Consider It Done!
PLUMBING • DRAINS • COOLING • WATER QUALITY

Air Conditioning Tips and Advice

Air Conditioning Tips and Advice (100)

When we think of air conditioners and indoor air quality we usually think of the air filter being the most important factor in keeping the air healthy. But there is another potential problem that can make the air unhealthy: mold.

Air Conditioners and Indoor Air Quality

Mold in HVAC Systems

Mold is commonly found in varying amounts in home air conditioning systems. When small amounts of mold go undetected they can grow to levels that decrease air quality and lead to health problems.
  • Some of the health problems caused by mold include:
  • Sinus congestion and runny nose
  • Itchy, red, watery eyes
  • Respiratory problems and difficulty breathing
  • Throat irritation
  • Sneezing

Preventing Mold in Air Conditioners

AC drain pans, which hold standing water for long periods of time, are a favorite spot for mold to grow. In addition, pipes that contain bends and curves may hold water from unit operation and lead to mold growth. Often when there is mold growing inside the unit, mold is also visible growing inside air ducts.

While it may be easy to spot mold around your air conditioner, removing it is not as simple as cleaning the surfaces where mold is visible, you must find the source of the problem to prevent mold from growing in the future.

The cause of mold is excess moisture. The interior parts of your HVAC system are ideal places for mold to grow. This is usually a symptom of water leaks and flaws in the unit. A professional HVAC technician can locate the cause of excess the moisture and recommend solutions.

Keep the AC Drain Clean

To avoid dealing with mold issues in the future, examine your condensation drain regularly for clogs. If this drain gets backed up, the standing water can develop bacteria, which may turn into mold. Once you’ve removed the mold from the system, you’ll need to make sure it doesn’t return by regularly maintaining the unit to keep the ducts clean.

Have questions about your air conditioner and mold? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.
Does Your AC Need a Recharge?

A central air conditioner is designed to never lose refrigerant, it should last longer than the system itself. When a refill is needed it's usually the result of a leak caused by a manufacturing defect, lack of maintenance, or damage to the unit.

Refrigerant is what extracts the heat from the air through the transfer of heat. If the refrigerant level is low or empty, there will be no transfer of heat. So how do you know if your central air conditioner needs a recharge? The symptoms of low refrigerant levels include:

Warm air is blowing through the vents. This is a telltale sign of lack of refrigerant. While there can be other causes, such as a malfunctioning thermostat, a slow reduction in cooling is most likely caused by a refrigerant leak.

The AC unit is freezing. Refrigerant is supplied through the unit's condensor coils. If you notice a buildup of frost or ice on the coils it usually indicates that there is a leak.

If you're having either of these symptoms a qualified HVAC technician should inspect the unit. If the refrigerant level is low, the cause of the leak should be diagnosed and repaired before recharging the unit. Refilling the AC's refrigerant is a task for a professional HVAC technician. In fact, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) mandates that a certified professional perform the procedure.

An annual AC inspection will help to find small problems before they lead to problems like a loss of cooing from a refrigerant leak.

If you're central air conditioner is not cooling, call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help diagnose the cause and recommend solutions to get the cold air flowing again.
Preventing mold growth in Southwest Florida

High humidity is a feature of the tropical southwest Florida climate. One of the keys to controlling humidity indoors is a central air conditioner and good ventilation. If the AC and ventilation are not optimal, mold and mildew can quickly gain a foothold, leading to potential negative health effects. Inhaling or touching mold spores can cause cause an allergic reaction, leading to hay fever-like symtoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, red eyes and skin irritation. For those with a health conditions such as upper respiratory diseases, including asthma, and compromised immune systems, mold can represent a more serious health risk.

Because it can be difficult to remove mold once it begins to grow on walls and inside air ducts, it's best to prevent its growth in the first place. The best way to prevent mold is to control moisture indoors.

Here are 5 ways to prevent mold growth inside your home:
  1. Look for water stains in ceilings and under sinks. Locate the cause of the leak and repair it. These are usually caused leaking roofs or plumbing.
  2. Reduce indoor humidity by properly venting bathrooms, kitchens and laundry areas. Install or upgrade existing exhaust fans if there is excessive condensation.
  3. Keep your air conditioner maintained and ensure that the condensate line is draining. There should be no standing water in the drain pan.
  4. Use moisture proof flooring in bathrooms and indoor spas.
  5. If excess humidity is a concern, consider a whole-home dehumidifier to supplement your AC and HVAC system.
Have questions about preventing mold in your home? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help.
AC Won't Turn On
Here in southwest Florida a central air conditioner is not just a convenience, it's a necessity. When the AC won't turn on there can be several causes, some of which can be simple fixes that you can do yourself without calling for service. If your Air Conditioner has suddenly stopped working and won't turn on, there are several things to check.
  1. First, make sure that the thermostat is receiving power and is set to "COOL" and not been accidentally moved to "OFF" or "HEAT".
  2. Ensure the the thermostat temperature is set low enough to activate the AC unit.
  3. Check that the external safety switch (usually located outside the home near the condensing unit) is set to the ON position.
  4. Check that the circuit breaker that controls the air conditioning compressor and the circuit breaker that controls the blower or air handler, are in the “ON” position. If a circuit breaker has tripped, reset the circuit breaker. If the circuit breaker cannot be reset, do not try to reset it again. Have a qualified technician check the unit to determine the cause of the problem.
  5. Ensure that the air filter is not clogged. A clogged filter can obstruct airflow to the unit, causing it to shut off. A clogged filter can also cause the unit to freeze up.
If the air conditioner still won't turn on, call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can quickly diagnose the problem and recommend solutions.
Thursday, 06 December 2018 00:48

