Posts Tagged ‘Southgate’

Southgate HVAC Installation Question: What Is Involved in Replacing an Old System?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

When your Southgate home’s HVAC system starts to fail — or if it already has — your options essentially come down to two: replace or repair. There are a lot of factors that go into making such a decision, but in general, if it is a newer system with a small problem and you haven’t had much trouble with it, then a simple repair clearly makes sense.

For older systems, or ones that have been repaired all to often lately, or ones that seem to be on their last legs, repair may be the only reasonable course of action.

Surely you know that a total system replacement would be a big job, but have you ever thought about just how big? Sure, you know you will have to swap out the failing furnace, and you may as well replace the air conditioning unit while you’re in there, but that’s it, right?

Actually, there is a lot more to an HVAC system than just those two machines. Think about all the behind-the-scenes components and the little components that are often overlooked, such as:

  • Ducts – Keep in mind that your ducts are probably as old as that furnace you are replacing, and that a new, efficient unit cannot operate at nearly its full potential with faulty duct work.
  • Thermostats – Your old ones may not even be compatible with a new furnace or air conditioner.
  • Wiring – For the thermostat, among other things.
  • Insulation – Many homeowners forget that insulation is part of an HVAC system, too. Just like we said about duct work, old insulation does not help a new system achieve maximum performance.
  • Piping – Such as refrigerant piping on a geothermal system or a ductless air conditioning system.

You can see that the job starts to get pretty complex pretty fast. This doesn’t mean you should shy away from a necessary replacement, just make sure that you fully consider the scope of what you need done, as well as the budget and time frame you have to work with. If you have any questions about replacing your Southgate home’s HVAC system, give Baker & Sons AC a call today!

Southgate Unusual Heating Tips: Four Ways to Save Heat That You Might Not Have Considered

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Finding new ways to lower the heating bills for your Southgate home is always a challenge. Maybe you’ve already insulated and sealed every crawlspace and crack, or you might have recently upgraded that old furnace, but there are always other ways to reduce heat loss in the winter.

Here are four ways to conserve heat that you might not have considered.

1. Insulate Recessed Light Fixtures

While recessed light fixtures save space and give you more control over lighting and design, such as task lighting in kitchens, they can be a hidden source of heat loss. Feel around your recessed lighting fixtures to see if there’s cool air or a draft. If you do, they could need more insulation. However, you have to be extremely cautious about what type of insulation you use around electrical wiring and fixtures. Check with the manufacturer, or call an electrician if you aren’t sure what  type of insulation to use.

2. Insulate Water Heater Tanks

Part of your heating bill each month goes to heating the water in your home. Whether you have a gas, electric, solar, or hybrid hot water heater, every water heater tank has an R-value that determines how much heat it loses. If you have a low R-value, your tank may need more insulation. Call a professional plumber or check your owner’s manual for the R-value of the model you own, but the general rule is that if the tank is warm when you touch it, you may need to buy a “jacket” for your water heater. These are fairly inexpensive, easy to install, and can be found relatively anywhere you buy insulation.

3. Open Curtains on South End

The southern end of your home will get the most sunlight in the winter. If you have curtains or blinds on your windows or doors, leave them open during the day, and make sure you close them at night. Opening them will help warm up the home naturally during the day, and closing them will help keep the cold air out and warm air in at night.

4. Storm Windows and Doors

Many homeowners know they have the option of upgrading old doors and windows that leak air, but not everyone can afford to upgrade all the doors and windows at once. You can also install storm windows and doors to help reserve heat. Before you start comparing prices, remember to measure, since measurements will affect the cost.

You can always call Baker & Sons Air Conditioning, Inc. whenever you have questions about lowering your heating costs for your Southgate home.

West Bradenton HVAC Installation Guide: Programmable Thermostats

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Programmable thermostats are one of the best ways to save on heating costs, especially if you have a hard time remembering to turn down the heat in your West Bradenton home. Installing a programmable thermostat will allow you to set the times you want the heat turned up or down. Not only will this make heating your home more consistent and save energy, but it will also allow you to tailor your heating needs to your schedule.

For instance, you can set the thermostat to turn on before you get up in the morning so that the house is already warm when you get out of bed, and conversely, set it to turn down after you go to bed or leave the house for work. Depending on the brand and setting options, programmable thermostats are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

Although all styles are slightly different, here are some basic instructions that show you how easy it is to install a programmable thermostat.  Remember, this is only a general guide; always check the instructions inside the packaging of your new thermostat before you install it, or check with an electrician.

1. Remove the Old Thermostat

Before you remove the old thermostat, check to see where it’s mounted. If it’s mounted to an electrical box, the voltage used to power the old thermostat may not be compatible with the new one. Ask a certified electrician or West Bradenton heating technician if you aren’t sure.

