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Staying Cool in Summer Heat

Staying Cool in Summer Heat Improves Your Work Output and General Health

The first day of spring is just around the corner. In the Valley of the Sun that means higher temperatures are on the way. Our few months of milder temperatures are ending, and it is time to get ready for the heat. It’s time to make sure that your air conditioner is properly tuned up and ready to keep you cool through the long hot days of summer.

If your air conditioner is not keeping your home and remote workspace comfortable, your body and mind are likely not performing at peak output.

Peak Personal Performance

If you’re working from a home office, you are aware that your endurance and productivity is greater if the room temperature is in your comfort zone. A comfortable temperature not only supports good health, it makes you more efficient. A properly functioning air conditioner will keep your home comfortable, help your mind to think better and more clearly, and make your body function longer without fatigue. Whether it is remote working or doing daily home chores, you are more productive when you do your work without breaking a sweat.

There is widespread agreement among experts that a comfortable environment is important for healthy sleep. Our bodies cool down at night, and if it is too hot, we have trouble sleeping. After a night of poor sleep, we wake up tired and groggy. We move slower and have a stronger reaction to stressful situations. The ideal sleep temperature is considered to be around 65 degrees. For half of the year, the average night-time temperature in central Arizona is above 65 degrees and in the heat of summer it can easily be 15 to 25 degrees above the ideal sleep temperature.

The importance of your air conditioner to your overall health is not limited to the hot days of summer. Poor sleep conditions are bad for your health whenever they occur.

Timely Upkeep is Needed

Air conditioners are complex mechanical systems with many moving parts that need regular service to keep them in top operating condition and prevent future breakdowns. An air conditioning system that is kept in top condition will operate more efficiently, saving on utility costs. While all air conditioners have a limited lifespan, regular service will lengthen the life of a system and delay the need for replacement.

Much like the human body, an air conditioner that is not working properly should get quick attention. Small, easy-to-fix mechanical problems tend to grow into expensive breakdowns if not repaired quickly. The best way to extend the life and operating efficiency of an air conditioner is to get it serviced at least once a year. Don’t let a broken air conditioner just limp along in the early months of spring. When it gets even hotter and you really need it to work properly, the damage may be greater, the repair costs may be higher, and the availability of available HVAC technicians may be scarce.

Early spring is a good time to schedule an air conditioner tune-up. Contact Semper Fi Heating & Cooling for an air conditioner tune-up to improve your health and that of your air conditioning system.

Ventilation: All About the V in HVAC

You’ve seen the acronym HVAC, pronounced H-Vac, and you know it somehow relates to the heating and cooling system in your home. The H is for Heating and the AC is for Air Conditioning. Right in the middle is V for Ventilation. Your central ventilation system consists of ductwork that runs to the far corners of your home and the blower fans and motors that circulate warm or cool air.

Your heater and your air conditioner take a rest for part of the year, but your ventilation systems seldom gets a day off. Ventilation is the unsung and underappreciated hero of your HVAC system. Furnaces heat, air conditioners cool, and ventilation systems collect and deliver warm or cool air to keep your home comfortable year-round.

Your ventilation system doesn’t need much attention, but occasionally air ducts need to be cleaned. You have filters that need to be changed frequently to remove pollutants that are circulating in the air you breathe. But over time, dirt builds up inside the ducts and needs to be removed. The before and after pictures say it all.

Where does all of this dirt come from? If dust collects on your furniture, it circulates through your ventilation system. The dust that your home vacuum collects is dust that has made its way through your ductwork. Pet dander, smoking, water damage, remodeling construction, dirty shoes and dirty clothes all contribute to dirty ducts.

If you change your filters regularly, you can ignore your ducts and the rest of your ventilation system for a few years, but dirt will accumulate inside your ducts and the air you breathe will become unhealthy. Eliminating the dust, dirt, mold and other pollutants from your ductwork will improve indoor air quality, keep your home cleaner, and make your entire HVAC system more efficient. Your home air quality will substantially improve with professional duct cleaning.

Semper Fi Heating & Cooling has the experience and equipment to clean your ductwork and improve the quality of the home air that you breathe. Duct cleaning is a job for trained professionals. An inadequate vacuum system can release more contaminants than if you had left the ducts alone. Don’t expect immediate changes in your personal health, but do expect your home to be cleaner. A proper duct cleaning job will significantly reduce the dirt and contaminants in your home air.

