Archive for October, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Happy Halloween! We hope you have an awesomely spooky day, we know we will! And since now fall has really begun, it is time to start thinking about tuning up your heating system. Call your local contractor to come and take a look, a little maintenance now will save you from surprises later on in the year!

Happy Halloween Weekend (and Scary Air Conditioner Noises)

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Everyone at Baker & Sons Air Conditioning wishes you a Happy Halloween Weekend! Have a great time as a ghost, a goblin, or anything in between! And to make your Halloween a little less spooky, here is an explanation of the scary noises that sometimes come from your air conditioner.

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 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 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 a professional before the problem grows.

Things to Check on Your Broken AC Before Calling a Sarasota Springs Professional

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

A broken air conditioner is a stressful situation, especially since you’re considering whether you need a Sarasota Springs professional to come out. No one likes spending hundreds of dollars to have a professional take a look at their system, so before you call anyone, make sure to check these problems. You may be able to fix the problem on your own without spending a dime.

Thermostat

The thermostat is one of the most common problems you’ll have with an air conditioner.  Make sure the thermostat wasn’t knocked out of position and the sensors near your coils are in the right place. Often times, a bumped sensor or a slightly off thermostat can cause this kind of problem and as a result, you’ll be left without steady cooling.

Check Your Filters

Another common problem that can cause issues with your air conditioner is filter clogging. While the system will continue to run with a clogged filter, there are a few issues that might pop up – it could smell funny or you might notice icing on the outside line (a major problem). If you allow the filter to get so clogged as to block the air flow from your system, you can expect a number of problems to crop up.

Blower Belts

Check the system’s blower belt for damage like cracking, excess slack or general wear. A blower belt that isn’t properly installed or that needs to be replaced will reduce air flow which can result in ice buildup or poor air flow – it will make it harder for your system to maintain a steady temperature.

Check the Outdoor Unit

Check to make sure nothing is blocking the outdoor unit. Clean the condenser coils and remove any debris that might have built up around the outdoor unit. Often, slowed air flow is caused by nothing more than leaves piled in front of your condenser.

If none of these problems is the culprit or if you fix them all and your system continues to struggle, it is time to call a professional.

Things to Look for in a New Central Air Conditioning System in Apollo Beach

Monday, October 24th, 2011

When it comes time to buy a new air conditioner in Apollo Beach, 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.
  • Refrigerants – Most new air conditioners now use the R410-A refrigerant which will be required in all new units starting in 2020, but there are some lower cost units still using R-22. Check to make sure you have the environmentally friendly coolant offered by newer models.

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 professional installer can help you make your decision.

Sources of Indoor Air Pollutants in South Sarasota

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Indoor air pollutants are a major issue for millions of homeowners and while you may know the most common culprits such as pet dander, pollen, dust and smoke, there are a few other indoor air pollution sources you may not be aware of. Here are some that almost any South Sarasota home will have and simple tasks you can perform to reduce their risk.

  • Cooking Surfaces – Gas stoves in particular are a major source of Nitrogen Dioxide. To reduce the amount of this gas in your indoor air, make sure you have proper ventilation above or near your stove. A simple exhaust hood or wall fan will do the job.
  • Insects – Roaches in particular are a major issue.  Their droppings, saliva and dead body parts can significantly increase the risk of health problems like asthma. Many other insects produce allergens as well, though roaches are worse because of their size and the nature of most infestations. Avoid using roach killers however. Prevention is better than extermination both for your indoor air quality and for the general health of those in your household.
  • Dust Mites – Dust mites are different from insects because they are so small (and are technically arachnids). They like things like your drapes, upholstery and carpet. They also like high humidity levels so if you can keep the humidity in your home low, they will be much less of a nuisance.
  • Asbestos – You’ve probably heard that asbestos is a carcinogen and should be covered or removed from your home. But do you know just how many places in your home it can be found? Asbestos is present in old insulation, spackle, pipe wraps and even some older upholstery. If your home is more than 30 years old, make sure it is inspected and checked for asbestos. If found, asbestos is usually isolated so it cannot fray and get into the air you breathe.
  • New Electronics – New products can have a variety of chemicals in them like phthalates that have a negative impact on the respiratory health of those exposed to them. These chemicals are emitted after a product is opened for the first time. With time their concentration will diminish, reducing the risk, but at first, make sure to properly ventilate the space and keep children away from new electronics or computers.

Chemicals, pollutants and other indoor air quality issues are numerous. To avoid a problem, make sure you investigate carefully to determine if your home needs additional repairs.

How Bad Is the Air in Your Home? A Question from Boyette

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Every day you hear about another awful contaminant that can get into your Boyette 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 and exhaust 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.

How to Calculate Duct Size for an AC System: A Guide from Sarasota

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Duct sizing is a complex process using one of three methodologies. The goal of duct sizing is to provide the perfect space through which heated and cooled air can travel around your Sarasota home. Ducts should provide ample air flow to keep you comfortable without overworking your HVAC system or costing you an arm and a leg on your energy bill.

Methods Used for Sizing

There are three methods used for most modern duct sizing. The first is the Velocity Method. The velocity method takes into account the speed at which air flows through the ducts based on their general size. A series of equations is used to determine this, including duct cross sectional area, air flow rate and air speed. A much more detailed breakdown is available on the EngineeringToolbox.com for those interested in the math behind the process.

In general though, the velocity method allows contractors to determine the appropriate size and layout of ducts based on their application (residential, commercial, industrial or high speed) and their position (main or branch ducts).

