Posted by: martinairofswfl | December 14, 2011

Tips for Keeping the House Cool

Thinking in how to keep your house as cool as possible during these hot days? Is it winter yet? Is December!! WHERE IS THE COLD WEATHER??!?

 Those window fans, for example, should they be placed to draw air in or out? Upwind or downwind of the dwelling? And what about windows, shades, and awnings? Are windows on the North side of the house better left closed or open during the day? Are awnings better than shades?

Efficient cooling saves money, energy, and the quality of our lives.

Here, tricks about how to keep a house cool. These tips are really useful.

  • Reduce the cooling load by employing cost-effective conservation measures. Provide effective shade for east and west windows. When possible, delay heat-generating activities such as dishwashing until evening on hot days.
  • Over most of the cooling season, keep the house closed tight during the day. Don’t let in unwanted heat and humidity. Ventilate at night either naturally or with fans.
  • You can help get rid of unwanted heat through ventilation if the temperature of the incoming air is 77 F or lower. (This strategy works most effectively at night and on cooler days.) Window fans for ventilation are a good option if used properly. They should be located on the downwind side of the house facing out. A window should be open in each room. Interior doors must remain open to allow air flow.
  • Use ceiling fans to increase comfort levels at higher thermostat settings. The standard human comfort range for light clothing in the summer is between 72 F and 78 F. To extend the comfort range to 82 F, you need a breeze of about 2.5 ft/sec or 1.7 mph. A sow-turning ceiling-mounted paddle fan can easily provide this air flow.
  • In hot climates, plant shade trees around the house. Don’t plant trees on the South if you want to benefit from passive solar heating in the winter.
  • If you have an older central air conditioner, consider replacing the outdoor compressor with a modern, high-efficiency unit. Make sure that it is properly matched to the indoor unit. If you need help with this give Martin Air of SWFL a call… we can help you!
  • If buying a new air conditioner, be sure that it is properly sized. Get assistance from an energy auditor or air conditioning contractor. Martin Air of SWFL is the company you need!
  • Buy a high-efficiency air conditioner: for room air conditioners, the energy efficiency ratio (EER) rating should be above 10; for central air conditioners, look for a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating above 12.
  • In hot, humid climates, make sure that the air conditioner you buy will adequately get rid of high humidity. Models with variable or multi-speed blowers are generally best. Try to keep moisture sources out of the house.
  • Try not to use a dehumidifier at the same time your air conditioner is operating. The dehumidifier will increase the cooling load and force the air conditioner to work harder.
  • Seal all air conditioner ducts, and insulate ducts that run through unheated basements, crawl spaces, and attics.
  • Keep the thermostat set at 78 degrees F or higher if using ceiling fans. Don’t air-condition unused rooms.
  • Maintain your air conditioners properly to maximize efficiency.

Warm Weather Window Solutions

  • Install white window shades or mini-blinds. Mini-blinds can reduce solar heat gain by 40-50 percent.
  •  Close south and west-facing curtains during the day for any window that gets direct sunlight. Keep these windows closed, too.
  • Install awnings on south-facing windows, where there’s insufficient roof overhang to provide shade.
  • Hang tightly woven screens or bamboo shades outside the window during the summer to stop 60 to 80 percent of the sun’s heat from getting to the windows.
  • Apply low-e films.
  • Consider exotic infills in your windows, a new technology that fills the space between panes with krypton or argon, gasses that have lower conductivity than air, and which boost R-values.

Tips for your A/C

  • Provide shade for your room A/C, or the outside half of your central A/C if at all possible. This will increase the unit’s efficiency by 5 percent to 10 percent.
  • Clean your A/C’s air filter every month during cooling season. Normal dust build-up can reduce air flow by 1 percent per week.
  • Turn off your A/C when you leave for more than an hour.
  • Several studies have found that most central air conditioning systems are oversized by 50 percent or more.

