Posts Tagged ‘Bee Ridge’

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.

The Goal of Indoor Air Quality Testing: A Tip From Bee Ridge

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

If you are concerned about the air quality in your Bee Ridge home, the first step is thorough testing for allergens, pollutants and other potentially harmful irritants in your air. But, what type of testing do you need and how should you order it? Here is a breakdown of what you can test for and why those tests are so important.

Mold Testing

If you suspect mold or recently moved into a new home that had water damage in the past, seriously consider mold testing. Most testing involves checking every potential surface and inlet for water sources and mold spores in your home. Dozens of samples are taken and tested in a lab for traces of mold and specific write ups are made of any areas affected by mold so treatment can be done.

Duct Work

One of the most common problems you will find in a home that hasn’t been tested for indoor air quality problems is the ductwork. Dirty ducts can be filled with debris, dust, mold, droppings and dozens of other things that you continuously breathe day after day. Testing involves sampling for common allergens and pollutants.

General Pollutants

There are a number of other pollutants that can build up in your home. From lead paint flakes in the air to common allergens like dust, pollen and dander floating freely in your ductwork, pollutants build up over time and need not only to be tested for but removed.

A good indoor air quality test will measure the levels of each of these contaminants and provide a clear breakdown of how to go about removing them.

Staying Safe with Clean Indoor Air: A Tip From Venice Gardens

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Millions of homeowners are living in polluted air and don’t even know it, including some homes in Venice Gardens. In fact, the quality of air inside homes is a significant factor influencing the health and wellbeing of millions annually. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.6 million people die every year as a result of poor indoor air quality. That makes it the 8th most common risk factor for death in the world and a huge contributor to cancers and other respiratory health problems.

So why is indoor air quality such an issue? Consider for a moment what a home does. At its core, a home is designed to keep you and your family protected from outside threats. It does that with solid walls, tightly sealed windows and a well-built roof over your heads. But the same technology that has made homes better sealed than ever also contributes to safety and health problems for residents of those homes by trapping air pollutants inside.

What’s at Stake?

The most common indoor air pollutants are mere irritants. Things like pollen, dust and dander are uncomfortable but don’t necessarily make anyone deathly ill. However, when a home is sealed up too tightly and the air isn’t filtered and cleaned regularly, the result can be downright dangerous to the occupants. Those seemingly innocuous pollutants suddenly make up a much larger percentage of the air inside.

In some cases, according to the WHO, the amount of smoke and other particles inside the home can be up to 100 times higher than what is considered safe outside. Now consider the other pollutants that can be inside the house. If pollen and dander cannot get out, what about exhaust from your stove, radon gas in your basement or mold spores in your ductwork.

You’re breathing all of it and the result is a significant increase in health risks for diseases like pneumonia, respiratory disease, and asthma – all of which are highly dangerous to anyone, but especially children and the elderly.

Solutions Abound

Luckily, this is not a problem you must deal with indefinitely. Modern HVAC systems integrate advanced ventilation technology, air filtration systems to remove the vast majority of these pollutants. But, first, you need to have them installed. Proper testing can help you determine what aspects of your home’s air supply need to be fixed first and foremost. From there it’s just a matter of finding the right contractor.

Is Your Home More Valuable with Energy Efficient Appliances? A Question From Bee Ridge

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

It’s impressive the things people do to improve the value of their Bee Ridge home. We’re talking about crown molding, new floors, new siding, upgrades to the landscaping and much more. The cost of upgrading these things can grow out of hand quickly and if the boost to your home’s value isn’t equally exponential, it’s hard to justify the expense.

So, it’s always nice to find a simple upgrade that can be performed for a few hundred dollars that will save you money immediately and improve the value of your home in the future. Your appliances (such as your air conditioner) are one such upgrade.

The Value of Energy Efficiency

An energy efficient washing machine can save upwards of $150 per year on water costs. An energy efficient toilet cuts consumption by as much as 150%. Low flow shower heads cut water costs by one third to one half and your heating and air conditioning systems can be improved by 10-35% depending on the upgrades available to you.

When you add up all those savings, the result is a tremendous amount of money that can be saved each year on everything from your water bill to your cooling needs. Imagine what happens when someone looks to buy your home. They see that there are all new appliances with energy efficient ratings that will save them money.

It’s not just lower bills; it’s a decrease in upfront investment. On the surface, it’s unlikely that your energy efficient appliances will directly increase the value of your home, but they can increase the likelihood of someone paying what you’re asking for the home. They add value to the livability of the home, if not the property itself and in today’s housing market, that’s a major plus.

