What is Zoning?

zoningMany homes, especially older homes, were built with an economical heating system that did not incorporate zoning.   Those homes have a single zone, which means one thermostat controls the level of heating and cooling for the whole house.  The result of that is you feel the correct temperature in the room where the thermostat is located, and different temperatures in the other rooms throughout the house.

Typically, that means the upstairs rooms are warmer and the downstairs rooms are cooler. If you want more heat downstairs, you turn up the thermostat and all the rooms, including the already warm rooms upstairs, get more heat flow.  Suppose one of your rooms downstairs gets a lot of sunlight and is also already very warm, you don’t have any way to keep from pumping even more heat into it.  Some people close the registers so the heat can’t flow into the room, but this can damage your system if you run it with closed registers.

So what is the solution?  Zoning, which creates more than one zone by adding a control panel, dampers in the ducts, and a separate temperature controller for each zone.  Dampers are installed inside the ducts  and the control panel adjusts them automatically to allow or to restrict the amount of air flow going to each zone.  That way you can set the upstairs and downstairs to different (or the same) temperatures and the system will heat or cool them just enough to reach that desired temperature.   You can have two or three or even more zones in your home to get you the amount of control you want.

Besides improving comfort, zoning can also save you money.  You could keep an unused part of the house cooler and the main rooms warmer, thus saving on fuel and wasted heat.  You might also eliminate the need to use a space heater in a cold area, which will be a welcome savings on the electric bill.

With Bryant Zone Perfect equipment, you can have room by room comfort and save money at the same time.  Give us a call and let us explain the options for zoning in your home or office.   You’ll be glad you did!

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!




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Heating System Replacement Tips

Heating the home is usually the largest energy expense, and can make up to two-thirds of annual energy bills in cold climates.  If you are considering replacing your heating system before cold weather sets in, these heating system replacement tips should be useful to you.

Energy Efficiency

Heating systems in the United States emit a great deal of the carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases emitted in our nation.   Upgrading your furnace or boiler from an 80% efficient (or lower) to one that is 90% or higher will cut your heating bill significantly and will also reduce the output of tons of CO2 emissions into the air.  If your furnace or boiler is old, unreliable, inefficient, or simply no longer desirable for some other reason, the simplest solution is to replace it with a modern high-efficiency model.

About Furnace/Boiler Efficiency

high efficiency furnace

A central furnace or boiler’s efficiency is measured by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), which is a measure of how efficiently the appliance uses its source of energy (gas,  oil or electricity) over a typical year of use.  A 95% efficiency rating means that 95% of the energy source that went into the furnace resulted in useful heat output.  A rating of 90% or more is considered “High-Efficiency.” An all-electric furnace or boiler has no heat loss through a chimney, so the AFUE rating for an all-electric furnace or boiler is between 95% and 100%.

The current gas furnaces we sell are also very efficient, with almost no heat loss.  Our most efficient furnace is rated at 98.6%, so there is very little unconverted energy.  Given the low price of natural gas now, and the large supply recently discovered in the US, a high efficiency gas furnace should be an excellent money saver for many years to come.

Replacement Tips

  • If you live in a colder climate with several months of Winter weather, it usually makes sense to invest in the highest efficiency system available.  In warmer climates with less cold weather and lower annual heating costs, the extra investment required to get the most efficiency may cost more than the utility savings.
  • Be sure to consider dependability. Buying a system with a good warranty and a reputable company to back it up will save you frustration, money and time.
  • When buying either a gas or oil system, specify that you want “sealed-combustion.”   This type of appliance brings outside air directly into the burner and exhausts the flue gases (produced during combustion) directly to the outside, so there is no need for a draft hood or damper.  They generally burn more efficiently and pose no risk of introducing dangerous combustion gases into your house.  Non-sealed-combustion appliances can experience back-drafting of combustion gases which can poison a tightly-sealed modern home.
  • Ask an expert for assistance.  If you don’t already know an expert that you trust, talk to at least 3 potential providers and compare their responses.

