Posts Tagged ‘Dade City’

Your Tampa Heat Pump’s Settings and Your Comfort Level

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Your Tampa home’s heat pump has a number of settings that can affect your overall comfort level. One of those settings is the fan – which can be set to run automatically when heating is needed or left on continuously so that the device never turns off. Which is better for your home, though? Let’s take a look.

Comfort vs. Economy

The reason there are two settings on your heat pump is that one is more economical. The auto setting allows the device to minimize how often it is on. So, it only turns on when the house needs warm air to maintain the thermostat setting.

On the other hand, the always on setting is designed to provide better comfort. When you leave your heat pump’s fan on continuously, it provides steady heat over time. This means that the temperature remains consistent and mixes the air to ensure there are no uncomfortable pockets of poorly conditioned air in your home somewhere.

Which Is Better?

In terms of comfort level, it depends on your needs. If you’re not too picky about the exact temperature of your home, the auto setting is best because you will save money and it tends to be fairly accurate. However, if you want to ensure you and your family are perfectly comfortable, regardless of the weather outside, the always on setting is the best way to achieve this level of comfort.

Of course, if you’re concerned about the added cost of leaving the heat pump fan on all the time, you can adjust the thermostat to even out the cost. By raising the thermostat 2 degrees in the summer and lowering it 2 degrees in the winter, the added cost of running it constantly should be offset. If it isn’t, you should have your device inspected to ensure both of the settings are properly calibrated.

What to Do When Your New Tampa Heat Pump Isn’t Getting the Job Done

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

The heat pump in your New Tampa home is designed to provide steady, reliable heat in your home throughout the year. So, what do you do when your heat pump suddenly stops producing enough heat? The first step is to figure out why exactly your heat pump has stopped working properly. From there, you can take action to get it back on track.

Reasons Your Heat Pump Isn’t Producing Heat

There are a number of reasons a heat pump might stop producing enough heat. Here are some of the most common ones you’ll encounter:

  • Too Cold Outside – A heat pump can only handle temperatures so low. Most heat pumps are rated for outside temperatures as low as 40 degrees F (though they work best at 50 degrees F and up). If the outside temperature gets below the 37 degree F mark, it’s likely the system won’t be able to produce enough heat. Remember, however, that you should have an emergency heat source. If it isn’t on but the outside temperature is below 37 degrees F, you may have a problem with the outdoor thermostat or emergency switch.
  • Fans – The fans on your heat pump may not be working properly. Simply check this by increasing the thermostat setting on your heat pump. If the fan never comes on, there could be an electrical or mechanical problem in your fan.
  • Thermostat Readings – A simple problem that can stall your heat pump is thermostat failure or calibration problems. Check the thermostat to see if it is working properly and if not, call a professional.
  • Refrigerant – If the refrigerant gets low in your heat pump, you may need to have it recharged. This is a quick and relatively inexpensive process so call for a heating contractor as soon as you notice the problem.

If your heat pump isn’t working properly, don’t wait for it to break completely or for the temperature outside to become unbearable. Call for help immediately and get your heat pump fixed before it’s too late. Even a seemingly simple problem can quickly turn into a major issue if it isn’t dealt with immediately.

Is Your Heat Pump On Way too Often? A Tip from Temple Terrace

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

If your heat pump has suddenly started turning on when it clearly isn’t needed, there might be a problem. But, before you call your Temple Terrace HVAC repairman and spend a lot of money to have it inspected, consider a few common solutions that you can take care of on your own.

Check the Mode

Step one is to check the mode of your heat pump. Make sure it is in the mode you expect it to be in. If the weather outside is mild especially, it’s often best to leave your heat pump in auto so that it doesn’t turn on when not needed. Leaving it set to “on” all the time will result in it turning on even when the heating or cooling elements aren’t needed.

Indoor and Outdoor Thermostats

You should also check the thermostats both inside and outside to make sure they are accurate. If the thermostat reading isn’t accurate, the heat pump will turn on unnecessarily and frequently. If you’re unsure how to check the thermostat settings for your particular heat pump model, consult the owner’s manual or contact a professional to inspect and repair the problem.

