Posts Tagged ‘Samoset’

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.

What is Refrigerant Pressure and Why Does it Matter? A Question from Samoset

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Refrigerant is often called the “lifeblood” of the mechanical cooling devices, such as refrigerators and air conditioners, that you have in your Samoset home.  The main function of refrigerant is to transfer heat through a closed loop system. Various heating and cooling (HVAC) components require different operating pressures to move refrigerant and process the “refrigeration cycle.”

In a nutshell, the refrigeration cycle involves refrigerant, which changes from a liquid to a vapor and back to a liquid again by the addition of pressure and heat. In a refrigeration system, pressurized refrigerant passed through an expansion valve into an evaporator and pressure is reduced. The evaporator is a tube which passes by the area to be cooled. When the pressure drops, this liquid refrigerant changes into a vapor, which absorbs vaporized heat from the area around the evaporator. After the heat is absorbed by the refrigerant, it flows to a condenser, where it passes over coils, absorbs heat from the hot vapor, and condenses back into a liquid. The liquid is returned to the compressor and the cycle begins again.

Today’s refrigerants – especially those used in residential applications – are broken down into two different types, labeled R-22 and R-410A. R-22 is made up of a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) chemical, which has been found to be damaging to the Earth’s ozone layer. It has been replaced by R-410A, which is made up of a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) chemical and will eventually be phased out by the year 2020. One of the biggest differences between the two are their operating temperatures. HFCs operate at much higher refrigerant pressure.

This change between refrigerants has created some interesting dynamics and challenges for the HVAC trade. Gauges used to check pressure readings have all changed. And mechanical compressors do not operate with a variety of refrigerants, so the compressors and coils need to be swapped out, too. To give you an example, let’s say you are shopping for a new central air conditioner. Chances are, the new air conditioner will run on R-410A. Your old air conditioner ran on R-22. In order to “match” the compressor in the your new air conditioning unit to the existing indoor coil, you will need to replace the coil and the lines running from your outdoor condensing unit to your indoor air handling unit, which is mounted to your furnace.

You don’t have to understand the refrigeration cycle to know that today’s high-pressure HFC refrigerants require different test instrumentation and retrofitted or upgraded mechanical equipment. The change in operating pressure is a small price to pay for a safer and “green” 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.

Why Won’t My Room Stay Warm or Cool? A Question From Lido Key

Friday, September 16th, 2011

When you have a home heating or cooling system installed, you expect it to keep all areas of your Lido Key home at the same temperature unless you tell it otherwise. But sometimes you’ll find that one of the rooms in your home just won’t stay warm no matter how high you turn up the heat. This can be a very frustrating situation, particularly if that room is one you use a lot.

Insulation and Ductwork Checkups

There are actually several possible reasons that a problem like this can develop. The first thing you should check is if there is adequate, proper insulation in the walls and the floor of the room. Even if you know that insulation is in place, it’s worth it to have a professional come take a look to see if the insulation there is still adequate. Even the best insulation doesn’t last forever, and once it breaks down, you could be losing a lot of heat to the outdoors in the winter.

If insulation isn’t the problem, it’s time to have someone examine your ductwork to see if it’s properly pressurized throughout or if there could be a break in the system somewhere leading to that room. If your home comfort system pumps heated and cooled air towards that room and that air is allowed to leak out along the way, you’ll never be able to maintain the comfort level you want.

Digging Deeper for Causes

Even if there is no break on the way to that particular room, a leak or blockage somewhere else can throw off the balance of the entire system, reducing how much temperature controlled air can reach that part of your home. These are all things that a professional duct tester can find and fix for you relatively easily and inexpensively.

Of course, it’s always possible that uneven heating and cooling is a symptom of a larger problem in your home heating and cooling system. But if that’s the case, you’re better off finding out sooner rather than later because the problem will only get worse when not addressed. No matter what the ultimate underlying cause for your uneven heating and cooling is, you’ll need a professional to come out and investigate before you can have it fixed for good.

Considering Remodeling? Tips from Siesta Key To Be Sure It’s Done Right

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Remodeling your Siesta Key home is a great investment and can be a satisfying accomplishment once it’s done. Any remodeling project is a major one, however, and therefore requires some strategizing and careful execution in order to prevent setbacks, added expense, and a great deal of frustration. Here are some tips to help your remodeling project go smoothly, and help you keep your sanity.

