Envirotech Air Quality Services 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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How Is Heating Efficiency Measured?

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Trying to understand the features of the different types of heating systems now on the market can make many consumers feel overwhelmed. The technical information available on each of the units adds to the trouble in deciphering just exactly what you are getting when make a choice for installation.

For example, how can you tell how efficiently a heating system uses energy? This is an important concern for homeowners who want a unit that won’t put an unnecessary strain on their bank account. We’ll give you a short guide to the measurements of heating efficiency in this post.

Keep in mind, the best way to navigate the labyrinth of heating choices and reduce the stress is to turn to the advice of professionals. Envirotech Air Quality Services will help you make the best choice for heating in West Palm Beach, FL.


AFUE stands for “annual fuel utilization efficiency,” and is the rating used to determine the energy efficiency of the majority of heating systems, such as boilers and furnaces. AFUE is expressed as a percentage, which tells you how much fuel the system converts into heat, measured over a year. So a heater with an AFUE of 90% generates 90 units of heat for every 100 units of fuel it consumes. Most modern heating systems score over 78%, and many attain the 90s.


Heat pumps use a different rating system than other heaters, because they operate in a manner similar to air conditioners and need a rating for both heating a cooling. Instead of a percentage rating, they have a ratio: HSPF, “heating seasonal performance factor.” Expressed as a whole number, it is the ratio of total amount of heat required to the energy consumed in watt-hours, as measured over a single season. The higher the HSPF, the more efficiently the heat pump runs in heating mode. You can expect the best heat pumps to have an HSPF close to 10. (A heat pump’s cooling rating is SEER, “seasonal energy efficiency, and is also a ratio. Most heat pumps will have a SEER of 14 or above.)

Understanding a heater’s energy efficiency is only part of deciding what system you want installed in your home. Although energy efficiency is a key factor in making this choice, there are other considerations, such as your available fuel source and how effectively the system will heat your home. After all, a heating system that efficiently uses energy won’t mean much to you if it can’t get that heat out to all the rooms in your house.

This is why having professionals assisting you in the installation process from the beginning is crucial. Envirotech Air Quality Services will steer you toward the system that will give you the optimal heating in West Palm Beach, FL. Contact us today when you want to get your home on the path toward efficient—and effective—warmth for the colder months.

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Mold Removal Tips: Is Your Palm Beach Home at High Risk for Mold?

Monday, November 11th, 2013

We have to contend with the high humidity in the region, often averaging over 70% for most of the year. That makes for a natural breeding ground for mold and homeowners who aren’t careful could find themselves with an infestation in their homes. Mold growth can create allergic reactions in people, irritate the nose and throat and cause similar health problems. A good cleaning service can provide solid mold removal tips, but before it reaches that stage, you have to ask: is your Palm Beach home at high risk for mold?

It starts with the surroundings in your yard. Mold grows in compost and areas with rotten or rotting vegetation. That can include fallen leaves and mulch as well as areas with standing water In particular, look for those conditions around vents or air conditioning units: anywhere that spores might enter into your ventilation system

Inside the home, mold can grow anywhere where excessive moisture can be found. That includes potential leaks in the plumbing, wet spots in the duct system, neglected areas in the basement or  attic: anywhere out of sight and that may be wet.

Dealing with mold means enacting preventative measures as much as handling an outbreak after it occurs. Keep your house dry and clean up any leaks or spills immediately. You can also help by scheduling regular maintenance on your air conditioning system and having your ducts cleaned periodically. A trained professional can clear any clogged drains in the system, remove condensate moisture and pull existing mold from the duct system before it has a chance to really flourish.

Is your Palm Beach home at high risk for mold? If it’s clean and dry, probably not. But hidden corners such as the duct system can’t always fall under your watchful eye. In those cases, the experts at Envirotech Air Quality Services can help. We handle Palm Beach mold removal and can provide many mold removal tips as well as cleaning your home with courtesy and professionalism. Pick up the phone and call us today to set up an appointment.

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Important Heat Pump Components

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

A heat pump works in the same manner as a stand-alone air conditioner: it transfers heat from one location to another. Unlike an air conditioner, a heat pump can run the process in two directions. During warm weather when you need your home cooled down, a heat pump functions as an air conditioner and absorbs heat from indoors. During cold weather when you need a warm house, the process flips around, and heat extracted from outdoors gets moved indoors.

Because they function like air conditioners, heat pumps have similar components: fans, motors, coils (which switch between acting as condensers and evaporators), and capacitors. However, there are two important components that set heat pumps apart from standard air conditioners.

If you need help with your heat pump in Wellington, FL with either of these parts—or anything else that may ail your heating system—contact Envirotech Air Quality Services.

The key heat pump components

Reversing valve: This valve controls the direction of the refrigerant, and the refrigerant must be able to move in two directions for the heat pump to carry out both its functions. A reversing valve has two states, relaxed and energized. In the second state, an electric current runs through the valve. The manufacturer may make the relaxed state for cooling, and the energized state for heating, but it can also be designed the other way.

Two expansion valves: Since your indoor and outdoor coil need to both be able to absorb and dissipate heat, you need an expansion device at each coil. One will work during heating, and the other during cooling. Expansion valves regulate the amount of refrigerant that flows into the evaporator coil and absorbs heat from the air.

Schedule professional repair

Failure of either of any components will mean a heat pump that will only provide you with one of its functions—or may not work at all. Professional technicians must handle replacing these parts, since they are complex pieces of equipment, and different heat pump models use different types.

If you depend on a heat pump in Wellington, FL, you will need fast and reliable repairs done when a malfunction occurs in any of its components. You can call on Envirotech Air Quality Services any time of the day or night for top-quality repairs.

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