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4 Signs You Need a New Air Conditioner

4 Signs You Need a New Air Conditioner

During the summer months in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, most residents rely heavily on their air conditioning systems to maintain a comfortable temperature. Between the high humidity levels and warm temperatures, it’s tough to stay cool without a functional AC system. An air conditioner might give off some warning signs that it’s on its last legs, so it’s important to keep an eye out for these signs so you’re not caught without a working system.  

Frequent Repairs

Before an air conditioner gives out completely, it will typically start to have more problems. It may begin blowing warm air or lose airflow completely. You could also notice that the interior temperature never seems to reach what you’ve set on the thermostat. These issues may seem minor at first, but as you continue to spend money for repairs, you might start to notice a pattern.

When an air conditioner is nearing the end of its functional life, smaller components tend to break down first. Needing multiple repairs in a short period of time is cause for concern, so it’s worth evaluating whether or not to replace the system and stop investing money into an air conditioner that may not be around for much longer. Large, expensive repairs should also be reconsidered, especially if your unit is more than a decade old. In most cases, it’s more cost-effective to replace the unit rather than invest a lot into an older model.

High Energy Bills

A sharp and dramatic increase in energy bills is always a concern. Some fluctuation between seasons is certainly normal, but you shouldn’t see bills that are hundreds of dollars higher from one month to the next. Older air conditioning systems aren’t as efficient as newer models, so the age of your system could impact your monthly bills. Additionally, a damaged system can cause a dramatic spike between months, as the conditioned air could be leaking out through cracked ductwork. 

No matter what is causing the bills to jump up every month, it’s worth looking into the issue and figuring out how to improve efficiency. If a new system is the best option, you can shop for more efficient units that will help you save on cooling bills. Some cooling systems also come with tax credits, rebates, or incentives, which can further offset the cost of installation.

Poor Circulation

When air isn’t flowing sufficiently in your home, you could notice a few signs, such as stale or unpleasant odors, excessive dust, or an uncomfortable atmosphere. Poor circulation is typically caused by an issue when the system was first installed. The original technician might have installed a unit that is too large or too small for the space, or the ducts might not be installed properly, leading to poor flow throughout the space. 

If the issue relates to the size of the system, the best thing to do is have a new air conditioner installed. Before putting in a new system, an HVAC technician should calculate the load to determine what size will work best while maximizing efficiency. If the issue relates to the ducts, you might need to have some repair work done to prevent air from slipping through the cracks.

Noisy Operation

Another issue that can indicate the impending need for a new air conditioner is a lot of noise. When your system first kicks on to start cooling down the space, some noise is certainly normal, especially if you’re standing close to the cooling unit. However, continuous noises, such as banging, grinding, squealing, or whining can all indicate a problem. Your ducts might be too small, causing the air to have trouble moving through efficiently, or you might have an issue with a moving part of the system. An HVAC technician can take a closer look at your unit and figure out what’s causing the excess noise.

Don’t let summer sneak up on you, leaving you in a hot and uncomfortable situation without a working air conditioner. Learn more about new cooling system options and installation services by calling Aqua (HVAC) at 941-306-3715.

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Prepping Your Cooling System for the Summer

Prepping Your Cooling System for the Summer

The weather in the Lakewood Ranch, Florida, area tends to stay fairly moderate throughout the changing seasons, but the summer certainly brings the heat and the humidity. Before this season hits, take some steps to prepare your cooling system for the upcoming temperature increases. By starting early, you can avoid turning on your air conditioner only to find that the system isn’t working properly and won’t pump out any cool air.

Safety First

Before you start any type of DIY cleaning and prep work on your air conditioner, consider whether it’s safe for you to take on the task before you. It may be better to have a professional handle the job. If you do decide to DIY, make sure to do it safely. Shut off the power to the air conditioning condenser and turn off your thermostat before you get started.

