Air Conditioning Experts 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 Air Conditioning Experts, 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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Atlanta Water Heaters Repair Guide: The Sacrificial Anode Rod

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Have you ever turned on a faucet in your home, and been confronted with brown or otherwise discolored water? Do you have a tank-equipped water heater? If so, chances are you have a problem with the sacrificial anode rod. But what is the sacrificial anode rod? Read on to find out, and to find out why it’s so important to keeping your water clean.

What is the Sacrificial Anode Rod?

If any water tank will eventually begin to corrode and rust from the inside out as it is constantly exposed to water. Most water heaters have linings along the inside of the tank to help prevent this, but even they will eventually crack from the heat. To address this issue, virtually every water heater that uses a tank includes a part called a sacrificial anode rod.

This is a long, metal rod that is inserted into the top of the water tank. While the rod is in good condition, the water will begin to rust it instead of the lining of the tank. This is what earned it the name “sacrificial rod.”

Why the Sacrificial Rod Needs Replacing

Over a long enough period of time, the anode rod will become so corroded that it can no longer attract rust to itself. When this happens, the lining of the tank will begin to rust. This is likely the cause of your water being discolored when you turn on the faucet.

Aside from simply being gross, rust in your water means that your water tank is losing integrity. If the rust has progressed far enough, it will eventually cause the entire tank to rupture, potentially causing thousands of dollars in water damage on top of necessitating a new water tank.

So, how can you prevent this from happening? Replace the anode rod every five years or so. That should be often enough to always have a functioning anode rod in the heater.

If you don’t know how to replace the sacrificial anode rod, call Air Conditioning Experts, Inc. Atlanta. We provide water heater repairs throughout Atlanta.

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Heat Pump FAQ: Why Is My Outdoor Unit Still Running in the Winter?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

If you’ve been paying attention to your heat pump during the summer, you’ve noticed that the outdoor unit runs by blowing hot air out of the house to cool it. You may be a bit perplexed, then, to discover that the outdoor unit is still running during the winter when you turn the heat on. Let’s take a look at why this happens, starting with how a heat pump works.

How a Heat Pump Works

A heat pump is primarily composed of two units, an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. You already know this, of course. What you may not know is that the two units are connected by a refrigerant line that runs between them. This line terminates in a coil in each unit. When the system is on, the coil in one unit is evaporating refrigerant inside it, while the coil in the other unit is condensing refrigerant back into a liquid.

When refrigerant is evaporated inside one of the coils, it pulls heat from the surrounding air and into the coil itself, where it is stored in the gaseous refrigerant. The refrigerant gas then travels to the other unit, where the coil condenses it back into a liquid. This releases the heat from the refrigerant and back out into the air.

Why the Outdoor Unit is Still Running

So, you see, the outdoor unit is running when your heat pump is on because you told it to. When you turn on the heat, the outdoor unit becomes the one that evaporates refrigerant to pull heat from the outside air. The indoor unit then condenses it and releases heat into the house. The only difference between a heat pump that’s in heating mode and one that’s in cooling mode is which way the refrigerant is moving.

So, if you see the outdoor unit of your heat pump running during the winter when you have the heat on, don’t worry. It’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing.

If you’d like to know more, call Air Conditioning Experts, Inc. We install heat pumps throughout Atlanta.

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How Do I Know Which Type of Insulation Is the Best Choice?

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Winter is the time of year when we think about insulation, but the truth is that insulation is important for year-round comfort and energy efficiency. New insulation products have given homeowners a range of choices when it comes to installing home insulation, and the great thing is that as a homeowner, you aren’t limited to choosing a single kind, but can actually use different types of insulation to maximize energy savings for your home. The best way to determine which type or types of insulation will work best for your home is to hire trained insulation specialists to assess your home’s insulation needs and professionally install the best insulation types that will work for you. Whether you have a new home in need of insulation or need to reinstall insulation into an existing home, the experts at Air Conditioning Experts, Inc., can help you, so call us today!

Types of Insulation

Here are the 4 main types of home insulation:

  • Batt/roll insulation – when people think of insulation, batt insulation is usually the kind that springs to mind. This kind of insulation is the pink or yellow roll type that is typically made of fiberglass. Roll insulation is typically used in walls and ceilings, and comes in a variety of widths that match standard stud-spacing. Roll insulation can be cut; it can also be produced with foil on one side to create a vapor barrier.
  • Spray foam – spray foam has become very popular because it can conform to any kind of space and forms an air-tight seal with whatever it comes into contact with. Spray foam is an adhesive that expands exponentially as soon as it meets the air, so it’s important to use a trained expert for proper installation.
  • Rigid board/foam board – as its name indicates, rigid board insulation is insulation in a board style. Boards can be cut to fit different spaces, so it can be used from top to bottom.
  • Loose-fill/blown-in – loose-fill can be used as new installation, but it is particularly useful for retro-fitting older homes with better insulation; this is because the recycled materials can be blown into homes with a hose from a small cavity made in an outside wall.

As you can see, there are some great choices with which you can insulate your home. If you are need of home insulation in Atlanta, contact the people you can count on for professional installation: Air Conditioning Experts, Inc.!

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How Scheduling Maintenance Improves the Efficiency of your Heating

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Heating and air conditioning systems occupy a large portion of our utilities throughout the season. But if it seems like the cost of running your heater goes up every year, it may be because you are neglecting an important service for your heating. Many experts recommend having a technician inspect and adjust your heating system once a year as part of annual heating maintenance. This is a valuable service that could actually decrease your bills and prevent some unwanted repairs later on.

During a scheduled maintenance visit, a technician arrives to first inspect every portion of the heater. If there is a major problem, the technician will let you know; otherwise, parts of your system will simply be cleaned and adjusted as needed. So how does this help your heater? Well simply put, if a heating system is not in top shape, it cannot run in the way it is intended. A dirty component can reduce the unit’s ability to produce heat, causing other parts of the system to work harder. Similarly, when a part of your unit is out of place or otherwise damaged, the heater must run for longer periods of time. The longer your system is on, the more you pay.

A good time to schedule heating maintenance is right before the weather begins to turn and temperatures start to drop. Maintenance offers other valuable benefits as well. Adjustments help to prevent repairs from occurring and you may even extend the life of your system. You’ll also notice that you feel more comfortable, as a well-tuned heater does a better job at accurately and quickly giving off heat. Finally, maintenance can help keep you and your family safe. If your heater is hooked up to a gas line, a gas leak is a serious possibility, as is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in case some should leak into the room after the combustion process.

Call Air Conditioning Experts, Inc. to learn more about how we can help you improve the performance and efficiency of your heating in Norcross.

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