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 Design Air Inc hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

Generator Season is Almost Upon Us!

August 28th, 2014

Each year between August and November we seem to get at least one storm bringing high winds, thunder and lightning, and a lot of rain. Often times it is these types of storms that cause power outages and other damage to the local electric infrastructure. Here at Design Air we want you to be prepared for those moments, if the electricity gets knocked out for a week we don’t want you to have live without it, that’s why we strongly suggest looking into purchasing a whole house generator for your home. This will ensure you always have power, even when the neighbors don’t.

Whole house generators are offered in both automatic and manual options, the automatic version will actually detect a disruption in the power supply to your home and turn on when needed. Manual versions often cost less but don’t have this feature, so you have to be home at the time of the outage in order to turn it on. Whole house generators ensure you have electricity even during the most difficult weather conditions and can help maintain the quality of day to day life during both brief and longer outages.

Take a look at your home, what would you want to have power during a disruption in power supply? These necessities will help you determine a generator that is best for you and can handle your power needs when in use. Call us today to review the options we have for various generator solutions in the New City and surrounding areas in New York at 845-357-3580.

Fuel Types for a Whole-House Generator

August 20th, 2014

An occasional power outage that last for a few hours is an inconvenience, and usually you can get by with flashlights and candles until the power is restored. But in cases of extreme weather or major grid failures, the loss of power can stretch on for a day or even longer. This can create incredible hardships, especially during cold weather or when there are people in your home with special needs.

The best way to protect your family from extended power outages is with the installation of a whole-house generator that uses an outside fuel supply to deliver enough electricity to your home to run the essential appliances. You will need to have professionals size and install the generator, as well as provide its essential annual upkeep. For a generator in Pomona, NY, call Design Air Inc.

Generators can run from a variety of different fuel sources. The best one for your house will depend on a number of factors. Here are the most common fuel types for whole-house generators:

  • Natural gas: This is the most popular option. Natural gas is inexpensive, burns cleanly and efficiently, and won’t run out because of its connection to the municipal supply. The major drawback is that your home must already have access to a natural gas line. Without that, you will have to rely on a stored fuel like the ones below.
  • Propane: This is the most common of the heating oils for generators. Propane generators run quietly and are less expensive than many other models. Among the heating oils, propane has the longest shelf life, so you won’t have to worry about the supply in the generator losing its potency over time.
  • Diesel: Diesel is a more efficient fuel than gasoline, and because they use compression heating rather than spark ignition (as in a gasoline generator) they do not age as quickly from mechanical stress. This is also a safer option than gasoline because it is not combustible; in fact, it’s safer than natural gas.
  • Gasoline: This is often the last choice for a whole-house generator; gasoline are ideal for portable generators designed to only run a few lights or for use while traveling. Their main advantage is that gasoline is easy to procure.

Along with selecting the right energy source for your generator, the installers will determine how much power the unit must supply so that you have sufficient energy for your needs (from running a few lights and the heating system to running the entire house) without overpowering the circuit-breaker panel.

Turn to trusted technicians for installing a generator in Pomona, NY: Design Air Inc. We offer 24-hour emergency service to make sure your generator is ready for anything. Call us today to schedule your next service appointment.

Reasons to Consider an Electric Fireplace Insert

August 13th, 2014

Sometimes, a traditional wood-burning fireplace can turn into a white elephant: a luxury that has started to cost more for upkeep than it is worth. For a family that doesn’t often use their wood burning fireplace, an excellent option is to install a prefabricated electric fireplace insert. This way, the family can keep the attractive look of the fireplace (something too expensive and damaging to have removed) without the hassles of carrying and storing wood, cleaning out ash, or encounter dangers from gas logs.

If you think that your home’s hearth will benefit from an electric fireplace insert, call up our professionals at Design Air Inc. We’ve specialized in the installation of fireplaces in New City, NY, from gas logs to wood pellet and freestanding stoves. We have a Master Hearth Professional on staff who can help answer all your questions about the best way to improve your current fireplace so you will receive the most use from it, and at the best price.