Maintaining Even Temperatures Throughout Your Home

Written by
In a typical Florida home it's not out of the ordinary to have temperature differences of several degrees from room to room. Attics, basements and additions often have the greatest air temperature differences. When one room is uncomfortably hot or cold there are several things to consider when trying to maintain even temperatures.

Inadequate Insulation

Even in a warm climate like Southwest Florida, proper insulation is essential. Insulation keeps the cool air inside and makes it easier for your air conditioner to maintain even temperatures without running constantly.

Air Leaks

Weather sealing around windows and doors will prevent cool air from escaping and reduce energy loss.

Check the Air Delivery System

One of the most common problems we see in cooling systems that are not cooling well are air ducts that are not properly sized. To check for potential problems ABC Southwest can perform an air delivery analysis to determine if air is reaching all areas of your home.

Air Duct Leaks

Sealing the gaps and joints in your air ducts will allow your furnace and air conditioner to work more efficiently and ensure all the air reaches all areas of your home

Have cooling questions? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.
Ceiling fans are often advertised as a means of saving you energy, but it depends on the efficiency of the fan itself and how it is used.

A ceiling fan doesn't actually cool the air in your home - it can only circulate it.  It makes you feel cooler during warmer months because the air blowing across your skin evaporates moisture, making you feel cooler. During the colder months a ceiling fan will help circulate the warm air closer to the living space in larger rooms.

Ceiling fans have the potential to save energy in a few ways:
  • If you use ceiling fans instead of your air conditioning on spring/fall days when the weather is just warming up, it will use less energy than running your air conditioner.
  • At the same time, if you're using the fans while also setting the thermostat a few degrees warmer, you're possibly saving money, depending on things like how many degrees, how many fans are operating, and how efficient the fans are.
  • Remember to turn off the fans when there is nobody in the room. Because fans don’t cool the air, but actually add some heat with the energy they’re using, it will defeat the purpose of using the fan if it's running in empty rooms.
The important point to keep in mind is that in order to realize the benefits of ceiling fans, you must be turning down the thermostat in winter and turning it up in the summer by at least several degrees. And, as noted above, only use fans in rooms that are occupied.

As with choosing an air conditioner or furnace, ceiling fans are also Energy Star Rated. By choosing a more energy efficient model you can save as much as 50% over non-qualifying models.  

Besides ceiling fans, here are some other tips for saving money on heating and cooling your home:
  1. Use a programmable thermostat - The ability to change the temperature in your home when you're away or while sleeping can make a big difference in your energy usage.  The government estimates as much as $180 in energy costs (enough to buy some ceiling fans!).  Newer thermostats are simple to program and many come pre-programmed to energy star guidelines!
  2. Have your air conditioner and furnace cleaned and maintained -  Regular maintenance of your heating and cooling system will ensure the burners are working efficiently, the A/C coils are clean and the refrigerant charge is correct.  Improper refrigerant charge can make your equipment work harder (using more energy) and shorten its life.
  3. Change your furnace air filter - a clogged furnace filter will make your heating system's blower work much harder than it needs to and might even cause your coil to freeze up when your A/C is running.  Standard 1" filters should be changed every month when your equipment is running continuously.
Central air conditioners are generally very reliable. When problems arise it's usually the result of lack of maintenance or an aging unit that is reaching the end of its lifespan.  Here are some things to check of your AC is not cooling.

Air Condioner Problems

1. Low Refrigerant Levels
An air conditioner that is running, but staying on too long and not cooling properly, may have a refrigerant leak or be insufficiently filled.

2. Thermostat or Sensor Problems
Check that the thermostat is set to "cool" and is set low enough to turn the unit on. Also ensure that the batteries are charged if the thermostat has batteries. If the unit does not turn on, check the circuit breaker to make sure it hasn't tripped.

3. Drainage Problems
A damaged refrigerant line or broken fan can cause an air conditioner coil to freeze, casing the unit to malfunction. Also ensure that the drain pan is not backed up, by clearing the drain line if needed.

4. Dirty Air Filter
Air filters should be replaced monthly or as recommended by the manufacturer. A dirty filter will cause the air conditioner to run more frequently, reducing efficiency, wasting energy and shortening the lifespan of the unit.
 
