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Your HVAC Connection: Low Refrigerant

25 Mar

Most of us don’t worry over our air conditioners constantly or while we’re out in the heat. Often, the only thought given to a/c performance while away is something along the lines of I can’t wait to crank up the A/C when I get home. But walking inside a stuffy house and a silent system can send a hundred thoughts through your head in a very inconvenient panic.

There are plenty of things that can go wrong in the mechanics of air conditioners, and several of them have similar symptoms. One such issue is having low refrigerant in your system. Not having enough refrigerant in your system will keep your unit from cooling your home, and you will want that to be remedied as soon as possible.

Side Note: Low refrigerant in your system could be a symptom of a larger issue, such as a leak, that will need to be addressed as quickly as possible.

Detection of a leak or low refrigerant needs to be examined and remedied by a professional. Your HVAC professional of choice will have the system recharged and running quickly.

For your convenience, take a look at the following bits of helpful information and if you notice any problems, don’t hesitate to give us a call and one of our professional technicians will check it out for you.

  • Warm Air from Vents

If you set your thermostat to cool your home and feel warm air coming out of your vents, it could mean a number of things. One of the possibilities is low refrigerant.

  • Frozen Coil

If ice forms on the copper lines or coil of your unit, either outside or inside, this is most likely a sign of low refrigerant.

  • Water by the Furnace/Air Handler

While this could mean more than one thing, such as a clogged drain line, it could also be a sign that your refrigerant is low.

There are other symptoms of course, and like I mentioned earlier, several issues can have similar symptoms. So be smart and keep a lookout for anything that seems abnormal.

If you are unsure, don’t take a chance and give us a call if something needs a closer look or if you feel is not working properly. On this note, remember it is recommended you have Preventive Maintenance done on your system every six months. And, don’t forget, at Tropical Air we offer a Preventive Maintenance agreement that is very affordable and can catch a lot of these issues before they become much more costly.

Keep cool and informed,

Rikki Payne
Your Licensed A/C and Heating Connection
Serving Greater Central Florida


Your HVAC Connection: Space Heaters

5 Feb


As the cold fronts blast in and out of Florida like an undecided whirl wind, most residents are finding themselves oscillating between hot and cold on a daily basis. Many will be toggling their air conditioner between cool and heat, often two or three times a day. As you can imagine, this might have an impact on your electric bill. In fact, it could send it skyrocketing, depending on what kind of system you have.

Just a few days ago, we heard from one of our valued customers… as you may be in the same boat, let’s take a look at Leon’s situation:

After the first month of truly cold weather, Leon noticed his bill increased dramatically, and he called in to find out what could be the cause. What it came down to was a fundamental misunderstanding of how different systems work.

I explained to Leon that while he once had a gas furnace, he now has what is called a Straight Cool System. This means that the only source of heat is located in the air handler inside the home. This source of heat is called a heat strip, made of coils that heat up, much like a toaster.

The alternative to this, the heat pump system, works differently. This system reverses the flow of refrigerant and warms the refrigerant that passes through the copper by extracting heat from the outside air (there are also types that extract heat from the ground and water).

Energy Insight: While this kind of heat is not always as warm coming through the vents, it is a more efficient way to heat a home. Heat strips use up to 3 times as much energy as heat pumps. Leon discovered this the hard way. His question then was whether or not he should use space heaters instead. Good question… if you asked me.

It comes down to this: If you live alone, in a small home or apartment, and you just want enough warmth to get by in one room at a time, then a space heater may be your best option. A space heater could get you through these chilly days and nights just fine. Especially considering the fact that the cold fronts come and go the way they do and flipping between Heat and A/C is best to avoid if at all possible.

Then again, perhaps you give the professionals a call to discuss your situation. After all, not all systems and homes are built the same… Who knows, maybe you could be saving money without risking your comfort. All in all, it’s worth the research.

If you have any questions about your specific heating arrangement, feel free to give us a call at 321.972.9935 or visit us at and we’ll help you figure out what’sright for you.

