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BLOWN IN INSULATION PREPARATION

Here are the five things that you need to make sure gets done before and during your blown in insulation project. These steps will make sure your company actually does a quality job. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone behind the other blown insulation contractors here in Florida and seeing that they either, don’t even attempt to do what should be done in terms of performance or under deliver on what they promised and don’t actually finish what is needed. Here in Florida, it is scorching outside and one of the things that you can do in order to help make your home more energy efficient is to add a layer of insulation between that heat and your livable space. 

The work is not necessarily highly skilled or hard work in terms of needing immense education to understand its process, but it does take commitment and hard work to actually put into practice. Attic temperatures here in Florida can sometimes reach up to 150 degrees, so it’s important to make sure that the company you choose takes employee safety seriously and trains them properly. Once you’re up in an attic for more than about 10 minutes, it’s easy to start cutting corners, so proper training and leeway for needed rest are both key.

AN ESTIMATOR NEEDS TO CHECK OUT THE ATTIC

Many estimations in this business do not take the proper time to evaluate how exactly an attic should be treated. About three quarters of the time the other estimators from another company will simply ballpark the situation from down below in the cool living space so that they don’t have to get into the attic, sweat, and get their eyes on what’s actually going on up there. In our company’s expert opinion you have to actually look at something in order to know how to properly quote it. There are a lot of different variables involved with quoting blown in insulation and there’s a lot of different solutions out there, so in general, make sure that your estimator actually gets up into the attic for about 10 minutes or so to get a good look at everything and take some photos. The estimator should go over the whole plan with you and tell you exactly what you need while also visually showing you. More than likely you’re not going to follow an estimator up into the attic in order to see what they’re talking about, so you have to take their word for it. However, make sure that they give you some photos and that the photos are trustworthy. 

SEAL ANY PENETRATIONS TO THE ATTIC

We have found that most homes are pretty leaky, and need to be improved with some ceiling work. A lot of times when somebody is insulating and get quotes for blown in insulation here in Florida, they are insulating a new edition where they are insulating perhaps a lanai or their garage. There are probably a lot of penetrations into the attic ceiling that had been left unsealed by the general contractor in these areas. This allows for a lot of, not only heat, but also humidity infiltration into the space. Whenever we quote a customer for blown in insulation, we offer to both seal and insulate the area. We quote this as a package is because once there is a lot of blown in insulation in your way, it only makes it harder to actually seal up. In order to make sure that the blown in installation is the most effective insulator that it can be, we seal any penetrations into the attic using a Fonville spray that we install the morning of the blown in insulation job. This expands to fill any cracks or penetrations in the attic.

SEAL CAN-LIGHTS

Can-lights are the sort of light that sits flush with the ceiling of your living space, but is actually recessed up into the attic. It’s very important to make sure that these are actually seal themselves rather than trying to use any sort of spray fall around them. Reasons being that there are electrical processes involved. We never want to compromise any of that kind of material with anything that is flammable. We have found that in The Villages, for example, can-lights are almost exclusively used to light lanais, and they are almost always unsealed and allow the air between the two spaces to mix one way some installation contractors mitigate. We install a cone above each can light, allowing the area to be sealed from the rest of the attic, and not be touched by the new blown in insulation. That’s not a bad way to accomplish the goal of sealing it, but it’s preferable to buy pre-sealed can-lights and install them to replace the existing can-lights in the space. Many of these sealed the can-lights are actually LED, more energy efficient, and in the long run saving you money on your power bill. As licensed electrical contractors in Florida, we can offer solutions like installing these sealed can-lights, which can accomplish better energy savings.

SEALING THE ATTIC ENTRANCE POINT

In general, there are a couple of different types of ways you can get up into an attic. There’s usually either a set of pull downstairs or there is a piece of drywall with a frame that gets pushed up, a large hole is then exposed to allow access. Many homes in Florida have the benefit of having an attached garage at the front of the house, so the easiest place for the attic access was to install the pull-downstairs or push-up entrance in the garage space. Unless you are looking to add blown in insulation into your garage, this is not an area of concern, however, if your attic access is actually within the space that you are looking to either cool or insulate, this is a huge point of heat infiltration. If you ever tried to push into an attic entrance that just has blown in insulation all around it, you’ll know what a mess it makes whenever you open the attic. Hatch and blown in insulation tumbles down into your livable space to avoid this and to allow for less heat infiltration. We actually suggest to install one of two solutions. The first one that will help just keep the area around the attic hatch clear from any blown in insulation is install a barrier wall around the attic access. We built a small barrier wall, a foam board, in order to keep the blown in insulation from falling down into your livable space, you’ve paid for us to blow in the insulation, why would you want it to just fall down and be something that gets vacuumed up or thrown away every time that you go into your attic? Secondly, we would suggest a large bag filled with insulation and placed directly on top of the attic hatch a stairway, insulate it. Stairway insulator is going to be a little bit different style, but essentially if we’re talking about having a moveable piece of insulation that sits on top of the attic hatch entrance can be placed back whenever the needs to be closed up. This allows for you to make sure that you are not having a ton of heat come through your attic hatch access point, but at the same time and not have a giant mess every time you open it up.

