Posts Tagged ‘Bradenton Beach’

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.

Pollen’s Effects on Indoor Air Quality in Samoset

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Unsure what’s got you feeling down in your Samoset home? It might be indoor air that’s been compromised by high pollen levels. But, how do you know when pollen is the culprit as opposed to something like pet dander or simple dust? Luckily, there is a clear difference in the symptoms you might suffer from as a result of being exposed to pollen as opposed to another allergen.

Symptoms of Pollen in Your Home

Pollen is most often associated with seasonal allergies, though even perfectly healthy people without allergies are susceptible to pollen reactions if there is enough of it in the air. The most common symptoms of a pollen allergy include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Eye and Nose Irritation
  • Cough
  • Asthma (made worse)
  • Allergic Reactions

Other symptoms, like throat irritation or skin rash tend to be caused by other pollutants like tobacco smoke or bacteria build up. So, if this sounds like what you’re facing, what is the next step? There are a few things you can do to tackle pollen in your indoor air.

Getting Rid of High Pollen Levels

Step one when the pollen levels in your home are too high is to find the source of the pollen. If it’s an indoor plant, air cleaning upgrades may not get the job done. But, if it’s an outdoor source or a single room in your house, solutions abound.

The first step is to install filtration in your house. Pollen is relatively big so a simple MERV 10+ filter will usually remove it from the air. However, if you have other pollutants that need to be removed, consider getting a HEPA filter. Designed to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns, HEPA filters are a fantastic solution to the pollen problem.

Once you have a good air filter in place, supplement with proper ventilation to remove pollen filled air from your house. Ventilation with energy saving technology allows you to retain any heat or cooled air in your home. A contractor can help you select the best system to tackle your pollen problem.

How Can You Improve Your Home’s Air Quality? A Question From Bradenton Beach

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

One of the easiest ways to protect the health of your family is by maintaining high air quality in your Bradenton Beach home. Without good air quality, you run the risk of contracting Sick Building Syndrome or making other problems like allergies or asthma worse. Depending on what type of air quality system you already have in place, there are many things you can do to improve your air quality.

Filter Changes

The easiest way to improve air quality is to maintain the equipment you already have. Specifically, change your filters regularly. Filters each have a specified period of time for which they will last. However, if your home has high levels of larger contaminants like pollen and dander, you may need to change your filter more often.

Beyond filter changes, make sure your filtration device uses high quality HEPA filters, capable of stopping debris as small as 0.3 microns.

Cleaning Your Ducts and Equipment

Another easy way to reduce the load on your air quality system without paying for new filters every two months is to clean the equipment and the ducts in your house. Ductwork quickly gets clogged with dirt, dust, and other debris being blown by your furnace and air conditioner. If you have a boiler and radiant heat system this is less of an issue, but you should still check your air vents and any air conditioner units in your house for excess dirt and debris buildup.

Your air quality equipment should have a specified timeline for regular cleanings – usually every six months to one year depending on the size and quality of the equipment. A lot of this cleaning can be done by you, but for advanced cleaning or parts replacement, you may need a professional.

New Equipment

Finally, you can buy new equipment that does a better job of removing contaminants from your indoor air. If you have only a simple air filter, consider getting a purifier as well to remove other contaminants like smoke and gas. If you have a smaller piece of equipment that works well but longer keeps up with the entire house, there are larger purifiers on the market that can handle a bigger space. Additionally, proper ventilation can help with your indoor air quality if you don’t currently have enough fresh air circulating through your home.

No matter what your problem, there is a solution you can work toward to keep the indoor air quality of your home high.

Energy Performance Ratings for Windows, Doors, Skylights

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

When you are picking out windows, doors or skylights for your home, you will have a lot of factors to take into consideration. Not the least of these is how well or poorly the product in question will transfer heat into your home or help to block it out. Luckily, there are actually energy performance ratings listed on most windows, doors and skylights so that you can make the most informed decision possible about which product is best for you.

But what do these ratings actually measure? There are actually several categories that are reflected on the energy performance label, and understanding what these various statistics mean will help you pick out the best product for you.

For instance, the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) is something that reflects how well the window transfers heat from the sun into your home. A low SHGC means that the window lets in very little heat, while a high SHGC indicates a product that allows a great deal of heat to pass through into your home. The right one for you, however, depends on your own particular needs.

If you live in an area with a mild summer but a harsh winter, you may be interested in allowing the sunlight to help heating your home in the winter. And if the summers are not that extreme, you might not mind the heat coming in at that time of year.

