Posts Tagged ‘Crystal Beach’

Plant City Heat Pump Guide: Understanding the Defrost Cycle

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

If your Plant City home has a heat pump, you’ll want to understand the defrost cycle to help you maintain your heat pump and troubleshoot repairs. While this is a basic guide, you should call a qualified HVAC technician if you experience major issues with your heat pump.

During the winter when a heat pump is heating your home, the cooler outdoor air that’s pumped in and heated may have excess moisture. The outdoor coil evaporates this moisture, but under certain weather conditions, frost can accumulate on the coil and decrease the overall efficiency of the heat pump.  To help reduce the potential for damage from the frost, heat pumps are manufactured with a defrost cycle to melt the frost from the outdoor coil. The defrost cycle occurs often during heavy frost conditions, so check weather reports if your defrost cycle seems to be running often.

At the beginning of the defrost cycle, the heat pump switches to the cooling mode and temporarily warms up the outdoor coil until it reaches somewhere around 60° F to melt the frost from the coil. To increase the temperature of the coil, the outdoor fan is prevented from turning on until the outdoor coil reaches the desired temperature. Weather conditions and the timing device both affect the amount of time it takes for the heat pump to move through the entire defrost cycle.

In older homes, electric heating elements are sometimes installed to prevent cool air from being distributed throughout the home. This element will turn on with the defrost cycle and shut down the blower fan inside the house. If you have an older heat pump, you may want to consider upgrading to a more efficient model.

Call Air National Air Conditioning and Heating any time if you have questions about the defrost cycle for the heat pump in your Plant City home.

The Hardest HVAC Maintenance: Some Pointers from Crystal Beach

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Do you hate to work on your own mechanical equipment in your Crystal Beach home, like furnaces and plumbing fixtures? You aren’t alone. Many people are not cut out to be do-it-yourselfers (DIYers). They prefer to hand off their maintenance and repair chores to qualified professional. That’s not a bad thing. But there are lots of DIYers who prefer to work on their own home repairs – and those are the people who aren’t afraid to take on the most challenging jobs.

If you are looking for good ideas on how to maintain your home’s heating and cooling (HVAC) system beyond the normal filter changeouts, here are some good things to check – things that will help with the overall performance of your HVAC system.

  1. Check the ventilation system. The ventilation carries conditioned air from a main source throughout your home.  It takes a little time and effort to check your ventilation system for things like cracks or leaks around joints, but it is an important maintenance task. You may even find separations between joints or holes caused by nails. A leaky ventilation system could be sending conditioned air into attics, walls, or crawlspaces and making your furnace work extra hard just to keep your living areas warm and comfortable. Take time to visually inspect as much of your ventilation system as possible – usually metal or flex duct – and repair using joint glue, metal filler, or duct tape.
  2. Inspect the insulation. Your heating system works in conjunction with the insulation in your home to provide comfort and warmth while saving you on high utility bills. A home that is poorly insulated or not insulated at all will cause a furnace to work harder and not only send utility bills higher, but increase the possibility of mechanical failure. Replacing or adding insulation in walls and crawlspaces is a relatively easy, yet time-consuming task. You can roll down or tack up fiber insulation or blow in insulation into walls. You can also seal up cracks on your home’s walls, roof, or foundation with a number of different products. Once again, your goal is to make your heating system work less and save you money.
  3. Check the visible components of the furnace. A build-up of dust and dirt can make the moving components of your furnace work even harder, such as the motors, fan belts, contactors, etc. If you live in an area where there is lots of dust and humidity or if your home has several occupants and/or animals, it is particularly important to check your system on a regular basis. This can be done by removing the access panels and taking a vacuum cleaner hose into as many areas as possible. A good, thorough vacuuming should produce immediate results and make your furnace run much more efficiently.

Try these three steps and you may not have to repeat them for another year or so – possibly not ever again while you live in your home.