Keep in mind that heat pumps are designed to run constantly in cold weather – it’s necessary to keep your home comfortable (the cooling component should never do this so call for service if it does).

Other Issues

There are some other issues you can check to make sure your heat pump isn’t broken. Check the outdoor unit for ice – which can directly affect the thermostat settings. Check the return duct work as well for leakages, which can reduce efficiency and force it to keep operating when not needed. Poor insulation in your house can cause problems as well, especially in the attic, where cold air can be pulled in and affect thermostat settings, even when you don’t notice the cold.

If none of these things are the problem, it may be time to call for professional assistance. Things like bad compressor valves, AC mode starting in the winter or refrigerant problems all need to be fixed by a Temple Terrace HVAC professional.

How to Get My Furnace Ready for Winter: A Tip from a Lithia Heating Contractor

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Being cold in the winter is normal – as long as you are outside. But you shouldn’t be cold inside your Lithia home. If that happens, the first place to look to is your furnace, which may not be working correctly. Furnaces are like any other piece of mechanical equipment. They need to be maintained and serviced on a regular basis to ensure they are working at peak efficiency and warming your entire home at your desired comfort level.

First of all, check and see when you last had your furnace serviced. If it has been over one year ago, you should schedule a maintenance inspection from your local qualified heating and cooling professional. And when you make that appointment, ask about service agreements and getting on a regular maintenance schedule. Most heating and cooling contractors offer service agreement plans which include furnace and air conditioning check-ups on an annual basis.

Okay, so you know who to call for maintenance but what can you do yourself? First of all, give your furnace a little ‘help’ by checking the vents and returns throughout the house. Ensure that there are no obstructions or blockages such as rugs, clothing, furniture, etc. You need to have unobstructed paths for your heated and return air to flow. The more congested the path, the harder your furnace will have to work. And while you’re at it, make sure your vents are open or closed, depending on how much you use your rooms. For example, if you have an extra bedroom that doesn’t need to be heated, closed off the vent or close the damper in the ductwork. The heated air will be diverted to other parts of your home where it is needed.

You can also help the airflow by vacuuming the vent cover or removing it and vacuuming any of the ductwork that you can easily get to. For a more thorough job consider calling a qualified and professional duct cleaning contractor. Many heating and cooling contractors also offer duct cleaning service, too.

Another maintenance function that you can perform is cleaning or replacing the furnace filter. Depending on the size of your home and its air quality (occupants, pets, etc.), you may want to clean or replace your air filter every one to three months. A dirty filter can restrict airflow and can put contaminants like dirt and dust right back into your air system. If you don’t know how to replace your air filter, consult the furnace owner’s manual or go online to learn more. If your furnace uses an electrostatic air filter, it will need to be removed and cleaned, either by using a hose or with soapy water and a hose. Make sure you let it dry before re-installing it.

You may also want to inspect any electrical wires around your furnace to ensure none are broken or frayed. A visual inspection should be good enough.

Once you have done what you can, let your heating and cooling professional take over from there. They are licensed and trained to inspect your furnace and ensure that it is in peak operating condition.

How to Calibrate Your Thermostat: A Guide from Dade City

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Have you ever set the thermostat in your Dade City home to a desired temperature and ‘hoped for the best’? Maybe it’s because the temperature setting you expected this finely tuned instrument to maintain just isn’t right. You may see 70 degrees on the thermostat but the home feels more like 65 degrees. In fact, if you used a hand-held thermostat, you might get real proof that your thermostat is not working like it should.

There are reasons for a malfunctioning thermostat and solutions to correct them, namely calibration. First, let’s look at some reasons why a thermostat can be out of kilter.

The first thing to note is that thermostats are very sensitive instruments and change to the slightest changes in temperature. An incorrectly installed thermostat or one that is accidentally bumped or jarred can malfunction. It may wind up out of level, causing it to operate incorrectly. Possibly the most common problem affecting accuracy is a build-up of dirt, which can affect the calibration of the thermostat. Other problems may be caused by loose wiring.

Here are some steps you can take to check your thermostat for accuracy and recommended actions.

