The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

September 1st, 2014

You may have heard about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. In the present, this tradition is usually treated as old fashioned and a joke. Few people will criticize you for wearing white articles of clothing after the first Monday in September, or even take notice of it except to wonder why it was ever a major concern at all.

Where did this tradition of white clothing going out of fashion after Labor Day come from, and why did it fade away like colorful fabric washed in a hot load in the washing machine?

In general, white makes sense for the heat of summer. Light-colored clothing reflects away the radiant heat of the sun, instead of absorbing it the way dark colors do, so for thousands of years of human history people have preferred to wear white clothing during the hotter months.

However, the idea of white as strictly fashionable during the summer season only emerged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the time when the very concept of “fashion” began to spread across the Western Hemisphere.

It was only the highest level of post-Civil War society in the U.S. that strict and often bizarre rules for fashion controlled whether someone was in with the “in” crowd. Compared to our ideas of what’s fashionable today, the Czars of Style in the 1880s were true despots. Things as trivial as sleeve length could determine whether a woman in high society—no matter her level of wealth—was fashionable or a pariah.

Wearing white during the only summer, when it was common for weddings and outdoor parties, was only of these restrictive society rules. When the U.S. government made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, the Fashion Czars gained a definite cut-off point for when wearing white was no longer “acceptable” in the upper echelons of wealthy society.

For many decades, this rule only applied to a small number of millionaire socialites in a few big cities, but in the 1950s it reached general fashion magazines that were read around the country and started to affect more people.

But time eventually broke apart this odd rule, and during the 1970s fashion became more individual. Some fashion legends, like Coco Chanel, also purposely rejected the restriction and wore white throughout the year. Today, the “no white after Labor Day rule” is little more than an amusing gag to tease friends, and almost nobody takes it seriously.

Whatever you choose to wear after Labor Day (and if it’s white, we won’t tease!), everyone here at Astro Air Inc. hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

How Do Professionals Handle Duct Sealing?

August 22nd, 2014

Ductwork is complex: it isn’t very visible, it can snake through walls and crawl spaces, and it can be difficult to access. It’s these factors, plus a true understanding of how to work on ducts, that makes it important you hire a professional for your duct sealing service in Lake Worth. Since 1986, Astro Air Inc. has been serving the Lake Worth and surrounding communities, and we have seen first-hand how duct sealing can help you and your air conditioning system.

Benefits of Duct Sealing

There are several ways in which duct sealing can help you and your air conditioner:

  • Better energy efficiency – over time, your ductwork can develop holes, cracks and broken seals, or disconnect from other sections. These types of gaps can cause air loss in your system, for which your air conditioner has to compensate. Any time your air conditioner needs to work harder, it uses more energy, which reduces its energy efficiency.
  • Better indoor air quality – openings in your ductwork can allow moisture, dust, dirt and other fumes and particles directly into your air stream. Sealing the ducts eliminates this, improving you the quality of your indoor air.
  • Better comfort – air loss in vents means less cooling is getting into your home, oftentimes leading to uneven cooling. When your air ducts are sealed, your air gets delivered in its entirety, leading to better comfort.

How Do Professionals Seal Ducts?

Here is a quick overview of how ducts are sealed by a trained technician:

  • Ends of the ducts are cleaned to help the sealant bond correctly.
  • The technician will brush mastic (a fibrous sealant) over the area to be repaired.
  • The technician will place fiberglass or foil tape over the mastic. Important note: never use duct tape to seal ducts. Duct tape, and any other tape, usually doesn’t stick and will degrade quickly.
  • A second coating of mastic will be added over the tape.
  • The mastic needs time to cure in order to harden properly, so it is left alone.
  • The technician will continue this process until all holes and cracks are repaired. To seal connections, he/she will use a metal binder and sheet metal nails to bind 2 sections together.

Typically, your technician will start at the indoor unit and work to the furthest register in your home. This is because there is higher pressure nearer to the indoor unit.

If you think you may be dealing with faulty ductwork, don’t take the risk of continuing to lose money through energy inefficiency. Call Astro Air, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our ductwork experts.

Why You Should Never Scrape Ice from the Evaporator Coil

August 13th, 2014

If you have a commercial air conditioning system, keeping the occupants of your building cool and comfortable is important. When you notice a repair need, you may be tempted to fix it yourself in an effort to save a little time and money. A frozen evaporator coil is a common repair need that you can often find if you know where to look. When you notice cooling problems, you may be able to locate instructions on how to access your packaged system and perform repairs on your own. If ice has formed along the evaporator coil, it may mean serious trouble for your AC. But scraping this ice off can be even worse. Instead, here are the reasons you should always call a professional for commercial air conditioning repair.

