Red Rock Mechanical, LLC Blog: Archive for December, 2014

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

“No two snowflakes are alike.”

This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at Red Rock Mechanical, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!

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Ways to Avoid Plumbing Repair Problems

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

You don’t have to be a plumbing expert to do a few things that can help reduce the incidence of plumbing problems in your home. While you should leave repair work to a trained and certified professional, there are some simple steps you can take to help maintain your plumbing:

Schedule Annual Plumbing Maintenance

Just as your heating and cooling systems need annual maintenance, so does your plumbing system During an annual plumbing maintenance appointment, your entire plumbing system is inspected for problems, safety issues and performance. This includes all water-using appliances, faucets, toilets and sinks. Water pressure will be checked, and if any problems are found, you’ll be given a written report and recommendations on how to repair the issue. Annual plumbing maintenance can get you ahead of potential repairs before they can become large problems.

Fix Faucet Leaks

The vast majority of faucet leaks occur because the seals and/or rubber around the faucets wear out and break. Leaks do not repair themselves, so while a leak may be quite small at first, it’s best to have it taken care of right away.

Don’t Put Everything Down Your Drains

It can sometimes be pretty amazing what will get flushed down a toilet, dumped down a drain or put into a garbage disposal. Plumbing is made to remove liquid and items that easily break down in water; things that can clog, like plastic, large amounts of paper and hard items like metal or glass, should never be put into any kind of plumbing.

Don’t Do Repairs Yourself

Unless you are a trained and certified plumber, it is never advisable to conduct plumbing repairs on your own. Plumbing systems can be complex and come into contact with other systems in your home; a mistake made in your plumbing repair can affect other parts of your home, including the sewer and septic.

There’s no way to guarantee that you’ll never need plumbing repair service in Williston, VT, but taking the steps above can help reduce your incidence of it. If you do experience problems with your plumbing, call the people you can count on: Red Rock Mechanical.

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Common Problems You May Encounter with Your Heating

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Winter temperatures in Vermont may mean that we receive beautiful snowfalls, but they also mean that we must have durable heating systems in peak condition to keep us warm until the spring thaw. We have listed some common heating issues that you might encounter during the winter and what they may mean. If you think there is a malfunction with your heating system, don’t hesitate with calling for technicians. The problem will not improve and your heater may be in danger of a full breakdown…and that is the last thing you want to happen during one of the colder days of the year.

For fast and effective heating repair in Essex, VT and throughout Northwest Vermont, rely on the 24-hour emergency services of Red Rock Mechanical. We have served the area with quality comfort for over 23 years.

Frequent Home Heating Troubles

  • Insufficient heat: This problem can come from something as basic as a malfunctioning thermostat to a heating system that is too aged and worn down to work effectively. Call for a repair technician to determine what the trouble is and fix it or arrange for a replacement if that is the best option.
  • Weak airflow from the vents: If you have a furnace or heat pump in your home and you notice low levels of airflow coming from the vents, you should first check on the air filter to make sure it is not clogged with debris. If changing the air filter does not improve the airflow, you need to call on technicians to look for other possible causes.
  • Heater will not turn on: If your heater does not turn on when it should, the trouble could be a loss of communication with the thermostat. Another possibility is an electrical issue within the system, such as failed capacitors or electrical relays on motors.
  • Heater will not turn off: When a heater keeps running constantly, the likely culprit is an electrical failure that is preventing the blower from receiving the signal to turn off. Do not try to repair this problem on your own: it requires professionals.
  • Heating is too expensive: Should your heating bills begin to rise and you cannot explain why, then there is probably a malfunction in the heater that is making it overwork. Do not try to diagnose the cause on your own. Professional HVAC technicians can get to the bottom of the trouble fast and then handle the necessary repairs.

Whatever your concerns about home comfort during the winter, you can depend on Red Rock Mechanical for the heating repair in Essex, VT that will restore your indoor warmth. Call us any time.

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Reasons Your Gas Furnace Might Not Be Running

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

There are many reasons why your furnace may not operate. The problem could be something fairly simple, or it could be something quite serious. This range of possibilities leaves a lot of room for mistakes, especially if you attempt to repair the problem yourself without having expert knowledge of your system. Vermont winters are no time to be without heat, even for a short duration, so if your furnace won’t turn on, call the people you can count on for heating repair in Essex, VT: Red Rock Mechanical.

Why Won’t My Furnace Run?

Here are a few examples of why your furnace may not be turning on:

Dirty Air Filter

When your furnace’s air filter becomes too clogged, it can restrict the air flow in your system. Proper air flow is necessary for your system to work, so if the air filter blocks air flow, the system can eventually shut down. It is recommended that you change your air filter every 3 months to avoid having problems develop.

Thermostat Issues

Your thermostat controls when your furnace turns on and off; if problems develop with your thermostat, your heater may not turn on. Common problems that can affect how a thermostat operates are frayed or corroded wiring, dirt and dust on the instrumentation and dead batteries. It’s also important to make sure your thermostat hasn’t been accidentally switched to off or cooling, or that the program hasn’t been altered if you own a programmable thermostat. If you own an older mercury-based thermostat, it may be to be calibrated.

Problems with Ignition

Furnaces have either a standing pilot light or electronic ignition. When a furnace has a standing pilot, it also has a safety mechanism called a thermocouple. This component lets the system know that there is a pilot and it is viable for ignition. However, if there are problems with the thermocouple, there can be problems with ignition. The same is true for electronic ignition. There are two types of electronic ignition: hot surface ignition and intermittent pilot. The probe for hot surface ignition can crack, disabling it from heating properly, and if the right amount of electricity doesn’t flow to the intermittent pilot, the pilot can’t be lit.

As you can see, a wide range of problems can cause your furnace to breakdown. Instead of trying to figure it out yourself, call the experts you can trust for all of your heating repair service needs: Red Rock Mechanical.

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