Design Comfort Blog: Archive for December, 2013

New Year’s Eve: The Tournament of Roses Parade

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

The East Coast has their own traditions for New Year’s Eve, notably the dropping of the ball in Times Square to signal the beginning of the New Year. We have our own traditions here on the West Coast, and with 2014 almost upon us, we thought we’d take a closer look at one of the biggest: the Tournament of Roses Parade.

The Parade is held every year on New Year’s Day, save when January 1 falls on a Sunday (in which case it is held on the 2nd). Tradition holds that they don’t host it on a Sunday in exchange for God preventing rain on the parade, though it has actually rained ten times since the first parade. It all began in 1890, when members of the Pasadena Valley Hunt club organized and staged it on Colorado Boulevard. Their parade consisted of horse carts covered with flowers, followed by a series of athletic events (including races and polo matches). Football was first added in 1902, when Michigan beat Stanford by a score of 49-0. The football tradition was dropped for a few years, but came back in 1916 for good. The game has traditionally featured the champions of the Big 10 and Pac 10 Conferences, though teams from different conferences have appeared from time to time.

As for the parade itself, it soon added motorized floats, marching bands and equestrian units to its array of features. A “Rose Queen” is chosen every year from the ranks of Pasadena girls ages 17 through 21, along with six princesses to serve as her court. 2014’s Rose Queen is high school student Ana Marie Acosta. A Grand Marshall is chosen every year as well, and has previously included such varied luminaries as Walt Disney, John Wayne, Dwight Eisenhower, Hank Aaron, George Lucas, Charles M. Schulz, Kermit the Frog, and Fred Rogers. The Grand Marshall for 2014 will be legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.

Wherever you are and however you choose to celebrate New Year’s Day, we here at Design Comfort wish you nothing but the very best. May 2014 bring you all good things, and may your New Year’s celebrations – in whatever form they take – be happy, safe and fun for your entire family. Happy New Year!

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Longer Days Ahead: Why Winter Solstice Is a Reason to Celebrate

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Holiday greetings from all of us at  Design Comfort!

December is a time of celebrations across the globe, despite the cold weather that affects much of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, the cold weather is one of the reasons that it is so important for people to embrace celebrations of light, color, food, and warm drinks—what better way to cheer up during a time of short days and low temperatures?

There is another reason to feel joy at the end of December, regardless of your religion or culture: an astronomical event called winter solstice.

Four astronomical markers divide the seasons on planet Earth: two solstices and two equinoxes. Equinox (a combination of the Latin words for “equal” and for “night”) is the point in Earth’s orbit when its axis is parallel to the Sun. Solstice (from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still”) is the point in orbit where the Earth’s axial tilt points toward the Sun. During the equinoxes, which occur at the start of spring (vernal equinox) and fall (autumnal equinox), the periods of day and night are the same length. During the solstices, which occur at the start of summer (June solstice) and winter (winter solstice), either day or night is at its longest period. June solstice is the longest day of the year; winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year.

Occurring on the 20th or the 21st of the month (this year it falls on the 21st), winter solstice marks the official beginning of winter, but also the point at which the days start to grow longer once more. The sun, which has dropped lower in the sky since the June solstice (June 20-21) and reaches its lowest point above the horizon on noon on winter solstice, once again begins to rise.

From the earliest human prehistory, people have recognized the winter solstice as an important event in their lives. When winter survival was difficult for early human societies, the sight of the sun beginning to rise in the sky once more was a symbol of hope and a reason to celebrate.

(All of the above applies to the Northern Hemisphere of Earth. The equinoxes and solstices flip in the Southern Hemisphere. For example, in Australia, Christmas is a summer holiday.)

However you commemorate and observe this time of year, we hope you and your family have a joyful and safe season!

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4 Characteristics of a Great Plumber

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Your home deserves to have only the best service when it comes to your plumbing in Holladay, UT. You don’t want shoddy, amateur work creating even more problems for you. But how can you find the best service?

It’s easier than you might think: the best service comes from the best plumbers, and we’ve put together a list of qualities that you should look for when you hunt for a professional plumber to take care of repairs, installation, or any other plumbing service for your home.

Call Design Comfort when you’re ready for an excellent plumber who has all of the qualifications listed below.

Look for these 4 characteristic of a great plumber:

  1. Many years of experience: Plumbers can have excellent training and all the right licenses, but there is no substitute for years of hands-on experience in the business. Look for a plumber with at least a decade of work under his or her belt.
  2. Professional qualifications: However, you still need a plumber with the proper certifications of a professional. No matter what claims an amateur makes, and amateur is still an amateur.
  3. Offers a variety of services: Look over the plumber’s website to see what kind of work is covered. Plumbers who offer extensive services like whole house repiping, and specialty services like installing sprinkler systems and low flow toilets, are probably more experienced to handle repairs because they bring in a range of knowledge to any work they do.
  4. 24-hour emergency service: Plumbing problems don’t keep to a convenient schedule; they love to spring up at the worst times. Make certain you hire a plumber with the commitment to help you 24/7.

