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4 Carrier Products to Improve Your Home Comfort

4 Carrier Products to Improve Your Home Comfort

If you’re a homeowner in Venice, Florida, optimal indoor comfort is essential. If your heating and cooling system isn’t performing as well as you’d like, it’s time to consider an upgrade. From energy-efficient geothermal heat pumps to high-tech smart thermostats, take a look at four Carrier products to improve your home comfort.

Ductless Systems

If your home has a central air system, you may never have considered investing in a ductless heat pump system. You might be surprised to learn how helpful these systems can be for cooling light-filled sunrooms, new additions to your home, and finished attics or garages.

Like their name, ductless systems don’t require ducts, so they’re remarkably easy to install and won’t require an expensive reworking of your home’s ductwork. Ductless systems also can be very energy-efficient, so you won’t have to budget for a substantial increase in your electric bills.

At Aqua Plumbing & Air, we often recommend investing in a Carrier Infinity 38/40GRQ ductless heat pump, which offers superior energy efficiency and up to seven fan speeds so you can customize the cooling power. This innovative Carrier heat pump can switch to heating mode during the winter months, so you won’t need multiple systems to keep your home comfortable.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

When you really want to take your Venice home’s HVAC system to the next level, it’s time to consider a geothermal heat pump. A geothermal system draws energy from the ground in your backyard, where a network of coils taps into the thermal energy that’s naturally present underground. Geothermal systems are known for being some of the most energy-efficient options on the market, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to sacrifice comfort.

In fact, Carrier’s Performance Geothermal Heat Pump GP works with a variety of geothermal systems and offers both two-stage compression and a variable-speed blower for superior comfort in the winter or summer. With the right upgrade, this type of system can even produce hot water, making a Carrier geothermal pump a multipurpose solution to your most pressing home comfort needs.

Smart Thermostats

Along with an advanced heating and cooling system, you’ll need a high-tech smart thermostat to make sure that your home is always at the right temperature. These innovative devices can perform a range of comfort-related functions, such as allowing you to set an automatic heating and cooling schedule for your home and letting you adjust the temperature settings from your smartphone. That means you could log in and change the settings whether you’re in the living room, at the office or at the beach, which is especially helpful if you’re also concerned about energy efficiency.

A smart device like the Carrier Côr Wi-Fi Thermostat can help you save energy and money while keeping your home at the perfect temperature. You can even take advantage of the thermostat’s smart setback feature, which automatically adjusts temperature settings based on your family’s habits. Pair it with Carrier’s Hybrid Heat package system for seamless indoor comfort no matter the season.

Whole-Home Dehumidifiers

If you’ve lived in the Venice area for long, then you’ve undoubtedly experienced Florida’s hot, sticky summers. Although the humidity can be pleasant outdoors, it doesn’t feel quite as comfortable inside your home. In fact, excess moisture in the air can make your home feel hotter than it really is, which might prompt you to turn down your thermostat, making your air conditioner work overtime.

High humidity levels can also damage carpet and woodwork and cause mold to thrive in your home, but a whole-home dehumidifier can help. Unlike portable dehumidifiers, whole-home models, like the Carrier Performance DEHXX, work with your HVAC system to improve indoor air quality in every room of your home. Not only can a Carrier whole-home dehumidifier improve your comfort level in the summer, but it can also give your air conditioner a break and help it last for years to come.

Whether you’re in the market for a new cooling system, an indoor air quality component, or an easy-to-use smart thermostat, our team can help. Call our HVAC experts at Aqua Plumbing & Air today at 941-306-3715.

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Can Tankless Water Heaters Really Save?

Can Tankless Water Heaters Really Save?

With a tankless water heater, also called a demand-type or instantaneous water heater, you and your family will never have to worry about running out of hot water. These devices heat water directly without a storage tank. They heat water that travels through a pipe to deliver a constant supply. If you need to use a large number of hot water appliances at once, make sure you choose a unit with plenty of capacity for your Lakewood Ranch, Florida, home. The right tankless water heater can lower your utility bills, save energy, conserve space, and help you avoid expensive repairs.

