ACI Northwest Blog: Archive for November, 2013

Thanksgiving, 2013: The Presidential Turkey Pardon

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Thanksgiving began in 1621, but didn’t become a national holiday until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln declared it in hopes of bringing a divided nation together. We have many Thanksgiving traditions in this country, from turkey at the meal to the annual Cowboys and Lions games on television. But one of the most beloved is the annual Presidential turkey pardon, in which the U.S. President “pardons” a turkey to life in a petting zoo rather than ending up as someone’s main course. As we celebrate this Thanksgiving, we thought you’d like to know a little more about the history of this fascinating tradition.

Farmers have sent turkeys to the White House as far back as the 1800s, hoping to have the honor of providing the President’s annual meal. There have been scattered stories of individual turkeys being “pardoned” throughout that time, including one in which President Lincoln’s son Tad successfully convinced the president to spare a bird intended for the family’s Christmas dinner.

Starting in 1947, the National Turkey Federation became the official supplier of the President’s Thanksgiving birds. The White House arranged for an annual photo op that year with the President receiving the turkey in the Rose Garden. Sadly, there was no pardon as yet; those birds all ended up on the Presidential table.

The push for an official pardon picked up steam in 1963, when President Kennedy ask that the bird be spared just a few days before his assassination. President Nixon opted to send each of the birds he received to a nearby petting zoo after the photo op, though there was no formal pardon attached.

But it wasn’t until 1989 that the pardon became official. On November 14 of that year, President George H. W. Bush made the announcement, and sent the bird to a Virginia game preserve to live the rest of its life out in cranberry-and-stuffing-free bliss. Since then, every President has held an annual pardoning ceremony, with the lucky turkey spared the axe and sent off to live in peace. Since 2005, the pardoned birds have gone to Disneyland in Anaheim, California where they have lived as part of a petting zoo exhibit in Frontierland.

No matter what traditions you enjoy this holiday, or who you enjoy them with, all of us here wish you a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving weekend.

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Uneven and Inadequate: Common Residential Boiler Problems

Monday, November 18th, 2013

In general, when a residential boiler is working in peak condition, it’s one of the best ways to heat a home: energy-efficient, low maintenance, quiet operation, and an effective an even distribution of heat. Boilers usually outlast other residential heating systems, making them a long term-cost effective solution for winter heating.

Boilers can and do malfunction, however, even ones that receive the best regular maintenance. If you notice that your boiler is struggling to provide sufficient heat for your home, or that the heat isn’t distributed evenly through the rooms, it may be time for heating repair service in Couer d’Alene from a professional HVAC technician. ACI Northwest wants to help you enjoy the beautiful winters in Washington State: call us when you need help getting your boiler back to working at its best.

Boiler problems we frequently encounter

There are a number of different reasons that your boiler may run into trouble giving you adequate and even heating.

  • Pressure loss: If your boiler starts to lose water pressure inside the tanks or pipes, it will struggle with providing you adequate heat. This could be happening because of leaks (which may occur in places you can’t see) or trouble with the pressure relief valve.
  • Thermostat problem: If the thermostat malfunctions, it will sense heat incorrectly in your home or activate the boiler at the wrong times. Always check your thermostat when you encounter poor heating in your home, since the problem may originate there—and it’s one of the simpler fixes for an HVAC professional.
  • Corroded and blocked pipework: If the boiler seems to be working fine, but certain rooms aren’t getting warm, there may be blockage in the pipes. Corrosion can sometimes cause debris and sludge to build-up in the pipes, blocking them from getting to certain parts of your house.
  • Incorrectly sized boiler: If the boiler seems to have no other issues, but it still cannot provide you adequate heating, the problem may be that the boiler is too small. This is often an issue from amateur installation: boilers need to have professionals size them for a home. You need to consult with an expert to see if a new installation will fix this.

Whatever your boiler troubles, don’t let them go without repairs. The poor heating will not simply fix itself, no matter how advanced a boiler you have installed. The longer you let malfunctions go without repairs, the worse the problems will become—especially leaks! Don’t try to handle the repairs yourself, since you might end up causing further damage. Call trained professionals who can perform the work fast and effectively.

