IERNA's Heating & Cooling Blog : Archive for August, 2012

AC Tip: Getting the Most Out of Your Ductless Mini Split System

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Ductless mini split systems are a great air conditioning and heating option.  Ierna’s Heating & Cooling is an air conditioning company in Wesley Chapel that can help you get the most out of your ductless mini split system.

In order to get the most out of your ductless mini split system, the first order of business is proper installation.  Installation includes the placement of an outdoor condenser unit and one or more separate indoor air handling units all connected through refrigerant and power lines.  Correct placement of both of these units will be essential in how efficiently the system cools and heats.

Proper care and maintenance of your ductless system will also be essential in keeping it operating at its highest efficiency, so that you can save in energy consumption costs while still staying comfortable indoors.

Some of the great benefits associated with using a ductless system include their high energy-efficiency, space savings, and increased climate control.

When you choose ductless AC, you are getting a high-efficiency air conditioning system that costs less to operate than a forced air system.  You will also enjoy saving space indoors with their compact design and out of the way placement. Ductless systems also offer great zone control: if someone likes it colder their room can be colder, if someone else likes it hotter, that zone can be set hotter.

Ierna’s Heating & Cooling has Wesley Chapel AC technicians that understand how to help you get the most out of your ductless system, all while providing friendly customer service and quality workmanship in every installation and maintenance that is completed. Call us today to learn more!

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AC Question: What Causes Icing On My AC?

Monday, August 20th, 2012

There are a number of reasons why your Tampa air conditioner may be icing up.  Here are some of the most common that the air conditioning experts at Ierna’s Heating and Cooling have put together for you:

  • Evaporator Fan Malfunction:  If the evaporator fan fails it could be due to an obstruction that is keeping it from rotating, or a broken wire could have disconnected the evaporator fan from the thermostat.  Either could cause air conditioning frost build-up to occur.
  • Decreased Air Flow:  Without proper air circulation an AC will begin to ice up quickly around the condenser or evaporator coils.  This could be the result of a blocked return duct vent, dirty air filters or dirty, blocked coils.  Whatever the culprit, a decrease in air flow will cause the AC to work overtime, resulting in frost buildup.
  • Unreasonable Thermostat Settings:  If a thermostat is set to a temperature that is too low it can cause the AC to work continually without ever reaching that desired temperature.  Generally air conditioners can only work up to a twenty degree temperature difference from outside air, so if your AC is set to 70 while the temp outside is 100, you’ll never reach the desired temperature.
  • Blower Failure:  Blowers that fail completely or which run at the wrong speed can cause AC icing to occur.
  • Low Refrigerant Levels or Charge:  Having too little refrigerant charge can cause air conditioning frost build-up to occur.  It could be that the AC has been running for too long without a break which has caused refrigerant levels to decrease, or that there is a slow leak in the refrigerant line which needs to be fixed.

Let the Tampa AC specialists at Ierna’s Heating and Cooling determine the cause of icing on your AC so that we can perform a proper repair and get your air conditioner back in efficient working order once again.  Contact us today and receive quality workmanship with professionals who know all about AC icing.

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AC Tip: Using Heat Pumps for Air Conditioning

Monday, August 13th, 2012

In addition to providing your Tampa home with energy efficient heating, heat pumps can also keep you home cool by reversing its operation process. Heat pumps transfer warm air indoors to heat your home, and can also transfer that warm air out to cool it.  Heat pumps actually function very similarly to a central air conditioning system when they are in cooling mode.

During the air conditioning process, a heat pump pulls cold temperatures from the air while hotter air from indoors is transferred outdoors.

Heat pumps are highly energy-efficient, particularly during colder months when the heat pump is being used to heat indoor air.  Heat pumps use quite a bit less energy to run them than other heating systems, ranging anywhere from 8 to 10 HSPF. This is well above the 7.7 HSPF minimum required.  During the air conditioning cycle, heat pumps are still very energy-efficient, ranging anywhere from 14 to 18 SEER, which is well above the minimum 13 SEER that is required.

Heat pumps are smaller than many other home heating and cooling options, and because they are installed outside they save interior space.  They are also known for their easy installation, fewer repair needs, and less expensive maintenance.

So when you are looking for a single option that will both heat and cool your indoor air with ease while being energy-efficient and offering a variety of benefits, a heat pump may just be the right choice.  Let our well-trained Tampa air conditioning technicians answer any additional questions you may have about heat pumps, and also provide you with excellent heat pump installation services. We have the training and experience necessary to help you get the most out of your heat pump. Call Ierna’s Heating & Cooling today!

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Top 4 Upgrades for Your HVAC System

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Your Tampa HVAC system is a trusted part of your home’s comfort system. Without it you would be cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and breathing in contaminant laden air year round. So, it’s important that you install the best systems and subsystems available for your HVAC system. Here are some options to keep in mind when looking for ways to get the most from your heating and cooling.

