Tips

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What does the Energy Star Logo Mean?

You’ve seen this logo everywhere!  On washers and dryer; on dishwashers and refrigerators; on TV’s and computers; on air conditioners and furnaces.  But, what does it mean? Energy efficiency is something that every homeowner or building manager cares about. Whether you’re just paying your utility bills at home or you’re running a business, no one wants to pay more on bills than they actually need to. That’s why energy-efficient appliances and practices can yield some pretty sizable savings.

One phrase you might have read about or heard of is “Energy Star” or even “Energy Star rated.” But do you know what that means? What does the Energy Star logo signify when its placed on a product? 

Energy Efficiency Matters

Energy Star and the associated logo is an international standard for energy usage. An Energy Star rating means that an electronic product, industrial practice, or even residence or commercial building has been evaluated according to rigorous energy usage and waste standards, and it was found to meet the high criteria for being energy efficient. 

So what does this mean to you? It means that if you buy a home or start a business in a new building that has been Energy Star rated, you will be keeping your energy waste to an absolute minimum. Subsequently, it also means that you will not be paying more than you have to on bills, such as on heating. 

Energy Star rated products are designed to be efficient about using electricity. Energy Star industries follow specific practices to ensure that their total energy usage does not exceed certain quotients that would be deemed wasteful for the activities required. Reduced waste means reduced costs, and it’s also better for the environment! 

Energy Savings in Your Home or Business

For people who want to reduce energy costs, Energy Star rated devices and structures should be the ones you consider. In some cases, a home or business owner may even get a rebate from the government once they confirm that they have purchased and installed an Energy Star appliance, such as a new furnace, in their building. 

The Energy Star program is strictly voluntary. It has the participation of the Canadian government as well as different manufacturers, organizations, and for-profit and non-profit groups. When you notice the Energy Star logo on a product or a building, you already know that it’s going to be energy efficient and reduce energy costs for you. 

Trust Our Energy Star Products to Reduce Energy Costs

We supply Energy Star rated products to our customers! So you’ll never have to worry about a new HVAC system costing you more than it should when it comes to your heating or cooling bills. 

In fact, a new furnace or air conditioner will quickly pay for itself in reduced utility bills!

If you’re thinking of upgrading your home for more comfort and greater energy efficiency, then contact us. With our expertise at installation and our range of Energy Star rated products, you’re guaranteed reliable energy savings no matter what appliance you choose. Contact us today for more information and begin reducing energy costs! 

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Energy Saving Tips for Pet Owners

 

If you own your own home, then you’re free to have any type of animal companion you like, including furry, four-legged friends like dogs and cats. But even when you’re ready to go to work, and the kids go off to school, your pets stay at home. Have you ever considered what that could mean for your energy bills? Having comfortable pets may be important to you, but there are things you need to keep in mind about how your home runs while you’re away. Look at these tips on how to save energy and have a pet-efficient home.

Use a Fountain Bowl, Not a Running Faucet

While it’s true that both dogs and cats generally prefer to drink running water, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a lower water bill in order to have comfortable pets. You can rack up some dramatically high bills if you just can’t stand the thought of your pet not drinking running water and use the faucet to address this need.

Instead, you should try a fountain bowl. These setups use electricity and circulate water in a bowl to simulate the running water effect. Much easier on your utility bills than leaving the tap on all day!

Make Animal Doors Efficient

You may have a doggy door, or something similar for your cat so that they can exit and re-enter your home without assistance. But these are essentially holes in your home and can be a huge source of heat leakage.

Look into making your animal door as energy efficient as possible. Check the integrity, improve the seal, and, if it’s an older, more basic door, upgrade it to a modern, energy-efficient model. That can have a significant impact on your heating or cooling bills.

Turn Off All Devices

Both cats and dogs are pretty self-sufficient. You don’t need to worry about keeping lights, televisions, or even fans on as ways to keep them company or comfortable. A pet-efficient home doesn’t need to cater to every amusement of a pet, especially since one of the greatest joys for a pet is simply sleeping!

So don’t worry about keeping fans on throughout the summer, and when it comes to lights and televisions, pets don’t really need these on to avoid loneliness or boredom either.

