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save energyWith the mild weather of fall, now is the perfect time to make a few improvements around your home. If you are suffering from high utility bills, here are four easy ways that you can reduce energy consumption in your Southwest Florida home:

Have Your HVAC System Serviced

Things like clogged air filters, poorly-lubricated blower motors and dirty condenser or evaporator coils can make your HVAC system work harder than necessary to keep you comfortable, increasing your energy consumption and utility bills. To save energy and extend the life of your system, have an HVAC professional inspect it and perform any routine maintenance that may be required. After the visit, check the air filter often and change it as necessary to keep your system running efficiently.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

By adjusting the temperature in your home while you are at work or asleep, you can reduce the energy consumption of your HVAC system by as much as 10 percent. A programmable thermostat is the easy way to do this, as it can automatically adjust the temperature, then return it to normal so that your home is comfortable when you come back from work or wake up. In warm weather raise the temperature 10 to 15 degrees, and in cool weather reduce it.

Seal and Insulate Your Home

Air leaks can significantly increase energy usage in any season by allowing conditioned air to escape and outside air to enter.. Use weatherstripping and caulk to seal around drafty windows or doors, and use caulk or expanding foam insulation to seal penetrations made for pipes, cables, dryer vents and other openings in your exterior walls. Have your insulation levels checked, especially in the floors, walls and attic, and add more if necessary.

Reduce Your Water Heater Temperature

Many water heaters are set to 140 degrees or higher from the factory, which not only wastes energy but also may cause scalding. A setting of 120 degrees can reduce your costs, while still providing plenty of hot water.

For more ways to reduce energy consumption, talk to our HVAC professionals at Conditioned Air today.

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air conditioner upgradeAir conditioning is important in Southwest Florida, and if you’re getting ready to upgrade your system, it’s critical to find one that both falls within your budget and that is efficient enough to keep you comfortable without making your utility bills skyrocket. Here are a few tips for choosing a central air conditioning system that will meet you needs:

Consider Both Short and Long-Term Costs

When you’re choosing a central air conditioning system, it’s important to consider both the initial costs of buying and installing the system, and the long-terms costs of operating and maintaining it. An air conditioning system is a large investment, and while it may be tempting to choose a model with a lower initial price, chances are that its lower efficiency and reliability may wind up costing you more over the life of the system.

By upgrading to a more reliable and efficient system and paying a bit more up front, you can enjoy long-term energy savings, reduced maintenance and lower utility bills. Typical models have an energy efficiency rating of 13 or 14 SEER, while the most efficient models have SEER ratings of over 20 and can reduce your energy costs by up to 40 percent.

Size the System Properly

In the past, air conditioning systems were often sized by rough estimates and installers tended to oversize systems to improve comfort, leading to maintenance problems and reduced efficiency. For a system that both performs efficiently and cools effectively, it must be properly sized by an HVAC professional, using the appropriate Manual J procedures. This method takes into account more than just the size of the home, including the layout of the house, the number of rooms, the materials used, occupancy and other important factors.

Prepare Your Home

Another key to an efficient air conditioning system is the condition of your home. Have an energy audit performed to make sure your home and air ducts are properly sealed and insulated.

For more tips on choosing a central air conditioning system, talk to our HVAC professionals at Conditioned Air today.

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air conditionerIn Southwest Florida, air conditioning is vital to both your comfort and the value of your home. If you are selling your home, buying a home, or are simply curious about your current system, it’s good to know what the average air conditioner life span is and what can affect it.

Typical Air Conditioner Life Span

In general, you can expect an air conditioning system to last between 8 and 12 years with a reasonable amount of maintenance. If the system has had little or no maintenance, it may last a significantly shorter period of time. And with diligent maintenance, it may last the full 12 years or longer. As the air conditioner ages, however, it will begin to lose efficiency, costing more to operate not cooling as effectively.

Extending the Life of Your System

Routine maintenance is the key to keeping your air conditioner running efficiently and extending its life. The air filter should be replaced every few months to maintain your home’s air quality and to protect the system from damage. A clogged filter can restrict airflow and cause the system to overheat, harming sensitive components. The outdoor coils should be kept free of debris at all times, and the indoor coils should be cleaned at least annually. Finally, twice a year the entire system should be inspected and serviced by a professional.

When to Consider a Replacement

If your system is over 10 years old or is starting to have significant issues, such as compressor problems, refrigerant leaks or a failing blower motor, it may be time to consider a replacement. Newer models can be up to 40 percent more efficient, reducing your cooling costs significantly.

For more details about air conditioner life span, talk to our team at Conditioned Air. We serve Southwest Florida, including the Naples and Sarasota areas.