No matter where you live, there are factors that will affect the air quality inside your home. It can be shocking to find out just how polluted the air in your home really is. Read on to learn about six of the main sources of indoor air pollution in Orlando, FL.
1. Residue From Cigarette Smoke
If you have smokers living in your home or visiting frequently, then the air inside is filled with pollutants from their cigarette smoke. Even if you open windows or turn on fans to dispel the smoke, the harmful toxins will remain in your home because cigarette smoke settles into furniture, carpeting, curtains, and even the walls. The only way to prevent indoor air pollution from cigarette smoke is to forbid any smoking in your home whatsoever.
2. Chemicals in Cleaning Products
Many people think that by cleaning their homes regularly, they are protecting their families from harmful dirt and pollutants. The fact is, thanks to all the toxic chemicals used in the products they clean with, they are actually introducing unhealthy vapors into the air that their family is breathing. Everything from floor cleaners to air fresheners to laundry products is full of chemicals that adversely affect a home’s indoor air quality.
To prevent this, do some research into brands that use all-natural ingredients in their products. These are just as effective as the more widely known brands, and they come without the risks to your family members’ health and well-being.
Asbestos is one of the main causes of poor – and dangerous – air quality inside older homes and structures. Asbestos is present in insulation, paint, tiles used on floors, ceilings, walls and other products used in the construction process of these older buildings. The use of this cancer-causing material is now banned in the United States.
A qualified technician will be able to assist you in determining whether asbestos is present in your home. If it is, trained professionals are able to safely remove it, making way for safe, new insulation in attics and other areas.
Radon is a type of gas that is similar to asbestos when it comes to negatively affecting the air quality inside your home. It is another product that was commonly used in the construction and finishing of older homes, but it is also found to be naturally occurring in certain types of bedrock. Radon is particularly harmful because it can accumulate within crevices inside your home, as well as behind walls.
Reduce or eliminate Radon inside your home by ventilating any crawl spaces beneath the house. Doing so will break any suction-like connection to the ground and the Radon-producing bedrock. It will also disperse any Radon that exists underneath the house. Radon detection devices are available, if you suspect it is present.
5. Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide does far more than cause poor indoor air quality -it is the most toxic indoor pollutant of all, causing death within a matter of hours. Carbon monoxide is the result of coal, gas or other types of fuel that fail to burn completely, leaving deadly fumes behind.
Carbon monoxide is hazardous because it is odorless and tasteless, revealing itself only once it has affected someone with a headache and/or flu-like symptoms. Contact a reputable HVAC company to find out about having a carbon monoxide detector (similar to a smoke detector) installed in your home. You can buy combination fire and carbon monoxide detectors.
6. Naturally-Occurring Pollutants
Naturally occurring pollutants include dust, dirt, pet dander and other pathogens that make their way into your home via open doors and windows, chimneys, and on the shoes and clothing of everyone who enters your home. These substances collect in air ducts and vents as well as on surfaces and floors, from which they circulate and re-circulate in the air throughout your house. They are responsible for causing a number of respiratory issues and illnesses and exacerbating already existing conditions such as asthma and COPD.
To prevent a buildup of these types of pollutants in your home, dust surfaces, sweep and vacuum floors and wash bedding (including pet bedding) frequently. Schedule annual maintenance for your HVAC system to have air ducts and vents cleaned out by a professional.
Keep Your Home and Family Safe
Don’t let poor indoor air quality put your family’s health at risk. Contact the professionals at Frank’s Air Conditioning Inc. to keep your home’s air ducts and vents clean as well as for assistance with all your HVAC needs. You’ll have complete peace of mind knowing your home and family are in caring and competent hands.
Image provided by iStock
There comes a time when replacing your heat pump is inevitable despite proper care and maintenance. Watch for the following signs from your heating system in St. Cloud, FL, that indicates it’s time for a repair or possibly a new system.
It’s Making Strange Noises
Heat pumps produce swooshing sounds when entering defrosting mode during the cold season. This sound is typical and is nothing to cause concern. However, other unusual sounds prompt immediate repairs.
