S&L Mechanical Heating and Cooling Blog: Archive for August, 2014

The Very First Labor Day Celebration

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Labor Day as a federal holiday, held on the first Monday of September, has been with us now for 120 years. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894. Ever since then, the three-day weekend has provided people in the U.S. with the opportunity for vacations, time with their families, shopping trips, and a general celebration of the conclusion of summer and the beginning of fall.

However, there were twelve years of Labor Day observations in the U.S. before it became an official holiday. The first Labor Day celebration took place in 1882 in New York City on September 5. According to the accounts from the time, it had a rough start and almost didn’t happen.

The main event planned for that first Labor Day was a parade along Broadway that was to start at City Hall. However, the parade ran into a bit of a snag early on. The marchers started to line up for the procession around 9 a.m., with a police escort to make sure the event went peacefully. However, the problem of the day wasn’t rowdy members of the parade—it was that nobody had remembered to bring a band!

With people ready to march, but no music to march to, it started to look like no parade would happen at all, and the first Labor Day would have ended up a failure. But just in time, Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union—one of the two men who first proposed the celebration—ran across the City Hall lawn to the Grand Marshal of the parade, William McCabe, to inform him that 200 men from the Jeweler’s Union of Newark were crossing the ferry to Manhattan… and they had a band!

At 10 a.m., only an hour late, the band from Newark walked down Broadway playing a number from a popular Gilbert and Sullivan opera. They passed McCabe and the other 700 marchers, who then fell in line behind them. Soon, the spectators joined in, and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people marched through Lower Manhattan.

According to the New York Times, “The windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization.”

The parade concluded two hours later when the marchers reached Reservoir Park. But the party was only getting started. Until 9 p.m., some 25,000 people celebrated with picnics and speeches and beer kegs. It was an enormous success, and all thanks to the speedy arrival of jewelers carrying band instruments.

If those musicians from Newark hadn’t shown up, perhaps we wouldn’t have the holiday opportunity that we now have every year. However you celebrate your Labor Day, our family at S&L Mechanical wishes your family a happy end of summer.

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How Does AC Maintenance Help With Repairs?

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Even if you own a top-of-the-line air conditioner, your system is not safe from repair needs. Air conditioners work hard over the summer, which means it may become damaged over time. But if your air conditioner breaks down suddenly, you may be without air conditioning when you need it the most. Air conditioning maintenance is a service that can help decrease your cooling costs and prevent sudden problems from occurring.

Let’s take a look at some of the steps of this important service and how it may help prevent repairs in the future.


During maintenance, a technician cleans various parts of your system including the indoor and outdoor coils. This is partly because dirty parts can decrease the efficiency of your air conditioner, but they can also cause damage to your system that may lead to the need for repairs. If dirt or debris infiltrates a motor, for example, it may overheat and break down. The cost of a maintenance visit may be offset by the money you’ll save on such repairs.


A technician will also make minor adjustments or repairs that may be completed quickly at no extra cost, including bent condenser fins or loose parts. Minor problems may end up damaging large components of your air conditioner. A loose fan blade, for example, may inhibit airflow to the evaporator. Low airflow can cause the evaporator coil to freeze.


At the end of the maintenance visit, the technician will inform you of any problems found in your system during inspection so that you can schedule repairs. It’s important to catch issues early on, because a failing part may affect other components of your system, leading to a whole-system breakdown. If the technician notices a problem early on, you can reduce wear and tear to your system by scheduling an appointment right away.

The end of the cooling season is near, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to protect your air conditioner from breakdowns for the rest of the summer. Call the experts at S&L Mechanical for repairs or maintenance for your air conditioner in Seattle.

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3 Signs of Low Refrigerant

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Air conditioners are often a necessity in the warm summer months and many homeowners will do anything they can to prevent their systems from breaking down. One of the most common problems with air conditioners is low refrigerant. Refrigerant levels may be low if the technician did not add the proper amount upon installation or if your system is leaking. Leaks may form from corrosion or loose connections along the refrigerant line. Insufficient levels may lead to a variety of problems, such as limited cooling, frozen coils, or compressor damage, so it’s important to call for air conditioning repair when you notice any of the following signs of low refrigerant.

Hissing Sounds

If your refrigerant is leaking, you likely won’t be able to see any signs, but you may be able to hear it. A leaking refrigerant line sometimes makes a hissing noise as liquid or gas leaks from a small hole or tear. Whenever you hear unusual noises from your AC, you should call a technician right away.

Reduced Cooling

The air conditioning process needs refrigerant in order to cool a home. Without the right levels of refrigerant, the AC may be unable to remove heat from the home, and you may not feel any cool air at all. Your air conditioner will continue to attempt to cool your home, however, which means it will use a lot of energy to run, costing you money every month.

Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On

Some air conditioners are designed to shut off when the refrigerant gets too low. However, don’t assume a breakdown is an easy fix. If your air conditioner stops running, it may also be a sign of a more serious problem, such as a broken compressor.

You should keep in mind that simply recharging the refrigerant does not address the source of the problem. Refrigerant leaks can lead to major damages in your system. If you believe you have low refrigerant or any other problem with your air conditioning system, call S&L Mechanical for air conditioning repair service in Seattle. Our experts will fix leaks and add the proper level of refrigerant to prevent further repair needs and keep your AC running smoothly.

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Why Does Size Matter with Air Conditioning Installation?

Friday, August 8th, 2014

When it comes to home projects, a lot of things are left to the “rule of thumb”. But many times, these simple “rules” can be inaccurate. This is no different when it comes to sizing your air conditioner. Many times, the rule of thumb for a new air conditioning installation is “bigger is better”. The truth is that many factors go into calculating what size of AC you’ll need in order to properly cool your home. This is why it’s important to work with a trained expert, like the ones at S&L Mechanical, who know and understand how to properly calculate cooling loads.

Why Size Matters

A wrongly-sized air conditioner is either going to be too big or too small. Each situation brings its own set of problems, but both will make your indoors uncomfortable.

When your AC is too small, it can’t cool your home adequately. This can result in constant cycling as the air conditioner tries to achieve the cooling you need. Constant cycling can wear down your components, cause motors to overheat and lead to possible breakdown.

An air conditioner that is too big presents a somewhat different problem. Part of the cooling process is the removal of humidity in the air, but when an over-sized air conditioner is installed, it cools the air so quickly that it doesn’t have the chance to dehumidify your home; this is known as short cycling, because the cycles are too short. Short cycling can wear down your system prematurely and leave you feeling cool and clammy instead of cool and dry.

Calculating Properly

The way to ensure you install an air conditioner that fits your home is to determine the cooling load you need. A cooling load is the amount of cooling you will need to comfortably cool your home. Multiple factors are considered when calculating, such as:

  • Orientation of your home
  • Insulation levels
  • Daytime heat gain
  • Windows – types and how many
  • Floor plan
  • Number of rooms
  • Number of occupants
  • Square footage

The calculation for cooling load can be complex, which is why it’s important to work with a trained professional.

Install with an Expert

No one wants to install a new air conditioning system only to find that it’s too big or too small. By working with a trained professional from the beginning, you can ensure your air conditioning installation goes smoothly. S&L Mechanical has helped many customers with their AC installation, and we can help you, too. Call us today and schedule an air conditioning installation in Seattle with one of our experts.

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