation works exactly like the name states; loose fiberglass strands are blown into empty spaces using pressurized air. This technique can put insulation anywhere, including cavities in walls or at the base of an unfinished attic. It’s also useful for filling in irregularly shaped areas that other insulation misses, some of which could be letting air pass through. “The advantage of blown-in material is that it conforms to the space and shape of the area it’s in, and it fits like a glove,” says Mark Sawyer, the General Manager at Russell’s Heating and Cooling. “It’s really cool, efficient stuff.” If you’re thinking about installing blown-in insulation yourself, think again. Blown-in insulation should only be put in place by a professional who can properly check for dangers, such as electrical wires, and devise proper workarounds. Still, even with a service call, installing blow-in insulation is relatively quick and painless. “In many cases, we can completely reinsulate your attic in a few hours, immediately improving your home’s comfort, efficiency and even its resale value,” says Sawyer. “Because the product is blown into place, you get complete coverage — even around pipes and outlets, where other types of insulation won’t fit. And because the installation process traps millions of tiny air pockets between the
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pieces, you can usually achieve greater insulation value than traditional batt insulation can provide.” If you see energy bills rising or you feel drafts around the house, chances are good that something isn’t as insulated as it could otherwise be. The first place to look for escaping air is the attic, where the thickness of insulation on floors and walls can determine if you have enough material in place. A professional can do this fairly easily, and will likely check your status before installing any insulation in the home. After that, crevices and hardto-reach places should also be examined for spots where warm and cool air could be escaping outside. Blow-in insulation improves the energy efficiency of your home by bolstering what you already have and filling in gaps everywhere else.
Blown-in loose-fill insulation works exactly like the name states; loose fiberglass strands are blown into empty spaces using pressurized air. This technique can put insulation anywhere, including cavities in walls or at the base of an unfinished attic. This whole idea of shooting fiberglass strands out of a pressure cannon may sound sloppy, but it’s actually a very clean process. Insulation in your home is only going to be visible where it should be, safe from pets and children who may unknowingly put it in their mouths. Additionally, blown-in fiberglass poses little environmental risk and much of it is made up of recycled materials. For a full list of benefits, ask a professional insulation installer. “There’s very little downside to using this stuff,” says Sawyer. “The machines we have nowadays leave no messes at all. There’s no overspray, leftover powdery residue – nothing. And since homeowners could see savings almost immediately, there’s no reason not to at least have your home checked to see if additional blown-in insulation could help.” Russell’s Heating and Cooling recommends Owens Corning insulation. For questions or to schedule a service call, contact Russell’s today at 757-424-1000. 757.424.1000
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THE SOLAR POWERED
The first thing you need to consider when looking to switch to solar energy is how much sunlight your home receives throughout the day
Here’s What T You Need to Know by Maxine Reneé
he use of solar power systems has become a viable option to offset the rising costs of energy. Whole-home solar panels turn light from the sun into electricity and use it to power everything, including your air conditioner and heater. Because sunlight is an unlimited resource, the power you receive from it is completely free. While the upfront cost of installation may be a bit more expensive than other options, solar panels will pay for themselves very quickly—even more quickly if you qualify for available tax rebates and credits. The first thing you need to consider when looking to switch to solar energy is how much sunlight your home receives throughout the day. A portion of your roof
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needs to be fully exposed to the sun and free from shade created by trees or structures. Generally, homes that are exposed to sunlight from the south are best-suited for large solar panel installation. Another important factor in determining if your home is equipped for whole-home solar power is the size of your roof. While it’s good to do your own research, an expert technician is best suited to help you make decisions regarding panel size, placement, and your expected power generation. Not all homes are able to power everything with solar energy, but most will still see a reduction in energy bills from any panel installation
Whole-home solar power isn’t for everyone; however there are a variety of limited options that could benefit virtually any home. For example, a solar powered HVAC system uses panels to reduce heating and cooling costs by eliminating total dependency on traditional energy sources. Additionally, a popular and easy-to-install appliance is a solar powered water heater, which utilizes basic technology that has been around for more than a century to effectively heat water at little to no cost after installation.
