Dynamic Mechanical Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning 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 Dynamic Mechanical, 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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Is a Boiler Better Than a Furnace?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

The choice of heating systems for new a house often comes down to a battle between a boiler and a furnace. Both systems have advantages, as well as some disadvantages. The difficulty in making the choice is due to how differently the two systems operate, and that the choice will also dictate the layout of plumbing and/or ductwork in the house.

So is there such a thing as a ­­better choice in this scenario? Since boilers have been making a comeback in popularity in homes, the answer might seem to be that a boiler is a superior option. But there is more to consider here, and we’ll look into the pros and cons of both systems to help guide you.

However, you shouldn’t make the selection of a new heating system on your own. You will require the help of professionals to locate the ideal heater, size it, and then have it installed. Call Dynamic Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning today if you are looking for professional installation of a boiler or furnace in Newington, CT.

Why Choose a Boiler?

Boilers have gained in popularity because they provide comfortable and cozy heating without the drawbacks of ductwork. Ducts tend to gather contamination inside them, which is then blown out into the air of a home, lowering the air quality. The vents of ducts also tend to send the warm air right straight to the ceiling of a room, and it takes longer for the heat to spread evenly; boilers do not experience this trouble, instead radiating heat evenly from a baseboard heater or radiator into a space. Boilers also have long lifespans, require a smaller number of repairs than furnaces, and operate quietly.

Why Choose a Furnace?

When it comes to the amount of heat produced, gas furnaces are king. No other residential heating system generates the amount of BTUs that a gas furnace does, and this is especially important for homes with low levels of insulation. Furnaces also come in a large variety of sizes and can use different types of fuel, which makes them flexible. Unlike boilers, furnaces are not in danger of freezing during the winter (the water pipes of a boiler can freeze solid if not insulated correctly) nor of creating damage from leaking water.

Often, the choice to go with a boiler or a furnace will come down to the heating requirements of your house. To find out what type of heating system will deliver both the necessary warmth and energy efficiency, call on the experts at Dynamic Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning. We will perform a heat load calculation to determine the best way to keep your house warm all winter. Whether you end up with a furnace or a boiler in Newington, CT, you can trust that you will receive the right system when you rely on us to install it.

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Should My Heat Pump’s Outdoor Unit Be Running in Winter?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

It may seem like a strange sight–it’s cold, but your outdoor heat pump unit appears to be working. You may think, isn’t that just for summertime? With an air-source heat pump, the answer is no.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

The reason the outdoor unit of your heat pump is on during the winter is this: it is absorbing the heat in the surrounding air for your home. It may seem incredulous that cold air can have heat, but it does. Your heat pump, with the help of the refrigerant in the system, absorbs this heat and then concentrates it. Once the heat is concentrated, it is distributed to your home’s living spaces. During the summer, the opposite happens: your heat pump, with the help of the refrigerant, absorbs the heat inside your home and transfers it outside. Heat pumps don’t generate heat; they simply transfer it from one location to another, using refrigerant to facilitate the transfer. This is why you’ll see your heat pump’s outdoor unit operate during the winter months.

How Does a Heat Pump Heat?

The key to a heat pump offering both heating and cooling is a component called a reversing valve. This valve changes the flow of the refrigerant in the system, which is how the heat pump can offer two modes of operation. As the homeowner, the switch from heating to cooling is very easy: simply push a button on your dual-mode thermostat – the heat pump does the rest.

Common Problems with Heat Pumps

If you don’t see your heat pump’s outdoor unit working for a long period of time, there may be a problem with the system. One of the more common problems with any heat pump system is the development of refrigerant leaks. Refrigerant leaks can develop in multiple locations, making them difficult to find; additionally, only certified technicians can handle refrigerant, so it’s important to call for a technician should a refrigerant leak develop in your system.

A second common problem that can develop with heat pumps is low air flow. This is usually due to a clogged air filter. It’s recommended that you change the air filter in your system every 3 months to keep your air filter functional.

If you see the outdoor unit of your heat pump in Wethersfield work during the winter, don’t worry – that’s what it should be doing. But should you run into problems with your heat pump this winter, call Dynamic Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning to schedule a service appointment for professional heat pump repair service.

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How the Reversing Valve Allows a Heat Pump to Heat and Cool

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

One of the biggest benefits of owning a heat pump system is that a heat pump offers both heating and cooling. With a heat pump system, you can streamline your heating and cooling with one system instead of two; for many homeowners, this is very advantageous. The key question we hear frequently is: how does a heat pump do both? The answer is a component called a reversing valve. If you have a heat pump in Wethersfield, you have a reversing valve, and understanding how this component works will help you understand how a heat pump can both heat and cool your home.

The Reversing Valve

The reversing valve has two electrical settings: excited and relaxed. The valve manufacturer sets which state stands for heating and which stands for cooling, so there can be variations between valves, depending on the brand you purchase. However, once a state is set for a specific operation – either heating or cooling – the other state setting is always going to be the other operation. The way the valve physically changes from one state to the other is by a sliding mechanism inside the valve that changes the directional flow of the refrigerant. A small electrical component called a solenoid helps push the slide when cued by your thermostat. As the valve slides, the refrigerant changes direction, and as such, the mode.

Common Problems with Reversing Valve

As a mechanical device, the reversing valve can experience some problems:

  • Bad solenoid – the solenoid has two small wires that can fray or corrode. Should this happen, the solenoid may malfunction and be unable to help slide the valve. Typically when a solenoid fails it is replaced.
  • Refrigerant leak – refrigerant leaks can develop inside the valve, and unfortunately, this can’t be repaired. If there is a refrigerant leak found inside your valve, the valve will need to be replaced.
  • Valve gets “stuck” – sometimes the reversing valve can get stuck in a mode or in between modes. If the solenoid is the cause, it can be replaced, but if the valve is stuck on its own, the valve will need to be replaced.

Heat pumps can be complex, and as such, require experts to conduct repair. If you are having problems with your heat pump, call Dynamic Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning today to schedule an appointment for our heat pump repair service in Wethersfield.

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