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Spring 2013

Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

In Irish it’s known as Lá Fhéile Pádraig, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick," but we call it St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrated on March 17th of each year, this religious and cultural holiday commemorates the life of Saint Patrick (c. 387 – 461 CE). St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain, but was kidnapped and taken as a slave to Ireland. He received a vision, fled his captivity and became a priest. He became known as the hero of Irish Christianity and has been held in high esteem since. Although the holiday is religious in origin, it is also observed by secular–minded citizens for its importance to Irish–American culture, and remains a legal public holiday in the Republic of Ireland.

It’s not clear why we wear green. It seems as though the original color was blue, although as early as the 17th century, observers wore green ribbons and shamrocks to celebrate. The importance of the shamrock, those young sprigs of clover, descends from St. Patrick’s method of teaching the Holy Trinity to the Irish in the fourth and fifth centuries. It has since become a symbol of anything broadly Irish in nature, and is especially featured in attire and ornamental designs on St. Patrick’s Day.   The phrase "wearing the green" became popular after the 1798 Irish rebellion, when Irish soldiers wore green uniforms on March 17th to boost morale and catch public attention.

Why so much partying? The religious aspect of the holiday lifts Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol, typically prohibited during the rest of the season. It has been celebrated in North America since the late eighteenth–century, even before the American Revolution. Chicago dyes its river green, and parades in New York City and throughout the country attest to the popularity of the holiday.

One myth about St. Patrick still in circulation is that he drove snakes from Ireland. Indeed, there are no snakes in Ireland, but it’s likely Paddy’s banishment of the serpent should be taken less literally. Before the rise of Irish Christianity and its Holy Shamrock, the reigning polytheism of the pagans included a host of animal symbols, one of which was the serpent. Thus, driving out the snakes meant abolishing pagan rites.

 

Tune–up Your AC Unit and Get Ready for the Heat

 When your air conditioner is fully operational, it can keep you comfortable during the hottest days of the year. It’s imperative, therefore, that you maintain your AC unit throughout its lifetime. Spring is a great time to think about how you might tune–up your AC.

To tune–up your AC means inspecting, cleaning, repairing, and, if necessary, replacing parts of your system. To be done properly, much of this work requires the expertise of an air conditioning professional. A properly installed and serviced AC unit will maximize your energy–efficiency, and will help to save you money.

The first step is to call a professional. An expert technician will be able to assess any issues in the compressor, coils, refrigerant levels, electrical supply and thermostat. Attempting to do so yourself may be dangerous and could prove costly. Here a few maintenance tune–ups even the most efficient air conditioners could benefit from:

  • Clean or replace the air filter. Your air filter is one of the most important parts of your AC unit. It promotes airflow and prevents the passage of dust and other allergens from entering your ductwork or home. If you are highly–sensitive to allergens, particularly those that come about in the spring time, then this is an absolute must. Air filters also keep the parts of your AC unit working properly by preventing the accumulation of dust and other materials on the internal structure. Check your air filter monthly.
  • Insulate the ductwork. Your ducts are the structural skeleton of your indoor air system. They make the measured and even distribution of cool air possible, but they depend upon a closed system. As well as repairing or sealing any duct leaks and testing that the system is efficient, insulating ductwork tends to significantly reduce heating and cooling loss, sometimes up to 30%. By sealing air leaks, your cooling professional may be able to save you serious money this spring and summer.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to customize your home temperature for specific times of the day and days of the week. Not only will adjusting your temperature automatically cut costs, but it is also takes care of your home comfort for you.

Remember that only a professional AC technician can tune–up your system for this upcoming cooling season. Call one today.