Air Mechanical, Inc. Blog: Archive for November, 2013

The History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Thanksgiving began in 1621, but didn’t become a national tradition until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln declared it as such in hopes of bringing a divided nation together. We have many Thanksgiving traditions in this country, from turkey as the meal to the annual Cowboys and Lions games on television. But one of the most beloved is the annual Presidential turkey pardon, in which the U.S. President “pardons” a turkey, allowing them to live the remainder of their live freely roaming on farmland. As we celebrate this Thanksgiving, we thought you’d like to know a little more about the history of this fascinating tradition.

Farmers have sent turkeys to the White House as far back as the 1800s, hoping to have the honor of providing the President’s annual meal. There have been scattered stories of individual turkeys being “pardoned” throughout that time, including one in which President Lincoln’s son Tad successfully convinced the president to spare a bird intended for the family’s Christmas dinner.

Starting in 1947, the National Turkey Federation became the official supplier of the President’s Thanksgiving birds. The White House arranged for an annual photo op that year with the President receiving the turkey in the Rose Garden. Sadly, there was no pardon as yet; those birds all ended up on the Presidential table.

The push for an official pardon picked up steam in 1963, when President Kennedy asked that the bird be spared, just a few days before his assassination. President Nixon opted to send each of the birds he received to a nearby petting zoo after the photo op, though there was no formal pardon attached.

But it wasn’t until 1989 that the pardon became official. On November 14 of that year, President George H. W. Bush made the announcement, and sent the bird to a Virginia game preserve to live the rest of its life out in cranberry-and-stuffing-free bliss. Since then, every President has held an annual pardoning ceremony, with the lucky turkey spared the axe and sent off to live in peace. Since 2005, the pardoned birds have gone to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, where they have lived as part of a petting zoo exhibit in Frontierland.

No matter what traditions you enjoy this holiday, or who you enjoy them with, all of us here wish you a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Continue Reading

Does the Size of My New Heater Matter?

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

One of the reasons you should always seek advice from professionals when selecting a new heating system for your home is that you need expertise not only to select the proper type of heater that will satisfy your home’s needs, but also to select the proper size of heater.

Why should size matter so much? It seems logical to simply go with the largest model available within your budget. Isn’t it better to err on the side of a heater that’s too large rather than one that’s too small?

This may sound rational if you’re unfamiliar with the technical aspects of home heating and cooling. But having a heater that is too large and powerful for your home is as bad as having one that’s too small. Make sure you avoid either error when you have a heating installation in Mounds View, MN done: hire experienced, NATE-certified technicians to take care of sizing your heater and installing it correctly. You’ll find the right professionals for the job at Air Mechanical, Inc.

A heater that’s too small

You probably understand the disadvantages of installing a heater that’s too small for your home. The system will need to run almost constantly to attain the temperature you desire, which will drain power and lead to a short system life. Even with near-continual operation, the heater will probably never manage to provide even warmth through your home, and some rooms will remain chilly.

A heater that’s too large

What’s so problematic about an overlarge heater? It’s called “short cycling”: the heater will raise the temperature so rapidly that it will reach its target too quickly and shut off before completing its heating cycle. The indoor temperature will soon drop again, and the heater will turn back on for a brief time before shutting off once more… and so on and so on until your heater breaks down from all this unnecessary work. Because a heating system draws the most power during start-up, this constant start-stop cycle will also add up to large heating bills.

Professionals will find the right sized heater for you

Because modern heating systems are complex devices with numerous technical specifications, you will have a difficult time determining the right size one for your home. However, HVAC technicians with the proper training will encounter few problems narrowing down the choices. After performing a heat load calculation in your house to find out the level of heat it requires to make it comfortable, the technicians will know the heater size that will do the job.

Our certified technicians at Air Mechanical, Inc. are ready to assist you with all stages of heating installation in Mounds View, MN. Don’t start the process without our trained help!

Continue Reading

Why Is My Kitchen Plumbing Gurgling?

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Your kitchen sink probably gets the most use of any sink in your home. Add to that the amount of work that your garbage disposal does, and you have an area in your home where the plumbing receives a great deal of stress that can lead to repair needs. If your kitchen’s plumbing develops trouble, it can turn into a major nuisance, so it’s important to pay attention to warning signs that something may be awry.

One of the common warning signs of plumbing problems is the sound of gurgling coming from your kitchen sinks. We’ll look at the two main reasons this might happen.

Get your kitchen’s plumbing in Oak Grove, MN fixed as soon as you can: contact the kitchen experts at Air Mechanical, Inc. We handle everything from clogs to complete kitchen remodeling.

Food Clogs

Sink gurgling might happen because food debris from the disposal has gotten down into the piping and created a partial clog, trapping air. When water washes into the sink, air gets released and bubbles up through the water, producing the gurgling noise.

Even if water still flows unobstructed down the kitchen drainpipe, a developing clog needs attention because it will soon turn into a full clog. Don’t pour liquid drain cleaner down into the pipes; that can cause further damage. Seek the help of a plumber to get your drains cleaned.

