Archive for the ‘Heat Pumps’ Category

Boyette Heat Pump Repair Tip: Signs You Should Replace Your Heat Pump

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The decision to replace major equipment can be a difficult one. How do you know when to call it quits on a part of your Boyette heating and cooling system that is as important as the heat pump?

Here are some signs that you should replace your heat pump:

  • If your heat pumps is making significantly more noise than it used to, it can be sign of major mechanical distress. Many times, replacement is the best solution.
  • Some components of a heat pump cost as much or more to repair as the whole unit does to replace. These components may include the compressor, the outdoor coil, the accumulator and the reversing valve. Once one of these goes, you are often better off replacing the heat pump than the broken component. Additionally, when repairs become so frequent as to no longer be cost effective, it’s a good time to replace the equipment.
  • A malfunctioning heat pump can cause problems with the humidity in your home. This is not a definitive indicator, but if you notice the humidity level rising in your home, you may need a heat pump replacement.
  • Any time your energy bill rises without a significant increase in usage, faulty or failing equipment is one of the top suspects. Your heat pump could very well be the culprit.
  • If you notice a cooling imbalance, such as rooms being too warm while others are too cool, your heat pump may be close to breaking.
  • Finally, if your heat pump is ten or more years old, replacing it is a good idea, even if it seems to be working fine. A new model will be much more efficient and chances are that the old one is headed for a major breakdown soon.

Keep in mind that these are not always definitive signs that your heat pump is done for good. Also, some of these may occur in combination. For example, you may have an old heat pump that is making a lot of noise and causing humidity problems.

Consult with Baker & Sons for full diagnostics before making the decision to replace any major household equipment.

Casey Key HVAC Tip: Most Energy Efficient Upgrades for Your Home

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Before you decide which upgrades will make your Casey Key home more efficient, it would be best to get a home energy audit. You can do this yourself with a few simple tests, or you can hire a professional auditor. The auditor will use advanced equipment and techniques, such as blower doors and infrared cameras, to detect air leaks and places that need more insulation.

When your home is properly insulated and sealed, here are some upgrades you’ll want to think about to make your home more efficient.

High-Efficiency Furnaces & Heat Pumps

If you have an old single-stage furnace, it is time to upgrade. These furnaces were designed to run on two settings—either off or on, and when they are on, they run at full speed. Not only do they lose heat this way, but they also take longer to warm up your home. The new two-speed and multispeed models run at lower speeds to maintain a constant temperature. You can also buy ones with variable-speed blowers that operate on various speeds, which are the most efficient. Heat pumps are a good option if you need both heat and A/C in your home. While most heat pumps are manufactured to be efficient by design, the newer models are the most efficient way to heat and cool your home. If you have a heat pump older than 15 years, talk to an HVAC technician about a heat pump replacement.

Solar Water Heaters

When you’ve upgraded your heating system, it may be time to install a more efficient water heater. Solar water heaters are gaining popularity, and they are the most efficient way to save hot water if certain factors are in place, such as sunlight exposure and high fuel costs.

Water-Saving Toilets & Low-flow Plumbing Fixtures

Duel flush, or water-saving toilets are an excellent choice for an upgrade if you want to save water. These toilets use less water overall, and you have the option of using more or less water each time you flush. Installing low flow faucets and fixtures can also provide up to 60% in utility savings. Low flow plumbing fixtures reduce the flow rate for each fixture or application, which reduces the overall amount water used in the home.

Don’t hesitate to call Baker & Sons if you have any questions about upgrading your Casey Key home.

Boyette Heat Pump Maintenance Guide: Why Maintain Your System?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Just like any HVAC system, the heat pump in your Boyette home needs routine maintenance and yearly check-ups to operate as efficiently and safely as possible. You also don’t want your heat pump to wear down to the point of a major malfunction or breakdown, which can be costly to repair or may require a complete system replacement.

Here are some things that could go wrong and cost you a lot more in the end if you don’t keep up with the regular maintenance of your heat pump.

Damage to the Compressor

The compressor in a split-system heat pump works whether you are heating or cooling your home. In the winter, the compressor reverses the flow of the refrigerant to defrost the outdoor coils, and in the summer it supplies the refrigerant to cool the home, as well as cooling the outdoor coils. Proper airflow is vital to keeping the compressor running smoothly. Filters that are not changed regularly, dirty coils, and dirty fans can all restrict airflow, which will damage the compressor. Debris around the outside components should also be cleared to allow proper airflow.

Decreased Efficiency

When dirty or broken components restrict the airflow, this damages the compressor and decreases the heat pump’s efficiency levels.  Not only is it important to clean your heat pump regularly, but you should also have it checked by a certified heating technician once a year. This will also prevent safety hazards and other hidden issues with the heat pump.

Improper Refrigerant Levels

Most heat pumps are charged with refrigerant at the factory; however, if models that are charged when they are installed are not given the right amount of refrigerant this can also affect performance levels. Refrigerant leaks and other common problems can be prevented by scheduling an annual maintenance visit with one of our qualified technicians.