INSTALLING BAFFLED BETWEEN EACH TRUSS

Many contractors leave this step out of their job, they leave it out because it’s simply just not easy, and takes time. Almost every home has a breathable soften around the outside edge of the home. This is meant to allow air to infiltrate up into the attic from outside, allowing the attic to breathe and ventilate out of the ridge vents in the top of the roof. This allows for there to be exchanged in the attic so it doesn’t just sit stagnantly increasing in heat. Many people don’t know that their attic is actually open to the elements outside, but if it’s beneficial to do so in a controlled manner. The last thing that a customer wants to do when starting one project is to create additional follow-up problems without these baffles in place. The problem we see many customers have when they hire an unqualified blown in insulation contractor, is that the blown in insulation usually falls directly down onto those soffit vents and close them up, not allowing for air to enter the space and ventilate through to the Richmond at the top of the attic. Essentially they are ceiling in that space and when they do so, they’re actually creating a higher level of humidity and a myriad of other problems. The solution to this is to staple cardboard core polyurethane baffles between each of the trusses in the attic. This allows for a natural barrier to be formed allowing the blown in insulation to be bonded right to the edge of the attic space without ever falling onto the soffit. Another central part is to make sure that the baffles are tall enough for the amount of installation that is being installed. The thicker the installation, the taller the baffled needs to be. Unfortunately, it is not too easy. Essentially one will need to be on their back, should been through the attic, stopping at every trust bay, and stapling these baffled into place one by one. Take a look at our video below to get a better sense of this.

CONCLUSION

Here within our five points the prep work is everything. The blown in insulation portion is actually the easiest part of the job, but if the preparation is not done properly you will be setting yourself up for a long list of problems in the future. Make sure you work with trustworthy and detail oriented technicians to save yourself the headaches. If you have any questions, please feel free to give our office a call at 352-224-3708 or visit us online at kalosflorida.com/installation.

 

Kalos Honored as a Top Company Culture Nationwide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:
Bryan Orr
Kalos Services Inc
Bryan@kalosflorida.com
352-243-7088

 

KALOS SERVICES RANKED ON INAUGURAL TOP COMPANY CULTURE LIST PRESENTED BY ENTREPRENEUR AND CULTUREIQ

Clermont, FL– Kalos Services Inc. was recently ranked on Entrepreneur’s Top Company Culture list, a comprehensive ranking of U.S.-based businesses exhibiting high-performance cultures created in partnership with culture management software and service provider CultureIQ®. The Top Company Cultures list has placed Kalos Services as 6th  nationwide in the Small Company category.  Kalos Services is recognized for creating an exceptional culture that drives employee engagement, exceeds employee expectations and directly impacts company success.

“When we started Kalos we didn’t set out to be anything other than business people of integrity. Along the way we have a built a team of amazing people and they are the reason we have such an enjoyable and rewarding culture” Stated Robert Orr, President of Kalos Services Inc.

“Creating an entrepreneurial culture is a key priority for business leaders, yet no one until now has really assessed the role culture plays in success,” says Ray Hennessey, editorial director of Entrepreneur.com. “This ranking celebrates the dedication that all teams, from entry-level to the C-suite, have in ensuring they are creating vibrant, healthy and sustainable work environments. That’s good for employees, investors and customers.”

Co-Founder Bryan Orr said “Of all of the things we care about in business, company culture is right at the top. A cornerstone of Kalos is the ideal that people are always more important than organizations and a great organization can only be built one great person at a time. Only by valuing the significance and humanity of every person on the team can you reach true success as a business”

The full list, presenting a total of 75 companies categorized as small, medium-sized or large companies—25-49 employees, 50-99 employees, and more than 100 employees— is available on Entrepreneur.com. Core insights, behaviors, and attributes that have helped to shape the high-performing cultures presented by the top companies are shared alongside practices to help other companies work on their own workplace environments.

“There is always an opportunity to learn from each other when running and growing a business, which is why we are excited to honor these companies and share their success in building an effective culture,” says CultureIQ founder and CEO Greg Besner. “I find it particularly inspiring to see a wide variety of companies represented in the list, confirming that you can have a strong culture regardless of industry, size, or business maturity.”

The rankings for all companies were determined using CultureIQ’s methodology for measuring high-performance cultures. Employees at each company received a survey of 21 short, multiple-choice questions. The answers were used to assess a company’s strength across 10 core qualities of culture – performance focus, support, and innovation, to name a few. These quality strength scores were combined with the employee Net Promoter Score to create a cumulative CultureIQ Score. The companies with the highest CultureIQ Scores became the Top Company Culture list in ranking order. To be considered for the ranking, a company must have at least 25 employees, have been founded before Jan. 1, 2014 and be headquartered in the U.S.

To view Kalos Services in the full ranking, visit www.entrepreneur.com/TopCultures

Kalos Services Inc. is a  family owned and operated residential service provider and commercial construction company. Kalos Services is licensed and specialize in high-end Commercial/Residential Construction and in the installation, maintenance, service and repair of Air Conditioning, Electrical, and Pool Heating projects.

The company founders stated:

“We get a lot of questions about our name. For Us, our name represents how we wish to approach our work and serve our customers. Kalos is:

Kalos is:

kalos: καλός noun /kay-los’/ defined- Ancient Greek; ideal personal conduct; integrity

We desire to not only please customers for the sake of doing quality work, but we are passionate about living, working and growing our business with integrity. Kalos is more than just a name or even a company policy. It is an attitude of service that our customers rave about. From the time our company was founded in 2005, we’ve always desired to make a positive impact not only on your family or business, but in the Central Florida community” ###entrepreneur-cultureiq-small-web-transparent

ABOUT  ENTREPRENEUR MEDIA INC.

