SPS Mechanical Inc. Blog: Archive for December, 2013

The Ball in Times Square

Monday, December 30th, 2013

New Year’s is a time for parties, fun and great traditions, some of which go back more than a century. Among them is the famous “dropping of the ball” in Times Square, an event which is broadcast to millions of people every New Year’s Eve. With 2014 nearly upon us, we thought we’d take the opportunity to look at the history of this popular New Year’s Eve festivity.

The idea began in 1907 at what was then the New York Times building at One Times Square. The newspaper’s owner, Adolph Ochs, had been celebrating the New Year with fireworks since 1903. He wanted make the event even more remarkable, and added the ball in December of 1907 to welcome in the New Year. The first ball was designed by Artkraft Strauss, who made it out of iron, wood, and light bulbs. It took six men to hoist the ball up the building’s flag pole; once midnight struck, the tremendous ball was carefully lowered, and all were allowed to marvel at it.

Since then, the ball has undergone many changes in materials and design, and even the New York Times has moved to another building. But the tradition remains and the ball has dropped over One Times Square ever since. Today, the ball is electronically controlled, and uses LED lamps for its construction: designed by Waterford Crystal and weighing in at over 1,200 pounds.

A number of television broadcasts have helped carry the event over the years, but by far the most famous is “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” which first ran in 1972. The show was created and hosted by Dick Clark, who became a staple of the event as much as the ball itself. Clark hosted the show every New Year’s Eve from 1972 until his death in 2012. Since then, it has been hosted by Ryan Seacrest, who shared hosting duties with Clark starting in 2005.

Whether you’re watching the ball drop on TV or have some other New Year’s Eve plan in mind, we here at SPS Mechanical Inc. wish you nothing but the best for 2014. Have a safe and happy New Year!

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Is My System Worth the Cost of Heating Repair?

Monday, December 30th, 2013

When it comes to their heating system, Haddonfield, NJ residents can’t afford to take chances. We need reliable service when the snows start to fall and a timely repair means keeping warm and comfortable even when temperatures outside are dropping. There comes a time, however, when repair has to give way to replacement: when the costs involved are just too high to keep paying and when you need to consider getting rid of your old heater. “Is my system worth the cost of heating repair?” Here are a few factors to consider when making that decision.

  • This isn’t the first repair call in recent memory. Repairs in and of themselves are a normal occurrence with any mechanical system. Breakdowns happen and every now and again you’ll need to repair a faulty component. If repair calls become too frequent, however – if it seems like you’re constantly on the phone trying to get your unit fixed – then it may be time to think about a new one.
  • Month-to-month costs are rising. As heaters get older, they become less efficient, and even the most diligent maintenance program can only do so much to address it. You’ll notice this with a quietly rising cost of running the heater: bills that keep going up even though you’re not using the heater any more than you normally would. If your monthly costs are too high, no matter how many times your heater is repaired, a new one can be the best solution.
  • An old heater. Older heaters can still perform effectively if they’re properly maintained, but when added to other factors (such as the ones mentioned above), it’s usually a sign to send it out to pasture. If your heater is more than ten years old and shows signs of trouble, you might want to get it replaced instead of just repaired.

If you’re asking “Is my system worth the cost of heating repair?” then SPS Mechanical Inc. is here to help. We can handle repair issues of all varieties, as well as installing a new heater if you feel it’s merited. We pride ourselves on quality heating repair, Haddonfield, NJ is a part of our service area, and we can provide sound and honest advice about whether your heater is ready for replacement or not. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

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Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Holiday greetings from SPS Mechanical Inc.! We hope you are having safe and pleasant season, enjoying your favorite traditions for this time of year. We wish you the very best, and we thank you for your business this year.

In honor of the season, here are some fun facts about one of everyone’s favorite holiday movies: It’s a Wonderful Life.

For years, one of the enduring December traditions in the United States was watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life playing almost nonstop on numerous television stations. No matter the time of the day, you could turn on the TV set, flip through channels, and discover It’s a Wonderful Life playing. Whenever you needed him, you could find Jimmy Stewart shouting, “Hello, Bedford Falls!”

But now… It’s a Wonderful Life only appears on broadcast television a few times during December, and most families instead choose to watch the movie on video. What happened?

The reason goes back to the film’s initial wide release in January 1947. (That’s right, it opened after the holiday season. It was not even promoted as a holiday film.) It’s a Wonderful Life was a box-office disappointment at the time, and its studio, RKO Radio Pictures, lost more than half a million on it. The movie’s production company, Liberty Films, was sold to Paramount to avoid bank foreclosure. (A bit ironic, considering the movie’s plot.) In 1955, the National Telefilm Associates (NTA) took over the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life, which included the television syndication rights.

However, NTA failed to properly renew the copyright in 1974 because of a clerical error, which allowed the film’s images to enter into the public domain. Although the movie’s plot was still under copyright protection because it was adapted from a published story called “The Greatest Gift,” television stations across the world could now broadcast it with only minimal royalty payments.

In 1993, Republic Pictures, which now owned the NTA library, tried to enforce their claim to the copyright of the film, as they possessed the rights to “The Greatest Gift.” Republic Pictures succeeded, and licensed exclusive television rights to NBC. Suddenly, It’s a Wonderful Life vanished from local television stations, and NBC made the movie’s broadcasts—usually twice during December—into major events. As of 1998, Paramount again has the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life… 43 years after they lost them.

It’s still easy to make It’s a Wonderful Life a part of whatever traditions you observe during the holidays, whether through home video or television broadcasts. Despite its lackluster initial reception in 1947, Frank Capra’s film is now an inseparable part of December in the United States.

