At Home with Central (80)

Looks like we are having a wonderful traditional “hot” Fourth of July weekend, just like we want it. And for any reputable heating and cooling company, this gets the phones ringing off the hook.

It is important to be patient and get your name on the list versus hanging up to try another company. If they are reputable as well, you will only run into the same problem — they will be booked out too. However, if you call a company and they are not already booked out, I would be very cautious to have them come knocking at my door.

Who’s That Knocking at Your Door?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics, there are 561,000 plumbers, 656,000 electricians, and 270,000 heating and air conditioning service providers in the United States. So, how do homeowners pick one, especially when faced with hot home, clogged pipes, or electrifying emergency?! How do you distinguish reputable professionals from rip-off artists?

“It takes more than a uniform and a tool belt to enter a home and earn a homeowner’s trust.” If you had to call a heating and cooling company this past week, you may have been a bit challenged on whom to call if you had not had any heating, cooling, plumbing or electrical work done in the past three years, and may have found that like in our company, we do take our customer relationship seriously, and when the phones are ringing off the hook, we have to prioritize our calls, so that we do not burn out our Team.

We utilize a Call Center Pyramid to help our Team to decide on who goes where and when. If you are a Comfort Care Member of our preventative maintenance program with an emergency, you go to the “top” of our pyramid, and then we work our way down from there.

It is very important to be taking care of your home’s heating and cooling system annually, not only to keep your system running at peak efficiency, but also to have a relationship with a good company that can come to your rescue when you have an emergency or want to invest in air conditioning when it is hot out.

How can you be better prepared and know who is “knock-ing at your door,” that they are reputable company that trains their Team weekly, not only in the field but their call center as well? It is important to build a relationships with service providers before you’re in crisis.

Here are a few tips to ensure that you are hiring a good company:

  • Ask for proof of license and insurance.
  • Ask for references and call them, if time permits.
  • Ask the business owner to highlight the company’s business practices.
  • Are their vehicles well-maintained?
  • Are service technicians clean and wearing a uniform?
  • Always get a cost estimate in writing up front, before they do the work.
  • Are they community minded?
  • Take the time to at least drive by their facility, or stop in to check them out.
  • Are they listed with a good ad in the Yellow Pages or can be found on Google?

Sound like common sense? Too often, people are so focused on getting the job done at a low price that they scrimp on quality — especially when they’re in crisis. Be thoughtful about your selection and take the time to build a relationship, or you may regret it. We work hard to provide good solid customer service, and to create Raving Fans for a Lifetime, so you do know, when we come knocking at your door you are getting a reputable company that you can trust.

Your comfort is my Central concern. Call us at 756-6656 for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical needs!

Fourth of the July Dessert

Angel Food Cake
2 C strawberries cut up
1 C blueberries
1/4 C of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
8 ounces of whipping cream

Mix strawberries with half of the sugar and set aside. Whip up the whipping cream and as it gets to the right consistency,
add in the rest of the sugar and vanilla. Slice up the Angel Food Cake, place on a festive Fourth of July plate, add a spoon or
two of strawberries, a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with blueberries … Enjoy!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016 23:30

Backyard Trends

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My last article a few weeks ago focused on customer service and getting our yards ready for our beautiful summers here in the valley. Following is a previous article I wrote and thought it ties in nicely again, at this time of year. According to HGTV, these are the top trends to invite us outdoors and into our backyards:

1. Gardens top the list as the No. 1 sought-after design element in our backyards. That includes everything from container gardening to getting back to basics of planting and growing our own gardens, especially as more and more people are interested in organic food these days. Create a statement entrance by adding an arbor that guides you as if it was the “front door” to your garden.

2. Warmth is necessary to keep us out longer in the evenings, and today there are so many options to provide us heat. Consider various fire-pit designs, propane patio heaters, gas or electric mounted heating units, or our own gas or wood outdoor fireplace.

3. No back-yard outdoor room would be complete without our favorite BBQ. Many outdoor designs include building your BBQ into a counter space, similar to our stoves in our kitchen. A favorite feature of my back-yard outdoor island is the extra gas burner I added for those big pots of corn on the cob, or great for a summer lobster feast. Take one step further and include a bar area.

4. Gone is the traditional picnic table that I remember from my childhood memories. The outdoor dining area is a must, complete with an area rug, a bistro height table and chairs with cushions and an adjustable umbrella to match.

