The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

September 1st, 2014 by David Roussel

You may have heard about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. In the present, this tradition is usually treated as old fashioned and a joke. Few people will criticize you for wearing white articles of clothing after the first Monday in September, or even take notice of it except to wonder why it was ever a major concern at all.

Where did this tradition of white clothing going out of fashion after Labor Day come from, and why did it fade away like colorful fabric washed in a hot load in the washing machine?

In general, white makes sense for the heat of summer. Light-colored clothing reflects away the radiant heat of the sun, instead of absorbing it the way dark colors do, so for thousands of years of human history people have preferred to wear white clothing during the hotter months.

However, the idea of white as strictly fashionable during the summer season only emerged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the time when the very concept of “fashion” began to spread across the Western Hemisphere.

It was only the highest level of post-Civil War society in the U.S. that strict and often bizarre rules for fashion controlled whether someone was in with the “in” crowd. Compared to our ideas of what’s fashionable today, the Czars of Style in the 1880s were true despots. Things as trivial as sleeve length could determine whether a woman in high society—no matter her level of wealth—was fashionable or a pariah.

Wearing white during the only summer, when it was common for weddings and outdoor parties, was only of these restrictive society rules. When the U.S. government made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, the Fashion Czars gained a definite cut-off point for when wearing white was no longer “acceptable” in the upper echelons of wealthy society.

For many decades, this rule only applied to a small number of millionaire socialites in a few big cities, but in the 1950s it reached general fashion magazines that were read around the country and started to affect more people.

But time eventually broke apart this odd rule, and during the 1970s fashion became more individual. Some fashion legends, like Coco Chanel, also purposely rejected the restriction and wore white throughout the year. Today, the “no white after Labor Day rule” is little more than an amusing gag to tease friends, and almost nobody takes it seriously.

Whatever you choose to wear after Labor Day (and if it’s white, we won’t tease!), everyone here at South Air Inc. hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

Benefits of a Home Energy Management System

August 25th, 2014 by David Roussel

If you have made efforts to conserve energy use in your home, and yet still find the results frustrating, then perhaps you should consider moving to the next level of technology: a complete home energy management system. These advanced computerized systems allow you to integrate the different energy-using appliances in your home, such as the electrical system and the HVAC system, and track and control their use of power to find superior ways to save energy. This doesn’t involve installing a large, cumbersome new device in your house: an energy management system works through your computers, tablets, and smart phones—which means you can help your house save energy from halfway across the world, anywhere you have satellite reception or access to Wi-Fi!

At South Air Inc., we are proud to offer one of the leading management systems: The Nexia™ Home Intelligence System from Trane.

Call us today to learn more details about specific home comfort energy management products that we have to offer in Atlanta, GA.

What is the Nexia™ Home Intelligence System?

With Trane’s Nexia™ Home Intelligence System, you can take the next leap in managing home energy use and maximizing comfort through automation.

The Nexia™ System uses Z-Wave, the next generation in wireless technology. Z-Wave allows virtually any electronic device in a home to connect to the central control of the Nexia™ System through low-power radio waves. This means that you can have control over almost any component in your house… through something as small as a cell phone!

Here are some of the ways that the Nexia™ Home Intelligence System can benefit you:

  • Complete control over your home’s thermostat so that it never needs to run unnecessarily.
  • Schedule when lights turn on and off—any of the lights in your home.
  • Alerts for when the temperature rises too high or drops too low.
  • Reminders to change your furnace filters and to schedule maintenance for your HVAC system.
  • Create a “vacation mode” that will automatically adjust your home’s temperature and lighting while you are away for maximum energy conservation. (It will also lock the doors and arm sensors.)

And remember, you can do all this from your smart phone, laptop, or tablet. Managing your home’s energy use is as basic as pulling up the easy-to-use apps for the Nexia™ that monitor all parts of your home.

