Florida Homes: The Best Way To Keep Them Warm

Florida experiences far more hot days than cold ones, but it is still important to have a way to keep a home warm when temperatures dip. Energy-conscious homeowners may wonder about the best methods for keeping Florida homes temperate on cold days without using too much electricity. There are options for Florida homeowners that can help keep homes warm in the winter and save money.

Heat Strips For Localized Warmth

Many Florida homes do not have a central heating system but instead use heat strips to deliver localized heating to certain rooms. This system provides little heat to the whole house and is far from efficient. It is usually enough for the mild Florida winters, but there are better options available.

Energy Efficient Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are a type of home heating and cooling system that have experienced a recent popularity rise. These systems can provide almost as much conditioning to a home as a conventional HVAC system while using much less electricity.

The biggest downside to heat pumps is that they lose heating effectiveness when the temperature outside drops very low, but this wouldn’t be a problem for Florida homes.

Heat pumps can also come in ductless versions that cool and heat while being more environmentally friendly. A ductless system can lower a home’s carbon footprint and deliver improved air quality.

Hybrid Systems For The Best Of Both Worlds

Because heat pumps allow for sufficient heating in the mild Florida winters but provide slightly less cooling during the hot summers, homeowners might consider installing a hybrid HVAC system. These systems combine a conventional air conditioning unit to provide the maximum amount of cooling possible and a heat pump to provide cheaper heating than a conventional furnace. Such systems are more expensive to install but pay for themselves with time.

Ensuring Proper Insulation

While not unique to Florida homes, proper insulation is an essential factor in keeping a home warm. Adequate insulation can reduce the amount of time a heating system needs to run to bring a house to the desired temperature, and keep it there longer before more heat is needed. In a place with mild winters like Florida, good insulation can help keep heating costs quite low.

Necessary HVAC Maintenance

No family wants to turn on their heating system on the first cold day in months and find it isn’t working properly. Homeowners can do some maintenance tasks, such as changing air filters and cleaning coils,, but others require an HVAC technician. To ensure peak operating efficiency, giving the most heat at the least cost, an expert should inspect a heating system every year.

Florida homes don’t need powerful heating systems, but they do need some heat in the winter. With enough insulation and proper maintenance, the heating system in a Florida home shouldn’t have to work too much to keep people comfortable. If you need help keeping your Florida home comfortable, contact the HVAC experts at Payne.

Furnace Inspection Checklist

Ideally, a home furnace should be inspected once a year, but at least once every two years. This is to ensure that all the systems and parts within the furnace are operating efficiently, properly and safely.

Inspecting the Furnace

  • The very first thing you’re going to want to do is to inspect the outside of the furnace. If there was a mishap with the weight bench in the basement and a 45 lb. plate crashed into the side of it, chances are there’s a mark and things are damaged inside. So look everything over for signs of dents, corrosion, or other damage.
  • Next give the flue pipe and ductwork a visual inspection for structural integrity. Go ahead and give them a little jimmy, tenderly and with love of course – you don’t want to damage them, to make sure they’re still solid. (Please don’t shake the gas line. Bad technician! No!)
  • Once you are satisfied that the appearance and structural integrity of the outside structures are acceptable, remove the front panel of the furnace and give the insides the same once-over. Look for any apparent damage or corrosion. Paying special attention to the wires, burner and ignition assemblies, and heat exchanger.
  • If there is cleaning that needs to be done on the blower assembly, burners, heat exchanger – or anything else really – go ahead and get that dust out of there. Remember, bunnies have no place in a furnace!
  • Give all belts, pulleys, and bearings an inspection. If anything is loose go ahead and tighten it according to the manufacturers specs. Then lubricate anything if it needs it. The homeowner will give you thanks by not lodging a complaint with your dispatcher about a squeaky belt you missed.
  • Check all safety features, relays and switches. Make sure those work. They’re really important for repeat business.
  • Turn the furnace on and let it run for five minutes to make sure everything’s functioning properly.
  • Drill two small tap holes into the flue pipe and ductwork, or remove the tape from last time, and measure the CO levels with your CO meter. In the flue pipe you’re looking for a range of 25-50 ppm. In the duct work you’re looking for a zero reading. If it’s not zero – go ahead and shut the furnace down and check out that heat exchanger again.
  • Now using your gas detector, inspect the gas line for any leaks. You want zero of those.
  • Everything good? Did you forget something? Yep! Replace that air filter while you’re at it, too.
  • Close the front panel and turn the furnace back to auto.

Furnace inspection is no joke and should be carried out by a trained technician at least once every two years. Follow the Payne Air blog for more HVAC information.

Oil or Gas for Your New Furnace?

If you have a choice for heating your home with natural gas or heating oil, how do you decide? Natural gas is a common choice, but oil is more misunderstood. We want to make sure you know the facts about heating oil before you automatically decide on gas.

Heating Oil Provider vs. Big Utility

Natural gas is usually supplied through one utility company, which means you have no choice over who provides your gas or how much you pay. With heating oil, you get to choose from among providers who compete for your business, so you can get the best deal.

Oil is Cleaner than You Think 

Natural gas is often touted as a clean energy source, but the truth is that heating oil produces almost no emissions. Additionally, the latest technologies used in furnaces can make this energy source even cleaner: Re-burning technology reduces wasted gas and lower-sulfur blends mean less pollution.

Get More Reliable Hot Water with Oil 

An HVAC system that uses heating oil heats water and fills a water tank twice as fast as a system that uses natural gas. It heats up water three times as fast as a water heater that uses an electrical heat source.

Oil is Safer than Gas 

Leaks of natural gas can be explosive, deadly, and hard to detect until the worst happens. With heating oil, warning signs of a problem are obvious and give you a chance to get it fixed without a disaster on your hands. Furthermore, heating oil is not explosive like natural gas is. Even when it vaporizes at high temperatures, it will not explode.

Heating Oil is Less Expensive 

In many locations in the U.S. heating oil costs less than natural gas. Reserves for oil throughout the world are high, which means that prices are not expected to go up. With natural gas, that may not be the case. There could be a drop in global supply causing prices to spike.

Heating oil is a great option for most homes. If you have been considering a conversion to natural gas, consider these facts first. A conversion is expensive, and some of the things you thought you knew about heating oil may not be true.

To learn more about heating oil, natural gas, and furnace options for your home, let the experts at Payne Air Conditioning and Heating help you learn more and make the right choice. Also don’t forget to subscribe to our blogs to see future posts.