Posts Tagged ‘Thonotosassa’

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!

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.

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.

How Indoor Air Quality Controls Can Help People with Asthma: A Tip from Auburndale

Friday, November 4th, 2011

If you, your child or anyone else in your family suffers from asthma, you know that it can be brutal. The shortness of breath, the wheezing, and the chest tightness – it’s not just uncomfortable; it can be downright scary.

There is evidence to suggest that higher quality air can help keep asthma symptoms in check. While you can’t control air quality everywhere you go, you can be in charge of the quality of the air in your Auburndale home. Take a look at how controlling indoor air quality can help ease the suffering of asthma symptoms.

One study at Johns Hopkins found that indoor air pollution plays a large role in increasing asthma symptoms, especially among children. Without getting too technical, essentially the study explains that there are particles in the air we breathe, including indoors. Aside from the standard mixture of oxygen, carbon dioxide and other gases, air contains these solid and liquid particles, which are essentially pollutants. Common household tasks like dusting and cooking can generate more of these particles.

When these particles get into the respiratory system, they can irritate the lungs, which triggers asthma symptoms. Since children spend about 80% of their time indoors, this is a very big deal.

To help this problem, there are ways to control and improve the quality of air in your home. One simple way to do this is to have filters with high minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) ratings in your heating and cooling system. MERV ratings describe how well filters catch particles of certain sizes and keeping them out of the air – and your lungs.

The particles identified in the Hopkins study were as small as 2.5 microns, which would require a filter with a MERV rating of about 12 to catch. Higher MERV ratings mean more efficient filtration, but they need to be replaced more often. If you or child has asthma, it’s worth it.

For severe asthma or allergies, consider even higher-rated filters, like HEPA filters, which sport a MERV of 17 or higher. These will catch nearly all allergens, irritants and other particles that can make you sick.

How Do You Measure Your Air Cleaner’s Performance? A Question from Balm

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Your air cleaner is designed to keep your family comfortable and healthy in your Balm home, regardless of what contaminants make their way inside. This is important because homes these days are sealed up tightly to minimize the loss of heating or cooling, but as a result they have poor ventilation and frequently they will suffer a buildup of excess contaminants like mold, dust, pollen and dander.

To ensure you get the best possible air cleaner for your home, there are a number of measurements available to help you in the purchasing process. Let’s take a look at a couple of those measurements and what they mean.

MERV

MERV ratings are used to measure the ability of a filter to remove dust from the air that passes through it. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter works at removing particles. The MERV rating scale goes from 1-16 with 16 being the best possible rating you can obtain from a residential (non-HEPA) grade filter. Usually, they are designed to measure things like dander, dust, smog, wood smoke, spores, bacteria and mold.

When choosing an air cleaner, it is recommended that you look for a MERV rating of at least 8, which is good enough to remove almost all common household contaminants. Higher MERV ratings (17 and up) are found in HEPA filters which are considered among the best on the market, able to remove particles as small as 0.3 microns.

CADR

This rating stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate and is a measurement of how efficiently the air cleaner delivers clean air for tobacco smoke, pollen and dust (the common measurements given for each device). This is not a measurement of the efficiency of the device, so much as the speed of it the device. So, the higher the CADR measurement for all three contaminants, the faster those particles are removed from the indoor air.

The best way to choose a device to match your needs is to look for a CADR rating of at least 2/3 of the size of the room you are cleaning. So, if you are cleaning the air of a 150 square foot bedroom, you should get a device with a CADR rating of at least 100.

Choosing a good air cleaner for your home, make sure you do your research and choose on the best possible option for the space you need to clean. MERV and CADR allow you to do this.

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.

Your HVAC System’s Condensate Drain Line: Some Advice From Seffner

Friday, September 30th, 2011

There are a lot of components involved in your Seffner home’s properly working HVAC system. One component that many people overlook is the drain line for the air conditioning system. Your air conditioning system has condenser coils that sweat the water drawn from the air in your home as it is cooled by your AC unit. These coils produce a significant volume of water, especially when it humidity is high, so a condensate drain pan is installed to capture the moisture and keep it from damaging your home.

A drain line from the drain pain out of your home is required to transfer all that extra water, but it can easily become clogged by debris in the area or simply from heavy condensation. If this happens, the drain line might need to be cleared or even replaced.

Inspecting your Condensate Drain Line

Full inspection of your drain line involves checking quite a few components, so I will point you to Inspectapedia for a thorough rundown of what you should look for (and some pictures to show you what you don’t want to see). But, in short, you want to look for evidence that your condensate drain is overflowing or that the liquid in your drain pan is backing up into the air handler.

You may also notice that there is no liquid coming out of the condenser – a sign that there may be a major problem in the system that needs immediate inspection. If this happens, make sure you check for blockages and if nothing is present, call a contractor.

Cleaning Your Drain Line

Each year, it is recommended that you clean your drain line to make sure it is clear and ready for the summer’s heavy cooling and high humidity. The simplest way to do this is to disconnect the drain line and attach a hose to blow the line clear. This can get a little messy, so make sure you dress for the occasion. Another option if you have a wet/dry vac is to attach the hose to the end of the drain line and suck free any moisture still in there. Most wet/dry systems have attachments for drain line clearing or you can order one.

If your drain line is not clearing properly or you think there may be structural damage suffered during the winter, call a professional for a more thorough inspection. If you have regular maintenance done on your AC system each spring, this should be part of the process so make sure you write down any questions you have for when the contractor visits your home.

Installing Automatic Thermostats: Quick Fix to Energy Savings

Friday, September 16th, 2011

While you probably spent a lot of time researching your Trilby home’s heating and cooling system to make sure you got one with great energy efficiency ratings and all of the other features you were looking for, one thing you may not have thought a lot about is your thermostat. The thermostat in your home is your direct link to your home comfort system, and the type and quality of the product you have in place can have a much bigger impact on the performance of that system than you may initially realize.

