Posts Tagged ‘Hillsborough County’

Wesley Chapel HVAC Question: What Do You Have to Learn to Be an HVAC Tech?

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

No matter how the style, usage and materials change in buildings, there will always be the need in Wesley Chapel to heat the spaces comfortably in winter and cool them affordably in the hot days of summer.  The wide variety and complication of systems requires certain knowledge to maintain and install them.

If you’re looking for a dependable and lucrative career, being an HVAC technician makes good dollars and sense.  As either a self-employed Wesley Chapel contractor or as part of a larger company, the business of heating and air-conditioning homes, businesses and institutions is sure to be always available.

Areas of Focus

Depending on the interests of the individual, there are various ways to be involved with HVAC systems.  Some choose to participate only in the initial stages of designing, estimating and selling systems to the customer.  Others focus on the installation while still others are only involved with the regular maintenance and service of existing systems.

An independent sub-contractor may need to be expert in all areas of HVAC systems where a team of technicians can concentrate on their selected interests.

The Road to Certification

HVAC refers to many different kinds of systems powered by numerous different types of energy.  Improvements in the technology create an ever changing fast paced body of required knowledge.  Experience is the best teacher but cannot alone keep technicians up to date.

Most certification programs are based on three to four year apprenticeships combining on the job training with classroom lessons. In community colleges and vocational tech schools, a shorter period is required, only two years for an associate degree that teaches the basics of repair and maintenance as well as installation.

No matter which way you choose, final certification is given by either the North American Technician Excellence program or the Air Conditioning Excellence Coalition.  With an official certification in the HVAC field, prospects for better employment and higher wages are nearly guaranteed.

What to Learn

HVAC systems are very technical and full of details.  Installation and maintenance of the systems requires many skills, including working with different kinds of piping, motors, pumps, compressors, ductwork, screens and filters.  You learn the difference between boilers and furnaces, refrigerators, coolers and air-conditioners.

There is so much variety and detail to learn that many individuals choose to focus primarily one or several areas instead of trying to be fully expert about all parts.  No matter the focus, an HVAC tech has opened the door to a satisfying career and steady income.

To speak to fully qualified HVAC technician for help with your heating and air conditioning problems today, give Air National Heating & Air Conditioning a call!

Carollwood HVAC Tip: Seasonal Air Quality Control

Friday, February 17th, 2012

For people who suffer from seasonal allergies in Carollwood, air quality is a key concern. Allergens in the air cause brutal bouts of sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and even sinus headaches. Even taking refuge indoors will often not assuage these symptoms, as indoor air is often comparable to outdoor air in terms of allergens and overall quality.

That is, unless you take care to control the seasonal air quality in your Carollwood home, which can not only help ease the suffering of allergies, but also soothe asthmatics, keep out pollutants and generally promote better overall health.

How do you go about controlling the air quality in your home? To start, try these simple tips:

  1. Vacuum carpets regularly. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and invest in some allergen suppressing bags.
  2. Keep your vents clean. This is also a good maintenance practice to lengthen the life of your ventilation equipment.
  3. Dust hard surfaces and wash bed linens weekly.
  4. Install HEPA filters in your ventilation system, such as in air conditioners or other air handler units. Use a higher rated filter to keep out more allergens and pollutants.
  5. Invest in and use an air purifier. Again, make sure to get one with a HEPA filter.
  6. Have your home tested for radon and carbon monoxide. Have smoke, carbon monoxide and radon detectors working properly at all times.
  7. Keep doors and windows closed tight, especially during allergy season(s).

By taking charge of the air quality in your home, you also take control of a measure of your family’s health. Some of these measures require at least a bit of an investment – for example, higher rated HEPA air filters are often more expensive and need to be changed more frequently – but the benefits to your well being and that of your family are clearly well worth it. If you have any questions about how to improve your indoor air quality, give Air National a call today!

 

Balm Heating Repair Tip: Things to Try Before Calling a Professional

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Your Balm home’s HVAC system can seem like very daunting and complex equipment, which can be intimidating to even fully imagine, let alone try to work on by yourself. While it’s true that HVAC equipment can be complicated and needs the attention of a skilled professional more often than most homeowners would like, there are still ways for the DIY-ers out there to work on their HVAC systems before resorting to calling in the pros.

There are some common culprits when it comes to most HVAC problems and malfunctions, so if something goes awry in the operation of your equipment, there are some basic measures you can try to get things back on track.

If any of these work, you have saved the cost of the repair and get the satisfaction of a job well done:

  • Turn all switches – indoors and outdoors – off, then back on again. Do the same thing with the pertinent circuit breakers. Sometimes the system just needs a hard reset to jolt it back to life.
  • Check your thermostat. Is the temperature set where it is supposed to be? If it is too high or too low, the HVAC system will stay on too long or shut itself off too quickly.
  • Make sure your system is in the right mode for the season. It may sound obvious, but for whatever reason, sometimes things wind up in heating mode during cooling season.
  • Check your filters. Clean and/or replace them as necessary. (You do this once a month anyway, right?)
  • Inspect the vents around your home to see if any are blocked, clogged or excessively dirty. Vents that don’t properly circulate the air can cause all kinds of problems within an HVAC system.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the things that can go wrong with an HVAC system, but it is at least the usual suspects for the most simple and common problems that many homeowners encounter. After trying these out, if you are still experiencing difficulties, then it is probably time to call a professional to have a look at the problem.

