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Air Conditioning Tips and Advice (103)

Thursday, 06 August 2015 22:38

3 Indoor Air Quality Myths

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For many homeowners keeping the air inside the home clean and healthy is a top priority. Here are some misconceptions about indoor air quality.

1. Air pollution is only an outdoor problem.

Not true. According to the EPA, indoor air can be 5 to 10 times more polluted than the air outside. The reason is that much of the air pollution inside the home comes from inside the home itself in the form of dust, smoke and household chemicals.

2. There is no real need to worry about IAQ.

False. We spend up to 90% of our time indoors so it's important that the air be as clean and safe as possible. Bacteria, fungi, mold spores, pollen, viruses, and chemicals in carpeting and furniture can have a negative effet on our health. In persons with respiratory ailments poor indoor air can aggravate symptoms.

3. If I spend more on a high quality air filter, I won't need to change it as often.

This is usually not the case. While higher quality furnace air filters can trap finer particles, they have the same surface area and become clogged in the time span as cheaper filters. The exception is larger HEPA air filters or electronic air filters which may be larger and have higher capacity than a furnace air filters.

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

When choosing a new air conditioner for your home there are many things to consider, here are some of the most important items.


1. Operating Efficiency

Check the unit's ENERGY STAR® rating to see how much energy you can expect to pay during the year. While more efficient systems often cost more initially, over time they are a good investment and will result in lower operating costs.


2. Brand Reliability

A new air conditioner is a major investment, so it's important to choose a brand that will provide years of reliable operation with the least amount of service related costs. Choose products from a reputable manufacturer with a long history in the industry.

3. Quiet Operation

While air conditioners are becoming quieter, they can still produce noise as high as 80 decibels. Look for features like variable speed operation, which can reduce noise significantly.

4. Humidity Control

To maintain proper humidity levels, choose a thermostat that controls both temperature and humidity. You might also consider a complete comfort system with a dehumidifier.

5. Healthy Indoor Air

If you have pets or someone in your household suffers from allergies or respiratory problems, adding a whole house air cleaner to your furnace or air handler will capture the small contaminants in every room of your home.

For all your air conditioning needs, call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning.

In the typical Florida home, air conditioning uses far more electricity than any other appliance. During the summer, air conditioning can account for as much as 70-80% of your electric bill.

Of course, the most obvious way to lower your cooling bill is to run the air conditioner less often and turn the temperature up a couple of degrees. But there are several other little steps that can make a significant difference.

1. Clean your air conditioner coils. Dirty cooling coils will make your air conditioner work harder, reducing efficiency. Your air conditioning technician can perform this maintenance or you can do it yourself by removing the outer cover. 

2. Use ceiling fans. A ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. Remember to turn off ceiling fans when no one is in the room.

3. Although thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or return home. Schedule the temperature to be higher when you will be away from home for an extended period.

4. On hot days, avoid using heat generating appliances like your oven. Use a microwave oven, or grill outside. Instead of using your clothes dryer, hang clothing outside to dry. This will reduce heat as well as humidity inside the home.

5. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside (not just to the attic).

Have air conditioning questions? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.


Home Air Cleaners

Carrier's state-of-the-art air purification systems can trap and kill bacteria, viruses, mold spores, allergens and other pollutants. The Infinity® air purifiers clean indoor air up to 8 times an hour and can remove pollutants from the air that are up to 18,000 times smaller than the head of a pin.

Home Dehumidifiers

High humidity during the summer months can cause a host of problems including, mold, condensation, and damage to home and furnishings.
A whole house dehumidifier provides a high degree of humidity control by working in tandem with your air conditioner and operates quietly with low energy use to make your home more comfortable.

UV Lamps

A heating and cooling system can be an ideal place for mold and bacteria to grow. UV lamps protect the AC coil, killing mold and bacteria before they can enter the air inside your home.

Ventilators

Carrier's innovative ventilators are designed to remove stale air from your home, while keeping valuable energy from escaping. Ventilators work quietly and efficiently to bring fresh air into your home all year long, they pre-condition the incoming air to better match the inside air temperature.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless, odorless and dangerous gas. The Carrier® CO alarm uses sophisticated sensor technology to detect and record levels of CO. With a Carrier CO detector you can easily monitor the CO level in your home on a large digital display. When dangerous levels of CO are present, a loud, audible alarm alerts you and your family automatically.


Many homeowners with aging air conditioning systems are weighing the benefits of repairing and maintaining their older unit versus purchasing a newer, more reliable system.

The old saying "if it ain't broken, don't fix it." makes sense for a lot things around the home, but for energy intensive systems like air conditioners, putting off a purchasing a new cooling system could be costing you more in the long run.

Here are a few reasons to consider replacing your old air conditioner.

1. Efficiency. The EPA suggest that homeowners replace their air conditioner if it's beyond 10 years old. The reason is new air conditioners are much more efficient that system installed over a decade ago. How much can you expect to save on your energy bill? With a newer, high efficiency system you could save up to 56% on your cooling costs.

2. Lower maintenance costs. If your air conditioner is in need of regular repairs and your energy costs are rising as it has become worn out and less efficient that money may be better spent on upgrading to a new air conditioner.

3. It's LOUD! Newer air conditioners operate at variable-speeds to cool your home more quietly in most situations.

Have questions about your central air conditioner? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.

With the hottest weather of the year right around the corner in Southwest Florida, this is a good time to schedule your annual air conditioner maintenance. Many of the most common air conditioner problems are simply the result of neglect and not having the unit regularly inspected and maintained.

1. Refrigerant Leaks

There are two reason an air conditioner can be low on refrigerant, either it was not sufficiently charged when it was installed, or it has developed a leak. Your technician will look for and fix any leaks in the system and refill the unit with refrigerant. It's important that the amount of refrigerant match the manufacturer's recommended amount to ensure optimal cooling performance.

