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

AC Contractor Tip: Air Conditioner Components

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Cool air on a hot day is a precious commodity, but modern technology has made it as basic in our lives as a part of most Cocoa homes, businesses and the places we visit.  Often taken for granted, the process of air conditioning has many components that combine to give us peace of mind and a good night’s sleep.

Air Conditioning 101

Utilizing a process of rapid evaporation and condensation, air conditioning is a process which involves the rapid evaporation and condensation of chemicals called refrigerants.  These are compounds that have properties allowing them to change from gas to liquid and back again at low temperatures.

When evaporating into a gaseous state, the refrigerant absorbs heat.  Compressed tightly together again, it condenses back into liquid, releasing that heat in the form of condensation which can be evacuated to the outdoors. Air is blown over the cooled liquid in the circulating system and distributed to the rooms through a system of duct works.

Round and Round

The refrigerant circulates through a closed loop system and maintains a delicate balance of pressure to compel its transformations. There are four components to the system:

  • the compressor
  • the condensing coil
  • the expansion valve, and
  • the evaporator coil

Starting with a compressor, the molecules are packed together tightly, creating and absorbing heat and becoming liquid.  The heated liquid enters the condenser coils, a series of delicate fins which allow the heat to dissipate to the outside.

The expansion valve controls the amount of liquid entering the evaporator coils.  If too much refrigerant is allowed at once, the system “floods” and is too dense to evaporate.  If there is too little, it idles inefficiently.

The evaporator coils are similar to the condensing coils with a series of fins, only these absorb heat from the conditioned space as the expanding refrigerant returns to gas and heads towards the compressor.

Inside and Out

Unlike the closed loop refrigerant system which is all about containment and control, the distribution system is about sending the heated and cooled air in different directions.  Employing two fans and extensive duct work, the heat is absorbed at one point and released to the outside at another.

Warm air from the conditioned space is blown over the evaporating coil where the heat which is needed to fill the expanding spaces between molecules gets absorbed by the gas.  The same blower that draws the heated air blows the cooled air back into the home, office or business.

Along the condensing coils, during the process of returning to liquid, the heat is released and blown to the outdoors by a second fan.

Two Make One

On the thermal energy principal that heat moves toward lower temperatures, air conditioning allows us to be comfortable in hot places.  Combined with fans and ducts, we can all work and rest more easily in comfort.

For more information about how to keep your Cocoa AC working effectively, give Next Generation Air & Heat a call!

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Why Is My Air Conditioner Not Cooling?

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Designed for one to two decades of life, Melbourne air conditioners are able to run virtually trouble free with just a little maintenance annually.  If these little things like changing the air filter and cleaning the drain are not done regularly, the neglected units can really lose their cool.

The Basic Course

Through a process which involves the rapid evaporation and condensation of chemicals called refrigerants, air conditioners use compounds that have properties that allow them to change rapidly from gas to liquid and back again at low temperatures.

Heat is absorbed when the liquid evaporates and transforms into gas, making the space around it cooler.  Compressing it tightly together again, the heated gas condenses back into liquid with a residue of unwanted moisture that must be released and is vented usually to the outdoors.

The newly cooled air is distributed through the house by means of ductwork, pushed by fans driven by electric motors.  As the air moves along, it passes through a filter and can be further de-humidified.

Problems in the System

If the filter is clogged, movement of the cooled air is slowed to the point we might think the unit is broken.  If the condensate drain is plugged, the motor can get damaged and stop producing.  Regular maintenance performed by the home owner or as a service of Next Generation Air & Heat can avoid or eliminate these simple aggravations.

When the heat builds, however, and cool relief seems nowhere near the air ducts, it may be time to call a Melbourne air conditioning professional to dig deeper to find the reason and suggest solutions.

Back to Cool

If not serviced regularly, the amount of refrigerant in the coils may decrease over time or the coils themselves could get clogged and impede the evaporation/condensation process.  A leak in the coils could drain the system, rendering the unit useless and wholly unproductive.

There are belts on each of the two separate fan motors which may be worn or loose, causing the fans to blow less efficiently.  The motor may need to be oiled or have a broken part that doesn’t allow it to push the air at all.

Most of the time, these fixes are relatively minor and do not threaten the life of the air conditioning unit.  Schedule an annual inspection and service from a certified HVAC company like Next Generation Air & Heat to take it off your list and stay cool.

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Things to Look for in a Your Orlando Central Air Conditioning System

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

When it comes time to buy a new Orlando air conditioner, there are a lot of factors to consider. Beyond the obvious issues like cost, you need to consider how that system will operate once installed. What factors are most important to you? Control? Comfort? Cost? Here are some things to consider when selecting your new air conditioner.

