Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning Blog: Archive for January, 2015

Reasons to Consider Radiant Heating Installation

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Radiant heating is often considered a rather unusual option for home heating, despite actually being a technology that predates forced air systems. Though it is less popular than forced air systems like furnaces, radiant heating can actually offer a wide range of advantages over them. Let’s take a look at what radiant heating actually is, and why you might want to consider installing it.

What is Radiant Heating?

Radiant heating is a boiler-based heating system that uses water to distribute heat. Its installation begins with putting a network of water pipes in the walls or subfloor of each room that you want to be heated. Occasionally, these pipes may be connected to a terminal heater like a radiator or a baseboard heater. This network of pipes connects to the boiler.

When the heat is turned on, the boiler heats water and pumps it through the pipe network in the house. As the hot water flows through the pipes, the heat from the water radiates through the pipes and out into the room. This is why it’s called “radiant heating.”

What are the Advantages of Radiant Heating?

There are several big advantages to using a radiant heating system over a forced air system. For one thing, the radiant heating system can heat a room much more evenly than most forced air systems. When warm air enters a room from a duct, it will quickly rise to the ceiling and stay there until it cools down. This is hardly helpful to the people in the room, who are almost always closer to the floor than the ceiling. This creates uncomfortable cold spots in rooms heated by forced air systems. Radiant heaters, however, transmit heat directly through the floor. As the heat does not rely on air as a medium, it stays close to ground level where people can benefit from it.

Radiant systems are also quite energy efficient, delivering more of their heat to their destinations than forced air systems. This is for two reasons. First, water is a better medium for transporting heat than air is. Second, a large amount of a forced air heater’s heat is lost to leaks in the ductwork of the average home. Radiant systems bypass this disadvantage completely by not using ducts.

If you’re interested in installing a radiant heating system, call Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning. We provide heater services throughout Chicago.

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Here’s Why You Should Never Try to Repair a Gas Furnace Yourself

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

When something in your home needs repair, it may seem like an opportune time to take on an exciting new project by yourself. Replacing a loose doorknob, adjusting a crooked cabinet door, or reinforcing a shaky table leg are all jobs that are relatively simple for a homeowner to do with the proper tools and perhaps some helpful information on the internet. But repairing a broken gas furnace is never as simple as screwing in a door handle.

In today’s guide, learn why gas furnace repair in Park Ridge, IL, is a job reserved for professionals, like the friendly folks at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning.

The Issue May Not Be What You Think

One of the most important reasons to leave furnace repair up to a professional is that the part that you believe is broken may not necessarily be the part that’s causing trouble. Guides and tutorials online can give you a few reasons as to why your furnace is making noise or why you only feel limited heating. But any number of parts can contribute to a single problem, and replacing the part you believe is at fault may end up proving a waste of money. For example, you may think you need to replace the draft inducer when you system shuts off after only a few minutes of heating, when the problem could actually be with the air pressure switch, a less costly replacement part.

Repairing a Gas Furnace on Your Own Is Expensive

Perhaps you own a set of tools found standard in most homes, like a set of screwdrivers and a hammer. Or maybe you’re the type of homeowner with an array of tools like socket wrenches, torque wrenches, and hacksaws. But even so, chances are that you do not own all of the tools necessary for gas furnace repair. Experts carry the costly specialized equipment that can detect improper voltage, poor air pressure, and other problems you cannot perceive visually.

Professionals Know the Safest Way to Work with a Gas Line

Professionals also know the safest ways to repair a gas heating installation without the potential for gas leaks or carbon monoxide leaks. Technicians will take the time to inspect your equipment thoroughly before and after a repair to check for any potential danger, while an amateur may not always know what to look for.

Call Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning today to schedule an appointment for professional furnace repair service in Park Ridge, IL, a company trusted for heating and air conditioning repair since 1904.

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How Zone Systems Help with Heating

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

One of the drawbacks of a standard forced-air central heater—such as a furnace or heat pump—is that it is an “all or nothing” device: when it comes on, it sends heated air to every room connected to the ventilation system, regardless of whether the room actually requires heat at the time. For smaller homes, this is often not a serious issue. But for larger ones, heating rooms needlessly contributes to significant energy waste during the year.

There is a solution to this problem that doesn’t involve using a completely different type of heater: you can have heating experts install a zone control system in your house. Zone control divides up the ventilation system into separate regions (or zones) using dampers inside the ducts, each of which connects to a local thermostat. The dampers can shut off heat to their zones, allowing for specific heat control. If you are interested in having zone control installed with a new heater, or if you want your current HVAC system retro-fit for zone control, call Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning today and speak to our Evanston, IL heating professionals.

