Archive for October, 2013

Merritt Island Heat Pump Question: How Can Heat Pumps Heat and Cool?

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

If you’re accustomed to thinking of air conditioners and heaters as separate units that may share the same ductwork but nothing else, then the idea of a heat pump can seem a touch strange. A heat pump works as both an air conditioner and a heater, and as a unit doesn’t take up an appreciably larger space than most other HVAC systems. Heat pumps aren’t two different systems packaged together, but a single system capable of raising or lowering the temperature inside your home as you choose.

How does this work? Basically, the same way an air conditioner works. We’ll explain in a bit more detail—but it’s a surprisingly simple concept.

To understand how a heat pump operates, let’s begin with the air conditioner. An AC doesn’t “create” cold air in your home; it removes heat from your home, and transfers it outdoors (the heat can’t simply be destroyed, it has to go somewhere). This gives you the feeling of cold air. To do this, an air conditioner uses refrigerant, a chemical that requires only small amounts of energy to shift from liquid to gas and back again. The refrigerant moves from a compressor to an outdoor condensing coil, where it releases heat. It then moves to an indoor evaporating coil, where it absorbs heat. After this, it returns to the compressor to restart the cycle. This is known as “heat exchange.”

This is where the marvelous simplicity of the heat pump becomes obvious: if the heat taken from indoors is moved outdoors, all you have to do is reverse the direction and take heat from outdoors and move it indoors. Presto! A heater instead of an air conditioner.

To reverse this process, a heat pump has a second compressor and a reversing valve. This moves the refrigerant in the opposite direction, and the condensing coil and the evaporator coil swap functions.

There is one drawback heat pumps encounter: at extreme low temperatures, they have difficulty removing heat from the outside air. In places with winter temperatures that frequently drop below freezing, heat pumps lose some of their heating efficiency.

Thankfully, Florida resident have few worries about freezing winters, so heat pumps are great all-in-one devices for keeping yourself comfortable all through the year.

We hope we’ve cleared up the mystery of the heat pump for you. Steve Hoskins AC is always ready to offer you help with any issues you have with your heat pump in Merritt Island, FL—starting with installing it. Call us today for an appointment.

Cocoa Beach, FL Air Conditioning FAQ: How Often Should I Change My Filter?

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Your air filter helps strain dust and detritus out of the air before it gets into your air conditioning system. Dust can build up on the inner workings over time, affecting your air conditioner’s ability to function and even spreading dust through your home – exacerbating allergies and reducing the quality of air. Our climate doesn’t readily forgive a breakdown in your AC unit, and if you need to call for repairs in a sweltering summer heat wave, you won’t be happy. Changing your air filters is a reliable way to help avoid those kinds of problems, especially when they’re accompanied by regular maintenance sessions from a trained professional.

How often to change or clean your air filter depends on the specifics of your home, in particular the issue of pets. Dogs and cats can generate a lot of fur and dander, which circulates through the air conditioning system and gets caught in the filter. That means the filter’s effectiveness will be reduced the more pets you have, which increases the amount of dander the filter needs to catch. Similarly, if you have a sensitive person in your household, you want to keep the air as clean as possible. Someone with allergies night not have pets, but he or she will still need to change the filters more rapidly in order to keep contaminants from moving through his or her home.

If you notice that the air in your home seems dusty or notice some dirt on your vents, you should check your air filter. If you notice that you are changing the air filter frequently but you still have a dust problem, you might need duct cleaning.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that a lot of factors are involved in figuring out how often you should change your filters. As a rule of thumb, a well-maintained home should probably change it about every three months. Drop that to two months if you have a dog or a cat, and one month if you suffer from allergies or have more than one pet. If you need air conditioning repair in  Cocoa Beach, FL, or any more information about maintaining your system, call Steve Hoskins AC!

