When you live in Tampa, there’s hardly anything that can make you more uncomfortable in your home than the AC going out or just not cooling right. Sometimes it’s caused by something small, like freezing coils, other times it’s a recurring problem or just an outright mechanical failure. Whatever the cause, our techs can fix any brand or model unit that you have servicing your home or business. Here’s a more detailed list of air conditioning services we offer:
NEW HVAC UNIT INSTALLATION
Installing a new system isn’t just about setting the unit down and connecting all the parts. The installation of a new system should be well planned and expertly executed. Imagine paying for a new unit only to find out that it’s:
- too small and struggling to cool
- too big and running up your utility bill
- mis-located and cooling your space unevenly
Let us help you identify and install the right unit and right application for your needs so you don’t end up discovering too late what could have been done right the first time. Not only do we have the best pricing upfront, but our planning and installations-done-right will save you money for years to come!
In people’s (justified) efforts to keep the AC systems up and running, it’s easy to forget one of the simplest components. Many thermostats can go for a really long time without needing to be replaced. But, if yours is more than ten years old, you might be missing out on some awesome advances in thermostat technology. For example, a simple digital thermostat can be replaced with a smart model that anticipates your needs, while wireless thermostats can be set up to get around complex installation issues. For more information on types of thermostats, review our buyers guide in our Knowledge Center “Finding The Right Thermostat”. You can also give us a call if you’d like to learn more or if you’ve already decided to upgrade; we’ll handle your thermostat replacement with the same care and attention to detail as we treat the rest of your central air system.
You wouldn’t think of driving your car for 18 hours a day, everyday, without every changing the oil or performing other maintenance, right? In order to get the best efficiency and the longest lifespan out your air conditioning unit, you have to maintain it! AC maintenance plans offer one the best cost-saving returns of all things you could do for your home or business. Why? Here’s a short list:
- Maximize the Energy Efficiency – Like anything else, HVAC units degrade over time and become less efficient. We can help you to keep it running like “a well-oiled machine”.
- Reduce Costly Breakdowns – The cost of breakdown due to maintenance neglect can be more 7 times the cost of maintenance plans. Would you rather spend $1 maintaining it or $7 fixing it?
- Maintain Your Home Comfort – Ever notice how people’s AC tends to fail at the worst times? That’s because older and neglected units typically fail on the hottest days because they can no longer handle the stress of working harder to keep things cool.
- Help The Environment – Reducing energy consumption also helps the environment by reducing carbon dioxide production. Diagnosing refrigerant leaks can also benefit the environment enormously.
- Extend The Life of Your System – Anything that’s taken care of will outlast anything that’s neglected. Statistically speaking, a unit with regular service and maintenance will last 3-4 years longer. But hey, if you want to buy a new unit every few years, we’ll be glad to sell you one! But, why spend all that money buying a new unit, when maintenance is so cheap!
When your AC kicks on and you notice one of your rooms isn’t cooling properly, often times this can be an air flow issue. Air flow issues can be caused by several things:
- Kinked or Crushed Flex Ducts – A lot of ducts are flexible, and can get pinched, kinked, or crushed in the attic.
- Disconnected Air Ducts – Sometimes ducts come loose, which means they’re no long sending cold air to the vent. In fact, they may even be cooling your attic instead!
- Leaky Air Ducts – This problem is actually pretty common. According to ENERGY STAR, “In a typical house, however, about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts.”
- Closed Damper – Dampers are valves in your ducts that control airflow in your air duct system. When open, air flows freely; when they close, there’s little or no airflow. You may have a closed damper that’s blocking air from reaching your one room.
Whatever the issue is affecting your air flow, our technician knows exactly how to find the problem and seal, fix, or clean it to get that room cooling properly!
Whether building out new or repairing existing systems, we can be your biggest ally in refrigeration! We know the ins-and-outs of building out refrigerated environments, so our knowledge & experience can make the difference between a successful project and a costly one. When it comes to service and repair, we service any commercial refrigeration system regardless of brand or who installed it. Our skilled technicians solve mechanical refrigeration problems quickly and efficiently—with minimal disruption to your facility and productivity.
It doesn’t get cold often in Tampa, but when it does, you still want your heating to work. Because we don’t turn these systems on very much here, you may find things going wrong at the start of winter. Believe it or not, many HVAC companies don’t service heating systems, but we do. We’re full service and experienced in heating repair and installation, so when the time comes, give us a call and we’ll take care of it!
IF YOU NEED EMERGENCY AIR CONDITIONING SERVICES, PLEASE CALL
IMMEDIATELY, WE’RE OPEN 24 HOURS A DAY.
There are a few scenarios that are our top calls for air conditioning and HVAC problems, especially in the spring or winter time. Before your air conditioner gives out before you really need it this summer, call us to schedule a regular maintenance check-up.
- Fan is not working.
You turn your air conditioner on but notice that it does not seem to be running properly so you take a look at your unit outside and notice that the fan is not moving. The fan is responsible for transferring heat from your home to the outside. When it is not moving it is a sign that something within the unit has malfunctioned. Turn off the ac and call for assistance. Attempting to run the air conditioner while the fan is broken can lead to overheating the unit or damaging the compressor.
- Unit is not turning on or staying on.
This could be caused by a number of issues including faulty wiring, overheating, faulty thermostat, clogged filter or an issue with the coils. Most of these issues are difficult to check for and need the assistance of an HVAC professional to correct. You can check the filter and if comfortable enough with the functions of your unit, the coils for an issue.
- Evaporator coils are frozen.