A solar water heater transfers heat collected by panels mounted on your roof or in your yard to a water storage tank elsewhere on the property. Solar water heating is efficient enough to be a home’s sole source of hot water, or it can be used in conjunction with other methods. Either way, a solar powered tank will reduce water heating costs significantly. There are a myriad of solar power options out there to fit most any home and bud757.424.1000
get. With available tax credits, some folks end up spending next to nothing. Talk to a professional solar panel technician about available options and rebates. However you choose to harness the power of the sun, you’ll assuredly save money while reducing your carbon footprint. For more information on available solar appliances, visit Russell’s Heating and Cooling’s website at www.RussellsHVAC.com.
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by Clair Cameron
Get a Second Opinion?
magine taking your car in for a simple tune-up and having a mechanic tell you that only a new engine can solve your problem. You’d probably be immediately skeptical; after all, a brand new engine is going to cost you a lot more than an oil change, and the mechanic stands to make more money. If you’re wise, at that point you’ll turn around and get your car looked at by someone else before you do anything. Maybe the mechanic isn’t lying, but it’s always good to double check. Unfortunately, unscrupulous characters are everywhere, trying to make an extra buck by selling their customers something they don’t need. From salesmen to mechanics and even air conditioning contractors, it’s good to be cautious. Seeking a second opinion is always the right idea whenever you’re facing a large repair bill. “On more than one occasion, I’ve had customers call us seeking a second opinion because some other air conditioning contractor told them they needed a whole new system,” says Dave Harris, the Service Manager of Russell’s Heating and Cooling. “We’d head out to look at their system for them, and sure enough all they need is a small repair. It happens more often than you think.” When it comes to air conditioning services, high pressure selling often works. When it’s super hot outside, all a person wants is their A/C back on. Secondly, when a nice-looking professional in a uniform says 30 COMFORT ZONE
something, a lot of people take it as fact. But regardless of how much you’re made to sweat, it’s recommended that you remove yourself from the situation and take some time before making a major decision. “Your mother probably always told you to be cautious of strangers, and she’s right,” says Harris. “If our customers want to seek a second opinion about the work we do, I’m not offended. Seeking a second opinion about any major repair is a smart idea. Sadly, there are a lot of bad contractors out there who will do anything to make money.” As a consumer, it’s your job to take all the necessary steps to protect yourself. For starters, make sure you’re only doing business with a company that is licensed. Second, spend a little time researching different contractors; ask your friends who they’ve used, and search for reviews online. Not getting ripped off starts by making sure any organization you do business with is a reputable one. When you call a different contractor to get a second opinion, give them the details of the first company’s diagnosis so they know exactly what to look for. When it comes to providing customers a second opinion, many contractors will offer their expertise free of charge. So, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t get all of the facts before you open your wallet; a good company will support your decision to protect yourself. RussellsHVAC.com
As a consumer, itâ€™s your job to take the necessary steps to protect yourself. For starters, make sure youâ€™re only doing business with a company that is licensed. 757.424.1000
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ISN’T NECESSARILY GOOD AIR by Jacqueline Cross
our home is essentially a Petri dish for dust, dander, mold and microorganisms. These invaders use your living space to multiply and spread, and can build up by the minute. You can almost say that air quality defines life quality. When indoor air is clean, we sleep and breathe better, and we’re allaround living healthier. Well-maintained and efficient air cleaners can significantly lower the amount of pollutants in the air. Their usefulness varies considerably, depending on the type of cleaner, and on the strength of the indoor pollution source. The acronym MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value.” The MERV rating was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and AirConditioning Engineers, and is the standard method for comparing the efficiency of an air filter. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at removing particles from the air.
you are buying one that’s appropriate for your home and your family’s specific needs. When you or someone in your home suffers from allergies, or respiratory problems, you’ll want to look for a higher MERV rating. Then again, even if you don’t have allergies or other health concerns, you may just want to get the best filter for your family so that the indoor air quality around your home is the best it can be. Your options include a throwaway fiberglass filter, washable filter, one-inch or five-inch pleated filters. Check the MERV rating on each, and get the details about how various filter type works with your system before you make a purchase.
