Fun Time! Here’s How to Make Clear Ice Cubes!

You might not have looked very closely at the ice you have in your drinks, but if you did then you’ll notice a difference. When you make ice at home you’ll generally find that it is opaque whereas if you were to look at the ice you are given in restaurants and bars it is generally see through. Of course it doesn’t make a big difference to the taste of your drink, but it can be fun to make clear ice cubes at home.

Thankfully there are a few different ways to make clear ice cubes, all of which are reasonably easy to do.

Boiled Water

When you make ice normally, it is the air and mineral impurities that cause the ice to become opaque. By using boiled water you get rid of as much of the air as possible which helps the ice to be made as clear as possible.  If you have time then you should boil the water twice, allowing it to cool completely in-between boils. Make sure that while it is cooling it is covered to stop it from collecting dust. When you pour your boiled water into ice trays make sure that you cover in plastic wrap to keep out particles – that way you can be sure that the ice will freeze clear rather than opaque.

Top-Down Freezing

With this method you’ll need to get a cooler to use – the type you usually take on a picnic to keep your food cool will work well, just make sure that it fits in your freezer.  Place an ice tray at the bottom of the bag and fill with water – you can use distilled water for this but many people claim that tap water works just as well. When you pour your water in to be frozen, pour it into the bottom of the cooler so that the ice tray is surrounded by water. This helps to seal your ice cubes and make sure that they’re kept clear of particles etc. Place your cooler into the freezer with the top open and freeze for at least 24 hours. The best way to do this is to freeze them slowly, so setting your freezer to around 20°F should be fine. When you take the tray out of the bag you’ll find that the top layer is cloudy, but once you chip this off the ice you are left with underneath is perfectly clear ice cubes.

Air Conditioning Servicing – How To Know When You Need It

Air Conditioning Servicing Plans

For some people, paying out for a contract based air conditioning servicing plan is just not worth it. When you’re having to pay monthly or yearly for a contracted servicing plan the cost of doing so can really mount up – especially if nothing wrong is ever found with your air conditioning – it becomes a massive waste of money. Rather than do this, you should just pay for your air conditioning servicing as and when it is needed, but how do you know when the time has come for your air conditioning to be looked at? Thankfully there are several signs you can look out for which means  that you can get it serviced at the start of the problem rather than it being ignored until the problem becomes a much bigger one.

Your Air Conditioning Unit Becomes Noisy

By design, air conditioning units are meant to be quiet when they are running. If your unit is running quietly then this is usually a good sign that it is running efficiently. If you find that your air conditioning unit suddenly starts becoming more noisy then it is probably time to call your servicing guys in to give it a once-over. Excessive noise from your air conditioning unit could point to a number of issues, so it is best to get it looked at as soon as possible.

Airflow Becomes Ineffective

The airflow of your air conditioning unit will lessen naturally depending on the age of your air filter, but it is still something that is worth keeping an eye on. It is a good idea to change your air filter regularly to make sure that you get the maximum airflow when your air conditioning unit is switched on. If you find that your airflow lessens then it could be time to look at calling in someone to take a look – they can tell you whether the problem is your air filter or something a little more serious.

Hot Air

One of the biggest signs that something could be up is your air conditioning unit blowing out air that is much warmer than it used to be. Your air conditioning unit should be blowing out cool air and if this stops then you’ll want to get someone to take a look at this. Another thing to keep an eye on is whether it takes longer than usual to get the air that is blowing out to the right temperature, if this happens then it is time to call in your chosen air conditioning servicing team.

How HVAC Units can Reduce your Heating Bills

The yearly cost to heat a home is now at an all time high, and the same can be said of office space, too.

Back in October, The Guardian reported that the six big energy firms raised their prices toward the end of the year despite a drop in wholesale costs. Savings made from the drop in wholesale prices were never passed on to the consumer, and only a few days ago, the Daily Record reported SSE being on target for a whopping £1.54bn profit – just months after the price hike.

With energy firms ripping home owners and businesses off, it makes sense to look into alternative ways to heat your property. After all, why should you contribute to the growth of any company that doesn’t repay its loyal customers?

The biggest expense when it comes to heating a home is central heating. There are three main types of central heating – gas central heating, oil central heating, and electric central heating. None of these systems are energy efficient. They all guzzle energy and whatever their energy source is, that is then converted into producing heat. If you have a four bedroom family home, this means that a lot of energy will be required to heat it during the winter months.

In fact, it could become unaffordable.

So what to do?

Well, there are many homeowners throughout the UK that are taking on solar panels to provide eco-friendly energy for their homes. Solar panels have gotten so good now that they can realistically heat a whole home after a day’s sunlight. The only trouble with solar technology is that it’s expensive to integrate, and although it does offer emission free energy, you won’t get a return on investment within the first few years of installation.

At ACL Refrigeration, we recommend HVAC units to heat a home in a more cost-effective manner than central heating.

HVAC stands for Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning. HVAC units are installed onto interior walls just below the ceiling. These are then controlled via remote control, in the same way a traditional air conditioning unit would be. These excellent appliances can blow warm air or freezing cold air, and they will heat the rooms of your home quickly. Because of their compact size, they can also be integrated anywhere, including within any outbuilding.

HVAC units use electricity as their power source, but much less so than the likes of an electric central heating system.

Plus, you have the balance of that cold air in the summer.

So, if you’re sick of receiving sky high energy bills, consider a HVAC unit – it could save you a fortune.

Vital Tips for Choosing an Air Conditioning Company

If you’re thinking about having air conditioning installed into your home or business, then bravo – there is simply no better way to control your climate. You likely already understand the benefits that air conditioning bring to a property and the types of air conditioning suitable to you, so the next step is to choose the best company for you.