Frozen coils can be in indicator of other issues within the unit. Check to make sure that the filter has been changed recently and is not clogged with dust or dirt. Low refrigerant of blocked ductwork can also cause the coils to freeze up. If you are unable to find the root of the problem, one of our HVAC specialist would be happy to check out your unit and fix your issue.
- Air is not blowing cool.
This too, can be caused by a number of reasons. Go through the basic check list of inspecting the filter, double checking the settings on the thermostat, visual appearance of the coils and outside unit. If anything appears out of the ordinary, it may be your culprit and if assistance is needed to correct an issue, call our office for help.
- Circuit breaker keeps getting tripped.
When the circuit breaker trips it is because more energy is being sent to the unit than what is safe. A circuit break works to prevent damage from a power surge that may be caused by faulty wiring, clogged filter or coils, or low refrigerant.
The proper care and maintenance of your filter, coils, refrigerant, and wires is paramount to a properly functioning HVAC unit. Should something go awry, it is usually because of one or more of these sources. Filters are easy to change and should be done every one to three months to prevent problems. A maintenance plan that includes a multi-point inspection of your unit at least once a year can help reduce the risk of your unit from poorly functioning and extend the life of your unit.
Our last week’s blog was about Dirty Sock Syndrome; what it is, how to know if you have it, and if it’s dangerous. To read more on this topic, you can check out the blog article here. This week we are concluding our Dirty Sock Syndrome with information on how to treat and prevent falling victim to Dirty Sock Syndrome.
Preventing Dirty Sock Syndrome
The best treatment is always taking the right steps to prevent Dirty Sock Syndrome from happening to your air conditioning system in the first place. The best way to do this is with a good air filter. An air filter is the first line of defense against mold, mildew, bacteria, and other particles in the air that lead to the build-up that causes Dirty Sock Syndrome. You will also need to make sure that you change the air filter in a timely manner to ensure that the air stays properly filtered before entering your air conditioning unit. Air filters should be changed ever one to three months; the more you run your air conditioner, the more often the filters will need changing.
Another option to help in the fight against Dirty Sock Syndrome is to use a UV air purifier. These purifiers utilize UV lighting to kill bacteria and mold spores in the air. Air purifiers treat the air and lessen the burden on air filters to remove these particles from the air.
Treating Dirty Sock Syndrome
Should it be too late for prevention tactics and Dirty Sock Syndrome has already set in your home, relief is possible and only requires you to clean your evaporator coil. This in conjunction with the prevention methods will eliminate Dirty Sock Syndrome from your home and keep it from returning. To learn more about cleaning the evaporator coils check out our tutorial here.
Have you turned on your air conditioning unit recently and noticed a foul, rotten, or moldy smell flow through the vents? If so, you may have fallen victim to Dirty Sock Syndrome. Dirty Sock Syndrome is a real problem, albeit with a silly sounding name, that can affect anyone with an air conditioning unit.
What is Dirty Sock Syndrome and what causes it?
Dirty Sock Syndrome is caused by a build-up of mold and bacteria in the evaporator coil. The evaporator coil is located in the indoor handler and it is the component that cools the air before it is cycled back into your home. When a filter isn’t changed over an extended period of time, particles in the air like dirt, bacteria, dust, and mold spores, travel through the air conditioning unit and wind up trapped in the evaporator coil. Over time, this builds up too. As the air in your home is cycled through the evaporator coil, it picks up the smell from the build-up and passes it through your home.
Dirty Sock Syndrome can be problematic in areas, like Florida, where high temperatures can create a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Moisture in the air makes its way through the air conditioning system and can become trapped in the air filter and the evaporator coil. Moisture can also build up in the rare times when the temperature drops in the winter and air conditioning units bounce between blowing hot and cold air.
How do I know if I have Dirty Sock Syndrome?
Now that you know what Dirty Sock Syndrome is and what causes it you may be able to tell if the symptoms you have correspond to this issue. But before jumping to the conclusion that you have Dirty Sock Syndrome based solely on the smell emitted by your air conditioner, first check other sources of mildew-y smells like drainage pipes and your air filter.
Is Dirty Sock Syndrome dangerous?
Mold can cause a number of health effects like coughing, sneezing, or difficulty breathing, especially for those who are asthmatic. Dirty Sock Syndrome may cause you or other members in your family to suffer from flu like symptoms but for most people side effects do not worsen and will go away once the mold is removed.
Dust is a constant battle. It always seems to be in your home no matter how often you dust. Dust comes some somewhere, so rest assured you may be able to manage it. Dust is primarily made up from dirt pollen, dead skin cells, pet or people hair, pet dander, and other small particles.
When pets come back in from a trip outdoors, they carry in dirt and pollen from the outside. Most pets also shed hair and pet dander on top of what they track in from a walk or bathroom break. Without removing your fur baby from the family, the best way to reduce the amount they contribute to the dust in your home is to keep them clean. Which as all pet owners know, can be easier said than done! Some tips are:
- Keep a brush near the door and give them a quick brushing after their trip outdoors to reduce how much they will shed indoors.
- Keep a mat by the front door to catch some of the dirt and debris as they walk in.
- Keep up with regular bath times and de-shed or brush your pet frequently to remove extra loose hair.
You and other family members (of the two-legged variety) are also a source of dust contributors. Like pets, you can also track in dirt and pollen. As gross as it may sound, you also shed skin cells which are a large part of the components of the dust in your home. Around 30,000 to 40,000 skins cells are shed a minute!
Tears and loose connections in ductwork allow dirty outside air into your home. This air is carrying its own collection of dirt, pollen, and other small particles.
