• Smells Your AC Unit Makes and When You Should Be Concerned

    Most of the time, your air conditioning unit blows air into your home that you probably don’t even notice. It just flows through your house unobtrusively, keeping you comfortable without being noticeable. Sometimes, though, you turn on your air conditioner and an unpleasant odor fills your home. It might smell like dirty gym socks, it might resemble exhaust fumes or the air in your home might suddenly smell like rotten eggs. Should you be concerned? If foul-smelling air comes out of your HVAC unit, is it dangerous?

    • Dirty sock syndrome is no laughing matter. It may sound like a funny thing to call an air conditioning issue, but it is actually a term used in the HVAC industry. What’s more, in some situations it can be dangerous. It happens when a foul, moldy smelling odor comes from your air conditioner, and it’s caused by mold, mildew, and bacteria on the evaporator coil. This is especially common in warm climates, where it’s not unusual for it to be hot enough to run the air conditioner during the day, and cool enough to run the heat at night. Heat mixes with dust and moisture inside the air conditioning unit, causing mold and mildew, which creates that dirty, musty smell. To combat this problem, make sure the drainage pans are empty, replace your air conditioning filter, clean your condenser coils, and clear any blocked drainage lines. If the smell persists, call in a professional. If mold continues to grow inside your HVAC unit, it can cause health risks to you and your family. You can often prevent dirty sock syndrome by using high-quality air conditioning filters and a UV air purifier.

    • Sometimes, your air conditioner may smell like exhaust fumes. Why would that happen, when your air conditioner is not powered by gas? The answer is simple: fluids in the engine and in other parts of your air conditioner can leak out and cause an odor that resembles exhaust fumes. The only thing to do in this situation is to call for professional assistance.
    • A gun powder smell is also something you might find mysterious. This usually indicates an electrical problem, like a fan motor or circuit board that’s shorted out. Keeping your HVAC unit in good repair can prevent this problem, but if you smell something that smells like gun powder, call an HVAC contractor.

    • Like the gun powder smell, a burning smell can mean electrical issues. It could be a mechanical problem with the fan or compressor, it might be a wiring issue, or it may be a failure of an electrical component, but whatever it is, it’s not healthy for you to breathe in burning odors. Sometimes, it may not be serious: if it only happens when you first start it up, it could just be dust burning off of your unit. If the smell persists, though, don’t try to repair it yourself. it’s best left to a professional because fixing a problem with the motor or wiring can lead to injury if you don’t know what you’re doing.

    • A skunk smell usually indicates a gas leak in the system. Methyl mercaptan is a gas that smells like a skunk’s spray, and when it gets into your ductwork it can cause this smell to enter your home. If this happens, evacuate your home immediately, and call your air conditioning repair company, because this is a dangerous gas and requires immediate attention.

    • Rotten egg smell may mean something has died. Often, birds or rodents get into air ducts in the winter, and if they die and begin to decompose it will lead to a horrible odor in your home. If your home smells like rotten eggs, your ducts need to be professionally cleaned. Another source of rotten egg smell is a natural gas leak. In either case, it’s smart to call in a professional HVAC contractor immediately.

    • Mold and mildew have their own distinctive smell. A moldy odor in your home usually means that mildew or fungus have started growing in or near the air conditioning unit. Because mold thrives in moist areas, it makes sense that it would grow in HVAC units that aren’t draining properly. What’s more, dirty filters often five off the scent of mildew. If you smell a moldy smell, change your filter. If the odor persists, call in a professionally trained HVAC technician.

    Of course, bad smells are not the only indication that something is amiss with your air conditioning unit. Various sounds can indicate a problem with your HVAC, as can excess water or other liquids leaking from the system. One way to get ahead of these issues is to have annual maintenance performed on your system, but if you find yourself with an air conditioning system that doesn’t smell, sound, or perform the way it should, it’s time to call in an HVAC professional.

    If you need to find a professional to check your HVAC, or you’re in the market for air duct cleaning, repair, and replacement services in Tampa, St. Petersburg and the surrounding area, please feel free to call Air Rescue at (813) 375-9982. Since 1946, our family-owned business has been providing superior service at unbeatable prices, offering heat and air conditioning repair services, new HVAC system installations, and more for homes and businesses. The service team at Air Rescue Air Conditioning consists of 75 expertly trained and licensed technicians, who work quickly and efficiently. Our service and pricing guarantee ensures that we always arrive on time, offer you the lowest price in the industry, and leave you 100% satisfied. Schedule your service visit today, and we’re confident that you’ll make us our HVAC company for life.

  • Why Your AC Blows Warm Air

    Your air conditioning unit has one job: to blow cold air. When it suddenly stops doing that, it’s not just uncomfortable, it’s downright annoying. What would cause an air conditioner to blow warm air? Is it something that’s easy to rectify, or do you need to call in a professional to fix it?

    The first thing to check is your thermostat. If your thermostat has accidentally been set to heat, it will definitely cause warm air to blow from the vents. On the other hand, even if your system is set to cool and not heat, if it’s turned to “on” instead of “auto”, it means that your system will be blowing air all the time, whether or not the air conditioner is actively cooling that air. It’s better to keep it on the “auto” setting so that the system will run more efficiently.

    If the thermostat isn’t the issue, something may need cleaning. Have you been changing your air filters as often as you should? Most filters should be changed monthly, and if you don’t keep up with that small maintenance step, the filter can become dirty and clogged. This will block the air circulation in your system, which could cause it to blow warm air. Another component that may require cleaning is the evaporator coils. You can clean these yourself, by turning off your AC, removing the outer panel, and cleaning the coils with compressed air, a brush, mild detergent, or a commercial cleaner. On the other hand, it may be easier to call in a professional to do the job.

    Don’t forget that part of your HVAC system is outside. If the outside condenser unit isn’t properly maintained, it may be causing the problem. Go look at it and see if something is blocking the condenser coil’s air flow, like dirt or debris. It’s important to maintain the outside unit, cleaning the condenser coils during the summer as often as necessary. Another problem that can occur with the outside unit is a loss of power. Even if the indoor part of the HVAC is working, if the outside unit has lost power, the air won’t be cold. Check to see if a fuse has blown or a circuit breaker has been tripped, and call a professional immediately if this is the case. It could indicate a serious problem with your air conditioner.

