Archive for December, 2013

The Ball in Times Square

Monday, December 30th, 2013

New Year’s is a time for parties, fun and great traditions, some of which go back more than a century. Among them is the famous “dropping of the ball” in Times Square, an event which is broadcast to millions of people every New Year’s Eve. With 2014 nearly upon us, we thought we’d take the opportunity to look at the history of this popular New Year’s Eve festivity.

The idea began in 1907 at what was then the New York Times building at One Times Square. The newspaper’s owner, Adolph Ochs, had been celebrating the New Year with fireworks since 1903. He wanted make the event even more remarkable, and added the ball in December of 1907 to welcome in the New Year. The first ball was designed by Artkraft Strauss, who made it out of iron, wood, and light bulbs. It took six men to hoist the ball up the building’s flag pole; once midnight struck, the tremendous ball was carefully lowered, and all were allowed to marvel at it.

Since then, the ball has undergone many changes in materials and design, and even the New York Times has moved to another building. But the tradition remains and the ball has dropped over One Times Square ever since. Today, the ball is electronically controlled, and uses LED lamps for its construction: designed by Waterford Crystal and weighing in at over 1,200 pounds.

A number of television broadcasts have helped carry the event over the years, but by far the most famous is “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” which first ran in 1972. The show was created and hosted by Dick Clark, who became a staple of the event as much as the ball itself. Clark hosted the show every New Year’s Eve from 1972 until his death in 2012. Since then, it has been hosted by Ryan Seacrest, who shared hosting duties with Clark starting in 2005.

Whether you’re watching the ball drop on TV or have some other New Year’s Eve plan in mind, we here at Comfort Central, Inc. wish you nothing but the best for 2014. Have a safe and happy New Year!

Comfort Central Earns the Super Service Award for 2013 from Angie’s List

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Here at Comfort Central we care about our customers and the quality of our work first and foremost. It’s this dedication to excellence that has led to us earning the Super Service Award from Angie’s List for 2013. Thank you to all of our patrons and the community members that have supported us over the past year and beyond, we really appreciate your business! Remember to call Comfort Central for all of your HVAC needs in the greater Asheville, North Carolina area and have a Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Holiday greetings from Comfort Central, Inc.! We hope you are having safe and pleasant season, enjoying your favorite traditions for this time of year. We wish you the very best, and we thank you for your business this year.

In honor of the season, here are some fun facts about one of everyone’s favorite holiday movies: It’s a Wonderful Life.

For years, one of the enduring December traditions in the United States was watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life playing almost nonstop on numerous television stations. No matter the time of the day, you could turn on the TV set, flip through channels, and discover It’s a Wonderful Life playing. Whenever you needed him, you could find Jimmy Stewart shouting, “Hello, Bedford Falls!”

But now… It’s a Wonderful Life only appears on broadcast television a few times during December, and most families instead choose to watch the movie on video. What happened?

The reason goes back to the film’s initial wide release in January 1947. (That’s right, it opened after the holiday season. It was not even promoted as a holiday film.) It’s a Wonderful Life was a box-office disappointment at the time, and its studio, RKO Radio Pictures, lost more than half a million on it. The movie’s production company, Liberty Films, was sold to Paramount to avoid bank foreclosure. (A bit ironic, considering the movie’s plot.) In 1955, the National Telefilm Associates (NTA) took over the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life, which included the television syndication rights.

However, NTA failed to properly renew the copyright in 1974 because of a clerical error, which allowed the film’s images to enter into the public domain. Although the movie’s plot was still under copyright protection because it was adapted from a published story called “The Greatest Gift,” television stations across the world could now broadcast it with only minimal royalty payments.

In 1993, Republic Pictures, which now owned the NTA library, tried to enforce their claim to the copyright of the film, as they possessed the rights to “The Greatest Gift.” Republic Pictures succeeded, and licensed exclusive television rights to NBC. Suddenly, It’s a Wonderful Life vanished from local television stations, and NBC made the movie’s broadcasts—usually twice during December—into major events. As of 1998, Paramount again has the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life… 43 years after they lost them.

