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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 conditioning system 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 air conditioning, however, most heat pumps can also reverse the flow of coolant through a special valve. This allows them to function like an air conditioning unit 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.

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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.