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Buyer Beware! Bad Roofers!

BCI Mechanical, contractor scams blog

Spring is in the air so it’s time to start thinking about your air conditioning maintenance.  But there is something else that we need to make note of this time of year.

Out-of-town roofing companies who prey on home owners in storm torn areas.  Last Spring after a bad hail storm hit our area in Denton, TX, we received a call from an out-of-town roofing company who wanted us to provide a quote to replace the outdoor air conditioning units due to hail damage.  We installed the new air conditioning units and the roofing company paid us what we quoted.  Recently, a year after replacing the air conditioning units, we received a call from the home owner- not for air conditioning repair or air conditioning maintenance– but to report to us that she paid the roofing company for the air conditioning units and roof, but the roof has not been replaced yet.  After talking with the home owner, we found out that she was grossly over-charged by the roofing company for the air conditioning installation …and again, the roofer has not replaced the roof yet, one year later!

This NBC report below is very interesting concerning this issue:

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Buyer-Beware-Bad-Roofers-124460539.html

Here are some tips to protect yourself from roofing scams:

  • Do NOT let a door-to-door salesmen get on your roof to “inspect” – they use high pressure sales tactics to get you to agree to an inspection, then who knows what they are doing up there. We’ve heard stories about these roofing scam artists actually manufacturing damage in order to sell the job.  If you suspect that your roof may have hail damage, look for a local company to come out and inspect your roof.  Maybe ask your neighbors or friends if they have any recommendations.  Check with the Better Business Bureau to see how they are rated at bbb.org.
  • Do NOT hand over your insurance check – many times contractors may ask for payment up front to cover costs of materials, or to “save your place in line” because they are so busy.  If they were so busy, then how did they find the time to come to your door asking for work?  Once you determine that the roof needs to be repaired, find a roofer who will do the job before you pay in full. It is not necessarily wrong for a contractor to ask for a down payment, but it shouldn’t be for the complete job before any work is done.  Also, a local roofing company, with a local address is typically more apt to take care of you since they are relying on their reputation around town to grow their business.

Remember, you have the power to report:

“Customers can research and file complaints against contractors at bbb.org.”

“Consumers can also file complaints against contractors with the Texas Attorney General by clicking oag.state.tx.us/consumer/index.shtml.  ”

For 30 years, BCI Mechanical, Inc. has served Denton, Dallas, and the surrounding Texas communities with a commitment to service and value. For all of your air conditioning, heating, air quality, plumbing, and propane needs, the BCI Mechanical, Inc. team has the skill and dedication necessary to provide you with superior service, installation, and repair.

Are Tankless Water Heaters Right for You?

People ask me all the time “why should I go tankless?” I actually have a 20 minute spiel that I have said so often, even my wife could tell you what I’m going to say.  The questions/comments I hear from friends and customers are usually the same as well.  Just a few quick points to consider:

 

  • People also seem to believe that they will have “instant” hot water with a tankless water heater.  The only way to produce instant hot water at any faucet is to the install instantaneous water heater at each fixture.  With a whole house tankless water heater, you still have the issue of cooler water stored in the plumbing lines that has to be pushed through before you start getting hot water.  The plumbing industry term for this is “cold water sandwich”.  Installing a circulating pump on the hot water loop can allow the tankless water heater to operate to keep the water loop hot.  It must be noted however, that this may reduce the energy savings, as well as increase the installation cost.

There may be instances and applications for tankless heaters, but they are not for everyone.  Take a look at the consumer reports article below and talk to a professional who is willing to evaluate and discuss your individual needs.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/appliances/heating-cooling-and-air/water-heaters/tankless-water-heaters/overview/tankless-water-heaters-ov.htm

With summer quickly approaching and energy costs rising, it is a good time to address the question:  Should I turn my air conditioner off when I’m not home to save energy?

BCI Mechanical, AC Blog, Temperature, thermostat

Everyone has their opinions about whether turning off your air conditioner during day will save energy.   Some say that leaving it off is best because of all those hours it is not in operation.  Others say that leaving your air conditioner off causes the floors, walls and furniture to heat up so much, that it uses more energy to cool everything down when you turn it on.

The fact is, when your air conditioner is not running it is not using any energy, therefore saving money.  But should you turn the air conditioner off during a hot summer day and allow your house to exceed 90 degrees inside?  This may not be a good idea because when you get home and set your thermostat down to 76 degrees, your air conditioner may have to run continuously for 4-6 hours or more, before it finally cools the house down.