Best Upgrades

The best upgrades to your home’s appliances are the ones that save money without additional work. Water saving appliances should top your list since they are used throughout the year. A new toilet, a new washing machine, a new shower head and sink faucets all designed to cut down on water use are valuable upgrades. Major upgrades to your heating and cooling are good if you need an upgrade anyway or you plan on staying in your home for a few years, but don’t spend $5,000+ just to boost the home value – the result won’t offset the cost.

AC As a Safety Feature in the Home: A Suggestion From Bee Ridge

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Ask a hundred people in Bee Ridge what the primary role of air conditioning is and I’ll bet you they say “comfort”. We seek out AC to stay cool and beat the summer heat, but did you know your air conditioning is a lot more than just a convenience – it is a safety feature in the midst of heavy heat waves.

Heat Is More than Just Uncomfortable

We tend to think of heat as an uncomfortable inconvenience. In reality, it is quite dangerous. According to the Center for Disease Control, heat waves killed 8,015 people between 1979-2003, more than hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning, earthquakes and floods combined in that time period.

Why is heat illness so dangerous? It comes on quickly and it’s easy to ignore the warning signs, especially when you are already uncomfortable. While hydration is important, the real risk occurs after you’ve become dehydrated – when your body can no longer keep itself cool. This is known as heat stroke and can lead to a number of life threatening conditions, especially for the elderly, infants and those with chronic conditions.

That’s where air conditioning comes in. On the CDC’s extreme heat preparedness webpage, air conditioning is listed as the number one preventative factor against heat related illness. Simply put – if you have an air conditioner, there is a much smaller chance you will get sick from the heat. Dehydration happens less frequently when you’re in an air conditioned environment, meaning that your body can regulate temperature internally and you feel comfortable – not a bad deal for a simple installation.

Staying Cool Is a Medical Necessity

Heat is more than just a direct threat. It addles the mind and makes your reaction times slower. In effect, by allowing your body to overheat, you put yourself at risk. Simple tasks like climbing a ladder or taking out the trash could result in an injury because you don’t have the energy or the mental clarity to perform them as you would on a normal day.

So, air conditioning is about a lot more than just staying comfortable – it’s a health issue. Especially if you have small children or elderly adults in the house or if anyone in your family has a medical condition like obesity, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, an air conditioning system is an absolute must during heat waves.

Why Install a Bathroom Ventilation Fan?

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Your bathroom is one of the dampest rooms in your house. Without proper ventilation, you put it at risk of developing mold and mildew which can then spread and enter your home’s air supply. But, what kind of ventilation fan is best and how will it help you remove those unwanted allergens?

Choosing a Ventilation Fan

Step one is to find a ventilation fan that will remove excess humidity and moisture from your bathroom. When you take a shower, wash your face or run a bath, not only do you fill the room with a lot of water, you heat it up. With nowhere to go, that heat lingers and everything from tiles to wood fixtures will absorb the moisture. Over time, it leads to mold and mildew growth – some of it damaging to your bathroom, and much of it damaging to your health.

A ventilation fan must be efficient in removing the excess humidity in your bathroom and pushing it outside. But, that ventilation fan shouldn’t make your bathroom too cold or waste a great deal of the heating or cooling energy you pay so much for.

The best solution then is to get a fan that either connects to a central exhaust system to remove the humidity and air from your bathroom or use an energy recovery ventilator to keep the warm or cool air where it belongs. These systems will remove only the stale air filled with humidity and allergens.

Integrating with the Rest of Your Home

You can have a simple bathroom fan placed in your home that just blows air out of the room. This is effective and will reduce the risk of things like mold and mildew, but it’s costly to operate due to energy loss and it doesn’t integrate with the rest of your home well.

That’s why a good fan should be part of a larger exhaust and ventilation system. The type you need depends largely on the overall humidity of your home and your annual heating and cooling costs, but generally, a simple system that exchanges heat before air leaves your home will do the trick.

Most modern homes have bathroom ventilation already installed. If yours does not, take a closer look at the options currently available. You’ll find different sizes, types and brands designed to fit your particular needs. Whatever you choose, simple ventilation can do wonders for a previously damp and mildew filled bathroom.

Ductless vs. Duct Air Conditioning Systems

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

When it comes time to pick out a new air conditioning system for your home, you will have to make the choice between ductless and duct models. While both of these types of systems have their advantages, the specifics of your situation will go a long way to determining which one is right for you.

Ductless air conditioning systems are becoming more and more popular these days for a number of reasons. For one, they are generally considered more energy efficient than their ducted counterparts. Also, ductless systems are often cheaper and simpler to install, particularly in a house that does not already contain ductwork.

These types of air conditioners use refrigerant lines to connect the indoor unit or units to the outdoor compressor. The refrigerant lines take up much less space than ducts do and they also are much easier to install. Refrigerant lines can also reach into areas of your house that ducts may not be able to, making it possible for you to bring the benefits of air conditioning to places that did not have access to it before.

