Archive for the ‘Staying Cool’ Category

Chandeliers and Tears of Joy!

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Our team member Rigo with the happy couple.

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Our team member Rigo carefully installs a 100-plus-year-old chandelier

We recently received a call from a sweet couple that let us know they needed a chandelier repaired and hung. We instructed her that we would find someone to repair it and that we would hang it. While we were talking she tells us about when she was a child and how she would go to her grandmothers for the holidays and would stare in awe at this 100-plus-year-old chandelier. So after many years in storage she finally had somewhere to hang it. She was crying tears of joy when she was able to flip the switch… while on the other hand we were sweating bullets.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

“Baby it’s Cold Outside” is the title of one of my wife’s favorite songs. If it were up to her, we would start listening to Christmas music around Labor Day. Every time I hear this song it reminds me of cooler weather. Especially now with the holidays being just around the corner. It means the cooler weather is on its way. With the onset of cooler temperatures, it is time to start thinking about how to stay warm.

There are different types of heat available to us in this area. The most utilized heat in our area is resistance heat. A resistance heater in essence is like a large toaster. It has a series of coils that have electricity passing through them, which then produces the heat. Be forewarned, this type of heat is very expensive to run. It cost as much as $1.00 per hour, and on average a resistance heating system can only raise the temperature 20 degrees above the outside temperature. So for example, if it is 40 degrees outside, more than likely you will not achieve a toasty 80 degrees inside. This type of heating requires a little pre-planning to help save on cost, and to save you from an uncomfortable situation.

When this type of heat is turned on for the first time of the season, there is usually a burning smell that will be present. This happens because the electric coils have dust that has built up on them over the summer. The first time the coils heat up, the dust burns off. To avoid that horrible smell, pick a mild day and open all your windows, turn the heat on and let it run for at least 30 minutes. This will burn the dust off and with the windows open that offensive smell will quickly dissipate. Fortunately, you will only need to do this the first time you turn on your heat for the season.

The other type of heating that is used in Florida is a heat pump system. This runs just like your air conditioning system. When the a/c system is set to cool, you are taking heat and humidity from inside your home and dissipating it outside. When the system is set to heat, it is taking heat that is present outside your home and bringing it inside. This type of system is cheaper to run, but more expensive to initially buy.

Hopefully, this article has been helpful and has shed some light on the choices available here in sunny Florida. Thankfully our heating season is a very short one. But, if you have a heating issue this winter, please give us a call at Sanibel Air and Electric, Inc. We are available 24hrs a day.

Thanks as Always,

Bryan Hayes

Bryan can be reached for questions or comments at: Bryan@sanibelair.com

Surge Protection

Surge Protector

Surge protection can help prevent damage to small and large electrical appliances in your home.

Although the rainy season is behind us, we hope, we still have some storms rolling in and the threat of tropical weather for another month or two. It is still a good time to talk about surge protection. The photo with this article is of a surge protection device that did its job. You may or may not be surprised by this, but the number one cause of downtime for your central cooling system is not refrigerant related. The most common cause is actually electrical with the average home experiencing over 300 surges per year.

For those of us who live on Sanibel, we know that it’s a constant battle for the power company to keep the grid in good working order. Many major home appliances, including our air conditioners, rely more on solid state electronics to operate than ever before. While the luxury of it all might be very convenient, it still comes with a price. These controls are also more susceptible to power fluctuations than ever before.  So to reference the title, the way to protect your expensive investment is to use surge protection.

Surge protection can be achieved through many different ways. You can buy those little surge protection strips for your pluggable appliances at most stores, they will do a marginal job. However, for the larger stuff such as your air conditioner, you would want an electrician install an inline surge protection system. If you really like the idea, you can even take this one step further and have a surge protection system installed for your entire house. That will cover all the circuits in your home.

As you may already know, I like talking about saving money. Surge protection is an additional cost of course, but spending some money now can definitely save you from spending significantly more later. Consider it as an investment and insurance all in one.

