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Even here in beautiful Orange County, we experience rising temperatures and a need to blast the air conditioner, resulting in higher electricity bills. We’re here to question: do our bills have to get higher? Here are some tips from your local Orange County heating and air conditioning experts at ARS® on how to beat the heat and possibly save money on your utility bill!

  • Replace air filters regularly- By maintaining your air conditioner and changing air filters year round, you could increase the life span of the HVAC system, increase efficiency and cut energy costs.
  • Install a programmable thermostat- Be proactive with your thermostat. A programmable thermostat or a Wi-Fi thermostat allows you to make your own energy-saving decisions.
  • Adjust the thermostat if you’re not going to be home- Manually adjusting a thermostat a few degrees warmer when you're not around could potentially save 1-3% on your bill per degree set over 72 degrees during the summer.
  • Close the shades - Keeping out the sun with window shades is an inexpensive and simple way to keep a room cooler during the summer months.
  • Use fans to cool down a room- Install ceiling fans or place portable fans higher up in the room since heat rises. By placing a fan up high, you can create cooler airflow in any room.  Be sure to turn off the fan when you leave the room to save on energy. 
  • Protect your HVAC unit from sun or other debris- Be sure to sweep away debris and provide shade over your HVAC system to keep it operating efficiently during the summer months.
  • Seal holes and cracks in doors and windows- Eliminate air leaks that let out cool air with foam insulation or weather-stripping.
  • Replace old air conditioning units – Older air conditioning systems can sometimes cost more money than it deserves. Contact ARS for a ideas on a new, high-efficiency air conditioner replacement that can help save you from wasting money. See our post on the SEER rating which may help you understand the benefits of a new system. 

It's going to be hot this summer, but you shouldn't have to sweat it. Use these tips and contact your Orange County heating and air conditioning experts at (866) 518-6480 to make sure you're ready to continue in this summer heat without emptying your wallet. Visit ARSOrangeCounty.com for more information.

If you have ever been on the market for a new HVAC, heat pump or ductless unit, it is very likely that you've come across SEER ratings. All systems have them and are considered important by many, but what exactly are they and how can one decipher what these ratings mean?

ARS® is always out to make the HVAC repair or replacement process easy and understanding a SEER rating can help make it that much easier. Here is a guide from your local HVAC experts at ARS in Orange County to help you get closer to understanding the meaning of a SEER rating.

SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio, is a metric used to measure how much cooling a system puts out for each unit of energy it consumes. To put it in the simplest of terms, the higher the SEER rating, the more efficiently your system will operate, or the higher the rating of the system, the less energy it will consume. This means that with a high rating comes lower utility bills and less of an impact on the environment. A good comparison to help understand the rating is that a SEER rating is to HVAC systems what an MPG rating is to an automobile--it's all about efficiency. 

According to Energy.gov, all air conditioners that have been produced since January 26, 2006 must have received a SEER rating of 13 or higher. All newly produced systems are required to have a higher rating. Systems with an SEER rating of 13 can save approximately $4,000 on repairs and 60,000 life cycle pounds of CO2 emitted on average if upgraded from a system that had a SEER rating of 8. A good rating can have an enormous impact on the environment and your wallet. 

If you have any more questions about deciphering SEER ratings or would like to schedule a repair or replacement of your HVAC to ensure that your system has the best SEER rating possible, give your local ARS a call at (866) 518-6480 and visit us at ARSOrangeCounty.com.

Here at ARS® in Orange County, our community of clients is incredibly important to us. You are our family and our friends- we are grateful that you continuously welcome us into your home for your air conditioning maintenance, repair and installation needs. We offer ongoing training for our expert air conditioning and heating technicians in order for them to offer you the most up-to-date knowledge about the systems in your home as well as interactive skills so you are receiving the quality service that ARS is known for. 