  • SEER – The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating measures the efficiency of your cooling system during a typical hour. To calculate this number, we divide the total BTUs of cooling produced by the watt/hours of electricity consumed during that hour. So, the higher your SEER rating, the less electricity is used to produce the same amount of cooling. Standard SEER ratings are between 11 and 15 these days, but some high end units have SEER ratings of up to 20.
  • Controls – How much control do you want of your system? Many air conditioners these days come with multiple speeds, allowing you to control the air flow as well as the amount of energy consumed by the device in cooling. Do you want it to constantly blow at 100% or would you like it to run at 50% to reduce consumption. Another option available in central air conditioners is zone control, allowing you to determine which rooms receive cooling with separate thermostat settings.
  • Dehumidification – Air conditioners are dehumidifiers by default, but not every system offers the same degree of humidity control. Some simply remove moisture as part of their regular operation. Others have more advanced controls to provide specific humidity control throughout the year.
  • Sound Dampening – Newer models have sound dampening features like insulation and vibration isolation to reduce sound. These are also great for weather protection and help to maintain your system for more years.

A good central air conditioner will keep your family cool and comfortable for years to come so make sure to do your research and choose a model that fits your needs in advance. If you’re not sure about any one feature, a Orlando air conditioning contractor can help you make your decision.

If you have any questions or would like to have a new air conditioning system installed in your home, please give Next Generation Air & Heat a call today!

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Heat Pump Maintenance Tips: What Happens When You Neglect Maintenance

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Just like any HVAC system, the heat pump in your home needs routine maintenance and yearly check-ups to operate as efficiently and safely as possible. You also don’t want your heat pump to wear down to the point of a major malfunction or breakdown, which can be costly to repair or may require a complete system replacement.

Here are some things that could go wrong and cost you a lot more in the end if you don’t keep up with the regular maintenance of your heat pump.

Damage to the Compressor

The compressor in a split-system heat pump works whether you are heating or cooling your home. In the winter, the compressor reverses the flow of the refrigerant to defrost the outdoor coils, and in the summer it supplies the refrigerant to cool the home, as well as cooling the outdoor coils. Proper airflow is vital to keeping the compressor running smoothly. Filters that are not changed regularly, dirty coils, and dirty fans can all restrict airflow, which will damage the compressor. Debris around the outside components should also be cleared to allow proper airflow.

Decreased Efficiency

When dirty or broken components restrict the airflow, this damages the compressor and decreases the heat pump’s efficiency levels.  Not only is it important to clean your heat pump regularly, but you should also have it checked by a certified heating technician once a year. This will also prevent safety hazards and other hidden issues with the heat pump.

Improper Refrigerant Levels

Most heat pumps are charged with refrigerant at the factory; however, if models that are charged when they are installed are not given the right amount of refrigerant this can also affect performance levels. Refrigerant leaks and other common problems can be prevented by scheduling an annual maintenance visit with one of our qualified technicians.

Don’t wait until the heat pump in your Barefoot Bay home stops working, call Next Generation Air and Heat today to schedule your yearly check-up.

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A Question from Malabar: What is the Emergency Setting on My Heat Pump?

Monday, December 12th, 2011

While installing or inspecting your Malabar home’s heat pump, you may have noticed that little switch or button labeled something like “Emergency Mode.” And then, you probably scratched your head and thought, “what is that for?”

Hopefully, the emergency setting is not something you will ever have to use. But, it is there for a reason, so it’s possible you may have to resort to it at some point. In that case, it makes sense to know what it is first.

The emergency setting on your heat pump interrupts the normal operation of the device. The compressor shuts off, so the heat pump no longer pumps heat from the outside into the home. Instead, the internal heating element is activated. This backup system is designed to provide a sufficient, albeit minimal, amount of heat when the heat pump is not working properly. The idea is that the element can keep your home warm enough while you get the heat pump fixed.

That’s what the emergency setting is, but when would you use it?

It’s not a trick question. As the name implies, you only want to use this setting in an emergency. For example, if the heat pump has frozen and isn’t operating, the best course of action is to switch on the emergency mode and call a professional to repair it.

You would also want to use the emergency mode when recovering from a power outage. Any time a heat pump is without power for more than thirty minutes the refrigerant can cool and get too thick to properly flow through the coils. Turning the pump back on in this situation can damage it, so instead you would use the emergency mode for a while to warm the refrigerant back up, then return to operating the heat pump normally.