What you should expect from the duct cleaning process:

  • Before you start vacuuming, your system should be checked for asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos requires specialized procedures and should not be disturbed or removed except by specially trained and equipped contractors.
  • Only equipment that exhausts particles outside the home or through HEPA filters should be used.
  • The inside of ducts should be carefully brushed in conjunction with vacuuming.

There are steps you can take to reduce future buildup of dirt in your ductwork:

  • Use high-efficiency furnace filters and change them frequently. If filters get clogged, change them even more frequently.
  • When your unit is serviced, make sure that the cooling coils and drain pan are also cleaned.
  • Remove dirt and dust from your home regularly, and use high-efficiency filters in your vacuum.

Duct cleaning will improve your indoor air quality, but cleaning is not the only issue related to ducts. By most estimates, as much as 30% of the air that goes into your ducts leaks out before being delivered to wherever the ducts lead. While getting your ducts cleaned, consider taking the next step and get them professionally sealed. You can look for leaks and slap a piece of duct tape over the gap, but that is not professionally sealing your ducts. You won’t eliminate the majority of leaks unless you have the right equipment to find the leaks and the right materials to seal them up.

Call the professional technicians at Semper Fi to learn more about duct cleaning, and check the website for special pricing.

Good Air Flow for a Healthy and Clean Home

Adequate and clean air flow is critical for the proper operation of your heating and air conditioning system. Without good air flow, your equipment will wear out quicker and your utility bills will be higher. The health of your family is at risk and the overall comfort of your home is reduced.

Clean Your Air Filter Regularly

The first step in keeping home air clean is to replace your air filter frequently. The general guideline is to replace the filter at least every three months. You may find that even more frequent replacement is needed; no two homes are the same. If your home air smells musty, change the filter. If your furniture gets dusty quickly after cleaning, it is probably time to change the filter. If your furnace is running more often and longer than you think it should, it might be an indication that filters need to be changed.

Filters should be replaced with the change of seasons. Switching from heating to air conditioning or from air conditioning to heating is a good time to change filters. For central Arizona, Semper Fi recommends a non-pleated, fiberglass filter. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) is the measurement system for a filter’s effectiveness in reducing airborne particles and contaminants. The higher the number from 1-20, the more effective the filter. However, the higher the number, the more the filter will restrict air flow. To determine the right MERV for your HVAC system, you should find the recommended maximum for your system and use a filter that is just below the maximum.

Fortify Your Air Filter With a REME HALO Systems

Air filters are important, but filters alone cannot remove mold, pollen spores, bacteria, mildew and odors. Semper Fi Heating & Cooling recommends installing the REME HALO, which uses reflective electromagnetic energy to produce hydrogen peroxide plasma that passes through your air handler and circulates through your whole house. Hydrogen peroxide occurs naturally. It is part of the process of purifying the clean, outdoor air that we breathe. The hydrogen peroxide produced by REME HALO continues to eliminate pollutants on surfaces in your home, even when the blower on your HVAC system is not running.

A REME HALO system partners with your filtration system to capture the pollutants that are circulating in your home air. It also kills and eliminates the pollutants before they circulate. It works with your filtration system by causing particle pollutants to solidify and stick together, making them larger and easier for your filter to catch. That is another reason to change your filter often.

Mold, pollen spores, bacteria, odors, and other dangerous pollutants can also be removed with UV-C light installed in your duct system. Ultraviolet light in wavelengths between 200 and 300 nanometers are proven to destroy harmful microorganisms by altering their DNA and removing their ability to replicate.

REME HALO and UV-C lighting are both proven to be effective and can be installed quickly by the professionals at Semper Fi. They come with a five-year warranty. It is recommended that the hydrogen peroxide-producing cell be replaced every two years. Call the professional HVAC technicians at Semper Fi today to learn more about how clean air flow along with air purification can reduce the pollutants in the air that is circulating in your home. Purified air circulation will help keep your family healthy and safe.

Get Ready for 15 SEER

Throughout 2022 you should expect to hear the term 15 SEER or 14 SEER more and more. What is it all about? SEER is short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The calculation involves measuring the cooling output of an air conditioner and dividing that by the watt-hours of energy it uses over a cooling season.

Fifteen SEER simply means that cooling produced by an air conditioner or heat pump must be 15 times the watt-hours required to produce that cooling. The conversation about 15 SEER is heating up because the new regulation states that by January 1, 2023, any new air conditioning system sold in the southeast or southwest must have a minimum energy efficiency ratio of 15 SEER per watt-hour. Air conditioning systems sold in northern states must have a minimum of 14 SEER.