    Electrical issues can be a problem. Running an air conditioning unit requires a lot of power. If any part of your unit isn’t receiving electricity, the whole unit can malfunction. If you suspect an electrical problem, call for a repair immediately.

    Your ducts may also be causing the problem. Sometimes, ductwork gets knocked out of place and becomes disconnected. When that happens, it’s no longer sealed, and it can let hot air into your house. Call a professional HVAC technician, to ascertain whether your ducts need to be repaired or replaced.

    Your system may need refrigerant/Freon. The way that your air conditioning system cools the air is by moving refrigerant, usually Freon. If there’s a leak that’s allowing this refrigerant to escape, the AC will stop blowing cold air and start blowing warm air. Other signs of leaking refrigerant include ice forming on your AC unit, and a buzzing or screaming sound. If you suspect you have a Freon leak, call for professional assistance immediately, as refrigerant can be harmful to your family’s health.

    Of course, the best way to ensure that none of these problems disrupt your summer air conditioning is to keep your system in good repair through regular maintenance. As already discussed, part of this is keeping your outside unit free of debris and changing your air filters regularly. Another big piece of the puzzle, though, is professional preventative maintenance. Each spring, before you crank up your system for the first time in the summer, have an HVAC professional come out to check your unit for problems and make sure everything is in good working order.

    During this maintenance visit, the HVAC technician will inspect the belts, thermostat, and refrigerants, and check for duct leakage. He or she will also perform services like blowing out the lines and checking the safety controls. The technician will tighten electrical connections, lubricate the moving parts, and check and inspect the condensate drain. In addition, the evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils will be cleaned to help the system work more effectively. Any adjustments that need to be made to your system to help it work efficiently will be done, and parts that are preventing it from working the way it should will be replaced. Your HVAC professional can also advise you on any other work that should be done, such as cleaning out the air ducts. If your system needs an upgrade, your technician can offer advice on that as well.

    If you need to find a professional to check your HVAC, or you’re in the market for air duct cleaning, repair, and replacement services in Tampa, St. Petersburg and the surrounding area, please feel free to call Air Rescue at (813) 375-9982. Since 1946, our family-owned business has been providing superior service at unbeatable prices, offering heat and air conditioning repair services, new HVAC system installations, and more for homes and businesses. The service team at Air Rescue Air Conditioning consists of 75 expertly trained and licensed technicians, who work quickly and efficiently. Our service and pricing guarantee ensures that we always arrive on time, offer you the lowest price in the industry, and leave you 100% satisfied. Schedule your service visit today, and we’re confident that you’ll make us our HVAC company for life.

  • How Humidity Affects HVAC Performance and Home Comfort

    When you picture home heating and cooling, you probably think of raising and lowering the temperature to keep your home comfortable. However, there’s more to home comfort than just the temperature – humidity plays an equally important role. Learn how humidity affects HVAC performance and home comfort in all seasons.

    High Humidity in the Summer

    In Florida, high humidity is commonplace. The air often feels muggy and heavy outside, and you can’t wait to rush into the nearest air-conditioned building. It’s important to understand that air conditioners don’t just remove heat from your home – they also dehumidify. This occurs naturally as a side effect of the cooling process.

    The evaporator coil housed in the interior portion of your AC unit grows very cold as chilled refrigerant flows through it. As air blows over this coil, it’s stripped of heat. Moisture in the air also condenses on the evaporator coil, the same way water forms on the outside of an ice-cold glass of lemonade. This moisture drips off the coil and into a condensate pan where it drains away.

    While your AC unit removes some moisture from the air, it might not be enough in Florida’s humid climate. Here are some signs that you should take measures to combat high indoor humidity:

    • Cool but clammy feeling – Sweating is your body’s natural ability to cool itself. If the air is already so saturated with moisture that your sweat doesn’t evaporate quickly, you’re left with a clammy feeling, even if you set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. You may be forced to turn the temperature down further, increasing your cooling bills as a result.
    • Musty odor – High humidity promotes mold growth, especially in moisture-prone areas such as the basement and bathroom. If these areas have a lingering musty smell, you should get the humidity under control before any damage occurs.
    • Foggy windows and plumbing fixtures – Air conditioners can remove humidity because moisture condenses on cold surfaces. At room temperature, glass and metal feel cool to the touch, so water condenses here first. Check your windows and plumbing fixtures for a layer of moisture. That’s a clue your humidity level is too high.
    • The reading on a hygrometer is 50 percent or higher – The goal is to keep indoor relative humidity below 50 percent. When it rises above this level, people tend to feel uncomfortable. An inexpensive, handheld hygrometer lets you measure the moisture content in the air so you can find out for sure if it’s too high.

    How to Control Humidity in the Summer

    In some buildings, running the air conditioner is enough to lower the relative humidity to 50% or lower. If you discover this isn’t the case in your home, which is common in Florida’s subtropical climate, here are the steps you can take to control humidity:

    • Install a whole-house dehumidifier – The most effective option is to integrate a dehumidifier into your HVAC system. This allows you to control the moisture content in every room with an easy-to-program humidistat. A whole-house dehumidifier works in tandem with your air conditioner, but it can also run independently to remove excess humidity on mild days. This maximizes home comfort while keeping your utility bills as low as possible.
    • Place a portable dehumidifier in problem areas – If certain rooms are more prone to high humidity than others, a portable dehumidifier may solve your problem. Just remember, this small unit can only control the moisture in one area at a time. You’ll also need to empty the condensate pan manually when it gets full.
    • Generate less humidity – To reduce the amount of water introduced into your home, cook with covered pots, take shorter showers, and run the kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans while cooking and showering. Also, make sure the dryer vents directly to the exterior, not the attic or basement, and reduce the number of houseplants you have.
    • Seal leaky areas of your home – If hot, humid air sneaks in through gaps and cracks in your home’s outer envelope, your air conditioner and dehumidifier are forced to work harder. Seal leaky windows, doors and attic floor penetrations to keep conditioned, dehumidified air inside where it belongs.

