The History of Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Thanksgiving is upon us: a time to get together with relatives, eat some great food, watch a little football or the parade, and stop to appreciate the good things we have in life. Beyond all that, however, there’s a fascinating history to the holiday and its traditions.

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. Records are spotty at the time, but indicate that the harvest was particularly good that year due to help from the local Native Americans. The meal was probably much different than the one we’re used to, with venison and fish more likely than turkey, but the general principle was unchanged.

It wasn’t a few centuries later, however, that Thanksgiving became an annual tradition. George Washington called for a “national day of Thanksgiving” in 1789, and again in 1795, but they were both “one shot” declarations, rather than a call for an annual tradition. Individual cities and states picked up the ball, but it wasn’t until 1863 that Thanksgiving became a national once-a-year event. President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November to be a Thanksgiving “to heal the wounds of the nation and restore it.”

From there, it remained a tradition until Franklin Roosevelt signed a law in December of 1941 making it a federal holiday. The law also changed the date from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday in November, making it a little earlier in some cases (which Roosevelt hoped would give the country an economic boost).

Wherever you celebrate the holiday and whoever you choose to celebrate it with, we wish you nothing but happiness and joy this Thanksgiving.  

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Is the Air Handler in Your Heating System Damaged?

Monday, November 25th, 2013

The air handler is a fancy way of saying a blower or a fan mechanism that helps circulate air through your duct system and into your home. They’re usually connected to (or a part of) heat pumps and similar devices, which need them to operate in conjunction with an existing duct system.  Is the air handler in your heating system damaged? Here are a few signs that you might have an issue.

The easiest way to tell if your air handler is damaged is to monitor the flow of air through your ducts. If the air flow is reduced or nonexistent, then there’s a problem. Reduced air flow can come from damaged or bent fan blades, from blockage somewhere in the system, or from a motor that isn’t performing as well as it should. If the air flow is cut off entirely, then the fan motor may be overloaded, resulting in an automatic shut-off. The fan belt may have snapped or the fan itself may be blocked, preventing it from running at all.

Another telltale sign of damage is an odd or unusual noise coming from the air handler. It might be a buzzing or an arcing, suggesting a malfunctioning piece of electronics. It much also sound like a grating, particularly if the fan is misaligned and rubbing against other components. Any unusual sound is cause for concern.

If you think the air handler in your heating system is damaged, shut it down and call in a trained technician immediately. When it comes to heating repair in Atlanta, homeowners can count on the experts at Cool Air Mechanical. We handle problems with air handlers, so don’t hesitate to give us a call today!

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Does Size Matter for a Heating Installation in Atlanta?

Monday, November 18th, 2013

In matters of heating installation, Atlanta GA homeowners want to get it right the first time, every time. The size of your heater – measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units – is a big part of that. Yes, it matters. A great deal as it turns out. It’s helpful to understand the reasons why: allowing you to make an informed choice with all the facts at hand.

Generally speaking, your heater needs 50 BTUs for every square foot of space you’d like to heat. That number may go up or down depending on such factors as insulation in your home and the amount of sunlight your interior is exposed to. A qualified service technician can make the formal calculations for you.

The problems of installing a heater that is too small are obvious. It won’t be able to keep up with the demand and overtax itself: increasing wear and tear without adequately heating your home. It may surprise you to learn, however, that a heater which is too large will be just as inefficient and troublesome. Why? Because it will heat the house too quickly, turning off after just a few minutes and then turning on again as soon as the heat level drops. Heaters use more energy turning on and off than they do running, and such rapid cycling takes its toll on the internal components as well. An excessively large furnace will use more energy than it needs to, as well as running a higher risk of repairs sooner than you’d like.

With that in mind, we recommend sticking to what we call the Goldilocks rule: a heater that is neither too large nor too small but just right. Size does matter for a heating installation in Atlanta, GA, and if you’re in the market for a new heater, then the experts at Cool Air Mechanical can help pick out the right size for you. If you need heating installation in Atlanta, pick up the phone and give us a call today!

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Heat Pump Installation Question: Will a Heat Pump Work with My Air Ducts?