For nearly 40 years, Entrepreneur Media Inc. has been serving the entrepreneurial community providing comprehensive coverage of business and personal success through original content and events. Entrepreneur magazine, Entrepreneur.com, and publishing imprint Entrepreneur Press provide solutions, information, inspiration and education read by millions of entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide.

To learn more, visit entrepreneur.com.

Follow us on Twitter at @Entrepreneur and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/entmagazine.

 

About CultureIQ®

CultureIQ is culture management software that helps companies measure, understand, and strengthen their organizational culture. By providing research-driven and customizable surveys, insightful analytics, and reporting and culture resources, CultureIQ empowers companies to make data-driven decisions to better engage and retain their employees.

Based in New York City, CultureIQ was founded in 2013 by Greg Besner, a veteran entrepreneur and New York University Stern School of Business adjunct professor, with a notable history of implementing successful culture initiatives. CultureIQ is backed by a group of successful business leaders, including Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s VegasTechFund and other entrepreneurs who have seen the valuable impact of prioritizing culture at their own companies.

For more information, visit www.cultureiq.com.

Follow us on Twitter at @CultureIQ and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/CultureIQ.

 

 

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Kalos Radio 002: Understanding Air Conditioning Warranties

How will you’re local conditioning company will process your air conditioner’s warranty? Get a peak “behind the curtain” on exactly how we structure our AC company’s processes and a transparent take on what an AC contractor thinks about the strengths and weaknesses of a typical AC warranty.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes or Stitcher to get automatic updates

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Links & Items Mentioned In This Podcast
  • Ask us a question by visiting kalosflorida.com/questions and be featured on our next episode!
  • What is included in a typical air conditioning warranty
  • Parts warranties vs. Labor warranties
  • Issues and misconceptions about AC Warranties
  • Specific issues to air conditioners in Florida

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Transcript

Hello, hello! Welcome to the second episode of Kalos Radio.  I’m your host, Sean Blackburn.  We are so excited to have you guys here with us.  We appreciate you tuning in and we’ve got a lot of content to get through today so we’re going to jump right in here.

Understanding any warranty can always be tough especially when you don’t know a lot about the product to begin with.  Warranties on air conditioning units are no exception.  Recently at Kalos, we’ve had quite a few questions on what an air conditioning warranty covers, what it doesn’t cover and what are the benefits to having it at all.  We sat down with our co-founder, Bryan Orr, and our service manager, Nathan Orr, and they’re going to walk us through some of these questions that you guys have submitted to us and we’re going to go over those directly with you guys today.  Make sure you listen all the way until the end.  We’ve got a unique way for you guys to submit some questions in case you have any more so we’d be glad to have you guys know how to do that and get them in here.  Without further ado, here we go.

Bryan Orr:  We’re going to be talking today about the warranty issue that exists in the air conditioning industry.  We are running into it more and more as we move forward so let’s start by just talking a little bit about what different types of warranties there are on air conditioners and why the issue exists in the first place.

Nathan Orr:  Pretty much with air conditioning or basically anything, you have two warranties that were combined together to present a complete warranty where everything would be free which would be where both the parts are covered and the labor so effort of putting in the parts is covered.  Pretty standard warranty on that would be 10 years for something like that for the manufacturer on all of their parts so every component is covered.  But by covered, they don’t mean that they cover anything except saying, if you file over our paperwork, we will ship you a specific part that you have diagnosed as failed and credit you if we agreed that it was failed.

Bryan Orr:  Let’s first hone in on that.  There’s that type of warranty and then the other type is what would be called a labor warranty.  What is a labor warranty?

Nathan Orr:  A labor warranty would be something that includes everything, all of the labor manpower necessary to replace that part.  Technically, neither of those warranties cover things like backend effort or anything like that or any shipping cost or processing fees or smaller components necessary to affect the repair.  Although a lot of companies end up just eating that cost.

Bryan Orr:  All right.  Let’s look at a typical situation and I think a lot of times the brand gets rope into it like, oh, this is associated with being a Trane or a Carrier or a Lenox or a Goodman or whatever, but my experience is that I don’t know that any of them have really different policies as far as how it’s handled practically speaking so it really doesn’t matter what brand air conditioner you have installed as far as what I’ve seen.  Have you seen it differently?

Nathan Orr:  No.  I mean the industry standard seems to be kept sort of across the board.  The only difference though would be is just the expediency with which they could get you your warranty parts is really the only difference that I’ve seen.

Bryan Orr:  Right and that’s been my experience.  I’m talking like I don’t know, but I know the answer to these questions as well, but it’s easier to do this as a conversation.  Let’s give a scenario.  Let’s say that we have a system that is three years old.  It doesn’t matter what company, but the terms of the warranty was a one-year labor warranty and a 10-year warranty on all parts.  What does that mean?

Nathan Orr:  That means any parts on that unit, the manufacturer, if one was failed would be obligated to give you one of the exact same one free of charge, but it would be required at that point for somebody to find out what’s wrong which would not be covered and then install whatever it was wrong, file a warranty claim for whatever was failed and then install it.

Bryan Orr:  I think the thing to clarify here is that regardless of manufacturer, when there is a part’s warranty, all the manufacturer does is provide the part if the contractor can prove that the part has failed and sufficiently fill out all the paperwork required to do the warranty claim.  All of the additional expenses associated with the contractor doing all that work, the contractor can and should charge for because the part’s warranty is the manufacturer’s warranty correct?

