Archive for December, 2014

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

“No two snowflakes are alike.”

This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at Comfort Central, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!

Advantages of a High Velocity Heating System

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Thanks to certain kinds of heating systems, not having traditional ductwork in your home is no longer an obstacle. Ductless systems and high velocity systems both offer heating and cooling, and do so without the need for traditional ductwork. While both ductless systems and high velocity systems use a heat pump to provide heating and cooling, each system works differently. Today we’re going to take a look at what a high velocity heating system in Hendersonville can offer you and your home.

What Is a High Velocity System?

A high velocity system is comprised of a heat pump, small air handler and flexible, narrow tubing that functions as ductwork because it is snaked through your walls and given an outlet by which to distribute the air. The condenser and compressor are housed in an outside unit, and the air handler can be placed in a closet or other small space; the air handler and outdoor unit are connected via the refrigerant line. The tubing, which is 2” in diameter, is installed into your home with little to no need for construction; the outlets for the tubing are the same width as the tubing.

The way a high velocity system heats and cools your home is via a method called aspiration. With aspiration, the air is blown into your living spaces at a high rate of speed – about 2,000 feet per second. This high rate of speed forces the air in the room to mix, making the room comfortable.

Benefits of a High Velocity System

So why should you consider the installation of a high velocity system? Here are some reasons to consider:

  • The system fits virtually any home – because of the flexible tubing, a high velocity system can fit with just about any home; they can be especially good systems for retro-fitting.
  • Very energy efficient – the high rate of the air allows the system to use about half the air flow of other forced-air systems; additionally, the heat pump only needs about 25% of the electricity of a standard air conditioning system to operate.
  • No more uneven heating – air currents are created in your living spaces due to the velocity of the incoming air from the system; this heats and cools your home very evenly.

Does a high velocity system sound like it may be a fit for your home? Call Comfort Central, Inc. today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts!

Create a Healthier Home With Radiant Heating

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Heat transfers from one place to another in three different ways. Convection is heat moving through air, water, or other fluid. Conduction is heat moving through contact. Radiation is heat moving as charged particles traveling from a heated surface to other surfaces. Radiant heat is what you feel when you sense heat coming from a rock warmed by the sun, for example.

Radiant heating for a home can come from hydronic floor heating, where heated water in a boiler runs through pipes built into the floorboards and raises the floor’s temperature. Boilers can also provide radiant heating through baseboard heaters or radiators. Radiant heating doesn’t have to come through hydronic power: electrical heating elements in panels can also provide it, although hydronic systems are more popular because they cost less to run.

To find out more about systems that provide radiant heat in Waynesville, NC and the surrounding areas, contact the knowledgeable HVAC technicians at Comfort Central, Inc. If you believe that a radiant heater is right for your home, we will make sure that you receive the ideal system and install it so that it works at its best.

The Health Benefits of Radiant Heating

There are many reasons to consider a radiant heater over a standard forced-air system (such as a furnace or heat pump). One of the best advantages that radiant heating has is that it promotes a healthier indoor environment.

Most forced-air heating uses ductwork to send air to rooms. Ductwork has the drawback of collecting dust, dirt, pollen, dander, debris, and even bacteria and viruses. This leads to poor quality air circulating through a home. But radiant heating does not use ducts of any kind, and the heat moves from one object to the other without any air currents that can pick up dust and dirt. The heat that comes off a radiator, an electrical heat panel, or a heated floorboard will carry no contamination in it, and that means a reduced spread of dust and dirt and other pollutants through a home.

Radiant heating is especially beneficial for the health of people in a household who suffer from asthma or allergies. If you switch from a furnace or heat pump to a radiant heating system, you will find that allergy and asthma symptoms in the home will noticeably decline. Radiant heating will also help slow the spread of pet dander through a house.

Installing radiant heating is a large job and often requires the removal of construction material to put down panels and pipes. You will need the assistance of the team at Comfort Central, Inc. to take care of the work. Call us today and let us help your home in Waynesville, NC with radiant heat that will keep your family comfortable and healthy.

How Radiant Floor Heating Can Save You Money

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

The concept of using hot water to heat homes has been around for over a thousand years, the prevalence of forced air systems has caused radiant heating to remain a fringe option for many homeowners. This is unfortunate, as radiant floor heating actually has quite a lot going for it. Read on to find out how radiant floor heating can save you money.

How it Works

Radiant floor heating involves the installation of water pipes in the walls or subfloor of each room you want to be heated. This network of pipes is then hooked up to a central boiler. The boiler heats and distributes water through this pipe system. As the water flows through these pipes, it transmits its heat through them, the wall or floor, and into the room. This is the reason that the system is called “radiant heating,” because the heat radiates through solid objects.

Benefits of Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant floor heating operates in a very different way from the forced air systems common to most homes. In order to understand radiant heating’s benefits, it is best to understand some of forced air systems’ drawbacks.

When warm air is blown into a room by a forced air system, it naturally rises to the top of the room. As the air cools, it sinks back down to the floor. This often creates uncomfortable cold spots in rooms heated by forced air systems. Forced air systems also lose a great deal of their heat to leaks in the ductwork, as much as 30%, according to the US Department of Energy.

Radiant heating systems avoid both of these drawbacks through their delivery methods. By transmitting heat through solid objects instead of air, radiant heating systems evenly heat the entire room instead of creating cold spots. By avoiding ductwork, radiant heating transports far more heat to the target destination. These two things make radiant heating systems far more energy efficient. By using less energy, radiant heating systems can save you far more money than forced air systems can.

If you’d like to know more about our professional radiant heat services, call Comfort Central, Inc. to speak with one of our qualified technicians or schedule a service appointment today. Our heating professionals cover all of Waynesville.