Bartels Heating & Cooling Blog : Archive for December, 2013

The Ball in Times Square

Monday, 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 Bartels Heating & Cooling wish you nothing but the best for 2014. Have a safe and happy New Year!

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Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Holiday greetings from Bartels Heating & Cooling! 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!

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What is a Thermocouple?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

What is a thermocouple? In the shortest possible terms, it’s a vital component in your gas heating system, controlling the flow of gas into your system. In some cases, it’s actually a part of your pilot light or electric ignition system: bound in a single unit. It serves as a key safety feature which can literally render your heater inoperable. Here in Fairfield, OH, heating repair services can fix or replace a broken thermocouple, but that still doesn’t explain how, exactly it does its job.

The thermocouple begins with two wires, usually made of differing metals and joined together in a circuit. A voltmeter or similar measuring device is often attached to the wires. One end is placed in a position where the temperature does not vary (such as an ice bath or a sealed container), and the other end is placed in close proximity to the pilot light. When the light comes on the voltmeter detects the differences in temperature (usually requiring a certain specific difference), and signals for the thermocouple to release the gas and start the heating process.

The purpose of this is to ensure that the gas isn’t released when there’s nothing to ignite it, preventing your house from flooding with gas (which can create a serious safety hazard). Most heaters will shut the gas off automatically if the thermocouple becomes damaged, another safety step to keep the gas from flooding your home. (As frustrating as it can be, the heater’s inability to turn on without a functioning thermocouple is a good thing.)

On the other hand, it still won’t heat your home, which means you need a reliable repair service to come in and deal with the problem. If you need Fairfield, OH heating repair services, call Bartels Heating & Cooling, who has the expertise to repair or replace your thermocouple quickly. We pride ourselves on our professionalism, and won’t rest until you’re completely satisfied with our work. If you’re having trouble with your furnace, then pick up the phone and give us a call!

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Is Garage Heating a Worthwhile Investment?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Is garage heating in your Fairfield, OH home a worthwhile investment? In all honesty, that depends on your particular needs. Your heating system is very important, particularly during the winter months when the snows are falling. Your garage is a part of your home like any other, and in many cases it will require some form of heating. In order to make that decision you need to weigh the costs of such a move against the benefits if will provide.

Most garages benefit from at least some sort of heating. Cold can damage things you’re storing there, and if you keep your car in the garage, you want it to stay at least moderately warm so that it will start in the morning when you need it to. On the other hand, the garage’s space may place additional strain on your existing heater, and if your garage isn’t insulated, then you’ll need to consider adding some in order to make the most out of your investment.

One possibility is to add a separate heater to cover your garage. This allows you to tailor the size of it to fit the garage’s needs without placing an additional load on your home heater. It also means you don’t have to run ducts or water lines to the garage from your house: an important consideration if your garage is a detached unit. It also allows you to tailor the temperature in your garage. Since you probably won’t be using it very often, you can set the temperature fairly low – say, 50 degrees or ever cooler – while keeping your home a toastier temperature.

Regardless of the specifics, a good heating service can advise you of your options. Here at Bartels Heating & Cooling, we can take care of any Fairfield, OH heating service you need. We’ll inspect your home to help determine if garage heating is a worthwhile investment, then make our recommendations to you before setting up an installation schedule that meets your needs. Pick up the phone and give us a call today.

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Causes of Noisy Heating Ducts

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Heating ducts are an integral part of your heating system: carrying warm air from a central unit throughout your entire house. Here in West Chester, OH, heating in many houses depends on a reliable system of ducts. While a certain amount of noise is expected in such a system – with fans blowing and motors running to carry the air through the ducts – you may hear noises that don’t constitute a normal part of the system’s operations. They usually mean trouble, and you should probably turn off your heater and call a repair service as soon as you hear them. But what are the causes of noisy ducts?

In some cases, the noise may not originate in the ducts at all. The system can carry sound as well as air, and noises such as grinding, humming, rattling, sparkling or clanging may actually be coming from the heater itself. (The causes are numerous, ranging from a bent fan bade to a loose electrical wire.) But in those cases, you shouldn’t look for the causes in the ducts: they’re just carrying the noises, not creating them.

Sounds that originate in the ducts tend to be caused by a breach or leak somewhere. In those cases, air gets pulled out or pulled into the ducts from the outside, which can create an odd noise such as a humming or a vibrating noise. Sudden damage will create a loud noise of course, but that usually doesn’t repeat itself (and may involve damage to more than just the ducts). It’s also possible that the ducts will groan or make similar noises when you first turn on the heater: stretching a bit as the warm air travels across the cool metal.

Regardless of the causes of noisy heating ducts, you should contact an expert to see about addressing the situation. Call the West Chester, OH, heating professionals at Bartels Heating & Cooling. We pride ourselves on reliability and our trained staff is dedicated to your 100% satisfaction.

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