We are excited to let you know that our community is growing! The Orange County branch location of ARS has expanded to include a portion of Los Angeles County, including Long Beach, the South Bay and East Los Angeles. For a detailed map of the service areas, please visit the ARS Orange County website. If you’re located in any of the listed areas and are in need of local experts to troubleshoot any heating and air conditioning issues, schedule a routine maintenance tune-up and air filter cleaning, or are looking to install a new air conditioning system, give us a call or schedule an appointment online

Due to the expansion, the team is looking to hire experienced management trainees, customer service representatives, dispatchers, HVAC service technicians, installation mechanics and sales representatives. Orange County is also seeking store support associates to promote the HVAC program at home improvement stores in the area. To apply, visit the ARS Orange County Careers page. 

 From our family to yours, all the way from San Clemente to Whittier, Torrance and Anaheim Hills, whether you need an air duct cleaning, a wi-fi thermostat, air conditioning installation, repair or replacement – we’re here for you. Call us at (866) 518-6480 and visit us at www.arsorangecounty.com to get in touch with a heating and air conditioning expert at ARS. 

Is your central air conditioning unit just not what it used to be? Does it feel like your home isn’t getting as cool in the summer as it should? It may be time to repair or replace your central air conditioner unit. But the question stands: when is the right time? There are some conditions to consider before making your decision, and your local ARS® in Orange County is here to help.

Here are a few signs to let you know that it might be time to repair or replace your central air conditioner:

  1. Your system is over 10 years old.
    According to HouseLogic.com, a central air conditioner that is eight to ten years old could use up twice the electricity necessary versus a new air conditioning unit. Repairs could extend its lifespan but an air conditioner replacement may be recommended to get the best return on your dollar.
  2. Some rooms in your home are significantly hotter or cooler than others.
    Duct problems, inadequate insulation or improper equipment operation could be to blame, and are a reasonable cause to call a skilled HVAC technician to discuss replacement or repair options.
  3. Your home has humidity problems.
    ​Leaky ductwork can cause the air to be uncomfortably dry in the winter and humid in the summer. This could also cause costly damage in your home. ARS recommends evaluating repair options or installing a more efficient model to be more cost-effective and eliminate the humidity in your home.
  4. Your central air conditioner is excessively noisy.
    ​This could be a problem with an undersized duct system or the indoor coil of your cooling equipment. By repairing or replacing with a quieter, more efficient air conditioner model, you could save money and unnecessary headaches. 

There are many telltale signs that it's time for an air conditioner repair or replacement. Call your Orange County HVAC experts at ARS to help you make the best decision for your home: (866) 518-6480 or visit ARSOrangeCounty.com.

It’s almost officially summer and in Orange County, that means hot days, busy beaches, sunscreen, BBQs and lots of sunshine.  It can, however, take a toll on the quality of the air we breathe. That’s why now is the time to think about your air conditioning maintenance. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that poor indoor air quality is one of the top five leading factors affecting respiratory health in the country.  The rise in air pollution can prove problematic since the additional sun and heat can mean stagnant air and summer vacations equal increased emissions from cars and planes. Any debris in the air can be taken in through the outside air conditioning unit, which could eventually enter our homes, especially if the home is in an area with less than moderate air quality.

The professionals at ARS® in Orange County would like help you increase the quality of the air inside your homes with routine air conditioner maintenance. Here are just a few tips:

  • Filter yourself: hotter weather requires more frequent air filter replacement. Change your filter every three months for the best results.
  • Install UV: ultra violet (UV) lights installed in the ductwork or air filtration system help capture and destroy bacteria and viruses, leaving you with cleaner air in your home. 
  • Keep it up: routine air conditioner maintenance means the unit that moves air throughout the home is completely clean so the build-up is greatly reduced.

If your air conditioner is in need of a tune up or repair or if you’re considering an air conditioner installation to improve the comfort and quality of the air inside your home, call the experts at ARS in Orange County at (866) 518-6480 and visit www.arsorangecounty.com.

Summer is just around the corner, but as you probably know, even the wonderful ocean breeze can’t stop the sun from shining and turning up the heat in Orange County. Why not get a jumpstart on keeping yourself (and your home) cool? 