5. In our yard, I added a pergola with an outdoor clear roofing product to let the sun in, but keep the rain out. This is a very important feature of the outdoor room, to be able to use it during those warm summer evenings where we might get a bit of rain; so peaceful.

6. The tried and true backyard hot tub, or “spa” as it is termed today, is no longer the free standing “hot tub” unit. Today, these are custom built, and many times built down in the yard, so that you do
have the feel of being at a resort, and you just walk into your spa, at ground level.

7. Fountains and water features can create an ordinary spot in your yard and take it to the next level. Fountains will create a wonderful focal point, with the special surprise to the sound of the “music” they provide, or it can be a pond stocked with goldfish and a waterfall feature. There are so many whimsical water fountains that are designed to sit on top of our outdoor island; just add water and plug in.

8. And for the final touches on creating that wondrous outdoor entertainment area is lighting. Again, this all depends on the over-all feel and the design of your outdoor room. Lighting can consist
of anything from fun candle-lit lanterns to a simple string of lights or actual built-in lighting with a dimmer switch.

Hosting parties and spending relaxing evenings with family and friends make summer in Montana a special time of the year.

As always, your Comfort is our Central concern, call 756-6656, for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain- cleaning needs...

Debbi’s Favorite Design Tips for Entertaining Outside:

 - Always have Tiki torches to add some great mood lighting and help with bugs. Light about an hour before everyone arrives ... line along walkways and patio area.

- Use lanterns on tables and where your guests may enter. Always have a vase of your flowers, fun berries and different color leaves and shapes from your perennials and annual flowers you have in your yard.

- Keep it simple, and have a signature cocktail prepared ahead of time in a pitcher, with fun garnishes and vintage glasses, or fun glassware. It makes the event more special.

- Set up a special area for the bar, and always have a flavored water available — it’s not only pretty but refreshing as well (I select a fresh fruit or vegetable in season).

- Keep it simple for yourself and make it potluck. In areas where appetizers may be served, I use summer-style placemats placed randomly on the table for a “spark of color.”

- Have a theme. It can be as simple as the same color throughout, or more elaborate like attending a Hawaiian luau.

- The tableware and napkins can help create your theme, or be part of it.

ENJOY those long summer evenings...the winter thaw to find brown One Call!

It is that time a year when we are preparing to be outdoors and to enjoy our backyards. The backyard patios have become an extension of our home: another room to enjoy during the long summer and early fall days.

Recently, I ventured out on my annual trek through the valley to design my patio pots, while selecting touches of color to sprinkle throughout my perennials that come up each year in my yard. I can really tell the local garden centers that really want our business;

  • Their hours are extended.
  • Open 7 days a week.
  • Offering incentives for me to come visit.
  • Happy that I am there.
  • A commitment to a very positive customer experience.

Because I am a small business owner, I really like to support the other small businesses in our valley ... where would we be without these “Mom and Pops”? And as a consumer, I expect to have a positive experience, where they welcome me with open arms offering a big hug.

Unfortunately, one of my visits to a local “Mom and Pop” store was anything but a “Big Hug.” It was on a Friday afternoon, where I showed up just before 4:30 p.m. It was fairly busy, and I ventured to the main greenhouse, found a geranium color I thought would be perfect to add the bit of “pop” I was looking for. I had my granddaughter with me; I looked around for help as I wanted several dozen flowers. We made the walk to the checkout area to ask for help, and the response was, “Wasn’t there anyone in the greenhouse?” And I said, well if you would not mind to find someone to help me, I can just look around a bit for my pots?” Her response: “We close in 20 minutes.” My response: “OK, I can power shop!” However, as I walked away, I was saying to myself ... “Really, did she hear how many geraniums I wanted?”

Not feelin’ the love. So, by then I was saying to myself, do I really want to buy anything here today? But she found someone to help me, and he was wondering if I could go over to another greenhouse to pick up my flowers, I said, “No, problem, I have a bit of shopping to finish up with, and then I will pay.”

“OK, but we are closing in 10 minutes.” I should have walked out; however, I was having a party at my home that weekend ... the story continued to get worse as I was purchasing my geraniums, but this greenhouse did not get one more dime out of me.

