Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Blog: Archive for November, 2014

10 Facts You Should Know about Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as an official holiday in the United States for over 150 years, so you may think you understand all there is to know about this family feast. Most of us have heard the story of the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621 after arriving in North America on the Mayflower. But did you know that only about half of the people on this ship were actually pilgrims? This fact is one of ten things that may actually surprise you about the Thanksgiving tradition!

  1. Although we often consider Thanksgiving a holiday unique to the United States, many other countries and cultures celebrate their own set of harvest-time and thanksgiving traditions. In Korea, Chu-Sok (or “fall evening”) is put on in remembrance of forefathers on August 15th of every year. Brazil celebrates a contemporary version of the U.S. holiday. Chinese, Roman, and Jewish cultures all have a history of harvest celebrations as well.
  2. President Harry S. Truman began the tradition of a ceremony held before Thanksgiving during which the president receives a turkey. George H.W. Bush was the first to pardon the turkey instead of eating it.
  3. In Minnesota alone, farmers raise over 40 million turkeys a year. In fact, U.S. farmers produce about one turkey for every one person in the country.
  4. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American will gain about one to two pounds every year during the holiday season.
  5. On the other hand, turkey is naturally high in protein and has been known to support and boost immune systems to protect against illness and speed up healing. So feast on!
  6. Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863, but a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale can be credited with the idea. While Thanksgiving had been celebrated at different times of year in many areas of the U.S. for years, it was Hale, prominent magazine editor and author of the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who urged Lincoln to finally establish the national event.
  7. President Franklin D Roosevelt once tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday of the month in order to extend the holiday shopping season and boost the economy.
  8. Only about half of the people on the Mayflower were what we would consider today as “Pilgrims.” The other (approximately) 50 people were simply trying to find a way over to the New World.
  9. Gobble, gobble! Click, click? While male turkeys make a gobbling noise, females (hens) do not; it’s often described as a clicking.
  10. Even though we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, the month of June has been declared National Turkey Lovers’ Month by the National Turkey Federation so you can continue the celebration in the summer as well!

From our family here at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., we’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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How Can I Tell if I Have an Indoor Air Quality Problem?

Monday, November 17th, 2014

The average home has a multitude of microscopic contaminants floating around in the air. These contaminants can provoke allergic reactions, make you sick, and in rare cases even kill you. Due to the microscopic nature of most of these pollutants, they are mostly invisible to your senses. How, then, do you know if you have an indoor air quality problem? Let’s look at some of the most reliable ways to detect issues with air quality.

Health Symptoms

Poor air quality is an issue because of its effects on your health. Therefore, the first sign of bad air quality is usually an increase in health symptoms. If you have allergies, do you experience more symptoms at home than elsewhere? You may have a high pollen, dander, or dust count in your home. Do you get headaches suddenly, or feel dizzy or nauseous while in your home? You may have a carbon monoxide leak. Get out of your house and call emergency services immediately, as carbon monoxide poses a deadly threat to your health. No matter what, keep a close watch on your general health when inside your home. It is possible your symptoms are the result of poor air quality.


As a response to the difficulty of detecting these pollutants unassisted, many detectors have been created to compensate. Radon and carbon monoxide are the most common kinds of detectors, and should be installed in several areas of your home. These two gases are perhaps the most dangerous of the common indoor air pollutants, so the use of these detectors might save your life.

Consult a Professional

The best way to measure the air quality in your home is to consult a professional. These expert technicians have the knowledge and the tools to accurately measure pollutant levels in your home, as well as the ability to recommend effective solutions. If you need to know for certain whether your home’s air is healthy to breathe, call a technician.

If you’d like to find out about the air quality in your home, call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. We provide indoor air quality services throughout the Alexandria area.

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How Can I Choose the Most Efficient Boiler?

Monday, November 10th, 2014

For most homeowners looking to buy a new boiler, all-around comfort and saving money are the two most important factors in selecting the right system. Of course, you want a boiler that radiates heat throughout your home and keeps your family comfortable on the harshest of winter nights. And for many homeowners, saving money upon installation is important as well. But you should also choose the heating system that is the most efficient so that you can save a lot more money over time.

Check the AFUE

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, and the AFUE of a furnace or boiler must be displayed on the label of any unit sold in the U.S. The AFUE is represented as a percentage, with the most efficient boilers boasting an AFUE of well over 90%. Boilers built two or three decades ago tend to have an AFUE between 50-65%, while any boiler sold in the U.S. today must have an AFUE of over 80%. This means that replacing your older boiler will already save a bundle every month over your older one. But spending a little extra on a boiler with a higher AFUE should offset the initial cost over time.

Make Sure It’s the Right Size

Another thing to check on is the size of a boiler. You can buy the most efficient boiler available on the market today, but if it’s the wrong size for your home, it won’t do you any good at all. Boilers must be properly sized according to several different calculations in order to provide sufficient heating and save you money over time. If the boiler is too small, you may leave it on for longer to feel comfortable and consume more energy in the process. If it’s too large, it will require a lot of energy to run in the first place.

Ask a Professional Heating Technician

Only a professional technician knows every precaution to take to make sure you have the correct size and model of boiler in your home and that it runs as efficiently as possible. Inform your heating technician about your budgetary and efficiency needs so you can end up with the right sized unit for your home and the most energy-efficient model possible for your budget.

Call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. for more information about replacing or installing boilers in Washington D.C. today.

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What Types of Contaminants Do UV Germicidal Lights Target?

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

The quality of your air depends in large part on what flows through the ducts every day. Your heating and air conditioning system recycles air for use again and again. As you breathe in this air, you also breathe in anything that may have collected in the ductwork. While there are filters in your heating and air conditioning system to prevent this from occurring, they cannot filter out every type of particle, and your ducts may be home to other contaminants that could provoke an illness. Learn about why you should use UV lights in conjunction with your HVAC system to rid your home of bacteria and viruses, surface mold, and even foul odors.

  • Bacteria and Viruses: UV germicidal lights can actually help prevent the spread of disease by sterilizing and killing microorganisms like harmful viruses and bacteria. Ultraviolet light can damage organic material when it comes into contact with it. When people go outside in the daylight for a short period of time, it usually carries little or no effect. But for a microorganism like bacteria, UV exposure can prove fatal. UV germicidal lights eliminate bacteria which could trigger an immune disorder or viruses that make your family members ill.
  • Surface Mold: UV lights are often used specifically to target the mold that may potentially develop on the inside evaporator coil of your air conditioning system. The evaporator coil collects moisture as condensation when refrigerant moves through the coil, which is helpful to homeowners because this keeps humidity levels under control. However, excessive moisture creates ideal circumstances for mold development. As air blows over the wet coil and into your home, you and your family members breathe in the air along with any mold spores that could aggravate allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.
  • Odors from Cooking or Pets: Finally, UV germicidal lights can sometimes get rid of lingering odors that are byproducts of cooking as well as pet odors. In fact, sewage treatment plants use commercial UV treatment technology to control odors and reduce the chances of corrosion.

A UV germicidal system may not be the best choice for every homeowner. Discuss your indoor air quality concerns with a technician to decide whether you would prefer an air cleaner or humidifier instead.

Call Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. to speak with an expert about the possibilities of UV germicidal lights in Arlington.

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