It’s still easy to make It’s a Wonderful Life a part of whatever traditions you observe during the holidays, whether through home video or television broadcasts. Despite its lackluster initial reception in 1947, Frank Capra’s film is now an inseparable part of December in the United States.

Have a great holiday week!

Heating Systems in Asheville, NC: Some Pros and Cons

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Heating in Asheville, NC is no laughing matter. Our winters can get quite cold and a good heating system is often your best friend when it comes to keeping your house cozy and comfortable. Traditionally, most people in our area have heated their homes with either gas furnaces or boilers. But those aren’t the only choices. Numerous options are available, each of which carries their own share of advantages and disadvantages. When looking at heating systems it Asheville, it pays study some pros and cons. We’ve laid out a few for you below:

  • Gas furnaces. Gas furnaces used forced air technology: heating the air in a central system before distributing it throughout the household via a system of ducts. They’re easy to install, efficient, and most people are very comfortable with them. However, there is some energy loss that happens in the air ducts when you have a forced air system, and dirt and dust can also be circulated throughout your home.
  • Boilers. Boilers use heated water circulated via a system of pipes to heat the home. They don’t use air ducts, which means they are quieter than furnaces and their are fewer indoor air quality issues. They are very reliable and tend to be very long-lasting. However, they also take longer to heat your home and usually cost more to install.
  • Heat pumps. Heat pumps can both heat and cool your home with a single unit. Since they transfer heat, instead of create it by burning a fuel, they are a very efficient and environmentally friendly option. However, they may need help when temperatures get particularly cold.
  • Radiant heating. These systems install tubes or electric coils in your floor, then warm it to spread radiant heat through your home. As you may imagine, installation costs quite a bit, but the system is very efficient and can increase the value of your home in the process.
  • Geothermal heating. This form of heating buries coils in the ground, facilitating a heat exchange with the temperature in the earth (which doesn’t alter based on the weather outside). As with other systems mentioned, it costs a fair amount to install and usually requires at least a little standing land on your property. It is inexpensive and reliable once it’s set up, however.

If you’re looking at heating systems in Asheville, NC and want to discuss some pros and cons, Comfort Central is here to help. 

3 Reasons Your Furnace is So Expensive to Run

Monday, December 9th, 2013

In Hendersonville, furnaces are often the go-to method of heating your home. They fit our local climate extremely well and can provide excellent heating power when the winter nights get cold. While heating your home is never free, if your heating bills seem very high, there are a few things you can do. Here are 3 reasons your furnace in Hendersonville is so expensive to run, along with ways to cut down on those costs.

  • The furnace has not been maintained. The internal components of the furnace will build up dust and grime over time, which increases friction in moving parts and can interfere with other parts of the heating process as well. In addition, general wear and tear can reduce the efficiency of a furnace, costing you more in monthly energy bills. You can address this issue by scheduling a maintenance visit from a trained technician, preferably in the fall before heating season begins in earnest.
  • Your home isn’t well insulated and sealed. This isn’t just insulation in the walls and attic, but it also means things like cracks under the front door and windows, as well as window panes made of aluminum and other non-insulated materials. These can leach heat out of your home, forcing your furnace to work harder to keep it warm. You can address it by adding insulation – particularly in the attic, since hot air rises – and by using weather stripping to seal the cracks around your doors and windows.
  • Heating when you don’t need to.  If you have times during the day when the house is usually empty, such as when everyone is at work or school, you can turn down the heat during that time (though for people with boilers and heat pumps, we don’t recommend a set back more than 5 degrees). A programmable thermostat can do this automatically, saving your money without any extra effort on your part. A zone control system can allow you to keep different areas of your home at different temperatures, so you don’t have to waste heat keeping the empty guest bedroom at the same temperature as the rest of your home.

For other reasons why your furnace in Hendersonville is so expensive to run, as well as installation and upgrade ideas on making the most out of your furnace, contact the experts at Comfort Central. We handle Hendersonville furnace issues of all varieties, so don’t hesitate to give us a call!