Why the MERV Rating is Important When you’re purchasing an air conditioner or furnace filter, you want to be sure that
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Commercial Services RUSSELL’S
You depend on your HVAC systems for the comfort of your customers and your employees. We can help you lower your energy costs and avoid frustrating office building breakdowns with commercial HVAC maintenance agreements designed to keep your equipment in top working order. We know that when your heating and cooling system is down – you need it fixed fast! You can depend on Russell’s Heating and Cooling. LEASING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE CUSTOMIZABLE MAINTENANCE AGREEMENTS SYSTEM REPLACEMENTS EMERGENCY SERVICE UV AIR PURIFICATION HIGH-EFFICIENCY FILTRATION
Call us for a free no obligation quote on a maintenance plan today at 757.424.1000
RUSSELL’S & GEOTHERMAL a perfect match By Tori Wexler
hat do the Idaho Capitol Building in Boise, Foundation House in New York City and Roosevelt Institute for Rehab in Warm Springs, Georgia have in common? They all use geothermal heat pumps, considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to be one of the most efficient heating and cooling systems available. You’ve seen the photos of frosted-headed Japanese macaques chilling and grooming and just hanging out at hot springs in Nagano, Japan. You’ve visited Yellowstone National Park and seen the hot mud bubbling and Old Faithful spewing. Perhaps you’ve vacationed in Arkansas and luxuriated in a Hot Springs spa. You have experienced geothermal energy, a power generated from natural steam, hot water, hot rocks, or lava in the earth’s crust. About 20 percent of this energy originates from the origi34 COMFORT ZONE
nal formation of the planet, and 80 percent from radioactive decay of minerals. How do geothermal systems work in nature? Temperatures at the core–mantle boundary may reach over 7,200 °F, and it flows continuously outward. This flow is estimated to be equivalent to 42 million megawatts. Think: volcanoes, lava . . . Hawaii. However, the heat usually remains below the earth’s crust, heating nearby rock and water — sometimes to levels as hot as 700°F. When the earth heats the water, hot water or steam can be trapped in permeable and porous rocks under a layer of waterproof rock, and a geothermal reservoir can form. However, most hot water stays deep underground, trapped in cracks and porous rock. When did humans begin delving into the beneficial properties of geothermal energy? People from Paleolithic times had used hot springs for bathing, warmth and cleansing. People used the minerals in the water as a source of healing. The oldest known hot spring pool was built in China during RussellsHAVC.com
the 3rd century BC. No strangers to water systems, the ancient Romans used hot springs water to feed public bath houses. In 14th century France, in the spa town of Chaudes-Aigues, people used geothermal water not only to heat their spas but also to heat their houses. We began to harness geothermal energy for industrial and commercial use by developing power plants. The earliest industrial exploitation began in 1827 with the use of geyser steam to extract boric acid from volcanic mud in a dry steam field in Larderello, Italy. Prince Piero Ginori Conti tested the first geothermal power generator in July 1904, at Larderello, again, where he built the first geothermal power plant in 1910. The geothermal heat pump came into implementation around the late 1940s, making it feasible to heat the Commonwealth Building in Portland, Oregon in 1946, and the first residential open loop version in Ohio, in 1948. Ten years later, New Zealand produced a geothermal energy plant, the first and only since the Larderello in 1910. Still later, as the oil crisis of 1973 hit worldwide, Sweden implemented geothermal technology as a popular source for energy.
Trilogy 45 Q-Mode The Trilogy 45 Q-Mode delivers unprecedented comfort and energy efficiency through a “Trilogy” of precision components: variable speed compressor, variable speed fan and variable speed loop pump. You are always connected to this next generation technology through the internetconnected iGate system.
Why do we need it? Geothermal energy has been explored as a resource to provide energy in the U.S. and around the world in various applications.
delivers heat, not produces it. Compared with other heating and cooling systems, GHPs reduce electricity 30-60 percent.
