Archive for December, 2011

Happy New Year’s Eve from Your Sarasota Heating and Cooling Contractor!

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! We hope you have a wonderful time celebrating the beginning of 2012! Now is also a great time to set goals and reflect on what you would like to accomplish in the year ahead. If you are thinking of trying to be more environmentally friendly, your HVAC system might be the place to start. Annual maintenance will make your system run efficiently, and if you upgrade your system you can be sure that you will be using less fuel than before. Give us a call to learn more ways to lessen your home’s environmental impact!

Edwards Island HVAC Tip: Open vs. Closed Loop Systems in Geothermal

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Even people who are somewhat familiar with geothermal heating systems in Edwards Island may not be aware that there are actually two types – open and closed loop systems. The difference, of course, is that the closed loop systems make use of a completely sealed loop of pipe filled with water, antifreeze or some combination of these that cycles through the pipe absorbing heat and transferring it to your home.

Open loop systems, on the other hand, are linked to a well casting and draw water from there to circulate throughout the system as a heat source. Particularly if you already have an appropriate well casting in place, you can often save a lot on your installation costs by putting in an open loop system rather than a closed loop.

If you do not already have a well, however, the installation of an open loop system might still be cheaper but not by as much. Also, the costs of operation after the initial installation are pretty comparable, so the relative costs associated with operating one type of system or the other should not weigh to heavily on your decision.

In fact, the best way to decide which type of geothermal heating system is right for you is to talk to an experienced contractor about your particular situation. They will be able to tell you exactly what the installation of each type of system will entail in your specific case and make informed recommendations about what type of system will work best for you.

No matter what type of geothermal heating system you do go with, though, you will be getting an excellent and inexpensive home comfort solution that will keep your indoor temperature at the right level all year round. That is because geothermal heat pumps, just like air source heat pumps, can be reversed during the warmer summer months to actually remove heat from your home. That way, you can stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter without having to pay for heating or air conditioning.

Bradenton Heating Guide: How to Tell if Your Air Ducts Are Leaking

Monday, December 26th, 2011

There are lots of ways for your Bradenton home to lose energy – through leaky door frames, cracks in window trim, loose or missing insulation, etc. A lot of your indoor heating and cooling winds up outdoors and drives up your utility bills.

One part of your home that is susceptible to leaks and energy loss is your ventilation system, typically metal or flexible ductwork. Older homes generally experience more duct leakage because seals and joints may have loosened over the years or may have not been properly connected when they were installed. There are some ways to check and see – or hear – if the air ducts in your home are leaking.

The most obvious way to check is by listening. Stand, sit, or kneel close to your ductwork. Listen for any hissing noises when the furnace, air conditioner, or blower motor is in operation. A hissing noise is usually an indication of a leak in a seal or joint. Since ductwork comes in a variety of lengths and contains a number of different connectors, there are likely many joints where pieces have been connected. Some joints are sealed with small sheet metal screws while other joints are sealed with duct tape or mastic. Whatever the connection is, the joints may have come loose over time from vibrations, settling of the home’s foundation, previous repairs, or by someone simply bumping into the ductwork.

Another way to check for a leaking air duct is by looking at insulation which may be wrapped around the ductwork. If an air duct is leaking it will leave dark stains on the insulation over time – giving an exact location of the leak.

Leaks in your air ducts can cause areas like your crawlspace, attic, or garage to be abnormally cold or hot. If you are conditioning unused parts of your home inadvertently, it may be because your ductwork is leaking in those areas.

Finally, a not so easy way to check for leaking ducts is to compare utility bills. If there is a big spike in your heating or cooling costs, it may be because of temperature extremes – but it also may be because your ductwork is leaking. You may not be able to see a big difference in your bills unless there are large leaks or breaks in your ductwork, but keep an eye on your energy costs anyway.

Once you have located any leaks, there are some easy fixes. But you also may want to call your local qualified heating and cooling contractor to perform a whole house energy audit, using leak detection instrumentation to check for leaks.

Merry Christmas Eve from Your Sarasota Heating and Air Conditioning Contractor

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

We wish you a very Merry Christmas! We plan on eating lots of great food and spending time with our loved ones. We hope that you get everything you want under the tree this year! Fun holiday fact: the song “Jingle Bells” was inspired by sleigh races that were common in Medford, Massachusetts, where the song was written. It was originally called “One Horse Open Sleigh.” Here are the original lyrics (courtesy of Wikipedia), Merry Christmas!

Dashing through the snow

In a one-horse open sleigh

O’er the hills we go

Laughing all the way.

Bells on bobtail ring

Making spirits bright

Oh what sport to ride and sing

A sleighing song tonight.

|: chorus :|

Jingle bells, jingle bells

Jingle all the way!

O what joy it is to ride

In a one-horse open sleigh.