Friday, November 15th, 2013

If you’ve done research into heat pumps in your quest to get the best comfort for your home, you already know the huge advantages they offer: a heater and air conditioner combined, high energy-efficient performance, lowered indoor humidity. Heat pumps don’t work in every part of the country since their heating function can encounter difficulty with winter temperatures below freezing, but for Georgia’s weather they are ideal.

However, if you’re replacing a central air conditioner that uses ducts, or a forced-air heater like a furnace, you might have some concerns about whether a heat pump will work with this existing ductwork. We’ll address this in this post. For professional advice and expert heat pump installation in Marietta, GA, schedule an appointment with the technicians at Cool Air Mechanical.

Heat pumps and your ducts

Heat pumps operate similarly to air conditioners, so they must use forced air to move around heated and cooled air to your house. If you already have ducts from an air conditioner, then your new heat pump will hook right up to them when it replaces your AC.

However, while you won’t encounter much difference with cooling your home with that same set of ducts, you may have issues with heating, especially if you didn’t use the ducts for heating because you had a system like a boiler that didn’t use forced air. Your ducts might not be optimized to handle the heat from an air pump.

This is why you need to contact professionals when you want to have a heat pump installed—even before you choose a system. Technicians can inspect your home’s current ductwork to see if it will work with the new demands a heat pump will put on it. If there are any repairs required before the installation starts, these technicians will take care of it. You will probably experience few difficulties in your ducts when you make the switch to a heat pump.

However, if a heat pump won’t work with your existing ducts for some reason, you don’t have to worry about abandoning the heat pump as an option entirely. Heat pumps come in ductless models that used mounted air handlers in different rooms of your home to provide heating and cooling. Ask professionals about the feasibility of going with a ductless system.

Call in the experts

Getting any home comfort system installed requires a great deal of work with attention to detail applied at each stage of the process. You need highly trained HVAC specialists to take care of this. If you contact Cool Air Mechanical when you think heat pump installation in Marietta, GA is the best choice, you’ll find out if the new system will work with your ducts. When it comes time to do the installation, Cool Air Mechanical will make sure your new system hooks up seamlessly with your old ductwork so you’ll get years of quality comfort from your heat pump.

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How Much Room Is Needed for a Heat Pump Installation?

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

For a city with a climate like Atlanta’s, one of the best options you can choose for year-round comfort is a heat pump. Heat pumps operate like air conditioners, except they can switch the direction of heat exchange so that they remove heat from the outside air and put it into your home—you get a heater and air conditioner in one unit. Heat pumps can have difficulty removing ambient heat from the outdoors during extremely cold temperatures… but that’s rarely a problem during mild Georgia winters.

If you are interested in getting a heat pump in Atlanta, GA for your home, you don’t want to rely on amateurs or newcomers to the HVAC business. Cool Air Mechanical has the years of experience that make us a trusted name in home heating and cooling, so turn to us when you have questions or concerns about getting a heat pump installed for the coming season.

How much room will a heat pump take up?

A question we often hear from customers about heat pumps is how much room they will need for an installation. We know this will probably be a major concern if you’re replacing a different system like a furnace, boiler, or central AC.

The first things to know is that when it comes to heat pumps, there is no “one size fits all” option. A heat pump must be sized for your home: based on the heating requirements of your house (square footage, insulation, number of windows, number of people who live there, etc.), installers will determine how large a heat pump you’ll need. So there’s no simple answer to the question of how much space a new heat pump will take up.

However, you probably already have in your home a good benchmark for how much room your heat pump will require: your air conditioner. A heat pump uses indoor and outdoor units to operate that are almost identical to your air conditioner’s, and so it will take up a similar amount of space. However, even if the heat pump will need additional space, keep in mind that you most likely will no longer need your old heating system—furnace, boiler, or other unit—because the heat pump will perform both the job of the AC and the heater. A heat pump will save you space.

Get professional installers involved with the process from the earliest stages. When technicians from Cool Air Mechanical come to your home, they will find the right spot to fit your new heat pump and figure out exactly what size you will need to best serve you with effective heating and cooling. When you’re ready for a heat pump in Atlanta, GA, contact Cool Air Mechanical.