Martin Air of SWFL is the company you need! Give us a call now!! 941-235-2716

Posted by: martinairofswfl | December 13, 2011

Air Conditioning Duct Cleaning

Air conditioning ducts are ones that require their own regimens. They are often distinct from the kind of basic measures used in filters and external parts. Regular cleaning and replacing of the filters reduce the amount of dust at indoors. Many house owners are not sure or can’t decide on where to begin; when it comes to duct cleaning.

It’s essential to understand the basics of air duct and their work to avoid scams and works with experienced ones. The most common mistake that we do with the air conditioning duct is that we apply wrong kind of treatment for the materials at home. Air conditioning ducts can be made up of fiber glass, fiber board, or sheet metal and comes with its own rules of effective cleaning. So far studies have not shown that air conditioning duct cleaning improves air quality in the home.

Duct Cleaning is important:

Air conditioning duct cleaning is more important in today’s world because many health problems are very much related to the air we breathe in. 90% of the people spend their time in indoors, and chances are more for health problems if the air that we breathe in is not fresh and clean. We can’t check over these but we can surely make a way to avoid these dusts or other contaminated bacteria’s etc getting mixed in the air. So we have to always clean the air conditioners, ventilators, carpets, bed sheets, blankets etc.

Steps on cleaning an air conditioner duct:

Here are few steps that you would need to do for cleaning an air conditioner duct.
• The things that we’ll need are face mask, gloves, water, dish washing liquid, rags, screw driver and vacuum cleaner.
• Remove the vent covers carefully and wash it with a dish washing liquid. Dip it in the warm water and let the dust or stains be removed.
• Use a vacuum cleaner to remove all the dust and mold that is blocked.
• You must spend lot of time on cleaning this but make sure you clear all the dust.

Value of Air conditioning duct cleaning:

The value of the air conditioning is totally based upon the consumer’s decision and the ducts. People who have a dusty air ducts and need an immediate look for cleaning up is well benefited with this process than those with no dusty issues. We have to be very clear on purchasing an air conditioner to see whether the duct is well maintained and lasts for a longer time without any dust problems. The important factor of this is the overall cleanliness at home because unkempt rooms can lead to more dust and dirt in the air.

Give us a call 941-235-2716

Posted by: martinairofswfl | November 28, 2011

Energy Efficiency Tips to Save Money

Check Your Thermostat
Cool your home at 78º or warmer with the fan switch on “auto.” For extra savings, raise the thermostat to 82º when you’re not home.

Utilize Ceiling Fans
Keep your home comfortable and reduce your A/C costs by installing energy-efficient ceiling fans to circulate the air. The average cost to run a fan is only $7 a month!

Maintain Airflow
Keep interior doors and vents open to help circulate the air.

Keep Your Unit Clean & Clear
Be sure to clean or change your air filter at least once a month, and always use the proper size for your unit. It is also important to keep your outside unit clear of debris to avoid blocking the airflow.

Upgrade Your Insulation
If your home was built before 1985, you may need to upgrade your insulation to reduce cooling costs and make your home more comfortable.

Consider Buying a New A/C Unit
If your system is over 10 years old, it may be time to purchase a new unit. Ask Martin Air about systems for maximum energy savings!

Keep Sunlight Out
Close your blinds, drapes and shades during the hottest time of day.

Don’t Ignore Air Conditioning Problems
When you have a big air conditioning problem – like an air conditioner that quits during the hottest day of summer – it goes without saying that you’ll call for service. Smaller air conditioning problems are easier to ignore, but this is the last thing you should do. By calling for service as soon as you notice the symptoms of an ailing cooling system you can prevent the expense and inconvenience of a big repair job. You’ll also avoid the higher utility bills that typically accompany a poorly functioning air conditioning system. You should have your air conditioner checked when you notice any of the following symptoms:

• Decreased air flow from the registers;
• Strange noises coming from the air conditioner;
• Moldy odors coming from the ductwork when the air conditioner is running;
• The air conditioner cycles on and off more frequently than it used to;
• The breaker for the air conditioner in the electrical panel keeps tripping (or the fuse keeps blowing);
• Ice appears on your air conditioner or piping, either inside or outside the house;
• Your outdoor fan in the air conditioner won’t come on.

