60 Miles in 3 Days for Breast Cancer

0817141516bWho would be willing to walk sixty miles in three days for breast cancer?  I’ll tell you who — Kimberly Decker, Office Manager for T.A. Kaiser Heating and Air.   She has been in training since January, walking hundreds of miles in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day program to honor the memory of her step-sister-in-law, Moramay, who went Home on Nov 13, 2013, and also to honor her step-mother, Lorine, a ten year survivor.

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Kimberly wants to help find a cure so that we all can live in a world without breast cancer.  Maybe you agree and want to help, or even to walk next year.  Here are some of her fondest memories and thoughts about this wonderful adventure.

  • For anyone considering participating in this event… JUST DO IT!  It is amazing!  I talked to one lady that had no connection to Breast Cancer, however she participated every year “because it restores her faith in humanity.” She is right; there is no other feeling like it.
  • I registered to do this event alone and I was quite scared to be “by myself.”  Wow, was I wrong.  There were NO STRANGERS; we laughed, we cried, we sang, we waved, we danced, we thanked so many wonderful people from the communities that we traveled through, but one thing was certain — I was never “alone”.
  • The opening ceremony was quite moving. At one point, we held up pictures of our loved ones and called out their names.  It was an emotional and beautiful moment that I will always remember.
  • When I was standing at the closing ceremonies with all the walkers around me I felt pure joy to have accomplished something so big.  More than 1200 people shared the same passion, to find a cure for breast cancer, and it was just amazing.   The Michigan SGK 3 Day event raised over $2.5 million to save lives!
  • I learned things about myself this  year that have even surprised me, or I remembered things that had been long forgotten and I am so glad they are back! Sunday afternoon on the drive back to our hotel after closing ceremonies, I was discussing which event I want to walk next year. Really?  I hadn’t even taken my shoes off after finishing this year’s event and I was considering next year?  That says it was an event of a lifetime!
  • I met a 2 time MALE breast cancer survivor named Lee.  His team, Breast Man Walking, raised over $42,000 and their tag line is,  “Male Breast Cancer – Rare but REAL!”  In this family’s case, he carries the BRCA gene. His daughter also carries this gene and developed breast cancer at 28 years old.  Because of her father’s breast cancer she knew that she carried this gene, and it probably saved her life as her cancer was caught so early.
  • The community support is amazing and made those miles fly by.  There was one lady about my age that I saw every day, on average of 3-4 times during the day, offering amazing support.  If you were walking by yourself, she would run up to you and walk with you for about a block and thank us, tell us how great we were and ask our story then left with a hug.  Boy, did that ever help when my tank was running empty.  Bless her heart for hugging so many sweaty stinky people.
  • Town of Plymouth was AMAZING!!!   They turned the fountain pink, business were out cheering and giving us stuff and HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of people out to cheer us on and wanting to have us stop and talk.  AMAZING.  I was given Tshirts, temp tattoos, popsicles (which were lifesavers on Saturday), candy, tooth brushes, sunscreen and deodorant from people along the walk.  There were even a few brave homeowners who had signs offering use of their bathroom! WOW!!!
  • The best advice that I can give someone is to train, get a couple great pair of shoes and good socks. And did I mention TRAIN?  This is not an event that you can “just show up and do”, I suppose you could try, but it would be miserable!    I am proud to report that my 450+ training miles paid off because I got through 60 miles without one blister which plagued so many walkers.  The medical team is awesome to keep everyone on their feet.  Finally, you don’t have to already be an athlete, I am certainly not, you just walk and keep walking.

We are so proud of Kimberly for this effort, and for being such an amazing part of our TAK family.   We’ve been a family business since 1987, and we have many amazing family members in our business.   Give us a call and you’ll get to meet some of them!

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Tankless Water Heaters

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

A tankless water heater, also called an on-demand or immediate water heater, is an appliance that heats water, but does not store it and reheat it.  Many American homes have used large storage tanks (50-100 gallons) in the past, but new tankless models are rapidly replacing them across the country.