Filters are designed to catch the dust and air particles in your home. If it is all clogged up from said particles, it is no longer effective at removing any more from your home.
Poorly maintained system
Systems lacking in regular maintenance are commonly found to be clogged with dirt, dust, and debris. This prevents the system from working properly; air conditioners are designed to cool and clean your home’s air.
Gaps or missing weather stripping can allow air from outside, in. Pollen and other particles from outside are able to flow freely into your home. Poorly insulated windows and other sources like fireplaces and oven hoods can contribute as well.
Noisy air conditioners can make it difficult to relax at home and sometimes can be a sign of a problem with the unit, which can worsen if you try to ignore the noise. Other times, simple fixes can cure your noisy HVAC problem.
An air conditioner is made up of moving parts and moving parts require lubrication. When the parts are not properly lubricated, they begin to grind against each other creating a noise you hear. Be sure to schedule annual maintenance so that the gears are properly lubricated.
When an air conditioner is running, it vibrates. Vibration can eventually cause screws to loosen which results in the panels the screws once kept securely in place are now loose as well and are able to shake against the rest of the unit, causing a rattling sound. Should you hear a noise coming from your unit that sounds like rattling metal, grab your screwdriver to solve your noise issue.
Bent Fin Coils
Fin coils can cause the air to make a humming noise as it passes through when the fins are bent. This can easily be remedied with the use of a fin straightening tool.
If you notice the sound only when you are outside or in a room closest to the outdoor unit, it may be the fan causing the problem. A loud fan can be indicating that something is loose or is very dirty and requires maintenance. Before inspecting, remember “safety first” and turn off power to your air conditioning unit.
- Open the cage or frame around the outdoor unit and visually inspect on and around the fan. Keep in mind that the fan is delicate and can be easily bent so work carefully to avoid damaging your unit. Remove any debris that may have found its way inside of the cage or onto the fan.
- While inspecting for debris, check to see if any of the fan blades are dented or bent. Correcting this issue requires skill and a delicate hand, otherwise more damage can occur the fan blades. If your blades are damaged and need fixed or replaced, it may be best to contact a pro who is equipped and trained to solve this issue without causing further damage to your unit.
- Loose fan blades are another common fan problem that can result in excess noise while running. Check all screws and connection points for loose parts.
Routine maintenance is a must when you have an air conditioner or HVAC unit. In addition to annual or bi-annual inspection by a professional, your ac unit requires the replacement or cleaning of parts every one to three months, and sometimes only as needed.
Air filters need to be replaced every 1-3 months depending on how dirty they are. The more you use your air conditioner, the more likely you will have a dirty filter that needs changing more often. Vents need to be dusted as needed to keep from blocking air flow. Even internal components need regular care, like the evaporator coil. Poor air flow or cooling can be the result of a dirty evaporator coil. Evaporator coils are what cool the air and whatever particles that do not get caught in the air filters can end up stuck in the evaporator coils.
Evaporator coils are located inside the indoor handler unit but before you attempt to access them, be sure to turn off your air conditioner and the air handler (safety first!). The air conditioner can be unplugged or turned off via the circuit breaker. The air handler should have an on-off switch near-by, or like the ac unit, shut off from the breaker.
Once power is not reaching the handler, you can open the panel to access the coils. Once the main access panel has been removed, you will see the evaporator coils (an A-framed device taking up most of the space you uncovered). You may notice rust around the coils. This is from condensation when it cools the air. There is another panel, triangle in shape, in the center of the coils. This panel covers the inside of the coils, where you will be cleaning; remove this panel. Work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the coils or air handler.
Once removed, you can begin cleaning the coils. Nu-Calgon Evap-Powr-C is a cleaning solution that can be used safely on the coils. To avoid making a mess or having any of the cleaning solution drip into other parts of the handler, place towels down along the inside and outside of the A-frame. Mix and spray the solution on the coils and use a brush, a 14in bench brush is ideal, and a fin straightening tool (great for removing difficult clumps), you will need to pick one that matches your fins thread-per-inch ratio, to clean the surface of the coils.
Keep a bucket of clean water to rinse the brush nearby and start with spraying the cleaning solution along the coils. Gently, with short brush strokes, rub the brush up and down the coils; do not go against the direction of the fins as this can bend them and block air flow. Rinse the brush often so that the dirt and debris is removed and not just moved up and down along the coils. Once you have brushed along the whole of the coils, spray the solution again to remove dust, dirt, or other debris that was loosened but not removed fully by the brush.
Once cleaning is complete, close everything back up and enjoy a job well done.
Cleaning your evaporator coils is a delicate and lengthy process. If you feel that cleaning your evaporator coils is too long or difficult of a project, contact us to schedule a cleaning today!
Freon is a refrigerant that is used in central air conditioners that is responsible for cooling the air. It is also considered to be an Ozone depleting agent and therefore only licensed individuals may handle the chemical. Here are a few common questions we receive about Freon.
- How do I know if my air conditioning unit is low on Freon?
There is only one method to know for sure if your Freon levels are low: using specialized equipment that is capable of gauging Freon levels. If you have any of the following signs of low Freon levels, contact us today to have your unit checked.
- Cool air at night but warm air being blown out of the vents during the day is an introductory sign of lessening Freon levels.
- Your air conditioner blows warm air constantly and your thermostat is set to cool and not auto.
- There is noticeable frost covering the coil in the indoor unit of your air conditioning system.
- Excessively high electric bills are a sign of something going wrong, including a Freon leak.