Mind Your Temperature Settings

Keep in mind that when it comes to temperatures, your pets can actually withstand fluctuations. You can afford to keep the thermostat in the home set to 25°C or even higher in the summer, and your pets will be fine. Further, the rich fur coats of most dogs and cats mean they stand up to colder temperatures as well, so keeping a thermostat at or just under 20°C when you’re not at home in the winter can save you on energy bills while also having comfortable pets.

Try out these pet efficient home tips and notice a difference on your next energy bill!

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Why Are Some Rooms Hot & Others Cold?

Did you spend this past winter continuously turning up the heat? Winter in Canada is guaranteed to do one thing: force you to start turning up the heat so you can stay comfortable in your home. Now that the temperatures are finally starting to warm, will you be playing to the air conditioner too? You may find that your home experiences uneven temperatures from room to room and wonder, “Why is one room colder than another?”

There are a few possible causes for some rooms feeling colder than others. We’re going to look at the more common reasons for this difference and how you can achieve an acceptable temperature in every room.

Make Sure You Have Good & Even Insulation

Issues with insulation are a lot more prevalent in much older homes, especially if they’re still largely original, without any major renovations. For example, an older home maybe didn’t get the benefit of modern insulation like fibreglass, polystyrene, or cellulose. Uninsulated homes have a tougher time retaining heat and will more easily admit cold (or hot) air, which makes reaching an acceptable temperature in every room difficult.

The solution here, of course, is to get insulation! That might seem costly for your whole house, but in the end, you’ll experience a significant and immediately noticeable increase in warmth during the winter (and cooler temperatures in the heat of summer) on top of lower heating bills.

Differing Temperatures Are the Result of Heat Escape

Similar to an insulation problem, sometimes one room is colder than another because heat is leaking outdoors before it reaches those rooms. You will experience this type of heat loss with structural flaws in window frames, in the foundation, around entryways, and in other vulnerable areas. Older, wooden window frames will erode from exposure to heat and moisture, and they eventually create drafty areas that allow heat to leak out rapidly.

The best way to combat this leakage is to find the holes and seal them up. In some cases, you may need to either seal window frames or even think about getting new ones, complete with energy-efficient glass as well.

Faulty Ductwork

Sometimes the issue isn’t with your heat getting out, so much as the appropriate amount of heat (or cool air) not getting where it’s supposed to in the first place. If a home has old, leaky ducts, roughly 30% of heated air from a furnace isn’t even getting to the vents and into the rooms.

Have an expert come in and evaluate your ducts for efficiency and leaks. If any holes are found, it’s relatively simple to seal them up.

Improper Furnace or Air Conditioner Size

Sometimes, the problem is found right at the source of heating or cooling production. You may have a unit that just isn’t suitable for the size of your home. When a furnace or air conditioning unit is initially installed, professionals will go over the total area of the house and recommend a model that can accommodate your load. If the house is remodelled, especially with an extension or even a whole new floor, you need to reevaluate your furnace so that it aligns with your heating demands.

 

You’ll need to consider a new furnace or other measures such as adding a second thermostat or even zoning control with “smart vents” to get around an issue like this.

 

For a FREE assessment of your home’s HOT and COLD spots, please give us a call.

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How & Why to Test and Maintain Your CO2 Detector?

It’s sad to say, each year, in Canada, more than 50 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition, hundreds more are hospitalized and may end up permanently disabled. There is no question that carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious issue, especially since almost 90% of Canadian homes have at least one thing that can pose the threat of CO2 poisoning.

The biggest danger about carbon monoxide is that it can’t be detected until damage has been done. It is a gas that is odourless, colourless, and tasteless and enters your body through normal respiration, replacing oxygen and preventing it from reaching vital areas of your body.

For these reasons, carbon monoxide detectors are mandatory and should be tested and maintained properly to ensure everyone in your home remains safe.

What Causes CO2?

CO2 is a by-product of the incomplete combustion of a variety of fuel sources and can occur in any device or piece of equipment that relies on burning a type of fuel for heat or energy.

