Posts Tagged ‘Charlotte Park’

Sarasota HVAC Tip: Improving Indoor Air Quality with UV Germicidal Lights

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Ultraviolet germicidal lights improve indoor air quality in your Sarasota home by killing the harmful bacteria, viruses, and toxic mold that can cause respiratory problems and other health concerns. These microorganisms spread by releasing airborne spores containing the genetic material used to create a new organism. UV lights use a wavelength of ultraviolet light to destroy the organism’s DNA, which takes away their reproductive capabilities and also kills them.

UV germicidal lights are fairly inexpensive and can be installed to work with your existing Sarasota forced air HVAC system. They are typically used in tandem with either an electronic or mechanical air cleaner. While air cleaners can filter pollen and other irritants, UV germicidal lights destroy the viruses and mold spores once these pollutants have been trapped by the air cleaner. After the air has been filtered through your Sarasota HVAC system, it will circulate more easily through system and increase the efficiency of the unit. In addition, UV lights are useful in killing hidden mold growth, which can only be detected by special thermal imaging equipment.

Homeowners with particularly chronic allergy problems or extremely poor indoor air quality choose to install both types of air cleaners, in addition to a UV light, for the ultimate protection from indoor air pollutants—from bacteria to pet dander.  If your home lacks adequate ventilation, or if you are unable to control the source of common pollutants, you might benefit greatly by installing UV germicidal lights. Poor indoor air circulation can exacerbate the spread of harmful microorganisms, so make sure you have proper ventilation if you don’t have UV lights in your home.

UV germicidal lights have also been used to filter tap water because they are more reliable and easier to install than other water treatment systems. However, they are typically used to provide cleaner indoor air.

Call Baker & Sons if you have questions or concerns about the quality of the air inside your Sarasota home.

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.

What Is the Emergency Setting on My Heat Pump? A Question from Cortez

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

While installing or inspecting your Cortez home’s heat pump, you may have noticed that little switch or button labeled something like “Emergency Mode.” And then, you probably scratched your head and thought, “what is that for?”

Hopefully, the emergency setting is not something you will ever have to use. But, it is there for a reason, so it’s possible you may have to resort to it at some point. In that case, it makes sense to know what it is first.

The emergency setting on your heat pump interrupts the normal operation of the device. The compressor shuts off, so the heat pump no longer pumps heat from the outside into the home. Instead, the internal heating element is activated. This backup system is designed to provide a sufficient, albeit minimal, amount of heat when the heat pump is not working properly. The idea is that the element can keep your home warm enough while you get the heat pump fixed.

That’s what the emergency setting is, but when would you use it?

It’s not a trick question. As the name implies, you only want to use this setting in an emergency. For example, if the heat pump has frozen and isn’t operating, the best course of action is to switch on the emergency mode and call a professional to repair it.

You would also want to use the emergency mode when recovering from a power outage. Any time a heat pump is without power for more than thirty minutes the refrigerant can cool and get too thick to properly flow through the coils. Turning the pump back on in this situation can damage it, so instead you would use the emergency mode for a while to warm the refrigerant back up, then return to operating the heat pump normally.

The emergency setting is not to be used in place of a supplemental heating system. If there is an uncharacteristic cold snap, and your heat pump can’t keep up, then it makes sense to use the emergency setting to keep the house warm. However, if you live in a colder northern climate, where temperatures routinely drop below 30 degrees in the winter, you should have a supplemental heating system in addition to the heat pump. Using the emergency heat setting regularly is not a good idea.

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.

The Facts about Indoor Air Quality

Friday, July 15th, 2011

One of the least understood aspects of your home’s comfort system is the indoor air quality. Most people assume that once they have a good furnace and air conditioner installed, there’s nothing left to worry about. However, with the push in the last 20 years to reduce energy loss through poor insulation, most homes are sealed up tighter than ever before. This doesn’t just cause stuffy indoor air – it can actually lead to illness.

How Bad Can Indoor Air Quality Get?

Homes built in the 1980s were recommended to have one third of the ventilation of those built before. Today, the standards have returned to their original levels, but for many years, homes were built with poor ventilation and excessive insulation. The result is a space that holds the air in too well. Everyday contaminants and allergens like dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, or smoke cannot get out of your home and as a result, you can get sick.

In fact, some people even suffer from Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). This is when they feel ill constantly, with respiratory symptoms that have no root cause and are hard to diagnose. Often, it is because they simply breathe too many contaminants and too much stale air.

Fixing Air Quality Is Simple

The first thing needed to fix air quality is a good filtration system. Despite what many people think, simple filtration is not that expensive. There are big, powerful purification systems with advanced ionization units and UV lighting to kill bacteria and viruses, but most families are served well with a simple HEPA filter to remove things like dust, pollen and dander.

It’s a good idea to have your indoor air quality tested, however, just to make sure other contaminants are not present. High humidity can lead to mold growth, and poor ventilation can lead to exhaust or gas fumes in your home. A good carbon monoxide detector is recommended for the latter, but testing should be done to make sure nothing else is floating around.

Finally, make sure your home is properly ventilated. Standard ventilation tends to leak heated or cooled air outside, so many homeowners now opt for energy recovery ventilators. These systems have heat exchangers that transfer warm air between indoor and outdoor air.