Contractors may also use the Constant Pressure Loss and Static Pressure Recovery methods to design ductwork for your HVAC system. The constant pressure loss method tends to result in more components but provides a more accurate reading of the actual pressure loss in the system based on the materials used and the layout of your ductwork.

Static pressure recovery focuses on ensuring the same pressure level is achieved at all vents and inlets for the system. It is probably the most complicated sizing method, however, so it is rarely used for residential installations.

Simplifying the Process

Were we to break down the process into its core components, this is what a contractor would do when sizing your duct work:

  • Determine CFM for Each Room – using the Manual J for load calculations, they would determine the CFM. This is based on the (Room Load/House Load) x Equipment CFM. The entire house must be measured and load calculations completed before this can be done.
  • Friction Loss Rate – Friction loss rate is the (Available Static Pressure x100 / Effective Length).
  • Duct Sizing – Finally, the contractor will use a chart or software to select ductwork based on the friction loss and CFM calculated in the first two steps.

The goal of all of this math is to ensure that the system installed is exactly as large as is necessary to distribute heated or cooled air to the entire house. Incorrect measurements result in improper delivery of that air and a system that doesn’t quite get the job done.

Where to Turn for Your Indoor Air Quality Concerns in Apollo Beach

Friday, October 14th, 2011

The quality of the air inside your Apollo Beach home is incredibly important. It has a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of your family and in some cases can affect the cost of your heating and cooling. But with so many worries out there and so many people trying to offer advice, where do you turn when you need help? Here are some resources to help you if you’re worried about indoor air quality.

  • EPA Resources – The US Environmental Protection Agency provides a huge number of resources for homeowners and business leaders worried about indoor air quality. The EPA keeps a complete list of hotlines and clearinghouses to call depending on where you live at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/hotline.htm as well as a list of state health department resources according to their 10 region breakdown of the country at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/whereyoulive.html.
  • Asthma Help – If you suffer from asthma and are looking for help from an expert to handle an attack or deal with conditions leading to your attacks the Asthma No Attacks hotline is available both online at www.noattacks.org or offline at 1-866-NO-ATTACKS. The Allergy and Asthma Network is also available at www.aanma.org and the American Lung Association has a number of useful resources for anyone concerned with their lung health at www.lungusa.org.
  • Radon Help – If you are concerned about radon in your home, Kansas State University operates a number of hotlines including 1-800-SOS-RADON for test kits and 1-800-55RADON for your radon related questions.
  • School Help – For school administrators and indoor air specialists, the American Association of School Administrators has a number of indoor air quality resources at www.aasa.org/iaq-resources.aspx.
  • ASHRAE – To learn more about the standards followed by contractors throughout the United States and recommended by the EPA, visit the ASHRAE website at www.ashrae.org – the American Society of Heating and Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers is responsible for evaluating new technologies and determining best practices for ventilation and air quality control.

And of course, if you are interested in the state and local regulations that affect air quality in your area, visit the Florida Department of Health’s website.

Is My Home as Comfortable as It Could Be? A Question From Gibsonton

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

When it comes to indoor comfort in your Gibsonton home, there are a surprising number of things you need to take into account. Of course, you need to have a good heating and cooling system in place so that you can easily maintain a comfortable indoor temperature all year round. But that really isn’t enough when you’re trying to create the optimal indoor environment. So what else do you need to consider?

Indoor Air Quality

You should take the time to have your indoor air quality checked by a professional. Indoor air pollutants are a growing problem, particularly in newer homes that are sealed up tight against the elements. These seals prevent all of your temperature conditioned air from escaping and make your home more energy efficient, but they also lead to inadequate ventilation and a buildup of things like gasses, dust mites, bacteria, mold spores and pet dander in your indoor air.

These are obviously not the types of things you want to breathe on a regular basis, so it’s a good idea to invest in ventilation and an indoor air quality system that can bring in a steady supply of fresh air from outside and remove any harmful contaminants from the air circulating through your home.

What Do the Energy Stars Indicate? A Question from Inglewood

Monday, October 10th, 2011

If you’re in the market for any type of appliance for your Inglewood home, you’ve probably come across some that boast an Energy Star certification. But what does this really mean? After all, there are all types of special labels that manufacturers put on their products to make them look better, so how can you know which ones are really worth paying attention to?

Why Energy Star Matters

The truth is that no matter what type of appliance you’re looking for, from a coffee maker to a new furnace, buying one with the Energy Star label is definitely a good investment. This certification is conferred by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and it can only be used on products that pass the EPA’s stringent tests for energy efficiency and environmental impact.

Energy Star products create fewer pollutants like greenhouse gasses because they use less energy to get the job done than their inefficient counterparts. This is great for our planet, but it also translates to savings for you as a consumer. Because Energy Star appliances use less energy to heat or cool your home or do whatever else you need them to do, your monthly bills will be significantly reduced.

Quality and Performance Measured

And you don’t have to worry about inferior performance as a result of increased energy efficiency either. Energy Star products can only receive the label if they provide all of the features you’ve come to expect from comparable products across the board. They need to maintain high energy efficiency ratings while still maintaining a superior level of performance.

While it’s true that you may wind up paying a bit more for an Energy Star product, that is only a one-time cost. If you compare the monthly savings you’ll receive by using your Energy Star appliance on a regular basis to what you would pay out over time with a less efficient model, it’s easy to see how the Energy Star product costs you less.

For all of these reasons, the Energy Star rating is definitely worth looking out for when shopping for home appliances and HVAC equipment. These products are made to be reliably energy efficient and can save you a ton over the years as long as they’re properly maintained.