Turn to Design Comfort to find your ideal plumber

Design Comfort was founded in 1982, and since then we’ve served in all capacities of plumbing: installation, repiping, repairs, drain and sewer, garbage disposals, leak detection, main water lines, sprinkler systems, and more. Our highly-trained and experienced plumbers are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for any emergency that strikes your plumbing. When you are shopping for professional plumbing services in Holladay, UT, make us your first call… and we think we’ll be your only call.

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Take It from a Pro: How Does My Electricity Create Heat?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

When people first think of “heating,” they imagine fire. They think of fireplaces, wood burning in stoves, and gas jets warming air in a furnace or water in a boiler. However, electricity is one of the major fuel sources for indoor heating, powering many boilers and furnaces. You might have wondered exactly how the electrical power in your home translates into heat. We’ll give you a short rundown.

If you need help with an electrical heater so you get quality holiday heating, contact Design Comfort. Our NATE-certified Holladay heating technicians are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to make sure you have a comfortable holiday season.

Electricity into heat

The key aspect of how electricity provides heat is resistance. As electricity passes through conductive material, like a copper wire, resistance causes the flow of electrons to pack together closer, and produce heat. If you’ve ever touched an incandescent light bulb, you’ll know about the heat given off from electricity going through a single electrical filament.

Let’s turn to the electric furnace and examine how it operates. The interior of the cabinet of an electrical furnace contains an array of heating elements that consist of coils made from conductive material. An electrical ignition runs current through these coils, enough to make them begin to glow red hot and give off heat. This heat transfers to the air in the cabinet, and this hot air is what goes through the vents of the system. Where gas-powered furnaces need to first transfer the combustion gases’ heat to the walls of a heat exchanger before raising the air temperature, electrical furnaces can transfer their heat more directly.

Electric boilers take a similar approach to how they transfer heat, this time raising the temperature of water. Electric heating elements are located inside the boiler tank itself—usually one near the top of the tank and one near the bottom—and turn hot as current runs through them. This directly raises the water temperature, the same way that an electric stove top boils water.

Electric heater safety

One of the advantages that electric heaters have over natural gas-powered heaters is that they are relatively safer, offering no risks from carbon monoxide leaks. But this doesn’t mean you should try to fix a broken electric furnace or boiler on your own; this kind of tampering can lead to high voltage shocks. Instead, call on HVAC repair experts. Design Comfort is prepared to handle any troubles you may have this holiday with heating your home safely and effectively. We will do everything we can to deliver you 100% customer satisfaction.

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Here’s Why Your Drains are Clogging

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Clogged drains… they happen. They shouldn’t happen often, but it’s rare for a homeowner to go a full year without experiencing this hassle at least one time. Usually, a clogged drain presents little trouble for a professional plumber to clear, although occasionally a clog may indicate a larger problem within a home’s plumbing.

The Salt Lake City plumbing experts at Design Comfort have many years of experience cleaning out blocked drains. We’ve put together a list of the common reasons that clogs happen, some of which you can avoid in the future with a few precautions.

  • Oil, fat, and grease: One of the most common mistakes people make with their drains in the kitchen is to pour hot oil, fat, or grease down them (or the disposal). Although these liquids seem harmless, they solidify into a thick waxy substance after they dry. This will start to build up on the inside of the drainpipes and eventually lead to full clogs. Pour out these liquids into a separate container and relegate them to the trash, not the drains.
  • Too much food/garbage: Your drains are not garbage disposals. They are not designed to handle heavy waste such as food and paper, so if you toss things into them that should go into the trash, it can cause horrible clogging. (And while we’re on the subject, garbage doesn’t go in the “garbage” disposal either. As a rule, if you can’t chew it, neither can the disposal. Put chicken bones, un-popped popcorn kernels, and other hard substances in the actual garbage.)
  • Hair and soap scum: This is principally a problem for showers and bathroom sinks. Hair and soap naturally go down these drains, but they can build up in the p-trap (the curved pipe beneath the drain) and eventually create a clog. To help prevent this, have a cap over the drain.
  • Damage to the sewer line: This is a serious problem that will begin affecting drains around your home. If you notice the clogs are happening in different drains, and that there is a foul, septic odor emanating from them, call plumbers immediately: you probably have damage in the sewer line that runs out to the municipal sewer.

Some of these clogs you might manage to clear on your own with a plunger. If that doesn’t work, avoid the temptation to use caustic liquid chemicals and instead call for a professional plumber to handle the work. Plumbers will use powered drain snakes and hydro-jetters to clean out your drain thoroughly and also help prevent the trouble from re-occurring. A plumber can also take care of a larger job like fixing a damaged sewer line.

When you need expert plumbing services in Salt Lake City, UT, call Design Comfort any time of the day or night.

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