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

Air Conditioning Guide: Outdoor Air Conditioning Components

Monday, August 20th, 2012

As long as all the parts are working well, air conditioning in Cocoa is a modern convenience we can easily take for granted and overlook. No matter the size, in every unit, the basic purpose is one of extracting heat from the conditioned space and moving it to the outside, leaving cool air in its place. This process easily divides into indoor and outdoor components.

In the Box Outside

Placed on a small slab on the ground alongside many homes or on the roof of large buildings, air conditioning units contain the compressor and condensing coils that enable the main (and noisiest) function of the process.

The refrigerant is contained within a closed loop, entering the compressor as an expanded gas full of heat.  Under pressure, that heat is released when the molecules are squeezed so tightly together the refrigerant returns to its liquid state.

The passing into the condensing coils, a series of delicate fins, the released heat is allowed to dissipate through the fins into the air where a small fan blows it away.  Water is also a by-product of the condensation and drains into a pan and eventually into the ground.

The condensing coil ends at the exchange valve where it is held to create just the right pressure for the evaporating coil indoors to operate at its maximum efficiency.

AC Maintenance

When maintained on a regular basis, the system requires little attention and over sight beyond scheduled appointments with a Cocoa AC company like Next Generation Air & Heat. Call us today to schedule your appointment!

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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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Air Conditioning Guide: Finding an Ozone Friendly Air Conditioner

Monday, June 25th, 2012

We’ve heard about ozone depletion for almost 20 years as a major problem caused by a variety of chemicals we use almost every day. Propellants in aerosols, certain cleaning materials and the refrigerant in your air conditioning system are all culprits in the depletion of the ozone layer. So when you purchase a new AC in Rockledge, you want to be sure you won’t continue to contribute to the problem.

What Causes Ozone Depletion?

The number one contributor to ozone depletion is chloroflourocarbons, the man-made chemicals used in air conditioners since Thomas Midgley, Jr. invented the compound in the 1920s. When these chemicals reach the stratosphere, the ultraviolet light from the sun breaks the compound down to its base components, including chlorine atoms which subsequently break down thousands of molecules of ozone before dissipating.

The earliest CFCs used in air conditioners were incredibly damaging to the ozone. But since legislation was passed to stop the damage and new technologies were developed, there are less damaging alternatives.

Specifically, the refrigerant R410-A is considered environmentally friendly in that it doesn’t cause ozone depletion. Some air conditioners still ship with the older refrigerant R-22, however, which has been linked to ozone depletion and will no longer be allowed in new products after 2020.

Which Products Can You Buy?

When searching for a new air conditioner, look for a system that uses only R410-A.  Of course, while R410-A doesn’t cause ozone depletion, it isn’t necessarily 100% environmentally friendly. Remember that to keep your Rockledge air conditioning system working at peak efficiency, you should schedule a maintenance check up every year – give Next Generation a call today!

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Air Conditioning Tips: Cleaning Your AC Condenser in Three Easy Steps

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Keeping your Melbourne air conditioning unit clean can help to maintain efficiency levels and prevent repair needs. It can also help the system last longer and improve indoor air quality. Because the condenser is part of the outside unit, it’s constantly exposed to outside dust, dirt, and yard debris; therefore, it is very important that you take the time to thoroughly clean the condenser coil and fan. Remember, before you clean any part of your AC system, always turn off all the power to the unit.

If you aren’t sure how to locate the condenser, feel free to call Next Generation Air & Heat, and we can tell you where to find it and provide a few cleaning tips. In general, you can clean the air conditioning condenser unit in three, easy-to-follow steps, which are outlined below:

  1. Always start by ensuring that there’s nothing blocking the airflow to the unit. You may have to trim low braches or prune back bushes that are obstructing the airflow. Clear away any dead grass clippings, or weeds that have grown up around the unit.
  2. Once the unit is free of debris and dirt, clean the condenser with a professional coil cleaner, which should come with instructions on how much to use and where to apply the cleaner. Although some contractors recommend washing down the entire outside unit with a garden hose, you have to be very careful not to bend the fins. It’s best to use a specialized condenser cleaner and let it air dry.
  3. To clean the fins, you can use a dry, soft brush to remove dust and dirt. Remember to clean the fins carefully because they are bendable and damage easily. Straighten bent fins with a fin comb, which you can find at any HVAC supply store, or sometimes a hardware stores. Ask a professional if you aren’t sure how to use the fin comb.