When I tried to call this business to share this experience with management, the voicemail message told me, “Basically, because we are so busy at this time of year we do not answer our phone!!” When you receive a similar experience through-out a
business, there is a culture going on ...

At Central we work very hard to hire right in the first place, and then are constantly training our Team to really solve the solutions for our customers. If you feel anything but a “Hug” from our Team, I want to know about it. If I do not know about it, then I cannot help our Team get better or solve the issue. Things just happen sometimes, and we have to get everyone back on track.

As always, your Comfort is our Central concern, call 756-6656, for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.

My Favorite Pot Designing Tips:

No outdoor room would be complete without having some beautiful flower pots spattered throughout.

When designing my pots, I like to take different shades of color and blend them together, not only with the traditional annual flowers but also the many plants out there like colias, with their beautiful leaf colors, or all the variety of grasses to choose from.
Instead of using the traditional “spike” plant to add height, there are many fun ornamental corn plants available, that are unique and fun.

For inexpensive and fun containers, visit flea markets and antique stores to locate unique containers for planting.

Monday, 30 May 2016 23:26

"Change your story; change your life!"

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Recently at our company meeting I asked our Team, when you think of the word “abundance,” what do you think of. The general answer was “more than enough” or “excess.”
And the definition by (aka, when I was growing up, Webster’s definition) is “extremely plentiful.”

So I shared a TED talk video by Peter Diamandis, the author of a book called, “Abundance: The Future is Better than You Think.” His general definition of abundance is taking something that is nothing in its current state and making it into something. He wrote an entire book on the word, and shares that he lives in a constant state where everything is possible and there is no problem that cannot be solved.

If we take our self out of the mindset of the traditional meaning of abundance as being “excess” and move to Peter’s definition, “taking something in a state of nothing into something,” then each of us can create abundance every day. Whether we are successful or have failed at something, it has little to do with circumstances; it has much more to do with our choices. And it is all how we look at the word
“failure.” Do we let it define who we are and live our life in a state of thinking that we are not good enough, or is your definition of failure not failure at all but “life lessons” along the way?

We recently had to let someone go who had worked for us for over two years. This person had violated our company policy and values... The choices this person made negatively affected everyone working in our company. This was a choice this person made based off other choices made, thus causing the outcome of being unemployed. Letting someone go is never easy and can create a negative mindset with the rest of our Team, so it is very important to let people know that as a Team we not only come together for the “high fives,” but also come together during some lows, and work together to move us all forward.

In a video with Joe Polish and Peter Diamandis, Tony Robbins shares a study about human nature that reveals how something as simple of drinking either a hot cup of coffee or a cold cup of coffee can affect your outlook. Those reading a story while holding a warm cup of coffee all snuggled up on the couch will describe the main character as warm, genuine and nice, while those drinking a cold cup of coffee have a completely different mindset, describing the main character as cold, insincere and a little rough around the edges. What is your environment? Are you living your life with a warm cup of coffee, or is every day a challenge? We get what we tolerate — it is 100 percent our choice, and only we can change the things in our life that are not working.

Do you have a “Story” that keeps getting in your way? Change your story; change your life.

I have a phrase I like to share with our Team when I am training on a new concept. I will say, “Don’t think.” This may sound a bit condescending; however, if they are already creating an opinion about the concept I may be sharing, they can miss the concept altogether because their thinking is getting in the way, especially if their nature of thinking is to be more skeptical.

At Central, it is not only the professional and technical skills our team has that makes our company successful, we also work very hard on creating abundance each and every day for our Team and the customers we touch every day. We are committed to a life of making things better.

As always, your Comfort is our Central concern. Call 756-6656, for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs...

Spring is a great time to have a Fondue Party. I am hosting a baby shower this weekend and found this yummy recipe from my Williams-Sonoma Cookbook:

White-Chocolate-Espresso Fondue

1/2 cup half and half

1 T instant espresso powder

1 package of white chocolate chips

2 T of coffee liqueur ( I am using Spotted Bear Spirits from the Spotted Bear Distiller, recently opened in Whitefish ... Yummy!)

Pinch of kosher salt

In a double boiler on the stove over simmering water; mix first 3 ingredients until chocolate is melted, add remaining ingredients, stir and serve in your favorite fondue pot and
serve with fruits, marshmallows and biscotti . . . ENJOY!