Nathan Orr:  Right that’s correct.  The manufacturer is literally only warranting that specific piece that has failed.  That is the only thing that they’re going to warranty on it.

Bryan Orr:  Right so anything else required; the fuel, the overhead, the labor, the processing charges and sometimes even shipping, they’re not gonna cover that.

Nathan Orr:  A common question that comes up is you have a part that leaked and so the refrigerant door or other materials have been lost because of that, is that covered?  The answer to that is “no” because the actual materials themselves didn’t fail, they’re just no longer present.  The only thing covered is the part.  Even though it’s at fault, that’s just the way it works.  That’s the industry standard.

Bryan Orr:  I think that’s the gray area because the problem that we run into is the reality in what people are told and when you call, manufacturers sometimes are divergent.  An example would be; we had a compressor that fails.  In order to replace the compressor that has burn out, you have to do some additional steps.  You have to install suction dryer and then return it and remove the suction dryer.  You have to put in all new charge in the system in order to make sure it’s not contaminated and the liquid line dryer as well.  There are these additional steps that are costly, but the manufacturer doesn’t cover that.  The manufacturer just says the compressor has failed?  Here’s the compressor and they hand it to us and now we have to, not only install the compressor, but we have to return the old one so physically, someone has to make sure that old compressor gets sealed up and returned.  We have to make sure all the paperwork is done and the manufacturer doesn’t cover any of that.  I don’t know any manufacturer that does.  Do you?

Nathan Orr:  No.  It is one of those things that’s funny that they don’t because they have requirements of what they want you to do.  If you ask them what should I do when the compressor burn out?  They’re going to list all of these things that they don’t cover.  That is just the way it is because why did it fail.  They’re covering it under a manufacture defect warranty that as far they’re concerned, may not or may not have even been the cause of it failing and so that’s sort of their gray area.  We cover a part that’s failed.

Bryan Orr:  Yeah.  The problem that we run into is a real common one so let’s talk about the most common scenario that we see.  In Florida, we have tons of capacitor failures.  I’m sure that anyone who has lived in Florida for more than five years or so on the house has probably either had a capacitor fail on the air conditioner or know someone who has had a capacitor fail on the air conditioner, just very, very common.  The question is why?  We don’t really know.  We suspect it has something to do with our temperatures in combination with the fact that our power isn’t super consistent, but again, that’s all just guessing.  They just fail all the time is what we know.  We have this situation where even on newer systems, you have these capacitors that are failing.  We go out to a house that’s three years old.  Whether we installed it or whether someone else installed, it makes no difference.  At this point, it’s outside of the labor warranty from the installer.  It’s within the manufacturing warranty of the manufacturer.  We go out and we find that capacitor has failed.  What do we do?  A capacitor is not an expensive part.  It’s not something where the part itself cost a lot of money.  The cost associated with installing it is mostly the installation and then testing of the system once you’ve installed it making sure that it’s strapped in properly and then testing everything, making sure it’s working so we charge.  Our standard fee for a capacitor is $79.  When you install this capacitor now, someone is going to say, okay, well, my unit is under warranty which is technically true.  It’s under a part’s warranty, but the issue that we have is, is that the cost of doing the warranty processing, meaning returning the old part, getting the new part, filling out the forms, all that is greater than the cost of the part by the time you figure out the labor that it takes to keep track of all that and do it because human being has to do that in order for the manufacturer to give us a new part.  The other problem is, is that manufactured parts are inferior to the ones that we install.  They fail all the time and this is true.  I haven’t found a manufacturer who installs a capacitor that I like so we use this USA made capacitors largely and they seem to do a little bit better.  The issue comes down to this, what are we supposed to do.  You as a technician, what do you normally experience as far as the pushback that customers have when it comes to the understanding of how this works with the part’s warranty.

