Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Archive for November, 2013

The History of Thanksgiving

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Thanksgiving is upon us: a time to get together with relatives, eat some great food, watch a little football or the parade, and stop to appreciate the good things we have in life. Beyond all that, however, there’s a fascinating history to the holiday and its traditions.

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. Records are spotty at the time, but indicate that the harvest was particularly good that year due to help from the local Native Americans. The meal was probably much different than the one we’re used to, with venison and fish more likely than turkey, but the general principle was unchanged.

It wasn’t a few centuries later, however, that Thanksgiving became an annual tradition. George Washington called for a “national day of Thanksgiving” in 1789, and again in 1795, but they were both “one shot” declarations, rather than a call for an annual tradition. Individual cities and states picked up the ball, but it wasn’t until 1863 that Thanksgiving became a national once-a-year event. President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November to be a Thanksgiving “to heal the wounds of the nation and restore it.”

From there, it remained a tradition until Franklin Roosevelt signed a law in December of 1941 making it a federal holiday. The law also changed the date from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday in November, making it a little earlier in some cases (which Roosevelt hoped would give the country an economic boost).

Wherever you celebrate the holiday and whoever you choose to celebrate it with, we wish you nothing but happiness and joy this Thanksgiving.  

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What to Do if Your Boiler is Leaking Water

Monday, November 18th, 2013

When it comes to heating repair, Pittsburgh residents know better than to fool around. Our winters are as cold as they come, and a day without a reliable heating system is almost as miserable as watching the Steelers lose to the Ravens. That means looking for the warning signs of a problem, which may allow you to stop a smaller problem before it becomes a bigger one. If you own a boiler, keep a particular eye out for leaking water, which is one of the most common problems with such a system.

Leaks can develop anywhere in the system, and with a large house, that system may be quite extensive. Checking for puddled water is the most obvious way to pinpoint a leak, particularly around any connections or seals in the pipeline. Unfortunately, many leaks start out very small and the hot water involved can evaporate before it puddles on the floor. By the time you notice the water, the problem may be bigger than you’d like.

A smarter way to check for leaks is to monitor the overall pressure in your boiler’s pressure gauge. If you notice it starts to drop, you’re likely looking at a leak somewhere in the system. Pinpointing it can be difficult; the best thing to do is shut off the boiler for the time being and contact a service technician to give it a look. He can likely hunt down the source of the leak and instigate some high quality repairs.

If you know what to do if your boiler is leaking water, the next step is to contact a professional who you trust. The experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling handle any heating repair in Pittsburgh, and we’re completely dedicated to fixing your boiler problems the first time, every time. Call us today and make sure the job is done right!

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Furnace Sounds and What They Try to Tell You

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Science has yet to invent a home furnace with an artificial intelligence that allows it to tell you exactly what is wrong with it and what repairs you need to do to keep it working. However, furnaces do have an innate way of sending you warnings about impending repair needs and potential breakdowns: unusual sounds. If you’ve lived with your furnace for more than a year, you already have a good idea of what noises it makes during standard operation. When any out-of-the-ordinary sounds start to emanate from the furnace cabinet, pay attention to them and then make the necessary steps to get repairs done.

Usually, this means calling in HVAC experts. Both electrical and gas furnaces pose potential health hazards to anyone who tampers with them without professional experience. Boehmer Heating & Cooling has worked on furnaces since 1933, so we have the experience necessary to diagnose the problems with your furnace in Pittsburgh, PA and fix it effectively and safely.

Common furnace warning sounds

  • Loud clicking: There is often a simple reason for this noise: loose bolts on the outside cabinet. However, if you have a gas-powered furnace and find this isn’t what’s wrong, the culprit could the ignition, or possibly even a problem with the heat exchanger or gas supply. Any of these problems should be examined by a professional as soon as possible to make sure your furnace is operating safely.
  • Groaning, squealing: This is probably the motor bearings that operate the blower fans wearing down or malfunctioning because of dust. Get repairs done before the motors need to be replaced entirely.
  • Clanking: If the belt from the blower motor to the fan becomes cracked, it will come loose and begin striking against the casing or other components. You don’t want to attempt to change the belt yourself, even if you’re familiar with doing a similar repair with a car motor fan belt. Get professionals to replace the belt before it starts to damage other parts of the furnace.
  • Rumbling, booming: Dirt and grime have probably contaminated the burners, choking off their supply of oxygen and preventing the gas jets from igniting and providing heat to the combustion chamber. This can also affect the pilot light. The burners will need to be professionally cleaned.

Boehmer Heating & Cooling has technicians ready around the clock, seven days a week, to get you the repairs you need on your Pittsburgh, PA furnace. Don’t ignore those strange sounds in your furnace—get expert help from Boehmer Heating & Cooling right away.

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Top 3 Reasons to Choose a Boiler in Pittsburgh

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Whether you choose to heat with a gas furnace or an older boiler, Pittsburgh residents need to know the benefits. We’re a tough town here in Steeler country, and our winters are as harsh as they come.  Whatever system you use to heat your household needs to be able to do the job for many years, and you have to rely on it to perform when life gives you other things to occupy your attention. Not every type of heating system fits every circumstance, and you’ll need to decide for yourself which one works best for your circumstances. Having said that, a boiler system – using hot water or steam to warm your household – offers a number of tangible advantages over other types of heating. Here are the top 3 reasons to choose a boiler in Pittsburgh.

  • No dust. Gas furnaces use a “forced air” system, which blows hot air through your home in an effort to heat it up. This can spread dust and debris around your house, which can exacerbate allergies and create irritation in the nose and throat. Boilers don’t need ductwork to circulate the warm air, so dust and debris won’t spread through your home like that.
  • Noise. Boilers are extremely quiet in their functioning, limited mostly to the burning gas or oil in the boiler itself.  That means you don’t have to put up with the sound in exchange for having a cozy and comfortable home.
  • Even heat. Along with the lack of dust comes a lack of drafts or cold spots in the home. The radiators in a boiler system warm the air evenly, increasing comfort levels and improving the overall quality of life in the home.

All of that comes with month-to-month costs that are comparable to gas furnaces and similar forms of heating. When looking at the possibilities of a boiler, Pittsburgh residents can talk to the experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We can explain the reasons to choose a boiler in Pittsburgh – as well as the benefits of forced air furnaces and other forms of heating – then install your chosen unit with professionalism and pride. Give us a call to set up an appointment today.

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