Electric Furnace Maintenance Tips from Dunedin

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Electric heat is clean – but Dunedin homeowners pay for that cleanliness with high utility bills. Depending on the area of the country, electric bills can rival those of gas, oil, or propane. So it is only natural to assume that an efficiently running electric furnace is a must for homeowners who are looking to keep their energy costs down.

Electric furnaces are fairly simple machines. They use heating elements to warm the air, which is then distributed through the ventilation system via a fan or blower. The heating element is made up of a metal wire that is heated by normal electrical current. The element is used to warm or heat something, much like the function of an oven or toaster. Their operation is fairly simple – either they work or they don’t.

When a heating element fails it is usually because it is broken, bend, or misshapen. When that happens, it is time to replace it. You can do some preventive maintenance with a visual inspection of your heating elements. If your inspection does not reveal any problems, you can test the element for continuity. You should know how to use an ohmmeter to test it or ask a professional heating and cooling technician to check the elements for you.

Speaking of visual inspection, you can do a quick check for any frayed or damaged wires, which can be a source for wasted electricity, too. Another way to ensure that your electric furnace is running efficiently is to replace or clean your furnace filters on a regular basis. A clogged filter can make a furnace work harder and lead to premature mechanical failure.

And obviously, if the furnace is not working it is best to check for any blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers in the main electrical panel box. If you find one, make sure you replace it with another of the correct amperage.

Lastly, check to make sure the blower motor is operating correctly. You can have perfectly working elements but if the blower can’t push the warm air through your ventilation system, then all of the steps to ensure the electricity is working are for naught. You can usually hear a noisy motor or smell one that isn’t working improperly. Check it on a regular basis and check the fan belt for any damage or slippage, too.

As you have read, an electric furnace is a very simple machine with simple working parts. Maintaining it is just as simple.

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.

Five Important HVAC Maintenance Tips from Bay Pines

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Do you have a ‘mental checklist’ of chores that need to be done a regular basis around your Bay Pines home, such as cleaning the window treatments, washing windows, shampooing rugs, etc.? There are various areas of your home that need regular maintenance and cleaning – and that list includes your heating and cooling (HVAC) equipment. Do you know a poorly operating furnace can cost you in increased energy usage and higher utility bills? That same poorly operating furnace can be discharging harmful carbon monoxide gas into your home, creating a health risk.

So, it is important to keep your furnace in peak operating condition and the best way to do that is by making a checklist of HVAC maintenance tasks. Let’s look at five of them.

  1. Check your filters. Routine replacement of your furnace filters should be every 1-3 months, depending on the indoor air quality of your home, number of occupants, size, etc. You can purchase disposable filters online, at a local ‘big box’ retailer, or from your local HVAC contractor. A visual inspection of your filter is the best way to determine if it needs replacing. If you have a removable electronic filter, it should be cleaned every few months using soapy water and a hose. Any restrictions to air flow through the filters can lead to poor indoor air quality and will cause your furnace to work even harder to circulate warm air through your duct system.
  2. Clean and insect the blower assembly and motor. You can do this with a vacuum. Also check the fan belt to make sure it is not too loose or if it has any cracks or splits.
  3. Look for any obstructions in vents and returns. Believe it or not, your furnace needs ‘help’ to operate. Any build-up of dirt or debris around the grilles of your ventilation system will just make your furnace work a lot harder. Do a visual check inside and outside and pay special attention to flues and chimneys, where indoor air is exhausted. Any blockage can result in an accumulation of poisonous carbon monoxide gas.
  4. Keep the area clean and clear around your furnace. Never store flammable liquids near your heating equipment. Your furnace room is not a storage closet.
  5. Revisit your home’s insulation. When was the last time you checked out the insulation in your attic or crawlspace? Is it securely in place or drooping down? Are there bald spots where the insulation has deteriorated? Is the insulation sufficient or should it be upgrade?

How Can I Be Sure My Home’s Air is Safe? A Question from Bartow

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

There are many ways to ensure your Bartow home’s air is safe to breathe, but the easiest is to have it tested regularly and to use proper filtration and ventilation. However, there are a lot of different filtration methods, so here are a few known to work best.

Air Filtration

If you have pets or a lot of plants, air filters are a great idea because they remove most of the larger particles that get into our air supply. This includes things like pet dander, pollen, mold, and other particles like dust. If you have allergies or someone in your home has asthma of any kind, this is the best way to be sure they don’t breathe anything they shouldn’t.

Air filtration is also very simple to install and inexpensive to maintain. Just be sure you opt for HEPA air filters. They are the best on the market and are certified to capture much smaller particles than any other filters, plus they tend to last quite a bit longer.

Air Purification

For big time air cleaning, you want to go with an electronic air purifier. These machines will actually ionize the air in your home to separate out smaller particles such as gas, smoke, or pathogens like bacteria and viruses. They can also capture some larger particles like mold and dust mites. The key to effective air purification is to use it in conjunction with a good air filter.

