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Keeping utility costs under control in Southwest Florida can be a challenge, especially as peak air conditioning season arrives. By taking a few simple measures to control your energy consumption, however, you can reduce your utility bills, while helping the environment.

Have the Air Conditioning System Serviced

Routine maintenance, such as changing the air filter and cleaning the evaporator and condenser coils, will help the air conditioning system to transfer heat and move air more efficiently. Not only does this reduce energy costs, but it also helps to extend the life of the system. Adding a programmable thermostat and setting it to raise the temperature 5 degrees anytime you are away from home can also lower your energy consumption significantly.

Reduce Heat Gain

Another way to reduce energy usage is by eliminating some of the extra heat produced in your home, making the job of the air conditioner easier. Use shades and blinds during the daytime to block the heat of the sun, and open the windows during cooler periods for natural ventilation and cooling. Avoid using heat-generating appliances like clothes dryers, dishwashers and ovens during the day, and wait until the evening when it is cooler to cook or bathe. When the air conditioning system is installed, place the outdoor unit in a shady location, if possible, or consider adding some shade.

Use Efficient Appliances

Choosing the right appliances and electronics can have a significant impact on your energy costs. When replacing older models, purchase the most efficient versions possible, such as those that are Energy Star-rated. Turn off appliances, lights and electronics when they are not in use, and consider using outlet strips to completely turn off devices that have a continuous power draw, such as televisions and cable boxes. Replace older incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient CFL or LED models, and turn down your water heater to 120 degrees, instead of the typical 140-degree factory setting.

For more tips to reduce energy consumption, talk to our HVAC professionals at Conditioned Air today. We have been serving the Southwest Florida area, from Bradenton to Marco Island, since 1962.

 

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carbon monoxide detectorCarbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, invisible gas that can be produced by fuel-burning appliances that are not operating properly, like stoves, water heaters or furnaces, and extended exposure can cause flu-like symptoms or, if exposure continues, death. Carbon monoxide detectors are the only reliable way of determining that the gas has reached critical levels inside your home, and choosing the correct type to install and where to place them is relatively simple.

Choosing a Carbon Monoxide Detector

There are four basic types of carbon monoxide detectors:

  • Battery-Operated: Can be placed anywhere, but need frequent battery replacements
  • Plug-in: Can be installed anywhere that has an electrical outlet, and they often feature a battery for backup power.
  • Hard-wired: Connected permanently to the electrical system of a home, they typically have a battery backup.
  • Combination alarms: Combine a CO detector with a smoke detector, and often a fire detector.

In most cases, the best choices are plug-in or hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors with integrated battery backups. Alarms that rely solely on batteries are not as dependable, as the batteries may lose power, and combination alarms may detect multiple dangers, but they tend to be less sensitive and reliable than alarms designed for a single function. Regardless of the type, check the function of the detector monthly, using the “Test” feature, and replace the batteries at least twice a year.

Where to Install CO Detectors

Carbon monoxide is lighter than air, so many manufacturers recommend installing CO detectors high on the wall or on the ceiling. At least one detector should be installed on each level of your home, and one should be placed in or near each bedroom.

Keep each detector at least 15 feet away from sources of combustion to avoid false readings, and if your appliances are located in a basement, place one detector at the top of the stairs. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and operation carefully, and replace each detector at the manufacturer-recommended intervals.

For more information about installing carbon monoxide detectors, talk to our team at Conditioned Air, serving Southwest Florida since 1962.

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ac filterWith the hot and humid weather in Southwest Florida, any extra stress on your air conditioner can not only increase your energy usage and utility costs, but it can also lead to premature failure of the system. By taking a few simple precautions and keeping up with routine maintenance, extending the life of an HVAC system is possible, and relatively easy.

Have the System Inspected Twice a Year

Routine maintenance is the key to extending the life of an HVAC system. Have a professional inspect the system at least twice a year, performing regular maintenance like cleaning the coils and changing the air filter, as well as looking for anything that may pose a problem in the future. With the system in prime condition, it will not have to work as hard, extending its useful lifespan.

Replace the Air Filter Often

Between service visits, you should check the air filter yourself at least once a month. A clogged filter significantly reduce efficiency and make your system work harder, shortening its lifespan. Also, keep the outdoor condenser unit free of leaves and other debris to keep the system running smoothly.

Seal and Insulate the Air Ducts

As much as 40 percent of the energy typically used for cooling is wasted in poorly sealed and insulated ductwork. By having a professional seal and insulate your air ducts, your system will operate more efficiently, reducing your energy costs.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

When you are away from home, raising the temperature about 5 degrees can not only reduce cooling costs, but it also decreases stress on your air conditioning system. A programmable thermostat makes raising the temperature and returning it to normal easy and automatic.

Minimize Heat Gain

Extra heat in your home adds undue stress to your air conditioner. Close the blinds or shades during the daytime to prevent solar gain, and avoid heat-generating activities like cooking, bathing and washing dishes or clothes until the evening, when it is cooler.

For more tips about extending the life of an HVAC system, talk to our experts at Conditioned Air today, serving Southwest Florida.