IERNA's Heating & Cooling 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 Ierna Heating & Cooling, 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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The Many Advantages of Nest Thermostats

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Thermostat technology has made incredible progress over the past couple of decades. From manual, to digital, to programmable, homeowners are being given more and more control over how their indoor climate is regulated. Now, the next step in that progression has arrived in the form of Nest thermostats. Let’s examine what the Nest thermostat is, and why you should consider installing one in your home.

Adaptability

By now, homeowners know about programmable thermostats. Most digital thermostats are now equipped with options for day and night cycles, as well as days of the week. Pretty much any time of day can have its own dedicated setting with programmable thermostats, and this is a very good thing. The problem is that a lot of these options are hidden behind complicated button combinations and menu settings. Nest is a different kind of animal altogether.

Nest thermostats revolve around an extremely simple and efficient design. You turn the temperature up, or down, and over the first few days the Nest thermostat will begin to learn from your heating and cooling habits. Eventually, the thermostat will set the temperature for you without instruction. If you keep turning your thermostat off at night to save energy, the Nest will remember to turn itself off even if you forget.

You can also set the Nest thermostat to have an energy-saving away temperature when you’re out of the house. This prevents it from wasting energy heating an empty home. In a similar manner, Nest has several ways to make suggestions regarding saving money on heating. When you’re adjusting the thermostat and a small leaf appears on the display, that’s Nest telling you that you’re saving energy and money.

Interconnectivity

In keeping with our increasingly online lifestyles, the Nest thermostat is capable of remote capabilities. If you’re driving home after a long day, and you don’t want the house to be freezing when you get home, just open the Nest app on your phone and set the temperature you want. By the time you get home, your house will be nice and comfortable.

If you’d like to know more about Nest thermostats, call Ierna’s Heating & Cooling. We install thermostats throughout Riverview.

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Lutz Heating Repair Guide: Cracked Heat Exchangers

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

There are a lot of urban legends about the dangers of certain kinds of heating systems, and while there is some truth to certain problems, there are only a few truly dangerous situations that can develop with your furnace. One of these is operating a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger. During annual heating maintenance, your heat exchanger is inspected for corrosion, rust and cracks for safety and function purposes; this is one of many reasons why it’s important to schedule annual maintenance for your furnace. First, we’ll explain what a heat exchanger is.

What Is a Heat Exchanger?

A heat exchanger is the component in your furnace that helps generate the heat that is blown into your home; it also is the component that keeps the toxic combustion byproducts of your furnace’s burner from entering your home. The heat exchanger is a moderately-size serpentine tube that is open on both ends. When the burner ignites, it heats the heat exchanger; while the heat generates, combustion byproducts like noxious gases and soot enter the bottom of the heat exchanger and flow up. The top of the heat exchanger is connected directly to your furnace’s flue, and the toxic byproducts flow directly outside. The warm air generated outside the heat exchanger is blown into your ductwork.

What Happens With a Cracked Heat Exchanger?

The main problem that can occur with a cracked heat exchanger is that the toxic byproducts – including gases like carbon monoxide – can escape during operation and be blown into your living spaces. Additional problems can be poor performance and an inability of the system to meet your heating needs.

Why Does a Heat Exchanger Crack?

One of the main causes of cracking is age. The average heat exchanger has a lifespan of 15-18 years, similar to that of the lifespan of your furnace. Over time, the constant heating and cooling of the heat exchanger’s metal can weaken it, eventually causing cracking. A second cause of cracking is the development of rust or corrosion on the heat exchanger; corrosion can make a heat exchanger prone to cracking.

Heat exchangers cannot be repaired if they are cracked; replacement is required to repair your heating in Lutz.

If you suspect your heat exchanger may not be working properly, call the experts at Ierna’s Heating & Cooling today!

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Schedule Maintenance Today for Your Light Commercial Heating System

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Your light commercial heating system won’t run forever, but it can last well over a decade with the proper maintenance. Here in Tampa, it’s not often that we need to switch into heating mode. Because of this, you may forget that maintenance is vital to the performance of a heater, just as it is with an air conditioner. If it’s been a couple of years or more since your heater has gotten a tune up, there’s certainly a chance that something may go wrong.

Professional maintenance is the best way to protect your system from damage or from a premature breakdown. If you schedule maintenance today, it’s unlikely that you’ll notice any further repair needs this heating season. Besides, light commercial heating system maintenance may increase the lifespan of your unit and improve efficiency. Standard wear and tear on your commercial system means the parts end up using a lot of energy to run, but a tune up can save you a lot over time.

Can’t I Perform Maintenance On My Own?

Maintenance is not something that just anyone can perform. Professionals simply know the ins and outs of heating systems to better protect and prolong the life of your system. Most heating technicians have years of experience and training, and understand what to look for when inspecting to damage and making minor adjustments. Without the proper skills, you may clean a component using the incorrect procedures or gloss over an important repair need. Always trust heating experts to make sure your system is in top shape before they leave.

During professional maintenance, a technician cleans and adjusts various components of the system and thoroughly inspects each and every part. Even a light commercial heating system may be quite large, and some hidden parts could be in trouble. Your technician will let you know if a component needs repair so that you can schedule service now, before a major problem leads to a breakdown on the day your business needs heating the most.

Contact Ierna’s Heating & Cooling to learn more about how you can improve comfort on your commercial property by scheduling annual light commercial heating system maintenance in Tampa.

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