What is the Equinox?

We have two major ways to divide the year: the Equinoxes and the Solstices. These are events coinciding with specific details about the Earth’s orbit and they’re used as the basis for when each season begins. The Spring Equinox just passed us, on March 20th. Let’s look into exactly what that means. Orbital Movement of the Earth The Earth’s movement through space is a little more complicated than just going in one big circle. Our great, big blue marble: Rotates around its Axis This creates the days. One side faces the sun, the other is in shadow. Wobbles back and forth on that Axis This plays a role in creating the seasons. The wobble causes the Summer in the northern part of the world to be warm, while it becomes cold in the southern part. And vice versa for the winter. Moves around the sun in an uneven circle (elliptical orbit) This is where we derive Years from. 1 orbit of the sun is 1 year. This doesn’t break down exactly into an even number of days, which is why we have Leap Years. These movements ultimately work out two 4 major things: the longest day of the year is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the shortest is the Winter solstice. On these days, the Earth’s steady wobble has reached it’s peak. It’s rocked as far on its side as it’s going to move. This movement to the […]

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Albert Einstein Designed a Fridge

We all know Einstein as the man who invented E=MC2. He also used experiments to find Avogadro’s Number, proposed that light was not just a wave but also a particle (a photon), created the General Theory of Relativity, and among all his accomplishments, designed a fridge without a single moving part. As with all things in our industry, this relied on cheating the laws of physics into doing our bidding.   Motivation The first refrigerators were deadly machines. They used a similar compression system to what we have today, but there was a catch. The new technology had a short lifetime before failure and when it did fail, it failed deadly. At the time, there were three major refrigerants: methyl chloride, ammonia, and sulfur dioxide. Methyl Chloride can disrupt the central nervous system, starting with drunken symptoms and ending at paralysis, coma, and death. Ammonia is incredibly corrosive and will cause irritation of the skin, eyes, and lungs before more severe symptoms such as blindness and death by lung failure set in. Sulfur Dioxide is similar to ammonia, it attacks the skin and mucous membranes, and with the right circumstances can damage and destroy the lungs, and even interfere in the heart. The seals on early fridges would fail at random due to the newness of the technology, variations in product quality, and perhaps even outright design flaws. When such a failure occurred, toxic gasses got into the air, and […]

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Why Do Transformers Hum?

We recently talked about transformers. Not the robots, but the electrical ones. In a follow up to that, we’re going to look at why transformers are noisy. We’re pretty sure everyone has experienced this noise at some point or other. You’ll find yourself next to an electrical room and hear a loud humming or whining sound. It’s not like the sound of a motor exactly. It’s just this constant, low sound. For those unfamiliar, we found a good recording on Soundcloud below:   What Am I Hearing? Let’s establish what actually makes the sound. Electricity itself doesn’t exactly make noise afterall, it’s just the conduction of energy through metal. Sure, lightning makes a good boom, but that’s totally different. When we talked about transformers, we mentioned that they’re pretty much solid parts, nothing inside moves. There’s no axles, hinges, shafts, or anything noisy. What part of that transformer are you hearing? It turns out, the coils move. In most cases, the coils are too small to make a notable sound or the current going through them isn’t enough to make a loud noise. The transformers powering your HVAC equipment or converting high voltage AC current to your building’s 110 VAC however, are more than sufficient to make lots of sounds. It comes down to just how much material there is and how much energy is making it move. As an aside.. If you put enough power into a transformer, it […]

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A Rubberband Cooling System

Have you ever come across something so weird, that you had to try it on the spot, then stalled the entire company with “Hey Bob! You gotta try this!?” Then, that phrase spreads like a plague, until everyone’s doing nothing but that weird thing. Well. We did. While researching some topics to share with you, dear readers, I discovered that Rubber Bands are a refrigerant. Kind of. When you stretch one, it heats up, then cools down. When you let it return to it’s original length, it gets cold. The temperature variance is perhaps 10-20 degrees from max cool to max heat. It’s something significant. Significant enough to even build a fridge of sorts. That’s right. The next time your stranded in the late 1800s, you can make a rubber-powered air conditioner for your little cabin on the prairie. For the proof, check out this youtube video we’ve just watched three or four times. At first we were looking for the hidden ice or a fan, but… after extensive testing of rubber bands, we’re sure it’s real.   Weird, right? The Wrap Up So, as always, what do you want us to cover? Let us know in the comments below.

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Weird But True: You can Air Condition a Computer

In this blog segment, we’re going to look at all the weird things you don’t expect to see in the HVAC Industry. Now, you might be expecting us to post something like a hand cranked air conditioner or maybe some weird sound-based chilling system. Well, not today! Today we’re going to talk about how you can air-condition a computer, because no one else in our circle of friends and competitors has!   WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? For computers, like many, many machines, cooling is essential. The little bits of silicon in your computer can run up to about 100 degrees Celsius before they start to lose performance. That’s about the redline on most CPUs. When it gets that hot, they start to throttle back and lose performance. You could go from blazing performance to a complete crawl until the system has cooled down. It’s just like if you got in your car, hit some infinitely straight road, had an infinite fuel supply, and floored it. At some point, the engine’s going to overheat because it wasn’t designed to run at max power for days on end. Your computer manages its own throttle, so at a point, it just says ‘no’. Most computers in your office and home aren’t going to see those temperatures and work loads. Like all things however, there are people who do hit that problem. There are people who scoff at the thought of a Mustang […]

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