You should also have a basic understanding of how the system works, which will help you know what needs to be done to prepare it for the upcoming summer months. A standard central air conditioner uses an outdoor unit with a compressor and a condenser coil working in conjunction with an indoor evaporator coil. As air blows across the evaporator coil, heat transfer occurs within that coil to cool down the air with the refrigerant housed in the outdoor unit. The heat is absorbed in the outdoor unit while the air blowing through your home feels cool and comfortable. 

Change the Filter

Air conditioning maintenance should always be handled by a skilled professional, especially anything that involves opening any part of the system or changing out parts. However, there are a few DIY tasks that a homeowner can do safely. Your heating and cooling system contains a filter that stops dirt, pollen, dust, pet hair, dander, and other debris from moving through the ducts.

When the filter gets overloaded with contaminants, it can no longer perform properly, resulting in a buildup of debris in your ducts that reduces the quality of the indoor air and impacts efficiency. One of the first tasks you should do in preparation for your home’s summer cooling needs is to replace the filter in your cooling system. This task should be done at least every two to three months, although you can do it more often if anyone in your home suffers from allergies or the filter is getting dirty faster than expected.  

Light Cleaning

Another task you can do to prepare your cooling system is to perform some light cleaning around the unit. You shouldn’t go too deeply into the components as poking around could dislodge something, resulting in expensive repairs. However, some basic cleaning tasks help clear out debris and allow the system to run more efficiently. This is especially important for the outdoor unit, which can get clogged with leaves and dirt. 

Use a vacuum to clear out any debris from the outdoor unit housing. You can gently spray off the outdoor fins with a hose. For a more thorough cleaning of the condenser coils or other components, it’s best to bring in a professional. 

Schedule a Tuneup

One of the most important aspects of HVAC maintenance and summer preparation is calling an HVAC technician to schedule a tuneup. These companies often get busy at the start of the summer, so schedule your maintenance service in the late spring to beat the rush. A tuneup typically involves a full inspection of the cooling system, along with a coil cleaning service and some light maintenance.

Your technician will also look for warning signs that may indicate your air conditioning system has a problem. By finding out about an issue early, you can get your system up and running well before the heat of summer hits. Routine air conditioning maintenance can help extend the life of your system and reduce the need for costly repairs while helping to improve efficiency and save you money every month.

Take advantage of the benefits and prepare for the summer months by scheduling your air conditioning maintenance service with our experienced technicians at Aqua Plumbing & Air by calling 941-306-3715.

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How to Choose the Ideal Water Heater for Your Home

How to Choose the Ideal Water Heater for Your Home

A decade ago, you might not have had many choices when buying a new water heater for your Siesta Key, Florida, home. Today, however, you’ll find countless options that all profess to be the best. So how can you narrow down your choices? From conventional storage to tankless to heat pump to solar, follow this guide to choosing the ideal water heater for your home.

Conventional Storage Water Heaters

As their name implies, conventional storage water heaters include the most traditional water heater models. They’re so common that if you’re replacing a model that you’ve had for over a decade, there’s a good chance that it’s a storage water heater.

You’ll know a conventional storage water heater the moment you see it, as all models have a large tank for holding hot water. These models work by using an energy source to heat up water and then storing the warm water so it’s ready when your family needs it for bathing, cleaning, or cooking.

Although these models all have a similar look, they come with a variety of capacities and hookup options. You can choose a model with a natural gas or electric hookup that works with the type of power source your home already uses. You can also select models with storage tanks that range from 20 to 80 gallons to meet your family’s needs. If you aren’t sure what capacity you need, ask the Aqua Plumbing & Air team for help calculating.

Conventional storage water heaters are popular for a reason. Since they keep water hot around the clock, you can look forward to taking a steamy shower or running a load of whites any time, with no need to wait. If you opt for a model with sufficient capacity, your water heater can provide enough hot water for your family to take multiple showers and run the washer or the dishwasher simultaneously.

