Archive for November, 2013

The History of Thanksgiving

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Thanksgiving is upon us: a time to get together with relatives, eat some great food, watch a little football or the parade, and stop to appreciate the good things we have in life. Beyond all that, however, there’s a fascinating history to the holiday and its traditions.

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. Records are spotty at the time, but indicate that the harvest was particularly good that year due to help from the local Native Americans. The meal was probably much different than the one we’re used to, with venison and fish more likely than turkey, but the general principle was unchanged. (Critics have pointed out that the popular image glosses over the suffering endured by Native Americans, but we prefer to see it as a symbol of brotherhood and a call to rise above our differences to find common ground.)

It wasn’t a few centuries later, however, that Thanksgiving became an annual tradition. George Washington called for a “national day of Thanksgiving” in 1789, and again in 1795, but they were both “one shot” declarations, rather than a call for an annual tradition. Individual cities and states picked up the ball, but it wasn’t until 1863 that Thanksgiving became a national once-a-year event. President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November to be a Thanksgiving “to heal the wounds of the nation and restore it.”

From there, it remained a tradition until Franklin Roosevelt signed a law in December of 1941 making it a federal holiday. The law also changed the date from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday in November, making it a little earlier in some cases (which Roosevelt hoped would give the country an economic boost).

Wherever you celebrate the holiday and whoever you choose to celebrate it with, we wish you nothing but happiness and joy this Thanksgiving.  

What to Do When Your Heat Pump Won’t Start Up

Monday, November 18th, 2013

There are few places in the country that benefit as much from a heat pump as the state of Florida. With our long humid summers and short mild winters, we can get powerful air conditioning from a heat pump and the right amount of heating when necessary. Heat pumps also held combat humidity during the summer. For an all-around comfort solution for Florida’s climate, a heat pump makes a great choice.

Yet you can expect your heat pump to work long hours during the year, and like a human who does the same, that can mean too much stress and eventual burnout. Your heat pump doesn’t need a vacation, however; it needs maintenance and repairs to keep it working.

If your heat pump won’t start up, then you may have a number of issues that require professional attention. In some cases there are simple solutions you can apply yourself in a few minutes. We’ll go over the steps to take to get your heat pump cooling or heating you once more. When it’s time for heat pump repair in West Palm Beach, FL, contact Astro Air Inc. and put our years of experience to work for you.

Steps to take when your heat pump won’t start up

  • Check circuit breakers: Although heat pumps do not drain as much electricity as systems like electrical furnaces or boilers, they can occasionally cause power surges that will trip a circuit breaker. Check the electrical panel to see if this is the case. If this occurs frequently, your heat pump may be mismatched with your home’s voltage and you’ll need a technician to help you with the problem.
  • Investigate the thermostat: An error programming a digital thermostat can result in the heat pump not receiving instructions to turn on when you want it to. Heat pumps have more complex thermostats than stand-alone air conditioners, so make sure the heat pump is in the right mode (cooling/heating). It’s also possible that the thermostat has become miscalibrated and is sensing the temperature incorrectly, which is a professional repair issue.
  • Call for expert repairs: If none of the various solutions seems to get the heat pump to turn on, then you will likely need a professional HVAC technician to diagnose and solve the problem. Many different malfunctions could account for the heat pump refusing to turn on, and only someone with the proper training can find the exact cause and repair it.

We don’t want you to go without the comfort of your heat pump for longer than you have to: Astro Air Inc. offers emergency service 24 hours a day, so when you need heat pump repair in West Palm Beach, FL, call us any time of the day or night.

Air Conditioning Guide: 3 Components You Should Know

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Air conditioning in Delray Beach is as much a necessity as running water and electricity. Our homes and businesses require reliable HVAC systems to stay cool when the heat and humidity become unbearable. The more you know about how an air conditioner functions, the better you’ll be able to spot potential signs of trouble, and more importantly to understand why they’re signs of trouble. Here is a quick tip about 3 components you should know.

  • Refrigerant: Refrigerant is a chemical which can change from a liquid to a gaseous state very easily. That process is what makes air conditioning possible. As the refrigerant chances from liquid to gas, it pulls heat from the surrounding air, cooling it and allowing it to be pushed into your home with a blower.
  • Compressor: The compressor starts the air conditioning process. The refrigerant enters it and is subjected to a great deal of pressure, which raises the temperature. The pressurized gas then moves into a set of condenser coils where the heat is dissipated to the outside air and it reverts to a liquid state.
  • Evaporator coils: The evaporator coil is where the actual air conditioning takes place. The refrigerant exists the condenser coils still under pressure, but now in a liquid state. A set amount of that liquid is sent into the evaporator coils. As it evaporates, it absorbs the heat from the indoor air. It then moves back to the compressor to start the cycle again. If refrigerant leaks out of the system, frost will develop on the evaporator coils: making it one of the easiest ways to spot problems with your refrigerant levels.

Other components depend upon the exact make and model, but the basic system remains the same for any sort of central air conditioner. If you’re having problems with yours, contact the experts at Astro Air Inc. for help. We handle all sorts of issues concerning air conditioning in Delray Beach and we’re dedicated to you complete satisfaction. Give us a call today!

Preparing for Your Air Conditioning Installation

Monday, November 4th, 2013

If you have decided to get your Boca Raton, FL air conditioning installation done during the fall or winter, then you have already taken care of one important step. This time of year, HVAC companies usually have more time in their schedules, since they don’t need to send their technicians out on numerous emergency calls. Scheduling the time for the installation will be much easier for you and the company you hire during the current season.

There are some other preparations you should make, and one of them is making sure that you have a quality HVAC company handling the installation. Get a quote and a time estimate from your contractor, and then look for a second opinion. Give us a call at Astro Air Inc. if you’re searching for that all-important second evaluation.

An important part of preparing for the installation of a new air conditioner is making sure you have the best model and the best size to handle your needs. An AC that’s too large can create as much trouble as an AC that’s too small, since it will “short cycle” as it reaches its target temperature too soon. You may also want to consider a heat pump, which serves as both an air conditioner and a heater. Ask your trained technician about the options and which one will work right for you.

Is your ductwork ready for installation? Do you have ductwork at all? You may want to consider going with a ductless mini split if you have a home without ductwork. If you already have ducts from an earlier installation, now is a good time to have them inspected for spots where they need sealing. You want your ducts ready to handle your new air conditioner.

Make sure you schedule enough time for the installation; this is a complex process that needs the proper amount of time to get done right. How long it takes will depend on how large a system you are getting installed and how many rooms it needs to cool, but it certainly takes more than the simple one-hour visit you might expect for a basic repair. A quality company will get the job done smoothly with minimum interruption to your daily life, but expect at least a day of work.

Astro Air Inc. is ready to give you excellent air conditioning installation in Boca Raton, FL, and we’re happy to offer a second opinion. Contact us today.