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The Rinaldi's Blog

by Scott Hudson, Vice-President

What Benefits Can Modulating Furnaces Provide?

Homeowners who are searching for a new furnace have multiple efficiency options available. However, the best performance and highest efficiency can be found only in a modulating furnace. Here is a brief description of modulating furnaces and how they provide superior comfort along with excellent efficiency. Furnace Types There are three main types of furnaces available for residential use: Single-stage furnaces have only one setting for the flame that produces the heat. For this reason, these furnaces always run at a high level no matter how much heating is actually needed. Double-stage furnaces, sometimes called variable speed furnaces, have two different flame settings. These furnaces can run on a lower level when less heat is needed, consuming less fuel. Modulating furnaces have the ability to make incremental changes in the intensity of the heating flame. This allows the furnace to react very precisely to indoor temperature changes and thermostat settings. They can keep the interior of your home within a degree or two of the settings at the thermostat at all times. Modulating furnaces consume only as much fuel as needed and do not burn fuel at higher wasteful levels for long periods of time. How Modulating Furnaces Work Modulating furnaces contain a modulating gas valve that controls the smaller changes in fuel consumption. The valve ensures that the amount of fuel consumed by the furnace is limited only to what is needed to maintain the temperature settings you’ve programmed into your thermostat. To make these types of furnaces even more efficient, they usually also come equipped with a variable-speed air handler, which is the fan and motor that... read more

Prevent Buildup in a Humidifier

Even in Orlando’s relatively humid climate, dry indoor air can still be an issue for many homeowners. Not only can a relative lack of humidity lead to dry, itchy skin and sinus irritation, but prolonged dryness can also cause cracks in paint and wooden furniture. It can even increase the amount of static electricity generated in your home. Humidifiers can help reduce the symptoms and restore indoor comfort, but only if they’re kept in good shape. A buildup of calcium, lime scale and other minerals can prevent your humidifier from working as intended. It’s important to prevent mineral buildup if you want your humidifier to tackle your home’s dry air. Here are a few essential tips to follow when it comes to preventing mineral buildup in your humidifier: Always clean your humidifier on a regular basis. This simple preventive step can save you a lot of trouble when it comes to your humidifier. Regular cleaning can help prevent mineral deposits from forming and stop buildup in its tracks. Never use tap water in your humidifier. Tap water is often chock full of minerals, metals and other impurities that could do a serious number on your humidifier. Instead, you should always use distilled water, since it’s processed specifically to eliminate impurities. Always empty the humidifier after each use. Allowing previously used water to stagnate inside of the reservoir could lead to mineral buildup, as well as mold and mildew growth. After you finish using your humidifier, you should always empty and wipe down the reservoir with a clean cloth. Use undiluted white vinegar to dissolve mineral buildup. White vinegar is... read more

Ways to Maintain Your Furnace in the Summer

As a homeowner, there’s a good chance that you’re always on the lookout for ways to protect your home. You may not realize it, but maintaining your furnace in the summer should definitely be on your list. To get you started, here are a few simple tips to follow: Schedule Maintenance You may already be aware that annual maintenance of your furnace by a qualified technician should be done to keep up its energy efficiency and prolong its operational life. What you may not know is that summer is the perfect time to make this happen, since you won’t be pressed for time as you would once winter arrives and you’re freezing your toes off. Check/Replace the Filter It doesn’t take long for dirt and debris to clog up your furnace’s air filter. These filters must be replaced every 1-3 months, depending on the system’s usage and air cleanliness. There’s a good chance you didn’t check the filter at the end of last winter, so now’s the time to take a look and replace it, if necessary. Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector Gas leaks can be deadly, so it’s important that your home has at least one carbon monoxide detector per floor. This will keep your family safe. And if you already have a carbon monoxide detector or two, replace the batteries and use its testing feature to make sure it’s working properly. Clean the Furnace Even when your furnace has the best filter on the market, the interior of the system itself can be filled with dirt and debris. To keep the furnace operating at peak efficiency, give... read more