Nathan Orr:  The misunderstanding isn’t necessarily unreasonable especially if they had the capacitor replaced by you in the past previous to purchasing a new unit.  The pushback is always harder if you were the one that installed it and so you installed it, 10-year parts, one-year labor, you had replaced the capacitors in the past for $79, they have one that fails two years into the new system, you come out, replace it and say that will be $79.  Typically, people don’t think anything of it because $79 is not an expensive repair.  It’s less than they were expecting so they’re fine.  They get back later, they just put all their invoices together, while they do, they look back through, I had a capacitor replaced before.  Let’s see how much that was.  It’s $79.  This is $79.  Something is wrong.  They must not have realized that I had a part’s warranty on this.  They must just have forgotten that.  I think typically where the aggravation comes from is that certainly, they feel like they should be charged less even if it’s a miniscule amount less, even if it was $77 as opposed to $79.  They feel like there should be at least some reduction in cost because it has a part’s warranty.  It’s typically where the pushback comes from.  My parts warranty isn’t good for anything then.  You sold me the system, you said that it’s a 10-year -old part’s warranty, used that as a selling feature, but now, you’re telling me that my warranty doesn’t do anything at all.  It’s an issue where I’m very sympathetic to the concern.  The problem is I feel the impetus to be really honest about what’s going on as opposed to kind of making up a story and saying, oh yeah, it’s under warranty and this is just the cost for XYZ or kind of tricking my numbers or whatever, making my regular capacitor more expensive so that way, the warranty capacitor looks cheaper or something like that.  There are a lot of things you could do.  Let’s give a scenario.  Let’s say we installed a unit and three years goes by and they call us out at 9 o’clock on a Saturday and we go out there and we find that it’s a bad capacitor.  We have every good quality capacitor pretty much known to men on our truck.  We go to customer and we say it’s $79.  The truth is, is that $79 is to pull our capacitor off of our truck and put it in.  That’s it.  Now, is that unfair?  The truth is, is that if we were to go to the manufacturer’s process, here’s how it would go; we would say, okay, you have a bad capacitor, I’m going to order one from the manufacturer, they’ll ship it to me, I’ll come back and install it.  The cost for that is going to be probably two hours labor by the time we get it and come back and do the warranty processing and everything.  Now, your capacitor that would have been $79 if I would have just pulled it up the truck is now going to be about $160 and you’re not gonna have it fixed until tomorrow at the earliest.  Who’s gonna want to do that?  Nobody.  The problem is, is that explaining that on every single situation is difficult because then the perception is well, you’re warranty isn’t worth anything.  The truth is, is that it’s only on these cheap parts that it’s even an issue because let’s say that you had a motor module that was failed.  We don’t keep motor modules on the truck because they’re kind of specific parts, but if we did, the cost of the part is quite expensive and so you’ll probably be paying $500 or $600 for that.  It turns out that we can order it from the manufacturer.  We can get it and it’s gonna be significantly less currently for the installation and processing and the motor module we’re charging, I think 185.  The warranty does you a lot of good in that position.

Nathan Orr:  That part would typically be somewhere between $400 and $600 just for the part.  Installed with a mark up or anything, you’d be looking at somewhere around 700 bucks at least.

Bryan Orr:  Right.  That’s where you stand to really save with the warranty and so then the question is, is the warranty on the capacitor worth nothing?  It depends on how you look at it.  The truth is, is the only reason it’s an issue is because we don’t charge more than we need to for capacitors.  If we charge a lot more for regular capacitors, then we could afford to market down and do the whole process, but the truth is, is that really, we are just factoring in labor.  We’re not putting a huge markup on the parts and there’re a lot of questions that even are associated with that because sometimes selling a capacitor may only take 20 minutes by the time you install and test it.  The truth is, is that we’re looking at averages when we do all this sort of thing.  We have to look at what’s the average time to install and test.

Nathan Orr:  There is also a cost of our warranty because anytime you do a repair, if the same problem occurs within a year, there is no charge whatsoever and so because a capacitor is a high-fail item, you’re installing and you also have to cover the number of times within a year if that capacitor does fail on average so it’s just a cost of doing business with a common-fail item.

Bryan Orr:  Right.  We have to factor that into our pricing, but from an industry standard standpoint, our pricing is actually quite low when it comes to the smaller parts.  That’s really the issue is that you can do a mark up, mark down and kind of work the system in order to have fewer complaints.  What we choose to do is just be honest about it that look, what we’re doing when we go to a system that’s three years old and it’s under a manufacturer part’s warranty, we’re just pulling a part off of our truck and putting it in and charging it for it and it’s a good part and we do a good job.  We test it and everything is fine.  It’s not expensive and the reason why we do that is because the other option going through all the hurdles, it would cost you more if we quoted it, that’s just the truth, it just would.

Nathan Orr:  It’s an annoying thing that time costs money, but time costs money.  That’s just the way that it works whether it’s a technician or somebody in the office.  It doesn’t matter.  If an actual human being has to do something, we do have to pay them.

Bryan Orr:  Basically, the whole point of this recording is just to make clear our intentions.  We want to charge as little as possible and still make our profit margins which our stated goal is to make 10% net profit and we’ve never done it to this point.  I think our best year, we made like 4% in the service department.  We’re really not looking to take advantage of anything.  We do know about the warranties.  We do use them whenever it makes financial sense to use them for the customer.  Any kind of major repair, compressors, boards, motor modules, motors, laundry list, reversing valves, all kinds of parts that makes sense to go through the manufacturer warranty process and then just do it that way where you’re just paying for labor in order to get the part and install it.  Like we said before, all the manufacturer does is just hand us the part and say, you do everything else and so we have to charge for what it takes to do everything else.

Nathan Orr:  It’s just there is this sort of an idea of a break even with a system.  There’s a cost which is probably about 140, 150 bucks, but if the repair is less than at going through the warranty process, it’s going to probably cost you more.  That’s just sort of the way that it works.  Once you break that threshold then it saves you money, but for these relatively minor repairs, annoying as they can be, there isn’t a great way of handling that.

Bryan Orr:  Because the consideration isn’t just price, it’s also speed.  The ability to do a repair right now is also a factor if it’s something like a capacitor.  There are only a couple of parts like that.  Capacitor or contactor, those types of things, but maybe a minor wiring repair, maybe a sequence.  It’s really expensive small parts that are a quick win.  They can get your air up and running right now versus having to wait for a factory part and so who’s not going to make that decision.  The problem is what really gets sticky is when someone gets on the phone with the manufacturer.  Again, this is regardless of the manufacturer.  It doesn’t matter.  You get on the phone to manufacturer and say, hey, I had someone else out and they charged me XYZ for this part and they’ll say, oh, that was under a part’s warranty.  True, but they don’t tell you the whole story, the fact that they don’t bridge the gap in between actually finding the part that’s failed and getting the part back on that side.  They’re not paying for any of that.  They’re just handing the part over.  As an installer, we factor into our pricing that first year of labor warranty where we do cover everything because the truth is, if something fails in the first year, more often than not, it’s probably a mistake.  Something probably wasn’t done right.  Who knows?  But generally speaking, it’s some sort of error on the installer’s part.  After that, the installer doesn’t have any responsibility to that equipment other than you try to enforce the manufacturer’s policy as much as it is physically reasonable for the sake of the customer.