The opposite would be true if you live somewhere that has very hot summers, though. In that case you might want to keep out as much heat from the sun as possible and be content to heat the house all on your own in the winter. So the ideal SHGC for you can vary depending on your own particular circumstances.

Other elements taken into account when the energy performance of windows, doors and skylights is measured are the amount of visible light the product lets in, how well it insulates your house, how much air is allowed to leak out through joints in the structure of the product and how resistant it is to allowing condensation to develop.

All of these elements will impact how well you are able to maintain a comfortable indoor environment all year round and how much it costs you to do so. Because of this, it can be worth paying a bit more for a door, window or skylight if it means that you will save on your heating or cooling bills every month because of that product.

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.

Save by Buying Low, Buying at the Right Time

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Buying a new HVAC system is a big step and a big investment. You know you will be spending a considerable amount of money, but it is worth it to get the right system for your home. However, that does not mean you should not shop around and compare prices before you buy. Prices in this industry are far from static, and you could get a great deal if you do some research and know what you are looking for.

Of course, you first have to have the luxury of being able to shop around. If your HVAC system has broken down completely, you will be much more limited on what options you can explore and how much you will pay for the system that you want.

But if you know that you are going to be replacing your existing HVAC system sometime soon, the best thing you can do is to start looking around at what is on the market now. Get a feel for the type of system that you want, the features that are important to you and what it will cost you to get all of that in one package deal.

You can also compare the prices for the same system offered by various retailers and installation companies. While it may seem like the same system should cost the same everywhere, this is often not the case. Also, different places may be offering special discounts or installation specials at different times, and you want to put yourself in the best position to take advantage of that.

The time of year can also affect the price of the system you are looking at. Buying a heating system in the middle of the summer, for instance, is often a good way to get a great deal. So if you plan ahead a little bit, you can make out big when you see the deal you were looking for.

Staying on top of the market is the best way for you to see how the prices on different systems change over time and you will be in a great position to grab a good deal when it comes up. You can also often get good deals on HVAC systems that are close to being replaced by a newer model. Just make sure that the newer model does not offer too much more than the previous year’s and you will likely come out ahead.

Cleaning Air Conditioners

Monday, May 30th, 2011

One of the best things you can do to help maintain high indoor air quality in your home is to clean your air conditioning system on a regular basis. While these systems make it possible to endured a long, hot summer with minimal discomfort, they can also become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold and other indoor air contaminants that can make you sick or cause other types of problems.

Improving your indoor air quality isn’t the only reason you should worry about keeping your air conditioning system clean. A properly maintained air conditioner will function more efficiently for a longer period of time.

Air Filters

Changing or cleaning out your air filters regularly is one of the easiest and most important parts of air conditioner maintenance. These air filters are your number one line of defense against all manner of indoor air pollutants, but if they become saturated, they can no longer do their job. Fortunately, changing out these filters is a quick and easy job. Just mark the date on your calendar so you don’t forget.

Ducts

Without the system of air ducts that run through your home, your air conditioner wouldn’t be able to circulate all that cool air. But they’re also a very attractive place for dust, pollen, mold and other indoor air contaminants to collect. Unfortunately, the majority of your ductwork occupies space behind walls, beneath floors and in other equally inaccessible areas of your home.

For that reason, it’s generally necessary to have a professional with specialized equipment come out and clean your ducts once a year. By keeping up with maintenance, you can be sure that your air ducts aren’t harboring dangerous contaminants that your air conditioning system can then spread throughout your home.

Cooling Coils

The cooling coil is another part of your air conditioning system that needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. If your cooling coil is dirty, it won’t actually affect your indoor air quality, but it will impede your air conditioner’s ability to function effectively. The more sediment and debris allowed to build up on your air conditioner’s cooling coil, the less efficiently it will cool the air that passes over it. And if it can’t cool the air properly, your air conditioner will have to work overtime to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home.

What Is a Cast Iron Radiator?

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Cast iron radiators are part of a type of home heating system that has been around for generations. While these types of systems have been largely displaced by newer forced air heating, they do still hold some distinct advantages over their more modern counterparts.

Cast iron radiators are heated as either hot water or steam is circulated through them from a furnace or boiler. As the cast iron heats up, it radiates the heat outward into the air and can thoroughly heat your home evenly and efficiently.

