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

Orlando Air Conditioning Question: Why Are Clean Filters So Important to AC Efficiency?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Your Orlando air conditioner cost money to operate – even more when it doesn’t work at 100% efficiency. So, it is important to perform the various regular maintenance tasks that ensure the system uses as little electricity as possible. The first thing on your list (and the easiest) is cleaning those filters.

Keeping Filters Clean

The Department of Energy’s Energy Savers website states that you can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by as much as 15% simply by keeping the air filters clean. Why do they matter so much? Consider the nature of a filter.

The filter on your AC unit is designed to capture any dust, debris and sediment in the air supply. If that dust and sediment was allowed in, not only would it gum up the mechanical workings of the device, it would get into your ductwork and reduce the air quality of your home. So, filters are used to capture such things. However, when a filter gets clogged, the system must work harder to draw the air in. As it works harder, the motor turns faster and more electricity is used.

It takes very little to clog the filter of an AC unit, especially if it is running 24 hours a day for two or three months out of the year. So, it’s best to check your filters once every 30 days regardless of what type of filter you are using.

Which Filters to Check

The main filter on your Orlando AC unit should be checked along with any air handler filters and any air cleaner filters you have installed in your system. Another thing to consider is the condition of your home and the area around your outdoor condenser. If you have pets, lots of plants or your condenser is located in a dusty area, you may need to check and change those filters even more often.

Most filters are located along the return length of the ductwork – sometimes in ceiling ducts and walls, though they may also be located in your furnace’s air handler or inside the air conditioning unit.

Clean air filters are important for your health, your wallet and the longevity of your Orlando AC system. Stay on top of them and you will save money in more ways than you might expect. For any help changing your filter or to schedule a maintenance visit, give Next Generation Air & Heating a call!

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Vero Beach Furnace Repair Question: What Causes Cracks in a Heat Exchanger?

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Furnaces are designed so that the heat – and the combustion byproduct produced inside – doesn’t interact directly with the outside air. This design is to ensure you have a safer furnace in your Vero Beach home that won’t inadvertently affect your family’s health.

The metal piece that separates the furnace heat from the outside air stream is called the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger performs a very important function, and if it is broken or cracked, it can’t work properly.

A cracked heat exchanger is very common problem with heating systems, as well as one that should be repaired as soon as possible. But what causes a heat exchanger to crack? Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • A long period of normal use. A furnace heat exchanger naturally expands and contracts with the heat of the furnace, over and over again as the furnace is turned off and on to heat the home. Over several years, this stress can crack the metal.
  • Poor air flow, often caused by dirty or obstructed vents, can result in poor air flow through the furnace. This overworks the furnace, which can crack the heat exchanger prematurely.
  • Poor, incomplete or improper combustion can also cause a heat exchanger to crack. When the combustion process is less efficient – which can also be a result of poor air flow — your furnace’s burners have to run hotter and longer to heat your home, which means extra stress on the heat exchanger.

Essentially, if a furnace is running at less than optimal efficiency for an extended period of time, the heat exchanger is put under additional stress beyond the usual and can crack prematurely. Therefore, the best way to prevent a cracked heat exchanger is proper maintenance, particularly keeping all vents clean and unobstructed and getting an annual maintenance inspection.

If your heat exchanger does crack, do not hesitate to call a professional and get it repaired. The crack can allow potentially dangerous combustion gases to seep into your home, which can have a negative impact on your family’s health.

