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One of the easiest and least expensive ways to save energy in your Southwest Florida home is to install a programmable thermostat. By simply reducing the usage of your HVAC system during the times you are away from home or asleep, you can reduce your energy costs by up to 20 percent. Many of the newest programmable thermostats make it easier than ever to save money with innovative new features.

programmable thermostatsSelf Programming Ability

Some of the newest programmable thermostats can automatically adjust their settings based on the times that your family is at home, away or asleep to find the most energy-efficient settings for your busy schedule. They can communicate with other sensors throughout your home, such as motion sensors, to determine when it is occupied or empty, and adjust their settings accordingly.

WiFi Connections

Many models feature WiFi connections, allowing the user to adjust the temperature or other settings from anywhere within the house with a WiFi-enabled device, such as smartphone or computer, or even over the Internet using mobile phone apps. This allows you to adjust the temperature from a distance if you are coming home early or to shut the HVAC system down remotely if there is a problem.

Touchscreens

Older programmable thermostats could be hard to configure, with complex menus that were accessed through a very basic LCD display and a few buttons. Often, this meant that people were less likely to adjust the settings as necessary to achieve the highest energy savings, because the process was so difficult. Many of today’s models feature intuitive touchscreen interfaces that make adjusting the settings easy, and they often offer extra information, such as the current weather, thanks to available WiFi connections.

Setting the Thermostat

To save the most on your energy bills, reduce the temperature by 4 or 5 degrees when you are away from home or asleep during the winter, and raise it during the summer.

To learn which programmable thermostats would be best for your home, talk to our team at Conditioned Air. We have served the communities of Southwest Florida since 1962.

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If your Southwest Florida home features a fuel-burning appliance such as a gas stove, water heater or furnace, you should take extra care to keep the appliance in good condition to avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an invisible gas that is extremely dangerous and impossible to smell or taste. To ensure your family’s safety, carbon monoxide detectors should be installed throughout your home, and there are a few important things you should know to operate them properly.

Carbon Monoxide DetectorsTypes of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

There are typically three types of carbon monoxide detectors, including hard-wired models that must be installed by an electrician, plug-in models that require a nearby outlet for installation, and battery-operated models that require no external power source. Plug-in and battery-operated models are the least expensive and easiest to install, though hard-wired models may offer more features, such as integration with your alarm system. Plug-in or hard-wired models may also include batteries as a backup power source in case of an outage.

Installation

One detector should be installed on each level of the home, near the main living areas and near your fuel-burning appliances, and one should be installed in or near each bedroom. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which will recommend the proper installation heights and locations for the best performance.

Maintenance

Carbon monoxide detectors require very little maintenance to function properly, but they do have a limited lifespan, due to the nature of the materials that detect the gas. Periodically dust the outside of the case, especially near any vents, and install fresh batteries every six months. Every month or so, use the detector’s built-in test function to ensure that it’s still operating properly, and replace it if there are any problems. Finally, check the owner’s manual or the body of the detector for its expatriation date, and replace the detector just before the recommended time.

For more information about installing or using carbon monoxide detectors, talk to our HVAC professionals at Conditioned Air. We serve Southwest Florida, including the communities of Naples and Sarasota.

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If you or a family member suffer from allergies, sometimes the air inside your home can be worse than the outdoor air. There are a few simple ways, however, that you can improve your home’s air quality and reduce or eliminate many indoor allergy issues.

indoor allergy issuesCommon Sources of Symptoms

Household dust, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, insect droppings and pollen can all be triggers for allergy symptoms, and they can even affect those without allergies. When present in high enough concentrations, these irritants can cause sneezing, coughing, wheezing, congestion, sore throat and watery or itchy eyes, among other problems, and the symptoms can be difficult to treat.

Reducing Indoor Allergy Issues

One of the best ways to minimize the presence of allergens in your home is to keep your HVAC system in good condition. It should be inspected at least twice a year, before the heating and cooling seasons, to make sure that it is clean and running properly, and that all routine maintenance, like changing the air filter and cleaning the coils, has been performed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. You should also consider having the ducts cleaned every few years, to remove dust and allergen accumulations, and you should replace the air filter yourself every few months to improve indoor air quality. For better filtration, upgrade to an air filter featuring a greater MERV rating, or consider installing a HEPA filter.

Other things you can do to reduce allergy issues include vacuuming regularly with a machine that uses a HEPA filter and dusting often with moist cloths or electrostatic wipes. Try to minimize clutter and store unused items in sealed containers or bags, especially soft materials like clothes and bedding, to reduce dust accumulation. Install hypoallergenic mattress covers, sheets and pillowcases in all the bedrooms, and wash the bedding at least once a week. Consider installing an air cleaner to help remove allergens and to improve indoor air quality further.

For more information about reducing indoor allergy issues, talk to our HVAC experts at Conditioned Air. We have been serving the Southwest Florida area since 1962.