Total Comfort, Inc. Blog:
Archive for December, 2014

Why Do We Hang Up Mistletoe?

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Of course, you probably know part of the answer to this question already. You hang up mistletoe so that the people standing underneath can share a romantic holiday kiss! But what you may not realize is that the origin of this longstanding ritual predates many of the other holiday traditions we celebrate today. Why would a plant that has many poisonous varieties (most types sold for use in the home have few negative effects, but you can wrap it in netting to prevent children from consuming any fallen berries or leaves) be used as a symbol of holiday affection?

There are a couple of ways to explain the positive associations of (potentially hazardous) mistletoe. For one, this semi-parasitic plant has long been hailed as a treatment for illnesses and pain. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it to cure cramps, epilepsy, and more. Even today, mistletoe extracts are one of the leading alternative medicines studied for their effectiveness in killing cancer cells. And because the early Celtic Druids saw it as a sign of healing and life, they may be the first to bestow upon the plant its romantic associations, deeming it worthy of treating the infertile.

But it is Norse mythology that is likely responsible for a majority of the modern traditions associated with this small hanging bunch. One of the powerful Norse god Odin’s sons, named Baldur, was said to be invincible due to an oath his mother took to protect him from harm. But Loki, a god who often set out to make trouble for the gods, set out to find the one thing that could do some damage, and eventually discovered that Baldur’s mother Frigg had never included mistletoe in her invincibility oath. When mistletoe was finally responsible for her son’s demise, the grieving Frigg vowed that the plant would never again be used to hurt another living thing, and that she would plant a peaceful kiss upon anyone who walked underneath it.

And that is one of the reasons that, today, kissing under the mistletoe is viewed as a source of good luck. From our family to yours, we wish you a safe holiday season, and we hope that you and your family are full of joy and good fortune—mistletoe or not! Happy holidays from Total Comfort, Inc.!

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Signs that You May Need Repiping

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Properly installed water pipes can last for a very long time, even up to 100 years! However, all things must eventually fail, and water pipes are no different. If you’re a homeowner, you may not know when the best time to get your home re-piped is. As mentioned above, it can happen so infrequently that you may not ever need to do it. There are certain signs, however, that indicate a need to install new pipes in your home. Let’s examine some of these signs.

Discolored Water

Have you ever turned on a faucet in your home and been greeted with brown or yellow water? When this happens, it means that there is rust occurring somewhere in your water supply network. If you’ve got a water heater with a tank, the anode rod might be corroded, causing the inner lining to begin rusting. The most likely answer, however, is that one or more pipes in your water supply system have begun to corrode.

Once it gets bad enough to regularly provide discolored water, it’s a sign that the pipe is already quite rusted. If not fixed, it may rupture and cause water damage.

Low Water Pressure

This is another very common sign of corrosion. Low water pressure could be created by several issues in your pipes. There could be a blockage of some kind, perhaps caused by lime scale or other hard water mineral deposits. There is also the possibility that a pipe has sprung a leak large enough to divert most of the water away from the faucet. Which brings us to our last sign.

Leaks

If you find one leak in your water pipe, that isn’t such a big deal. The pipe may have to be replaced, but your other pipes are probably fine. If you keep finding multiple leaks, however, it means that cumulative wear and tear has begun to take its toll on your water line. Fixing multiple leaks piecemeal is often a waste of time. At that point, it is often cheaper to replace the whole system.

If you think your water pipes needs replacing, call Total Comfort Inc. Our expert plumbers cover the entire Corona area.

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Is a Heat Pump Sufficient to Heat My Home?

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Air-source heat pumps have a number of great benefits, but when it comes to heating your home during the coldest days of the year, there can be some concerns. This is because air-source heat pumps use the available heat in the air to provide warm air to your home. However, living in Corona leaves little to worry about when it comes to heating with a heat pump system. Why? Our temperatures rarely dip below 32 degrees, which is the point at which heat pumps can experience some problems. But to help you understand where the concern comes from, following is an explanation as to why heat pumps can be of concern to some homeowners during winter.

How a Heat Pump Provides Heat

Heat pumps work by transferring heat from one location to another; heat pumps use refrigerant to help facilitate this transfer. During the winter months, air-source heat pumps absorb heat from the air, concentrate it, then disperse the warm air into your home. As the temperature decreases, the amount of available heat in the air also decreases. Once the air temperature dips below the freezing point, it can be challenging for some heat pumps to properly heat a home. To mitigate this situation, it is recommended that a back-up heating system be installed into your home. As mentioned above, Corona rarely sees temperatures at or below 32 degrees, so a heat pump is a great option for heating your home.

Benefits of a Heat Pump System

Heat pumps have a number of benefits, making them worth consideration as your home heating and cooling system:

  • Good energy efficiency – heat pumps do not use any fossil fuels and run on a small amount of electricity – about 25% of that of a whole-home air conditioner.
  • Very versatile – heat pumps can be used with ducted systems, ductless systems and geothermal systems, making them very versatile devices.
  • Long lifespan – heat pumps have an average lifespan of 20-25 years, as compared to that of a combustion heating system for which the average is 15-20 years.

Still have questions about whether or not a heat pump heating system is good for your home? Call Total Comfort, Inc., today and schedule an appointment for heating service in Corona with one of our HVAC experts!

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Can I Seal My Ducts Myself?

Friday, December 5th, 2014

If you don’t understand how a professional performs duct sealing, it may seem like a good DIY kind of task. However, there is a lot more to duct sealing than simply placing a piece of duct tape over a crack or hole and calling it a day. Professional duct sealing is performed to last for the long-term and helps eliminate the multiple problems faulty ductwork can cause. If you have faulty ductwork that is affecting your heating, call the professionals you can count on: Total Comfort, Inc.

What Happens During Professional Duct Sealing?

When a trained technician comes to your home to perform duct sealing, the first step he/she will take is to perform a full inspection on your ductwork system. This helps the technician assess what areas are in need of sealing. Once the heating technician is aware of all problem areas, the sealing work will begin. Trained professionals use a substance called mastic to seal holes and cracks and help re-attach broken seals. For holes and cracks, the technician will apply the mastic, which is a fibrous adhesive, to the problem area. He/she then places a piece of foil or fiberglass tape on top of the mastic to secure the bond. The mastic will cure, and once it dries, it forms a hard seal. Broken seals are handled in a similar fashion, but require metal binding to secure the seal. The technician will brush the disconnected ends of the broken seal with mastic, wrap the ends with metal binding and secure the binding with sheet metal nails. The mastic is left to cure, forming a hard seal between the sections.

Faulty ductwork can account for up to 30% of total air loss in your home. Ductwork can be long and complex, and it can be easy to miss problem areas without the proper training. If you have the knowledge, expertise and training to repair your ductwork as outlined above, then yes, you can probably seal your ducts on your own. But if not, you may want to consider hiring a trained professional to repair your faulty ductwork.

If you’re in need of professional heating services in Corona, call Total Comfort, Inc. to schedule an appointment.

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