Our HVAC systems are about to start working overtime, especially for our friends in the more inland cities. To help your system run at full strength, here are a few things that our experts at ARS® would like to share that you can do to ensure your air conditioning system is well maintained and ready to take on the heat:

  • Change Your Filters Regularly – You could save energy (both yours and the system’s) and money by replacing your filters at least once every three months. A new filter helps the entire system work better and more effectively, while also keeping your indoor air cleaner for your family.
  • Calibrate your Thermostat – Consider purchasing a digital thermostat, if you haven’t already. Older thermostats could be misreading the temperature in your home and causing your air conditioner to run unnecessarily.  You can adjust the settings on a digital thermostat, which could help you to save money on your energy bill.
  • Check your Freon – Low levels of refrigerant could indicate a leak, which is potentially both an environmental and operational hazard.  Contact the professionals at ARS to check the Freon for you. It’s a necessity to keep your system running on cold!

ARS is here to help you keep cool in your Orange County home. If you have any questions, give us a call at (866) 518-6480 or visit us at www.ARSOrangeCounty.com.

The size of your home determines how big (or small) your HVAC unit should be. It seems simple enough, right?  The larger the home, the larger the HVAC system should be, and vice versa. Having a system that’s not the correct size for your home can be wasteful, and environmentally unfriendly. By keeping a small system in a large home, the system is putting in extra work and could be increasing your energy bills. A system too large for your home can waste money unnecessarily and make your residence feel like you’re stuck in a blizzard.

Before installing a new HVAC system, have your home sized by a professional technician from ARS®. Our HVAC experts can make recommendations based on a number of factors including the amount of sunlight the residence receives, where the unit will be installed, how many people live in the home and so on.  From there, your HVAC technician will be able to determine the best and most energy efficient unit for your home to help start saving you money.

ARS is here to help you determine the correct size unit for your Orange County residence. If you have any questions, give us a call at (866) 518-6480 or visit us at www.ARSOrangeCounty.com.

One thing we realize most homeowners in Orange County do not consider about their homes is the importance of the ducts in the house. Yes, those little things that can control how much money you spend during the summer cooling your house, for example.

When you have an ARS® technician come to your home to perform regular maintenance on your HVAC system, we guarantee that we look at everything in your system. Why? We don’t want you spending any more money than you have to. Our technicians in the Orange County area have provided a couple of ways you can help “seal the deal” to save money in your home:

  • Sealant. Did you know the U.S. Department of Energy says that air leaking from ducts can reduce heating and cooling efficiency by up to 20 percent? Leaky ducts also allow your allergies to go crazy by letting pollen into your home. If you need better air quality in your home, your faulty sealant on your air ducts could be the reason.
  • Replacement. If you have an older home, you may want to consider this part of home ownership. There is a considerable amount of wear-and-tear on air ducts that often go unchecked or unnoticed.

At ARS, we’re here for you. If you have any more questions about making your home more eco-friendly, contact us. Either give us a call at (866) 518-6480 or visit us at www.ARSOrangeCounty.com.

We are very excited to share with you that ARS was featured on the blog WelcometoOC.com. You can read the original article here.

In honor of this year’s Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22, take action to make your home a hub of energy-efficient practices. “Going green” is no longer just the catch phrase of environmental advocates, celebrities and politicians.  Now you can easily make environmentally friendly changes to your home while addressing the growing concerns of a shaky economy, increasing energy costs, and our ever-dwindling natural resources.

With these simple steps for making your home more energy-efficient, you could significantly reduce your monthly utility bills and your home’s carbon footprint, while keeping our planet in mind on Earth Day 2014.

Tune up your system. It’s important to routinely service your air conditioning system;  a tuned-up system will run more efficiently, lower your energy costs and last longer. Have an HVAC professional tune up your system at least twice a year to ensure that it continues to run smoothly.

Keep your filters clean. Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause your HVAC system to work overtime, increasing unnecessary energy use.  By replacing your filters at least four times per year, you could save money on energy bills and help avoid costly system repairs or replacement. Where a dirty, overloaded filter can become a source of air contamination in your home, a clean filter improves your home’s indoor air quality.