Thursday, 12 May 2016 21:14

Rolling With The Changes

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Do you ever want life to just slow down a bit, and STOP changing? Think about what has happened just in the past 10 years ... I remember when a cell phone came into my life. My husband got a cell phone first, and then I thought it would be a good idea that I invest in a phone too. My husband’s response to this was, “Why do you need a cell phone?” Today, his response is, “I have been trying to get ahold of you, Why are you not answering your phone!?!”

And think back on how it has all changed as to when does anyone get a phone today. With our boys, who are now 31 and 28, they each got a phone when they started to drive, but their baby sister, who is now 21, got her first phone for her 12th birthday, and even then, most of her friends already had a cell phone. Her brothers’ comment: “Spoiled!”

However, it really was not that at all ... this object had now become a big part of our daily lives, and society had made it become a virtual necessity. Talk about “You have come a long way baby!” Just think about what your first phone was compared to the one you may be carrying today, and how many times over in just the past 10 years you have “upgraded” your phone, and even changed brands? About a year ago, I upgraded again to the larger iPhone 6, and now, my former phone seems so small!

And think about all the things this phone has replaced in our lives, starting with the fact that many of us no longer need a land line at home. Some of you maybe have not touched a “land-line phone” in years, unless you work in an office. In our office, our land-line phones are still a huge part of our business, but who knows in another 10 years?

It is mind boggling how much you can do with this hand-held device; no wonder it has been labeled as a “smart phone.” This hand-held device has changed the world. In 2010, there were approximately 2 billion of these devices in the world, but by 2020, it is predicted that this number will be 5 billion. An additional 3 billion people will have access to the world at their figure tips... just think about what this means in terms of purchasing power and exponential growth. This small hand-held device, which was originally invented so that we all could be instantly connected no matter where we were, has become a powerful communication tool worldwide in so many ways.

About a year ago, we were forced to upgrade our website so that it is now mobile friendly, and if you prefer, you can actually book a service call with us online instead of calling in and getting one of our Customer Service Representatives, who answer our phones, locally 24 hours EVERY day. Even the best of the best visionaries could never have predicted how powerful this hand-held device would be today, forcing many business models to change, and if they didn’t change fast enough, they may have even gone out of business. Does anyone else out there miss an item called “film,” where you were limited to 24 pictures and had to take the film to the drug store to get developed ... seems maybe a bit time consuming; however, it can take hours to weed through hundreds of pictures taken on your smart phone ... I miss film!

In the past five years or so, heating, cooling, and electrical devices have started being controlled by an “app” on your phone to monitor your home remotely. With the right home applications installed, you can monitor the temperature of your home, see who may be at your front door, turn on or off your lights or even be a baby monitor. Who ever would have thought all of this could be done with one small hand-held device? I am pretty sure two years ago, I did not know what the term “apps” even meant... now there are thousands of these so called “apps” available for us today.

If you are interested in having your home become more mobile friendly, call us.

As always, your Comfort is our Central concern, call 756-6656, for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs...
Today’s residential HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems use different methods and techniques for heating or cooling your home or business. Certain systems such as air conditioning absorb heat from within the home using a refrigerant gas and then transfer it outdoors. Other systems, such as furnaces, typically use electricity or natural gas to create their own heat for warming up your home’s interior. When you shop for the best residential systems, it is very important to consider the company you are doing business with and the service they provide after the installation as well.

Natural Gas Systems
Natural gas HVAC systems are very common in our Valley when natural gas is available, and In those cases where natural gas is not available, propane is used instead. A gas furnace is the best option when we live in climates like ours when it can get too cold for a heat pump to warm your home. Today, many homeowners are choosing to add zoning in their homes to distribute the heating and cooling more evenly, for better comfort. If you are building a home, make sure your contractor shares this option with you. A huge “pet peeve” of mine, here in the Valley, is that when a contractor is building a “spec home” to sell, traditionally they will always want to keep their costs down and have a very inexpensive heating system installed. Be aware of this if you are looking at such a home to buy. Just like with your car, there are lots of options.

Using Water or Electricity
A heating system that has become very popular is “In-Flooring Heating,” where electric heating coils or water heated tubing are installed before your finished floor is installed. If you are an allergy sufferer, this is a very good solution for you to heat your home, as this style of heating does not blow air around your home and collect dust in the ductwork... It is extremely important that these are installed properly; you can only imagine the mess if a leak occurs, and it may not keep up with your needs if too few coils are placed in the floor.

