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Category Archives: How To Choose

How to Choose a HVAC System for Your Home

Bruno Air has been helping residents all over Florida choose a HVAC System for their home. More specifically, the right system. When it comes to air conditioning units and HVAC systems, it isn’t “one size fits all.” Every home has its unique needs based on size and construction. Those shopping for a new HVAC system to replace their old one can look forward to some great advantages in choosing the right system, including substantially lower utility bills. Let’s talk about a few things you should consider when purchasing a new heating and cooling system for your home.

Bruno Air’s trained and experienced HVAC technicians are able to evaluate your home’s needs by calculating the specific heating and cooling load for your home or business as well as your comfort level. One thing to remember is that size matters, but not in the way you might think. Bigger isn’t always better! An oversized system can actually work against you by cycling off before the air is properly circulated.

Likewise, a system that’s too small will also cause problems, as it won’t be able to regulate your ideal temperature on unusually cold and hot days. That’s why reputable HVAC technician like those at Bruno Air use industry-standard guidelines to determine which system is right for you.

Installing a HVAC System “Just Right”

Our Florida HVAC technicians look at several different aspects when putting in a new HVAC system into your home. When installing an outdoor unit, one of the rules of thumb is to make sure there’s at least a 4 foot clearance to ensure proper air flow and enough space to conduct maintenance and repairs when needed. We also verify that your home has the proper number of air vents to supply and return air to every living space in the home.

We utilize industry standard methodology to determine the proper duct work for your home, ensure the proper refrigerant charge for your unit, and make a point to locate the thermostat away from drafts and heat sources so that it functions accurately. All of these little details matter when optimizing your system for exceptional performance and energy savings.

Many HVAC Options to Choose From

Has it been awhile since you’ve installed a new system into your home? If so, you may be surprised as to how far technology has advanced. These days, there are several options to choose from based on your preferences and home. Our HVAC technicians are well-trained to help you understand what those options are, including advanced controls, quieter and more energy efficient compressors, fan-only functions, and many more.

Contact the experts at Bruno Air to see how we can help you maximize the savings with a new heating or cooling system. We service clients all across Florida, including residents in Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Naples, Kissimmee, Orlando, and Tampa! Give us a call today at 239-908-4704 and get ready for exceptional AC and HVAC maintenance and repair.

Air Conditioning: When to Repair and When to Replace

When the air conditioning goes out in Florida, you feel the need to make big decisions very quickly. The longer you wait, the hotter it gets, and you feel the need to remedy the situation before the heat gets out of hand.

But you don’t want a rash decision to empty your wallet. When do you know when to repair and when to replace your air conditioning? Your technician can give you his or her input, but it helps to know which factors matter when choosing between repair and replacement. Here are a few easy tips to help you make a confident decision.

The Age of Retirement

No matter how well you take care of your air conditioning unit, it won’t last forever. A good unit typically has an average life span of 12 to 18 years, if it is well maintained. That means changing your air filters regularly and ensuring proper maintenance and repair when needed.

 

Cost of Operation

Age isn’t the only indicator. Unit quality is a huge factor. If your air conditioning system has a history of hiccups, bumps and failures, then its best to go ahead and replace it instead of investing more money in an unreliable unit. Especially if it’s out of warranty.

You also want to consider your electric bill. Today’s systems are more energy efficient than older, outdated air conditioning units. If your system is 15 years or older, it will be far more cost effective in the long run to replace the unit than repair it.

Cost of Repair vs. Cost to Replace

This seems like an obvious statement, but if the cost to repair your air conditioning amounts to the price or more of a new system, then you should go ahead and replace your unit. A broken compressor or cracked heat exchanger are two guaranteed costly repairs that would make it better just to replace the entire unit.

Savings

Then again, if the cost is right, why not upgrade anyway? Bruno Air always has special promotions to help our customers save money. Check out our special offers page to snip and clip your way to saving today!

Tankless water heater

Tankless or Traditional: Which Water Heater is Best?

Is it time for you to look for a new water heater? In today’s world, new innovations are giving you the freedom of options, not just in brand but in style. So what can you choose from? The two most chosen are either a traditional water heater or tankless water heater. Bruno Air Conditioning is here to help you choose what would be best for your home.

Traditional Water Heater

First thing’s first; what is a traditional water heater? A traditional water heater stores and preheats 30-50 gallons of water in its tank. The preheated water is then used when someone showers, does laundry, washes dishes, etc. The tank then refills with water to be heated again.

Most homes have a traditional water heat because of the lower initial cost and its ease to replace and install. A traditional water heater is quite simple and standard. However, while there are pros there are also cons. Traditional water heaters coincide with a high utility bill due to its preset qualities, meaning no matter your water needs, the same amount will always be filled and reheated. Traditional water heaters are also physically large and usually outside. Also, if you have a large family, you’re more at risk of having hot water run out.