When your AC is not in use, keep it covered with the condenser cover that came with your air conditioning system. If you don’t have a cover that fits properly, call one of our Melbourne air conditioning experts to help you find a replacement cover or one that will fit your particular model. Don’t use anything that could come off easily in inclement weather. Covering your AC unit in the winter will help prevent damage or corrosion.

If you do happen to notice physical damage while cleaning your outdoor condenser unit, call Next Generation Air & Heat so that we can send one of our HVAC technicians to assess the damage or make any necessary repairs.

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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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Sebastion Indoor Air Quality Advice: Sick Building Syndrome

Monday, February 13th, 2012

When you buy a house in Sebastion, you assume that it’s safe to live in. You assume that the construction is sound and the air quality is good so that you never need to worry about things like excessive illness due to contamination. However, the World Health Organization estimates that nearly 30% of homes built in the 1980s subjected homeowners to Sick Building Syndrome – a situation where indoor air quality causes symptoms and feelings of illness without a clear cause.

That number has dropped in the last 25 years as many homes have been remodeled and retrofitted to stay comfortable year round, but without proper air quality control, a home with poor ventilation and filtration may still be unsafe.

How Do I Know We Have Sick Building Syndrome?

There are quite a few potential symptoms of poor air quality and SBS in your home. Chest tightness and coughing is a primary factor and can lead to fevers and chills. Often, recovery from the illness has nothing to do with your health, but with the conditions of your home – you may not feel better until repairs are completed or you leave the house.

Other symptoms of sick building syndrome include headache, eye and nose irritation, dry skin, nausea and dizziness, fatigue and trouble concentrating. And throughout it all, your doctor likely won’t be able to determine the cause of your discomfort.

What Causes This

The most common reason for sick building syndrome is poor ventilation. In the 1970s, the ventilation requirements for new homes were reduced by 66% to help save energy. However, air quality measures were not included to ensure people stayed healthy. That has since changed as ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers raised the recommendations back to the pre-1973 levels and even increased them in some cases.

There are other things as well you should look out for including indoor chemical exposure to carbon monoxide from exhaust fans, nitrogen dioxide, and formaldehyde. Outdoor sources can make you ill as well. Smoke, exhaust, and various gases from outside your home can enter your indoor air and cause illness to your family if they aren’t properly filtered out.

Finally, there are things like mold, bacteria and pollen which are always issues for indoor air. Proper purification and filtration will help with each of these problems, but only if you monitor and test for them regularly. If you have any concerns about your home’s indoor air quality, call Next Generation Air and Heat today!

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Winter Garden Heating Tip: Troubleshooting Furnace Air Flow Problems

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Whenever you notice furnace air flow problems in your Winter Garden home, you can usually do a little troubleshooting and solve the issue on your own. Most air flow problems can be fixed easily and quickly. Here are a few guidelines to get you started, but if you need help or notice other problems with your furnace, call a qualified Next Generation Air and Heat heating technician.

Furnace Filters:
Checking the furnace filter is the first step you should take when there are any issues with your furnace, but especially with air flow problems. If a filter is dirty enough, the furnace will not come on at all. Ultimately, a clogged or dirty filter restricts the air flow, and this is the source of air flow problems ninety percent of the time.

Supply Registars and Cold Air Returns:
Once you’ve replaced or cleaned the filter, check your cold air returns, which are the vents that draw in the cold air in forced air systems. When a cold air return is blocked  by furniture or other obstructions, they cannot draw in enough air to allow the furnace to put out an adequate amount of hot air. Make sure they are open if nothing is blocking them.

Next, check your supply registers, which are the vents that supply the warm air, and make sure they are open as well. Whenever your heat is on, all of your supply registers should be open. Closing some vents will not increase the air flow in other vents in the house. Closing off one or two in areas where heat is not always needed will not hurt your system; however, when you close too many supply registers, it can cause problems with the ductwork and eventually damage the furnace if the air pressure is not correct.

Clean Your Vents:
You should have a qualified HVAC technician professionally clean your ducts and vents at least once a year, which is another reason it’s important to schedule annual maintenance visits. A professional cleaning is typically part of the yearly heating system inspection. You can help by vacuuming your vents regularly, particularly during the months the heating system is not in use, or at least before you turn it on in the fall. Simply cleaning your vents can help air flow and extend the life of your entire heating system.

If you continue to experience air flow problems, call a certified Winter Garden heating technician at Next Generation Air and Heat. There could be a more serious issue, or if you have a newer furnace, your original ductwork could be the wrong size for that furnace model.

