On a chilly winter night, the last thing you want to feel in your Tampa Bay area home is cold air coming from your heater vents. Thanks to the mild Florida climate, you don’t need to heat your home often, but when you do, you want it to work. If your heat pump blows cold air, it could be a number of easily fixable issues.
Before you call your trusted HVAC technician, take a look at this list of common reasons your heater might not be warming your home:
- If your heat pump blows cold air immediately after starting up, that’s normal. It takes a moment for the cool air in the system to be replaced with heated air, just like it takes a few seconds for hot water to reach your sink after turning the faucet on.
- A constant stream of cold air usually means your fan is set to “on” instead of “auto.” Find your thermostat and check. When the fan is set to “auto,” it only runs when the heat pump is in its heating cycle, while “on” means the fan is running constantly.
If none of these tips fix your problem, you need to call an HVAC contractor. The complicated electronics and machinery inside of your furnace require a trained professional and specialized tools to diagnose. If you haven’t already, think about purchasing a maintenance agreement from your HVAC contractor. They’ll regularly perform preventive maintenance on your equipment so it always works when you need it.
If your heat pump blows cold air and you’d like to schedule a professional to assess it, contact Cox Air Conditioning & Heating. We proudly serve homeowners throughout the Tampa Bay area.
A well-functioning furnace can make a family happy and healthy all winter. You may live in Florida, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch colds too! However, if you’ve been having blasts of cold air through the winter or your home hasn’t been as warm as it should, it’s probably because your furnace won’t ignite.
Why Isn’t My Furnace Igniting?
A furnace that isn’t igniting could be due to a variety of issues, the most common of which involves not cleaning and maintaining the furnace properly. In some cases, the furnace is old and needs to be replaced.
- The most common reason a pilot in a furnace won’t ignite is that the opening for the flame gets dirty over time and the debris prevents the gas from easily going where it needs to. This creates inconsistent temperatures, which the flame sensor reads and usually shuts off the flame. This is most often the case of a heating unit that starts to blow warm air, then suddenly blasts cold air.
- The second most common problem is when the pilot ignition switch goes bad. When this happens, the igniter doesn’t produce the spark necessary to keep the flame lit. This is particularly problematic on models that switch the flame off when not in use.
- The next most common problem is an improper pilot flame length. This occurs when the unit vibrates and the nut that controls the amount of gas released is loosened. Tighten the thermocouple till the flame is two inches tall, or however tall the user manual of your furnace tells you it should be.
- Lastly, if everything is hooked up right and it still isn’t working, it could be a damaged gas line. This needs to be examined immediately by a qualified HVAC specialist.
If your furnace won’t ignite and you’d like professional HVAC help, contact Cox Air Conditioning and Heating. We serve homeowners throughout Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Palm Harbor, Trinity and West Chase.
As relaxing as vacations are, you may have some valid concerns about your empty home. Here are a few simple steps to prepare your home that can help you leave for your winter holiday without a care in the world.
- Using a programmable thermostat makes it convenient to remotely check on the temperature in your house. You can make any necessary adjustments to the settings on your HVAC system by using a smartphone or via the Internet.
- Temperatures below freezing make it unsafe to turn the thermostat completely off. Setting the thermostat on your HVAC system to 50 degrees will still save you money without risking frozen pipes and flooding.
- Many people are unaware that appliances still draw power while turned off. Prepare your home by unplugging appliances and large electronic devices while you are out of town.
- Prepare your home to use as little electricity as possible while you are out of town. Set your refrigerator to 42 degrees and freezer to 5 degrees to save money, but still minimize the chances of returning home to spoiled food. Throwing out or giving away perishables and unplugging your refrigerator before an extended winter holiday will save even more.
- During your winter holiday, change the water heater to its “vacation” setting. This low temperature will prevent water in the lines and tank from freezing and causing damage, but won’t keep hot water at the ready that will not be used.
If you need help to prepare your home for a winter vacation or for the winter in general, call us at Cox Air Conditioning & Heating. Our HVAC system experts have been keeping Pinellas County and the surrounding areas comfortable since 1958.
Go ahead, buy a new sweater. It will not only make you feel more comfortable this winter, but you can easily pay for it with the money you’ll save on heating by following even a few sensible, energy-saving tips.
Begin by lowering the temperature in your home. (See why the sweater comes in handy?) The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for every degree you adjust your thermostat, you can save between 2 and 4 percent on your heating bill. This will add up quickly, especially if you drop the temperature further during the day – when people are at work and school – and overnight.
While you’re setting the thermostat, make sure that you’re doing so on a programmable thermostat – a nifty invention that allows you to set your thermostat for a day or for as long as a week ahead of time. For anyone who wants to save on heating costs, a programmable thermostat is a must-have piece of technology.
Build even more momentum in your quest to save on heating by:
- Scheduling a fall heat pump tune-up to remove the dirt and grime that impedes your heat pump’s performance
- Sealing air leaks and weatherstripping and caulking windows
- Replacing your heat pump air filter. Keep an extra filter around all season long; it will come in handy when you put “filter check” on your calendar at the beginning (or end) of every month
- Inspecting the condition and amount of insulation in your attic. Then check the amount against that recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy in a handy guide.
- Running your ceiling fans in a clockwise direction to circulate warm air that rises to the ceiling. (In the summer, the fans should run in a counterclockwise direction.) Doing so will help you make use of the warm air already in your home.
- Keeping doors and windows closed but shades and window treatments open to take advantage of heat supplied by the sun
To schedule a tune-up or for other ideas to help you save on heating (and perhaps afford a second new sweater), call the experts at Cox Air Conditioning & Heating today.
If you’ve installed a high efficiency heat pump but haven’t seen your energy bills come down as far as you’d expect, it might not be your heat pump that’s the problem. While a great heat pump can be incredibly efficient at using energy to provide heating for your home, it cannot make up for inefficiencies elsewhere. If you’re losing 50 percent of the heat in your home through gaps in your walls and ceiling, your furnace will need to be working twice as hard to keep your home heated, even with an AFUE rating of 90 to 95.
For most homeowners, the real inefficiency in their homes is the loss of heat escaping via air leaks and through insufficient insulation. While this can never be entirely stopped, it can be significantly reduced by using insulation effectively.
Typically as much as 40 percent of energy used is lost through air leakage in an average home, most of which can be avoided. The upfront cost of getting this work done will be repay itself many times over by reducing your future energy bills.
The first step to reducing your home’s inefficiencies is to engage the services of a qualified HVAC professional. An expert technician can install additional insulation in the attic and walls where needed and seal air leaks around the home to prevent escaping conditioned air. While some of these can be done as a DIY job, an qualified expert knows where to look for air leaks and will also know which insulation to use for the job, as well as how to use it.
For more information about using your high efficiency heat pump properly and to ensure sufficient insulation in your home, contact the pros at Cox Air Conditioning & Heating. We’re proud to serve homeowners in and around the Tampa area.