In fact, heating systems that use cast iron radiators are quite a bit more efficient at heating homes. They also don’t typically have the types of problems associated with certain types of forced air heating like hot spots, cold spots or generally uneven heat distribution throughout the house.

Cast iron radiator heating systems are also typically cheaper to install than forced air systems because they don’t require ductwork. Instead, a closed system of pipes links the radiators to the boiler, and those are much easier to put in place and generally take up much less space than ductwork does.

While radiators can also be made out of some other metals, nothing holds the heat as well as cast iron radiators do. It is also safer to heat cast iron to higher temperatures, so you don’t have to worry about keeping them on too long or running them in extreme circumstances. They also hold the heat extremely well, so they can continue to heat a room even after the heat has been shut off.

Of course, cast iron radiators are not a solution for keeping your home cool in the winter as some of the newer heat pumps and other central forced air heating and cooling systems are. If you have cast iron radiators in place, you’ll still have to invest in some type of air conditioning system if you want to keep your home cool enough in the summer.

Also, because they do get very hot, cast iron radiators can present a potential burn hazard, particularly to small children. However, there are many different types of radiator covers available that can both mitigate that risk and add a nice touch of style to any room in your home.

How Much Will a High Efficiency Furnace Save Me?

Friday, March 4th, 2011

The furnaces you can buy these days are all much more energy efficient than those available even 10 years ago. However, that doesn’t mean that all of the current models are created equal. There is still a pretty big variation when it comes to energy efficiency and when it comes to price, so you need to really know what you’re looking for if you want to get the best deal out there.

The first thing you should understand when you’re trying to pick out a furnace is how energy efficiency for this type of equipment it measured. All furnaces come with an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating that reflects just exactly how energy efficient they are.

Any furnace you buy today will have an AFUE of at least 80%, but it’s possible to purchase models with AFUEs of 97% or more. Of course, energy efficiency is generally a good thing, but there are some other things to consider when you’re trying to decide just how energy efficient you need your new furnace to be.

What this calculation really comes down to is how much you’ll be able to save monthly and annually with a higher efficiency furnace. While your heating bills will certainly be lower the higher the furnace’s efficiency is, you will also pay more up front for the highest efficiency models.

This higher purchase price may be worth it, however, if you live in an area with particularly harsh winters. If your heating load is very high and you’ll be using your furnace a lot, your monthly savings will make up for the higher initial price of the high efficiency furnace in a reasonable amount of time.

However, if you live in an area with relatively mild winters and you won’t be demanding a whole lot of your furnace, then the amount you’ll save each month with the highest efficiency models really won’t add up to much.

Keep in mind that a furnace with an 80% AFUE is still quite efficient and will almost certainly save you a considerable amount monthly when compared to the unit you’re currently using. And because 80% AFUE furnaces are so much cheaper than those with upper 90% AFUE ratings, they often wind up as the more cost effective alternative overall.

Why Select a Two Stage AC vs. Single Stage Air Conditioner

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

When you are in the market for a new air conditioner, one of the decisions you will have to make is whether you want a two stage system or one that only functions in a single stage. Of course, before you can make a decision about this, you need to know what all of this means.

A single stage air conditioning system is probably what you are most familiar with. They have been around for longer and can be found in a wide variety of locations. Single stage air conditioners come on at full capacity when the temperature in your home rises above the preset level on the thermostat. Once they have effectively cooled the house, these types of air conditioners shut off until the temperature works its way back up again.

Two stage air conditioners, on the other hand, can function at either 67% or 100% of capacity depending on exactly how warm it is in your home. What that really means is that if the temperature in your home is only a little above the thermostat’s preset limit, the air conditioning system will come on at 67% and gradually cool the house to keep it right in a comfortable range.

However, if you have not been home for a while and your home has gotten very warm inside, your air conditioner will come on at full power to get the temperature down quickly. What this really means is that your air conditioner will be running more than a single stage air conditioner because it will sometimes not be using all of its power to cool.

The end result of using a two stage air conditioner is that you will receive a relatively continuous flow of cool air throughout your home. A two stage air conditioner will send in a steady but smaller stream of cooled air as opposed to the large blast of cold air you would get from a single stage system.

This results in a more consistent and comfortable environment overall, and it also makes it possible for the air conditioning system to dehumidify your house more effectively. When the air is cooled too quickly, the dehumidification system does not always have time to do its job. But with the longer cooling cycles of the two stage system, there is plenty of time to make sure the right amount of humidity is removed from the air.