These can also be signs of a malfunctioning condenser fan (the fan in the outside unit), a dirty air filter, or the condenser (outside) unit is clogged up by dirt, leaves, or other debris. Check these other areas and if correcting them does not solve your problem then let us come out to check for a Freon leak.
- How often does Freon need to be refilled?
Freon does not need replacing; your air conditioning unit is a self-contained system. The Freon currently in your air conditioning unit will continue cycling through the unit time and time again. It does not get used up or worn out. If your Freon levels are low, it is because there is a leak somewhere in the system. Leaks can be potentially dangerous because of the damaging effects Freon has on the environment. Leaks should be identified as quickly as possible because Freon will evaporate into the atmosphere, where it does the most damage, attacking the ozone.
- How much does Freon cost?
Like many products, the price of Freon can fluctuate based on several factors.
- Type of Freon required by your system
Freon comes in different types. An older version of Freon that is being phased out and is only present in air conditioning units that are 10 years or older is called R-22. Because it is being phased out, it is far more expensive than newer and more readily available forms of Freon. R-22 can cost anywhere from $120 to $150 per pound depending on the other factors listed. And in many scenarios requiring the refill of Freon, several pounds are required. Another type of Freon is called R410A and is considered to be a little bit more environmentally friendly in comparison to R-22. It also costs far less; a 25-lb cylinder can cost between $130-$150. This is the base cost before retail mark up and labor costs.
- Local climate
Warmer areas make use of their air conditioners more and as a result will need Freon more often than their colder counterparts. Due to the supply and demand economic theory, this can drive the price up for warmer climate areas.
As with climate, warmer seasons, especially summer, can also greatly affect the supply and demand ratio.
- Individual contractors
Licensed contractors purchase Freon at a base cost but like any retailer, they mark up the product so that they make a profit to cover overhead costs. You also have to take into account labor costs as well.
- Can I recharge Freon myself?
Technically…yes; however, depending on the type of refrigerant you need and laws regarding the sale, purchase, and use of it may prevent you from being able to do it yourself. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state and local governments have specific regulations and laws requiring licensing for individuals to work with Freon. R-22 is more restricted than R-410A. Check local laws and regulations before purchasing and using Freon. It is also a safer bet to contact a professional to handle such a volatile substance.
Most people think they should stay indoors in order to avoid the pollutants in the outdoor air but indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than fresh air according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Poor air quality inside your home can cause you to have cold-like symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose or congestion, headaches, and more.
Maintaining proper care and seasonal maintenance on your air conditioning or HVAC unit is important as general care for you and your system. A well taken care of unit can help improve your air quality if you follow some or all of these simple tips.
- Change your air filter
This may sound like obvious advice, but changing your air filter every 1-3 months is paramount to sustaining air quality in your home. The more you use your air conditioner, the sooner it will need to be changed (once a month). This is because when your unit is running, it is pulling the air from the home and cycling it through the system to cool and filter it. If you don’t use your ac often, then the air isn’t being filtered as much so you could wait until the second or third month of use to change the filter. Air filters remove the dust, dirt, pollen, and other particles in the air that can cause harm to your health.
- Check for your air ducts
Air ducts, like filters, can trap dust and pollutants. Periodically check your ducts to make sure that they are clear and not cycling polluted air back into your home. While checking for dirty ducts, inspect for holes or tears. Occasionally over time, these can appear, causing unfiltered air from outside to come inside.
- Keep your unit clean
Air conditioners, like electronics, attract dust and pull debris towards them. Ensure that debris is cleared from your outdoor unit and sweep around the indoor component. A clean unit is a happy unit, or at least a well functioning one that keeps your air clear.
Even while keeping up with the proper maintenance and care of your unit, some pollutants may still linger. Other aspects to consider may be investing in a dehumidifier or an air purifier. A dehumidifier removes some of the moisture in the air and helps to control allergens that may be causing your symptoms. If you have major allergy or sinus issues, adding an air purifier to your home can help reduce the symptoms you are having.
Heating and cooling your home makes up of about 50% of your energy bill so making a few adjustments in your habits can save you a lot of money. Here are three of the top heating and cooling mistakes most people make.
Trying to heat or cool your home faster
Maybe you heard that turning the air up while you are at work can save you money on your cooling bill so you set it to 80 degrees when you leave the house. But you are most comfortable at 74 degrees when you are home so you unlock the door and immediately walk to your thermostat and punch it down to 72 thinking the ac will work harder and faster to cool the home. You, like many others, would be wrong. The air conditioner does not work hard or faster based on the temperature entered or the difference between the temperature in the home and what was set. The air conditioner will kick on and work as efficiently as it can to cool the home to the programed temperature
Leaving your thermostat at the same temperature
Thinking that leaving the thermostat set at the same temperature day in and day out is more energy efficient can actually cost you savings on your monthly bill. It is true that adjusting your thermostat when you are away for 8 hrs or more can save you money. In fact raising the temperature 5-8 degrees in the summer months and lowering it 10-15 degrees in the winter can save you up to 15% annually.
Remembering to adjust the thermostat is the hard part so upgrading your thermostat to a programmable one can be an investment for your home.
Adjusting your thermostat too much
Do you and your spouse argue back and forth over what temperature it should be in the home? Perhaps one or even both of you adjust it when the other isn’t looking. Although you, or maybe its your spouse, is thinking they are winning the battle of the ac, you both are actually losing.
When the thermostat is constantly being adjusted, the air conditioning unit stops and restarts constantly. This effect can wear out the motor and leave it running inefficiently.
Just like your air conditioner seems most likely to break down during the high temperatures of the summer; so also will your heater break down on the coldest days of the year. Here are ten of the most common issues that could be facing your furnace this winter.
