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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.

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Summer may seem like it’s a long time away, but it’s never too early to think about summer air conditioner maintenance. By scheduling your summer air conditioner maintenance visit now, you can make sure that your system is completely ready for the hot and humid weather of Southwest Florida. You’ll also avoid your HVAC contractor’s busy season which is often during the early summer when people discover that their air conditioners are not working as expected.

summer air conditioner maintenanceWhy Routine Maintenance is Critical

Routine maintenance extends the life of your air conditioning system by eliminating unnecessary causes of major system problems, such as a compressor that overheats and fails due to dust accumulation on the evaporator coil. By performing regular maintenance and correcting small problems that could cause major failures, you not only extend the life of the system, you also ensure that it continues to run efficiently, reducing energy usage, lowering your utility bills and protecting your system’s remaining manufacturer warranty.

What is Done During the Maintenance Visit

The HVAC technician will inspect your system thoroughly, checking for problems such as dirty coils, refrigeration leaks and electrical problems. The technician will then perform routine maintenance, which typically includes cleaning the condenser and evaporator coils, checking refrigerant levels, cleaning the blower fan, adjusting the blower motor belt, lubricating the blower motor and pulleys, changing the air filter and inspecting the electrical system. If any problems are found, the technician will recommend possible solutions and perform any repairs that you have agreed to.

What You Can Do Between Visits

There are also several things that you can do between service visits to keep your system running properly. This includes checking your air filter regularly—about once a month—and replacing it when it becomes dirty. You should also keep the supply and return vents free of obstructions, such as furniture or curtains, and keep the area around the condenser coil clean and free of debris.

For more information about summer air conditioner maintenance, talk to our cooling experts at Conditioned Air.