However you want to fix your indoor air quality issues, know that there are plenty of things you can do with the help of a good filtration device and regular cleanings of your ductwork and vents.

Mold…What if I Have Mold?

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

No one wants to find mold. But, even if you’re not aware of it, mold is probably lurking somewhere in the damp, dark crevices of your home. And mold is particularly likely to grow in homes with improperly regulated humidity. Luckily, because we know that, there are quite a few things we can do to stop the growth of mold in its tracks and save your home from unsafe air quality and the damaging effects of those little spores.

The Dangers of Mold

As mold grows, it can do damage to your woodwork and other areas of your home. It also contributes to indoor air quality issues because mold spores are a significant indoor air contaminant. Many people are allergic to mold spores, so if you or someone else in your household has experienced allergy symptoms that you can’t explain, mold spores are a likely culprit.

If you find out there is mold in your home, don’t panic just yet. There are some things you can do to address the problem and get mold out of your house for good. Your main task will be getting rid of the mold that is already there. This isn’t necessarily easy because of the areas mold tends to grow in. But, even with the proper air quality treatment, your home and health is still at risk if you don’t target that existing mold fast.

Stopping Mold in Its Tracks

Just getting rid of existing mold won’t solve the problem, though. Mold keeps coming back as long as there is an environment to support it – and that means moisture. Mold requires water to grow, so the chances are that if you have a mold problem in your home, you also have a humidity problem. Getting your indoor humidity under control will make it much easier to remove and keep mold out of your home for good.

There are plenty of good humidification systems on the market today. They can be easily integrated into your home heating and cooling system and provide great, consistent humidity control. Make sure you get one that’s large enough for your home. An indoor air quality professional can help you make that determination. Once you have a good humidification system in place, you’ll notice a huge difference in your overall indoor air quality, and hopefully the problem won’t return anytime soon.

Space Heating vs. an Upgrade to Your Heating System

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

If your heating system isn’t really cutting it anymore, it may be time to take a step back and consider what your options are. After all, upgrading to an entirely new heating system is a big investment and a large project that will likely disrupt your life at least for a short period of time. However, under certain circumstances it’s the best alternative out there.

One option to consider when you’re unhappy with your home heating situation is supplementing your central heating system with space heaters. These are generally inexpensive and can be placed virtually anywhere in your house or taken with you from one room to another.

Especially if there is a small part of your home that your heating system just doesn’t seem to reach or that you want to keep a bit warmer than the rest of the house, space heaters can be an excellent option. They’re small, safe and portable and can easily keep a smaller portion of your home or room cozy and warm.

However, you’ll have to take into account the operating costs of a space heater as well as the initial investment when you’re trying to evaluate the overall cost effectiveness of this option. Most space heaters run on electricity, which often costs considerably more than oil or natural gas. If your home heating system runs on electricity anyway, this might not be so much of a factor. But if you have an oil or gas furnace, you could wind up paying significantly more to run space heaters as supplemental heat over time.

Also, it’s worth considering that new home heating systems are likely much more energy efficient than the system you currently have in place. Although the initial installation cost can be pretty substantial, you’ll wind up saving a very large amount on your monthly heating bills by upgrading to a newer model.

Plus, you’ll be getting a system that should be able to satisfactorily heat your home without the need for space heaters or other supplemental heat sources. This translates into a pretty hefty savings over time and that’s something you’ll certainly have to take into consideration when you’re evaluating your options.

Why the SEER Is Important When Choosing an Air Conditioner

Monday, January 31st, 2011

There are many things to take into account when you are trying to pick out a new air conditioning system. You want one that will be powerful enough to cool the required space but not so big that it turns your home into a walk in freezer. With so many models and types on the market, it can be difficult to figure out what details you need to pay attention to and what you can ignore.

The seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER) that each air conditioner comes with is not something you should ever disregard, however. This number is a reflection of the overall energy efficiency of the unit and it can have a huge impact on the amount you pay to keep running your air conditioner every month. The higher the SEER of a product, the more energy efficient it is and the lower your monthly bills will be.

Of course, air conditioners with a higher SEER also generally come with a higher price tag, so you will have to weigh the amount of your potential savings against the difference in price of units with different SEERs.

To calculate this, you will need to know exactly how much more energy efficient one model is compared to the others. For instance, when you know that an air conditioner with a SEER of 11 is 7% more efficient than one with a SEER of 10, you are in a better position to evaluate the potential savings.

You will still need to translate this into dollars, of course, because the amount you save with a 7% boost in efficiency will depend largely on how much you typically pay already. If you are only paying around $320 a year with a SEER 10 air conditioner, upgrading to a SEER 11 will only save you about $30. However, if your annual cooling bills are closer to $1000, you will easily save close to $150 with this small upgrade.

SEER numbers go much higher than 10 and 11 too. In fact, the highest you will probably get is a 19.5 SEER, but that will more than cut your cooling bills in half if you are starting with a SEER 10. Still, the actual amount that you will save depends on how much you were paying to begin with, but if your cooling bills are already very high, it may be worth it to invest in an expensive but very high efficiency system.