Next Generation Air & Heat, Inc. Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Cocoa Beach’

Air Conditioning Guide: Save Energy and Save Money This Summer

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Though we hate to admit it, we all do it without thinking: turn our Cocoa Beach AC higher instead of turning on a fan, or forget about the thermostat settings which are set to full-blast when we are not at home.  Oftentimes it is the simple things which can have the most impact, and with saving energy this is true as well.

With the cost of living in many areas of life skyrocketing, it’s nice to know there are some easy ways to lower at least one household bill: the energy bill.  Of course, some of these fixes are free, and some cost a little time and energy, while others must be paid for as long-term investments.

Free, Do-It-Yourself Energy Solutions

These quick and easy, do-it-yourself, no cost solutions produce energy saving results almost immediately!

  • Adjust the air conditioning thermostat to higher numbers, such as 78 while at home and 85 or higher when away.  Supplement AC usage with a ceiling or room fan, as moving air feels cooler on the skin.
  • Eliminate wasted energy by turning off appliances, lights, and equipment when not in use, unplug electronic chargers when not in use, and get rid of spare appliances such as refrigerators which are plugged in but not in use.
  • Put those dishwashing gloves away and let the dishwasher do the dirty-work!  Dishwashers use less water than washing by hand.  In addition, let the dishes air-dry rather than running through the heat-cycle to save even more.
  • Do laundry more efficiently by washing and rinsing in only cold water, and line dry instead of using the dryer.
  • Use the microwave to cook and not only speed up the cooking process, but use two-thirds less energy than a stove or conventional oven.

Low-Cost, Economical Energy Solutions

Most of these energy saving options can be procured at the local hardware store, are fairly inexpensive, and can be easily done by any competent home-owner.

  • Replace HVAC filters regularly, according to manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Weather-proof your home by plugging air leaks on doors and windows with weather stripping, sealant, or caulk where applicable.
  • Purchase and install ENERGY STAR® certified products such as porch lights, floor and table lamps, pocket lights, and even programmable thermostats to ensure energy using items are using as little energy as possible.

Invest in Energy Solutions

If it is important to you to save energy and money long-term and on a larger scale, there are a number of durable energy-saving investments to consider.

  • Purchase new windows, a new air-conditioning unit, refrigerator, or other household appliances which use less energy than older units
  • Install window and house shading such as patio covers, or strategically plant trees to shade the home during peak times of heat
  • Install a whole house fan which can suck cool air into the home after sundown or in the early morning in order to cool the entire house thus reducing air conditioning usage
  • Seal and insulate all household ducts in crawl spaces and attics
  • Increase or upgrade attic insulation to higher than the standard grade to keep housing temperatures more constant

To save energy also means to save money, and by following any of the simple steps listed above the average consumer can save energy and save money almost immediately. To learn more about how to use your Cocoa Beach air conditioning system more efficiently, give Next Generation Air & Heat a call!

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HVAC Tip: Your AC and Your Energy Recovery Ventilator

Monday, March 26th, 2012

As a Melbourne homeowner with an air conditioning system, you know that it costs plenty to keep your home cool and comfortable in the summer. It is an expense you are willing to pay for the comfort and overall health of your family, but if you are like most homeowners, you would do anything to lower your monthly electric bills where possible.

One way to make your air conditioning system a little more efficient is to install an energy recovery ventilator. Read on to learn what energy recovery ventilator is and how it works alongside your AC system to reduce energy loss and improve indoor comfort control.

 What is an energy recovery ventilator?

Not to be confused with a heat recovery ventilator, an energy recovery ventilator is a mechanical device that transfers heat and water vapor between the incoming (i.e. outside) air and outgoing air being moved by your ventilation system.

The main difference between an energy recovery ventilator and a heat recovery ventilator is that the former transfers both heat and moisture, while the latter transfers only heat.

 What does an energy recovery ventilator do?

What does that transfer mean for your air conditioning system? Well, in the hot summer months, your air conditioner pulls in warm air from the outside, cools it and then blasts it into your home, while exhausting warm air to the outside.