This increased run-time with no break wears the components down and can result in high repair bills and increased energy costs.  Worn components do not operate efficiently, so you may actually be using more energy, all the while being uncomfortable until the house cools down.  Plus, who wants to cook dinner in sweltering heat!?

The best way to save energy, reduce air conditioning run-time, and provide comfort your family is with a programmable thermostat, which you can set based on your schedule.  The role of the thermostat in your air conditioning system is to turn the air conditioner on or off according to the desired temperature setting.  You can set the thermostat to allow the temperature to reach up to 84-86 degrees while you’re gone, and decrease to 74-76 while you are at home automatically. This can decrease air conditioner run-time substantially, as well as keep you comfortable, which is what your air conditioning system is for in the first place.

While we are on the subject, you can also save energy while you’re not home by closing your shades and curtains to keep sun light from heating things up.  Also, remember that ceiling fans only cool people, not rooms, so leave those off unless you’re in the room and want the breeze.

Keeping your air conditioning system maintained by the professionals at BCI Mechanical, and following these simple practices can help you beat the heat this summer!

For 30 years, BCI Mechanical, Inc. has served Denton, Dallas, and the surrounding Texas communities with a commitment to service and value. For all of your air conditioning, heating, air quality, plumbing, and propane needs, the BCI Mechanical, Inc. team has the skill and dedication necessary to provide you with superior service, installation, and repair.

Why should I have maintenance done on my air conditioning and heating system?

BCI Mechanical, AC and Furnace, Routine Maintenance Blog

I’ve been asked this question many times.  I always try to help people understand that maintaining your air conditioning and heating system is much like maintaining your vehicle.  Changing the oil in your car, keeping the air filter clean and greasing bearings will extend the life of the vehicle, reduce gas expenses and help you avoid that untimely breakdown in rush hour traffic.  It’s important to keep your car on road for as long as you can right?  Well … Isn’t it just as important to keep your air conditioning and heating system operating at peak efficiency and comfort as long as possible?  No one wants their air conditioning system to fail in the heat of the summer or have their heating system fail in the frigid winter.

Now that we have established the importance of maintenance for your air conditioning and heating system, the next question may be:

What needs to be done on an air conditioning and heating maintenance visit?

Your air conditioning and heating system is made up of three basic mechanical components.

  1. The indoor furnace that heats your home in the winter and provides the fan that gives air flow to your home.
  2. The indoor evaporator coil that connects to the furnace that cools off the warm air in the summer as the air passes across it.
  3. The outdoor air conditioning unit that pumps cold freon through the evaporator coil so when the air flows through the evaporator coil it will remove heat from the air and cool your house down.

Each of these air conditioning and heating components have the capabilities of cooling and heating your home in different ways according to the different types of air conditioning and heating systems, such as split system heat pumps, forced air furnaces, ground source heat pumps and electric heat strips to name a few.  Each one of the mechanical components needs to be kept clean, filters need to be replaced regularly, drain lines need to be cleaned, electrical connections need to be tightened, coils need to be combed and cleaned and motors and bearings need to be oiled and greased. There are many different types of air conditioning and heating maintenance items that need to be addressed to prepare your system for winter and summer operation.

Don’t overlook regular maintenance that can improve the efficiency of your air conditioning and heating system to help reduce energy costs while protecting your equipment.  Contact BCI Mechanical to schedule your air conditioner maintenance today.

BCI makes it easy for you!  Ask about our annual preventative air conditioning and heating maintenance agreement. As an air conditioning and heating maintenance agreement customer you will enjoy benefits such as priority customer service, no over-time charges for emergencies, 10% discount pricing for all air conditioning, heating and plumbing repairs, two (2) pounds of freon per year for necessary adjustments to your air conditioner.  As a maintenance agreement customer, we will call you when you need the maintenance done giving you one less thing in your life you need to worry about.  Improve the performance and efficiency of your air conditioning and heating system and extend the life of you system by calling BCI today!

For 30 years, BCI Mechanical, Inc. has served Denton, Dallas, and the surrounding Texas communities with a commitment to service and value. For all of your air conditioning, heating, air quality, plumbing, and propane needs, the BCI Mechanical, Inc. team has the skill and dedication necessary to provide you with superior service, installation, and repair.

Do you have a broken sewer pipe or broken water pipe and need plumbing slab leak repair? You are not alone!