CUT THE POWER TO THE HEATING SYSTEM TO AVOID ELECTRIC SHOCK. You should always turn off the main power supply to your heating system before installing any new thermostat. If you aren’t sure how to do this, ask your HVAC contractor. Once you unscrew the mounting plate for the old thermostat, just unhook the wires. Don’t throw an old mercury controlled thermostat. You should ask your local waste management facility how to properly dispose of mercury products.

2. Locate all Wires

Wrap the loose wires around a pencil to keep the wires from falling back into the wall. Identify and label each corresponding wire with a letter (do not use color coding since this is not always accurate). Strip the plastic off the ends of the wires about ¼ inch if you need to.

3. Install and Insulate Wallplate

If the area around the new wallplate is larger than the plate, insulate the hole with non-flammable insulation. Take the wallplate off the programmable thermostat and hold it against the wall to mark the screw holes with a pencil. Pull the wires through the large opening at the bottom and screw the plate to the wall.

4. Wiring

Make sure you are comfortable with wiring before you attempt to do any electrical installations. Check the manual for your programmable thermostat for instructions on wiring that specific model. In general, you’ll want to make sure you match the wire labels with the corresponding terminals on the thermostat. Sometimes there will be extra wires that aren’t needed. Always test it before completing the installation. Don’t forget the battery!

5. Install the Faceplate

Once you have it wired correctly, all you need to do is align the brackets on the faceplate with the corresponding slots on the wallplate and fasten the faceplate to the rest of the mounting. Lastly, tighten the screw at the bottom of the thermostat to hold it in place.

If you have any questions regarding programmable thermostats, give Baker & Sons Air Conditioning, Inc. a call.

Edwards Island HVAC Tip: Open vs. Closed Loop Systems in Geothermal

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Even people who are somewhat familiar with geothermal heating systems in Edwards Island may not be aware that there are actually two types – open and closed loop systems. The difference, of course, is that the closed loop systems make use of a completely sealed loop of pipe filled with water, antifreeze or some combination of these that cycles through the pipe absorbing heat and transferring it to your home.

Open loop systems, on the other hand, are linked to a well casting and draw water from there to circulate throughout the system as a heat source. Particularly if you already have an appropriate well casting in place, you can often save a lot on your installation costs by putting in an open loop system rather than a closed loop.

If you do not already have a well, however, the installation of an open loop system might still be cheaper but not by as much. Also, the costs of operation after the initial installation are pretty comparable, so the relative costs associated with operating one type of system or the other should not weigh to heavily on your decision.

In fact, the best way to decide which type of geothermal heating system is right for you is to talk to an experienced contractor about your particular situation. They will be able to tell you exactly what the installation of each type of system will entail in your specific case and make informed recommendations about what type of system will work best for you.

No matter what type of geothermal heating system you do go with, though, you will be getting an excellent and inexpensive home comfort solution that will keep your indoor temperature at the right level all year round. That is because geothermal heat pumps, just like air source heat pumps, can be reversed during the warmer summer months to actually remove heat from your home. That way, you can stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter without having to pay for heating or air conditioning.

Things to Look for in a New Central Air Conditioning System in Apollo Beach

Monday, October 24th, 2011

When it comes time to buy a new air conditioner in Apollo Beach, there are a lot of factors to consider. Beyond the obvious issues like cost, you need to consider how that system will operate once installed. What factors are most important to you? Control? Comfort? Cost? Here are some things to consider when selecting your new air conditioner.

  • SEER – The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating measures the efficiency of your cooling system during a typical hour. To calculate this number, we divide the total BTUs of cooling produced by the watt/hours of electricity consumed during that hour. So, the higher your SEER rating, the less electricity is used to produce the same amount of cooling. Standard SEER ratings are between 11 and 15 these days, but some high end units have SEER ratings of up to 20.
  • Controls – How much control do you want of your system? Many air conditioners these days come with multiple speeds, allowing you to control the air flow as well as the amount of energy consumed by the device in cooling. Do you want it to constantly blow at 100% or would you like it to run at 50% to reduce consumption. Another option available in central air conditioners is zone control, allowing you to determine which rooms receive cooling with separate thermostat settings.
  • Dehumidification – Air conditioners are dehumidifiers by default, but not every system offers the same degree of humidity control. Some simply remove moisture as part of their regular operation. Others have more advanced controls to provide specific humidity control throughout the year.
  • Sound Dampening – Newer models have sound dampening features like insulation and vibration isolation to reduce sound. These are also great for weather protection and help to maintain your system for more years.
  • Refrigerants – Most new air conditioners now use the R410-A refrigerant which will be required in all new units starting in 2020, but there are some lower cost units still using R-22. Check to make sure you have the environmentally friendly coolant offered by newer models.

