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Between the high temperatures and excessive humidity of the Southwest Florida region, peak cooling season can be difficult on air conditioning equipment, leading to inefficient cooling performance or major system malfunctions. With a bit of simple air conditioner maintenance, you can keep your home comfortable, protect your system, and keep your energy costs under control throughout the summer.

air conditioner maintenanceHave Your System Professionally Inspected

Before the peak cooling season starts, it’s good practice to have your system inspected by a professional HVAC technician who will perform routine maintenance like checking the refrigerant levels, cleaning the coils, and replacing the air filter. This will ensure that your system runs as efficiently as possible, in addition to helping prevent problems when the system is operating at full capacity later in the summer.

Change the Air Filter Often

A dirty or restrictive air filter can increase your cooling costs, harm your indoor air quality and cause major system problems. During the cooling season, you should check it at least once a month and replace it when required, or at least every two or three months.

Keep the Outdoor Unit Free of Debris

To operate efficiently, the condenser coil of your air conditioner needs plenty of airflow to dissipate the heat from your home. Keep at least a 2-foot area around the outdoor assembly clear of all debris, including furniture, toys and tall plants. If leaves, grass or other debris accumulate in the coils or system fan, turn off the power and remove the large debris by hand; then rinse the coils with a garden hose to remove smaller debris.

Reduce the Cooling Load

Adding extra heat to your home or the air conditioning system can reduce its cooling performance and increase your cooling costs. Keep the outdoor unit shaded during peak cooling season if possible, and use blinds or shades inside your home to prevent solar gain. Avoid heat-generating activities like cooking, washing clothes or bathing during the afternoon.

For more air conditioner maintenance tips, talk to our cooling experts at Conditioned Air, serving the communities of Southwest Florida, including Naples and Sarasota.

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Modern air conditioning systems are relatively quiet, and though some noise is to be expected, any sounds that are new, unusual or that have become louder should be investigated to prevent expensive damage to your system. Three of the most common sources of abnormal sounds include the fan belt, the electrical system, and the compressor, and they should be thoroughly inspected if your air conditioner is noisy or suddenly louder than normal.

Air Conditioner Is NoisyBlower Fan Belt

Inside the air handler, especially in a commercial application, a belt connects the blower motor to a squirrel-cage fan, which is used to move air through ducts of your home. Over time, the belt can stretch or begin to crack, and the pulleys on the motor and the fan can lose lubrication or become misaligned. A stretched belt can cause screeching sounds as it slips, and a cracked belt can start thumping as pieces break away. Pulleys that are starved of lubrication or misaligned can begin to whine or screech, as can the blower motor if it’s not properly lubricated. Have the belt adjusted or replaced, if necessary, and check the pulleys and blower motor for proper lubrication and alignment. Failing bearings can also cause this type of noise.

Electrical System

Faulty electrical contacts, relays, and capacitors can cause many strange noises in a system, including clicking as relays or contacts fail to engage properly or buzzing as the start capacitor fails to start the compressor properly. Have the electrical system inspected, cleaning any dirty contacts and replacing burned or faulty components.

Compressor

Problems with the compressor can cause screeching, whining, thumping, buzzing or hissing noises. If it’s hissing, there’s likely a refrigerant leak; and if it’s buzzing, the start capacitor may have failed. Screeching, whining, thumping or other noises may indicate serious problems with the compressor, such as damaged pistons or scrolls, lubrication failure or worn brushes. Have the compressor inspected immediately to avoid unnecessary damage.

If your air conditioner is noisy, talk to our HVAC experts at Conditioned Air today to determine the cause of the problem. We serve the Southwest Florida area, including the communities of Naples and Sarasota.

 

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For those that suffer from allergies, any particles or pollutants in the indoor air can make them uncomfortable and cause symptoms like congestion, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes or a runny nose. There are many allergy triggers present in the average home, but with a few simple steps, you can minimize their effect on your comfort and your health.

Common Indoor Allergy Triggers

There are several substances that can cause indoor allergy symptoms, including many household products and natural sources. Some of the most common allergy triggers include:

  • Household dust: Everyday household dust can contain dozens of allergens, including pollen, skin cells, insect droppings and mold spores. It can collect anywhere in a home, but is hard to remove or control effectively in certain areas, such as carpeted rooms, duct systems, storage areas or on anything mounted high on the ceilings or walls. Frequent dusting and vacuuming can reduce dust problems.
  • Dust mites: Secretions and droppings from dust mites and other insects can cause many allergy symptoms, though by controlling humidity, minimizing dust and using hypoallergenic bedding, symptoms can be reduced.
  • Pollen: Pollen often finds its way in through open windows or doors, or is carried in by people. With proper air filtration and frequent cleaning, most pollen can be eliminated.
  • Pet dander: Skin cells, hair and skin secretions from pets can trigger allergy symptoms in many people, especially if the pet sleeps in the same room. Regular cleaning, air filtration and frequently washing pet bedding and furniture covers can reduce symptoms.
  • Chemicals: Volatile organic compounds or chemical vapors from cleaning products, new furniture or carpeting, paint or building products can cause discomfort for those with allergies. Choosing products with low VOC concentrations and using proper ventilation can eliminate most problems.

Reducing Indoor Allergy Triggers

Frequent HVAC maintenance and air filter changes, as well as regular dusting and vacuuming, can reduce or eliminate most problems with dust, pollen and pet dander. Keeping the humidity under 50 percent can control dust mites and mold.

To learn more about controlling indoor allergy triggers, talk to our experts at Conditioned Air, serving Southwest Florida.