IERNA's Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Hillsborough County’

Top 4 Upgrades for Your Tampa 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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Tampa Air Conditioning FAQs: How Do I Determine the Cooling Capacity of My Central AC or Heat Pump System?

Monday, July 9th, 2012

For any type of air conditioning system in Tampa, the cooling capacity is measured in BTU’s. This is important to know if the system doesn’t seem to be adequately cooking your home, and there are many different ways to check the cooling capacity of your AC system.

1. Air Conditioning System’s Age and Serial Numbers

An air conditioner’s age will usually give you a general idea for its cooling capacity, and if you aren’t sure, you can always check the serial number. Because serial number formats vary by the year the equipment was made, you can check to see how old an air conditioner is from looking at the serial number.

The first four digits of every serial number is the week and year the unit was manufactured.  For example, the serial# 1188E53294 on a compressor unit tells us that it was made between 1980 and 1990, and to be more exact, week 11 in 1988.

2. Air Conditioner’s Model Number

You should also look at the model number for your specific model because some manufacturers also vary how they assign each number in the serial number; however, they usually stand for tonnage or MBTUH. You can always call us if you aren’t sure how to read the serial number or model number.

3. AC Equipment’s RLA Numbers

RLA stands for “Rated Load Amps,” which means that it’s the manufacturer’s rate of the cooling capacity (also known as the draw) or load while it’s operating (minus the draw when you start the system). Most air conditioning compressor or condenser units will draw 5 to 6 RLA per ton of cooling capacity. You can check the data tag on the compressor for the RLA rating; however, this will need to be translated into BTUH for the total cooling capacity.

Feel free to call one of the Tampa air conditioning experts at Ierna’s Heating & Cooling if you have any questions how to calculate your AC system’s cooling capacity.

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Air Conditioning Tip: Why Replace Your Indoor and Outdoor AC Components

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Do you need to replace one of the main components of your split AC system in Tampa? If so, you are probably tempted to just replace whichever unit is failing in order to fix the problem quickly and cheaply. This is not always the best way to go, however. Here are six reasons why you should replace both the indoor and outdoor units at the same time.

  • Cost

Although replacing just the failing component – whether indoor or outdoor – will be less expensive up front, that choice often proves more costly overall. You will see just what that means in the rest of these reasons.

  • Advances in design

Heating and cooling technology is always advancing, so since you purchased your AC system, the products on the market have gotten quieter, more efficient and better overall. By replacing just the failing indoor component, you won’t reap all the benefits of this new technology, as the older outdoor component will still lag behind the times.

  • Higher efficiency

When both units are replaced at the same time, and with models that have the same technology, they work together more efficiently. That means more savings on your bills and a more comfortable home.

  • Matched system

Split AC systems are designed such that the indoor units are engineered to work best with a matching outdoor unit. When the system is matched, you get optimum performance and efficiency. By replacing just one component, you lose the benefits of that matching, meaning degraded efficiency and performance.

  • Warranty considerations

A new system means new warranty coverage. Replacing both units at once means a whole new warranty that covers your whole cooling system, so you won’t have to worry about paying for any more replacements jobs for a long time.

  • Wear and tear

Finally, think about the wear and tear your Tampa air conditioning system has undergone since it was installed. Maybe only your outdoor unit needs to be replaced now, but since your indoor unit has tolerated the same number of hours of use, it may be on its way out sooner than later. It’s like when you buy new tires for your car– you don’t buy one or two, you buy a whole set of four so that the whole system starts fresh. That way you only do it once, and not again in six months or a year.

For all these reasons, replacing both components of a split system is often the best and least expensive route to choose when facing a replacement. For more information about air conditioning system installation in Tampa, give Ierna’s Heating & Cooling a call today!

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AC Repair Tip: Icing Problems on Air Conditioner Cooling Coils

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Air conditioning cooling coil icing problems can arise for a couple of reasons: either the air filter has not been properly replaced, or there is a condensing coil leak.  It is best to check and test the easiest problem first and then move on from there.

It is important to replace air conditioning filters as often as is recommended by the manufacturer.  A common result of not replacing filters frequently enough is a buildup of dust and dirt on the filter, which causes reduced air flow throughout the air conditioning unit.  With reduced air flow, the evaporator coil or cooling coil within the air handler can become blocked by ice or frost build-up.  Having cooling coil icing can significantly reduce or completely stop the amount of cool air being produced by an air conditioning unit.

Easy steps to diagnose and resolve air conditioning cooling coil icing problems:

  • Visually inspect the air conditioning cooling coils to check whether reduced air flow has been caused by cooling coil icing.  If ice or frost is found on the coils, thus blocking air-flow, proceed with the next step.
  • Turn off the air conditioning system completely to allow ice to evaporate, the unit will have to remain off until all ice is completely melted and drained away from the unit
  • Unclog the condensate drain to ensure proper drainage of melting ice
  • Replace all dirty filters on the air conditioning unit
  • Once the a/c unit is de-iced and has fresh filters, it is safe to turn the system back on, to test whether the icy build-up happens again

If after completing these steps, when the air conditioning unit is turned back on the cooling coils do not ice-up, the unit runs normally and cool air runs smoothly through the system, congratulations!  That do-it-yourself attitude paid off; the problem has been fixed!

