Valentine’s Day: Pagan Revelry, Clandestine Marriage, and 14th Century Poetry

February 14th, 2015

What do you think of when you think of Valentine’s Day? Perhaps rushing off to the stationary store after work to choose the perfect card with which to express your feelings towards a loved one? Dinner reservations at a fancy restaurant? Roses, dark chocolates, and other gifts and confections? Whatever Valentine’s Day may look like to you, chances are that it is a far cry from the history surrounding this holiday – or at least we hope so. Here are a few interesting facts about this most romantic of holidays, from your friends here at DuAll Heating & Cooling.

The fact of the matter is that there is no definitive history as to how Valentine’s Day came to be. There are a few different saints with variations of the name Valentine, for example. One of the most prevalent legends, and one certainly in keeping with the romantic nature of the holiday as we know it today, pertains to a priest serving during the 3rd century in Rome. Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, who believed that young men made for better soldiers if unfettered by marriage, it was illegal for young men to marry. A true believer in love, Valentine would marry young couples in secret. Until, at least, he was found out, and met a very unpleasant end for his crimes.

Like many of our modern holidays, Valentine’s Day can also be traced back to pagan ritual. Lupercalia, as the pagan festival is known, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, a god of agriculture. As is often the case with Roman celebrations, the details of this celebration are unfit to detail here. Suffice to say that, while there is certainly a touch of the amorous in the proceedings, the festival was a far cry from what we associate with Valentine’s Day today.

How, then, did our modern version of Valentine’s Day come to be? The answer may lie in, of all places, 14th century poetry; particularly, in the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer. Famed for his Canterbury Tales, Chaucer may well be the very first writer to associate Valentine’s Day with romantic love, in the manner of which we are familiar with it today. His The Parliament of Fowls details the dream-vision of a narrator consumed with the idea of romantic love and the natural order of finding a mate. Valentine’s Day is mentioned by name a number of times, as the narrator witnesses a parliament of eagles vying for the hand – or, perhaps more aptly, the wing – of a mate.

Whatever you may think of the holiday’s sordid and convoluted history, we here at DuAll Heating & Cooling hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with the special someone in your life.

How a Maintenance Plan Can Save You Money

February 5th, 2015

Bi-annual maintenance is good for your heating system, cooling system, water heater and plumbing systems. That may seem like a lot, but the payoff from scheduling maintenance is better energy efficiency, better comfort, prevention of repairs and a longer lifespan for your appliances and equipment. At DuAll Heating & Cooling, we believe maintenance is so important for our customers that we’ve established a full HVAC maintenance savings plan for our customers in Naperville and surrounding areas. Wondering what you’ll get when you sign up for our HVAC maintenance savings plan? Let’s take a look.

How It Works

The DuAll Heating & Cooling maintenance plan involved a one-time fee that covers two full maintenance appointments per year per system. But that’s not all the program includes. It also includes:

  • Bonus Bucks – we know better than anyone that some repairs can be costly; this is why we created Bonus Bucks! As a maintenance plan member, you’ll earn $50 each year in Bonus Bucks that can be put toward systems or system components with price points of $1,000 or more.
  • Priority service – customers enrolled in our maintenance savings program get priority service during busy times. This means that as a member, you won’t wait more than a day for service as you’ll be able to bypass non-members.
  • Discounts on parts and labor costs – members of our program automatically receive a 10% discount on all parts and labor for all repairs.
  • Reminders about service – you won’t have to worry about marking your calendar to call us for service because we do it for you.
  • Easy cancellation – you can cancel your membership for any reason or even no reason at all, and we’ll refund any monies owed to you.

The benefits of maintenance are proven, and having these kinds of extras for you and your home make joining a maintenance program a no-brainer.

Interested in seeing what our HVAC maintenance savings plan can do for your Naperville home? Call DuAll Heating & Cooling today!

Do I Need a Boiler for Radiant Heating?

January 29th, 2015

Radiant heating, particularly radiant floor heating, has become very popular with homeowners over the last several years. But what homeowners may not know is that they have a choice of how their radiant heating will work: either via electricity or hot water/steam. Electric radiant heating system do not use water and therefore do not need a boiler to operate; hydronic radiant heating, where hot water or steam flows through PEX tubing, does. So which type of radiant heating should you choose for your Plainfield home? Let’s take a look at how each works.