The main reason not to perform repairs on your own is that you put the comfort of your clients, customers, tenant, or employees at risk. Scraping ice off the evaporator coil can cause serious damage to your AC, leading to costly repairs that leave your property without any AC for even longer. The evaporator is a sensitive part and if it is damaged by a metal tool or blunt object, it may be unable to complete the heat exchange process.

Furthermore, scraping ice off the coil does not address the source of the problem. Ice on the evaporator coil is caused by low airflow. The coil helps to remove heat from your home as the warm indoor air blows over it. As refrigerant passes through the coil, it is very cool, so if warm air cannot cool it down, the water that forms outside of the coil may freeze. Low airflow may be caused by a dirty air filter, but it may also be due to a damaged fan or low refrigerant. These problems should only be fixed by a professional commercial air conditioning repair technician.

If your system is damaged by a frozen coil, the worst thing you can do is attempt to scrape it off on your own. The experts at Astro Air Inc. are far more qualified to handle this issue. Call us today for commercial air conditioning repair in Boca Raton.

What’s Inside the Condenser Unit of Your Air Conditioning System?

August 6th, 2014

While you certainly notice the large outdoor unit of your air conditioner every time you pass by, you may not think much about how exactly it helps cool your home. But the outdoor condenser unit contains the most important components of your AC unit, and you should take extra care to ensure that nothing keeps it from running smoothly and efficiently all summer long.

The outdoor condenser unit contains several key components of your air conditioner. In this post, we’re going to look at two of the most important features of the refrigeration process: the compressor and the condenser. Refrigerant cycles throughout your indoor and outdoor units, absorbing heat from your home and releasing it outdoors. The compressor and condenser are part of the heat release process and, if they are not in excellent working condition, you may feel no cool air in your home at all.

Compressor

Before refrigerant reaches the compressor, it absorbs heat from your home at the evaporator, leaving the indoor unit as a low-pressure gas. At the compressor, the molecules of the gas are compressed, and the increased pressure allows it to flow into the condenser coil to continue the refrigeration cycle.

For an air conditioner to cool your home, refrigerant must be able to change easily from a gas to a liquid, and, without a working compressor, this cannot occur. If a component of your air conditioner is not working properly, your compressor may become overworked, and compressor damage can lead to very costly repairs or replacement.

Condenser

At the condenser, heat releases into the air so that the thermodynamic process can continue. The condenser is a set of coils through which refrigerant travels, changing from a gas to a liquid and giving up heat in the process. In order for this process to occur, a condenser fan blows the outdoor air over the coil, and the heat released during condensation moves outside.

All parts of your air conditioner require regular maintenance to continue to work correctly and run efficiently. When you need air conditioning services in Palm Beach, FL trust the experts at Astro Air Inc. Give us a call today to schedule your next service appointment.

Hissing Noises Coming From Your AC in Boynton Beach

July 30th, 2014

As your air conditioner turns on, the humming sound you hear both indoors and out is often comforting. Soon, the heat in your home will be replaced with cool air, and you can relax knowing your air conditioner is working exactly as it should. But when you hear strange noises at the outside or inside unit of your AC, you should call a technician immediately to prevent further problems.

One of the most common noises homeowners hear in their air conditioning is a hissing noise. This may only be a minor disruption, and you may continue to receive some cool air, but it indicates damages that could cause your entire unit to fail.

Hissing noises are most often a sign of a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant is meant to stay at a constant level at all times. If this level ever changes, you may only hear a hissing noise or feel limited cooling, but the problem can worsen. The compressor is sized to handle a certain load of refrigerant, and this component may fail if the “charge,” or level, of refrigerant becomes too low.

Refrigerant will never dissipate on its own. If the hissing sound is indoors, outdoors, or anywhere along the refrigerant line, you most likely have a leak due to corrosion or a loose connection. If you have a heat pump, an extremely efficient source of air conditioning in Boynton Beach, you may have a leak in the reversing valve. This valve allows you to choose between heating and cooling with the same system, reversing the flow of refrigerant. A refrigerant leak in this component may be a source of hissing.

However, don’t attempt to diagnose or repair problems such as this on your own. Only qualified air conditioning technicians are trained to handle refrigerant. Furthermore, this noise may also indicate a leak in the ductwork or a compressor leak. The technicians at Astro Air Inc. are trained to recognize low refrigerant and other problems with your air conditioner, even before you begin to hear strange noises. For air conditioning repair in Boynton Beach, call us now!

