The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

September 1st, 2014

You may have heard about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. In the present, this tradition is usually treated as old fashioned and a joke. Few people will criticize you for wearing white articles of clothing after the first Monday in September, or even take notice of it except to wonder why it was ever a major concern at all.

Where did this tradition of white clothing going out of fashion after Labor Day come from, and why did it fade away like colorful fabric washed in a hot load in the washing machine?

In general, white makes sense for the heat of summer. Light-colored clothing reflects away the radiant heat of the sun, instead of absorbing it the way dark colors do, so for thousands of years of human history people have preferred to wear white clothing during the hotter months.

However, the idea of white as strictly fashionable during the summer season only emerged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the time when the very concept of “fashion” began to spread across the Western Hemisphere.

It was only the highest level of post-Civil War society in the U.S. that strict and often bizarre rules for fashion controlled whether someone was in with the “in” crowd. Compared to our ideas of what’s fashionable today, the Czars of Style in the 1880s were true despots. Things as trivial as sleeve length could determine whether a woman in high society—no matter her level of wealth—was fashionable or a pariah.

Wearing white during the only summer, when it was common for weddings and outdoor parties, was only of these restrictive society rules. When the U.S. government made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, the Fashion Czars gained a definite cut-off point for when wearing white was no longer “acceptable” in the upper echelons of wealthy society.

For many decades, this rule only applied to a small number of millionaire socialites in a few big cities, but in the 1950s it reached general fashion magazines that were read around the country and started to affect more people.

But time eventually broke apart this odd rule, and during the 1970s fashion became more individual. Some fashion legends, like Coco Chanel, also purposely rejected the restriction and wore white throughout the year. Today, the “no white after Labor Day rule” is little more than an amusing gag to tease friends, and almost nobody takes it seriously.

Whatever you choose to wear after Labor Day (and if it’s white, we won’t tease!), everyone here at Ultimate Air Conditioning hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

A Few End of Summer Repairs for Air Conditioners

August 27th, 2014

We may still be in the dog days of summer, but soon the temperatures will begin to cool. You may have noticed over the last couple of months that your air conditioner hasn’t been operating quite the same, which isn’t unusual given the amount of work it’s done over the last several months. It may be tempting to put off your air conditioning repairs in Lakewood Ranch until next spring, but repairs don’t get better with time, and in fact, usually get worse. Ultimate Air Conditioning has been repairing air conditioning in the Sarasota area since 1959, and we are here to help you with your end-of-summer repairs.

Typical End-of-Summer Repairs

Toward the end of the cooling season, we see certain repairs pretty consistently. Here are a few:

  • Refrigerant leaks – refrigerant leaks can occur in a multitude of spots in your system. It is important to have a refrigerant leak repaired because it causes an imbalance in the heat release/cooling process, which can affect your entire air conditioner. Additionally, refrigerant leaks get worse over time, so it’s best to call a professional for repair as soon as you become aware of a potential leak.
  • Fan issues – you have two fans in your air conditioner: the indoor blower and the outdoor condenser fan. Fans are fairly easy to repair, but leaving them unattended can cause problems with air flow and cooling. Typical fan issues are loose or bent fan blades, worn fan belts, motor issues and electrical issues.
  • Compressor problems – your compressor’s job is to pressurize the refrigerant, so it is a component that operates under high pressure. Common problems with a compressor are issues with the motor, problems with the capacitor and valve problems.

It can be tempting to ignore potential problems with your AC, particularly if the system is running okay. However, problems don’t usually go away, and will most likely get worse with time. If you suspect your air conditioning in Lakewood Ranch may be in need of repair, call the people with over 5 decades of experience: Ultimate Air Conditioning.

Air Conditioning FAQ: What Is the Condensate Pan?

August 20th, 2014

If you listen carefully to the noises that your air conditioning system makes when it is running, you will sometimes hear the dripping of water. An AC doesn’t use water to operate—the refrigerant that moves through it is a blend of chemical—but water moisture is a product of the heat exchange process. To make sure that this water doesn’t damage the rest of the AC or enter your home, the system has a component called a condensate pan.

Condensate pans occasionally need repair work. Should you notice water dripping out of your air conditioner’s indoor cabinet, or notice a rise in humidity around it or signs of water damage, call for repairs right away. For a trusted name in air conditioning service in Lido Key, FL, turn to Ultimate Air Conditioning. We’ve served the Sarasota area with heating and cooling since 1959.

What the Condensate Pan Does

The indoor evaporator coil is where your air conditioner absorbs heat from the air to cool it down. As the coil absorbs heat through evaporation, it also absorbs the moisture in the air which turns into condensation along the coil. The more humid the air, the more moisture. This water drips off the coil, and would fall out of the air conditioner if not for the condensate pan located below it.

