Ways to Keep Your House Cool This Summer

April 30th, 2014

When thinking of ways to keep your house cool this summer, the first answer is usually “turn on the air conditioner.” That’s the purpose of the unit, after all, and in hot towns like Merritt Island, air conditioning systems are as important as reliable plumbing and electrical wiring. But that’s not the only way to stay cool this summer. Besides a few obvious options, like dressing in lightweight clothes and keeping cool snacks like fruit and iced tea in the refrigerator, you can make a few improvements to your house that can help your air conditioner out.

How to Keep Your Home Cool

Start by checking the insulation in your home. Chances are, you have the space to add more if you can, particularly in the attic which usually has extra room. Insulation slows the leeching of cool temperatures from your home, the same way it slows the leeching of warm temperature in the winter. Adding more allows your home to retain cool temperatures more easily, giving your air conditioner a rest and saving you money on monthly bills.

Similarly, take a look at your doors and windows for any cracks or crevices around the edges. Cool air can slip out of a front door that has a little extra space around the edges or windows that don’t seal all the way when they’re closed. You can correct the issue very easily with stripping placed around the crack, and/or install vinyl-sided windows to help seal up leaks around the edges.

These steps may cost a little up front, but you can ultimately see a lot of savings over time as they cut down on your monthly cooling bills and ensure that your house stays cool. Here on Merritt Island, air conditioning systems need all the help they can get. We’re experienced not only with installing and repairing air conditioners, but in those extra little touches to help make your home as energy efficient as possible.

The experts at Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning can help with new ways to keep your house cool this summer. Give us a call today and let us know what we can do for you!

Humidity and Your Air Conditioning

April 21st, 2014

Here on Merritt Island, air conditioning systems form a bulwark against the hot and humid Florida weather. We tend to think of them as helping to reduce the temperature, and a good A/C unit can definitely perform that duty well. But air conditioners also help reduce the humidity in the air: no small concern here in muggy Florida. Indeed, in some cases lowering the humidity may be just as important as lowering the temperature. Here’s a quick primer on how humidity and your air conditioning system interact.

How Air Conditioners Can Help Reduce Humidity

The AC unit cools the air through refrigerant, which enters an evaporator coil in liquid form and under an extreme amount of pressure. As it expands, it pulls heat from the air, which in turn pulls moisture from the air as well. As the air cools, the moisture in it condenses until it forms condensate droplets, which the air conditioning system collects and diverts out of the main unit via a drain line. As the AC works, it thus reduces the humidity as well as the temperature, retaining a drier and more comfortable environment inside the home.

The only problem is that here in Florida, we have a lot of humidity to get rid of. And any energy your AC unit spends in getting rid of it won’t be spent in lowering the temperature. The more humidity that is inside your home, the less efficient your air conditioner is and the more it will cost you in monthly energy bills. In such cases, a trained technician can install a reliable dehumidifier in your system. They also offer comprehensive whole-house coverage, meaning that you can enjoy your conditioned air without worrying about the strain on your air conditioner or the increased risk of a breakdown.

We operate on Merritt Island, air conditioning systems and dehumidification systems are both in our wheelhouse, and we can discuss your options with you before performing an installation. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

For more information on humidity and your air conditioning, or to discuss the installation of a dehumidifier in your home, talk to the experts at Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning.

Will Ductless Cooling Need Fewer Repairs Than a Forced Air AC?

April 14th, 2014

Generally speaking, whole home air conditioners come in one of two different types. Traditional forced air ACs rely on a central air conditioner that uses a system of ducts to spread cool air throughout your house. Ductless cooling systems, on the other hand, have individual air handling units for each area of your home, and all the indoor units are all connected to one outdoor unit. Both systems have their share of benefits and drawbacks, and here in Cocoa, FL, our air conditioning repair techs are skilled at treating both. Indeed, the question of repairs becomes key when asking what kind of system works best for your home. Will ductless cooling need fewer repairs than a forced-air AC? The answer is a little more complicated than it may first appear.