The indoor unit of a ductless air conditioning system can generally handle the cooling load of one or two rooms, but if you want to cool a larger space, it will be necessary to install multiple indoor units throughout the house. All of these units can connect to the same outdoor compressor and they can also be controlled individually. That means that you can set different temperatures in different parts of your house and you do not have to pay to cool the entire space if no one is occupying certain parts at the moment.

A duct air conditioning system also involves indoor and outdoor components. However, these elements are connected to each other by a system of ducts rather than by refrigerant lines. In a duct system, cooled air is brought inside from the compressor and then circulated through various ducts by the air handler.

The latest duct systems are quite energy efficient as well, and they can also be coupled with zone control systems to create different climate zones within your house. Particularly if you already have some ducts in place, a duct air conditioning system can be a great option for you.

The Energy Star Label

Friday, April 15th, 2011

The Energy Star program is a joint program of the US environmental protection agency and the US department of Energy. The program’s goal is to help consumers save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.

The best-known aspect of the Energy Star program is the Energy Star label, which is awarded to appliances and other items that are significantly more efficient than average. Energy Star efficiency guidelines vary depending on product category, but in general, Energy Star products use 20%-30% less energy than minimum federal standards.

The Energy Star guidelines were designed both with energy efficiency and performance in mind. While low energy use is one of the most important criteria for selecting Energy Star appliances, product performance, features, warranty, safety, and durability are also taken into account. Price is also a factor: if a product costs significantly more than other products in its category, it will only receive the Energy Star label if the up-front cost will be recovered through savings in operating costs within a reasonable amount of time.

The first Energy Star labels were given to computers and monitors in 1992. Now labels can be found on many other products, including:

  • Furnaces
  • Hot water heaters
  • Air conditioners
  • Dishwashers
  • Refrigerators
  • Light bulbs (florescent and LED)
  • TVs

Energy Star products can be found wherever appliances and electronics are sold. Look for the blue and white Energy Star label. You can also look for the yellow EnergyGuide label that is affixed to most heating and cooling systems and household appliances. This label is created by the Department of Energy and shows a product’s annual cost of operation compared to similar models. It will often indicate whether a product is Energy Star.

It’s important to note that while an Energy Star label indicates that a heater, air conditioner, or household appliance is more efficient than the minimum guidelines, it does not always mean that you are getting the most energy efficient option on the market. If you are making a major appliance purchase, use the Energy Star label to be sure every model on your “short list” is energy efficient. Then, look carefully at the EnergyGuide label to compare the efficiency of the models you are considering.

The EPA has also extended the Energy Star label to cover new homes and commercial and industrial buildings. To qualify for the Energy Star rating, a new home must use at least 15% less energy than standard homes (built to the 2004 International Residential Code). Energy Star homes usually include insulation, high-performance windows, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, appliances, lighting, and water heaters.

The Energy Star standards and label have been recognized in many other countries, including Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and the European Union.

Most Commonly Asked Questions about Heat Pumps

Monday, February 28th, 2011

If you’re thinking about buying a new heat pump for your home, chances are you have some questions about these types of products and how they work. In fact, because these types of home comfort systems are relatively new to a lot of people, there are a quite a few misconceptions out there about how effective and efficient they can be.

Recently we’ve gotten some good questions from our readers, so we thought we’d like to pass along the answers so that others can benefit from the information as well.

If I Buy a Heat Pump, Do I Have to Buy an Air Conditioner Too?

That heat pumps are only able to heat your home is probably one of the biggest misconceptions about this type of equipment. Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the air in one place and transferring it to another. That means that in the winter, your heat pump is able to heat your home by taking heat from the outdoor air and moving it inside.

However, in the summer, the heat pump is able to do the same thing only in reverse. When you switch on your heat pump’s cooling function, it will be able to take the heat out of your indoor air and transfer it outside. In this way, the same heat pump system can keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer without you needing to purchase an air conditioner or other supplemental comfort systems.

If I Choose a Heat Pump System, Will I Also Need to Install Supplemental Heat?

That depends on what the climate is like where you live and how warm you like to keep your home. In general, heat pumps can keep any home comfortable as long as the outdoor temperature is above 32°F or so. If the temperature outside drops below that, you may want to have some type of supplemental heating system just in case. However, a heat pump will still be able to provide some warmth at these lower temperatures and you may be able to keep yourself comfortable with a simple space heater or too.

Also, remember that these colder temperatures are most common at night when you would probably have turned your heat down anyway. As long as you live in a relatively moderate climate, heat pumps can do a great job of keeping your home comfortable all year long.