If after completing these steps, when the air conditioning unit is turned back on cooling coil icing happens again, this could mean one of two things.  Either too little of the refrigerant is being released into the cooling coil due to a clogged capillary tube or a stuck thermostatic expansion valve.  Or the refrigerant charge is too low due to a refrigerant leak.  A refrigerant leak can happen at any point in the refrigerant piping system which would then need to be soldered and resealed, or it can happen in the cooling coil or condensing coil which could mean the entire coil needs to be replaced.  Fixing of refrigerant leaks should be handled by a Tampa HVAC professional.  Contact  Ierna’s Heating & Cooling so we can identify the air conditioner cooling coil icing problem and execute the proper solution.

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Air Conditioning Tips: Cleaning Your AC Condenser

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Keeping your Tampa air conditioning unit clean can help to maintain efficiency levels and prevent repair needs. It can also help the system last longer and improve indoor air quality. Because the condenser is part of the outside unit, it’s constantly exposed to outside dust, dirt, and yard debris; therefore, it is very important that you take the time to have a tech thoroughly clean the condenser coil and fan. Remember, before anyone cleans any part of your AC system, always turn off all the power to the unit.

If you aren’t sure how to locate the condenser, feel free to call Ierna’s Heating & Cooling, and we can tell you where to find it and provide a few cleaning tips. In general, you tech can clean the air conditioning condenser unit in three, easy-to-follow steps, which are outlined below:

  1. They will always start by ensuring that there’s nothing blocking the airflow to the unit. They may have to trim low braches or prune back bushes that are obstructing the airflow. They will clear away any dead grass clippings, or weeds that have grown up around the unit.
  2. Once the unit is free of debris and dirt, they will clean the condenser with a professional coil cleaner, which should come with instructions on how much to use and where to apply the cleaner. Although some contractors recommend washing down the entire outside unit with a garden hose, you have to be very careful not to bend the fins. It’s best to use a specialized condenser cleaner and let it air dry.
  3. To clean the fins, your tech will use a dry, soft brush to remove dust and dirt. They can straighten bent fins with a fin comb.

When your AC is not in use, keep it covered with the condenser cover that came with your air conditioning system. If you don’t have a cover that fits properly, call one of our Tampa air conditioning experts to help you find a replacement cover or one that will fit your particular model. Don’t use anything that could come off easily in inclement weather. Covering your AC unit in the winter will help prevent damage or corrosion.

Call Ierna’s Heating & Cooling today to schedule a maintenance visit!

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AC Guide: Components of An Air Conditioning System

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Our Tampa air conditioning system is a modern convenience that we can easily take for granted as long as all the parts are working well.  In every unit, no matter the size, the basic process is one of extracting heat from the conditioned space and moving it to the outside, leaving cool air in its place.

This process easily divides into indoor and outdoor components.

Air Conditioning 101

Based on the principal of thermal energy which states that heat gravitates toward cooler temperatures, compounds known as refrigerants are moved through a closed loop system, repeatedly contracting and expanding between liquid and gas forms, alternately releasing and absorbing heat along the way.  The particular chemicals are selected for their abilities to transform from one state to the other at low temperatures.

While the refrigerant evaporates into a gaseous state within the looped system, it absorbs heat, removing the stale air from the space being conditioned and evacuating it to the outdoors. The warm air is pulled through ducts to meet with the cooling loop.

Ductwork

The cooled air is distributed through ducts or tubing and released into individual spaces.  Additional ductwork is required to remove the stale air and pull it back to be reconditioned as it passes over the loop containing the refrigerant.  The air is moved in both directions by a blower, usually electric and sized to handle the amount of air no matter the building.

Ductwork is also sized to handle appropriate volumes of air. To maintain efficiency, large trunks distribute along central lines to smaller ones reaching farther out. The return air is usually taken from common areas.

The grates are found in the walls, floors and often as part of the dropped ceiling. When combined with a forced air heating system, the total energy use is much more efficient.

Looped Coils

The refrigerant is enclosed in a loop where it can expand and contract to make its transformation from gas to liquid and back again.  To change into a heat-absorbing gas, it travels through the evaporating coils, an intricate series of delicate fins that meets with the ductwork to regenerate the conditioned air.

An exchange valve allows just the right amount of liquid refrigerant into the evaporator coils.  If there is too much, the tube is flooded too tightly to allow expansion of the molecules and room to attract the heat.  If too little, the process is inefficient.

AC Maintenance

When set up and maintained on a regular basis, the system functions with little attention and over sight.  To set up a maintenance appointment for your Tampa air conditioning system, give Ierna’s Heating & Cooling a call!

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