Here are some of the ways that zone control will benefit a home’s heating:

  • Energy saving: Keeping a home warm in the Chicagoland area can get expensive during the winter. Using zone control lets you cut back on these cost by only providing warmth for occupied rooms. This is especially beneficial for larger homes, or homes that have a guest room that only receives use for short periods of time during the year.
  • Individual comfort: People have differing climate needs; an indoor temperature that may feel too warm to one person will feel too cold to another. This makes it difficult to please everyone within one household. With zone control, the people in a house can adjust the temperatures to fit their own comfort needs wherever they are by simply setting the local thermostat.
  • Even heating distribution: Zone control grants you finer control over how heat spreads out through a home, making it easier to have even levels of comfort. For example, if you heat the upstairs and the downstairs with separate zones, you can heat the upstairs first, then shut it off and heat the downstairs; the heat from the downstairs will rise to the second floor, providing even heat instead of making the upstairs too hot.

Also keep in mind that if your air conditioning uses the same sets of ducts as your heater, you will have zone control for your cooling during the summer as well.

If you would like to find out more about zone control and how it can benefit your home, contact Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning. We have provided Evanston, IL with heating excellence for more than a century.

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How Are Ductless Mini Splits Installed?

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

A ductless mini split works similar to a standard heat pump: refrigerant cycles between an indoor and an outdoor unit, absorbing heat from one location and then releasing it in another in order to warm or cool the indoors. The difference between the two systems is that a mini split system uses multiple indoor air handlers instead of a single larger unit connected to ductwork. The individual air handlers contain blowers and refrigerant coils and send out conditioned air directly into the rooms.

Although these air handlers are miniature compared to the indoor components of a standard heat pump, ductless mini splits still require professionals to install. If you want fast and effective ductless mini split installation in Winnetka, IL or other parts of Chicagoland, call on the team with more than a century of experience of delivering home comfort: Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning.

What Happens During Ductless Mini Split Installation

When technicians install a ductless mini split heat pump for a home, they first determine the best location for the outdoor unit and which rooms will have separate air handlers. After figuring out this general layout, the installers will place and secure the outdoor unit; this part of the installation process is similar to how a standard heat pump or air conditioner is installed.

The next step is to put in the air handlers. The technicians will find wall locations in the rooms that are strong and not subject to excess vibration. They then drill outlet ports through the wall so the air handler can access the outdoor unit of the heat pump. Next, a mounting plate goes onto the wall. The technicians make sure the plate is secure and can handle the weight of the air handler while leaving no space behind where condensate leaking might damage and weaken building material. (This is one of the major dangers of amateur installation: wall damage that might cause the air handler to rip away and fall.)

After the mounting plate is in place, the installers connect the power cable, refrigerant piping, and drain hose through the outlet ports. The air handler now goes into place, connecting to each of the lines first before it is secured tightly onto the mounting plate.

Once all the components are set up, the installers put refrigerant into the system and test the electrical connections. You should have a fully working new ductless mini split after this.

We Can Install Your Ductless Mini Split System

At Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning, we have experience installing all types of heaters and ACs. We can help you decide if your home will benefit from ductless heating and cooling, and then handle all the steps so you have a new system working for you in no time. Depend on us for ductless mini split installation in Winnetka, IL. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

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The History of “Auld Lang Syne”

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

There are numerous different traditional songs associated with Christmas—but there is only one song that comes to mind immediately when people think of New Year’s Eve: “Auld Lang Syne.” It is hard to find a New Year’s Eve party where people won’t leap into singing “Should old acquaintance be forgot…” as the first stroke of midnight sounds. This tradition encompasses the globe, with almost every culture that celebrates New Year’s on January 1st breaking into song with the same set of lyrics.

Where did this song come from? And what do the words “auld lang syne” actually mean? The best place to ask these questions is Scotland. The Official Gateway to Scotland website calls the song “one of Scotland’s gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbor’s hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take us into the future.”

The melody of the piece originates from Lowland Scots folk song tradition. It was legendary Scottish Romantic poet Robert Burns (1759–1796) who created the words we know today, however. During the later years of his life, Burns dedicated much of his work to collecting Scottish folk tunes and giving them new life. The first mention Burns makes of “Auld Lang Syne” is in 1788, when he calls the song “a glorious fragment.” Burns wrote new lyrics to the old melody, and used the words “auld lang syne,” which is Scottish for “old long since,” and which can be translated into standard English as “long, long ago” or “days gone by.” The phrase was already known in earlier Scottish poems and folk songs, and appears to be the equivalent of “Once upon a time…” for Scots fairy tales.

Soon after Burns introduced the song to the public, it spread across Scotland as a New Year’s custom, and then to the rest of Great Britain. Scottish immigrants took the song with them as they moved across the globe, and by the middle of the 19th century it was a holiday tradition throughout the English-speaking world. By the close of the 20th century, it was a global phenomenon to ring in the New Year.

We imagine that you’ll end up singing or hearing “Auld Lang Syne” at some point this New Year’s (maybe you’ve already heard it while watching It’s a Wonderful Life).

All of us at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning  would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy coming year in the tradition of the song.

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