Ancient HVAC, Part II: Cooling Ancient Rome
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the approaching Dogs Days of summer cover the span of 40 days between July 3rd and August 11th.* Chances are good you’ve always assumed this period was referred to as the “Dog Days” because any hound worth her salt can be found chilling in a cool, shady corner until the swelter has passed. But it turns out there’s more to it… Assuming you live in a northern latitude, step outside at dawn this time of year and just above the horizon you c
Central A.C. Explained with Words We All Understand
Have you ever stopped and pondered all the conveniences we utilize every day, seemingly with the touch of a button? You turn on the faucet and instantly water appears. You tap a few keys on your laptop and suddenly your video conferencing with someone on the other side of the globe. With a turn of the ignition, a car can transport you distances in one day that 200 years ago might’ve taken weeks. And then there’s air conditioning; without it, places like Las Vegas or Phoenix m
Spring storm season is upon us. Are you ready for a tornado?
Tornado season arrived right on cue this year. Sadly, the first deadly tornado of 2019 touched down on March 3rd in Alabama. History shows that peak tornado season begins in March and ramps up through July. But tornadoes have been recorded literally every month of the year and in almost every state. According to NOAA statistics, an average of about 1,200 tornadoes each year spawn in the U.S. While you can’t be absolutely certain one will spawn near you, it’s a good idea to be
Ancient HVAC: The Story of an Ephesian Goddess, the Roman Baths and Pliny the Elder’s Possibly Grues
If this sounds like an unlikely historical timeline, don’t worry, it’s not. This glance back at history begins with the Greeks, who not only gave Western civilization democracy, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, philosophy and the Olympics, but also pioneered warm winter nights by inventing the first central heating system. Let’s begin at the sacred Temple of Artemis, built in tribute to the Ephesian goddess of fertility. At least twice the size of the Parthenon and one of th
Are Smart Vents a Smart Idea?
Smart appliances are everywhere. We use them for everything. There are now smart refrigerators, smart trash cans, even smart litter boxes! I’m beginning to feel like Elroy Jetson. So, I wasn’t surprised when I came across a few articles in various tech publications that were touting the latest generation of smart air vents being manufactured. Full disclosure: we ran a blog about these gizmos a couple of years ago, but has our opinion changed after reviewing the latest models?
This Old House? Or, This Old Money Pit?
How to Add Central A.C. to Your Old House Without Breaking The Bank According to the last Census, about 50% of houses in America were built prior to 1975. Combine summer's scorching temperatures with aging homes and the result is a lot of homeowners sweating their lack of central AC. If this includes you, what are your options? Well, that depends… CENTRAL AC Does your house have pre-existing ductwork? If the home already employs a forced-air heating system — indicated by air
Is Duct Cleaning a Scam?
Recently a friend of mine whose opinions and recommendations I value — on anything from movies to marriage to motor oil — told me he had just had his home’s air ducts cleaned. In fact, he couldn’t stop raving about it. He claimed he’s never breathed easier, the air is fresher and he regrets not doing it years ago. I politely nodded and tried to change the subject. Working in the HVAC industry, I’m no stranger to the debate on duct cleaning. Debate? Yes. The fact is, empirical
After the Storm Blows Over: Assessing HVAC Flood Damage
Conventional wisdom by HVAC experts dictates replacing an HVAC system after damage from a flood. But conventional wisdom doesn’t know your situation or budget. The main factor to consider for most people is cost - as in, I really don’t have an extra five to twenty-grand burning a hole in my pocket type of cost. The potentially good news for those affected by the recent floods is there might be federal assistance to make the decision easier. Money or low-interest loans ar
Top 10 HVAC Fails
What follows is just a sampling of some of the funnier HVAC “hiccups” that we’ve come across on the web in the last few months – unless, these particular systems belong to you (in that case, we apologize.) Enjoy! Fail #1 Courtesy of hvac-hacks.com Why bother to fix a problem when you can just warn the next guy to proceed with caution? Fail #2 Courtesy of hvac-hacks.com We’re not sure if this is actually an HVAC system or post-modern art. Fail #3 Courtesy of hvac-hacks.com Qui
Is Your Programmable Programmed?
According to Energy Star, approximately 45% of a typical home’s energy consumption is relegated to heating and cooling - roughly $2,100 to $2,500 per annum. Not exactly chump change. Suffice to say, some of that energy, in the form of hot or cold air, gets lost in the cracks, literally. That is, tempered air escapes through gaps around door jambs and window sills, via roofs and floors, heating or cooling unoccupied areas, etc. There’s no shortage of ways for air to escape, an