The minimum SEER until now has been 13. Most modern air conditioners have a SEER in the 13 to 21 range. Older systems, many of which are the systems which will wear out and need to be replaced soon, are rated at around 8 or 9. Upgrading from 8 SEER to 15 SEER will result in a major reduction in future electricity usage.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sets energy efficiency regulations based on recommendations from the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC). This new standard follows standards set in 2011 and 2006. In less than 20 years, the SEER standards will have been raised by more than 50%.

Automotive MPG standards are a good analogy for SEER standards. If your vehicle has a higher MPG rating, you are able to drive longer distances for every gallon of fuel you purchase. With the SEER qualifying standard, you are able to enjoy more cooling units for every watt-hour of electrical energy that you purchase. Also like MPG, the SEER number represents the best case over an entire cooling season. Homeowners consume fewer watt-hours when the outside temperature is 60 degrees than when it is 100 degrees. Vehicles get higher MPG with city driving than with highway driving.

There is regional variation on the SEER efficiency level. Southeastern and southwestern states require 15 SEER; all other states require 14 SEER. Heat pump efficiency is 15 SEER in all states. The southeastern and southwestern states and territories include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
These new 15 SEER standards were first published in 2015, giving equipment manufacturers time to design and set up manufacturing processes for the implementation of 15 SEER. What this means for the homeowner in need of purchasing a replacement air conditioning system is that equipment prices will increase, but the new systems will be more energy-efficient, resulting in lower utility costs over the life of the new system.

Estimates are that over the life of equipment that meets the 15 SEER standard, homeowners will realize $38 billion in electricity cost savings.

If your system is in need of replacement, call the professional technicians at Semper Fi. We can help you understand your options and set you up with a replacement system that reduces the amount of electricity you pay for in the summer.

Having Furnace Issues?

Furnace Repair and Maintenance

With proper furnace maintenance and occasional tune-ups, furnaces usually have a long and dependable life. And while things can go wrong, most can be fixed.

By the time a furnace needs to be replaced, high-efficiency improvements have been made in newer systems, and reduced utility costs will at least partially offset the cost of a new furnace. There are several signs that a furnace needs repair.

Pilot Light Issues

The pilot light should burn with a blue flame. If the flame is yellow or orange, there may be a carbon monoxide problem. Turn off your furnace and call a service technician. Carbon monoxide in your home can cause serious health issues, so don’t delay in getting the problem repaired. If the pilot light flame is burning blue but flickering, that could be a different problem. Most likely, the gas supply line is partially clogged and needs to be cleaned.

Heat Exchanger Problems

The heat exchanger is the part of a furnace that separates the air that a furnace circulates throughout a home from the hazardous gases in the air that have been heated in the combustion assembly. The air you breathe moves through tubes that pass through the combustion chamber. The harmful gases get exhausted from the chimney or vent, and the clean, heated air circulates around the home.

The most common problem with the heat exchanger is that after repeated expanding and contracting from heating and cooling, metal fatigue causes cracks or holes in the tubes. That allows the dangerous gases to mix with the warm air that circulates in the home. A service technician can check your furnace for a cracked heat exchanger.

Thermostat Problems

If the thermostat display is blank, check the batteries. If replacing batteries does not solve the problem, check the breaker box. If the breaker is not thrown, it may be time for a thermostat replacement. If the furnace is running continuously and not shutting off, try setting it to auto and then try it at different temperature settings. If it still runs continuously, the thermostat may need to be replaced.

Limit Switch

The limit switch senses the temperature of the furnace and turns the furnace off and on during the normal heating cycle. It is usually very dependable, but occasionally it fails and will prevent the furnace and blower to turn off or on. The limit switch also has a high temperature limit that will shut off the heating burners and leave the blower working so that the heat exchanger does not overheat. Replacing the limit switch is a relatively inexpensive operation.

Cacophony of Rackets

Different noises indicate different types of problems with your furnace, and most of them need attention. A squealing noise is likely to be caused by a fan belt problem. There is an electric motor in a furnace that uses a fan belt to turn a fan that blows warm air through ductwork and into your home. If the belt is worn and damaged, it may slip and make a squealing noise. Turn off your furnace and have the belt replaced. A scraping sound is probably the result of worn bearings somewhere in the power assembly. Turn off your furnace and get the problem fixed to avoid additional damage.

