Rentmeister Total Home Service Blog: Archive for December, 2013

New Year’s Traditions Explained

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

2014 is almost upon us, and with the coming of the New Year, we thought we’d take a brief look at some of the more popular traditions associated with this holiday. It’s been around for at least 4,000 years: as long as we’ve figured out how long it takes for the seasons to come and go. Here’s a quick discussion about some of our more modern traditions and where they started:

  • Auld Lang Syne. The famous song began in Scotland, where it was published by Robert Burns in 1796.  He claims he initially heard it sung by an elderly resident of his hometown, which suggests it has traditional folk origins even before that. It became even more popular when big band leader, Guy Lombardo, started playing it every New Year’s Eve, starting in 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.
  • The Dropping of the Ball in Times Square. The tradition of dropping the ball in Times Square started in 1907. It was made out of iron and wood with light bulbs located on the surface, and the ball originally “dropped” over the offices of the New York Times at One Times Square. Dick Clark famously broadcast the event every year from 1972, until his death in 2012.
  • The Rose Parade. The Tournament of Roses Parade has been held in Pasadena every year since 1890; taking advantage of California’s warm weather to present a parade of floats, bands and horses. A football game was eventually added to the festivities in 1902, when Michigan dominated Stanford’s team by a score of 49-0
  • Baby New Year. The use of a baby to signify the New Year dates back to Ancient Greece, where it symbolized the rebirth of Dionysus (the god of wine and parties). Early Christians initially resisted the pagan elements of the story, but soon came to adopt it since it matched the traditional Christmas symbol of baby Jesus in the manger. Today, people of all faiths and traditions refer to the New Year as a baby, representing new beginnings.

Whatever traditions you choose to celebrate, we here at Rentmeister Total Home Service wish you the very safest and happiest of New Years. May 2014 bring you nothing but the best!

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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 Rentmeister Total Home Service!

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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Are Tankless Water Heaters a Worthwhile Investment?

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Most people think of water heaters as the traditional tanked models, standing in a corner of their basement of some similar location. They’re reliable and safe, which makes them very popular, but they’re not the only options out there. Tankless water heaters are small units installed near your sink, which instantly heat the water to its required temperature. Here in Salt Lake City, UT, plumbing services providers can install such a system in your home. But are tankless water heaters a worthwhile investment? As is often the case, it depends on your circumstances.

The up-front investment is more than traditional tanked water heaters, especially if you’re installing multiple tankless water heaters in your home. On the plus side, they can save you a great deal of money on monthly costs – up to 50% according to the U.S. Department of Energy – as well as improving the resale value of your home. They avoid the loss of heat that tanked heaters sometimes experience because they heat the water instantaneously, which means they waste less energy than tanked models do.

That efficiency, however, depends on how much water you tend to use. Ideally, homes that use less than 41 gallons of water a day tend to save the most with tankless water heaters. If you use more than that, the savings dip, cutting down on the advantages tremendously.

In simpler terms, if you have numerous members of your household, you’re not apt to save a lot on tankless water heaters. Similarly, if you don’t intend to keep your house for more than a few years, you’ll have to rely on improved resale value to recoup the initial investment. On the other hand, if you have a small household and/or you intend to keep your house for some time, a tankless water heater could be a good option. It also makes a worthwhile investment for second homes or vacation homes that you won’t be occupying every day.

Are tankless water heaters a worthwhile investment? In Salt Lake City, UT plumbing services like Rentmeister Total Home Service can help you find an answer, then perform installation with courtesy and care. Call our Salt Lake City plumbing service specialists today to make an appointment.

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3 Things You Should Know About Radiant Heat

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

**Rentmeister Total Home Service No Longer Services Boilers Or Radiant Heating Systems, We Apologize If This Is An Inconvenience**

Radiant heating is an innovative system of warming your home. It entails running electric coils or tubes full of liquid through your floorboards, then heating objects (and people) in the room by warming them directly through contact. It costs more to install than traditional heating systems, but is usually much more efficient. Here in Salt Lake City, heating through radiant systems makes a lot of sense, but it can be difficult to sell homeowners on a concept they may not be familiar with (and whose installation usually involves a fair amount of upheaval). Here a 3 things you should know about radiant heat.

  • It’s efficient. Have you ever walked into a spot of sunlight shining in from a window and immediately felt warmer? Or felt the heat of a light bulb when you place it near your hand? That’s radiant heating: the energy transferred directly into the surrounding environment by the source itself. That means it doesn’t waste much energy getting where it needs to go, unlike forced air heating, which has to blow its heat through the air and loses a lot in transit.
  • It’s safe. The notion of warming your body through the floor sounds actively painful. Like hopping across hot sand at the beach. But because radiant heating spreads its energy across the whole floor, it doesn’t need high temperatures to warm the room. You can walk barefoot across a radiant heating system and still feel quite comfortable: warm rather than hot.
  • It’s cheap. While the initial cost of setting it up is usually higher than that of a furnace, and can involve some work, the benefits in terms of your bottom line are quite strong. It simply costs less to run than traditional heating systems and the comparative lack of moving parts means that repairs tend to be less frequent as well. All of that can save a great deal of money. Over the long haul.

For other things you should know about radiant heat, as well as scheduling an appointment to see if a system is right for you, contact the Salt Lake City heating specialists at Rentmeister Total Home Service. We know the ins and outs of Salt Lake City heating, so give us a call today!

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Electrical Problems with Your Heater that Need Immediate Attention

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Most heaters use some form of electricity, if not to warm your home directly then to provide power for those components that do. Fans on gas furnaces need to be turned, radiant heating systems require power to circulate the fluid in their tubes and so on.  When electrical problems spring up, they can cause a great deal of trouble, and usually need to be addressed right away. Why? Not only will they prevent you heater from functioning, but if left unaddressed they could cause a great deal of additional damage as well. In Salt Lake City, heating repair in the winter is too important to let that happen. Call the professional Salt Lake City heating repair service technicians at Rentmeister Total Home Service if you need assistance.

Here’s a short list of electrical problems with your heater than need immediate attention.

  • Shorts. This can include fan motors that short out, wiring that isn’t tightly connected and general overloads that trip the circuit breaker. Regardless of the cause, the effects are the same: the heater will likely shut down and can’t be turned on again until the faulty wiring or component is replaced. That can be seriously problematic in the midst of our patented Utah winters, which means you need to treat the problem quickly.
  • Constant running. If the heater won’t shut off, no matter how warm it gets, that problem probably lies with faulty relays. You can see why it’s a problem: overheating your home and wasting untold amounts of energy in the process. You can probably stop it by turning off your thermostat (or setting it to auto) or by cutting power to the unit in the worst case. But again, it needs to be dealt with quickly if you want to keep using your heater.
  • No heat. If the heater is running, but no heat is being generated, you might be looking at a problem with the coils. Or the ignition isn’t getting electricity, which means the gas isn’t igniting. Either way, you don’t want to blow cool air when the temperature outside is below freezing.

When addressing electrical problems with your heater that need immediate attention, it pays to speak to the very best heating service you can find. Here in Salt Lake City, heating repair services are provided by Rentmeister Total Home Service. Call us today to get your heater up and running as quickly as possible.

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