While conventional storage water heaters are some of the most affordable water heaters on the market, they can drive up your utility bill. Since these water heaters use energy to keep water warm at all times, they can be energy hogs. Check the yellow Energy Guide label before purchasing to get a sense of how much the water heater costs to run each year, and consider adding extra insulation around the tank’s exterior to save energy and lower your utility bills.

Tankless Water Heaters

Unlike conventional storage tank water heaters, tankless models don’t heat and store hot water. Instead, they heat water when you need it, which explains why they’re also known as demand-type water heaters. When you turn on the shower or start the washing machine, cold water travels through the tankless water heater, which uses natural gas or electricity to heat up the water on the spot. These models are designed to work quickly, usually producing anywhere from 2 to 5 gallons of hot water per minute.

One of the biggest benefits of a tankless water heater is its built-in energy efficiency. Since these models don’t waste energy on keeping water warm around the clock, they use much less energy than conventional storage water heaters do. Some tankless water heaters even boast Energy Star certification, which means they meet or exceed national energy efficiency standards.

Tankless models tend to be more expensive to purchase than conventional storage water heaters, but over time, the energy savings that tankless models offer can make them more budget-friendly options. For households that use 40 or fewer gallons of hot water per day, a tankless water heater can be up to 34 percent more energy efficient than a conventional storage model. That can equal hundreds of dollars in savings during a year of typical use. Since tankless models can last up to twice as long as conventional storage water heaters, a tankless water heater can be a very cost-effective option.

If you have limited space for installing a water heater, a tankless model could be a smart choice. Since they’re so small and don’t require much space, you can easily install one in the bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen, mere inches from where the hot water will pour out.

Tankless water heaters do have drawbacks, though. These models can’t always produce enough hot water for multiple simultaneous applications. If everyone in your household tends to get ready for work and school at the same time every morning, you may need to invest in two or more tankless water heaters to produce sufficient hot water. The same holds true if you typically wash dishes and loads of laundry at the same time.

Heat Pump Water Heaters

If your Siesta Key home relies on a heat pump to keep your family cool in the summer and warm in the winter, then you might already be familiar with the technology behind a heat pump water heater. Essentially, these models use heat pump technology, which is similar to reverse refrigeration, to pull excess heat from the air and transfer it into the water.

Heat pump water heaters typically have storage tanks, as they keep warm water on hand for whenever your family needs it. Like conventional storage water heaters, heat pump water heaters are available in a variety of capacities so you can choose one that produces enough hot water for your family without wasting excessive energy. Since these models use heat pump technology, you can only purchase electric heat pump water heaters.

Most homeowners who invest in heat pump water heaters do so for the impressive energy savings. An Energy Star-certified heat pump water heater uses as little as a quarter of the energy that a standard storage water heater does, which is great for boosting your household’s energy efficiency and helping you save money. These models work especially efficiently in warm climates, which makes them smart picks for Florida homeowners. Since they pull heat from the air, they don’t operate efficiently in cold spaces, which isn’t likely to be an issue in Siesta Key.

If you’re short on space, installing a heat pump water heater could be a tight squeeze. These models tend to need extra space to draw in and exhaust air safely, so they require more clearance than other models. Talk with our team if you’re concerned about space and want to ensure that a heat pump water heater is ideal for your home.

Solar Water Heaters

When you’re looking to install a new water heater, you’ll also want to consider a solar model. Solar water heaters have two main parts: a solar collector and a storage tank. The solar collector perches on the roof of your home, where it collects and stores energy from the sun. Then the storage tank uses solar energy to warm up water for your family to use.

You can choose between active and passive solar water heating systems for your home. Active systems, which tend to be more expensive and more efficient, work by pumping your home’s water supply through the solar collector and to the various hot water taps and appliances in your home. Passive systems, which tend to cost less and last longer, depend on warm water to rise as cool water falls.

If you want to improve your home’s energy efficiency, a solar water heater could be a smart investment. These are some of the most efficient models on the market, and they can keep your energy consumption impressively low since they draw free energy from the sun. Because these systems work so smoothly, you might not even need to schedule routine maintenance more often than every three to five years.

