Evolution of Air Conditioners

When Air Conditioners first came out, they were a commercial-only piece of equipment. They were almost always custom designed and installed equipment. The first major system was built by Willis Carrier to regulate humidity for a printing company. There was no going out to the store or your contractor to buy this technology. It was made from scratch.   Public AC The first air conditioners were installed in factories. These started out with textile mills and pharmaceutical companies in the 1910s. In the 1920s, department stores and movie theaters would start investing in air conditioners. In these days, a large department store could get hot enough for customers and workers alike to faint. Cool stores attracted customers looking to escape the heat. The Milam Building, in San Antonio, Texas would later be built specifically to be air conditioned from top to bottom. The entire building had special accommodations built-in to ensure consistent airflow to every floor, room, and store. This custom system was first put to use in 1928 and would not be retired until 1989 after a full 60 years of service. These innovations all lead to better technology, but it still was not accessible. These 1920s systems were hand-designed, in many cases by Willis Carrier himself. His sales team could pitch an air conditioner to any client for any purpose and he would design whatever it took to make it work. This isn’t entirely unique today, but at […]

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Does a Water Softener Prevent Pipe Bursts?

The Procure Inc. office is a place of weird, exciting, and unexpected debates. Today we’re writing about our most recent thought-experiment: do water softeners prevent icing inside pipes? Let’s lay down some background about chemistry and water.   What Does Hard Water Do? Water straight from the ground is not pure. There’s going to be all sorts of things mixed in with water coming straight out of a well. Ground water contains a whole range of contaminants no matter where you live. There can be bacteria, metals, even run off and toxins in ground water. It all depends on the location. You get hard water when there’s a high mineral content. These minerals are harmless to most people. The World Health Organization has found no adverse health effects. Some researchers believe hard water may even be healthier than regular, purified water. Unfortunately, our plumbing is not so neutral. The mineral content in hard water will often start to build up inside the pipes. Eventually, the mineral build up starts to become more and more like a clogged artery. There will be a point of complete blockage. Blocked plumbing is not good. Blockages can cause damage to valves, pumps, heating equipment, and chillers. The narrowed flow of water increases the pressure and strain on equipment. For furnaces, these blockages are especially problematic. The various coils and heat exchangers used in how water heat often rely on narrow channels to maximize their […]

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The Importance of Insulation

Throughout the winter, plumbers repeatedly get calls for one thing above all others: burst pipes. The problem is that as the environment gets colder, pipes start to get colder. Eventually the pipes chill to the point that they’re below-freezing. Once this happens, burst pipes are all but inevitable.   Water’s Expansion Problem As materials change temperature, they change states. As states change, their volume, the space they take up changes. When water freezes, it’s molecules change from an energetic, freeflowing state to a rigid crystal structure. This causes the water to take up more volume. It’ll expand in every direction. Unfortunately, the excess material won’t push out through a relief valve or anything non-destructive. Once it becomes solid, it just is solid. There’s no in-between, gelatinous phase where excess material can still be squeezed out. If you freeze water in any rigid container, it’s going to get destroyed. This can be demonstrated at home with a simple, disposable water bottle. If you freeze it, the bottle swells out to take on the shape forced on it by the water. If you have a drinking glass you want to destroy, freezing that would destroy it as well. The copper pipes in your building are exactly like the glass. Although copper is a very flexible and malleable material, it will be more brittle when its cold. It will be less flexible. With high heat, you could expand the copper pipe by pushing […]

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