Although the Nexia™ Home Intelligence System is simple to learn and use, it requires skilled technicians to install it. If home comfort energy management in Atlanta, GA sounds like the perfect choice for your house, call up our licensed installers at South Air Inc. We will make sure that you get the most possible out of your new Nexia™ System.

How UV Germicidal Lights Help Your Indoor Air Quality

August 18th, 2014 by David Roussel

There are a number of good whole-home air cleaners, but one challenge they face is truly removing biological contaminants. Air filters can trap some biological particles, but not all due to the small size of the particles. This is where UV germicidal lights in Woodstock can help with the improvement of your indoor air quality: UV germicidal lights are capable of destroying and eradicating biological contaminants, which is one of the reasons South Air, Inc., offers UV lights to its customers.

For over 10 years, South Air, Inc., has been helping Woodstock customers achieve the indoor air quality they’ve wanted, and we can do the same for you.

How Do UV Germicidal Lights Work?

UV germicidal lights have long been used in places like hospitals to eradicate biological contaminants. The way UV germicidal lights work is by employing the use of UV-C rays. UV-C rays create radiation that kills the DNA of biological cells as well as life-sustaining proteins cells need to survive. This not only destroys the cell itself, but also stops a cell from replicating so that further growth cannot occur. UV germicidal lights are over 99% effective in destroying biological contaminants.

How Is UV Lighting Beneficial to Your Air Conditioner?

Biological contaminants like mold, mildew and fungi thrive in places that are cool, wet and moist – which could describe several places within your air conditioning system, like the coils and vents. By placing UV lighting over places like evaporator coils and inside ductwork, you can halt the growth and proliferation of biological contaminants in these areas.

Will UV Lighting Also Filter?

UV lighting does not filter the air, so particles like dust and pollen will not be filtered by UV lighting. Additionally, UV lighting does not attract particles; instead, particles have to pass under the light to be destroyed.

What Is the Best Way To Use UV Lighting?

To maximize on what UV lighting can offer, it’s best to pair it with an air filtration system. This provides a 1-2 punch for particles in your air, allowing you to capture contaminants like pollen, dust and pet dander, as well as to destroy biological particles.

Want to know more about how UV germicidal lights in Woodstock can help you and your home? Call South Air, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

3 Myths about Air Conditioning

August 11th, 2014 by David Roussel

If there is any month during the year that makes you think of installing air conditioning in Acworth, it’s August. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about whole-home air conditioning that can stop homeowners from installing systems that could keep them cool, dry and comfortable all summer long. Are you one of these homeowners? If so, South Air, Inc., would like to share some information that may make you reconsider those myths.

Myth #1 – Ductwork Is Necessary

Lack of ductwork is no longer a problem when it comes to installing a whole-home AC, thanks to ductless air conditioning. Ductless systems use individual indoor blowers to deliver cool air. Blowers can be mounted to walls and ceilings, are programmable, and offer the same level of cooling as a ducted system. The outdoor unit, which houses the compressor and condenser, connects to the blowers through an exterior wall. A single outdoor unit can support up to 4 blowers.

Myth #2 – It’s Only Useful During Summer

Cooling may only be useful during summer, but when you install a ductless or a geothermal system that uses a heat pump you are getting both cooling and heating with one device. Heat pumps utilize a reversing valve, which makes it very easy to switch between heating and cooling. This versatility may be something to consider, particularly if you have an aging furnace.

Myth #3 – Central AC Isn’t Affordable

Not only are today’s air conditioners up to 60% more efficient than models from just 10 years ago, a whole-home air conditioning system is more efficient than separate window units. If you are concerned about cooling only well-used areas of your home, consider options like ductless air conditioning or zone control. Today’s air conditioners offer a wide range of control and energy efficiency that make them very affordable.

Ready for a New AC?

There’s a lot of misinformation about installing whole-home air conditioners, and a lot of it can be confusing.

If you’ve been thinking about an air conditioning system in Acworth may be for you, but you still have questions, work with a professional. Call South Air, Inc., today.