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Home Heating Guide: The Hardest HVAC Maintenance

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Do you hate to work on your own mechanical equipment in your Satellite Beach home, like furnaces and plumbing fixtures? You aren’t alone. Many people are not cut out to be do-it-yourselfers (DIYers). They prefer to hand off their maintenance and repair chores to qualified professional. That’s not a bad thing. But there are lots of DIYers who prefer to work on their own home repairs – and those are the people who aren’t afraid to take on the most challenging jobs.

If you are looking for good ideas on how to maintain your home’s heating and cooling (HVAC) system beyond the normal filter changeouts, here are some good things to check – things that will help with the overall performance of your Satellite Beach HVAC system.

  1. Check the ventilation system. The ventilation carries conditioned air from a main source throughout your home.  It takes a little time and effort to check your ventilation system for things like cracks or leaks around joints, but it is an important maintenance task. You may even find separations between joints or holes caused by nails. A leaky ventilation system could be sending conditioned air into attics, walls, or crawlspaces and making your furnace work extra hard just to keep your living areas warm and comfortable. Take time to visually inspect as much of your ventilation system as possible – usually metal or flex duct – and repair using joint glue, metal filler, or duct tape.
  2. Inspect the insulation. Your heating system works in conjunction with the insulation in your home to provide comfort and warmth while saving you on high utility bills. A home that is poorly insulated or not insulated at all will cause a furnace to work harder and not only send utility bills higher, but increase the possibility of mechanical failure. Replacing or adding insulation in walls and crawlspaces is a relatively easy, yet time-consuming task. You can roll down or tack up fiber insulation or blow in insulation into walls. You can also seal up cracks on your home’s walls, roof, or foundation with a number of different products. Once again, your goal is to make your heating system work less and save you money.
  3. Check the visible components of the furnace. A build-up of dust and dirt can make the moving components of your furnace work even harder, such as the motors, fan belts, contactors, etc. If you live in an area where there is lots of dust and humidity or if your home has several occupants and/or animals, it is particularly important to check your system on a regular basis. This can be done by removing the access panels and taking a vacuum cleaner hose into as many areas as possible. A good, thorough vacuuming should produce immediate results and make your furnace run much more efficiently.

Try these three steps and you may not have to repeat them for another year or so – possibly not ever again while you live in your Satellite Beach home.

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When Should You Replace Instead of Repair Your Heating? A Question from Winter Garden

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

We all dread an expensive repair in Winter Garden, whether it is a car that needs a new transmission, a leaky roof that needs new shingles, or electrical wiring that has been chewed up by a wild animal. We often try and put bandages on things that we know should be replaced but we just can’t afford to replace them.

The same can be said about your home’s heating system. When your heat goes out or your home just doesn’t seem to be heating up to the setting on your thermostat, your first inclination is to check and see if it is running. Some people will put their hand over a heating vent to check for hot air while others may go into the basement or mechanical room to listen to hear if the furnace is running. Maybe there is a blockage in the ventilation system or a blown circuit breaker, two relatively easy fixes.

If the furnace isn’t working after checking the obvious symptoms, your next move is to call for service. Any qualified heating professional would be able to diagnose your problem and offer suggested repairs. Something relatively minor like a bad circuit board or blown fan motor are not real expensive repairs and are the best option versus replacing the furnace. And you may keep experiencing the same problem and getting the same repair work done – anything to avoid an expensive replacement.

But at some point the vicious cycle will come to an end. Your repair bills will begin to inch their way past the cost of replacing the furnace. You can only bandage a problem so long before it becomes “unfixable.” You may not want to pay an expensive replacement bill but consider the alternatives.

First is the obvious – it costs too much to keep repairing the furnace. Secondly, you never know when the furnace may break down and its failure to operate could have dangerous effects on the people in your home, especially if someone is sick. Third, your furnace may not be able to keep up with the heating demand due to lifestyle changes, i.e. an addition put on the house, carpeting removed and wood floors exposed, a new window, door, or skylight added, etc. Your old furnace may not have been designed to keep up with these changes and the repairs are only delaying the inevitable.

Ask yourself if everyone in your home is comfortable during cold weather. If most answer no, it may be time to consider replacing that old furnace with a new, energy efficient model that uses today’s technology – and leaves a smaller carbon footprint – to keep up with the demand for heat, in any sized building or home. Your decision to replace your old heating system could be as simple as the need to use modern technology to solve your indoor comfort problems.

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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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