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Archive for December, 2014

5 Facts about Santa Claus

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Many holiday traditions involve the story of Santa Claus, the lovable old man who spends most of his time at the North Pole taking a single evening to deliver presents and candy to children everywhere. But since Santa Claus is so elusive (unless he happens to be visiting your local shopping mall), how do we know so much about him? Where exactly does his journey begin? Our holiday guide details 5 of the most common traditions associated with Jolly Old Saint Nick.

  1. The Origins of Santa: The name “Santa Claus” comes from St. Nicholas (a name which became Sinter Klaas for short in Dutch), a Christian Bishop from 4 A.D. who was known for giving his fortune away to those in need in Turkey. Santa Claus’ first associations with gift-giving comes from Holland’s St. Nicholas’ feast day, during which children would leave out their shoes overnight and find presents waiting inside the shoes on the next morning.
  1. The Stocking by the Chimney: While many people associate Holland’s shoe tradition with the origins of hanging a stocking, this isn’t entirely accurate. Hanging stockings instead comes from the legend of a time St. Nick helped a man afford to marry off his daughter by throwing a bag of gold down the chimney, which landed in a stocking that was hanging up to dry.
  1. St. Nick’s Outfit: Santa got his fashion sense from a wooden cutout handed out during a meeting of the New York Historical Society in 1804. But it wasn’t until a 1930s Coca Cola advertisement that his traditionally blue, white, and green outfit was transformed into a big red suit.
  1. Leaving Cookies out for Santa: Food was traditionally used as ornamentation during the holidays in medieval Germany as apples and cookies commonly adorned the home at wintertime. When the Christmas tree became a common symbol of the season, edible treats began to vanish, a phenomenon which became attributed to Santa Claus’ snacking habits.
  1. Why Santa Drives a Sleigh: Santa gets his sleigh from a tale spun by Washington Irving, the same author who brought us the Headless Horseman. He wrote down an account of a dream in which Santa Claus drives a weightless wagon through the sky, and the stories became so popular, they stuck around.

Here at Switzerland Air, we hope that you have a joyful and safe celebration, no matter what holiday traditions you engage in this year. Happy holidays!

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Is a Heat Pump in Freeport Sufficient for Winter Weather?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Being so close to the beach, we don’t like to think about winter very much. But, it does cool down here in Freeport, TX even if we don’t like to think about it, but many people have a great system for both heating and cooling their homes: a heat pump. However, there can be some concern over whether a heat pump in Freeport, TX is sufficient for winter weather. Where does the concern come from? We’ll explain more below.

Heating with a Heat Pump

When a heat pump is in heating mode, it doesn’t generate heat; as it does in cooling mode, it transfers heat from one location to another, with the help of refrigerant. During the winter months, the heat pump absorbs the heat that surrounds it, concentrates it, then disperses it to your living areas. However, as the temperature drops, the amount of available heat decreases. Where this can become a concern is when the temperature drops below 32 degrees for a steady time period. We don’t get that cold in our area, so to answer the question above, our technicians say this: yes, a heat pump is very sufficient for our winter weather. Here are some other reasons to consider installing a heat pump:

  • Great energy efficiency – heat pumps don’t use any fossil fuels and only a small amount of electricity to operate; this makes them very energy efficient. If you use a heat pump with a ductless systems, you get the added energy efficiency of not losing air to faulty ductwork.
  • Comfortable heating – heat pumps blow air into your home continually, but in a low-volume way; this is very different from more traditional forced-air systems where the air can sometimes feel like a hot blast.
  • Very versatile – heat pumps can be used with ducted systems, ductless systems and geothermal systems.
  • Long lifespan – heat pumps have an average lifespan of 20-25 years versus combustion heating systems, which have an average lifespan of 15-20 years.

If you have questions about using a heat pump to heat your home in Freeport, TX, call Switzerland Air today. You can schedule an appointment with one of our experts for professional heat pump installation anytime.

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How to Tell You Should Schedule a New Boiler Installation

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Boilers have built up a reputation over the last century for being extremely sturdy. A well maintained boiler can last well over a decade, depending on the circumstances. Despite their long-lasting natures, however, boilers eventually do have to be replaced. The following are some of the signs that you need to schedule a new boiler installation.

Increase in Repair Frequency

Like all heating systems, a boiler will occasionally have a need for part replacement or some other repair need. However, you should pay close attention to the frequency of your boiler’s repair needs. Once or twice a year is no big deal, and about average for many home heating systems. Once or twice every couple of months is a big problem. Usually, this is caused by cumulative wear and tear that is causing multiple parts to fail in sequence. This is a side effect of age and years of use, and the only thing that can really be done about it is to replace the boiler.

Increase in Heating Bill

Your heating bill is naturally going to fluctuate slightly from month to month. This is, of course, the result of your demand for heating being different each month. When your heating bill begins to rise consistently, however, it’s a sign of a problem with your boiler. This is usually an indication of your boiler struggling to work as efficiently as it used to, likely due to its individual parts beginning to degrade. When this happens, it’s a good sign that the boiler needs to be replaced.

Age

Though boilers can last a very long time, when they reach a certain age they become more and more likely to fail. That time is usually around age 15. If your boiler is younger than that, and well taken care of, then you can probably make it last a few more years. If your boiler is older than 15, and experiencing some of the aforementioned problems, you should probably install a new one.

If you aren’t sure whether or not to replace your boiler, call Switzerland Air. We provide boiler repair and installation throughout Brazoria, TX.

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What Are the Advantages of a Boiler when Compared to a Furnace?

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

The boiler vs. furnace debate is perhaps one of the most common home heating discussions today. Both are very common systems, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Boilers in particular, however, have a very interesting group of benefits to offer the homeowner brave enough to install them. Let’s take a look at what a boiler system can offer you.

Radiant Heating

The most common boiler-based system is called “radiant heating.” It begins with the installation of a network of water pipes in each room of the house you want heated. These pipes are often installed in the walls or subfloor of the room. The network is then connected to the boiler, which uses it to distribute hot water throughout the house.

As the hot water moves through the pipes, it radiates heat outward. The heat travels through the walls, (or floor) and into the room. Rather than using air as a medium for transporting heat, radiant heat transfers thermal energy through solid objects in the room.

There are two major benefits to this type of heating. The first is that the room is heated very evenly. Forced air systems blow hot air into a room, which immediately rises to the ceiling where it doesn’t do anyone any good. As the air cools, it sinks down to the floor and creates uncomfortable fluctuations in temperature within the room. Radiant heating keeps all of its heat near the floor of the room, and isn’t affected by any sort of air currents.

The second benefit is that radiant heating delivers much more of its heat to its destination than forced air systems do. Current estimates by government agencies state that forced air systems lose as much as 30% of their heat on average to duct leaks. Radiant heating systems avoid this issue altogether, since they utilize a different delivery system. Water is also a much better heat conductor than air is, allowing more heat to be delivered in the first place.

If you are thinking about installing a boiler, call Switzerland Air to schedule an appointment with us today.. We provide boiler installation services throughout Brazoria, TX.

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