Surprising Sources of Indoor Air Pollution: A Guide from Lakeland

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Indoor air pollution is a major problem for millions of homeowners throughout the country each year, and some of them even live in Lakeland. In fact, the EPA estimates upwards of 20 million households may have problems caused by mold, radon, humidity, exhaust or any number of other pollutant problems. However, not all of the indoor air pollutants out there are so obvious. Some are things you probably have in your home right now and don’t realize it. Here are some of the more surprising sources of indoor air pollution and what you can do about them:

  • Incense: Incense releases both carbon monoxide and benzene, two chemicals that are potentially harmful to human health. Cancer, skin irritation and asthma risks are all increased in people who spend a lot of time around incense.
  • Laser printers: Laser printers that use toner can release a number of harmful chemicals into the air. That toner is very fine and releases particles into the air that are equal to or in some cases worse than second hand cigarette smoke. If you have a laser printer, consider putting it in a well-ventilated, infrequently used space.
  • Kitchen Stove: If you have a gas stove, it releases Nitrogen Dioxide when on, an unsafe gas that is odorless and fills your home quickly. This gas is bad for respiration and can cause asthma attacks. To solve this problem, simply make sure you stove is ventilated properly when cooking.
  • Spackle: Old spackle – the kind used before the 1980s often contained asbestos which can still be there, waiting to be disturbed. Old asbestos, while not inherently dangerous, will become so if you start doing work in your home or if the spackle starts to wear away. To solve this problem either call an abatement firm or cover the offending wall with a new layer.
  • Drapes: Those drapes are filled with contaminants that cling there, especially if humidity is a problem in your home. Dust mites in particular are bad for your health and can cause asthma and other allergies. Blinds are better than drapes for this reason.

Your home is filled with potentially dangerous problems, but you can avoid them simply by taking care to ventilate, clear away unsafe products and keep things like drapes clean (or remove them). If you’re still concerned about your air quality, call an expert to investigate.

Steps to Take When Your HVAC System Breaks Down: A Guide From Wimauma

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Imagine this: it’s a sweltering summer day in Wimauma. The humidity outside is obscene, hitting you like a wall when you open the door. So, the only place you want to be is on the couch with the cool air conditioned air being blown across your face. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Now, imagine what happens when your air conditioner stops working.

A breakdown in your HVAC system is the absolute last thing you want to experience on a day where the mercury dings 90+ but it can happen, and the only way to ensure things don’t get out of hand is to take the following steps.

  1. Check Common Problems: While the system itself could be broken, make sure there are no other issues involved. Frequently, the electricity supply can be interrupted by a power surge or a tripped breaker. In both cases, you can usually get the system back online by yourself. However, you should call an electrician to inspect it as soon as possible.
  2. Does it Turn On: If the air conditioning system turns on and simply doesn’t provide enough cooling for your home, it is likely a problem in the unit. In this case, check other common problems. Clogged filters can severely reduce efficiency and if the system freezes over, it may stop providing enough cooling.
  3. Still Not Working? : If the system refuses to turn on and there are not clear problems that you can fix yourself, it’s time to call a professional. A professional HVAC contractor should be available almost any day of the week for emergency calls like this. Of course, in the middle of a heat wave or cold snap, it’s very likely that they may be booked up for a couple days. To avoid this happening, have routine maintenance done as often as recommended to avoid the possibility of being without cooling or heating indefinitely.

A good HVAC system is the only thing standing between you and discomfort, or worse, danger to your health. Don’t let the system go into such disrepair that you can’t use it at all.

Inverter vs. Conventional Models

Friday, June 24th, 2011

When trying to pick out the right air conditioner for your home, you’ll probably stumble across mention of inverter technology. Air conditioners using inverter technology are quite similar to conventional air conditioners in many respects, but they have some distinct advantages under certain circumstances.

What’s the Difference?

A conventional air conditioner is set up to switch on when the indoor temperature reaches a particular level. When it comes on, it introduces cool air at a constant speed until the desired temperature is reached and then it shuts off completely. Your indoor environment remains more or less the same temperature, but you will be blasted periodically with a lot of cold air. While the air conditioner is off, the air in the room gradually warms up until the temperature gets high enough to trigger the air conditioning system to come on again.

An inverter, on the other hand, comes on powerfully at first to achieve the desired temperature, and then reduces its fan speed gradually to maintain that temperature without shutting off completely. This method of cooling maintains the desired temperature more consistently than a conventional system can. It also requires a lot of careful measurements, not only for how much cooling power is needed in your room, but for the speed at which the cool air will dissipate from that room.

Initial Installation

One big reason that more people didn’t opt for an inverter air conditioning system in the past was that the initial installation cost was often considerably higher than that of a conventional system. However, advances in the technology have made inverter air conditioners much more affordable in recent years. Digital programming, more accurate measurements and efficiency in every aspect of the field are responsible for the drop in price.

Savings over Time

While inverter air conditioning systems are still typically more expensive than their conventional counterparts when it comes to initial cost, they provide excellent savings over time that can more than make up for the difference in purchase price. This is particularly true in areas where air conditioners are not running at full blast constantly.

