Professional Heating & Air Blog: Archive for December, 2013

New Year’s Traditions Explained

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

2014 is almost upon us, and with the coming of the New Year, we thought we’d take a brief look at some of the more popular traditions associated with this holiday. It’s been around for at least 4,000 years: as long as we’ve figured out how long it takes for the seasons to come and go. Here’s a quick discussion about some of our more modern traditions and where they started:

  • Auld Lang Syne. The famous song began in Scotland, where it was published by Robert Burns in 1796.  He claims he initially heard it sung by an elderly resident of his hometown, which suggests it has traditional folk origins even before that. It became even more popular when big band leader, Guy Lombardo, started playing it every New Year’s Eve, starting in 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.
  • The Dropping of the Ball in Times Square. The tradition of dropping the ball in Times Square started in 1907. It was made out of iron and wood with light bulbs located on the surface, and the ball originally “dropped” over the offices of the New York Times at One Times Square. Dick Clark famously broadcast the event every year from 1972, until his death in 2012.
  • The Rose Parade. The Tournament of Roses Parade has been held in Pasadena every year since 1890; taking advantage of California’s warm weather to present a parade of floats, bands and horses. A football game was eventually added to the festivities in 1902, when Michigan dominated Stanford’s team by a score of 49-0
  • Baby New Year. The use of a baby to signify the New Year dates back to Ancient Greece, where it symbolized the rebirth of Dionysus (the God of wine and parties). Early Christians initially resisted the pagan elements of the story, but soon came to adopt it since it matched the traditional Christmas symbol of baby Jesus in the manger. Today, people of all faiths and traditions refer to the New Year as a baby, representing new beginnings.

Whatever traditions you choose to celebrate, we here at A-Professional Heating and Air Conditioning wish you the very safest and happiest of New Year’s. May 2014 bring you nothing but the best!

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Longer Days Ahead: Why Winter Solstice Is a Reason to Celebrate

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Holiday greetings from all of us at A–Professional Heating and Air Conditioning!

December is a time of celebrations across the globe, despite the cold weather that affects much of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, the cold weather is one of the reasons that it is so important for people to embrace celebrations of light, color, food, and warm drinks—what better way to cheer up during a time of short days and low temperatures?

There is another reason to feel joy at the end of December, regardless of your religion or culture: an astronomical event called winter solstice.

Four astronomical markers divide the seasons on planet Earth: two solstices and two equinoxes. Equinox (a combination of the Latin words for “equal” and for “night”) is the point in Earth’s orbit when its axis is parallel to the Sun. Solstice (from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still”) is the point in orbit where the Earth’s axial tilt points toward the Sun. During the equinoxes, which occur at the start of spring (vernal equinox) and fall (autumnal equinox), the periods of day and night are the same length. During the solstices, which occur at the start of summer (June solstice) and winter (winter solstice), either day or night is at its longest period. June solstice is the longest day of the year; winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year.

Occurring on the 20th or the 21st of the month (this year it falls on the 21st), winter solstice marks the official beginning of winter, but also the point at which the days start to grow longer once more. The sun, which has dropped lower in the sky since the June solstice (June 20-21) and reaches its lowest point above the horizon on noon on winter solstice, once again begins to rise.

From the earliest human prehistory, people have recognized the winter solstice as an important event in their lives. When winter survival was difficult for early human societies, the sight of the sun beginning to rise in the sky once more was a symbol of hope and a reason to celebrate.

(All of the above applies to the Northern Hemisphere of Earth. The equinoxes and solstices flip in the Southern Hemisphere. For example, in Australia, Christmas is a summer holiday.)

However you commemorate and observe this time of year, we hope you and your family have a joyful and safe season!

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Heat Pump Repairs We Often See in the Winter

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Although we usually experience mild winters in Louisiana, we still have many chilly days and chillier nights when we will need a sturdy heater keeping us warm. Heat pumps make great home heating options, since they also provide the important air conditioning we need during the summer, and can handle the level of cold during the winter without losing efficiency.

Because you’ll have more use from your heat pump during the summer when it stays in cooling mode, it’s more likely to malfunction during that time. But winter brings its share of repair issues for heat pumps as well. Here are some of the ones we often see at this time of year. If you need heating repair service in Kenner, LA for a heat pump—or any type of heater—you can rely on the 24-hour service of the professionals at A–Professional Heating and Air Conditioning.

Common heat pump repairs

  • Sealing leaks and recharging refrigerant: Although people associate the word “refrigerant” with cold temperatures, not with heating, the refrigerant that runs through your heat pump is just as vital during the winter. If leaks develop along the refrigerant line, it will reduce the system’s heating capacity. A repair technician will need to find the leak, seal it, and then recharge the refrigerant level.
  • Fixing outdoor fans: Winter weather can be cruel to the outdoor unit of your heat pump, and we often have to repair damage done to the fan that draws air across the outdoor coil so it can absorb heat. If the fan breaks or develops bent blades, it could cause the system to lose its heating power.
  • Replacing broken reversing valves: The key component that allows a heat pump to switch between heating and cooling modes is the reversing valve, which changes the direction of the flow of refrigerant. It’s an unpleasant surprise for a homeowner to discover on the first day he or she needs heating power that the heat pump can’t switch functions—and usually it’s because of a broken valve. Fortunately, this is a simple fix for professionals, who will find the right heating valve replacement to match the heat pump.