    Low Humidity in the Winter

    Humidity levels drop naturally in the winter because cold air can’t hold as much moisture as hot air. Still, in Florida’s subtropical climate, the air stays warmer and more humid throughout the winter than other parts of the country. This may have you wondering whether your Tampa home needs a humidifier. Look for these signs of low humidity to help you decide:

    • Dry skin, lips and nasal passages – If you find yourself reaching for lotion or lip balm in the winter when you never need these products in the summer, you’re experiencing the drying effects of low humidity. Irritated nasal passages and waking up with a bloody nose are other signs that the humidity level is low.
    • Increased instances of static shock – Dry air carries an electrical charge more readily than humid air. This makes you prone to static shock when you touch a doorknob, reach for a light switch or pet the family cat.
    • A feeling that it’s colder than it really is – Low humidity causes moisture to evaporate from your skin at a faster rate than usual, creating a cooling effect. If you can’t believe how cold you feel despite the thermostat reading, adding a little humidity to the air could be just what you need.
    • Higher heating bills – Because low humidity makes you feel cold, and the natural response is to turn up the thermostat, you could be left with higher utility costs. Remember last winter when temperatures in Tampa, FL were much colder than usual? The relative humidity was lower than normal as well. Prevent another shock this winter by taking steps to increase indoor humidity.
    • A reading of 30 percent or lower on a hygrometer – The ideal indoor humidity level in the winter is between 30 and 40 percent. Any lower than this and you’re bound to experience signs of dry indoor air.

    Regulating Humidity in the Winter

    If lack of moisture has caused comfort issues in the past, take control this winter with these tips to increase indoor humidity:

    • Install a whole-house humidifier – As with the dehumidifier you use in the summer, a whole-house humidifier integrates with your HVAC system. This delivers moist air to every room when the furnace runs according to the setting you program into the humidistat. This way, you can carefully control the relative humidity level to reach the ideal 35 percent.
    • Place a portable humidifier in your bedroom – Low humidity affects people the most while they’re sleeping. To keep your nose and throat moist, run a humidifier at night. You can do this whether you have a whole-house humidifier or not. Just remember to fill the reservoir and turn on the unit before you go to bed.
    • Introduce moisture to the air – Natural evaporation increases humidity. Hanging your clothes to dry inside and leaving wet towels out are two low-tech options for doing this. However, the strength and control of natural evaporation is limited, and you must continually rewet the items you leave out, which could lead to mold growth.

    Whether you’re struggling with high humidity in the summer or low humidity in the winter, the experts at Air Rescue can help. We install whole-house humidifiers and dehumidifiers to help our customers’ homes stay comfortable in every season.

    To learn more about humidifiers and dehumidifiers, or to schedule installation services, please contact Air Rescue today at (813) 375-9982. We have over 70 years of experience serving residents of Tampa, Largo and the entire Bay Area.


  • How to Reduce Energy Consumption at Home

    Whether you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint or simply your utility bill, there are plenty of reasons to cut back on energy consumption. You might think you’ll have to drastically change your lifestyle or invest a lot of money in new appliances to make a difference in your power usage, but the truth is, saving energy may be easier than you imagine. It doesn’t have to be a complicated ordeal, and in fact, there are some very simple ways to reduce your energy consumption at home.

    • Make small shifts in your habits. Take shorter showers, for example, and turn off lights and ceiling fans when you leave a room. Get in the habit of running the dishwasher and washing machine at night or early in the morning, when it’s not a “peak” energy time of day. When doing laundry, use only as much water and detergent as necessary: there’s no need to waste water, and using excess detergent makes the machine work harder to rinse the clothes. Toss a dry towel into the dryer with your wet clothes, and they’ll dry more quickly. Run the dishwasher only when it’s full and you’ll save on energy and water. These little changes aren’t particularly disruptive to your lifestyle, but the can add up in terms of energy savings
    • Give the thermostat a nudge. Adjusting your thermostat by just a couple of degrees can equate to big savings on your energy bill. In fact, some experts say it can bring your bill down by one percent for every degree you shift the thermostat. In the winter, it’s smart to keep it around 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re home, and several degrees lower if the house is empty. In the winter, aim for 75 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and several degrees higher when you’re away from the house.
    • Switch out the thermostat entirely. Changing from a traditional thermostat to a programmable thermostat can increase your home’s energy efficiency and some even give you the convenience of adjusting your thermostat remotely. This allows you to keep your home at one temperature while you’re away, and change the temperature before you return home so that it will be comfortable when you arrive. Note: a programmable thermostat doesn’t automatically save you money and energy, just by being installed. You have to actually program it in energy saving ways to see any shifts in your usage.
    • Change your lightbulbs. Are you still using traditional incandescent light bulbs? Switch to halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) and you’ll see a significant difference in your energy usage. These bulbs use anywhere from 25 up to 80 percent less energy than traditional bulbs and last much longer. If you’ve delayed because they’re more expensive, it’s important to note that because they don’t need to be changed as frequently, they cost less in the long run.
    • Try out some old fashioned ways. Your great-grandparents may have had a less convenient lifestyle than you do, but they also used a lot less energy. Try some of the practices they used in their everyday lives, and you can save energy as well! Hang your clothes on a line instead of putting them in the dryer, open a window to let air circulate, use curtains to control the amount of light and heat that enter your home, and use a hot water bottle, a sweater, or some socks to stay warm instead of cranking up the heat.
    • Use your kitchen to your advantage. On hot days, eat cold meals or use small appliances like your slow cooker or microwave, rather than running the oven. Save your baking for cold days, when the radiant heat from the oven will help heat your home. Use cookware that fits over your burners, so that no heat escapes around the edges of the pot or pan. Defrost frozen foods in your refrigerator. Paying attention to how your kitchen affects your energy usage can mean big savings.
    • Fight vampires. The vampires in your home don’t require garlic and a stake- just a power strip should do the trick. Idle electronics, like your television, scanner, printer, and microwave all use power even when they’re not in use. Plug devices into a power strip and you can easily flip a switch to prevent them from using energy when you’re not using them.
    • Enhance your insulation. The insulation in your home can make a big difference in how much energy you’re using. Have a professional inspection to determine whether you need to bump up the level of insulation you have in your attic, basement, floors, walls, and crawlspace. If you live in a cold climate, you will need more insulation than someone who lives in a warmer area. It’s also smart to look for drafty areas in your home, sealing leaks with caulk to prevent the outside air from coming in and the inside air from escaping.
    • If you do need new appliances, do your homework. Upgrading to energy efficient appliances can make a big difference, so look for the ENERGY STAR label when you shop. Appliances typically account for about 13 percent of your household energy use, and depending on the appliance, ENERGY STAR certified models can cut down on energy usage at a rate that’s between 9 and 45 percent. If you’re replacing your water heater, consider a tankless option to save both money and energy.
    • Update your HVAC. If you’re ready to see big savings, look to your heating and cooling system. Heating alone can add up to 40 percent of home energy use, so upgrading your HVAC to a more efficient model can mean significant savings on your energy bill. Not quite ready to upgrade? Proper maintenance saves energy, too. Keeping your ducts clean and your HVAC in good working order will ensure that it runs more smoothly and efficiently.

