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carbon monoxide detectorCarbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, invisible gas that can be produced by fuel-burning appliances that are not operating properly, like stoves, water heaters or furnaces, and extended exposure can cause flu-like symptoms or, if exposure continues, death. Carbon monoxide detectors are the only reliable way of determining that the gas has reached critical levels inside your home, and choosing the correct type to install and where to place them is relatively simple.

Choosing a Carbon Monoxide Detector

There are four basic types of carbon monoxide detectors:

  • Battery-Operated: Can be placed anywhere, but need frequent battery replacements
  • Plug-in: Can be installed anywhere that has an electrical outlet, and they often feature a battery for backup power.
  • Hard-wired: Connected permanently to the electrical system of a home, they typically have a battery backup.
  • Combination alarms: Combine a CO detector with a smoke detector, and often a fire detector.

In most cases, the best choices are plug-in or hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors with integrated battery backups. Alarms that rely solely on batteries are not as dependable, as the batteries may lose power, and combination alarms may detect multiple dangers, but they tend to be less sensitive and reliable than alarms designed for a single function. Regardless of the type, check the function of the detector monthly, using the “Test” feature, and replace the batteries at least twice a year.

Where to Install CO Detectors

Carbon monoxide is lighter than air, so many manufacturers recommend installing CO detectors high on the wall or on the ceiling. At least one detector should be installed on each level of your home, and one should be placed in or near each bedroom.

Keep each detector at least 15 feet away from sources of combustion to avoid false readings, and if your appliances are located in a basement, place one detector at the top of the stairs. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and operation carefully, and replace each detector at the manufacturer-recommended intervals.

For more information about installing carbon monoxide detectors, talk to our team at Conditioned Air, serving Southwest Florida since 1962.

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ac filterWith the hot and humid weather in Southwest Florida, any extra stress on your air conditioner can not only increase your energy usage and utility costs, but it can also lead to premature failure of the system. By taking a few simple precautions and keeping up with routine maintenance, extending the life of an HVAC system is possible, and relatively easy.

Have the System Inspected Twice a Year

Routine maintenance is the key to extending the life of an HVAC system. Have a professional inspect the system at least twice a year, performing regular maintenance like cleaning the coils and changing the air filter, as well as looking for anything that may pose a problem in the future. With the system in prime condition, it will not have to work as hard, extending its useful lifespan.

Replace the Air Filter Often

Between service visits, you should check the air filter yourself at least once a month. A clogged filter significantly reduce efficiency and make your system work harder, shortening its lifespan. Also, keep the outdoor condenser unit free of leaves and other debris to keep the system running smoothly.

Seal and Insulate the Air Ducts

As much as 40 percent of the energy typically used for cooling is wasted in poorly sealed and insulated ductwork. By having a professional seal and insulate your air ducts, your system will operate more efficiently, reducing your energy costs.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

When you are away from home, raising the temperature about 5 degrees can not only reduce cooling costs, but it also decreases stress on your air conditioning system. A programmable thermostat makes raising the temperature and returning it to normal easy and automatic.

Minimize Heat Gain

Extra heat in your home adds undue stress to your air conditioner. Close the blinds or shades during the daytime to prevent solar gain, and avoid heat-generating activities like cooking, bathing and washing dishes or clothes until the evening, when it is cooler.

For more tips about extending the life of an HVAC system, talk to our experts at Conditioned Air today, serving Southwest Florida.

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service agreementLike any complex system, routine maintenance is the key to keeping your HVAC system running efficiently and extending its lifespan. An HVAC service contract is the ideal way to make sure that your system receives the care that it needs at regular intervals, and it offers several tangible benefits for both you and your HVAC system.

Regular Professional Maintenance

By choosing an HVAC service contract, your system will receive regular maintenance by professionals that are familiar with your system and that you can trust, according to the guidelines recommended by the manufacturer of the system. Not only does this keep your HVAC system operating properly and efficiently, it also protects its warranty and value. Service will be scheduled according to the requirements of the system, and typically includes things like changing the air filter, cleaning the air condioner coils, checking the refrigerant levels and cleaning the air handler.

Lower Energy Costs

With an HVAC service contract, your system will be kept in prime condition, preventing issues like clogged air filters, worn belts and dirty condenser or compressor coils. Such problems can make your system work harder to keep your home comfortable, increasing your energy usage and your utility costs.

Extended Service Life

An HVAC system that receives regular maintenance will last much longer than a system that receives only the minimal amount, and will experience fewer problems over its lifetime. Regular maintenance also helps to reduce long-term repair costs by catching problems early, preventing them from doing further damage to the system and extending its lifespan.

To learn more about the benefits of an HVAC service contract, talk to our professionals at Conditioned Air today. We have HVAC service contracts available for both our residential and our commercial customers, and we offer service throughout the Southwest Florida region, from the Bradenton area to Marco Island, including the communities of Ft. Myers, Sarasota and Naples.