Don’t Get Caught in the Dark: What to Do in an Electrical Emergency

August 13th, 2014

Power outages are a fact of life, especially in Florida with the ever-present threat of tropical storms and hurricanes. So when your power does inevitably go out, make sure you’ve taking the proper precautions and made preparations to make it as small an inconvenience as possible.

Keep a supply of candles, matches, and a couple flashlights with fresh batteries on hand and in a place easily accessible to everyone in the household. When the lights go out, the last thing you want is to be rummaging around in the dark looking for these things.

Be aware of food safety issues. If the power outage is less than four hours, your food should be safe to eat. For outages that last longer than four hours, follow these guidelines for safety: a half-filled freezer will typically keep food safe for up to 24 hours and a tightly packed freezer up to 48 hours. If possible, pack refrigerated items that could spoil, like milk and eggs, in a cooler packed with ice. Also, try to minimize opening the refrigerator and freezer as much as possible to keep food cooler longer.

Water purification systems may not function properly during a power outage, so make sure to keep a supply of bottled water on hand for drinking, cooking, and/or personal hygiene. If you are caught in a power outage without access to bottled water, bringing water to a rolling boil for at least one minute will kill most organisms.

Consider purchasing an emergency generator. When you have an extended power outage, an emergency generator can be your best friend. You can typically purchase a basic generator that will power lights and appliances for less than $700. This article from ConsumerReports.org is a great resource for choosing the right emergency generator for you.

If you want to alleviate the power outage risk entirely, Bayonet can install a standby generator! With natural gas or LP tank access, the stand-by generator system can power essential electricity to your home for weeks at a time, provided fuel is accessible. Generators are available in multiple sizes to suit your needs. Then, your lights, water, and refrigerator will always stay on! For more, see our upcoming blogs or contact a representative today.

Power outages are certainly a nuisance, but if you plan ahead with these relatively simple preparations you can weather the storm without too much of a headache.

What is a Mini-Split Air Conditioning Unit?

July 30th, 2014

You may have heard the term “mini-split” in reference to AC systems, but what exactly are they? Simply put, mini-split AC units are ductless systems comprised of an indoor air-handling unit (or units) and an outdoor condenser. Mini splits work by pumping refrigerant from the outdoor condenser through copper tubing into the indoor units, where a fan then distributes cool air across an evaporator coil and into the space.

One outdoor condenser has the ability to operate as many as four indoor air-handling units, allowing for four separate zones that can be heated or cooled. Each of these indoor units is controlled by their own thermostats, which allows for greater control of heating and cooling only the areas you need at any particular time, both convenient and cost-effective.

Mini splits have convenient and money-saving applications for several situations:

For homes with no existing ductwork, mini splits are a great money-saving alternative to installing a central air system. Installation of a mini-split system is significant easier and less expensive than a traditional ductwork system. Add in the cost savings associated with having great control over heating or cooling only certain zones in your home and mini-splits become an even more attractive alternative.

Mini-split systems are also ideal for additions or smaller separate outbuildings where extending ductwork or installing a separate central system is not a reasonable option. Garages turned man-caves and guest house additions are two examples of spaces where mini splits are a great cooling option.

Contact Bayonet today to find out if a mini-split system is the right fit for you.

The End is Near: When to Replace Your Heating/AC Unit

July 16th, 2014

Buying a new AC may not be at the top of your list of what you want to spend your hard-earned money on, but not replacing it when it’s time will often cost you more in the long run. It comes down to efficiency. Some of the signs to look out for are easy to see, such as:

  1. Is the unit over 10 years old?
  2. Does your home feel humid even when the unit is running?
  3. Is it unnecessarily noisy?
  4. Has your monthly bill increased?
  5. Is the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) number on your current unit 10 or under?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the above, you are probably at a point where maintenance is required or, more likely, a new, more efficient unit should be considered.