  1. Use a standard glass thermometer to check the room temperature. You should mount it on the wall nearby your thermostat and use some padding to keep it from actually coming in contact with the wall, which could affect the readings.
  2. Wait 15-30 minutes for the thermometer to adjust to the temperature and enable it to give the most accurate reading. Once the time has elapsed, compare its temperature reading to that on your thermostat.
  3. If there is more than a one degree variation, your thermostat may be dirty. Remove its faceplate and examine it. If there is dirt or dust inside, blow it out. If you can reach the contact points, you can clean them with a new dollar bill (and speaking of dollars, a clean and accurate thermostat will make your furnace run more efficiently and save you money on your utility bill).
  4. Some thermostats use a mercury vial which can indicate if the thermostat is level or not. If it is not level, a simple adjustment using a screwdriver may do the trick. In the worst case, you may have to remove the thermostat and drill a new hole to reinstall the mounting screw in a different location.
  5. Now that you have made these corrections, check both thermostats to see if the temperatures match. If they don’t, try steps 3 and 4 again. If that still doesn’t work, your problem may be more than just a dirty, lopsided thermostat. You may need to replace the thermostat – or even look at the heating system in its entirety. It could be time to call a professional heating contractor to check out your entire system.

Today’s thermostats have few working components but are very sensitive, advanced instruments. It takes little to throw off a thermostat but luckily, it takes little effort to correct the resulting problems.

Looking at Moving to a New House: What to Look for in HVAC and Plumbing

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

What are the Minimum Efficiency and Maximum Age of a Furnace?

Most homeowners overlook simple things like the maintenance and age of their furnace. However, if you know exactly what your furnace should do and how long it should last, you’ll be better prepared to setup your maintenance visits and start looking for a new model. So, how do you tell what your furnace should provide? Here are some easy tips.

The AFUE Rating

Furnaces built in the last 20 years come with an AFUE rating that tells you how much of the fuel they consume is effectively converted into heat. If your home’s furnace has an AFUE of 80% that means it will effectively convert 80% of the fuel it consumes into heat. However, if your furnace has an AFUE of 98% it will convert 98% of the fuel it consumes into heat.

These ratings are designed to show you what to expect from your system from month to month. If the furnace suddenly starts using far more energy and produces the same amount of heat, you know that the AFUE is no longer accurate. It’s either a sign of a problem or that your furnace needs to be replaced.

Maximum Age

No manufacturer likes to give a maximum age for their furnaces because they can last for much longer than originally rated in many cases. However, most furnaces will come with at least a 10 year limited warranty for the heat exchanger and a 10 year limited warranty for the parts. So, if you take good care of your system, they expect it to last at least 10 years.

However, if you maintain your system annually, check the filters throughout the winter and don’t push it too hard when it gets cold out, your system could last even longer than the limited warranty, allowing you to enjoy an efficient furnace for years to come.

Moving In

While you’ll have your new home inspected, a working furnace doesn’t necessarily mean a good furnace. Make sure to learn just how old the furnace is, how much maintenance it needs, and the level of efficiency you can expect. It may be in your best interest to simply have it replaced now and start saving on your energy bill immediately instead of two or three years down the road as it continues to get worse.

Is it Cost Effective to Use a Ceiling Fan and AC at the Same Time?

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

There are a lot of ways to keep your house cool in the summer, and chances are you’ve incorporated more than one of them into your home already. For instance, ceiling fans are great and can really keep you comfortable in moderately hot weather. But when the heat and humidity really start to pick up during the dog days of August, you need something a little more powerful to take the edge off, and that’s usually some type of air conditioner.

One or the Other?

If you’re like most people, you switch off your ceiling fan when the AC comes on. After all, the air conditioner is powerful enough to cool the house on its own. So is it really worth it to expend energy running another, secondary cooling device?

In fact, it is. Ceiling fans in particular use very little energy. Yet they’re quite effective at making your home feel cool and comfortable. So there’s really no reason not to take advantage of their benefits while running your AC.

Cutting Costs

You might be surprised to learn that far from being a waste of energy, using your ceiling fan and AC at the same time can actually save you money. That’s because the cooling power of the fan allows you to turn up the thermostat on your AC unit a couple of degrees without compromising your comfort levels.

