Shaw's Air Conditioning & Heating Blog: Archive for December, 2014

Why Do We Hang Up Mistletoe?

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Of course, you probably know part of the answer to this question already. You hang up mistletoe so that the people standing underneath can share a romantic holiday kiss! But what you may not realize is that the origin of this longstanding ritual predates many of the other holiday traditions we celebrate today. Why would a plant that has many poisonous varieties (most types sold for use in the home have few negative effects, but you can wrap it in netting to prevent children from consuming any fallen berries or leaves) be used as a symbol of holiday affection?

There are a couple of ways to explain the positive associations of (potentially hazardous) mistletoe. For one, this semi-parasitic plant has long been hailed as a treatment for illnesses and pain. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it to cure cramps, epilepsy, and more. Even today, mistletoe extracts are one of the leading alternative medicines studied for their effectiveness in killing cancer cells. And because the early Celtic Druids saw it as a sign of healing and life, they may be the first to bestow upon the plant its romantic associations, deeming it worthy of treating the infertile.

But it is Norse mythology that is likely responsible for a majority of the modern traditions associated with this small hanging bunch. One of the powerful Norse god Odin’s sons, named Baldur, was said to be invincible due to an oath his mother took to protect him from harm. But Loki, a god who often set out to make trouble for the gods, set out to find the one thing that could do some damage, and eventually discovered that Baldur’s mother Frigg had never included mistletoe in her invincibility oath. When mistletoe was finally responsible for her son’s demise, the grieving Frigg vowed that the plant would never again be used to hurt another living thing, and that she would plant a peaceful kiss upon anyone who walked underneath it.

And that is one of the reasons that, today, kissing under the mistletoe is viewed as a source of good luck. From our family to yours, we wish you a safe holiday season, and we hope that you and your family are full of joy and good fortune—mistletoe or not! Happy holidays from Shaw’s Air Conditioning!

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What Are the Components of a Ductless Heating System?

Friday, December 19th, 2014

If you’re looking for an effective heating and air conditioning system that won’t raise your bills beyond belief, you probably assume you need a set of ductwork. But if you don’t have any ducts in your house or in your new room add-on, you may be in luck. You can still have a technician install a ductless mini-split heat pump for efficient heating and air conditioning.

Learn more about the outside and inside components of a ductless units with today’s guide. Call Shaw’s Air Conditioning today to learn how you too can get efficient ductless heating in Lemoore.

Outdoor Compressor Unit

Just like with any other standard central air conditioning system, a ductless unit contains both indoor and outdoor components. In the outside unit, there is a compressor which adds pressure to the refrigerant so that it can continue to circulate throughout the entire system. There is also a coil which works to evaporate refrigerant in the winter and allows it to condense in the summer.

See, a ductless heat pump also contains a reversing valve which allows the flow of refrigerant to move in the opposite direction. In the summer, refrigerant removes heat from your home and brings it to the outside as it condenses in the coil. In the winter, heat is absorbed from the outdoors (even when it’s chilly outside) as refrigerant evaporates.

Indoor Air Handler

The indoor unit contains a coil as well, which allows refrigerant to evaporate and absorb heat from your home in the summer or to condense and release heat in the winter. But here comes the big question: how does a ductless unit deliver heat and cool air with no ducts? Well, an indoor air handler is a unit that is simply mounted high on the wall, and it contains a blower fan to deliver the conditioned air into a space.

Usually you’ll need several indoor units for an entire house, but this is advantageous for your family members. You can control the temperature in each room individually with separate thermostats for increased comfort and energy savings. And it’s sure worth saving the trouble of renovating your home for a new set of ducts.

Call on the experts at Shaw’s Air Conditioning to learn more about ductless heating and find out whether this type of system is best for you.

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How Can Poor Duct Installation Affect My Heating?

Friday, December 12th, 2014

With any type of forced-air heating and air conditioning system, you need a set of ductwork to deliver air from the HVAC unit through the vents in your home. And generally, your home will already contain a set of ducts that help to deliver both the heated and cooled air. But some existing ductwork is poorly designed or sealed, with excessive air leaks and inadequate insulation. In this case, you end up spending far more money for your heating than is necessary.

Ducts must be designed in such a way that warm air reaches your home in the most efficient way possible and that heat loss does not occur. Faulty installation of ductwork is responsible for a lot of air leakage and heat loss in many households, which means that much of the air that is warmed by your home heating system won’t actually make it to your living space. Instead, warm air can leak into a crawlspace or in the attic.

But of course, you continue paying to run your HVAC system, which means you’re spending money to run a system that may never adequately heat up the house. In fact, because your heating system continues to run, you may notice frequent repair needs as components begin to become worn down from overuse. If this happens, your forced-air heating unit may even fail prematurely.

For optimal duct function, you want an efficient duct design, proper insulation, and effective sealing against any air loss. Poor sealing and lack of insulation can result in a 20% air loss and a 25% loss due to heat transferring out of the ducts. Amateurs simply don’t have the proper tools and expertise to assess in which areas your current duct design contributes to energy loss or where sealing is needed.

Experts are trained to use only those materials which comply with industry safety conventions as set forth by the Underwriters Laboratories Standards 181, 181A, and 181B. These standards help to guarantee fire safety with a low flame spread index. Experts also know the most efficient type of duct design, and which material to use in your particular circumstances. Call Shaw’s Air Conditioning to find out how you can improve your heating in Lemoore with duct sealing, duct installation, or duct repair.

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How Does Good Attic Insulation Help with Heating?

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Alright, so you’ve just installed a brand new home heating system. The ducts are pristine, the heater is running as smoothly as can be, and everything seems perfect. However, for some awful reason, you’re still experiencing cold spots in the house and your heating bill is through the roof. What’s going on? Interestingly enough, your heating might actually be going through the roof. Read on to find out how attic insulation affects your heating.

The Importance of Attic Insulation

There’s no way to completely seal your home to prevent heat from escaping. As soon as your heater stops working, the house will begin to cool from the outside in. What you can do, however, is slow down heat loss as much as possible. This will take some of the load off of your heater, which will save you money in the long run. Attic insulation is the single biggest step you can take to preventing excessive home heat loss.

Though heat can escape from multiple different areas of your home, the attic is the single most vulnerable area. There are a number of reasons for this. First, the attic is often a very large space, more or less an entire extra floor in most homes. Second, warm air naturally rises. When using a forced air system, all of that hot air that is meant to heat your home will tend to rise through the house and into the attic. If your attic is not insulated, you’re losing a great deal of that warm air at fast rate.

Once you’ve insulated your attic, you will have essentially put a lid over your house to keep all that warmth inside. Your home will lose heat much more slowly, your heater will be able to turn off sooner after starting, and your heating bill will drop. In fact, the US Department of Energy estimates that you can save between 10 and 50 percent of your heating bill by properly insulating your attic. That’s more than enough savings for the insulation to pay for itself.

If you’d like to know more about attic insulation, call Shaw’s Air Conditioning. Our heating technicians serve all of Lemoore.

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