Turn up your thermostat. While it might sound contradictory to increase your home’s indoor temperature as we approach the summer heat, a simple turn of your thermostat up 5°–10° while you’re away from home can save around 10 percent a year on your cooling bill.

Seal and insulate your ducts. Poorly planned or carelessly installed ducts can negate the energy savings and cost reductions you are counting on. Joints that aren’t sealed properly can let a lot of that precious cooled air escape. By sealing and insulating all ducts to block any air leaks or tears, you can improve the overall efficiency of your system and make sure you feel the comfort of your investment. 

Use ceiling fans to keep cool. Using fans to circulate the cooled air inside your home is an easy energy-saving tip. You can continue to feel comfortable while cutting back on the air conditioning. Be sure to check your fans to ensure it’s going in the correct direction – your fan should be set on “forward” to feel cool, which means the blades are rotating counter-clockwise. Whole house fans can be installed to maximize cool air flow through the home, keeping your family comfortable through the summer.

Invest in your future. One important home improvement project for going green and saving money is to install a new air conditioning system. Your old system could be working overtime, causing you more money and more waste into the environment. A new, high-efficiency air conditioner may reduce your energy use by up to 50 percent.  Spending a little more on a high-efficiency air conditioning system can now pay off big in the long run, not only with lower energy costs, but with less upkeep, a higher level of comfort and the reassurance that you are doing your part to protect the environment.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, central air conditioners are rated according to their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) which shows the “relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output.” With the push to develop better energy efficient products, the minimum SEER rating today is more than 40% higher than former standards required by the rating agencies.  HVAC systems with higher SEER ratings create greater savings.

Energy-efficient practices not only benefit our planet, but help conserve our natural resources, in turn conserving your budget. When maintaining your home’s systems, be sure to choose an HVAC contractor who is knowledgeable about air conditioner efficiency options. You can also schedule a no-cost analysis of the benefits and savings of replacing your system with a new, high efficiency model.

By: Landon Brewer, regional manager of ARS, a leading residential heating and air conditioning company in he Orange County area. For more tips or to make an appointment for your HVAC maintenance or service needs, visitwww.arsorangecounty.com.

Here’s something that you may not know about your home comfort system:  similar to how your car’s fuel usage can be measured in mpg (miles per gallon), your heating and air conditioning system has a rating. For our skilled technicians at ARS® in Orange County, that’s an important number to know. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, central air conditioners are rated according to their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) which shows the “relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output.”

Also like your car’s gas mileage, depending on age, usage and maintenance schedule, the comfort system’s efficiency can be reduced.   For the record, older homes often have effective SEER ratings of half their original rating. With the push to develop better energy efficient products, the minimum SEER rating today is more than 40% higher than former standards required by the rating agencies.  HVAC units with higher SEER ratings create greater savings. During regular maintenance or unexpected repairs, this is one thing our technicians can look for at your home. We’re passionate about getting Orange County homeowners the most energy efficient air conditioning and heating systems possible, because an investment now means savings that will last for years and a greener environment for us all.

As we have shared before from the U.S. Department of Energy, the average lifespan of a central air conditioner is often less than 15 years. When is your HVAC up for renewal? Do you know? If not, let us know and we would be happy to help you figure that out and possibly help you save hundreds of dollars a year with a higher SEER rating.

If you have any questions, contact us at (866) 518-6480 or visit us at www.ARSOrangeCounty.com.

Naturally, as an Orange County homeowner, you may be interested in the life of your house and its sustainability. At ARS®, we‘d like to help you learn how to achieve an environmentally-friendly home in Orange County.