A good central air conditioner will keep your family cool and comfortable for years to come so make sure to do your research and choose a model that fits your needs in advance. If you’re not sure about any one feature, a professional installer can help you make your decision.

Sources of Indoor Air Pollutants in South Sarasota

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Indoor air pollutants are a major issue for millions of homeowners and while you may know the most common culprits such as pet dander, pollen, dust and smoke, there are a few other indoor air pollution sources you may not be aware of. Here are some that almost any South Sarasota home will have and simple tasks you can perform to reduce their risk.

  • Cooking Surfaces – Gas stoves in particular are a major source of Nitrogen Dioxide. To reduce the amount of this gas in your indoor air, make sure you have proper ventilation above or near your stove. A simple exhaust hood or wall fan will do the job.
  • Insects – Roaches in particular are a major issue.  Their droppings, saliva and dead body parts can significantly increase the risk of health problems like asthma. Many other insects produce allergens as well, though roaches are worse because of their size and the nature of most infestations. Avoid using roach killers however. Prevention is better than extermination both for your indoor air quality and for the general health of those in your household.
  • Dust Mites – Dust mites are different from insects because they are so small (and are technically arachnids). They like things like your drapes, upholstery and carpet. They also like high humidity levels so if you can keep the humidity in your home low, they will be much less of a nuisance.
  • Asbestos – You’ve probably heard that asbestos is a carcinogen and should be covered or removed from your home. But do you know just how many places in your home it can be found? Asbestos is present in old insulation, spackle, pipe wraps and even some older upholstery. If your home is more than 30 years old, make sure it is inspected and checked for asbestos. If found, asbestos is usually isolated so it cannot fray and get into the air you breathe.
  • New Electronics – New products can have a variety of chemicals in them like phthalates that have a negative impact on the respiratory health of those exposed to them. These chemicals are emitted after a product is opened for the first time. With time their concentration will diminish, reducing the risk, but at first, make sure to properly ventilate the space and keep children away from new electronics or computers.

Chemicals, pollutants and other indoor air quality issues are numerous. To avoid a problem, make sure you investigate carefully to determine if your home needs additional repairs.

How Bad Is the Air in Your Home? A Question from Boyette

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Every day you hear about another awful contaminant that can get into your Boyette home’s air supply. Radon gas. Carbon Monoxide. Nitrogen Dioxide. Smoke. Mold. The list gets longer with each passing year and many homeowners are understandably worried. However, before you run out and by the newest lineup of filters, purifiers, and UV lights, stop and think about just how bad your indoor air actually is.

When Was Your Home Built?

Homes built in the last 10-15 years tend to be well ventilated and may even have air quality systems already in place. It’s those built in the late 1970s and early 1980s that tend to have the worst ventilation (assuming they have not been updated since then).

This kind of poor ventilation can be dangerous, but usually only in that you have less fresh air and more indoor allergens and contaminants. Specifically, you’re most likely to suffer from things like pet dander, dust, pollen, and dirt in the air. On their own, these are not dangerous, but without fresh air to circulate them outside and ensure you get a steady, clean supply of air to breathe, they can make you ill.

How Bad Can It Get?

While it’s rare, some homes suffer from more advanced contaminations. The most common is mold. Mold grows primarily in dark, damp spaces. If your humidity levels get too high in the summer, the ductwork in your house is perfect for mold and it will blow the spores directly into your air, putting everyone at risk.

You should also be wary of exhaust fumes from your appliances that may not get properly removed from the house. Both of these problems can be fixed with regular duct and exhaust cleaning.

Outdoor contaminants can also make it into your indoor air. Things like exhaust and smoke, gas, radon, or other outdoor pollutants should be tested for when you setup a new indoor air quality system. There are filters and purifiers that will remove almost all of these contaminants, but they are not always required, so you should check before making a decision.

Ultimately, the odds are that your home suffers only from some stale, dusty air. But, it is very important to keep everything clean and test it regularly to make sure nothing worse develops. Poor air quality is about more than just comfort – it’s an honest health issue.

Inspection and Testing for Indoor Air Quality: A Guide From Saint Armands Key

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Indoor air quality is one of the single worst and yet least understood health risks faced by families throughout the world, including Saint Armands Key. It claims the lives of more than 1.2 million people each year and results in countless illnesses. While air quality problems in the United States are rarely life threatening, the risk of long term health problems is very real, so inspection and testing is highly recommended.

