Archive for February, 2014

Common Problems and Repairs for Walk-In Coolers

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Walk-in coolers and freezers are vital for any commercial enterprise that deals with food preparation or sales. From restaurants to catering business to grocery stores and convenience marts, they all need a reliable walk-in cooler in order to stay in business. Here in West Palm Beach FL, keeping your walk-in cooler functioning effectively is especially important because our local high heat and humidity. When they need repairs, you need to address them immediately. Some problems actually have simple solutions, such as an improper temperature stemming from a misplaced sensor. Others, however, indicate more serious issues and need the services of a technician to correct. Here’s a quick list of some common problems and repairs for walk-in coolers.

  • Compressor problems. The compressor is a vital part of the refrigeration cycle. If the compressor isn’t running, it could stem from an electrical overload, a defective coil, or a malfunction within the compressor itself. A repair technician will check the compressor, scan the electrical systems to make sure it’s functioning and then either repair the faulty component or replace the compressor.
  • Frost build-up. Walk in coolers usually have defrost cycles designed to keep important components clear of ice and frost build-up that might interfere with the cooler’s ability to function. If frost is building up, you may need to adjust the defroster to ensure that it runs its cycles more often (and perhaps check the timer on the defroster for damage).
  • High discharge temperature. High discharge temperature can be a result of a dirty condenser. There might also be a problem with the fan motor or the fan blade itself might be stuck. A qualified technician can quickly correct both of these problems.

Walk-in coolers are complex devices, and you need a professional to correct any problems you find. For more on common problems and repairs for walk-in coolers, talk to the experts at Astro Air Inc. We offer excellent West Palm Beach walk-in cooler services. Call us today to make an appointment!

Boca Raton FL Insulation FAQ: What Is R-Value?

Monday, February 17th, 2014

*Astro Air Inc. no longer offers Attic Insulation services. Please visit our Indoor Air Quality service page to learn more about our services.

Insulation is an essential part of keeping a home warm during cold weather and cool during hot weather. The insulation in the walls and floors of your house serves a thermal barrier that prevents the movement of heat. During times when you need to stay warm, the insulation will keep the heat from your heating systems trapped so it does leak away and create drafts. During sweltering summer weather, the insulation keeps heat from coming through from the outside, removing the stress from your air conditioner.

If you’ve recently considered replacing or upgrading the insulation in your home’s attic (the most important place for insulation, since it’s where the largest amount of heat enters and leaves), you will have come across the term R-value. Understanding this is important for knowing how best to insulate your home.

Contact Astro Air Inc. for more information about your options for insulation in Boca Raton, FL.

R-value: a rating of insulation efficiency

The R-value listed for insulation is an indicator of how well it stops the movement of heat. R-value is used throughout the construction industry as a measure of thermal resistance. It is determined as the ratio of the temperature difference across the insulation to the rate of heat transfer through the surface (a.k.a. heat flux). The higher the number, the more effective the insulation. To prohibit deceptive practices that might deceive customers, the Federal Trade Commission governs R-value claims.

As an example of the range of R-values, these are the usual ratings of the standard construction material found in homes: bricks have an R-value of R-0.2, hardwood is R-0.71, glass is R-0.14, and concrete is R-0.08.

Compare this to the R-values of insulation that can be placed in a home: standard fiberglass batts have between R-3.1 and R-4.3, high-density fiberglass batts are between R-3.6 and R-5, and spray foam is R-3.6. In all cases, the insulation is three to four times more effective at blocking heat than the building material. Although most insulation may look simple, in practice it makes an enormous difference in stopping heat from getting in or out of your home.

Make sure your home’s attic is effectively insulated

People often make the mistake of thinking that insulation is only useful for winter. This is misleading, since the proper insulation in Boca Raton, FL will make for a much more pleasant summer—and a less expensive one, since your AC will not need to work as much.

To find out how best to insulate your home’s attic this coming summer and the right R-value to keep you cool, talk to our experts at Astro Air Inc. today.

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 Astro Air Inc.  hope you have a pleasant February 14th.

Air Filtration FAQ: What Is a HEPA Air Filter?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

When it comes to filtering contaminants out of your indoor air, one of the standard filters that air quality specialists rely on is the HEPA air filter. HEPA is the most common type of filter found in mechanical air cleaners, and they have widespread commercial and medical use. For example, airlines use HEPA filters to recirculate air inside cabins to remove possible viral and bacterial infections passengers might pass to each other. Hospitals also extensively use HEPA filters to prevent the spread of disease.

Because indoor air quality is a major health concern in the U.S. today, HEPA air filter installation has become popular in homes. If you are interested in having installation of air filtration in West Palm Beach, FL—whether a mechanical air cleaner with a HEPA filter or an electronic air cleaner—call the air cleaning experts at Astro Air Inc. today.

The HEPA Filter

First off, the acronym: HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate absorption.” This is not only a filter description, but also a standard set by the U.S. Department of Energy. To carry the HEPA designation, a filter must remove 99.97% of particles measuring 0.3 micrometers or larger from the air that passes through it.

A HEPA filter is composed of a mat of fiberglass fibers between 0.5 and 2.0 micrometers in diameter, arranged in a random pattern. These fibers aren’t designed to stop particles larger than the space between then (thus letting smaller particles go through) but to trap smaller particles by attracting them to the fibers and adhering them there through a process of interception (particles come within one radius of the fiber) and diffusion (collision with gas molecules). The effect of diffusion can block particles down to 0.01 micrometers in size, but in general HEPA filters do not work as well trapping these smaller particles.

Although HEPA filters are effective at trapping most particles that can contaminate the air, they do not affect gas and odor molecules. If your main concern with air quality is to block dust, dirt, dander, pollen, and other allergens and viral pollutants, a HEPA filter is definitely up to the job. However, its important to note that every HVAC system might not work with every air filtration system, and you should consult with a professional before installing HEPA filters in your home.

Air Filtration Services from Astro Air Inc.

We care about the air that you breathe and want to help you improve the quality of the air inside your home. Our Astro Air Inc. technicians can install mechanical air cleaners with HEPA filters, electronic air cleaners, UV germicidal lights to combat bacteria, and the advanced oxidation technology of the Guardian Air PHI cell. Talk to our experts in air filtration in West Palm Beach, FL to find out the best path toward improving your air quality.