What an energy recovery ventilator does is make that process a little easier for the air conditioner to handle by transferring heat from the warm air coming in to the exhaust air that the AC is blowing out of the house. The incoming air therefore has to be cooled less, which means your AC doesn’t have to work as hard, which means less electricity is used.

Many users of energy recovery ventilator systems report that the moisture exchange also makes the air in their homes feel “fresher,” rather than the stale feel that air conditioning can sometimes produce.

So, if you would like to increase efficiency and reduce the cost of running your Melbourne AC system, consider an energy recovery ventilator as one possible solution. If you have any questions about how to improve the indoor air quality in your home, please give Next Generation Air & Heat a call!

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Heat Pump Repair Tip: Heat Pump Blowing Cold Air in Winter

Monday, February 6th, 2012

One of the most impressive things about a heat pump is that it can both cool and heat your Cocoa Beach home. But, if something goes wrong and your heat pump is suddenly trying to cool your home in the middle of the winter, you have a problem. Here are some possible causes of the issue and what you can do about them.

 Defective Reversing Valve

The reversing valve is responsible for changing the flow of refrigerant between seasons so your heat pump can both heat and cool your home. So, if it breaks, you can imagine what happens next – you won’t switch into heating mode and your heat pump will try to air condition your home.

Defective reversing valves are hard to diagnose because the symptoms are largely the same as those of a defective compressor or condenser valve. However, because of how they are installed and where they are located, you will need a professional to inspect this problem no matter what.

 Low on Refrigerant

Your heat pump should never run low on refrigerant because it shouldn’t leak, but if it does and the refrigerant gets low or if your device is simply very old, this may be a problem. Low refrigerant means that the device cannot transfer enough heat between the outdoor air and the inside air and the air that gets blown through your ducts by the air handler isn’t heated as much as is necessary to warm your house.

The problem is relatively easy to fix, though you should also have your repairman check for leaks and a possible cause of the refrigerant being low in the first place.

 Not Running at All

The final problem is one you should be able to notice quite easily. If the heat pump isn’t working at all but the air handler and blower are working fine, then the device will simply blow cold air from outside or possibly even just recycled cold air from inside. In either case, the heat pump isn’t running to heat the air and therefore, you’re getting whatever temperature it is outside.

This can be caused by a number of problems so it’s important to call Next Generation Air and Heat to inspect it immediately.

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HVAC Contractor Tip: How to Replace a Thermostat

Friday, January 13th, 2012

There are a lot of common household tasks that Cape Canaveral do-it-yourselfers can handle beyond changing light bulbs or replacing a fuse. One of those is changing out a thermostat. The reasons for replacing a thermostat can vary from making an upgrade to changing out a thermostat that is not working right – or at all. Whatever the reason, the task is pretty simple and require s very little time and very few tools.

Let’s set the stage.

The materials you will need are the replacement thermostat, wire connectors, electrical tape (optional), needle nose pliers, and a screwdriver.

Here are the steps:

  1. Turn off electrical power to the existing thermostat. You can do this by flipping a breaker switch or removing a fuse from your home’s electrical panel. This would be a good time to make a note of the circuit’s location, writing the circuit number on the panel door or using a sticker.
  2. Remove the cover from the existing unit. You should be able to locate the screws that hold it to the wall mounting plate. Remove the screws and pull the unit away from the wall and mounting plate. Be careful not to touch the electrical wires together on the thermostat.
  3. Disconnect the wiring. Carefully remove the electrical wiring from the unit and keep the wires apart. You might want to tape the bare ends and also ensure that the wires don’t fall back through the wall. If the wires are not color coded, mark each one and which terminal they were removed from. Remove the mounting plate.
  4. If you are using a new mounting plate, make sure it fits over the existing hole and then pull the wires through the opening of the plate. Make sure the mounting plate is secured to the wall with the proper screws.
  5. Now match the wires to the terminals on the new thermostat. The wires are usually color-coded but if not, make sure you attach the right wires to the corresponding numbered terminals on the next thermostat. A green wire, which operates the furnace fan blower, is connected to the “G” terminal. The white wire operates the heater and attaches to the “W” terminal. The yellow wire operates the air conditioner and connects to the “Y” terminal. Use a wire nut to secure the wires and keep them apart from other wires. Ignore any other wires coming out of the wall as they are not necessary and may have been added by the original builder for other purposes.
  6. Carefully move the wires back into the wall as you line up the new thermostat on the mounting bracket. Install the new bracket and secure the thermostat to the bracket.
  7. Turn your power back on and check your thermostat by setting the temperature high or low, to engage the furnace or air conditioner.

