If you’re like most Pensacola homeowners, your family depends on your air conditioning unit for comfort, especially during the Florida summer as most things do, your AC is going to become less effective over the years until it eventually breaks down altogether. Thousands of people every year push their units to the breaking point and end up sitting in the heat on the phone trying to get an emergency visit. When this happens and you need a new unit, you could end up shelling out thousands of dollars unexpectedly. The warning signs that your system is nearing replacement age are easy to look for and can help you prepare ahead for the replacement both on a comfort level as well as financial. We have put together a list of things to look for.
How old is your system?
If a unit is properly maintained, most air conditioning systems have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. However, if you haven’t kept up with maintenance in that time or you just purchased the home and the previous owners didn’t maintain it well, your system may fail sooner. If your unit is over the age of 10, and you notice that more and more things seem to be going wrong with it, it may be cost-effective to replace it with a newer more energy-efficient one. This could save you from many sleepless nights of sweating and actually lower your energy bill.
If you have to call an HVAC repair company once a quarter, that can add up and take a toll on your bank account. Nothing is worse on summer vacation than sitting in a hot house waiting for the repairman. Some repairs are relatively cheap but even the cheaper repairs can add up to thousands over a few years which ends up being more than the new unit or a monthly maintenance plan. When you start noticing these issues, it may be time for a replacement estimate.
It’s normal for energy bills to rise during the summer while your air conditioning system is trying to cool your home, but if your home’s energy bills seem to be getting higher and higher each month while your usage isn’t changing, it is a sign that your system needs replacement. What does that mean? Well, your AC used to be able to run 4 hours out of the day and keep your home at a comfortable 70 degrees but if it seems to be running all day long now, that is what we mean by inefficient. This type of thing can really spike that power bill.
If you aren’t sure how old your unit is or you are seeing signs like these, give Air Design a call at 202-COOL. We can come out and evaluate your individual situation and give you an honest, fair estimate and suggestions on what to have done.
In Northwest Florida, our HVAC systems work hard to keep up with the sweltering summer weather. This is why most homeowners prioritize getting their air conditioners checked before the summer heat. This means it’s easier to forget about your preventative maintenance for the winter months. However, temperatures during our cool months can dip surprisingly low, so it’s important to maintain your heater before you have to rely on it during our first cold snap. It is important to know that “winter” maintenance doesn’t actually mean you should wait until the weather gets cold to do it. You want to do it in the fall, around October so that when the temperature drops to the 30’s suddenly the day after a 80-degree day, you will be prepared and not be calling for emergency service.
Your Florida Winter HVAC Maintenance Checklist:
Check Your Furnace Filter
Depending on your home’s air quality, whether you have pets, and if you have allergies or lung conditions, you’ll need to replace the filter anywhere from every 45 days to every 3 months.
You will want a medium- to high-efficiency filter with a good MERV rating, but not to high if its not needed as it can restrict airflow.
Clean Your Outside Unit
With fall leaves coming down and building up in your yard, your external unit may have gathered debris around it. Sweep this away, cut back any nearby bushes, and rinse the unit off with a hose.
Clean Your Internal Unit
Poke your head under the unit and inspect your heating elements for any signs of wear, and clear off any dust that has built up on it. Clear your drain lines by pouring a bit or bleach combined with hot water down the drain lines. Make sure fans or blowers move without issue.
Check Your Unit Electronics
Now is the time to change any batteries in your thermostat, and to update the programming to make sure it still meets your family’s needs. If you have an efficiency schedule set for AC then now set one for heating. Also, check the batteries in your Carbon Monoxide and smoke detectors.
Add Extra Insulation If Needed
To prevent any frozen wires and fluid in the pipes of your system, add any necessary insulation around the pipes that are running outside of your home.
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to start preparing your HVAC system for the coming cold weather. This HVAC maintenance checklist is a great place to start, if you would prefer to have a professional handle it we take calls 24/7. Let Air Design, prepare you for the colder months to come.
Short cycling is very important and any HVAC professional worth their salt should know what short cycling is and the different things that can cause it. The average homeowner won’t know these terms which is why we want to share that info with you. When your air conditioner quickly runs through cycles, turning off and on quickly, it damages the internal components of the unit. This is called short cycling.
How does Short Cycling happen?