When they are both maxed out, a conventional air conditioner is more efficient than an inverter. But when the temperature is such that a conventional model would switch on and off all of the time, an inverter will easily outstrip it in terms of energy efficiency.

To ensure you get the right model for your home, carefully calculate the difference in installation costs, the amount of cooling your home needs and the current efficiency of your cooling system. If everything lines up perfectly, an inverter system may be right for you.

How to Use AC Most Efficiently

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Air conditioning is definitely something most of us wouldn’t want to try and get through the summer without. And for a lot of people, because of medical or other conditions, it’s an absolute necessity. But just because you need to run your AC unit all summer doesn’t mean you need to suffer under the weight of astronomical cooling costs.

So if you’re interested in ways to save on cooling without sacrificing comfort, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Get a Programmable Thermostat : When you come home at the end of a long day, you want your home to be cool and comfortable. But if you only have a basic thermostat, you would have to leave your air conditioning on all day in order to make this possible. Paying to cool an empty house is probably the last thing you want to do. But what is the alternative?Programmable thermostats offer the best solution in a case like this. These devices can be easily integrated into just about any home air conditioning system and they allow you to set different temperatures for different times of the day. That means you can have your air conditioning off while you’re not home and set it to come on a half hour or so before you get there. This way, you get the pleasure of walking into a cool, comfortable house without paying extra to keep it that way when you’re not home.
  • Incorporate Passive Cooling : The design of your home and how you use it can also have an effect on how hard your air conditioning system needs to work. Taking steps as simple as closing the blinds to block out the afternoon sun, putting up awnings and making sure that the exterior of your home is painted a lighter color to reflect sunlight rather than a darker one that will absorb it are all excellent ways to reduce the load on your air conditioner.
  • Supplement Your System : You can also take a good chunk out of your cooling bills by using things like ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner. A ceiling fan can effectively lower the indoor temperature several degrees on its own, allowing you to set your thermostat a little higher.

Air conditioning is a major expense that most of us are resigned to paying, but there’s no reason to pay more than necessary with so many strategies available to save money.

What Is a Chilled Beam System?

Monday, May 9th, 2011

If you?ve been researching new ways to cool larger office or industrial spaces, chances are you?ve come across information on the chilled beam system. These systems are not suitable for residential use, but they can be extremely effective in other types of applications. They’ve been used more extensively overseas, but are rapidly gaining ground in the US.

How They Work

In a chilled beam system, cooled water is sent through pipes into a beam that runs across the ceiling of an area. The water chills the beam, which in turn passes that chill to the air in the room. As the air in contact with the beam cools, it also becomes denser and sinks, thereby making room for warmer air to rise from below and contact the beam. In this way, air is both cooled and circulated throughout the room.

Active vs Passive

Chilled beam systems are available in both active and passive implementations. Passive systems rely solely on the natural convection currents to circulate air and bring warmer air into contact with the beam. Active systems, on the other hand, make use of a central air handler and ducts to bring new air into contact with the beam and circulate air around the space to be cooled.

Passive systems, of course, use less energy than active ones, but their application is also more limited. Active chilled beam systems are still much more energy efficient than many other types of industrial or commercial cooling systems and they can be integrated into many more types of spaces.

System Advantages

Energy efficiency is certainly a very attractive feature of chilled beam systems, but they have several other solid selling points. For one thing, chilled beams operate extremely quietly because of their lack of moving parts. This also makes them much easier and cheaper to install and maintain. And because of the simplicity of their design, chilled beam systems don’t require that a large amount of space be devoted to a machine room or control center, making them an excellent choice when space is at a premium.

Limitations

Of course, chilled beam systems aren’t without their drawbacks. For one thing, these systems can cost quite a bit more than other more conventional systems because they must be imported from overseas. There is also a limit to how much cooling they can accomplish because if the temperature of the beam itself drops below a certain level, condensation will begin to form.

Can I Choose Environmentally Friendly Coolants?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Air conditioners are indispensable in many parts of the country, but their environmental impact has long been a source of controversy. In particular, the coolants that were used in the earliest air conditioners, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have done quite a bit of damage to the Earth?s protective ozone layer.

When this affect was discovered, countries all over the world acted to have them phased out of production and use in air conditioning. While CFCs have not been produced since 1995, there are still many air conditioning units functioning today that use CFCs. As these units wear out, of course, the CFCs will gradually disappear from use altogether.