Do you hear bangs and clangs in your ductwork when your furnace starts up and the warm air starts blowing? That is the result of cold ductwork expanding from the heat, not an operational problem that will cause damage. You may want to make sure the ducts and joints are adequately attached and secured.

Little or No Warm Air

If the amount of warm air is reduced, check to see if the air filter is dirty or clogged. Change the filter often. If clean air cannot get in the cold air vents and through the filter, warm air will not come out. If the full heating flame is burning and no warm air is moving through the ducts, there is a circulation fan problem. The cause is most likely a worn-out or broken fan belt. The motor and fan itself have other moving parts that can fail.

Some furnace problems are more urgent than others. Some problems are dangerous to the health of homeowners, and others need attention to avoid additional harm. All furnace problems need attention to keep your home comfortable and safe.

Call the professional service technicians at Semper Fi if you have furnace problems!

Click here or call (480) 616-3636

Financing Your New Heating & Air Conditioning System

Home heating and air conditioning systems work hard; they work around the clock for most of the year in most locations. Over several years, systems become too expensive to repair; the best option may be to replace an aging system. Air conditioners tend to wear out before furnaces. Good ongoing maintenance can add years of life to both heating and air conditioning systems, but eventually, both need to be replaced.

Obstacles to Maintaining HVAC Systems

A major obstacle to the purchase and installation of a replacement system is the cost. New systems aren’t cheap, but there is also a cost to not replacing a system that is approaching its life expectancy. Repairs mount up over the years. Compressors in air conditioners and heating units in furnaces are like engines and transmissions in vehicles. They can be repaired and replaced at a high cost, but after getting them repaired you still have an older vehicle with a high operating cost at risk of breakdowns.

Fortunately, most heating and cooling companies offer discounts, rebates, and monthly payment financing plans. About half of utility costs in most homes goes toward the operation of the heating and cooling system. With a new energy-efficient system, you can usually save money on utilities every month to partially offset the monthly finance payments.

If the repair costs are starting to add up for your heating and air conditioning system, it is time to talk to Semper Fi about your options for repair, replacement, and financing a new AC or heating unit. Semper Fi can guide you through the options to help you choose the best brand and the best price with the most advantageous financing plan.

When to Replace Your Current HVAC Units

Home comfort is another big reason you may want to consider the replacement of your existing system. If there are rooms in your home that aren’t properly heated and cooled, installation of a properly-sized new system can address this.

Be wary of any company that gives you a price quote without visiting and calculating the size requirements.

Don’t assume that the size of your existing system is the proper size for a new system. You may be experiencing inconsistent home temperatures because your current system is too small, or you may be paying too much for utilities because your system is larger than needed.

Financing is never a one-size-fits-all experience. Look for a finance company with an affiliation with your heating and air conditioning company. Some of the features you should look for include:

    1. Simple application process
    1. Affordable monthly payments
    1. The ability to pay and manage your account online
    1. No penalty for paying early

If time allows, schedule your replacement when your provider is offering a promotional discount. Always check for the availability of rebates and other discount programs. Semper Fi can help you compare the cost of a new system with the energy savings that you can expect to receive over the life of your replacement system. In many cases, a major portion of the initial cost will be recovered by energy savings over the life of the new system.

Seven Steps to Finding the Best Heating & Air Conditioning Company

Your HVAC system is one of the most expensive and important mechanical systems in your home. With proper care and preventive maintenance, your system will continue to operate at the performance level for which it was designed. If not properly maintained, your utility costs will increase, frequent breakdowns will occur, and all or part of the system will need to be replaced sooner than you expect. You can change the filter and adjust the thermostat, but professional help is needed to keep your system operating efficiently and not requiring early replacement. Finding an HVAC company that is reliable, totally professional, and there when you need it the most is not an easy task. Following are some tips to help you pick the right company for your home.

  • Check online reviews. Don’t just review the star rating; read some reviews to see what customers think of the company and the quality of the services provided. There may be a few less-than-five-star reviews; consider the entire group of reviews to get a feel for the values and quality of the company. Talk to your neighbors and friends to get a sense of the best companies.
  • Did they respond promptly and professionally to your service inquiry? Do they offer 24-hour emergency service? Do they have adequate staff to respond to your needs? The service technicians should be experienced, well trained, and certified.
  • Are they willing to come to your house and truly examine your system before providing a price quote for the needed repairs? Is the price quoted the price billed with no add-ons? Be wary of companies that give over-the-phone pricing without pre-inspection.
  • Do they offer alternatives to fix your system? Do they help you understand which alternative is the best option for you? A good service technician should be able to explain the problem without confusing you with technical jargon.
  • What guarantees or warranties do they offer? Do they offer a service agreement? How much does it cost and what does it cover?
  • Ask about the brands of replacement systems they sell. Ask about why they sell the brands they offer. Do they sell the least-expensive brands, the most-expensive brands, or the brands that offer the best quality for the money?
  • Do your own investigation. Do you commonly see their trucks in your neighborhood or on the highways? Drive by or visit their shop. Does it look clean and professional? Do they belong to trade associations? Visit their website. Does the website look clean and professional?

