Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog:
Archive for the ‘Happy Holidays’ Category

What NOT to Feed Your Dog at Thanksgiving

Monday, November 21st, 2016

We’re going to step out of our usual advice about heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and electrical services and instead focus on some good holiday safety tips. Thanksgiving is coming up shortly, a time of feasting and family. But it’s also a time when people need to take special caution with their pets. Dogs in particular have a great craving for much of the food served during Thanksgiving dinner and the various other treat items that surround it. But not all of this food is healthy for a canine digestive system, which is different from the human digestive system.

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Help Us Again with the Food Drive for San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission!

Friday, November 11th, 2016

It’s that time of year to be thankful for all we have. Kilowatt is again collecting food for the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission. But we need your help!

Those extra cans of  soup, cranberries, peaches, or that box of macaroni and cheese that is taking up space in your cupboards. We will gladly take whatever canned or boxed food you don’t want anymore.  We need your help to stock the pantry of the San Fernando valley rescue mission.

How can YOU help?

It’s easy, next time a service or maintenance tech comes by your home simply give them the food you want to contribute. Or you can stop by Kilowatt headquarters at 4925 Sepulveda Blvd. in Sherman Oaks, and drop off your food donations.😉 san-fernado-valley-rescue-mission-food-drive-jpg

An estimated 254,000 men, women, and children experience homelessness in Los Angeles County during some part of the year and approximately 82,000 people are homeless on any given night. Unaccompanied youth, especially in the Hollywood area, are estimated to make up from 4,800 to 10,000 of these. A high percentage – as high as 20 percent – are veterans, about 25% are mentally ill, and 23% are children.

Other Facts About the Homeless Population in Los Angeles:

The average age is 40 – women tend to be younger.

  • 33% to 50% are female. Men make up about 75% of the single population.
  • About 42% to 77% do not receive public benefits to which they are entitled.
  • 20% to 43% are in families, typically headed by a single mother.
  • An estimated 20% are physically disabled.
  • 41% of adults were employed within last year.
  • 16% to 20% of adults are employed.
  • As children, 27% lived in foster care or group homes; 25% were physically or sexually abused.
  • 33%-66% of single individuals have substance abuse issues.
  • 48% graduated from high school; 32% had a bachelor degree or higher (as compared to 45% and 25%, for the population overall respectively).
    Update January 27, 2016

The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission is so grateful to receive all the food donations! We will continue to accept donations thru Friday, December 9 at noon.

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Join our Food Drive for San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission!

Friday, January 1st, 2016

Are your cupboards still stocked with extra food from the holidays?

We’ll take that can of jellied cranberries off your hands, or the box of macaroni and cheese your grandchildren never ate. What about that extra stuffing mix? We’ll take whatever canned or boxed food you don’t want in your cupboards anymore. In return we will give you this lovely Kilowatt grocery tote as our way of saying “thank you” for participating in our food drive. We want to help stock the pantry of the San Fernando valley rescue mission.

How can YOU help?

It’s easy, next time a service or maintenance tech comes by your home simply give them the food you want to contribute. If you’d like to drop off that’s cool too! Stop by Kilowatt headquarters at 4925 Sepulveda Blvd. in Sherman Oaks , drop off your food and pick up your shopping bag 😉

An estimated 254,000 men, women and children experience homelessness in Los Angeles County during some part of the year and approximately 82,000 people are homeless on any given night. Unaccompanied youth, especially in the Hollywood area, are estimated to make up from 4,800 to 10,000 of these. A high percentage – as high as 20 percent – are veterans, about 25% are mentally ill, and 23% are children.

Other Facts About the Homeless Population in Los Angeles:

The average age is 40 – women tend to be younger.

Kilowatt_IMG_9479

  • 33% to 50% are female. Men make up about 75% of the single population.
  • About 42% to 77% do not receive public benefits to which they are entitled.
  • 20% to 43% are in families, typically headed by a single mother.
  • An estimated 20% are physically disabled.
  • 41% of adults were employed within last year.
  • 16% to 20% of adults are employed.
  • As children, 27% lived in foster care or group homes; 25% were physically or sexually abused
  • 33%-66% of single individuals have substance abuse issues.
  • 48% graduated from high school; 32% had a bachelor degree or higher (as compared to 45% and 25% for the population overall respectively).