The condensate pan is a wide and shallow container (about an inch deep) that collects the water condensation. A drain and a pump attached to the pan removes the condensation moisture into the standard wastewater system. Because the pan is shallow, it will overflow should the drain become clogged or the pump stop working. The drain can also become loose where it attaches to the pan, leading the water dripping directly out of it.

If anything goes wrong with the condensate pan, it will require professionals to fix it. Trying to detach and then reattach the pan on your own can lead to faulty connections and further leaking trouble. The water damage from condensate pan trouble can turn very expensive, and it can also lead to mold and mildew growth, so don’t take any chances: call experienced technicians when you think your air conditioner is leaking water.

Ultimate Air Conditioning has a qualified staff who can handle any of your needs for air conditioning in Lido Key, FL, and we pride ourselves on the personal touch we bring to every job…it’s part of what has kept us in business for so many years. Give us a call today to schedule your next service appointment with us.

What Causes Damage to Ductwork?

August 13th, 2014

For your air conditioner and forced-air heater to properly deliver comfort around your home, the ductwork of the ventilation system must be airtight. If the ducts sustain damage so they start to leak air, the pressure inside the ventilation system will drop and airflow will decrease. This will cause a reduction in heating/cooling. Breaks in the ducts will also allow contamination to enter the ventilation shafts and get blown out into the air you breathe.

If you sense that you have damage to your ductwork because of a drop in airflow or a loss of heating or cooling power, you need to contact specialists for duct repairs. Ultimate Air Conditioning has helped homeowners with air conditioning and heating since 1959, and we can handle the ductwork repair in Siesta Key, FL that you need.

How Do Ducts Become Damaged in the First Place?

Because you cannot see most of the ventilation system, it can be difficult to visualize how ducts can become leaky or develop breaks. Here are some of the more common reasons that you will need ductwork repair:

  • Poor initial installation: If the previous owners of your home hired amateurs to install the ducts, or if they put in the ducts as a DIY project, the substandard quality could lead to the ducts starting to fall apart. Poor sealing and joining, or a duct slung unsupported over a long stretch, can lead to stretching and eventually breaks and gaps. In this situation, you will usually need extensive replacement ducts.
  • Mold and other biological contaminants: The development of mold and microbacteria inside ducts not only threatens your indoor air quality, but it will also chew through the ductwork and lead to holes. You will have to have the ducts fixed and UV germicidal lights installed to eliminate the bacterial infestation.
  • Corrosion: For sheet metal ducts, corrosion is one of the major enemies. Excess moisture and aging can lead to corrosion weakening the metal until it starts to fall apart. You will need to have the damaged ductwork sections replaced.
  • Construction mistakes: During remodeling work, it’s possible for ductwork to accidentally sustain damage without you noticing it at first.

It often isn’t easy to notice that your ducts need repairs, especially for smaller leaks. You should look for uneven heating and cooling in a home, which will warn that insufficient air is reaching one of the rooms. Strange smells from the vents due to mold or dust is another common warning sign. Your air conditioner and heater’s behavior can tip you off: increased working stress and higher bills will result from faulty ducts.

Do not try to manage repairs on your own. (No, duct tape won’t do the job!) Call for ductwork repair service in Siesta Key, FL at Ultimate Air Conditioning. Our team has many years of experience handling ductwork replacements and repair, so trust to their work.

Reasons Air Conditioning Installation is Not a DIY Job

August 6th, 2014

Installing a new air conditioner may seem stressful, but there are actually many exciting options available for homeowners today that make purchasing a new system more rewarding. Many systems built today are far more efficient than systems built even five or ten years ago. This means your new AC unit may save you hundreds every year, and you can help the environment by choosing a system with a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). Additionally, there are many exciting upgrades like zone control that allow you to adjust the temperature to different settings throughout the home.

However, these benefits come with a price tag, so many homeowners may try to save money by purchasing the components and attempting to install their new AC system on their own. If you attempt to do this, you may find tutorials online, or you may try to use the manufacturer’s instructions as a guide. However, most people are unequipped for this kind of job, and air conditioners are complex systems; one misstep may cause your system to fail long before its expected lifespan.

There are many components to air conditioning installation that require a qualified technician’s expertise. First, the air conditioner must be sized appropriately. If the unit is too large, it may short cycle and wear down the components of your system. If the unit is too small, you simply will not have enough cooling power. There are many calculations that go into determining the correct size needed for your home, including the size of the home, number of inhabitants, locations of doors and windows, and type of insulation.

Furthermore, your air conditioner must have the proper amount of refrigerant, and AC technicians are trained and qualified to handle this chemical blend. If your air conditioner has too much or too little refrigerant, your home may never reach the proper temperature or your compressor may fail.