    If you need to find a professional to check your HVAC, or you’re in the market for air duct cleaning, repair, and replacement services in Tampa, St. Petersburg and the surrounding area, please feel free to call Air Rescue at (813) 375-9982. Since 1946, our family-owned business has been providing superior service at unbeatable prices, offering heat and air conditioning repair services, new HVAC system installations, and more for homes and businesses. The service team at Air Rescue Air Conditioning consists of 75 expertly trained and licensed technicians, who work quickly and efficiently. Our service and pricing guarantee ensures that we always arrive on time, offer you the lowest price in the industry, and leave you 100% satisfied. Schedule your service visit today, and we’re confident that you’ll make us our HVAC company for life.

  • How to Reduce Indoor Pollution

    When you think of air pollution, you’re probably thinking about factories and cars, sending dangerous emissions up into the ozone layer. You may not immediately consider indoor air pollution, but if you think about it, it’s definitely a threat to your well-being. The contaminants inside our homes and offices put us at risk for allergic reactions and illnesses that include stroke, heart disease, COPD, and lung cancer. Fortunately, you can improve your indoor air quality by following a few simple guidelines.

    • Know the culprits. What are the causes of indoor air pollution? In developing countries, dangerous indoor air quality is the result of people cooking indoors, using inefficient stoves with fuel like kerosene, biomass, or coal. In the United States, though, the sources are more likely to be things like fragrances, cleaners, smoking, or pets. Taking a critical look at your home and work environments in order to determine what could potentially cause problems is the first step toward cleaner air.
    • Keep your smoke outside. Smoking cigarettes causes a wealth of health problems, both for the smoker and for those who breathe in the second-hand The best thing you can do for your health and your environment is to quit, but if you must smoke, do it outside. Other sources of smoke should be used with caution, too. Don’t overdo it with candles, and if you use a wood-burning stove, make sure it’s installed properly and well-ventilated.

    • Maintain proper ventilation and moisture levels. You can often improve air quality the old-fashioned way, just by opening a window. When you cook, use the fan above the stove, and when you shower, use the fan in the bathroom to reduce moisture in the air. You might also consider a dehumidifier or an air purifier with high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) air filters.
    • Cut down on chemicals. Every day, we use all kinds of chemicals without giving them much thought. From air fresheners and candles to household cleaners to personal care products, to paint and solvents, there are a host of pollutants in your home that you probably don’t even realize are a problem. Many of these products contain phthalates, which are used to make the fragrances bond to the product in which they’re being used. Unfortunately, phthalates have been shown to disrupt the endocrine system. Does this mean that all fragrances are bad? No, but if you really love giving your house an extra boost of scent, you’re better off sticking to essential oils or simmering some spices on your stove.
    • Clean the house. How will you clean the house, while eliminating chemicals and fragrances? It’s easier than you might think. Look for all-natural, non-toxic cleaners, or make your own cleaners, using ingredients like borax, vinegar, and baking soda. Ditch the carpet, if possible, and clean your floors with a steam mop: steaming your floors requires only water. Dust frequently, and keep clutter to a minimum. Wash your bedding and any washable stuffed animals regularly, cleaning these items once a week in hot water, and vacuum your upholstered furniture when you clean your floors. Skip curtains and drapes, opting for window treatments that can be wiped clean.
    • Keep contaminants out. Make a rule in your home that people remove their shoes at the door. If you’re not comfortable doing this, at least have a sturdy doormat that can scrape most of the contaminants off before they’re tracked into your house. If you have pets, keep them well-groomed, and vacuum frequently to reduce pet dander in the house.
    • Be smart about safety. Have your home tested for radon, a colorless, odorless gas that can significantly raise the risk of lung cancer. Many items give off radon, including granite countertops, so it’s important to know that your home is safe. Radon is not the only dangerous chemical that may be in the air, though, so install a carbon monoxide detector, and keep your household appliances in good repair, so that they don’t leak any fumes into your atmosphere.
    • Bring in some greenery. Plants are great for improving indoor air quality, and studies have shown that they even reduce levels of formaldehyde in the home. The roots and the foliage work together to absorb chemicals released from synthetic materials in your home, while the plants themselves give off oxygen, improving our air quality.
    • Maintain your HVAC system. Change your filters regularly, and call in a professional when the seasons change, to give your system the maintenance it needs to keep it running efficiently.

    If you need to find a professional to check your HVAC, or you’re in the market for air duct cleaning, repair, and replacement services in Tampa, St. Petersburg and the surrounding area, please feel free to call Air Rescue at (813) 375-9982. Since 1946, our family-owned business has been providing superior service at unbeatable prices, offering heat and air conditioning repair services, new HVAC system installations, and more for homes and businesses. The service team at Air Rescue Air Conditioning consists of 75 expertly trained and licensed technicians, who work quickly and efficiently. Our service and pricing guarantee ensures that we always arrive on time, offer you the lowest price in the industry, and leave you 100% satisfied. Schedule your service visit today, and we’re confident that you’ll make us our HVAC company for life.