Update January 27, 2016

We are getting such a great response from our customers for our food drive. Thank you! But our very own Joe Valle did something totally unexpected. He came to work today with 5 full bags of groceries from his family to donate. Joe has a heart of gold and he always gives 100% to everything he does. Thank you! The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission was so grateful to receive all that food! We are still collecting… just wanted to update you and thank you all for participating!

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“Operation Gratitude” and “A Million Thanks”

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Every year our friends and customers write thousands of Holiday cards to active duty soldiers and wounded veterans and drop them off at our office in Sherman Oaks. We work with “Operation Gratitude” and “A Million Thanks” to make sure that those letters are delivered in time to raise spirits and make the brave men and women who keep us safe feel appreciated.

Thanks friends for participating!

If you would like to submit a holiday card (or holiday cards!); you can either drop them off in person or mail them in a envelope to:

Kilowatt Air Conditioning, Heating, Electric & Solar
4925 Sepulveda Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

 

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When New Year’s Day Was Not on January 1st

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Some holidays fall on shifting calendar days for every year, such as Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November) and Easter (the first Sunday after the first full moon to occur on or after March 21). Other holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Halloween, are fixed. No holiday has a more solid calendar date attached to it than New Year’s Day. It has to fall on January 1st because it celebrates the first day of a new year. That only makes sense…

…except that, like most things that at first appear obvious, there is a bit more to the story. The beginning of the year was not always on the first of January. As with an enormous numbers of traditions in the Western World, the establishment of January 1st as the inaugural day of a new year goes back to the ancient Romans.

The modern solar calendar is derived from the Roman model, but the earliest Roman calendars did not have 365 days in a year spread over 12 months. Instead, there were 304 days spread over 10 months. The Romans believed this calendar originated with the mythical founder of the city, Romulus. If Romulus were a real person, we can credit him with a poor understanding of the seasons, as this abbreviated calendar soon got out of sync with Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Numa, one of the Kings of Rome (probably also fictional) receives credit for creating a longer year with two added months, Ianuarius and Februarius, bringing the number of days in the year to 355. The new month of Ianuarius, named after Ianus (Janus in contemporary spelling), the god of beginnings, would eventually be known in English as January. But when this new calendar was instituted, January was not the first month. March, named after the god of war, remained the first month, and March 1st was New Year’s Day.

This extended calendar still did not keep in synch with the seasons. In 45 BCE, Julius Caesar instituted reforms to align the calendar correctly according to calculations of astronomers, with an additional 10 days distributed across the year. January also became set as the first month, and offerings to the god Janus on this day started the tradition we now know as New Year’s. The date still fluctuated during the ensuing centuries, with a number of Western European holy days treated as the beginning of the year instead. It wasn’t until the next calendar reform in 1582, the Gregorian Calendar, that the date of the New Year was fixed at January 1st.

However you choose to celebrate the beginning of the current calendar, everyone here at Kilowatt hopes you have a wonderful 2015!

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Why Do We Hang Up Mistletoe?

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Of course, you probably know part of the answer to this question already. You hang up mistletoe so that the people standing underneath can share a romantic holiday kiss! But what you may not realize is that the origin of this longstanding ritual predates many of the other holiday traditions we celebrate today. Why would a plant that has many poisonous varieties (most types sold for use in the home have few negative effects, but you can wrap it in netting to prevent children from consuming any fallen berries or leaves) be used as a symbol of holiday affection?

There are a couple of ways to explain the positive associations of (potentially hazardous) mistletoe. For one, this semi-parasitic plant has long been hailed as a treatment for illnesses and pain. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it to cure cramps, epilepsy, and more. Even today, mistletoe extracts are one of the leading alternative medicines studied for their effectiveness in killing cancer cells. And because the early Celtic Druids saw it as a sign of healing and life, they may be the first to bestow upon the plant its romantic associations, deeming it worthy of treating the infertile.

But it is Norse mythology that is likely responsible for a majority of the modern traditions associated with this small hanging bunch. One of the powerful Norse god Odin’s sons, named Baldur, was said to be invincible due to an oath his mother took to protect him from harm. But Loki, a god who often set out to make trouble for the gods, set out to find the one thing that could do some damage, and eventually discovered that Baldur’s mother Frigg had never included mistletoe in her invincibility oath. When mistletoe was finally responsible for her son’s demise, the grieving Frigg vowed that the plant would never again be used to hurt another living thing, and that she would plant a peaceful kiss upon anyone who walked underneath it.