3 Great Benefits of Using a Heat Pump in Cocoa Beach

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

In Cocoa Beach, heat pump technology makes an attractive alternative to more traditional air conditioning systems. Heat pumps combine the features of a heater and an air conditioning into a single unit: pulling the heat out of your home in the summer time and bringing it into your home in the winter. Heat pump systems tend to cost a little more during initial installation, but they make up for it in the advantages they provide, especially in warm weather towns like ours. Here are 3 great benefits of using a heat pump in Cocoa Beach:

  • Savings in monthly energy bills. Heat pumps tend to use less energy than traditional electric heaters, while still providing reliable service. That translates to lower electric bills every month, to the point where a well-maintained heat pump could off-set the cost of installation solely on the money saved with heating and cooling bills. Their effectiveness only increases in places with mild winters like we have here in Florida.
  • Convenience. By combining the features of a heater and an air conditioner, heat pumps bring considerable convenience to your household. You don’t need to wrangle with separate controls or individual units; you simply adjust the settings on the heat pump to match the conditions of the moment.
  • Earth-friendly. Electric heat pumps don’t consume fuel the way that traditional furnaces do. There’s no gas, no exhaust, and no excessive use of fossil fuels. That makes them environmentally friendly, as well as more cost effective in the long run.

For Cocoa Beach heat pump issues, whether it’s installation or upkeep, Steve Hoskins AC has the experience and know-how to help. We understand all the great benefits of using a heat pump in Cocoa Beach, and we don’t want maintenance or repair issues to get in the way of them. Call us today to discuss your options.

Cocoa Beach, FL Air Conditioning Repair Tip: Why There’s Water Around Your System

Monday, October 7th, 2013

In Cocoa Beach, FL, air conditioning repair is as important as auto repair and electrical repair. Our hot weather makes reliable air conditioning systems an absolute necessity, and when the time comes to make repairs, they need to be made promptly before the next heat wave hits. You can help out that process by keeping an eye out for potential problems, then calling a service technician the minute you spot them. For example, it pays to know why there’s water around your system. The causes may vary, but if you spot a puddle, it’s probably a sign that something’s wrong. Possible causes include:

  • Frost forming on the evaporator coils. When refrigerant leaks out of the system, frost forms on the evaporator coils: retarding the cooling process and forcing the system to work harder to make your air comfortable. When the air conditioner turns off and the frost melts, it can form puddles. The problem is relatively common, though it takes a service technician to correct. He can seal the source of the leak and recharge refrigerant levels, ensuring that the unit keeps running without forming puddles.
  • There’s a problem with the condensate pan. The condensate pan catches condensation as it drips off of the AC unit, then removes it from the air conditioner via a drain line. If the line becomes clogged or the pan is set improperly, water will fill the pan and could eventually overflow. This is more than just a matter of cleaning up a puddle. The water could damage other parts of the air conditioning system, necessitating major repairs. A service technician can clear the line of any clogs, reset the pan or otherwise address the issue so that the condensation is quickly removed.

If you don’t know why there’s water around your system, don’t worry. You only need to know that it’s a problem, then call in the experts to help solve it. Steve Hoskins AC handles air conditioning repair issues in Cocoa Beach, FL , including problems with the evaporator coil and condensate pan. Contact us today to set up a service call.

Cocoa Beach, FL Air Conditioning Tip: Make Sure Your System is Sized Right

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Our warm weather often turns hot and muggy during the year, and a good air conditioning unit can be your best friend when the mercury levels climb. Naturally, you want your AC unit to be as effective as possible: providing cool, comforting air without costing you any more in your monthly electric bills than is necessary. Part of that comes with regular maintenance check-ups from a qualified service technician. But even before then, you can help yourself by following one key air conditioning tip: make sure your system is sized right.

Air conditioning units measure their cooling capacity in British thermal units (BTUs) per hour. The higher that number, the greater the space an air conditioner can effectively cool. If the AC unit doesn’t have enough BTUs to cover the space, it won’t be able to cool your home effectively (driving up energy costs and leaving your home less comfortable).

You might think that an AC unit with the highest possible BTUs per hour would be the most effective, but that’s not the case either. If an air conditioner cools the space too quickly, it will cycle on and off rapidly, which costs additional energy and creates excessive wear and tear on the system. In light of that, a properly sized unit is key to the most efficient air conditioning system possible.

In rough terms, a service technician can measure the space that needs to be cooled and come up with a corresponding number of BTUs that your air conditioning system will need. But making sure your system is sized right goes beyond that. The technician needs to consider the amount of insulation in your house, the presence of sunny windows that may elevate the indoor heat and myriad other factors that make each individual home unique.

If you want to make sure your system is sized right in order to get the most out of your air conditioning, Cocoa Beach, FL has a company ready to help. Steve Hoskins AC has served the area for over 25 years and is dedicated to total customer satisfaction. Call us for a consultation today.