Electric Radiant Heating

With an electric radiant heating system, thin cables are electrified and generate heat. These cables can be set in wet cement to create a radiant slab (also known as a “wet installation”), mounted directly to subflooring or mounted to subflooring in electrically-conductive plastic matting. When the cables are electrified, they generate heat, which will radiate through the floor (or walls or ceilings) and you’re your home. While the electrical draw on your electric panel isn’t huge, you may still need to make adjustments to your home’s electric box.

Hydronic Radiant Heating

A hydronic system can be laid out in a similar way to electric radiant heating, but the system uses PEX tubing and does not have a mat option. A boiler heats the water (or creates the steam) that will flow through the tubing: hot water systems will use a circulating pump to push the water through, and steam will move under its own natural pressure. When the water or steam cools, it returns to the boiler for another heating cycle.

Which Should I Choose?

Making a choice between the two can depend on a few factors: do you already have a boiler? Which system will be most cost effective for your home? And lastly: is there one that you prefer more than another?

Working with a trained expert can help you answer these questions and ensures that your radiant heating installation in Plainfield will fit both you and your home.

Call the radiant heating experts at DuAll Heating & Cooling today and schedule an appointment to learn more about radiant heating for your home. 

How an Air Cleaner Can Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

January 22nd, 2015

As you may or may not be aware, the air in your home is saturated with all manner of microscopic particles and organisms. Many of these organisms can have an effect on your health vastly disproportionate to their own small size, provoking illness and allergy attacks when you are exposed to them. Using an air cleaner can dramatically improve the air quality in your home. Let’s take a look at the various kinds of air cleaners that can improve your indoor air quality, and how they work.

Air Filters

An air filter is basically a woven fiber mesh stretched over a frame. It is designed to collect any particulates that come into contact with it, while allowing air to flow freely through it. There are many different grades and varieties of filter, with the strongest being the HEPA filters. A HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air) is woven so tightly that it can even capture incredibly small viruses and bacteria. Most homes do not have a need great enough to warrant a HEPA filter, but it’s good to know that the option is available. The downside of air filters is that they must be cleaned on a regular basis, or they stop being effective.

UV Germicidal Lights

A lot of the viruses and bacteria that float through the air in your home are sterilized or killed by too much exposure to ultraviolet light. This is why they tend to thrive inside homes, where there is more shelter from the sun. A UV germicidal light exploits this vulnerability by projecting ultraviolet light in the area around itself. Any germs that pass through the air cleaner are killed or sterilized, rendering them unable to affect any human exposed to them.

UV germicidal lights are a great choice for those who are especially vulnerable to illness. However, they don’t have any way to remove non-biological pollutants like dust and pollen from the air. For this reason, they should not be considered a complete solution to the problem as much as a good contributor to better air quality.

If you’d like to know more, call DuAll Heating & Cooling. We provide air cleaners throughout the Bolingbrook area.

Can a Tankless Unit Replace a Conventional Water Heater?

January 15th, 2015

Are you considering the replacement of your storage water heater in Romeoville, IL, for a tankless water heater, but have concerns about making the switch? You don’t have to be, but you do need to be aware of a couple of items before doing so. Switching to a tankless water heater can bring your home a number of benefits, but don’t rush the process. One of the best ways to ensure that your tank-to-tankless installation goes successfully is to work with a trained expert. The installation specialists at DuAll Heating & Cooling have years of experience with water heater installation, so give us a call today.

Tank to Tankless: What’s Involved

The first thing to note when switching from tank to tankless is how you’ve been fueling your current water heater: are you using electricity or gas? If you’ve been using electricity, you have to make sure that any changes in the power levels are addressed with your electrical box. For example, if your new tankless system requires more amperage, your electrical box will have to be updated to accommodate the heavier load. Gas tankless units require proper ventilation, so this must be part of the installation process.

Reasons to Consider a Tankless Water Heater

If you are still on the fence about switching to a tankless water heater, here are some factors to consider:

  • Take up less space – tankless water heaters are considerably smaller than storage tank water heaters, making them easy to place in a variety of locations.
  • Never run out of water – tankless heaters use a heat exchanger to heat water on demand, so you never have to worry about running out of hot water.
  • Energy efficient – because tankless water heaters work only when hot water is needed, they can be as much as 30% more energy efficient than tank water heaters.
  • Longer lifespan – tankless water heater can last as long as 20 years versus tank water heaters, which last an average of 8-12 years.

If you need water heater replacement in Romeoville, IL, you may want to consider a tankless heater. Have questions? Contact DuAll Heating & Cooling today.