Any loose part, missing bolt, or wiring error may cause an air conditioner to fail suddenly. Most homeowners simply do not have the tools or the know-how to do the job. For professional air conditioning installation in Sarasota, call Ultimate Air Conditioning today!


Air Conditioning Repair Tip: Why Does My AC Make a Banging Noise?

July 30th, 2014

When you turn on your air conditioner, you expect everything to be in proper working order so that you can unwind in a cool air conditioned room. But when you hear strange noises in your indoor or outdoor AC unit, it may be hard to relax knowing that something is not quite right. But don’t worry; AC technicians know what to look for when loud banging or clanking noises interrupt the familiar hum of your unit. Get your cooling system back to normal quickly by calling for air conditioning repair in Sarasota today.

There are many moving parts in your air conditioner that make it work, and, like any mechanical part, these can eventually run into problems. The most common reason for a banging or clanking noise is a broken fan or a damaged compressor. Here are a few reasons why your AC may make this noise:

  • Fan Problems: The fans in your air conditioner help to distribute air through the vents of your home and assist with the refrigeration cycle. If a fan stops completely, you may not feel any cool air at all. But if your fan makes a loud banging noise, it may mean that a fan blade is loose or damaged or that there is a problem with the indoor or outdoor fan motor.
  • Compressor Problems: The compressor adds pressure to the refrigerant so that it can move on to the condenser and condense into a liquid. If your compressor is damaged, refrigerant cannot move through your AC, so you may not feel any cool air at all. A loud banging noise from the outside unit may indicate compressor problems, and you’ll have to ask a professional whether this can be repaired.

You should never try to diagnose or repair your air conditioning system on your own. The fan and the compressor are both complex parts that require professional service. A component that is replaced with the wrong part or that is repaired improperly may further damage your system, resulting in major repair needs. For air conditioning repair in Sarasota, call the specialists at Ultimate Air Conditioning today!

Upgrades for Your Air Conditioning in Palmer Ranch, FL

July 21st, 2014

One way to get increased performance and efficiency for your air conditioning this summer is with a brand new system. But what if your current system isn’t quite ready to retire? Thankfully, there are upgrades available for your air conditioning system in Palmer Ranch, FL, that don’t require purchasing a whole new setup. Upgrading to a new programmable thermostat can help you save energy, and adding zone control to your air conditioning system can make your family members feel more comfortable throughout the day.

Thermostat Upgrades

The thermostat is an important part of your AC system, but if you have a manual thermostat it may let you down. Manual thermostats are often inaccurate and it is sometimes difficult to set the dials and sliders exactly where you want them to be. Because of this, some homeowners may overcompensate, lowering the temperature and keeping the home cooler than you actually need it. Even one or two degrees’ difference can mean a lot of extra spending every month.

Digital, programmable thermostats have a clear display and can be set ahead of time, allowing you to save money by varying the temperature throughout the day. If your thermostat is not programmable, you may use energy using the AC when you’re away so your home is cool when you arrive. A programmable thermostat allows you to set the temperature to come on thirty minutes before you arrive instead.

Zone Control

Another way you can save money every month is with a zone control system. If you have a large home and some areas tend to be unoccupied throughout the day, a zone control system allows you to raise the temperature or turn off the AC in those areas only.

During zone control installation, a technician installs dampers in the ductwork that open and close to adjust air distribution. Separate thermostats control each zone in the home, or you can use a master thermostat to control each zone, making family members more comfortable.

Ultimate Air Conditioning provides professional air conditioning services in Palmer Ranch, FL. If you’d like to save money every month on your bills and keep your family comfortable, give us a call today!

Sizing Your New Air Conditioner Properly

July 16th, 2014

Air conditioning during Sarasota summers isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Not only does your air conditioner remove the heat; it removes the humidity, which is a big part of our summertime days. Aging air conditioners can cause a plethora of problems, including lack of cooling, a decrease in indoor air quality and a need for constant repair work – all indicators that it may be time to consider the installation of a new air conditioning system to your Sarasota property. There are many factors that need to be considered when installing a new air conditioning system, and the very first one is determining what size AC you really need for your home.

What Happens With the Wrong-Sized Air Conditioner

While air conditioners come in multiple sizes, the bottom line is that an improperly sized air conditioner is either going to be too big or too small for your property. We’ll take a look at what happens in both scenarios.

Too Big

Many times, the thought with cooling is that ‘bigger is better.’ This simply isn’t true. Why? Your air conditioner removes both heat and humidity in order to cool your home. When you have an air conditioner that is too big and too powerful, for your property, it cools the indoors too fast. This leads to two problems: first, the humidity isn’t properly removed because your home is cooled too fast, leaving you with a cool but clammy feel to the indoor air; second, cooling too rapidly can lead to rapid cycling. Humidity holds heat; when the humidity isn’t removed, your indoor air heats up faster, queuing your AC to start cycling again. Over-cycling can lead to premature wear-and-tear on your system.