The emergency setting is not to be used in place of a supplemental heating system. If there is an uncharacteristic cold snap, and your heat pump can’t keep up, then it makes sense to use the emergency setting to keep the house warm. However, if you live in a colder northern climate, where temperatures routinely drop below 30 degrees in the winter, you should have a supplemental heating system in addition to the heat pump. Using the emergency heat setting regularly is not a good idea.

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Why Should I Clean My Air Ducts? A Question from Merritt Island

Friday, November 18th, 2011

You know it’s important to keep your air ducts clean, but why? Many people on Merritt Island ask that question, and it’s important to understand why you are doing such a chore so that it has a purpose.

Actually, there is no one reason why your air ducts need to be kept clean—there are several, all of which are connected to one another. Here are five of them for you to consider:

  • Efficiency – Clean air ducts allow the air to flow through much easier and more readily, so your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump won’t have to work as hard to ventilate the house. This makes for more efficient operation and lower energy consumption.
  • Performance – When your HVAC system does not have to work as hard to push air through the ductwork, it will perform better. Your home will be more comfortable and better ventilated.
  • Longevity – Because your HVAC system is operating more efficiently, it will be able to perform at a high level for a longer period of time. Well-maintained systems last longer than those that are not taken care of, and cleaning the ducts is part of good HVAC maintenance.
  • Savings – Clean ducts can save you a lot of money over time. Your energy bills will be lower because of how efficiently the whole system is running. You will spend less on maintenance and repair costs, because the system is being well-maintained. And, as an added bonus, your ducts will last longer because of the decreased risk of corrosion and damage from being dirty.
  • Health – Last, but certainly not least, clean air ducts mean clean air, which is important for your health and your family’s health. Especially if you have pets, if you smoke or live with a smoker, or if anyone in the house has allergies or asthma, cleaning your air ducts is a must.

Clean air ducts go a long way toward making your home a pleasant place to live, as well as making home ownerships as worry-free as possible.

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Choosing an Environmentally Friendly Refrigerant for Your Air Conditioner: A Guide From Malabar

Monday, September 5th, 2011

For years in Malabar, we have heard about how bad air conditioners were for the environment. Specifically, the liquid used in them to remove heat from air in your home tended to eat holes in the Ozone layer. Today however, air conditioners (along with every other appliance or device that uses refrigerant) have been upgraded to work with newer, better chemicals.

R-22 Refrigerant

While R-22 refrigerant is still used in devices sold today, it is being gradually phased out. According to the Montreal Protocol, R-22 refrigerant will no longer be allowed in new devices as of January 1, 2020 in the United States (though it can be used to service existing devices via recycled or reused refrigerant). While the most environmentally damaging refrigerants such as HCFC-141b have been removed from the market, R-22 is still considered harmful to the environment if allowed to enter the atmosphere.

R-410A Refrigerant

So, if R-22 will soon not be permitted (and is not an environmentally friendly option), what is? Currently, the most common refrigerant used in new residential air conditioners is R-410A. After the Clean Air Act was passed, the EPA reviewed a number of refrigerants to determine which were the least damaging to the environment (and human health) and which could be used as alternatives to R-22. At the top of the list is R-410A, a blend of different HFCs that don’t deplete the ozone. Sometimes called Puron, Forane, or Genetron AZ-20, R-410A is a good choice if you’re having a new system installed.

Other Alternatives

Of course, because R-410A is a hydrofluorocarbon, it does contribute to global warming and therefore is a risk to the environment, albeit in a much smaller capacity than older refrigerants. Recently, the EPA approved the use of HFO-1234yf – a chemical that pollutes 99.7% less than the current refrigerant used in car air conditioners. Whether it will be used in homes and commercial spaces remains to be seen, but the technology is advancing rapidly, allowing us to stay cool without sacrificing our planet’s health and future to do so.

Another alternative is to invest in an evaporative cooling system rather than a traditional air conditioner. These systems use no HFCs at all and therefore have zero impact on the ozone layer or global warming (other than the electricity they consume). They also use 80% less energy than traditional air conditioners.  If you have questions about which system is right for you, contact your local contractor.

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What to Do if Your Ceiling Fan Does Not Work: A Tip From Malabar

Friday, August 5th, 2011

A ceiling fan is a great addition to your Malabar home. It can keep you cool all on its own on moderately warm days and it will help to take on some of the cooling load even on days when you do need to use the air conditioner as well. Plus, you can even use your ceiling fan in the winter to keep the warm air from your heating system circulating properly.