  • Why You Shouldn’t Attempt to Repair or Replace Your HVAC Unit Yourself

    You’re minding your own business when suddenly, the air conditioner stops working, or the furnace makes a strange sound and comes to a grinding halt. Dealing with a broken HVAC unit is a tremendous inconvenience, but it happens to every homeowner at some point.

    The question is how to handle this situation. If you’re skilled at performing do-it-yourself projects around the house, you might think you can tackle the repair or replacement yourself. However, unless you have specific training and certification, you shouldn’t attempt to repair or replace your HVAC unit yourself.

    Dangers of Repairing Your HVAC Unit Yourself

    If your HVAC unit stops working, feel free to check the circuit breaker, fiddle with the thermostat, change the filter, hose down the outdoor unit, and examine the ductwork and air vents. These simple tips may be enough to fix minor problems.

    While you can certainly troubleshoot AC and furnace problems to avoid calling the professionals prematurely, we highly recommend leaving complex issues to an experienced technician. Here’s why:

    • You probably don’t have the right tools – Don’t expect to repair an air conditioner with a screwdriver and pliers. HVAC maintenance and repair requires a host of specialized equipment. When heating and cooling technicians first get started, they have to invest thousands of dollars in these purpose-built tools, so don’t expect to get the job done without them.
    • You might not be able to diagnose the problem – Furnaces and air conditioners are sophisticated Without proper diagnostic equipment, you’ll be left guessing what’s wrong.
    • You may compromise the reliability of your HVAC system – Perhaps you determine one problem with your HVAC unit, and you repair that successfully, but another underlying problem leads to more breakdowns. These piecemeal repairs leave you feeling unsure whether your furnace or air conditioner will function properly day by day, which is very stressful.
    • You might not save time or money – All these failed diagnosis attempts, ordering the wrong parts, and only fixing half the problem at a time could result in a higher expense and longer repair time than simply calling a professional.
    • You will void the warranty – Maybe you think you’re free to attempt a do-it-yourself HVAC repair because if something goes wrong, you can make a warranty claim. However, manufacturers are wary of DIYers, so to qualify for warranty coverage, you must show proof of professional maintenance and repairs. A botched attempt could result in a total loss, something you can avoid by always leaving repairs to a qualified technician.

    Problems with DIY HVAC Installation

    When the time comes to replace your furnace or air conditioner, you may be reluctant to pay the labor costs associated with professional installation. If you think you can save money by doing the job yourself, think again. Here’s why you should always leave HVAC installation to the experts:

    • You could get hurt – When working with electrical equipment, there’s always a risk of shock if you don’t know what you’re doing. The current running through an air conditioner is enough to cause serious injury or even death. For this reason alone, you should leave the installation to a highly trained technician.
    • You could hurt others – High electrical voltage could result in fires during or after the installation. Incorrectly hooking up a furnace could also put your entire family in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • You will have to guess the proper size – The rule of thumb is to size an HVAC system based on the square footage of your home, but that’s not accurate enough to guarantee the best results. After all, professionals also take factors such as the climate, home orientation, air infiltration rate, insulation level, window layout, home occupancy and more into account when sizing an HVAC system. Without the tools and knowledge to take these readings, you’ll be left guessing.
    • You might cause irreversible damage – A new AC unit requires a highly accurate refrigerant charge to perform its best. An overcharged system could cause inefficient cooling, while an undercharged unit is likely to freeze over. In either case, your inexperience could permanently damage the equipment.
    • You may overlook ductwork leaks – During a professional installation, airflow tests help the technician set the blower just right and detect ductwork leaks that need to be sealed. Without the necessary equipment to perform these tests, holes in the air ducts and inefficient blower settings could go unnoticed, forcing your HVAC equipment to work harder than necessary.
    • You could compromise the efficiency of your HVAC system – The above aspects of an improper installation could decrease system performance by up to 30 percent, raising your utility bills in the process. So much for saving money with a DIY installation.
    • You might be breaking the law – Refrigerant is an environmental concern, even if you use more eco-friendly R-410A, or Puron, to charge your new air conditioner. That’s why the Clean Air Act outlines precise handling guidelines, including requirements for refrigerant handling certification. If you’re not qualified to dispose of the refrigerant in your old AC unit or charge the new system, you’re breaking the law.

    Clearly, it’s best to leave HVAC repair and installation to the experts at Air Rescue. We offer professional services to residents of Tampa, Largo and the surrounding communities. Our certified technicians ensure all HVAC repairs and installations are performed efficiently, safely and with industry regulations in mind. We’ll make sure you get the most from your investment with quality, affordable HVAC services for your Florida home.

    For more heating and cooling tips, or to schedule HVAC repair or installation, please contact Air Rescue today at (813) 375-9982.

  • Signs it’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioning Unit

    If you live in Florida, air conditioning is vital for home comfort. During the summer, the AC runs more than any other equipment in your home, and it continues to run well into the autumn and winter months.

    Do you know what signs signal it’s time to replace your air conditioning unit? Many homeowners hold onto their ACs for as long as possible to avoid investing in a new system. However, with a timely replacement, you’ll end up saving in the long run.

    If you notice any of the signs outlined below, give Air Rescue a call to look into replacing your air conditioner.

    The AC Unit is Getting Old

    The average air conditioner lasts 10 to 15 years. At this point, even well-maintained systems tend to experience less reliable performance and decreased efficiency. Years of dust and dirt buildup can also lead to poor indoor air quality.

    Once your AC unit reaches 10 years old, it’s wise to start browsing for replacement options. Research brands, learn about efficiency ratings and keep an eye out for specials that can save you money on your investment. Then, the next time your air conditioner acts up, you’ll be ready to upgrade it as a routine home improvement project, not a stressful emergency replacement.