5. Leaking or Obstructed Air Ducts
Air ducts are an often overlooked part of a home's cooling system. Air duct cleaning and sealing can ensure that your system cools as efficiently as possible without wasting energy.

Have questions about your central air conditioner? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. From annual AC maintenance and repairs, to new cooling system installation, we have you covered.
As smart devices make there way into every aspect of our daily life, one of the most popular devices for the home is the smart thermostat. Brands like Honeywell, Nest and Ecobee all promise ease of use and automated control over the climate in our homes. They also have the potential to increase efficiency and energy savings by learning when to heat and cool automatically based on household routines.

How much do smart thermostats save?

So how much many can you actually save with a smart thermostat, and are they worth the price premium over a conventional digital thermostat? A study by Nest® and two independent researchers found that customers saved an average of 10 to 20 percent on heating and 15 percent on air conditioning costs.

Because much of the savings from a programmable thermostat depends on the homeowner programming the unit to operate at the right time of day, they are prone to not being used at the optimum settings, either because they are to complicated to program or schedules that change to often, leading to settings being manually overridden.

Smart thermostats, on the other hand, make it more likely that the unit will operate at peak efficiency by automatically learning the household routine. For example, turning up the air conditioning when the home is unoccupied, then turning it back down when it detects that the home is occupied. Additionally, many models offer smart phone integration, humidity control and detailed power consumption reports and money-saving suggestions.

Have questions about setting up your smart thermostat to work with your home's heating and cooling system? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 17:48

Is Your Air Conditioner Harboring Mold?

Written by
Mold is commonly found in varying amounts in air conditioning systems. Letting the mold grow unattended can decrease air quality and lead to health issues for those living in the home. It's important to understand where mold typically grows and and learn how to remove it from HVAC systems when necessary.

AC Mold

Air conditioning systems are particularly prone to mold as a result of normal operation. Drain pans, which hold standing water for long periods of time, are primary mold sources. Pipes that contain bends and curves may hold water from unit operation, leading to mold growth. Often when there is mold growing inside the unit, you may be able to see it growing on the inside of the air ducts.

While it can be easy to spot mold around your air conditioner, it's not as simple as cleaning the surfaces where mold is visible, you must find the source of the problem to prevent mold from growing in the future.

The cause of mold is excess moisture. The interior parts of your HVAC system are ideal places for mold to grow. This is usually a symptom of water leaks and flaws in the unit. A professional HVAC technician can locate the cause of excess the moisture and recommend solutions.

To avoid dealing with mold issues in the future, examine your condensate drain regularly for clogs. If this drain gets backed up, the standing water can develop bacteria, which may turn into mold. Once you’ve removed the mold from the system, you’ll need to make sure it doesn’t return by regularly maintaining the unit to keep the ducts clean.

Having your HVAC ducts cleaned regularly can help to remove visible mold growing in the air ducts. If you can see mold in these places, there may be mold accumulating in other parts of your home. If the mold problem is severe enough, you’ll need to contact a mold specialist. Make sure that the professional who cleans your system uses a cleaning treatment that does not contain harmful chemicals that may adversely affect your indoor air quality.
Thursday, 06 September 2018 15:31

The ABCs Air Conditioning - Energy Efficiency Ratings

Written by
Air Conditioner Efficiency Ratings

For most homeowners energy efficiency and lower utility bills are at the top of the list when deciding on a new air conditioner.

When researching cooling systems you're likely to run across a lot of industry alphabet soup. While these acronyms can be bit confusing at first, they're meant to provide a simple scale to compare which systems that offer the highest efficiency and lowest energy costs.

Here are two of the most common measurements of energy efficiency.

SEER Ratings

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a measure of efficiency for air conditioners. A high SEER number means more energy efficiency, and lower cost to operate. All new air conditioners have a 13.0 SEER rating or better. The most efficient systems can achieve SEER ratings over 20.

AFUE Ratings

For gas furnaces, the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating is a common measure of energy use and efficiency. The AFUE rating tells you how much of the fuel used by your furnace is used to actually heat your home and how much is wasted. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. For example, a 90% furnace creates heat, 90% of which is used directly by the home with 10% lost, generally as a result of venting. Some newer furnaces have an AFUE rating that exceeds 98%.
Page 1 of 8

More than a promise, our level of service is guaranteed

  • Live operators - no answering machines
  • Appointments made around your schedule
  • Friendly, uniformed technicians
  • On time arrival
  • We wear shoe covers and use work mats
  • We explain all options in non-technical language
  • Follow up to make sure you're 100% satisfied
  • We stand by everything we do - NO EXCEPTIONS!
About You No Surprises

What Your Neighbors Are Saying About ABC Southwest

  • "ABC Plumbing& A/C is a company I would keep for all time. Had an emergency at night, and they came right away, very little wait time. 2 days later, Henry and Trenton did a very big job and explained in detail what they had to do. Very polite, knowledgeable, and they even cleaned up!!! Which they didn't have to do. Thank you for all your hard work!!" Read More
    – Henry C., Facebook Review
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4