This simple procedure can be done in less than 10 minutes. But if you have any doubts and want greater peace of mind, call a Cape Canaveral heating and cooling contractor to perform the installation.

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How Bad Is the Air in Your Home? A Question from Valkaria

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Every day you hear about another awful contaminant that can get into your Valkaria home’s air supply. Radon gas. Carbon Monoxide. Nitrogen Dioxide. Smoke. Mold. The list gets longer with each passing year and many homeowners are understandably worried. However, before you run out and by the newest lineup of filters, purifiers, and UV lights, stop and think about just how bad your indoor air actually is.

When Was Your Home Built?

Homes built in the last 10-15 years tend to be well ventilated and may even have air quality systems already in place. It’s those built in the late 1970s and early 1980s that tend to have the worst ventilation (assuming they have not been updated since then).

This kind of poor ventilation can be dangerous, but usually only in that you have less fresh air and more indoor allergens and contaminants. Specifically, you’re most likely to suffer from things like pet dander, dust, pollen, and dirt in the air. On their own, these are not dangerous, but without fresh air to circulate them outside and ensure you get a steady, clean supply of air to breathe, they can make you ill.

How Bad Can It Get?

While it’s rare, some homes suffer from more advanced contaminations. The most common is mold. Mold grows primarily in dark, damp spaces. If your humidity levels get too high in the summer, the ductwork in your house is perfect for mold and it will blow the spores directly into your air, putting everyone at risk.

You should also be wary of exhaust fumes from your appliances that may not get properly removed from the house. Both of these problems can be fixed with regular duct cleaning.

Outdoor contaminants can also make it into your indoor air. Things like exhaust and smoke, gas, radon, or other outdoor pollutants should be tested for when you setup a new indoor air quality system. There are filters and purifiers that will remove almost all of these contaminants, but they are not always required, so you should check before making a decision.

Ultimately, the odds are that your home suffers only from some stale, dusty air. But, it is very important to keep everything clean and test it regularly to make sure nothing worse develops. Poor air quality is about more than just comfort – it’s an honest health issue.

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Basic HVAC Terminology: A Guide From Valkaria

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Ever try to look up basic information about your Valkaria home’s heating and air conditioning systems? There are dozens of terms that might as well be Greek for all you know – a mishmash of words and phrases talking about energy efficiency and air flow ratios. To make your next upgrade a little easier and give you a baseline with which to work, here are a few of the most common HVAC terms you’ll hear in the industry:

  • AFUE – Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency – This is a simple measurement of how much fuel a furnace converts into actual heat in your home. So, if a furnace converts 92% of the fuel it consumes into heat, it has an AFUE rating of 92.
  • Watts – A single watt is a measurement of electricity. Commonly, your electricity use is assured in kilowatts or kilowatt hours (kWh).
  • BTU – British Thermal Unit – A BTU is a common measurement of how much energy is produced or consumed by an appliance. When referring to an air conditioner, one “ton” refers to 12,000 BTUs.
  • SEER/EER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio refers to how many BTUs can be produced with a single Watt of electricity per hour. So, an air conditioner with an SEER of 14 can produce 14 BTUs of cooling per watt consumed each hour.
  • HSPF – Heating Seasonal Performance Factor – Refers to the efficiency of the heating elements in your heat pump.
  • COP – Coefficient of Performance – A measurement of how effective your heat pump is at heating a space compared to standard electrical resistance heat. The lower the temperature gets outside, the lower the COP will be. Equipment is usually measured for COP at 47 and 17 degrees to give an idea of seasonal performance of a new heat pump.
  • Refrigerant – Refrigerant is any gas that is used to draw heat from the air in a particular environment through an air conditioner or heat pump. It has a much lower boiling point than water, allowing it to cool despite the temperature outside. Currently, most equipment uses R-22 refrigerant while the new standard will be R-410A (Puron), legally required in all cooling units by 2020.
  • CFM – Cubic Feet per Minute – Used to measure the volume of air passed through an air handler by an air conditioner or furnace.

