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Is it time to replace my Air Conditioner?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

How Do You Know If It’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner?

Sometimes it seems like our homes are a moving target. Just as soon as you get one part of the house just like you want it, something needs tending to in another area. So, for most of us, we’re always on the lookout for the next big thing that’s going to show up – invited or not – on our “home maintenance” to-do list.

Now, when “air conditioning system replacement” comes up on that list, that’s quite a significant situation. Home comfort systems are a sizeable part of your home investment, so it’s never something to take lightly. But when it’s time, three things should be on your evaluation list:

System Age – If your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old, you could save up to 20 percent on cooling and heating costs if you replaced it with a unit that has earned the Energy Star label.

Repair/Energy Costs – A home comfort system has what’s called “operational” costs. If your system is racking up repair bills and guzzling up your energy dollars, you may be overdue for an efficiency upgrade.

Uncomfortable Environment – A home comfort system is supposed to create a comfortable home environment, right? Well, if you’re not comfortable, take note. Are some rooms too hot or too cold? Does your home have humidity problems? This could be a sign of poor or improper equipment operation.

All of these issues when compounded can result in you spending more than you should on your power bill. For as little as $55 DOLLARS PER MONTH you could be saving the 20% which may even cover the system. Call or email us today for your free in home evaluation!

Dont pay more because its Hot!

Friday, April 10th, 2015

 

What Everyone Should Know About Contractor Scams

We’ve all heard these stories and seen the images. When a natural disaster hits a community, friends, neighbors and charities rush in to help. It always warms the heart to see the outreach in services and donations. And yet … there’s that other side of the response. There are selfish people who try to take advantage of a bad situation and use the natural disaster as an opportunity to scam.

Often during these times, law enforcement agencies make announcements about what you should and should not look for when hiring someone to work on your home. People become aware, alert. And yet … scam artists come into communities and neighborhoods even when our fellow citizens are warned to be hyper-vigilant, even when the skies are blue, and the wind is calm, and the weather is perfect.

In other words, contractor scams get more attention during natural disasters, but they can occur at anytime, anyplace. And that means right here in the great city of Atlanta. Oh, I don’t mean to scare you about any particular situation. I’m not reporting news, just tendencies. I’m talking about possibilities that call for wise practices. For example, here are some of the tips the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends for hiring someone to work on your home:

  • Get recommendations from friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, insurance agents or claims adjusters.
  • Deal only with licensed and insured contractors. Check with the local Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been lodged against any contractor you’re considering.
  • Get a written estimate that includes any oral promises the contractor made. Remember to ask if there’s a charge for an estimate before allowing anyone into your home.
  • Take your time about signing a contract. Ask for explanations for price variations, and don’t automatically choose the lowest bidder.

Please know, we’ll be glad to help you with whatever home comfort problem you may be experiencing. At Henson Mechanical, we’re proud to have grown a business through referrals and recommendations from satisfied customers, and we hope our list of satisfied customers includes you too. So, if you need us, just email or call.

Do I need to replace my furnace when I replace my air conditioner?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Do I need to replace my furnace when I replace my air conditioner?     Our homes comfort system that provides heating in the winter and cooling in the summer have certain functions and equipment they share (and not just the thermostat). Energy Star is a program of the federal government that promotes efficiency in appliances and makes a point about this connectedness when discussing its recommendations for cooling: ENERGY STAR qualified central air conditioners: have higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and energy efficiency ratio (EER) ratings, making them over 15% more efficient than conventional models. The central air conditioner also needs a blower motor – which is usually part of the furnace – to blow the cool air through the duct system. The only way to ensure that your new air conditioner performs at its rated efficiency is to replace your heating system at the same time. It’s especially recommended if your furnace is over 15 years old. If you purchase a new energy-efficient air conditioner but connect it to an older furnace and blower motor, your system will not perform to its rated efficiency. So, heating and cooling are connected – at least within your home comfort system. But you’ll also find that your heating and cooling efficiency is connected to the whole-house environment. As Energy Star adds: No matter what kind of heating and cooling system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, energy-efficient equipment alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole-house approach. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with recommended insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy use for heating and cooling — and reduce environmental emissions — from 20%-50%. When we install your new system it will with an AHRI certificate that will have your specific model numbers listed which will produce a SEER rating. So that’s why you have to replace your furnace to achieve the SEER ratings on your air conditioner. If you’d like to learn more about how the energy efficiency of your home is impacting your energy bills, let us conduct an energy analysis and show you ways you could be saving. To schedule your free energy analysis, just call or email Henson Mechanical today!