    The Air Conditioner Breaks Down Frequently

    It’s normal for an air conditioner to need minor repairs every few years, but if breakdowns have been occurring so frequently that you’ve added an HVAC repair company to your speed dial, it’s time to reassess your options. After all, you need reliable cooling to ensure your Florida home stays comfortable on even the hottest summer afternoon, and unfortunately, breakdowns are most likely to occur when you need your air conditioner the most.

    Don’t go another week with unpredictable AC performance – consider replacing your air conditioning unit today.

    Repair Costs are Going Up

    AC breakdowns aren’t just inconvenient – they’re also expensive. The money you’re pouring into repair costs could go toward a brand new system. But where do you draw the line?

    Consider the 5,000 rule: multiply the age of your air conditioner by the estimated cost of an upcoming repair. If the number comes to more than 5,000, it’s probably more economical to replace the unit.

    For instance, if you have an 8-year-old AC unit and an estimated $500 repair, multiplying the two numbers gives you 4,000, meaning it’s probably best to repair the unit. However, if you have a 12-year-old air conditioner and you’re facing the same $500 repair, the multiplied numbers come to 6,000, which means it might be more cost-effective to replace the aging unit.

    The Air Conditioner Runs on R-22 Refrigerant

    In response to the Clean Air Act of 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency is phasing out R-22 refrigerant, also known as Freon, and replacing it with cleaner R-410A, or Puron. Because Freon is no longer in production, the cost of existing supplies has risen substantially in recent years. This could make the rate to recharge your R-22 air conditioner cost-prohibitive.

    In fact, starting in 2020, R-22 will be considered illegal. You can continue operating an AC unit with R-22, but if it develops a leak, technicians will be unable to recharge it, and you’ll have no choice but to replace the air conditioner.

    Consider doing your part for the environment and replace your R-22 AC unit sooner rather than later. The cost to recharge the Freon may spur you to make this decision for financial reasons as well.

    Energy Bills are on the Rise

    Older ACs are less efficient to begin with, but they lose even more of their performance capacity as they age. This may occur gradually or suddenly from one month to the next. Always keep an eye on your utility bills, and if you face two months in a row of excessively high electricity costs, schedule an AC repair and consider making a replacement based on the 5,000 rule discussed above.

    Remember, your 10- to 15-year-old air conditioner is probably rated 10 SEER or less and most likely performs below this original efficiency rating because of its age. Thanks to technological advancements in recent years, new air conditioners are rated 13 SEER or higher, and high-efficiency ACs reach SEER ratings in the mid to upper 20s. If you upgrade from a 10 SEER unit to a 20 SEER unit, you can expect your cooling bills to drop by more than half!

    The AC No Longer Keeps Your Home Comfortable

    Aging air conditioners tend to struggle with maintaining adequate air circulation. This causes some rooms to feel too warm while others are over-cooled. Remember, effective home cooling relies on having sufficient insulation and a tight building envelope, so check these characteristics of your home before you assume something is wrong with the air conditioner.

    In addition to keeping your home cool, air conditioners also regulate the humidity. Homes with older AC units tend to feel muggy, which is especially problematic in Florida’s humid climate. If you find yourself continually adjusting the thermostat because you feel cool but clammy, this could be a sign your AC is on its last leg, especially if any other factors outlined here also apply.

    Prolong the Life of Your New Air Conditioner

    If you decide to replace your AC unit, expect reliable performance, lower energy bills and optimal home comfort. Other benefits include quieter operation, renewed warranty coverage and improved indoor air quality.

    Once you make the upgrade, you want your investment to last as long as possible. Get the most out of your air conditioner with these tips:

    • Change the air filter regularly – Check it once a month and replace it after no more than three months, or as recommended by the manufacturer. A clean filter helps ensure adequate airflow, which prevents your HVAC equipment from working any harder than necessary.
    • Schedule routine maintenance – It’s advised that you service your air conditioner once a year. Just like getting an oil change for your car, preventative AC maintenance helps the system run smoothly and efficiently. When performing a tune-up, the technician also has a chance to catch problems early and make minor adjustments before an expensive repair becomes necessary.
    • Sign up for an Air Rescue AC Club MembershipWhen you become a club member, you get two maintenance visits per year (one in the spring for your air conditioner and one in the fall for your furnace), 24-hour priority service, a 20 percent discount on repairs, and more! You’ll never miss a preventative tune-up, and you’ll save money on other services between routine visits.

    The experts at Air Rescue can help you select the best brand, size and efficiency rating for your new air conditioner. Our goal is to help you keep costs down while maintaining a comfortable home, even in Florida’s hot, humid climate. For more HVAC tips, or to schedule AC repair, installation or maintenance in Tampa or Largo, FL, please contact Air Rescue at (813) 375-9982.

  • How leaky ductwork contributes to the warmth and cooling of your home.

    How are your ducts? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t even have an answer to this question. If your ductwork is leaking, though, that’s important information for you to have. Leaky ductwork can cause a host of issues, but keeping your ducts well-maintained can save you from some major headaches.

    • Leaky ducts are a budget buster. Do your energy bills seem to be ever climbing? Do they spike in the middle of the winter or summer? When there are leaks in your ducts, your home is less energy efficient. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a home with leaks, holes, cracks seals, poor connections, or too little insulation in the ductwork can lose up to 20 percent of the air that’s supposed to be circulating. When heated or cooled air escapes through the leaks, it forces your HVAC system to have to work harder and run longer to match the thermostat setting. Leaky ductwork not only spills your heated or cooled air out into the outdoors, but it also drains your wallet.

    • Problems with ductwork can lead to problems elsewhere. When your HVAC runs all the time, it’s going to wear out faster. That means that even if it’s a relatively new system, you’re going to need more frequent repairs.

    • When the ducts aren’t working correctly, it’s bad news for the air filters. Leaky ductwork means debris in the system. Those leaky spots suck up dust and trash from your attic, your crawl space, and even outside, sending it flowing all through your system. Before you know it. You’re having to change your air filters much more frequently, yet you still have a dusty house.

