Archive for November, 2013

Thanksgiving, 2013: The Presidential Turkey Pardon

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Thanksgiving began in 1621, but didn’t become a national holiday until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln declared it in hopes of bringing a divided nation together. We have many Thanksgiving traditions in this country, from turkey at the meal to the annual Cowboys and Lions games on television. But one of the most beloved is the annual Presidential turkey pardon, in which the U.S. President “pardons” a turkey to life in a petting zoo rather than ending up as someone’s main course. As we celebrate this Thanksgiving, we thought you’d like to know a little more about the history of this fascinating tradition.

Farmers have sent turkeys to the White House as far back as the 1800s, hoping to have the honor of providing the President’s annual meal. There have been scattered stories of individual turkeys being “pardoned” throughout that time, including one in which President Lincoln’s son Tad successfully convinced the president to spare a bird intended for the family’s Christmas dinner.

Starting in 1947, the National Turkey Federation became the official supplier of the President’s Thanksgiving birds. The White House arranged for an annual photo op that year with the President receiving the turkey in the Rose Garden. Sadly, there was no pardon as yet; those birds all ended up on the Presidential table.

The push for an official pardon picked up steam in 1963, when President Kennedy ask that the bird be spared just a few days before his assassination. President Nixon opted to send each of the birds he received to a nearby petting zoo after the photo op, though there was no formal pardon attached.

But it wasn’t until 1989 that the pardon became official. On November 14 of that year, President George H. W. Bush made the announcement, and sent the bird to a Virginia game preserve to live the rest of its life out in cranberry-and-stuffing-free bliss. Since then, every President has held an annual pardoning ceremony, with the lucky turkey spared the axe and sent off to live in peace. Since 2005, the pardoned birds have gone to Disneyland in Anaheim, California where they have lived as part of a petting zoo exhibit in Frontierland.

No matter what traditions you enjoy this holiday, or who you enjoy them with, all of us here wish you a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving weekend.

What Is an Infrared Space Heater and How Does It Work?

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

The cost of trying to heat a large space, such as a warehouse, garage, patio, or construction site, can turn prohibitively high using standard heating systems that channel hot air through ducts. However, there is now a cost-efficient alternative for commercial spaces: infrared space heaters. These heaters allow specific targeting of warmth without the significant heat loss that comes from most traditional systems

If after reading over our description of how infrared space heaters operate you think your business would benefit from installing them, contact Clean Air Act to schedule an appointment with a specialist in heating service in Portland, OR. Our trained technicians will go over your options and provide you the heating solution that will satisfy you.

Infrared space heaters: the basics

Infrared heat comes from a light that is invisible to the naked eye because it is out of the spectrum of light that the cones in our eyes can detect. But this unseen light can warm up objects around us, and through the heat that radiates off them, we too become warm.

Infrared heaters work cost-efficiently as long as they are used to target specific areas—this is why they are useful for large spaces that need only portions heated instead of trying to pump heated air into the entire space. Infrared heaters are effective at counteracting the frequent loss of heat in warehouses and garages that often lose heat through large door and poor insulation. Any time you need direct heat on an object, an infrared space heater will help you out with minimum heat loss.

These heaters can run from a variety of energy sources: gas, electricity, and propane are the most common.


On their own, infrared heaters are not particularly difficult to install. But when you need to have them installed in a large space, it will require expertise to have them placed and sized correctly. If either of these steps is done poorly, then you will lose most of the advantages that you want to receive.

Once the heaters are installed, you should schedule routine maintenance for them—gas-powered heaters in particular should have maintenance visits at least once a year to make sure they are operating efficiently and calibrated correctly.

Contact Clean Air Act today to begin the process of installing these energy-efficient solutions for your heating troubles in your business. Infrared heating is a superb option, and if you trust to our heating service in Portland, OR, you’ll discover why so many businesses have adopted them.

How Does a High-Velocity System Work?