- Filthy Filter: Changing the filters in a timely manner will help keep your heater running smoothly and avoid the most common forms of repairs. Clogged filters make the heating system work harder and may damage the switch that controls the fan.
- No Inspections or Regular Maintenance: This is another prevalent issue that inevitably leads to a broken down heating system. Annual inspections and regular repair correct small issues before they turn into big ones. Additionally, proper maintenance can help the furnace run smoothly and even more efficiently.
- Standard Wear & Tear: Heating units have moving parts which means they are subjected to regular wear and tear. By having the moving parts replaced at recommend intervals, you will avoid many of the issues that affect your heating unit negatively.
- Continuous Running of the HVAC System: Even your heater needs a break now and again. Always having your heat running can lead to overheating or shorten a part’s lifespan by increasing the amount of traditional deterioration in a shorter period of time.
- Thermostat: A malfunctioning thermostat means that it could be running the heater at the wrong times or even continuously, which can make life inside the house quite uncomfortable. It can also degrade the fan quickly if the issue is not corrected in time.
- Pilot Control or Electric Ignition: When either of them breaks down, it could truly be difficult for the unit to heat your home. Pilot lamps can go out as a result of a clogged filter while an electric ignition can fail to ignite due to excessive humidity or thermocouple issues.
- Constant Cycling: This causes great to wear and tear around the heater as it keeps switching between the on and off modes. Excessively dirty filters are one of the major causes but it may be caused by a malfunctioning thermostat or other mechanical issue.
- Not Enough Heat: This can also be caused by a dirty or clogged filter which will not allow enough airflow to heat the home effectively. Other times it is worn parts that are not able to function effectively.
- Noise: If you hear a lot of squeaking, rumbling or rattling that does not normally emanate from your heater, there could be a loose part or other mechanical issue.
- No Heat at All: This could be the pilot light, gas, electric power, or thermostat setting that is not correct. Some problems can cause the heater not to work at all which makes this of the most difficult and expensive (and sometimes avoidable) repairs.
Regular maintenance and annual inspections can help reduce the risk of one of these common issues from happening to you. In order to keep your heating system functioning at its best, it does require a small amount of care in return. Set up an appointment for an inspection and routine maintenance today from the pros at Alvarez Plumbing & Air Conditioning.
Ever wonder when if it is best to keep the fan constantly running or to switch the setting to auto? You are not alone – many have wondered which is best. Use this guide of pros and cons of each setting to determine which setting is best for you.
Setting The Fan To “ON”
Whether the heat is on or the house is set to cool, a setting of “on” for the fan means that it will run constantly until the setting is changed.
Keeping the fan on can help extend the life of the fan and can help evenly distribute the heat or air conditioning. The fan also pulls the air through the filter, helping clean it of dust, dirt, pet hair, and more before distributing it back through the house. Constantly running the fan ensures that the cleanest air is always running through your home.
When the fan is constantly running, even during the heat setting can lead to a misconception that the heat is not working properly. The temperature of the room will be accurate to its setting but the air coming out of the vents will feel “cooler” because of the fan.
Always running the fan also means always using energy, which equals a larger bill. It also means that you will have to change the filter more often, which is another added cost.
Setting The Fan To “AUTO”
With this setting, the fan will only come on when told by the unit. The fan will only run while the air conditioning is running or when the heat is on they will turn on shortly after the burners are lit and shut off when the desired temperature is met.
With the auto setting, the fan will use less energy and therefore, cost less to run. The filter won’t need to be changed as often but then it is only because the fan isn’t filtering the air as much.
There isn’t as much of an even distribution of the air compared to the “on” setting because once the desired temperature is met the fan shuts off, no longer pushing air throughout each of the rooms.
Also, with the constant starting and stopping, there is a greater chance of wear to the fan and its gears.
Other Setting Options
If you have a newer unit, you may be able to set the fan to “constant on” which is an energy efficient option that keeps the fan on. Another new option is “circulate” which allows you to program the fan to turn on to even out hot or cold spots throughout the house and shut off after a few minutes.
Updating your thermostat can help you manage the amount of energy you use and help make your home more comfortable. Here is a quick buyers guide to help you find the perfect thermostat for your home.
A programmable thermostat allows the user to program the temperature that they want for a specified amount of time. You could set the thermostat to 74 degrees for the time you will be home and raise it to 78 degrees while you are at work. There are a few variations of programmable thermostats:
This type of programmable thermostat allows you to have different settings for weekdays, Saturday, and Sunday. It also allows up to four thermostat changes during each setting.
This option allows for a setting for weekdays and another for weekends with four time periods in each setting.
7-Day thermostats allow for the most versatile programming; up to 4 programmed periods that can be different for each day of the week.
This option has the same setting, with up to four periods, for a whole week.
A learning thermostat isn’t pre-programmed but rather programs itself based off of what you typically set the temperature to and when.
3.Remote Energy Management
This is a Wi-fi option that allows you to monitor and control your thermostat from your smartphone or tablet. May also be referred to as a “Smart” thermostat.
This traditional option is great for those who are home often, like a set temperature, and don’t mind manually adjusting the thermostat.
This is the same as a manual thermostat but with a digital LCD screen that displays the temperature.
Whichever option ends up working best for you, make sure that it is compatible with the type of heating and cooling unit that you have (ex: gas or electric). If you still are not sure which type of thermostat is right for your home, give us a call and we will be happy to evaluate your needs and help you determine which thermostat will be the best choice for you.
