EB Design Air Inc. Blog : Archive for December, 2014

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

“No two snowflakes are alike.”

This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at Design Air Inc, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!

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Does My Home Need an Energy Audit?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Just about every home can benefit from knowing where energy loss is occurring. With an energy audit, you can find out this and more. Does your home need an energy audit? If you want to make your home as energy efficient as possible for the long-term, the answer is yes.

What Is an Energy Audit?

An energy audit, also called an energy assessment, is a multi-step process by which your energy usage is reviewed, assessed and analyzed. This is done in conjunction with conducting physical tests like the blower door test that help pinpoint areas of your home where you may be losing energy. So what happens during a home energy audit? Here’s a general overview:

  • Analysis of last 12 months’ energy bills
  • Thorough inspection of interior and exterior of home
  • Health and safety inspection
  • Assessment of electrical system
  • Inspection of all combustion appliances
  • Blower door test
  • Written report of recommendations

Signs You May Need an Energy Audit

Not sure if your home needs an energy audit? Here are some signs that an energy audit would be a good choice for your home:

  • The presence of mold or mildew
  • Hot and cold spots
  • Drafts
  • Condensation on the inside of windows
  • Formation of ice dams on your roof

Benefits of Scheduling a Home Energy Audit

  • Greater energy efficiency – a home energy audit will pinpoint all the areas where you are losing energy efficiency and provide recommendations for repairing these problems. According to Energy.gov, a home energy audit can increase your home’s energy efficiency anywhere from 5-30%.
  • Greater comfort – if your comfort has been affected by drafts and hot and cold spots, an energy audit can determine the source(s) of these problems and provide you with strategies and recommendations that can help eliminate these problems.
  • Uncover hidden problems – the thorough inspection of a home energy audit can lead to the detection of problems you may not be aware of, and provide you with the opportunity to remedy them.

Heating and cooling costs can take up 40% of your home’s annual budget; with an energy audit in New City, you can have the opportunity to significantly reduce these costs. Call Design Air Inc today and schedule an appointment with one of our home energy experts.

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How Is Radiant Heating Different from Other Types of Heating?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

For many decades, the most common type of heating system in homes was the furnace. Furnaces use forced air to distribute warmth throughout a building. The main alternative to a furnace is a boiler, which uses hot water sent to terminal points within a building—such as cast iron radiators or baseboard heaters—to raise the temperature of an object in the room in order to provide it with warmth. This kind of heating is known as radiant heating.

Today, radiant heating covers a variety of systems. Standard boiler set-ups that connect the hot water pipes to baseboard heaters are still common, but another option available is radiant hydronic floor heating, where water heated in the boiler runs through pipes installed inside the floor, raising the temperature of the floorboards and warming the room from below.

If you are curious about installation of radiant heating in Nyack, NY or the surrounding areas, call Design Air Inc and speak to our heating professionals. We will help you find the ideal of heating for your household.

What Makes Radiant Heating Different

Heat moves, or transfers, in three ways: convection, conduction, and radiation. Convection heating is how furnaces and heat pumps distribute their warmth. The definition of convection is “the transfer of heat between an object and its environment due to fluid motion.” Air, which is a type of fluid, carries the heat from a furnace or heat pump and spreads it through a room.

Radiation, on the other hand, is the transfer of heat from the movement of charged particles. The temperature of an object increases, and it gives off waves of charged particles that travel until they strike another surface, such as a person, and raise its temperature in turn. The space in between the two objects does not receive heat.

Radiant heating for a home does not require any fans or blowers to send out warmth, only hot water raising the temperature of floorboards, radiators, or baseboard heaters. (Baseboard heaters create a natural convection current from the rise and fall of heat, however.) One of the advantages of using this form of heating is that it does not require any air ducts. This eliminates the heat loss that occurs along ductwork, and also allows for cleaner air free from the dust and dirt particles that often collect inside ducts.

Radiant heating also spreads more evenly than convection heating does. The air blown out from a vent connected to a furnace or heat pump will rise to the top of a room and gather there, taking longer to spread through the room. Radiant heating moves in all directions and reaches the spaces of rooms much faster.

Because there are a variety of ways that you can have radiant heating in Nyack, NY for your house, you should consult with professionals first before making any decision. Design Air Inc has experience with many types of radiant heating systems, so make us your first choice when you want the best quality warmth for your house.

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What Are “Wet” Radiant Floor Installations?

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

There are several options you have when it comes to installing radiant floor heating in Nyack, both in type of radiant heating you use and how it’s installed. Understanding your options helps ensure that you choose a type and method of installation that will work best for you and your home. The trained experts at Design Air, Inc., have installed numerous radiant flooring systems, and can help you with yours. If you are ready to install a new radiant heating system, call us today!

Types of Radiant Flooring

There are two types of radiant flooring:

  • Electric
  • Hydronic

Electric radiant flooring heats your floor by electrifying cables. These cables can be installed in 3 ways:

  • Installed directly to subfloor – the cables are installed directly to the subfloor, usually in a specific pattern.
  • Installed as a mat – the electric cables are woven into a mat of electrically-conductive plastic; the matting is then installed to subflooring or mounted directly underneath your surface floor.
  • Wet installation – with a wet installation, the cables are laid into wet cement; when the cement hardens, the dried cement slab acts as a radiant slab when the cables are electrified.

Hydronic radiant flooring uses hot water or steam to heat your home. Utilizing flexible PEX tubing, hydronic radiant flooring can be installed in two ways: either mounted underneath your flooring or by wet installation. Like electric cables, the PEX tubing is laid in wet cement, creating a cement slab when the cement dries.

Benefits of a Wet Installation

There are a couple of benefits of wet installation worth considering:

  • Protection of the tubing or cable – because the tubing or electric cables are embedded in concrete, each is afforded a level of protection from potential damage.
  • Acts as a heating slab – the concrete slab acts as a radiant slab when used with radiant heating, adding additional heating power to your home.

Radiant heating is a step-by-step process that requires expertise to ensure that your home heats correctly. The professionals at Design Air, Inc., have the knowledge and experience to install any radiant heating system, so give us a call today!

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