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Is a Heat Pump or a Furnace Right for Your Home?

Is a Heat Pump or a Furnace Right for Your Home?

Manatee County, Florida, is known for its sun and sand, but the area can get downright chilly in the winter. You can beat the winter chill with a heating system, but first you need to know what type of system to install in your home. Take a look at the differences between heat pumps and furnaces, and decide which heating system is right for your home.

Heating Method

Heating systems use a variety of different methods to keep you comfortable in the winter. Furnaces work by heating the air in your home. Once they create that warm air, furnaces push it through the vents to boost the temperature throughout your home. If you want to feel more intense heat in the winter, a furnace might be the right choice.

Instead of generating hot air, heat pumps transfer heat from outside into your home. In Florida, there’s always some heat in the outdoor air, even if it feels chilly to you. This heating method increases the temperature in your home, making it feel cozy and warm. If you prefer to feel milder warmth in your home, a heat pump could be a smart choice.

Power Source

To heat your home with these distinct methods, furnaces and heat pumps require different power sources. Heat pumps use electricity to move hot air into your home, while furnaces can use gas or heating oil to generate heat.

While one type of energy isn’t necessarily better than the others, each one comes with a different price tag and convenience level. If your home only has one type of hookup, for example, it might be easiest and most cost-effective to install a heating system with complementary energy needs.

Energy Efficiency

When it comes to energy consumption, not all heating systems are created equal. In general, heat pumps are significantly more energy-efficient than furnaces. To keep your utility bill as low as possible, look for an Energy Star-certified heat pump with a heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) of 8.5 or higher. At Aqua Plumbing and Air, we offer models with HSPF ratings of up to 13, which are some of the most energy-efficient heat pumps on the market.

If you’re considering a furnace for your Florida home, be sure to choose one with an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating of 90 percent or higher. Our gas furnaces have AFUE ratings of up to 98.5 percent, which means they waste very little energy.

Ductwork Needs

All furnaces require ductwork to force hot air throughout your home, which means you’ll need to budget for periodic duct cleaning and sealing. Not all heat pumps need ductwork, though. In fact, some ductless heat pumps, known as mini-split systems, don’t need ductwork at all.

These systems have an indoor and an outdoor unit connected by a small conduit that runs through your home’s exterior wall. They’re highly efficient and easy to install, and they can keep your home warm without the hassle or expense of installing or maintaining ductwork.

Convenience

Both heat pumps and furnaces offer convenience, albeit in very different ways. Heat pumps have the ability to heat and cool your home, offering an all-in-one solution for year-round climate control. Keep in mind, however, that when temperatures get extreme, heat pumps lose efficiency when temperatures drop to freezing and below. 

Furnaces only provide heating for your home, but they work seamlessly with air conditioners, which offer forced-air cooling. If you’re looking for a system that can tackle extreme temperatures and keep you comfortable in any season, consider a furnace for the winter and an air conditioner for the summer.

Expected Lifespan

The average heat pump lasts for 10 to 15 years, while furnaces typically last for 15 to 20 years. Since heat pumps provide year-round climate control, they tend to have shorter lifespans. No matter which heating system you choose, remember to schedule preventive maintenance to keep it running smoothly and to extend its lifespan as much as possible.

Whether you’re in the market for a heat pump or a furnace, we have Manatee County’s best selection. Call Aqua Plumbing and Air to learn more about our heating systems today: (941) 306-3715.

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Do Houses in Florida Have Furnaces? We Asked Aqua in Sarasota, FL

Many people in other states wonder if houses in Florida have furnaces. Most Florida homes do have a heating unit of some kind, particularly homes that are located in the top half of the state. Winter temperatures in the upper half of the state may drop into the 20s during the winter months. In Sarasota, FL, however, many homeowners opt for heat pumps for keeping their homes warm during the chill of winter. In fact, heat pumps will also operate in reverse to cool the home during the summer.

Some older homes may still have furnaces powered by kerosene or natural gas while other Sarasota, FL Homes might even have furnaces powered by electricity.

Heat Pumps in Sarasota, FL

One reason that Florida homeowners choose heat pumps to heat their homes is energy efficiency. Heat pumps extract heat from the ground or external air and pump the heat into the home. Heat pumps operate like central air conditioning units, only in reverse. Where central air conditioners pump hot air out of the home, the heat pump transfers heat into the home.

Heat pumps are not a new technology. These heating units have been around for several years. However, heat pumps are most effective for homes in climates where the temperatures remain above 52 degrees. Even in Sarasota, temperatures during the winter will dip below 52 degrees. For cooler climates, heat pumps are usually supplemented with an additional heating source.