There are a number of complicated details to keep track of when choosing a new air conditioner or furnace. To ensure you get the very best out of your system, read up on these details in advance – you’ll feel a heck of a lot smarter when you call.

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Things You CAN Do Yourself Around the House: A Guide From Sebastion

Monday, September 12th, 2011

If you own a home in Sebastion, there are a lot of fun ways you can stay on top of regular maintenance without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to hire a contractor. Sure, there are some tasks only a contractor should perform, but there are plenty of others you can take care of with a little spare time on the weekend.

  • Fixing Leaks – Unless it’s in a main line or in your sewer, you can usually fix a leak or clog in your pipes by yourself. Replacing a faucet, snaking a line, or taking apart a fixture should still be done with the help of manufacturer’s guidelines, but as long as you turn the water supply off correctly, you should be okay taking things apart and making quick repairs.
  • Yard Installations – Short of digging it up (always have it checked for gas and electricity lines), you can do pretty much anything on your own in the yard. This includes composting, landscaping, adding a barbeque pit or upgrading your back porch.
  • Painting – Feel free to paint anything in or around your home without the help of a pro. Just make sure to use proper ventilation and to ensure that you remove any old paint carefully. If you’re not sure about the age of your paint, it should be tested for lead before you chip it clean, especially if you have children.
  • Replace Appliances – Old appliances can be removed and replaced relatively easily as long as you have someone to help you get rid of the old ones. Also, if you have a gas stove or other appliances that run on gas, always have them checked by a professional. Never unplug gas lines without someone there to ensure the gas supply to your home is off.
  • Tiling – Tiling is something anyone can do, but make sure you’re ready for the time commitment. Especially if you plan on putting tiles on a wall, it’s easy to make a mistake and ruin good tiles or good walls. Also, proper sealing around water fixtures like a bathtub or sink is vital. If you’re not sure, call a plumber to help.

There are a lot of ways you can have fun and fix up your house without paying for a professional’s help. But, remember not to take on jobs that are too much for you. If you aren’t sure how to complete a task or you want a second opinion, never be afraid to call a pro in for some help. Even if they just check your work, it will save you money and you get the satisfaction of having done the work yourself.

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Do Heat Pumps Work for Air Conditioning?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

It’s possible that in the course of your search for a new air conditioning system in Melbourne, you read or were told about heat pumps. Doesn’t sound right, does it – heat pumps providing cooling for your home? Regardless of the seeming misnomer, heat pumps are actually much older and more reliable cooling technology than you know. And once you understand how these units work, the name makes much more sense.

What Is a Heat Pump?

Technically every refrigerant containing air conditioner is some form of heat pump. A heat pump is a device that removes heat from one area and transfers it to another. So, in the case of your air conditioner, warm air cycles into the condenser, the heat is removed, and the cooled air is circulated back through your home. The actual science behind this is slightly more complicated, but the gist is simple – cold air isn’t produced and then pumped into your home; warm air is removed.

Your refrigerator and freezer operate under the same principle. It works so well that it’s been a standard technology for nearly 100 years, albeit with quite a few upgrades and enhancements. So, if an air conditioner already is a heat pump, why are these devices called something different? Because heat pumps can do so much more.

Heat Producing Heat Pumps

A true heat pump can work in two directions. It can extract heat from your home or it can extract heat from outside and pump it into your home. A true heat pump offers year round climate control because it both heats and cools – not too shabby if you think about the cost of a furnace and central AC system. And with modern green technology, heat pumps can even be connected to geothermal systems that draw their energy from the earth – saving a tremendous amount of money.

