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The Rinaldi's Blog

by Scott Hudson, Vice-President

Does IAQ Change in the Summer?

The quality of the air you breathe is an important concern at any time of year. But especially in the summer, your indoor air quality can go down significantly, without your even realizing it. What are the factors affecting your summer IAQ, and what can you do to mitigate them? What Affects Your Summer IAQ? There are several reasons to worry about your air quality in summer. First of all, humidity rises, particularly in Florida. As the air gets hot and wet, it becomes a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria, all of which can wreak havoc on allergies and asthma. Second, summer is shedding season for your pets. Pet hair and dander can build up in the air, causing reactions even if your family isn’t normally allergic. Finally, as your A/C is running longer to beat the heat, the filter will get filled much faster — particularly when you factor in those extra contaminants we’ve already mentioned. If you’re not diligent about checking and replacing it, it won’t be as effective at keeping your air clean. Improving Your IAQ How can you combat these factors and keep your summer air clean and breathable? First, keep your house clean. Dust and vacuum regularly, to eliminate contaminants. Think about using a microfiber cloth that can trap dust particles, rather than simply spreading them around. A vacuum with a HEPA filter can also help keep contaminants at bay. Remember to change your air filter regularly, too. Check it at least once a month to see if it’s clogged. You can also invest in a whole house humidifier, which allows you... read more

Zoning Systems: What to Consider

Particularly if you have a large house, making your home comfortable can be a difficult task. Upstairs is a sauna, while the basement is freezing. You may have thought about investing in a zoning system, to ensure each section gets the heating and cooling it needs. Here are some factors to consider. What is a Zoning System? The (simplified) reason why it’s so hard to get your entire home comfortable is because different areas of your home have different heating and cooling needs. Yet they’re all controlled by a single thermostat in a single room. A zoning system divides your home into sections based on their differing needs, and puts a thermostat into each section. The first floor is too hot? Divert more cool air there. The second floor is getting too cold? Send less air to that section. Pros of Zoning The main benefit of zoned heating and cooling is that everyone can choose their own comfort level. This prevents “thermostat wars,” wherein people in different areas of the house keep adjusting the temperature back and forth, because one room is too hot while the other is too cold. These wars not only waste energy, they wear out your system more quickly. Zoning systems also save energy another way: You can turn off zones if no one is occupying them. If the whole family is downstairs in the dining room for dinner, you don’t need to waste energy cooling the bedrooms upstairs. Cons of Zoning The main drawback to zoned heating and cooling is that it can cost a lot to install. There’s a lot of equipment involved,... read more

Steps to Take When Your Air Conditioner Breaks in the Summer

When the hot, humid Orlando summer weather settles in, you need a well-functioning air conditioner to keep your home comfortable. Unfortunately, the hottest time of year is when your A/C is under the greatest strain and more vulnerable to unexpected breakdowns. If you find yourself with a broken air conditioner this summer, take the following steps: Troubleshoot the Issue In some instances, an air conditioner malfunction is caused is a relatively simple issue that you can troubleshoot and fix yourself. Dead thermostat. If you have a dead thermostat with a blank display screen, try replacing the batteries. Tripped breaker. Next, head to your home’s main electrical panel and check whether the air conditioner’s circuit breaker has tripped. If the breaker looks like it may be in the “off” position, reset it and try starting your A/C again. Frozen evaporator coil. If the cooling coil ices up and you lose cool air output at the registers, first check the system’s air filter and replace it if it’s clogged with debris. Then, shut down the cooling system, place a container beneath the coil and let it defrost naturally, then restart the A/C. Call an Experienced HVAC Pro If the above fixes don’t work, call a pro to find out exactly what’s wrong with your A/C. A non-responsive thermostat may be due to loose wiring, or the device may need replacement. If you reset the A/C’s breaker and it trips again, you may have a dirty A/C coil, an electrical short, or a faulty compressor or breaker. If the coil freezes up again, there may a refrigerant leak, a malfunctioning fan, or... read more

Do You Treat HVAC Inspections Seriously?

