Central Florida 407-275-0705 | Space Coast 321-600-9123 | SE Florida 772-453-2172

15264 East Colonial Dr. Orlando, FL 32826 | License No: CAC055565

The Rinaldi's Blog

by Scott Hudson, Vice-President

One Fire Hazard You’ve Probably Never Considered

What’s a common household fire hazard in your home? You might guess a flaming pan on the stove or a short circuit in the wiring. Actually, it’s lint in your clothes dryer. Lint fires cause thousands of household fires every year and result in millions of dollars of property damage. Lint is the tiny fibrous particles of cotton and polyester that occur whenever clothing is dried. It is easily ignited, highly flammable and burns almost explosively. The chain of events that lead to a lint fire begins with obstructed ventilation from the dryer due to a clogged lint trap or dryer vent duct. As heat builds up inside the interior of the dryer, lint may spontaneously ignite. Lint fires that begin in the dryer frequently migrate into the dryer vent duct which also accumulates lint and extends into an exterior wall. This, in turn, may spread the fire into the structure of the house. To minimize the fire hazard posed by lint in your clothes dryer, here are some suggestions: Always clean the dryer lint before drying every load of clothes. Check the size and type of dryer vent duct installed in your house. It should be at least four inches in diameter and fabricated of smooth metal or aluminum. Vinyl plastic flex-vent that was once very common in household dryer vents is now prohibited by most local fire codes. In the event of a lint fire, a plastic vent duct will melt easily and spread flames into the house. Make sure the vent duct is as short as possible to reach the nearest exterior wall, and that it... read more

What Should You Think About When Buying a Portable Air Conditioner?

Getting by without air conditioning may work in some parts of the country, but not in Central Florida. Air conditioning is an essential service that keeps your home cool and helps alleviate high indoor humidity. If you have an uncomfortable room or area in your home, you may be looking for a quick and practical cooling solution. Following are important tips and pointers to consider when shopping for a portable air conditioner. Sizing and Power Portable air conditioners are free-standing appliances that you can place just about anywhere in your home where you have the space and correct power supply at the outlet. Size: Portable air conditioners will indicate the size of room that it cools based on square footage — not heat gain/loss factors, such as sun orientation, location (e.g. warmer upper-floor rooms) and ceiling height. Power: Larger portable air conditioners may require more power than the typical standard outlet. Maintenance Basic portable air conditioners will require that you empty the condensate tray. Here in Central Florida, you can count on a substantial amount of water collection to empty. More expensive air conditioners use evaporation through the air-exhaust vent that reduces the frequency of condensate maintenance. Noise When choosing how to cool a room or area, it’s important to consider noise level of an air conditioner. Even the quietest portable air conditioners are substantially louder than the hum of a refrigerator and of similarly-sized wall A/Cs. Weigh Your Options If you are shopping for a cooling solution for a room addition, a portable air conditioner makes sense. However, a ductless mini split is the better option for quietness,... read more

How Can You Prepare Your HVAC for Your Summer Vacation?

As you get ready for your summer vacation, it’s easy to forget about the things you should do before you set off. This includes preparing your HVAC system so it’s in the same shape as you left it when you finally come back from your well-deserved vacation. Here are a few tips you can use to keep your HVAC system running smoothly while you’re away: Set Your Thermostat Correctly You’ll need to leave your air conditioner running, especially in the face of Orlando’s summertime heat and humidity. However, you won’t need to crank down temperatures as low as usual when you’re home. Instead, raise the thermostat temperature by a few degrees to help reduce wear and energy consumption on your HVAC system while you’re gone. Change That Air Filter Forgetting this rather simple task can be devastating, especially since you won’t be around to spot the symptoms of a clogged air filter. Swap the old, dirty filter with a clean filter before you leave for your summer vacation destination. Have a Pro Check Your HVAC Unit There’s plenty you can do on your own to keep your HVAC system in good shape. However, it doesn’t hurt to have a trained HVAC professional conduct a thorough inspection of your HVAC system and its ductwork. Your technician will be able to spot problems you may have missed during your own self-inspection. Close Those Curtains and Blinds Keeping your curtains and blinds closed during your summer vacation can help prevent solar heat from infiltrating your home, keeping indoor temperatures at reasonable levels. It also maintains the privacy and security of your home... read more