As always, thanks for reading,

Bryan

Bryan Hayes, along with his brother Todd, is a co-owner of a Sanibel Air Conditioning company on Sanibel, FL. They also have an electrical division. Bryan can be reached at Bryan@Sanibelair.com

What Does My Air Conditioning Service Agreement Cover?

AC Repair

Proper maintenance on your A/C by a trained professional will help give you peace of mind.

The answer to this question is met with another question. What type of program do you have? There are many different types offered on the market today. There are pros and cons to each program. I will cover two of the more common programs offered and my thoughts on each.

Semi-annual preventative maintenance program.  This program includes two a/c checks per year. The program by nature goes through the system to make sure everything is clean and operating properly. The scope of this program is to identify any minor problems prior to them becoming major problems. The pros of this program are you have a professional looking at your system twice a year. The program by nature will give you a true picture of what type of condition your system is in. It is much like preventative maintenance you do with your vehicle. There are also discounts offered when enrolled in this program on any additional work that may be required. It is also the least expensive program available. The cons: it is not going to cover repairs as they arise.

Air Conditioning maintenance and repair program.  This type of program includes the items stated above but also has some repairs built into the price of the program. This may sound like a good thing at first but there are some inherent problems with this type of program. Let’s start with the pros. As stated it will cover some repairs. You may stop me there and say but wait, the name implies that it is an a/c repair and service type program, how come all repairs are not covered? The fact of the matter is there is a very long list of things that are not covered. To name a few: electrical lines, refrigerant lines and plumbing lines are not covered. It also excludes repairs due to corrosion, abuse and water issues. It also does not cover humidistat, thermostats, electrical service equipment, circuit breakers or panels. The big con for this program is it usually is three to four times the price of a maintenance only program. The pro side is that some items will be covered.

As you can see there is a bit of a difference in the two programs. I believe that the best choice is the semi-annual program. But that’s just me… I guess that’s why they make vanilla and chocolate.

Download our Service Agreement here for more details.

Thanks for reading,

Bryan Hayes

Is My Canal Safe to Swim In???

Jumping from dock

Swimming should not be allowed at marinas. If you must swim at your dock for maintenance, unplug your ship to shore power during the swim.

There could be something in your canal that could hurt or kill you. Yes there may be a shark, gator or some overly zealous manatee, but there’s more of a likelihood that the threat is manmade.

There is a newer inherent problem with boats, docks and electricity. You have probably heard about this issue, if not let’s hope you don’t experience it first hand. The term is electrical shock drowning (ESD). The issue arises from electrical leakage. This is where electricity from dock power finds its way into the water that surrounds your boat. This could be a deadly situation if you are swimming in this water near your dock. To understand how this happens we have to remember a couple rules of electricity.

The first rule is that electricity must find its way back to the source, if it doesn’t, then no electricity. The second rule is that electricity will try every available path to get back to its source; and lastly electricity will always take the path of least resistance.

Now that we understand the rules, let’s explore how we run into problems with boats. It used to be that boats had a motor that we started with batteries. Often we would recharge these batteries with on board alternators when the engine is running. Or if you go way back in time you would charge the batteries by removing them and charging them in the garage. With modern advancement we now have shore power. Here is the scenario: We get back from a day on the water and plug our ship to shore power into our boat. No batteries to pull, just plug it in and all is good. Well, we hope. Not to over complicate things or get too in depth: with a boat we deal with corrosion and abuse that our house will never see. We have both alternating current (a/c) and direct current (d/c) when we are plugged into shore power. Occasionally this corrosive/abusive environment can create problems with the electrical system. If these two different types of power cross paths we can have a problem.

So now that we know what it is and hopefully have a better understanding of how it happens, what can we do to insure that we are safe at our dock?

  • If you suspect you may have a problem, test the water, it’s easy to do. Go online and search “Preventing Electrical Shock Drowning.”
  • Swimming should not be allowed at marinas. If you must swim at your dock for maintenance, unplug your ship to shore power during the swim.
  • All electrical feed must be through a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) just like the ones in your kitchen and bath. If unsure, have them checked.
  • When you have your boat serviced ask that the electrical system be looked at for corrosion and loose connections and tested for any voltage leakage.
  • Only use proper ship to shore cords, plugs and receptacles that where designed to work together.
  • NEVER bypass a GFCI because of nuisance tripping. If your GFCI keeps tripping call an electrician to find out why, someone’s life could depend on it.

