3 Common Repairs for Electric Furnaces

December 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

July 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.

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,                                                                         

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.                                                                  

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning hope you have a wonderful February 14th!

What to Do When Your Heat Pump Won’t Start Up

February 6th, 2014

Here in Rockledge, heat pumps are a popular and efficient means of keeping your home warm. It uses the same principles as air conditioning to both heat your house in the winter and cool it in the summer, using less energy than other heating systems to do the same job. Heat pumps are particularly well-suited to Florida because their efficiency tends to drop during very cold temperatures, and while we have our share of chilly nights, our winters are very mild compared to cities further north.

If you have a heat pump and it won’t start, you probably need to call in a repair technician immediately. Before you do so, however, you can take a few steps to ensure that there actually is a problem with the unit.

Here’s what to do when your heat pump won’t start up:

First, check your breaker box to see if the circuit breaker powering the heat pump has been tripped. If it has, reset it and turn the heat pump on again. In some cases, the breaker could be triggered by an outside factor, such as a lightning strike or a more general overload within the household.  In those cases, the problem isn’t with the heat pump and resetting the breaker should restore it to full capacity. On the other hand, if the breaker gets triggered again, then the problem likely lies somewhere within the heat pump and you should call in a technician to look at it.

Similarly, some heat pumps contain individual parts (such as the fan motor and compressor motor) that will automatically shut off power to the unit when problems are detected. For instance, an overloaded motor will turn off rather than burning out and causing damage to other nearby components. If you get it to start up and the component shuts down a second time, it’s time to call a repair service.

Thankfully in Rockledge, heat pump repair services can be provided by the experts at Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning. We know what to do when your heat pump won’t start up, and we will perform all our repairs with courtesy and care. Call us today to make an appointment!

Reasons Your Heat Pump Is Inefficient

January 22nd, 2014

Many homes in Florida have heat pumps, since January temperatures are mild and their unique capabilities fit our climate well. If you are looking for a new heating system for your Merritt Island home, heat pumps are an attractive option: they combine the features of a heating system and an air conditioner into one, and they tend to be more energy efficient than traditional furnaces.

If you already have a heat pump and that efficiency drops off, you want to correct the issue immediately – but what causes that drop? Here are a few reasons your heat pump is inefficient:

  • Very cold outside temperatures. Heat pumps work very well when temperatures stay above freezing, which isn’t normally a problem in areas like ours. When temperatures drop below 30 degrees, the heat pump labors to warm your home efficiently.  It doesn’t happen often here, but when it does, you’re likely to notice. Most heat pumps will have electric resistance coils that will turn on when the heat pumps stops heating efficiently, however, these use more energy and you might see an increase in your heating bills.
  • Refrigerant is leaking. Like air conditioning systems, heat pumps rely on refrigerant to do their job, and the refrigerant has to remain at certain levels. When leaks spring up, those levels drop and the heat pump labors to perform its job like it should. You can spot this most readily by thick ice forming on the evaporator coils or decreased heating from your unit.
  • General wear and tear. Like all piece of equipment, heat pumps rely on individual components functioning at peak efficiency. As time goes on, dirt and grime build up on their surface, and general wear and tear can lead to increased inefficiency. Regular maintenance visits from a trained technician can keep the interior of the heat pump clean and functioning as efficiently as it can.

If you spot some of the reasons your heat pump is inefficient, contact the experts at Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning right away. We can handle all issues related to heating in Merritt Island, FL and we’re completely dedicated to your satisfaction. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

How Come My Heat Pump is Icing Up?

January 14th, 2014

Heat pumps operate according to the same principles as air conditioners, and can be used to both warm your Merritt Island house in the winter and cool it in the summer. They work especially well here on the Florida coast, which features warm winters. If you have a heat pump, you may have noticed ice developing on the evaporator coils, which can be a big problem.

