Shaw's Air Conditioning & Heating Blog: Archive for December, 2013

New Year’s Eve: The Tournament of Roses Parade

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

The East Coast has their own traditions for New Year’s Eve, notably the dropping of the ball in Times Square to signal the beginning of the New Year. We have our own traditions here on the West Coast, and with 2014 almost upon us, we thought we’d take a closer look at one of the biggest: the Tournament of Roses Parade.

The Parade is held every year on New Year’s Day, save when January 1 falls on a Sunday (in which case it is held on the 2nd). Tradition holds that they don’t host it on a Sunday in exchange for God preventing rain on the parade, though it has actually rained ten times since the first parade. It all began in 1890, when members of the Pasadena Valley Hunt club organized and staged it on Colorado Boulevard. Their parade consisted of horse carts covered with flowers, followed by a series of athletic events (including races and polo matches). Football was first added in 1902, when Michigan beat Stanford by a score of 49-0. The football tradition was dropped for a few years, but came back in 1916 for good. The game has traditionally featured the champions of the Big 10 and Pac 10 Conferences, though teams from different conferences have appeared from time to time.

As for the parade itself, it soon added motorized floats, marching bands and equestrian units to its array of features. A “Rose Queen” is chosen every year from the ranks of Pasadena girls ages 17 through 21, along with six princesses to serve as her court. 2014’s Rose Queen is high school student Ana Marie Acosta. A Grand Marshall is chosen every year as well, and has previously included such varied luminaries as Walt Disney, John Wayne, Dwight Eisenhower, Hank Aaron, George Lucas, Charles M. Schulz, Kermit the Frog, and Fred Rogers. The Grand Marshall for 2014 will be legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.

Wherever you are and however you choose to celebrate New Year’s Day, we here at Shaw’s Air Conditioning & Heating wish you nothing but the very best. May 2014 bring you all good things, and may your New Year’s celebrations – in whatever form they take – be happy, safe and fun for your entire family. Happy New Year!

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

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Holiday greetings from all of us at Shaw’s 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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How to Determine What Type of Heater Is Best for You

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Heating installation in Armona, CA is serious business. Despite our mild California winters, cold nights are still the norm in December and January, and without a reliable heater, your house could get very chilly indeed. A new heater needs to perform reliably for many years, but even more importantly it needs to fit the specifics of your home in order to best suit your heating needs. Here’s a few general tips on how to determine what type of heater is best for you.

  • Sizing. By heater size, we means its energy production in BTUs (British thermal Units), not its physical size. Generally speaking, a heater should generate about 50 BTUs for every square foot of space you need heated, though that number can vary depending on things like insulation in your home and sunlight exposure. It it’s too small, it won’t heat the home and if it’s too large, it will cycle on and off, which costs you a great deal in wasted energy.
  • Type. Most people think of traditional gas furnaces when they think of heaters: the kind that use ducts snaking out from a centralized system. Gas furnaces work well, but depending on your circumstances, you might want to consider an alternative form of heating, such as a heat pump. You might also consider upgrades to your existing system, such as zone controls that let you turn the heat on and off to individual rooms in your house instead of the house as a whole.
  • Efficiency. Heater efficiency is measured in its AUFE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating, which is listed as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the more effectively the heater is doing its job. You should look for a heater with a higher AFUE than the one you currently possess; the EnergyStar sticker is a handy shortcut, since it denotes heaters that are particularly efficient.

For more information on how to determine what type of heater is best for you, schedule a consultation with Shaw’s Air Conditioning & Heating. We have years of experience with heating installation in Armona, CA and can find an ideal heater to suit your home. Call us today!

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Latest and Greatest Blanket Drive Update

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

The blanket pile keeps getting bigger and bigger as more donations continue to get dropped off and picked up. We are so excited that this blanket drive has been such a success. The unofficial count so far is over 132 blankets (66 donations and 66 matched by Shaw’s Air Conditioning & Heating).

It has gotten COLD here in Lemoore and the surrounding area, with temperatures dropping below freezing at night all week. Many people in our community go without the comfort of basic amenities such as jackets and blankets to keep them warm. If you can give this season, please do! We will continue to accept donations of new or gently used blankets at our shop through December 31st, 2013.

16838 18th Ave., Lemoore, CA 93245

If you are unable to bring a blanket in, we are more than happy to pick it up! Just give us a call and let us know where to go.