Nathan Orr:  Right.  Basically, what it comes down to is when someone gets on the phone with the manufacturer.  They don’t care if the provider loses money.  That doesn’t matter to them at all because while we are their customer, some of the time we’re their customers and I’m sure servicing equipment that we don’t even sell.  They don’t really have any obligation to make us look good so all that they’re going to try to do is make themselves look good which is fine.

Bryan Orr:  To look at and essentially, they’re just looking at the terms of the warranty and they’re going to read back the terms of the warranty.  They help you understand what’s covered and what’s not covered, but they don’t help you understand the actual cost associated with a contractor doing work because that’s the thing.  It’s not that we’re trying to make a windfall profit on anything like this.  It’s that we’re trying to not lose money.  That’s really in our business and in most small businesses.  You just can’t lose money doing things.  You can’t do anything consistently if that loses money without having to deal with that at some point.  Warranty is a huge issue in our industry and it’s getting worse because we have this issue with capacitors.  That’s the biggest one.  There’s been a couple, but most of them are related to capacitors and the complaint is always the same.  Why am I paying the same as someone who has a non-warranty system for this capacitor and the answer is because if we did it under warranty, it would be more expensive because the cost of doing all that stuff that we’re supposed to do is relatively great.

Nathan Orr:  Yes.

Bryan Orr:  I’m glad you’re with me.  As always, if you have any questions about that, the best way to get a hold of us is to email us at office@kalosflorida.com.  That’s the best way because everybody in the office gets that and then we will be happy to respond to you.  Thank you so much.

Sean Blackburn:  All right so there you have it.  Thanks guys! We really appreciate you guys tuning in today and we hope that helped clarify some of the questions that you had.  We realized that there might be some specific things that you guys might have questions on so always feel free to give our office an email at office@kalosflorida.com.

What we’ve actually got today is something that I’m pretty excited about and we’re gonna have links to this in the Show Notes down below.  But we’ve actually got a way that you can be featured on the next Kalos Radio podcast.  Now here’s how you’re going to submit your questions that you might have.  Head on over to www.speakpipe.com/kalosservices.  What you can do is you can actually take any computer, laptop or possibly even mobile phone and you can leave us a voicemail and you can be featured on the next Kalos Radio podcast.  Feel free to include any questions about warranties that you might have or what you can do is ask about anything air conditioning, pool heating, electrical, whatever questions you might have, we’ll make sure that we try to answer it.  We hope that you guys find that to be an interesting and cool way to kind of interact with us on the show.  I’m really excited about seeing how that plays out.

Once again, thanks for listening and we hope that this has been another example of how we provide Simply Great Service.

More questions? Make sure to sound off in the comments or leave us a Voicemail. If you do, you might end up on our Podcast!

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Kalos Radio 001: Comparing the Nest Thermostat to the Honeywell Lyric

A comparison between two WiFi connected thermostats, the new Honeywell Lyric and the Nest. Bryan Orr and Nathan Orr discuss the features of each and the differences between the two, and the strengths and weaknesses between the two thermostats.

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Transcript

Sean Blackburn:  Hello and welcome to the Kalos Radio podcast. We are so excited to have you guys here today.  We are launching this podcast with the hopes of helping home owners, property managers or anyone listening to help manage their facilities, their home and to save them time and money.  What we were hoping is to help a lot people with a knowledge that our company has acquired through our years of business.Recently, a company called Honeywell came out with a new thermostat that they’re calling the Lyric.  The Lyric is similar to a product that we are all familiar with here at Kalos Services called the Nest.  These are both thermostats, but they are unique in the fact that they are both able connect to WI-FI and are a big step forward in home automation.  These devices can connect and you can manage your home from wherever you might be throughout the world.Today with us, we have our Vice President of Service and Co-Founder, Bryan Orr, and our Service Manager, Nathan Orr.  Let’s turn it over to the guys hear about the differences between the Honeywell Lyric and the Nest Learning thermostat.

Bryan Orr:  This is Bryan and I’m here with Nathan and we’re going to talk about our experiences with the Lyric Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat.

Nathan Orr:  Hello.

Bryan Orr: Let’s talk about the core features first of all that makes the Nest and Lyric different than most thermostats that currently exist.  You’re on Nathan.

Nathan Orr:  Both of them are Wi-Fi-capable thermostatsand they both synch up to your phone to be able to control them wirelessly.  The idea in both of them is that they’re self programmable, smart and intelligent programming thermostats, but they work in somewhat different ways.

Bryan Orr:  So let’s stop right there.

Sean Blackburn:  Do does Lyric learn just like the Nest does?

Nathan Orr:  No.  The Lyric is a less intuitive thermostat.  The Lyric works off of you programming things that you want it to do base on what they call events.  Programming is how you program the Lyric.

Nathan Orr:  You can program your bedtime.  You can program locality of your phone.  It actually utilizes the GPS in your phone to know when you’re home or when you aren’t.