Your HVAC system is designed to run in cycles. Every cooling cycle consists of the time it takes for refrigerant to absorb your home’s heat, travel to the outside condenser, send the heat away from your home, and recycle back to the inside unit. This cycle takes place repeatedly until your home’s temperature reaches the temp set on the thermostat. One cooling cycle should last about 15 minutes give or take, and your home should be comfortable in that time. If you notice your system runs for five or ten minutes and turns off, then it’s likely short cycling. Short cycling can cause extreme wear and tear on system components over time, and it will also cause your energy bills to spike since the highest energy use is drawn when the system kicks on.
Three Causes of Short Cycling
You could have a refrigerant leak. When your air conditioner leaks refrigerant, it needs to run in short cycles which will ultimately cause components to wear down or break completely. Eventually, your system might lose enough refrigerant that it will be unable to cool your home at all.
It could be a clogged air filter. Your AC requires consistent air flow in order to do its job efficiently. When the air filter gets clogged, it can overheat, leading to short cycles.
The system you have is too large for your home. When an air conditioner is oversized for a home, it will cool the home down too quickly causing short cycling. This can wear down a unit so much that it requires replacement.
If you feel that your HVAC system may be short cycling, give Air Design a call today. We can get it fixed for you before you end up needing to replace the entire unit.
An air purifier can provide peace of mind when you’re struggling with allergies or wanting to reduce airborne microbes in your Pensacola home. We recommend the REME HALO® air purifier. It can reduce three major types of indoor pollutants; its exclusive technology follows the natural processes of hydrogen-peroxide molecules cleaning air like in a forest.
How does it work?
The REME Halo® Air Scrubber uses the same process nature does to purify the air. In our environment, lightning, which holds a negative charge, activates hydrogen peroxide molecules. Once activated, the molecules clean the air, leaving behind a fresh, natural smell. Since the REME HALO® harnesses this same power, some homeowners report a similar pleasant scent.
It is an in-duct air purifier by RGF that can be installed into the supply plenum of your air conditioning or heating system by one of our professionals. It uses Reflective Electro Magnetic Energy (REME) to produce Hydro-Peroxide plasma, creating the same effects as found in nature. The plasma travels through the air ducts and into conditioned spaces throughout the home. Instead of filtering out air as it’s drawn into your AC system, the plasma will spread throughout your entire home/space, actively removing allergens and germs.
Why do I need cleaner air?
Besides the obvious killing of viruses, if someone in your household has respiratory issues or bad allergies, spending more time indoors can be uncomfortable and activate sinus issues. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, many air pollutants can be 2-5 times higher inside than they appear outside. Airborne irritants can worsen asthma in children and be very uncomfortable. The REME HALO® Air Scrubber can reduce all three categories of indoor air pollutants. With one small addition to your HVAC system, you can purify your house and keep your family safer.
How do I get one?
All of our techs are certified to install the REME HALO® Air Scrubber. We have been recommending them for a while now and have many happy customers currently using them. Give us a call today at 202-COOL and start breathing easier.
High humidity levels in your home in the summertime? You’re hot, sweaty, uncomfortable, and all around miserable when it’s too humid in your home. Not to mention it starts to make your clothes and bedsheets and carpets stink. All you want is a way to relieve the discomfort and get your indoor air quality back on track. Air Design has got your back.
The magic range for ideal indoor humidity is 30-50%. Too much moisture in the air can have you feeling hot, and uncomfortable, and can have a damaging effect on your home. Too much humidity causes mold growth and can create condensation in your walls and on your ceiling. This leads to structural damage and wood rot. This is especially true in the south, where we live. Too much humidity is also bad for you and your lungs. It can lead to respiratory problems, allergies, and more. At a humidity level of 30-50%, you find the balance between too much moisture and not enough, which keeps both you and your home comfortable.
How Can I Tell If My Home is Too Humid?
The easiest way to find out the humidity levels in your home is to purchase a hygrometer. They’re not expensive and you can find them at your local hardware store.
How Can I Reduce My Humidity Levels?
Run Your Air Conditioner. Your air conditioner naturally helps reduce indoor humidity because it’s introducing cooler air while removing warm, humid air. Keep humidity under control by getting your air conditioner tuned up by a professional, and frequently change the filters. Anything that restricts airflow or causes your air conditioner to stop working is no friend to you.
Use Your Vents. When you take a shower be sure to run your vents or open a window to let the hot steamy air flow back out of your home. When cooking on a stove top run your vents so the steam has somewhere to escape.