  1. What does Green HVAC mean? Anything from programmable thermostats to the proper size of a unit can affect the ecological footprint your HVAC unit makes. Size does matter when it comes to HVAC units.  If your system is not sized properly to the requirements of your home, it is working twice as hard and that costs money.
  2. High Efficiency. Whether you have central heat and air, or an older furnace in your home, you may want to consider investing a more energy efficient HVAC system. These systems can last twice as long for working half as much.
  3. Wireless Technology. HVAC has gone Wi-Fi. Homeowners can access their HVAC anywhere in the world by use of a smartphone. From fine tuning temperature and humidity levels to completely adjusting your air conditioner or heating, anything can be done if you have a Wi-Fi signal.

Any questions about greening up your HVAC? Call us (866) 518-6480 or visit ARS at ARSOrangeCounty.com.

While spring in Orange County conjures up notions of beautiful temperatures, singing birds and blossoming flowers, for many of us it also means preparing for allergies. While we can’t escape it, there are preventative measures we can take to lessen the impact.

For instance, when was the last time you considered the air quality in your home? We do all the time at ARS®, and we have a few tips for you to think about in the next few weeks as you prepare for spring.

  1. Air Filters – Ever wonder why hospitals and museums have great air quality? They use high efficiency air cleaners. This type of filter helps trap and remove larger particles (e.g., dander, dust, pollen) from the air through air filtration and can also help minimize odors in your home. The electronic air cleaner’s ability to trap airborne allergen triggers makes this type of filter a great addition to any home, especially for those suffering from seasonal allergies.
  2. Cleaning – We don’t mean dusting around the home, although that wouldn’t be a bad idea for someone suffering from allergies. With routine maintenance on your HVAC system, it’s easier to contain allergens so they don’t flow freely in your home. Our technicians can also install an air purifier that simulates the sun’s natural cleaning power to disinfect and destroy mold, fungi and smoke odors. It helps minimize pollutants and reduce germs, bacteria, and viruses on household surfaces. The advanced technology of the air purifiers at ARS help ensure that air is clean throughout the entire home.
  3. UV Lighting – UV germicidal lights use ultraviolet technology to kill bacteria, viruses, and toxic mold spores that can live in an HVAC system. These microorganisms are known to cause sickness and breathing problems.

If you have any other questions about allergy season and how you can best prepare, we are happy to talk to you. Just call us at 866-518-6480 or visit us online at ARSOrangeCounty.com.

Last month, we visited the home of a great local mom we know, Shelby Barone. When one of our ARS skilled technicians approached her home, she shared that it has been 10 years since she had her HVAC system inspected. In fact, she wasn't aware that her furnace or air conditioner needed to be routinely serviced. You would be surprised how many times we hear that.

An HVAC unit is like anything else you want to keep for a long period of time -- it needs routine maintenance to last. That said, we began to inspect Shelby's furnace and discovered that the unit was using too much natural gas, which means a higher utility bill. After the technician completed a standard tune-up and inspected her thermostat, ducts, and furnace for the usual suspects, we were able to save Shelby and her husband much more money.

Shelby founded the very popular OC Mom Blog and she wrote about ARS (we are still blushing!).

We appreciate serving Orange County Moms and Dads alike. Thank you for your trust in ARS. If you’re thinking about having your HVAC unit serviced, please visit www.arsorangecounty.com and call (866) 508-4370.

Google is into everything. Glasses to maps, analytics to search engines. And now, it’s into thermostats. Yes, thermostats. According to Forbes, Google bought the smart thermostat for $3.2 billion.

“Google will help us fully realize our vision of the conscious home and allow us to change the world faster than we ever could if we continued to go it alone. We’ve had great momentum, but this is a rocket ship,” said CEO and cofounder Tony Fadell in a blog post.

The Internet giant is committed to knowing the environment in every way possible. This acquisition of Nest® allows them to help merge their technology with Nest®’s smart metering of your indoor heating and air conditioning. And ARS® skilled technicians are fully trained to install, maintain and help you operate all digital and wireless thermostats.

We have been serving home owners in the Orange County area with their smart thermostat needs for years, and we continue to maintain that training to stay on the cutting-edge of technology. These thermostats certainly are that, and we can help you learn to manage it so you can begin to see your HVAC bills lower as the need for it rises.

