Tag Archives: Air Conditioning

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
321-972-9935
www.Tropical-Air.com
http://www.acnotworking.com
Serving Greater Central Florida

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Your HVAC Connection: Space Heaters

5 Feb

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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 http://www.ACNotWorking.com 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
321-972-9935
www.Tropical-Air.com
http://www.acnotworking.com
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:

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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:

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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
321-972-9935
www.Tropical-Air.com
http://www.acnotworking.com
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 office@tropical-air.com.

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

Keep warm and informed,

Rikki Payne
Your Licensed A/C and Heating Connection
321-972-9935
www.Tropical-Air.com
www.acnotworking.com

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 www.energy.gov 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 acnotworking.com 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
321-972-9935
www.Tropical-Air.com
http://www.ACNotWorking.com
Serving Greater Central Florida

Your A/C and Heating Connection: Insulation DIY?

9 Oct

A few weeks ago, we started our talk on the topic of insulation. We began with words of warning and pictures to help you know where you stand. Last week we talked about R-Values and insulation types, and now it’s time to get started.

So, now you know insulation basics in case your attic is losing its efficiency. You know the standard R-Value for your home, and you know types of insulation on the market. The question is: should you do replace the insulation yourself?

When it comes to DIY construction, be careful. Depending on your experience level and the project at hand, you could cost yourself more in the long run than having it professionally completed from the start.

For those DIY contenders, blanketed insulation is the easiest kind to install on your own. However, you want to make sure you get the right R-Value and that you’re filling an unobstructed, standard area. If you have any doubt about these two things and/or your experience level, do not try to do it yourself. If you’re looking for professional advice, don’t hesitate and send a shout our way.

Your safety is the number one concern. Also, don’t forget that the goal of insulation replacement is to raise efficiency levels and save you money over time. If you have any questions or concerns, or if you’re ready to take the next step and get your home accurately insulated, give us a call!

Keep cool and informed,

Rikki Payne
Your Licensed A/C and Heating Connection
321-972-9935
www.Tropical-Air.com
Serving Greater Central Florida

Your A/C and Heating Connection: Loss Aversion Part II

24 Sep

Last week we cleared the dust on the topic of insulation. I hope it got you thinking about how to make your home more efficient, and if so, this is a great first step. Good news: we’ve been getting positive feedback from Central Florida residents who are now breathing cleaner air thanks to the team at Tropical Air of Central Florida.

Many of our readers have even begun their own research into the types of insulation so that they can get started on the next phase of energy conservation in their home as quickly as possible.

Good move, guys. And don’t forget, you can e-mail me at Rikki@tropical-air.com or call our office at 321-972-9935 if you have questions or want more detail than we get into here. So, ready for the next step in our insulation adventure?

R-Value

Just before we get into the different types, let’s talk standards. Insulation has its standard measured in what is called R-Value, otherwise known as Thermal Resistance. The substances used in different types of insulation have varying R-Values, so it’s going to take some calculation to figure out what works best for your home. For an easy-to-use R-Value calculator to determine your insulation needs, the Department of Energy offers an Insulation Fact Sheet and R-Value calculator. Take a moment and go to http://web.ornl.gov/sci/roofs+walls/insulation/ins_16.html.

Wanting more variety of insulation choice? Check out Energy.Gov at http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/types-insulation, and you will find just that. This site has more than a thorough list of all insulation types and materials – it also offers a slew of related articles and insight for your empowerment. For our purposes, we’ll simplify things a bit and talk about the only two types you should ever really need.

Batts and Rolls

Blanketed insulation, such as batts and rolls, fills in nicely between joists and studs that have standard spacing and no obstruction. It is made of fiberglass, wool, and other fibers, and it is very affordable.

Blown-In

Blown-in insulation is also fiberglass-based, but is also made of cellulose and mineral wool. This type of insulation is literally blown into the walls and floors, sometimes poured in between joists. The advantage of this is that it can go anywhere. If your spaces are not standard or if there are obstacles in the way, blowing in insulation just might be your answer.

Which insulation is right for you? Much of it depends on design, budget, and goal. The best thing to do is learn from the aforementioned sites and ask the right questions when speaking to an insulation specialist. On this note, don’t hesitate to throw any insulation, heating, and/or air conditioning questions our way at Tropical Air.

Be sure to check in next week as we highlight effective methods about getting the job done right, the first time.

Keep Cool and Informed,
Rikki Payne
Your Licensed A/C and Heating Connection
321-972-9935
www.Tropical-Air.com
Serving Greater Central Florida