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As summer hits the Southwest Florida area and both the temperature and humidity rise, many people will be spending the majority of time indoors comforted by air conditioning. This can present problems for those with allergies, as indoor allergy issues will become more prevalent. There are, however, several steps that you can take to successfully cope with indoor allergy issues during the summer.

indoor allergy issuesKeep Doors and Windows Closed

When pollen counts are high, it’s best to keep your windows and doors closed and use the air conditioning as much as possible to avoid unnecessary allergens. This is especially true in the early morning hours — from about 5:00 to 10:00 a.m. — when pollen counts tend to be the highest.

Avoid Bringing Allergens Inside

When you do work outside during the summer, such as mowing the lawn or cleaning the yard, pollen, dust and other allergens can easily hitch a ride indoors on your clothing. To avoid adding extra allergens to your indoor air, change your clothes and take a shower after the job is finished and wash your work clothes often.

Clean Often

Minimize the accumulation of allergens by vacuuming and dusting often, using a vacuum with a HEPA filter and either moist or electrostatic cloths. Install hypoallergenic sheets, pillowcases and mattress covers in each bedroom, and wash them at least once a week. Reduce clutter throughout your home and reduce the number of surfaces that can collect dust and allergens.

Keep Your HVAC System Maintained

Have your HVAC system professionally inspected and cleaned twice a year to prevent system problems and reduce dust accumulation. Check the air filters monthly and replace them as necessary, and upgrade to filters with higher MERV ratings for better air filtration. Consider installing a whole-home air cleaner or ventilation system to improve indoor air quality and to reduce the amount of allergens and dust in your home.

For more suggestions about coping with summer indoor allergy issues, talk to our air quality experts at Conditioned Air. We have been serving the Southwest Florida region since 1962.

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In the mild weather of the Southwest Florida region, a heat pump can be an inexpensive way to heat your home in the winter. In most cases, they can also cool your home in the summer.

Heat PumpHow Does a Heat Pump Cool?

Both air conditioners and heat pumps work on the same principle. They use a special phase-changing refrigerant to absorb heat from the air through a set of coils, and then they release it through another set of coils located elsewhere. An air conditioner removes heat from your home and brings it outside, cooling the interior during the summer.

During the winter, heat pumps absorb heat from the outdoor air and release it inside. Unlike an air conditioner, however, most heat pumps can also reverse the flow of coolant through a special valve. This allows them to function like an air conditioner during the summer, using the indoor coils to absorb heat from your home, after which it’s released outside through the outdoor portion of the system.

Can Heat Pumps Cool Efficiently?

Heat pumps can be just as efficient for cooling during the summer as air conditioners are. A model rated for 16 SEER will perform just as well as an air conditioner rated for 16 SEER. In mild climates where heat pumps are more efficient for heating during the winter, one system can be used for both heating and cooling, reducing your overall system costs. Air conditioners, in comparison, must rely on a separate system — such as a gas furnace — for heating in the winter.

Do Heat Pumps Require Special Maintenance?

The maintenance requirements for heat pumps are similar to those of air conditioners. Once or twice a year, the coils should be cleaned thoroughly, the refrigerant levels should be checked, the blower fan other moving parts should be lubricated and adjusted, and the electrical system should be inspected. Also, air filters should be checked monthly and changed at least every three months.

For more information about the cooling abilities of a heat pump, talk to our team at Conditioned Air, serving the Southwest Florida region.

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Proper insulation is critical to the comfort of your Southwest Florida home, and it can help reduce your energy costs in both the winter and summer. One of the easiest ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home is by adding attic insulation.

attic insulationWhy Attic Insulation Is Important During the Summer

Most people know that attic insulation is critical during the winter to keep the heat inside your home, but it also plays an important role during the summer. As the sun beats down on the surface of your roof, it heats the air in the attic. Because the air in your home is cool, the heat will naturally try to travel from the attic to the interior of your home to reach equilibrium with the indoor air temperature. Attic insulation slows this process down, increasing the efficiency of your cooling system and keeping you comfortable at a reasonable cost.

How Much Insulation Is Necessary

In the Southwest Florida region, the current recommended insulation levels for attics range from R-30 to R-60. The R-Value measures a material’s resistance to the flow of heat, and the higher the value is, the more it prevents heat transfer between the interior and the exterior of a structure.

How to Add Insulation

If your attic is not finished, it’s relatively easy to add more insulation. Fiberglass batts can be added over the top of loose fill, fiberglass or foam, and should be added in perpendicular layers to existing batt insulation. Loose-fill insulation can be added to existing loose insulation; or if there’s no insulation, spray foam, fiberglass or loose fill can be used. Be sure to leave the eaves open for proper roof ventilation, and use baffles between the rafters where the roof meets the wall to promote airflow. If your attic has three to four inches of existing insulation, it’s recommended to add R-25 to R-38 for the best results.

To learn more about the importance of proper attic insulation, contact our team at Conditioned Air. Our service area includes Bradenton, Naples, Ft. Myers and Sarasota.