A day or two ago

I thought I’d take a ride

And soon Miss Fannie Bright

Was seated by my side

The horse was lean and lank

Misfortune seemed his lot

He got into a drifted bank

And we – we got upsot

|: chorus :|

A day or two ago

The story I must tell

I went out on the snow

And on my back I fell

A gent was riding by

In a one-horse open sleigh

He laughed as there I sprawling lie

But quickly drove away

|: chorus :|

Now the ground is white

Go it while you’re young

Take the girls tonight

And sing this sleighing song

Just get a bobtailed bay

Two forty is his speed

Hitch him to an open sleigh

And crack! You’ll take the lead.

|: chorus :|

Don’t be left in the cold this year by foregoing the annual maintenance of your HVAC system. Regular maintenance not only keeps your system working efficiently but it also makes sure it is working safely. Keep your family warm and safe this winter!

Essential Components of a Gibsonton Home Comfort System

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Indoor comfort is defined by several factors: temperature, humidity, and air quality. If any one of the three is out of the “normal” range it can affect the quality of life in your Gibsonton home.

The ultimate goal of any heating & cooling contractor is to ensure that customers are comfortable – meaning that all three factors are addressed when servicing, replacing, or installing new equipment in a home. This equipment includes furnaces and air conditioners but also extends to electronic filters, ultraviolet (UV) lighting, etc.

Obviously, the essential component for most U.S. households is a furnace. Air conditioners may not be essential for all parts of the U.S., namely the northern states, but are still considered an integral part of any home comfort system. Add-ons like electronic filters are important for controlling the air quality.

Let’s look at the furnace first. There are several choices but most can be found in two different classifications: single-stage or variable speed two-stage. Your choice depends on the indoor square footage, your own comfort needs, and possibly the cost of energy units (gas or electric for example). Forced air is a common method of moving heated air to all parts of the home via an air handling unit and through a duct system. But gaining in popularity is radiant heat (electric), which does not utilize a duct system.

Air conditioners also come in a variety of sizes, including window/room air conditioners or central air conditioning, which is likely a “split” system including an outdoor unit and indoor coil. The size of the air conditioner is determined by square footage, which is part of a load calculation performed by qualified heating & cooling contractors while planning the equipment replacement or new installation. An oversized air conditioner may produce high humidity levels and an undersized unit may not provide enough cooling to all areas of the home. High humidity levels contribute to higher indoor temperatures in the summer, and can also lead to respiratory problems.

If someone in your home has allergies or is sensitive to certain pollutants in the air, it may be important to include extra filtration in your heating & cooling system, such as electronic filtration and UV lighting mounted in the buildings duct system, to kill germs and contaminants.

And speaking of an essential component, duct systems are keys to maximizing efficiency and comfort. Properly sized, insulated, and sealed, the duct system is a key to comfortable, healthy indoor air – and energy efficiency. It is also important to keep your duct system clean, too.

As always, it is best to consult with a qualified and licensed heating and cooling contractor who can offer the best solutions for your home comfort system.

Happy Hanukkah from Your Sarasota Heating and Air Conditioning Contractor

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Happy Hanukkah from everyone at Baker & Sons Air Conditioning! We hope you have an amazing holiday full of friends, family, and great food. Whether you have a Menorah or a Christmas tree in your house, we wish you very happy holiday. And since one of the great traditions of this time of year is delicious food, here is a recipe we found for Crispy Potato Pancakes:

Crispy Potato Pancakes

“Here’s a potato pancake that doesn’t take much time to make and is just right for two people. Weekends become our time to relax and enjoy life, and this is one of our favorite treats. -Nancy Salinas, Grand Rapids, Minnesota”

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium potatoes, peeled

1 egg

1/3 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Finely grate potatoes; drain any liquid. Place potatoes in a bowl. Add egg, onion, flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder; mix well. In a large skillet, heat 1/8 in. of oil over medium heat. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls; press lightly to flatten. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Serve immediately.

For more details, visit allrecipes.com.

Harbour Heights Downflow Gas Furnace Tips

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Proper care of a downflow gas furnace starts with proper installation and continues through routine cleaning and maintenance. But before you can even have a downflow gas furnace installed, you need to make sure it’s the right fit for your Harbour Heights home.

Downflow gas furnaces are so named because of the direction that air flows through them. The cooler air is taken in at the top and directed downward, heating up as it travels, and then is expelled through the bottom of the furnace into ducts that feed the rest of the house. Because of this configuration, downflow  gas furnaces are typically installed in attics as opposed to basements.

If you have a basement and you’d rather install your furnace there, then an upflow furnace is probably the better choice for you. However, as many newer homes don’t have basements at all, downflow gas furnaces are growing in popularity and usefulness.

As with any other furnace, it’s important to have a downflow gas furnace professionally installed. This will ensure that the venting system is properly in place and that your house will be heated as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Of course, there are some other things you can do to help your furnace heat your home and keep your energy bills down. For instance, make sure you have proper insulation everywhere, particularly in the attic and crawlspaces where much of the normal heat loss in a home occurs.