From your professional HVAC team, keep warm, informed, and save money,

Rikki Payne
Your Licensed A/C and Heating Connection
Serving Greater Central Florida

Your HVAC Connection: What to look for before you call

23 Jan

Last Thursday, Ronald in Casselberry called us to come have a look at his system, which did not seem to be working. After a few questions, we figured out what was going on and were able to walk Ronald through a troubleshooting exercise to get his system back up and running. Not only was the air finally flowing again, but we were able to save Ron time and money.

It’s true that with air conditioning systems, a small issue can actually look like a very big one. Before panicking, understand that there are trivial things that, when ignored, can make your entire system shut down.

Protect yourself: If a little thing happens, make sure you know enough to not get ripped off.

If you are not using the professionals at Tropical Air of Central Florida, make sure that when you call your A/C company, they do not automatically assume you can’t resolve the problem yourself. Unfortunately, there are HVAC companies in the Central Florida region who take advantage of customers, creating expenses where none should be.

Questions are meant for your HVAC service personnel to understand the situation before making a decision that will involve time and money on everyone’s part… don’t be a victim!

Be Prepared: Keeping a few minor things in mind can empower you to work toward the best call of action with your service technician.

To aid in your preparation, here is a basic list of questions typically asked if you were to call Tropical Air of Central Florida. Keep in mind this list is not all-inclusive as your unique situation and our conversation may affect the line of questioning.

Is your system running at all?

This, obviously, is the most basic starting point. The truth is your air conditioner doesn’t have to be comatose to have problems. It’s best to establish, first and foremost, if your system is getting electricity and at least trying to do its job. Once established, more insight is required…                                                                                                                                                    

  • YES – We will then need to know if it is meeting temperature. You’ll need to note what you have set your thermostat to do versus what it is doing. We may ask you to feel the air coming out of the vents, as that alone can narrow the issue down.
  • NO – This may lead us to ask if you’ve tried to flip the breaker or noticed any other electrical problems. We will possibly guide you to the drain line by your air handler to see if it’s clogged.
  • ONE IS AND ONE ISN’T – Depending on which unit is working, we might steer our questions a bit toward the broader realm, because this could mean several different types of issues with either unit.

      When was your equipment serviced last?

  • Unless we are your go-to for HVAC, we’ll need to find out the history of the system. This can either rule out situations we were considering or it may bring up new ones we have not yet thought of.

      How often do you change your filters?

  • Of course, we have to ask this. As we’ve discussed in a blog or two before, changing your filters regularly is key to having a system that operates up to its potential. While there are other factors involved, and this may not be the current issue you’re dealing with, it is possible to have caused a more serious issue had the filters been neglected for some time.

By no means is any HVAC issue hopeless. Nothing is.

In Ronald’s case, we were able to work together to solve a problem over the phone, saving him valuable time (and of course, money). Where ever you go for your HVAC needs, just remember that your knowledge is your power. With a little preparation and awareness of some of the factors we’ve mentioned here, you can partner with your A/C company to meet your needs without unnecessary investments or the feeling that you were a victim.

In this regard, even if you choose another HVAC company for your needs, feel free to give us a call for a free second opinion… after all, a little more information may save you from spending thousands of dollars.

We’d love to hear from you!                                

Keep cool and informed,

Rikki Payne
Your Licensed A/C and Heating Connection
Serving Greater Central Florida

Your HVAC Connection: SEER Rating Savings

10 Jan

Over the holiday break, I received a call from Ted in Apopka asking how he can be sure that the unit we are installing for him will be more efficient than the one he has now. After a few minutes summarizing home dimensions, air flow, and his priorities, the topic of the SEER rating came up. Not surprisingly, Ted said he knew nothing about it.

We continued to speak about SEER ratings and, in no time at all, his complete confidence resurfaced as he knew he was in good hands and we would keep him cool.

Considering most of our guests are like Ted and unaware of what SEER ratings mean and its impact on your home (not to mention your wallet as well), read on to knowledge and savings! On a side note, even if you don’t go with Tropical Air of Central Florida for your cooling and heating needs, feel confident the information presented will empower you and guide you to the best option.

The standard measure of air conditioning efficiency during a “normal” annual cooling season is called SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This, as evidenced by its acronym, will tell you up-front how efficient your system is.

