Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015 by David Roussel

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at South Air Inc. hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

Reasons to Schedule Winter Air Conditioning Maintenance in Woodstock, GA

February 5th, 2015 by David Roussel

Our temperatures aren’t anywhere near needing air conditioning, which is why scheduling winter maintenance for your air conditioning system in Woodstock, GA, is a great idea. It may seem counter-intuitive, but scheduling an AC maintenance appointment now will help you get ahead of spring rush. There are other reasons to schedule winter maintenance, including:

  • Protecting your air conditioner from winter weather – during a maintenance appointment, your outside unit will be cleared of debris and the condenser coils cleaned of dust, dirt and leaves.
  • Detection and removal of animal nests – the metal cabinet of your outdoor unit makes for a great winter residence for nesting animals. Should you have any winter visitors, they will be detected and removed during the maintenance appointment.
  • Prevent repairs – the thorough cleaning your system goes through, in addition to the inspection, allows the technician to detect problems ahead of your use in the spring.
  • Be ready for warm weather – our heat comes fast in Georgia, and you don’t want to be sweating it out those first hot days in spring because your system hasn’t been maintained.
  • Extend life of the system – maintenance helps extend the life of your air conditioning system by keeping everything in good working order.
  • Better energy efficiency – the cleaning, adjusting and lubrication your air conditioner receives during a maintenance appointment allows it to function optimally, so it maintains its energy efficiency levels.

Other Winter Maintenance Items to Consider

You may also want to consider some other maintenance services when scheduling your AC for winter maintenance:

  • Duct cleaning – your ducts are the delivery system for your cool air; when they aren’t clean, they can restrict air flow and decrease indoor air quality.
  • Upgrade your thermostat – having a thermostat that matches your system can help increase energy efficiency and your comfort.
  • Stock up on air filters – air filters for your AC aren’t in demand during the winter, so it’s likely you’ll be able to purchase them at lower rates.

Winter maintenance for your air conditioning in Woodstock, GA, can help you be fully prepared for spring heat. Call South Air, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

The Advantages of a Trane Heat Pump in Cartersville

January 29th, 2015 by David Roussel

Are you looking for a heating and air conditioning system that can help to save you money over time? A Trane heat pump may be just the heating system for you. Trane heat pumps are manufactured by leaders in the industry for over 100 years. While a heat pump may initially cost more than a traditional heating or air conditioning system, it will save you money as the months go on and does what no other single system can do: provide enough heating and cooling power for an entire home. Learn about this advantage and more in today’s guide to Trane heat pumps, some of the most efficient units available on the market today.

What Sets Trane Heat Pumps Apart from the Rest

  • Heating and Cooling: Don’t let the term “heat pump” fool you. A heat pump is an efficient heating and air conditioning system. Heat pumps actually work just like air conditioners, using refrigerant to absorb heat from your home in the summer and move it outdoors. But in cooler weather, a heat pump can also run in reverse, absorbing heat from the outside air to move inside, even in very cold weather.
  • Variable Speed Settings: Trane’s variable speed settings can help to control humidity and prevent cold spots around the house when you run it at a low speed setting for a longer time rather than running it at full blast for short periods of time. Trane was a pioneer in the industry for variable speeds, and they set the highest standards for these controls.
  • Efficiency: Trane systems are some of the most efficient for both heating and air conditioning. With an HSPF (heating seasonal performance factor) of up to 10 (the top heating efficiency rating for heat pumps in the U.S.) and a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of up to 20 for air conditioning with the top-of-the-line system, Trane heat pumps offer performance and energy savings like no other.
  • Longevity: Trane systems are known to be some of the most reliable, long-lasting heating and AC systems out there, mainly because Trane uses only the best equipment in the industry.

The professional technicians at South Air Inc are proud to be certified dealers and installers of Trane Heat Pumps in Cartersville. Call our team of knowledgeable technicians today!

Types of Air Filtration Systems Available in Vinings

January 22nd, 2015 by David Roussel

Just because it’s cold out and some traditional outdoor allergies are at abeyance for the winter doesn’t mean you won’t have indoor air quality problems. In some ways, winter indoor allergies can be more of a challenge due to swirling dust from forced air systems and an inability to throw open a window and increase ventilation. You also may have concerns about infections, as winter is the purveyor of some very nasty bugs. So what can you do to better manage winter allergies and colds? Consider the installation of an air filtration system in Vinings.