Thank you to all who have already donated! We are so grateful to our community for joining us in this effort and we can’t wait bring these blankets to people who truly are need this holiday season.

Blanket drive_12.18.13

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Can Heating Maintenance Save Me Money?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Here in Visalia, CA, heating services are usually on call in the winter rather than the summer. Our nights can get chilly in December and January, but summertime temperatures are quite high, and most homeowners are more concerned with keeping their air conditioning running than fixing their heaters. Ironically, that’s an ideal time to think about servicing you furnace. A regular maintenance session from a trained professional before heating season begins is a prudent move, regardless of whether you’re thinking about your heater or not. “Can heating maintenance save me money?” you ask. The answer is invariably “yes.” Here’s why.

Heating maintenance isn’t the same thing as repair. A repair call addresses a specific problem with you heater. Maintenance, on the other hand, is designed to prevent problems from starting, or at least identify them before they cause too much damage. A service technician will inspect your heater, clean up any dust or build-up on the system’s interior, tighten any loose bolts or screws, and run it to make sure that it’s functioning efficiently. If he spots anything in need of more formal repairs, he can schedule that right away, before it becomes a problem.

This process saves you money in two ways. First, it lowers the cost of any potential repairs by dealing with them when they’re still relatively minor (as opposed to waiting for them to create more significant damage to the system). Second and perhaps more importantly, the cleaning reduces friction and strain on the system, helping it perform more efficiently. That reduces your monthly heating bills, as well as extending the overall life of your furnace.

None of that would be possible without a regular heating maintenance session from a qualified Visalia heating maintenance technician. Not only can heating maintenance save you money, but it can save you time and aggravation by ensuring that your heater doesn’t quit on you just when you need it the most.

In Visalia, CA heating services are provided by Shaw’s Air Conditioning. Our trained heating maintenance experts are ready to keep your heater clean and well-maintained. Pick up the phone and give us a call to set up an appointment device.

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Blankets Are Still Coming In!

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Shaw’s Air Conditioning & Heating is still collecting blankets for the local King County homeless shelters and will continue to do so until December 31st, 2013.

We are MATCHING each donation, which brings our total count up to 110 (55 donations and 55 matched)! Most of the blankets we have received are brand new. We know what a difference this gift of warmth will make in our community and we are so thankful to our community for helping us serve those less fortunate this holiday season.

As a reminder, you can drop off new or gently used blankets to the Shaw’s Air Conditioning & Heating shop at: 

16838 18th Ave., Lemoore, CA 93245

OR, if you are unable to make it to the shop, please give us a call and let us know where we can pick the blankets up.

Thank you again to those who have already donated! We will keep everyone updated each week with the blanket tally as well as the final count in the New Year. Let’s keep it going!

Blanket drive_12.5.13

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How Taking Care of Heating Repair Today Might Save You Money

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Heating repair service in Armona, CA has to deal with all kinds of problems. Despite our mild California winters, heaters are still very important; nighttime temperatures can get quite chilly and cold fronts can still make your house feel like a meat locker without a good heater. Furthermore, the longer you wait to address a given problem with your heater, the more it might cost you in repairs. Here’s how taking care of heating repair today might save you money.

It boils down to the old saying that an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure. When a problem arises with your heater, it renders it completely inoperable only infrequently. More often, the heater continues to function, only now it much work harder to do its job (either by taking longer to heat your home, subjecting a given component to more strain, or some combination of the two). If it’s not addressed, that increased strain will eventual result in a larger breakdown, necessitating a larger repair.

For instance, assume that a screw holding the fan motor down has worn out, causing the motor to rattle in its housing. That rattling means that the fan can’t work quite as well, taking more energy to turn as fast as it used to. The motor itself undergoes extra strain from the loose screw as well. Two weeks later, the increased load causes the motor to short out, necessitating its replacement. In retrospect, which is going to cost you more: replacing the screw at the beginning of the issue or replacing the whole motor later on?

It’s not hard to see how taking care of heating repair today might save you money. The earlier you can detect a problem, the less it’s apt to cost you in the long run. For heating repair service in Armona, CA, call upon the experts at Shaw’s Air Conditioning. We handle heating repair issues for the entire area, and we won’t rest until you are completely satisfied. Give us a call to set up an appointment today; you’ll be glad you did!

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