ACI Northwest Blog : Archive for December, 2013

New Year’s Traditions Explained

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

2014 is almost upon us, and with the coming of the New Year, we thought we’d take a brief look at some of the more popular traditions associated with this holiday. It’s been around for at least 4,000 years: as long as we’ve figured out how long it takes for the seasons to come and go. Here’s a quick discussion about some of our more modern traditions and where they started:

  • Auld Lang Syne. The famous song began in Scotland, where it was published by Robert Burns in 1796.  He claims he initially heard it sung by an elderly resident of his hometown, which suggests it has traditional folk origins even before that. It became even more popular when big band leader, Guy Lombardo, started playing it every New Year’s Eve, starting in 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.
  • The Dropping of the Ball in Times Square. The tradition of dropping the ball in Times Square started in 1907. It was made out of iron and wood with light bulbs located on the surface, and the ball originally “dropped” over the offices of the New York Times at One Times Square. Dick Clark famously broadcast the event every year from 1972, until his death in 2012.
  • The Rose Parade. The Tournament of Roses Parade has been held in Pasadena every year since 1890; taking advantage of California’s warm weather to present a parade of floats, bands and horses. A football game was eventually added to the festivities in 1902, when Michigan dominated Stanford’s team by a score of 49-0
  • Baby New Year. The use of a baby to signify the New Year dates back to Ancient Greece, where it symbolized the rebirth of Dionysus (the God of wine and parties). Early Christians initially resisted the pagan elements of the story, but soon came to adopt it since it matched the traditional Christmas symbol of baby Jesus in the manger. Today, people of all faiths and traditions refer to the New Year as a baby, representing new beginnings.

Whatever traditions you choose to celebrate, we here at ACI Northwest wish you the very safest and happiest of New Years. May 2014 bring you nothing but the best!

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

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Holiday greetings from all of us at ACI Northwest!

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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Should My Boiler Have Rust on It?

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Boilers are systems where water is in constant contact with metal. Usually, this mean that rust developing is inevitable. So if rust appears on a boiler, that’s just a natural process, right?

No, it isn’t… your boiler shouldn’t have any rust on it, as we’ll explain. If you do notice rust along parts of your boiler, you need to have professional boiler repair technicians examine it and find out what needs to be done. For excellent heating repair services in Hayden, ID, call ACI Northwest.

Rust and your boiler

Boilers have safety devices installed to prevent rust. The most important is an anode rod at the top of the tank, which is sometimes called a “sacrificial rod” because its job is to rust away first before the rust can enter into the boiler tank—hence, sacrificing itself. If the anode rod rusts completely, which it eventually will, then rust will start to afflict the rest of the boiler. This is a reason why you need to enroll in regular maintenance; technicians will routinely replace the anode rod before it stops functioning.

So why is rust such a problem for a boiler? The first reason is that rust weakens metal. Any corrosion that affects metal will start to break it apart until it flakes and crumbles away. Weakened metal in the boiler tank will mean leaks; the pressure inside the tank will start breaking through the rusted sections. The rust will start affecting the connectors to the tank and cause leaks to start there as well. If the spread of the rust isn’t stopped, the whole boiler tank may need to be replaced because of leaking that can’t be repaired.

Another problem that rust causes boilers is that it imbalances the temperature inside the tank. Rust is an insulator, and if it starts to enter the inside of the tank, it will trap additional heat, causing the boiler to overheat. Overheating will trigger numerous problems throughout the boiler, including creating more leaks.

If caught soon enough, rust can usually be removed with professional attention. The boiler repair technicians will also track down the reason the rust started so they can stop it from returning. Rust will spread if left alone, so act immediately when you notice any corrosion on your boiler tank or other part of your heating system. The technicians at ACI Northwest are NATE-certified and have the proper training to take care of your heating repair in Hayden, ID so you’ll have a healthy boiler once more.

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Common Heat Pump Repairs to Look Out For

Monday, December 9th, 2013

In a Spokane winter, a heat pump is one of the best choices for home heating. Heat pumps work as both heaters and air conditioners, and they have enough heating efficiency to get through a Washington winter. They are also dependable and sturdy, but they can suffer from a number of repair needs that will cut down on their effectiveness.

This list contains some common repairs that heat pumps may require. Contact ACI Northwest, 24/7, if you need have any of these repairs done. We have 85 years of experience behind us to make sure you have only warm days ahead of you, so look to us for professional heating repair service in Spokane, WA.

  • Leaking refrigerant: Heat pumps operate through the process of heat exchange, and this requires a chemical compound called refrigerant. Refrigerant shifts heat from outdoors and moves it indoors. During normal operation, refrigerant does not get used up. However, if a leak develops along a refrigerant line, it will cause the heat pump to lose its ability to draw heat from outside and bring it inside to warm your home. You will need a technician to seal the leak and recharge the refrigerant.
  • Broken reversing valve: One of the main differences between a standalone air conditioner and a heat pump is the reversing valve. This valve changes the direction of refrigerant, allowing a heat pump to switch between heating and cooling. A broken valve will cause the heat pump to become stuck in one mode, and it will need to be replaced. If your heat pump will only give you cool air, then you probably need to have professionals replace the reversing valve.
  • Burned out compressors: Compressors are at the heart of a heat pump, since they are responsible for sending refrigerant through the unit and carrying out the heat exchange. However, compressors work in a way similar to a piston motor, and can wear down the same way that motors do. If you start hearing grinding noises from your heat pump and notice a loss of heating power, then the compressor may be at fault and will need to be replaced.

ACI Northwest has NATE-certified heating technicians ready to help you with your heating repair in Spokane, WA, whether it’s a malfunctioning heat pump with leaking refrigerant or burnt-out motors in a gas furnace. Contact us any time of the day or night.

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Why Replacing Your Heater Might Be Your Best Bet

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

The beautiful Spokane winter is almost here. Are you prepared to make the most of it? Specifically, is your heater prepared to make the most of it for you? Although modern heaters can last for many years, eventually a time will come when you must consider replacement as a serious option. In this post we will go over some reasons why it may be time to stop calling for repairs and instead call for a new heating installation. You should have the best heating in Spokane, WA possible to make the winter pleasant instead of something you must simply endure.

ACI Northwest has more than 85 years of experience providing professional heating service to Spokane; we’ve seen many developments in heating technology, so trust us to help you select the right heater to replace your old one—and then trust us to install it correctly.

Ways to tell that you should replace your heater instead of repair it:

  • It’s extremely old: The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that you have your heating system inspected if it is over 15 years old (10 years for heat pumps). An older heating system will often start to work inefficiently, increasing your heating bills while declining in its ability to keep you warm.
  • Repairs are becoming regular: Look over the last two years’ worth of repair service calls. If you’re spending a large amount of money having repairs done to your heater to keep it working, then it may be more cost-effective to invest in a replacement heater than continuing with repairs that will only increase until the heater breaks down entirely.
  • You can’t get control of your heating bills: A brief spike in your bills usually indicates that your heater needs repairs. However, if your heating bills increase and nothing seems to reduce them, then the reason is probably a heater approaching the end of its service life. A new heater with improved energy efficiency will take care of those high bills.

Have experts assist you

Before you decide on having a new heater installed, bring in the Spokane heating replacement experts for a professional analysis. An HVAC technician can determine if a new heater is the best option, and recommend types and models for your replacement. You will also need these experts to carry out the installation when the time comes; a heater installed by amateurs can pose health hazards and on average works 30% less efficiently than one that received a professional installation.

ACI Northwest will help you through the process of choosing and installing a new heater if that is your best option. We back up our work with a written unconditional one-year money-back satisfaction guarantee.

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