How to Prevent Commercial HVAC Repair

January 8th, 2015

Of course, it’s never ideal to have to call a technician to your business for heating and air conditioning repair. Many commercial properties have commercial HVAC units that are located outdoors on the rooftop or heating systems that are in hidden areas of the building, so a technician should be able to avoid getting in the way of the daily operation of your business. But when the weather outside is too hot or too cold to bear with, a heating or AC breakdown can leave you without any customers or employees, costing you even more.

Take the following steps to help prevent the need for light commercial HVAC repair in Plainfield, and call DuAll Heating & Cooling to speak with a professional.

Take Any Complaints about Your Commercial Unit Seriously

You’re a busy person, and sometimes, when an employee, tenant, client, or customer complains about the temperature in the room, you may be tempted to take matters into your own hands. Often, when you hear that there is not enough heat in a room, the solution seems obvious—crank up the temperature. But if the temperature in the room doesn’t seem to be what’s displayed on the thermostat, you’re probably not doing your unit any favors by continuing to let it run.

Be sure to take any complaints about the performance of your commercial system seriously. One failing component can start a domino effect that leaves many of the other components unable to function as well. A seemingly minor heating issue can indicate major trouble inside of the unit or that a simple cleaning is in order. Catching the trouble now will be far less costly than noticing the issue after a breakdown.

Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance

The best way to prevent repairs altogether is by scheduling light commercial HVAC maintenance every year or twice a year. During a maintenance visit, a technician will clean and adjust components of your unit that could be contributing to inefficiency. These adjustments can also help to prevent parts from breaking altogether, as can cleaning dirty parts.

Whether you want to begin a maintenance schedule for the new year or if you need light commercial HVAC repair in Plainfield, call DuAll Heating & Cooling today!

How to Tell Your Commercial HVAC System Needs Repair

January 5th, 2015

If your commercial HVAC system breaks down completely, there’s no doubt you’ll hear about it. Complaints from customers, clients, employees, and/or tenants are almost guaranteed, particularly in the middle of summer, or during a cold winter’s night. But most likely, you’d rather avoid this situation and catch repair needs before a heating breakdown puts your business out of commission for a spell.

But how can you tell when it’s time to call for commercial HVAC repair?

At DuAll Heating & Cooling, we want to make sure that your commercial property isn’t left in the cold (or heat). Here are a few things you should check on to tell whether you need to schedule repairs.

  • Noises from the Ducts or the Unit: Chances are, you don’t hang around your commercial HVAC unit too often (since many of these are located on the roof of a building). But if you do happen to hear a strange noise (even a small one) from up above, from the boiler unit, or from inside of the ductwork, it could mean trouble with a fan, circulator pump, compressor, or any other vital heating/air conditioning component. This could lead to further trouble later on, which is why it’s important to call for repairs right away.
  • Reduced Heating or Cooling: To some business owners or managers, it may be a given to call for repairs when heating or cooling is suddenly reduced due to the nature of their business. But others suspect that the trouble will improve, or that they can wait a bit longer to call. However, the trouble can worsen as the parts become overworked attempting to get your building to the proper temperature.
  • High Utility Bills: High utilities may be a sign of parts that are working overtime to heat or cool the property, which means something within the unit is not quite right.

A final way to determine that your system is in need of repair is if your technician tells you so during a standard maintenance. At DuAll Heating & Cooling, we recommend you schedule maintenance twice a year with a commercial specialist to avoid sudden breakdowns. For maintenance or commercial HVAC repair in Plainfield, call our office today.

The History of “Auld Lang Syne”

January 1st, 2015

There are numerous different traditional songs associated with Christmas—but there is only one song that comes to mind immediately when people think of New Year’s Eve: “Auld Lang Syne.” It is hard to find a New Year’s Eve party where people won’t leap into singing “Should old acquaintance be forgot…” as the first stroke of midnight sounds. This tradition encompasses the globe, with almost every culture that celebrates New Year’s on January 1st breaking into song with the same set of lyrics.

Where did this song come from? And what do the words “auld lang syne” actually mean? The best place to ask these questions is Scotland. The Official Gateway to Scotland website calls the song “one of Scotland’s gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbor’s hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take us into the future.”

The melody of the piece originates from Lowland Scots folk song tradition. It was legendary Scottish Romantic poet Robert Burns (1759–1796) who created the words we know today, however. During the later years of his life, Burns dedicated much of his work to collecting Scottish folk tunes and giving them new life. The first mention Burns makes of “Auld Lang Syne” is in 1788, when he calls the song “a glorious fragment.” Burns wrote new lyrics to the old melody, and used the words “auld lang syne,” which is Scottish for “old long since,” and which can be translated into standard English as “long, long ago” or “days gone by.” The phrase was already known in earlier Scottish poems and folk songs, and appears to be the equivalent of “Once upon a time…” for Scots fairy tales.