You can help prevent these clogs in the future if you remember that disposals aren’t indestructible machines that can handle anything thrown into them. If it’s something you can’t chew with your teeth, then it shouldn’t go down the disposal. Also, do not pour hot oil, fat, or grease down either the kitchen sink or the disposal; when the liquid cools off, it will congeal into a waxy plug that will stop up the pipes.

Blocked Vent Pipes

The gurgling may also happen because of blocked vent pipes. These vent pipes are attached to your drainpipes to allow the safe escape of sewer gas. These pipes usually run up to the roof, and if they become blocked with dirt, animal nests, or other debris, it might cause sewer gas to push up through your drain pipes. Don’t go onto the roof of your house and troubleshoot this (it might not even be the problem). Get a professional plumber.

Call in the Experts

Plumbing is a part of home repair that people often think they can tackle on their own using only a box of wrenches, a plunger, and a bottle of cleaner. But the sound of gurgling from kitchen plumbing signals issues beyond what you should attempt on your own. Your drains need extensive cleaning or your vents require inspection, and these jobs call for plumbers with experience.

Air Mechanical, Inc. has delivered high quality plumbing to Oak Grove, MN since 1985.

We are a trusted name in home service, so contact us day or night when you need help with kitchen plumbing problems.

Continue Reading

How to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Here in Andover, plumbing repair calls must often deal with freezing pipes. Water caught in your pipes in the winter can create all kinds of havoc. As it freezes, it expands: putting your pipes under tremendous pressure and eventually causing them to burst. Plumbers deal with more burst pipes in the winter than they do the rest of the year combined, and repairs can often be quite expensive. You can help by taking some simple preventative measures before and during the cold season.

Here’s how to prevent your pipes from freezing.

For starters, keep the water flowing in your pipes by leaving the faucets on just a bit during the cold months. He running water will lower the pressure and keep the flow normal when you need it. This technique can waste water, however, so apply it judiciously.

A more through step means insulating your pies from the cold. Keep them in heated part of the house during installation and have a plumber insulate them if they run through at-risk areas such as the basement or within a wall connected to the outside. Pipe sleeves can be installed to keep the pipes safe, and in some cases a plumber can re-route them to move through warmer parts of the home.

You can also keep our pipes from freezing by addressing insulation issues inside the home itself. Look for cracks or fissures that let cold outside air into areas which contain plumbing, then have them sealed up as efficiently as possible.  If you can, see about having more insulation added in your attic, and look into the possibility of insulating areas of the home that currently lack such coverage.

Our Andover plumbing services can help homeowners with such projects, as well as fixing pipes when they do burst. Air Mechanical, Inc. knows how to prevent your pipes from freezing, and our trained experts are on hand to enact such measures now, before the snows start falling. We’re completely dedicated to your satisfaction, so don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call!

Continue Reading

What Are the Differences Between a Boiler and a Furnace?

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

The two most common types of heaters in homes for over a hundred years are the furnace and the boiler. Neither seems likely to go away soon, since HVAC technology continues to update them to increase their safety, reliability, options, and efficiency. If you are in the market for a heating system, no doubt your short list contains both “furnace” and “boiler.”

In this post, we’ll illuminate the differences—which are significant—between the two. No one option is inherently a better choice for your home than the other; it will depend on your specific home requirements and your budget plan. When you need help with the choice between a furnace and a boiler in Blaine, MN—or any other system—contact Air Mechanical Inc. We’ll help you narrow your choices and install the best system for your heating needs.

Before we get into the differences, let’s spotlight one thing boilers and furnaces have in common: they can run off a variety of fuel sources, which makes them flexible. Furnaces usually run off natural gas, electricity, or propane. Boilers use gas, electricity, or oil. There are advantages and disadvantages to the different sources, so ask an HVAC technician which will work best for you.

Furnaces are forced-air systems that raise the temperature of air through heat exchange, and then use blower fans to send the heated air through ductwork and into your home. Electric heating elements (in electrical powered furnaces) or gas jets (in gas- and propane-powered furnaces) create the heat that is then transferred to the air.

Boilers don’t use forced air to provide heat and don’t require ducts. Instead, they use heated water in a tank, which a pump then sends through pipes to various end points inside your home. These end points—radiators or baseboard heaters—move heat into your living space through “radiant” heat: raising the temperature of an object so it warms the area around it. Gas-powered boilers use jets under the tank to heat the water, while electric boilers have heating elements inside the tank to do the job.

Each system has its pros and cons. Furnaces have low initial installation costs and won’t freeze up in winter, but suffer from more frequent repair needs and usually have shorter lifespans. Boilers produce cleaner heat and have low operation and repair costs, but they can freeze during heavy cold and take longer to warm up.

Take the decision process for getting a new heater seriously. Seek out quality professional advice to make certain you end up with the ideal system for your needs. The experts at Air Mechanical Inc. can handle your heating service needs in Blaine, making sure you’ll be on your way toward a cozy season in your home.

Continue Reading