Next Generation Air & Heat, Inc. Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Port St John’

Air Conditioning Question From Cocoa Beach: How Do EER and SEER Work?

Monday, August 6th, 2012

If you’ve looked for a new air conditioner in Cocoa 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 in Cocoa Beach with SEERs of up to 16.5 and much larger BTU areas to cover. The savings there can add up very quickly. For more information, give Next Generation Air and Heat a call!

 

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Air Conditioning Guide: Cooling Coil or Evaporator Coil Diagnosis & Repair

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Inside the air handler of your Orlando air conditioning system is a cooling coil or evaporator coil. From a home cooling perspective, this is where the magic happens: where the actual cooling occurs. So, if there is a problem with the cooling or evaporator coil, you will notice a decrease in the performance of your AC system.

You may notice that the air flow has slowed significantly or even stopped, even though you can hear the air handler running. You may also notice that the air isn’t as cool as it used to be or should be. Aside from having a house that is not cool enough, this can also cause problems like high electricity bills or damage to other parts of the air conditioner. Use this quick guide to start diagnosing and repairing the problem.

Diagnosis

For starters, just try to get a good look at the cooling coil. Some problems are obvious enough upon visual inspection that no further diagnostics or major repair is necessary.

If you can see your cooling coil, look for things like:

  • Dirt and debris
  • Mold
  • Staining that indicates a refrigerant leak
  • Ice or frost
  • Damaged fins on the coil

Repair

Any of these could be the culprit that is degrading the performance of your AC system. For most repairs you will want to call in a licensed Orlando air conditioning technician. Especially if the problem is something potentially hazardous like mold growth or a refrigerant leak, you don’t want to take the risk. Let a Next Generation Air & Heat technicians who is trained in safely and effectively repairing the problem take care of it, so that your home can be comfortable again.

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Cape Canaveral Air Conditioning Repair Question: Why is My Central Air Conditioner Making Noise?

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

A good air conditioner is a life saver in the midst of  hot and sticky weather in Cape Canaveral, but just because the system makes you comfortable and makes the hottest months bearable doesn’t mean you want to hear it clanging and banging all summer. If you notice excess noise coming from your air conditioner, it might be a problem that can be fixed by your technician. Here are some common causes of excess noise from an air conditioner and what you can do to fix them.

  • Blower – The blower is a motor and fan blade assembly. If the blade touches the housing or if the motor needs a tune up, it might start to make excess noise. Loose screws, foreign objects, or a need for oiling or new parts will all cause noise problems but they are all easy fixes.
  • Ductwork – If the sounds you’re hearing are in the ductwork or vents, it may be due to expansion and contraction in your ventilation system. This is normal and while it may be obnoxious, it tends not to persist during the hottest months as temperature won’t fluctuate as much.
  • Bubbling Sounds – If you hear a gurgly or bubbly noise coming from your indoor unit, it may be due to a blockage in the condensate line. The easiest solution is to clean the condensate line and check for any clogs or blockages in the system.
  • Clicking Sounds – If you hear a clicking sound, it is likely from the relay or contactor in the system. If this is the case, have a Cape Canaveral professional check it right away. Electrical problems are not to be taken lightly where your air conditioner is concerned.
  • Foreign Objects – Sometimes, the condenser fan will make a lot of loud noise because foreign objects get stuck in there. Sticks, leaves, toys, food from small animals – it can all get stuck in the fans and make a tremendous amount of noise. Keep the area around your condenser unit clear of debris and check it often if you hear loud noises.

Most noises from your Cape Canaveral central air conditioning unit are explainable and can be fixed relatively easily. If you cannot find the source of the noise, however, and it is only getting worse, call Next Generation Air & Heat before the problem grows.

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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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Orlando Heat Pump Repair Question: Why Won’t My Heat Pump Start?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

If you are having trouble with your Orlando home’s heat pump, you may be surprised to learn that it is probably not the heat pump that is to blame, especially if the trouble is that it simply won’t start up. That seems counterintuitive, but it’s true: the heat pump can be in perfect working order but still not turn on.

The good news, then, is that your heat pump is fine and you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg to fix or replace it. Still though, these types of problems can very frustrating to diagnose and correct. Here are four common culprits when a heat pump won’t start:

  1. No power to the heat pump. Check your breaker box to see if the circuit breaker was tripped. If so, reset it and see if that fixes the problem. Another possibility is that your heat pump is wired to a wall switch, or that there is a switch on the unit itself. Make sure the switch is turned on.
  2. Make sure the thermostat is set to the proper mode, such as “heat” mode if you desire more heat. It seems overly simple, but sometimes the trouble is as simple as that.
  3. A recently replaced thermostat. If you recently upgraded or replaced the thermostat in your home, it’s possible that something went wrong that is preventing your heat pump from starting. It may be the wrong kind of thermostat – heat pumps require a specific type – or it may have been improperly wired.
  4. Finally, the heat pump may have its own circuit breaker on the air handler cabinet. This is often the case with heat pumps that have supplemental electric elements. If that breaker is tripped, that could cause the problems you are experiencing.

