Common Boiler Repairs

January 13th, 2014

Boilers are quiet and efficient, using heated water to keep your home warm. All the same, they can still encounter problems just like any other mechanical system. When they do, you want to spot them quickly and call in a repair service as soon as possible. Here’s a brief list of come common boiler repairs:

  • Thermostat. The thermostat gauges when the boiler turns off and on. Over time, it can become less reliable, turning the boiler off and on at inappropriate times or even refusing to turn on at all.
  • Lack of heat. A lack of heat can be caused by mineral build-up in the boiler, by lowered water levels (possibly caused by a leak).
  • Water leaks. Leaks can be cause by corrosion, by imperfect seals, and by myriad other problems in the boiler system as a whole. They’re problematic because they lower the water pressure, which means the heat doesn’t get where it needs to go, not to mention possibly damaging your home. Some leaks are very small, so simply checking for dripping water won’t work. A trained heating technician can hunt down the source of the leak and seal it up or repair the affected component.

For these and other common boiler repairs, you can count on the professionals at Air Novations to give you a hand. Call us today for Manassas boiler repair service.

Furnaces vs. Boilers: Which Is My Best Option for Heating in Fairfax?

January 6th, 2014

Furnaces and boilers are the two most popular choices for home heating, and they have been so for many years because both offer numerous advantages. But how can you choose between them when it comes to your heating in Fairfax, VA?

In this post, we’ll do a brief rundown of the benefits of the two systems to help you with answering that question. However, we don’t know about your home specifically (yet): it will take some more work before we can offer you a stronger answer to the “furnace vs. boiler” debate. Contact our knowledgeable staff at Air Novations today to learn more.

Furnaces

Furnaces use the principle of forced air to provide heat. By burning fuel (natural gas, electricity, propane), the furnace creates heat which it then transfers to the air. Blower fans then distribute this air through ducts and out vents into rooms.

The biggest advantage of furnaces is their flexibility. There are numerous types of furnaces with different options, fuel sources, and sizes. There’s almost always a furnace to fit any home. Gas-powered furnaces are usually highly-energy efficient and can lead to solid energy savings. For homes that already have ductwork installed, either for an air conditioner or a previous furnace, it’s easy to have a furnace put in and hooked to the ducts.

Boilers

Boilers operate on hydronic power: heating water and sending it to terminal points where radiant energy and/or convection warms the space. Boilers raise the temperature of the water in their system using natural gas, electricity, or oil.

Boilers use few moving parts, and thus do not require as many repairs as other mechanical systems. This also contributes to their long lifespans; boilers can outlast almost every other heating system on the market. Since boilers do not require ductwork, they provide clean air that doesn’t need to travel through dust-covered ducts to reach vents. Boilers, particularly gas boilers, have among the highest levels of energy efficiency available to homeowners.

Which Is the Best Choice for Me?

The simple answer is: “We don’t know—but we can find out.” Both may sound ideal, but one is probably superior to the other for your individual home, and it will require an inspection by experts to make the determination of which will do the best job. Many factors come into play, and a technician can help you balance all of them to make the correct choice for heating your Fairfax, VA home.

Air Novations has performed installations of boilers and furnaces for over 20 years. You can expect us to find out the right system for your comfort and that of your family. Schedule an appointment now to find out if you should have a furnace or boiler—or possibly another alternative—installed in your home.

The Ball in Times Square

December 30th, 2013

New Year’s is a time for parties, fun and great traditions, some of which go back more than a century. Among them is the famous “dropping of the ball” in Times Square, an event which is broadcast to millions of people every New Year’s Eve. With 2014 nearly upon us, we thought we’d take the opportunity to look at the history of this popular New Year’s Eve festivity.

The idea began in 1907 at what was then the New York Times building at One Times Square. The newspaper’s owner, Adolph Ochs, had been celebrating the New Year with fireworks since 1903. He wanted make the event even more remarkable, and added the ball in December of 1907 to welcome in the New Year. The first ball was designed by Artkraft Strauss, who made it out of iron, wood, and light bulbs. It took six men to hoist the ball up the building’s flag pole; once midnight struck, the tremendous ball was carefully lowered, and all were allowed to marvel at it.

Since then, the ball has undergone many changes in materials and design, and even the New York Times has moved to another building. But the tradition remains and the ball has dropped over One Times Square ever since. Today, the ball is electronically controlled, and uses LED lamps for its construction: designed by Waterford Crystal and weighing in at over 1,200 pounds.