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Important Indoor Air Quality Tips When Remodeling in Satellite Beach

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Remodeling your Satellite Beach home is a big step. As you plan the layout of your new bathroom or the size of the bedroom being added to the second floor, make sure you take into account the effects your changes will have on the indoor air quality of your home. Here are some specific things to keep in mind:

  • Water and Moisture – When you build on to or remodel your home, one of the most common problems is excess moisture. The grade may not be built to handle the extra space or you may find that moisture is harder to block from your home than expected. However, it’s vital that any additions are as water tight as the original construction. Mold and mildew, as well as dust mites and other humidity and moisture borne pollutants are major health concerns.
  • Ventilate Properly – Most people assume that the best thing they can do is close their home up tightly to block out pollutants. But, indoor air can be as much as 100 times more polluted than outside air if it isn’t properly ventilated. Stagnant, stale air filled with dust, pollen and dander among other things is not healthy, so extend your ventilation system to support your new addition.
  • Proper Flooring – The floor you choose when remodeling has a major impact on indoor air quality. You want to ensure any water that gets on the floor, especially in bathrooms can be removed without it penetrating to the wood underneath. Properly sealed tiles and fixtures are a must.
  • Unsafe Building Materials – Modern materials are generally safe, but if your home was built before 1978, consider the risk of flaking paint or old insulation before you start demolishing a room for remodeling. Lead paint in window frames and doors can be a major risk if it flakes and enters the air and asbestos can be found in insulation in walls, wiring and pipes.

Remodeling is a big step, and likely you have a lot of things on your mind, but don’t forget to include the air quality in your calculations, both during and after the construction. The EPA has a fantastic resource on indoor air quality in home remodels to help you determine what things you should watch for in each room of the house as you make changes.

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Windermere Heating Tip: What to Check If Your Furnace Isn’t Lighting

Monday, December 19th, 2011

If your furnace isn’t lighting properly and your family is starting to suffer because of it, there are a number of possible problems you should check for before calling a Windermere heating contractor. Some of these issues can be fixed quickly by you while others may be signs of a serious problem that needs professional attention right away.

Checking the Pilot Light

If you have a gas furnace, the first step is to check the pilot light and ensure it is still working properly. If the pilot light is still on but goes out when you try to light the furnace or simply won’t stay on when you relight it, you may need to have the gas valve replaced. In some cases, it is as simple as the pilot light not being large enough and the gas blowing out the light.

This happens when gas enters the chamber and doesn’t ignite right away. When it does ignite, which happens after more gas enters the chamber, the extra force of the ignition will blow out the light. This is still a problem and should be inspected to ensure you don’t have any potential gas related issues.

Still Not Lighting

If you don’t have a pilot light or the unit still isn’t lighting, it may be an electrical issue. Electrical ignitions for gas furnaces should spark when the thermostat is turned on, so if it doesn’t you know that the switch or relay are bad.

If you smell gas or anything similar in the room where the furnace is located, you should immediately turn off the unit and call your gas company, followed by a technician. There could be a leak causing low pressure that results in your pilot light going out. Whatever the case, you need someone to look at it immediately.

Your furnace should always turn on when you flip the switch and if it does not, assume there is a problem. If you cannot find the problem yourself and easily fix it, you should call a professional. The risk inherent in an improperly working furnace (especially gas or oil) is too high to ignore.

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Is a Heat Pump Right for Your Vero Beach Home?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Deciding which type of home comfort system to go with in Vero Beach can be a difficult process to navigate. There are a ton of factors to take into account including how much you will be using the system, what type of fuel you mainly rely on and what the specific climate is like where you live.

Heat pumps are a great home comfort solution for many people but they aren’t always the appropriate choice. However, there are many benefits to going with a heat pump system, so this is certainly an option you should keep in mind as you evaluate your options.

Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the air in one place and then transferring that heat to another space. For instance, in the winter, heat pumps take heat from the outside air and pump it into your house. In the summer, on the other hand, your heat pump will be able to take heat from your indoor air and pump it back outside, thereby keeping your home cool and comfortable.

Heat pumps are also extremely energy efficient because they don’t actually have to generate the heat they pump. Unlike furnaces, which take in fuel and convert it into heat, heat pumps simply harness the heat that’s already there, making them by far the more energy efficient option.

Another benefit to heat pumps is that they maintain a more constant temperature than many other types of heating systems do. Rather than pumping in a big blast of hot air and then waiting until the temperature indoors falls below a preset level before doing it again, heat pumps provide a relatively constant stream of warm air.

