Downtown Air and Heat Blog : Archive for January, 2014

Can My Heater Make the Air Too Dry?

Monday, January 27th, 2014

You are familiar with the term “a dry heat,” which is usually held up as superior to a humid heat. There’s a reason for this: the moisture in humid air condenses onto skin and releases more heat as it does so, giving you the sensation that the temperature is hotter than it actually is. The opposite occurs in a dry heat, which will make you feel as if the temperature is somewhat cooler than it is.

But a dry heat brings its own problems: aridity. Extremely dry air can lead to health issues: cracked and chapped skin, eye and noise irritation, asthma and other breathing troubles. During dry, cold weather, the temperature will feel lower without the addition of moisture to add heat from condensation.

A home heating system can contribute to the issue of dryness. The hotter your house becomes, the drier its air will become—and some heating systems remove more moisture than others. How does this affect our heating systems in Orlando, FL? It’s a bit of a different situation than in other parts of the country, as our technicians at Downtown Air & Heat can explain.

Because Florida has one of the most humid climates in the U.S., heaters like heat pumps that use condensation to release heat into a home can be beneficial to defeating the moist air. The condensing coil on a heat pump (the indoor coil when the system is in heating mode) removes moisture from the air as it releases heat through condensation. This can be a tremendous relief during moist cold weather. In general, a heat pump won’t make your air too dry, nor will a standard furnace (although a furnace will not be the same help with dehumidifying the air). In fact, we often recommend people in Florida invest in a heat pump for this very reason: its dehumidifying ability.

However, if your air does become excessively dry when you run your heater, it may indicate some sort of flaw, such as the heater running too long. When this happens, hire repairs technicians to examine the problem. Look to Downtown Air & Heat for the quality work on Orlando, FL heating systems that will make sure they are properly balanced to give you warmth without drying out your home.

Continue Reading

What Is a Ductless Heating System?

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Ducts are necessary for most forced-air heating systems to operate. The heater raises the temperature of the air, or removes the heat from the air, and then the blower in the air handler sends the air through the tight seal of ducts toward the vents, where the air enters the living or working space. It seems hard to imagine a forced-air heater could work without ducts.

However, ductless heating systems have existed for decades, and after many years working almost exclusively in business environments—particularly restaurants—they have become more common in homes. If you’re curious about ductless heating, call Downtown Air & Heat and ask about ductless mini split heating services in Orlando, FL.

For the moment, here’s a short explanation about how ductless heating works.

Ductless mini split heat pumps

Ductless heating systems are essentially heat pumps that use multiple indoor units instead of a single, central indoor unit. Like any heat pump, a ductless mini split operates using heat exchange: a flow of refrigerant from the outdoor cabinet to the indoor unit(s) carries outside heat and brings it inside, where a blower sends the heated air into rooms.

(Also like a heat pump, the process can reverse during the summer and remove heat from indoors, functioning as an air conditioner.)

The difference between the standard system with ducts and the ductless system is the multiple indoor units. Each of these indoor units is a small air handler with a refrigerant coil, blower, and individual controls. The unit is mounted up on a wall, and the refrigerant line runs out the wall and outside to the outdoor unit. The blower is powerful enough to provide heat for one area of the home, and it blows the air directly inside, without using vents.

Because ductless mini splits are placed in different spots in a home, they allow for “zone control,” with individual rooms capable of shutting off the heat to that area. This allows for energy savings, since you don’t need to heat rooms that aren’t in use. You’ll also receive savings from no longer needing to schedule duct cleaning or sealing. The lack of ducts also increases indoor air quality.

Should you go ductless?

To answer this question, you’ll need a consultation with professional who can analyze your home’s heating (and cooling) needs as well as its construction. If your home does not already have ductwork, or if you are planning a new home, ductless mini splits are often the ideal way to go. If you already have ducts from a furnace or heat pump, ductless may not bring you the same benefits. Listen to the advice from the professional installer to find out what your best options.

Downtown Air & Heat has NATE-certified technicians on staff to provide you with knowledgeable assistance and heating services in Orlando, FL. Talk to them if you think you may want to go ductless with your next heater.