A number of television broadcasts have helped carry the event over the years, but by far the most famous is “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” which first ran in 1972. The show was created and hosted by Dick Clark, who became a staple of the event as much as the ball itself. Clark hosted the show every New Year’s Eve from 1972 until his death in 2012. Since then, it has been hosted by Ryan Seacrest, who shared hosting duties with Clark starting in 2005.

Whether you’re watching the ball drop on TV or have some other New Year’s Eve plan in mind, we here at Air Novations wish you nothing but the best for 2014. Have a safe and happy New Year!

Happy Holidays!

December 23rd, 2013

Holiday greetings from Air Novations! We hope you are having safe and pleasant season, enjoying your favorite traditions for this time of year. We wish you the very best, and we thank you for your business this year.

In honor of the season, here are some fun facts about one of everyone’s favorite holiday movies: It’s a Wonderful Life.

For years, one of the enduring December traditions in the United States was watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life playing almost nonstop on numerous television stations. No matter the time of the day, you could turn on the TV set, flip through channels, and discover It’s a Wonderful Life playing. Whenever you needed him, you could find Jimmy Stewart shouting, “Hello, Bedford Falls!”

But now… It’s a Wonderful Life only appears on broadcast television a few times during December, and most families instead choose to watch the movie on video. What happened?

The reason goes back to the film’s initial wide release in January 1947. (That’s right, it opened after the holiday season. It was not even promoted as a holiday film.) It’s a Wonderful Life was a box-office disappointment at the time, and its studio, RKO Radio Pictures, lost more than half a million on it. The movie’s production company, Liberty Films, was sold to Paramount to avoid bank foreclosure. (A bit ironic, considering the movie’s plot.) In 1955, the National Telefilm Associates (NTA) took over the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life, which included the television syndication rights.

However, NTA failed to properly renew the copyright in 1974 because of a clerical error, which allowed the film’s images to enter into the public domain. Although the movie’s plot was still under copyright protection because it was adapted from a published story called “The Greatest Gift,” television stations across the world could now broadcast it with only minimal royalty payments.

In 1993, Republic Pictures, which now owned the NTA library, tried to enforce their claim to the copyright of the film, as they possessed the rights to “The Greatest Gift.” Republic Pictures succeeded, and licensed exclusive television rights to NBC. Suddenly, It’s a Wonderful Life vanished from local television stations, and NBC made the movie’s broadcasts—usually twice during December—into major events. As of 1998, Paramount again has the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life… 43 years after they lost them.

It’s still easy to make It’s a Wonderful Life a part of whatever traditions you observe during the holidays, whether through home video or television broadcasts. Despite its lackluster initial reception in 1947, Frank Capra’s film is now an inseparable part of December in the United States.

Have a great holiday week!

Getting the Most Out of Your Heater In Manassas

December 18th, 2013

If you live in Manassas, you know how important your heating system is. December and January have their share of freezing cold days, and a reliable heater is your best option to keeping the chills at bay. Winter usually means higher heating bills, since you run your heater more often than you do in the summertime. Luckily, you don’t have to accept those higher costs at face value. With a little care and preparation, you can improve your heating efficiency and cut down on your monthly bills to boot. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your heater in Manassas.

  • Get your heater maintained. A regular maintenance session can improve efficiency by helping your heater run at its best. The technician will clean off dirty components — reducing friction and keeping components such as burners working — while tightening any loose bolts and running your heater to spot any more serious problems. That translates to savings in your monthly bill, as well as extending the life of your heating system.
  • Consider upgrades. A programmable thermostat will allow you to turn down your heater when you go to work, then back up again ten minutes before you come home. Alternately, a zone control system lets you heat the house only in those rooms that you’re using. Both will save you money, and a reliable technician can tell you if such upgrades are right for you.
  • Improve your home. Improvements such as new insulation and double-paned windows can actually help your heater perform better, since they help you home better retain heat. Again, a qualified service technician can inspect your home and determine if those improvements are a good fit for you.

If you need heating services in Manassas, call Air Novations. We can help you in getting the most out of your heater, whether it means upgrading your existing system, installing a new one, or simply keeping your heater clean and functional. Pick up the phone and give us a call; we’ll help you keep those costs as low as they can be!

