Posts Tagged ‘Hernando County’

Tampa Indoor Air Quality Guide: What Makes A Home Healthy?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

You may think of your Tampa home as safe from pollution, unfortunately, there are ways that contaminants can enter your home. By taking some simple precautions, however, you can maintain a healthy home environment for yourself and your family.

Breathe Easier

Air quality is an important factor in good health, and just because you close the door behind you when you come home does not mean potentially contaminated air can’t creep into the house. Here are some tips to help you breathe easier:

  • Inspect your home’s ventilation system every spring to ensure it is good repair. Change the filter annually and keep the vents clean.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors around your home, especially near appliances and fireplaces.
  • Do not smoke and do not allow others to smoke inside.
  • Have your ducts cleaned to get rid of dust and allergens

Hydrate Safely

Depending on where you live, your water supply may be at risk for a number of different contaminants. Being aware of the risks that exist in your local area is important, as is taking steps to keep the water you drink clean and healthy. Some examples include:

  • Test well water for bacteria and nitrates. E. coli for example can live in well water and cause infection, so have your well treated at the first sign.
  • If you have lead pipes in your home, have them replaced. Lead is a neurotoxin that can build up and poison you over time.
  • Use a purification system to cleanse your water of chlorine, heavy metals, nitrates, and other potential contaminants that may have run into the local water table.

Keep It Clean

Finally, the most basic way to ensure you have a healthy home is to practice good hygiene and cleaning habits:

  • Disinfect bathroom and kitchen surfaces to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Vacuum regularly to prevent dust and allergen buildup.
  • Wash dishes and utensils after use, especially after contact with raw food.
  • Wash linens weekly in hot water to kill microbes and prevent the spread of disease.
  • As always, the most important of all: wash your hands, and encourage children to do the same.

Simple, careful practices like these will make a positive impact on your health and that of your family.

If you have any questions about how to improve the indoor air quality in your Tampa home, give Air National a call today!

 

Elfers Heat Pump Question: Do Heat Pumps Help with Humidity?

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Humidity is a big problem for a lot of families in Elfers. When not properly controlled, excess humidity can lead to damage to your furniture, excess mold growth and dust mites. This is a big problem. Fortunately, if you have a new heat pump, you have a strong weapon against excess humidity.

Air conditioning has long been a natural dehumidifier. Because the process works through evaporation and condensation, water can be extracted from the air by the device whenever it is on.

However, for your heat pump to truly provide the dehumidification you need to remain comfortable, it must first have a dehumidification setting – often called the “dry” cycle. During this cycle, the device will dehumidify your home, pulling air from inside the house and extracting moisture from it through the indoor evaporator coils.

Dry cycling is effective because it doesn’t draw new air in from outside to heat or cool your Elfers home. It uses the same air already in your home and can therefore remove humidity over time. While new air is draw into your home through vents, the system is designed to continuously cycle the humidity out of the air and keep you from being uncomfortable.

Choosing the Right Heat Pump for Humidity Control

Not all heat pumps offer humidity control settings, so you should talk to a professional about your needs before selecting a new model for your home. Make sure it offers the dehumidification options you’re looking for and can cover the full area of your home.

Lacoochee Heating Repair Tip: Causes of Delayed Furnace Ignition

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Delayed ignition is usually accompanied by a loud banging or booming sound that resembles a small explosion in your gas appliance. In your Lacoochee home’s furnace, this can be terrifying and should never be ignored.

What Causes Delayed Ignition

Delayed ignition usually happens when you first turn on your furnace, often after a long delay between use, so usually early in the fall or late in the spring when you don’t necessarily have it on every day of the week.

What happens is moisture builds up over the course of a period of inactivity and begins to corrode the firebox in your furnace. That corrosion builds up to the point that it starts to block the ports that feed gas into the burners. When these ports get blocked, the burners down the line cannot light and when you flip the switch, they won’t light immediately.

Of course, while rust and corrosion are a risk, lint and dust can be equally problematic (and are more common if you don’t have your furnace cleaned properly each fall). Sulfur build up is also a possibility, as it is left behind by burning natural gas. It will appear as a layer of white on the surface of the burners or the pilot light.