And that is one of the reasons that, today, kissing under the mistletoe is viewed as a source of good luck. From our family to yours, we wish you a safe holiday season, and we hope that you and your family are full of joy and good fortune—mistletoe or not! Happy holidays from Kilowatt!

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Will Thanksgiving Turkey Really Make You Sleepy?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

We’ve all heard it before: you feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal because of the main event: the turkey. For years, people have credited extraordinary levels of tryptophan in turkey as the reason we all feel the need to nap after the annual feast. But contrary to this popular mythology, tryptophan is probably not he largest responsible party for your post-meal exhaustion.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means it’s something that our bodies need but do not produce naturally. Your body uses tryptophan to help make vitamin B3 and serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that sends chemicals to the brain to aid in sleep. But in order to get this essential amino acid, we have to eat foods that contain it.

Turkey has somewhat high levels of tryptophan, but so do many other foods, including eggs, peanuts, chocolate, nuts, bananas, and most other meats and dairy products. In fact, ounce-for-ounce cheddar cheese contains a greater amount of tryptophan than turkey. In order for tryptophan to make you feel sleepy, you would have to consume it in excessive amounts, and serotonin is usually only produced by tryptophan on an empty stomach.

The truth is, overeating is largely responsible for the “food coma” many people describe post-Thanksgiving. It takes a lot of energy for your body to process a large meal, and the average Thanksgiving plate contains about twice as many calories as is recommended for daily consumption. If anything, high levels of fat in the turkey cause sleepiness, as they require a lot of energy for your body to digest. Lots of carbohydrates, alcohol, and probably a bit of stress may also be some of the reasons it feels so satisfying to lay down on the couch after the meal and finally get a little bit of shut-eye.

If you feel the need to indulge in a heaping dose of tryptophan this year, go ahead! Turkey also contains healthy proteins and may even provide a boost for your immune system. Here at Kilowatt, we hope your Thanksgiving is full of joy and contentment this year. Happy feasting!

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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 Kilowatt wishes your family a happy end of summer.

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Leading the Way with Independence Days!

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

The term “Fourth of July” is the popular name for the U.S. federal holiday officially known as Independence Day. It isn’t surprising that we would come up with a different name from the official one, since “Independence Day” is one of the most common holiday names across the globe. Most of the nations in existence today won their independence from another power, whether through wars, treaties, or long transitions.

What might surprise many people is how old U.S. Independence Day actually is compared to the similar holidays of other nations. Although the U.S. is still considered a young nation, it was one of the first to make a full break for its colonial master with a new constitution. Most countries that celebrate a national Independence Day are commemorating events that occurred in the second half of the 20th century, when many older empires at last relinquished control over their colonies.

How substantial is the difference in time for the U.S.A. and the rest of the world? U.S. Independence Day celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776, making our country unusual in that almost no existing nations celebrate an independence event from the eighteenth century.

In terms of age, there is only a tiny handful current countries that celebrate an independence day that occurred earlier than the United States. Switzerland celebrates its independence from the Holy Roman Empire of the Germans in 1291 with “Swiss National Day,” held every August 1—although this only gained status as a national holiday in 1994. Sweden Celebrates “National Day of Sweden” to commemorate events in 1523 and the election of King Gustav I during the War of Liberation against Christian II of Denmark and Norway. Romania comes almost a hundred years after U.S. Independence, with its 1877 freedom from Turkish rule.

The most recent Independence Days to come into existence are for Montenegro, which gained independence from Serbia in 2006 and celebrates the day on May 21, and South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 and celebrates the day only a day after the U.S., on July 5.

Does anyone else celebrate a literal “Fourth of July,” an Independence Day that also falls on the fourth day of the seventh month? Yes: Abkhazia, a small Central Asian country that declared its independence from the Republic of Georgia in 1999 (although not all countries recognize it). Coming a day (like South Sudan) on July 5 is the independence of the small Atlantic island nation of Cape Verde, which became free from Portugal through signed agreement in 1975.

Everyone at Kilowatt hopes you and your family enjoy a vibrant Independence Day/Fourth of July this year!

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