Heat pump repair requires special training and tools. On your own, you wouldn’t know the correct kind of refrigerant to use to recharge a leaking unit, for example. Trust to heating professionals, such as those at A–Professional Heating and Air Conditioning, to handle any trouble you may experience with your heat pump. We aim for complete customer satisfaction in all our work doing heating repair in Kenner, LA.

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Noises Your Heater Should Not Make

Monday, December 9th, 2013

During the colder months of the winter, the sound of a heating system form a part of the general “white noise” in a home: something you don’t notice much, but which serves as a subconscious and soothing background sound. When your heater makes a noise that suddenly draws your attention, you’ll probably suspect that something is wrong.

Most unusual noises are warnings that you need an HVAC specialist to investigate your heating system to see if it requires repair work. Don’t procrastinate, since the repairs will only get more complicated and expensive if you let them slide—and some might turn dangerous.

Here are a few heating system sounds that you definitely should not hear. If you do, call A–Professional Heating and Air Conditioning for professional heating repair service in Metairie, LA.

Heating system warning sounds

  • Booming/grumbling: If you have a gas furnace, these noises often indicate there is too much dirt along the burner, and the gas jets or pilots light cannot get enough air to ignite. You will need a professional to remove the burner unit and clean it.
  • Grinding: This sort of sound coming from a furnace cabinet is often a warning that the motors are running down because of worn parts. Usually, the motors will need to be replaced.
  • Screeching: The bearings on the motors are wearing down, possibly due to a dust infiltration. This needs attention before the whole motor requires replacement.
  • Clacking: Any noise that sounds like one component is striking against another might mean that a blower motor fan belt has come loose and is hitting other mechanisms inside the cabinet. This needs repair immediately before the loose belt causes further damage.
  • Clicking before the blower motor comes on: Although hearing a few clicking sounds as a gas furnace starts up is normal, if you hear a loud clicking about a minute and a half before the blower motor turns on, it might mean a crack in the heat exchanger—which could lead to a leak of carbon monoxide. If you suspect this has happened, shut off the gas to the furnace and call for repairs immediately.

Heating systems do not yet come equipped with artificial intelligences that can exactly inform you about a malfunction and what to do about it. However, these sounds listed above are the next best thing: when you hear them, bring in a human intelligence—a professional technician—to find out what is wrong and what to do about it.

A–Professional Heating and Air Conditioning aims to deliver complete satisfaction with your heating repair in Metairie, LA. If your heater starts to warn you that something is wrong, call us.

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How Often Does My Heater Need Professional Care?

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

If you’re asking this question, you’ve already made a positive step: you know your heating system requires professional attention in order for it to work its best. Any mechanical device needs service and care, as well as repairs, occasionally. However, you may wonder exactly how often you will need professional work on your heating system.

In this post, we will give you two specific answers to that question. When you need professional heating service in Hammond, LA, call us at A–Professional Heating and Air Conditioning to get the expert and personal touch that will take care of your heater.

You should schedule professional care for your heater…

  • Annually. Heating systems, regardless of durability, should have a maintenance visit once a year. Twelve months is more than enough time for a heating system to develop kinks and flaws that will begin to cause it to work less efficiently—and eventually lead to a breakdown. A maintenance visit will check, clean, and tune-up your system so it can soldier through another year with the fewest problems possible. Maintenance will also catch possible repair needs before they become serious or expand into more expensive repairs. Enroll in a maintenance program from a dependable HVAC contractor, and you’ll have your heater’s care covered every year.
  • Whenever something seems wrong. Don’t wait for any problem with your heater to get worse. The moment the heating system in your house begins to display irregular behavior—odd smells from the vents, strange grinding and clicking sounds, uneven heating, a drop in air flow, an unexplained increase on your heating bills—you need to have experts come in to inspect it. Letting any of these problems continue will lead to more expensive repairs later and a possible unexpected and inconvenient breakdown. It will also reduce the lifespan of your system.

Keep your heater in good shape for the winter

If you need repairs, or if you want to start with maintenance, act now before the weather turns colder. HVAC professionals will have busier schedules when the thermometer drops and people require heating services, so take advantage of the current slower season.

At A–Professional Heating and Air Conditioning, we make it our goal to deliver you 100% satisfaction with our work. You can trust us to give your heating system in Hammond, LA quality care so it will keep working for you for many years with few repair service calls. Call us today to enroll in our maintenance program, or call us any time of the day or night for emergency services.

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