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Air Conditioning Tips and Advice (103)

With the weather starting to get hotter as spring approaches, many Southwest Florida homeowners may find that their home's central air conditioner isn't able to keep to keep the house cool on hot muggy days. Before calling us help, there are a few things you should check first if your home is not staying cool.

1. Is the air filter dirty? It doesn't take much dirt to reduce the airflow in a typical fiberglass or paper filter. Even if the filter looks relatively clean, if it's more than a couple months old, replace it.

2. Check the air flow. Check that the supply registers AND returns are not blocked. Move furniture well away from vents to allow the air to flow. It may seem like a good idea to close vents and doors to rooms that are unoccupied, but it can actually cause the AC to work harder and be less efficient due to air pressure differences.

3. Reduce the heat sources in the home. Closing blinds on the south facing windows and cooking outside during the hottest days can make a significant difference in how much heat accumulates indoors.

4. Circulate the air. Portable and ceiling fans don't cool the air but can move the cooler air into the living space and provide some evaporative cooling that can make warmer rooms feel more comfortable.

It's important to understand that most air conditioners are designed to deliver only a 20 degree temperature difference from outside to inside. If the temperature hits 100 degrees and the thermostat is set to 75, it's going to be running constantly. Turning down the thermostat is not going to cool the house any further.

Have air conditioner questions? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.
Thursday, 14 January 2016 16:05

The ABC's of Air Conditioning – Split Systems

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What Is a Split System?

A split system simply means a heating and cooling system that has components that are both inside and outside of a home. In most cases, a split system will consist of:
  • Gas Furnace - Provides heating white also circulating air year round
  • Evaporator coil - The indoor component of the outdoor AC unit
  • Air conditioner or Heat Pump - Works with the evaporator coil to cool the home
  • Air Ducts ― Distribute the conditioned air throughout your home
  • Control or Thermostat ― The brains and interface of the system
  • Indoor Air Quality Accessories ― Designed to clean, add or remove humidity, and freshen the air for a healthier indoor environment
Have questions about your home's cooling system? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help answer all your questions.

When it comes time to replace your air conditioner you will probably have many questions. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to new cooling system.
  1. Reliability - A central air conditioner is a major investment. If you do your research and go with a proven brand you'll reduce the chances of having problems down the road and get the most value for your money.
  2. Operating Efficiency - By choosing an EnergyStar® rated cooling system you'll save you up to 30% on your annual cooling cost.
  3. Professional Installation - The most important day in the life of your air conditioner is the day it's installed. Proper sizing and correct installation is critical to how well it will cool your home. Choose a company with experience that stands behind their work, now and down the road.
  4. Indoor Air Quality - Are their allergy sufferers in the home? Is excessive humidity a problem? To reduce indoor air pollution consider adding a whole house air cleaner to the air handler. You'll have peace of mind knowing your new system is capturing small contaminants that can cause health problems. 
For all your Southwest Florida cooling needs, call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we are here to help.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015 01:46

The Advantages of Choosing a NATE Certified Technician

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When it's time to replace or repair your old gas furnace you will have plenty of companies to choose from. One way to ensure that you are getting a highly qualified heating technician is to choose a company that uses NATE certification.

What is NATE?

NATE is an independent, non-profit organization that provides certification and testing for technicians working in the HVAC field.

NATE certification ensures that the technician has passed specialized test that demonstrate knowledge of the installation, maintenance and repair of air conditioning and heating system.

The Benefits of Hiring a NATE Certified Technician

Certified Installation
A properly sized and installed furnace is critical to the reliable, efficient operation for your heating system. A NATE certified installer will be able to calculate all the variables that go into obtaining the best possible performance from your new furnace.

Comprehensive Annual Maintenance
Properly maintaining a gas furnace is more than just cleaning the unit and replacing the filter. Finding the small problems before they lead to major problems is the key to good maintenance. Ensuring the unit is operating safely and efficiently are also critical to any professional maintenance service.

Fast, Accurate Heating Repairs
Because NATE certified technicians are familiar with all of the potential problems that can can occur with heating and cooling equipment, they can quickly diagnose and fix problems. They will get the heat back on faster and with less likelihood of misdiagnosing a problem.

Thursday, 17 December 2015 00:11

Air Conditioners and Indoor Air Quality

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Beyond changing your furnace air filter before running your air conditioner, here are a few things to consider to keep your home's air healthy during the cooling season.

AC Mold

Mold is commonly found in varying amounts in residential air conditioning systems. Letting the mold grow unattended can decrease air quality and lead to health issues for those living in the home.

AC 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.

Air Duct Cleaning

Having your air ducts regularly will 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, 03 December 2015 19:57

The Advantages of Ceiling Fans

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Ceiling fans can be a helpful addition to your home's heating and cooling system. By circulating warm air downward during the heating season they will keep larger rooms more comforatble and allow your furnace to work more efficiently to maintain a set temperature. During the hot summer month's ceiling fans create a cooling breeze by drawing the cool air from the lower areas of the home.