Posted by: martinairofswfl | November 23, 2011

Use Air Conditioning to Control Your Asthma

Air Conditioning and Asthma

Asthma is most commonly triggered by mold, pollen, and animal dander. For most of us, breathing in these particles is unavoidable, but the good news is that air conditioning units all contain filters that keep our particle intake to minimum. Air conditioning also helps eliminate humidity. Humidity feeds mold and algae to grow much more rapidly then it could if it were living in dry air.

Air conditioners work by:

  1. pulling air into the unit
  2. which gets forced through filters, blowers, compressors, condensers, coolers and evaporators
  3. then blasted back at the temperature of your choice.
This cycle keeps the air circulating in your environment and eventually through your lungs. If the air is not pure, and still contains heavy mold, pollen, and animal dander then the problem lies in the upkeep of the unit,and you might be at risk of an asthma attack.

Ideal Air Conditioning Maintenance

Ideally you should have your air conditioner serviced at least once a year by a licensed Air Conditioning Contractor. The contractor will inspect the overall condition of the unit.

In addition to having a professional come to your home once a year there are things you should be doing in the meantime to better your breathing.

  1. Your first personal responsibility will be to make sure you are changing your filter at least once a month. This is the most important step in keeping up with your A/C unit. This will drastically effect the air quality in your home. Once a month filter replacements prolongs the overall life of your air conditioning unit by stopping dirt from getting to the other major mechanical components that make up the unit.
  2. Your second personal responsibility will be to clean your drain line as often as you are changing your filter. Mold and algae love to grow inside of drain lines and if there is an overgrowth then you might have to deal with a major backup.

Call a Professional To Get A Good Start On Your A/C Maintenance

If dirt is left sitting too long inside any part of your unit then the mechanical life of the system could greatly be impacted. Whether you have a new unit or an old one, it is probably time for you to call in a licensed professional to do a tune up. Feel free to ask him questions and learn how to take over the easy stuff. From there you can get yourself in the routine of replacing filters and cleaning drain lines.

Being active in the maintenance of your air conditioner could save you from experiencing a major asthma attack. It feels good knowing that you are safe breathing in quality air at home.

Posted by: martinairofswfl | November 18, 2011

Troubleshooting Ideas

By troubleshooting your air conditioning problem, you’re more likely to hone in on the problem and save yourself some money. Not only will you be able to know the equipment you own, but you will be able to semi-diagnose the problem before calling in a specialist.

1. The unit isn’t running and you’re not seeing a digital reading on your thermostat. First, head over to the breaker panel and make sure the breaker did not trip. Often times this is a simple reset and the unit just needs to be turned back on to run again. If the breaker trips again after you’ve reset it once—you need to call an air conditioning specialist. There could be a problem associated with several types of issues from electrical to mechanical.

2. You’re noticing the unit isn’t allowing any air to blow out of the vents. This is possibly a problem with the blower mother. If you’re not hearing a humming sound when the motor is running you wants to shut the motor down. Also, if you smell a burning scent, this is never a good sign. Call a professional. Now if you’re seeing a fan spinning but no air is coming from the supply vents but cold air is coming from the top of the condensing unit—you could quite possibly have a bad compressor. Just make sure you shut the unit down when encountering any of the problems described. You do not want to run a machine that isn’t functioning properly for fear the other components still running could cause further damage.

3. Make sure you have the unit set to a lower temperature than your home is currently to test the unit. You may not have a broken unit, it may just be off.

4. Make sure you’re performing routine maintenance for the air conditioner. A clogged filter can end up restricting the air flow. This is a simple service that you can perform yourself and save a ton of time and money.