Too Small

Installing a system that is too small may seem like a hard thing to do, but it can happen when a full cooling load calculation is not completed. Installing a new air conditioning system based on square footage alone does not account for your home’s daytime heat gain, which can add 10-15 degrees to the interior temperature. As such, one of the main problems with installing an air conditioner that is too small is that it cannot achieve the level of cooling your home needs to be comfortable. To compensate for this, a too-small AC may run constantly, contributing to early aging and wear-and-tear on the system.

Sizing Properly

The main question that needs to be answered when determining what size air conditioner you need for your property is: how much cooling do you really need? To answer this, several factors need to be reviewed:

  • Levels of insulation throughout your home
  • Types of windows
  • Orientation of home
  • Floor plan
  • Number of occupants
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Square footage

Calculating these factors helps determine the cooling load for your home.

Call a Professional

The best way to ensure you install the right-sized air conditioning system into your home is to contact a trained professional. Since 1959, Ultimate Air Conditioning has been helping Sarasota residents with their air conditioning installation.

Call Ultimate Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists to help you handle your new AC installation in Sarasota.

Why Does the Size of My Air Conditioner Matter?

July 10th, 2014

People may call Goldilocks picky, but she understood what some people can miss when purchasing an air conditioner: size is intrinsic to your comfort. Some people are advised to go by the “bigger is better” rule while others may underestimate just how much heat their property gains during a hot summer day.  So how does air conditioner size affect a given space? It depends on whether the system is too big or too small, but one thing is certain about either size: you most likely won’t be comfortable.

What Happens When the AC Is Too Big?

An air conditioning system is considered too big when the amount of cooling it offers is beyond what you need for your home. While this can seem like a small problem, one important thing to remember about your air conditioner is that it doesn’t just cool – it also dehumidifies. In fact, that’s the way your air conditioner cools your house: it removes the heat and humidity. This process doesn’t happen instantaneously; it takes time to properly remove the excess moisture from your indoors while also cooling. This leads us to the main problem when dealing with an AC that is too big for your home: it is so big that it cools faster than it can remove the humidity. The result? A home that feels cold and clammy, because the humidity levels are too high.

What Happens When the AC Is Too Small?

The best indicator an air conditioner is too small for the space it’s cooling is that the cooling is inadequate. Typically, an AC that is too small will either not reach the set temperature, or indoor temperatures can vary between warm and cold as the system cycles up and down. An air conditioner that is too small will constantly struggle to achieve the set indoor temperature, resulting in possible rapid cycling, overheating of components, malfunctioning and potential total breakdown. It will also induce a high level of wear-and-tear which can lead to premature aging. The bottom line is that no matter how hard you “push” an air conditioner that is too small, it won’t be able to do the job you want because it simply doesn’t have the power to do so.

Need Help Sizing Properly? Call a Professional

There are a number of factors that need to be calculated in order to understand exactly how much cooling your property will need to be comfortable. These calculations require a specific level of expertise and consideration of items that may not be obvious to those who don’t do this kind of work regularly, so it’s always best to work with a professional when considering the replacement of your air conditioning in Siesta Key, FL. Call Ultimate Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation specialists.

The Famous Painting of the Declaration of Independence Isn’t What You Think It Is

July 4th, 2014

If you grew up in the United States, you probably first saw John Trumbull’s painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence in an elementary schoolbook. This oil-on-canvas 12’ x 18’ painting hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the country and almost every citizen can conjure it from memory.

Except… the painting isn’t of the singing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual title of the work is Declaration of Independence, and although it does portray an important moment in the history of the document that announced the Thirteen Colonies’ decision to break away from British rule, the event in the painting occurred on June 28, 1776, not July 4, 1776.

John Trumbull, a Connecticut native who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose father was the state governor, was commissioned to create the painting in 1817. He did painstaking research on the figures in the picture and also visited Independence Hall to see the actual chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. Trumbull only included 42 of the original 56 signers, because he could not find adequate likenesses for 14 or them, and added a few figures who were not present (most of whom declined to sign the actual document). In fact, the men depicted in the painting had never been present in the same room at one time.

So if the painting does not portray the signing of the Declaration of Independence, what is happening in the image? The Trumbull’s scene depicts the presentation of the draft of the declaration to the Continental Congress for editing and approval. The five-man drafting committee (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) is handing over their finished work, which congress would then edit carefully over the next few days before voting on it and signing it on the day that we now celebrate as the start of the United States of America.

One last, odd, fact: two of the five-man drafting committee, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on July 4th—although many years later.

Our family at Ultimate Air Conditioning hopes that your Fourth of July (or Twenty-Eighth of June if you decided to start celebrating early) is a memorable and happy one.