Also, consider the use of a good UV filter with your air purifier. UV filtration can be installed in your air ducts or vents to kill any unwanted pathogens as the air is circulated.

Cleaning

The final step is to make sure your air stays clean. Get detectors for big time contaminants like radon and carbon monoxide but also have your air quality tested every year or two to check for high levels of other contaminants.

If you have filters and ductwork, make sure they are cleaned regularly. Filters must be changed on schedule or they simply won’t work as intended. You should also maintain a powerful ventilation system that will keep a steady supply of fresh air coming into and out of your home. An energy recovery model is best to minimize heat and cooling loss from your comfort system.

Things You Can Do To Make Your Home Comfort System More Effective in Dover

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Have you ever wondered why it is too hot or too cold in your Dover home? You can always blame it on the thermostat or an open or closed window. Those are easy targets. But maybe the real culprit is your heating and cooling system, namely your furnace or air conditioner. Maybe these pieces of equipment have to work extra hard because of something as simple as a dirty filter that you should have cleaned or replaced.

Learning how to make your heating and cooling system more ‘effective’ does not require a special degree or an extensive knowledge of the refrigeration cycle. In most cases, it just takes common sense – and a little creativity.

For example, did you know that how your home is insulated can have a direct impact on how well your heating and cooling equipment functions? It sure can. If your walls, crawl spaces, or attic is poorly insulated or not insulated at all, your furnace and air conditioner will have to work harder to keep up – and keep you warm or cool. In some cases, your heating and cooling equipment might never be able to give you the desired temperature on your thermostat setting because the equipment has to work too hard to make up for lost heat or cooling due to poor insulation.

So what should you do? Find out if your home is properly insulated by having a load calculation or energy audit on your home. Any licensed and qualified heating and cooling contractor will be able to perform one of these tasks for you and show you where you might be losing too much of your indoor air to poor insulation. This same test can also detect any leakage through cracks in the foundation or joints or connections in ductwork. Windows and skylights are also an area of heat loss or gain. Installing awnings or trees can cut down on this loss or gain, too.

One way to make a heating and cooling system operate more effectively is to combine insulation and leak sealing. Here’s how that works. Uninsulated metal ductwork can make a heating and cooling system work harder, especially when it is located in poorly insulated areas like crawlspaces and attics. Warm air moving through a cold space slows the heating process and makes a furnace work harder to achieved desired temperature settings. Similarly, cool air passing through hot metal ductwork makes the air conditioner work harder. By wrapping insulation around the metal ductwork, you can stop heating or cooling your attic and crawlspace and send that conditioned air to the rooms that need it.

Another way to ‘assist’ your heating and cooling system is to help with its air flow. In some homes, floor vents are built near outside walls or windows. Warm or cool air is vented up along the walls and windows and never flows evenly in the room. The solution is to buy inexpensive plastic air diverters which attach to the vents using magnets on the diverter. You can adjust the diverter to changing the air flow to the places that need it most – occupied spaces.

Of course, the most effective heating and cooling system is one that is serviced and properly maintained on a regular basis. If you have any questions on system maintenance, call your local qualified professional heating and cooling contractor and schedule a tune-up today.

Home Energy Myths

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Measuring and controlling your home’s energy consumption is a little tricky. There are plenty of talking heads and information resources on the internet that tell you how it’s supposed to work, but in most cases you’ll find that so called common knowledge about your home’s energy use isn’t always true. Here are some of the most common myths and how to differentiate from the truth.

  1. Conservation and Efficiency Are Different: Many people think that by getting an energy efficient appliance, they are conserving energy and helping the environment. To some degree this is true. However, in reality, you are merely reducing how much energy it takes to complete a task. Conservation is finding ways to actually stop using energy for common tasks. Taking baths instead of showers, not watering your lawn, and turning off lights completely are all examples of conservation.
  2. Turning Off an Appliance Saves a Lot of Energy: Regardless of whether an appliance is physically on or not, it still consumes power as long as it is plugged in. The only way to completely stop your energy consumption is to unplug an item completely or use a power strip that blocks access to electricity when the switch is turned to off.
  3. Turning on Items Creates a Power Surge:  While turning a computer on and off uses a bit more electricity than simply leaving it on all the time, it isn’t a significant difference. In fact, the longer you leave an appliance on, the more it wears down and the faster it starts to use extra power to remain effective.
  4. Extra Insulation Creates Pressure: If you insulate a certain area of your home, you don’t need to worry about air leaking out. While it’s a good idea to complete all of your insulation at the same time, if you skip the windows or doors for now, it won’t hurt. All insulation is a good investment, no matter how much you install at any given time.
  5. One Energy Source is Cheaper than Another: This depends largely on the type of energy source you have for heating and cooling, the cost of that source and how much heating and cooling you need. A single portable electric heater is cheaper than running your entire oil heating system. But, electric heaters are rarely cheaper if you use them to heat your entire home.

Myths abound when it comes to energy use around your home. Make sure to get all the facts before making decisions that could end up costing you more money in the long run.