The initial amount of heat is smaller than what you might be used to from a furnace, but the cumulative effect means that you’ll be able to enjoy a much more consistently comfortable indoor environment.

It is important to evaluate the climate in your area before you decide to purchase a heat pump, though. These systems are extremely effective at heating and cooling your home as long as temperatures stay above the mid-thirties.

Below that, you may need to install some type of supplemental heating in order to keep your home warm enough on those really cold days. So if you live in an area where temperatures routinely dip below freezing for large portions of the winter, a heat pump might not be the most sensible solution for you.

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HVAC Repairs That Will Save You Money in Vero Beach

Monday, November 21st, 2011

The best way to save money on operating your Vero Beach home heating and cooling (HVAC) equipment – now and in the future – is to ensure that the equipment is operating at peak efficiency. The reasons are two-fold: an (HVAC) system will save you money on your utility bills and will save on the wear and tear of the equipment.

Let’s look at some ways your routine maintenance and common repairs impact the investment you have made in your HVAC equipment. Keep in mind that you can perform some maintenance but to get the best results, call your local HVAC contractor. Better yet, call your contractor and ask about service agreements, which ensure annual or bi-annual cleaning and inspection of your furnace, air conditioner, or other components of your HVAC system.

Routine maintenance includes inspecting and cleaning/replacing filters in your HVAC system’s air handling unit. This unit contains the fan that blows heated or cooled air through your home’s ductwork. The filter can come in a variety of makes and sizes. Some electronic filters require regular cleaning with a hose or vaccum and others contain disposable filters which should be replaced on a regular basis, sometimes as often as every month. It is best for you to look at the recommended maintenance schedule which comes with the equipment owner’s manual or by talking to your HVAC contractor.

You can also do a visual inspection of your ductwork to check for any leaks or cracks along seams or joints. You may also be able to hear any air leakage in the ductwork. Repairing the leak can be as easy as using a sealing compound or applying duct tape or a suitable substitute over the leak.

Filter and ductwork maintenance guarantee a consistent air flow, which means that your furnace and air conditioner don’t have to work any harder than normal – which equates to more efficiency and fewer possible repairs down the road.

Here are some other suggested maintenance tips:

  • Remove obstructions from vents.
  • Check for loose wires in electrical components.
  • Ensure that thermostat is in good working condition.

Most qualified HVAC contractors use a multiple-point checklist when installing or servicing HVAC equipment. The list ensures that service work or installation was carried out completely. These same lists are available online from manufacturers and contractors and are a useful tool for performing routine maintenance or repairs.

And when in doubt, keep an HVAC contractor’s phone number in your phone in case you may need any emergency repairs or to begin a regular maintenance schedule.

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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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Air Conditioners and Energy Use by Percentage: A Guide from Apopka

Monday, October 17th, 2011

It’s no secret that air conditioners use up a lot of electricity and can add substantially to your energy bills during those warm months in Apopka. But did you know that they actually account for an estimated 11% of the total energy used in all buildings in the US each year? This is a staggering figure and makes it easy to see why it’s best to invest in the most energy efficient system possible.

Keeping Your Consumption Down

There are plenty of reasons to try and keep your energy consumption down. You want to save on your energy bills, and the less energy you use, the better it is for the environment. The best and most straightforward way to go about this is to purchase only highly energy efficient appliances and equipment, and that includes air conditioners.

Because air conditioner usage accounts for such a substantial part of the total energy used in this country, putting more energy efficiency models into use is the best way to cut that usage down.

Supplementary Cooling

However, there are other ways to reduce the workload of your air conditioner. For instance, you can use a ceiling fan to maintain good air circulation and keep your home cool. Using a ceiling fan with an air conditioner, even on the hottest days of the year, allows you to turn up your thermostat a bit to conserve energy while still enjoying a comfortable indoor environment. And because ceiling fans use so little energy to operate, you’ll come out ahead on your energy bill.