Think like a Boy Scout

The best first step in any remodeling project is to prepare yourself by planning ahead. Every little bit of time and energy spent on planning and preparation can greatly reduce the amount you have to spend on tough decisions and corrections later on. Before starting your project, be sure to:

  • Hire a professional, licensed contractor to perform the work, especially if it involves electrical renovation.
  • Make sure the contractor you hire is well-versed on the most recent building codes in the area.
  • Use a detailed design process to develop a plan for the room(s), choose materials and fixtures, and create a realistic budget for the project.
  • Consider staging the work ahead of time to give yourself a realistic idea of the work to be done and cut down on labor costs.

Be Creative

For most of your remodeling goals and objectives, there will usually be more than one option. By considering all your options and discussing them with your contractor, you can save money while still achieving the desired result. Some examples include:

  • Rather than repairing minor blemishes on walls by doing costly structural work, considering using materials to mask the wall, as long as it is still structurally sound. With minor imperfections, discolorations or slight damage, you can use a decorative painting technique or a heavier, textured wallpaper to cover up the area.
  • Likewise, if a room just needs to be livened up, consider repainting first before getting more involved. You may find that the new color is enough to spruce the area up.
  • Rather than creating new space by knocking down walls or building new additions, try instead to create the illusion of more space. Mirrors, skylights, and additional windows are all simple ways to make a small room seem bigger without the trouble of adding square footage.

By keeping some of these tips in mind, you can help to ensure that your house becomes the dream home you have always wanted, without the nightmares of costly or incorrect updates.

Whole House Fans vs. Attic Fans

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Air temperature in your home is a big issue in the summer. The cost of maintaining your air conditioner as it runs nonstop for hours at a time can be very high – as much as $4,000 for a single year of cooling. That’s why a lot of families turn to fan solutions to reduce how much they spend on their AC units each year.

How Fans Work

A fan draws in outdoor air to your home. That outdoor air will cool your home when the outside temperature is cooler than the indoor temperature. If the weather outside gets much warmer than 80°F, you will probably still need to use your air conditioner at least a little, but if it’s in the 70°F-80°F range, the temperature inside can be maintained simply by blowing cooler outdoor air into your home.

A whole house fan solves this problem by pumping fresh air into your home through the ductwork you already have in place. When the temperature outside is low enough, you’ll enjoy a much steadier, more comfortable level of cooling and save a lot of money.

However, for those that don’t want to install a completely new system for their entire house, attic fans offer a good chunk of savings as well.

Why Attic Fans Work

The idea behind an attic fan is simple. During the summer, all the heat in your home rises. Even with your air conditioning working at full capacity, heat will build up in the attic, especially if you don’t use that space and therefore don’t have any cooling ducts up there.

In some cases, attic temperatures can rise to 140°F or higher, which then raises the temperature of the rest of your home and forces your AC unit to work that much harder.

An attic fan is good because it takes the air from outside, almost assuredly cooler than 120°F and cycles it into your attic to keep the temperature lower. That simple fan can reduce indoor air temperature by as much as 40°F or 50°F and significantly reduce your air conditioner’s work load.

Which is Better?

Neither of these is better than the other. If you have low cooling costs and want to keep your attic from adding to them, an attic fan is perfect. However, if you want to cut into your cooling costs for all but the warmest months of the summer, a whole house fan may be the right option.

What Will an Energy Audit Do?

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

With costs constantly on the rise, homeowners are looking for new ways to save money on their energy bills, such as conserving electricity, using less heat and exploring alternative energy sources. One great way to see how you and your family can use energy more efficiently is to get a home energy audit.

The goal of an energy audit is determine how energy is being used in the home in order to identify and correct any inefficiency. By finding ways to use energy more efficiently, you can reduce the energy used in your home without sacrificing comfort. Efficient use of energy reduces costs and environmental impact.

How It Works

To conduct an energy audit, a professional will use special instruments to inspect various aspects affecting energy use in your home, including construction, occupancy, appliance use, number of windows and doors, and so on. In this way, you can see how well your home is retaining heat and note any places where inside air may be escaping, making your home cooler or warmer than desired. For example, since a lot of heat can be lost through them, upgrading windows and skylights is an inexpensive way to gain a lot in terms of efficiency. Making sure windows are properly sealed, repairing worn weather stripping, and installing new windows with energy efficient certifications (such as LEED or Energy Star) are simple but effective first steps to making your home more affordable and eco-friendly.