Steps Involved in Ductwork Installation

July 21st, 2014

For many decades, most homes were built with a ventilation network of ducts to accommodate air conditioners and forced-air heaters. However, there are still houses that contain no ductwork at all because they rely on electric baseboard heaters, fans, or window ACs. If you have a ductless home that you want to convert over to a central air conditioner or forced-air heater that requires ducts, you’ll have a large job ahead of you to install ductwork…

…except that you shouldn’t be the one doing this job. For ductwork installation service in Wellington, FL, call up Astro Air Inc. or another ventilation specialist to handle this complex work. A ventilation system can make or break an AC or heater: poor work will lead to leaky ducts and inefficient airflow, which will reduce comfort, make utility bills skyrocket, and lead to numerous repairs. Leave this job in the hands of professionals, and it will be done quickly and correctly.

What Happens in Ductwork Installation

The installers will first inspect your home and formulate a plan for the ventilation system. They must decide how best to fit the new ducts within walls and floors that were not originally designed for them. Finding space is often a creative endeavor for the installers, since they must place the ducts where they will not be visually obtrusive. Sometimes, ducts must be placed along the ceiling or walls, but the installers will make them merge into the décor as much as possible.

The planning of ductwork also involves assessing insulation needs; the location where the ductwork must run can either be colder than the rest of the house or hotter, which can lead to heat gains and loss that will adversely affect HVAC performance and may damage the ducts.

The installers must decide on the best duct material to use: sheet metal, flexible plastic, ductboard. For new installation in a house without much ventilation shaft space, flexible ducts are usually the best.

Once the installers have a detailed plan and all the material (most ductwork is pre-fabricated), they will start laying in the main trunk line that connects to the air conditioner/heater’s cabinet. Placing any of these ducts within walls will involve removal of drywall. The branch supply ducts will attach to the trunk line, and the installers will attach them to vents excavated into the walls. The installers will also create return air vents to bring air from the home back into the air conditioner/heater. With all the ducts in place, the installers will then fit new drywall over the sections that were removed (if the job required drywall removed) and then paint over them.

The size of the job needed for your ductwork installation in Wellington, FL will vary depending on your home. Call Astro Air Inc. today for an appointment with our ventilation experts; they will be able to give you a good idea of the work involved for your project and how they can best fit your house with the ductwork system that will work effectively and efficiently.

Common Noises that Indicate a Need for Air Conditioning Repair

July 15th, 2014

You are used to the sounds of your commercial air conditioning unit in West Palm Beach, but when do noises indicate a need for repair?

Your commercial AC unit helps keep your residents, customers, or employees comfortable, so a sudden noise can be alarming. Because your commercial AC unit is a powerful, large-scale system, you should never attempt repairs on your own. This can cause further damage to your AC system that could cost more to fix later on. Instead, always call a professional for commercial air conditioning repair right away if you hear any of the following sounds from your AC:

Banging: A loud banging sound can often indicate a loose internal part within your outside unit. A problem with the compressor may be the source of the problem. If there is a loose or damaged part within the compressor, the entire part will likely need to be replaced. A banging noise can also indicate loose or damaged parts such as loose screws, a loose internal mount, or a damaged fan blade. It could also indicate that there is foreign debris somewhere within your system.

Hissing: A hissing noise is usually a sign of a leak somewhere along the AC refrigerant line. If this happens, refrigerant may leak onto your commercial property. You should call a commercial repair service right away because only a certified AC technician can properly dispose of and recharge refrigerant in your system and repair any leaks. Refrigerant leaks are also problematic because refrigerant cools your property by removing heat from the building and releasing it outside. Without the proper levels of refrigerant, your commercial property may not stay as cool as you’d like it to.

Buzzing and Clicking Noises: Buzzing or clicking noises can be a sign of a faulty compressor, but they can also often indicate an electrical problem such as loose connections or wiring to the fan motor in your outside unit. Electrical components should always be handled by a commercial air conditioning professional.

The experts at Astro Air Inc. are trained in commercial air conditioning repair. If you run into problems with your commercial system in West Palm Beach, call us today!

Drain Line and Condensate Pan Problems with Your Air Conditioner

July 10th, 2014

The air conditioning in your home does not run using water: the liquid that moves through the system to provide heat exchange (shifting heat from the inside of the house to the outside) is refrigerant, or “Freon,” a chemical blend that changes from liquid to gas and back again. However, water still plays a part in air conditioning: as the evaporator coil inside your home absorbs heat from the air, it also causes water moisture in the air to condense along it. Enough condensation appears that it will start to drip from the coil, and the excess water falls into a condensate pan (or “drip” pan) located below. From there, a drain attached to a pump and a line removes the water out into the plumbing system.