Soon after Burns introduced the song to the public, it spread across Scotland as a New Year’s custom, and then to the rest of Great Britain. Scottish immigrants took the song with them as they moved across the globe, and by the middle of the 19th century it was a holiday tradition throughout the English-speaking world. By the close of the 20th century, it was a global phenomenon to ring in the New Year.

We imagine that you’ll end up singing or hearing “Auld Lang Syne” at some point this New Year’s (maybe you’ve already heard it while watching It’s a Wonderful Life).

All of us at DuAll Heating & Cooling would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy coming year in the tradition of the song.

5 Facts about Santa Claus

December 25th, 2014

Many holiday traditions involve the story of Santa Claus, the lovable old man who spends most of his time at the North Pole taking a single evening to deliver presents and candy to children everywhere. But since Santa Claus is so elusive (unless he happens to be visiting your local shopping mall), how do we know so much about him? Where exactly does his journey begin? Our holiday guide details 5 of the most common traditions associated with Jolly Old Saint Nick.

  1. The Origins of Santa: The name “Santa Claus” comes from St. Nicholas (a name which became Sinter Klaas for short in Dutch), a Christian Bishop from 4 A.D. who was known for giving his fortune away to those in need in Turkey. Santa Claus’ first associations with gift-giving comes from Holland’s St. Nicholas’ feast day, during which children would leave out their shoes overnight and find presents waiting inside the shoes on the next morning.
  2. The Stocking by the Chimney: While many people associate Holland’s shoe tradition with the origins of hanging a stocking, this isn’t entirely accurate. Hanging stockings instead comes from the legend of a time St. Nick helped a man afford to marry off his daughter by throwing a bag of gold down the chimney, which landed in a stocking that was hanging up to dry.
  3. St. Nick’s Outfit: Santa got his fashion sense from a wooden cutout handed out during a meeting of the New York Historical Society in 1804. But it wasn’t until a 1930s Coca Cola advertisement that his traditionally blue, white, and green outfit was transformed into a big red suit.
  4. Leaving Cookies out for Santa: Food was traditionally used as ornamentation during the holidays in medieval Germany as apples and cookies commonly adorned the home at wintertime. When the Christmas tree became a common symbol of the season, edible treats began to vanish, a phenomenon which became attributed to Santa Claus’ snacking habits.
  5. Why Santa Drives a Sleigh: Santa gets his sleigh from a tale spun by Washington Irving, the same author who brought us the Headless Horseman. He wrote down an account of a dream in which Santa Claus drives a weightless wagon through the sky, and the stories became so popular, they stuck around.

Here at DuAll Heating & Cooling, we hope that you have a joyful and safe celebration, no matter what holiday traditions you engage in this year. Happy holidays!

How a Faulty Thermostat Affects Your Heating

December 18th, 2014

The thermostat is very likely the only component of your heating and air conditioning system you really interact with. Your heating system’s thermostat communicates to your heater when the temperature has dropped below the desired setting. The heating system then switches on and heats up the air until the necessary conditions have been met.

You may think that a thermostat works under a fairly simple mode of operation. But a faulty thermostat will have a huge impact on how effectively your heating system operates. Thermostats can be responsible for anything from no heating at all to severely worn down parts and controls. This list details a few of the ways a faulty thermostat can affect your heating in Naperville.

  • Reduced Heating: One of the most common side effects of a faulty thermostat is reduced or absent heating. Your broken thermostat may prevent heat from entering your home or it may simply reduce the amount of heating you feel throughout the house. Reduced heating could be symptomatic of a number of problems, like a broken safety switch or a faulty blower fan, but an issue with the thermostat generally indicates a new one is necessary.
  • Poor Efficiency: Even if you own one of the most efficient types of heating systems available on the market, a broken thermostat can reduce efficiency by quite a stretch. This component may at some point be unable to communicate to the heater when it is time to shut off, not only making you feel uncomfortable, but also requiring far more energy to run.
  • Worn Parts: A faulty thermostat may also cause your unit to short cycle if there is a faulty wiring connection. Short cycling is when the unit turns on and then shuts off shortly afterwards. This can cause the parts to become damaged and wear down over time.

Replacing a thermostat doesn’t have to be a negative experience. A trained technician can help you select a thermostat with advanced settings so that you can have greater control over what times of day your unit switches on and off in order to better track your energy usage over time.

Contact DuAll Heating & Cooling when you need any services for your heating in Naperville, IL.