If your family is purchasing a smart thermostat, we encourage you to have it professionally installed to ensure it’s operating correctly and efficiently to maximize your investment. Call our trained technicians today 866.518.6480 or visit us online at www.arsorangecounty.com.

This time of year, the weather in Orange County is ever changing. Some homeowners switch from using their heating unit to their air conditioner almost weekly. With all these weather changes occurring, seasonal allergies are flaring up.

At ARS Orange County, we want to help keep your HVAC unit running properly and efficiently to reduce allergy symptoms. Below are three key areas we focus on when tuning up your unit:

  1. Cleaning – When turning on your HVAC unit after even a few weeks of no use, dust mites could become airborne throughout your household. These microscopic bugs make homes in pipes or bedding, and when you turn on the air flow in your home, dust and dirt get in the air, in your nose and in your system. Cleaning dirty air ducts can reduce the amount of allergy-causing bacteria in your home’s air.  At ARS, one call will take care of your ducts and have them blowing fresh air every time.
  2. Air Quality – Speaking of airborne particles flying around in your home, when was the last time your filters were checked and changed? Do you know what kind of filter your system uses? If not, our skilled technicians at ARS can help. We can make recommendations if your home could use a HEPA filter, ionizer or even a UV light to kill bacteria and mold spores that you may not even realize are present in your home.
  3. Maintenance – It goes without saying, but you should consider regular maintenance on one of your home’s largest expenses. Your house is your single most-important investment, and the air you breathe is the single most-important thing you put in your body. Make them both safe for you and your family.

One call or click is all it takes to get ARS out to your home and help you take care of those seasonal allergy symptoms. Our service is guaranteed, so what do you have to lose, besides a few extra sneezes?

It’s cooler than usual, and in Orange County, we understand the weather is tolerable for many, but others are going to be using their heater or furnace more often than usual. That’s why your ARS Orange County technicians want to remind all homeowners about the impact of dirty filters.

Maintenance is vital for any homeowner. HVAC units need to be inspected and cared for, like anything else in the home. And something as simple as changing a filter could save you more than you realize. Here’s how:

  • Air Quality – We have all noticed when it is easier to breathe inside or outside the home. Air quality has much to do with that, and in Orange County, we need all the quality we can get, right? Air filtration, cleaning or even UV germicidal lights can all be hampered by not checking your HVAC filter on a regular basis.
  • Waste of Money – It’s not a scare tactic from other HVAC technicians. By not changing your filter, you could be costing yourself more money because your air conditioning or heating unit has to work harder to get through all the collected dirt that is blocking the air flow.
  • Damage to your HVAC – Ultimately, not changing or checking a dirty filter can lead to costly damage to your equipment. Items such as a heat exchanger, oil or gas furnace, or even an entire air conditioner, can slow, crack or even break without proper air flow.

So, how do you know when to change your filter?

  • Change filters whenever they look black and clogged, preferably every three months
  • Households with smokers, dogs or cat lovers, asthma or allergy sufferers should change air filters once a month

We encourage you to print and keep this post in a place where you can read it again. Or, give us a call and one of our skilled and licensed ARS technicians would be happy to talk to you today.

Earlier this month, ARS Orange County teamed up with the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) Foundation to announce the winners of its “Think Green” energy conservation contest.

“Community involvement is important to the ARS team and giving back to our local schools and students is of the highest priority,” said Landon Brewer, General Manager of American Residential Services’ Southwest Division. “This green initiative aligns with ARS’ focus on energy-efficient practices and technologies, and will help bring awareness to the younger generation. Our hope is that we can encourage our youth to think about the impact they can make on our environment and share those ideas with the community as a whole so we can start making changes right here in Orange County.”