Ice can form when he refrigerant that is responsible for heating and cooling process is not at the proper levels or there is an issue with air flow. Normally, the refrigerant evaporates in the evaporator coils, absorbing heat from the nearby air, and during the winter that heat is transferred to the air inside your home. If the refrigerant levels aren’t where they need to be, that pressure will be too low, and the air temperature around the coils will get very cold, causing frost to form.  This compounds the problem by further insulating the refrigerant in the coils from the air, and preventing them from absorbing heat. Low air flow can cause a similar issue, when the temperature around the coils is too low and ice forms.

Fixing the problem involves more than just scraping the ice off (which can damage the coils and won’t address the core of the issue either). You need to hunt down the source of the leak and recharge the refrigerant levels to their specified amount, or fix the air flow problem.

In short, it means calling in a trained technician who can handle heating repair in Merritt Island, and can fix the heart of the matter instead of just treating the symptoms. Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning has the know-how and experience to fix the problem right the first time, every time. If you’re asking “how come my heat pump is icing up?” give us a call to set up a service appointment today. You’ll be glad that you did!

What You Need to Know About Ductless Mini Split Heat Pumps

January 6th, 2014

Heat pumps are an efficient form both heating and cooling the air in your home. They work especially well in areas with mild winters like here in Florida, where temperatures rarely drop below 40 degrees. A heat pump in Cape Canaveral makes a lot of sense, though it helps to understand how they work, and in particular how they work as part of a ductless system. Here’s what you need to know about ductless mini split heat pumps.

Heat pumps use the same basic system that an air conditioning system does. Refrigerant gas cycles between two sets of coils – one inside the house and one outside – which alternately warm the air and cool it. The system is designed so that the indoor coil cools the surrounding air in the summer and warms it in the winter. Since heat pumps don’t create heat, only transfer it from one location to another, they can be very energy efficient.

With ductless mini split systems, a series of individual indoor units (with the coil and air handler) are placed in different areas around your home, all connected to one outdoor unit. Since there is no one centralized indoor unit producing all the conditioned air, you don’t need ducts to distribute the air throughout your home (hence the name “ductless”). This reduces energy loss and it gives you the ability to easily zone your home comfort. Each indoor unit has its own set of controls, allowing you to tailor the individual temperatures in each part of your home. So someone working cover a hot stove in the kitchen could set a lower temperature than someone enjoying a book in the living room, improving your home’s comfort levels. More importantly, ductless mini split systems allow you to turn down the heat in parts of the home you aren’t using, saving energy and sparing you a great deal of money in monthly heating bills.

For more of what you need to know about ductless mini split heat pumps, or to discuss installation options, call the experts at Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning. We can plan and install a terrific system for your home, with your complete satisfaction in mind every step of the way. Contact us today to see what it can do for you!

The Ball in Times Square

December 30th, 2013

New Year’s is a time for parties, fun and great traditions, some of which go back more than a century. Among them is the famous “dropping of the ball” in Times Square, an event which is broadcast to millions of people every New Year’s Eve. With 2014 nearly upon us, we thought we’d take the opportunity to look at the history of this popular New Year’s Eve festivity.

The idea began in 1907 at what was then the New York Times building at One Times Square. The newspaper’s owner, Adolph Ochs, had been celebrating the New Year with fireworks since 1903. He wanted make the event even more remarkable, and added the ball in December of 1907 to welcome in the New Year. The first ball was designed by Artkraft Strauss, who made it out of iron, wood, and light bulbs. It took six men to hoist the ball up the building’s flag pole; once midnight struck, the tremendous ball was carefully lowered, and all were allowed to marvel at it.

Since then, the ball has undergone many changes in materials and design, and even the New York Times has moved to another building. But the tradition remains and the ball has dropped over One Times Square ever since. Today, the ball is electronically controlled, and uses LED lamps for its construction: designed by Waterford Crystal and weighing in at over 1,200 pounds.

A number of television broadcasts have helped carry the event over the years, but by far the most famous is “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” which first ran in 1972. The show was created and hosted by Dick Clark, who became a staple of the event as much as the ball itself. Clark hosted the show every New Year’s Eve from 1972 until his death in 2012. Since then, it has been hosted by Ryan Seacrest, who shared hosting duties with Clark starting in 2005.