Don’t wait until the heat pump in your home stops working, call Baker & Sons Air Conditioning, Inc.  to schedule your yearly check-up.

Snead Island Heat Pump FAQs

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Even if you installed a heat pump in your Snead Island home years ago, you may still have questions about the normal operation of your indoor and outdoor units. Here are answers to a few of the more common questions about heat pumps.

Do I need to schedule a heat pump maintenance visit before each season, or just once a year?

Scheduling a yearly maintenance visit is necessary to the proper upkeep and safe operation of your heat pump. This also extends the life of the system and helps it run more efficiently. However, scheduling a visit before the heating and cooling seasons isn’t necessary, unless you’ve had any concerns or issues with your heat pump.

Should I be concerned about the steam coming from my outdoor unit?

All heat pumps have a defrost cycle that melts the frost off of the outdoor coils in the winter. The steam rising from the outdoor unit results from the defrost cycle. If you notice that the defrost cycle lasts longer than ten to fifteen minutes, or if it cycles on and off frequently, you should call a service technician to look at your heat pump. There could be an issue with airflow that is affecting the compressor.

I just installed a heat pump. Why is my furnace running?

Many heat pump systems use the furnace fan blower to help distribute the heat throughout the house. Unless you’ve installed a geothermal heat pump, your furnace is most likely your backup heater, so it will kick on when the outside temperature drops below 20° F.

Is it really that important to clean my outdoor unit? It’s impossible to keep it clean all the time.

Yes, cleaning the outdoor unit is an especially important maintenance task. Not only does a routine cleaning of all the outdoor components maintain your heat pump’s efficiency and performance levels, it also prevents safety hazards. When you schedule a yearly maintenance visit with one of our technicians, cleaning the coils and outdoor unit is part of the service; however, if you want to clean the coils yourself, have one of our technicians show you how to do this before you attempt it on your own. You could suffer from electric shock if you are not familiar with the proper cleaning procedure. You can also help by making sure that the debris is cleared from around the outdoor unit.

If you have any questions about the heat pump in your Snead Island home, or if you’d like to schedule a maintenance appointment, give Baker & Sons Air Conditioning a call any time.

Palmetto Heat Pump Tip: Outdoor Maintenance

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Sometimes, the trickiest part about owning a heat pump in Palmetto is keeping the outdoor components maintained. Because they are outside and generally out of sight, it can be easy to forget or neglect them. But because they are outside and exposed to the elements, outdoor heat pump components need attention and maintenance to keep them running properly.

The two most important routine maintenance functions you can do as an owner of an outdoor heat pump are keeping it free of debris and keeping it level.

Every month or so, inspect and clean your outdoor heat pump to make sure it is free of leaves, dirt and other debris. These can easily be sucked in by the fan and reduce the efficiency of the whole system. Turn the power off to the unit and use a vacuum or broom to remove any accumulated debris.

Once or twice a year, use a carpenter’s level to make sure the whole thing is sitting level on the pad. Use the level to gauge both side to side and front to back. While you are doing this, check the insulation for erosion or gaps. If you see that it is not level or the insulation is wearing thin, have a contractor come out reset the unit on the concrete pad or patch up the insulation.

These are two small maintenance tasks that you don’t have to do very often, but they can make a big difference in the performance and life of your heat pump.

In addition, you should always have your whole heating, ventilation and cooling system inspected by a Palmetto professional annually in order to keep everything maintained and in good repair.

Bee Ridge Heat Pump Repair Tip: How to Handle Your Finicky Heat Pump

Friday, January 27th, 2012

A heat pump is designed to keep your Bee Ridge home comfortable. Warm weather, cold weather – it doesn’t matter. It should turn on when you need it and turn off when you don’t. So, when the device starts turning on and off without reason or when you need it to stay on, what exactly is the problem and how can you fix that problem without losing the heating or cooling capacity of your device.

Common Causes of the Problem

There are a number of reasons why your heat pump would turn off shortly after turning on, and most of the time this occurs in heating mode. If it occurs in cooling mode, you should have the device inspected immediately because there is likely something wrong with a core component like the compressor. For heating mode issues, here are some common problems:

  • Dirty Coils – If the coils are dirty, the device won’t be able to properly operate, especially if it has been some time since the last cleaning. Both sets of coils need to be cleaned at least once a year to avoid this becoming a problem.
  • Low Refrigerant Charge – If the refrigerant gets low, you’ll need to have it recharged because the pressure in the device will drop and it will therefore turn off after a few minutes of use.
  • Defrost Timer – If the defrost timer is forcing the device into a defrost cycle too often (usually it is set to 30, 60, or 90 minutes), the fan might turn off every few minutes after turning on. This is a common problem and is usually due to a thermostat or switch issue which can be fixed relatively easily.

Another thing to ask yourself when this problem occurs is whether the device is heating properly when on. Defrost timer issues don’t usually impinge on the heating ability of the device, while low refrigerant can. You want to make sure the device is working properly when on and not just cycling on and off without heating capacity.

Based on what you find, you’ll need a Bee Ridge technician to take a closer look and ensure everything is working properly. Most repairs for this type of problem are relatively simple.