Most importantly, make sure the company truly cares about your business. True professionals care about your home because they care about you and your future business. They also want your good reviews and friend referrals. Most of all, true professionals care about you because they are proud of the quality of the work they provide. Pick a company that can assure you that you matter to them.

Call Semper Fi if you are looking for a heating and air conditioning company.

Beyond the Filters – Home Air Purification Options

Conditional air filters do a great job with most particulate pollution. Unfortunately, in the extreme heat of Arizona, high-efficiency filters can starve an HVAC system of the airflow it needs to provide maximum indoor home comfort. For home comfort optimization during peak heat during Arizona summers, Semper Fi recommends a non-pleated, fiberglass filter. For customers with indoor air quality concerns, there are additional options for the homeowner in need of hospital-quality air purification without the use of high-efficiency, pleated filters that can restrict airflow.

Bipolar Ionization

Bipolar Ionization splits molecules in the air, including water vapor, into positively and negatively charged ions. The opposite charges attract each other to form a compound. The positive and negative ions surround air particles, and the added mass causes the air particles to be captured by an air filter and removed from the air. The positive and negative ions also surround and pull hydrogen away from pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and mold spores. With the hydrogen pulled away from the protein coat, the virus cannot infect. With bacterium or mold, when the essential hydrogen is removed, the cell is ripped open and the pathogen dies, preventing infection.

Electrostatic Air Filters

Electrostatic Air Filters are most often used to remove dust, dander, mold, or pollen from an indoor space. Along with regular cleaning and adequate ventilation, an electric air cleaner installed into your HVAC system can help make your home more allergen-free. Electrostatic filters are magnets for dust. Like the positive and negative sides of a magnet that attract each other, the particles passing through a filter are given an electrical charge before they pass plates in the filter where they are attracted to the opposite charge. Under ideal conditions, the pollen and other allergens floating in your home air get stuck to the plates and are removed from the air circulating in your home.

However, everyday conditions are not ideal. The electrostatic filters need to be cleaned regularly. More importantly, continuous use of electrostatic filtration will raise the level of ozone in a home and cause other problems for anyone who suffers from allergies.

There is another solution. Allergy filters that come with an electrostatic charge will attract and hold dust, dander, mold, and pollen. These filters are flat rather than the more common pleated filters. They are also less expensive than high MERV-rated HEPA filters. The drawback is that eventually they will reach their load capacity and need to be changed. Unlike pleated filters, they can be washed and reused.

Ultraviolet Light Air Purification

Ultraviolet Light Air Purification is a viable alternative for scrubbing viruses and other pathogens from home air. UV light is the shortest wavelength light; you know it as the part of sunlight that causes sunburn. With home air purification, you are not directly exposed to the UV light; it is installed in your ventilation duct system, downstream of a high-quality air filter.

After a day at the beach, you will likely experience radiation burns resulting in redness of your skin. The redness is a direct result of damage to your skin from UV radiation. In moderate quantities, it is relatively harmless. Extreme exposure can cause skin cancer. Unlike our skin, bacteria are sensitive to even small amounts of UV exposure. They are harmless after effective exposure to germicidal ultraviolet light.

For a whole home installation, the UV lights will be installed inside ductwork and will not be directly exposed to you. The bulbs in UV lights generally need to be changed once a year but vary by manufacturer.

Semper Fi Heating & Cooling can help you choose from these and other home air purification systems to find the system that is right for your family.

Does My Air Conditioner Need Freon? What is Freon?

Let’s Start with Definitions

Just to be a stickler for language and definitions, let’s offer two definitions directly from Wikipedia:

      1. Freon is a registered trademark of The Chemours Company, which uses it for a number of halocarbon products. They are stable, nonflammable, low-toxicity gases or liquids which have generally been used as refrigerants and as aerosol propellants. These include the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that cause ozone depletion. Freon is a brand name for the refrigerants R-12, R-13B1, R-22, R401A, R502, and R-503


    1. manufactured by The Chemours Company.
    1. The term “freon” is also a generic descriptor of a fluorocarbon refrigerant.

