Category Archives: Seasonal Tips

Why Mold Develops During Winter Months

Some peoBrunoAir_Mold in Winterple think mold is a seasonal problem caused by the summer humidity. However, southwest Florida residents may be surprised to find that mold can be a year-around pest. It isn’t about the temperature outside, but the moisture inside. Those moist, dark corners and crevices within your rooms are prime real estate for mold. Ceiling, shower tiles, and other surfaces prone to condensation and wetness are all problem surfaces.

The good news is that you can do something about it! Below are Bruno Air’s tips on how to create a healthier, cleaner environment inside your home.

What Causes Mold Inside My Home?

When it comes to managing mold in the home, there are three different elements to consider: ventilation, condensation, and vegetation. Start with the rooms where moisture tends to linger, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. These are places where effective ventilation is extremely important. If you don’t have fans and proper airflow, that moisture will congregate, creating a breeding ground for black, fuzzy mold. Condensation can also build around door and window frames.

Vegetation can invite mold into the home as well, particularly in the soil where it’s moist or around the roots where water sits. Your Christmas tree is no exception! The water sitting in the Christmas tree stand doesn’t flow, thus it doesn’t filter. This creates a stagnant pool that attracts mold and encourages growth.

How to Get Rid of Mold in Your House

Bleach is a common and effective remedy for mold. However, if you don’t want your house to smell like a hospital, there are other methods to remove fungal growth. Some include:

  • Running the fan in your kitchen or bathroom while cooking and showering
  • Run a dehumidifier in moisture-prone rooms
  • Schedule regular maintenance for your heating and air conditioning system to keep it running properly
  • Use the fan setting on your HVAC system.

If Mold is a Frequent Problem

For some home owners, especially in southwest Florida, controlling mold growth can be an ongoing hassle. If these simple tips aren’t enough, then call in one of our expert technicians at Bruno Air! We can help provide the right solutions for your home, including built-in dehumidifiers, HEPA filters, and AC or HVAC maintenance so you can breathe easier. We’re servicing clients all over southwest Florida, including residents in Bonita Springs, Naples, Fort Myers, Kissimmee, Orlando, and Tampa! Simply give us a call at 239-908-4704.

How to Set Your Air Conditioning When Leaving a Seasonal Home

Florida is a hot spot for snowbirds to flock. However, before you lock the doors of your seasonal home for the next six months, you’ll want to make sure you make these important air conditioning unit adjustments.

You never want to skip these steps before leaving your house unattended for extended periods of time. Improper AC settings can elevate the humidity within your home. This creates the perfect environment for mildew and mold to grow, and you certainly don’t want these unwelcomed house guests to settle in while you’re gone.

Where to Set Your Thermostat

The ideal temperature depends on what kind of thermostat you have within your home. Digital thermostats like the Nest are becoming more popular thanks to their ability to remotely control the temperature within a home via an app on the owner’s phone. This technology gives you more control over your home while you’re away, allowing you to save money. If you have this option, then plan to set your thermostat to 72 degrees for two hours before sunrise every morning and 88 degrees for the rest of the time.

If you use a traditional thermostat that requires you to adjust the temperature manually, then you’ll have to stick with one setting for the duration of your absence. 80 degrees is the recommended setting for individual homes, while condos and townhouses should dip to a slightly lower 77 degrees.

This allows your air conditioning unit to run without producing mold-friendly levels of humidity.

Additional Ways to Reduce Humidity:

Air conditioners use moisture to manage the temperature within a designated environment. It controls the level of humidity within your home, but it won’t eliminate it entirely. Even after you set your thermostat to a manageable temperature, it helps to go the extra mile. Below are a few additional ways to prevent humidity from developing bigger problems:

Dehumidifers: Dehumidifiers will manage the concentration of moisture in the air during the cooler hours. It is generally advised to use one dehumidifier for every 1,000 square feet within a home. Simply set the unit to 52 degrees and leave it in a drainable location such as a kitchen sink or bathtub.

Install a Humidistat: This will eliminate the need to use dehumidifiers in your home while serving the same function.

Humidity Home Remedies: An easy, non-energy consuming method to control humidity is to set out small containers filled with charcoal or kitty litter in every room to absorb moisture.

One Last Thing:

Always, always, ALWAYS change your air filters before you leave. This will save you on energy costs and help prevent major issues from developing while you’re away.

Regular maintenance is always important with air conditioning systems. If you’re returning to a summer home here in Florida, we suggest you also take the time to setup an appointment for maintenance service. To schedule a time and date, simply give us a call at 239-908-4704!

Generator Safety Tips

Summer is upon us and that means more than the beach, fun, and sun; it means hurricanes. Hurricane Season officially starts June 1st. While you start making your preparations consider investing in a generator: a godsend when the electricity goes out. Generators can be found at stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc. A generator can give you the relief your family needs and keep you cool and food fresh.

Like any other large device, there are some safety tips that you should be aware of before plugging in. Follow these generator safety tips:

  • Never use a generator in an enclosed space or indoors, and that includes garages
  • Plug devices directly into the generator
  • Keep flammable items away.
  • Never refuel inside the home
  • Do not use a generator in wet or damp areas
  • Check all electrical cords
  • Don’t operate more appliances and equipment than the output of the generator
  • Check the oil and fuel level before starting
  • Keep gas fresh

The most important safety tip is the first one; do NOT use a generator in an enclosed space or indoors as this can lead to possible carbon monoxide concerns. The Red Cross has suggestions, “It is a good idea to install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up in your home, according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions. If CO gas from the generator enters your home and poses a health risk, the alarm will sound to warn you. Test the battery frequently and replace when needed.”