  • Humidity Control – Don’t rely on your air conditioner to remove humidity in the summer. A dehumidifier is more energy efficient and reduces stress on your air conditioning system when the humidity gets high. In the winter, humidification allows your home to hold more heat, effectively increasing the efficiency of your heating system.
  • Air Filtration – Every air conditioning system and furnace comes with some form of air filtration, but is it enough? Standard filters are effective, but they are not always comprehensive. A good HEPA quality filter for your air handler and duct system will severely reduce the number of contaminants in your air supply and ensure that you and your family feel much better year round.
  • Ductwork Upgrades – If your ductwork is old, battered or starting to show its years, an upgrade may be in order. If nothing else, having your ductwork cleaned on a regular basis removes excess mold, dusty, pollen, debris and other pollutants that can affect your health and the quality of the air you breathe. Schedule annual cleanings of your ductwork and a biannual inspection to check for cracks and leaks.
  • Air Quality Controls – Beyond air filtration, you can upgrade your air handler’s ability to remove pollutants with a dedicated air cleaner and UV lights. These systems are installed in your air handler and/or ductwork to remove advanced pollutants like bacteria and mold and remove smaller particles including smoke, gas, and exhaust. Which system you need will depend on the level of contaminants in your home, so make sure you check with a contractor before choosing anything.

These upgrades are a great way to get more out of your Tampa HVAC system – in terms of both comfort and safety. Discuss your options with Ierna’s Heating & Cooling today to learn more.

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What’s Going On With R-22?

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

R-22 Phaseout | Tampa | Ierna's Heating and CoolingRecent actions by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding HCFCs have led to uncertainty about the availability of R-22 in the coming months and years. In response, contractors have noticed a ramp-up in the chatter about R-22 and price changes as some manufacturers and importers have amended their sales policies.

This situation is the culmination of several factors, including the continued implementation of the federal government’s policies regarding HCFCs, current market conditions, and delays in the regulatory process.

As most contractors know, the EPA controls the production of HCFCs, including the refrigerant known as R-22, through allowances that limit how much each gas manufacturer and importer can produce or import in a given year. Under the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, the production and use of R-22 is slowly being phased out.

In August 2011, the EPA proposed to adjust the allocations in place for the years 2012-2014. This adjustment was necessary because of a lawsuit filed by two HCFC producers who had completed a legal trade of allocations that EPA had failed to recognize in its allocations released in 2009.

EPA consulted with industry stakeholders before proposing to reduce the annual allocations. In gathering information used to develop the August 2011 allocation adjustment, EPA found that there was an oversupply of R-22 in the marketplace, partly evident by a lack of demand, increased reuse of R-22, and low wholesale prices. In fact, in 2010, producers of R-22 only utilized 86% of their allocations. A trade organization representing the manufacturers and importers of R-22 supported these claims, and advocated for a 20% reduction in allocations for 2012-2014.

By the end of 2011, EPA had yet to finalize its adjustment proposal for the 2012-2014 allocations. But EPA did release a subsequent version of the August 2011 adjustment proposal on December 30, 2011, one that proposed to reduce the allocations for 2012-2014 between 11-47%.

Without a finalized adjustment rule, the producers and importers of R-22 were stuck in a legal limbo – on January 1, 2012, they did not have the authority to manufacture or import R-22.

Recognizing this problem, on January 20, 2012, EPA sent “non-enforcement” letters to the producers and importers of R-22, alerting them that they could resume the manufacture and import of R-22 in the interim even though EPA had yet to set the new allocation amounts. The non-enforcement letter advised that production would be curtailed by 45% of their last allocation amount, the high end of the allocation adjustment proposal.

It is expected that the EPA adjustment proposal will take at least until the summer of 2012 to be completed. The end result could be a reduction in R-22 allocations somewhere between 11-47%, meaning it is likely the final adjustment proposal will be less than the interim 45% reduction and that more R-22 may be produced or imported.

ACCA has been following this issue to provide contractors with the most up-to-date and precise information available. We will continue to monitor the allocation adjustment rulemaking process and alert members of any progress or actions taken by EPA.

The EPA has the following advice for homeowners and customers:

Alternatives to R-22 in Residential Air Conditioning

As R-22 is gradually phased out, non-ozone-depleting alternative refrigerants are being introduced. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA reviews alternatives to ozone-depleting substances to evaluate their effects on human health and the environment. EPA has reviewed several alternatives to R-22 for household and light commercial air conditioning and has compiled a list of substitutes that EPA has determined are acceptable. One of these substitutes is R-410A, a blend of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that does not contribute to depletion of the ozone layer, but, like R-22, contributes to global warming. R-410A is manufactured and sold under various trade names, including GENETRON AZ-20®, SUVA 410A®, Forane® 410A, and Puron®. An additional refrigerant on the list of acceptable substitutes for R-22 in residential air conditioners and other products is R-407C. Residential air conditioners and heat pumps using R-407C are not available in the U.S., but are commonly found in Europe. EPA will continue to review new non-ozone-depleting refrigerants as they are developed.

Servicing existing units

Existing units using R-22 can continue to be serviced with R-22. There is no EPA requirement to change or convert R-22 units for use with a non-ozone-depleting substitute refrigerant. Such changes, called “retrofits,” are allowed if the alternative has been found acceptable for that type of use. R-407C is allowed for retrofits but R-410A is not allowed in retrofits due to its higher working pressures. In addition, the new substitute refrigerants would not work well without making some changes to system components. As a result, service technicians who repair leaks to the system will most often continue to charge R-22 into the system as part of that repair.

Installing new units

The transition away from ozone-depleting R-22 to systems that rely on replacement refrigerants like R-410A has required redesign of heat pump and air conditioning systems. New systems incorporate compressors and other components specifically designed for use with specific replacement refrigerants. For instance, if a new outdoor unit (typically called a “condensing unit,” containing the condenser and compressor) is installed, it is likely that a new indoor unit (typically called an “evaporator”) will also be required. With these significant product and production process changes, testing and training must also change. Consumers should be aware that dealers of systems that use substitute refrigerants should be schooled in installation and service techniques required for use of that substitute refrigerant.”

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