To put it another way, Freon is a brand name and a registered trademark of a refrigerant widely used in air conditioning systems. CFCs are a component of that refrigerant that has been banned as a cause of ozone depletion. The word freon lives on as a generic word for any refrigerant used in air conditioners.

Specifically, the CFC R-22 is banned from manufacturing or importing into the United States. But there are many air conditioning systems still operating with Freon R-22. Freon R-22 has become in increasingly short supply and as a result the price has increased significantly. Typically Freon R-22 is 300-400% more expensive than the current standard Freon 410A. Newer systems have not been using Freon R-22 for a decade.

Should Older Systems that Use R-22 Be Replaced?

If your system uses R-22, then it is older and possibly nearing the end of efficient operational life. It may still have some useful years, and if it continues to perform well there is not an immediate rush to replace it. You should, however, get regular maintenance and keep your older system operating until it becomes time for a replacement.

In the normal course of operation, an air conditioning system can lose a small amount of Freon every year. During your semi-annual maintenance visit, it is not uncommon for your HVAC technician to recommend a “top-up” of the refrigerant levels on your system. The challenge occurs if there is a significant refrigerant leak in a Freon R-22 system. In this instance, even if the leak in the system can be repaired, it will most likely be cost-prohibitive to recharge (i.e. refill) the system with Freon R-22 and thus a system replacement is most commonly the best course of action at that time. Remember, in this instance it is not that Freon R-22 is not available, but that it is so expensive that investing several thousand dollars in additional Freon R-22 does not make financial sense for homeowners.

The service technicians at Semper Fi can help you understand your options with regard to freon availability. We are here to help you get as much life out of your older system as practically possible and offer competitive, cost-effective system replacement options as needed.

What Does Freon Do in Your Air Conditioning System?

Freon passes through your AC refrigerant lines. The air conditioner compressor compresses freon gas which makes it hot. It then travels through coils that cool and convert it from gas to a liquid state. Next, it travels to evaporators that convert it back to gas that can cool the air in your home.

After years of circulating, the amount of freon in your system will decline. Tiny pinhole leaks will allow freon to escape and make the pressure in the system decline. When people refer to an AC system needing to be recharged or refilled, they are referring to the levels of freon. If your system is running longer than it did in the past, or if it seems that your system is not keeping you as cool as you expect, it could be that the freon needs to be recharged.
Call Semper Fi to make an appointment for a technician to check your system’s freon levels and add whatever is needed to get your system back to working like new at full efficiency.

Honor Veterans on Veterans Day

Semper Fi Heating & Cooling is a veteran-owned company that extends 20% discounts to veterans and their families. As a company, Semper Fi Heating & Cooling considers Veterans Day to be a sacred time to proudly honor those who have served.

World War I did not officially end until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, but seven months earlier on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour, an armistice was signed to end the fighting between the Allied Nations and Germany in what was then called “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day when he said, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

In 1954 a law was passed to amend the law that created Armistice Date by changing the name to Veterans Day so that November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. Veterans Day is an official government holiday; government offices along with many schools are closed. In many places in the U.S., the day is marked by parades and church services, the flag is hung at half mast, and a period of silence lasting two minutes may be held at 11:00 AM.

Veterans Day is focused on honoring and showing pride in veterans who still live among us. Memorial Day is a day to honor those who gave their lives while serving in the military. Arlington National Cemetery holds memorial services on both Veterans Day and Memorial Day. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, as of 2020 there are 325,574 living American veterans who served in World War II. There are about 500,000 Korean War vets, 610,000 Vietnam War vets, and 2.5 million post-9/11 vets who served in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. Eighty-three percent of vets are male, and 17% are female.

Life is not easy for many veterans. Eighty percent of them spent time in overseas combat zones. Sixty percent are under the age of 34. Twenty-two veterans commit suicide daily. Thirty percent have disabilities as a result of their service. As many as 20% of veterans have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Twenty-two percent are diagnosed with depressive disorder. Only one-third of vets that need mental health care have sought treatment. The vast majority of veterans joined the military to serve our country and nearly all of them are proud of their service.

Our veterans need your support and understanding. Many of them feel that the rest of America does not understand or doesn’t even think about the trauma they have experienced. Be thoughtful and be kind to vets; they will appreciate our support.