Kool Breeze of Northwest Florida, Inc. Blog : Archive for January, 2015

A Few of the Advantages of Ductless Heating

Friday, January 30th, 2015 by Tom Vatter

Ductless heaters have often been used in areas where any kind of centralized heating is either too expensive or not physically viable. They are favored by apartments and other smaller living areas because they do not rely on ducts, making them only able to heat the rooms in which they are installed. This may seem like a disadvantage when compared to the reach of central forced air systems. However, there are a number of reasons to prefer ductless heating, even in a larger living space. Let’s take a look at a few of the advantages of ductless heating.

Energy Efficiency

Centralized forced air heating systems are actually incredibly inefficient when it comes to transporting heat across the house. Ducts are extremely fragile systems, prone to leaks of all kinds from various causes. This causes a staggering amount of heat to be lost every time the heater turns on. The US Department of Energy has estimated that as much as 30% of a forced air system’s heat is lost to duct leaks every time it’s turned on.

Ductless heating systems don’t have to worry about any of this, because they deliver heat directly into the room. They are also not combustion based systems, which means they don’t have to burn any sort of fuel to create heat. Instead, they siphon thermal energy from the air outside and bring it into the room. This makes ductless heating systems quite a bit cheaper to operate than a lot of other systems.

Versatility

Centralized heating is also not very sensitive to the individual needs of a home’s occupants. Most of the time, a central heating system has two states: on and off. It does not account for varying temperature levels in various rooms, only for the immediate area around the thermostat. This “one size fits all” solution can lead to hot and cold spots throughout the house, as well as wasting energy on rooms that don’t need heating.

Ductless heating systems avoid this problem by only having one room to worry about. If you have a ductless heating system installed in each room, you have the option to not only set a different temperature for each but to only heat the rooms that are occupied at the moment. This saves you quite a bit of money.

If you’d like to know more, call Kool Breeze. We offer professional heating services in the Fort Walton Beach area.

Warning Noises from Your Furnace: A Guide

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 by Tom Vatter

Furnaces are notorious for making strange noises during operation, particularly after years of use. While not all of these sounds indicate a major issue, you should call a professional anytime you hear something unusual coming from your furnace. Let’s take a look at some of the more common warning noises that can come from your furnace, and what problems they can indicate.

Grinding

A grinding noise coming from your furnace indicates that the bearings in your air handler motor are wearing down. The air handler is the section of your furnace responsible for the circulation of warm air throughout your house. The air handler motor is what turns the fan and keeps the air circulating. Inside the motor is a group of bearings, designed to lubricate the motor and keep it running smoothly. Over time, however, the bearings can lose their lubrication. This actually increases the resistance on the motor, causing it to eventually overheat and burn out. If you hear grinding coming from your furnace, you should call a professional immediately before you have to replace the motor.

Squealing

Squealing coming from your furnace is also often located in your furnace’s air handler. The motor is connected to the fan by a rubber loop, called a “fan belt.” This belt is responsible for the transfer of motion that makes the air handler fan turn. Over time, the fan belt stretches and cracks, creating more friction between the various parts of the air handler. That is what creates the loud squealing noise that you can hear when your furnace starts. If not treated right away, the fan belt will break and render the air handler unable to operate.

Banging

A banging noise can actually have a couple of different causes. It could be your ducts expanding and contracting from the hot air running through them, which isn’t a big deal. It could also be due to part of your burner assembly firing late, due to carbon build up on the burner itself. That is a big deal, and needs to be treated. You’ll need to call a professional to confirm the source, one way or the other.

To schedule an appointment or if you’d like to know more about our heating repair options in Navarre, call Kool Breeze today.

Heating Installation: Furnaces vs. Heat Pumps

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 by Tom Vatter

If you have a working set of ducts installed in your home, you generally have two choices available when it comes to heating installation in Pensacola Beach: a furnace or a heat pump. Most central heating systems in the U.S. are furnaces, consisting of a combustion chamber, a filter, a blower, and a venting system, and installed in a closed space like an attic or closet, or in a garage or basement. A heat pump is actually a heating and air conditioning system that contains an outdoor component and an indoor air handler, just like a traditional air conditioner.

Which system is best for your home? We’ll go over both heat pumps and air conditioners in today’s post, but be sure to contact a professional to determine which type, size, and model of unit is best suited for your heating needs.

Furnace

Furnaces are popular because of the generally low cost of installation as well as reliability. And if you’re skeptical of what a furnace can do for you because you’ve owned a poor-performing furnace in the past, then you may be missing out on an opportunity to get a new highly efficient updated model. Today’s furnaces are more efficient than ever, providing homeowners with a range of options to choose from including those with very high efficiency and performance ratings and advanced safety features.

Heat Pump

A heat pump uses refrigeration technology to move heat from one area to another, as the chemical blend can easily convert from a liquid to a gas and back again to absorb and dissipate heat. In the cooler weather heat is absorbed from the outside air to move indoors. This is cost-effective because it is more efficient for a system to move heat around than to generate heat.

It is often wise to get a heat pump if you need a new air conditioning and heating system. However, if you are only replacing an older furnace, a heat pump may not be your best bet. A heat pump replaces an air conditioning system, and it can come out to quite an expense if you replace a nearly new AC unit.

Call Kool Breeze for an honest assessment of your heating needs and to schedule new heating installation in Pensacola Beach.

Heat Pumps vs. Furnaces: The Pros and Cons

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 by Tom Vatter

Heat pumps are quickly rising in prominence across the country, though they haven’t quite caught up to furnaces in terms of sheer numbers. With so many homeowners becoming aware of heat pumps for the first time, however, there are a lot of questions regarding which system would work best in which environment. Here, we’re going to try to answer some of those questions. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both heat pumps and furnaces.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are a unique type of home heating system, in that they don’t rely on combustion to produce heat. Instead of burning fuel, heat pumps move heat from one place to the other. This is accomplished through the heat pump’s main components: the indoor unit and the outdoor unit.

When the heat is turned on, the outdoor unit evaporates refrigerant in a coil located inside its casing. The gaseous refrigerant draws thermal energy out of the surrounding air before carrying it down the refrigerant line to the indoor unit. The indoor unit then condenses the gas back into a liquid, releasing the thermal energy so that it can be used to heat the home.

Heat pumps are remarkably energy efficient, as they do not burn fuel to heat a home. They rely only on electricity and ambient thermal energy to operate. If you want to save money on heating bills, a heat pump is a good choice.

Unfortunately, the heat pump’s reliance on thermal energy in the air can also be problematic. In climates that frequently reach freezing temperatures, there often isn’t enough thermal energy for the heat pump to effectively heat the home.

Furnaces

Furnaces are combustion-based systems. That is, they burn some type of fuel in order to produce heat for distribution. They are widely popular across the country, mostly because they are relatively cheap and easy to repair or replace. Natural gas, which is the most popular furnace fuel type, produces a high amount of heat compared to the amount burned. This makes furnaces quite effective in heating a home.

Furnaces are not the most cost-efficient heating systems, however. The average furnace loses a lot of heat to things like duct leaks, and even natural gas furnaces cannot compete with things like heat pumps when it comes to energy efficient heating.

If you’d like to know more, call Kool Breeze. We offer professionally install furnaces in the Fort Walton Beach area.

12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

Thursday, January 1st, 2015 by Tom Vatter

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at Kool Breeze hope you have a great start to the year and a, uhm, fruitful 2015.