Fix Any Leaking Pipes. Leaking pipes and faucets will add moisture to the air. Fix any leaks you have and wrap your exposed pipes in insulators to keep condensation from forming. Signs of leaks include stained drywall, wet spots, and irregular water bills.
Dry Your Laundry Outside. Most of us have clothes we can’t put in the dryer. Some people hang these in the laundry room to air dry. In the summer, all those damp clothes will just help make your home more humid.
Get a Dehumidifier. The most effective way to reduce indoor humidity is to get a dehumidifier. These can be small units in your problem rooms or installed as part of a whole home system. The best part is you will use your air conditioner a lot less, because it now has help keeping down the humidity. That means less cash spent on cooling bills.
Move Your House Plants Outside. Plants are beautiful and provide oxygen, but they do release their fair share of moisture as well. If your home has a lot of indoor plants, this could be causing your humidity level to increase. Just place them outside when you can or move them to a more ventilated room.
We know summers in Florida are hard to keep your home humidity levels low, especially with all this rain we’ve been getting but try a few of these tips and see if your levels don’t even out more. If you’d rather have a professional assess your options give us a call at 202-COOL today.
We all know Florida summers can be brutal, and the last thing you want is to be without AC. Keep your Pensacola home cool and avoid emergency calls over the summer by following these easy summer HVAC maintenance tips:
1. Replace your air filter. An unclogged air filter allows the air to flow evenly throughout your entire home. Checking the filter or filters, depending on how many intakes you have, is the first task on your list this summer. This is especially important now because your HVAC system is in high gear and gets a lot of use over these warmer months.
2. Tidy up the outdoor unit. As you’re getting your yard ready for those summer barbecues, don’t forget to clean up around the outside unit of your HVAC system. Clear away high weeds growing up around it or through the cables. Wipe away any build-up on the top or leaves that have fallen on it. When weed eating around it be sure to watch out so you don’t nick the unit and damage it.
3. Seal up leaky spaces. Check your outside doors and windows to see if there are any places around the edges where that wonderful, cooled air is escaping. Withering insulation around doors, windows, or even around air ducts will make your unit work harder to cool down your space.
4. Upgrade your thermostat. Do you still have an old-school thermostat that only allows you to set the temperature in your home to one setting? Many people have upgraded to a scheduled thermostat or even WIFI-controlled ones you can change from your phone. Not only is it convenient to turn down the temp of your home before you get there but it also saves on energy by setting it to low temps while you are home and going back up when you’re not.
5. Schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment with the professionals. There are certainly many advantages to having one of our expert techs come out to service your HVAC system this summer, even if you’ve done all of the tips we listed and are still facing high energy bills or your home won’t cool off to your desired temperature. An Air Design Technician will be able to analyze and replace components within your unit or advise you what size unit you may need to get the proper temperatures in your home.
Need to schedule HVAC maintenance from the professionals this summer? The team at Air Design is ready to help! You can call us day or night at 202-COOL!
In Florida, you can’t comfortably live without an AC system. With energy bills spiking and kilowatt prices increasing, saving money on your power bill has become a necessity. As a homeowner you may be wondering, what can I do to save energy. We have some tips to help with that.
The better your HVAC system runs, the lower your monthly energy bill will run you. Plus, when your AC system runs efficiently, it helps your household be more “green”. You can substantially reduce repair needs and strain, so you get the best performance, saving you money and stress. Here are a few things you can do:
Upgrade to programmable thermostats and controls
Change your air filters regularly
Install plenty of insulation
Check, repair, and replace seals and caulking around windows and doors
If your AC is old, struggling and due for replacement soon – do your research on a higher SEER (Seasonal Energy efficiency Ratio) piece of equipment. Getting a more efficient unit can make a huge difference in your energy costs.
When you stand outside of your windows, can you feel the AC leaking from inside the home? Many older homes have aluminum framed single-paned windows. These types of windows can make your system strain trying to equalize the temperature in your home. Replacing the windows with double-paned newer Custom Window Blinds can decrease your power bill substantially.
Timing Your Usage
Running your dishwasher and doing laundry late at night can also decrease your energy costs. Many power companies offer options for a rated plan where you can plan your energy usage during the lower-rated times, saving you cash. Running your water heater on a timer that turns on an hour before bath time can also conserve energy.