Have a great holiday week!

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Oil vs. Gas Heat

Monday, December 16th, 2013

For many years, oil was one of the most common methods to fuel furnaces and boilers. Today, however, natural gas has superseded oil and now is the most popular fuel source for home heating.

Why has natural gas overtaken oil? In the oil vs. gas conflict, what tilts the scales in favor of natural gas?

We’ll explain the advantages that gas-heating has over oil-heating. If you want to make the change from one fuel to the other, you’ll need the services of a company that specializes in oil-to-gas conversion. Let SPS Mechanical Inc. handle the task for you, so you can get the most efficient and effective heating in Sicklerville, NJ.

Why you should consider converting from gas to oil

  • Gas is more environmentally friendly: If you want to “go green,” then natural gas makes for a significant improvement over oil. Natural gas has fewer emissions than any other fossil fuel when it burns.
  • Gas is more energy-efficient: Natural gas burns more completely than oil does, resulting in much less energy waste and lower bills. In 2011, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) did a test on the efficiency of gas vs. oil, and found that an average family saved close to $2,000 during a winter using natural gas instead opposed to oil.
  • Gas is more convenient: If you’re tired of having to wait for delivery of oil—and sometimes having it run out during the coldest days of the year—you won’t have those worries with natural gas, which the city pipes straight into your home.
  • Gas can give you a rebate: Because utility companies want to encourage homeowners to switch to  natural gas, many offer a rebate if you have an oil-to-gas conversion. This rebate can be up to $400, an additional savings on top of the money you are already saving from gas’ efficiency.

One company can do it all for you

When you contact SPS Mechanical Inc. for an oil-to-gas conversion, you’ll have one company handling all the steps of a complex process. We will take care of removing your old heater as well as attaching the piping necessary to bring gas from the main line into your home for your new gas heating system. We will make safety a priority at every stage of the conversion, so you will end up with a new, improved source of fuel without any worries about your safety. Call SPS Mechanical Inc. today to get started with the change from oil to gas.

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Are You Still Using Oil to Heat Your Home?

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Oil has served many homes for decades as a source of heating during the cold months. However, with the prices of fuel today, oil is increasingly a less desirable option. If you still have an oil-burning boiler or furnace, you should consider freeing yourself from the grind of getting the tank filled up and paying unnecessarily high bills for fuel and instead switch over to natural gas. It’s not so arduous a process as you might think; if you hire experts with oil-to-gas conversion process, the job will go quickly and without mishaps. In no time you’ll enjoy the many benefits of natural gas.

At SPS Mechanical, we specialize in performing oil-to-gas conversions. Contact us for excellence in Cherry Hill, NJ heating services.

Here are a few reasons you should consider ending you oil dependence switch to natural gas:

No more running out of oil

If you’ve ever experienced a time when your oil tank runs dry on a frigid day when need it the most, then you know how inconvenient having a limited fuel supply is. Natural gas comes right to your home through pipes; you won’t run out, and you won’t have to wait for delivery.

Improved efficiency

Here’s a fact that should open your eyes: In 2011, the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that the average U.S. homeowner paid $732 to heat their homes with gas during the winter. Homeowners using oil paid $2,535. The reason for this difference is that oil does not burn as completely as natural gas, leading to larger waste. You can expect high savings on your yearly energy bill with gas power.

It’s domestically produced

If you’re interested in reducing the U.S. reliance on foreign oil, then you should consider natural gas because it is a domestic product.

Tax rebate

To encourage homeowners to shift from oil to natural gas, some utility companies offer rebates to people who make the change. These rebates can be as high as $400, which adds onto the savings you’ll receive from natural gas’ higher efficiency.

The benefits of using natural gas over oil will more than offset the price you pay for the conversion. The energy savings will start appearing immediately, on your very next power bill. Don’t hesitate: there’s no reason to stay with oil when you only have to make a phone call to SPS Mechanical to start the conversion process. We can bring you better, more efficient heating in Cherry Hill, NJ. Schedule an appointment today so we can assess how best to bring natural gas power to your home.

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Ask a Plumber in Cherry Hill: Why is the Water in My Toilet Bowl Low?

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Indoor toilets operate on a refill system, which first flushes the water away and then replaces it with new water. When you pull the flush lever, a flush valve in the toilet lets water back into the bowl, which pushes the water level over the trap way. This starts the suction process, which pulls the waste water out of your home through the pipe connected to your toilet. The water then refills thanks to a trio of components in your toilet:  a refill tube connecting the fill valve to the overflow tube. The overflow tube refills the water in your tank, sent through the refill tube and elevating your water levels to their accustomed spot. If one of those component is damaged or misaligned, it will create low levels of water in your toilet.  If the refill tube shifts or is disconnected, the water won’t flow into the overflow tube and the water in the bowl won’t get refilled.

The same thing can happen if the sewer line itself gets clogged. In that case, the water keeps flowing out, even after the overflow pipe has filled the bowl with water.

In either case, you’ll need to make adjustments in order to restore normal water levels to your toilet. The easiest case is if the refill tube has been knocked loose. You can check your toilet bowl to see; it should be a fairly simple task to replace it. Beyond, that, however, you will probably need to call in a professional, who can either replace the overflow mechanism in your toilet or unclog the pipe that’s leading to the back-up.

If you’re looking for a plumber in Cherry Hill, the professionals at SPS Mechanical Inc. are ready to help. We can answer the question “what is the water in my toilet bowl low?” then conduct repairs in a thorough and efficient manner. We’re standing by to help, so pick up the phone and give us a call today.

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