Lower Utility Bills

Since tankless water heaters only work when you turn on your hot water, they use less electricity or gas than standard models, also called storage water heaters. Most of these water heaters have tanks that keep water warm constantly. Even a conventional water heater with good insulation will lose heat energy through the walls of its tank.

Tankless water heaters can cost homeowners up to three times more than traditional models, but the investment is worth it for the additional utility savings. Many models are eligible for a Federal tax credit to help you offset the extra cost. If you choose a tankless water heater that uses electricity, you may need to contact an electrician to upgrade your home’s wiring.

Better Efficiency

Some people take longer showers with a tankless water heater because more hot water is available. You can save more energy and water by taking shorter showers. If you indulge in a long bath or shower occasionally, you won’t increase your energy use much with an efficient tankless water heater. Many people use less energy even when they heat slightly more water than they did with a conventional water heater.

More Free Space

With a tankless water heater, you won’t have to find a place to store the large tank that comes with a conventional water heater. Most tankless models are about the same size as a desktop computer, while a typical tank is about 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

If you choose a tankless water heater, you can use the extra space in your garage, basement, or utility closet for storage or even make a room bigger with some remodeling. A tankless water heater is also a great way to save space in a small home or a condo. Many models will fit underneath a kitchen or bathroom sink. For many homeowners, adding a tankless water heater is the easiest way to increase the capacity of their existing water heater.

Fewer Repairs

A tankless water heater can work efficiently for up to a decade longer than most conventional water heaters, and most parts are easily replaceable. The warranty for a tankless water heater is usually 15 years, while traditional water heaters typically come with a warranty that’s about six years long.

A tankless water heater is better for the environment as well. It uses smaller amounts of energy, and it won’t force you to get rid of a rusty tank. Many models are made from recycled materials. You also won’t need to worry about repairing leaks in your tank, removing sediment or rust that could contaminate your water, or fixing water damage caused by a leak.

Reliable Hot Water

A tankless water heater can provide higher water pressure and more consistent hot water than a conventional unit. Since these heaters are small and easy to install, people usually have them installed near bathrooms and kitchens. That way, your hot water will feel warmer because it won’t have to travel through long pipes before you or your family can use it. You also won’t have to wait as long for your water to get warm, especially if you have a gas tankless water heater.

Aqua Plumbing & Air is a Factory Authorized Carrier Dealer that offers over 40 years of heating, cooling, and plumbing experience. We can help you maintain, install, and repair a variety of HVAC and plumbing equipment, including tankless water heaters. Call us anytime at 941-306-3715 for an excellent value and outstanding help from our expert technicians.

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The Costs of Poor Indoor Air Quality

The Costs of Poor Indoor Air Quality

In many homes and businesses, the air inside is more polluted than the air outside. Poor indoor air quality can make your home less comfortable and reduce your productivity at work.

Inefficiency and sick leave from low indoor air quality cost employers billions of dollars every year. At home, it can shorten your HVAC system’s life and make inconvenient, expensive breakdowns more likely. Poor indoor air quality is more common in winter because people spend more time indoors with the windows and doors closed.

If your Siesta Key, Florida, home’s humidity is too high or too low, you could also have to deal with mold, warped wood floors, walls, or furniture, or dry, cracked wood. The costs of poor indoor air quality also include health problems, unpleasant smells, lots of dust, high utility bills, pests, and warm or drafty areas in your home.

Health Problems

Poor indoor air quality can cause eye irritation, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, skin rashes, sinus problems, nosebleeds, nausea, trouble concentrating, shortness of breath, and many other issues. It can also increase the risk of asthma, infections, and allergies. Many indoor air pollutants, like mold, pollen, pet dander, and dust mites, are allergens, and asthma is a leading cause of hospital stays for children. If your home is full of bacteria and viruses, you and your family will get sick more often as well.

If you have a cold that just won’t go away or other health symptoms that improve when you leave your home, then get worse when you come back, you could have poor indoor air quality. Everyone in your family might have health problems from poor indoor air quality, or only one or two people could get sick.