When all of this happens and the ports are not cleaned properly, gas will build up in the chamber after it is turned on and, when it finally ignites, create the small boom sound. It doesn’t just sound like an explosion – it is one – and if ignored, it can become incredibly dangerous.

Solving the Problem

Delayed furnace ignition is an easy problem to avoid. All you need to do is have your furnace cleaned properly before turning it on each fall. A technician will clean the burners and ports and remove any dust, lint, rust or sulfur buildup that might block ignition and cause a delay.

When replacing your furnace, look for a device with corrosion resistant materials. You can learn more about these when it comes time to replace your furnace from a Lacoochee technician. Most importantly, be careful. It may be a small problem now, but if left to build up over time, that small boom can become a much larger one.

Why AFUE Ratings Matter When Installing a New Furnace in Your Tampa Home

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

When you are in the market for a new furnace for your Tampa home, there are several reasons you should pay attention to the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. All newer model furnaces get an AFUE percentage, which measures how much fuel a particular model converts into heat. Furnaces with higher AFUE ratings are more efficient, but the size and type of furnace will also factor into how much you’ll save on energy costs.

Understanding the AFUE Ratio

The minimum AFUE rating for new furnaces is 78%. This means that seventy-eight percent of the fuel is turned into heat, and the remaining percentage is lost either through poor insulation, air leaks, or the ventilation system in the home. Because there’s no heat loss through a chimney flue, some all-electric furnaces can have an AFUE rating as high as 98%. However, if the cost of electricity used to meet your normal heating needs is higher than the efficiency savings, you may want to consider other options. Talk to a qualified HVAC contractor for advice about the most cost-efficient heater for your home.

Furnace Efficiency Features

Furnaces manufactured 15-20 years ago have significantly lower AFUE ratings (between 55%-70% for most older models) because they are typically single-stage, or single-speed systems. Single-stage furnaces are less efficient because they are designed to cycle on at full capacity and shut off when the desired temperature is met.  Newer, two-speed models have a second setting that runs consistently at a lower speed, which saves energy by burning less fuel. Multispeed furnaces that have variable-speed blowers are the most efficient because they operate at various levels and automatically adjust to the thermostat to maintain a constant temperature.

If you look at the AFUE ratings for multispeed and variable-speed furnaces, the ratios should be above 80%. Keep in mind that this only determines the efficiency levels for the furnace itself. You’ll need to factor in whether or not your home has proper insulation and other upgrades, such as double-paned windows and doors.

Call Air National to speak with one of our qualified HVAC technicians about a furnace upgrade for your Tampa home.

Troubleshooting Your Problematic Brandon Heat Pump

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

If your Brandon home’s heat pump isn’t working properly, there are a number of things that might be wrong. But, where do you start and how do you solve these problems quickly and inexpensively? Here are some tips for common heat pump problems.

Low Air Flow

Your heat pump is designed to provide steady air flow to the entire house. When it was originally installed, the technician sized it to do so. If it suddenly stops providing enough air flow to your entire house or if the air flow it provides isn’t as comfortable as you’re used to, something is probably wrong.

More specifically, there is likely an issue with the heat pump itself since the device will compensate for most external problems by running longer and harder. A quick inspection will often rule out serious problems, so you should have someone inspect your device as soon as you notice a problem.

Leaky Duct

If there is an external problem, such as leaky ductwork, it tends not to be as noticeable right away. Often, when ducts are leaking, air flow problems will occur only in certain rooms of your home. Even then, the heat pump might be able to maintain the right temperature in those rooms – you’ll just have a higher energy bill because of the energy loss in the ductwork.

The best way to determine what is happening and how best to tackle the problem is to have someone test your ductwork for leaks, a relatively quick process.

High Energy Bill

If your energy bill suddenly increases dramatically, it is usually due to energy loss somewhere in the transfer between the heat pump and the rooms of your home. Leaky ducts can be the culprit, but so too can the air handler or the heat pump itself. If you notice a sudden increase in your energy bill, look for other symptoms like uneven heating or cooling in certain parts of your home or noises coming from the ductwork or your air handler.