Reasons You Need Media Filter Installation in Atlanta

August 4th, 2014 by David Roussel

It’s an alarming fact that the air inside modern homes is often far less healthy than the air outside. Because contemporary houses have heavy heat-shielding on them, little fresh air circulates through the rooms. Your home can contain numerous particles in the air moving through your HVAC system that affects allergy- and asthma-sufferers, and which can also trigger illnesses in otherwise healthy people.

One way to achieve better quality indoor air is through the installation of an air purification system. At South Air Inc., we recommend you look into media filters in Atlanta, GA. They are one of the best options for healthier indoor air.

What exactly is a “media filter”?

The name may sound a bit confusing (is this something you put on your television?), but the “media” in this case refers to the bed of sand, crushed granite, and other filtering material placed inside the filter to remove contamination. Media filters work in a variety of applications, such as for irrigation and swimming pools, but they can also be used to filter air.

Media filters for homes contain a disposable filtration media to trap particles in the air moving through an HVAC system. Like other mechanical filters, such as HEPA filters, media filters use MERV to rate how effectively they remove contaminants. (For residential use, you don’t want the highest MERV rating possible, since it will interfere with effective airflow. Your installer will help you find the right MERV rating for your needs.)

Why should I have a media filter installed?

Although there are many filters and air purifiers designed to increase indoor air quality, media filters are more effective than others at combating allergens and asthma triggers, and also affect minute contaminants such as viruses that cause the flu and other illnesses. The highest quality model of media filter removes 99% of mold and pollen, 98% of dust, and 94% of viruses. You won’t find that broad a level filtering in many other types of air cleaning systems.

Media filters are also designed as a whole-home solution to indoor air quality problems, so that when you have them put in, you aren’t just curing the problems for one room, but every room in the house. And because media filters do not contain moving parts, they are simple to maintain.

Our professionals will identify the right efficiency and type of media filter to counteract the particulate contamination in your home without disrupting the normal operation of your heating and air conditioning systems. Let our experience help you find the media filters in Atlanta, GA that will cure your indoor air quality woes.

At South Air Inc., we install quality Aprilaire (formerly Space-Gard) media filters for whole-house air cleaning from a trusted name brand.

Reasons to Install a Whole-House Dehumidifier

July 28th, 2014 by David Roussel

Heat and humidity pretty much go hand-in-hand when it comes to Georgia summers. Air conditioning offers relief and comfort from this combination as it removes both from your indoor air and replaces it with cool, dry, conditioned air.

Your AC is built with the capability to remove normal levels of humidity, but when it is excessively humid, or humid for long periods of time, it can be a challenge for your air conditioner to keep up. One solution to help with excessive humidity is a whole-house dehumidifier in Kennesaw.

Not every dehumidifier is the same, which is why it’s important to call professionals like South Air, Inc., when considering the addition of a dehumidifier to your air conditioning system.

How Does a Whole-House Dehumidifier Work?

A whole-house dehumidifier is installed as part of your air conditioning system. It works by drawing the warm, humid air from your indoors over a cold coil, which condenses the moisture (humidity) into liquid; the water is removed via a drain pipe. Dry air then passes over a warm coil and is added back into your system, fully dehumidified.

What Are the Benefits of Installing a Dehumidifier?

  • Improved comfort – when too much humidity is in the air, it holds heat. When you combine cool air with humidity, you get cool and clammy rather than cool and dry. A dehumidifier removes the excess humidity from the air so that you feel cool, dry and comfortable.
  • Better energy efficiency – extra humidity means your air conditioner has to work harder to achieve the cooling you want. Whenever your air conditioner works harder, it needs more energy – energy you have to pay for. A dehumidifier lessens the load of work your air conditioner has to do by removing excess humidity. This can help lower your energy bills, particularly during long periods of high humidity.
  • Deterrent to mold and mildew growth – mold and mildew thrive in cool, moist environments. Not only are mold and mildew bad for the allergy sufferers in your home, they can damage furniture, linens, books and photographs. Removing the excess humidity helps reduce the chance of mold and mildew developing.

For over 10 years, South Air, Inc., has helped multiple customers improve their indoor comfort and health with the installation of a whole-house dehumidifier in Kennesaw. Interested in finding out more? Call South Air, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

How Professionals Repair Your Ducts

July 21st, 2014 by David Roussel

It’s unfortunate that the very concept of “duct repair” will almost immediately cause most people to think of “duct tape.” However, standard duct tape—a gray-backed cloth tape—was never designed for use on ductwork (it was originally for sealing ammo boxes in World War I and was appreciated for its water-resistance). Laboratory tests have shown that it duct tape is almost useless when applied to working ventilation systems because the changes in temperature quickly strip away their adhesive.

So what do duct repair professionals use when it’s time to seal up leaks in ductwork? They use some specialized tools, along with their own extensive knowledge of repairing ventilation systems.

For your duct repair needs in Sandy Springs, GA, rely on the skilled ductwork service team at South Air Inc to effectively handle your situation. 

The tools of duct repair

  • Mastic sealant: One of the most common ways to seal up smaller leaks and holes in ductwork is mastic sealant, a resin-based sealant that adheres to most surfaces, including plastic, metal, and ductboard (the basic materials of ventilation systems). Mastic dries quickly and forms a smooth surface so it won’t interfere with airflow. But it maintains flexibility even when dry, so it will not break apart when ductwork expands as it heats. It also has high heat resistance. Ductwork technicians apply mastic using a caulking gun.
  • Metallic tape: This is true “duct tape,” not a cloth-backed adhesive tape. Metallic tapes permit a duct repair specialists to create an actual metal joint on ductwork, which is a reason that some technicians prefer tape over mastic. Metallic tape is better for joints that will see increased stress. Tape lasts longer than mastic, and has a higher heat tolerance. In many cases, whether a technician uses mastic or metallic tape comes down to personal preference or the type of damage that needs repairs, since both are very effective and have similar strengths.

It is important to have your ducts kept in good shape, since any leaking along their surface will ruin the airtight seal they need to prevent a loss of air pressure. When you have damaged ducts, you will experience a loss of heating and cooling from your HVAC system as well as an influx of dirt and dust contamination into the ventilation system that will lead to a drop in your air quality.

At the first sign of a struggling HVAC system or a reduction in your indoor air quality, call for the NATE-certified specialists at South Air Inc. to see if you need duct repair in Sandy Springs, GA. If you do, you can trust our team to bring the best tools to get the job done.

3 Reasons to Schedule New Thermostat Installation

July 14th, 2014 by David Roussel

Your air conditioning system is made up of multiple complex components, The thermostat allows you to set the temperature to your preferences based on both comfort and your monthly budget. But did you know that many thermostats can provide greater comfort while saving you even more every month?

You may not realize that your outdated manual thermostat may account for a lot of extraneous cooling and heating costs. If your home can benefit from a new digital, programmable, or smart thermostat, read on to discover why you should schedule new thermostat installation today!

1. Clear Display

If you are still using a manual thermostat with dials and sliders to set the temperature, a digital thermostat may be a beneficial upgrade for your home. Digital thermostats have clear displays, which eliminate errors often associated with unclear manual settings. Sometimes, manual thermostats make it difficult to determine whether you’ve set the temperature to 75 or 76, for example. This small difference can actually become costly over time.

2. Programmable Settings

Digital, programmable thermostats allow you to choose when your air conditioner will turn on or change the temperature well in advance. For example, you may choose to set the AC to come on thirty minutes before you arrive so that your home is already cool when you get there. You can also set your AC to adjust the temperature throughout the day, so that you can save on cooling costs. Because of this, you won’t have to worry about a system that continues to cool all day long, even when the house is unoccupied.

3. More Options

One option that is often available with new thermostat installation is a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats have many features, including remote access and pattern recognition. You can set the temperature from any computer with internet access or from your smart phone. Smart thermostats can even recognize cooling and heating patterns, so they can adjust for you automatically throughout the day.