Like anything mechanical, energy efficient and appropriately sized units are the key to optimum operating costs and peak functionality. Today’s air conditioners must have a minimum SEER rating of 13, and must use the more environmentally friendly R-410A refrigerant. The most efficient models have SEER ratings up to 26. Still, even the most effective units work best when they operate in the ideal environment. Some questions to ask are:

Is your home well insulated to protect its interior from drafts/warm air?

  • Is the duct system that distributes the cool air properly sealed?
  • Do you have more than one return in your home?

If you suspect any issues exist, be sure to correct those before installing new units.

So if you believe it’s time to replace your AC unit, a tremendous selection is available at a wide range of price points. The right one, installed with an upgrade like a programmable thermostat, will provide an excellent return on your investment.

3 Ways to Improve the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

July 2nd, 2014

The air quality in your home is put to the test against environmental impurities every day. Like it or not, pollutants such as dust, mold, cigarette smoke, radon, and – especially in Tampa – pollen are going to make their way into your home in a variety of ways. Visitors, pets, or even a new mattress can track them in, or your outside unit can unintentionally draw them in.

Children, the elderly, and asthma sufferers may be more sensitive to poor air quality; however, breathing impure air is dangerous for anyone who is continuously exposed. The good news is you can help minimize the risk of serious health problems by being mindful of these steps to keep your home free of pollutants and toxins:

  1. Keep your floors free of dirt and dust. Regularly vacuuming or mopping your floors will reduce the risk of chemicals and allergens taking up permanent residence in your home. Routine cleaning of your entire home is the best way to ensure pollutants will not linger.
  1. Consistently change your home’s HVAC filters per the manufacturer or your HVAC professional’s instructions. At Bayonet, we always recommend writing the date you replace them on the cardboard edge so you will know for certain the last time you swapped them out. Most store-bought one-inch filters should be changed monthly. Whole-house units, installed at the air handler, can be changed twice a year.
  1. Periodically ventilate your home. Most home heating and cooling systems do not bring in clean outdoor air and should not be relied on to keep your home’s air purified. Periodically opening windows, doors, and vents will bring in outdoor air and help to push unclean air out.

Monitoring your home’s air isn’t always the easiest task to remember. But for the sake of your family’s safety and wellness, it needs to be done. Contact Bayonet today to find out how we can help!

Don’t Get Blown Away This Hurricane Season

June 18th, 2014

Hurricane season is upon us here in Florida, and with it lots of rain, wind, and bouts of flooding. And while a disasters are always a possibility, keep in mind we don’t always have to get hit hard to feel the effects of the ‘canes.

One thing that is often overlooked during hurricane season is your A/C unit. While we tend to remember to board our windows, sandbag our doors, and put valuables in a fire/waterproof safe, we often forget that there is a large, expensive appliance just waiting to be destroyed by the gale force winds.

So how exactly do you protect your HVAC unit in times of wild weather?

  1. If you have a window unit, unplug it entirely. Bring the unit indoors and seal the opening.
  2. Turn off your A/C unit before the storm, including the circuit breaker, to avoid electrical shocks if flooding should occur.
  3. Cover your outdoor unit with a tarp, wood panels, or both to keep it as safe as possible from water, dirt, and debris. If high winds are predicted, consider investing in a pair of hurricane straps and batten down the hatches.

Once the storm has passed, portable A/C units can be placed back into their original locations. For the outdoor units, remove the protective covering, inspect the units, and check the base. Should flooding occur, call a professional like Bayonet to ensure that no damage has been done to the electrical portions of the unit.

We are keeping our fingers crossed for a safe and hurricane-free season, but better to be safe than sorry!

Re-Designing Your Bathroom? Check Out These 3 Luxurious Plumbing Components!

June 4th, 2014

The latest trend in bathrooms? Indulgence. Obviously, the price tag on extravagance can be high, but a wide array of fixtures and updates can give a bathroom renovation with even the most meager of budgets a hefty boost of luxury.

