Red Rock Mechanical, LLC Blog: 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 Red Rock Mechanical wish you nothing but the best for 2014. Have a safe and happy New Year!

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Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Holiday greetings from Red Rock Mechanical! 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!

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Common Boiler Repair Problems

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

In Plattsburgh, many homes use boilers to keep them comfortable all winter long. Boilers are inexpensive to run, and they tend to be more efficient than gas furnace. Boilers are reliable pieces of technology, but like all mechanical devices they can still experience their share of problems, which require a trained technician to repair. Here’s a short list of common boiler repair problems, which you should keep an eye out for when operating your heating system.

  • Leaks. Leaking could stem from the central boiler or anywhere in the piping system, and is often cause by a corrosion of the fittings or damage to the pipe.
  • Low pressure. Low water pressure can be caused by leaks, faulty valves or similar issues. You can spot it by more strange noises in your pipes and by uneven heating in the boiler system.
  • Clogs. Clogs in the system will prevent hot water from reaching the radiators, leaving those areas without proper heat. The clog will need to be cleared and proper flow restored before the issues can be fixed.
  • Broken thermocouple. The thermocouple regulates the flow of gas into the system. When it’s broken, the gas will not flow and the boiler won’t ignite.
  • Broken pilot light. The pilot light ignites the gas in the system. If it goes out, it it’s blocked by build-up or if it’s otherwise impaired, the thermocouple won’t release any gas into the system.

Regardless of the causes of common boiler repair problems, you want a repair service that knows what it’s doing to make it right. In Plattsburgh, boiler repairs can be made by the experts at Red Rock Mechanical: qualified professionals who can get to the bottom of the problem quickly and correct it with maximum efficiency. Pick up the phone and give us a call today. You’ll be glad that you did!

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Why Delaying a Gas Furnace Repair May Be Dangerous

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Natural gas heating systems provide one of the most cost-effective ways of heating up your home during the winter. However, people sometimes feel a bit skittish about using natural gas because of safety concerns. We can assure you that modern gas heaters, such as furnaces, are designed today to operate with few potential safety hazards. If you take good care of your furnace with regular maintenance and timely repairs, there is little reason to feel concerned about any health threats to you or your family.

Still, no piece of equipment can operate perfectly 100% of the time, and gas furnaces can have malfunctions that will lead to potentially hazardous situations. Delaying repair on a furnace will make the potential danger increase. When you need gas furnace repair in Burlington, VT, don’t hesitate or let it slide: shut off the gas supply to the heating system and call a professional technician to repair it immediately.

Dangers of delaying gas furnace repairs

The main threat a malfunctioning furnace poses is from carbon monoxide leaking. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, making it difficult to detect. (Some gas suppliers place an additive in the gas to give it a distinctive odor as a safety precaution.) Even a small amount of carbon monoxide inhalation will cause nausea, dizziness, and headaches. This is why we strongly suggest anyone with a gas burning appliance installs carbon monoxide detectors throughout their homes.

Here’s an example of one place where a furnace malfunction will create a carbon monoxide hazard: the thermocouple that detects if the pilot light is on might fail. Since the thermocouple’s job is to shut off the gas in case the pilot light goes out, if the thermocouple fails because of corrosion, unburned gas could start flooding the combustion chamber, creating a potentially dangerous situation.

Regular maintenance on your gas furnace will detect potential issues (such as a rusting thermocouple) and repair them before they become dangerous. However, the moment you notice anything about your furnace’s behavior that seems out of the ordinary—the pilot light going out or its flame changing color, strange booming noises from the burners, or hissing sounds—call in Red Rock Mechanical immediately. Don’t fool around with repairs to a gas heater yourself: its always best to call in a professional.

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What to Do if Your Heating System Breaks Down

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

We definitely know cold weather in upstate New York, and if your heating system goes down, your home could turn into an icebox within a matter of hours. You need to act quickly both to ascertain the source of the problem, and to summon a Plattsburgh, NY heating repair technician if the situation calls for it. Here’s a quick guide on what to do if your heating system breaks down.

In the first place, try to note any symptoms of the problem if you can. Heater damage can usually be spotted by any unusual activity in the heating functions: strange sounds, reduced air flow, lower heat or the like. If you notice any symptoms, be sure to note them, though you shouldn’t try to run a broken heater or recreate any specific symptoms. If you don’t notice the symptoms, simply move on.

A few basic troubleshooting steps might help you avoid a service call. Check the thermostat to make sure it’s set to the proper temperature, and look at your breaker box to make sure the breaker hasn’t been tripped. If it has, reset it and see if the heater runs as it should. If the breaker trips again, or neither of these things do the trick, then you need to play it safe. Shut off power to the heater and call a service technician: preferably one who can respond swiftly to your calls.

Red Rock Mechanical has served the Plattsburgh, NY area  for over two decades, providing all manner of support for homeowners in need of serious heating repair. Out trained staff is on call 24 hours a day and we pride ourselves on swift professional service in all things. If your heating system breaks down, give us a call and set up an appointment today. We’ll treat the issue with courtesy and efficiency, getting your household back up to speed quickly!

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