Occasionally we will be replacing old boilers with a much more efficient model. These are more popular in commercial applications today. The simple version of how these work is that a boiler is like a pan on a burner on your stove with water in it. It is designed to heat the water, which them in turn gets hot enough to create steam. Very popular back in the day before the traditional furnaces were available.Another very common application in areas where no gas is available are electrical wall heaters. We have these throughout our cabin and even installed on in our home’s kitchen in an area by a corner window, Just helps take the chill off. By far, these systems are the most energy-efficient as they do not create heat. instead, they circulate heat or cooling from either the air or ground. The biggest advantage of a system like this, besides being efficient, is that to heat or cool your home all happens with just one unit. They work best in moderate climates like ours can be in the valley; however, especially for the winter, you will want to have some sort of backup heat source during extreme weather In the past five or so years, a unit called a “Mini -Split” is very popular for places like our cabin where we only had electrical heat without duct work. We installed one of these units mainly for cooling in the summer.

A Heat Pump
By far, these systems are the most energy-efficient as they do not create heat. Instead, they circulate heat or cooling from either the air or ground. The biggest advantage of a system like this, besides being efficient, is that to heat or cool your home all happens with just one unit. They work best in moderate climates like ours can be in the valley; however, especially for the winter, you will want to have some sort of backup heat source during extreme weather conditions.

In the past five or so years, a unit called a “Mini -Split” is very popular for places like our cabin where we only had electrical heat without duct work. We installed one of these units mainly for cooling in the summer.

Properly-Sized Systems
HVAC systems are designed and developed to accommodate various sizes of home or buildings. If you install an HVAC system that is too large for your home, it will start and stop continually. In the long run, this will result in costly utility bills. On the other hand, if you install a system that is too small for your home or office, it will run continually. This will cost you a lot more due to additional maintenance fees and inflated utility bills, another very good reason to be doing business with a company that provides the proper training to determine the right system and application for your home or It is important to remember that regardless of the system or technology that you select for cooling and heating your home, all of them will work more cost-effectively and efficiently by performing regular preventive maintenance. Now is the time of year to have any maintenance done on your heating and cooling system BEFORE the “real” summer is here.

As always, your comfort is our Central Concern. Call Central for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs at 756-6656.

Gardening Tip:
I am a bit gun shy to really plant any of my main annuals yet, so pansies are great at this time of year to have some spring flowers.
Monday, 18 April 2016 17:31

Why Do Business With Central?

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Why would you want to do business with Central versus any other company that sells heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical services?

Not really, as other companies in the valley have either the same product or very similar...“mini warehouses on wheels” driving to your home or business? Not really, as other companies have vehicles they are driving to your
home, although maybe not as organized with each part labeled — and I am willing to bet, they do not have their vans inventoried every three months like I require of our Team...

  • Is it because our Call Center is trained to answer the phone by the second ring? Maybe... If it gets to a third ring, I or someone outside our Call Center will answer it, as we have our phones ring throughout the company. 
  • Is it because we do weekly customer-service training and technical training every week with our entire Team?
  • Is it because our Team is to be prepared today, for their calls tomorrow, to maximize our efficiency to get to your home each day on TIME?
  • Maybe it is because our Leadership Team of young professionals is guiding our Team each day to be the best they can be...
  • Or maybe it is because we are the only company in the valley that can provide heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical with “one call.”
  • Or is it because our service professionals use iPads out in the field, so that they can enter in detailed notes each time we visit your home on all these services? That means that when we come to your home again, anyone from our Call Center, Leadership Team or the next Service Technician can review this history to be better prepared to service your home properly... Maybe that’s it?
But the main reason I believe people continue to call Central is not so much any of the systems we have in place above, but probably more due to the people we hire to work on our Team. We take a lot of time working hard on to find the right people with a “can-do mindset.”

We do an annual company party each year on a Saturday in spring. We bring everyone in on a Saturday and we do a companywide training on Team building and learning more about our
community we live in.

This year our theme was “Mindset,” and I passed out a book I recently read called “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.” A must read for anyone raising children or people who want to grow
their own mindset of thinking. The book is all about either having a “Fixed Mindset, or a Growth Mindset,” and how we are raised and the words that are spoken to us can create a certain type of
mindset ... I choose Growth!