In Florida and other southern states, a heat pump is a great alternative heating method for the home. While furnaces and boilers are great for homes that experience below freezing temperatures during the winter, they are not necessary for warmer climates with mild winters.
Heat pumps can be used for a dual, heating/cooling purpose and they work best in temperatures above freezing.
Here are several reasons why heat pumps are ideal for Florida homes:
Heat pumps are one of the more efficient means of home-heating. They require less energy to run and do not rely on gas or fossil fuel to function. Their dual-function as a heater/cooler means it can be utilized year-round.
Heat pumps function through air transfer. In the summer months, warm air is transferred outside through the unit. In winter months, warm air is transferred into the home. There are two types of heat pumps:
This type of heat pump uses electricity to facilitate air transfer. Air-source heat pumps can produce double the heat energy they consume while running.
This type of heat pump draws heat from the ground, instead of surrounding air. Geothermal heat pumps can produce nearly six times as much heat as they consume while running.
Heat pumps are safer than other heating methods. Heat pumps do not require combustible material to operate.
Heat pumps do not come with some of the negative drawbacks associated with other heating methods:
Dry air is caused by lack of humidity. Since heat pumps do not suck humidity out of the air they do not produce uncomfortable sensations like dry skin and static electricity. Odor:
Heating systems running on gas or other fossil fuels produce an odor as they are burned off. Heat pumps operate on electricity.
Combustion-based heating systems are prone to all sorts of audible noises. Heat pumps have their condensers located outside the home, so noise does not carry inside.
Heat pumps are much more eco-friendly and sustainable than other types of heating systems.
By requiring less energy to operate and without the reliance on combustion, heat pumps have a lower carbon footprint and higher efficiency rate than other heating methods.
Heat pumps have a much longer lifespan than combustion-based heating systems, with many lasting up to 50 years.
1.Improved Energy Efficiency. The use of good HVAC equipment that is regularly serviced can result in substantial еnеrgу, еmiѕѕiоnѕ аnd cost savings of bеtwееn 10%-40%-ассоrding to Whole Building Design Guideline, a program of the National Company of Building Sciences. So why not the give your equipment the ability to operate at peak performance, while benefitting from lowered regular monthly utility bills and increased total annual savings with energy efficient procedures?
2.Prolonged Equipment Lifespan. Equipment that may be clogged with dirt and grime has to work much harder and longer to produce the same amount of heating or perhaps cooling, which leads to early burnout and failure. Do not spend more on рrеvеntаblе rерlасеmеntѕ аnd frеԛuеnt component сhаngе-оutѕ. Spend smarter on preventive maintenance to extend the shelf life of your existing heating system, cooling and ventilation gear.
3.Improved Air Quality. Indoor quality of air can be affected by dirty shelves and blower parts in your air conditioning unit. This raises a large number of health-related concerns, such as pollen, fungi and bacteria accumulation, that you could be breathing in on everyday basis. This sort of build up can trigger asthma episodes; eye, nose, and neck irritation; and flu-like ailments. Regular cleaning of these parts significantly reduces contamination of the airstream and makes for a more healthy household and happier living environment.
4.Lower cost of Repairs. Scheduling frequent maintenance can greatly reduce the cost of repairs up to 95%. Although it is almost impossible to avoid all HVAC repairs, preventive care saves a lot of money on unanticipated cooling and heating emergencies.
A lot of companies offer service contracts to homeowners. With this plan, the homeowner will pay a certain fee and the company will come out twice a year to inspect, clean and service the unit. Frequently these customers enjoy discount rates on repairs as well as get top priority for service calls. It is a good way to guarantee that professionals you know and trust will properly maintain your program each year.
Don’t write off HVAC maintenance until your system breaks down or stops working totally. The last thing you want is always to end up with no cool air around the hottest day of the year. Protect your system and ensure it is working efficiently all year long.
Feeling sick? Your HVAC system could be making you worse. According to a study done by the EPA, indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside! And bad indoor air quality can cause numerous flu-like symptoms such as:
- Runny nose
- Sore, dry or scratchy throat
- Itchy, watery or irritated eyes
- Respiratory problems
Keeping your HVAC System maintained regularly improves your indoor air quality and helps to mitigate mold, mildew and allergens from spreading. Take the following 6 steps to keep you and your loved ones healthy:
- Replace air filters regularly. Clean or replace your air filter at minimum every three months. During peak usage or if you have pets, consider changing the filter monthly. Filters keep out dust, pollen, spores and other airborne problems that can lead to severe health issues. Consider installing an electrostatic filter, which employs an electric charge to capture more airborne particles than standard filters.
- Look for leaks in your air ducts. Check your HVAC ductwork regularly for leaks and gaps. Over time, holes can occur in the ductwork and cause unfiltered air to seep in and disperse throughout your home. Duct sealing also cuts energy costs because heated and cooled air can no longer escape through the cracks. If problems continues, you may consider having your air ducts cleaned regularly.
- Keep your outdoor unit clean. Your outdoor HVAC unit is going to pull anything close to it into your home. To avoid pulling in contaminated air, clean the area on a regular basis. It’s the same with your indoor unit. Sweep, dust, and vacuum around that area to keep out the dust and airborne particles.
- Determine if you need a dehumidifier. Florida is famous for its humid weather. A dehumidifier reduces moisture from indoor air and helps to control allergens. Try to keep the humidity levels in your home below 50 percent and always ensure proper ventilation in damp areas, such as bathrooms. This will help prevent mold and dust mites.
- Add an air purifier. You may want to purchase an air purifier for your house. Models range from small units to extensive house-wide systems. When you are shopping, look for a style featuring the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturer’s (AHAM) seal of approval.