Children, older adults, and people with existing respiratory problems or other diseases are more likely to have trouble with their health because of poor indoor air quality. Even wearing contact lenses can make eye irritation more likely. You may notice problems after renovating, painting, using pesticides, or repairing water damage or other issues. Pollutants in your home’s indoor air could even make your pets feel bad.

Many air fresheners, paints, glues, and cleaning products contain VOCs or volatile organic compounds, including formaldehyde, toluene, acetone, benzene, and xylene. These chemicals evaporate at room temperature, so they can travel around your home and cause health problems easily. Computers, copy machines, and furniture can also contain VOCs. You can reduce these chemicals in your home or business by using natural cleaning products and air fresheners. You should also store fuel, paints, and other products in a shed or garage and make sure your home has plenty of ventilation.

Unpleasant Smells

Mold often causes a stale, musty smell like dirty socks in your home, along with allergies and other health problems. Since excess moisture often leads to mold growth, a bad smell could be coming from a leaky pipe, a clogged drain, or the high humidity in Florida. A dehumidifier can help you prevent mold and the bad smell that comes with it. It can also make your home feel cooler in summer and help you save money on your utility bills.

A gas leak usually has a smell that resembles rotten eggs. If you notice this smell, you should leave your home immediately and call your gas or utility company. Gas that’s mixed with the air in your home could cause you and your family to suffocate because it pushes the oxygen out of your rooms. Also, an open flame could ignite the gas and cause severe damage.

If you have gas, you should install a carbon monoxide detector to warn you if there’s a gas leak. A bad smell in your home could be barely noticeable at first and then become more intense over time. Since people tend to get used to smells, they may not notice the smell of a gas leak without a carbon monoxide detector. This device can also wake you up if there’s a leak while you’re sleeping.

A burning smell is normal when you turn on your furnace for the first time in winter, but it shouldn’t continue for more than a few minutes. If it lasts longer or you smell exhaust fumes, you could have a wiring problem or trouble with the fan in your heater or air conditioner. To check for bad smells, step outside for a few minutes and then come back inside to check for unusual odors. That way, you can get rid of bad smells before they harm your health.

Lots of Dust

Your HVAC system’s air filter collects dust, dirt, pollen, pet dander, and other indoor air pollutants. If you don’t change your air filter at least every three months, these contaminants will clog it, then spread to your ductwork and the rest of your home. If all your furniture and knickknacks always seem to be covered in a layer of dust, change the air filter.

You should also vacuum and dust often and ask visitors to take off their shoes before they come into your home. That way, no one can track dirt, pollen, or other pollutants into your house. Pet dander is part of the dust in many homes, so you can also reduce contaminants by bathing your pet often or having it groomed by a professional. An air purifier can catch any pollutants that your HVAC system’s air filter misses.

If you still see lots of dust, check your ductwork to see if it needs cleaning. Just remove one of your air registers and look into your ductwork. If you see mold or debris, or if you can wipe away dust or dirt with an old rag or a paper towel, you should have the ducts cleaned and inspected by a professional for leaks that could let pollutants into your HVAC system.

High Utility Bills

In addition to spreading dust through your home, a dirty air filter, leaks in your ductwork, or a clogged duct can force your HVAC system to work harder, wasting energy and money and shortening its life. Dirt, dust, mold and other pollutants can also damage the delicate parts of your heater and air conditioner. This makes your home less comfortable and your HVAC system less efficient. If you don’t improve your home’s indoor air quality and protect your heating and air conditioning system, you could have to pay for expensive repairs or even replace your system.

Also, high humidity in summer can make you feel hot and stuffy, and dry air in winter makes many people feel cold. With the right humidity levels, you won’t need to use your heating or air conditioning as much.