One of our exercises for the day is usually to go off campus and take a trip somewhere in our community. One year we did a scavenger hunt where we broke everyone into four teams and they had to go get pictures of other companies in the valley. One Team took pictures of another plumbing company located on a very busy street. Their observation was that this business had no real signage visible from this busy street. Then within a few months they installed a large sign on the side of their building, hmmmmm.

This year we had the pleasure of getting the opportunity of touring “NOMAD, Global Communication Solutions,” on U.S. Highway 2. This was all started in a barn here in the valley by several men with very big mindsets; Will Schmautz, Seth Schmautz, Shane Ackerly and Clay Binford felt there was a huge need for better communications between all involved in an emergency situation. Fast forward to today, from 2002 when this idea all began, they now are building
from scratch, custom designed Mobile Command Units. These vehicles have been shipped all over the world. The cost for these  mobile units runs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they are designed and built right here in our beautiful valley. Their overall sole purpose is to establish a response base of integrated communications operations — Restore and Reestablish, hope, and get back to normal life, as best that can be expected, in the shortest possible time, for these communities they are involved in worldwide!!

A big shout out to Carl Coletti, business development director for NOMAD, who after many conversations between him and me, about the possibility of bringing our Team to visit their facility, said, “Yes.” The bigger plus for him? I believe it is that I wasn’t going to bug him anymore!

Last Saturday Carl and a very bright young man from our valley, Zach Falk, gave us a wonderful tour of their operations and facility, so a huge THANK YOU. This became a highlight of our day.Next time when thinking of the heating, cooling, plumb-
ing and electrical company to call ... remember the kind of people we have on our Team and the kind of training they are receiving ... As always, your comfort is our Central concern.

P.S.: Are you wanting to get a jump on spring flowers? At this time of year I love to plant pansies. One of my favorite spots in the Valley to find pansies this time of year is Plant Land.

Friday, 18 March 2016 00:00

The Future: Maintaining a Positive Outlook

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Why, in general do we spend so much time on talking about how bad the world is today?

The other evening I was at a surprise party for a friend and had the opportunity to meet some new people. As I am now a grandma, it is a fun question to ask someone new, “Do you have grandchildren?” Usually the person’s face lights up, and I get some cute little story about his or her grandchildren; however in this case, when I asked this question to a woman that I had met, it was shared that, “My daughter is handicapped and my son is 37 and feels he does not want to bring children into this kind of world we live in today.” SAD...

I shared, “Well we need to open his eyes to what really is going on in this world today — exponential growth and a world of abundance.” She kinda looked at me, like ... WHAT?

I find that I am becoming a bit impatient with the kind of thinking exhibited by her son, but if your only way of looking at the world is through television and newspapers and such ... it does BAD world out there today.

Do not get me wrong. There is a lot of BAD out there today, but there has always been a lot of BAD out there, and actually, even worse, we just are more bombarded today, through a device called a cellphone. This device has really seen exponential growth in the world today, and has contributed to a much higher level of thinking, and growth, while creating abundance, too. In 2010, 2 billion, yes billion, people had access to a cellular device; by 2020...5 billion people will have this same access. Think about this, 3 billion new minds, now they have at their fingertips, information on medical, education, ‘How to’s”, relationships, travel and entertainment, on-line shopping ... massive amounts of information that they never had access. Think about the financial impact these additional 3 billion people will contribute to our world, and the improvements to their lives and their families.

A new favorite “listen to” these days is Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation. In his book, “Abundance: The Future is Better than You Think,” which he co-wrote with Steven Kotler, he explains four forces that will solve our world’s problems today:

1. Exponential Technology – accelerated growth of technology. Since 1965, computer capabilities have doubled every 10-12 years, and today could even be more.

2. The DIY Innovator – because of the accelerated growth rate of technology, now anyone can solve problems that only large corporations or governments could do before...

3. The Techno Philanthropist – a huge amount of wealth has been made in the tech sector, but many of these new billionaires have used their wealth to solve a world problem, and have dedicated their own capital and time to solving this issue...

4. And the Rising Billion – as in the example above, they are rising in their ability to consume and produce, and what will they invent?

