Archive for December, 2013

The Ball in Times Square

Monday, December 30th, 2013

New Year’s is a time for parties, fun and great traditions, some of which go back more than a century. Among them is the famous “dropping of the ball” in Times Square, an event which is broadcast to millions of people every New Year’s Eve. With 2014 nearly upon us, we thought we’d take the opportunity to look at the history of this popular New Year’s Eve festivity.

The idea began in 1907 at what was then the New York Times building at One Times Square. The newspaper’s owner, Adolph Ochs, had been celebrating the New Year with fireworks since 1903. He wanted make the event even more remarkable, and added the ball in December of 1907 to welcome in the New Year. The first ball was designed by Artkraft Strauss, who made it out of iron, wood, and light bulbs. It took six men to hoist the ball up the building’s flag pole; once midnight struck, the tremendous ball was carefully lowered, and all were allowed to marvel at it.

Since then, the ball has undergone many changes in materials and design, and even the New York Times has moved to another building. But the tradition remains and the ball has dropped over One Times Square ever since. Today, the ball is electronically controlled, and uses LED lamps for its construction: designed by Waterford Crystal and weighing in at over 1,200 pounds.

A number of television broadcasts have helped carry the event over the years, but by far the most famous is “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” which first ran in 1972. The show was created and hosted by Dick Clark, who became a staple of the event as much as the ball itself. Clark hosted the show every New Year’s Eve from 1972 until his death in 2012. Since then, it has been hosted by Ryan Seacrest, who shared hosting duties with Clark starting in 2005.

Whether you’re watching the ball drop on TV or have some other New Year’s Eve plan in mind, we here at Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning wish you nothing but the best for 2014. Have a safe and happy New Year!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Holiday greetings from Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning! We hope you are having safe and pleasant season, enjoying your favorite traditions for this time of year.  We wish you the very best, and we thank you for your business this year.

In honor of the season, here are some fun facts about one of everyone’s favorite holiday movies: It’s a Wonderful Life.

For years, one of the enduring December traditions in the United States was watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life playing almost nonstop on numerous television stations. No matter the time of the day, you could turn on the TV set, flip through channels, and discover It’s a Wonderful Life playing. Whenever you needed him, you could find Jimmy Stewart shouting, “Hello, Bedford Falls!”

But now… It’s a Wonderful Life only appears on broadcast television a few times during December, and most families instead choose to watch the movie on video. What happened?

The reason goes back to the film’s initial wide release in January 1947. (That’s right, it opened after the holiday season. It was not even promoted as a holiday film.) It’s a Wonderful Life was a box-office disappointment at the time, and its studio, RKO Radio Pictures, lost more than half a million on it. The movie’s production company, Liberty Films, was sold to Paramount to avoid bank foreclosure. (A bit ironic, considering the movie’s plot.) In 1955, the National Telefilm Associates (NTA) took over the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life, which included the television syndication rights.

However, NTA failed to properly renew the copyright in 1974 because of a clerical error, which allowed the film’s images to enter into the public domain. Although the movie’s plot was still under copyright protection because it was adapted from a published story called “The Greatest Gift,” television stations across the world could now broadcast it with only minimal royalty payments.

In 1993, Republic Pictures, which now owned the NTA library, tried to enforce their claim to the copyright of the film, as they possessed the rights to “The Greatest Gift.” Republic Pictures succeeded, and licensed exclusive television rights to NBC. Suddenly, It’s a Wonderful Life vanished from local television stations, and NBC made the movie’s broadcasts—usually twice during December—into major events. As of 1998, Paramount again has the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life… 43 years after they lost them.

It’s still easy to make It’s a Wonderful Life a part of whatever traditions you observe during the holidays, whether through home video or television broadcasts. Despite its lackluster initial reception in 1947, Frank Capra’s film is now an inseparable part of December in the United States.

Have a great holiday week!

Why Does Heat Pump Size Matter?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Here in Cocoa Beach, there are a variety of heating systems people use for those occasional cold winter nights. Heat pumps, in particular, make a lot of sense in our part of the world. They serve as an all-in-one heater and air conditioner, cooling your home in the summer time and providing heat in the wintertime. They work best when temperatures tend to remain above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, as they usually are here on the balmy Florida Coast. Heat pumps are extremely energy efficient, which can save you money on monthly heating bills. When you install one, however, you need to make sure it’s the right size for your home.

