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Any gaps or leaks that allow conditioned air to escape your Florida home (or that allow unconditioned air to enter it) can reduce the efficiency of your heating and cooling system, leading to increased energy costs. By finding and sealing air leaks with these tips, you can save money and be more comfortable throughout the year.

sealing air leaksWindows and Doors

Poorly-sealed windows and doors often feel drafty and can contribute significantly to higher energy costs. Use weatherstripping along the bottoms and tops of windows to seal gaps between the window and the frame, and use caulk to seal around the edges of the window frames, inside and out. Install weatherstripping around the inside of the door frame, where the door meets it, and use caulk around the edges of the frame. Install a door sweep to seal any gaps at the bottom of the door.

Attic

Warm air often escapes into the attic during heating season. Use caulk to seal around holes drilled for electrical lines, plumbing vents or lighting fixtures, or expanding foam if the gap is larger than ¼ inch. Seal around appliance flues and chimneys using high temperature caulk, and install a metal baffle to keep insulation away from any hot surfaces. Install baffles around recessed lighting, and seal soffits using caulk and insulation. Use unfaced insulation in plastic bags to seal any empty stud bays.

Exterior Walls

Any holes in the exterior walls can increase energy usage. Use caulk or expanding foam to seal holes drilled for plumbing, electric, or gas lines, as well as dryer vents or exhaust fan openings. Seal around any light fixtures, and repair or replace damaged siding. Use foam gaskets on interior outlets to seal the outlet covers.

Basement

Cool air often enters through the basement and is drawn into the rest of the home. Use caulk to seal around rim joists and the sill plate, as well as any holes drilled for plumbing or electric lines.

For more information about sealing air leaks around your home, talk to our experts at Conditioned Air, serving Southwest Florida since 1962.

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Properly insulating the attic in your Florida home is important to the overall efficiency of your HVAC system, but there are many myths and misconceptions about the process. Here is the truth behind some of the most prevalent attic insulation myths.

insulationInsulating the Attic is Not Necessary in Warm Climates

Even in Southwest Florida, insulating the attic is important, as it prevents heat from escaping to the outside during the winter and prevents the hot air in the attic from warming your home during the summer. For the areas around Naples and Ft. Myers, the recommended insulation levels in the attic are from R-30 to R-60.

Insulating the Attic Will Seal Air Leaks

Attic insulation alone will not seal air leaks, though some types, such as sprayed foam, do a better job than others at sealing during the installation process. To properly seal the attic, there should be a separate vapor barrier installed if it is required in your area, and all holes drilled for electrical lines, plumbing vents, light fixtures and appliance flues should be sealed with caulk, expanding foam insulation, or for flues, chimneys and some recessed lighting fixtures, a combination of flashing and high-temperature caulk.

R-Value is Constant

R-Value is a measurement of a material’s resistance to the flow of heat, and it is assigned according to standard tests done in a lab. In actual use, the effective R-Value of an insulating material can vary based on many factors. Materials like fiberglass can increase or decrease in R-Value according to the temperature, and R-Value can be significantly reduced if the material becomes wet or is subjected to drafty conditions.

Insulating the Attic Automatically Increases HVAC Efficiency

Properly insulating your attic is only one factor in how efficiently your HVAC system operates. Some other examples include whether the HVAC system is sized properly, whether your ducts leak, how drafty your windows and doors are, and how many sources of heat gain are present, such as heat-generating appliances or windows without shades.

To learn more about how attic insulation affects HVAC efficiency, talk to our experts at Conditioned Air.We’ve been serving the southwest coast of Florida from Bradenton to Everglades City since 1962.

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Adding a pet to your household can be a very rewarding experience, both for your family and the pet itself. If one of your family members has pet allergies, however, dander from the pet may cause symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes or other problems. In many cases, pet allergy symptoms can be significantly reduced by doing a few simple things around your home.

pet allergiesMaintain the HVAC System

Making sure that your HVAC system is clean and well-maintained can help reduce the amount of pet dander in the air dramatically. Have an HVAC professional perform routine maintenance on the system at least twice a year, including replacing the air filter and cleaning the blower fan, air handler and the evaporator coil thoroughly. Between visits, check the air filter yourself every month and replace it as necessary. Consider upgrading your air filter to one with a higher MERV rating to remove more particulates from the air, or consider installing a HEPA filter for the best protection.

Dust and Vacuum Often

Reduce the amount of pet dander and hair collecting in your home by dusting often with either electrostatic cloths or damp rags to catch all the small particles. Vacuum the entire home on a weekly basis at least using a machine with a HEPA filter, and eliminate clutter to reduce the amount of surfaces that collect dust and dander. Avoid installing carpeting, if possible, and take throw rugs outdoors once a month to clean them thoroughly.

Keep Bedding and Furniture Clean

If possible, try to keep pets out of the bedrooms of family members with pet allergies, and use hypoallergenic mattress covers, sheets and pillowcases in each room. Wash all bedding at least once a week. Vacuum upholstered furniture weekly, and consider installing furniture covers or throws that can easily be removed and washed to reduce pet dander accumulation.

For more ideas to help alleviate pet allergies in your home, talk to our HVAC experts at Conditioned Air today. Since 1962, we have been providing quality HVAC services to the Southwest Florida region, including Ft. Myers and Sarasota.