Archive for February, 2014

Refrigerant and Your Heat Pump

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Your heat pump depends upon refrigerant to do its job. Beginning as a gas, the refrigerant cycles through a series of valves and coils that first convert it into a liquid form (which releases heat into the air outside) then return it to a gaseous form (which absorbs heat from the air inside your home). The cooled air can then be blown into your home via a series of fans. The principle is the same as traditional air conditioners. The only difference is that air conditioners aren’t able to reverse that process to heat your home in the winter. Here in Brevard,  many people have heat pumps in their homes, since it works well in places with mild winters like North Carolina. Understanding how refrigerant and your heat pump work together also helps explain what happens when refrigerant levels drop.

The refrigerant in your heat pump cycles through a closed system, cycling through the valves and coils in a continuous loop. Sometimes, however, leaks can spring up and lead to a loss of refrigerant. In order for the heating or cooling process to work, refrigerant needs to be at a specific set level. (The exact level depends on the precise make and model of heat pump.) When those levels drop, the heat pump can’t work the way it needs to. Its heating and cooling capacity is diminished, meaning that it needs to work harder in order to do its job (costing you additional money in monthly bills). Frost tends to form on the evaporator coils, which acts as insulation between the remaining refrigerant and the air it’s supposed to absorb heat from. The issue is compounded, and will only get worse until refrigerant levels are restored.

That’s where trained technicians like the experts at Comfort Central, Inc. come in. We understand the link between refrigerant and your heat pump, and can clear up leaks and other problems before recharging the refrigerant to its proper levels. Call us today to schedule heat pump service in Brevard, NC or the surrounding areas.

How Rust Appears in a Boiler

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Rust is a product of corrosion, the reaction of metal and water in the presence of oxygen. Rust should always be a concern to homeowners when it appears on appliances, and it usually calls for professional repairs.

Considering that boilers are primarily metal devices that circulate hot water, people are often surprised that they don’t rust more often. Boiler manufacturers design them to resist corrosion, principally through limiting the presence of oxygen within the system. Nonetheless, rust can occur on a boiler, and when it does, you’ll need trained professionals to find out why and fix the problem.

We’ll offer a short explanation for how rust can develop across your boiler. If you need help with this problem, call Comfort Central, Inc. and we will send our NATE-certified technicians to tend to your boiler in Hendersonville, NC.

Rust and your boiler

  • Stress cracking: Because boilers are constantly heating up and cooling down, there is a small amount of metal expansion that occurs along the tank. This can eventually cause cracks to develop that will allow oxygen inside. Dissolved oxygen in water is a prime promoter of rust. Along with removing the rust, repair technicians must fix the cracking.
  • Poor pH control: A high acid level inside a boiler will cause rust to develop. The main source of this problem is contamination in the boiler feedwater—the water that enters the tank. Although the water in your boiler runs in a closed system, outside compounds can enter through breaks in underground pipes. If new water introduced into your boiler after repairs isn’t properly treated, it can also have high pH levels.
  • Deposits: Boilers often pick up sediment in the water running through them, which falls to the bottom of the tank during heating. This sediment can allow in chemicals such as ammonia and sulfurous gases that promote corrosion. Regular tank flushing is necessary to prevent sediment build-up.

Avoid boiler rust with regular maintenance

The best way to keep a boiler from developing rust is to have a yearly check-up from an HVAC technician. Each year, the technician will check on the boiler’s operation and clean components that need it. Flushing out the tank will often help prevent the development of the conditions that will promote rust. Not only will maintenance help you avoid rust, it will make the boiler more efficient and catch other potential repairs.

Contact Comfort Central, Inc. today to ask about our maintenance program and how it can help your boiler in Hendersonville, NC.

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,                                                                         

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.                                                                  

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at Comfort Central, Inc. hope you have a wonderful February 14th!

Why Dual Fuel Hybrid Heating Systems Are a Good Option

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Dual fuel hybrid heating combines the technology of two distinct heating systems – a heat pump and a furnace – in order to keep your home comfortable. Heat pumps use a closed loop system that circulates refrigerant through a series of valves and coils. It doesn’t generate heat on its own, it merely transfers heat from the outside to the inside your home (and vice versa in the summer). The furnace usually burns natural gas to create heat, serving as a backup for the heat pump when it is very cold outside. Here’s why dual fuel hybrid heating systems are a good option for heating in Asheville, NC.

In and of themselves, heat pumps are extremely efficient, since they don’t need to use energy to generate heat themselves. And because they function as both a heater and an air conditioner, you can use them at any time of the year. That makes them very cost effective as well, saving you a great deal of money on your monthly energy bills.

There’s just one hitch: heat pumps become less effective when temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The colder the weather, the less efficiently they are able to transfer heat. North Carolina benefits from fairly mild winters, but we have our share of cold days when the heat pump’s backup electric resistance coils will need to turn on to heat your home, which use a lot of energy.

Dual fuel hybrid heating systems make the perfect solution. The auxiliary furnace kicks in when temperatures drop to make up the difference,  providing the heat needed to make your home cozy and comfortable. Because the heat pump provides the heating during the milder weather, this can save you a lot of money compared to just heating your home with a furnace the entire winter.

For installation and other issues regarding heating in Asheville, NC, Comfort Central Inc. can help.  We know why dual fuel hybrid heating systems are a good option, and we can discuss your choices with you before performing an expert installation. Give us a call to set up a consultation. You’ll be glad that you did!