Our Professional Service Guarantee

We recently did a replacement for a customer, and you can see how happy she was when she posted this on the internet.  http://dawnwhalen.blogspot.com/2013/06/claiming-to-be-professional-doesnt-make.html

We would like to do the same for you.  At T.A. Kaiser, we want you to feel assured that you have chosen the most efficient and effective heating and cooling units on the market.  Please allow us to serve you and become the trusted source for all your heating and cooling needs.

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Trust a Factory Authorized Dealer

When buying a new heating system, choose a factory authorized dealer.  Because you are making a large investment, you need a trusted and knowledgeable company to do the job right.  You want a solid warranty on the equipment, and a guarantee that the installation was completed in accordance with manufacturer specifications.

bfadlogoWhen you see the Bryant® Factory Authorized Dealer symbol it means that dealer has met the highest standards for superior skills, service, and a promise of 100% satisfaction guaranteed.  T.A. Kaiser Heating & Air is proud to be a factory authorized dealer and to sell and service Bryant equipment.  Continued training and education from Bryant is important to us.

nate-logo-100Along with our factory certification, we are also a NATE® certified company.  North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is the leading certification program for technicians in the HVAC industry and is the only test supported by the entire industry.  NATE certification tests represent real working knowledge of HVACR systems and are designed to allow technicians to be certified in specific knowledge areas.  Those technicians who have passed those tests wear the NATE patch proudly on their clothing.

Bryant-bonusAs an added incentive, we also offer the Bryant Bonus Program with new systems.  Under this program, you can receive a rebate ranging from $25 up to $1,450 when you purchase a complete, qualified Bryant heating and cooling system.  Every little bit of savings helps, so we are glad to show you how to get the maximum rebate with your purchase.

We operate our business in the Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte metropolitan areas. Please contact us at any time for an estimate on a new system or for service on your existing system.  We work on all leading models of heating and cooling equipment, both residential and commercial, and we are anxious to take care of your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) needs.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!


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Ductless Mini-split Heat Pumps for Garage/Shop

A ductless mini-split heat pump (also just called a mini- split) is a great retrofit or add-on to any building that doesn’t have central heat and ducts that bring heat to all the rooms.  If you have hot water heat, radiant-heat panels, or a single room heater (such as a fireplace or corn stove), and need more controllable heat there, a mini-split could be a big improvement.   It can also be a good choice for any area where you don’t want to install new duct work, such as a garage or shop.   You can replace that space heater with a mini-split for added safety and convenience and work all winter no matter how cold it gets outside.

ductless mini-splitJust like most standard heat pumps, mini-splits have one component outside (the compressor-condenser) and one component inside (the air handler.)  There is a conduit that encases the power cable, tubing, and a drain for condensate which runs through the wall and ties the two components together.  You can add up to three more inside units without adding another outside unit.   Since each air handler has its own thermostat, you could heat up to 4 rooms without adding any ducting, and each one could have a different temperature.  This flexible zone control saves energy and money.

Easy, Flexible Installation

Another advantage of a ductless mini-split heat pump is ease of installation.  For example, we usually only need a three-inch hole through a wall for the conduit, and there are also different lengths of conduit, so the indoor units might be on different sides of the house, or even in a detached garage.

Mini-splits offer more interior design flexibility than other heating systems.  The indoor units can be mounted on a wall, placed inside a dropped ceiling, or stand on the floor.  The units are small and have a clean, modern style.  Many models include a remote control to make it easy to operate when its on the wall or ceiling.

Every day, we see how much good the mini-split systems do in our customers’ homes, and we highly recommend them to you.   Give us a call to discuss what this technology can do to improve your comfort, convenience, and save you money.  We’ll be glad to provide a free estimate any time.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

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Thermal Imaging Finds Leaks

Thermal ImagingThermal imaging and thermal sensing technology has provided a great way for homeowners to find leaks in their homes that waste energy.    You can get the temperature from any point you can see without climbing or crawling there, so they can help you find problem areas easily that you may not have found without them.  Small infrared thermometers like this example are available now for less than $20, and are very handy for scanning around windows and doors to see where cold air is coming in.

