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houseplants improve air qualityMany of today’s building materials, furniture and flooring products contain potentially harmful chemicals that can off-gas for days, weeks or even longer after installation, and with homes that are highly insulated and tightly sealed to improve energy-efficiency, the effects of these chemicals on indoor air quality are significantly greater. In studies by NASA, the Associated Landscape Contractors of America and others, however, it has been found that common houseplants can help clean the indoor air, with as little as one plant per 100 square feet. While some only remove one or two chemicals, the best air-purifying plants can remove multiple chemicals.

Garden Mum

Also known as the Florist’s Chrysanthemum, this plant is effective at removing benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, ammonia, toluene and xylene from the air. All of these chemicals can be harmful in large amounts, causing symptoms like nausea or dizziness, serious illnesses, or even cancer.

Dracaena

Most types of Dracaena can remove benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air, while some, like the Red-Edged Dracaena, can also remove toluene and xylene.

Snake Plant

Requiring minimal care and only occasional watering, the Snake Plant is one of the most resilient air-purifying plants, and it can remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, toluene and xylene.

Peace Lilly

This flowering plant can remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, ammonia, toluene and xylene from the air, but it can also release pollen, which may be problematic for allergy sufferers.

Ficus

Also known as the Weeping Fig, Ficus plants can remove formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air, and some types can also remove benzene and trichloroethylene.

All these air-purifying plants should be used with care, as they can potentially be toxic to pets. Non-toxic alternatives, like Spider Plants, Boston Ferns or Bamboo Palms can remove formaldehyde, xylene and toluene, while others, like the Barberton Daisy, can remove benzene and trichloroethylene, allowing you to combine multiple plants for the best results.

To learn more about air-purification products and how they can work with your HVAC system to improve indoor air quality, talk to our HVAC experts at Conditioned Air, serving Southwest Florida.

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ductless air conditionerDuctless mini-split air conditioning systems are an efficient and effective way to add a cooling system to an existing home, an addition or even a new home. The advantages of a ductless system are numerous, but there are three key advantages that make them distinct from conventional systems:

Greater Efficiency

Ductless systems are extremely efficient, largely because they lack air ducts, which can waste up to 30 percent of the energy used for cooling through leaks or poor insulation. Many systems also feature variable-speed air handlers, inverter-driven multiple-speed compressors, improved coil designs and optional zoning systems that help to increase energy efficiency further. The latest models feature a seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER, of up to 22, compared to the federal minimum of 14 SEER for Southwest Florida.

Easy Installation

With an outdoor unit, one or more interior air handlers, and a few refrigerant and electric lines connecting them, ductless systems are easy to install. They require only a small 3 to 4 inch opening through a wall or ceiling to route the electrical and refrigerant lines, minimizing damage to your home and remodeling. In comparison, a central air conditioner or heat pump requires custom ducts to be fabricated, a centralized location for the interior air handler and evaporator, and several openings for electrical and refrigerant lines.

Optional Heating

Many ductless systems can reverse the refrigeration cycle during the winter, providing heating instead of cooling. This eliminates the extra cost of a separate heating system, which is only occasionally needed in Southwest Florida. With a multiple-room system, each zone can be adjusted to the perfect temperature for the occupants, winter or summer.

To learn more about the advantages of a ductless system, talk to our cooling experts at Conditioned Air today. We serve Southwest Florida, from Bradenton to Marco Island, and we have been providing quality, reliable HVAC services throughout the area since 1962.

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ac not workingAir conditioning systems tend to be relatively reliable, and with proper care and maintenance, they can often last well over 10 years. As a system ages, however, it will lose both cooling performance and efficiency, especially compared to the latest models, and it will eventually become more cost-effective to replace the system, rather than paying its ever-increasing repair and operational costs. You should consider A/C replacement when any of the following are true:

  • The system is over 10 or 15 years old: Once an A/C unit is over 10 years old, it is nearing the end of its expected lifespan and major problems will be far more likely to occur. By upgrading to a new system, you can enjoy improved comfort, reduced energy costs, and the many improvements in technology and design that have occurred over the last decade.
  • Energy costs have increased: Gradual increases in your energy usage are to be expected as the system loses efficiency, and you can often save significantly on your long-term energy costs with an A/C replacement.
  • Your system is less than 13 SEER: Modern systems have SEER ratings of 13 to over 20, and with the proper A/C replacement, you can reduce your cooling costs dramatically.
  • Your A/C requires frequent repairs: If your air conditioner requires service or has a major problem like a damaged compressor, it is often more cost-effective to replace the system than to continue repairs.
  • Your system uses an outdated refrigerant: If your system uses R-22 or an earlier refrigerant, it may be more cost-effective to install a new system with R410A than to retrofit an existing system.
  • Your home is no longer comfortable: As the performance of your A/C unit degrades, it may no longer be able to keep up with the heat and humidity in Southwest Florida. A new system can offer better cooling and dehumidification, as well as improved reliability.

If you are considering A/C replacement, talk to our team at Conditioned Air today. We can help you find the right system for your needs and your budget, and we serve homeowners throughout Southwest Florida.