The drainage system for condensate doesn’t always work perfectly, however, and the high humidity in Florida can sometimes cause trouble in the pan, drain, line, and pump. When you experience condensate pan issues that are causing leaking and water damage, you need to call for HVAC professionals in Boca Raton, FL for air conditioning repair. Astro Air Inc. has 24-hour emergency service to make sure that you stay cool all summer with your AC.

Some Common Condensate Troubles

  • Blocked drain or line: The high humidity in Florida can cause the development of mold, bacteria, and algae inside a home, and the condensate drain and line is especially susceptible to algal growth. If the happens, it will slow down or block the drain entirely, and the shallow pan will quickly overflow and send water into your house. Repair technicians will need to detach the pan from the drain and clean out both (or, in extreme cases, replace the drain).
  • Loose pan or drain: If the drain or pan grows too old, it can become loose. This separation will cause water to fall right out of the bottom of the pan and into the house. Technicians will usually need to replace a worn down drain with a new one to be able to reattach it.
  • Broken condensate pump: The condensate pump that removes the water from the pan and safely places it into the wastewater system without spilling it in our outside a house. The pump can become jammed through kinks in the line of excess water. Motors can also burn out, although this is rare.

If you notice water dripping out of your air conditioner, it’s something that you need to stop as soon as possible. Please contact Astro Air Inc. right away and our Boca Raton, FL air conditioning specialists will get right out to you to fix the problem.

The Famous Painting of the Declaration of Independence Isn’t What You Think It Is

July 4th, 2014

If you grew up in the United States, you probably first saw John Trumbull’s painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence in an elementary schoolbook. This oil-on-canvas 12’ x 18’ painting hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the country and almost every citizen can conjure it from memory.

Except… the painting isn’t of the singing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual title of the work is Declaration of Independence, and although it does portray an important moment in the history of the document that announced the Thirteen Colonies’ decision to break away from British rule, the event in the painting occurred on June 28, 1776, not July 4, 1776.

John Trumbull, a Connecticut native who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose father was the state governor, was commissioned to create the painting in 1817. He did painstaking research on the figures in the picture and also visited Independence Hall to see the actual chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. Trumbull only included 42 of the original 56 signers, because he could not find adequate likenesses for 14 or them, and added a few figures who were not present (most of whom declined to sign the actual document). In fact, the men depicted in the painting had never been present in the same room at one time.

So if the painting does not portray the signing of the Declaration of Independence, what is happening in the image? The Trumbull’s scene depicts the presentation of the draft of the declaration to the Continental Congress for editing and approval. The five-man drafting committee (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) is handing over their finished work, which congress would then edit carefully over the next few days before voting on it and signing it on the day that we now celebrate as the start of the United States of America.

One last, odd, fact: two of the five-man drafting committee, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on July 4th—although many years later.

Our family at Astro Air Inc. hopes that your Fourth of July (or Twenty-Eighth of June if you decided to start celebrating early) is a memorable and happy one.

SEER Ratings and Sizing with New Air Conditioning Installation

June 27th, 2014

When you decide to install a new air conditioning system, it can be confusing to see all the options available to you and figure out which one is right for your home. The wrong system can cost you a lot in future repairs and can drastically affect your energy bill every month. How can you be sure you’ve made a good choice?

Two factors you ought to look into with your new air conditioning installation in West Palm Beach, FL are SEER ratings and proper sizing for your home. Saving money in the long run is a major factor in choosing your new air conditioning installation in West Palm Beach, and Astro Air Inc. can help you make this decision.

What Is a SEER Rating and Why Is It important?

A SEER rating is an AC system’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, a numeric measurement of its efficiency that helps you to compare different systems. All air conditioning systems produced since 2006 have a minimum SEER rating of 13, but a higher number means your system will be more energy-efficient, saving you even more on your energy bill.

While a system with a higher SEER rating may cost more initially, the reduction in your monthly bill could potentially save you more in the long run. You should discuss your needs with a trained technician to decide which system would be best for your home and budget.

What Size of System Do I Need and Why Does This Matter?

When you’re looking for a new AC, you may think that a bigger system will be better. However, this might not be the case. If your system is too large, it may short cycle or break down. If your system is too small, on the other hand, it cannot sufficiently cool your entire home. While, generally speaking, a larger home will require a larger AC system, you should discuss your sizing concerns with your technician when considering new AC installation.

For quality West Palm Beach air conditioning installation, technicians at Astro Air Inc. are waiting to discuss your options for a new AC system. Give us a call today to schedule your next AC installation service with us.