A great example listed in the book that I think we may all be able to resonate with occurs on page 84: “For most of the twentieth century, Tinseltown was the nexus of the
entertainment world: the best films, the brightest stars, entertainment hegemony unrivaled in history. But in less than twenty-five years, digital technology has rearranged these facts. On average, Hollywood produces five hundred films per year and reaches a worldwide audience of 2.6 billion (there we go with that ‘billion word’). If the average length of a film is two hours, then Hollywood produces one thousand hours of content per year.”

Today there is this place you can go — on something called the “Internet” —where Hollywood is eclipsed. YouTube users “upload” 48 hours’ worth of videos every MINUTE! This means, every 21 minutes, YouTube provides more novel entertainment than Hollywood does in 12 months, and this was back in 2012. What do you think it is today? This is exponential technology and exponential growth. I wonder if this son I talked about ever goes to YouTube for his information?

There is a great YouTube video I recommend watching called, “Joe Polish video interview with Peter Diamandis on Abundance: The Future is Better than You Think!”

At Central, I am using these same pieces of information to expand my Team’s mindset. This is not just about coming into your home to-day with a Band-Aid fix. My Team is trained to come into your home and access YOUR situation, and then educate you, not only on the Band-Aid today, but what to expect as your home ages. It is amazing
to me that, although we all take our vehicles in to get serviced usually twice a year, people don’t make the same connection about their home equipment. Every day, we are in the homes of people who never think about servicing their home’s equipment that runs each year like you were driving over 200,000 miles in your car ... CRAZY.

As always, your comfort is my Central concern. Call 756-6656, for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.

PS: I empower you today, when a conversation with friends is focusing on complaining about the “$19 trillion debt” or this or that ... to change the conversation to “How can WE change this?” Because anything else is just talk!!!

Are your energy costs driving you into the poor house? The average American family spends, in some cases, hundreds to thousands of dollars in extra energy costs in their homes every year. I think that we can all agree that we’d rather be saving our money or spending it on something else, like a great vacation or a new car. But there is good news! It is relatively simple to cut these unnecessary costs by making smart energy-efficient choices. Just don’t wait until the last minute...

I’ve compiled a list of the most important energy-saving tips to help you get the best performance while using the least amount of energy.

  • To increase your heating and cooling system efficiency: Replace or clean system filters monthly and do not block registers and return vents with furniture or drapes.
  • Keep the tank clean: About 20 percent of the energy used by the average home is used to heat water for showers, baths, washing machines, and dishwashers. So drain off the sediment in the bottom of your hot water heater.
  • Check thermostat temperature: Set your thermostat to 68-70 degrees during the day in the winter, and 65-68 degrees at night to keep your home comfortable and save on heating costs.
  • Limit your use of portable heaters: They’re great for “spot” heating, but running a 1,500-watt heater 24/7 can be expensive.
  • Cover all bare floors: Carpeting or rugs add to comfort and heat retention, especially if there is little or no floor insulation.
  • Replace worn washers in leaking faucets promptly: A faucet that leaks one drop of water every second wastes 200 gallons of water a month.
  • Seal and insulate your air ducts: Heat loss from leaky, un-insulated ducts, especially those in unheated attics and basements, can reduce the efficiency of your heating system by as much as 30 percent.
  • Make sure your hot water pipes are properly insulated: This guards against heat loss and gets hot water to your faucet faster.
  • Appliances and electronics: Purchase energy-efficient products and operate them efficiently.
  • Set your computer to sleep or hibernate mode: Instead of using the screen saver so it uses less electricity during periods of inactivity.
  • Use motion-detector lights for all your outdoor lighting: They’re convenient and efficient. For additional savings, buy compact florescent bulbs for your motion detectors.
  • Give your water heater a vacation too: When you leave your home for a weekend or longer, turn your electric water heater off.
  • Find cold air leaks: Sealing off the drafty air leaks will cut down on energy costs and keep you warmer. Seal any gaps around utility cut-throughs where pipes are present and spaces that may be unfinished such as closets or cupboards. Add caulk to avoid window air leaks and weather stripping to leaky doors. On windy days, place your hand in front of your electrical outlets, if you feel air coming through, add electrical gaskets (it is like form core) to all your outlets.
  • Heating system check-up: A heating system annual check will help your system to run efficiently. You may want to consider CENTRAL’S Comfort Care Program to provide you peace of mind. With this program we come out twice a year to take care of your Home’s Comfort System, as well as priority status with our Call Center.
  • As your home begins to age, so does your heating/cooling system, water heaters, and such: Depending on the quality of the system that was installed in your home, we recommend replacement beginning around 10-15 years max. There are so many better systems out there today, efficiency wise and noise wise.