In most cases you’re looking at the same basic system for both centralized units and ductless units. The only difference is the size and output power (as well as the presence of ducts or lack thereof). Each unit has a particular load capacity, built to handle a certain amount of work over a given time. In light of that, there’s no real distinction between the two types as far as which one breaks down more often. As long as your system is sized appropriately for your space, and given the variables of individual brands and maintenance schedule, there’s nothing to say that one type will go for longer (or shorter) periods of time before requiring repairs.

The main difference lies in the size and the decentralized format of ductless air conditioner units. In simple terms, when a centralized unit needs repairs, it affects the entirety of the household, and often tends to be larger than a problem with a ductless unit. Furthermore, because of the nature of ductless systems, you can still use the air conditioner in other parts of the house even when one of your indoor units of your ductless system is experiencing trouble. That simply isn’t possible with a forced air AC.

That could spell the difference in what unit is best for you, though individual circumstances vary. Whether ductless cooling needs fewer repairs than a forced air AC probably depends on individual circumstances, which means you’ll need to decide for yourself which on works best for you. Give Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning a call today if you need air conditioning repair in Cocoa, FL, and let us give you the expert advice you need!

How Much Can I Save with a High Efficiency Air Conditioner?

April 7th, 2014

A high efficiency air conditioner is defined as an air conditioner with a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating above a certain point. The rating is designed to measure the air conditioner’s efficiency over a single cooling season. For split system central air conditioning systems and heat pumps, it’s usually 14.5 or thereabouts. An easy cheat-sheet is to look for air conditioners with the EnergyStar rating, denoting these high efficiency standards. Here in Cocoa Beach, one of our air conditioning technicians can help find and install a high efficiency air conditioner for you. But what are the benefits to doing so?

“How much can I save with a high efficiency air conditioner?” you ask. The answer as always, depends on your circumstances.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioners with the EnergyStar sticker can save you over 15% more than conventional models. Of course, that depends on what constitutes a conventional model. It’s more helpful to look at the differences between SEER ratings. For example, an air conditioner with a SEER rating of 8 with cost you about $2,000 more over the course of its lifetime than a unit with a SEER rating of 10, assuming 3,000 cooling hours over 12-year lifespan and a steady cost of electricity. That ratio drops the higher the SEER rating goes; so a unit with a SEER rating of 13 would only save you a few hundred dollars over a unit with a SEER rating of 14, assuming the same conditions outlined above.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that you’ll save more if your old air conditioner has a lower SEER rating than you would with one with a higher SEER rating. Even so, the savings over the unit’s lifetime – as well as the decreased environmental impact in terms of carbon dioxide emissions – can be considerable.  Here in Cocoa Beach, you can call the air conditioning experts at Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning to discuss the specifics with you, then schedule an installation of a new system.

When Should I Schedule Maintenance for My Air Conditioning

March 31st, 2014

Air conditioning  maintenance is an important service to schedule. An AC tune-up usually consists of cleaning the dust and dirt off of interior components, recharging refrigerant levels and generally “sprucing up” your AC to help it run its best. Air conditioning maintenance can help keep dust and debris from damaging your system. “But when should I schedule maintenance for my air conditioning?” you ask. Specifics vary depending upon your circumstances and how often you use the unit, but generally speaking, you should schedule it at least twice a year: at the beginning of cooling season and at the end of it.

In all likelihood, there’s nothing wrong with your air conditioner at the end of the winter. However, dust, dirt and mold can accrue while it sits idle during the winter months. The dust and dirt can increase friction, further reducing your system’s efficiency and increasing the chances of a more serious repair down the road. A maintenance visit keeps all of that in check, lowering the unit’s energy expenditure and saving you money on your monthly bills.

At the end of air conditioning season, a maintenance session can serve as more of a check for potential problems that might develop in the future. Daily use may result in small problems that will only grow bigger if you leave it unchecked. The end of cooling season is the ideal time to address them because it allows you to schedule repairs at leisure without worrying about whether your unit will be out of commission during a heat wave.

For more answers to the question “when should I schedule maintenance for my air conditioning?” or to schedule a visit yourself, contact Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning. We work in Merritt Island, air conditioning maintenance is one of our core services, and we’re dedicated to making you happy every step of the way. Give us a call today and let us show you what we can do!