HVAC Systems and Yard Work

Yard work is an important task for keeping your home and property well maintained and beautiful. With plenty of sunshine, moisture and warmer weather, it’s also a year-round chore for many in Central Florida. Whether you work in your yard yourself or hire a landscaping service, it’s important to work safely around your HVAC system to protect equipment. Here’s what to know: Outdoor HVAC Systems The outdoor half of your HVAC system is basically a large metal box that usually sits on a concrete pad next to your home. When you are near the unit when it is running, you’ll hear the powerful blower and compressor humming along. Just because the HVAC unit is installed outside, don’t assume that it can’t be affected by the elements or by people. The HVAC components most vulnerable to damage are the blower blades, refrigerant line and the thin metal fins in front of the condenser. Blower: A large blower pulls are into the side of the outdoor unit, and pushes air out the top. Debris that falls into the blower assembly can cause damage to the blades and motor, and it often makes a lot of noise. Prune your trees each year to remove weak and dead branches. Wind-driven storms can easily break limbs and turn them into dangerous projectiles that can damage HVAC equipment and your home. Refrigerant line: A refrigerant line runs from the indoor air handler, through your home’s exterior wall to the outdoor HVAC unit. The refrigerant line should be wrapped with a foam sleeve to help insulate and protect it. Be careful not to damage the refrigerant... read more

Summer Savings: Reducing Energy Bills

You might be surprised to find out how many ways you can save energy this summer, and most of them are relatively simple and inexpensive. Try these tips for sure summer savings on energy: Use ceiling fans to supplement the work of your central A/C. Fans create a cooling effect for anybody in the path of the moving air. This will make the air feel three or four degrees cooler, even though it’s not actually changing the temperature. Turn up your A/C by the same amount for summer savings on your cooling costs. Take advantage of the cool night air on evenings when it’s not too muggy or hot. Granted, there aren’t a lot of nights like that during an Orlando summer, but this tip also can help save energy during other parts of the year. Open windows on cool evenings, and let that cool air keep your house comfortable in the morning until it starts getting hot. During sunny days, close curtains, shades, blinds and other window treatments on the sunny side of the house. You’ll reduce the temperature in those rooms by several degrees, giving your A/C a break. Inspect your A/C’s air filter every month and change it before it gets clogged with dust and debris. A clogged filter will impede system airflow, forcing your air conditioner to work harder and use more energy. Make sure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated. An attic that’s allowed to overheat during the summer will heat up the rest of the house, making your cooling system work all the harder to make your home comfortable. Schedule professional maintenance... read more

Is Recessed Lighting Affecting Your Home’s HVAC Efficiency?

There are so many factors in play when it comes to your home’s HVAC efficiency that it’s hard to keep up with them all. There may even be a few factors you don’t know about that could have a sizable impact on overall comfort and energy usage. For instance, those trendy recessed lighting fixtures can have a significant impact on the way you heat and cool your home: Installing recessed lights requires installers to punch holes through the building envelope, drastically changing the way heat loss occurs while potentially removing a protective element against unconditioned air outdoors. The light fixtures themselves can leave behind gaps that allow conditioned air to leak out of the building envelope. These gaps usually occur between the actual lighting canister and the ceiling. The canisters themselves may have holes that also allow air to slip past. These gaps can lead to a pronounced stack effect in your home, where rising air escaping through the top of your home creates a low-pressure area at lower levels, allowing your home to draw in cold air. In short, adding recessed lights can result in higher energy bills, reduced home comfort and an HVAC system with a shorter lifespan due to the added workload. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can install your recessed lighting without worrying about any drops in HVAC efficiency: Make sure you’re using IC fixtures. These lighting fixtures are designed to be in contact with insulation without creating a fire hazard. These fixtures may also have gaskets and other features to prevent gaps between the fixture and drywall. If you’re using non-IC fixtures,... read more