G & S Heating Cooling & Electric Blog: Archive for November, 2013

Thanksgiving, 2013: The Presidential Turkey Pardon

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Thanksgiving began in 1621, but didn’t become a national holiday until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln declared it in hopes of bringing a divided nation together. We have many Thanksgiving traditions in this country, from turkey at the meal to the annual Cowboys and Lions games on television. But one of the most beloved is the annual Presidential turkey pardon, in which the U.S. President “pardons” a turkey to life in a petting zoo rather than ending up as someone’s main course. As we celebrate this Thanksgiving, we thought you’d like to know a little more about the history of this fascinating tradition.

Farmers have sent turkeys to the White House as far back as the 1800s, hoping to have the honor of providing the President’s annual meal. There have been scattered stories of individual turkeys being “pardoned” throughout that time, including one in which President Lincoln’s son Tad successfully convinced the president to spare a bird intended for the family’s Christmas dinner.

Starting in 1947, the National Turkey Federation became the official supplier of the President’s Thanksgiving birds. The White House arranged for an annual photo op that year with the President receiving the turkey in the Rose Garden. Sadly, there was no pardon as yet; those birds all ended up on the Presidential table.

The push for an official pardon picked up steam in 1963, when President Kennedy ask that the bird be spared just a few days before his assassination. President Nixon opted to send each of the birds he received to a nearby petting zoo after the photo op, though there was no formal pardon attached.

But it wasn’t until 1989 that the pardon became official. On November 14 of that year, President George H. W. Bush made the announcement, and sent the bird to a Virginia game preserve to live the rest of its life out in cranberry-and-stuffing-free bliss. Since then, every President has held an annual pardoning ceremony, with the lucky turkey spared the axe and sent off to live in peace. Since 2005, the pardoned birds have gone to Disneyland in Anaheim, California where they have lived as part of a petting zoo exhibit in Frontierland.

No matter what traditions you enjoy this holiday, or who you enjoy them with, all of us here wish you a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving weekend.

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The Importance of Furnace Maintenance

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Here in Seattle, furnaces are an overwhelmingly popular way to keep warm and toasty during our cold, rainy winters. The Pacific Northwest has its share of chilly days, and even the summer can get cold enough to fire up the furnace every once in a while. That’s why the important of furnace maintenance cannot be underestimated. You never know when you’ll need to call upon your furnace to perform and when you do, the last thing you want is to have it fail on you. Furnace maintenance is the best way to prevent this, as well as helping to extend the life of your furnace overall.

Maintenance isn’t the same thing as repair, which usually means addressing a very specific problem hampering your heater. Rather a maintenance session acts as a “tune up” to help the furnace perform at its best. Our Seattle furnace service technician will arrive can clean off all of the internal components: clearing away any dust or dirt that can interfere with performances. He’ll tighten any loose bolts or fittings, check the burners to see if they’re functioning and monitor the furnace while it’s running to make sure everything is ship-shape. If he spots any kind of larger problem, he can identify it, the schedule a repair session to address it formally.

The benefits of this are obvious. In the first place, it helps spot potentially large problems when they’re still small, allowing you to correct them without spending as much money. You’ll also enjoy savings on your monthly bills, since a maintenance session allows your furnace to function more efficiently. Your furnace will also last longer than it might otherwise as well, since wear and tear will be kept in check. Finally, a regular furnace session gives you peace of mind by reducing the risk of a major breakdown just when you need it the most.

For more on the importance of furnace maintenance, or to schedule a maintenance session, contact G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical Inc. We handle Seattle furnaces of all varieties and can ensure that yours stays in tip-top shape to help combat our rainy Washington winters. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

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Insulation Impact: How Thermal Barriers Protect Your Comfort

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

People often misunderstand the word “insulation”: they associate it exclusively with keeping warm. You want to get a coat for cold weather that has thick insulation. Your home needs effective insulation to keep it warm during the winter. If you don’t wrap your pipes in insulation, they’ll freeze.

There’s nothing inaccurate about this understanding of insulation. If you need heating service in North Seattle that will give you the insulation for your home (and for your pipes) that will get you through the winter, you should call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc.

However, the definition of insulation isn’t “something that keeps you or an object warm.” Insulation is actually a thermal barrier: that is, it impedes the transfer of heat. For example, the reason a coat keeps you warm is that its thick layers serve as a barrier against heat escaping your body. It traps heat around you, keeping you warmer. The same goes for a thick wool cap: because heat rises, a large amount will escape from your head—unless you have a layer of insulation to slow it down.

But just as you can use insulation to trap heat, you can use it to block heat. This is why it’s so important for your home to have effective insulation for all seasons. During the hot months, insulation prevents heat from getting inside your home, making it easier for your air conditioning to cool down rooms. It has to be proper insulation as well, not just a basic wall. (Think, for example, of sitting inside a metal box on a hot day; because metal conducts heat so well, metals walls will increase the heat inside because they’ll radiate it into the small space. Not much in the way of insulation!) Specialists have to install insulation in your walls and ceilings in order for it work effectively as a barrier against outdoor heat.

