How a Humidifier May Benefit You

January 22nd, 2015

We are at the coldest part of the year in Fair Lawn, and you have probably been using your heating system with regularity for some time. Heat can be hard on you and your home, especially if you use a forced air system. One way to add needed moisture back into your home in Fair Lawn during the winter is with a whole-home humidifier.

Why Use a Whole-Home Humidifier?

We all know that too much humidity makes for discomfort, promotes mold and mildew growth and makes everything sticky. Too little humidity also brings its fair share of problems. One such problem is that wood products need humidity; without it, wood becomes too dry and brittle and as a result, can splinter, shrink and break easily. This includes wood trim, wood furniture, wood floors and even walls. A second problem is maintaining heat in the air. Humidity holds heat, which is why excess humidity feels so uncomfortable. When there is too little moisture in the air, it can feel colder inside your home than it is simply because there’s not enough moisture in the air to maintain the heat level. A third set of problems that can develop from a lack of moisture in your home relates to personal health issues. When there isn’t enough moisture in the air, your mucous membranes, including your eyes, nose and throat, can become dry and irritated; this can hamper your ability to stave off infection during the winter months. Your skin can also dry, becoming itchy and uncomfortable. Lastly, viruses and bacteria pass more easily in a dry atmosphere, making it easier to become ill.

How Does a Whole-Home Humidifier Work?

A whole-home humidifier becomes a part of your heating system so it adds moisture seamlessly. You can set the humidity level on your thermostat or on a separate humidistat and the humidifier will do the rest.

If you are starting to see the effects of low humidity in your home, it may be time to consider the installation of a humidifier.

Call the experts at DB Heating & Cooling today and schedule an appointment with one of our indoor air quality specialists.

Can a Furnace Be Used for Ductless Heating?

January 15th, 2015

Ductless heating and cooling has become very popular over recent years, which isn’t surprising as these systems have a number of benefits you can’t get with other types of HVAC systems. However, they do have their limitations, and one limitation is that a ductless system cannot provide heating via a furnace. But don’t be so quick to toss that furnace out! Why? Because an LG ductless mini-split system can act as a back-up heating system for your Bergen County, NJ home.

How Ductless Heating Works

Ductless systems provide heat by utilizing heat pump technology. What this means is that a ductless heating system has a component known as a reversing valve that allows the system to switch between heating and cooling capability. The system is set-up the same as a ductless air conditioning system: an outdoor unit containing the compressor and condenser connects directly to indoor blowers (up to 4) via a conduit placed in an exterior wall. The blowers contain the other necessary parts for heating and cooling, including a fan, coils and a small air filter. Everything needed to heat and cool your home is contained in these components, which is why it isn’t necessary to have ductwork.

Benefits of a Ductless Heating System

There are multiple benefits to be gained from a ductless heating system:

  • Great energy efficiency – heat pumps do not use fossil fuels and on average use about 25% of the electricity of a whole-home air conditioning system to operate, making them very energy efficient.
  • Customized heating – the indoor blowers operate individually, allowing you to customize your home’s heating, very similar to the way a zone control system does.
  • Long lifespan – the average lifespan for a heat pump is 20-25 years; comparatively, a combustion heating system has an average lifespan of 15-20.
  • Very versatile – not only can a ductless system work with an air-source heat pump, it can also work with a geothermal ground-source or water-source heat pump.

If a ductless heating system seems like a good fit for your home, you may want to consider the installation of an LG ductless mini-split system.

The experts at DB Heating & Cooling can help you determine if an LG ductless system is right for your living space, so call us today!

How Do Ducts Become Damaged?

January 8th, 2015

Most ductwork is hidden behind walls, attics and crawlspaces, so it can be hard to know when problems have developed. It can also lead you to wonder: how did this happen? Isn’t the ductwork protected by being inside the house? The answer to this is: not always. And while ductwork has a relatively long lifespan – an average of 30 years – this doesn’t mean it stands soundly for 30 years without any problems. So how can ductwork become damaged? Let’s take a look:

Rust/Corrosion

Most ductwork is metal, and when metal meets any kind of moisture, it can oxidize the metal, creating rust. Excess moisture can come from leaks, humidity and even rain; the problem is that once the corrosion starts, it can be very hard to stop unless it is caught quickly enough. Rust and corrosion can lead to cracks and holes, which can cause your energy bills to soar, among other problems.

Infestations

No one likes to think about critters or insects taking up residence in their ductwork, but it does happen, and fairly frequently. Mice, squirrels and raccoons love to hunker down during winter inside areas like ductwork because it’s warm and protected; insects can be worse because they’ll stay year-round. Not only are these infestations unhealthy for you, they are unhealthy for your ductwork as animals and insects create nests, which can damage the inside of your ductwork.

Collapse

Sections of ductwork can collapse, particularly if there is extensive corrosion that has destroyed the seals. Collapsed ductwork can become bent or dented, and may have to be fully replaced, depending on the level of damage it has sustained.