Pests

Excess moisture, dust, and other pollutants in homes attract silverfish, dust mites, mice, rats, roaches, and many other pests. Many people are allergic to them, and they can eat food, insulation, clothing, and more. If you hear scurrying sounds in your ductwork, have your system checked by a professional. If you have dust mites, wash your furniture and bedding often and use an air purifier to help remove these pests. Also, take out your trash every day so that it won’t attract more unwanted visitors.

Warm or Drafty Areas in Your Home

If your ductwork has leaks or if you have dirty ductwork or a dirty air filter, you could notice uncomfortable warm or drafty areas in your home. Without good airflow through your ductwork and your air registers, the rooms that are farthest from your indoor HVAC unit could feel hot in summer or cold in winter. If a few of your home’s rooms always seem too hot or too cold, have your system checked by a professional.

You could also need additional insulation in the rooms that feel uncomfortable. Small gaps in windows and underneath doors can let pollen and other outdoor pollutants into your home along with air that’s too warm or too cool.

Aqua Plumbing & Air has more than 40 years of experience, and we’re a Factory Authorized Carrier Dealer. We can help you install, maintain, and repair a variety of HVAC equipment and improve your home’s indoor air quality. Call us at 941-306-3715 for excellent service.

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Pipe Cleaning and the Techniques Used to Remedy Clogged Plumbing

Pipe Cleaning and the Techniques Used to Remedy Clogged Plumbing

This plumbing article was originally published October 16, 2013.

Today’s pipe cleaning methods address the traditional causes of drain clogs with new technology. Plumbing in houses more than 25 years old may be prone to blockages which are, at the same time, harder to clear without damaging the pipes. Traditional measures such as using a large-gauge snake can over-stress older plumbing and cause leaks that make even more extensive repair procedures necessary. What’s worse, while these old-school methods may punch a hole in a blockage and provide a short-term correction, the conditions inside the pipe that promote blockages in the first place often remain unchanged. The inevitable recurrent clogged plumbing eventually leave major dismantling or excavation as the last option.

Advances in pipe cleaning technology including power-rodding and hydro-jetting have added important options to your plumber’s weapons against slow or clogged drains. These alternatives require the services of a professional plumber who’s invested in this specialized equipment and the training to use it correctly.

How Blockages Happen

Usually, it’s not the last solid object that swirls down the drain that causes a clog. The fact is, the clog that’s causing the headache today actually began long ago with the gradual accumulation of sludge on the inside of the pipe, slowly constricting its internal diameter and restricting free flow of water. Sludge is a sticky concoction of soap scum, grease, hair, food particles and even the dissolved minerals in the water. Once a layer of sludge forms, more sludge tends to accumulate in that segment of the pipe, increasingly narrowing the size of the pipe until only a small channel allows free flow of water. At that point, any minor bit of solid matter flushed down the drain may instigate a total blockage.

When a common drain snake, such as those sometimes used by do-it-yourselfers, drills a hole in the clog or pushes it down, water flow may resume. However, the accumulation of sludge that formed the foundation for the blockage is still intact. In time, another clog will form at that site. The homeowner knows only that his plumbing keeps jamming up and assumes that each clog is an entirely new occurrence when actually it’s just a replay of the previous event. The usual result is a familiar scenario to anyone who’s ever had to deal with this problem: After the messy, unsuccessful experience of attempting to clear a recurrent clog by himself, the homeowner finally consults a professional plumber. When a reputable, experienced pro arrives, he’ll come equipped with two alternatives to restore the flow of waste water in addition to rectifying the conditions that promote the blockage.

Schedule an appointment today to get your plumbing system serviced

Power-Rodding

Power-rodding is technology that takes the basic design of the plumbing snake, yet brings it into the 21st century to make it a precision device for pipe cleaning, not just clearing blockages. The equipment utilizes a thin metal cable which the plumber threads into the pipe to the location of the clog. At the end of the cable, the system incorporates razor-sharp cuttings blades that are sized to the measurements of the interior of the pipe. An electric motor rotates the cable at high speed and the sharp blades lacerate accumulation of sludge, scouring the walls of the pipe as it simultaneously liquidates the blockage. All this residual matter is reduced to tiny bits that are easily flushed away when a strong force of water is introduced into the pipe. Since the power-rodding equipment is sized to fit the pipe exactly and the cutting instrument is very efficient, the system is much less stressful to clogged plumbing than an old-school universal snake that relies on simple blunt force to push clogs down the pipe.