At South Air Inc., we offer professional installation on programmable thermostats and smart thermostats. For thermostat installation in Atlanta, call today!

How Do Water Source Heat Pumps Work?

July 7th, 2014 by David Roussel

Heat pumps are remarkable comfort solutions that permit you to heat and cool a home using a single system. Heat pumps are essentially air conditioners that can switch the direction they move heat. In cooling mode, they work the same as an air conditioner, absorbing heat from indoors and moving it to the outdoors. In heating mode, they reverse the movement of refrigerant and bring heat from the outdoors to the indoors.

Most heat pumps are either “air source” or “ground source.” Air-source pumps are the standard models that use an outdoor cabinet, while ground source pumps are geothermal systems that use loops buried in the ground. But there is a third option: water source. In some places in Atlanta, GA, water source heat pumps are the best option for installation.

We offer installation of a variety of systems, including the HydroTech R-410A Water Source Heat Pump.

To find out which of the different heat pump will deliver your home the optimal heating and cooling, talk to the specialists at South Air Inc. today.

The operation of water source heat pumps

Water source heat pumps (WSHPs) are similar to ground source heat pumps in most ways. The inside unit is the same as a standard heat pump, which extracts or releases heat from the air using a coil; the conditioned air then enters a ventilation system and moves out into the rooms. The external part of the heat pump is a set of loops that carries refrigerant to extract or release heat. In the case of a ground source heat pump, the loops run through the earth about 10 feet below the surface. For a WSHP, the loops travel through a body of water, usually a nearby lake or reservoir. The loops are placed at the bottom of the body of water, where the temperature is less affected by weather conditions.

WSHPs achieve high efficiency because water maintains a more steady and reliable temperature as a source for heat exchange. WSHPs are more efficient when it comes to cooling rather than heating, but even during the winter, the deep water is usually warmer than the air and a better source for heat exchange. This makes WSHPs more dependable than air-source heat pumps when in heating mode.

As you might imagine, water source heat pumps will only work if you have access to a body of water deep enough to make the system efficient. If you do have water access, a WSHP makes a great alternative to a geothermal system.

If you think you live in an area suitable for a water source heat pump in Atlanta, GA, contact South Air Inc. We will see if you will benefit from a WSHP, and also look into your other options for year-round comfort.

The Famous Painting of the Declaration of Independence Isn’t What You Think It Is

July 4th, 2014 by David Roussel

If you grew up in the United States, you probably first saw John Trumbull’s painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence in an elementary schoolbook. This oil-on-canvas 12’ x 18’ painting hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the country and almost every citizen can conjure it from memory.

Except… the painting isn’t of the singing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual title of the work is Declaration of Independence, and although it does portray an important moment in the history of the document that announced the Thirteen Colonies’ decision to break away from British rule, the event in the painting occurred on June 28, 1776, not July 4, 1776.

John Trumbull, a Connecticut native who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose father was the state governor, was commissioned to create the painting in 1817. He did painstaking research on the figures in the picture and also visited Independence Hall to see the actual chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. Trumbull only included 42 of the original 56 signers, because he could not find adequate likenesses for 14 or them, and added a few figures who were not present (most of whom declined to sign the actual document). In fact, the men depicted in the painting had never been present in the same room at one time.

So if the painting does not portray the singing of the Declaration of Independence, what is happening in the image? The Trumbull’s scene depicts the presentation of the draft of the declaration to the Continental Congress for editing and approval. The five-man drafting committee (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) is handing over their finished work, which congress would then edit carefully over the next few days before voting on it and signing it on the day that we now celebrate as the start of the United States of America.

One last, odd, fact: two of the five-man drafting committee, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on the July 4—although many years later.

Our family at South Air Inc. hopes that your Fourth of July (or Twenty-Eighth of June if you decided to start celebrating early) is a memorable and happy one.