What Does Hydronic Radiant Heating Involve?

October 8th, 2014

Hydronic radiant heating is a great way not only to heat your home, but to do so efficiently. It is not a new technology, but recent improvements to the system have resulted in an increase in popularity across the country. Read on to discover the processes involved with radiant heating, as well as some of the system’s advantages.

Installation

The first step to installing a radiant heating system is choosing a good boiler. Once the boiler is in place, small watertight pipes are installed between the floor and subfloor of each room you want heated. These pipes all lead back to the boiler. It is important to note that installing hydronic radiant heating often involves temporarily tearing up the floor. The exception is if you have access to the subfloor from below, like a basement or large crawl space. If you are having a house built, this obviously won’t be a problem.

Operation

Once everything is installed properly, you’re ready to begin using your radiant heating system. When the system is turned on, the boiler heats water to be circulated. The hot water is then pumped through the pipes in the floor of each room. Heat radiates from these pipes, up through the floor and into the room.

Advantages

There are a number of distinct advantages to hydronic radiant heating. Water is a much better medium for transporting heat than air is. As a result, radiant heating can deliver more heat to each room than a forced air system can. The special watertight pipes used are also far more resistant to leaks than ductwork is, making them a more efficient delivery system. Finally, radiant heating more evenly heats a room than forced air does.

Forced air systems blow warm air into a room, which rises to the ceiling instead of sinking to the level that people can benefit from it. This means that the room requires more heat before people actually feel the effects. Radiant heating distributes thermal energy directly through the floor. The heat doesn’t immediately rise out of reach, and has the added benefit of transferring heat to things like furniture. This makes the room more comfortable for a longer period of time.

If you are thinking about installing a hydronic radiant heating system, call Design Air Inc to schedule service. We provide professional radiant heating installation throughout the Suffern area.

Does My Furnace Need Maintenance Every Year?

October 1st, 2014

It’s getting chilly out there, and you may have recently turned your heating on for the first time since the spring. While you may not need your heating system full-time yet, winter is coming. The better prepared you are, the better off you’ll be. One of the best ways to prepare for the winter cold is to schedule maintenance for your furnace in Pomona, NY. Our Design Air Inc technicians are frequently asked if it’s really necessary to perform annual maintenance on a heating system. The answer is that scheduling maintenance is not an absolute, but it is highly recommended by manufacturers for a number of reasons that we’ll list below.

Why Schedule Annual Heating Maintenance?

There are several important reasons to schedule annual maintenance for your heating system:

  • Maintain energy efficiency – your furnace was built to achieve a certain level of energy efficiency as it operates. When it is dirty and worn out, this ability is compromised, and your system needs to use more energy to achieve the set temperature. During a maintenance appointment, your furnace is cleaned and adjusted, which allows the system to work optimally.
  • Prevent repairs – during routine maintenance, your system is thoroughly inspected. This allows the technician to detect any existing or developing problems.
  • Safety – furnaces are combustible systems; as such, they produce noxious gases that need to be properly vented. Cracks can develop in a furnace system, particularly one that is aging. During a routine maintenance appointment, your system will be inspected for any cracks and tested for gas and other types of leaks to help ensure your safety.
  • Extends life of equipment – a system that operates under stress for a long period of time stands a greater chance of prematurely aging. Maintenance keeps your system in good working order, which can help extend the life of the equipment.

Scheduling annual maintenance for your furnace in Pomona, NY isn’t required, but it is strongly recommended. Maintenance helps your heating system operate better in every way, so if it’s been longer than 12 months since your last maintenance appointment, call Design Air Inc today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Does Rust on My Boiler Mean It Must Be Replaced?

September 24th, 2014

Seeing any rust on your boiler isn’t a good thing, but it doesn’t necessarily dictate the need for replacement, either. Your boiler is made to be durable and has been built with safeguards to greatly reduce the development of rust. The biggest question to answer when it comes to rust on your boiler in Spring Valley is: where is the rust located? This is because some rusted components can be repaired and/or replaced, and others cannot. However, if you should see rust anywhere on your boiler, it is important to have a professional look at it as soon as possible to assess exactly what is happening. Design Air Inc, is here to help you with all of your heating repair needs, so if you see rust on your boiler in your Spring Valley home, call us today.

Problems That Can Be Caused by Rust

There are a couple of problems that can be caused by rust on your boiler:

  • Development of leaks – we’ve all seen rust turn metal into oxidized crumbs, and this can happen to your boiler once rust takes hold. Like mold or mildew, once rust starts, it doesn’t stop until the rusted area is repaired or replaced. Weakened areas in your boiler cabinet can lead to leaks, which can affect the operation of your heating system and may possibly be dangerous. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to call for a technician as soon as you detect any rust on your boiler.
  • Poor performance – rust can also develop on individual components, like the mounting plates. Many of these items can be replaced, but until they are, your heating system may perform poorly.

Do I Have to Replace My Boiler?

Now that you know how rust affects your boiler, here are some other items to consider before replacing:

  • Age of your system – the average lifespan of a well-maintained boiler is 15-20 years. If your boiler is that age or older, and has significant rust, you may want to consider replacement.
  • Number of repairs – have you had to make multiple repairs to your boiler, or are you facing multiple repairs? At some point, your money may be better spent on a replacement.
  • Energy efficiency – how energy efficient is your current boiler? Today’s boilers are very energy efficient, so it may be worth reviewing how much a new one can save you in monthly energy costs versus your rusty one.