Traditional water heaters usually last between 10 to 15 years.

Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters use another heat source, usually electric or gas, to heat up water as its needed. This means you have hot water whenever you need it. You no longer have to worry about running out of hot water. At the end of the day (and year), a tankless water heater will save you money. According to Energy.gov, “For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand (or tankless) water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters.”

A tankless water heater is also much smaller than a traditional tank and lasts longer. A tankless water heater can last over 20 years, saving you on replacement and maintenance costs.

Due to its long life, smaller size, and on-demand heating, a tankless water heater is on the pricier side. Installations can cost between $2500 to $4500. This price can be even more if you’re transitioning between a traditional water heater to a tankless one.

Central Air Conditioning unit outside a brick home

Central Air Conditioning

Central air conditioning units circulate cool air through a system of supply and return ducts. Supply ducts and registers (i.e., openings in the walls, floors, or ceilings covered by grills) carry cooled air from the air conditioner to the home. This cooled air becomes warmer as it circulates through the home; then it flows back to the central air conditioner through return ducts and registers.

Air conditioners help to dehumidify the incoming air, but in extremely humid climates or in cases where the air conditioner is oversized, it may not achieve a low humidity. Running a dehumidifier in your air conditioned home will increase your energy use, both for the dehumidifier itself and because the air conditioner will require more energy to cool your house. A preferable alternative is a dehumidifying heat pipe, which can be added as a retrofit to most existing systems.

Central Air Conditioning units outside a row of single story homes

Types of Air Conditioning

A central air conditioner is either a split-system unit or a packaged unit.

In a split-system central air conditioner, an outdoor metal cabinet contains the condenser and compressor, and an indoor cabinet contains the evaporator. In many split-system air conditioners, this indoor cabinet also contains a furnace or the indoor part of a heat pump. The air conditioner’s evaporator coil is installed in the cabinet or main supply duct of this furnace or heat pump. If your home already has a furnace but no air conditioner, a split-system is the most economical central air conditioner to install.

In a packaged central air conditioner, the evaporator, condenser, and compressor are all located in one cabinet, which usually is placed on a roof or on a concrete slab next to the house’s foundation. This type of air conditioner also is used in small commercial buildings. Air supply and return ducts come from indoors through the home’s exterior wall or roof to connect with the packaged air conditioner, which is usually located outdoors. Packaged air conditioners often include electric heating coils or a natural gas furnace. This combination of air conditioner and central heater eliminates the need for a separate furnace indoors.

Installation and Location of Air Conditioner

If your air conditioner is installed correctly, or if major installation problems are found and fixed, it will perform efficiently for years with only minor routine maintenance. However, many air conditioners are not installed correctly. As an unfortunate result, modern energy-efficient air conditioners can perform almost as poorly as older inefficient models. Do you know what you should be looking for when thinking about the installation and location of air conditioner systems?

When installing a new central air conditioning system, be sure that your contractor:

  • Allows adequate indoor space for the installation, maintenance, and repair of the new system, and installs an access door in the furnace or duct to provide a way to clean the evaporator coil
  • Uses a duct-sizing methodology such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual D
  • Ensures there are enough supply registers to deliver cool air and enough return air registers to carry warm house air back to the air conditioner
  • Installs duct work within the conditioned space, not in the attic, wherever possible
  • Seals all ducts with duct mastic and heavily insulates attic ducts
  • Locates the condensing unit where its noise will not keep you or your neighbors awake at night, if possible
  • Locates the condensing unit where no nearby objects will block airflow to it
  • Verifies that the newly installed air conditioner has the exact refrigerant charge and airflow rate specified by the manufacturer
  • Locates the thermostat away from heat sources, such as windows or supply registers.

If you are replacing an older or failed split system, be sure that the evaporator coil is replaced with a new one that exactly matches the condenser coil in the new condensing unit. (The air conditioner’s efficiency will likely not improve if the existing evaporator coil is left in place; in fact, the old coil could cause the new compressor to fail prematurely.)

Choosing or Upgrading Your Air Conditioner

Central air conditioners are more efficient than room air conditioners. In addition, they are out of the way, quiet, and convenient to operate. To save energy and money, you should try upgrading your air conditioner with an energy-efficient air conditioner to reduce your central air conditioner’s energy use. In an average air-conditioned home, air conditioning consumes more than 2,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, causing power plants to emit about 3,500 pounds of carbon dioxide and 31 pounds of sulfur dioxide.

If you are considering adding central air conditioning to your home, the deciding factor may be the need for ductwork.

If you have an older central air conditioner, you might choose to replace the outdoor compressor with a modern, high-efficiency unit. If you do so, consult a local heating and cooling contractor to assure that the new compressor is properly matched to the indoor unit. However, considering recent changes in refrigerants and air conditioning designs, it might be wiser to replace the entire system.