If you exhaust these problems and the problem persists or recurs – for example, if the circuit breaker trips again – call an Orlando contractor to work on your heat pump. There may be something larger at work that is causing problems in the electrical system that controls your heat pump, and that requires some expertise to properly address.

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Can Your Air Quality System Help with Winter Colds?

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

In the thick of the winter cold and flu season, it’s hard to overcome the constant feeling of misery that illness can bring to your West Melbourne home. Endless sniffles, stomach aches and fever not only make you feel horrible; they can put a kink in your daily routine, making it harder to get work done or take care of your family.

But, a good indoor air quality system will help when it is properly maintained throughout the year. Here are some tips to cut into the duration of a particularly nasty cold or flu.

Air Circulation

Air circulation is important as it keeps fresh air coming into your home throughout the winter. A good air circulation and ventilation system retains the heat your furnace produces so your energy bill doesn’t rise too high either.

Air Purification

The next step in purification is to reduce the number of air borne pathogens that can make your illnesses worse or spread them to other people. There are constantly bacteria and viruses floating through your home, either on people or in the debris carried by your home’s indoor air.

A good air purifier ionizes the air and removes things like dust, pollen and mold. The air purifier then destroys the bacteria and viruses with the use of UV lights. This kind of system won’t stop you from getting sick when you leave the house and interact with people on the train or at work, but it will slow the spread of illness in your home and help people recover much faster.

Cleanliness Breeds Healthiness

The key to staying healthy in the winter is to stay active and keep your home clean. With the help of a good home air quality system, you can remove the unwanted contaminants and debris that clog up indoor air and ensure everyone in your family is safe and comfortable all winter. It’s a great first step in the process of finally stopping the endless winter cold and flu cycle once and for all.

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HVAC Contractor Tip: Furnace Air Temperature

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

When your furnace turns on every day and warms your Orlando home, just how hot is the air being blown through your vents? It’s a common question and while it varies depending on the type of furnace you have and the length of your ductwork, normally, the air is about the same temperature in most homes.

The Heating Process

When you turn on your furnace, it ignites fuel (gas or oil) or heats elements (electricity). A blower fan blows air through the heat exchanger and then into ductwork that distributes the heated air to vents around your home. When the combustion occurs and air is first heated, the temperature is between 140 degrees F and 170 degrees F.

This is extremely warm and could be dangerous to anyone if they got too close to it or it was blown directly into your home. However, as the heated air is distributed into your home it starts to cool. In some cases, it loses a significant amount of its energy in the ductwork.

This is intended, of course, because the temperature would be much too high if it was distributed directly to your rooms. That’s why high velocity ductwork often requires regulation to avoid overheating of the air. Cooling like this is normal and results in a better, more evenly distributed airflow.

When Something’s Wrong

To know something is wrong with your heating system, you must first understand what temperature air normally is when distributed through the vents. This will vary depending on which room you are in and how big your home (and furnace) are. However, if you notice a sharp drop off in comfort level in your home, it takes longer to heat rooms when cold or if that heating is suddenly uneven, it may be time for someone to inspect your furnace and check for potential problems.

A technician will then check to see if the air is being heated to the target 140-170 degrees F or if heat is being lost in the air handler or ductwork. There are a number of issues that can contribute to lost heat in your heating system – the easiest way to be sure the problem is solved properly is to call an Orlando heating and air conditioning contractor when you notice the problem.

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Heating Contractor Guide: How to Fix a Faulty Furnace Blower

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

The blower fan on your furnace is designed to distribute warm air through the ductwork in your Port St John home evenly, ensuring you use all of the energy consumed by your furnace. If the blower doesn’t turn on when the furnace turns on or it continues to run when the furnace is off, it can cost you money and result in cold rooms. Here are some tips on how to fix a faulty furnace blower.

What is the Problem?

First, check to see what the problem is. If your furnace blower remains on all of the time, it may be a thermostat issue. Make sure the fan isn’t set to stay on continuously (a common setting for most air handlers). You should also check the limit control switch to make sure it is working properly. If this is broken, it needs to be replaced which is a relatively simple fix.