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Heating in Portland, OR involves more than just traditional gas furnaces and boilers. Those earlier systems still see a lot of use today – they’re easy to install and simple to operate, which makes for a winning combo – but these days they have to share the podium a numerous other systems and upgrades. You may hear the phrase “high velocity system” when discussing heating options. What is it? And more importantly, how does a high-velocity system work? A brief outline of the features involved can be found below.

High-velocity heating systems are based on the notion of using pressure rather than power to distribute air through the system. They use small, narrow air ducts to move the air around, causing the air to move more rapidly (with a little help from specialized fan blowers and similar components). They work according to the tenets of aspiration: creating a subtle circulation that moves throughout a room, making the temperature change more even and balanced throughout a given area.

The benefits of the notion are considerable. Because the ducts are smaller, they can fit into crawlspaces and between walls more easily. That makes them easy to install in older houses that might not be able to support a more traditional duct system. Most high velocity systems are very quiet, and the speed of the air helps reduce dust build-up and other contaminants within the system.

Perhaps most importantly, aspiration helps keep the temperature change steady and even: eliminating cold spots and drafty corners (which you find in more traditional duct systems). It also helps pull more moisture from the air, reducing humidity and keeping our famously wet Oregon weather in check.

Perhaps most importantly, it works to solve a number of potential problems, especially in older houses with a lot of open spaces or which can’t support a standard duct system. The more you know about the principals – the better you can answer the question “how does a high-velocity system work?” – the better you can decide for yourself is such a system is right for you. Clean Air Act handles all kinds of issues related to heating in Portland, OR and can provide guidance and support as well as installation services for high velocity systems. Pick up the phone and call our Portland heating service technicians today!

What AFUE Means and How It Affects You

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

If you’re in the market for a new heating system or are taking a new interest in your current one, you’ll run across a slew of confusing acronyms. There’s one in particular you will see more than others: AFUE. On the cabinet of a gas-powered furnace you might read: “AFUE rating = 92%” What does this mean? Is it important to know?

We’ll explain AFUE in this post. To answer the second question first, yes, it’s important for you to know what AFUE stands for and what it means. This rating is key to understanding how energy-efficient a heater is and what you might expect to see on your heating bills.

For more information, as well as quality heating installation service in Beavercreek, OR, turn to Clean Air Act.

“Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency”

AFUE is an acronym for “annual fuel utilization efficiency.” It’s a thermal efficiency rating that ranks how much heating power a heater returns from the fuel it uses, expressed as a percentage. (Air conditioners have a similar rating, SEER—seasonal energy efficiency rating—which is expressed as a ratio instead of a percentage.) It isn’t a “true” thermal efficiency rating, since it determines the heater’s efficiency over a long term instead of during steady-state, peak performance. It’s a number for consumers, not engineers.

An AFUE rating indicates the amount of heating power—measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units)—a heating system returns for every 100 BTUs of power it consumes. For example, if an oil boiler burned 100 units of oil and provided 80 units of heat, it would have an AFUE rating of 80%. The higher the percentage, the more completely the heater converts its fuel source into heat.

Why this is important

If you want to conserve energy and save money on your heating bill, a heater’s AFUE rating is one of the main aspects to consider.

Modern heaters score high AFUE ratings. The Department of Energy requires that all furnaces sold in the US must have an AFUE of at least 78%—and furnaces score higher than that. A top-of-the-line gas furnace can reach an AFUE rating of 96%. Boilers also are required to have high AFUE ratings, and most score above 85%. (Boilers in general are more efficient than furnaces.) To help you grasp these efficiency levels, consider that the AFUE of burning conventional firewood is a mere 45% to 55%.

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However, you shouldn’t simply pick the heating system with the highest AFUE rating. Aside from its increased cost, a heater with a high AFUE may not do the best job for your home, no matter its efficiency, if your house has less effective insulation or other specific requirements that make it harder to heat. This is why you should rely on professional advice and installation when it comes to heating your home. Contact Clean Air Act for assistance on making this important choice: AFUE is important, but it isn’t everything when it comes to heating in Beavercreek, OR.