But just like anything else, your ceiling fan will encounter some sort of problem from time to time. While there are certainly some things that you cannot fix on your own, it is a good idea to check on a few items before you call in a professional repair person.

For instance, if you switch on the fan and nothing happens, make sure that all of the controls are in the place they should be. Most ceiling fans have a chain or dial on the body of the fan itself that controls the direction that the fan turns and can even turn it off. However, there is usually also a power switch on the wall. If you flip the switch and the fan does not turn on, there is a good chance that the setting on the fan itself is in the off position.

After ensuring that all of these switches and controls are calibrated properly, you can also take a look at the fuse and the breaker that the fan is connected to. If the breaker is thrown or the fuse is blown, the fan is not getting power and you will have to replace the fuse or reset the breaker to restore power to that circuit.

If that does not solve the mystery either, you may want to test the blades themselves to see if they seem to be stuck on a physical impediment. Ceiling fans do occasionally need to have their bearings lubricated and this is a relatively simple task that you can carry out on your own as well.

However, if none of these actions seems to solve the problem, then you will probably need to call in a professional to assess the situation and make the necessary repairs. There may be a mechanical problem within the fan itself or the wiring could be frayed or fused and these are not repairs you should attempt to make on your own.

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Ductless vs. Duct Air Conditioning Systems

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

When it comes time to pick out a new air conditioning system for your home, you will have to make the choice between ductless and duct models. While both of these types of systems have their advantages, the specifics of your situation will go a long way to determining which one is right for you.
Ductless air conditioning systems are becoming more and more popular these days for a number of reasons. For one, they are generally considered more energy efficient than their ducted counterparts. Also, ductless systems are often cheaper and simpler to install, particularly in a house that does not already contain ductwork.
These types of air conditioners use refrigerant lines to connect the indoor unit or units to the outdoor compressor. The refrigerant lines take up much less space than ducts do and they also are much easier to install. Refrigerant lines can also reach into areas of your house that ducts may not be able to, making it possible for you to bring the benefits of air conditioning to places that did not have access to it before.
The indoor unit of a ductless air conditioning system can generally handle the cooling load of one or two rooms, but if you want to cool a larger space, it will be necessary to install multiple indoor units throughout the house. All of these units can connect to the same outdoor compressor and they can also be controlled individually. That means that you can set different temperatures in different parts of your house and you do not have to pay to cool the entire space if no one is occupying certain parts at the moment.
A duct air conditioning system also involves indoor and outdoor components. However, these elements are connected to each other by a system of ducts rather than by refrigerant lines. In a duct system, cooled air is brought inside from the compressor and then circulated through various ducts by the air handler.
The latest duct systems are quite energy efficient as well, and they can also be coupled with zone control systems to create different climate zones within your house. Particularly if you already have some ducts in place, a duct air conditioning system can be a great option for you.

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Mechanical or Forced Ventilation v. Natural Ventilation

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Just about everyone can agree that effective ventilation is essential to maintaining a healthy indoor living environment. But exactly what does this entail? There are quite a few ways to circulate air throughout your home, and each method is appropriate for a specific situation.

Benefits of Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation, of course, can be achieved simply by opening a window. But there’s actually a lot more to it than that. If you really want to ventilate your home through natural means, then you’ll have to learn to take advantage of the differences in pressure in different areas of your home.

One way to do this is to use cross ventilation. This means opening windows or doors on both sides of your home and allowing the outdoor air to blow through, carrying stale, indoor air out the other side. A more sophisticated version of this is stack ventilation.

In a two-story home, stack ventilation can be achieved by opening the windows on the bottom floor on one side of the house and on the top floor on the opposite side. Because of the differences in outdoor air pressure, air will be sucked in through the lower floor windows and out through the upper ones.

Why Natural Ventilation Is Not Always Practical

These types of natural ventilation can be extremely effective when it comes to both cooling an indoor environment and removing indoor air contaminants. Unfortunately, allowing outdoor air inside unimpeded allows outdoor contaminants easily as well.

On particularly hot or humid days, natural ventilation can’t reduce the indoor temperature enough to make it comfortable indoors. While a light breeze is enough to take the edge off on a moderate spring or summer day, more is needed when the weather is extreme.

Types of Mechanical Ventilation

When you think of mechanical ventilation, you probably jump right to large central air conditioning systems. But that’s certainly not the only type of effective mechanical ventilation available. In fact, mechanical ventilation can be performed by just about any type of fan on the market, and while operating a fan is certainly more expensive than opening a window, it’s still much more affordable than running an air conditioner all day long. Fans can also be used in combination with natural ventilation to achieve better results than either system could on its own.

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