Air Source versus Ground Source Heat Pumps

Heat pumps generally operate in one of two ways: Heat pumps may extract heat from the ground or the air outside the home. Because the ground, as well as the air, during the winter contains a certain amount of heat, the heat pump capitalizes on this heat and transfers the heat into the home to warm the home to a comfortable level. Though air source and ground source utilize different technologies to heat the home, both types of heating units are energy efficient.

Furnaces in Sarasota

A traditional furnace is another option for heating your Sarasota, FL home. Furnaces in Sarasota, FL may be powered by electricity, natural gas, propane or kerosene. However, a furnace simply heats the home and does not provide cooling in the summer, as with heat pumps. A furnace is generally less energy efficient than a heat pump, as well. However, because an older Sarasota home may have a furnace, the homeowner may choose to rely on the furnace for several years rather than replacing the unit for a more energy efficient option.

Heating System Maintenance

The central air conditioning unit In Sarasota, FL homes will be utilized far more than the heating unit. However, residents in Sarasota will still need to maintain their heating unit, whether the home has a heat pump or a furnace. Because the heating unit may be overlooked, you should remember that your heating system needs maintenance just as your central air conditioner should be maintained.

Heating System Installation

As furnaces in Sarasota, FL age, they tend to become less reliable and use more energy to heat the home. At some point, you may be faced with replacing your furnace with another heating unit. When you need to replace your furnace, consider a more energy efficient heat pump that will heat your home during the winter while saving you in energy costs to operate the system. The heat pump will also work to cool your home during the hot Florida summer.

Aqua Plumbing and Air is a contractor in Sarasota that will provide heating system repair and maintenance. In addition, should you decide to replace your furnace with an energy efficient heat pump, the company provides competitive estimates for heating system installation. In addition, the company provides electrical and plumbing services. No need to call several different contractors for different jobs. Aqua Pluming and Air is one company that does it all.

Some Examples of the Services provided by Aqua Plumbing and Air

Electrical Systems

Aqua Plumbing and Air can handle all of your electrical system needs. From installation of ceiling fans to installation of home theater systems, we will handle it all. Our electrical specialists will upgrade switches, install extra outlets or rewire your entire home. We handle all types and sizes of electrical jobs.

Lighting Installations

Do you have vision for outdoor lighting? We will meet with you to understand your vision and create the outdoor lighting effects that you visualize. We will also install indoor lighting systems or will upgrade your existing lighting schema to a more energy efficient system. Add track lighting or give your kitchen and bathroom lighting upgrades.

Plumbing

For plumbing services for residential and commercial customers; our plumbing technicians are professional, knowledgeable and able to handle any plumbing job for your home, office or commercial building.

Call us when you need plumbing, electrical or HVAC services in the Sarasota area. We will provide you with a free written estimate and our rates are very competitive. We offer excellent workmanship and we only use the highest quality materials and products for every job. We place a high priority on customer’s satisfaction and we will work hard to exceed your expectations on every job. Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our HVAC, electrical or plumbing specialists. Aqua Plumbing and Air is your one-stop shop for all of your contracting needs.

Written by , President of Aqua Plumbing & Air

Latest Trends in New Furnace Installation in Sarasota, FL

At Aqua Plumbing & Air, you’ll find we’re on top of the latest trends in furnace installation in Sarasota, FL. With technology constantly advancing and an eco-conscious world, it’s essential we offer furnaces with advanced features and energy savings in Sarasota, FL. Our furnaces are top brand with revolutionary features to bring our valued customers the best on the market. We’ve also got the expert technicians to do a professional furnace installation in Sarasota, FL. 

Continue Reading Latest Trends in New Furnace Installation in Sarasota, FL

Why Your Next HVAC System Should Be Energy Efficient

Why Your Next HVAC System Should Be Energy Efficient

HVAC systems are the biggest energy hogs for most homes in Sarasota, FL — half of the total energy costs go into house cooling or heating. This is why you should consider installing a new energy-efficient HVAC system that can cool or heat the whole house evenly. Below are some essential benefits that you are likely to reap by installing an energy-efficient HVAC system for your home.

Reduced Carbon Emissions

Most modern HVAC systems are designed and built with environmental impact in mind. The systems are made to be eco-friendly through the use of new technologies, unlike the older HVAC systems that made little effort to reduce their carbon footprint. By choosing to upgrade your HVAC system to a newer version, you’re doing your part to improve and protect the environment.

Flawless and Silent Air Conditioning

As professionals in the installation and repair of HVAC systems, one of the most common issues that we’re called upon to fix is noisy and mostly faulty HVAC systems. Due to prolonged use, the cooling and heating systems of your house may develop leakages, or some parts may cease functioning as they are supposed to.

