Dynamic Mechanical Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning 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 Dynamic Mechanical 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 Dynamic Mechanical! 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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How to Improve Your Heating Efficiency

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

When it comes to heating, local Hartford CT residents know better than to take chances. Cold winters are our specialty here in New England, and a reliable heating system means more than just a comfortable home. It can keep you safe and warm while even the harshest winter storms howl outside. Naturally, heating bills tend to go up in the winter, as a result of the energy we use to maintain basic comfort levels. But they don’t always have to go quite as high as they do. Here’s how to improve your heating efficiency, both in the way you treat your heater and in the way you approach the home itself.

  • Schedule maintenance. Before winter begins (or even afterwards if you don’t have the time in the fall), schedule a routine maintenance session for your heater. A trained technician will come to your home, clean the heater’s internal components, remove build-up on the burners, tighten any loose fittings and run the heater to spot any potential problems. This reduces friction and helps the heater run more smoothly, which means it won’t need to expend so much energy.
  • Insulation and other home improvements. Improving your home’s ability to retain heat means that the heater won’t have to work as hard to do the job. That means sealing any openings around your doors and windows, and looking into energy efficient replacements like double-paned windows. In addition, see if you can add any insulation to your home, especially in the attic, where heat tends to rise.
  • Upgrades. If you have an older heater, you might consider replacing it with a new one, especially one with a higher AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating. Alternately, you can consider upgrades such as zone control systems, which allow you to turn down the heat in parts of the home you aren’t using, while keeping the parts you are using nice and warm.

For these and other thoughts on how to improve your heating efficiency, call upon the experts at Dynamic Mechanical. We offer home heating services in Hartford, and we can advise you of your options and make any changes or upgrades with professionalism and care.

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How a Faulty Pilot Light Can Impact Your Home’s Heating

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

The pilot light is a staple of older furnace models, which used it to ignite the natural gas that makes heating your home possible. More modern furnaces use an electric ignition switch, but when it comes to heating, West Hartford CT homes have a wide variety of furnaces. That means that many still use a pilot light. When it runs into trouble, the heater in all likelihood won’t be able to function. Here’s how a faulty pilot light can impact your home’s heating.

The pilot light works in tandem with a thermocouple, which regulates the flow of gas into the furnace. When the pilot light turns on, the thermocouple detects the change in temperature and release the gas, which the pilot light ignites to start the heating process. It’s important that the two of them act in tandem; indeed, they are often part of a single component: linked together such that one cannot be in place without the other. This is primarily due to safety concerns. When the pilot light is faulty, the thermocouple won’t release any gas, which in turn keeps unlit gas from flooding your home.

That, however, won’t solve the more immediate problem: when the pilot light is faulty, your furnace simply won’t work. The gas won’t ignite, the air won’t get warm, and your home is left cold and uncomfortable until the furnace gets fixed. A faulty pilot light is more problematic than a pilot light that has simply gone out. In the latter case, you can likely just re-light it and be ready to go. If the problem is more serious than that, however, you’re going to need to call upon the services of a profession in order to treat the problem properly.

The good news is that help is nearby. In matters of heating, West Hartford CT residents can count on the professionals at Dynamic Mechanical to help. We know how a faulty pilot light can impact your home’s heating, and can repair or replace it before those winter temperatures turn your home into an icebox. Pick up the phone and call us to make an appointment today!

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What Are Some Warning Signs to Look Out for with My Heater?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Heating in Avon CT is more than a luxury, especially in the winter months. Cold weather is a constant, and without a reliable heating system your comfy home is apt to turn into an icebox in the space of a few short hours. A reliable heating service can make repairs quickly, but the sooner you can spot signs of trouble, the better off you (and your checkbook) will be. “What are some warning signs to look out for with my heater?” you ask. We’ve outlined four of the most obvious below.

  • Heating system not turning on. Obviously, a heating system that won’t turn on is a huge problem. Components such as the fan motor often come with automatic shut-off switches that turn off the heater in the event of an overload; this reduces the risk of damaging other parts. You might have your heating system not turn on if the electrical system is experiencing problems or if the pilot light or thermocouple are faulty.
  • Low air flow. Low air flow can result from a damaged fan or fan motor, or else a blockage in the system somewhere. It might also stem from a leak in the ducts: pulling air out of the system.
  • Lack of hot air. A lack of hot air – either insufficiently warm or not warm at all – likely stems from a problem with the combustion chamber, or perhaps the burners themselves (which might not ignite if they are dirty or damaged). There may also be a blockage in the gas lines, limiting the heat that a burner can produce.
  • Higher energy bills. A subtle but very telling sign of trouble is a monthly heating bill that’s higher than expected, despite not using the heater any more than you normally do. That could suggest a faulty or malfunctioning component, adding strain to the system even if it continues to provide heat.

 If you notice a problem with your heating system, the next step is to contact the Avon, CT heating professionals at Dynamic Mechanical today. We offer 24 hour emergency service, so don’t hesitate!

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