The most common fuels that produce CO2 include natural gas, heating oil, kerosene, propane, wood, gasoline, coal, and charcoal. The most common fuel burning devices and appliance in and around the house include your home furnace, wood stoves, space heaters, automobiles, kitchen stoves, water heaters, gas or charcoal barbecues, lawnmowers, and fireplaces.

Health Symptoms to Notice

If you are exposed to CO2, you can experience a range of symptoms. Some of the most common include dizziness, nausea, headaches, drowsiness, confusion, and burning eyes. In high concentrations, it can poison you quickly and lead to unconsciousness, brain damage, or death. That is why so many people who die from CO2 exposure are sleeping when it happens. If you experience any of these symptoms and suspect carbon monoxide, move outside to clean air right away and call for help.

How CO2 Detectors Work?

CO2 detectors are crucial for your home safety, monitoring airborne concentration levels of carbon monoxide in parts per million. The alarms are designed to sense higher levels over shorter timeframes and lower concentrations over longer timeframes, sounding an alarm when harmful levels are detected. CO2 detectors emit a different sound than standard smoke alarms, and it’s a good idea to educate everyone in your home on the difference between the two, so they always know.

CO2 Detector Testing Procedure and Frequency

Your carbon monoxide detector should be tested at least once per year or after the battery has been replaced. In rental places, it is the landlord’s responsibility to test the CO2 alarm, but as a tenant, you can also check it to make sure it is working the way it should.

 

Every carbon monoxide detector will have a test feature on it, and there will be detailed instructions in the manual provided by the manufacturer. Make sure to read through them and find out how to activate the test feature before assuming everything is fine.

 

Home safety is a serious topic for any homeowner, and having a functioning CO2 detector plays a considerable role in your ultimate peace of mind. If you have any questions about how to test your carbon monoxide detector or any other HVAC-related questions, contact us at RHMH Heating & Air Conditioning today.  

 

 

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Cheap Tricks to Reduce Your Energy Bill This Winter

If you’re like most homeowners, you’d love to be able to reduce your energy bills in the winter without having to spend a lot of money. As the temperatures drop and that furnace kicks into high gear for several months, your energy bills can become uncomfortable. Having an energy-efficient home will give you peace of mind and help your bank account, and there are a handful of cheap tricks you can try to help make this a reality.

Lower the Thermostat

Over-programming your smart thermostat can end up wasting money unnecessarily. If you want to save money on your energy bills, try decreasing the temperature by three degrees during the days when no one is home and at night while everyone is asleep. With modern thermostats, you can schedule it to come on shortly before you get home or wake up, making the settings convenient and the bills affordable.  

Use Dryer Balls

Wool dryer balls contribute to an energy-efficient home because they dry your clothes more efficiently and allow you to reduce the time you use the dryer. Clothes dryers use a lot of energy, but this inexpensive hack can help you reduce the output.

Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

Dryer balls help you save energy when drying, but you can also save during the wash cycle by only using cold water to wash your clothes. Naturally, your water heater will need to kick into gear if you wash clothes in hot water, so keeping it cold will save energy.


Hang Your Clothes to Dry

Not a lot of people consider hanging their clothes out to dry in the winter, but it is possible most of the time. Heat, humidity and time are major factors when it comes to drying clothes, and even though there isn’t a ton of heat in the winter, humidity levels are usually lower, and you can leave them out all day. Make sure not to crowd the line with clothes, and if it is cold and humid out or really windy, try an indoor drying rack for the same energy-saving effect.

Unplug Small Appliances That Aren’t Being Used

Small appliances like vacuums, computers, cameras, entertainment systems, and kitchen appliances that aren’t being used still consume energy if they are plugged in. This concept is often called phantom or vampire electricity, and it is adding to your electricity bill for no reason. Take a few moments to unplug small appliances that you aren’t using and save money.

Keep an Eye on Your Furnace Filter

A dirty furnace filter will make the entire system work harder and will reduce the air quality in your home. If you want to have an efficient furnace and improve air quality at the same time, take the time to clean or replace your furnace filter each month. Purchase a pack of three or more and have them handy so there is never an excuse.


