As winter nears, many homeowners start turning their attention to heating and air conditioning maintenance in Tampa. An effective and efficient HVAC system plays a critical role in keeping your home comfortable once cold weather hits, meaning that seasonal tune-ups are a must. The following steps should be completed before it gets too cold to help ensure that your HVAC system is ready for winter.
Change the Filters
Cleaning or switching out the filters is one of the most important things that you can do to help keep your heating and air conditioning working well and efficiently. When the filters become too clogged with debris, this forces the system to work harder to heat and cool your home, a problem which can shorten its lifespan and raise your energy bills. Additionally, the filter is what helps keep your indoor air clean, so changing it every 1 to 3 months can help maintain your indoor air quality.
Inspect the Unit
While the majority of HVAC maintenance should be handled by professionals, performing an occasional visual inspection is a great way for you to catch any warning signs of a potential problem. Start by trimming back any overgrown foliage and removing any debris that may have accumulated around the external unit. If you notice water or any or leaks, dirty condenser or evaporator coils, or frozen coils, contact a heating and air conditioning technician about a maintenance visit. Performing these checks and arranging maintenance visits as needed can help prevent small issues from turning into larger and more expensive ones.
Schedule HVAC Maintenance
While you should always contact an HVAC repair company when the system isn’t functioning well, being proactive and scheduling preventive maintenance is a great way to extend the lifespan of your heating and air conditioning unit and to keep the system running smoothly year-round. HVAC technicians are busiest in summer and winter, so spring and autumn are ideal seasons in which to have your HVAC unit tuned up before extreme temperatures arrive.
When you install a new HVAC system in your home, you can expect your furnace to last for up to 12 to 18 years before you need to schedule significant furnace repair in Tampa. In the event that your heating and cooling system is no longer able to properly heat or cool your home, it may be time to consider a furnace replacement. For example, if you have noticed that your heating bills have skyrocketed lately, it may be time to talk to your company offering furnace repair to schedule a furnace replacement for your home.
To learn more about knowing when to schedule a furnace replacement, be sure to check out this video from Angie’s List.
Sufficient Insulation is Essential to Save Money on Energy Costs this Winter!
If you didn’t already know, October is National Energy Awareness Month. Now is the time to get your home ready for the upcoming winter months. Homeowners should make small changes and other things to help save energy, reduce energy waste and save money on electric bills. Although October is Energy Awareness Month, every month should be Energy Awareness Month!
Now is the best time to get your insulation inspected. Insulation deteriorates over time, it will become less efficient at insulating your home during the cold and hot months.
Some insulation professionals state that 2/3 of homes in the United States are not efficiently insulated. Having your home insulated properly and weather stripping your home can save you money on your electric bills.
Signs of Inefficient Insulation
One way of telling if you have insufficient insulation in your home is if you have trouble keeping your upper floor heated or cooled. Even if you don’t have this problem, it’s still a good idea to occasionally check your insulation.
Begin in your attic, insulation on the attic floor keeps heat from escaping as it rises through the attic. Experts say that if you can see the attic floor joists then you need more insulation.
It is easy for homeowners to go to their attic and check their insulation, but there are more difficult places to check, as in insulation inside your walls. In order to check the insulation in your walls you will need to hire a professional who can use infrared cameras to make sure you have enough insulation.
When you are adding insulation, make sure you ask about a recommended R-value, which measures the efficiency of the insulation. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation will work. The kind of insulation is also an important factor. Some types insulate better than others.
Energy Star recommends that you have an R-value of 38, anywhere from 12-15 in. of insulation. A higher R-value of 49 might be recommended for colder regions.
Be sure to do some research before hiring a company to do an energy audit or add more insulation to your home. You should ask friends and family who they recommend, check trusted online websites or you can call Air Rescue at 888-638-3792.
You can also add weather stripping to the edges of doors and windows to help reduce energy costs.
For potential new home owners, one of the first things you take into consideration is the plumbing, cabinets, floor and counter tops. The HVAC system ends up being the most unsatisfying feature of the new home.
There are 9 important things you should remember when you get your HVAC system installed. These will help avoid having your AC company come back out to your home.
- Make sure the design and ductwork are correct. If they aren’t balanced or sized correctly your home may not cool or heat properly. Externally insulated ducts that are round are the most efficient type of ductwork.
- Be sure the size of your HVAC unit is correct. The size of your HVAC system depends on the size of your home as well as how many windows , how much shade and how much insulation your home has. How much air leaks in and out of your home is also taken into consideration.
- Placement of your outdoor unit. The worst place to put the unit outside is by a bedroom window, which could be bothersome to you and your family. Also, make sure it is somewhere where it can’t be easily damaged.
- Balance dampers in ductwork. The worst place to adjust the air coming into the room is at the diffuser grill. Balance dampers should be installed away from the diffusers and should also be balanced by a qualified tech.
- Refrigerant. Federal Law states that R-22 should be cut out by 2015. I recommend systems that use the eco friendly R-140A.
- Location of the Air Filter. They should be located where they can be easily accessed. Filters should be changed every couple of months so it should be located easily.
- Return Air. Air that enters a room must be equal to the amount of air that leaves the room. Otherwise there is no space for the cool air to occupy. Each room should have a register and return air diffuser.
- Condenser Coil. Single metal coils last longer and are more efficient, for example aluminum or copper coils. This is very important for corrosive environments.
- Efficiency. The minimum efficiency for air conditioning systems is 13-SEER, this has been in effect since 2006. The higher the SEER, the lower the energy use.
Home owners are constantly searching for the correct and best energy efficiency recommendations. The first thing you should do is get a home energy audit, this will assess how much energy your home uses and will evaluate what you should do to make your home more efficient. During this process it will pinpoint where your home is losing energy, and determine how efficient your air conditioner or heater is. It will show you problem areas and will end up saving you money on energy costs.
Infrared Thermal Imaging
This process will provide info about areas that unreachable. It will expose all the areas where you lose heat in in the winter or where hot air is getting in during the hot summer days. This is an accurate method and will allow you to evaluate what solutions you need for your home. This camera detects very small but important differences in temperature from different parts of the house. This will show up on the screen as cold or hot spots that cannot be seen unless you have this special infrared camera. Some of these problems might be:
- Losing energy
- Not enough insulation
- Defective wiring and electrical work
- Moisture sources where mold can grow
- Leaky ducts
- Leaky ceilings
Why get an infrared inspection?
This infrared technology can see things that the eye can’t. This modern technique is much more effective than traditional techniques.
Blower Door Test
This process measures air penetration. A large fan will suck the air out of the home and depressurize it. Once this happens, air leaks are found and then you can fix these areas with caulking or insulation. The blower door test cannot pinpoint areas because you can’t see the exterior wall behind the finished wall. Professional experience is essential when finding air infiltration and leakage.
You can schedule your Home Energy Audit today, this process will help your home become more efficient.
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