    • Ducts that leak can negatively impact air quality. It’s not just dust that leaky ducts send flying around your home. It’s also allergens, contaminants, and even chemicals. If you store things like paint thinners, pesticides, or fertilizer in your crawl space, your bad ductwork can pull those fumes into your indoor air. What’s more, leaking ducts can cause backdrafting, pulling the fumes from vented appliances like water heaters, gas furnaces, and clothes dryers back into your home. That’s not just unpleasant, it can be dangerous.

    • Hot and cold spots are a symptom of leaky ducts. Are some of your rooms more comfortable than others? Does your air feel stuffy? Before you blame it on your floor plan, check your ducts for leaks. Your HVAC works on a closed air system, and when your ducts are leaking, it means your precious cooled or heated air is being released into the outdoors, rather than forced into the various rooms of your home.

    If you need air duct cleaning, repair and replacement services in Tampa, St. Petersburg and the surrounding area, please feel free to call Air Rescue at (813) 375-9982. Since 1946, our family-owned business has been providing superior service at unbeatable prices, offering heat and air conditioning repair services, new HVAC system installations, and more for homes and businesses. The service team at Air Rescue Air Conditioning consists of 75 expertly trained and licensed technicians, who work quickly and efficiently. Our service and pricing guarantee ensures that we always arrive on time, offer you the lowest price in the industry, and leave you 100% satisfied. Schedule your service visit today, and we’re confident that you’ll make us our HVAC company for life.

  • How to Prepare your Home for Florida Winters

    If you live in Florida, you probably don’t give much thought to how your home is going to fare in winter weather. After all, we’re blessed here in the Sunshine State with temperatures that rarely fall below freezing, and sunny skies even in January. We do have some inclement weather, though, and even in a temperate climate, it’s important to prepare your property for what may lie ahead. Especially if you’re a seasonal resident, you’ll want to make sure everything is ready for whatever weather may come.

    • Mind your plants. Florida flora and fauna are not big fans of cold weather. Even alligators huddle in their dens in winter, waiting until a sunny day with highs in the 60s or 70s before coming out to bask in the sun. You’re probably not too concerned about what happens to the alligators, but your own plants are another story. Experts say that the best thing to do when a frost or freeze is expected is to cover plants with burlap. If you’re short on burlap, a sheet will work, but if you choose to use plastic, remember to get it off the plants as quickly as possible after the sunrise. Florida sunshine burns hot and strong, even in the dead of winter.

    • Tour your own yard. Look for any issues that may need your attention, like fallen tree limbs, trash, holes, or destroyed plants. Inspect your home’s façade, and check the roof for missing shingles or loosened flashing. If you have any sheds or other structures on your possible, give them a look to make sure they’re in good shape, and check your fence for loose boards or exposed nails. Check the doors and window to make sure there are no gaps in the casings, and all the locks are still functional.

    • Protect against pests. When the weather is nasty and your home is warm and cozy, rodents and other pests are prone to seek the shelter of your house. Clear out cobwebs, keep mulch or wood away from the house, and take other preventive measures, and if you see any sign of pest activities, deal with it now or bring in a professional.

    • Clear the gutters and downspouts. Your gutters can collect an alarming amount of organic matter, especially if you live near trees. Before the winter weather arrives, clean them out and rinse the gutters and downspouts, or hire a gutter cleaning service. It might also be practical to consider a gutter guard product, to cut down on your gutters’ maintenance. While you’re cleaning them, make sure your gutters and downspouts are properly directed, to carry water away from your home.

    • Evaluate the attic. Before it gets chilly, ask for professional help in evaluating the insulation in your attic, making sure it has the right R-30 value. While you’re up there, it’s a good idea to check for any signs of pests, as well.

    • Winterize your irrigation system. Before the first frost occurs, turn off the main water valve, turn on each valve, and allow any water to drain out. This will help to make sure that your system doesn’t freeze.

    • Change your air filter. It’s easy to forget about your air conditioner’s filter during the winter because you’re probably not running the A/C. Still, the air filter is an important part of your home’s ventilation system and needs to be changed every month or two, regardless of the time of year.

    • Adjust your thermostat and ceiling fans. Ceiling fans have a switch that changes their direction, and by switching it to clockwise, you can assist the heat circulation in your room because the fan will push the heat down from the ceiling. If you have a programmable thermostat, it’s a good idea to switch it to manual control for the weekend, so you can adjust it as necessary.

    • Call in a professional to check out the HVAC. Having a professional come in to perform system maintenance checks can prevent costly breakdowns and increase your system’s efficiency. In fact, regular maintenance can actually increase the lifespan of your HVAC system.

    If you need to find a professional to check your HVAC, or you’re in the market for air duct cleaning, repair, and replacement services in Tampa, St. Petersburg and the surrounding area, please feel free to call Air Rescue at (813) 375-9982. Since 1946, our family-owned business has been providing superior service at unbeatable prices, offering heat and air conditioning repair services, new HVAC system installations, and more for homes and businesses. The service team at Air Rescue Air Conditioning consists of 75 expertly trained and licensed technicians, who work quickly and efficiently. Our service and pricing guarantee ensures that we always arrive on time, offer you the lowest price in the industry, and leave you 100% satisfied. Schedule your service visit today, and we’re confident that you’ll make us our HVAC company for life.

  • How to Prepare Your HVAC Unit for the Winter Months

    As a Florida homeowner, you’re probably looking forward to the cooler temperatures that come with the changing seasons. Winter is on its way! Even here in the sunshine state, you can expect to use your furnace at least a handful of times between October and May. Make your home more comfortable and efficient by preparing your HVAC unit – including your air conditioner, furnace or heat pump, air ducts and vents, and thermostat – for the winter months ahead.

