SPS Mechanical Inc. Blog : Archive for December, 2014

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

“No two snowflakes are alike.”

This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at SPS Mechanical, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!

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Is a Home Performance Evaluation the Same as an Energy Audit?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Have you been looking to save some money on your utility bills recently? If so, you may have been mostly searching for ways to cut back on some of the components of your home that utilize the most energy. But limiting essential appliances like heating and air conditioning systems or a washing machine or dryer is a terrible way to save some money, leaving you uncomfortable and without some near necessities for the home.

When you’re looking to save a lot of money over the course of the next year and beyond, many contractors recommend scheduling a home energy audit. But if you’re having trouble locating a company for the job, there’s something you should keep in mind: a home performance evaluation is the same thing.

To schedule your home performance evaluation today and find out where your home is losing energy, and to learn more about our comprehensive energy audits in Deptford Township, call the experts at SPS Mechanical Inc.

What Happens during a Home Performance Evaluation?

During a home energy audit a professional will examine your home in order to help you discover which areas can be improved to help you to save over time. There may be a number of factors contributing to excessive bills. You may have too many minor leaks and cracks in the house, poor insulation, or outdated HVAC equipment, but in any case you’re almost certainly spending at least a little more than you need.

A home performance evaluation generally begins with a blower door test. During a blower door test, every door and window in your home is sealed shut, and a large fan is placed in the front door to lower the pressure inside of the house. After, professionals can use a tool to detect where air is leaking and can let you know where any sealing is required.

After the blower door test, the technician may also perform one of many different services including a thorough inspection of the parts of a home that are prone to energy loss. You may discover that you could use some insulation to keep your home comfort system from becoming overworked. In the majority of homes in the U.S., a lot of energy is also commonly lost in leaky ducts. And a home performance evaluation can also help you discover if your ducts are contaminated and require a routine cleaning.

Speak with an SPS Mechanical Inc. technician to schedule one of our comprehensive energy audits in Deptford Township today.

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Is It Possible to Convert My Home to Natural Gas?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Back in the day, once you chose a certain kind of heating system for your home, you were stuck with it until it was time to replace it. However, if you use a propane or oil system, you have the option to convert your system to natural gas. Handling the conversion process on your own can be challenging, as there are many steps involved with the conversion process. This is why hiring a heating services company that specializes in natural gas conversion in Sicklerville makes the process far easier. The experts at SPS Mechanical, Inc., have handled hundreds of natural gas conversions, so if you are interested in finding out more about converting your oil or propane heating system to natural gas, call us today!

Steps of Natural Gas Conversion

Some conversions may require more work than others, but here is a general overview of what to expect during the conversion process:

  • Find exact location of natural gas line – for any gas conversion to take place, it’s necessary to be in close proximity to a main gas line in your neighborhood. As such, the company will find out the location of the closest gas line to your home.
  • Survey of the site – this step entails calculating the heating load for your home, evaluating the existing heating system and determining how much gas piping will be needed for your home.
  • Coordination with the gas company – a gas load data sheet is created for the gas company and includes the following information: owner of the property, property location, the gas loads for any current gas appliances and what the gas load(s) will be for new gas appliances, and the make, model and gas requirements of the new heater.
  • Gas pipe installation – as soon as all permits are obtained, the gas piping is installed.
  • Gas pipe inspection – once all the gas piping is installed, it has to be inspected by the gas company to ensure it has been installed correctly.
  • New heater is installed – after the gas company approves the new gas piping, your new heater is installed and tested.

As you can see, handling a natural gas conversion on your own can be challenging. This is why working with experts, like the ones at SPS Mechanical, Inc., can make the difference between a difficult or easy natural gas conversion in Sicklerville. Ready to convert to natural gas? Call us today!

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Do You Need to Replace Your Water Heater for Oil to Gas Conversions?

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

If any of the major appliances in your home run on oil or propane, you know just how much of a chore it can be to maintain them. You frequently have to get your oil tank refilled, which is a hassle in itself. Furthermore, you get stuck with the bill, which turns this inconvenience into a real nuisance. Thankfully, natural gas is one of the cheapest utilities available, and can be used for many household appliances like boilers, furnaces, and water heaters. If you want to make the switch for your home, a trained contractor is usually available in your area who is certified to perform such work.

But if you’ve been considering switching your appliances from oil to natural gas, you may have a few questions for your technician. The first question many homeowners ask is whether they’ll need to replace their older unit. Is it possible to convert an existing oil unit to natural gas? Or will I need to install an entirely new system? This will depend on many factors of your particular unit, but some of the details are described below.

Many contractors can actually convert some oil units into natural gas burning units. To do so, they must use oil-to-gas conversion kits compatible with your particular burner. A conversion burner can be installed in many residential heating appliances so that a technician can professionally hook up your home to a gas line.

Unfortunately, oil-to-gas conversion isn’t always possible. Some oil appliances simply were not built to use anything but oil to run and are not compatible with an oil-to-gas conversion kit. Oftentimes, homeowners find out that the only way to get natural gas to their appliances is by replacing the entire unit. However, there are many benefits to installing a new unit anyway.

Your new water heater or other gas appliances may be very efficient, saving you even more every month over an older oil appliance. Besides, a newer unit does not have any worn down parts, so you won’t have to worry about frequent repairs or breakdowns for a long time to come. Call the experts at SPS Mechanical Inc. to convert or replace your water heater and other appliances in Sicklerville and the surrounding area and to learn how you can convert any other oil appliance as well.

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