For instance, producing a banging sound indicates that some components are loose and can cause more damage if left untended. A best practice is to inform your contractor in case of odd sounds for inspection. The technician will advise you if it appears it’s time to make a plan for a new system.
Water Is Leaking From Your System
Naturally, a heating system collects moisture from the air and releases it through the condensate drain system. Gradually, dirt and debris build up, causing clogs. Due to this blockage, the drain cannot expel the water droplets, resulting in leakage.
If left unattended, a leak may cause property damage. In addition, the efficiency of the entire system reduces. Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about this problem with regular maintenance.
Sometimes, a broken component might be the cause. Contact an expert for evaluation and repairs. They’ll advise whether repairs can resolve the problem or if system replacement is unavoidable.
The Heat Pump Is Short-Cycling
Does your system shut down immediately after you turn it on? Does it have difficulties getting started? Perhaps, the system runs in its startup phase instead of at optimal efficiency level.
The problem is due to several factors, including overheating, a faulty thermostat or a damaged compressor. These unusual happenings put more strain on the heat pump and can lead to failure if not handled properly. In addition, they lower the efficiency of the pump.
Accordingly, have an expert inspect your system and perform the necessary repairs. If the problem persists, you may need a replacement system to achieve maximum comfort in your home.
You’ve Experienced Reduced Airflow
A significant decrease in airflow from your heat pump indicates that the compressor may fail. Being the heart of the system, failure of the compressor leads to inefficient heating in your home. In extreme circumstances, it leads to the breakdown of the entire unit.
Other causes of diminishing airflow include leaks in the ductwork. Holes or separations within the ducts lower the air pressure, resulting in minimal airflow. If you experience uneven heating in your home, with some hot and cold spots, seek professional advice on whether it could be an issue with your ductwork or the system itself.
The System Is Old
A heating system becomes inefficient after serving you for a long time. Issues often arise with age. Your system has also likely already undergone several repairs and perhaps some component replacements.
The exterior parts of the system rust and corrode due to their susceptibility to the ever-changing climate. Corrosion causes internal friction over time, decreasing efficiency. If your technician identifies the signs of aging in the system, he or she may recommend a replacement in the near future.
It Needs Frequent Repairs
Heat pumps are among the market’s most reliable appliances. With regular maintenance, they usually don’t require frequent repairs. Experts advise that an annual maintenance schedule, usually just before winter, is enough to keep the system running until the following spring season or longer.
If your system requires repairs multiple times a year, acquiring a new system would probably be the best option.
There’s Been a Significant Increase in Your Energy Bills
Even if the heat pump functions normally, a dramatic increase in energy expenses is a cause for concern. The years of wear and tear make the system’s performance decline, negatively affecting its energy efficiency. Accordingly, your system has to run for longer cycles which consumes more electricity.
Compare your energy consumption levels from the previous years, especially if there is no increase in electricity-consuming appliances in your home. This allows you to determine whether the system is the primary cause of high utility costs. You may need to consider a replacement if you can’t attribute the issue to other sources.
Has your heating system reached the end of its lifespan? Worry not since our company offers a full line of heating services, from heat pump repairs to maintenance and installation. Contact Frank’s Air Conditioning for heating services in St. Cloud, FL and the surrounding cities.
Image provided by iStock
Energy recovery ventilators provide your Orlando, FL home with a cost-effective way to remove contaminants and improve the indoor air quality of air into your home while lowering the HVAC operating costs. It provides ventilation in today’s well-insulated homes and saves energy.
Energy Recovery Ventilator
The energy recovery ventilator is a piece of equipment that is connected to your HVAC system. It extracts energy from the air that is removed from your home and uses that energy to precondition outdoor air, which then enters your home.
ERVs pre-heat the colder, dryer outdoor air during winter before the HVAC system circulates it in your home using the warm air from the house. During the summer, the cool and dry air removed from your home is used to pre-cool and reduce the humidity of the warm, moist outdoor air. ERVs lessen the burden on your HVAC system, which saves energy and money in the long run.
How Does an Energy Recovery Ventilator Function?