Larger tools with a screen and additional features are more expensive and are mostly used by professionals.  During the first winter we were in our house, I had a professional come over and walk the house with me, using his larger screen version of a thermal imaging device.  It was a very cold day and it didn’t take long for him to find a problem.

Thermal Imaging 2As he scanned the walls in the dining room, which has a high cathedral ceiling, the screen showed a prominent 25 degree square in the middle of a 70 degree wall.  It was on a flat area with no openings so I would never have suspected a problem there without being able to see through the wall via thermal imaging.

He asked what was on the other side of the wall, and I said unheated attic space, so we put on our coats and went up to take a look.  Immediately after finding the spot, we saw that someone has previously removed a 12 inch square of the rigid foam insulation to access a return air duct and had never put the access door nor the insulation back on.  The duct was simply open in the unheated attic area, which meant frigid air was being pulled in and returned to our heating system all the time — instead of partially heated air from inside the house.   This was like having a 12 inch window open all the time.

Because both items were right there in plain view, we were able to put the access door back on and replace the block of insulation in just a few minutes and fix the problem.  But without thermal imaging I may have never realized I had a problem.   We didn’t find any more problems, but finding it and fixing that one was well worth the price of a service call to have a technician scan our house with the device.

Thermal imaging is great technology you can use in any season to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system.   Give us a call if you need any help.   T.A. Kaiser technicians are experts at tuning and repairing most brands of heating and cooling equipment, and we can advise you or answer any questions you have.  Give us a call and see why we have thousands of satisfied customers in Indianapolis, Charlotte and Nashville.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser

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Ultraviolet Air Purifiers

Ultraviolet air purifiers (UV) and ultraviolet light are widely used in hospitals and  laboratories to sanitize and sterilize work areas and instruments, as well as prevent the spread of infectious diseases.  They are also used in the food industry and in water treatment systems.  This technology is available to you now as an add-on modification to your existing HVAC system giving you a comprehensive clean air solution.  

purity-spread rgb smallerAn ultraviolet air purifier will provide (1) filtration through the UV reactive filter, (2) sterilization with the germicidal UV light, and (3) odor control with the UV photocatalytic media.  Working together, this technology provides a completely clean whole house system.

The filters used in your system now help to trap dust and pollutants, but depending on what type of filter you use, they will produce differing results.  Even with new filters, you might still be experiencing bacteria, mold and viruses in the air that flows inside your home.   If family members suffer from asthma, allergies, pet smells or unwanted odors, or if you have infants or elderly family members in the home, you would be wise to consider adding an ultraviolet air purifier.

These purifiers kill over 99% of airborne mold and bacteria after the first 24 hours of use, so the air will be much cleaner automatically without the need for you to use chemical disinfectants.  You will probably notice reduced sneezing and colds, as well as the absence of lingering cooking odors that you are used to.

A typical UV installation would be done by placing a combined UV light and filtration system on the return side of the furnace or air handler so that it thoroughly cleans and sanitizes the dirty air that is coming back from the rooms.   If you prefer, there are also other configurations available which can be placed in the air ducts or inside a mini-split system.   Our technicians can advise you of what would be best for your situation.

There are many types of heating and cooling systems, but there is an ultraviolet light purifying solution to fit each of them.   Please give us a call if you’d like an estimate or more information about UV light technology.

Be Wiser – Call Kaiser

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Prepare Your Heating System for Winter

Prepare Your Heating System for WinterColder nights are showing up regularly now and the leaves are falling faster each week, so this is the time to prepare your heating system for Winter weather.   This forecast map from the Farmers Almanac shows what kind of weather we can expect, so here are some tips on what you should do to get ready and avoid problems.