We’ve had some extreme weather over the past several years. Years of drought, followed by plentiful rain, then followed with months of drought again. This weather has taken foundations and the water and sewer pipes under those foundations on quite a rollercoaster ride. It is important to know the best methods in accessing the broken water, and sewer pipes.

Tunneling slab leak repairs versus jackhammering slab leak repairs: What is the difference, and which is the best at accessing the broken water and sewer pipes?

Traditionally, jackhammering was used.  A plumber would locate a water leak under the slab with ultrasonic and other types of leak detection devices, or he would locate a sewer pipe leak under a slab with a sewer camera and line locator.  Once the sewer leak or water leak was pinpointed under the slab, then jackhammer through the slab at that location, hoping to hit the mark, and access the plumbing repair. This was inconvenient to the customer because it shut down an area of the house due to the mess. Jackhammering through slab also has some risks to possibly damage the foundation. A foundation cable or tie could be hit, and the integrity of the foundation is compromised.

Another method of access plumbing water leaks and sewer leaks is tunneling underneath the foundation to access the broken water pipe or sewer pipe. Tunnel slab leak repairs are generally less intrusive because the pluming work is not done inside the house. Access holes are dug beside the house and the broken water and sewer pipes are accessed from under the house. Also, there is no damage to the structure of the foundation.  Another benefit of tunneling slab leak repairs vs jackhammering slab leak repairs is that more of the sewer pipe and water pipe are exposed for visual inspections without needing x-ray vision. Also, more of the foundation is exposed via tunnel for visual inspection.

Keeping the full composition of the foundation as it was built by tunneling underneath seems to make tunneling the choice for slab leak repairs. Tunneling is less intrusive to the customer and provides a more convenient and longer lasting plumbing repair.

Have you had enough rain? The following is a report posted by NBC5 and the National Weather service for the state of Texas and the Month of May 2015.

Denton TX Rain-BCI Mechanical-Blog

We are seeing the effects of this already in the plumbing world.  Homes are flooding, floor plugs in the slab are leaching water and slab leaks are becoming a big problem.  Those of you that kept drip irrigation on and around your home have helped to reduce this impact, but unfortunately we are all saturated in this area. Please keep an eye on your water bill.  If you see a large increase in water usage you may have a leak.  Due to the fact you have not watered  your yard over the past two months, any increase in a water bill could be a sign of a toilet fill valve hanging up or you could have a broken water line due to all the soil expansion.  Soon the sun will shine and things will start to dry.  When the ground starts to dry, many of the problems will start to show.  All you can do at this time is be aware and stay on top of your utility bills, watching for any unusual changes.

Please note, most insurance policies cover slab leaks but you should take the time to review your policy now and make sure you’re covered if you have a flood, slab leak, or other weather related issues.  Keep in mind the cost of including this on your policy is usually minimal compared to the thousands of dollars you may be out to repair such a problem and the impact on your family.

Please call us if you suspect you have a leak and we will be very happy to test and put your mind at rest.

air conditioning cost BCI Mechanical Denton TXSummer doesn’t have to mean heat, humidity, and high utility bills. Instead, beat the heat with our favorite tips on trimming your air conditioning costs. Just a few small changes can add up to big savings!

1. Clean your air filter.

Regardless of whether your system is central air or a window unit, a clean filter translates to a more efficient and effective air conditioner. Check the air filter in your HVAC each month and change the filter every three months.

2. Have a professional check your HVAC system each year.

An annual evaluation and tune-up can help keep both your heating and cooling systems running smoothly and efficiently. You’ll also catch any potential problems early on; before they can cause an inconvenient breakdown. If your unit is older, then consider replacing it with an energy-efficient system; it’ll pay for itself through cost savings in just a couple years.

3. Use a programmable thermostat.

This small investment can save 5 to 15 percent on your air-conditioning bill by adjusting your home’s temperature more precisely. Let the temperature rise a couple degrees when nobody is home during the day, or when everyone is asleep at night. If you can handle a 78 degree indoor environment—keeping in mind that the AC will remove excess humidity—this will balance comfort with cost and energy savings.

4. Keep your air conditioner in the shade.

Planting leafy trees or shrubs around your air conditioning unit could make it up to 10 percent more efficient, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

For more information or a personalized consultation on how you can save money on your air conditioning bill, contact BCI Mechanical at 940-565-1010 today!

BCI Mechanical, McKinney, TXBCI Mechanical, provider of HVAC services, is proud to announce that have expanded to McKinney, TX!