So, back to the main question – should you purchase a heat pump for your air conditioning needs? The short answer is “it depends”. For the most part, a heat pump is comparable to the same air conditioning model in terms of energy efficiency and capacity. The major difference is its ability to heat your home. So, if you are interested in ditching the furnace or boiler, it may be a great upgrade. If not, a standard air conditioner can get the job done equally well.

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How Do I Check for a Dirty Evaporator Coil? A Question From Valkaria

Monday, August 29th, 2011

The evaporator coil is an essential piece of your air conditioning system in Valkaria. It absorbs heat from air that passes over it, and that air then travels into your home to cool it. So if your coil is dirty or isn’t functioning properly, the cooling power of your air conditioning system is diminished. Fortunately, this problem is fixed easily by cleaning the evaporator coil. You can do this on your own or have a professional come in to take care of it.

Signs of a Dirty Evaporator Coil

The most obvious sign of a dirty evaporator coil is an overall drop in system pressure. As long as you know what constitutes a normal pressure for your system, you should be able to tell if the current pressure is below that level. If it is, a dirty evaporator coil is probably your culprit. You can also check the static pressure in your system to see if that is low, but this requires specialized equipment.

Even if you don’t notice any particular signs that your air conditioning system isn’t working properly, it’s a good idea to clean your evaporator coils once a year or so. This can help prevent any larger problems from developing in the future.

Finding Your Coil

Probably the hardest part of cleaning an evaporator coil is reaching it. Unlike your condenser coil, which is located in your outdoor condenser unit, the evaporator coil is found inside near the air handler or furnace. If you have the owner’s manual, there should be detailed instructions telling you where the coil is and how to safely access it.

Alternately, you can have an HVAC technician show you what to do the next time they come out to work on your system. Whatever you do, though, make sure that power to your AC unit is completely shut off before you start working on it. Once you’ve gained access to the coil, use a brush or vacuum attachment to remove any debris or sediment you find there.

The Importance of Maintenance

Cleaning your evaporator coil is only one part of the regular maintenance required to keep your air conditioning system in good working order for the foreseeable future. There are plenty of things you can do on your own, but it pays to have a professional come out once a year or so to check out the entire system and make any necessary repairs.

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Warning Signs: When to Call for a Port St John Air Conditioning Service

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

The last thing you want is to be without an air conditioner during the hottest days of the year, especially in Port St John. Ideally you would never have to call for service to repair your air conditioning system, but just like anything else, your air conditioner will break down once in a while. However, you can dramatically reduce the inconvenience and cost of emergency air conditioning repairs if you are able to spot the warning signs of a problem before it shuts down your system completely.

For instance, all air conditioners make noise, but if your air conditioning system is suddenly making much more noise than it used to, chances are that something in there is not working properly. Calling for repairs when you notice this sudden increase in noise from your system will greatly increase the chances that the repair will be relatively minor and that you will not have to go without air conditioning when you need it most.

Also, it is a good idea to call for service if your air conditioning system does not seem to be doing as good a job as it used to when it comes to cooling your home evenly and effectively. Uneven cooling is a good sign that something is not working right within your system. And even if your air conditioner continues to work, it will probably be using up more energy than necessary for a less than ideal end result.

Along these same lines, a noticeable increase in humidity in all or part of your home is another good indication that something is wrong with your air conditioning system. Air conditioners both cool and dehumidify the air, so if yours stops removing humidity properly, you need to find out why.

In fact, even if you do not notice any difference in the way that your air conditioner is performing, you can still spot a problem if you keep a close eye on your energy bill. If you see a sudden increase in the amount of your bill because of the amount of energy that your air conditioning system is using, it is a good sign that something is not working right.

It may be tempting to put off calling for repairs, particularly if your air conditioner is still able to keep your house comfortable. However, it will likely be much cheaper and more convenient to have the repairs done early rather than waiting until the unit breaks down entirely.

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