Another aspect of energy audits includes prioritizing energy needs in order of importance, in order to reduce the use of energy on less critical functions. This may include collecting data on the local climate and past energy use. This data can be analyzed in order to identify and predict times when higher usage may be necessary, so that you and your family can prioritize according to your budget. For example, if the results of your energy audit show that July is historically the hottest month of the year and the month when you use the most electricity, you can make up for increased cooling costs by using other electrical appliances less. This way you can stay cool without going outside your utility budget.

Other solutions stemming from your energy audit may include installing insulated curtains, unplugging “vampire devices” like cell phone chargers, and avoiding the use of large appliances during warmer times of the day.

If you are one of the many interested in cutting energy costs, while helping the environment, a home energy audit is the first step.

Energy Efficient Home Cooling Tips

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Having an energy efficient air conditioning system in place is a great way to keep cool in the summer for less. But that is far from the only thing you can do to help reduce your energy bills throughout the hottest months of the year. In fact, there are several simple steps you can take to start cutting down on your cooling costs right now and lighten the cooling load that your air conditioning system has to bear.

One of the main things to remember when you are trying to keep your house cool is that every door and window is potentially letting in warmer air from outside and letting the cooler indoor air escape. You can cut down on this considerably if you simply take the time to seal up these access points and any others you are able to find.

Putting up plastic over unused doors and windows and checking all areas of the house for drafts and adequate insulation will dramatically reduce the cost of keeping your house cool in the summer. Also, you can keep the sun from warming up your indoor air by drawing the blinds, particularly on those windows that let in the hot afternoon sun.

Putting up light colored siding and reflective roofing will also do a great deal to keep your overall cooling costs down. That is because these materials are able to direct the heat of the sun away from your house rather than letting it be absorbed so that it can heat up the inside. The vast majority of the heat that your air conditioning system has to remove from your house comes in through your roof and walls, so blocking this access point is extremely helpful in keeping your overall cooling costs down.

All of these are steps you can take to reduce the total cooling load that your air conditioning system has to deal with. But if you want your system to continue to function at peak energy efficiency, you will have to take care of it as well.

This typically means having someone come in once a year to perform a thorough inspection of your air conditioning system and to clean out any debris that may have accumulated over time. Having this done will make it possible for your air conditioner to continue to function at the highest possible levels of energy efficiency for years to come.

AC Maintenance: Why You Cannot Neglect It

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Especially if you have just purchased a new air conditioning system, maintenance is probably the last thing you are thinking about. In fact, if you are like most people, you do not think about your air conditioning system at all until it does not work when you need it. But if you simply continue to use your air conditioning system without maintaining it, you will be setting yourself up for a lot of problems later on.

Just like your car or any other machine that you run on a regular basis, your air conditioning system requires a regular tune up to keep it running like it is supposed to. The type of air conditioning system you have will dictate exactly how often this maintenance service needs to take place, but most systems benefit greatly from having a tune up once a year.

When you have just purchased an air conditioning system, the last thing you probably want to do is shell out a bunch of extra cash when the system is still running fine. But it really is much cheaper to pay now rather than waiting until you have a problem with your air conditioner to call for service.

During a regular maintenance visit, your technician will examine all of the component parts of your air conditioning system to make sure that they are working the way they should and not showing any signs of excess wear and tear. This is a great way to detect problems early, even when they have not yet begun to show in the air conditioner’s performance.

Your air conditioning technician will also thoroughly clean out your system to ensure that no excess debris is allowed to build up around the coil or other vital parts of the air conditioner. This is important because it helps the air conditioner to continue to function at peak energy efficiency levels. Without regular maintenance, your air conditioner will gradually lose efficiency over time. It will only lose a little bit every year, but if you do not do something to stop it, those little bits will quickly add up.

Regular maintenance also helps to prevent more costly and inconvenient repair visits later on. And it will certainly help to increase the lifespan of your air conditioner as well. Whether you have just purchased an air conditioning system or have had yours for several years, it is never too late to start your annual maintenance visits.

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.