From heated towel racks to stand-up steam showers, today’s bathrooms trend toward the spa experience by embracing that little something special that sets it apart, elevating the bathroom from the practical to the spectacular.

Besides vessel sinks and electronic faucets that are hands-free and promote efficient water usage, shower head fixtures have undergone a virtual revolution in their extravagant designs and placement. Typical single-head spray showerheads are being abandoned for those providing a “rain shower” effect and have a stylish look and a gentler flow rate. Used alone or paired with dual and multiple showerheads and body spray jets, these can be mounted in several arrangements for the ultimate shower experience.

Steam showers are the rage for the ultimate home spa treatment. An existing stand-up shower can be retrofitted by using an adjacent closet to accommodate the generator. The shower stall is moisture-sealed and equipped with controls to adjust the clouds of soothing and cleansing steam. Additions like ambient lighting, sound systems, and oil and lotion dispensers will easily transform the bath suite into a bath retreat.

Roman tubs are also a deluxe addition to your master bath. They offer the customization in size, shape, and style unavailable in preformed tubs. When outfitted with water and air jets you can have a deluxe soaking tub you’ll absolutely fall in love with.

Whether you’re on a budget or want to break the bank in the name of luxury, indulgent options abound to turn your bathroom into your own private relaxation sanctuary.

Looking to Buy a Home? What You Need to Look for in Plumbing

May 14th, 2014

Spring and summer are the most popular times of year to purchase a new home. The weather is better for moving, homes show better with lots of natural light, and a summer move won’t disrupt a child’s school schedule.

Buying a new home is exciting but it can also be an extremely stressful process. Not only are you making a large financial investment, but you also don’t know the ins and outs of a home simply by looking at it from the outside. One of the most often overlooked items is the plumbing of a home. Plumbing is often an afterthought and if things aren’t immediately wrong during the inspection, you probably won’t see a problem until a crisis occurs.

We want to prepare our readers who may be looking to purchase a new home with a quick checklist of things to look for as you house hunt.

  1. Check the Water Heater. Things to look for include the size (a family of four requires about a 40 gallon tank), the age, the condition, and the location. Look for mineral deposits, rust, and corrosion. Note any issues and bring them up to your inspector/realtor.
  2. Lead Pipes. If you have children, you should avoid homes with lead pipes. Any home built prior to 1998 is at risk for lead pipes. Be sure to check and make a conscious decision regarding the risks associated with lead pipes.
  3. Waste Management. How and where does the waste from your plumping go? Is it to a sewer? A septic tank? If it’s a septic tank, ask the following: where is it located, how often has it been serviced, and how old is it?
  4. Test the Waters. Does the main shut off valve work? Test that when you shut it off, no water sources work. Make sure that there are no major leaks.

None of these necessarily mean that the house is not suitable for purchase –just be prepared and negotiate accordingly. If you need help with estimates or inspections, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Upcoming Events

April 16th, 2014

Florida is a destination for many conferences, symposiums and events due to the great weather, easily accessible airports, and abundant hotel accommodations. We enjoy going to as many conferences as we can so that in order to consistently bring the best service and knowledge to the table for our customers. We attend everything from HVAC, to building, to green initiative symposiums.

Here’s a list of upcoming events in and around Tampa Bay that peaked our interest!

May 31-June 3 2014 – Odors & Air Pollutants 2014

Every two years, the Odors and Air Pollutants Conference brings together environmental professionals from around the world for a showcase on odors and air pollutants management. This important event educates practitioners, facility owners and operators, researchers, and public administrators about current odor issues, regulatory requirements, and methods for analyzing problems and finding solutions. 

The 2014 conference is designed to foster informed decision-making and encourage the use of effective innovative technologies. The conference’s technical program stresses real-life experiences and lessons learned. 

June 22-24 2014 – Every Building Conference & Expo

Description: The most comprehensive education conference in the industry. Expert-led sessions offer the opportunity to increase knowledge, build skills, and earn continuing professional development credits while addressing the topics and issues that are vital to your success.