At Central we can save you time, by just making ONE phone call (NOW THAT IS CONVENIENT!) for all your Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, Electrical and Drain Cleaning needs.

As always, your comfort is our Central concern. Call Central for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs at 756-6656.

Valentine Marshmallows

One bag of Large Marshmallows
Sucker Sticks
White Chocolate, I like the Hershey White Chocolate Bars
Red Sprinkles, in a bowl

Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat, insert sucker sticks into the large marshmallows, and dip into the white chocolate
(not too hot), and then just take the top of the marshmallow and dip into the red sprinkles...

Enjoy, so easy, festive and kids love these.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Friday, 05 February 2016 00:00

Gearing Up For Your Superbowl Party

Written by

He is going back, Brock Osweiler, our hometown boy, a 2008 graduate from Flathead High School, at age 25, to the Super Bowl for the second time.

He was a second round draft pick for the Denver Bronco’s in 2012 out of Arizona State when the Broncos fa ed the Seahawks in the big game. This time he has a lot more to be proud of… as he was the starting quarterback for seven games this season, while Denver’s main quarterback, Peyton Manning, was nursing a foot injury, and was pulled from the field on Nov. 15, after four interceptions… ouch!

Many times, what is someone’s misery can be another person’s gain… in goes Brock. For all of us “Kalispellians,” how fun was it to watch “our boy,” lead the Denver Broncos for the next seven games, only to be replaced in the game against the San Diego Chargers after a fifth turnover, which really was not his fault. Back in goes Manning for good!

Some others out in NFL football land are missing “our boy” as well… The headline recently in the Gospel Herald said, “NFL Rumors: Denver Broncos Push for Peyton Manning Retirement, Brock Osweiler takes over in the Super Bowl.”

Talk about having to have thick skin. This is not only tough for Mr. Manning, but the entire Denver Broncos team. Your starting quarterback is “The MAN,” the Leader… and the press is playing with your head like this! As far as Coach Kubiak is concerned, “Peyton Manning is our starting quarterback as long as he is healthy and can play.”

As Peyton is knocking on the back door of the big “4-0,” is it the Denver Broncos versus the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl or “The Old Man” versus “The Young Buck”?

Either way, another great opportunity for this young man and his family. As a mother of sons who got to play college ball and experience a championship game or two, I have just an inkling of what his mother may be going through.

With the big game just around the corner, I have come up with a few items to ensure your guests are comfortable, your space is inviting and there is plenty of food for everyone’s tastes:

 - First of all, the television will be the focal point, so rearrange your furniture if need be to maximize the space and to create a relaxing atmosphere.

- My favorite go-to snack for a coffee table is 2/3rds dry roasted peanuts and 1/3rd M&M’s. And if I can, the color of the M&M’s would match my favorite team’s colors.

- Simplify your party plan. Your guests are coming for the party and want to pitch in. I like to choose a few favorite items to make and then ask people to bring their favorite “tailgate food.” Keep it simple with one signature cocktail, beer, and wine. For the non-alcoholic drink of choice, I always have spar-kling water on hand as well as a pitcher of flavored water, with either slices of lemon, lime or cucumber, just to make it a bit more festive. This time of year, blood oranges are in season and are a good complement.

- Plan ahead, and go to the grocery store a few days before to get all that you need including items to add a bit of fun, like napkins and plates in your team’s colors.

- Make your life easier, and set up everything so your guests can just help themselves; then you can kick back and enjoy the evening as well.

- Research shows that most people are comfortable in a room temperature of 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. As your guests overall will add warmth to your space, I usually turn down our thertmostat about an hour before our guests are to arrive.

As always, your Comfort is our Central concern. Call 756-6656, for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.

This feeds a crowd:

French Dip Sandwiches

6 lb. chuck roast cut into 6 pieces, 2 cans each of condensed French onion soup, beef consommé, beef broth and a 1/4 cup red wine. Place in crock pot for 8-10 hours on low, and serve with favorite French rolls. Enjoy…

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