Now with all of that said, the danger of electrical shock drowning is more prevalent in fresh water but can happen in salt water also.

Thanks for reading,
Bryan Hayes

The Importance of Having Shade

Close-up of young man's hands planting small tree in his backyard garden

Trees play an essential part in blocking the unnecessary heat around our properties.

With the passing of Hurricane Charley’s anniversary and hurricane season in mid stride it brings back memories of that day more then 11 years ago. I often think about the days before Charley. How the canopy down Periwinkle way was a beautiful site. How lush the island was, how big the trees where and how much shade all of this provided. I have many memories that flood my mind when the topic of Charley comes up. One of the most vivid memories of all in the following weeks after Charley was how hot it was. After power was restored and life got back to a somewhat normal pace we received a great deal of calls from customers indicating that there must be something wrong with their air conditioner. It was the same problem over and over, the a/c system wasn’t keeping up. We ran call after call and came across the same issue. We finally came to the conclusion that the lack of shade created by Charley’s tree pruning had a huge effect on how important shade is to our overall comfort.

I spend a great deal of time suggesting different ways to improve our homes comfort level. Whether it is to add insulation in the attic, use curtains, blinds or to plant trees and bushes to block sun infiltration. Trees play an essential part in blocking the unnecessary heat around our properties; this was especially true in the days before air conditioning. The City of Sanibel has done some great work with the Periwinkle Way Restoration Project to help restore much of the flora that had been lost and I’m once again seeing the canopy return in parts over the our city’s arterial road. It’s not completely restored yet, but it’s nice to see shade on the bike paths again.

So, have you lost trees around your house after Charley? It’s never too late to replant. It may not give you much now, but in a few years it will bring its rewards. There are some fast growing shade tree options out there that can bring desired results in a shorter time period. Just nothing exotic or invasive please.

As always thanks for reading,

Bryan

 

Bryan Hayes, along with his brother Todd, is a co-owner of a Sanibel Air Conditioning company on Sanibel, FL. They also own and operate an island-based electrical service company Bryan can be reached at Bryan@Sanibelair.com

Four Things You Should Never Do To Your Home

Inexperienced plumber trying to repair an electric water heater

Calling a professional can save you time, money and a possible headache

  1. WORK ON YOUR OWN PLUMBING, first off because I absolutely hate plumbing work. I can work on A/C and electrical all day long but ask me to change the smallest little plumbing thing and I’m at the hardware store 15 time before I even start. Not to mention the disaster that could result. Trust me it’s cheaper to hire a plumber.
  2. DON’T DO YOUR OWN ELECTRICAL, this might sound like it’s self serving but think about it this way. Think about what you do or did for a living. Now imagine the average person trying to do what you did…let’s say you were a boat mechanic. Would you go out on a boat that the average Joe repaired, with little or no experience? Again it’s usually always better and safer to hire the right professional.
  3. DON’T DO YOUR OWN A/C REPAIR. Please change your filters, but when it comes to the rest – see numbers 1 and 2 above.
  4. DON’T LEAVE YOUR HOME FOR MORE THAN A DAY WITHOUT TURNING THE WATER OFF. If you are going away turn your water off. The damage that can result from leaking pipes is incredible. I was at a home that the occupants had left for a long weekend, a pipe had burst in the third floor, the damage to this home looked like a bomb went off.

So I covered four things to never do to your home, but please for the sake of your family, check your smoke detectors on a monthly basis. Smoke detectors save lives, but only when they are working. A good way to remember is check them every time you pay your electrical bill.

Thanks for reading,

Bryan

Bryan and Todd Hayes are the owners of a Sanibel Air Conditioning company, as well as an electrical contracting company here on Sanibel.

Check our our website at www.sanibelair.com.