When to Call for Testing

If you suspect something is wrong with your indoor air, you should call for testing. What constitutes “wrong”? Here are some specific things to watch for related to your health:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin Rash
  • Eye Irritation
  • Nose Irritation
  • Throat Irritation
  • Respiratory Irritation
  • Cough
  • Chest Tightness
  • Respiratory Infection
  • Asthma
  • Allergic Reaction
  • Lung Cancer

When one or more of these symptoms recurs in your family without a clear cause that your doctor can diagnose, it’s a big warning bell that you may have indoor air quality issues to attend. When that happens, it’s time for testing and inspection.

Checking Your Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality problems frequently stem from a specific problem – either an entry point in your home where insulation fails or poor ventilation if the source is inside. The purpose of testing is to check for these problems and pinpoint specific ways to reduce the presence of pollutants and make you feel better.

If certain pollutants are found, filtration may not be enough to solve the problem – radon and mold especially require installation of new fans and filters to reduce the effects of the excess air contaminants.

When to Upgrade Your Circuit Box in Venice Gardens

Monday, September 5th, 2011

How many people remember what it was like to go on a “fuse search” when a major appliance stopped working? If you lived in or owned an older Venice Gardens home, you know what that meant – a blown fuse was a nuisance.

The first types of electricity control were fuses, installed in a main fuse box (or secondary box) which connected the incoming electrical current to separate circuits. Most major appliances like refrigerators and stoves had their own separate current and fuse.

Eventually these fuse boxes were replaced with panels containing circuit breaker panels, which contained circuit breakers instead of fuses. So instead of replacing a fuse when a major appliance or circuit goes down, all that is needed is a flip of the breaker switch back to the “on” position.

Circuit breakers are considered safer and have greater capacity to control current to many of the newer, electricity-consuming appliances such as microwaves and wireless routers, to name a couple. And flipping a switch is much more cost-effective than having to buy replacement fuses, too.

While it is not mandatory for homeowners to replace fuse boxes with circuit breaker panels, it is often a good idea to make the change, especially during a home remodeling project. Doing it “all at once” is a good idea since walls are usually torn up and appliances are being replaced. Before the dust settles on the project, it is logical to install a breaker panel. Better to disrupt everything at once than to go back later and disrupt everything again.

Another reason to install la new circuit breaker panel is because of necessity. Circuit boxes are rated by amperage (amps) – a measure of electrical capacity. For example, older boxes may be rated for 60 amps and newer homes could have boxes rated 200 amps or higher. This bigger demand for power can overload older circuits. And appliances can constantly be popping a circuit or blowing a fuse. In that case, it might be a good time to consider changing to a new circuit breakers panel.

According to www.acmediy.com, there is a checklist of things to consider when installing a circuit breaker panel, including:

  • Determine your load requirements,
  • There may be a need to add new wiring or circuits,
  • Wires coming into your home may have to be upgraded,
  • Old wiring may need to be replaced.

Should you do it yourself? If you have the experience and skill to do so, installing a circuit breaker panel is doable. If not, a qualified, skilled electrician is the person to call. It will cost extra but consider it “peace of mind.”

No Heat in the House? Things to Check and Do

Friday, March 25th, 2011

In general, when your heating system stops working, you’ll need to call a professional to come out and take a look. However, before you do that, there are likely a couple of things you can check on your own to ensure that there really is a problem with the system itself.

For instance, if it’s cold in your house and your heat isn’t coming on, check to make sure that the thermostat is set to a high enough temperature that the heating system would be triggered. Particularly if this is the first really cold day of the season, it’s entirely possible that your thermostat was turned down at some point and left there. And if the thermostat isn’t turned up high enough, the heat will never come on.

Also, it’s worth just taking a second to check and make sure that the power switch on the heating system itself is actually in the proper on position. For the most part, there would be no reason for you to turn this off, but it’s always possible it could have happened in any number of ways and it only takes a second to check.

Depending on the type of fuel source your heating system uses, it’s probably a good idea to check to make sure the supply is still available as well. If you use natural gas, check to make sure that the gas line is open, but don’t try to repair it yourself if it seems to be compromised. If you find something like that, be sure to call your gas company right away.

However, if you use oil as a heat source, take a quick peek at the levels in your tank. There’s always the possibility that you used more than you thought you did or that a delivery was missed for some reason and so your heating system simply has no fuel to run on. Similarly, if your heating system runs on electricity, make sure that the fuse wasn’t blown or that it’s not just too loose to provide an adequate power supply.

If you’ve covered all of these basic troubleshooting bases, it may be time to take a closer look at the heating system itself. On just about every type of system there should be some type of reset switch or button. Follow the instructions to press this button and engage the reset process, but be sure to only try this once. If that resetting doesn’t work, it’s time to back off and call in some professional help.