Rust on your boiler in Spring Valley isn’t necessarily a death sentence for your boiler, but at the least, it does call for professional care. If you have detected rust on your boiler, call Design Air Inc, and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Repairs that Gas Log Fireplaces May Need

September 17th, 2014

Your gas log fireplace has a fairly simple construction, so it may be surprising when your fireplace needs repair. But when your fireplace won’t turn on, or if you notice any other problems, it’s time for immediate repairs. Fireplaces should last a long time, and generally don’t require many repairs, but here are a few of the most common repair needs for gas log fireplaces.

  • Gas Line Problems: A gas log fireplace must have a working gas line in order for it to work properly. Gas line problems could stop your fireplace from working altogether, or the worst case scenario is carbon monoxide leaking into your home. A carbon monoxide detector may catch such leaks, or you may smell a strange odor due to a substance that may be added upon installation to make leaks easier to detect. You may also discover that you need repairs if you hear strange noises or if your fireplace will not turn on. Fixing a gas line without the proper training is dangerous, so be sure to leave this job to the professionals.
  • Clogged Burner: If the burner will not turn on or struggles to light, there may be another cause. This may mean problems with the ignition system, or it may indicate a clogged burner. Burner jets may become dirty due to soot, dirt, or other debris, which will interfere with normal operation. A technician can clear dirt and debris and check for any indications of damage. You should call for maintenance once a year to check for both dirt and a faulty gas line.
  • Cracked Logs: Finally, you may choose to repair your gas log fireplace if the logs become cracked or otherwise damaged. Gas log fireplaces were mainly designed for aesthetic purposes because the appearance is more pleasant than a typical gas fireplace and imitates the look of real logs. You take pride in your gas log fireplace, so it’s perfectly understandable that you may want to replace the logs from time to time.

Your fireplace is an important part of your home comfort and design, so you should look out for these problems and others. For repairs, maintenance, installation, and questions about gas log fireplaces in Suffern, call the experts with over 25 years of experience at Design Air Inc today.

How Photovoltaic (PV) Panels Work

September 10th, 2014

Advances in technology have made it far easier for the average homeowner to utilize solar energy for his/her home. Additionally, grants and tax rebates for residential solar panel installation and use has also made it financially feasible for many more homeowners to take advantage of this alternative energy. However, it can still be confusing how solar energy in Pomona works. Design Air, Inc. has installed hundreds of solar panels over the years, and we can help you become greener and save energy with solar panels for your home.

What Does “Photovoltaic” Mean?

Photovoltaics (PV) is the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity at the atomic level (atoms).

How Does PV Work?

All photovoltaic energy begins with a single mechanical cell called a solar cell. The top and bottom of the cell are treated with materials that make one side of the cell positively charged (the bottom) and the other negatively charged (the top). The top and bottom are connected by electrical conductors, and the opposite charges create an electrical field that is necessary for the solar cell to create electricity from sunlight.

How Is Electricity Generated?

When sunlight hits the solar cell, electrons are knocked loose from the atoms in the top and bottom of the solar cell. They are then captured as electrical current in the conductors that are attached to the solar cell. Metal conductive plates on the sides of the cell collect the electrons (electrical current) and transfer them to wires. At that point, the electrons (electrical current) flow like any other source of electricity.

Solar Array

Obviously a single solar cell isn’t going to power your home, but this is where the solar array, also known as a panel, comes in. Solar panels are made of multiple solar cell modules that are wired together to provide enough electricity to power your home or large systems, like your air conditioning system. PV panels produce direct current (DC) electricity and can be connected in either series or parallel electrical arrangements to produce any required voltage and current combination. The solar panels can be wired right into your home’s electrical box.

Solar energy can make your home very energy efficient and significantly lower your carbon footprint. If you are interested in seeing what solar energy in Pomona can do for you and your home, call Design Air, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts.

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.

Are the Repairs for Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners Different?

August 27th, 2014

Heat pumps and air conditioners are very similar in the way they operate, except for a couple of key differences. In fact, a heat pump is a type of air conditioner when it’s in cooling mode. When it comes to comparing repairs between the two systems, certain components are the same and therefore have similar repairs. It is the components that are different, such as the reversing valve, where the repairs will be different. No matter which system you use for your home, Design Air, Inc., specializes in both types of air conditioning repair, so if you are experiencing issues with either your heat pump or AC cooling, call us.

Commonalities Between the Systems

Heat pumps and air conditioning systems both use refrigerant, have compressors, condensers and evaporators, and operate on a refrigeration cycle. This means that repairs with these components are basically the same with both systems.

Differences Between the Systems

The biggest difference between heat pumps and air conditioning systems is that heat pumps are dual-action systems: they can both heat and cool. This is due to the reversing valve on a heat pump that allows the pump to switch between heating and cooling. Common valve problems are:

  • Valves getting “stuck” in a certain position
  • The solenoid malfunctions
  • Refrigerant leak develops in the valve

A second difference between the two systems is that you may experience more repairs with a heat pump simply because it runs year-round. However, scheduling annual maintenance for your heat pump can prevent repair needs and increase the longevity of the system, which is important for a year-round appliance.

Heat pumps are great options for those living in climates with long, hot summers and moderately cold winters; for those living in areas that have cold winters – below 32 degrees – a heat pump will have to be supplemented with another heat source.

Since 1986, Design Air, Inc., has helped Spring Valley customers with central AC and heat pump repair. Whether you have a heat pump or central air conditioning system, call us for all your air conditioning repair needs in Spring Valley. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

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.