Why an Electric Fireplace Insert?

Electrical fireplaces are much more advanced today than they were 20 years ago. If you think of electric fireplaces as cheap affairs powered by light bulbs, you’ll be surprised at how attractive and effective the modern models are. They can create an inviting illusion of flames and contain and heater with a blower fan to generate a cozy warmth.

Here are some reasons you should consider an electric insert for your fireplace:

  • Safety: There is no safer type of fireplace on the market today than an electric insert. They create no exhaust (you don’t technically need a chimney!), won’t make sparks that can fly out of the hearth, and do not use natural gas that can create a carbon monoxide hazard.
  • Inexpensive: Compared to gas logs and keeping up a wood-burning fireplace (especially if you need to purchase logs because you don’t have ready access to a lumber source), electric inserts do not cost much to purchase and install.
  • Convenience: In addition to never needing to load logs or clear out ash from electrical fireplaces, they have few other maintenance needs. (Imagine: no more chimney sweeping!) The fireplace can turn on as easily as a flick of a light switch.
  • Energy savings: Current electrical fireplace inserts have enough power to heat up a room, so if you only need heat for a single space, you can use an electric fireplace and give your furnace or boiler a break for a while.

Although an electric fireplace cannot capture the same old-fashioned sensation of a wood-burning one, they still make a room cozy and atmospheric—and without the extra work, expense, and hazards of other types of fireplaces.

Contact Design Air Inc today and speak to our professionals experienced with installing fireplaces in New City, NY today. They will assist you with finding the perfect electric fireplace insert to make your home warm and inviting.

What to Expect During an Energy Audit in Suffern, NY

August 7th, 2014

An energy audit is one of the most useful services you can arrange for a home. Skilled energy auditors perform a full survey of the home’s insulation, heat sealing, HVAC system, and energy-using appliances to find all the places where the building is losing energy and costing you money as well as adversely effecting your comfort. With the assistance of an energy audit in Suffern, NY, you will receive a detailed rundown on all the improvements for your home that will stop energy loss and lower your bills.

Design Air Inc offers professional energy auditing services, as well as the installations and repairs that will help you have the most energy-efficient living space possible. Whether you need HVAC repairs or weatherization, we can deliver the assistance you need for energy savings.

What You Can Expect During an Energy Audit

No two energy audits are the identical, because no two houses are identical. However, there are some standard steps that you can expect to happen during an energy audit at your home:

  • Blower door testing: This is a key test to find out where there are air leaks in a house. A blower door attaches to the open door frame of the front door of the house, and uses a powerful fan to lower the indoor pressure. The technicians make sure that all other doors and windows are closed, and when the pressure drops, they use smoke-pencils to detect spots in the house where air starts to flow inside to the low-pressure area.
  • Insulation check: The auditors look over the insulation in walls and the attic to see that it has not suffered from damage or age and properly blocks heat from exiting or entering the house.
  • Ventilation inspection: The auditors will make a thorough check of the ductwork connected to your HVAC system to see that it isn’t losing heat or air pressure through leaks and breaks, and that there is no excessive contamination inside the ducts that will lower the system’s efficiency.
  • Electrical appliances: Every major energy-using appliance in the home will receive a check to see that there are no malfunctioning or outdated appliances that are wasting energy.
  • Thermal scanning: The auditors use an advanced thermal scanner on the outside of the house to identify any other places where the building may be losing or gaining heat.

With all these tests and inspections finished, the auditors present the homeowner with a detailed report on the home’s energy efficiency, targeting places where it can be improved. The auditors will suggest installations and repairs that will help reduce energy loss in the future.

At Design Air Inc, we don’t want you to pay more to heat and cool your home than you have to, or to have wasteful appliances. Contact our technicians for an energy audit in Suffern, NY today.