    Prepare Your Air Conditioner for Winter in Florida

    You rely on air conditioning for a majority of the year, but for a few months, your focus turns to heating. Follow these steps to prepare your AC for winter before you switch on the furnace:

    • Power down – Once the heat of the Florida summer is behind you, it’s time to cut the power to the air conditioner. Pay a visit to the outdoor unit and look for a small power circuit box mounted to the side of the house. Lift the cover up to find a switch and flip it to the “off” position. Then, close the lid. Powering down the air conditioner prevents it from coming on accidentally in the winter and keeps water out of the refrigerant lines.
    • Keep the AC unit clean – Sweep twigs, grass clippings and other debris from the outdoor unit using a broom. Then, hose it down to remove stuck-on gunk and bird droppings. Check on the AC unit once a week throughout the winter to make sure it remains clean and free of debris buildup. This will help give your air conditioner a head start next spring when you turn it on again.
    • Inspect the air conditioner – Check for cracks, rust, leaks and other problems that might need attention. While you can wait until spring to fix anything you find, you might as well have a technician take a look when they visit your house to perform annual maintenance on your furnace.
    • Refrain from covering the AC unit – Encasing a metal unit in a waterproof vinyl or plastic tarp leads to condensation and rust. It’s best to leave your air conditioner uncovered throughout the winter, especially because, in Florida’s subtropical climate, you never know when you might need to power on the AC for a day or two, even in January or February.

    Prepare Your Furnace for the Florida Winter

    If you heat your home with a furnace, get it ready for cooler temperatures with these tips:

    • Inspect the fan belt – The air conditioner and furnace share the same blower motor, which means it’s already been working hard to circulate air throughout your home all summer. Before you turn on the furnace, shut off the power at the main circuit breaker, open up the furnace and check the condition of the fan belt. If it’s cracked, frayed or loose, have it replaced as soon as possible.
    • Listen closely – When you power on your furnace for the first time, pay attention to the way it sounds. Any banging or rattling is a sign that it needs attention from a technician.
    • Check for moisture, rust and dirt – After the furnace has been running for a few days, check the vent pipe for any accumulation of moisture, rust or dirt. These indicate improper operation, which demands immediate attention.
    • Schedule preventative maintenance – You should schedule furnace maintenance every fall to prepare it for the winter season. A professional knows exactly how to spot potential issues and perform quick maintenance before it develops into an expensive repair. Your furnace will run more efficiently, have fewer breakdowns and last years longer if you maintain it annually.

    Prepare Your Heat Pump for the Winter Months

    Many Florida homeowners stay comfortable all year round with the help of a heat pump. This equipment is ideal for our warm climate because it can deliver 150 to 300 percent efficiency when temperatures are above freezing outside. This is because heat pumps move heat with electricity rather than converting it from a fuel source. If this is the type of HVAC system you have, prepare it for the winter season with these tips:

    • Clean the outdoor unit – As with air conditioners, heat pumps feature an outdoor condensing unit. Sweep away debris with a broom and hose the unit down to remove built-up gunk. Continue to check on the heat pump periodically throughout the winter season to ensure nothing is obstructing the airflow.
    • Inspect the fan belt – The heat pump has already been working all summer, which means the fan belt could be wearing out. Check on it as the seasons change (using the tips listed in the furnace section above) to make sure you’re all set for winter.
    • Schedule preventative maintenance – Because heat pumps work all year round, you should have a technician inspect and clean it twice a year: once in the fall and again in the spring. This gives you peace of mind that the equipment is running smoothly in every season. Air Rescue offers maintenance club memberships to keep annual tune-ups affordable and predictable. Members also benefit from priority service, repair discounts and lower diagnostic fees. It pays to be a club member with Air Rescue!

    Prepare Your Air Ducts and Vents for Winter in Tampa, FL

    All forced-air heating and cooling systems rely on ductwork and air vents to deliver conditioned air. Here’s how to keep yours running smoothly all winter long:

    • Change the air filter – Remember to complete this task every one to three months throughout the entire year. The air filter helps keep particles off the HVAC unit, promoting smooth operation. It also traps dust and other pollutants, removing them from the air you breathe and improving indoor air quality as a result. Changing the filter regularly ensures adequate airflow through the system at all times.
    • Consider upgrading the filter – If you currently use a flat, one-inch-thick filter, consider upgrading to a pleated or electrostatic filter. These higher-efficiency versions catch minuscule airborne particles to improve indoor air quality, which can be beneficial if you have asthma or allergies.
    • Inspect the vents – All the vents in your home should be open and unobstructed by furniture, rugs or curtains to promote adequate airflow and ensure each room remains a comfortable, even temperature. Then, vacuum the vents with the brush attachment to remove dust, cobwebs and other debris.
    • Clean the ductwork – Over time, allergens cling to the ductwork walls, even with an air filter in place. Mold growth and rodent infestations are even bigger reasons to clean your air ducts. While this task doesn’t necessarily need to take place every year, it could help solve mysterious allergy and asthma symptoms.
    • Seal the ductwork – Leaky ductwork contributes to higher energy bills. Aeroseal® duct sealing from Air Rescue is an effective way to plug up these leaks from the inside. This safe, quick, permanent solution could be the key to lowering your heating and cooling bills once and for all.

    Prepare Your Thermostat for the Changing Seasons

    The thermostat is the brain that communicates with the rest of your HVAC system. Make sure it’s set properly for the Florida winter by following these steps:

    • Change from cooling to heating – There should be a dial on the thermostat to change over from summertime cooling to wintertime heating. When you adjust this setting, you’re telling the thermostat to switch from the air conditioner to the furnace. If you have a heat pump, the reversing valve inside the unit changes from cooling to heating mode.
    • Ease into wintertime temperatures – Because you’re accustomed to warm summer temperatures, you may need to ease yourself into winter. Start by setting the thermostat to 72 degrees when the house is occupied with the goal of working down to 68 degrees. Every degree you lower the thermostat decreases your heating costs by 1 to 2 percent.
    • Set the temperature for energy savings – If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, consider installing one this fall. Then, set the temperature back to between 62 and 66 degrees while you’re asleep at night and gone at work all day. The automatic recovery feature of your programmable thermostat ensures you wake up and return to a comfortable home.

    For more HVAC tips, or to schedule heating services in Tampa or Largo, FL this fall, please contact Air Rescue at (813) 375-9982.