  1. Check your filter for cleanliness.  If you haven’t been replacing it on a regular basis, now is the time do so.   You can buy many types of new filters for only $5-$20, and a clean filter is a key to proper heating operation, so there is no reason to put it off.  Changing them is an easy process and most homeowners can do that in just a few minutes.
  2. Check your thermostat battery.  If you don’t know when you last replaced it, put in a new one now, or at least make sure you have a supply of fresh ones handy for when it fails.
  3. Check your exhaust flue.  If your system burns fuel, such as a natural gas or oil-fired heating system, your exhaust gases have to get out of the house.  Exhaust gases can be fatal so make sure they can escape.  Use a flashlight to look up into the exhaust piping to make sure it isn’t plugged by a birds nest or similar obstruction.
  4. Check your air flow by turning on the system and going to each room.  Put your hand over the air duct to make sure you can feel warm air coming in.  Do the same test with the return air ducts to make sure air is flowing back to the heating equipment.  You may need to use a small piece of toilet tissue to verify that it is pulled against the grate by the suction. If there is not much airflow either coming into a room or going out, you may have a leak in your duct work or a more serious problem with the blower.

These are all good checks for you as a homeowner to prepare your heating system for winter, but it is also a good idea to contact a heating professional for a more thorough inspection of the heating system.  Especially if you found a problem you can’t resolve during any of the 4 checks above.

At T.A. Kaiser, we offer a special program for maintenance and prevention. This is the best plan for a homeowner because we take care of everything, including sending two reminders each year in the Spring and Fall to make sure we get it on the schedule when it is convenient for you.

Since 1987, we have been a trusted business, family owned and dedicated to customer service.  Please contact us and let us show you why we have so many satisfied clients in the Indianapolis, Nashville, and Charlotte areas.



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Fall Maintenance on Your HVAC System

Fall maintenance for your HVAC systemSummer officially ended last week, so now is the time to schedule Fall maintenance on your HVAC system.  If you are already signed up for our annual maintenance plan, you will receive a reminder card in the mail, but for those who aren’t in the program, getting scheduled is just one more “to do” item that you need to remember, and hope you don’t forget.

Your system worked hard over the Summer keeping you cool, so it needs to be checked and adjusted.   Maybe some components are starting to wear out and need to be replaced, or maybe you have developed a small leak that you haven’t noticed yet.  A professional HVAC technician can find those things and make sure they are corrected now.

Also, Winter will be here before long, and you want to be sure your heating system is ready to go when  you switch over.  If it doesn’t come on for the first cold night, you will be uncomfortable and unhappy.   Now is the time to check the heat ex-changer for cracks, the ignition system, the amperage and voltage at various places, and to make sure the safety controls are working properly.   For those with humidifiers, you need to have your filter changed and the condensate line cleaned.    Although homeowners can do some of these tasks, it just makes sense to have a qualified professional with a lot of experience do them for you.

Our annual maintenance program is comprehensive, and covers all the components of your equipment.  We service nearly every brand of HVAC system ever made.   Since 1987, we have installed and serviced thousands of systems and we have thousands of satisfied customers who rely on us.

If you live around Indianapolis, Nashville or Charlotte, please contact us about Fall maintenance on your HVAC system.    We’d like to be your service provider, and we’ll show you why so many people believe this phrase.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

JulianCenter logo-transparentAs a special offer, if you donate 2 non-perishable items, we’ll take $5.00 off your bill and get them to The Julian Center to help victims of domestic violence.   Their food pantry is available daily to people who need assistance.


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Ten Minute Water Heater Maintenance

If you want to prolong the life of your water heater (and who doesn’t) here are two quick types of water heater maintenance you can do in ten minutes.  Doing them twice a year may add years of service to that appliance.

Check the Pressure Valve

water heater maintenance safety pressure valve The first item is a safety check of the Pressure Relief Valve, which looks like this and will be located on the top or side of the heater.  It is designed to open automatically if the pressure gets too high inside the water heater and thereby avoid an explosion.  Lift the valve handle and listen for the sound of  pressure escaping, then let it snap back closed.  If it works that way, then everything is fine.  If it doesn’t release pressure or doesn’t close, then the valve needs to be replaced.