Another type of coolant that is commonly used in air conditioners is hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These have a slightly lower environmental impact than their cousin CFCs, but they are still not ideal in terms of preserving the ozone layer and impeding the progress of global warming. HCFCs are gradually being phased out as well, and they will no longer be produced at all by 2030.

However, it is still possible to buy air conditioners that use HCFCs as a coolant, and if you can avoid this, you should. HCFCs are not nearly as environmentally friendly as some of the other options on the market, and if you are concerned about the effect that these types of chemicals can have on our environment, it is best to steer clear of air conditioners that use HCFCs.

So what coolants are considered environmentally friendly? Well, there are actually two options in this regard. The first are hydroflourocarbons (HFCs). Although they are quite similar to CFCs and HCFCs, HFCs do not contain chlorine and so do not do the type of damage that their predecessors were capable of. You can find air conditioners that use HFCs relatively easily by looking for an ?ozone friendly? label on the box.

Refrigerant blends are also becoming a more and more popular environmentally friendly coolant solution for air conditioners as well. Although these types of coolants typically cost more to produce and so can drive up the cost of the air conditioners that use them, they should begin to come down in price as they are more widely adopted across the industry. Just as with HFCs, look for the ?ozone friendly? label to identify air conditioners that use refrigerant blends as coolants.

The Advantages of an Air Conditioning System

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Just about everyone knows that air conditioning systems keep your indoor environment cool and comfortable during the hot summer months. While this may be enough of a benefit for you, there are also some other benefits to having a central air conditioning system installed in your house as well.

For instance, if you have someone in your household who is more susceptible to extreme temperatures than most people, an air conditioning system can actually help improve their overall health. Babies certainly fall into this category, as they have more difficulty than older children or adults do controlling their body temperature.

Also, many elderly people or people suffering from certain medical conditions, particularly heart conditions, are especially sensitive to the heat. If they are unable to stay cool, it can be very dangerous and damaging to their health, and an air conditioning system helps to guarantee that they will be able to stay cool and comfortable even on the hottest days of the year.

Aside from direct health concerns, air conditioning systems can also help to alleviate the symptoms of colds and allergies. They do this by controlling the level of humidity inside your home. If the air in your house is too moist or too dry, it can exacerbate cold and allergy symptoms, as well as dry out skin and make the indoor environment generally uncomfortable.

Proper humidity control is also important because it helps to ensure that any air filtration or purification system you have in place is able to operate at peak efficiency. Many of these units have a hard time extracting particulate contaminants from the indoor air that circulates through them if that air is too humid or too dry. With a state of the art air conditioning system in place, however, you will not have to worry about whether or not the humidity level in your home is out of balance.

It is also worth noting that a central air conditioning system can be preferable to a window mounted unit because it provides for a more even distribution of cool air throughout the house. Also, when you have a central air conditioning system, the condenser which is the source of most of the noise and vibrations that air conditioners make will be located outside and out of earshot. With window mounted units, on the other hand, there is really no way to block out or diminish the noise.

The Energy Efficiency Rating of Central Air Conditioners: What Is it and Why Is it Important?

Monday, March 28th, 2011

When you are shopping for a central air conditioning system, you will have to evaluate your options based on a number of different factors. For instance, you will need to decide which type of system is the best match for your home and for your particular cooling needs. It is also important to make sure that the central air conditioner you choose is the right size for the cooling load it will have to take on.

However, it is also very important to evaluate your central air conditioning options based on how energy efficient they are. This will have a great deal to do with how much you pay in terms of cooling costs each month, which makes it easy to see why you should take it into account before you make a purchase.

The energy efficiency of a central air conditioner is generally expressed as a seasonal energy efficiency rating, or SEER. The SEER numbers you will typically find on the latest air conditioning systems range from eight to 19.5 with the higher numbers signifying a more energy efficient model.

So it is pretty easy to figure out that a central air conditioner with a higher SEER will save you some money monthly because it will use less energy to get the same job done. But central air conditioners with high SEERs also typically have high price tags. So to determine how high of a SEER you need, you will need to know more exactly how much more money you will save as you move up in the rankings.

You can do this by comparing the SEER of the system you currently use with the new system you are considering and compare how much your current energy usage would cost you with each model. Basically, you want to pick a central air conditioner that will save you enough to offset the purchase price of the unit.

Often, this means that you will be best off with a SEER 14 or SEER 16 because these units save you a considerable amount over older models without carrying too high a purchase price. However, the amount you save will be directly related to how much you use your central air conditioning system, so if you live someplace that is extremely hot for a large chunk of the year, it may be worth it for you to buy a very high efficiency air conditioning system.