With any kind of heating or air conditioning system, you need to follow what we call the Goldilocks Rule: as system that is neither too small nor too large but just right. “Size” in this case, is measured not by the physical size of the unit, but by the amount of energy it generates (measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units). If the unit is too small, it won’t be able to generate enough heat to adequately warm your living space. That’s usually self-evident. What most people don’t know is that a unit which is too large will cause many of the same problems. It will warm (or cool) the space too quickly, which means that it will cycle on and off rapidly throughout the day. Turning on and shutting down both use much more energy than simply running steadily, as well as placing more wear and tear on the unit itself. Neither option is acceptable if you want your unit to function effectively.

Knowing why heat pump size matters is half the battle. The rest comes with calling a quality service like Steve Hoskins AC. We handle Cocoa Beach heating issues of all varieties, and have years of experience installing heat pumps. We’ll measure the square footage of your home and factor in other specifics such as sunlight and the amount of insulation to find the perfect size for your heat pump. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

How a Professional Heat Pump Installation Can Save You Money

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Here in Florida, conditions are almost ideal for the use of heat pumps, which combine the functions of a heater and an air conditioner into one single unit. They cool the home in the summer and warm it in the winter, using the same basic system that air conditioners do to perform both functions. They work best when temperatures remain fairly warm, and lose their efficiency when temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. That means that Merritt Island is an ideal location for a heat pump, since our summers are warm and our winters are mild. If you’re considering a heat pump for your home, you need to contact a Merritt Island heat pump professional to install it. Here’s how a professional heat pump installation can save you money.

Heat pump installation can be somewhat expensive, counterbalancing the money it will save you on monthly heating and cooling bills.  In order for the system to function, it needs both indoor and outdoor components, which must be placed in specific locations conducive to effective heating in your home. That means holes need to be drilled in your walls, lines run between the two sections of the unit, and electrical connections made in the most effective manner.  You need a professional to help determine where each unit should be placed, and to install them all in a manner conducive to maximum efficiency.

All of that means that the heat pump system will work as it should, which will cut down on the monthly cost of heating and cooling, as well as lowering the possibility of an expensive repair somewhere down the line. A trained professional can not only conduct an installation properly, but offer some guarantees that the system will function as it should. For more on how a professional heat pump installation can save you money, talk to the experts at Steve Hoskins AC. We handle heat pump installation in Merritt Island, and we can provide sound advice on the best system for your home. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

Can a Heat Pump Installation Impact the Quality of its Performance?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Heat pumps are a good choice for homes in the Brevard County area.  The technology combines the functions of a heater and an air conditioner into one single unit, and it keeps your home comfortable year round very efficiently. Heat pumps function well in areas with mild winters (like here on the Florida coast). But that efficiency won’t be evident if you don’t have the unit installed properly. Can a heat pump installation impact the quality of its performance? Absolutely yes.

“Performance” often boils down to efficiency: making the best use of the energy available to warm or cool your home as quickly and reliably as possible. That depends on all aspects of the heat pump operating in conjunction: fans working as they should, drain lines and electrical connections functioning unimpeded and the heating or cooling process uninterrupted by hiccups or problems. When little technical issues arise, it impacts that effectiveness. The heat pump will likely continue to work, but it must expend more energy to do the same job. That increases wear and tear on individual components, making it more likely that the unit will suffer a breakdown in the future.

You can see how a faulty heat pump installation can affect that. If the unit isn’t secured properly, it might rattle in its housings, increasing strain on individual components. If the lines and connects aren’t spot-on, the unit will function erratically. If refrigerant levels aren’t charged properly, then ice may develop on the coils – interfering with the ability to generate cool air. A quality installation will prevent many of these issues: making sure the connections are secure and everything is fitted into its precise location. A poor installation, on the other hand, invites serious repairs sooner rather than later, as well as decreasing the unit’s overall efficiency.

If you’re asking “can a heat pump installation impact the quality of its performance?” then don’t take chances. The experts at Steve Hoskins AC handle heat pump installation in Brevard County, and we’re never satisfied until you are. Pick up the phone and call us to schedule a consultation today. You’ll be glad that you did.