The air conditioning company you choose will likely be with you for a long time, because not only are they going to supply and install that equipment for you, but they’re also going to be servicing your air con appliances and providing after support. As such, it’s important to choose the right one, because the last thing you want is to pay over the odds or have a cowboy business mess up the install.

Here’s some vital tips for choosing an air-conditioning company.

Is The Air Conditioning Company Local?

With air conditioning it’s important to consider your local businesses first. Why? Well, not only will you be helping to keep a local company in business, but if anything goes wrong your air con supplier will be close by to offer you assistance. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to wait days for a call out, and also, local businesses usually have the best rates.

If going local isn’t an option, consider an established national brand.

What Do They Do

There are plenty of air conditioning suppliers in the UK who simply supply and install air con units, without any after support. This isn’t what you want. Ideally, you want to give money to a business which will provide good support and a comprehensive service plan too (just like any appliance, air conditioning units need to be maintained). So, look into what services your chosen suppliers offer to determine which is the best.


Air con units come with a manufacturer warranty as standard, but how they are installed is down to you and the company you hire. Establish whether or not the air conditioning company you like offers an installation warranty, or a 12 month guarantee on parts and labour.

Always Read The Reviews

Businesses can no longer escape the wrath of angry customers, because the internet is freely available to everybody. When you have narrowed down your air conditioning company or companies of choice, search on Google for any customer testimonials, reviews, or forum threads. You should search for ‘company name + reviews’ or ‘company name + scam’ and see if anything shows up.

Another place to look is on business websites for testimonials. Video reviews are always the best, whilst Trust Pilot integration is a close second.

The Rise of Home Air Conditioning Units in the UK

The United Kingdom has never had a particularly warm climate, although 100 years ago we did have more consistent seasons, with a lot of snow in the winter and a lot of sunshine in the summer. Today, we’re not so lucky, and the British weather is often a talking point among us – why is my windscreen frozen in September? Why is it red hot in April?

Over the past 5 years in particular we have been witness to some odd weather. In 2012, British scientists declared the UK had experienced its weirdest weather on record. 2013 wasn’t much better, so you wouldn’t be a fool to predict that 2014 will have its fair share of weird weather, too.

It is due to this unpredictability that there has been a rise in the number of installations of home air conditioning units in the UK. Air conditioning is a standard feature among properties in warmer climates, and especially so in Australia, Spain, and some states of America.

No longer the reserve of hospital wards, expensive hotels and cars, home air conditioning units are available to any homeowner, and it costs much less than people think.

It isn’t the bog-standard air conditioning unit which cools air which is the most popular in the UK, though – it’s HVAC units.

A HVAC unit will both heat and cool air. Thus, it is ideal for the unpredictable British weather. No matter how warm or cold it is outside, a HVAC unit gifts the user maximum control over their environment, in a way that central heating and other heating systems can only hope to achieve.

These appliances are also more energy-efficient than central heating systems. On average, for HVAC to cost the same to use as an electric central heating system, you would need four per room in a three bedroom home. Because you only need one per room (or one per two rooms, depending on the size), the HVAC unit is a popular appliance among those looking to save money, and with SSE announcing bumper profits after raising their energy prices, who can blame them.

We think that key to the growth of home air conditioning units in the UK is the sense that we’re behind the times, as there are countries out there who could be classed as less economically developed that have the benefits of air con in every building.

With our weather becoming more unpredictable, home air conditioning units will come into their own in the summer, when every one of your friends on Facebook is complaining about the heat and not being able to get to sleep, whilst your home is at a perfect temperature.

The ability to control ones climate has never seemed so appealing.

The History of Air Conditioning – A Quick Look

If you look deep enough into the books, the history of air conditioning can be dated back as far as 1758, the year when Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley discovered that alcohol and other liquids can evaporate faster than water had the power to freeze it. A little later in 1820, Michael Faraday discovered that the same technique was possible with ammonia. Just ten years later, the first air conditioning unit was created in Florida by John Gorrie. This machine used compressed air to freeze liquid water. This machine was not referred to as air conditioning, though, but rather an ‘ice breaker’.

At this time, cooled rooms were a thing of dreams.

In 1906 however textile mill engineer Stuart Cramer created an air ventilation device that used water vapour to cool the air around textile factories. Cramer believed that this allowed the yarn to spin more freely. In 1931, what we would consider a modern-day application of air conditioning happened: H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman invented an individual room air conditioning unit that the general public could buy. It cost a staggering $10,000, or roughly $120,000 in today’s money.

Not many people purchased that early product, however. As soon as budding entrepreneurs discovered it, they set out to create their own, and by 1940 there were multiple types of air conditioning unit available. This spawned a new era in the history of air conditioning, one that was more advanced than ever before and one that was affordable for almost anybody.

Today, air conditioning is a lot different to what H.H. Schultz will have envisioned. It is everywhere, from road going vehicles, to planes, to skyscrapers, to hospitals, to homes, to offices, and even garages. The world’s obsession with air conditioning is really rather incredible, but then again it should be, as the ability to control one’s climate is something not given to humans by nature – we have worked for it.

Modern air conditioners haven’t always been great though.

All air conditioning units built before 1995 used CFC-12 as a cooling agent. CFC-12 is now known to destroy the ozone layer. This chemical agent is now banned.

Today, the majority of air conditioning units use HFC-134a, a cooling agent that has been proven to be non-ozone depleting. Air conditioners are now also more power efficient than ever before, requiring less electricity to power them. The most energy efficient air conditioners have an ‘Energy Star’, which is achieved by meeting strict regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency. So there you go, a quick look at the history of air conditioning – your turn, what do you think?