iAir Services Blog: Archive for December, 2014

5 Facts about Santa Claus

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Many holiday traditions involve the story of Santa Claus, the lovable old man who spends most of his time at the North Pole taking a single evening to deliver presents and candy to children everywhere. But since Santa Claus is so elusive (unless he happens to be visiting your local shopping mall), how do we know so much about him? Where exactly does his journey begin? Our holiday guide details 5 of the most common traditions associated with Jolly Old Saint Nick.

  1. The Origins of Santa: The name “Santa Claus” comes from St. Nicholas (a name which became Sinter Klaas for short in Dutch), a Christian Bishop from 4 A.D. who was known for giving his fortune away to those in need in Turkey. Santa Claus’ first associations with gift-giving comes from Holland’s St. Nicholas’ feast day, during which children would leave out their shoes overnight and find presents waiting inside the shoes on the next morning.
  1. The Stocking by the Chimney: While many people associate Holland’s shoe tradition with the origins of hanging a stocking, this isn’t entirely accurate. Hanging stockings instead comes from the legend of a time St. Nick helped a man afford to marry off his daughter by throwing a bag of gold down the chimney, which landed in a stocking that was hanging up to dry.
  1. St. Nick’s Outfit: Santa got his fashion sense from a wooden cutout handed out during a meeting of the New York Historical Society in 1804. But it wasn’t until a 1930s Coca Cola advertisement that his traditionally blue, white, and green outfit was transformed into a big red suit.
  1. Leaving Cookies out for Santa: Food was traditionally used as ornamentation during the holidays in medieval Germany as apples and cookies commonly adorned the home at wintertime. When the Christmas tree became a common symbol of the season, edible treats began to vanish, a phenomenon which became attributed to Santa Claus’ snacking habits.
  1. Why Santa Drives a Sleigh: Santa gets his sleigh from a tale spun by Washington Irving, the same author who brought us the Headless Horseman. He wrote down an account of a dream in which Santa Claus drives a weightless wagon through the sky, and the stories became so popular, they stuck around.

Here at Intelligent Air Services, we hope that you have a joyful and safe celebration, no matter what holiday traditions you engage in this year. Happy holidays!

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Can I Schedule Heating Maintenance in Winter?

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Some times of year are better than other for heating maintenance, but the simple truth is that if you haven’t scheduled maintenance for your heating system in more than 12 months, any time is a good time to schedule maintenance. Why? Maintenance provides benefits for you and your system that last throughout the winter months. Need to schedule maintenance for your heating system in Austin? Call Intelligent Air Services today!

What Happens During a Maintenance Appointment?

A maintenance appointment is really a full tune-up of your heating system. Some of the tasks performed include:

  • Thorough inspection of entire system
  • Small repairs made as needed (corroded/frayed wiring, worn fan belts, etc.)
  • Cleaning of components, including burner assembly
  • Adjustments and lubrication of components
  • Inspection of components for cracks or holes
  • Checking and cleaning of blower (furnace)
  • Check of refrigerant levels (for heat pumps only)
  • Safety checks, including for carbon monoxide
  • Testing of system performance

Why Is This Important?

The thorough inspection of the system allows the technician to detect any existing or developing problems and get ahead of them; should there be a significant problem discovered, you’ll be notified about the problem and given an opportunity to schedule repair. This thorough inspection can help prevent repairs occurring down the road. Cleaning is very important as it removes dirt and dust that can interfere with the operation of the components in your heating system, and lubrication is critical for all moving parts; otherwise, they may grind. If you have a heat pump, it’s very important that the refrigerant level be exact and that no refrigerant leaks have developed that can affect the operation of your system. Combustion systems need to be checked annually for safety purposes and to ensure that the system is running efficiently. All of these things are taken care of during a maintenance appointment, which is why maintenance is so important.

There is no “perfect” time to schedule maintenance. If it’s been more than 12 months since your last maintenance appointment, contact us today!

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Understanding the Importance of Good Ductwork in Your Home

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Your ducts are the unsung heroes of your home’s heating and air conditioning systems. They are what make it possible for the system to circulate air throughout the house, maintaining a comfortable temperature and keeping your air fresh. Despite the crucial nature of ductwork in forced air systems, however, they are often neglected by homeowners. Their unobtrusive, and often silent, natures foster notions that they don’t need maintenance. This is a terrible shame, and one that we’d like to remedy. Let’s examine why you should make sure the ductwork in your home is in good condition.

Contaminants

All ductwork is vulnerable to certain airborne contaminants. Dust, for example, has a tendency to build up in ducts and on your forced air system itself over time. There isn’t really a way to wholly prevent this, but the real issue is all the other pollutants that can infest the ductwork if left unchecked. Bacteria, viruses, pollen, insect dander, and even mold can all make their homes in your ducts if you don’t look after them. These contaminants can cause allergy attacks, illness, and generally decrease the air quality in your home. Having your ducts cleaned every one or two years can drastically decrease the population of these contaminants.

Energy Efficiency

The US Department of Energy estimates that forced air systems lose as much as 30% of their heat on average to leaks in the home’s ductwork. That’s almost a third of your heater’s heat that is being wasted before it gets to its destination. This translates to a great deal of money spent each month on heating that you aren’t benefitting from. Leaks in the ducts are often quite small, but when there’s enough of them the damage can add up quickly. Due to the nature of the ductwork, you likely won’t be able to identify the leaks yourself through visual inspection. The best thing to do is have a professional conduct duct sealing on your ductwork. This takes care of any leaks that may be costing you money.

If you haven’t thought about duct cleaning or sealing in a while, call Intelligent Air Services. We provide heating repair services throughout Austin, TX.

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What Furnace Noises Mean: An Austin Heating Guide

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Furnaces have a tendency to develop all sorts of strange quirks as they get older, with one of the most common being strange noises. When you first hear noises coming from your furnace, it can be a bit disconcerting. Though some of these noises are completely harmless, and are often part of the furnace’s regular operation, there are some of which you should be aware. Let’s examine some sounds that indicate a need for professional attention.

Squealing

A squealing sound coming from your furnace, usually on startup, is a sign that your fan belt is wearing out. The fan belt is a rubber loop that attaches to both the furnace fan and the motor. When the motor turns on, the fan belt turns and causes the fan to turn, as well. As the fan belt ages, it stretches and often cracks. The squealing sound you hear is caused by this wear and tear. If you hear this sound coming from your furnace, have a professional look at it. You’ll likely need to replace the fan belt.

Rattling or Grinding

Rattling and/or grinding noises are often caused by the bearings in your furnace motor wearing out. The bearings are there to keep your motor running smoothly, with as little friction as possible. Over time, these bearings can lose their lubrication from normal use. This is what causes the rattling or grinding sound you hear from your furnace motor. It is possible that you could simply re-oil the bearings. Depending on how advanced the wear and tear is, however, they may have to be replaced.

Booming

A loud booming coming from the ducts while the heat is on is usually the result of simple expansion. Exposing the ducts to heat, especially in cold weather, can cause them to expand and contract as they cool off. A problem with the burners is another possibility. Honestly, this sound could be either innocuous or a sign of a larger problem. When in doubt, call a professional just to be safe.

If you’re concerned about the sounds coming from your furnace, call Intelligent Air Services. We offer professional heating repairs throughout the entire Austin area.

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