Signs That Your Refrigerator Is Not Sealing Properly

December 10th, 2013

It’s a minor bit of damage, a very small thing: the door of your commercial refrigerator won’t seal fully. It might be a misaligned door, or a break in the seal around the edge, or a broken door gasket. However, this “small” fault will become a huge problem very quickly: the refrigerator in your restaurant, cafeteria, school, etc. depends on keeping a seal so it can pump out the heat and leave a cold environment trapped inside. If the cool air can escape from any spot around the door, it will—and your refrigerator’s performance will suffer, leaving behind spoiled food and other items.

For repairs for your Fairfax, VA refrigeration system, contact Air Novations. We have more than 20 years of experience working with commercial refrigeration.

Watch for these signs of an improperly sealing refrigerator door

  • The refrigerator runs continually. If you notice that the refrigerator is running almost constantly (you can hear the compressor operating), then it is attempting to maintain a low temperature against an improper loss of cooling. Check the door sealing to see if this is where the cool air is escaping.
  • You find your refrigerator is “sweating.” This is when moisture begins to form on the outside of the refrigerator. If cold air is escaping around the door, it will rapidly form condensation in the warmer outdoor air and turn into the “sweat” you see on the outside.
  • You notice spoiled food or items that aren’t keeping cool. Once the temperature inside the refrigerator rises above 38°F, food that is supposed to stay cold will begin to spoil.

Call for repairs

The problem with proper sealing can come from damage to the seal around the door, broken gaskets, or damage on the hinges. In most cases, professionals can fix the problem (although they may recommend you replace the refrigerator if it is extremely old; sometimes this is a solution to many other issues as well) and restore your refrigerator to its proper cooling power.

We know that if you have a commercial refrigerator it is very important to your business that it works correctly. When you encounter any trouble with it, don’t put your business at risk: call experts like those at Air Novations. We can handle all your needs for commercial refrigeration in Fairfax, VA.

How Does a Frost Free Refrigerator Work?

December 2nd, 2013

When you manage a business that requires proper refrigeration, it’s important to have up-to-date and durable technology. If you don’t have a frost-free refrigerator at work for you, it’s time to consider an upgrade. Not only will a frost-free refrigerator save you time trying to fight back the formation of ice on the inside cabinet, but it will prevent frost from harming the contents of the refrigerator.

We will provide a short explanation for how a frost-free refrigerator operates. Air Novations can help you with installation and refrigeration repair in Winchester, VA for your business. We have a variety of options for energy-saving refrigerators and walk-in freezers.

The basics of a frost-free refrigerator

Frost forms because water vapor collides with the cold coils and condenses along it, changing from vapor to liquid—which then immediately freezes inside the cold environment.

Here’s how a frost-free refrigerator prevents this. At regular intervals (usually every 6 hours), a defrost timer activates a defrost heater. The heater warms up a heating coil that is set among the freezer coils. This melts away any frost that has accumulated along the cooling coils. During this time, the compressor that handles cooling down the refrigerator interior stops running.

However, this can cause another issue: the addition of heat into the refrigerator. To prevent this, a temperature sensor (also called a defrost termination thermostat) inside the refrigerator detects when the temperature rises too high. When it becomes too warm, the sensor shuts off the defrost heater. The compressor begins to run again, along with any air circulation fans.

A failure in the defrost system can turn into a serious problem. If the defrost heater or the temperature sensor malfunctions, it will cause frost to develop across the evaporator coil, which will impair the refrigerator’s ability to keep its interior cool. Call for commercial refrigeration specialists to handle the repairs when frost start to grow.

Air Novations has worked on commercial refrigerators for over 20 years. Whether you use refrigeration for a school or restaurant, you will benefit from our installation and repair services. We offer 24/7 emergency repairs for commercial refrigerators and walk-in freezers. Call us if you want to install a frost-free refrigerator or you need other refrigerator repair in Winchester, VA.

The History of Thanksgiving

November 25th, 2013

Thanksgiving is upon us: a time to get together with relatives, eat some great food, watch a little football or the parade, and stop to appreciate the good things we have in life. Beyond all that, however, there’s a fascinating history to the holiday and its traditions.

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. Records are spotty at the time, but indicate that the harvest was particularly good that year due to help from the local Native Americans. The meal was probably much different than the one we’re used to, with venison and fish more likely than turkey, but the general principle was unchanged.

