Author archives: Sean Blackburn

Why Is It Warm Upstairs?

Warm Upstairs

Why is it Warm Upstairs?

Have you ever noticed that it’s often hotter upstairs than it is downstairs? No, it’s not just your house, and it’s (probably) not your last contractor’s fault. It’s simple the result of stack effect, which is a fancy way of saying that hot air rises.

Why Not Adjust How Air Conditioning Units are Built?

So we know why stack effect makes the upstairs hotter—can’t we just design an air conditioner system that combats this by pumping more cold air upstairs and keeping it cooler? No. Here’s why: hot air rises not only in the summer, but also in the winter. If you’re running the heat, with hot air rising in addition to the extra hot air you’re pumping upstairs, can you imagine how miserably, blazing hot that would be? Not only that, it’s going to be too cold downstairs.

Is There an Actual, Plausible Solution?  

An A/C unit that pumps more air into the upstairs is out as a solution to a too warm upstairs in your house. There are other plausible solutions, but each lack practicality in their own way.

These solutions include:

  • Having two air conditioning units. That’s right, two A/C units in one house; one would serve only the upstairs, and one would only serve the downstairs. This is possible, but the downside is that you’re now looking at the cost of two AC units. This means the bill and expense of running both, along with the maintenance and upkeep that will continue to cost even after the investment of having it installed. For many, the cost keeps it from being a practical solution.
  • Installing a zoning system. A zoning system is a system that has what are essentially two different types of valves called dampers and actuators that can either shut off or turn on air to different spaces within a house. The problem here: zoning systems don’t work very well, with a few very expensive, high end options. When sectioning off air to certain areas, you can put too much air in too little space, which can cause system inefficiency and freezing. Like a separate AC unit, it’s a whole extra unit that needs maintenance and can cause problems—and it doesn’t work well enough to warrant it. They can also be very loud, meaning you’re trading heat for a headache.
  • Utilizing a ductless solution. Ductless systems are incredibly efficient, so this is my personal favorite in our solution list. As you can imagine, they don’t require any ductwork, so it’s just a matter of running a small line set outside, allowing you to repurpose air into other places. The only real downside here is that it can put stress on the existing system, and it can be expensive to install.

Find the Option That’s Best for You

It’s hard to beat physics, and it’s harder to beat stack effect. The answer to the question “why aren’t air conditioning units designed to solve this warm upstairs problem” is simple: there is no easy way to design them differently, at least not when it comes to addressing this particular problem. There’s a trade off no matter what you choose, and with many of the options requiring extra cost, maintenance, and upkeep, plenty of homeowners will settle for the upstairs being a little warm.

 

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Why Does My House Feel Muggy?

muggy

A muggy house is very uncomfortable, but especially here in Florida, it’s an occurrence we are often faced with. As someone who works in the air conditioning business, this is a common issue our customers are faced with, and we’re always asked the same question:

Why is my house so muggy, and how can I fix it?

Here’s the good news: by knowing what causes that muggy feeling (it’s called relative humidity) and how to eliminate or reduce that cause, we can help to increase your indoor air quality and keep you comfortable in your house.

What is Relative Humidity?

Relative humidity is the cause of a muggy feeling in the house. Relative humidity measures the humidity that is relative to the temperature. If, for example, you add a bunch of sugar to a glass of hot tea, once it cools down, sugar crystals can appear. In our case, the air is the tea and the moisture level would be those sugar crystals. Hotter air can hold more moisture than cold air, so once “hot muggy air” cools, it becomes even more humid and muggy.

Most homes will fluctuate between about 55 and 65% relative humidity in Florida. An air conditioning unit combats these lovely effects by not only cooling the air, but also dehumidifying it. Moisture is extracted from the air as it runs across the evaporator coil in the air handler, and is dispelled outside the home through a drain. The air conditioner is therefore cooling the air as well as removing moisture from the house.

So Why Does My House Feel Muggy?

We’ve established how an air conditioning unit can help combat humidity and that general unpleasant muggy feeling. So why does your home still sometimes feel muggy?

While air conditioning units are effective at cooling a house, there are a few ways we may accidentally be adding more moisture back into the house ourselves.