Whether you’re watching the ball drop on TV or have some other New Year’s Eve plan in mind, we here at Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning wish you nothing but the best for 2014. Have a safe and happy New Year!

Happy Holidays!

December 23rd, 2013

Holiday greetings from Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning! We hope you are having safe and pleasant season, enjoying your favorite traditions for this time of year.  We wish you the very best, and we thank you for your business this year.

In honor of the season, here are some fun facts about one of everyone’s favorite holiday movies: It’s a Wonderful Life.

For years, one of the enduring December traditions in the United States was watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life playing almost nonstop on numerous television stations. No matter the time of the day, you could turn on the TV set, flip through channels, and discover It’s a Wonderful Life playing. Whenever you needed him, you could find Jimmy Stewart shouting, “Hello, Bedford Falls!”

But now… It’s a Wonderful Life only appears on broadcast television a few times during December, and most families instead choose to watch the movie on video. What happened?

The reason goes back to the film’s initial wide release in January 1947. (That’s right, it opened after the holiday season. It was not even promoted as a holiday film.) It’s a Wonderful Life was a box-office disappointment at the time, and its studio, RKO Radio Pictures, lost more than half a million on it. The movie’s production company, Liberty Films, was sold to Paramount to avoid bank foreclosure. (A bit ironic, considering the movie’s plot.) In 1955, the National Telefilm Associates (NTA) took over the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life, which included the television syndication rights.

However, NTA failed to properly renew the copyright in 1974 because of a clerical error, which allowed the film’s images to enter into the public domain. Although the movie’s plot was still under copyright protection because it was adapted from a published story called “The Greatest Gift,” television stations across the world could now broadcast it with only minimal royalty payments.

In 1993, Republic Pictures, which now owned the NTA library, tried to enforce their claim to the copyright of the film, as they possessed the rights to “The Greatest Gift.” Republic Pictures succeeded, and licensed exclusive television rights to NBC. Suddenly, It’s a Wonderful Life vanished from local television stations, and NBC made the movie’s broadcasts—usually twice during December—into major events. As of 1998, Paramount again has the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life… 43 years after they lost them.

It’s still easy to make It’s a Wonderful Life a part of whatever traditions you observe during the holidays, whether through home video or television broadcasts. Despite its lackluster initial reception in 1947, Frank Capra’s film is now an inseparable part of December in the United States.

Have a great holiday week!

Why Does Heat Pump Size Matter?

December 18th, 2013

Here in Cocoa Beach, there are a variety of heating systems people use for those occasional cold winter nights. Heat pumps, in particular, make a lot of sense in our part of the world. They serve as an all-in-one heater and air conditioner, cooling your home in the summer time and providing heat in the wintertime. They work best when temperatures tend to remain above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, as they usually are here on the balmy Florida Coast. Heat pumps are extremely energy efficient, which can save you money on monthly heating bills. When you install one, however, you need to make sure it’s the right size for your home.

With any kind of heating or air conditioning system, you need to follow what we call the Goldilocks Rule: as system that is neither too small nor too large but just right. “Size” in this case, is measured not by the physical size of the unit, but by the amount of energy it generates (measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units). If the unit is too small, it won’t be able to generate enough heat to adequately warm your living space. That’s usually self-evident. What most people don’t know is that a unit which is too large will cause many of the same problems. It will warm (or cool) the space too quickly, which means that it will cycle on and off rapidly throughout the day. Turning on and shutting down both use much more energy than simply running steadily, as well as placing more wear and tear on the unit itself. Neither option is acceptable if you want your unit to function effectively.

Knowing why heat pump size matters is half the battle. The rest comes with calling a quality service like Steve Hoskins AC. We handle Cocoa Beach heating issues of all varieties, and have years of experience installing heat pumps. We’ll measure the square footage of your home and factor in other specifics such as sunlight and the amount of insulation to find the perfect size for your heat pump. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!