Why is My Myakka City Heat Pump Blowing Cold Air in Winter?

Friday, January 6th, 2012

One of the most impressive things about a heat pump is that it can both cool and heat your Myakka City home. But, if something goes wrong and your heat pump is suddenly trying to cool your home in the middle of the winter, you have a problem. Here are some possible causes of the issue and what you can do about them.

Defective Reversing Valve

The reversing valve is responsible for changing the flow of refrigerant between seasons so your heat pump can both heat and cool your home. So, if it breaks, you can imagine what happens next – you won’t switch into heating mode and your heat pump will try to air condition your Myakka City home.

Defective reversing valves are hard to diagnose because the symptoms are largely the same as those of a defective compressor or condenser valve. However, because of how they are installed and where they are located, you will need a Myakka City professional to inspect this problem no matter what.

Low on Refrigerant

Your heat pump should never run low on refrigerant because it shouldn’t leak, but if it does and the refrigerant gets low or if your device is simply very old, this may be a problem. Low refrigerant means that the device cannot transfer enough heat between the outdoor air and the inside air and the air that gets blown through your ducts by the air handler isn’t heated as much as is necessary to warm your house.

The problem is relatively easy to fix, though you should also have your repairman check for leaks and a possible cause of the refrigerant being low in the first place.

Not Running at All

The final problem is one you should be able to notice quite easily. If the heat pump isn’t working at all but the air handler and blower are working fine, then the device will simply blow cold air from outside or possibly even just recycled cold air from inside. In either case, the heat pump isn’t running to heat the air and therefore, you’re getting whatever temperature it is outside.

This can be caused by a number of problems so it’s important to call for a professional to inspect it immediately.

Question from Vamo: How to Clean the Parts of a Heat Pump?

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

It is very important to keep your Vamo heat pump clean. It improves efficiency, helps performance and prevents malfunctions. Cleaning your heat pump should be part of your home maintenance routine in order to keep the house as comfortable and worry-free as possible.

That is all well and good, but how do you go about cleaning the components of your heat pump. It’s one thing to advise you to clean, clean, clean…but it doesn’t do much good if you do not know how. To correct that, here are some tips to help you clean the different parts of your heat pump.

Caution: before doing any maintenance on your heat pump, including cleaning, be sure to turn off the power to the unit. This is a necessary safety measure.

Filters

  • If you use disposal air filters in your heat pump, skip this part. Just make sure to change them regularly, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • To clean air filters, follow the directions of the manufacturer that were included with the filter. This is also a good time to double check that the filters are installed properly.
  • Clean or replace your filters monthly during heavy use seasons, such as the warm summer months and cold months of late fall and winter.

Coils

  • Remove any debris from the outside of the coils and the surrounding area. Sticks and leaves may have accumulated near the outdoor coils, so just brush them away.
  • Using a soft brush attachment, vacuum the exterior of the coils. Take care not to bend or dent the coils.
  • Using a hose with a spray attachment, flush the coils with water from the inside out. This will remove any stubborn debris. Take care not to spray any electrical components, such as the fan or any nearby wires.
  • While you are inside the unit, vacuum the bottom inside to get rid of any more stray debris.

With that done, put everything back, replace the grille covers and power the heat pump back on. It should run smoothly with a fresh filter and no debris to gum up the works. Clean the coils every few months to keep the heat pump in tip top shape.

Easy Ways to Lower Your Kensington Park Heat Pump’s Energy Bill

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

One of the biggest advantages of a heat pump in Kensington Park is that it is highly efficient for both heating and cooling. There is always room for improvement, though, so here some tips to lower your energy bill even more:

  • Get it checked. It’s been said many times before, but it’s always worth saying again: consistent maintenance is one of the biggest keys to keeping any appliance running efficiently. Get your heat pump inspected by a Kensington Park professional at least once a year. This will keep it in good shape and provide an opportunity to make small repairs, before they have a chance to turn into big problems.
  • Keep it clean. When it comes to HVAC equipment, a clean unit is an efficient unit. Check and replace the filters regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep the coils and fan clean. This will also be part of the annual maintenance, but you can – and should — do touch up cleaning on your own.
  • Install a thermostat. A programmable thermostat is a great energy efficiency tool for any home heating and cooling system, not just a heat pump. A thermostat will keep the temperatures lower during the day or any time no one is home, so that you are not wasting heat.
  • Let it run. It may seem counterintuitive, but turning off a heat pump to save energy may actually do more harm than good. Heat pumps operate most efficiently when they stay running on a regular basis. The components don’t need to take time to spin up, and the refrigerant stays warm so it can keep moving. Your best bet is to have your heat pump connected to a programmable thermostat, program it and then stop thinking about it. You’ll save a bundle over manual operation.
  • Protect the outdoor unit. The outdoor portion of your heat pump has to put up with a lot from the elements. Strong winds can damage them or negatively impact the efficient operation of the pump, so keep the outdoor unit protected from wind.

These simple measures, in combination with a highly efficient heat pump, will help slash your energy bills. In addition, check to see if your heat pump is eligible for a federal tax credit, which can save you even more money.

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.