The latest innovations and technology solutions from the industry’s best resources. 400+ exhibits from leading manufacturers and suppliers give you one-stop access to the full range of products and service offerings to help you save money, add efficiencies, and increase property values.

We look forward to sharing more events as they are scheduled and continuing to deliver the best service we can!

An A/C Unit is Only as Good as the Duct System

March 19th, 2014

The coveted summer months have finally arrived and that means sunshine, hot temperatures, and fun in the sun. It also means that you are turning on your air conditioning units and will be running them regularly for the next few months. One of the most commonly overlooked areas of air conditioning units is the duct work that pumps all that ice cold air into your home – the ducts. Without a solid duct system in place your unit will not function at maximum performance, ultimately costing you money in added energy costs.

So, what are the most common problems with ducts?

Problem: Dirt, Dust and Debris. Dirt and debris from outside can make their way into your home by getting pulled into the unit and then into the ducts. Likewise, the dust that naturally exists in your home can be pulled into the vents and circulated throughout the ducts.

Solution: Professional Duct Cleaning. Outsource this – attempting to clean your own duct work is dangerous and will likely cause more problems than it will solve.

Problem: Leaky Ducts. The ducts are not properly sealed. Various studies have concluded that anywhere from 10-30% of the cooled air is lost as a result of leaks. Improper sealing is generally the cause of leakage.

Solution:   Get them tested. Bayonet can come out and evaluate and test the quality of your duct work and, should there be issues, make recommendations on how best to address them.

Making sure that you have a fully functioning A/C unit and well maintained and constructed ducts will help lower energy costs, increase performance, and keep your home cool as a cucumber this summer!

BEWARE of Phone Scams! Real News for You…

February 12th, 2014

Yesterday, something disturbing happened to one of our customers. She received a call from another AC company telling her that a technician was in the area and they could schedule a tune up for her.

That in and of itself isn’t disturbing. I get those calls at my home all the time. It was what happened next that was shady, misleading, and fraught with scam. When the customer informed the phone caller that she had an agreement with Bayonet, they caller lied and said that we sold or subbed out our maintenances to them. This is completely false.

To borrow an adage: “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If Bayonet didn’t pay this company to perform a maintenance and they sent a tech out to your home, why would you assume they want to be out there for free? Two reasons: either it is a scope and scam or they’re preparing to set you up for a “unplanned service event” which could lead to them telling a customer that their system required replacement or repair.

I wish I could get every person with an air conditioner to read this blog, but I can’t. For the time being, please take the initiative to contact YOUR service provider and schedule your maintenances. If someone has resorted to telemarketing to get a foot in the door, it is not a good sign. Make sure you check their references, BBB accreditation, and license with the state. Far too many people get ripped off every day. And don’t even get me started thinking about the technician this company sent to the home. Where did he learn AC? Was his background clean? Was he scoping out the home for a theft? Anything can happen and often does in this field. That’s why every Bayonet Technician has an Ask The Seal background check and certification. No one enters our customers’ homes without it.

We will be pursuing this company to the fullest extent of our abilities. I want to personally thank the customer for calling us to verify the story. Please use caution…I would hate to see this happen to you. There are a great number of reputable AC companies in business today. Companies that do the right thing and make a fair profit for reasonable work. But there are also companies who are less than inline with moral standard who prey on the good people who trust in them. Don’t be taken in by a scam.

This is why our technicians don’t sell equipment as many companies do. Our consultants act as a second set of eyes, making sure equipment isn’t replaced when it isn’t in the best interest of the homeowner. We believe in doing the right thing. No matter what. It means that we don’t have as many replacements as other companies in the area, and we’re okay with that. We can sleep at night, knowing we’re doing what’s right for the company, the employees and most importantly our customers in the long run.

So, to quote one of my favorite teachers of all-time, Mr. Angelo Rescinti, “Hey, let’s be careful out there!”