Previously, BCI Mechanical operated out of one location in Denton which serves Denton, Dallas, and the surrounding communities. BCI Mechanical’s new office in McKinney has expanded operations to serve the northeast Collin County area.

BCI Mechanical has been providing heating, cooling, air quality, plumbing, and propane services to Denton area clients for 30 years. Our services are designed to meet the needs of residential, commercial, and industrial clients. BCI Mechanical has experienced an increasing demand for our HVAC, plumbing, and propane services, which has created the need to open an additional office to best serve their clients.

“As we are celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2014, there is no better time to open our new McKinney location,” say the folks at BCI Mechanical. “We thank our loyal customers who have made us successful for the past 30 years, and who have created the demand for our services, which makes our new location a necessity.”

Out of our new McKinney location, BCI Mechanical will offer a comprehensive range of HVAC and plumbing services for residential, light and heavy commercial, as well as industrial clients. These services include:

Air Conditioning: In the warm Texas climate, air conditioning is a necessity. Air conditioning services include installation and replacement of air conditioning equipment manufactured by leading brands including Rheem®, Trane®, Lennox®, Carrier®, Honeywell®, and Goodman®, as well as maintenance, coil cleaning, and repair service for all makes and models of equipment.

Heating: When the Texas weather turns cold, heating systems provide comfort. BCI Mechanical’s heating services include installation, maintenance and repair for furnaces, heat pumps, electric heaters, and gas heaters.

Duct Cleaning: Duct cleaning services for homes and businesses remove contaminants from the duct system to reduce indoor exposure.

Air Quality: Improving indoor air quality is a concern for many Texas residents. Indoor air quality services include air duct replacement as well as installation and service for ultraviolet lights, air cleaners and filtration, zoning systems, and dehumidifiers.

Plumbing and Propane: Plumbing services include installation and repair of plumbing systems and equipment including conventional water heaters, tankless water heaters, water filtration systems, and water softeners. Sewer and slab leak repair is also offered. BCI Mechanical also offers propane installation as well as carbon monoxide testing and gas leak detection. Process piping installation is also offered for industrial and manufacturing applications.

About BCI Mechanical

Established in 1984, BCI Mechanical, Inc. has served Denton, Dallas, and the surrounding Texas communities for 30 years. BCI Mechanical’s elite team of mechanical technicians provide skilled service for air conditioning, heating, air quality, plumbing, and propane needs, for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. The company is a proud recipient of the Best of Denton Award, as well as the Angie’s List Super Service Award. BCI Mechanical is dedicated to delivering the best value and superior customer service on every project.

Increasingly, homeowners are seeking alternative sources of energy that can meet their needs in an emergency.

When a home loses power, off goes the heat, out go the lights, the food in the refrigerator spoils and the garage doors can become disabled. Losing power for days, weeks or even longer can be costly, inconvenient and dangerous.

BCI Mechanical offers Generators in denton TX While many homeowners have tried to address their need for electricity in an emergency with a portable generator, portability may not be the key. Experts such as the American Red Cross suggest that during power outages, permanently installed stationary generators are better suited for providing backup power to the home than portable generators.

An automatic standby generator can sense an outage and respond immediately. There are no extension cords to plug in, gas tanks to fill or switches to flip. Plus, portable generators—if misused—can cause hazards such as carbon monoxide poisoning from toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or fire.

However, in the past, some have found the cost of automatic stationary generator systems to be prohibitive. The good news is that there are now automatic standby systems available at comparable prices to portable generators. One compact 7-kilowatt [kW] system consists of a generator and transfer switch packaged together at about $1800.

 

Automatic standby generators operate on natural gas or liquid propane vapor, eliminating the fuel storage, spillage, spoilage or odor concerns that are common with gasoline or diesel models. Because of their favorable emissions profile, gaseous-fueled generators, are becoming increasingly popular as an environmentally conscious solution for backup power needs.

For those who want to go even greener, there are automatic standby generators designed and warranted for off-grid use when used in an alternative energy system.

 

The programmable thermostat allows you to pre-set the temperatures that you want during different times such as sleeping, away from the house, and when you wake up. This will allow you to optimize your comfort when you’re home, and lower your energy while you are away from your home.

Saving money on utility costs doesn’t always have to be a major change, like replacing the system and modifying the ventilation ducts. Those changes will always help. The thermostat controls everything the HVAC system does, so it makes sense that this one simple change can dramatically change your energy bill. This simple change may cost you a $185 installed, but will save you much more in reliability and efficiency.