Indoor air in your home contains impurities that negatively impact your health. The ERV, which is part of your HVAC system, through a ventilation process, replaces the contaminated indoor air with equal amounts of fresh outdoor air.
ERVs saves the energy stored in the conditioned air lost during the exchange process. ERVs recapture a portion of the wasted energy, which only drives power and fuel costs higher, to address comfort and HVAC operating cost deficits.
ERVs absorb heat from the airstream with high temperature using a recovery wheel and release the heat to a lower temperature airstream. When the wheel rotates, it takes up moisture from the airstream with high humidity and deposits it in the airstream with low humidity.
Advantages of an Energy Recovery Ventilator
- Contributes to fresh air – ERVs provide air quality as it filters all incoming air before it’s dispersed throughout your home. Impurities are never circulated inside and ERVs also remove indoor air pollutants, such as pet dander and dust, when it sends stale air outside.
- Reduces energy consumption – ERVs use their ability to transfer heat between incoming and outgoing air streams. They use a fan to operate and not a condenser to decrease the load on your HVAC system. This action saves energy and wear and tear on your HVAC.
- Keeps humidity levels in check – The ERV maintains your home’s humidity levels in check throughout the year using its ability to transfer moisture. An ERV preconditions and dehumidifies the air it brings inside your home during summer. During winter, it retains the moisture from the air sent outside.
- Reduces the size of HVAC equipment – The ERV can precondition the outdoor air, which means the HVAC equipment may accommodate a lower capacity system requirement.
- Reduces electrical and gas demand – The ERV’s ability to precondition the outdoor air reduces electrical demand during the cooling season.
- Protects Your HVAC System – ERVs reduce wear and tear on your HVAC. ERVs help reduces the inconvenience caused by costly breakdowns and enables your HVAC system to work for a longer period of time.
Let Frank’s Air Conditioning Supply You With a Quality ERV System
After going through the guide on how ERVs works and their benefits, it’s time to own one. In order to get the best advice on which ERV will best suit your needs and fit your home correctly. Let our experts at Frank’s Air Conditioning recommend the best ERV for you.
Contact Frank’s Air Conditioning Supply for more information regarding ERV systems and other questions regarding how to improve your home’s air conditioning. We’ll provide the best services and give you the best solutions to save energy and money. We offer high-quality heating, cooling, and duct cleaning services.
Image provided by iStock
It’s critical to get the right size system when installing a new HVAC system for your Poinciana, FL home. The only way to accurately do that is with a professional HVAC load calculation. Learn what an HVAC load is, how it’s different from estimates and why it’s so important.
Understanding HVAC Load
First, let’s define what an HVAC load calculation is. HVAC load is a mathematical approach to understanding how your home generates and transfers heat.
How your home transfers heat informs your technician about both the right size, but also the right style, of system your home requires. It does this by evaluating sources of potential heat and how heat enters and leaves your home.
The industry-standard method of calculating this is the Manual J calculation. This particular calculation considers a host of variables that affect how you heat and cool your home. These factors include:
- Square footage
- Ceiling height
- Number and size of windows
- Number of exterior doors
- Insulation value
- Appliances and lifestyle factors
Difference Between Load Calculation and System Estimates
Some people think they can estimate HVAC system sizes based on some general rules of thumb. Much of the time, they take into consideration the square footage of a home, plus the typical number of occupants, which sounds reasonable on its face.
While these estimates may give you a ballpark for estimating a budget, they lack the specificity truly required. Rather, this leaves you at risk of installing an improperly sized system, potentially too large or too small.
With Manual J calculations, your technician uses specific measurements and established values. This gives them a clear picture of how your home transfers heat, including which areas are more challenging. The result is a more specific recommendation for both system size and style to keep your home comfortable.
Problems with Undersized Systems
When thinking about HVAC system sizes, this describes the heating and cooling capacity. The common measurement is British Thermal Units, or BTUs. A single BTU is the heat required to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Undersized systems leave your system running longer for heating and cooling cycles. This significantly increases the amount of energy consumed while failing to achieve your desired temperature.