Air Filtration Options

When it comes to adding an air filtration system to your home, you have a couple of choices, namely between an electronic air filter and a mechanical one. Mechanical filters use media to capture contaminants while electronic ones use negative ions. To better understand your choices, it’s good to have some basic knowledge about how the different types work.

Mechanical Filters

When people see the words “air filtration” they are more likely to think of a mechanical filter than an electronic one, simply because we see them more. Mechanical filters use a fibrous media that is stretched across a square frame to capture contaminants like dust, dirt, mold spores (not all), bacteria (some) and viruses (some). Mechanical air filters have a rating system called MERV; the MERV scale runs from 1 to 20 and the higher the MERV rating, the stronger the filter. It is important to note that home air filters shouldn’t exceed a MERV of 13 as filters with a high MERV rating can restrict air flow.

Electronic Filters

There are two types of electronic filter: ion generators and electronic precipitators. Each uses electricity to capture contaminants, but each does it slightly differently. Ion generators create and then disperse negative ions into your home’s air; these negative ions attach to the contaminants in the air and land on the surfaces of your home due to mutual attraction. The contaminants are removed when the surfaces are cleaned. An electronic precipitator draws air into it where contaminants are pushed into an ionization section and charged; as the charged particles move through the precipitator, they are collected on oppositely-charged metal plates.

As you can see, there you have some options when it comes to installing an air filtration system in your Vinings home.

For help with choosing and installation, call the people you can count on: South Air Inc. Contact us today!

Why Some Owners Choose Electric Furnaces Over Gas Furnaces

January 15th, 2015 by David Roussel

Not too long ago, there wasn’t much in the way of choices when it came to installing a furnace that was both effective and efficient. Fuel choices were limited mostly to natural gas, although some furnaces could also operate with oil and later, propane. Today, homeowners in Atlanta can choose a furnace that doesn’t heat via combustion by opting for an electric furnace.

How Does an Electric Furnace Work?

Every furnace generates heat, but electric furnaces do it using a component called a heating element. Heating elements are comprised of multiple tightly-wound coils made of metal that are electrified when your thermostat calls for heat. The electricity heats the coils until they are red-hot, and when they generate enough heat, the fan turns on and pushes the warmed air through your ductwork and into your home.

Why Choose an Electric Furnace?

There are a few reasons why a homeowner would want to consider installing an electric furnace over a gas furnace:

  • No access to a gas line – while many homes have access to a natural gas line, not all do – but almost all homes can connect to electricity. If your home doesn’t have access to a natural gas line, you may want to consider an electric furnace for heating.
  • No fossil fuels – some homeowners don’t want to use fossil fuels for heating; an electric furnace helps make this possible.
  • Energy efficiency – AFUE ratings for electric furnaces can be as high as 100%; this is because there is no fuel loss due to combustion byproducts.
  • Safety – while combustion furnaces are just as safe as electric furnaces, some people may still have concerns about the combustion byproducts created by a gas furnace and opt for an electric furnace.

Is an electric furnace a good fit for your home in Atlanta? If so, call South Air Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Water Source Heat Pumps

January 9th, 2015 by David Roussel

When people think of heat pumps, they may think of the kind with an outdoor unit that holds the compressor and condenser – but this is only one type of heat pump. There are actually 3 types of heat pumps: air source, which is the kind we just described, ground source and water source. Ground-source and water source heat pumps are used with geothermal systems, and can be either ducted or ductless systems. Today we’re going to look at a water source heat pump: how it works, its benefits and its disadvantages.

How It Works

All heat pumps work by transferring heat from one location to another. Heat pumps need a solution inside the system to help facilitate this transfer. Air source heat pumps typically use refrigerant, but ground and water source typically utilize environmentally-friendly antifreeze solutions. In the summer, heat pumps absorb the heat in your home and transfer it to the outside; during winter, heat pumps absorb the heat that surrounds them, concentrates it and transfers it into your home. Water source heat pumps work by absorbing the latent solar heat from its water source and transferring it into your home. The two types of water source heat pumps are:

  • Pond/lake (closed loop)
  • Well water/surface body water (open loop)

Advantages

Water source heat pumps offer the same advantages of any geothermal system, including:

  • Excellent energy efficiency – water source heat pumps do not use any fossil fuels and use approximately 25% of the electricity of a whole home heating or cooling system to operate.
  • Excellent humidity control – water source heat pumps maintain an average of 50% humidity year-round, making it very comfortable no matter what the season.
  • Few moving parts – the more moving parts a system has, the more prone it is breakdown; heat pumps do not have many moving parts, making them very stable during operation.

