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a/c maintenanceNow that the main cooling season is over in Southwest Florida, it’s a good time to do some routine maintenance to your air conditioning system to prepare it for next year. It’s best to have a professional inspect and maintain the system, especially if it was not done at the beginning of the season, but there are several air conditioner maintenance tasks that you can do yourself to prepare the system for winter.

Clean the Condenser Coils

Over the fall and winter months, grass, leaves and dirt can find their way into the condenser coils, preventing proper airflow when the system is running and trapping moisture that can lead to corrosion when the system is idle. Once every 6 months or so, it’s a good idea to shut off power to the air conditioner and remove any debris that’s stuck in the coils, the system fan or around the compressor. Once the large debris has been removed, spray away smaller debris with a garden hose, using a commercial coil cleaning solution if necessary. Remove any large objects that are within two feet of the condenser unit, and trim any grass, bushes or other vegetation within the area to promote proper airflow when the system is running.

Change the Air Filter

Changing the air filter regularly is one of the most important air conditioner maintenance tasks, because it not only protects the system from harmful particles in the air, it also helps improve air quality. Before retiring the system for the cooler weather, make sure to install a new air filter or clean the reusable filter.

Clean the Condensate Drain

Any moisture that is removed from the air as the air conditioner operates is collected in a drip tray and disposed of through the condensate drain, which can easily become clogged with dirt or algae. Carefully clean the condensate drain and make sure that there is no residual moisture.

For more air conditioner maintenance tips, talk to our team at Conditioned Air, serving the Southwest Florida region.

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save energyWith the mild weather of fall, now is the perfect time to make a few improvements around your home. If you are suffering from high utility bills, here are four easy ways that you can reduce energy consumption in your Southwest Florida home:

Have Your HVAC System Serviced

Things like clogged air filters, poorly-lubricated blower motors and dirty condenser or evaporator coils can make your HVAC system work harder than necessary to keep you comfortable, increasing your energy consumption and utility bills. To save energy and extend the life of your system, have an HVAC professional inspect it and perform any routine maintenance that may be required. After the visit, check the air filter often and change it as necessary to keep your system running efficiently.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

By adjusting the temperature in your home while you are at work or asleep, you can reduce the energy consumption of your HVAC system by as much as 10 percent. A programmable thermostat is the easy way to do this, as it can automatically adjust the temperature, then return it to normal so that your home is comfortable when you come back from work or wake up. In warm weather raise the temperature 10 to 15 degrees, and in cool weather reduce it.

Seal and Insulate Your Home

Air leaks can significantly increase energy usage in any season by allowing conditioned air to escape and outside air to enter.. Use weatherstripping and caulk to seal around drafty windows or doors, and use caulk or expanding foam insulation to seal penetrations made for pipes, cables, dryer vents and other openings in your exterior walls. Have your insulation levels checked, especially in the floors, walls and attic, and add more if necessary.

Reduce Your Water Heater Temperature

Many water heaters are set to 140 degrees or higher from the factory, which not only wastes energy but also may cause scalding. A setting of 120 degrees can reduce your costs, while still providing plenty of hot water.

For more ways to reduce energy consumption, talk to our HVAC professionals at Conditioned Air today.

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air conditioner upgradeAir conditioning is important in Southwest Florida, and if you’re getting ready to upgrade your system, it’s critical to find one that both falls within your budget and that is efficient enough to keep you comfortable without making your utility bills skyrocket. Here are a few tips for choosing a central air conditioning system that will meet you needs:

Consider Both Short and Long-Term Costs

When you’re choosing a central air conditioning system, it’s important to consider both the initial costs of buying and installing the system, and the long-terms costs of operating and maintaining it. An air conditioning system is a large investment, and while it may be tempting to choose a model with a lower initial price, chances are that its lower efficiency and reliability may wind up costing you more over the life of the system.

By upgrading to a more reliable and efficient system and paying a bit more up front, you can enjoy long-term energy savings, reduced maintenance and lower utility bills. Typical models have an energy efficiency rating of 13 or 14 SEER, while the most efficient models have SEER ratings of over 20 and can reduce your energy costs by up to 40 percent.

Size the System Properly

In the past, air conditioning systems were often sized by rough estimates and installers tended to oversize systems to improve comfort, leading to maintenance problems and reduced efficiency. For a system that both performs efficiently and cools effectively, it must be properly sized by an HVAC professional, using the appropriate Manual J procedures. This method takes into account more than just the size of the home, including the layout of the house, the number of rooms, the materials used, occupancy and other important factors.

Prepare Your Home

Another key to an efficient air conditioning system is the condition of your home. Have an energy audit performed to make sure your home and air ducts are properly sealed and insulated.

For more tips on choosing a central air conditioning system, talk to our HVAC professionals at Conditioned Air today.