Additionally, longer cycles put excessive wear on your system. Think of your system as having a certain number of operational hours it’ll work. If you run longer cycles, you’ll use more of those hours more quickly than you should, which shortens your system’s lifespan.
By using those hours more quickly, you’ll accelerate how quickly you’ll need heating and AC repairs. Additionally, using those hours more quickly reduces the number of seasons your system will serve your home.
Problems with Oversized Systems
More capacity is just as problematic for your system as not enough. In the case of an oversized system, you’ll experience short cycling, which is when the system shuts down prematurely. This creates a situation where the system isn’t running long enough to effectively heat or cool your home.
Short cycling also increases the number of cycle starts your system experiences. This is the hardest part of the cycle, using more energy than the unit running longer cycles. Constant short cycling consumes more power, raising your utility costs, and causes more repairs.
Finally, the system short cycles because it either overheats or freezes, depending on the system. Overheating your heating system can damage your heat exchanger, and freezing can damage your AC’s coils. In both cases, it significantly shortens your service life and can invalidate your manufacturer’s warranty.
Don’t guess whether what you’re installing is the right system for your house. Call to schedule your AC consultation with the experts at Frank’s Air Conditioning and know you’re getting the right solution.
Image provided by iStock
A heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is a major purchase that should last for many years. Whether you are planning to replace an existing system or do a completely new heat pump installation, you will want to consider cost, energy efficiency and how well it meets your indoor comfort needs. Today, many homeowners are installing heat pumps instead of traditional HVAC systems.
Heat pumps provide the convenience of heating and cooling with one unit instead of maintaining a separate furnace and air conditioner. Heat pumps work by transferring heat between the inside and outside of a building. During the hot summer months, heat pumps remove heat from indoors. By reversing the flow of refrigerant, heat pumps capture heat energy from outside and route it indoors during winter months. They are energy-efficient, quiet and create a comfortable living space. Heat pumps also provide excellent humidity control.
There are several types of heat pump systems that save energy and increase comfort. The qualified staff at Frank’s Air Conditioning of St. Cloud, Florida, can help you evaluate which one best meets your needs.
Air-Source Heat Pumps
Air-source heat pumps are available as both ducted and ductless systems. They extract heat from the air and transfer it between the inside and outside of a building. Both systems include an indoor air handler and an outdoor compressor/condenser. Ducted systems work just like standard HVAC systems, blowing conditioned air through ducts into the living space.
Ductless systems connect an outdoor condenser to individual indoor air handlers mounted on a wall or ceiling. Instead of ducts, tubing routed through a small hole in the wall connects the condenser to blower cassettes. The conduit contains refrigerant, condensate lines and electrical wiring. Depending on the brand and model, one condenser can operate one or more blowers. A remote control operates individual cassettes that can be switched off when not in use, which saves energy.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geothermal heat pumps extract heat from the earth. Pipes containing refrigerant are buried several feet below ground surface where temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year. The refrigerant, routed to the outdoor condenser, undergoes the standard refrigeration process to heat and cool your home. Geothermal systems cost more to install. However, they last up to 50 years, are easy to maintain and work well in all climates. They can reduce energy usage by 25% to 50%. Geothermal systems are difficult to install on small lots and in some soils.
Heat Pump Efficiency
Heat pumps use less energy than standard HVAC systems. Cooling efficiencies are measured by seasonal energy efficiency ratio. The SEER rating is calculated by dividing the cooling output of a cooling season by the amount of energy used during the same period. The higher the SEER rating, the better the efficiency. A SEER ratio expresses maximum efficiency under controlled conditions. Actual performance may vary.
Heating efficiency is defined by a heat pump’s heating seasonal performance factor. The number expresses how much heat a unit will produce in relation to the energy used to generate it. Heat pumps with higher HSPF ratings use less energy. The minimum standard will rise from 8.2 to 8.8 in 2023.
The Department of Energy has issued minimum efficiency standards for air conditioning and heating equipment geared to climate zones in the U.S. For the Southeastern U.S., which includes Florida, the minimum is 14 SEER. Most major HVAC manufacturers exceed these standards, offering ratings as high as 21 SEER.
