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Heat It Up

House Whisperer - Heater
Reading Time: 3 minutes

I am sitting here finding it very hard to believe that 2015 is coming to a close. Overall, it’s been a great year here at Art Plumbing, AC and Electric. We are growing and getting better in all we do and as always it is a privilege to continue to serve you my faithful readers.

As we make our way into the winter season (I heard the collective eye roll) you may find yourself in a situation that you might need to turn the heat on in your home. Happy Friday by the way you, thought I forgot right? Let’s talk a little about heating our South Florida homes. I want to start off with the two basic types of heat we use here in the sunshine state. You have heat pump style, and electrical resistance heat.

A heat pump is the less common of the two units and the more expensive of the two types of air conditioners/heaters available. I am going to simplify this a little in explaining heat pump units without boring you to death with a big long air conditioning lesson. A heat pump is along the lines of a true “up north” style furnace. It will truly produce 100 degree plus heat and really warm a house up where electrical resistance heat will just take the chill off. In a heat pump unit there is a reversing valve that makes the Freon in the unit go in the opposite direction from what it does normally when the unit is in cooling mode. The indoor and outdoor units are both engaged when you put a heat pump into heating mode, whereas in units with heat strips, only the indoor unit engages when heat is called for.

Ok, on to the glorified blow dryers that most of the units installed here in South Florida have. This is known as electrical heat resistance. Heat strips usually come in three sizes, 5, 7.5 or 10 Kw. (Kilowatts). A couple of things your air conditioning contractor will check are wire and circuit breaker size when it comes to properly sizing the heat strip in your air conditioner. Improper wire sizes, circuit breaker sizes can be a hazard when it comes to heat strips. As mentioned earlier, when a unit with a heat strip is put into heating mode only the indoor unit is going to engage, specifically the blower and the heat strip itself. Electricity passes thru wire coils in the heat assembly with the blower passing air over those coils to take the chill off the house. This is where I need you to really pay attention. If you smell a burning smell when you first turn the heat on, DON’T PANIC!! Your house is not on fire and is not going to burn down. As we do not use the heat that often (once or twice a year maybe) it is super common to have a small amount of dust built up on the heater coils and what you are smelling is that dust burning off. In normal circumstances, the smell should dissipate in thirty minutes or so. A good practice to get into if you want to avoid this situation is that every time you change your air conditioning filter, flip the unit into heat mode for a couple of minutes to keep the dust from building up.

As always, I am an email away at for any questions you may have or topics you would like to read about. Art Plumbing, AC and Electric is available 24/7 for all your air conditioning or in this case heating needs call us at 1-800-475-1504 or visit to schedule your service today.

House Whisperer out!!!


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