Signs You May Need to Replace Your Heat Pump

March 20th, 2014

Heat pumps are a great way to heat your home, circulating refrigerant gas through a series of coils that alternately absorb and release heat. It’s no different in essence from air conditioning systems, save that it can reverse the refrigerant cycle to warm your home as well as cool it. Heat pumps in Cape Canaveral are fairly common since they work well with our warm weather. But like any mechanical system, heat pumps can wear out, and eventually will need to be replaced. The exact timing varies by individual household, but here are a few signs you may need to replace your heat pump.

  • Costs are going up. As your heat pump ages, it needs to work harder and harder in order to do its job. You can curtail this by scheduling regular maintenance sessions, but wear and tear will take their toll. If your monthly bills are higher than you’d like even if you aren’t using the heat pump any more than normal, or you’re scheduling repairs more frequently than you’d like, it’s time to think about a replacement.
  • Comfort levels are dropping. A faulty heat pump may result in a home that is too hot or too cold for your comfort levels, no matter how many times you tweak the controls. If the heat pump is no longer responding as accurately or as reliably as you’d like, replacement is likely the best solution.
  • The heat pump is getting old. The manufacturer will have an expected lifespan for your heat pump, but is more of a guideline than a hard rule and with proper care, your heat pump may last longer than that. But if you have an old unit and it’s displaying some of the symptoms listed above, its age may be the deciding factor in whether to repair it or simply install a new one.

If you spot the signs you may need to replace your heat pump in Cape Canaveral, the next step is to contact Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning for a consultation. We have the knowledge and experience to provide sound advice and we’re dedicated to your 100% satisfaction!

3 Reasons to Schedule Spring Maintenance for Your Heat Pump

March 13th, 2014

Heat pumps are popular in part because they combine heating and air conditioning into one unit: meaning that you can use them all year ‘round. Here in Rockledge, that makes heat pumps a great choice for your home, though that same versatility may cause you to skip on much needed maintenance during certain parts of the year. With winter winding down, a service call on most types of heaters would be in order, but since heat pumps serve double-duty as air conditioners, home owners may be willing to skip that step and just keep going. That can be a big mistake. Here are 3 reasons to schedule spring maintenance for your heat pump.

  1. Higher efficiency. A maintenance session improves efficiency of your unit by cleaning off dust and dirt, tightening loose fittings and recharging refrigerant levels if they have dropped. All of that improves your heat pump’s efficiency, helping you save money on monthly bills before our hot and humid summers get started.
  2. Neither hot nor cold. The spring is one of the few times of the year when the need for either heating or air conditioning is fairly low. That allows you to schedule a session at your convenience and take care of it without rushing: something you may not be able to do when the temperatures rise later in the summer.
  3. A busy winter. Heat pumps are usually called into duty throughout the winter, which means that dust, dirt and wear and tear all go up. Dust increases friction on moving parts and other examples of strain can increase the chances of a major breakdown happening in the future. A maintenance visit can keep that risk to a minimum, ensuring that your heat pump functions as expected when you need it to.

When winter ends, you want to assess the effects and make sure everything is running smoothly. This is doubly true with heat pumps, which need to get ready for the summer even as they get a little TLC for the winter. For more reasons to schedule spring maintenance for your heat pump in Rockledge, FL or to schedule a service call today, the experts at Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning are standing by. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

Reasons for a Drop in Airflow from Your Heating System

March 4th, 2014

Many homes in Merritt Island, FL have some sort of forced air system to heat their homes. You heat pump or furnace generates warm air, which is then blown into your house via a fan. The system works extremely well, and most people are familiar with at least the basics. That’s why a drop in your system’s air flow is a cause for concern. Without proper air flow, the heat can’t get into your home. Your energy bills will go up and your heater won’t work the way it’s supposed to. There are several possible reasons for a drop in air flow from your heating system.

In most cases, a drop results from a clog in the system or a build-up in the air ducts themselves. This can come from a lack of maintenance, damage to the ducts, an unchanged air filter or similar issues. In addition to lowering the air flow, such problems can also spread dust and contaminants through your home, lowering the air quality and exacerbating allergies in the process.

In cases where the drop in airflow doesn’t stem from a clog or build-up, you’re likely looking at a problem with the fan. This can stem from a faulty motor, a frayed or loose fan belt, or the fan itself. There may be something blocking the fan blades, or the blades may be bent and rubbing up against other nearby components. It might also be that the heater has completely lost power, in which case the fan won’t turn no matter what state it’s in.