How does this information empower you? Glad you asked… When you are shopping for a system, remember: The higher the SEER rating, the higher the efficiency. It’s that simple so don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. When you add up the savings, it’s difficult to ignore the difference a higher SEER rating can make to your comfort and wallet.

Added benefit: Higher SEER ratings have such an impact on the efficiency of your home that you may be in a position to earn tax credits and rebates from power companies, just for upgrading. All this is great news for Ted as he will be receiving a great system (ideal for his needs) at a great price AND a sizeable rebate from his power company for changing from a 12 SEER system to 15 SEER system.

To establish the many advantages to upgrade to a high SEER system, let’s take a look at a visual aid:


The savings chart makes it pretty clear that you can save up to 50% on your annual energy bills. Another way to look at it is to compare the life cycle A/C operating costs among different SEER ratings. Did you realize that the higher SEER rating, the less you will be paying out for operating costs (on average). The Life Cycle Air Conditioning Operating Cost displays the huge savings:


Certain Ted will be pleased with his new unit, his cost savings, and his rebates, I encourage you (and your friends) to consider an A/C upgrade of your own.

As always, we’re here to help you stay connected with information, enabling you to make decisions that will keep you comfortable while saving money. If you have any questions about the SEER rating on your system or other comfort questions, give us a call any time.

Keep warm, informed, and saving money,

Rikki Payne
Your Licensed A/C and Heating Connection
Serving Greater Central Florida

Company Christmas Party: Go or No?

17 Dec

Christmas PartyNow is the time of year for company Christmas parties. Whether you’re the kind of person to look forward to wearing funny red hats or if you are the type to avoid company gatherings like the plague, holiday jamborees mean a great deal more than eggnog. The truth is, what happens during holiday events could enhance your professional standing (or, on the other hand, not attending may leave a bad taste amongst your peers and supervisors by sending the wrong kind of message).

Dusting off holiday humbugs and attending Christmas parties and networking events would be beneficial to you personally and, most undoubtedly, professionally. Upon holiday event invitations, consider the following when making your decision as to “go or no.”


The Networking advantages during company Christmas parties should be enough to kick out uncertainty. Christmas parties are a priceless opportunity to network with individuals in your company that you may not work with on a daily basis. Maybe they are in the department that you wish to join, maybe they have the position you want, or maybe they’re even in charge of that department or position. This is your chance to build professional relationships outside of a normal work day, and most importantly, to let peers and supervisors get to know why you are a great employee looking for growth.

Added bonus: Taking advantage of Holiday Company networking by making a positive impression they won’t forget is your career advantage during promotions or transfer opportunities.


This is another valuable aspect of these gatherings. While not everyone feels precisely the same way about the holidays, this is nevertheless a personable opportunity to showcase festivity and company buy-in. Building professional identity and company unity by taking take part in activities that are not necessarily work-related has been proven to enhance the working environment while also increasing output. Company owners and supervisors alike recognize the importance of camaraderie and the effects of a positive working atmosphere.

During the holiday party, it is not recommended to hang around the circle of peers  you hang out with outside of work all the time… this is the time to discover and expand your depth of professional relationships.

Camaraderie clue: Keep conversations positive and casual, benefiting not only you and your coworkers, but your company as a whole.


However you may feel about yourself now, there is so much to be said for stepping out of your comfort zone and into uncharted territories, especially in your place of work. Getting to know new people is often a psychological hurdle. However, it is one with rewards much greater than the risks. This is most true when it involves those that have the potential of advancing your career. If you can learn to work the room and mingle an appropriate amount, letting people view that winning side of you, you will see positive results.

Or you can politely decline and not attend the company Christmas party. By doing so, what messages are you sending? Here’s a clue or two: you are not a team player, you are more important than other employees, you don’t care about the company, your job, or the people around you.

Problem is Perception: Looking through the eyes of supervisor(s), co-workers, and owners, NOT attending provides a negative perception. When it comes to career success, nothing tops more than how one is viewed… professionally AND personally.

There are many reasons to attend your company Christmas party. You can walk away with new contacts, a renewed vision of your career, and possibly new goals as well. You may have even made an unlikely friend and gained a funny (hopefully harmless) story to tell later on. Whatever you do, don’t pass up this opportunity. Work hard to make the most of each opportunity and do not compromise your career by ignoring the rippling effects holiday parties produce. You’ll thank yourself later. And, of course, most importantly, have one very Merry Christmas!