2. Dirty Air Filters

When filters become dirty and clogged the AC unit must work harder, and the compressor or fans are likely to fail prematurely.

3. Dirty AC Coils

AC coils on the outside of the home should be cleaned to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris.

4. Air Conditioner Electrical Component Failure

Compressor and fan controls are subject to wear over time, especially when the air conditioner turns on and off frequently. Corrosion of wires and terminals is another common problem in many systems, so the electrical connections and contacts should be inspected annually during AC system maintenance.

By regularly maintaining your air conditioner you will keep your air conditioner running as efficiently as possible, while saving money on unexpected breakdowns and repairs.



Thursday, 07 May 2015 13:14

Solutions For Uneven Cooling in the Home

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It's not uncommon for homeowners to tell us that their living room is perfectly comfortable while their bedroom is always too warm. If you have noticed that some rooms in your home are too warm while other rooms are comfortable, there are several things to check.
  • Ensure that air vents are not blocked by furniture or other objects
  • A central cooling system works best if all vents are open and doors are open to allow air to circulate evenly
  • Check the air ducts for excessive dirt and debris. If necessary, have the ducts professionally cleaned to restore airflow.
  • Your home should be properly insulated to prevent cool air from escaping. Inadequate insulation in your attic is a priary cause uneven cooling problems.
  • Install ceiling fans. Many times the solution to uneven cooling is just inadequate air circulation, especially in rooms with high ceilings.
  • Air duct leaks. It's not uncommon for air ducts to have significant gaps and holes that can let air escape. Taping the gaps or having professional duct sealing performed will help the conditioned air reach the farthest reaches of the home more easily. 
Have questions about air conditioning? Give ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning a call, we're here to help.

Most new air conditioners built within the last 5 years are designed to operate very quietly. When you hear unusual noises, it is usually the result of a lack of maintenance or a sign that a part has worn out and is about to fail. By being aware of these noises you can address the small problems before they leads to a breakdown.

When your air conditioner is working normally it will often make some noises. Subtle thumping and whining sounds are normal. By becoming familiar with the normal operating sounds that an air conditioner makes, you will be able to more easily recognize unusual sounds that could be cause for concern.

Malfunctioning Air Conditioner Noises

Air conditioners have many parts; there are fans, hoses, belts, compressor motors, coils and other components that work together to move cool air throughout your home. As air conditioners age belt often become loose, leading to thumping sounds. A clogged air filter reduces air flow and can cause the unit to whine as it cycles on or off. Loose hardware on compressor parts can lead to rattling sounds.

Preventative maintenance is the best way to minimize the likelihood of air conditioner repairs. An AC tune-up includes the following steps that keep your air conditioner operating quietly and reliably:
  • Inspection and lubrication of all moving parts
  • Inspection and replacement of worn belts and hoses
  • Replacement of dirty air filters
  • Ensuring that the unit cycles on and off properly
  • Inspection of electrical connections
  • Inspection of refrigerant levels
Have questions about your air conditioner? Need to schedule an AC tune-up? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning today.




Thursday, 23 April 2015 13:34

The Smart Thermostat Revolution

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Mobile technology has connected virtually every aspect of our lives and put a world of information at our fingertips. As our homes are becoming more and more connected, the thermostat is also become more hi-tech and capable. But how do the new smart thermostats work, and are they a good investment that will save you money?

Traditional thermostats adjust the indoor air temperature by working as a simple control input for a home's heating and cooling system. You simply set the temperature and the device keeps your home within that range near the thermostat's physical location.

With the arrival of programmable thermostats homeowners could tailor the temperature of their home by programming the thermostat to turn on and off based on the day and time when the house would be occupied. This meant the heating or cooling system could be off when you were away from home.

Today's "smart" thermostats take the programmable thermostats to the next level by learning a household's routine and allowing hoeowners to monitor and change the temperature remotely using mobile applications. They can also provide real time feedback on energy consumption, weather forecasts and even adapt the temperature based on conditions like humidity levels.

The Nest Thermostat

One of the first smart thermostats to market was The Nest thermostat. It combines sleek design with a bright full color display to provide homeowners with useful information, combined with convenient remote apps designed to help cut energy consumption. The Nest is a learning thermostat that senses if a home is occupied, whether the air is suddenly getting humid, and other factors that allow it to custom tailor the indoor environment.

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

Honeywell's Smart Thermostat offers convenience and style, letting you monitor your home's temperature and the weather. It features:
  • Simple set-up that adjusts temperatures to fit your daily life. Onscreen Help" button answers questions as you go
  • Know about extreme indoor temperatures. Stay up-to-date on local weather conditions.
  • Smart Response gives you the right temperature at the right time
  • Choose a color scheme that blends with your home's decor or adds contrast
  • Free app with no monthly fee
  • Simple set-up with one touch weather and smart alerts
Have questions about thermostats or other air conditioning systems? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.
The evaporator coil's job as part of the home's cooling system is to perform heat transfer by drawing out heat and moisture. The evaporator coil is located indoors and is either installed with your furnace or as part of an air handler. The inside of the coil contains refrigerant that evaporates as it absorbs heat from the indoor air that is blown across it it by a fan. The coil works as a “heat exchanger,” working as part of the heating system in the winter and the cooling system in the summer.

Maintaining the Air Conditioner Coil

A dirty indoor coil lowers the efficiency and performance of your HVAC system. Indoor coils often become dirty over time because they’re usually difficult to access. To keep your air conditioner operating at peak performance, your evaporator coil should be cleaned annually by a professional HVAC technician.

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

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