Whatever the reasons for a drop in airflow from your heating system, you need a professional technician to deduce the exact source of the issue before implementing a solution. If you need heating service in Merritt Island, FL, call Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning. If you notice a drop in the efficiency of your heating system, pick up the phone and give us a call today to make an appointment. We’re dedicated to your complete satisfaction every step of the way!

3 Common Repairs for Electric Furnaces

February 25th, 2014

Electric furnaces are often used as an alternative to gas furnaces because they are quiet, effective and easy to use. They can cost more in monthly energy charges, but their benefits make them very popular, especially here in Florida where our mild winters keep heating costs at a minimum. Electric furnaces still run into problems from time to time, just like any other appliance. Here are 3 common repairs for electric furnaces that you should watch for if your unit is behaving oddly. If you need furnace repair in Cocoa, FL, give Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning a call today.

  • Fan repairs. The fan on an electric furnace helps distribute the warm air throughout the house. When it runs into problems, the air won’t circulate and the house won’t be warmed. The problems can stem from a number of causes, form a fault motor to an electrical overload to a frayed fan belt. In most cases, a trained repair technician can replace the faulty part.
  • Coil problems. Electric furnaces rely upon a series of coils, warmed by electricity, to heat the air. If the coil is damaged or not receiving power for any reasons, the furnace won’t produce any hot air. If the coil is broken, you’ll need to have it replaced. If the problem stems from the electrical system, then you’ll need to have the faulty wire replaced, the bad connection tightened, or the overloaded circuit switched out.
  • Thermostat problems. Electric furnaces rely on thermostats to determine when to turn on and off. If the heater won’t turn off when it should, or turns off too quickly, you may have a problem with the thermostat reading the temperature. A technician can either fix the problematic component or move the thermostat to a spot in your home that more accurately reflects the temperature.

If you spot the signs of common repairs for electric furnaces, then Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning can help. Our trained experts are dedicated to resolving your problem quickly and efficiently with minimal impact on your overall heating. Give us a call today if you need Cocoa, FL furnace repair services.

 

Why Choose a Heat Pump

February 17th, 2014

When it comes to heating your home, there are many different choices available to you. One of the most popular options for heating in Florida is the heat pump. A heat pump is essentially an air conditioner that can switch the direction it moves heat. In standard air conditioning mode, a heat pump removes the heat from inside a home and moves it outside. When it switches over to heating mode, the change of direction of the flow of refrigerant makes the heat pump remove heat from outside and bring it inside.

Why are heat pumps popular? We’ll go over the reasons that they are excellent choices for home comfort and should be on everyone’s shopping list for new HVAC system installation. For more information and to schedule installation for a heat pump in Merritt Island, FL, contact Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning today.

Reasons a heat pump may be the best way to go:

  • Two comfort solutions in one: The biggest advantage of having a heat pump is that it will take care of both your needs for heating and cooling. Heat pumps often have difficulty in extremely low temperatures at providing sufficient warmth, but for the climate in Florida they are ideal.
  • Heating savings: When it comes to energy savings during colder weather, heat pumps are one of the best choices on the market. A U.S. government study discovered that a family of four could save on average 30% off their heating bill annually by switching from an electric furnace to a heat pump. The reason that heat pumps offer such energy-efficient performances is that they only need to use a small amount of electricity to run their mechanical components to move heat, as opposed to creating it.
  • Hook up to existing ductwork: A heat pump might be able to use the ducts already installed in your home for a previous furnace or air conditioning system. This makes installing them a simple job for professionals.
  • Go ductless: However, you don’t need ducts at all. Heat pumps come in ductless mini split models that bypass ductwork entirely and instead use a series of individual blower units installed throughout a home.

Even with all these great advantages, a heat pump may not be the best choice for your home’s specific heating needs. To find out if a heat pump will work for you, call up professionals from the beginning of the installation process. They will help find out if a heat pump is your best choice, and then they will pick the model and size that will do the job.

Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning offers excellent heat pump installation services to Merritt Island, FL and the surrounding area. You can put your trust in us when it comes to your home comfort.