Do you look at HVAC preventative maintenance as optional — that is, something you can schedule every few years, when the mood hits you? You could be courting an HVAC breakdown unless you’re faithfully scheduling an HVAC inspection every spring and fall. Why You Need Semi-annual HVAC Inspections The main reason for scheduling HVAC inspections is so that the technician can find potential problems before they turn into major breakdowns. A well-trained technician will go over the various components, testing performance, replacing worn parts, and cleaning the unit as needed. Some of the tasks the technician performs will be devoted to the air conditioner, some to the heating system, and others to the air handling system. The inspections should be performed in spring and fall, before the summer cooling season and the winter heating season, respectively. Another important reason for getting an HVAC inspection twice a year is that your system will run more efficiently when it’s clean and everything is working right. When air flows properly, the system doesn’t have to work as hard, and you’ll spend less on your energy bill. Inspection Tasks Some of the tasks that your HVAC technician will preform for both systems, spring and fall, are to: Test thermostat and controls. Check electrical wiring and connections. Check ductwork for leaks. Check the condensate drain, cleaning if necessary. Measure voltage and current on motors. Check blower motors. For air conditioners, he/she will: Check, recharge refrigerant levels. Fix leaks if found. Check outdoor fan motors. Check condenser and evaporator coils; clean them if necessary. Inspect compressor. For heating systems, he/she will: Check outdoor fan for... read more

Father’s Day Gifts that Keep Things Cool

Two things that Floridians count on in June are hot weather and Father’s Day. This year, why not celebrate your dad with something that will help him stay cooler all summer? Wi-Fi Thermostat If the HVAC system in his home is compatible, why not bring it into the 21st century with a thermostat that gives him complete control over the HVAC system wherever he is. Some have features that indicate when it’s time to change the air filter and schedule professional maintenance. Some upgraded thermostats send out alerts when the system is malfunctioning. The U.S. Department of Energy has found that using Wi-Fi and programmable thermostats saves measurable amounts of energy because they make it easy to adjust the temperatures based on home occupancy. HVAC System Tuneup Cooling and heating systems are complicated appliances that need tuning up at least once a year. The gift of system maintenance translates to lower energy bills, more dependable cooling and a longer lifetime for the components. If your dad hasn’t had his serviced in a while, ask the contractor to conduct a thorough inspection, including ductwork testing for leaks and cleanliness. They may be leaking cooled air, which wastes energy. If they’re dirty, the indoor air quality will suffer. Plant A Tree A deciduous tree not only adds beauty to the yard, it will also cool a hot, sunny wall in the spring and summer. Deciduous trees and shrubs lose their leaves in the fall, which makes them an ideal Fathers Day gift for saving energy and adding home value. Some nurseries will plant the tree as part of the purchase. Bladeless... read more

Why You Should Care for Your Heater in the Summer

Taking care of your heater might not seem like something you need to do during summer, especially in the Orlando area. However, there are a few important reasons to have maintenance done on your heating system, even when it’s hot out. Find out more about why you should put this on your to do list this season. Lower Risk of Repairs Caring for your heating system during summer helps reduce the risk of needing emergency repairs in winter. Routine maintenance on your heater keeps it in good condition, so that it will be less likely to act up when you’re trying to heat your home. If HVAC technicians find any evidence of even minor problems, they can take care of them now instead of waiting until they become major problems. Winter Preparation Before you start using your heating system in winter, you need to have it checked and make sure that it’s all set to run. Neglecting your heating system means that you might have to do some last-minute repairs or maintenance when winter has already started. Taking care of your heater in summer helps ensure that it’s fully prepared to handle all of your heating needs when the weather gets colder. Keep in mind that you should put a new air filter in your heating system before you start using it, which is a task you can easily take care of in summer. Convenience Having an HVAC technician come out to your home during summer to inspect your heating system and tune it up is an easier and more convenient task than having this done in winter. The... read more
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