While solar water heaters have plenty of perks, they do struggle to operate efficiently in cloudy weather. This won’t be a significant problem given Siesta Key’s sunny skies, but most solar water heaters come with built-in backup energy hookups just in case. During extended cloudy periods, your water heater may operate like a conventional storage water heater, which could compromise energy efficiency and increase your utility bills.

Whether you’re just beginning to weigh your options or you’re ready to schedule a water heater installation, we’re here to help with all your residential plumbing needs. Call Aqua Plumbing & Air at 941-306-3715 today.

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How the Right HVAC Filter Can Save Energy

How the Right HVAC Filter Can Save Energy

As an eco-conscious homeowner, you want to make sure that the heating and cooling system in your Bradenton, Florida, home is as efficient as possible. You may have already invested in an efficient new heat pump or installed an eco-friendly smart thermostat. But how long has it been since you’ve replaced your HVAC filter? Find out how the right HVAC filter can save energy, and learn how to go green by choosing the best filter for your system.

How HVAC Filters Improve Efficiency

HVAC filters might look simple, but they perform a complex task. These components are designed to capture the dust, dirt, pet dander, pollen, mold, and countless other particles that circulate through your home and contaminate the air supply. By capturing these pollutants, HVAC filters prevent them from spreading through your home’s air supply, thereby improving your indoor air quality.

Since HVAC filters also prevent those pollutants from entering your heating and cooling system, they help keep the system running smoothly. Dust and pet dander might be microscopic, but without an air filter, they can easily accumulate inside your HVAC system and cause breakdowns. With a fresh air filter in place, your HVAC system will run more efficiently, saving energy and money in the process.

How Air Filters Help Your HVAC System Last Longer

When you choose a filter that removes virtually all airborne contaminants from your home’s air supply, you’ll help your HVAC system operate efficiently for years to come. With the right air filter in place, you’ll take a proactive step to prevent major issues and breakdowns, too.

Not only does keeping your HVAC system healthy help you avoid repair-related hassles, but it can also help your HVAC system last longer. The longer you can maintain your current HVAC system, the less waste you’ll create and the more money you’ll save. That equals a winning combination when you want to develop a greener household.

How to Choose the Most Efficient Air Filter for Your HVAC System

When you shop for air filters, you’ll find dozens of varieties. Before you get overwhelmed, note that only a handful will work with your HVAC system. First, make sure you’re selecting the right size. Remove the existing filter and check the size printed on the edge or measure the dimensions of the filter compartment yourself. Be sure to measure the height, width, and depth accurately, as choosing the wrong filter size can decrease your HVAC system’s efficiency.

Next, choose a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating between 1 and 20. In general, higher MERV ratings equal greater efficiency, so skip washable filters and disposable models with MERV ratings of 8 and below. Filters with MERV ratings between 9 and 12 are optimal for residential HVAC systems, as they’re designed to remove as many airborne contaminants as possible while boosting efficiency.

Avoid filters with MERV ratings of 13 and higher, as these are designed for commercial and industrial HVAC systems. Although they’re very efficient when used properly, they don’t work with residential HVAC technology and could substantially decrease your system’s efficiency.

When You Should Change Your HVAC Filter for Optimal Efficiency

Now that you’ve identified the ideal air filter for your HVAC system, stock up on several extras. Mark your calendar for regular replacements, as you should dispose the old filter and install a new one every 30 to 90 days. When your HVAC system runs at a low level, such as from late fall through early spring, plan to replace the filter every 90 days. When it runs at full blast during the summer, replace the filter every month to keep your HVAC operating efficiently.

When you schedule an HVAC tuneup with the Aqua Plumbing & Air team, we’ll check your air filter and replace it if necessary. We’ll also advise you about any energy efficient tweaks you can make, such as replacing the HVAC filter more frequently or choosing one with a higher MERV rating.

Need help finding the ideal filter for your heating and cooling system? Call the pros at Aqua Plumbing & Air today: 941-306-3715.

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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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