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

Components of an Air Conditioner

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Ever wondered how that amazing machine that keeps you cool in your West Melbourne home actually works? How exactly does it use electricity to create cool air and dehumidify your home? It’s actually an ingenious bit of technology developed over a century ago using four major components and a thermostat.

How these parts are implemented may change depending on the type of air conditioner you have and how much space it’s tasked with cooling, but the following components are standard in all AC units:

  • Evaporator – There are two sides to an air conditioner – the warm side and the cool side. The Evaporator is on the cool side and is paired with a fan that blows air over the coils. The air then chills and blows into your home to keep you cool.
  • Condenser – The condenser is the device responsible with transferring heat within the air conditioner. An air conditioner doesn’t actually make anything cool – it just removes heat from one environment and places it into another. By removing heat from one set of coils and transferring it to another, it creates the cooling effect that the evaporator then uses to cool your home
  • Expansion Valve – The expansion valve is responsible for regulating how much refrigerant passes into the evaporator coils. This refrigerant immediately expands when it reaches the evaporator coil due to the pressure drop.
  • Compressor – Once the refrigerant has depressurized and turned back into a gas, it is passed to the compressor which is then tasked with converting it back into a liquid and passing it into the warm part of your air conditioner.

And of course, this entire mechanism is monitored and regulated by a thermostat which tells the air conditioner when to turn on and what level of cooling is needed by your home. The system can also be setup in one of a couple different ways. Self-contained units, like window units, house the entire mechanism in a single box, while a central air conditioner separates the two units – the hot side with the compressor and condenser are placed outside the house.

Because there are so many parts and they work in harmony to create the cool environment you want, your air conditioner needs to be carefully maintained. Regular maintenance is a must for every component.

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Alternatives to Air Conditioning in Your Home

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Let’s face it – we rely pretty heavily on air conditioning in West Melbourne to keep us comfortable.  So, what do you do when the thermostat dings 90+ and your air conditioner is either broken or you are in a place without AC? Luckily, there are alternatives. Here are some of the better options:

  • Move Air through the House – As simple as it sounds, air circulation can have a huge impact on the temperature inside, especially in the late afternoon. Mid-afternoon sun will hit your roof no matter how many trees you have planted. The result is a decent amount of heat pouring into your home. But, if you open the windows and let a cross breeze through, amplifying it with fans, especially ceiling fans, moving air will carry that heat out of the house later in the day when the temperature drops.
  • Block Direct Sunlight – Unless it’s 90+ degrees outside, most of the discomfort in heat comes from direct sunlight. Block that direct sunlight and you severely reduce how warm it might get in your home. Trees planted along western, eastern and southern walls do this very effectively, especially if they are deciduous and will allow in the warming sun in the winter.
  • The Power of Water – Feel warm? Get some cool water and place it on your forehead, arms or legs. A bowl of cool water in front of a fan can be soothing as well, assuming humidity isn’t a problem. If it is, consider getting a dehumidifier to run in lieu of an air conditioner for those days that aren’t too hot. They are less expensive and can reduce discomfort significantly.
  • Evaporative Coolers – Evaporative coolers are extremely popular in Europe and Japan where energy costs are relatively high. They use up to 80% less electricity than air conditioners, don’t require refrigerants linked to global warming, and they work extremely well in dry heat. There are evaporative coolers available that can cool your entire home, though the most common devices are those designed for a single room. They are sometimes called “swamp coolers” as well.

I’m sure we’d all rather have a comfortably air conditioned room to lounge in during the hottest months of summer, but in lieu of electric powered comfort, keep in mind the simple, effective ways people have been staying cool for centuries.

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What Happens if You Put Your Air Filter in the Wrong Way? A Question from Windermere

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Air filters are important pieces in your Windermere home’s comfort system. They keep unwanted debris and sediment out of your indoor air and they help your system run smoothly for years to come. However, if you’re not careful, an air filter put in backwards can lead to quite a few problems with your heating and cooling system.

The Most Common Problems

The most common problem you will face with a backwards facing filter is simple inefficiency. If your furnace is forced to blow air through the non-porous end of a filter, it will take more energy to do so. The blower will be overworked and you will pay more money for your heating. The same is doubly true for an air conditioner which has multiple filters in place to keep outdoor contaminants out of your indoor air.

Beyond the cost of improper filtering, you will likely suffer from a decrease in indoor air quality. The filter is designed to remove a lot of unwanted debris, but only when installed in a certain direction. If you set your filter up backwards, the normally collective end of the device will not face the air supply. In effect, your filter will help keep debris in the air.

This results in a clogged filter and improperly cleaned air when it reaches your lungs. If you have a home indoor air quality system it will help to supplement this problem for a while, but the clog will eventually become too much for your system.

Avoiding the Problem

There are two ways to avoid improper installation. First, you can have a professional install the system for you. Whenever you need a new filter ask someone to come and take care of it. When they do, though, pay close attention to how they set the filter and any other steps they take. By carefully watching you can ideally learn what it takes to do this step yourself and hopefully keep your system running smoothly for years to come.

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What is Ductwork and How Do You Maintain It?