Annual Furnace Maintenance

Every energy-efficient home has a furnace that is effective and gets the job done when it’s needed. Make sure you call a heating contractor in Timmins to have your furnace serviced at least once per year, preferably before the winter, and you will be able to reduce your energy bills while keeping your family safe and comfortable.  

 

If you’d like to learn more about saving on your energy bills and want to get ready for winter, get in touch with us at RHMH Heating & Air Conditioning today for a full furnace servicing.

 

 

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How a New HVAC System Can Both Save You Money & Increase The Value of Your Home

Most homeowners thinking about home improvement will go for the most visible, big-ticket items. Renovating kitchens and bathrooms, for example, is a pretty noticeable way to show that a home has had some major improvements.

But there are many other critical ways in which a home improvement project can involve a significant investment that will certainly pay out in the long term. Waterproofing a basement, insulating a home, or even putting in new, modern electrical wiring are all less “sexy” ways to upgrade your space. But one area that can yield a high impact is improving your HVAC system by installing a modern unit. How does this help? We’ll explain.

You Will Lower Your Bills

The first and most obvious way that getting a new HVAC system can save you money is by lowering just how much you pay every month in your heating and cooling bills. Gas burning furnaces and centralized air conditioning are built to run for decades when properly installed and maintained. This regular service can mean that some older homes may still have heating and cooling systems that date back to the 1980s or even the 1950s!

But while this equipment may operate reliably, it works far less efficiently than modern hardware. The contemporary gas-burning furnace, for example, can achieve over 90% efficiency. This figure means that nearly all of the heat it creates is dispersed throughout the home and not lost to the exterior or in other ways. A furnace from the 1950s, on the other hand, is lucky to achieve 65% efficiency, even with excellent care. That means 35% of your bill is heat that was lost, but you’re paying for anyway.

You May Get Rebates That Lower the Cost

It’s always a matter of watching for particular government or even company offers, but rebates can make a big difference! Paying attention to special offers means getting money back after a proper evaluation and installation, assuming you qualify.

Through this process, you will be saving even more money as your investment in new equipment gets paid back thanks to programs that offer rebates for people upgrading to new, energy efficient systems. Everybody wins when you take advantage of this discount.

You’ll find more information on rebates here.

You Increase Home’s Appeal and Value

Finally, if you decide to put a new HVAC system in your home, the unit can increase your home’s property value as well as make it a more enticing buy! People looking for new homes are always trying to cut down on the amount of extra work they need to perform in a house.

If you have a new HVAC system, this means potential buyers now know they don’t have to worry about the HVAC system in the home for years. They also know they will enjoy the same lower energy bills that you are currently experiencing! This update adds a lot of value and peace of mind for people on the market for a new home.

Upgrade your HVAC system for not only the environmental impact but also for increased comfort in your home and the benefits to your bank account! That’s what we call a “win, Win, WIN!”

For a free HVAC quote and home energy audit please contact RHMH Heating and Air Conditioning.

 

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What to Do During a Summer Power Outage

Summer is a great season for going outdoors and enjoying the weather, but it can also be a time when the environment and the weather, in particular, can turn against us. Storms, for example, can create winds strong enough to gust, or even become full-blown tornados. This extreme weather can result in falling trees and other incidents that may knock out electricity for entire neighbourhoods.

If you experience a power blackout during the hottest part of the year, you don’t have to worry about staying warm. But you may have some other concerns that you need to address, and we’re going to cover the most important ones here.

Check the Breakers

The first thing you need to do during a power outage is check if it’s actually a problem with the electrical supply, or merely an overload in your own home. If it’s night, for example, then looking out the window will show you whether streetlights and lights in other houses are still on.

If you live in a home and not an apartment, go to the basement, or whichever part of the residence contains the fuse box, and check it to make sure the breaker hasn’t tripped. If it has, this means that your home has somehow overloaded its electrical usage. If you have a modern box, resetting the breaker is all it will take to restore power. If not, you may need to replace fuses.

Turn Off Appliances

If you were using any electrical appliances during the power outage, such as TVs, computers or other hardware, turn them off. When the power resumes, there may be a spike in electrical energy, which can damage these appliances if they’re still on. Machines or devices left on may even lead to a surge that will cause your breaker to trip and require another visit to the electrical box to restore power.