Hydro-Jetting

This method represents the current state of the art. Hydro-jetting employs the power of high-pressure water to both eliminate clogs in plumbing and clean internal pipe surfaces of sludge to prevent a repeat blockage. Instead of mechanical cutting blades, a hydro-jetting system uses a high-pressure water line threaded into the pipe. The cleaning head at the end of the line integrates precision nozzles that discharge jets of water at approximately 3,500 p.s.i. This ultra high-pressure stream acts like a knife to cut through obstructions and scour the pipe walls. The blast of water instantly turns sludge and clogs to a semi-solid state and flushes it away into the sewer. While the high-pressure water obliterates sludge and blockages including tree roots, it does not traumatize clogged plumbing pipes or joints like mechanical pipe cleaning equipment.

For professional pipe cleaning to clear blockages and reduce the likelihood of recurrent clogs, contact Aqua Plumbing & Air at 941-306-3715.

4 Benefits of a Solar Water Heater

4 Benefits of a Solar Water Heater

Solar water heaters are more expensive than electric or gas models, but they’re also more efficient. The sunny weather in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, provides free energy, so this type of system is ideal. You can heat your home with a radiant heating system that has water-filled pipes under your floors or behind your baseboards as well. Most solar water heaters are on roofs, but you can also have one installed in an unshaded area of your yard. After the sun heats the water, it’s stored in a tank like most gas or electric units.

Some solar water heating systems use an electric pump to circulate water, and others take advantage of gravity. Many homeowners install a backup water heater. That way, you’ll never have to take a cold shower on a cloudy day. Overall, a solar water heater lasts longer, can lower utility bills, reduces your carbon footprint, and provides better value for your home.

Less Pollution

A solar water heater can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere every year. It can also help you avoid nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other pollutants that result when you use electricity, gas, propane, or another fuel source. Solar water heating protects rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans from mercury and other pollution caused by power plants as well.

Federal, city, and state governments encourage you to help the environment by offering tax credits to offset the cost of solar water heaters. You can help prevent smog and climate change so you and your family can enjoy Florida’s natural beauty and outdoor activities.

Greater Durability

A solar water heater can last for more than 20 years, twice as long as an electric or gas water heater, and you won’t have to worry about problems with a gas line, such as gas leaks or carbon monoxide. Electrical problems are also less likely since a solar system doesn’t have as much wiring as a conventional water heating system. Like most other water heaters, you should have your solar system checked by a professional at least once per year. Maintaining your solar water heater will extend its life, prevent inconvenient and expensive repairs, and help you keep your utility bills low.

Lower Utility Bills

Most solar water heating systems use some electricity, and backup systems may require gas as well. Even if you use a backup system, you can reduce the amount of power you use for water heating by 50 percent. The savings are highest in sunny climates, but you can install a solar water heater almost anywhere.

Most people save more money than they invest because of lower utility bills. A solar water heater will pay for itself in four to eight years. With this system, you also won’t need to pay for gas service unless you have a gas stove or a similar appliance. If you have a big family that uses lots of hot water or a heated pool, you can get your investment back even sooner.

Better Value

A solar water heater can increase the value of your home and make selling easier, faster, and more profitable. Solar water heaters can cause the value of a home to increase more than the cost of the water heater and the installation. Buyers are looking for ways to help the environment and save on their utility bills, and one of these systems can make your home stand out from the competition. With a solar water heater, you can also conserve indoor space and appeal to buyers even more. Instead of putting a conventional water heater in a utility closet, use it for storage.

Aqua Plumbing & Air has more than 40 years of plumbing experience. We’re also a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer, and we offer electrical and water treatment services. We can help you install, maintain, and repair solar water heaters and other plumbing and HVAC equipment. Call us anytime at 941-306-3715 for excellent service from our courteous experts.