Bryan Orr:  That’s a new feature, the GPS tracking. Is that available on The Nest?

Nathan Orr:  Right, The Nest doesn’t do it.  Lyric doesn’t use actual motion detecting to know if you’re there.  It synchs to one or two cell phones and so it knows your preferences.  It works off of you programming your ideal temperature when you’re home or what you most naturally prefer based on events.  You can set it to either go up or down based on time or locality of your cell phone or things like that.

Bryan Orr:  Cool.  The Nest is basically making decision about what the temperature should be based on your preferences.  It’s saying, this is what the temperature should be based on these events that you’re programming.  How does the Nest do the same thing?  How is it deciding?  How does it determine temperature?

Nathan Orr:  The Nest decides one of two ways.  It does have motion sense so it does pay attention to what temperature you end up most frequently desiring based on how long it’s been since there’s been activity in the home.  But it also self programs as long as you have that function enabled.  It self programs off of you adjusting temperature.  When you adjust temperature, it notes day of the week, time and even day of the year and sort of starts to build a matrix of when you do adjust temperature.  You just keep adjusting it to what you want.  It slowly learns from that and so it’s more of a learning thermostat that tries to adapt to itself to your habits without you having to actually consciously think of them.

Bryan Orr:  Some potential problems of Nest would be like if you work for the vacation management industry.  If you have a lot of different people in the house that may have different expectations, Nest wouldn’t work well for that.

Nathan Orr:  Right.  You can disable that function, but at that point, you just have an extremely nice looking wifi-capable thermostat.  You’ve disabled its main functionality.  The main issue is that if you have the Nest to someone who keeps an irregular schedule, the programming doesn’t usually work for it.  My own personal problem that I’ve had with the Nest is just that functionality of people being in the room or not just based on where it’s located.  It’s not always accurate.  It will decide if you’re out of the house just because there’s no motion in that room.  It decides no one is home.

Bryan Orr:  I remember back in the day when I was a lad, they talked about adaptive intelligent recovery.  That’s the term Honeywell use for that back in the day and the idea was that you would set the time that you want it to be the temperature that you set.  You don’t want it to start trying to get to that temperature.  Let’s say you set it to 82 during the day, but you want it to be 76 when you get home.  If it started trying to get to 76 at 5:00 pm when you got home, you’d have several hours of discomfort so it has to try to figure out based on the settings or based on previous history how long it takes for it to achieve that temperature.  What I’m wondering is because I knew the Nest and I’m just not sure of this, it ties up to the web and so it actually gets the local weather forecast.  Can you actually use that for decision making process about how long it takes to achieve a comfort temperature?

Nathan Orr:  I don’t believe it does because it is one of the only major complaints I’ve had with the Nest is that it doesn’t always seem to do a good job of adaptive recovery.  It seems to only be basing it off of how long it’s taken on average.  So on excessively hot days, it doesn’t adapt and so when something comes home, it hasn’t yet reached set temperature.  I’m not sure if that’s something that’s going to get fixed.  It’s just that Nest is newer to the thermostat game, but Honeywell products seemed to have a little bit of a better adaptive recovery than the Nest does.

Bryan Orr:  My experience in general has been from a reliability standpoint, Honeywell just have fewer problems.  We had someone who we installed Lyric for and he didn’t like it because of the geofencing – the idea of it knowing how far you are away from the home.  He just had some particular objections to that?

Nathan Orr:  Philosophically or is it actually giving issues for him?

Bryan Orr:  Well they got into a political argument, him and his thermostat and it started geofencing.  Anyway, he didn’t like that, but generally speaking, I tried to use Honeywell products just because we do have so few problems and I knew we did have a few problems with the Nest.  I don’t know if they fixed those, but what were the issues that we have with the Nest?

Nathan Orr:  One of the problems that come up with the Nest is because it is a consumer-based product, it doesn’t rely on the people installing it knowing what kind of system they have.  It actually checks for resistance on the control wiring and decides itself what it’s connected to.  The only problem with that is that it relies on virtually perfect continuity on the control wires and so sometimes, it will say it’s not hooked up to anything when in fact it is and it does work if you manage to make it realize that it is hooked up to something and there’s no way to manually bypass that.  Sometimes, it does actually lead to some problems so you ended up having to replace wiring or just to repair something that other thermostat wouldn’t.  Just because it’s making it recognize a system that it’s not actually hooked up to.

Bryan Orr:  I know we also had an issue with it continuing failing over and over again and what we figured out was that the internal circuitry on the Nest may actually be weaker in some cases than the 5-amp fuse that protects the circuit?  Have we experienced that?  Anyway, we had the one situation where they just kept burning up, but have we had that more than that one time?

Nathan Orr:  It seems like it happened twice and what ultimately made it difficult for us to figure out is that it’s not even the actual thermostat control, the larger component of it.  It’s actually the circuit that connects to the wiring just partially burning.

Bryan Orr:  So what we would call the subbase back in the day?  That kind of thing?

Nathan Orr:  Right.  The subbase is actually just burning up and no longer registering that it’s connected to anything.

Bryan Orr:  Okay.  Other than that, let’s talk about dehumidification because we’ve got a lot of questions about that and I believe they’re pretty similar to the Nest and the Lyric in the dehumidification feature.

