Aurora Plumbing Company Blog: Archive for December, 2014

Why Do We Hang Up Mistletoe?

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Of course, you probably know part of the answer to this question already. You hang up mistletoe so that the people standing underneath can share a romantic holiday kiss! But what you may not realize is that the origin of this longstanding ritual predates many of the other holiday traditions we celebrate today. Why would a plant that has many poisonous varieties (most types sold for use in the home have few negative effects, but you can wrap it in netting to prevent children from consuming any fallen berries or leaves) be used as a symbol of holiday affection?

There are a couple of ways to explain the positive associations of (potentially hazardous) mistletoe. For one, this semi-parasitic plant has long been hailed as a treatment for illnesses and pain. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it to cure cramps, epilepsy, and more. Even today, mistletoe extracts are one of the leading alternative medicines studied for their effectiveness in killing cancer cells. And because the early Celtic Druids saw it as a sign of healing and life, they may be the first to bestow upon the plant its romantic associations, deeming it worthy of treating the infertile.

But it is Norse mythology that is likely responsible for a majority of the modern traditions associated with this small hanging bunch. One of the powerful Norse god Odin’s sons, named Baldur, was said to be invincible due to an oath his mother took to protect him from harm. But Loki, a god who often set out to make trouble for the gods, set out to find the one thing that could do some damage, and eventually discovered that Baldur’s mother Frigg had never included mistletoe in her invincibility oath. When mistletoe was finally responsible for her son’s demise, the grieving Frigg vowed that the plant would never again be used to hurt another living thing, and that she would plant a peaceful kiss upon anyone who walked underneath it.

And that is one of the reasons that, today, kissing under the mistletoe is viewed as a source of good luck. From our family to yours, we wish you a safe holiday season, and we hope that you and your family are full of joy and good fortune—mistletoe or not! Happy holidays from APC Plumbing & Heating!

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What Is the Manifold in a Furnace?

Friday, December 19th, 2014

There are a number of components in a combustion furnace that ensure the gas or propane flows correctly and safely. One of these components is the manifold. You don’t hear too much about the manifold because it is often overshadowed by the burner and heat exchanger, but without the manifold, there no heat for your home.

What Is the Manifold?

The manifold is a straight, metal tube that directs the gas from the main gas valve to the burners. The burners are usually open tubes and each has a small nozzle inside known as “spuds” through which the manifold disperses the gas or propane; there can anywhere from 2-10 burners with correlating spuds. The size of the holes for the spuds will depend on which fuel type is used. For the manifold to operate correctly, the correct pressure has to be set according to the manufacturers specifications. Natural gas and propane each need a different pressure level, so your heating specialist will use special tools to accommodate for whichever fuel type you use.

The main problem that can develop with a manifold is corrosion and/or rust. Typically this can happen if the furnace hasn’t been well-maintained. Manifolds are not exposed to the elements and as part of the burner, are inside the cabinet. During regular maintenance the manifold will be inspected and cleaned, which helps to significantly reduce the development of rust or corrosion. The nozzles of the manifold will also be cleaned so that the fuel jets of the burner flow as they should. If a problem develops with your manifold, you’ll need the assistance of a trained expert because manifolds are factory-made and require expert handling.

Furnaces can be complex, and attempting to repair parts without knowing exactly what you are doing can be risky. If you are having problems with your furnace, don’t try to guess what’s happening. Instead, call an expert from APC Plumbing & Heating for furnace service in Denver and get qualified help.

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Heating Installation Guide: Why Knowing Your Home’s Square Footage Isn’t Enough

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Rules of thumb are good for things like changing your car tires or gardening. What they aren’t good for is installing a heating system into your home. Multiple factors need to be considered when you need to install a new heating system, and square footage is just one piece of the puzzle. One of the best ways to ensure that you install a heating system that is right for both you and your home is to work with a trained professional from start to finish. The experts at APC Plumbing & Heating have installed multiple heating systems over the years, so if you are ready for a new home heating system, call us today!

Calculating Heat Load

Heat load is the amount of heat energy that a space needs in order to maintain a temperature in an acceptable range. Put simply, the heat load of your home tells you how much heating you’ll need to be comfortable during the winter months. This calculation includes the following factors:

  • Orientation of your home
  • Level(s) of insulation
  • Type and number of windows and doors
  • Floor plan
  • Number of stories
  • Daytime heat gain
  • Number of rooms
  • Number of occupants
  • Square footage

There may be other factors to include, such as working fireplaces, lighting, etc. But as you can see, calculating heat load isn’t just about the square footage of your home. Why is it important to correctly calculate heat load? So that you install a heating system that is the right size for your home.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is another factor to consider when you need to replace your existing heating system. Odds are, your current system isn’t achieving great energy efficiency. One of the benefits of a new system is increased energy efficiency. To understand how energy efficient a particular heating system is, it’s important to review its AFUE rating. AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency and it measures a combustion heating system’s efficiency in converting fuel to energy. If you are considering a heat pump, you’ll want to look at the SEER rating and the HSPF rating. The more energy efficient a system is, the more expensive it can be, so it’s important to review these ratings to see just how energy efficient you want your new heating system to be.

Choosing a new heating system for installation takes time, and working with a trained expert can help ensure that you choose a system that is a great fit for you and your home. To schedule the installation of a heating system in Denver, Call APC Plumbing & Heating!

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Should I Repair or Replace My Furnace?

Friday, December 5th, 2014

If you’ve had your furnace for a few years now, you may start to wonder when you should replace your furnace instead of repairing it again and again. This actually depends on a few different factors, and will vary slightly for each furnace. Here, we’ll cover the best indicators for whether you should repair your furnace or have it replaced.

Frequency of Repairs

Every heating system is going to experience issues after years of use. Even the best-maintained furnaces will breakdown every once in a while. However, there is a pretty big difference between one or two repairs a year and multiple repairs over a few months. When your furnace begins to breakdown more and more often, it’s a good sign that you need to replace it. If nothing else, it will probably save you money on repairs.

Heating Bills Go Up

As your furnace ages, the various parts that make up the system will begin to degrade from everyday use. This will eventually cause these parts to break down. Before that happens, however, they will slowly decline in their ability to perform their functions. This will cause your furnace to become less efficient over time, resulting in more energy consumed and higher heating bills. Of course, your heating bill is likely to fluctuate a little from month to month. Keep an eye out for a steady increase, though. This is a sign that your system might be reaching the end of its lifespan.


Age is one of those factors that’s a little difficult to put in perspective. The general rule is that if your furnace is older than fifteen years, it’s time to replace it. If the furnace is younger than that, you’re probably okay keeping it. This doesn’t mean that you should immediately replace your furnace as soon as it turns fifteen, however. Age should be considered along with the other factors affecting the furnace. If your furnace is older than fifteen and seems healthy, then go ahead and keep it. Be aware, though, that you could probably get a more efficient model for cheaper.

If you’re having problems with your furnace, call APC Plumbing & Heating. Our heating experts cover the entire Denver area.

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