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air conditioner efficiencyWith the hot and humid weather of the Southwest Florida area, the overall efficiency of your air conditioning system can make a significant difference in your cooling costs during the summer. By understanding what each of the basic A/C efficiency ratings represent, you will be able to make an informed decision when purchasing a new air conditioning system or heat pump.

EER

The energy efficiency ratio, or EER, represents the cooling capacity of an air conditioning system measured in British thermal units or BTUs, divided by the amount of electrical power required to provide that cooling measured in kilowatt-hours. This rating represents the amount of energy used to provide cooling during peak conditions, such as the hottest days of the year, and is not the most reliable estimate of how the system will perform over time. A system with a higher EER will be more efficient, and today’s best systems feature EER ratings of over 16.

SEER

The seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER, is a long-term measurement of the cooling efficiency of an air conditioning system. It is a ratio of the cooling output provided for a full season in BTUs, divided by the amount of energy, in kilowatt-hours, required to power the system. It is a better representation of how the system will perform in a variety of weather conditions, and, like the EER rating, higher is better. Today’s federal standards require A/C efficiency ratings of 13 or 14 SEER depending on location, and the best systems offer SEER ratings of over 23.

HSPF

The heating seasonal performance factor, or HSPF, measures the amount of heat provided during a heating season,in BTUs, divided by the power required in kilowatt-hours. This rating is applicable to heat pumps, which can provide both heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. A higher HSPF is represents greater efficiency, and the most efficient systems feature a rating of up to 13 HSPF.

For more information about A/C efficiency ratings, talk to our cooling experts at Conditioned Air. We serve the Southwest Florida area, including Ft. Myers and Naples.

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air conditioner maintenanceEven with an efficient air conditioning system, the hot and humid climate of Southwest Florida can make it difficult, not to mention expensive, to stay comfortable. Here are a few A/C operating tips for Southwest Florida that can help you stay cool at a reasonable cost:

Have the System Maintained Regularly

Routine maintenance helps your air conditioning system run at peak efficiency, saving energy and money. Have the system professionally inspected at least once a year. By making sure that the air filters are replaced often, the coils are cleaned, the refrigerant is topped off, and the blower motor is cleaned and lubricated, your system will not have to work as hard to keep you comfortable.

Reduce Heat Gain

Any sources of additional heat in your home can make it harder for your air conditioner to cool properly. Minimize heat gain by avoiding activities like cooking, washing dishes, washing clothes or bathing until cooler periods of the day, and add shades or blinds to block the heat of the sun. Locate your air conditioner condenser in a shaded area, if possible, and make sure the attic is vented to draw out excess heat.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Add a programmable thermostat to your system and set it to raise the temperature 5 to 10 degrees while you’re away from home, then reduce it about an hour before you are due to arrive. This can reduce cooling costs by up to 15 percent without sacrificing comfort. Add fans to make it feel cooler, and you may be able to save money by raising the temperature a few degrees.

Seal and Insulate

Many homes in Southwest Florida are poorly insulated. Have your home inspected and add insulation where necessary, especially in the attic, which will help your system cool more efficiently. Use weatherstripping, caulk or spayed foam to seal around windows, doors, pipes, wires and other places where cold air can escape.

To discover more A/C operating tips for Southwest Florida, talk to our home comfort team at Conditioned Air. We have been providing quality A/C services to Southwest Florida since 1962.

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When an air conditioner is blowing hot air instead of cool air, it’s not necessarily a sign of a major system failure. In many cases you can repair it yourself, or you may have to call in a professional. Here are a few things to check when your air conditioner is blowing hot air.

air conditioner is blowing hot airThermostat Settings

Verify that your thermostat is set to cool your home and that the fan is set to “Auto.” When the fan is set to “On,” warmer air may be circulated between cooling cycles.

Breakers

Be sure that the breakers for the system are on — turn them off and then back on if you’re unsure. A tripped breaker can shut down the compressor while still allowing the fan to circulate warm air.

Air Filter

Make sure the air filter is not dirty or clogged. A dirty air filter can reduce airflow, causing the system to shut down and blow warm air.

Outdoor Coil

Make sure that the outdoor condenser coil is not covered or blocked by furniture or other items, and that the coils themselves are not clogged with leaves, grass or small debris. Turn off the power and clean the coils if necessary. A clogged condenser can prevent heat from being properly released.

Indoor Coil

A clogged evaporator coil can cause airflow problems, leading to a frozen coil and the distribution of warm air. If the evaporator coil is accessible, it can be cleaned with a soft brush and a vacuum.

Refrigerant Level

Low refrigerant can also lead to cooling problems. Have a professional check for leaks and proper refrigerant levels.

If these steps have not solved the problem, it may be more serious, such as a major refrigerant leak or a damaged compressor. Have a professional inspect the system and determine the cause. If extensive repairs are required or the air conditioner is over 10 years old, it may be time to replace it.

If your air conditioner is blowing hot air, contact our team at Conditioned Air for assistance. We have been serving the Southwest Florida area since 1962.