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How to Keep Humidity in Your Florida Home in Check

How to Keep Humidity in Your Florida Home in Check

This article was originally posted July 22, 2014.

As a Florida resident, you have undoubtedly experienced high home humidity firsthand. With outdoor relative humidity often at 90 percent or higher, how can you expect to keep indoor humidity in check? Before you start making drastic changes, learn more about humidity and the ideal level for home comfort.

Why Is High Humidity Uncomfortable?

Your body keeps you cool by sweating. As the sweat evaporates off your skin, it causes a cooling effect. That’s one reason squirting yourself with a spray bottle and letting your skin air dry helps you cool off.

When the air is quite humid, it’s already saturated with water. It can’t hold much more, so it doesn’t evaporate the water from your skin as quickly. This creates a muggy, hot feeling that makes you feel much warmer than if the room was at a lower relative humidity.

Why Is High Humidity Expensive?

The thought of improving home comfort may compel you to lower the humidity, but you can also save energy. You might set the thermostat to 74 degrees, but if it’s overly humid inside, you could still feel overheated. On the other hand, an ideally humid environment with the thermostat set to 77 degrees may feel perfectly cool and comfortable. This clearly demonstrates the old saying, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.”

In addition, excess moisture can damage drywall, musical instruments and wood fixtures in your home. Replacing these items that have rotted, warped or became moldy in overly moist conditions can be quite expensive.

Schedule an appointment today to get your humidity under control

Why Does High Humidity Degrade Air Quality?

Have you ever seen a cold soda can “sweat” when it’s hot outside? This condensation can occur on various cool surfaces throughout your home if the humidity is too high. Condensation creates a breeding ground for mold. When mold grows indoors, you may begin to exhibit symptoms of mold spore exposure, including sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing, throat irritation and watery eyes. Keeping the humidity level down helps you breathe easier by preventing mold growth.

What Is the Ideal Humidity Level?

With all this talk of improving comfort, lowering energy bills and promoting cleaner indoor air, what humidity level should you aim for? In the summer, home humidity should remain between 30 and 45 percent.

Measuring indoor humidity is easy with a hygrometer. This small, handheld instrument displays the relative humidity in the room. You can carry it around with you to different rooms and accurately measure the relative humidity throughout your home. Hygrometers are available at your local hardware store.

Lowering Home Humidity Levels

To maintain a comfortable interior, you need to keep humidity in check. Use these tips:

  • Increase air movement inside by running ceiling fans. Air circulation helps dry up standing water and creates a cooling wind-chill effect to keep you comfortable.
  • Run the bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans when you shower and cook. These activities produce a lot of humidity that you don’t want building up inside your home.
  • Open windows when outdoor humidity levels are low. This lets in a fresh breeze that can help even out home humidity levels.
  • Keep the windows closed when the humidity level is higher than the ideal 30 to 45 percent. Keep a small weather station on hand to help you track outdoor conditions right where you live.
  • Check for water leaks that could be contributing to higher indoor humidity. Look in easy-to-reach spots such as under the bathroom and kitchen sinks, behind toilets and in unfinished spaces.
  • Run a whole-house dehumidifier. Air conditioners remove some humidity, but Florida’s muggy climate may need an extra boost. A whole-house dehumidifier runs independently of the air conditioner so you can operate it alone on mild days or in conjunction with the A/C to boost the equipment’s moisture-removing abilities. A dehumidifier allows you to program the humidity level you want so the machine runs when it’s needed and turns off when the ideal home humidity is reached.

Choosing a Dehumidifier

While all the other suggestions for keeping home humidity low are sure to help, the best way to see the biggest difference is to install a whole-house dehumidifier. Choose a dehumidifier that’s suited to your home’s size. Then, look for features that improve convenience, such as an on-board hygrometer, quiet operation and drain connection kit.

For more help measuring and controlling home humidity, please contact us at Aqua Plumbing & Air, proudly serving the Sarasota and Bradenton areas since 1974.

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