Air On Demand Blog: Archive for February, 2014

Air Conditioning Basics: What You Should Know about Refrigerant Types

Monday, February 24th, 2014

You probably don’t give your air conditioning in South Miami, FL more thought than necessary: as long as you schedule regular maintenance, change the air filter once a month during the warm months, and have professionals do prompt repairs when it malfunctions, your AC should continue to work for you for many years.

However, you can benefit from some extra knowledge about how an air conditioner operates, since it can help you understand why certain malfunctions occur. A key part of understanding AC operation is knowledge of the refrigerant inside it, the chemical blend that allows the system to move heat from inside your home to outside your home. Here’s what you should know about refrigerant types, courtesy of our AC specialists at Air on Demand.

The development of refrigerant

Willis Carrier invented the first electromechanical air conditioning unit in 1902, and it used water as refrigerant. However, water has too high a boiling point for energy efficient performance, so other chemical soon replaced it. The early air conditioners used ammonia, methyl chloride, or propane. All of these worked more efficiently at changing from liquid to gas and back again, but they had serious drawbacks: they were either flammable or toxic, and leaks could lead to dangerous accidents. This made ACs unsuitable for home use.

In 1928, the first non-flammable, non-toxic refrigerant blend was created, R-22.

The dominant blend across the globe is R-22 (the name refers to the molecular composition of the chemical), a hydrochlorofluorocarbon. However, R-22 is a greenhouse gas and contributes to ozone depletion, so in the United States it is being gradually phased out with the goal of 99.5% elimination by 2020. The main replacement blend—most likely the blend cycling through your air conditioner right now—is R-410A, also known as Puron and EcoFluor R410—is a mix of difluoromethane and pentafluoroethane. Because R-410A contains no fluorocarbons, it does not deplete the ozone layer.

Refrigerant leaks and recharging

Whatever refrigerant flows through your AC, it has a fixed level—called the refrigerant’s “charge”—that cycles in a closed loop through the system. The process of evaporation and condensation that provides you with cooling does not use up the refrigerant charge. However, leaks can occur: punctures in the coils, loose connections, breaks in the compressor. Leaking refrigerant will cause ice to develop along the indoor coils, and when this happens you need to call for professional repairs. Not only do you need an expert to seal the leaks, but the expert must use the proper refrigerant blend to replace the lost charge.

For all your repair needs for your air conditioning in South Miami, FL, trust to Air on Demand.

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Is It Too Early in the Year for Air Conditioning Maintenance in Miami, FL?

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Although it’s still possible for the last month of winter to hurl a few chilly surprises at us here in Miami, the upcoming weather forecast already has us moving toward weather in the upper 70s and low 80s. As strange as it may sound to people who live in regions of the country where icy weather is still normal, here in Florida now is an ideal time to start thinking about taking care of our air conditioners and getting them ready for summer.

If you haven’t yet scheduled your yearly maintenance for your heat pump or air conditioning in Miami, FL, call Air on Demand today for an appointment. With more than 10 years of experience and a team of NATE-certified technicians on staff, we are one of your best choices for AC maintenance.

  • Easier scheduling: It’s already starting to warm up, and more and more ACs will start turning on. That means more people will start to need repairs and perhaps emergency service. Before the calendars for HVAC specialists begin crowding up, leap in and schedule your AC’s yearly maintenance visit.
  • Avoid an emergency breakdown: We mentioned surprise cold days above. Well, there can also be surprise scorchers with heavy humidity in store for us as well. If your AC isn’t tuned up with all its necessary repairs done, it might abruptly break down when you have to push it hard to overcome the heat. Beat the surprise heat and have maintenance done sooner rather than later.
  • Catch repairs before they get worse: Because you will get some use out of your air conditioner in the months before it shifts over to regular operation, any repair needs in the AC will start to grow worse from the stress. If you wait until summer for maintenance to catch these problems, they can be more expensive to fix. Take care of those repair needs before the early cooling season increases them.

Scheduling Maintenance is Easy

You don’t have to look far to find quality maintenance for your air conditioning in Miami, FL. You just have to call Air on Demand and ask about out maintenance plan. If you enroll with us, you’ll also receive a 20% discount on all repairs and 5% off new equipment and select parts. Plus, we guarantee all repairs for the parts we install, and you have priority service—even at our busiest times of the year. Contact us today.

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Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at Air On Demand hope you have a pleasant February 14th.

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Signs You Need Duct Repair

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

*Air On Demand no longer offers duct sealing or repair services. Please visit our ductwork service page to learn more about our ductwork options.

Home ductwork is designed to remain invisible. This has the negative side effect of making it difficult to know when the ducts need repairs to seal up breaks or spots where joints have separated. It’s important for your comfort, your HVAC system’s efficiency, and your indoor air quality that your ducts maintain complete sealing along their length.

When you know you need duct repair in Miami, FL, the people to call are our ductwork specialists at Air on Demand. We not only install and repair heaters and air conditioners; we specialize in indoor air quality and ductwork services.

We’re familiar with the many problems that may afflict your ducts, and we’d like to share some ways you can detect that you need repairs even though you cannot see most of the ventilation system.

  • An increase in your energy bill – When your ducts suffer leaks due to breaks or connector separation, the air pressure inside them will drop and affect the performance of your heater/AC. Your comfort system will attempt to compensate for the pressure loss to reach its set temperature, requiring it to drain excess power. If your heating or cooling bill starts to rise for no obvious reason, it may mean broken ducts.
  • Musty smells from the vents – Ductwork moves through closed-off parts of your home where dust collects and air rarely circulates: attics, crawlspaces, between walls. The air here is usually stale and musty, and breaks in ducts will draw it in and vent it out into your rooms, warning you that there is damage somewhere along the ventilation system.
  • Cold/warm spots – Because of the loss of air pressure from ductwork damage, rooms in your home will start to experience uneven temperatures. A room near to a major break in the ducts will not receive the level of heating or cooling it is supposed to, and you’ll discover that it has a temperature different from the rest of the house. If the HVAC system seems to be operating normally, these uneven heating spots often indicate ductwork trouble is responsible for the temperature change.

Ductwork repair requires trained technicians—not a few minutes with duct tape and some hope. Call up professionals for this job as soon as you sense you have a problem, otherwise you’ll face dirty air, higher bills, and an HVAC system that may soon start to sustain damage from overwork.

Air on Demand delivers quality duct repair in Miami, FL, as well as duct installation, sealing, and repairs to take care of all your ventilation concerns. Call us today to speak to one of our ductwork specialists.

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