Boehmer Heating & Cooling 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 Boehmer Heating & Cooling 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 Boehmer Heating & Cooling! 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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Is It Time to Get a New Furnace?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

The cold winter weather has arrived in Pittsburgh, and we hope that you’re cozy inside your home with your furnace keeping you warm. But if you’re not, or if your furnace is acting strangely, then maybe you need to consider a new furnace installation.

Furnaces can last for a long time with the proper care, sometimes past 20 years. But eventually they will start to run down, develop corrosion, and begin to work inefficiently, leading to a complete breakdown. If your furnace is nearing the end of its service life, you should have a new furnace put in before your current one shuts down at the worst possible time. With professional installers on the job, the switch from the old furnace to the new one will go fast and you won’t find yourself stuck in the cold.

Boehmer Heating & Cooling has years of experience with furnace installation; we’ve been in business since 1933! For your new furnace in Pittsburgh, PA, trust to us.

Here are a few of the signs to look out for that will warn you it’s time to get a new furnace:

  • Inexplicably elevated heating bills: As a furnace wears down with age, it will start to work harder to do its job. You may feel the same level of heating, but your furnace must drain more power to achieve it. Take a look at your heating bills each month: if they start to climb and stay that way, it might be the fault of a furnace past its prime and moving into decrepitude.
  • Extensive rusting: If you discover extensive rust along the bottom of the cabinet of your furnace, then it is likely time to get a new unit.
  • Constant noisy operation: One of the best warning signs a furnace can send that it requires repairs is a strange, loud noise. However, if a furnace begins to make rumbling, clanging, and grating noises on a regular basis, it usually means that it has become too worn down for regular repairs to restore it.

It’s a big step to decide on installing a new furnace, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one if you hire a contractor with the experience necessary to make the installation go fast and smoothly. All of the installers at Boehmer Heating & Cooling are highly trained, so you’ll know that you are getting quality work when you hire them to install your new furnace in Pittsburgh, PA. Contact us today so you’ll have the best heating for the rest of the winter.

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Are Strange Sounds a Sign That It Is Time to Call a Heating Repair Contractor?

Monday, December 9th, 2013

If you’ve spent at least a year with your heating system keeping you warm through a tough Pittsburgh winter, you will have a good notion of the sounds to expect from it. However, if you start hearing unusual sounds that you haven’t experienced before, you may wonder if this is a signal to call for professional repairs.

The answer: “almost certainly.” Odd sounds are one of the ways that heaters communicate developing malfunctions that could lead to a full breakdown. If you can’t account for what’s causing the strange noise, you should call a repair contractor right away to determine the reason and find out what to do about it.

Boehmer Heating & Cooling has emergency operators standing by 24/7 to answer your service calls. Don’t hesitate with heating repair in Pittsburgh, PA: you don’t want to end up in the cold because of a busted heater.

Some common noises that indicate repair needs:

Rumbling boiler: If your boiler tanks starts to rumble, it likely means that the water inside is overheating. There are a number of reasons for this—rust, limescale, sediment at the bottom of the tank—but it needs to be fixed before leaks spring up throughout the pipes. The rumbling could also indicate a mixing of cold and hot water, and that means leaks around the input valve.

Clanking: This can occur in furnaces or heat pumps, and often means that a blower fan motor belt has come loose and is striking against other components. If this continues, the loose fan belt can cause serious damage to other mechanisms in the cabinet.

Rumbling and booming: You might hear this from a gas-powered furnace or boiler, and it is often a sign of a buildup of dirt along the burner where the gas jets ignite. A burner that gets too dirty will no longer be able to draw sufficient oxygen to light the jets. A technician can remove the burner and clean it.

Groaning and squealing: If you hear this from the cabinet of a furnace or a heat pump, the cause is probably motor bearings that are dirty or wearing down. If this continues, the motor will burn out, so have a professional replace the bearings.

Loud clicking at heat pump start-up: You probably have a failing start capacitor, the device responsible for delivering the electric charge that drives the motors in the heat pump. A technician can replace this for you.

Leave repairs to professionals

Modern heating systems are designed for durability and reliability—and they are also highly complex devices that require years of training to properly handle. Leave the repairs to professionals, especially if you have a gas-powered heater.

Boehmer Heating & Cooling can take care of all your needs for heating repair in Pittsburgh, PA. Since 1933, we have helped the city stay warm all through the winter.

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Furnace Problems Caused by Your Thermostat

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

The thermostat is a small object, but it performs a big job: it’s your means of communicating with the furnace in your home. If the thermostat develops malfunctions, it can threaten the comfort of your home.

When a thermostat starts to go awry, it can first appear as if something is wrong within the furnace cabinet or the ducts. This is one reason you should always rely on assistance from HVAC professionals when you have problems with your heating; attempting repairs on your own can lead to worse trouble if you are trying to fix something that isn’t broken. Call in experts like the ones on staff at Boehmer Heating & Cooling and let them locate the source of the trouble with your furnace in Pittsburgh, PA and find the best way to repair it.

Here are a few of the troubles you can experience with your furnace because of a faulty thermostat:

  • Furnace won’t come on: If the furnace won’t start up when the temperature drops, you should check the thermostat first to make sure you have it set correctly. If the thermostat has lost its connection to the furnace, it won’t activate the igniter. The thermostat might also be miscalibrated, so it senses incorrect indoor temperatures and registers the house as warmer than it actually is.
  • Furnace won’t stop running: A broken thermostat can also mean the furnace will continue to run, overworking its parts and making your home too hot. As with a furnace that won’t come on, this might indicate a thermostat miscalibration. Or it could be electrical trouble with the wire from the thermostat that switches the furnace on and off.
  • Furnace short-cycles: “Short cycling” is when the furnace comes on for only a brief period and then shuts off before completing its heating cycle. Again, this might be a thermostat miscalibration: the thermostat registers prematurely that the furnace has reached its target temperature and shuts it off. This will damage your furnace, drain power, and leave parts of your home cold.

Here’s something to keep in mind about thermostat operation: a thermostat is a switch, not a throttle. It turns your furnace on and off; it doesn’t increase the amount of heat it produces or speed it up. Turning the thermostat up to 90°F won’t heat up your home faster; it will just keep the furnace running until it reaches that point.

Get in touch with Boehmer Heating & Cooling when you need repairs for your furnace in Pittsburgh, PA. You don’t want a malfunctioning thermostat to leave you a deep freeze this winter. We have 24-hour emergency service to make sure you won’t stay cold for long.

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