HVAC Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Home

Are you looking at buying a house? If you’re considering an older home, you’ll want to know about the roof, foundation, lighting, plumbing and electrical system for sure, but also the HVAC system. Most likely, as you’re being shown a home, the real estate agent will turn on the system to show you it runs. But you need to know much, much more than that before you sign on the dotted line. Questions to Ask About a Home’s HVAC System How old is the unit? Most HVAC systems can be expected to last 10 to 15 years. If you’re looking at a home that has an older HVAC, you probably want to either ask for the owner to lower the price a bit so you can save for a new unit, or ask that a new one be installed. Be aware that since Freon is being phased out, any older HVAC that uses this refrigerant will need to be replaced by one that uses the newer refrigerants as Freon supplies dwindle and become more expensive. What kind of maintenance has been performed? Ask to see records that prove the homeowner has had annual maintenance performed. Ask about any major repairs that have been done. Check for a rattling compressor and dirty air vents, signs the system hasn’t been maintained. How efficient is the system? Newer systems tend to be more efficient in general, but you can confirm this by checking on whether the HVAC is an Energy Star model. Energy Star is a government program that recognizes certain appliances for their higher efficiency. Newer units should have a label... read more

Why Your A/C Isn’t Turning On

As the temperatures heat up in the Orlando area, the last thing homeowners want is for their air conditioning to break down. Unfortunately, this can happen from time to time. If your air conditioner isn’t turning on, there are several potential reasons for this. Air Filter Your air conditioning might not be working right for a simple reason, such as a clogged or dirty air filter. When your filter fills up with dust particles and other debris, it can cause your air conditioner to stop working. Check the air filter if your HVAC unit doesn’t come on, and replace it with a new one if it’s dirty. Your air conditioning should work after this if the filter was the problem. You can prevent this from becoming a regular problem by changing your air filter every month. Thermostat Another simple reason that air conditioners don’t come on is due to dead batteries in the thermostat. When the batteries are dead, your thermostat won’t work, which means that your air conditioning won’t turn on at all. If your thermostat isn’t working at all, replace the batteries in it with brand new ones, then check your air conditioner again. It should come on if the batteries in your thermostat were the problem. Air Conditioner Unit If there’s a problem with the unit itself, it could be a coolant problem or a broken motor. Coolant levels can fall too low if there’s a leak, which can prevent air conditioners from turning on. A broken motor or another problem, such as a wiring problem, can also stop these units from working. If you suspect... read more

These 4 Changes Can Mean Big Energy Bill Savings

Don’t make the mistake of thinking there’s nothing you can do to reduce energy use in your Florida home. Most residences have plenty of potential for further energy savings, and often all it takes are a few small changes. Small Changes for Big Energy Savings Install a programmable thermostat, if you haven’t already done so. With a programmable model, you can create energy-saving settings for times when the house is empty or at night when everybody is sleeping. There’s no reason a house has to be fully cooled or heated when nobody’s home. Programmable thermostats also can be used to regulate temperatures for energy savings while you’re on vacation. If you decide to stick with an old-school manual thermostat, try setting the temperature two or three degrees lower in the winter and higher in the summer. You might be surprised to learn how quickly you will acclimate to small changes in temperature. Use ceiling fans to supplement cooling in the summer. During the cooling season, a ceiling fan creates a cooling effect for anyone feeling the moving air, making a room seem three or four degrees cooler (even if the actual temperature is unaffected). This means you can set the thermostat a few degrees higher without any loss of comfort, resulting in less energy use and lower utility bills. Use curtains, blinds or drapes to block heat from sunshine during sunny summer days. This can reduce the temperature in a room that gets sun exposure by several degrees. In the winter, thick curtains or drapes add another layer of insulation to keep the cold outside and heat inside. Schedule... read more