Your Generator in Nanuet: Make Sure to Schedule Maintenance

July 30th, 2014

A whole-house generator is one of the best “insurance policies” you can have for the comfort and safety of your family. Even if you never need to use your generator to power your home during a long-term winter outage, you will have valuable peace of mind that your family will be safe should one happen.

However, you will only have that peace of mind if you know that the generator will be able to do its job when the time comes. If a whole-house generator sits unused for a few seasons, perhaps a few years, it will start to develop malfunctions that will lead to it struggling to come on and stay on, and it may not turn on at all.

Don’t let your home generator fail you when you need it the most: make sure to schedule twice-yearly maintenance visits from electrical professionals to inspect the system and locate any tune-ups or repairs it may need. Call Design Air Inc to schedule a maintenance visit for your generator in Nanuet, NY.

The Importance of Generator Maintenance

Generators are built sturdy—they have to be, since they will most likely need to operate during harsh weather conditions. However, as a generator remains unused for long stretches of time, it can start to suffer from deterioration. If the generator uses stored heating fuel (instead of a natural gas line), the fuel can become stale over time if it isn’t changed. The engine of the generator, much like a car engine, requires fresh oil and proper lubrication, and the oil will need to be changed once a year (usually after the end of the storm season) and the lubrication checked. There are also numerous electrical connections that can come loose.

During a maintenance visit, a technician will perform a test run on the system to see that it is generating the right amount of power to run the appliances in your home that you need in case of an outage. The technician will then check on the oil, the lubrication, the battery, and the fuel or the gas line connection. After the maintenance visit, you will have a whole-house generator prepared to protect your home and family for another season.

We advise two annual maintenance visits for your generator, one in preparation for storm season, and one done immediately afterwards. Our technicians at Design Air Inc have done many installations and repairs for generators and are experienced with handling their maintenance needs. Give us a call today to arrange maintenance, and remember that if you need emergency repairs for your whole house generator in Nanuet, NY, they are available with 24-hour emergency service.

3 Ways to Improve Air Conditioning Efficiency

July 21st, 2014

In the summer, your energy bills tend to go up, but there may be something you can do to manage them. You don’t have to turn off your AC completely to save money every month. At Design Air Inc, we know that energy efficiency is important to homeowners, so we’ve put together this list of three ways you can improve the efficiency of your air conditioning system in Pomona, NY.

Clean or Replace Air Filters

The air filter in your system may be easy to forget about, but a dirty air filter can cause problems for your system and increase your energy bill. Dirty air filters can block the airflow to your system, which means your air conditioner has to work harder to keep up, using a lot of energy in the process. Clean or replace air filters about once a month according to the manufacturer’s instructions, although the length of time may vary depending on usage.

Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance

Anyone who owns an air conditioning system should consider scheduling maintenance once a year by a trained professional. Air conditioning maintenance may help your air conditioner’s performance and restore some efficiency to your system.

During maintenance, your technician will clean components of your system, since dirty parts can significantly reduce efficiency. A blocked coil, for example, will interfere with heat exchange, causing your system to consume a lot of energy to run for longer periods of time. Another valuable service is a full system inspection. The technician will check your system for any leaks or damage so that you can schedule repairs as soon as possible.

Replacing Your Older System? Check the SEER

Eventually, all systems age to the point that they cannot regain efficiency. The parts of an air conditioner begin to wear down, and only a whole-system replacement can keep your monthly bills low. However, you may be surprised by the energy savings a brand new system can deliver. Talk to your air conditioning installation professional about finding a system with a high SEER. The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) of your newer system may actually be much higher than the SEER of your older system.

For professional air conditioning services in Pomona, call Design Air Inc today!

3 Factors to Consider with a New Generator

July 15th, 2014

Families are increasingly concerned about the dangers of long-term power outages that may occur due to extreme weather conditions. An extended power loss, where the electricity fails for a period of days, is not only uncomfortable and inconvenient, it can pose dangers during cold weather and may even be life-threatening if people in a home depend on powered medical equipment.