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Atlanta Heating Tip: How to Scale Back Heating Costs

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Winter in Atlanta can be quite beautiful, and even pleasant. But you will still need to have a dependable heating system in your home to get the most out of the season. When you turn your heater on for the first time during the colder weather, you can expect a rise in your power bills; quality heating can add up fast.

However, there are steps you can take to keep those costs from rising through the roof (one of which involves sealing up your roof, by the way). You don’t have to make huge sacrifices to your comfort to get excellent heating in Atlanta, GA. We have some tips that will help you keep those bills in check through the winter.

For more help with heating, such as repairs, maintenance, and installation, call our specialists at Cool Air Mechanical today.

3 ways to reduce your heating costs

1. Find an energy-saving thermostat level. Just because you can turn your thermostat up to tropical temperatures doesn’t mean you should. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that lowering your thermostat by 6° to 10° for 8 hours a day can mean an 18% reduction in your energy costs. The ideal temperature during the day is 68°F (with an extra layer of clothing), and you can put it even lower when you are asleep. A programmable thermostat will help tremendously with monitoring this.

2. Properly insulate your house. If your home has too many spots where heat can escape, your heater will have to work overtime to compensate. Make certain to have windows caulked (or storm windows put in) and weather stripping placed around outside doors. Check that your insulation isn’t deteriorating, especially in the attic; because heat rises, the attic is the main place it will escape from your house. Think of insulating the attic as putting a thick wool cap on your head when you go outside.

3. Keep your heater in good shape with a maintenance check-up. Trouble in your heating system might be at fault for higher bills. A heater that is wearing down because it hasn’t received regular maintenance will drain extra power. Schedule professional maintenance once a year—preferably during the fall—and you’ll have a more efficient and cost-friendly heater.

If you want cozy heating in Atlanta, GA this winter without bills that make you panic, trust to the services of Cool Air Mechanical. We will help you get the best from your heating system.

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Heat Pump Repair Guide: My Heat Pump Only Cools

Friday, November 1st, 2013

For enjoying year-round comfort inside your home in Atlanta, a heat pump is a fantastic device. It can provide you great cooling during our humid summers, and the right amount of heat during our mild winters.

However, heat pumps are complex devices—more complex than a standard air conditioner that only provides cool air. A heat pump can suffer from malfunctions that you might not encounter in simpler HVAC systems with fewer options. If you need your heat pump to provide you with warm air during a cold spell, you’ll be dismayed to discover it only blowing cool air. Often, this signals a problem that requires the attention of professionals. For excellent heat pump repair in Atlanta, GA, give Cool Air Mechanical a call today.

Why your heat pump might only give you cool air:

Let’s start with the simplest explanation: you set the heat pump incorrectly. Make sure that you have the heat pump turned to its “heat” setting on the thermostat. Also check your thermostat’s programming if you have a digital model; it’s possible you accidentally programmed a temperature target that will result in your heat pump operating in cooling mode. The thermostat may have developed malfunctions, so that it no longer senses the correct temperatures in your home and believes it should provide cool air when it needs to provide heat. Thermostat problems will require expert repairs.

For a heat pump to operate as both an air conditioner and a heater, it requires a reversing valve and a second compressor. If you are only getting cool air, the reversing valve may have broken, making it impossible for the heat pump to switch the direction of the flow of refrigerant. A problem with the second compressor will also leave you with a heat pump only capable of acting as an air conditioner.

Also, watch out for environmental conditions: anything surrounding your outdoor unit can impair the system’s ability to extract any heat from the outdoor air. Leaks in the return ducts that bring in additional cold air could also cause this problem. In general, heat pumps have difficulty combating extremely low temperatures, since they will struggle to draw heat from the outdoors. Although heat pumps can handle most Atlanta cold spells, if you regularly experience temperatures below 30°F, you might consider installing a dual fuel system to support the heat pump during the chilliest days of the year.

If you can’t find a simple solution to why your heat pump has started to only blow only cold air, or if you think you need an update to your system, don’t hesitate to call in experts from Cool Air Mechanical. We handle Atlanta, GA heat pump repair, installation, and maintenance. We’ll find a way to make certain your heat pump performs both its jobs and keep you comfortable all year.

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