An old HVAC system is bound to fail or develop technical issues. When this happens, it is wise to install a new system rather than continue putting money into repairing an old system.

Total Control in Your Hands

Modern, energy-efficient models of HVAC systems place you in the driver’s seat to control your indoor temperatures. Equipped with programmable thermostats and other smart technology, most of the latest HVAC models come with the added advantage of being in total control of the climate in your home.

For your convenience, manufacturers have equipped the new models with remote control capabilities via a mobile device application. These apps, which are frequently updated to the latest version, have a user interface that controls the HVAC system. This smart technology enables you to turn your air conditioning units on and off remotely on your smartphone via an internet connection.

Save Money

More efficient HVAC systems do not need to run as frequently as the older models. You can significantly reduce your utility bill through the proper installation of energy-efficient HVAC units.

To keep up with your temperature needs, older models generally need more running time, which translates to hefty electricity bills. Save on these bills by upgrading to the latest models of air-conditioning units in Sarasota, FL.

Increase Your Home’s Value

The National Association of Realtors recommends that homeowners seeking to increase the value of their homes upgrade their existing systems or install the new models of air conditioning units. Replacing the old models can increase the value of your home by as much as 12%.

What Makes an HVAC System Energy-Efficient?

You can tell how efficient your HVAC system is by checking on the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of your furnace and air conditioner, respectively. Unlike room air conditioners, central air conditioners heat the whole house evenly.

Despite the higher initial investment, central air conditioners use less energy. Newer models come equipped with variable speed blowers that help deal with humidity levels in the house. Tackling humidity translates to better temperature control.

Modern heat pumps, also use two-stage condensers, which works similarly to the variable-speed blower. These two technologies only come up when high energy is needed and helps to keep electricity consumption low. Both help the temperature in your home to remain at a steady level.

Proper Sizing and Installation

To maximize the unit’s efficiency, you must get the correct size for your home. As much as new models of HVAC systems can be very energy efficient and can reduce utility bills, it is vital that they are correctly installed to give you the best value and comfort. It is, therefore, necessary that you get the right experts to install your new HVAC systems.

At Aqua Plumbing & Air, we specialize in the installation, replacement and repair of air conditioning systems. Give us a call to speak with one of our professionals regarding your needs.

Image provided by iStock

A Guide to Perfecting Your Indoor Air Quality

A Guide to Perfecting Your Indoor Air Quality

Originally published in July 2017, updated May 2019.

According to studies by the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends approximately 90 percent of their life indoors. While this statistic probably wants to make you go outside and soak up some sun, it has far-reaching consequences in other areas of your life, especially your health. Because you spend so much time indoors, you want your indoor air quality to remain as clean as possible. Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you think. If you’re searching for ways to perfect the indoor air quality in your Lakewood Ranch, Florida, home, here’s a handy guide to get you started.

Go from Artificial to Natural

There are hundreds of air fresheners available on the market that claim to make your home smell great or clean better than any substitute. While these claims aren’t unsubstantiated, they fill your home with volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Humans and animals have many adverse side effects from inhaling VOCs such as eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, and damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system.

To avoid VOCs in your home, there are many proven methods. Instead of using air fresheners, you can heat lemon or cinnamon to emit a wonderful aroma in your home. You can also use essential oils, which not only have a pleasant smell, but also have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. The most common types of include eucalyptus, thyme, peppermint, and lavender.

If you use harsh cleaners in the bathroom or kitchen, try using baking soda, vinegar, or lemon juice mixed with water. These clean just as effectively as other chemicals while keeping your air quality normal. Additionally, you can use a water and vinegar solution to mop the floor effectively. In the laundry room, avoid using traditional detergents and dryer sheets, especially products with fragrances. When used, these laundry products spew a number of chemicals into the home, and few are expelled through the dryer vent. Instead, look for natural or fragrance-free products, or if you have the drive, make your own using borax, washing soda, grated bar soap, and essential oils to provide an aroma.

Keep Ducts and Filter Clean to Improve Indoor Air Quality

When you use the furnace or air conditioner, forced air goes through a filter and into the ductwork before it enters your home. However, dirty filters and ducts spew contaminants into your home, causing your air quality to falter. To make matters worse, this condition also causes your HVAC system to work even harder to produce the same results as a clean system.

To counteract this scenario, it’s important to change your air filter at least once every 90 days. In seasons where you use your HVAC system more frequently, you should increase this frequency to once every 30 to 60 days. Filters also come in a number of qualities, ranging from coarse to fine, and also known as a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). The higher the MERV rating of your air filter, the more effective it is at keeping debris out of your home.