Today’s best air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the mid 1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.

Proper sizing and installation are key elements in determining air conditioner efficiency. Too large a unit will not adequately remove humidity. Too small a unit will not be able to attain a comfortable temperature on the hottest days. Improper unit location, lack of insulation, and improper duct installation can greatly diminish efficiency.

When buying an air conditioner, look for a model with a high efficiency. Central air conditioners are rated according to their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). SEER indicates the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Many older systems have SEER ratings of 6 or less. The minimum SEER allowed today is 13. Look for the ENERGY STAR® label for central air conditioners with SEER ratings of 13 or greater, but consider using air conditioning equipment with higher SEER ratings for greater savings.

New residential central air conditioner standards went into effect on January 23, 2006. Air conditioners manufactured after January 26, 2006 must achieve a SEER of 13 or higher. SEER 13 is 30% more efficient than the previous minimum SEER of 10. The standard applies only to appliances manufactured after January 23, 2006. Equipment with a rating less than SEER 13 manufactured before this date may still be sold and installed.

The average homeowner will remain unaffected by this standard change for some time to come. The standards do not require you to change your existing central air conditioning units, and replacement parts and services should still be available for your home’s systems. The “lifespan” of a central air conditioner is about 15 to 20 years. Manufacturers typically continue to support existing equipment by making replacement parts available and honoring maintenance contracts after the new standard goes into effect.

Other features to look for when buying an air conditioner include:

  • A thermal expansion valve and a high-temperature rating (EER) greater than 11.6, for high-efficiency operation when the weather is at its hottest
  • A variable speed air handler for new ventilation systems
  • A unit that operates quietly
  • A fan-only switch, so you can use the unit for nighttime ventilation to substantially reduce air-conditioning costs
  • A filter check light to remind you to check the filter after a predetermined number of operating hours
  • An automatic-delay fan switch to turn off the fan a few minutes after the compressor turns off.

FPL Rebate Calculator

A/C Buying Rebate

Buying a new air conditioning system is a big decision. Purchasing an energy-efficient A/C unit will help you realize significant savings year after year. We recommend you look over our A/C Buying Guide for great tips and suggestions.

Purchasing a new A/C system is a big investment and we are here to help.

In order to qualify for a valuable A/C Buying Rebate, you must:

  • Purchase and install a complete high-efficiency A/C system. This includes both indoor and outdoor A/C units.
  • Purchase a new A/C system that has a minimum SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) of 14.

Compare savings using the FPL Rebate Calculator – Click Here

How Does It Work – Bruno Air Conditioning

Home AC Consumption

Two-thirds of all homes in the United States have air conditioners, but how do they work? Air conditioners use about 5% of all the electricity produced in the United States, at an annual cost of more than $11 billion to homeowners. As a result, roughly 100 million tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air each year — an average of about two tons for each home with an air conditioner.

Air conditioners employ the same operating principles and basic components as your home refrigerator. Refrigerators use energy (usually electricity) to transfer heat from the cool interior of the refrigerator to the relatively warm surroundings of your home; likewise, an air conditioner uses energy to transfer heat from the interior of your home to the relatively warm outside environment.

An air conditioner cools your home with a cold indoor coil called the evaporator. The condenser, a hot outdoor coil, releases the collected heat outside. The evaporator and condenser coils are serpentine tubing surrounded by aluminum fins. This tubing is usually made of copper.

A pump, called the compressor, moves a heat transfer fluid (or refrigerant) between the evaporator and the condenser. The pump forces the refrigerant through the circuit of tubing and fins in the coils.

The liquid refrigerant evaporates in the indoor evaporator coil, pulling heat out of indoor air and cooling your home. The hot refrigerant gas is pumped outdoors into the condenser where it reverts back to a liquid, giving up its heat to the outside air flowing over the condenser’s metal tubing and fins.

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, nearly all air conditioners used chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as their refrigerant, but because these chemicals are damaging to Earth’s ozone layer, CFC production stopped in the United States in 1995. Nearly all air conditioning systems now employ halogenated chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) as a refrigerant, but these are also being gradually phased out, with most production and importing stopped by 2020 and all production and importing stopped by 2030.

Production and importing of today’s main refrigerant for home air conditioners, HCFC-22 (also called R-22), began to be phased out in 2010 and will stop entirely by 2020. However, HCFC-22 is expected to be available for many years as it is recovered from old systems that are taken out of service. As these refrigerants are phased out, ozone-safe hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are expected to dominate the market, as well as alternative refrigerants such as ammonia.

Switching to high-efficiency air conditioners and taking other actions to keep your home cool could reduce energy use for air conditioning by 20% to 50%. For general information on air conditioners and how best to maintain them, see: