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Posted

cooling systemOnce the heat and humidity reach their peak in the Southwest Florida region, it can be difficult to keep your air conditioning costs under control. By taking a few steps to boost cooling system efficiency, however, you can lessen the effects of the higher temperatures and save money, while still remaining comfortable.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

One of the easiest and most effective ways to boost cooling system efficiency is by replacing your older thermostat with a new programmable model, then optimizing it to fit your schedule perfectly. By raising the temperature 10 degrees while you are at work or away, and reducing it just before you arrive home, you can reduce your cooling costs by up to 20 percent. Try to find a model that fits your routine, such as one with a separate program for weekends and weekdays, if you have a standard business schedule, or one with an individual program for each day, if your schedule is more flexible. The newest models offer features like self-programming, Wi-Fi connectivity and touchscreen interfaces that make them simple and convenient to use.

Maintain Your Air Conditioning System

Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the condenser and evaporator coils, replacing the air filter and cleaning the air handler, can keep your air conditioner running more efficiently and extend its lifespan. Have your system professionally inspected and serviced at least twice a year for the best results, and check the air filter yourself monthly.

Reduce Heat Gain

Adding extra heat during the daytime can make your cooling system work harder to keep you comfortable. Seal and insulate your home to prevent unnecessary heat gain, and close blinds or curtains during the day to block solar gain. Postpone heat-generating activities like bathing, cooking, laundry or washing dishes until the evening, and be sure to use exhaust fans to eliminate extra humidity. Replace inefficient incandescent bulbs with LEDS or fluorescents to save energy and reduce heat output.

For more ways to boost cooling system efficiency, talk to our experts at Conditioned Air, serving Ft. Myers, Naples and Sarasota since 1962.

Posted

air conditioner in rainIn Southwest Florida, heavy rains are common, especially as tropical storms or hurricanes approach. If you have ever wondered “Does rain affect my air conditioning unit,” the short answer is “No.” In most cases, rain is safe for your air conditioning system, though there are some exceptions, and a few precautions to take during strong storms.

The Effects of Rain on Your Air Conditioning

The outside portion of a central air conditioning system, known as the outdoor unit or condenser unit, houses both the condenser and the compressor, as well as a system fan, electrical connections and other accessories. Most of the components are made from aluminum, copper, plastics and other materials that are not prone to corrosion or damage from moisture, and the electrical connections are sealed, allowing the system to run properly even in heavy rain.

Only during heavy flooding, when the condenser is partially or completely submerged, should you shut the air conditioning system off, which can be done using the breakers in your main electrical panel. If the system is submerged for a significant period of time, have it inspected by an air conditioning contractor before tuning it back on.

Should the Condenser be Covered?

In most cases, the condenser unit should never be covered. Rain cannot harm the condenser, as long as the moisture can evaporate freely, and neither can the cooler weather of a Florida winter. In colder climates, some people cover the condenser during the winter to prevent accumulations of snow, leaves and debris, but it is not necessary. In fact, it can actually cause damage by trapping condensation beneath the cover, leading to corrosion and other damage.

The only time that you should cover the condenser is during extremely strong storms, such as hurricanes, to prevent damage from wind-blown debris. For this purpose, something strong, like plywood, should be secured with the power off, and it should be removed immediately after the storm. Otherwise, simply keep the condenser free of debris, and rinse the dirt out periodically.

When you have questions like “Does rain affect my air conditioning unit” or if you need air conditioning service, contact our team at Conditioned Air for helpful answers and HVAC advice.

Posted

heat pumpHeat pumps are a great way to provide energy-efficient cooling in Southwest Florida, and many models can provide heating as well, for the rare chilly day. If you are thinking about replacing your current system with a newer, more energy-efficient model, there are a few things to consider prior to your heat pump upgrade.

The Condition of Your Current System

If your system is more than 15 years old, requires frequent repairs or has major problems like a failing compressor or blower motor, a heat pump upgrade may be well worth the cost, especially if it has a seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER, of 12 or less. If your system is younger and in relatively good operating condition, it may be more cost-effective to wait for a few more years, until the operating and repair costs become excessive.

Heat Pump Efficiency Improvements

Many older heat pumps were rated at less than 12 or even 10 SEER. Today’s models are often rated at 14 to 16 SEER, and the most efficient models earn a rating of over 23 SEER. With energy-saving design improvements like variable-speed scroll compressors, two-speed or variable speed blower motors, and better coil designs, the latest heat pumps can reduce your cooling costs significantly.

New Comfort Technologiespgrade, talk to our team at Conditioned Air, serving the Naples, Ft. Myers and Sarasota areas since 1962.