Keep Cool, Warm, and Safe this Holiday Season,

Rikki Payne
Your Licensed A/C and Heating Connection
Serving Greater Central Florida

Your A/C and Heating Connection: A Friendly Filter Reminder

6 Dec

The family at Tropical Air of Central Florida wants to give you a friendly reminder about how important it is to change your filters every 30 days. Changing your filters regularly will prevent you from dealing with potentially major issues. These include restricted air flow and other problems that could leave your system either not running properly or breaking down altogether.

crabWhile it’s easy to assume that leaving your A/C off is a good way to preserve its functionality, this is actually not true. Leaving your system off for extended periods of time could leave you high and dry when you turn it back on, expecting it to run just as it did before. To avoid unnecessary expenses, make sure you have your air conditioning/heating system checked out even if you haven’t been running it for a while.

Tropical Air of Central Florida has been helping Central Florida residences with their A/C and heating systems for close to ten years. Being family-owned and operated, the team of professionals knows the importance of making sure systems operate most effectively and efficiently. Through the years, the team has developed several different preventative maintenance plans that can be customized to fit any need or budget… even coming out monthly to change your filters… yes, every month.

If you haven’t changed your filter in a while, go ahead and do so to avoid having problems with your unit in the immediate or even distant future. Also, if you haven’t been running your system for a while, consider having it serviced to make sure that it will run properly and efficiently when you need it.

If you have any questions, about our preventative maintenance plans, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an e-mail at

A/C not working?” visit “” to partner with one of our professional HVAC technicians.

Keep warm and informed,

Rikki Payne
Your Licensed A/C and Heating Connection

Serving Greater Central Florida

Programmable Thermostats

19 Nov

c-observerWith the fluctuating weather these days, navigating the temperatures in your home may become a bit more tedious. At night it’s cool enough to bundle up, but do you want to turn your heat on? In the afternoon, it’s warm enough to lose some layers, but do you turn on the air? What if you leave your thermostat on the wrong temperature all day? Nobody wants to come home to that.

Misinformation often leads either to inaction or improper action. Many people believe that it takes more energy and costs more money to change the temperatures on their thermostats when they’re away from home or sleeping, thinking that a constant temperature keeps the unit from using too much energy.

However, the U.S. Department of Energy disagrees with this: The recommendation is to match outdoor temperatures as much as is comfortable for you. To set the temperature higher in the summer and lower in the winter, particularly when no one is in the home, is the best way to save energy and money. Take a look at this chart of recommended thermostat settings throughout the day for a normal home and family who are at work and school all day.

Period Time Heat Set Point      (In Winter) Cool Set Point      (In Summer) Fan Setting
Wake 6:00 AM 70°F (21°C) 78°F (25.5°C) Auto
Leave 8:00 AM 62°F (16.5°C) 85°F (29.5°C) Auto
Return 6:00 PM 70°F (21°C) 78°F (25.5°C) Auto
Sleep 10:00 PM 62°F (16.5°C) 82°F (28°C) Auto

Forgetting to do this can be the main problem – it has been for me. The answer?

Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats make it easier to manage temperatures at certain times, which can save you up to 20% on your energy bills over the year. With these, you can “set it and forget it” and rest easy knowing that it will be a comfortable temperature when you need it to be without using unnecessary amounts of energy. Contrary to popular belief, the unit does not actually “work harder” to reach these temperatures. Therefore, it actually is more efficient to let the unit meet your temperatures when you need them met.

If you have the ability to program your current thermostat but have been on the fence about it, try it for a time and see how it goes. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, it’s definitely worth looking into.

The U.S. Department of Energy has some great articles on the subject. Check them out at and search for programmable thermostats. Once you’ve done some research and decided what’s best for your home and family, give us a call at Tropical Air or check out our website at and gain powerful insight about decreasing your energy costs while you feel the breeze.

Keep Cool, Warm, and Informed,

Rikki Payne
Your Licensed A/C and Heating Connection
Serving Greater Central Florida