Wanna Save some Money?

Monday, April 6th, 2015

 

Here Is a Method that Is Helping Homeowners Save More Energy with Better Comfort

 

Most of the time we think that life has us running in circles. But the truer view is that life runs in cycles. For example, each season brings certain opportunities and obligations, and spring has a definite “caretaking” flair.

So, in a sense, it’s the same thing year after year: you take care of important home maintenance projects in order to preserve your investments. But the good news is that this “same old, same old” can make your home comfort equipment seem just like new.

Here’s how.

One of the best benefits of regular tune-ups is that your systems get cleaned, inspected, filter gets changed, and reset to factory specs – almost like we turned back the hand of time. The result for homeowners is improved energy efficiency (saves on energy bills), better operating equipment (not as likely to break down at an inconvenient time) and better overall comfort.

But how can you make this happen? Actually, there’s one method that makes routine maintenance very routine: enroll in a maintenance agreement program that brings a Henson  Mechanical Professional to your home to provide routine maintenance on your air conditioner and heating system – during twice-a-year intervals when the weather is mild.

You get the benefit of extended equipment life, savings on tune-ups and repairs, priority service – and overall peace of mind.

Ready to make this method a part of your routine cycle? To learn more about the energy-saving, comfort-improving, equipment-prolonging benefits of maintenance agreements, just call or email and ask us about our Ultimate Service Agreement today!

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,                                                                         

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.                                                                  

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at Henson Mechanical Inc hope you have a wonderful February 14th!

The Ball in Times Square

Monday, December 30th, 2013

New Year’s is a time for parties, fun and great traditions, some of which go back more than a century. Among them is the famous “dropping of the ball” in Times Square, an event which is broadcast to millions of people every New Year’s Eve. With 2014 nearly upon us, we thought we’d take the opportunity to look at the history of this popular New Year’s Eve festivity.

The idea began in 1907 at what was then the New York Times building at One Times Square. The newspaper’s owner, Adolph Ochs, had been celebrating the New Year with fireworks since 1903. He wanted make the event even more remarkable, and added the ball in December of 1907 to welcome in the New Year. The first ball was designed by Artkraft Strauss, who made it out of iron, wood, and light bulbs. It took six men to hoist the ball up the building’s flag pole; once midnight struck, the tremendous ball was carefully lowered, and all were allowed to marvel at it.

Since then, the ball has undergone many changes in materials and design, and even the New York Times has moved to another building. But the tradition remains and the ball has dropped over One Times Square ever since. Today, the ball is electronically controlled, and uses LED lamps for its construction: designed by Waterford Crystal and weighing in at over 1,200 pounds.

A number of television broadcasts have helped carry the event over the years, but by far the most famous is “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” which first ran in 1972. The show was created and hosted by Dick Clark, who became a staple of the event as much as the ball itself. Clark hosted the show every New Year’s Eve from 1972 until his death in 2012. Since then, it has been hosted by Ryan Seacrest, who shared hosting duties with Clark starting in 2005.

Whether you’re watching the ball drop on TV or have some other New Year’s Eve plan in mind, we here at Henson Mechanical Inc wish you nothing but the best for 2014. Have a safe and happy New Year!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Holiday greetings from Henson Mechanical Inc! We hope you are having safe and pleasant season, enjoying your favorite traditions for this time of year. We wish you the very best, and we thank you for your business this year.

In honor of the season, here are some fun facts about one of everyone’s favorite holiday movies: It’s a Wonderful Life.

For years, one of the enduring December traditions in the United States was watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life playing almost nonstop on numerous television stations. No matter the time of the day, you could turn on the TV set, flip through channels, and discover It’s a Wonderful Life playing. Whenever you needed him, you could find Jimmy Stewart shouting, “Hello, Bedford Falls!”

But now… It’s a Wonderful Life only appears on broadcast television a few times during December, and most families instead choose to watch the movie on video. What happened?