Variable Speed Technology
Today’s heat pumps offer better efficiency with variable speed fans and compressors. With variable speed technology, fan and compressor speeds power up to meet demand. When demand decreases, the system powers down, using less energy. Variable speed fans and blowers precisely control the amount of air flowing through ducts. The result is increased comfort, lower energy use and better humidity control.
Sizing and Installation
According to the Department of Energy, improper installation is a common reason for HVAC equipment failure. The service technicians at Frank’s Air Conditioning follow industry standards for new heat pump installations. As a Trane Comfort Specialist, our technicians undergo extensive training on leading-edge equipment. We evaluate your indoor comfort needs and do a load calculation to ensure we properly size and install your new system.
If you are considering a new heat pump installation, call the experts at Frank’s Air Conditioning. Our more than 30 years of experience in the area means we know how equipment performs in the humid, hot Florida climate.
Many people in Kissimmee, FL, spend most of their time indoors, whether at home or at the office. As such, indoor air quality is very important as it directly contributes to productivity and health at home and work. Below are some of the major IAQ threats to your home’s indoor air.
Fungi, bacteria, viruses, pet saliva, rodents and cockroaches are among the main biological pollutants found in homes. These pollutants come from several sources, including pets, people with airborne diseases, mites, pests, plants and others. According to the EPA, you can eliminate most of these biological contaminants by reducing relative humidity at home.
Ensure there is no stagnant water or wet surfaces, and keep the relative humidity between 30% and 50%. Areas with a lot of moisture, such as bathrooms, humidifiers, cooling coils and condensate pans, are more prone to the growth of biological contaminants.
Biological pollutants can trigger allergic reactions, including allergic rhinitis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and can also exacerbate asthma. Diseases such as measles and influenza also spread through air.
These are minute particles of soot, dust, smoke and several other compounds. These particles come into your home on pet’s skin, clothes, through openings in any part of your home or on furniture.
Because these particles are only 10 micrometers in diameter, it’s possible to inhale them. Once inhaled, the particles can affect the lungs and the heart, and in some cases, they cause severe health effects. The very minute particles go deep into the lungs, and some even end up in the bloodstream.
Particulates affect people with asthma, coronary artery disease, heart or lung disease and respiratory diseases more. They can also cause nose, eye and throat irritation, premature death for people with chronic heart or lung conditions and exacerbation of respiratory diseases.
Gases and Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases and odors from cleaning agents, perfumes, paints, pesticides and several other household agents. Exposure to VOCs can cause headaches, respiratory irritation, nausea and several other problems, including cancer. Other gases that can pollute your indoor air include radon, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide.
You can avoid the effects of these gases by ensuring your home has sufficient ventilation, using only the recommended amount of products with VOCs, choosing products with little or no VOCs and discarding used containers well.
Formaldehyde is an ingredient in several household products and building materials. It also tends to occur due to certain natural reactions. Exposure to formaldehyde causes irritation of the eyes, skin, nose and throat while prolonged exposure can cause cancer.
Composite wood products have the highest amount of formaldehyde. When shopping for these, consider those certified as compliant to ensure the safety of your family. You can also reduce the rate at which composite wood products release formaldehyde by keeping air conditioning on and controlling relative humidity at home.
Cigarette smoke is a common indoor air pollutant. If you or your partner smoke cigarettes, you expose the entire household to second-hand smoke, which is as lethal as first-hand smoke. If you have to smoke, do it outside in a breezy area so that nothing comes back to the house.
Both first-hand and second-hand smoke from cigarettes are Group A carcinogens according to the EPA. There is no risk-free level of smoking, and even a small volume of smoke inhaled can cause severe health issues. Secondhand smoke can lead to lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular disease and other serious health issues.
Although you can have a well-maintained indoor air quality system, the best way to avoid cigarette smoke is to prohibit smoking indoors. This way, you never overwork the air purifier and also avoid respiratory diseases.
A qualified HVAC technician can help you install, repair and maintain an indoor air quality system. Call Frank’s Air Conditioning in Kissimmee, FL, for HVAC installation and indoor air quality services.
Image provided by iStock