Damaged ductwork is faulty ductwork, and faulty ductwork isn’t good for you, your home or your heating system. If you are seeing the signs of damaged ductwork, including excess dust, dirt and moisture, strange smells and/or high energy bills, don’t wait to repair your ductwork in Oradell.

Call DB Heating & Cooling today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

What Makes Commercial HVAC Service So Different from Residential?

January 2nd, 2015

Licensed contractors will always warn against choosing amateur for heating and air conditioning repair, maintenance, and installation, especially when it comes to commercial HVAC services. Commercial technicians are trained specifically to handle large commercial systems. Now, you may already know that a commercial heating and AC system is generally bigger than a residential unit. But besides that, what makes these systems so different? Why wouldn’t a residential technician be able to handle a commercial unit as well?

The fact is that commercial units aren’t just a little bit bigger in size; they’re much larger and far more complex. Commercial heating and air conditioning systems are designed to heat or cool spaces that have multiple stories or expansive floor plans. This means that many commercial units have a zone control system so that all of the clients, employees, and/or residents in the building can control their areas independently of the others. And while residential homes can have a zone control system installed as well, it’s certainly not as involved as a commercial HVAC system.

The control system alone needed for installing a commercial unit is quite intricate. This contains the gateway from the thermostat to the air conditioning and heating unit and all of the safety devices, zone control ports, and other electrical components involved therein. When a technician comes to service your unit, it should be simple enough to determine which switches manage which components quickly so that the necessary repairs can then be completed, but this is not an easy task for an amateur.

Someone who was never trained on complex commercial units will most likely take a longer time to perform repairs and handle maintenance as they must spend much of the visit searching for the different parts and controls and locating problem areas. And installation is quite a chore for the untrained eye since these systems are not only large and complicated, but they also are designed in a different way than the average residential unit. Residential systems may have an indoor and an outdoor unit, but a commercial system may be packaged, with all of the components, including the air handler, located outside, generally on the roof.

DB Heating & Cooling can take care of any of your professional heating and cooling needs with quality commercial HVAC services in Oradell.

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

January 1st, 2015

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 DB Heating & Cooling hope you have a great start to the year and a fruitful 2015.

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

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 DB Heating & Cooling, 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!

How Heat Pumps Work for both Heating and Air Conditioning

December 18th, 2014

More and more homeowners countrywide are installing heat pumps for their myriad of benefits. Perhaps the most unique benefit to using a heat pump, however, is its ability to act as both a heater and an air conditioner. Let’s examine how this functionality is made possible, and why it’s such a huge advantage for the heat pump over other systems.

Anatomy of a Heat Pump

In order to understand how a heat pump can switch functions, you must first understand the different parts of a heat pump. There are two main parts we’ll be discussing in this part, the interior unit and the exterior unit. As you might have guessed, the interior unit is inside the house while the exterior unit is outside. These two units are connected by a refrigerant line, which flows into a coil housed in each one. These coils are the most important part of the system. When the heat pump is turned on, one coil will evaporate refrigerant while the other will condense it back into liquid. When the refrigerant evaporates, it leeches thermal energy out of the air and into the coil. When the refrigerant is condensed back into liquid, it releases the captured thermal energy so that the system can heat the house.

The Reversing Valve

The key to the heat pump’s dual functionality is a part called the “reversing valve.” In a normal system, like an air conditioner, the refrigerant flows only one way between the two coils. There’s a condenser coil and an evaporator coil, and the two never switch. The reversing valve works by reversing the flow of refrigerant, thereby making the condenser coil the evaporator coil and vice versa. This means that each coil can either take heat from the area around it or release heat instead. It is in this way that the heat pump can move heat back and forth in either direction between the house and the outside air.

If you’d like to know more about heat pumps, call DB Heating & Cooling. We install heat pumps throughout Bergen County.

What Types of Air Treatment Services Are Available in Hackensack?

December 12th, 2014

Unfortunately, every time you take a breath, you risk inhaling contaminants that could make you ill or cause sinuses to act up. Luckily, many contractors offer indoor air quality services that help eliminate contaminants which could otherwise be harmful to you or your family members. Let’s go over a few of the most helpful product installations and services you may decide to use in your home to protect the air quality. For superior air treatment services in Hackensack, you should rely on the expertise of DB Heating & Cooling.

Whole-Home Air Filtration Systems

A whole-home air filtration system works in conjunction with your forced-air heating and cooling system to eliminate particles that your home’s air filter tends to miss. The best unit for your home may be one of the following.

  • Air Cleaners: An electronic air cleaner is installed in the ducts and uses high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration or an ionization process to eliminate over 99% of contaminants that enter the ducts.
  • Humidifiers/Dehumidifiers: The level of humidity in the home contributes greatly to your home comfort, and too much moisture or a lack of moisture can affect the quality of the air. High humidity can lead to mold growth while no humidity means dried out sinuses, in which case a dehumidifier or humidifier may be necessary.
  • UV Germicidal Lights: UV lights can be installed in the ductwork to stop mold growth and kill microorganisms like bacteria and viruses.