5. If everything is running properly but you’re experiencing poor air flow, you could have a problem in the cooling air ducts. Check all of the connectors to ensure they’re free of bends that could restrict the air further.

6. Filters are extremely important to the quality of air in your home, as well as keeping operations on target for the air conditioner. Make sure you’re replacing the filter twice a year. If you’re noticing cooling coils that are covered with ice, you may have a filter problem. If the filters are clean and the coil ices-up this condition may be present. A service technician will need to evaluate and test the system and if needed, adjust the refrigerant charge. 

7. Refrigerant problems—you could have too much, or too little—maybe even a leak? An air conditioner that has lost most refrigerant often times turns cold and you’ll see ice over the coils. This will eliminate the cool air within your home and you’ll notice quickly.

8. The air conditioner is stay on ON for longer than usual or maybe you’re seeing a lack of cooler air within your home. This could be due to a bad compressor unit. The unit is unable to compress the refrigerant due to the wearing away of the internal components. If the AC isn’t equipped with installed gauges, a professional can utilize the gauges to diagnose the problem as well as having a compressor suction vacuum to eliminate output pressure.

9. Your thermostat is not working but you notice nothing is wrong with the internal or external components of the air conditioner. By replacing the batteries in the thermostat, you should solve your problem. Many high quality thermostats have battery low indicators but many do not—keep any eye on this for future reference.

10. Exterior debris can cause air flow to be eliminated in and around the unit outside. This could cramp the unit and eventually prevent it from functioning properly. Make sure you sweep and rake the exterior unit as well as clean ventilation fins to ensure the unit will encounter no debris that could cause an issue.

While it’s no secret, you need to maintain any machine for it to run properly. Make sure you troubleshoot your unit before calling a professional. You could save yourself some time and money by pre-diagnosising an issue that is as simple as changing a battery. On another token, make sure you call a professional when you feel the problem is serious—they know their business the best and will waste no time in getting you cooler faster.

Posted by: martinairofswfl | October 27, 2011

Energy Saving Tips

Are you prepared for a hike in your air conditioning bill? If not, follow these effortless, straightforward, and free tips and tricks to save your hard earned cash from blowing out the window and spend it on more rewarding activities…

  1. Close drapes, blinds and shades to help retain heat at night or during unoccupied periods.
  2. Check the settings on the room air conditioner. Make sure the “fresh air” vent on the air conditioner is closed so you are not cooling outside air.
  3. Set the thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower the overall cooling bill will be. Between 1 and 2% of summer cooling costs can be saved for every degree Farenheit the thermostat is raised.
  4. Set the thermostat as low as comfortably possible in the winter. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall heating bill will be.
  5. Set the temperature lower in the winter when your home is unoccupied. Use a programmable thermostat to automatically lower and raise the temperature according to your settings.
  6. In the winter, reverse your ceiling fan motor so that the blades push air up toward the ceiling, where hot air normally rises. The fan will drive the warm air back down around the edges of the room, which can result in more even heating. Better heat circulation will help combat the problem of sweating windows that some homes experience in the wintertime because of condensation on the glass.
  7. Examine your duct system for air leaks. Look for sections that should be joined, but have separated, and then look for obvious holes. Consider hiring a contractor to test the ducts and repair leaks and restrictions. Leaking ductwork accounts for more than 25% of heating costs in an average California home.
  8. Close drapes, blinds and shades to keep sun’s rays out of the home during the warmer months.

The following tips are extremely low cost and not expensive at all. If you take into regard how much money you will be saving over the years – these are definitely worth the pennies.

  1. Remove and clean room air conditioner filters monthly. Dirty filters reduce the efficiency of the air conditioner.
  2. Clean furnace filters monthly. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use. Keep the furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted to save up to 5% of heating costs.
  3. Call  941-235-2716 and we can send a licensed HVAC technician to your home today!