- Purchase a maintenance plan. It’s very important that you keep your HVAC system cleaned and maintained regularly. It’s the only way to keep mold, mildew and allergens from spreading all throughout your house. Have an HVAC professional come in and ensure that your system functions properly and dust is not blocking or clogging it up.
If you have an HVAC system in your house that is more than 10 years old, you can improve the air quality just by replacing your current equipment as well by upgrading to a more energy-efficient model.
Alvarez Plumbing & Air conditioning offers exceptional air conditioning services that will keep your cooling system clean, working efficiently and saving you money. Be sure to contact us when you need air conditioner maintenance. Give us a call today.
Keeping things cool during the summer days is only feasible with an air conditioning unit. In case your cold air has suddenly becomes hot and gross, there’s a problem. From unusual noises to even unfamiliar smells are few signs that it is time to call HVAC repair company to make your home cool again. The following five signs will tell if you need the services of an AC repair company
The thermostat is not functioning properly: A cooling system is made up of numerous parts. The brain of it all is the thermostat. By taking the temperature of the air around it, your thermostat can send out a signal to the rest of the system to cool your home to the right temperature. If the thermostat is not functioning like it is supposed to or if it is cooling excessively or not enough, then a professional HVAC technician can help make things best.
Strange sounds. When your AC unit turns on, there is a familiar hum that occurs. If that start-up noise comes with a squealing, grating, banging, or screeching noise, then something is wrong. Strange sounds indicate that something has gone wrong in your AC unit. Whether it is because of a slipped belt or the need for more lubrication, an expert can locate and fix the cause of the problem.
Liquid around the unit. If you spot leaks, messes, or liquid leaking from your system, you need an ac repair technician. While it is normal for your condensation line to release liquid, that should be done in a specific line. Other leaks could be an indicator of refrigerant leaks which is a serious health hazard. Whether the issue is a blockage or a cracked pipe, a professional HVAC company can handle the problem.
Foul Odor. If you smell something musty coming from your air registers, there are chances that you have molds growing in your cooling unit or somewhere in your ductwork. Mold spreads germs and bacteria, which is a serious health issue for you and your family. If the smell is more pungent, it might mean that the wire padding in your air conditioning vents have burned out. Whatever is causing the smell; a professional HVAC technician can locate and get rid of it.
- No Air
No airflow. If your thermostat is still functional, but no air is coming out from your registers, it is time you call the ac repair experts. In some instances, debris and dust could develop making it impossible for air to flow through the system. However, lack of air likewise points to a failed air compressor. If it is the case, a new one needs to be set up. The only way to know the exact cause of the problem is by leaving it in the expert hands.
If your air conditioner is not working like it is supposed to, don’t worry yourself too much. It does not matter if you are dealing with leaks or strange sounds, calling a great AC company is the easiest way to get things taken care of. Experienced experts can examine, diagnose, and treat any of your air conditioners complications.
Dangers of inhaling Freon gas
Freon is the name for a class of chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, used mainly in refrigeration and air conditioning. Freon and other refrigerants are harmful and can cause poisoning and even death. HVAC service workers happen to be at risk due to occupational exposure, although exposure most often occurs during deliberately sniffing the gas. Breathing in these fumes in order to get high can be very risky. It can be extremely fatal even at the very first time you do it. Regularly inhalation of high concentrations of Freon can result in issues which include: fluid buildup in the lungs, breathing problems, organ damage, and unexpected death.
Improper maintenance causing fires
A badly maintained air conditioner places added strain on your electrical system which may cause secondary safety hazards. Some types of debris in your system or shorted circuits may cause fire hazards too, so bypassing maintenance is actually very dangerous. Contacting an AC repair service to carry out maintenance for you in the spring could actually help keep your family safe year-round.
Just like with any other piece of equipment, preventative maintenance is way cheaper than AC repairs. You can have a maintenance call every year for a several years and still spend substantially less than you would if уоu had tо gеt major repairs every few years оr replace your unit in 5 years instead of 15.
If you’re postponing maintenance on your air conditioner to save cash, don’t. You will actually end up spending more in the long run.
Flowing fumes into the house
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is produced by the partial combustion оf fuels such as аѕ wood, natural gas, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, coal and charcoal. It is triggered by lack of oxygen or аn interruption in thе burning process. It is a result of combustion, present anytime fuel is burned. It is made by common HVAC home appliances. The side-effects that results from this low-level exposure include permanent organ аnd brain damage. Infants and the elderly are mоrе vulnerable than healthy adults, just like those with anemia or heart disease.
Once your detector has begun the warning alarm, then carbon monoxide has started accumulating. It is very important to find and get rid of the source of CO before the condition aggravates. A qualified HVAC contractor or appliance service technician can check your home to identify the cause of carbon monoxide build-up.
Occasionally, a leak takes place in the air conditioning system therefore the unit has to be to be charged. A correct and specific charge is essential so that it can maintain doing its job of cooling the home. As the refrigerant leaks out the system ѕtill cools. It actually cools tоо much. Thе indoor evaporator coil starts to freeze up because the temperature of the evaporator coil falls below the dew point. This humidity or moisture in your home or business passes through the air conditioning indoor coil for conditioning. The refrigerant in your air conditioner or heat pump is intended to be locked in a hermetic system аnd sealed tight.