However, if you live in Washington, you’ll mostly be concerned with the heat-trapping properties of home insulation. If your house lacks the proper insulation for winter temperatures, it won’t make much difference how powerful and effective a heating system you have installed: the heat will move right to the outside, leaving you with cold rooms. It will also leave you with higher heating bills and a heater straining to reach the temperature set for it. An overworked heater will soon need repairs and likely break down and require replacement earlier than it should.

Having effective insulation in your home will protect your comfort year-round—and it will also guard your energy bills. Don’t let that excellent heater or air conditioner you had installed go to waste because your insulation won’t let it do its job effectively. Contact G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., where we specialize in insulation along with heating and air conditioning installation. For professional heating service in North Seattle, make us your first call.

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North Seattle Heating Tips

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

It’s that time of year again, when the last days of steady warm weather slip behind us, the rain begins to fall regularly, jackets start hanging on coat racks near the front door—and home heating systems turn on for their months of work keeping Seattle residents comfortable in their homes.

G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. has provided excellent quality heating services to Seattle since 1977. We have some tips based on our decades of experience that will help you get the most from the furnace, heat pump, or other HVAC system that warms your home. With only a few basic steps, you will get improved heating and more budget-friendly energy bills.

When you need additional assistance with your heater, or if you simply have more questions about our North Seattle, WA heating services, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Some ways to get the most from your heater in North Seattle

Make sure your home has proper insulation: The insulation in a home serves one job: acting as a barrier to heat. During warm weather, it keeps heat outside. During cold weather, it keeps heat inside. Without proper insulation, the heat from your HVAC system will slip right outdoors and do you little good. Insulation can deteriorate over time, so check that yours is in good shape. (Pay particular attention to the insulation in the attic; heat rises.) Also check for any heat leaks occurring around your windows or doors and get proper weather stripping and caulking done.

Avoid overworking your heater with lower thermostat temperatures: People often feel unsure how high to set their thermostat on cold days, and they often err on the side of too much heat. This not only wastes energy, it puts stress on the heater. On most days, you will find that 68°F will give you the right level of comfort, and you can add an extra layer of clothes to help. When you’re asleep, lower the temperature to 58°F.

Schedule regular preventive maintenance: If your heater begins to develop problems, even small ones that only create minor inconveniences, it will begin to work inefficiently and may eventually require more expensive repairs. Protect yourself from an abrupt breakdown, reduced heating power, and unexpectedly high bills with an annual inspection from a professional HVAC technician.

If you follow these tips for heating in North Seattle, WA, you should experience few troubles from your home heater. G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. can help you: with our pre-paid maintenance program, you’ll receive two maintenance visits a year (one for your heater and one for your air conditioner), priority service, 10% off parts and labor, and never have to pay overtime rates for repairs. Best of all, you’ll get improved performance from your heater: that means more comfort and fewer repair bills in the future.

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A Complete Guide to Energy Efficiency Ratings for New Heating Systems

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Because modern heating systems are complex devices, they come with an intricate and often lengthy list of statistics. This can be tricky for non-specialists to navigate, but knowing exactly what a heater can deliver, how much it can deliver, and how efficiently it delivers it is an important part of figuring out which type and size of heater will work best for your needs.

In this post, we will give you a concise guide to efficiency ratings for new heating systems. These ratings explain how efficiently a heater converts fuel into heat (and, in the case of heat pumps, cooling). There is more technical data behind what we’ll explain here, so if you want additional information to help with your North Seattle, WA heating installation service, contact G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc.

AFUE

The initials AFUE stand for “annual fuel utilization efficiency.” The percentage is the amount of fuel that the heater converts into heat. For example, if a furnace produced 80 units of heat (usually measured in BTUs, “British thermal units”) for every 100 units of energy put into it, it would have an AFUE rating of 80%. Most heating systems today score between 78% and 98%.

SEER

This is one of two ratings given to heat pumps, which work as both air conditioners and heaters. SEER stands for “seasonal energy efficiency,” and is a ratio represented by a whole number that determines how effectively a heat pump cools. It is the amount of BTUs of cooling produced over a season, divided by the energy consumed in watt-hours. The higher the number, the better the efficiency. You should look for a heat pump with a SEER of 14 or higher.

HSPF

HSPF stands for “heating seasonal performance factor,” and is the other rating given to a heat pump, this time to represent its heating efficiency. It’s the ratio of the total amount of heat needed over a season to the energy consumed in watt-hours—similar to SEER. Again, a higher number is better. Most heat pumps do not have an HSPF greater than 10.

Although getting a furnace or heat pump with high efficiency is important, it isn’t the only factor to consider when selecting a heater. Consult with professionals to help you make a decision that will get you the most effective heating power coupled with efficient energy performance. Turn to G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. to help you start out your North Seattle, WA heating installation right—with expert selection of the right heater.

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