A few ways we introduce more moisture into the house and raise the humidity include:

  1. Lots of People. A large percentage of human being is made up of water. Humans perspire to keep ourselves cooled, and that in turn adds moisture to the air. If you’ve got a lot of people in one place, that’s a lot of extra moisture.
  2. When you cook, there’s a lot of open vessels that water is evaporating into the air from.
  3. Anytime you take a shower, bath, or anything like that, you’re exposing moisture (and often steam) into the air. Good ventilation can help with this, but it won’t eliminate the moisture completely.
  4. House Plants/Pets. Pets and plants, just like people, will increase the amount of moisture in the air.
  5. It’s just plain muggy outside. Hello, Florida afternoon summer thunderstorms. Those are the perfect recipe for sending relative humidity skyrocketing—it’s not blazing hot, but there’s a ton of moisture in the air. The more moisture there is outside, the more of it that will come in every time a door or window is open. Even if you shut yourself in, your house won’t be immune to increased moisture on a particularly muggy day; an exchange of air will still happen from outside to inside, just from your house being there.

How to Reduce Humidity in Your Home

Our homes can easily become muggy, so the important thing to know is how to combat it, reducing the moisture in the air. There’s a few ways to do this.

The first thing to note is that the best dehumidifying air conditioner is one that runs all the time. Plenty of people shudder at this because of the perceived expense, but if you get an appropriately sized ac unit for your home, you’ll see a big difference.  When you aren’t running your air conditioning all the time, it may still keep your house cool, but it won’t be an effective dehumidifier.

Let’s look at another example. Let’s say it’s raining like crazy outside. Your AC unit has probably turned off, because the rain on the house is cooling it down. That’s fine for the temperature, but it’s still raining outside, meaning there’s a ridiculous amount of moisture in the air. Your house is cool, but your air conditioner isn’t running, so it’s not being dehumidified. Before you know it, that horrible muggy feeling will set in.

Variable speed air conditioning units will help with these types of issues. You can also choose to purchase a separate dehumidifying systems, which we can install in your home for you. You can also buy small dehumidifiers that you manually drain, which can also be decently effective.

With lower amounts of moisture in the air, you’ll improve the indoor air quality, and you’ll be a lot more comfortable.

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Pool Heater Season

pool heater pool heating clermont

Pool Heater Maintenance

Many homes in the short term vacation rental market now have a pool heater, but many managers are unsure how to properly care for them. Pool heaters can be a great amenity when closing a booking for a home. Unfortunately, when there is an issue with the pool heat, it can cause a lot of guest complaints– and that’s what happens with pool heaters that aren’t properly maintained or cared for.

As most property managers know, pool heaters in Florida don’t have a long life expectancy (heat pump pool heaters usually last 6-10 years while gas pool heaters usually only last 2-5 years).

Even in a warm weather climate like ours, pool heaters will have long run-times, are exposed to the harsh sun and other outdoor elements, and are exposed to plenty of corrosive elements and chemicals that are within the pool’s water. Water temp sensors, capacitors and heat exchangers are just some of the common failures that can turn your amenity into a headache.

Here are the five things you need to know before the cold months arrive:

  1. Turn the pool heater on several days in advance to make sure the pool is up to temperature BEFORE the cold snap. If you wait until it is cold outside to turn on a heater they may never catch up until the cold period ends.
  2. Increase the pump’s run time before the cold weather – we recommend setting an 8AM to 8PM as standard schedule.
  3. Have the guest cover the pool at night. If you can get them to do this it will GREATLY assist in the pool temperature, and the energy efficiency will help you save on power usage as well.
  4. Do not run a heat pump overnight during cold temperatures. Many pool heat pumps will ice over and require manual defrost if you do this, adding avoidable (and expensive) pool heater repairs.
  5. Take care of issues ahead of time by scheduling annual maintenance on the pool heater. Catch small issues before they become larger ones, monitor trends, and improve your guest’s experience by being prepared. You can save yourself money, time, and grief by doing this, even if it feels unnecessary at the time.

For proper and consistent pool heater maintenance or pool heater repairs, please call our office at (352) 243-7088 and learn more by subscribing to our blog.

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AC Replacement Walk Through

Ever curious what happens during an AC Replacement? Check out our video below of a air conditioner install we recently completed for a customer!

At Kalos Services we take a comprehensive approach to AC replacement and upgrades. We want to ensure that the quote for your air conditioning install has no hidden costs and is accurate the first time. We desire the AC replacement process to live up to your expectations and that the energy efficiency of the A/C system will be at the highest possible level.

Always Get the AC Replacement Process in Writing

As you consider quotes from other companies, ask them to show you their air conditioning install process. Make sure to ask to see this process in writing. A reputable air conditioning contractor should always be able to tell you how they plan on making sure your air conditioning install goes smoothly. Still have more questions? Download our eBook The Complete Air Conditioner Buying Guide

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 AC Replacement