Nathan Orr:  Yeah.  They both can synch up with any just basic dehumidification where essentially all that they’re doing is slowing down the inside fun to keep the evaporator coil colder to facilitate a little more condensation.  Both of them function with just about any system that works off of that principle.  So that works as a dehumidification feature.

Bryan Orr:  I’m sure for anyone who is actually using humidifiers, we’re in Florida, so we just don’t ever do that, but I’m sure they both function at a same way as well if you use it for humidification.

Nathan Orr:  Yeah.  Not 100% sure on the Nest.  I know that with the Lyric, you can program what you want to dehumidify, terminals to work as the dehumidification or humidifier.  Even a few other auxiliary functions.

Bryan Orr:  Okay.  They’re both compatible with heat pumps.  They’re both compatible with two-stage compression.  I know the Nest too is.

Nathan Orr:  I believe the Lyric is compatible with two stages.

Bryan Orr:  Right.  That’s two stages, not variables so systems that have proprietary control systems will not work.  Anytime you have a system that’s using variable compression or multi-stage compression where you have more than two stages, you’re not going to be able to use a regular thermostat of any type.  You’re not going to have to use a proprietary thermostat.

Sean Blackburn:  In layman’s term, let’s maybe break down what variable means just real quick.

Bryan Orr:  Variable means that such can be varied.  Back to you Sean.  Oh I’m sorry.

Sean Blackburn:  Basically, it can run at less than 100% for better efficiency to work.

Bryan Orr:  Correct, correct.  Anytime you’re cooling a space, the highest efficiency is to use the least possible necessary capacity.  If you think of it car terms, if you could drive somewhere on a moped or a giant truck, which is going to be more efficient?  It’s going be better to drive the moped.  The least necessary power is the most efficient.  When you’re something at higher capacity and it’s turning on and off more, that’s less efficient than something that’s running at lower capacity, but running for longer periods of time.  There’re a couple of principles at work there, but that’s what variable capacity systems do.  Now, we have variable speed blowers and two-stage variable speed compressors and those are two different or multi stage you’d call it.  Those are two different concepts.  The blower, being variable, affects the humidification and sound which that’s we’re talking about with the dehumidification feature.  The compressor, being two stage, affects your overall capacity meaning how much cooling capacity you can actually produce at any given time.  So you think of that at almost like horse power.

Sean Blackburn:  So the thermostat for a system with a variable speed components or would it just be a standard programmable thermostat or would you just want something even more basic?  Like the Greenspeed system?  What sort of thermostat could it be?

Bryan Orr:  You have to use the Infinity Greenspeed thermostat.  It’s a special control made by them because it’s actually communicating with the equipment.  Both the Lyric and the Nest are very smart thermostats, but they’re only communicating with the equipment on a 24-V signal.  It’s either an on or off 24-V signal on multiple wires.  Whereas with an Infinity Greenspeed System, it’s actually communicating with the controls and with a much greater level of communications.  So think of the difference between you hooking up a few wires versus you hooking up a USB port, plug and play.  A Greenspeed Infinity Controller thermostat is much more like a plug and play device on a computer.  Whereas even the Nest and Lyric, while they’re very smart within themselves, the communication to the equipment is just a couple of wires.

Sean Blackburn:  Do you guys have a personal favorite?

Bryan Orr:  I’ll let you go first Nathan.

Nathan Orr:  I think the Lyric looks better.  It has just a more pleasant hand feel all in all.

Sean Blackburn:  Very similar than if it’s just down the looks.

Nathan Orr:  Yeah it’s similar.  It just depends on how you want to use.  If you just want something that looks cool, automatic programming, you don’t want to mess with anything, you have a fairly set schedule, the Nest is what I would go with.  If you want something that you enjoy from a text standpoint, playing with it, getting it to where it works, Lyric does seem to synch a little better with your phone.  It does more cool things as opposed to just pure simple functionality.

Bryan Orr:  My way of looking at it would be, it’s kind of like the tension between Apple products and Android products.  Android is always ahead of Apple when it comes to raw features and processing power, not always but generally.  You can generally do more with an Android phone.  But when it comes to just purity of design, people like Apple and so I’m kind of an Apple fan in a lot of ways.  I like the Nest.  I think it’s a beautiful product.  From an engineering standpoint, there’s going to be a disadvantage to Honeywell.  From a user interface standpoint, there is huge advantage because they’re much more of a consumer products company and so that’s what it comes down to.  Consumer products company is going to make something that’s much more based on the design of the product.  Whereas Honeywell, being a control’s company, from an engineering standpoint, quality of the product, I would assume that they’re going to have a fewer problems.

Sean Blackburn:  All right.  Thanks guys! So I know that that was a ton of information.  So what we’re actually going to do is below each podcast, we’re going to have what we are going to call, the Show Notes.  Down below this audio file, you can find the show notes and we’ll have different links to different possibly pictures and maybe some more professional grade comparison reports.  Whatever we might reference within the podcast, we’re going to link down below it.  That way, in case you missed anything, you can look there for a summary on everything that we talked about.  I just wanted to thank Bryan and Nathan today for previewing the Lyric thermostat and comparing it to the Nest thermostat and just for that great information.  We are so appreciative of you guys stopping by and please let us know if there’s any specific questions that you’d like to see us address maybe in the future podcast episode or maybe any feedback that you might have for Kalos Radio.

More questions? Make sure to sound off in the comments or leave us a Voicemail. If you do, you might end up on our Podcast!

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