ACI Northwest has more than 85 years of experience with heating repair in Couer d’Alene, and we are ready 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you.

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Can Hard Water Affect My Boiler?

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Hard water refers to water than contains high amounts of minerals, usually calcium and magnesium. Here in Hayden, ID, our water treatment system is very good, but it still lets traces of hard water through sometimes. If you live outside the city proper or get your water from a private source, the chances of hard water increase considerably. That can affect more than just your drinking water, to the point of interfering with certain appliances in the house. The boiler you use to heat your home, in particular, can be vulnerable. “Can hard water affect my boiler?” you ask. The short answer is “absolutely.”

Most boiler water needs to be filtered before it can be used, and boiler feedwater requires different characteristics than potable drinking water. That’s a fancy way of saying that hard water isn’t something to just casually dismiss when it comes to your boiler. The mineral deposits in the water will coalesce on the interior surface of the boiler, causing scaling and build up throughout your heating system. That results in innumerable problems. The boiler could suffer from corrosion on the sides. The build-up could interfere with flow through the pipes, retarding the heating process considerably. In some cases, it can also serve as unwanted insulation against the heating, forcing your boiler to work harder in order to heat the water to the temperature it needs to be.

You can prevent this by ensuring that the water you use has been purified and adheres to the standards your boiler requires. You can contact a trained technician to deal with any existing deposits and to help ensure that no hard water is used in your system. At ACI Northwest, we can remove the deposits created by hard water and ensure that the problem doesn’t recur in the future.  Our service area includes Hayden, ID, heating repair is a specialty of ours, and we conduct all our operations with your complete satisfaction in mind. If you’re asking “can hard water affect my boiler?” give our Hayden, ID heating repair technicians call to set up an appointment today. You’ll be glad that you did.

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Common Electrical Problems with Your Heater

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Although contemporary homes can depend on a variety of energy sources—natural gas, propane, and geothermal—electricity is an essential you’ll find almost everywhere. Because of electricity’s importance in running your home, it will probably have some connection to your heater, even if it is only to power the thermostat. Heaters can develop a number of problems due to electrical failures, most of which will require the work of a trained HVAC technician to repair.

Here are some common electrical problems your heater may encounter. If you need help with repairs for your heating in Hayden, ID, make sure you call professionals; don’t try to do the work yourself or rely on a friend or relative with some basic knowledge of electricity. Contact experts like those at ACI Northwest. We are on-call to assist you, 24 hours a day.

Common electrical problems in heaters

Failed heating elements: This applies to electrical furnaces and boilers, both of which use heating elements—sets of coils that burn hot as current passes through them—to raise the temperature of air (furnaces) or water (boilers). They can fail like any electrical system, which will reduce your heating ability. Furnaces and boilers contain more than one heating element, so if one fails you probably won’t lose your heat entirely, but the heater will no longer be able to match its target temperature. Have an HVAC expert open up your heater, removed the failed element, and replace it.

Capacitor issues: If you have a heat pump, this is the most common electrical trouble you may encounter. Capacitors are cylindrical devices about the size of soda cans that are responsible for sending electrical charges to the motors to start and keep them running. Capacitors can burn out or suffer from wiring problems, and this will cause the heat pump to “hard start” (draining power) or quit operating entirely. A technician will have to replace the damaged capacitors.

Thermostat wiring problems: Even if your heating system runs off natural gas, oil, propane, or geothermal power, it almost certainly has an electrical thermostat controlling it. Thermostats with faulty wiring will start to malfunction, often incorrectly registering your home’s temperature or failing to accurately set the heater. If you notice your heater is unable to reach its target temperature despite showing no other signs of malfunctioning, thermostat may be to blame.

Electrical problems pose a serious danger to anyone who works with them and lacks experience. Avoid the risk of a high voltage shock, or causing additional electrical problems through haphazard tinkering. Get the job done safely and correctly with a professional Hayden, ID heating technician. ACI Northwest will deliver the service you need to solve your heating problems in Hayden, ID —electrical or any other type.

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