Disadvantages

  • Can be more expensive – the initial costs for any geothermal system is higher than traditional heating and cooling systems, so this is something to consider.
  • Scaling – using a water source heat pump may put you at more risk for scaling, which is mineral build-up in the loop.

If a water source heat pump in Sandy Springs seems like a good option for your home, call South Air Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts.

The Outside Unit of My Heat Pump Is Running in the Winter: What’s Wrong?

January 2nd, 2015 by David Roussel

Nothing at all. Your heat pump is running exactly as it is supposed to, at least as far as the outside unit goes. We understand that it can be strange, or even alarming, for your heat pump to keep the outdoor unit running in winter time. It is working just fine, however. In order to understand why this isn’t a problem, let’s examine how a heat pump works.

Heat Pump Operation

A heat pump, as you know, is primarily composed of an indoor and an outdoor unit. These two units are connected to each other by a conduit that runs between them. Inside that conduit is a power line and refrigerant line, among a couple other things. The refrigerant line is the important thing here, though. It runs up into each unit, where it connects to a coil before running back down the conduit and into the other unit.

When the heat is turned on, the outdoor unit begins to evaporate the refrigerant inside its coil. This creates a heat sink effect, leeching thermal energy from the surrounding air and into the refrigerant gas inside the coil. The refrigerant then moves down the refrigerant line to the inside unit, taking the thermal energy with it. When the refrigerant reaches the inside coil, it is condensed back into a liquid to release the heat. The heat is then used to warm the air being circulated throughout the house.

This is why you shouldn’t worry about the outside unit of your heat pump running in the winter. As long as you turned the heat on, that is exactly what the unit is supposed to be doing. Without the outdoor unit evaporating refrigerant to collect thermal energy, your heat pump would not be able to actually heat your house. It would be nothing but a fan blowing air around, which wouldn’t be much use to anybody.

If you’d like to know more about how heat pumps work, call South Air, Inc. We install heat pumps throughout the Atlanta area.

12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

January 1st, 2015 by David Roussel

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at South Air Inc. hope you have a great start to the year and a fruitful 2015.

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

December 25th, 2014 by David Roussel

“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 South Air Inc, 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!

Why Proper Venting Is Important to Your Furnace

December 18th, 2014 by David Roussel

Not a lot of homeowners think about how their furnace operates. They may buy and install carbon monoxide detectors, but most never really make the connection between their furnace and the problems that can arise from improper venting. Let’s take a look at why venting is so important to your furnace, and what can happen if a venting problem arises.

Incomplete Combustion

What a lot of people know, but never really think about, is that furnaces are incomplete combustion engines. This means that when a furnace burns fuel, be it oil, or wood, or gas, there will always be waste products left over. In the case of natural gas, which is one of the most common fuel sources, these combustion byproducts can be quite dangerous.

Combustion Byproducts

There are a number of combustion byproducts left over after a furnace burns natural gas. Carbon molecules often collect on the burners, as well as the walls of the heat exchanger. Water vapor is created and evaporates shortly afterward. The three most dangerous combustion byproducts, however, are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.

Why Proper Venting is Important

Those last three combustion byproducts are all toxic gases, each of which can be fatal in high enough concentrations. Since these pollutants can never be completely eliminated by furnace combustion, they must be vented out of the house through the heat exchanger and exhaust flue. If these parts are obstructed, or develop cracks, the toxic gases can begin leaking into the home itself and poisoning the people inside.

In the case of carbon monoxide, there is no way for humans to detect it under normal circumstances. It is invisible, tasteless, and odorless. The only way to know if you have been exposed to it is to have a detector nearby, which is available at many hardware stores, or to know the symptoms of exposure. These symptoms include dizziness, nausea, unconsciousness, and seizures. If you begin to suddenly experience these symptoms, get out of the house and call emergency services.

If you think your furnace may have a venting problem, call South Air Inc. We provide heating installation throughout Woodstock.