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air conditioner in rainIn Southwest Florida, heavy rains are common, especially as tropical storms or hurricanes approach. If you have ever wondered “Does rain affect my air conditioning unit,” the short answer is “No.” In most cases, rain is safe for your system, though there are some exceptions, and a few precautions to take during strong storms.

The Effects of Rain

The outside portion of a central air conditioning system, known as the outdoor unit or condenser unit, houses both the condenser and the compressor, as well as a system fan, electrical connections and other accessories. Most of the components are made from aluminum, copper, plastics and other materials that are not prone to corrosion or damage from moisture, and the electrical connections are sealed, allowing the system to run properly even in heavy rain.

Only during heavy flooding, when the condenser is partially or completely submerged, should you shut the system off, which can be done using the breakers in your main electrical panel. If the system is submerged for a significant period of time, have it inspected by an HVAC professional before tuning it back on.

Should the Condenser be Covered?

In most cases, the condenser unit should never be covered. Rain cannot harm the condenser, as long as the moisture can evaporate freely, and neither can the cooler weather of a Florida winter. In colder climates, some people cover the condenser during the winter to prevent accumulations of snow, leaves and debris, but it is not necessary. In fact, it can actually cause damage by trapping condensation beneath the cover, leading to corrosion and other damage.

The only time that you should cover the condenser is during extremely strong storms, such as hurricanes, to prevent damage from wind-blown debris. For this purpose, something strong, like plywood, should be secured with the power off, and it should be removed immediately after the storm. Otherwise, simply keep the condenser free of debris, and rinse the dirt out periodically.

When you have questions like “Does rain affect my air conditioning unit,” contact our team at Conditioned Air for helpful answers and HVAC advice.

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heat pumpHeat pumps are a great way to provide energy-efficient cooling in Southwest Florida, and many models can provide heating as well, for the rare chilly day. If you are thinking about replacing your current system with a newer, more energy-efficient model, there are a few things to consider prior to your heat pump upgrade.

The Condition of Your Current System

If your system is more than 15 years old, requires frequent repairs or has major problems like a failing compressor or blower motor, a heat pump upgrade may be well worth the cost, especially if it has a seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER, of 12 or less. If your system is younger and in relatively good operating condition, it may be more cost-effective to wait for a few more years, until the operating and repair costs become excessive.

Heat Pump Efficiency Improvements

Many older heat pumps were rated at less than 12 or even 10 SEER. Today’s models are often rated at 14 to 16 SEER, and the most efficient models earn a rating of over 23 SEER. With energy-saving design improvements like variable-speed scroll compressors, two-speed or variable speed blower motors, and better coil designs, the latest heat pumps can reduce your cooling costs significantly.

New Comfort Technologiespgrade, talk to our team at Conditioned Air, serving the Naples, Ft. Myers and Sarasota areas since 1962.

Posted

new air conditionerIf you are considering a new air conditioner for your Southwest Florida home, determining the best A/C equipment for your needs can be difficult. There are several types of systems, differences in cooling efficiency and a variety of features. Here are a few tips for determining the best A/C equipment for your home:

System Type

A conventional central air conditioner offers cooling only, with an outdoor condenser unit and an indoor air handler that delivers conditioned air though a system of ducts. A heat pump looks and operates similar to a central air conditioner, but it is reversible, allowing it to also provide heating. Ductless mini split systems feature an individual air handler for each room or zone, connected to an exterior condenser, and they are available with cooling only, or both cooling and heating. If you have ducts installed, either a central air conditioner or a heat pump would be a good choice. For homes without ducts or for a single room, a ductless system can be more cost-effective. If you require both heating and cooling, a heat pump or a ductless system would be the best choice.

Energy Efficiency

Air conditioners are classified by their SEER rating, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio. A higher number means greater energy efficiency, with systems typically ranging from 14 SEER to over 20. By paying a bit more initially for an efficient system, you can earn that money back over its lifetime through reduced cooling costs. For systems that offer heating, look for an HSPF, or heating seasonal performance factor, of higher than 8 for the best energy efficiency.

Features

Optional features like multiple-speed compressors and blower motors provide more consistent cooling and quieter operation. Zoning systems enable the temperature in each zone to be controlled independently, allowing you to reduce cooling in unused rooms and save money. Wi-Fi thermostats allow for easy programming and increased energy savings. Select a system with the features that are best for your needs and your budget.

Just contact Conditioned Air for all your options.