Continue Reading

Does My Heat Pump Need a Repair Service?

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Heat pumps are invaluable in Florida weather, since they provide the perfect level of cooling (with humidity control) during the long, damp summers, and don’t encounter trouble providing efficient heating during the brief chilly spells of the winter. In colder parts of the country, heat pumps often need the assistance of a back-up system like a natural gas furnace, but they can work fine all on their own in Florida.

A heat pump is an intricate piece of technology that relies on a balance of numerous components to work correctly: chemical refrigerant, compressors, capacitors, multiple motors and fans, a reversing valve, and copper lines and coils. It requires special technical training to know how to properly repair one, and it also requires specialized equipment. If you encounter trouble with your heat pump, you most likely will need to call a professional repair service.

Downtown Air & Heat has 24-hour emergency service to help you out when you need heating repair service in Orlando, FL. If you experience any of these problems with your heat pump, they are a good sign that you need to call us for repairs:

  • Heat pump will only blow cold/hot air: If you cannot get your heat pump out of one of its modes, then it is likely that its reversing valve has failed. Only a professional can correctly remove and replace the broken valve. (The problem might also lie in your thermostat, and this also needs expert repairs.)
  • Icing develops on the coils: Ice along the coils doesn’t mean that the heat pump is getting too cold; it usually means that somewhere it is leaking refrigerant and cannot absorb enough heat. A repair service can locate where the leak is, seal it, and then recharge the refrigerant to its proper level.
  • Heat pump won’t start: If your heat pump won’t turn on at all, there are a number of possible reasons. One frequent cause for this is a burnt-out start capacitor, the device responsible for starting the motors with an electrical charge. Like the other components in a heat pump, this needs the work of a professional to replace it.

If you cannot immediately locate a simple source for an issue with your heat pump (incorrectly set thermostat, disconnect from a power source), don’t try to open up the cabinet and tool around with the components on your own. You don’t want to risk causing further damage to the heat pump with amateur work. An experienced technician should be able to locate the problem and fix it fast.

Call Downtown Air & Heat. We have NATE-certified technicians on staff who have the training and tools to take care of your heating repairs in Orlando, FL.

Continue Reading

Heating Systems for Your Business

Friday, January 10th, 2014

When you install heating in your home, you only have the needs of your family and occasional guests to worry about. When you install heating for your business, you have a much larger group of people to provide for: employees, customers, clients, etc. Picking out the right heating system in Orlando, FL for a business takes a great deal of thought, since it will have a large impact on daily operations.

Downtown Air & Heat stays current with commercial HVAC technology, so we are in an excellent position to help you find the right heating for your business. Here’s a short list of some of your options for commercial heating. Our NATE-certified heating technicians can install whatever system you need, and they will help you make the best choice.

Heat pump

Heat pumps have been popular for commercial use for years, long before they moved into the private sector. A heat pump has the advantages of taking care of heating and cooling with one system—no need for a separate AC and heater. Heat pumps sometimes struggle with temperatures below freezing… but that’s unlikely to occur in Orlando.

Ductless mini splits

If you are constructing a new space for your business, you may want to go with ductless mini splits, which eliminate the need for building ductwork into your designs. Ductless mini splits work the same as heat pumps, except they use separate blower units to distribute air, rather than ducts. This means that your employees can adjust the individual blower units to suit their own needs without having to change the temperature of the entire workspace.

Central furnaces

The traditional standby for most businesses is a central furnace—either gas or electric-powered—hooked up to ductwork. Furnaces remain common today because of their effective heat and the high temperatures they can reach. Furnaces are flexible; an installer can almost always find one to match a business’ needs.

Because your business space is likely much larger than your home, you need to have specialists perform a heat load calculation to determine the specific needs for heating. This involves numerous factors, including heat loss and gain through windows and the amount of heat the lights and other appliances radiate. With the right professionals on the job, you will end up with the perfect system for your business.

Contact Downtown Air & Heat today to get started with finding your ideal comfort for heating your business in Orlando, FL.

Continue Reading