Of great employees and customers

Sanibel Air & Electric Sponsors Cracker Fest

Sanibel Air & Electric, Inc. is proud to announce that it has chosen to become one of the top level sponsors in the fifth annual Cracker Fest scheduled to take place on Friday, November 8th, 2013. The donation includes a brand new air conditioning system, which includes installation, and is valued at over $6,000. This is the fourth year that the company has supported this cause. The event includes a dinner, live music and dancing, live auction and raffles.

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Todd and Bryan Hays, co-owners of Sanibel Air & Electric, Inc.

The annual event benefits Sanibel-Captiva chapter of Solutions to Avoid Red Tide (START). The organization is a state-wide non-profit foundation with a mission to improve the quality of our marine waters through research, public education and programs that restore marine habitat and preserve marine species.

“We are always grateful to have the ability to do what we can, and look forward to another great Cracker Fest. Not only does it help sponsor important initiatives that raise public awareness and benefit our local environment, it also brings together a great crowd,” said Todd Hayes, co-owner of Sanibel Air & Electric, Inc. “It’s a fun and laid-back event and we have fun attending it every year. For those of us who live and work on the islands, it’s absolutely necessary that we continue to support those who raise awareness and funds that help causes that benefit all of us.”

Proceeds from the event will continue funding the Coastal Classroom program for Lee County schools, and the Sustainable Seafood Program – “Seafood Savvy,” and other programs that benefit the local marine environment. In addition to these programs, plans are in the works to create a beach monitoring network on Sanibel and Captiva that will provide knowledge of specific beach conditions during a red tide event, and the possibility of creating a marine studies scholarship with a portion of the 2012 proceeds. The local chapter’s latest initiative is to fund research on water quality around Sanibel and Captiva Islands. This project examines the nutrient contents of Caloosahatchee discharge waters and their relation to red tide blooms. It will also study the extent to which red tide effects certain organisms, including seabirds, sea turtles, and fish. For more information on the Fourth Annual Cracker Fest and sponsorship opportunities, please visit: http://start1.org/news/fifth-annual-san-cap-cracker-fest-2013/

Sanibel Air & Electric, Inc. was started in 1988 and has maintained their promise to provide the best local service around for over 22 years. The company is highly active in their community, and participate or contribute to several charitable causes throughout the year.

Next Generation Nest Learning Thermostat

By now you are probably familiar with the self-programmable thermostat. Last year, the Nest Learning Thermostat hit the market with great fanfare. After listening to all the feedback that they had received, the developers have now come out with a newer version that has addressed customer concerns like making the physical design 20% sleeker, and increased its compatibility with more systems making it work with nearly all a/c systems in the US and Canada.

What the device does, unlike other programmable thermostats, is that it programs itself. Each time you or a member of your family adjusts the ring on this device it remembers your habits and programs itself to adjust temperatures as you prefer them. With its Wi-Fi connection, you can also control it from your mobile device or computer. The device has a motion sensor, and after a period of time, will automatically adjust itself to stop heating or cooling an empty home. And for all the energy-saving lovers out there, this is a very cool feature. So, if you purchased the first gen Nest does that mean that you have to upgrade to the new one?

Not necessarily. Owners of the first generation device will be automatically, as long as it’s connected to Wi-Fi, upgraded to the new 3.0 software. You will continue to enjoy a beautiful, intuitive device unlike any other on the market. Now, if you like new gadgets, or couldn’t purchase one in the past because it wasn’t compatible with your system, the second generation has addressed these concerns. Homes with more complicated systems will benefit more from the second generation’s customization feature for systems with humidifiers, dehumidifiers, two stage cooling, etc. It’s now also compatible with all Android tablets. It can also automatically switch from heat to cool mode in places where temperatures vary throughout the day. Its quality is worth the price, but if you need more than one for a two-zone system, it can get costly. It’s also easy to install, easy to use and looks beautiful in your home. If you have any questions about installation or compatibility, I am here to help.

As always, thanks for reading,

Bryan
Bryan Hayes, along with his brother Todd, is a co-owner of a Sanibel Air Conditioning company on Sanibel, FL. They also own and operate an island-based electrical service company Sanctuary Island Electric, Inc. Bryan can be reached at Bryan@Sanibelair.com