The reason goes back to the film’s initial wide release in January 1947. (That’s right, it opened after the holiday season. It was not even promoted as a holiday film.) It’s a Wonderful Life was a box-office disappointment at the time, and its studio, RKO Radio Pictures, lost more than half a million on it. The movie’s production company, Liberty Films, was sold to Paramount to avoid bank foreclosure. (A bit ironic, considering the movie’s plot.) In 1955, the National Telefilm Associates (NTA) took over the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life, which included the television syndication rights.

However, NTA failed to properly renew the copyright in 1974 because of a clerical error, which allowed the film’s images to enter into the public domain. Although the movie’s plot was still under copyright protection because it was adapted from a published story called “The Greatest Gift,” television stations across the world could now broadcast it with only minimal royalty payments.

In 1993, Republic Pictures, which now owned the NTA library, tried to enforce their claim to the copyright of the film, as they possessed the rights to “The Greatest Gift.” Republic Pictures succeeded, and licensed exclusive television rights to NBC. Suddenly, It’s a Wonderful Life vanished from local television stations, and NBC made the movie’s broadcasts—usually twice during December—into major events. As of 1998, Paramount again has the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life… 43 years after they lost them.

It’s still easy to make It’s a Wonderful Life a part of whatever traditions you observe during the holidays, whether through home video or television broadcasts. Despite its lackluster initial reception in 1947, Frank Capra’s film is now an inseparable part of December in the United States.

Have a great holiday week!

The History of Thanksgiving

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Thanksgiving is upon us: a time to get together with relatives, eat some great food, watch a little football or the parade, and stop to appreciate the good things we have in life. Beyond all that, however, there’s a fascinating history to the holiday and its traditions.

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. Records are spotty at the time, but indicate that the harvest was particularly good that year due to help from the local Native Americans. The meal was probably much different than the one we’re used to, with venison and fish more likely than turkey, but the general principle was unchanged.

It wasn’t a few centuries later, however, that Thanksgiving became an annual tradition. George Washington called for a “national day of Thanksgiving” in 1789, and again in 1795, but they were both “one shot” declarations, rather than a call for an annual tradition. Individual cities and states picked up the ball, but it wasn’t until 1863 that Thanksgiving became a national once-a-year event. President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November to be a Thanksgiving “to heal the wounds of the nation and restore it.”

From there, it remained a tradition until Franklin Roosevelt signed a law in December of 1941 making it a federal holiday. The law also changed the date from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday in November, making it a little earlier in some cases (which Roosevelt hoped would give the country an economic boost).

Wherever you celebrate the holiday and whoever you choose to celebrate it with, we wish you nothing but happiness and joy this Thanksgiving.  

Happy Labor Day!

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

On the first Monday of every September, we celebrate Labor Day in honor of workers everywhere who strive to make our local community and country great. We enjoy the holiday like any other business as a time for BBQ, hanging out with friends and family, and celebrating the end of summer. It also means the start of the NFL and college football seasons.

The origins of Labor Day are disputed, as is the case with many other holidays. Some cite Matthew Maguire, the machinist and secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York, while others cite Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor. Whomever the original founder, by 1894, the holiday had become widely recognized and was designated a federal holiday by Congress and President Grover Cleveland immediately following the Pullman Strike. This strike pitted US Marshals and US Military against employees of Pullman Palace Car Company outside Chicago, as workers sought to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. At the time, the holiday was a way of repairing ties with workers and recognizing the importance of their contributions.

Today, we see Labor Day as an opportunity to recognize all the people who work hard to contribute to our county. Thank you, and Happy Labor Day from all of us! 

Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

The 4th of July will forever hold a very special place in the history of the United States of America. On this day in 1776, the second Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence.

Not only is Independence Day an important day in our nation’s history, but for many people it is a day that is filled with memories from celebrations of years past. Fireworks, barbeques, baseball games, fairs, carnivals, patriotic music and ceremonies are all scattered through our memories as we’ve participated in annual parties, get-togethers, picnics and family gatherings throughout the years. John Adams, our 2nd president, was right when he said that our Independence Day “…ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

The 4th of July is truly a day to enjoy but also to remember and respect the sacrifice that many brave men and women made over 200 years ago to give us the freedom that we cherish today. However you celebrate Independence Day, make sure that you take a moment to remember what this day is really about.

We wish you a safe and happy 4th of July!