The contest winners included:

  • First place high school winner with a $150 cash reward is Laura Hirst from Dana Hills High School with her expertly-written essay on energy conservation ideas in the home.
  • First place middle school winner with a $150 cash reward is Rachel Leong from Niguel Hills Middle School with her project titled, “Energy Ideas that will Change the World.”
  • Second place high school winner with a $100 cash reward is Troy Chimenti from Dana Hills High School with his insight on how to save trees by using less paper.
  • Second place middle school winner with a $100 cash reward is Kyle Leong from Niguel Hills Middle School with his home-related energy saving tips including LED light bulbs, solar panel roofs, and renewable water heaters.

Congratulations to all the students in CUSD who are thinking green and thinking about our future. For more information about ARS Orange County, we’d love to hear from you today.

This article is a reposting of an article that appeared in the Orange County Register.

By Lindsey Ruta

Two Dana Hills High School students were named the winners of a district-wide contest encouraging conservation.

Junior Laura Hirst and senior Troy Chimenti were named the first- and second-place winners, respectively, of a contest sponsored by American Residential Services – an Orange County air quality company – that encouraged students to think of sustainable “green”-living initiatives.

Landon Brewer (center), the general manager for American Residential Services, presents prize money to Laura Hirst and Troy Chimenti on Dec. 19 at Dana Hills High School. Hirst and Chimenti won first and second place in a contest sponsored by ARS that encouraged students to brainstorm ways to live environmentally friendly lives.Students were asked to submit an essay, drawing or model proposing ways people could live more environmentally friendly lives. ARS wanted to partner with Capistrano Unified School District because the company believes it's important to encourage young people to think about the environment, said General Manager Landon Brewer.

Brewer presented Hirst and Chimenti with their prize money on Dec. 18. Hirst won $150 for first place and Chimenti received $100 for second place. Both are interested in pursuing careers that relate to the environment and renewable energy.

Brewer said dozens of students participated in the contest at the middle- and high-school level. He was happy with the participation and said the contest was the first of many to come.

This article originally appeared in the Dana Point Times. Read the article.

By Andrea Papagianis

Two students in Rick Stinson’s intro to renewable energy class at Dana Hills High School received recognition and prizes last week for their ideas on local energy conservation.

Pictured (L to R) Dana Hills Principal Jason Allemann, Laura Hirst, Troy Chimenti, Rick Stinson and Landon Brewer. Hirst and Chimenti were recognized for their essays on energy conservation last Wednesday. Photo by Andrea Papagianis

Senior Laura Hirst and junior Troy Chimenti were awarded $150 and $100, respectively, by ARS, a residential heating and air conditioning company, for their conservation ideas surrounding nano-technology, eco-industrial parks, LED lighting and recycling.

“My essay focused on innovation and implementing ideas now,” Hirst said. “We should be implementing ideas now, because if we wait for them to be perfect, they will never be implemented.”

ARS partnered with the Capistrano Unified School District Foundation earlier this fall for the first “Think Green” contest, encouraging students in seventh- through 12th-grades to think about energy conservation. Two middle school students from Niguel Hills were also awarded prizes.

“The students impressed us with the level of creativity and enthusiasm they brought to the project, and we hope this will be the first of more green community initiatives,” said Colin Martodam, ARS regional manager.

A $500 donation was also made to the CUSD Foundation. For more information on the foundation, visit www.cusdfoundation.org.

Despite this struggling economy, U.S. home values have gained 10 percent. According to USA Today, that is the fastest pace for the national housing market since 1977. While that is nice to see, the team at ARS here in Orange County is still finding that people are nervous about what comes with the new house – like the furnace or the HVAC unit.

Statistics show that a majority of Americans are buying a used house that is at least 15 years old. If that is the case, most people consider the shag carpet, wood paneling or even the popcorn ceiling. However, what about the air conditioner or even the ducts for the air in the house?

Are you considering central AC repair? Duct sealing? HVAC installation?  If not, perhaps you should? Spend a few days in the house and see how the humidity level feels. Do you see excessive dust on your bookshelves, ceiling fans or even the TVs? Is your heating or cooling system noisy? Then, make your new home feel like new with some HVAC maintenance.

That one small investment could pay off big dividends. Summer in Orange County is no picnic. Call ARS to make it a breeze.

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