You can also make your home more airtight in the winter by sealing up any unused windows and doors with plastic and making sure all storm windows are in place. Basically anyplace that a draft could develop, you could be losing heat and that costs you money. So to ensure that all of the money you’re spending to heat your house is actually going to that purpose, check periodically to make sure your home is still sealed up tight.

Also, just like any other type of furnace, a downflow gas furnace will require regular maintenance to make sure it continues to run efficiently and to replace any parts that may have worn out over time. Having a Harbour Heights professional technician come out once a year to carry out this type of service will wind up saving you a bunch of money and can help catch problems before they are able to get out of hand.

Bradenton Beach HVAC Contractor Tip: Why Do Heat Pumps Need Refrigerant?

Friday, December 16th, 2011

As every Bradenton Beach HVAC contractor knows, a heat pump is not designed solely for heating. In fact, the technology in your heat pump was originally designed for air conditioning and is used today in air conditioners, refrigerators and cooling units in vehicles and airplanes. And the entire process relies on refrigerant – a chemical compound that is compressed and expanded to move energy from one environment to another.

How Refrigerant Makes Heating and Cooling Possible

Your heat pump has multiple components designed to transfer refrigerant from one state to another. The compressor, for example, compresses the refrigerant into a liquid. The liquid is then moved through the expansion valve to the evaporator coils where it expands into a gas. Because refrigerant evaporates at much lower temperatures than water, it does this rapidly and in the process draws heat from the surrounding environment.

That’s how an air conditioner or your refrigerator cool a space. However, in the case of a heat pump, the process can work in both directions. In cooling mode, your heat pump extracts heat from the air going into your home. In the case of heating mode, the heat pump extracts heat from the outside air. Because the heat is transferred into the refrigerant, it can then be recompressed by the compressor. The heat is then is then released in the condenser coils, where the gas returns to liquid state. A blower then distributes air blown across the condenser coils into your home as heat.

Troubleshooting the Process

A heat pump is a complex piece of machinery, but once you know how it works, you can perform quite a bit of troubleshooting should anything go wrong with the device. For example, if you notice cold air coming from your vents, you can check to make sure it isn’t in cooling mode and that there is enough refrigerant in the device.

Keep in mind that if any service needs to be performed on the heat pump involving refrigerant, you should call a professional due to the volatile nature of the chemical. In most municipalities, you must have a license to distribute or dispose of refrigerant and even if not, it can be dangerous to both you and the environment.

A Tip from Leffis Key: How Effective is Geothermal Heating?

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Geothermal heating is an efficient way to use the Earth’s natural resources to heat a Leffis Key building’s interior. But is it an effective way?

Consider the cost of geothermal heating. Once you get past the initial installation costs of a geothermal heating system, which are higher than other conventional heating systems, its operating costs are much lower because of its use of a natural, renewable heat source – the Earth. If you plan to stay in your home for many years, a geothermal heating system will likely pay for itself because according to International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, geothermal operating efficiencies are 50-70% higher than other heating systems, which represents a substantial lowering of energy costs.

And according to a leading electric utility company, the cost of electricity for operating a geothermal heat pump is lower than any other heating system which includes natural gas, propane, and oil.

Beyond lower energy costs, geothermal heating leaves a smaller carbon footprint than other heating systems. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the average U.S. home is 17%, most of which comes from burning fossil fuels for electricity. Geothermal uses natural heat from the ground and therefore uses 30-60% less energy than more conventional heating and cooling systems. Using less energy equals less carbon dioxide production.

A geothermal heating system is only as effective as the equipment used to deliver it throughout the building. The most common delivery method is through a ground source heat pump. This pump pulls the heat from the earth and distributes it.

The components of a geothermal system also include a compressor, air handling unit, and duct system. When all are installed and maintained correctly, a geothermal heating system will be just as effective in heating a building’s interior as any other heating system. Just be sure you hire a qualified heating contractor to install and service your geothermal heating system.

A Question from Wimauma: Will Switching to Geothermal Save Me Money?

Monday, December 12th, 2011

There are simply a ton of different types of heating systems in Wimauma and they are each more appropriate in different situations. However, some are certainly always going to be cheaper to operate than others, although that alone may not make one or the other right for you.

In the case of geothermal heating systems, the operating costs are definitely quite low. But those are not the only costs you will have to think about when you are considering what type of heating system to put in your home to keep your heating bills down.

Geothermal heating systems do not actually generate heat – they absorb it from the ground. Because of this, they actually use very little energy when they are running. All you are really paying to power is the fan that blows the heated air around your house. Also, because geothermal heating systems are more efficient at extracting heat in below freezing conditions than traditional heat pumps, they can continue to keep you warm on their own in more extreme conditions.

When you are trying to assess whether or not switching to a geothermal heating system will save you money, you first have to start with the heating bills you currently have. Then, factor in the cost of the geothermal heat pump installation as opposed to the installation of a more conventional system.