And turning up the thermostat on the AC just that small amount will translate into pretty substantial savings on your monthly energy bills. That savings will more than pay for the cost of running the ceiling fan, and you save money.

Better Air Circulation

Running the ceiling fan with the AC on or off is always helpful in terms of promoting good air circulation throughout your house. And the more air circulates, the more comfortable your indoor environment will be. Good air circulation is also important because it helps to minimize the number of air contaminants that build up inside.

More Efficient Heating

The benefits of ceiling fans don’t stop with cooling either. In fact, you can run them in reverse to help maintain even heating in the winter. Essentially, there are few investments you can make that will serve you better throughout the year than a ceiling fan regardless of the other home heating and cooling systems you have in place.

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 to Do Before Turning on AC for First Time

Friday, May 13th, 2011

The weather is starting to heat up and you are eager to flip the switch on your air conditioning system for the first time. It?s been sitting there since spring, waiting to be used, but now you wonder if there are any tasks that should be completed before its first use. Depending on the type of system you had installed there are a few things you should keep in mind before you cool down your house. They include:

  • Outdoor Cleaning ? First, make sure the outdoor unit (if you have a central AC system) is cleaned up nicely. Clear away any leaves, remove the cover and check the system for any growth or debris that might have gotten under the cover. Check the air supply registers to make sure they are open and either replace or clean your filters depending on whether they are permanent or disposable.
  • Check Your Thermostat ? The thermostat should be checked before you start using the system. To do this, set the system to Auto-cool and then lower the thermostat setting to one degree lower than the actual temperature in the room. If the system turns on, the thermostat is working properly. Let it run for a few hours to make sure this stays consistent.
  • Clear Away Winter and Spring Dust ? Now that your system is running, make sure you check the filters for any buildup of dust that was in the ductwork. Over the off season, your ducts might develop a layer of dust and debris, especially if your heating system doesn’t make use of them. The filters might clog quickly as a result.
  • Check for Water Leaks ? Your condensate overflow drain should work properly as well ? check for any potential leaks during the first 48 hours of operation. Even a small leak should be checked immediately to avoid potential problems as summer cooling season kicks in.

If you notice any problems other than those listed above, you should call a service professional immediately. Ideally you will have your system inspected in early-mid spring to ensure it is ready for the summer, but even so problems can develop between inspection and first running. Electrical issues especially should be checked immediately.

How to Add Freon to a Central Air Conditioning Unit

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

An air conditioner cannot cool your home without an adequate amount of Freon. So if you?ve noticed a drop off in the cooling power of your central air conditioning system, inadequate Freon levels may be the culprit. But before you try to add more Freon to your unit, there are several things you need to know.

Low Freon Means a Leak

The truth is that your central air conditioning system should never need to be ?topped off? with Freon. The coolant in your unit is part of a closed loop system and doesn’t get used up like fuel. Instead it continues to circulate through your compressor, absorbing and releasing heat to keep the air passing through it cool and comfortable.

If the level of Freon inside your air conditioner drops below the proper level, it generally means there’s a leak somewhere in your system and you’ll need a qualified professional to find that leak and make the necessary repairs.

Professional Access and Expertise

Even if you?re inclined to add Freon to your unit, you’ll probably have a hard time getting your hands on it. As an EPA regulated substance, Freon can only be purchased by EPA certified technicians. If you?re able to purchase this type of coolant for your air conditioner, you’ll need to make sure you know what type your unit uses. Most air conditioners these days use either R22 or R-134a. It?s important that you only use the type of Freon that your air conditioner is built for.

Potential for Harm

Freon is regulated so strictly because it is an extremely hazardous substance. It can harm you or your family and it can do a lot of damage if accidentally released into the atmosphere. To top everything off, if you do accidentally release it, you could be subject to some hefty EPA fines.

In extreme cases, you can do irreparable damage to your air conditioning system by trying to add Freon inappropriately or without proper training. For all of these reasons, it?s best to let a certified professional check and, if necessary, top off the Freon levels in your AC system. For the minimal cost of this service, you can avoid risking the health and safety of your family as well as that of your AC system.