Professional Heating & Air Blog : Archive for December, 2014

5 Facts about Santa Claus

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Many holiday traditions involve the story of Santa Claus, the lovable old man who spends most of his time at the North Pole taking a single evening to deliver presents and candy to children everywhere. But since Santa Claus is so elusive (unless he happens to be visiting your local shopping mall), how do we know so much about him? Where exactly does his journey begin? Our holiday guide details 5 of the most common traditions associated with Jolly Old Saint Nick.

  1. The Origins of Santa: The name “Santa Claus” comes from St. Nicholas (a name which became Sinter Klaas for short in Dutch), a Christian Bishop from 4 A.D. who was known for giving his fortune away to those in need in Turkey. Santa Claus’ first associations with gift-giving comes from Holland’s St. Nicholas’ feast day, during which children would leave out their shoes overnight and find presents waiting inside the shoes on the next morning.
  1. The Stocking by the Chimney: While many people associate Holland’s shoe tradition with the origins of hanging a stocking, this isn’t entirely accurate. Hanging stockings instead comes from the legend of a time St. Nick helped a man afford to marry off his daughter by throwing a bag of gold down the chimney, which landed in a stocking that was hanging up to dry.
  1. St. Nick’s Outfit: Santa got his fashion sense from a wooden cutout handed out during a meeting of the New York Historical Society in 1804. But it wasn’t until a 1930s Coca Cola advertisement that his traditionally blue, white, and green outfit was transformed into a big red suit.
  1. Leaving Cookies out for Santa: Food was traditionally used as ornamentation during the holidays in medieval Germany as apples and cookies commonly adorned the home at wintertime. When the Christmas tree became a common symbol of the season, edible treats began to vanish, a phenomenon which became attributed to Santa Claus’ snacking habits.
  1. Why Santa Drives a Sleigh: Santa gets his sleigh from a tale spun by Washington Irving, the same author who brought us the Headless Horseman. He wrote down an account of a dream in which Santa Claus drives a weightless wagon through the sky, and the stories became so popular, they stuck around.

Here at A Professional Heating and Air, we hope that you have a joyful and safe celebration, no matter what holiday traditions you engage in this year. Happy holidays!

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How Does a Heat Pump Heat?

Friday, December 19th, 2014

With the name “heat pump” the confusing thing can be how these devices offer cooling and not just heating. Plus, they don’t pump heat at all – they transfer it. So how do heat pumps offer your home both heating and cooling? It’s pretty simple and depends on a couple of key items, but first, it’s important to know how a heat pump works.

Moving Heat Around

As mentioned above, heat pumps work by transferring heat from one location to another; refrigerant helps facilitate this transfer process. During the summer months, a heat pump absorbs the heat in your home and transfers it outside; in the winter months, the heat pump absorbs the heat in the surrounding air, concentrates it, then distributes it to your living spaces. Heat pumps don’t generate heating or cooling, which is where they can be a little confusing to some. So why can heat pumps do this and air conditioners can’t? A component called a reversing valve.

The Reversing Valve

The reversing valve is a component that changes the direction in which the refrigerant in the system is flowing. When the refrigerant can change direction, the device can change between heating and cooling. The initiation of the mode change starts with pressing a button on your dual-mode thermostat. An electronic component attached to the reversing valve known as a solenoid begins the process of moving the sliding mechanism in the solenoid to the opposite side; once the slide starts moving, refrigerant flows into the valve, finishing the rest of the push to the other position. The positioning of heating or cooling within the valve is up to the manufacturer, so valves will differ. The important thing is that the valve slides from one position to another, otherwise it can get stuck.

“Stuck” Valves

One of the more common problems that can develop with a reversing valve is that it becomes stuck; the valve can become stuck in a mode or stuck in-between a mode. If the solenoid is the reason for the immobility, it can be repaired, but if the valve is stuck due to something like a refrigerant leak, it will need to be replaced.

Your heating is too important to be handled by someone inexperienced, so if you are having an issue with your heat pump, call A–Professional Heating and Air Conditioning today and schedule service for your heat pump service in Hammond with one of our heating experts.

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What Is a Standing Pilot?

Friday, December 12th, 2014

A standing pilot is the standard ignition device for most natural gas burning heating systems, and has been for many years. It’s a continuously burning flame at the bottom of the heater, responsible for starting the burners that actually generate heat for the home. Though it’s a widely used technology, there are a few things that have given it a less-than-stellar reputation. Read on for an explanation of how a standing pilot works, as well as some common issues with it.

How it Works

A standing pilot light is actually fairly simple in design. A gas line terminates in a small burner, which creates the flame. A bit of composite metal wire, called a “thermocouple,” connects the burner to a valve in the gas line. When the pilot light is lit, the thermocouple registers the heat and generates an electric current. The current travels down the thermocouple to the gas valve and opens it. This is what keeps the pilot light burning. When the pilot light goes out, the thermocouple’s electric current stops and the gas valve closes. This is a safety measure to prevent gas from flooding your home.

Common Problems

The most common problem for standing pilot lights is the light going out. This tends to happen because the flame is unprotected from air currents or sudden draft. Though there is an ignition system on most heaters to relight the pilot light, there are other issues that can occur.

The thermocouple for the pilot light often wears out over time, eventually losing the ability to create an electrical current. This can occur from wear and tear, corrosion, becoming detached from the volt meter, or simply becoming bent way from the pilot flame. Regardless of the way that the thermocouple stops working, the effect is the same: the pilot light is unable to stay lit. If your pilot light seems to light without issues, but almost immediately goes out, it’s because the thermocouple is no longer keeping the gas valve to the flame open.

If you’re having issues with your pilot light, call A-Professional Heating and Air Conditioning. We offer professional heating services throughout Covington.

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Why Is Professional Duct Sealing Important?

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Ducts are one of several parts of your home’s infrastructure that you probably never think about. They’re largely invisible, serve a fairly simple purpose with no moving parts to malfunction, and are just generally unobtrusive. It may come as a shock, then, when we tell you that ducts are actually responsible for some of the biggest wastes of energy and money regarding your heating system. Let’s dive into the evidence supporting this claim, and why you should employ professional duct cleaning to solve for it.

Heat Loss

The US Department of Energy estimates that forced air systems lose between 20 and 30% of their heat on average to duct leaks. That means that almost a third of the energy that your heating system spends on heating goes completely wasted. You’re still paying for that energy, however, which means that your heating bill is often substantially higher than it should be. This is the primary reason for professional duct sealing. A lot of these leaks are not noticeable without close inspection, which drastically lowers the chances of a homeowner spotting and sealing one on his or her own.

Uneven Heating

In addition to wasting a great deal of money, duct leaks hinder the ability of your heating system to evenly distribute heat throughout the house. This creates uncomfortable cold spots in your home, some encompassing multiple rooms, depending on the size of the leak. Professional duct sealing can return equilibrium to your heating system, ensuring that you are comfortable and warm no matter where you are in your home.

Contaminants

The dark ductwork in your home can be a prime habitat for all sorts of harmful organisms. Viruses, bacteria, and mold are among the most common contaminants found in a home’s ducts. Many of these organisms are prevented from gaining a foothold in your ducts by a lack of easy entry. It only takes a small duct leak, however, for these contaminants to begin thriving and multiplying. They can then be circulated throughout your house by your forced air system. Professional duct sealing makes it harder for contaminants to enter your ducts, making it a good way to improve your air quality.

If you haven’t had your ducts sealed in a while, call A–Professional Heating and Air Conditioning. Our heating professionals cover the entire Covington area.

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