THINK ABOUT IT! GEOTHERMAL ENERGY:
A geothermal system uses of series of underground pipes called a “loop,” which are buried between 10-300 foot, where the earth’s temperature remains constant. These loops lay in 100-400 foot trenches, if installed horizontally and if space is available, or vertically, if not. The earth loop eliminates the need for fossil fuels. Also, they can be hidden under a landscaped area, a field or parking lot, etc. These heat pumps pull heat from the Earth and distribute it through a conventional duct system, or a hot water tank. To cool, the system extracts heat from the building and
• Is available everywhere, for community district heating, space heating, spas, industrial processes, desalination and agricultural applications. • Is a renewable resource because the heat emanating from the interior of the Earth is essentially limitless and continuous. • Is a resource that will never freeze. • Power plants may release greenhouse gases that are harmful, but can be contained with vents that trap the gases. Therefore, it has the potential to help mitigate global warming, and replace use of fossil fuels. • The electricity that powers geothermal heat pumps only collects, concentrates, and
HOW IT WORKS
People used the minerals in the water as a source of healing. The oldest known hot spring pool was built in China during the 3rd century BC. pumps it into the earth loop, reversing the system. While the cost of drilling and exploration may be expensive, in the long run, geothermal energy will factor in technology, energy prices, subsidies and interest rate decisions, from single housing to industry. Through government assisted research, and industry experience, the cost of generating geothermal power has decreased by 25% over the past two decades. Soon, instead of “a chicken in every pot,” consumers may see geothermal heat pumps heating every home. COMFORT ZONE 35
WHY YOUR AC
Needs a Check-Up
our air conditioner is one of the hardest working appliances in your home, and it deserves some love and special attention. At least once a year, it’s important to give your a/c system a full inspection and tune-up, to assure that it’s running smoothly when you need it most. Any number of issues may develop in your system while it’s actively working overtime to cool 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 certainly going to be more expensive than a maintenance appointment. 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
by Clair Cameron
you risk causing serious damage that could end up costing you a small fortune. 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. For older systems, this annual maintenance is even more important, and not just because it’s at 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.
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. 36 COMFORT ZONE
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Hybrid Dual Fuel
By Elliot Roberts
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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 â€“ conventional method
Air conditioners change the air in a room from hot to cool, with the help of a 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
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. then circulated as hot water through pipes embedded in the wall, floor, or ceiling. This process can be performed more efficiently and cleaner by a heat pump than any other type of system, except when the outside temperature drops to 32 degrees and lower. When the temperature drops, conventional pumps 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.
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. Older systems use the heat they produce to heat water, which in turn heats the air in a building or home. These systems use a boiler to store and heat the water supply, which is
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 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 facility 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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AFTER A SEVERE STORM,
Take Precautions Before Starting Heating & Cooling Equipment. by Jacqueline Cross
Homeowners should not be too eager to get things back to normal after a storm, because improper maintenance and preparation can cause problems years later.
fter a severe thunderstorm, tornado or hurricane, homeowners need to take several precautions before attempting to salvage or restart heating and cooling equipment. “It’s important to remember not to immediately restart heating and cooling equipment after a severe storm because it can be dangerous and could cause further damage,” said Robert Yates, Senior Service Technician with Russell’s Heating and Cooling. “The equipment may be severely damaged, its wiring may be damaged or it may have debris lodged in it. These are some of the many reasons why it’s best to have a qualified service technician inspect your heating and cooling equipment after a severe storm.”
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To ensure your safety and prevent further damage to equipment, take the following steps after a storm: • If the storm caused flooding, don’t start equipment until you are certain there is no water inside any components. If you’re not sure, don’t start it. • Have a reputable electrician or a technician from the power company or city inspect your home’s internal and external wiring to make sure they’re dry and safe before you turn on any electrical equipment. • If the power company gives you approval to turn on the electricity in your home but
you think you may have a problem with your heating or cooling equipment, have the service company disconnect the equipment from the electrical source, and have it properly serviced first. • If there was flooding, open equipment and get some air circulating inside. This will speed up the drying process. After a storm, use only reputable service companies to help you get your air conditioner and heater up and running again. “Unscrupulous companies can descend on disaster areas,” Yates says. “Be careful. If necessary, go without service a little longer to make sure you get real value for your money.”
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PROTEIN-PACKED BERRY BURST SMOOTHIE
1 packet plain instant oatmeal 1/2 cup fat free or lowfat milk 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled, chopped 1 tablespoon honey 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped
Combine first five ingredients in the carafe of a blender. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, blend the mixture until smooth. Top with chopped walnuts.
Nutrition: 280 calories; 7 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0mg cholesterol; 10 g protein; 50 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 80 mg sodium; 250mg calcium (25% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat free milk. Makes: 1 serving (4 ounces milk per serving)
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WELCOME TO THE STATE
OF DURABILITY. Durability is our brand philosophy, influencing everything we do: research, engineering, materials specifications, construction and assembly. Everything we do is focused on extending the life of our water heaters. Because durability is what our customers demand.
When it comes to building durability into a product, nobody does it like State. In fact, weâ€™ve tested our water heaters in some of the most hostile environments and under the toughest conditions to make sure they last longer and provide many more years of hot water. Our components are manufactured to stricter standards. And weâ€™ve developed enamels that flex with extremes of water temperatures to ensure a longer product life.