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Most first time homeowners in West Melbourne are aware of the importance of their heating and cooling systems. They keep you comfortable throughout the year, pumping heated and cooled air into every nook and cranny of your home. However, there is another system in your home that actually makes it possible for those other two systems to work. And while they are incredibly simple, your ducts must be carefully maintained year after year to avoid heat and cooling loss.

How Ducting Works

Ducts are installed throughout your home to deliver conditioned air from your air handler. The air is pumped into the ducts and directed by your thermostat system to where it is currently needed. Vents are opened or closed to release that heat or cooling and the house is properly tempered. Ductwork is usually made of sheet metal, though some flexible ducting is made with a combination of plastic, thinner metals and fiberglass.

Ideally, ductwork is crafted in such a way that it is air tight and able to deliver large volumes of air to any room of your home for decades to come. However, whether because of improper installation or extreme conditions, sometimes those ducts can come loose or gaps will form. When this happens, maintenance and repair are needed.

How to Maintain Your Ducts

To maintain ductwork, you must first have it cleaned once a year. Sometimes, this may be necessary more frequently depending on how often you use your home comfort system and how big your home is. Effective duct cleaning will remove any excess debris and dust and kill mold that has started to grow. High humidity can be controlled with a dehumidifier in your air handler and is highly recommended for all ductwork systems.

Additionally, you should have your ducts checked for leaks and gaps periodically. This will reduce the chance that your ductwork starts to leak anything out of the house or between rooms. Such leaks cost you money and put undue stress on your HVAC system. Overall, a good ductwork system is one that you never have to think about. Regular maintenance makes that possible.

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What to Do About Cool Spots: Some Pointers From Satellite Beach

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Sitting on your couch watching TV in your Satellite Beach house should be an enjoyable experience, especially after a long day at the office. But, if your air conditioner deposits an abnormally high volume of cold air directly onto your couch, making you shiver despite the 90 degree heat outside, you may have a cool spot.

Cool spots are an unfortunate side effect of modern air conditioning technology. They occur when HVAC systems are improperly sized or ductwork is improperly installed. Other factors like insulation, vent configuration or window placement can also contribute to the presence of a cool spot (and possibly some hot spots). So, what can you do about it? There are a few options, starting with a quick inspection of the space.

Checking for Common Problems

Your inspector will check a number of things. Most importantly, they’ll measure the size of your HVAC system and compare it to the dimensions and particulars of your house. Usually, in the case of cool spots, the problem is directly related to an oversized system. When it turns on, even for a few minutes, it produces more cold air than is necessary, flooding your home with cooling. The thermostat recognizes this and the system shuts off soon after turning on. As a result, you’ll feel fluctuation between cold and warm as the system fails to properly condition the space.

Modern systems are sized for your house at 100% capacity. So, when the system turns on, it should stay on for a substantial period of time, keeping your home cool. Turning off and on frequently is bad for the system and wastes energy (plus it produces those pesky cool spots). Keep in mind that hot spots can also occur if the system isn’t powerful enough.

Your inspector will also look for vent placement and duct configuration. Improper placement of vents can lead to pooling of cool air that creates cool spots. By checking for potential problems in the layout of your HVAC system, an inspector can determine if new vents or ducts are needed to solve the problem.

Fixing the Cool Spots

For now, you may just want to move to another part of the house. Cool spots rarely affect the entire space – they tend to cluster around vents and outlets and can usually be fixed by resizing or adjusting your system. However, only your contractor can tell you for sure what the best solution will be for your air conditioning issues so make sure to schedule an inspection.

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Different Types of Room Air Conditioners for Titusville

Friday, August 12th, 2011

If you are like most people in Titusville, you probably picture the air conditioner hanging out of the window when you think of room air conditioners. However, while these are by far the most popular type of room air conditioners, they are not the only option. When you are shopping for a room air conditioner, it is a good idea to explore all of your options before you make a purchase.

The traditional window mounted air conditioners have plenty of advantages, and that has helped to keep them at the top of the room air conditioner market for a long time. These types of units can be installed in windows of multiple sizes and you can just about always get them in yourself. These units are available in a wide variety of sizes too, so you will be able to match the unit to the size of the space you need to cool.

No matter what type of air conditioner you get, it is very important to make sure it is the right size for the task you have laid out for it. Bigger is not always better and you do not want an air conditioner that is too powerful for the space any more than you want one that is too small. Also, be sure to check the energy efficiency rating of the air conditioner you are considering before making your purchase. That can save you a lot of money over time as well.

Another type of room air conditioner to take a look at is a wall mounted unit. Many of the window mounted units can actually be used in this way as well, but the installation involves actually making a hole in the outer wall of your home so you will most likely need some professional help to get it in place.

Just like window mounted units, wall mounted air conditioners come in all sizes and with all different energy efficiency ratings. Always take care to check out the specifics of the model before you buy it to make sure it is the right choice for your home.

Portable air conditioners are a third option in the room air conditioner category. They typically have wheels so that they can be easily moved from one room to another and they have an exhaust hose that must be hooked up to a window to ensure adequate ventilation. These types of room air conditioners are usually more expensive than wall or window mounted units, but it is definitely convenient to be able to move them from one place to another.

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