No matter what other symptoms accompany the increase, you probably need repairs. Your home may still be comfortable now, but the heat pump can only make up for the problem for so long and in the interim, it is being put under excessive stress that reduces its lifespan.

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.

A Guide from a Tampa Contractor: Just How Much Heat Can a Heat Pump Produce?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Heat pumps are interesting devices in how they operate. They quite literally draw heat from the air outside and transfer it into your Brandon home. But, how exactly does this work? It’s actually surprisingly simple.

Heat is energy and energy is in all things. As air cools, it has less energy, but it still has some energy. A heat pump can extract that energy from the outdoor air at temperatures much cooler than you’d expect. However, there is a limit. For example, most heat pumps work best at temperatures at or above 50 degrees F. Those same heat pumps tend to only produce heat down to temperatures of between 40 and 50 degrees F and almost no heat pumps will produce sufficient heat after they reach the 37 degree F mark.

Supplemental Emergency Heat Is a Must

Because heat pumps are only effective as long as the temperature outside is warmer than your refrigerator, you should have an emergency source of heat – usually a gas or electric furnace. Some heat pumps come in packaged systems that include a small gas or electric heating unit to provide supplemental heat. Others can be connected to an existing furnace in your home’s heating system. Your technician can outline for you the best setup for supplemental, emergency heat.

Maximizing Efficiency

To ensure your heat pump draws as much heat as possible during the cooler months of the year, perform regular maintenance and keep the area around the device clear. Ice, snow or even water can cool the air around the device further and make it hard to extract enough energy to warm your home. Clean your filters on schedule as well and make sure your heat pump is properly serviced by a professional every fall, before the heating season begins. A well maintained heat pump will work through the majority of the fall and winter.

Is Your Durant Heat Pump Malfunctioning?

Monday, December 5th, 2011

In a perfect world, you would never have to worry about things like malfunctions or repairs in Durant. Everything would just work without ever needing to be maintained or fixed, and you could spend your time on energy on more enjoyable pursuits.

Unfortunately, no such perfect world exists. Things wear out and break down, often at the least opportune time. And of course, your heat pump is not immune. Despite being a great all around machine, a heat pump can malfunction, just like anything else.

But how can you know whether your heat pump is not working right? Here are some signs and symptoms that are often indicative of common heat pump problems:

  1. Too Much Noise – Whether emanating from your car or your usually quiet heat pump, noises are often the first sign that something is amiss. You should expect your heat pump to make some noise; the compressor and air handler are two culprits. However, if it starts making more noise than it did before, something may be up. Sometimes this is as simple as some loose fittings, but it’s still something that should be checked out.
  2. The House Is Too Cold – Obviously, if you get a heat pump to heat your house, you expect it to do just that. So, if your home is too chilly, you know something is amiss. If it’s way too cold, the heat pump may not be running at all, which can be the result of a serious malfunction. If it is only a few degrees below where you set it, it may be a different problem. It could be that something is malfunctioning in the heat pump, but it could also be that the outside air is too cold for the heat pump to keep the house warm. In that case, the best solution is supplemental heating.
  3. The Heat Pump Turns Off Too Soon – If your heat pump seems to be shutting off too quickly, it may be short cycling. That means that it is turning off before getting through its entire heating or cooling cycle. Frequently this is simply caused by dirt or debris around the outdoor coil, in the air handler or in the filter. Check these areas out and clean them. In general, you will want to keep the various components of your heat pump clean in order to ensure the best performance.

These are just some of the main symptoms of common problems. Other things can go wrong with your heat pump, although it is not very likely. As a general rule, if you notice your heat pump performing strangely or doing something it hasn’t done before, it’s best to get it checked out by a professional.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! We plan to celebrate by eating lots of turkey and enjoying some time with our loved ones, and we hope you have a great day of food and fun! Thanks for choosing us as your contractor. Here is a recipe from allrecipes.com for Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake, a treat that will get your holiday started off right!

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

“Cheesecake lovers will applaud this addition to the holiday dessert selection. A layer of traditional cheesecake is topped with a layer of pumpkin pie flavored cheesecake and baked. ”

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
  3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

For more details, click here.