MEET The Russell’s Heating & Cooling Buddy Smith
Buddy Smith is originally from Hampton Roads. His philosophy of customer service first plus 22 years of experience have driven Russell’s to one of the top-awarded companies in the area. Buddy and his wife of 20, Lauren, have three children; Alyona, 6, Jillian, 5, Liam, 2.
Dave is from Somerset, Kentucky. He has been in the HVAC industry for 18 years. Dave and his wife Cathy have been married for 24 years. They have three adult children whose ages are from 21 to 30. They enjoy boating and fishing when not working.
President, Russell’s Heating and Cooling
Marc Sawyer General Manager
Marc is originally from Franklin VA. He has been in the heating and cooling industry for over 14 years, during which he has worked in EVERY position in the company with the exception of bookkeeping. Marc has been married for 11 years and has two children.
Gavin has been at Russell’s since May 2006. Gavin is married with three boys and one girl at the ages of 9, 7, 3, and 1. In his spare time Gavin plays hockey, golf, ice skating and enjoys spending time with family.
HR and Daily Operations
Customer Service Manager
Steve has worked over 15 years at Russell’s. Steve, and his wife, Dawn, of 20 plus years, have a son, 12 and a daughter, 8. They are all avid skiers. For fun, Steve works on his 1968 Mercury Cougar that he has owned since age 14.
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Andrew has been working in the HVAC industry since high school. He was a field technician prior to his present position. Andrew enjoys working out, playing guitar and playing golf.
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hank you for choosing Russell’s Heating and Cooling to supply your indoor air quality needs! Here are just a few words on how to maximize your investment by understanding warranties.
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.
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 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 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 are beginning to enforce the terms and conditions within your paperwork. These changes may affect you.
Manufacturers do not cover costs for labor performed. This means that if you need
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service after regular business hours, extra charges may 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.
by Nate Freyburger
Regular maintenance keeps your system running efficiently, saving you money on utility bills. Potential problems can be prevented or corrected early. Additionally, proper servicing extends the life of your heating and air conditioning system. Plus, regular maintenance keeps your manufacturer’s warranty in force. Other benefits include fewer repairs and improved capacity from your system. Agreements are transferable.
hether you’re installing a new air conditioning system or you’re having an old system repaired, chances are there is a maintenance agreement that would benefit you. These agreements are designed to save consumers money on routine maintenance, while also protecting them from any potential problems. But before you jump into buying one, make sure you find the option that would benefit you the most. Maintenance agreements are held between you and an air conditioning service provider, wherein you prepay for maintenance at a discounted rate and receive other additional benefits. They cover routine cleanings and check-ups, and they may help subsidize the cost of massive
emergency repairs or offer other savings. Think of them as a peace of mind policy for your system. One overlooked advantage of a maintenance agreement is that it assures your air conditioning system will get the annual service inspection it needs. These annual tune-ups are important, since they allow a professional to spot any potential problems with your system early, before they spiral into something more expensive. Further, an annual maintenance appointment will help to keep your system clean and running efficiently, which could save you money on energy bills. Many people overlook their air conditioner, ignoring its needs until there’s a serious 757.424.1000
problem. Similar to how your car requires an oil change in order to keep it running, your air conditioner needs to be regularly serviced in order to prevent catastrophic issues. If something major goes wrong with your system because you have been neglecting to maintain it, a repair may end up costing you thousands of dollars. Just remember that some warranties may require regular maintenance. That’s one of the reasons why maintenance agreements exist – to help mitigate the cost associated with regular air conditioning 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. COMFORT ZONE 47
THINGS YOUR AC WANTS YOU TO KNOW
Water can cause your condenser to rust and wear out more quickly. Avoid having your sprinkler spray on your unit in order to reduce the risk of corrosion.
A system with varying speed options can conserve energy. Reducing your system’s output during milder weather will save you money on energy bills.
Remove debris, trim grass and tear out any bushes that restrict airflow. This will improve the efficiency of your system and reduce the risk of it overheating.
CLEAN ME AT LEAST ONCE PER YEAR, PLEASE!
A programmable thermostat gives you better control over output. When your unit is only on when it has to be, you’re going to see smaller energy bills.
Serving Hampton Roads, Peninsula and Southside since 1977 757.424.1000 • RussellsHVAC.com