Of course, any thermostat will get the basic job done. You set it for the desired temperature and it will communicate that information down the line to the heating and cooling system. But the better the thermostat you’re using, the better the communication and coordination between the two devices will be. And many advanced thermostats come with all types of special features that can both enhance the quality of your indoor environment and save you some considerable money in the long run.

Saving Money with a New Thermostat

So how can a thermostat save you money? There are actually a couple of ways. For instance, an programmable thermostat can be programmed to switch your heating and cooling system on and off at different pre-set times of day. That means you can have the heat or air conditioning turned off during the day and still come home to a comfortable house. Simply set the thermostat to come on right before you get home and you’ll be able to walk into a perfectly temperature controlled environment without having to keep the heat on all day.

Automatic thermostats can come with other great features as well. For instance, you can set them up to maintain different temperatures in different parts of your home. That way, your home comfort system doesn’t have to work harder to keep your whole house warm or cool when only part of it is in use. And when your home comfort system is working less and using less energy, it will last longer so you won’t have to pay for repairs or a new system nearly as frequently as you might otherwise.

You’ll also pay less on your monthly energy bills the whole time, adding up to a great deal of savings. It might never have occurred to you that a new thermostat could save you so much money, but with all of these benefits, it’s definitely worth looking into.

How Do EER and SEER Work? A Question From St. Pete Beach

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

If you’ve looked for a new air conditioner in St. Pete Beach recently, you probably noticed each unit comes with an EER or SEER rating. The former is for room air conditioners and the latter for central air conditioning units. In both cases, the number is a measure of how efficiently the system uses electricity. Effectively, if you buy a system with a high rating, you spend less on electricity. Of course, there are tradeoffs. The higher rated machines tend to cost much more, so as a homeowner, you’ll have to evaluate how much you can spend now and how long it will take to save money from that investment.

How EER and SEER Are Measured

These numbers are required by the government to tell you, the consumer, how many BTUs per hour the device can use for every watt of electricity drawn. The more BTUs a system can use, the better for your bill.

Let’s say you want to buy a 10,000 BTU system to cool your living room and dining room. A pretty standard number for a single room unit is 11, meaning the 10,000 BTU system would use about 900 watts per hour to run at full capacity. We figure this out by dividing the BTUs (10,000) by the watts (900).

There is a lot of math to do here, so many people simply look for a higher number within their price range. But, at what point is the upgrade really worth your extra money?

Choosing the Right Energy Efficiency Rating

The easiest way to describe this is to compare two similar devices with different EERs:

Air Conditioner 1 Air Conditioner 2
BTUs 12,000 12,000
EER 9 11
Watts 1333 1091
Price $300 $450

In this particular case, we can spend more for a device that is the same size but uses less electricity. The question then is whether that increased expenditure will pay off in the short term. Let’s assume each device would be operated for 10 hours per day for 30 days in a typical summer month. That’s 300 hours of operation. If the average cost per kWh in you are is $0.09, it will take 4 hours for the first air conditioner to consume 1 extra kilowatt of electricity equal to an additional $0.09. If your air conditioner runs for four months out of the year, we know that it will operate for a total of 1200 hours. That means:

[(1200 hrs x 242 watts) / (1000 watts/kw) ] x $0.09/kWh = $26

So, you save roughly $26 per year from that high efficiency unit. With a $150 price difference, you will break even after 6 years (though probably sooner if the price of electricity goes up).

Don’t forget, however, that central systems are a much more efficient option with SEERs of up to 16.5 and much larger BTU areas to cover. The savings there can add up very quickly. If you need more information about energy efficient HVAC products, contact your contractor.

Old Equipment You Really Shouldn’t Keep: A Tip From Clearwater

Friday, August 12th, 2011

When you move into an existing home, in Clearwater or anywhere else, there are many pieces of equipment that you may not want to keep. Some of them are just old and poor quality, while others cost you a lot of money and others still may be dangerous to you or your children. Before you settle into your space, make sure you have every one of your systems checked thoroughly for potential problems including inefficient heating, dangerous parts or environmentally unfriendly components.

Energy Cost

Number one on your list should be the cost of the energy needed to run your HVAC equipment. Furnaces and air conditioners in particular have become much more energy efficient in the last 10 years so older systems routinely cost much more money to operate than new ones. That doesn’t mean you should immediately rush out to replace your old furnace, but if it isn’t working properly or it’s costing you more money than you’d like, the cost benefit of a new system is often worth checking into.

Other things to check include your insulation, your air quality system, your ventilation system and anything used to heat or cool food in the kitchen – all of which may be less efficient than you might like.

Ozone Depleting Refrigerants

Older appliances like air conditioners may still use ozone depleting refrigerants that are no longer considered safe (or in some cases legal) for home use. If this is the case, not only does your system probably have a very low SEER rating, it likely isn’t good for the environment or your own health. So, have your system replaced as soon as possible to avoid potentially negative side effects.

Dangerous Equipment

Finally, there are those pieces of equipment that are dangerous. If you find that your furnace has rust around the edges, your gas lines are kinked, or you have a dangerously out of date heat pump in your backyard, it may be time for some replacements. In general, these systems will last for years longer than they are considered safe and while you probably cannot buy a house without a working and safe furnace and air conditioner, you should still have them inspected carefully and replaced as soon as possible if you suspect problems.

Good HVAC equipment is hard to come by – if your home has it already, you’re in luck, but if you happen to move into a place with poor quality materials and equipment, have it replaced as soon as possible. Your health and wallet will both benefit greatly.