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Air Conditioning Tips and Advice (104)

Every 3,000 miles I take my car over to the neighborhood car dealer to have the oil changed and routine maintenance performed.  As I was waiting for my car to be serviced, I thought to myself “Do I really need to have my car serviced this often?”  Then it occurred to me that my customers probably wonder the same thing about their annual home air conditioner tune-up. How many of my customers, friends and neighbors even bother to have their air conditioning unit tune up?

To find out, I checked with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, other HVAC trade organizations and fellow heating and cooling companies. With a little research (thank you Internet!), I found over 55% of homeowners don’t schedule regular maintenance on their home air conditioning system – yet over half of all AC users express “dissatisfaction with the performance of their air conditioner and its cost to operate.”

So…55% of homeowners don’t get their AC tune up and their not happy with their Air Conditioning unit's performance?  

Here are some additional air conditioning maintenance facts I found:

  1. According to several studies 9 out of every 10 Air conditioning breakdowns occur due to nothing more than “a dirty unit.”
  2. According to a 2001 Louisiana State University study, the average homeowner spends $32.76 more a month on their energy bills by not have their heating and cooling unit maintained.
  3. Your Air Conditioning life span will be significantly reduced without maintaining your AC.

So how much can you save with an annual tune up of your home’s air conditioner?  Just like with your oil change, a lot more than a couple bucks.  Now when I go to have my oil changed, I will have a greater appreciation for the efforts I am taking to increase my car’s performance.  

Your home's air duct system serves to distribute cooled air throughout the home. A series of metal or composite tubes branch out from the supply room and exit through room vents, delivering air from the air conditioner throughout the living space.

Here are some common terms used to describe the home air duct system, or air delivery system.
  1. HVAC: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.
  2. Supply: The air ducts that send heated or cooled air to rooms and out through registers (also called vents).
  3. Supply Register: Vent units in walls, floors, or ceilings where the conditioned air blows out.
  4. Air handler: The unit that moves the air through the heating and cooling system.
  5. Return Register: An opening that draws the air back through through to the air handler to be heated or cooled again.
Have questions about your home's cooling system? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.
In the steamy hot southwest Florida climate a central air conditioner is not just a luxury, it's a necessity. Air conditioners work hard to keep our homes comfortable, but you may not have given much thought about how they work. Here's an overview of how a central air conditioner works.

Split Systems

A typical Florida central cooling system is a split system, which consists of an outdoor unit housing a condenser coil and compressor, and an indoor evaporator coil, usually installed in conjunction with an air handler inside the house.

AC Compressor

The compressor pumps a chemical refrigerant through the indoor evaporator coil. As warm air inside your home blows across the evaporator coil, the heat energy is transferred to the refrigerant inside the coil. It's this transfer of heat that cools the air. The heat absorbed by the refrigerant is sent outside while cooled air is blown back inside. This condensing process also removes excess humidity from the air.


The central air conditioner is controlled by the thermostat, which is designed to keep the temperature at a consistent, comfortable level. In many cases a thermostat can be programmed to cool the home only when it's occupied, saving energy.

Air Ducts

Finally, the cooled air is circulated throughout the home by ductwork, vents and registers.

It’s no secret that cooling your home accounts for a big chunk of your home’s energy consumption. With an investment between $99 and $469 you can save thousands by reducing wasted energy. Regardless of the system you have in your home, you can save money without sacrificing comfort simply by upgrading your equipment to a programmable thermostat. See the benefits of upgrading below:


How would you like to save up to 33% on your energy bills without sacrificing comfort? A basic programmable thermostat comes with preset temperature settings for different times of the day. A lower temperature when nobody is home will use less energy which will lead to savings on your energy bill.

Hi-Tech Features

If you’re a technology buff or just like the thought of a high-def touchscreen, some of the latest models offer greater control, easy programming, and access via your computer or smartphone.

Temperature Control

A digital thermostat can be programmed to lower the temperature while you’re away from your home, which saves you money. Additionally, it can be set so it automatically raises the temperature when you return home.

The air conditioning experts at ABC will install your new thermostat, teach you how to program it and even show you other ways your thermostat can keep you comfortable while saving money. What are you waiting for? Start saving energy and money today!

Preparing Your Air Conditioner For The Spring and Summer Cooling Season

With hotter weather fast approaching in Southwest Florida, now is the time to ensure your air conditioner is ready for the hottest months ahead. Proper cooling system maintenance, along with a few additional steps to keep your house cool, will ensure that your air conditioner operates at peak efficiency to keep your utility bill in check and limit the chance of an unexpected AC breakdown and expensive repairs.

Here are a few home cooling tips:
  1. Call Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning to schedule an annual AC inspection and tune-up. Your technician will perform a comprehensive inspection to find any potential problems that could lead to a breakdown. A dirty, unmaintained can cost you hundreds of extra dollars in extra energy costs each season, while also shortening the lifespan of the unit, so a tune-up is cheap insurance.
  2. Replace your furnace filter at least once a month. Clean filters enable your HVAC system to operate more efficiently, causing less wear on the motors and parts. It will also keep the air in your home cleaner and healthier.
  3. Inspect your air ducts to ensure there are no leaks. Sealing gaps and holes in air ducts helps your heating and cooling system operate more efficiently.
  4. Replace or install weather stripping around doors, windows and baseboards. Cracked or worn weather stripping allows cool air to escape.
  5. Make sure that your home is well insulated. Fiberglass insulation is the easiest to install and the most effective. Insulation with an R factor between 30 and 49 is effective and can save up to 10 percent in energy costs.
  6. Optimize the temperature in your home with a programmable thermostat. Keep the temperature cool at night and warmer during the day when you're away from home. Programmable thermostats are an affordable way to control indoor temperatures for optimal comfort and efficiency.
  7. Block out direct sunlight with drapes or window shades.
  8. Use ceiling fans to help circulate cool air throughout the house.
  9. Plan heat generating activities for cooler morning and evening hours. Basic household functions such as washing, drying and ironing clothes, baking and cooking all make it harder for your home's cooling system to do its job.
  10. Fix the little problems before they lead to a breakdown. If your air conditioner is not effectively cooling all areas of your home, or you notice unusual noises coming from your air conditioner, call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, our experienced technicians can help diagnose the problem and repair your cooling system so it provides reliable cooling throughout the warm months to come.
A traditional thermostat works by detecting the temperature in the room and sending a signal through wires to the heating or cooling system to turn on when the temperature drops above or below the preset temperature.

A smart thermostat consists of a control panel that connects wirelessly to a home's HVAC system. To control the thermostat you can use the interface on the wall mounted unit, or an app for your smartphone or tablet. One advantage of a smart thermostat is you can monitor and control the thermostat from any location. Alerts can even be set up to notify you if the temperature drops to an unsafe level during the winter... providing additional peace of mind while you're away from home on vacation.

Another key benefit of smart thermostats is their ability to learn a household's routine and adjust the temperature to optimize comfort and reduce energy waste. When the thermostat senses that no one is home, the temperature is adjusted to maximized energy savings over comfort.

Have questions about connecting your home's heating and cooling system to the latest smart thermostat technology? Give us a call, we can help.
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