Hydrate Yourself

The air conditioner will not operate without electricity, so if it’s a sweltering day or night, hydration is essential. Not only must you care for yourself, but also keep an eye on your children or elderly relatives because they are more vulnerable to heat than other adults in a home.

Use The Basement

If you have a basement, it always the coldest room in the house, especially if it’s entirely underground. Use this to your advantage during hotter days or nights, if the air conditioner is still not working due to a power outage. This can often be the only room in a home where a cool, comfortable sleep is still possible with no air conditioning.

Use Blinds or Curtains

If a power outage happens during the day, then use blinds, curtains, or other coverings on any windows and doors with southern exposure. Sunlight coming in through these windows will heat up a home, making it intolerable during a heat wave if there’s no air conditioning due to a power outage.

By taking these precautions, you can maintain comfort, health, and safety if a power outage should occur for an extended period of time during the summer.

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Cheap Tricks to Keep Your House Cool in The Summer

Summer is here, and even in Timmins, it’s been a hot one, with heat waves and higher than average temperatures. That can get expensive if you’re trying to find ways to cool your home, but we’ve got some tips that can help you to keep those energy bills down!

Use Ceiling Fans

If you have ceiling fans, you should make sure that they’re running counter-clockwise or “forward.” This movement has the effect of circulating air downwards, which creates a breeze that encourages the wind chill effect that can be so uncomfortable during the winter but is a great relief during these hot times of the year.

Use Coverings for Your Windows

If you have curtains, shades, blinds, or other means of covering your windows, use them during the daytime! Sunlight is not just light, it is also heat, so any sunlight that shines through your windows is heating up your home. By keeping your windows covered during the hottest parts of the day, you’ll experience a noticeable drop in your energy bills.

Close Your Doors

Both heat and cold circulate, so if you want to keep the room you’re in cool, don’t let that cold air escape to other rooms or outside. Conversely, if other rooms are hot, don’t let that heat flow back into your cooler rooms. By closing doors to unused rooms, you can better maintain the temperature you want in the areas that you frequently use.

Program Your Thermostat

If you have a modern, digital thermostat, you have the ability to program it. Try setting the thermostat to higher temperatures during the times of day when no one is home, such as when school is still in session, and you or your children are working. Then, anywhere from 10-20 minutes before people return home, have the thermostat turn on the air conditioning. By not doing anything to counteract natural, higher temperatures when no one is around, you are limiting your use of the air conditioning unit, and therefore reducing the amount on your bills.

Use Lighter, Smarter Bed Sheets

In the same way that you change clothing for the summer season from winter, you should be doing the same thing with bed materials and linens. Get rid of the thick, heavy comforters designed to keep you warm, and use lighter sheets and fibres that enable heat to pass through quickly and allow you and your skin to “breathe.”

Keep Your Body Cool

Stay hydrated when it gets hot at home, and this will help to keep you cool. Also, make sure to wear appropriate clothing. Stick to lighter, looser fitting clothing that doesn’t act as an insulator, helping your body build up and retain heat. Modern, “smart fibres” maintain tensile strength and durability without being thick and heavy. If they allow for breathability as well, this is a great way to radiate heat and remain more cool and comfortable.

After following these simple tips, you will have kept both the heat under control in your home and your bills lower at the end of the summer months!

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Do I Really Need to Have My Central Air-Conditioning Unit Serviced?

As the weather starts to warm up, many homeowners begin sprucing up their property in preparation for the fast-approaching summer heat. It’s your air conditioner’s job to provide a cool and comfortable interior space, but all central air conditioning units require regular tune-ups and maintenance service to blast the cold air you need.

Scheduling a professional maintenance service for your central air conditioning unit helps keep it running as efficiently as possible. According to information from Sustainable Sources, an air conditioner that is well-maintained can keep up to 95% of its original efficiency. Whether you’ve had your current air conditioning unit for one year or ten, it’s vital that you schedule an annual air conditioning tune-up. When you do, you’ll reap the following benefits:

Regular Maintenance Extends the Life of Your Central Air-Conditioning Unit

Just like a vehicle, an air conditioner can only run for so long without a tune-up. During a professional service, a certified technician will check and clean your air conditioner’s condensing coils, oil all moving parts, inspect the belts, and ensure that the system is operating optimally.

