Posts Tagged ‘Manatee’

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.

Your HVAC System and Ventilation: A Tip From Charlotte Harbor

Friday, August 19th, 2011

The vent system in your Charlotte Harbor home is vital to the operation of your HVAC system. Without successful ventilation, your home won’t have the necessary clean air to keep you and your family healthy. So, what does proper ventilation require and how can you ensure your home has it? Here are some quick tips.

Install the Right Parts from the Start

Proper ventilation should result in even air pressure in your home to avoid problems with gas pilot lights. It should also be as energy efficient as possible and provide clean air through proper filtration and cleaning of the air that comes in. The best way to ensure your home has the ventilation needed to stay comfortable and safe for your entire family is to check the total size of the home and then measure the concentrations of certain pollutants like dander, pollen and smoke. A contractor can provide these services for you.

Energy Loss

Another major ventilation issue to keep in mind is energy loss. Ventilation tends to remove heated or cooled air from your home, forcing your furnace or air conditioner to work harder to replace it. As a result, you pay more for energy and it’s never quite comfortable inside.

To avoid this problem, ask about an energy recovery ventilator. These devices are designed to transfer heat from one environment into another. So, in the winter, heated air inside is kept inside and in the summer, cooled air is kept inside. The result is a much lower energy bill without a disruption to your ventilation sources.

Supplements to Ventilation

Proper ventilation should not only provide fresh air, but it should also ensure your home has clean air. The air outside may be fresher, but it can be filled with pollutants like pollen, dander and smoke. These should be removed before they get inside and into the lungs of your loved ones. To do this, you need a full sized air cleaning system that removes particles from the air down to 0.3 microns.

HEPA filters can do this, as will electronic air cleaners which can ionize and remove smoke and gas particles. Make sure you discuss filtration and cleaning with your contractor when they visit your home.

Indoor Air Quality Options

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Maintaining high indoor air quality is always worth investing time and money in. After all, if the air inside your home isn’t healthy, it can cause all kinds of health problems for you and your family. The state of the art home heating and cooling systems we have today make it possible to enjoy a perfectly temperature controlled indoor environment all year long, but they also trap indoor air pollutants and contaminants inside without proper ventilation.

Choosing a System that Works

Luckily there are a number of great products out there designed to remove these pollutants before they cause you and your family discomfort or illness. Before you run out to buy a new system, however, you should first consider what each has to offer and what pollutants you need to remove. You might have some idea about this already, but the best thing to do is talk to a professional who can help assess your indoor air and determine which types of contaminants are most prevalent in your home.

Different types of indoor air cleaners are better at targeting different types of contaminants. For instance, HEPA filters can remove up to 99.97% of particulate contaminants that measure 0.3 microns or larger. This includes things like pollen, pet dander, dust mites and mold spores, so if these are the things you want to target, an indoor air system that uses HEPA filters is probably right for you.

However, if you’re more concerned with getting rid of smoke odors and cooking fumes, you probably want a system that targets even smaller particles. Air ionizers are more appropriate for these types of indoor air quality issues, as they can effectively remove much smaller particles than most HEPA filters. On the flip side, ionizers aren’t as efficient at removing the larger contaminant particles, so if you want to target both small and large contaminants, you need a system that combines both of these technologies.

Bacteria and viruses are also a problem when they find their way into your indoor air and they can be particularly tricky to get rid of. HEPA filters and air ionizers both have trouble completely eradicating these pathogens, but UV germicidal lights can be incorporated into your indoor air cleaning system to tackle biological contaminants effectively.

No matter what type of home air quality problem you have, there is a system on the market that will target and remove the pollutant. The key is to know which pollutants effect you the most and which products will do the best job of removing them from your home.

Maintenance: Cleaning Your Conditioner Coil Will Save You Headaches Later

Monday, June 20th, 2011

You have plenty of things to clean all over your house. But do you really have to clean your air conditioner too? Well, if you want it to keep working well, you do. In fact, cleaning the coil of your air conditioner is a quick and easy process, especially if you do it on a regular basis, and it can save you a great deal of frustration later on.

Like any machine, your air conditioner needs a tune up from time to time in order to continue to function properly. While a lot of this is taken care of if you have an annual maintenance service performed by a professional, your air conditioning coil will benefit greatly by being cleaned more often than that.

