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.
Whether winter lasts for several months like our friends out in the north, or just a mild month or two here in northwest Florida, our homes need to be equipped for winter heating for us to be comfortable. We want everyone to be safe this winter so here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe.
1. Space Heaters
They’re so small and efficient, as soon as you turn it on, you feel some instant relief. However, with effectiveness that strong, they also come with a few hazards.
The first thing to pay attention to about a space heater is its location. You will want to make sure there are three feet of space on every side of the heater. Anything that could potentially go up in flames may do just that. Never place a space heater on the carpet. You also want to purchase the ones with the tilt shut off. Meaning if it falls over or gets knocked over it will shut off automatically to prevent catching fire.
2. Open Ovens
Some people like to heat up their oven and leave it open to warm the house. While this seems like a great theoretical idea it’s a bad practice. First, it’s highly inefficient. It may heat the surrounding area in your kitchen, but it won’t be able to heat your entire home. Also, it poses another safety risk to children or pets who may be passing by and get burned on it.
If you do this regularly and your gas flame isn’t working correctly, you could be leaking and causing carbon monoxide poisoning to you and others in your home.
Candles are not specific to winter but no matter what time of year it is there are rules to follow when burning a candle. Let’s start with one of the lesser-known hazards. If you’re not buying candles made with natural products, then you could be breathing countless harmful chemicals into your lungs? Consider beeswax candles or ones scented with essential oils and not factory scents. There are also hazards that are akin to space heaters. You never want to place your candles near paper, curtains, or blankets. This could instantly start a fire and get out of hand very quickly. You also don’t want to position them in places where they can easily be knocked over.
4. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Risk
The Center for Disease Control reports that nearly 50,000 people succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning each year in the US. Unfortunately, the winter months are the biggest culprits because home heating systems can run for hours at a time. The best ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is to have a detector in your home similar to a smoke alarm. Also, Getting your heating system serviced by a qualified professional will prevent leaks from happening.
You will also want to check for blockages in your vents that could prevent proper air flow.
5. Fireplace Fires
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, Nothing beats the ambiance it creates and the winter heater temp it sets. However, you have to be very careful to handle it with care and maintain it well. You will want to clean out all the burned ashes after each usage and place them in a metal container at least ten feet away from the house. You will also want to have a screen standing in front of the fire to prevent any ongoing ashes from jumping out and possible setting your rub or curtains on fire. This is also the time to make sure your chimney is in order.
We care about your safety. In Florida, we have a huge range of heating needs and Air Design is here for homeowners throughout the Pensacola area. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to improve your unit’s performance. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.
In today’s times, we are all looking for ways to save money, without missing out. The following three tips are essential if you’re looking to limit your heating bills, repairs, and keep your system running smoothly this winter. While our team is always here to support you, this blog is a great starting point for Pensacola homeowners that are wanting to improve the efficiency of their homes’ HVAC system.
Pay Attention to Your Filters
Whether you have one, two, or even three intake spaces, you will want to change the filter in them every single month. Replacing your air filter seems basic but it’s an HVAC hack that not enough people know about. Many people set it and forget it until they have an issue.
Changing your air filter regularly ensures that you get clean air, sufficient airflow, and it keeps your heater’s interior coil clear of debris and functioning at its best. Obviously, changing your air filter every week is way too often, since these components are designed to catch particles over a monthly period. However, Pet owner’s may need to replace their filters even more often, especially if you have a heavy shedding dog whose fur can cover the filter entirely and block air flow.
Schedule Seasonal Maintenance
Heating maintenance may seem like an extra cost you don’t need to pay, but think of it like insurance or an oil change. Scheduling routine maintenance every year is the best way to ensure your system continues running efficiently. The average HVAC unit will last about 10-15 years but that is only if proper maintenance is completed. An unmaintained unit will be lucky to last half of that time.
Turn on Your Ceiling Fans, Even in the Colder Months
Ceiling fans are wonderful tools to help with your HVAC system. They work in the summer because they create a circular breeze that helps cool down the temperature by a few degrees. In the winter months, when you reverse them, they create a convection current and keep warm air down where you can feel it. Make sure you run your ceiling fan correctly so it can add to the warmth of your home at a fraction of the cost. In the summer you want your fan to spin counterclockwise and in the winter you want it to spin clockwise.
To schedule heating maintenance or to have your system looked at before the colder days hit, give us a call at 202-COOL!
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.
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.
With what can be called fall weather finally peaking around the corner, there are many of us who are taking this opportunity open to our windows and air out our homes. Whether you are taking this time to enjoy the crisp weather, enjoying an afternoon walk now that the kids are back in school, or you are excited about your morning pumpkin spice lattes, it is important for all of us to make sure that we are taking steps to properly prepare your home for the coming winter months. One of those checklist items is contacting a local heating service specialist like Air Design to come out to give your home’s heating system a professional tune up before our few freezing weeks of winter. What are some of the reasons you should do this, you may ask…