It wasn’t a few centuries later, however, that Thanksgiving became an annual tradition. George Washington called for a “national day of Thanksgiving” in 1789, and again in 1795, but they were both “one shot” declarations, rather than a call for an annual tradition. Individual cities and states picked up the ball, but it wasn’t until 1863 that Thanksgiving became a national once-a-year event. President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November to be a Thanksgiving “to heal the wounds of the nation and restore it.”

From there, it remained a tradition until Franklin Roosevelt signed a law in December of 1941 making it a federal holiday. The law also changed the date from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday in November, making it a little earlier in some cases (which Roosevelt hoped would give the country an economic boost).

Wherever you celebrate the holiday and whoever you choose to celebrate it with, we wish you nothing but happiness and joy this Thanksgiving.  

Are Heat Pumps a Dependable Option for Heating in Manassas, VA?

November 18th, 2013

Heat pumps perform two tasks: providing you with cool air in warm weather, and with warm air in cool weather. They act as both heaters and air conditioners through the process of “heat exchange”: using the circulation of refrigerant to move heat from one place to another. Because heat pumps do not burn fuel to create heat, they consume less power than other options for home heating.

Although heat pumps provide effective air conditioning power the summer months, they don’t have as solid a reputation when it comes to heating. Is a heat pump a good option to keep you warm during this winter?

We can’t give you a basic “yes” or “no” answer to that question on a blog post—we can only provide you additional education about the subject. Contact Air Novations for the personal assistance that will help you make the best choice about your heating in Manassas, VA.

Heat and the heat pump

Here are the basic facts about heat pump operation you need to know: a heat pump uses the air as its medium for exchange. This means that, during cold weather, it removes heat from the outdoors and moves it indoors. Yes, there is heat available during cold weather for the heat pump to effectively extract enough of it to keep you warm. However, at temperatures below freezing, a heat pump will start to struggle with its job. Winters in Virginia can sometimes dip into those temperatures that will strain heat pumps.

Does this mean you should forget about having one installed? No… because the conditions in your home may well make a heat pump feasible. The size and type of the heat pump will also affect how well it works at providing you with warmth. Many heat pumps have electric resistance coils which turn on to help heat your home when the weather outside gets very cold. You also have the option for a gas furnace back-up that turns on automatically when the heat pump cannot handle the low temperature. This hybrid system is an excellent solution, because you will only need to use the gas furnace a few days during the year, so it requires little additional expense.

You should definitely have a heat pump on your list of possible systems to install for your Manassas, VA heating needs. However, make sure you involve HVAC professionals from an early stage to help you pick the right type of heater to keep you cozy with energy-efficient heat. A heat pump may not suit your home, and if that’s the case, the professionals will have many other options to suggest.

Air Novations has more than 20 years of experience bringing quality heat to homeowners in Northern Virginia. Turn to us for your questions about heat pumps, as well as for superb installation, repairs, and maintenance.

Why You Need Bakery Equipment Maintenance

November 12th, 2013

In Washington DC, food service equipment maintenance is a vital part of any restaurant or catering business. If your equipment can’t perform, those people won’t get fed, and will happily find some other company to host their event or meeting. Bakery equipment, in particular, could benefit from regular attention to keep it running. Here’s why you need bakery equipment maintenance from a qualified pro.

Baked goods depend on freshness, which means bakery equipment has to work without fail every day. Modern technology has brought plenty of advances to baking, but in some ways, it’s the same as it has been for centuries. The baker rises early and starts work, relying on his or her equipment to create bread, rolls, pastries and countless other treats ready for the day’s customers. If you run a restaurant or a catering business, the pressure increases exponentially, since you’ll be serving hundreds (perhaps thousands) of people a day.

All of that can take it out of your bakery equipment.  Even if you clean it thoroughly each and every day, the slow grind of the baking business can cause parts to wear our and other tiny problems to crop up. Those little problems have a way of turning into big ones if they’re not dealt with, leaving you without a vital piece of equipment at the most inopportune time.

A regular maintenance session can address that concern. A trained professional will go over your equipment, tightening any loose bolts and looking for components that are worn or need replacing. He’ll pay particular attention to moving parts, looking for wear and noting potential areas of trouble. Not only does it let you get a jump on any growing problems, it can prevent a number of them from ever starting, and ensure that your equipment is ready to go whenever you need it. In Washington DC, food service equipment maintenance is covered by the experts at Air Novations. If you know why you need bakery equipment maintenance, pick up the phone and call us today!