Mother and cub polar bear

Energy Savings Tips

 

Summer is here and it is a doozy! The days just keep getting hotter and hotter and as a result your air conditioner is working harder and harder. Are you getting the performance you want out of your air conditioner? If you find that you’re home just isn’t cooling the way it used to or your spending more and more time adjusting your thermostat and scratching your head, then it may time to take a look at your HVAC unit. Air conditioning systems can be tricky but a few helpful tips can help you purchase and keep a quality air conditioner for years. Bruno Air Conditioning has put together a list of the three biggest energy and money savers, no matter your make and model.

1. Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)

SEER is a measure of a system’s efficiency, the more efficient, the cheaper your system becomes. It also gives a helping hand to the environment since its focus is on energy efficiency and sustainable use. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 13 is the minimum SEER rating for air conditioning systems today. Comparatively though, a SEER rating of a 16 or so can save you hundreds of dollars annually.

2. Humidity

In Florida, we are no stranger to humidity and it’s not just limited to the great outdoors. Indoor humidity can make your home feel warm and uncomfortable. Choosing an air conditioning unit that controls humidity is a sound investment for your family. Modulated air conditioner also include humidity control.

3. Heat Pump

A heat pump is a great investment (and no, it doesn’t heat your home). A heat pump actually pulls hot air from inside your home and pushes it outside. Granted the opposite is also true but as Floridians, we don’t really need help heating our home, not even in the winter. A heat pump is available in three types depending on climate and environment.

 

 

 

Hiring A Professional

When your air conditioner needs more than regular maintenance, hiring a professional service technician is a must. A well-trained technician will find and fix problems in your air conditioning system.

The technician should:

  • Check for correct amount of refrigerant
  • Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
  • Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere
  • Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
  • Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
  • Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
  • Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear
  • Check the accuracy of the thermostat.
Air Conditioning filters

Air Conditioner Filters

The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner, is to routinely replace or clean your air conditioner filters. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system’s efficiency significantly. With normal airflow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil’s heat-absorbing capacity. Keeping the filter clean can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

For central air conditioners, filters are generally located somewhere along the return duct’s length. Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings, furnaces, or in the air conditioner itself. Room air conditioners have a filter mounted in the grill that faces into the room.

Some types of filters are reusable; others must be replaced. They are available in a variety of types and efficiencies. Clean or replace your air conditioning system’s filter or filters every month or two during the cooling season. Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use, is subjected to dusty conditions, or you have fur-bearing pets in the house.

Air Conditioning Evaporator Coils

Air Conditioning Coils

The air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their months and years of service. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from soiling quickly. In time, however, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. This dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem, check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary.

Outdoor condenser air conditioning coils can also become very dirty if the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.

You should minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Your dryer vents, falling leaves, and lawn mower are all potential sources of dirt and debris. Cleaning the area around the coil, removing any debris, and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.

Cleaning rooftop Air Conditioning screens

Common Air Conditioning Problems

One of the most common air conditioning problems is improper operation. If your air conditioner is on, be sure to close your home’s windows and outside doors. For room air conditioners, isolate the room or a group of connected rooms as much as possible from the rest of your home.

Other common problems with existing air conditioners result from faulty installation, poor service procedures, and inadequate maintenance. Improper installation of a central air conditioner can result in leaky ducts and low airflow. Many times, the refrigerant charge (the amount of refrigerant in the system) does not match the manufacturer’s specifications. If proper refrigerant charging is not performed during installation, the performance and efficiency of the unit is impaired. Unqualified service technicians often fail to find refrigerant charging problems or even worsen existing problems by adding refrigerant to a system that is already full. Learn what to ask for when hiring a technician to maintain your air conditioner.

Air conditioner manufacturers generally make rugged, high quality products. If your air conditioner fails, begin by checking any fuses or circuit breakers. Let the unit cool down for about five minutes before resetting any breakers. If a central air conditioner’s compressor stops on a hot day, the high-pressure limit switch may have tripped; reset it by pushing the button, located in the compressor’s access panel.

Refrigerant Leaks

If your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, either it was undercharged at installation or it leaks. If it leaks, simply adding refrigerant is not a solution. A trained technician should fix any leak, test the repair, and then charge the system with the correct amount of refrigerant. Remember that the performance and efficiency of your air conditioner is greatest when the refrigerant charge exactly matches the manufacturer’s specification, and is neither undercharged nor overcharged. Refrigerant leaks can also be harmful to the environment.

Inadequate Maintenance

If you allow filters and air conditioning coils to become dirty, the air conditioner will not work properly, and the compressor or fans are likely to fail prematurely.

Electric Control Failure

The compressor and fan controls can wear out, especially when the air conditioner turns on and off frequently, as is common when a system is oversized. Because corrosion of wire and terminals is also a problem in many systems, electrical connections and contacts should be checked during a professional service call.

Sensor Problems

Room air conditioners feature a thermostat sensor, located behind the control panel, which measures the temperature of air coming into the evaporative coil. If the sensor is knocked out of position, the air conditioner could cycle constantly or behave erratically. The sensor should be near the coil but not touching it; adjust its position by carefully bending the wire that holds it in place.

Drainage Problems

When it’s humid outside, check the condensate drain to make sure it isn’t clogged and is draining properly. Room air conditioners may not drain properly if not mounted level.

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:

 

Go Green and Save Money – Bruno Air Conditioning

Go Green And Save Money

The world has gone green and for good reason. Considering the environment, the HVAC industry has given the consumer numerous ways to conserve energy while, at the same time, saving money. We can show you how to keep that “green” in your pocket.

Florida Power & Light offers several rebates on new air conditioning systems that are better for energy conservation and the environment. Your rebate can range from $570 to $1,930. Ask us about the FPL rebates or for more information go to the Florida Power & Light website at:

FPL Energy Savings