How a Tankless Water Heater Works

rinnai tankless water heatere

When a hot water faucet is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe and into the heating chamber.  A gas burner (or an electric element) heats the water until the faucet is turned off, then it stops.  Tankless water heaters create and deliver a constant supply of hot water whenever the tap is open.   The size of the tankless water heater determines how much output it will deliver, but it can be an endless supply at that rate of flow.  With the appropriate size of a tankless water heater, you can shower, wash dishes, and do laundry all at the same time without running out of hot water.

Save Money with a Tankless Water Heater

Unlike a traditional storage tank-style water heater, there is no need to heat and reheat 50 or 100 gallons of water all day and all night.  With systems running at about 96% efficiency, so there is almost no wasted energy.

Although the initial cost of a tankless water heater is greater than that of a conventional storage water heater, you can expect them to last more than 20 years and to have lower operating and energy costs, which could offset its higher purchase price.  They also have easily replaceable parts that extend their life by many more years.  In contrast, storage tank water heaters last 10–15 years, or approximately half of the life of a tankless one.

Tankless heaters are also much smaller, generally only about a quarter of the size of a water heater tank.  They mount on the wall instead of standing on the floor, which leaves more open space in that area.

If you want to know more, contact us.  We’ll be glad to show you the models we have available and explain all the details.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

 

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Chilling Forecast for Winter – Again!

According to the Farmer’s Almanac “Winter is coming, and it’s going to be as bitterly cold and snowy as last year’s.” That chilling forecast is in the 2015 edition of the Farmers’ Almanac, which goes on sale this week. Published since 1818, the Farmers’ Almanac proudly says their accuracy is about 80% correct. They base their forecasts on things like sunspots, tidal action, and planetary positions.

chilling forecastIf their chilling forecast is right — are you prepared? I remember those 30 below zero days and how many people were without heat. It was very hard on some families and all the HVAC companies were covered up trying to get to everyone quickly.

Are you sure that your heating system get you through another hard winter? If not, now is the time to get it repaired or replaced.

We have many great options to consider to improve your home heating system :

  • Zoning: add another thermostat & a 2nd zone to make sure that a cold area like a lower floor bedroom receives enough heat supply through the ducts to stay warm
  • Mini-Split: if there is no ductwork to an area, you can quickly add heat to that location without adding duct work; this is an easy and efficient upgrade.
  • Heat Pumps: current heat pumps provide about 3 times the efficiency of other types of heating because they don’t burn any fuel.  Since they simply transfer heat from one location to another, they are environmentally friendly and very quiet.
  • Hi-Efficiency Furnaces and Hybrids: Our newest Bryant furnaces are over 98% efficient, contain variable speed motors and are extremely dependable.
  • Radiant Heating: Heat your floors with electricity or hot water and feel the warmth come up through your whole body.  What a great feeling for cold bathrooms or other areas.
  • Tankless Water Heater:  If your tank water heater is getting old, replace it before it fails with a new tankless system.  Never worry about running out of water and save money on your utility bill.

TA Kaiser has been a family-owned and operated business since 1987.  Our goals are to make you feel as comfortable as possible in your home or business so you can focus on what is important to you, and to be the trusted source for all your heating and cooling needs.   Don’t wait until the cold weather hits - contact us today and let us discuss options with you.   You’ll be glad you did!

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

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WiFi-enabled Thermostats

Programmable thermostats have been used for many years because of their convenience and energy savings, but recently WiFi-enabled thermostats have arrived on the market to make programmables even better.   We recommend the Honeywell Prestige, a wireless color touch-screen thermostat with 7-day programming capabilities and the ability to manage your heating, cooling, ventilation, and humidity control devices from just about anywhere.  prestige WiFi-enabled thermostat

The Prestige enables you to monitor and control your heating/cooling system from any internet-connected device, such as your smart phone or tablet – just download the app.  You can also view outdoor temperature & humidity with the optional Wireless Outdoor Sensor, and control the humidification, de-humidification or ventilation in your home easily.

 

There a many features to this stylish Wi-Fi thermostat.  The features we like most include:

  • Intelligent Operation —the Prestige “learns” how long it takes your system to reach the temperature you want.  It will then turn on the heating or cooling system earlier to make sure the home is fully heated or cooled to the desired temperature at the time you want.
  • Smart Schedule – programs in seconds for any lifestyle or use the patented interview-based setup by just answering a few questions.
  • Dealer Information is on the screen for easy contact when you need service.
  • Keypad lockout prevents unauthorized or accidental changes by family members.
  • Equipment status—provides the status of all equipment controlled by the thermostat.
  • Vacation/Holiday Scheduling—allows you to program a setback temperature to save energy while you are away.
  • Preference settings allow you to customize the thermostat to what suits you.

Finally, for your security and peace of mind, this thermostat can perform diagnostics on your system and inform you via an email alert if the system is not performing as expected. It will also provide instructions to contact the dealer when that is appropriate.

If you’d like to have more information, contact us and we’ll provide it for you.  You can also click on this link to see the Prestige Brochure.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

 

 

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Replacing Thermostat Batteries

A weak or dead battery in a thermostat can lead to heating or cooling system failure, so replacing thermostat batteries is a quick and cheap way to prevent a breakdown or avoid a service call.   Since most digital thermostats have batteries in them, you should know how to replace them.  You don’t want to pay for a service call just to find out we only changed your batteries, and we prefer to avoid that also.

You can easily see if the battery is weak when the display is no longer bright and easy to read.  If the screen characters are faded, or if there is a blinking signal on the screen, it is time to replace the batteries.

thermostat batteriesThermostat covers come in a variety of types.  To remove the cover, look closely around the top, bottom or sides for some kind of tab or finger hold.  Some covers lift off from the bottom, some snap off and then snap back on, some require the main body to be pulled straight out from the wall, and still others have even different configurations.

 

 

thermostat batteries swing outThere are also models that have a door to the battery compartment similar to the swing out doors on smoke detectors.  If you can’t figure out how to remove it, try doing an internet search with the name of the manufacturer such as “Honeywell thermostat batteries” and you will probably find a video that shows you how to remove it.

thermostat batteries replacementTo get the cover off you may need to use some force, but don’t use so much that you break the plastic cover.  After the cover is off, remove and replace the batteries with new ones of the same size and then put the cover back on.   Your display should once again be bright, it should not be blinking, and it should be controlling your system properly.  Move the temperature either higher or lower than the current temperature and see if your system comes on.  If so — you did it right!

If you have any issues or are unable to complete this project, give us a call.  We’ll be glad to perform a service call and fix it for you.

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Indoor Air Quality – Is Your Home Healthy?

Is Your Home Healthy and Comfortable?

IAQ in your homeIndoor air pollution can be a serious health risk. Studies by the Environment Protection Agency have shown that the air inside buildings can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside, and sometimes much more.  And since the average American spends so much time indoors, we have to take inside air quality seriously, especially for seniors, those with breathing problems,  and small children.

You probably care mostly about your heating and cooling keeping the temperature right, and may not think much about the quality of the air circulating through the house.  Whole house systems control temperature, but they also impact the air quality in terms of filtration and humidity levels of what we breathe into our lungs.  Both of those affect  our health.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor pollution sources can  release gases or microscopic particles into the air.  Such things as carpets, paint, insulation, spray cans, insecticide, cleaners, soaps, cosmetics and other common substances can cause indoor air quality problems in the home.  One key problem is a low level of ventilation; not bringing in enough fresh outdoor air to dilute the pollution sources, and also not carrying  out enough of them.   This can be worsened on warm days or during periods of high humidity levels.  HVAC systems must have an adequate free flow of outside air to work properly.  Newer homes are better sealed against leaks, and may have higher pollutant levels than older, drafty or leaky homes.

According to EPA officials, major pollutants also include combustion sources such as oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood and tobacco products.  They can produce carbon monoxide and other invisible and potentially deadly gases.  Dust, mold and allergens can also easily and invisibly build up and spread throughout your home on air currents.  Even outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides and fertilizer can get in your home.

The effects of poor indoor air quality can be immediate or delayed.  Typical clues to air quality problems include headaches, dizziness, fatigue and irritation of eyes, nose and throat.  Some exposure such as carbon monoxide poisoning can kill in minutes, but longer-term effects might include respiratory and heart diseases, as well as cancer.

There are options and solutions available:

• Reduce the Sources: Eliminate harmful sources such as smoking, and wood or coal burning stoves; keep cleaning products outside; remove asbestos and insulation products.

• Ventilate the house: Open windows and use screen doors occasionally; run bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans; operate window or attic fans when weather permits.

• Use air cleaners and filters:  Use add-ons or modifications to your heating and air conditioning system to filter out contaminants and improve air quality.  Ensure you do regular filter changes according to your system’s recommended schedule.  You can also buy higher level filtration systems to remove more contaminants from the air.

If you aren’t sure that your indoor air quality is healthy, give us a call and let us take a look.  We can check it for you and recommend options that will improve it.   At Kaiser, we want your family to stay healthy, too!

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Surge Protection for Air Conditioners

Air Conditioner Surge Protection

This has been a much cooler Summer than the past few, with a lot more rain and cooler weather.  But we’ve also had many storms with lightning and booming thunder.  Are you aware that your heating and air conditioning system contains sophisticated electronic circuits similar to your computer, TV and other appliances?

Well, it does, and those circuits can be damaged by power surges that can stop your air conditioner just when you need it most.  Replacement for those fried circuits may be expensive, too, and will take up your valuable time to schedule and be available during the repair.   Since many homeowner insurance plans have a $1,000 deductible, you may have to lay out that first $1,000 to get the system working again.  OR — for a  few hundred dollars now, you can avoid paying the $1,000 deductible and avoid all the stress associated with it.

521 surge protector for air conditionerYou can prevent the headaches and the expense of surge-damaged equipment by simply adding an HVAC surge protector on your equipment.  We recommend the 5-2-1 Surge Protector to keep your air conditioning system safe because it is specially designed to interrupt power surges before they reach your equipment.   The average home or business sees 300 potentially damaging surges every year.   In fact, because of our aging power grid and higher customer demand, we are seeing lower quality electrical service and more rolling brown-outs, which can lead to even more damage.

We carry these protectors on all our TA Kaiser Heating & Air service trucks, and can easily install one for you while we are servicing or tuning up your system.   Or, if we aren’t already coming to your house we can make make a special trip just to put one in.   All you have to do is just give us a call to request a convenient time and we’ll be there!

 Be Wiser — call Kaiser!

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Why You Need a Maintenance Plan

Every HVAC system requires some routine maintenance, and if it isn’t done routinely then it will be done as an emergency repair, usually on a very hot or very cold day.  If you’ve ever wondered why you need a maintenance plan, it is to avoid that emergency repair.  Also, routine maintenance is required by manufacturers in order to keep warranties valid – just like the requirement to change your oil in a car.

maintenance planThe best way to keep your maintenance costs low is to schedule periodic checks to make sure your system is running efficiently, and that minor repairs are done before they become major repairs.  Although little maintenance is needed for most heating and cooling systems, they do get dirty, they lose efficiency over time, and their components can wear out or break.

Maintenance plans (also called service agreements) are designed to ensure that  HVAC systems continue to operate at their peak performance.   Our plan is a contract with you that guarantees we will check and maintain your HVAC equipment at the appropriate intervals so that you don’t have to worry about expensive, inconvenient, emergency calls. We will perform preventive maintenance and cleaning on the equipment because a clean HVAC unit has fewer repair calls than one that is not maintained.  Our techs have the training, the tools and the parts needed for all makes and models of HVAC systems.  You will see the results of our work in the equipment lasting as long as possible, and in your system operating as efficiently as possible.  We can’t promise that paying utility bills will become more fun for you, but we can promise that the energy consumed by your system will be used to produce comfort for your family instead of being wasted.

The best reason for why you need a maintenance plan is to let us take care of your system for you — eliminating any worries you have about how to maintain it and when to do it.   We’ll schedule the visits when it is convenient for you, and our professional technicians will perform the checks and adjustments quickly.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

 

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Heat Pump Efficiency

Why Buy an Energy Efficient Heat Pump?

If you use electricity or natural gas to heat your home, consider installing an energy-efficient heat pump system.   Heat pumps are the most efficient form of electric heating in mild and moderate climates, providing two to three times more heating than the equivalent amount of energy they consume in electricity.   Additionally, the maintenance costs are lower with heat pumps as is the noise level during operation.

When you think about cooling a hot building, most people don’t think of heat pumps. In fact, the words “air conditioner” is probably your first thought, but heat pumps do both heating and cooling.heatpumps

heat pump is simply a device that uses a small amount of energy to move heat from one location to another – either adding heat or removing it from a particular space.  Heat pumps can get heat out of the air or the ground and put it inside a building, or they can take it out of a building and put it back in the air or the ground.  This is similar to the way an air conditioner works, but the results are achieved more efficiently with a heat pump.

Since the pump can work to add heat or remove it, there is no need to install a separate heating and cooling system.   Heat pumps are also very efficient because they just transfer existing heat instead of burning some type of fuel to create heat.  This makes them a little more green than a gas-burning furnace.   Also, if you’ve ever enjoyed a hot tub or a heated swimming pool, then you probably have enjoyed a heat pump.

There are three types of heat pumps available for homes: (1) air-to-air, (2) water source, and (3) ground source (geo-thermal), and all of them work best in moderate climates like the United States.   Using a heat pump instead of a furnace and an air conditioner might help you save a little money on your energy bills because a heat pump is only moving the existing heat between two places instead of creating heat.

If you would like to know more about getting a new heat pump system, give us a call.  We’ll be glad to look at your specific situation and provide the best options for you.

Be Wiser — Call Kaiser!

 

 

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No Cooling – First 3 Checks

no coolingNo cooling on a hot day can be a big problem.  Sometimes an air conditioner keeps running but doesn’t cool the house, or it just stops working and you need action fast.

Here are the first 3 steps to take before you call us.  Hopefully it will be a quick fix and you can get it working again in a few minutes.  But if not, you’ll be able to give our technician more information to help solve the problem sooner.   (We also have a video version of this available at this link: http://www.takaiser.com/help)

Step 1: Check the thermostat

  • Does the thermostat have power? Can you see and read the lighted dial?  If not, check the power panel for a tripped breaker to a wired thermostat, or install new batteries if you have a battery powered thermostat.
  • If you see that your thermostat does have power, check the settings.  It must be switched to ON, set to COOL and the TEMP setting must be lower than the current air temp in the house.  Set it down to 60 for a quick test.

Step 2: Check the air flow

If the air filter is plugged with dirt, or if registers or vents are blocked, cold air can’t flow into your rooms in enough volume to bring down the temperature.  Check both items.

  • Open your air filter door to ensure the filter is not clogged and stopping air flow; replace it if needed.
  • Ensure all your registers and vents are open and unobstructed.  There should not be furniture or plants blocking the flow of air.

Step 3: Check the power

The problem may not be with the air conditioning system itself, but with the power supply. There are two places to check:

  • On your furnace – ensure the power switch is still on.  If not, turn it on.
  • In your power panel – ensure the circuit breaker (or fuse) was not tripped.  If so, reset it or replace the fuse.
  • If the power won’t stay on or it it continues to switch off by itself, you need professional help.

You can always give us a call.  We’ll send a certified HVAC technician to diagnose your system and provide quality service to get your air conditioning running again quickly.

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