It is important that you use the appropriate MERV-rated filter as recommended by your HVAC manufacturer. A filter that is rated too high will make it difficult for your system to pull in air, causing it to work harder and possibly damaging the system. Typically, HEPA filters are used in hospital and other medical facilities. HEPA filters in vacuum cleaners are very effective at catching and containing a multitude of minute particles that escape a typical HVAC filter. Although your system cannot use a HEPA filter, read below for information about air purifiers that can be added to your HVAC system.

While this does a ton to prevent dust from entering the system, it isn’t 100 percent effective. Over time, debris accumulates in your air ducts. You can use a brush to clean the excess dust from your air registers, but to do a thorough cleaning, you’ll need to enlist our help. When you schedule a duct cleaning, one of our certified HVAC technicians will come out and ensure they’re just as clean as the day they were installed. It’s just another way that we’re committed to improving your air quality.

Install Indoor Air Quality Products

Another way to clean your air is a more hands-off approach. By installing an indoor air quality device, you only need to install them and let them do the rest of the work. The first device is an air purifier, which differs slightly from an air cleaner. Both trap dust from entering your HVAC system, but an air purifier sanitizes the air as it passes through the system. Often, air purifiers utilize a UV lamp, which kills hazardous organic material such as bacteria, viruses, and mold. UV lamps themselves do nothing to prevent pet dander and dust from entering the house, but when used in conjunction with an air cleaner or air filter, they’re highly effective at promoting healthy air.

Most of the year, Florida has high humidity levels which permeate your home. This high humidity encourages the growth of harmful allergens including dust mites and biologic growth. In addition, your air conditioner has to remove the moisture from the air when operating, causing it to work harder and handing you a higher energy bill in the process. However, there is a solution. We specialize in the installation of whole-home dehumidifiers. With a dehumidifier, you don’t have to worry about your air conditioner carrying the workload. Plus, you can breathe easier, sleep more comfortably, and enjoy better indoor air quality thanks to a proper indoor relative humidity.

Get an HVAC Tuneup

Sometimes you don’t have the expertise to improve your air quality because there are technical aspects that you don’t have the training or knowledge to understand. One of those aspects is an HVAC tuneup. Even if you keep up with filter replacement, or you decide to install extra air quality products, it still isn’t always enough. That’s when an HVAC tuneup comes in handy. Our technicians conduct a thorough investigation of every aspect of your system to ensure it’s running in tip-top shape.

Not only does a tuneup ensure excellent mechanical operation, but it also helps filter out pet dander, dust, and other allergens from the air by ensuring the filter and other aspects are working properly. Systems that use gas or oil may also subject your family to carbon monoxide, which is highly toxic and even lethal if undetected. Ideally, you should schedule this maintenance biannually, but if you tend to forget such things, an HVAC maintenance plan is the best route to take. With an HVAC maintenance plan, you get exclusive benefits from us, as well as a discount on repairs. Not only will you enjoy better air quality, but you’ll also get it at a fraction of the price.

Houseplants Improve Indoor Air Quality

A few decades ago, NASA was finding ways to improve the air quality on space stations. After their research, they found how highly effective houseplants are at improving air quality. In your home, chemicals and other substances such as formaldehyde poison the indoor air. However, many species of plants help filter these substances out of the air, while also emitting fresh oxygen and giving your home a warm, inviting look. Some of the most efficient plants to filter the air include Boston ferns, peace lilies, English ivy, spider plants, aloe vera, and Chinese evergreens. The best part is that you can choose plants to match your style and decor while reaping the benefits at the same time.

Open the Windows

It sounds like a no-brainer, but many homeowners forget how important it is to open the windows and doors every so often. You don’t have to throw them wide open, but even opening them a crack and turning on a fan can help ventilate the home and expel allergens and other pollutants from the home. Unless it’s blistering hot or uncomfortably cold, it’s something you should do at least once a week.

Take the Smoking Outside

If you smoke or you have friends or family members that smoke, don’t let them smoke inside your home. Cigarette smoke has over 4,000 chemicals and an abundance of second-hand smoke which lingers in your home, causes health problems and terrible indoor air quality. Obviously, the best way to stop this from happening is by quitting, but if you still partake, take it outside.

Perfecting your indoor air quality isn’t an arduous process if you know where to start and make a commitment to the entire process. While you can do some of this on your own, you’re going to need the professionals at Aqua Plumbing and Air to deal with the technical end, such as installation and repair. Our expert technicians will provide quality work with a friendly manner that gets you back into your normal routine. Call us today for more information about a system tune-up or indoor air quality products.

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