Replacing your old incandescent bulbs with Halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps, or LED bulbs can save energy and improve your lights’ longevity. The average home uses 40 bulbs meaning your savings can be multiplied.
In a digital world, we have tablet chargers, iPhone chargers, and a multitude of other device chargers. Making sure they are not left plugged in when we are not using them can save energy. The charge still pulls slight amounts of power even when not charging a device. This also works for small appliances such as toasters and blenders.
These are all different ways you can cut back on your energy costs. If you are still unsure if your AC is in peak performance mode, give Air Design a call today for a check-up at 202-COOL.
Pensacola homeowners shouldn’t wait until the dead of summer when the AC goes out to schedule a new AC installation. You should be getting your AC inspected regularly so that you can plan out the purchase of a new unit. This will make it less stressful for your family and your wallet. Even the best cared for AC unit still needs to be replaced at a certain point. With flexible payment options and quality installers, Air Design can make this process as easy as possible for you and your family.
Before the Installation
Before you choose to buy a new AC unit you should first choose a qualified company to inspect the unit and make sure it needs replacing. Ask for referrals from friends, families, and neighbors to ensure you hire a reputable company with a good track record. The company that you select will help you choose a new unit that is the proper size for your home and give you a transparent quote of the installation cost. Before the technician arrives be sure to remove any breakables or furniture that may be in the way of the workspace for the technicians. Finally, make sure your children and pets are confined to an area away from the installation area.
During Your Installation
During the installation of your new AC unit, your HVAC technician will cover your flooring with a drop cloth to protect it from dirt and scratches while removing the old unit. Many of the newer units come in multiple pieces so the tech will ensure all pieces are there and that they all fit into the crawl space. The HVAC tech will install the outside unit first as well as complete an installation checklist by ensuring that all air vents, registers, tubing, and wiring are fully secure. After all inspections the air conditioning system will be plugged into an outlet.
Once your AC unit is replaced, the HVAC technician will double-check that the system is cooling correctly and will clean up the installation area. Before he leaves, your tech will discuss the cleaning and maintenance instructions, recommend a maintenance plan, warranty of components, and all rebates and tax credits with you. This is the time when you’ll be able to ask questions and give feedback about your experience.
Once you have had all your questions answered it is important to know that a quality company will allow you to call with questions if they should arise after the tech has left. Most reputable HVAC companies offer maintenance plans to ensure your new unit stays in tip-top shape.
Not Sure if You Need a New AC
Give Air Design a call today and we can have one of our certified techs come out and give you the rundown on your current AC unit. It may only need repair and not replaced; we are an honest company that puts the needs of our customers first.
When it comes to the size of your home’s HVAC unit, most homeowners have been told that bigger is better, but surprisingly, that is not always true. An air conditioning unit that is too large can lead to moisture issues inside your home. The larger system won’t run a long enough cycle to pull the humidity out of the air. The larger unit will also use more energy than is necessarily needed for your home. However, a unit that is too small won’t cool or heat your home to an even proper level, leading to discomfort and elevated energy bills when your system struggles to cool your home properly.
How do you find the right size ac unit for your home? To help answer that question, our team of skilled experts at Air Design have taken the time to create a checklist for you.
Measure the area
The very first step in finding the correctly sized unit is to measure the area you want cooled, whether you are just looking to air condition certain rooms of your residence, or the entire thing. Measure the length and width of each room, hallway, or space in your home. You can also often look at your mortgage or deed paperwork which will have your homes square footage listed. When taking these measurements, there is no need to include closets or an attic.
Determine square footage
Unable find your mortgage documents? Don’t worry, we can walk you through calculating it yourself. You will want to do this equation for each room. (Length times Width = SQFT) Then add each room together to get the total square footage of your household.
Calculate cooling power
The measure of how fast an air conditioning unit is able to cool the air is measured in BTUs per hour. In a warm climate like Pensacola, you will want roughly 30-35 BTUs per hour for every square foot of your homes space.
Have a professional come out to assist
When in doubt, you can also give us a call at 202-COOL. We will do all the measuring for you and fit your home with the perfect size unit. Our professionals are very friendly and will walk you through exactly what you need and offer fair pricing, upfront for your new unit. We don’t try to oversell, and we do quality work the first time.
When your commercial HVAC system begins to leak, you could start experiencing a number of other problems. In this blog, we will touch on some common causes of leaking. Which can help you keep your commercial air conditioning running longer which is very important for a Florida business.