Passive Cooling

There are also several passive cooling methods you can employ to keep the temperature in your home down. Blocking out sunlight is the most important of these, so keep your blinds closed on any windows that receive direct sunlight, particularly in the early afternoon. Alternately, you can have awnings put up, which allow you to block the direct sun while still keeping the blinds open.

Shade is another effective passive cooling device. Planting trees around your home to block out the sun at the hottest times of day is a totally energy-free way of keeping your home cool and reducing the workload on your air conditioning system. The less your air conditioner has to work, the less energy it consumes and the lower your energy bills will be.

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Who Invented Air Conditioning? A Question From Winter Park

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

For hundreds of years, people have been trying to figure out how to stay cool in the heat of the summer. But it wasn’t until 1902 that the first modern air conditioner was put into service in Brooklyn, NY. Since then, many adjustments and improvements have been made to make air conditioning available and convenient for people to use in their Winter Park homes and cars. But through it all, the basic principles used in that first air conditioner have remained constant.

The Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company

The heat and humidity in New York in the summer isn’t something to be taken lightly, but it posed particular problems for the owner of the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company. The conditions inside his facility were such that the paper used was warping and the dimensions fluctuating, causing the printing to constantly come out misaligned.

To try and solve this problem, he hired the Buffalo Forge Company, which itself had just hired Willis Haviland Carrier, a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Engineering from Cornell University. Carrier approached this problem by trying to find a way to cool air by passing it over cold coils in the same way air was heated in those days by passing it over hot coils.

As it turned out, this process worked to reduce both the temperature and the humidity in the area and Carrier’s first air conditioner began running at Sackett-Wilhelms in July of 1902.

The Next Steps

As the potential for this new technology became more and more apparent, demand for Carrier’s device grew in all sectors of the economy. Employers were delighted by the way air conditioners increased the productivity of their workers during the hottest months of the year, and in order to keep up with demand, Carrier eventually founded the Carrier Air Conditioning Company which still exists today.

The coolants used in the earliest air conditioners were generally either highly flammable or toxic, and often both. In order to make air conditioning safer and easier to use, a safer coolant needed to be introduced, which was what drove Thomas Midgley, Jr. to develop Freon in 1928. Freon was initially made up of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), but as the disastrous environmental impacts of those chemicals became apparent, usage shifted first to hydrogenated chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and then to the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are predominantly used today.

If you have any questions about modern air conditioners, talk to your local professional.

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Green House Gasses and Air Conditioners: A Guide From Apopka

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

There’s simply no way around it: the air conditioner you probably depend on all summer in Apopka is emitting greenhouse gasses contributing to the warming of the Earth. While it’s true that the coolants used today, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), are much less damaging than the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) initially used in air conditioning, they are still harmful to the environment.

Environmentally Friendly Coolants

Recently, research has led to the development of more environmentally friendly coolants. One in particular, HFO-1234yf, is scheduled to be introduced for use in the air conditioning systems of all GM cars beginning with the 2013 models. This is a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to address this growing problem before it’s too late.

Electricity and Carbon Dioxide

The use of environmentally friendly coolants will only go so far towards curbing the environmental impact of air conditioning. That’s because air conditioners are universally powered by electricity, and electricity is almost universally produced by the burning of fossil fuels like coal. When coal is burned, it generates a great deal of carbon dioxide, a substantial pollutant on its own.

What You Can Do

There are several things you can do if you’re concerned about how your air conditioning usage impacts the environment. First of all, make the switch as quickly as possible to HFO-1234yf or a similarly environmentally-friendly coolant when it becomes available. And remember that the air conditioning in your car counts too.

You can also go a long way towards reducing your contribution to greenhouse gas emissions by keeping your overall energy consumption down. Try relying on other, natural methods of cooling your home as much as possible. And when you do turn on your air conditioner, make sure you use all of the energy being consumed as efficiently as possible.

That means keeping your unit in good shape to maintain its energy efficiency and making sure that your home is properly sealed and insulated so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work overtime maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature. If you have more questions, talk to a local professional.

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