In fact, during your annual maintenance visit, your air conditioning technician can easily demonstrate for you how to get to the coil and clean it. This is a relatively easy task that you can carry out every month or so when your system is in use to help ensure optimal health and functioning for your system.

Of course, your air conditioning system will still run whether you clean the coils on a regular basis or not. For now, that is. Allowing more and more debris to build up on the coil, however, can have a big impact on the overall energy efficiency of your unit. An air conditioner with a dirty coil will have to work harder to keep your house cool, and that will be reflected by an increase in energy consumption.

Also, an air conditioner with a dirty coil that is having to work harder to keep your house cool will wear out more quickly than one that is working properly without added impediments. The added wear and tear that this causes to various other parts within your air conditioner can cause them to malfunction and need to be replaced sooner than they should.

This means more costly repairs, even if they are minor ones. It also means that your entire air conditioning system will probably not last as long as it may have with proper care. You will have to replace it sooner, adding even more to the cost of having and running the equipment.

Cleaning your air conditioner coil regularly is a simple and effective way of helping to keep the entire system running smoothly and efficiently for many years to come.

The Energy Efficiency Rating of Central Air Conditioners: What Is it and Why Is it Important?

Friday, June 17th, 2011

When you are shopping for a central air conditioning system, you will have to evaluate your options based on a number of different factors. For instance, you will need to decide which type of system is the best match for your home and for your particular cooling needs. It is also important to make sure that the central air conditioner you choose is the right size for the cooling load it will have to take on.

However, it is also very important to evaluate your central air conditioning options based on how energy efficient they are. This will have a great deal to do with how much you pay in terms of cooling costs each month, which makes it easy to see why you should take it into account before you make a purchase.

The energy efficiency of a central air conditioner is generally expressed as a seasonal energy efficiency rating, or SEER. The SEER numbers you will typically find on the latest air conditioning systems range from eight to 19.5 with the higher numbers signifying a more energy efficient model.

So it is pretty easy to figure out that a central air conditioner with a higher SEER will save you some money monthly because it will use less energy to get the same job done. But central air conditioners with high SEERs also typically have high price tags. So to determine how high of a SEER you need, you will need to know more exactly how much more money you will save as you move up in the rankings.

You can do this by comparing the SEER of the system you currently use with the new system you are considering and compare how much your current energy usage would cost you with each model. Basically, you want to pick a central air conditioner that will save you enough to offset the purchase price of the unit.

Often, this means that you will be best off with a SEER 14 or SEER 16 because these units save you a considerable amount over older models without carrying too high a purchase price. However, the amount you save will be directly related to how much you use your central air conditioning system, so if you live someplace that is extremely hot for a large chunk of the year, it may be worth it for you to buy a very high efficiency air conditioning system.

How Efficient Is a Heat Pump?

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Heat pumps are actually remarkably efficient when compared to some of the home heating alternatives out there. Especially if you’re already using electricity to heat your home, you can get generate huge savings on your monthly energy bills by switching to a heat pump system.

As their name suggests, heat pumps remove heat from the air and transfer that heat from one area to another. That means that in the winter, your heat pump will remove the heat from the air outside your home and pump that heat in to heat your home. During the summer months, that process is actually reversed, and heat pumps are able to cool your home by collecting the heat from your indoor air and pumping it outside.

Since heat pumps are actually just moving heat from one place to another rather than generating it all on their own, they don’t require much energy at all to operate. While you can buy furnaces that are as much as 97% energy efficient, they’re still using more energy than a heat pump would. The fact that the furnace is turning the vast majority of the energy that it uses into heat doesn’t mean that it still doesn’t require more energy to operate.

Just because heat pumps are more efficient than many other types of heating systems, you can’t just assume that all heat pumps are equally energy efficient. Just as different types and models of furnaces have different energy efficiency ratings, so too do the many types, sizes and models of heat pumps. Make sure you thoroughly compare your options before you settle on the right system for your home.

The energy efficiency rating of a furnace is easy to recognize, as each of them comes with a standard AFUE rating. If you’re looking to switch to heat pumps, however, it’s easy to get confused when you’re trying to compare the energy efficiency of various models.

Heat pumps actually have two separate measurements for energy efficiency. These are the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF). Energy efficiency measurements for heat pumps reflect both the cooling and heating efficiency of the system, and so what’s best for you may vary depending on what you’re more likely to use your heat pump for.

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.