A leak causes ice to form on the coil and other parts of the air conditioner. The air conditioning system gets a reduced amount of air flow because of the coil icing up. You may see ice on the copper refrigeration lines that run to the outside condenser. If you see this, it is crucial to shut the system off instantly and call your HVAC repair company. If the system is left and not shut off, the indoor evaporator coil will turn into a block of ice and no air flow is likely to going to come out of the vents. Gas leaks are mainly caused by inadequate maintenance.
Why maintenance checks should be done on HVACs
An HVAC system gives great comfort in a commercial space and can be considered a worthy investment purchase. Nevertheless, many people overlook the importance of carrying out regular maintenance on the system. There are a lot of reasons why you need to maintain the upkeep of your HVAC unit. This includes Lower energy bills, fewer repairs, lower chance of a catastrophic breakdown, longer equipment life and safer equipment operation.
What is a Condensor?
A condenser is a device used to liquefy gas simply by cooling it. In an HVAC equipment, the hot discharge gas (refrigerant vapor) from the compressor enters the condenser coils at the top and is condensed, drains out of the condenser to a recipient located near the bottom. The condenser coil is located along with the compressor аnd controlling dеviсеѕ in thе condensing unit. In a remote or split system air conditioning installation, the condensing unit iѕ lосаtеd outdoors. Condensers аrе available in various sizes and styles that include a plain tube, finnеd tubе and рlаtе tуре, series-pass аnd раrаllеl pass units.
Condensers are categorized by their cooling method. Three main types are separated into:
- Air-cooled Condensers
- Water-cooled condensers
- Combined air and water-cooled condensers
An air-cooled condenser consists of a coil of ample surface that a fan blows air or induced by natural draft. This type of condenser is universally used in small capacity refrigerating units. It is mostly designed for residential or small office air conditioners.
Air-chilled condensers should be kept free from dirt, lint, and other external materials because they tend to lessen the airflow around the tubes and fins if they are allowed to accumulate just like evaporators.
A water-cooled condenser is similar tо a ѕtеаm ѕurfасе соndеnѕеr in thаt сооling iѕ accomplished by water alone that circulates through tubes or coils enclosed within a shell. In a water-cooled condenser, the refrigerant circulates throughout the annular space between the tubes/coils. Due to its building, a water-cooled condenser is also referred to as a double-pipe condenser.
Because an evaporative condenser does not waste water, large compressor installations are possible in locations where water is scarce. Tests have proven that the amount of water required will not surpass the 0. 03 GPM per ton of the refrigeration. This is one of thе есо-friеndlу reasons tо uѕе this tуре of соndеnѕеr. Evaporative condensers also eliminate water disposal problems and provide one of the most economical means of cooling refrigerant gasses of standard air conditioners.
HVAC condensers are an essential part of your air conditioning system. A well-maintained air conditioning unit will save you money in the long run. In case you are bothered about your home energy efficiency, you may want to consult with a home energy audit соmраnу. Installing an аttiс fаn iѕ a grеаt wау tо relieve some of the stress from your air conditioner unit.
Combined Air- and Water-cooled Condensers
This kind of condenser is also known an evaporative condenser and consists оf a coil сооlеd by water sprayed frоm above аnd then соld air enters from the bottom and is blown across the coils. Aѕ water evaporates frоm thе coil, it creates a сооling effect that condenses the refrigerant within the coil. The rеfrigеrаnt gаѕ in thе coil iѕ hоt which changed tо the liquid state by just combining the sprayed water and the lаrgе column оf moving аir supplied by thе fаn. The water that does not evaporate is re-circulated using a pump.
Ask anybody in Tampa and they will tell you: you haven’t seen a winter like a Tampa winter.
Where the north states may have their share of heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures, that at least, provides a constant.
In Tampa, temperatures range widely. One week might bring temperatures in the 80s while you might see frost on your lawn and temperatures dropping into the mid 40s another week.
As residents of the Tampa Bay area switch the thermostat back-and-forth from heat to cool, this can cause a real strain on a home’s HVAC system. Homeowners should prep their HVAC units for the uncertainties of Florida winters.
You may be wondering how you can prevent added strain to your AC unit for the winter months.
Here are a few basic tips for making sure your HVAC system is ready for the change in season.
- Timely Air Filter Changes
During the summer months, when most Floridians are running their HVAC systems regularly, it can be easy to keep on track with scheduled air filter changes for AC units.
In winter months, there might be several weeks of weather cool enough to keep the windows open during the day, yet not cold enough to turn on the heat at night. This may mean that an Air conditioning unit does not get used for a while.
With sporadic use, homeowners might forget the last time they changed their air filters.
With regular HVAC use, air filters should be changed every 1-2 months.
Clean air filters are important for proper air flow through a unit as well as the circulation of healthy air.
- Program Thermostats
During winter months when heating is necessary, it is important to reprogram a thermostat to proper energy and comfort settings.
Homeowners should check their thermostat settings to accommodate changes to outside temperatures.
- Keep Home Temperatures Consistent
One of the worst things for HVAC systems is the strain of regulating a consistent temperature. Homeowners should make sure to turn their Air Conditiner unit off if leaving windows open.
With changes in outside temperature, AC units must work twice as hard to meet the preset internal temperatures.
- Scheduled Maintenance Check-Ups
One of the most important steps that homeowners can take in ensuring their Air Conditioner units are functioning properly is scheduling regular maintenance and service check-ups for the home’s HVAC system.
Typically HVAC system maintenance checks are scheduled annually. This once a year check-up will improve functioning capacity of the units and prevent against future ac repair issues that might arise.
In some instances, where a home’s HVAC system is being used on more than a regular basis, scheduled maintenance checks may need to be scheduled more than once per year. This might be the case for multi-family dwellings or homes with high-occupancy.