If the furnace blower isn’t turning on at all, you may have a belt problem. This can be fixed by you if you have the proper tools. To repair the belt problem, first turn off all electricity to the device. You’ll need to remove the old furnace blower belt, so release the tension in the pulleys before removing the belt.

Installing a new belt is not unlike doing so for your car. Make sure to check the blower or your user manual for proper tension when you install the new belt. Make sure you purchase the right size belt and set it to the right tension. If you cannot or you do not feel comfortable doing so, you should call a professional to inspect and repair the problem for you.

Getting the Blower Back Up and Running

Once your new belt is in place, test the system carefully, starting with the lowest setting (if there are variable settings). If it does not yet work or if something sounds strange, call a technician right away. You don’t want the motor to burn out or something else more substantial to go wrong with your furnace or air handler during the middle of the winter.

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How to Clean the Parts of a Heat Pump? A Question from Suntree

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

It is very important to keep your heat pump clean. It improves efficiency, helps performance and prevents malfunctions. Cleaning your heat pump should be part of your Suntree home maintenance routine in order to keep the house as comfortable and worry-free as possible.

That is all well and good, but how do you go about cleaning the components of your heat pump. It’s one thing to advise you to clean, clean, clean…but it doesn’t do much good if you do not know how. To correct that, here are some tips to help you clean the different parts of your heat pump.

Caution: before doing any maintenance on your heat pump, including cleaning, be sure to turn off the power to the unit. This is a necessary safety measure.

Filters

  • If you use disposal air filters in your heat pump, skip this part. Just make sure to change them regularly, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • To clean air filters, follow the directions of the manufacturer that were included with the filter. This is also a good time to double check that the filters are installed properly.
  • Clean or replace your filters monthly during heavy use seasons, such as the warm summer months and cold months of late fall and winter.

Coils

  • Remove any debris from the outside of the coils and the surrounding area. Sticks and leaves may have accumulated near the outdoor coils, so just brush them away.
  • Using a soft brush attachment, vacuum the exterior of the coils. Take care not to bend or dent the coils.
  • Using a hose with a spray attachment, flush the coils with water from the inside out. This will remove any stubborn debris. Take care not to spray any electrical components, such as the fan or any nearby wires.
  • While you are inside the unit, vacuum the bottom inside to get rid of any more stray debris.

With that done, put everything back, replace the grille covers and power the heat pump back on. It should run smoothly with a fresh filter and no debris to gum up the works. Clean the coils every few months to keep the heat pump in tip top shape.

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What is Refrigerant Pressure and Why Does it Matter? A Question from Port St John

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Refrigerant is often called the “lifeblood” of mechanical cooling devices in your Port St John home like refrigerators and air conditioners.  The main function of refrigerant is to transfer heat through a closed loop system. Various heating and cooling (HVAC) components require different operating pressures to move refrigerant and process the “refrigeration cycle.”

In a nutshell, the refrigeration cycle involves refrigerant, which changes from a liquid to a vapor and back to a liquid again by the addition of pressure and heat. In a refrigeration system, pressurized refrigerant passed through an expansion valve into an evaporator and pressure is reduced. The evaporator is a tube which passes by the area to be cooled. When the pressure drops, this liquid refrigerant changes into a vapor, which absorbs vaporized heat from the area around the evaporator. After the heat is absorbed by the refrigerant, it flows to a condenser, where it passes over coils, absorbs heat from the hot vapor, and condenses back into a liquid. The liquid is returned to the compressor and the cycle begins again.

Today’s refrigerants – especially those used in residential applications – are broken down into two different types, labeled R-22 and R-410A. R-22 is made up of a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) chemical, which has been found to be damaging to the Earth’s ozone layer. It has been replaced by R-410A, which is made up of a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) chemical and will eventually be phased out by the year 2020. One of the biggest differences between the two are their operating temperatures. HFCs operate at much higher refrigerant pressure.

This change between refrigerants has created some interesting dynamics and challenges for the HVAC trade. Gauges used to check pressure readings have all changed. And mechanical compressors do not operate with a variety of refrigerants, so the compressors and coils need to be swapped out, too. To give you an example, let’s say you are shopping for a new central air conditioner. Chances are, the new air conditioner will run on R-410A. Your old air conditioner ran on R-22. In order to “match” the compressor in the your new air conditioning unit to the existing indoor coil, you will need to replace the coil and the lines running from your outdoor condensing unit to your indoor air handling unit, which is mounted to your furnace.

You don’t have to understand the refrigeration cycle to know that today’s high-pressure HFC refrigerants require different test instrumentation and retrofitted or upgraded mechanical equipment. The change in operating pressure is a small price to pay for a safer and “green” environment.

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