Installing a Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans come in a variety of attractive designs to complement any decor. Some even come equiped with a remote control and viariable fan speed. While installing a ceiling fan is a task many homeowners take on themselves, we always recommend hiring a qualified professional electrician. The most important reason is safety, but it's also important that new fans be installed so the blades are balanced and rotate smoothly, quietly, and efficiently.

Avoiding Ceiling Fan Problems

If your ceiling fans have stopped working, or are shaking, or otherwise not operating correctly, it may be wasting electricity... or worse, it may represent an electrical hazard. In this case, it is typically best to have a professional electrician install a replacement.

Wednesday, 02 December 2015 16:12

The ABCs of Indoor Air Quality – MERV Ratings

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When shopping for air filters for your home you may have seen something called a MERV rating. MERV is a rating system created by The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers that stands for "Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value". MERV is simply a measurement of how effective a filter is at removing contaminants from the air on a scale from 1 to 16. The greater the MERV rating of a filter, the more effective it will be at removing fine particles from the air passing through it.

You might be thinking, if I want the cleanest air possible I need to purchase a filter rated near the maximum of the MERV scale. The reality is, most home air filters with a MERV range of 7-12 will effectively remove the vast majority of even the small contaminants. Filters with a MERV rating higher than 12 are most often used by hospitals and in manufacturing facilities with "clean rooms". They are not the best choice for most furnaces.

In fact, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can create excessive airflow resistance in your home's HVAC system, making it work harder and less efficiently than it was designed to operate. If you're looking for cleaner indoor air, an integrated indoor air filtration system will offer more effective filtration than a furnace filter when it comes to removing finer indoor air pollutants.

Have questions about filtration and indoor air quality? Give ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning a call. We're here to help.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015 18:49

Choosing the Right Dehumidifier For Your Home

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In the tropical Southwest Florida environment too much humidity in the air causes discomfort and can damage home electronics, furniture, books and clothing. Excessive moisture also causes mold, sweating pipes, warping wood floors and peeling paint, not to mention musty odors. The answer to excess moisture in the home is a whole house dehumidifier.

Why Choose a Whole House Humidifier Over a Portable Unit?

Because your home's HVAC system works best as a unit, reducing humidity to just one part of the home with a plug-in dehumidifier is not the most effective way to control moisture. A whole house dehumidifier offers the following advantages:
  1. Automatic operation -works with your thermostat to monitor and control humidity levels.
  2. It's conveniently located away from your living space for quieter operation.
  3. Simple maintenance: no drain pans to empty, simply change the filter annually.
  4. Cleaner, healthier air - works with your air conditioner to automatically remove or dilute contaminates in the air.
Have questions about controlling humidity in your home? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help.

Tuesday, 06 October 2015 01:18

Keeping Indoor Air Clean and Healthy

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A tightly sealed home helps keep us comfortable during hot, humid weather while also enabling our cooling system to operate as efficiently as possible. As a result the air indoors can get recirculated, trapping pollution and causing health problems.

Allergens like bacteria, pollen, mold, and animal dander as well as chemical pollutants from materials like carpeting, upholstery, solvents and paint can permeate the air, leading to high levels of contamination.

Whole House Air Filtration

Whole-house air filtration systems are an effective way to remove indoor air pollution and maintain healthy indoor air year round. Whole-home systems work with your HVAC system to filter out particles in conditioned air before it is distributed throughout your home.

The Carrier Infinity Line of Air Purifiers use the same kind of filtration methods that hospitals rely on to keep the air healthy for patients. They don't just filter the air, but kill airborne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and mold. If you or a family suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, you can expect to notice an improvement in the air that you breathe. Whole-house air filtration systems limit the harmful effects that prolonged exposure to indoor pollutants poses to otherwise healthy people too.

Have questions about indoor air quality? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 00:16

The Most Common Central Air Conditioner Problems

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If your air conditioner has stopped working, there are a few common causes to check.

Tripped Circuit Breaker

First, check any fuses or circuit breakers. If the central air conditioner's compressor stops on a hot day, the high-pressure limit switch may have tripped; reset it by pushing the button, located in the compressor's access panel.

Refrigerant Leaks

If your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, either it was inadequately charged at installation or it has developed a leak. If it's leaking, simply adding refrigerant is not the solution. An AC technician should fix the leak, test the repair, and then charge the system with the correct amount of refrigerant. The performance and efficiency of your air conditioner is best when the refrigerant charge exactly matches the manufacturer's specification, and is neither undercharged nor overcharged.

Lack of Maintenance

When air filters and AC coils to become excessively dirty, the air conditioner will not work properly, resulting in poor cooling performance and a shortened lifespan of the compressor and other parts. Always change the air filter regularly and have the unit professionally maintained at least one a year.

Have air conditioner problems? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.

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