The programmable thermostat has a dual capability.

First, upgrading to a digital thermostat gives you more accurate control the temperature of your home. Old mercury, or electronic thermostats keep the temperature in your home within 4-8 degree temperature range, which causes your unit run longer and over cool or over heat your home before the unit shuts off. Conversely, the temperature will fall below or above the desired temperature before it will allow the unit come back on. This results in an uncomfortable home and higher utility costs because the unit is operating twice as much.

Secondly, the digital, programmable thermostat has the ability to control itself. With an older style thermostat, and even a non-programmable digital thermostat, you have to manually set the temperature every time you want to adjust it. The programmable thermostat will automatically adjust your settings based on the time of day, and your desired temperatures for that time of day. No more scurrying across the cold tile floor to turn your heating on, or forgetting to turn the AC off before your leave your house. The programmable thermostat gives you peace of mind that you are operating your system while you’re asleep or away from home, when you can’t enjoy it, as well as provides with a comfortable with just the right amount of cooling and heating, at just the right time.

VOCs are an industry term for air pollutants, which cause allergies, headaches, itchy eyes, throat problems, etc. and spread viruses.
In the spring and the fall, we typically like to save money by opening up windows, and leaving our AC systems off, but the open windows can more health problems than you think. Having the AC system fan blowing and moving the air in the air in the house, drawing through the filters so the filters can catch the allergens, will help keep the air from being stagnate and spreading illness. With today’s home construction be as tight as it is, you can save money and breathe easier, by possibly having a ERV (energy recovery ventilator) or HRV (heat recovery ventilator) installed. This is a separate unit that allows you utilize the fresh, outside air to condition your but filter the air to catch the VOCs before they get to you.

The carbon footprint is the amount of impact we have on the environment, measured by the amount of carbon dioxide released every year. You can start by choose energy efficient equipment and appliances for your home, use more fluorescent lighting, and make sure your home is insulated, as well as make sure your heating/cooling systems are operating properly. Taking it a step further, you can also reduce your carbon footprint by walking, riding in a carpool, using canvas or mesh bags at the grocery store instead of the plastic bags. Save money and live healthier at the same time.

Firstly, your machine (Air conditioner or heat pump) does not consume refrigerant, therefore, you will never have to change Freon (Freon is a trademarked name by DuPont that refers to R-22) unless you have attained a leak in your system.  The Freon or refrigerant is only the medium used to transfer heat from the inside of the home to the outside. The only resource that is used is electricity.  When your system reaches low levels of Freon, it can cause Compressor Failure, freezing of the evaporator coil, damage at stress points, and most promptly, it can severely damage the efficiency of your Air Conditioner.

  • Well, why would it freeze?  It freezes as lower refrigerant causes lower pressure within the system, and pressure is closely related to temperature.
  • What commonly causes damage?  Lawnmowers, children, and animals tend to be the most common and general damages, with lawnmowers in the lead.
  • Well, What would cause vibration?  Traveling with it, and its general use as a system. Most A/C units have built in Vibration isolators, however, these can become worn or damaged, especially the longer you have had your machine in use.
  • The Stress points?  The common stress points to deliver problems to the A/C unit or heat pump owner, are the weld points leading in and out of the home or place of machine operation.  But the most common stress point is the Service valve, located on the ground near the compressor, used to gauge the amount of refrigerant. The valve(s) look like the air fitting on a tire.  Make sure the cap is well sealed, and in place, and if it is already in place, you can take soapy water, place it over the valve and look for air bubbles if any appear.

Freon leaks DO NOT get smaller, and increase in severity over time.
The Main causes of refrigerant Leaks are: Vibrations, machine stress, worn service valves, and most commonly, poor handling of the machine that results in damage done to the machine.  Also, a leak can be caused by poor manufacturing, though not seen quite as often, it can still be a common issue with the Refrigerant leaks.  A leak in the first year is quite uncommon, usually the machine is on average 4-7 years old.  More efficient air conditioners are actually more prone to leaking than the energy guzzling older models.  The reason?  The Reason is due to thinner copper.  As basic electrical and thermal science teaches us, is that the thinner the object, the faster heat passes through.  Manufacturers came to using copper due to its strength, and durability.  So, to make the device more efficient, they greatly reduced the thickness of copper.


Written by BCI Mechanical