When your central air conditioning unit undergoes regular maintenance, the lifespan will, in turn, be extended. This is because a professional technician will ensure that all moving parts are in working order and make note of parts that may need replacement in coming years.

 

Professional Service Will Save You Money In The Long Term

A professional air conditioning maintenance or tune-up service is an investment that will save you money down the road. During a service appointment, a certified technician will be able to identify any parts that may require replacement before they become a major issue.

Emergency central air conditioning unit repairs can be costly, so being aware of any parts that are showing signs of wear and tear ahead of time can save you money on emergency service and avoid large repairs.

Additionally, a professional air conditioning unit service can help you reduce your hydro bill. When all parts of the AC unit are in good working condition, the entire system will work more cohesively and efficiently, reducing energy emissions and saving you money on your energy bill.

Find Safety Issues Before They Become an Emergency

Not only can a regular service on your central air conditioning unit save you money on repairs, but also it can help professionals identify potential safety issues before they become an emergency. Whether it’s a lack of coolant or faulty connections, it’s vital that safety issues are found to minimize safety risks and keep your air conditioner delivering the cool air you crave.

To schedule your next central air conditioning unit service, contact the experts at RHMH Heating & Air Conditioning today.

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Smart Home Products that can Make Your Home Safer, More Comfortable and Energy Efficient

When you were a kid, you probably pictured a future with flying cars, colonies on the moon, and more. You probably didn’t consider the modern idea of “smart homes,” but today, some of the most sophisticated technology can be found right at home; making our lives easier while making our homes safer, more comfortable, and energy efficient.

Here are a few of the top smart home products worth investing in:

Smart Thermostats

One of the most effective ways to save money on your heating bill is with a smart thermostat. These units are special because they are programmable and often come with learning software that enables them to recognize patterns and automatically adjust to your needs. This automation also comes with Wifi, which allows you control the unit from your smartphone. Many smart thermostats also alert homeowners to maintenance issues such as notifying you when it’s time to change the air filter.

Homeowners can see about 30 percent in energy savings with one of these units. Many of them cost between $150-$300 and can be installed by the homeowner. However, for best results, we recommend getting them installed by a professional.

Lights

Aside from switching to LED lights, homeowners can also take things a step further with smart lights and switches. These systems connect to your Wifi and allow you to control the lights with your smartphone. This means you can turn on the lights when you are not home, which could be helpful if you are coming home to an empty house or want to deter burglars from entering overnight when you are away.

Smart lights and switches range in price. Smart bulbs are generally around $15-$20 while a switch can run anywhere from $30-$60. These lights are also energy-efficient and will help save you money on your energy bill.

Blinds

Smart blinds are one of the most futuristic features a smart home can have. Custom blinds are fitted to your windows and can be programmed to open with your alarm, helping you get out of bed in the morning.

The blinds can also be integrated with Google Home software, which means they are easy to control. Smart blinds can help keep your home comfortable in the summer and winter. The blinds are custom-made to your window, and a quote from a professional is needed before installation.

Security and Safety

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are two things that homeowners have been using for years. But today’s smart smoke alarms and smart CO detectors can connect directly to your smartphone, alerting you to dangers even when you are not at home. Many of the modern carbon monoxide detectors also give readings on the levels of CO, so you can assess situations and avoid false alarms.

Additionally, homeowners can find use in flood detectors, freezing detectors, and more that will protect your home from leaks, frozen pipes, and other emergencies that may arise.

Garage Door Openers and Locks

Smart locks and smart garage door openers make it that much easier for you to enter your home. No more will you need to fumble with keys or keep a clunky garage door opener in the car. These new smart systems recognize when your smartphone is near and unlock or open at your request. Not only does this mean more security, but it also means less hassle. For example, imagine coming home with an armful of groceries, and enjoying a door that simply opens and welcomes you home without any fuss.

Whether you’re looking for ways to save money or make your life easier, smart home technology can help. It’s the way of the future! Learn more by contacting RHMH Heating and Air Conditioning today.