Duct Cleaning

Many homeowners are surprised to learn just how many contaminants may be living in their ducts. Dust can cling to the lining of the ductwork and blow into your home as the HVAC system’s fan runs at full speed, knocking particles loose and sending them back into the air you breathe. With duct cleaning, experts use powerful vacuums and brushes to reach hidden areas of ducts and eliminate the problem.

Duct Sealing

Finally, duct sealing is another service that improves the efficiency of your air conditioner and heater and helps to prevent contaminants from moving into your home. If there is a hole in the ducts, particularly around a dusty area like an attic or crawlspace, pollutants can get sucked into the ductwork.

To clean the air in your home with any of these professional air treatment services in Hackensack from trained experts in the field, call DB Heating & Cooling today!

What Does a Trane Furnace Have to Offer in Bergen County?

December 4th, 2014

The most popular heating installation in the U.S. today is the gas furnace. Furnaces are reliable, effective, and efficient, and today’s models can cut monthly costs dramatically over similar furnaces built decades ago. At DB Heating & Cooling, we’re proud to install and service one of the most trusted brands in furnaces, Trane. Trane has been manufacturing heating systems since 1910 and is recognized worldwide as an industry leader in residential heating. Learn more about why a Trane furnace may be the right fit for your home.

  • Options to Suit Any Home: When you need a new furnace, the size and style are both extremely important in making sure you have an efficient, long-lasting system. A heating system that is too small will not completely heat your home and will wear down too quickly, while a system that is too large will use way too much energy. The various Trane furnaces, oil or gas systems from any of their highly efficient models, are available in all sizes so a technician can make sure you get the right unit for your home.
  • High Efficiency Ratings: All Trane furnaces have a high AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) and some even go above and beyond. The AFUE is a percentage that indicates how much of the fuel your system uses actually goes into heating your home. Some of Trane’s highest rated furnaces, in their XL, XV, and XC lines, have an AFUE of over 94%. Compare that to the 50-60% average AFUE of furnaces created a few decades ago and you’ll see instant monthly savings when you replace with Trane.
  • Long Lasting: Trane furnaces are designed to last a long period of time and to withstand the harsh winters here in Bergen County. And when you get annual maintenance from a Trane dealer, you can be sure your system has an even better chance of exceeding its expected lifespan. With maintenance, your unit is cleaned, adjusted, and inspected, which helps you to know about repair needs early on and keeps your unit running more efficiently for longer.

Hear more about the many benefits of Trane furnaces in Bergen County. Call DB Heating & Cooling to speak with a friendly professional today!

10 Facts You Should Know about Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2014

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as an official holiday in the United States for over 150 years, so you may think you understand all there is to know about this family feast. Most of us have heard the story of the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621 after arriving in North America on the Mayflower. But did you know that only about half of the people on this ship were actually pilgrims? This fact is one of ten things that may actually surprise you about the Thanksgiving tradition!

  1. Although we often consider Thanksgiving a holiday unique to the United States, many other countries and cultures celebrate their own set of harvest-time and thanksgiving traditions. In Korea, Chu-Sok (or “fall evening”) is put on in remembrance of forefathers on August 15th of every year. Brazil celebrates a contemporary version of the U.S. holiday. Chinese, Roman, and Jewish cultures all have a history of harvest celebrations as well.
  2. President Harry S. Truman began the tradition of a ceremony held before Thanksgiving during which the president receives a turkey. George H.W. Bush was the first to pardon the turkey instead of eating it.
  3. In Minnesota alone, farmers raise over 40 million turkeys a year. In fact, U.S. farmers produce about one turkey for every one person in the country.
  4. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American will gain about one to two pounds every year during the holiday season.
  5. On the other hand, turkey is naturally high in protein and has been known to support and boost immune systems to protect against illness and speed up healing. So feast on!
  6. Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863, but a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale can be credited with the idea. While Thanksgiving had been celebrated at different times of year in many areas of the U.S. for years, it was Hale, prominent magazine editor and author of the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who urged Lincoln to finally establish the national event.
  7. President Franklin D Roosevelt once tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday of the month in order to extend the holiday shopping season and boost the economy.
  8. Only about half of the people on the Mayflower were what we would consider today as “Pilgrims.” The other (approximately) 50 people were simply trying to find a way over to the New World.
  9. Gobble, gobble! Click, click? While male turkeys make a gobbling noise, females (hens) do not; it’s often described as a clicking.
  10. Even though we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, the month of June has been declared National Turkey Lovers’ Month by the National Turkey Federation so you can continue the celebration in the summer as well!

From our family here at DB Heating & Cooling, we’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!