A whole-house generator in Spring Valley, NY offers your family protection and peace of mind. The whole-house generator experts at Design Air Inc can assist you with finding the ideal backup power system to carry you through a long power outage. Start preparing for harsh weather conditions today with a call to our electrical team.

Here Are 3 Factors to Consider for New Generator Installation

  1. Manual vs. automatic switch model: Whole-house generators come in either manual switch or automatic switch models. With a manual model, you have to go outside to the generator to activate it should the power go out. An automatic switch generator will detect when there is an outage and turn on without an interruption in power. Although the automatic generator is more convenient (you don’t have to go outside in the cold; the system will come on even if you aren’t home) they are also more expensive and not necessarily the best choice for every home.
  2. Number of appliances to power:Generators come in a variety of sizes, but determining how powerful a model you should get isn’t as simple as calculating how much power your house requires. You need to choose which appliances you have to run during an outage. Do you only wish to power the most essential systems, such as a few lights, any vital medical equipment, and the heater? Or do you want to have other items working, such as the refrigerator and the television? Work with your installer to come up with the power load you need during a blackout and match it with the right generator.
  3. Fuel source: Generators can use different fuel sources to run: natural gas (hooked to the municipal system), propane, oil, gasoline, diesel. The fuel you use for your generator will affect price, performance, and convenience, and you must make certain the model you have installed matches your needs. Availability and local fuel pricing will be major factors in deciding what type of generator installation will work best.

Choosing a new generator in Spring Valley isn’t something you can do in a hurry on your own: you don’t want to have the power go out and then discover that your whole-house generator is inadequate to the task! Call the electrical experts at Design Air Inc, and let us handle the tough decisions when it comes to find and installing the right whole-house generator to shield your family from extended power losses.

What Do I Need to Know about Installing Solar Panels?

July 10th, 2014

Solar energy is one of the best ways to achieve low-cost power to your home while benefiting the environment. Solar panels on the roof of your home will capture the radiant power of the Sun—a 100% free and renewable source of energy—and change it into electrical energy that can run anything from a water heater to your HVAC system and lights.

We know that choosing to convert to a solar energy system in Spring Valley, NY is a major decision, and one you may shy away form because of the costs, planning, and labor involved. We’d like to assure you that solar energy is worth the investment, and it isn’t as difficult to install as you imagine—provided you have excellent trained solar installers on the job.

Here are a few important things to know about the installation of solar panels for your home that may help you make the choice. Call Design Air Inc to find out in greater detail what the work for your home will involve. We have many years of experience with helping homeowners “go green” with energy efficiency solutions.

Here’s What You need to Know About Solar Panel Installation

Solar panels consist of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which create an electric current due to the photovoltaic effect whenever light strikes them. They can also gather scattered light, so it isn’t necessary for them to have full direct sunlight to work. PV panels have no moving parts, which makes them extremely long-lived. This is one of the reasons solar panels are an excellent installation: you have many years to enjoy the benefits of the panels after they are installed.

These PV panels are installed on your roof, although in some cases they can be placed on the ground, mounted on stands; it depends on the available space. You can choose whether your PV system runs entirely self-sufficiently, off the power grid; or if it uses a back-up connection from the grid when it is incapable of producing sufficient electricity. An off-grid PV system will require battery storage.

Proper installation requires knowing exactly how much power your home needs: are you only hooking up a solar water heater (which is a very good place to start when adjusting to solar power)? Or are you looking into powering the whole house? The installers will make the necessary calculations to determine the number of PV panels necessary to match your power needs.

The actual installation involves the installers first mounting the PV panels into a wooden framework, then placing the framework on the roof. They then make the electrical connections between the panels into your home’s electrical system and install the necessary batteries and connection to the grid (if the system uses a backup).

This work sounds complicated, and it is… but that’s why you call on solar power specialists to handle the job from the beginning. Call Design Air Inc today and let us handle your transition to solar energy in Spring Valley, NY.

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 Design 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.