Check the clarity of the Water

The second item for water heater maintenance is to check the condition of water inside the heater.  There is a drain valve near the bottom on the side and it probably looks similar to this image.   Some valves have a handle and some just have a slot for a screwdriver.  You can add a hose, or you can drain it directly into a bucket if you can position it under the valve.

Open the valve and drain out about a half gallon of water, then close the valve.   Look at the water to see whether it is clear or it contains sediment.  If sediment is forming in your heater, it will collect near the bottom, so you should see it in the sample you have drawn.

If the water is clear, you are done.  See, it only took ten minutes!

Flushing the Tank

However, if the water is cloudy and contains sediment, you should flush the tank to clean out a good portion of the sediment.  This can take an hour or so, and you will not have any hot water for several hours after you do this.

You can get a contractor to flush it for you, or you can do it yourself.   Here are the basic steps for the process.

  1. Turn off the electricity (or gas) to the water heater.
  2. Shut off the cold water coming into the water heater.
  3. Connect a hose from the drain valve to a sump or floor drain, then open the valve.  Run all the water out of the tank into the sump or drain.  It may take 30-40 minutes to fully drain depending on the size of your tank.  When the hose stops running, the tank is empty so close the drain valve.
  4. Open all hot water faucets in the house to let air escape as the tank refills.
  5. Turn the cold water supply back on to refill the water heater completely.  You will hear it running into the tank.
  6. When the hot water starts to run from the open faucets, turn them off.
  7. When the tank is full (you no longer hear water running in) turn on the electricity (or gas) so it can start heating the water.  (If gas, light the pilot.)

Although these steps can add years of service, the water heater will wear out someday.  When that happens, consider going to a tank-less water heater.  It will save you money and you can avoid this water heater maintenance entirely.




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Proper Sizing is the Key to Efficiency

Proper SizingWhen it comes to your heating and cooling system, proper sizing is the key to efficiency. You know this when you buy new clothing –  bigger sizes and smaller sizes don’t always work out as well as you thought.  Since you want the most comfort and efficiency for your family, your HVAC system needs to match the characteristics of your building.  These include such things as location and direction of the home, local climate, insulation levels, number of windows, number and ages of residents, and the presence of a fireplace.

The most common sizing mistake is installing a system that is larger than needed.  The bigger system will be more expensive to install and more expensive to operate.  Over-sized heating equipment can cause big temperature swings in the house, which can be uncomfortable for your family members.  A heating or cooling system that is too large will “short-cycle” — turn on and off too often, which can affect the humidity level as well as the temperature level.   Frequent start ups makes the system less efficient and puts extra strain on some components, such as the compressor.

Alternatively, if your system is too small for your home, it will struggle to maintain the set point (desired room temperature.)  The air conditioner or heat pump also might not have the capacity to adequately remove excess moisture from your home, and it might feel clammy to some people.

Today’s new homes are built more tightly and have more protection against air leaks than previously-built homes.  Because of expected air leaks and low levels of insulation, it was common in older buildings to install heating and cooling systems with extra capacity to overcome those deficiencies.   However, many people have added better windows, improved caulking, extra weather-stripping, and more insulation to their older homes.  This type of improvements have reduced heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer so the original size of the system with the extra capacity may no longer be needed. When a replacement is installed, a smaller system might be the right size for comfort and that would lead to reduced energy bills.

If you are considering a new or replacement heating and cooling system, remember that proper sizing is the key.   General estimates on square footage, or simply using the same size as the prior system, are not a good way to determine proper sizing.  Ask for a thorough review of all the characteristics of your house, commonly called a load calculation, to ensure you are buying enough, but not too much, capacity.

T.A. Kaiser Heating & Air has been a family owned business since 1987, and we have thousands of satisfied customers in the Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte metropolitan areas.   Contact us today and we will provide all the information you need to make a solid decision about your heating and cooling needs.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!



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