Seven Ways Tampa Residents Can Save on Summer HVAC Bills

Tampa residents can always count on a spike in energy bills and other costs related to keeping their homes cool during the sweltering summer months. If cooling costs are making a huge dent in your monthly budget, it may be time to make some investments of time and money that will create greater savings in energy and AC maintenance costs in the long run.

Tampa has a humid, subtropical climate, and the city stays hot from May through October. Even the winter months will have a few days where you’ll need to turn on the air conditioning. Seasonal highs for the summer months have average highs in the 90s and lows in the 70s. The high humidity makes the heat even more uncomfortable.

Because temperatures in Tampa get so high, and because the city has an extended hot season, residents can end up spending quite a bit of money on keeping their homes and businesses cool. Not all this expense is necessary, however, as inefficient habits and home and HVAC maintenance needs can drive up energy bills in the summer. Smart property owners can lower their bills by adopting some new behaviors and making a few needed changes to their home and business property.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioning accounts for about 48 percent of the average home’s energy consumption . A great deal of this energy is wasted on cooling empty homes or operating inefficient HVAC units. By optimizing your home and your habits, you can shave a significant amount off your energy bill. Good AC maintenance practices can also save you money by extending the life of your HVAC unit.

Ways to Save on Summer HVAC Costs

For homeowners looking for ways to save on their summer cooling bills , these tips make a great starting point:

  • Turn the thermostat up – Perhaps the easiest way to reduce cooling-related energy costs is to use your unit less. By maintaining a slightly warmer temperature in your home, you can save a significant amount on your heating bill. Wearing lighter clothes, such as thin shirts and shorts at home will help you avoid getting too hot from a higher setting on your thermometer.

energy efficient hvac thermostat

avoid turning your thermostat to a cooler-than-usual setting when you turn it back on after having it turned off for a while. It won’t make your home cool more quickly, and will just result in a cooler-than-comfortable room and added energy expense.

  • Use a ceiling fan – Ceiling fans can make a room feel six to seven degrees cooler, thanks to the wind chill effect. On moderately warm days, you can get away with using just fans for cooling. On hotter days, you can use them along with your AC unit. You won’t have to work the AC unit as hard to reach a comfortable temperature, saving you energy, as ceiling fans use less electricity.
  • Install a dehumidifier – Humidity makes your HVAC unit work harder to cool your home. In very humid parts of the country like Tampa, this can be a big problem. Adding a dehumidifier to your unit will help with this problem. You can have an air conditioning contractor install a dehumidifier on your HVAC system to better manage humidity levels in your home. Most experts recommend maintaining a humidity level between 40 and 60 percent in your home for maximum comfort.
  • Install a smart thermometer – How often are you away from your home for hours, but still leave the air conditioner running? A smart thermometer can help you avoid spending money to cool an empty home. These thermometers can be programmed to operate only during certain hours, and some can even learn your daily routine and run the unit accordingly. Some even have a convenient feature that allows you to control them remotely from your smart phone, ensuring that you don’t waste energy while you’re at work or away from home, but never come back to an uncomfortably warm home, either.
  • Install solar screens or window films – Solar screens are less expensive than installing new windows and can help intercept up to 70 percent of solar energy before it enters your home. Experts with the U.S. Department of Energy say these screens are helpful for east and west-facing windows. Window films can also block solar energy. These thin, metallized sheets reflect heat before it can penetrate window glass.

In addition to these methods, you may also wish to install sturdy curtains and blinds in your home to reduce the amount of solar energy making its way through your windows.

  • Have your HVAC unit serviced – An inefficient or improperly operating HVAC unit will cost you in energy bills. There are a variety of things that can go wrong with an HVAC unit that can run up your energy bill, such as improperly operating fans or malfunctioning condensers. According to the Department of Energy, about 20 or 30 percent of the air moving through the ducts of a typical home is lost through leaks in the duct work. Hiring an air conditioning contractor in Largo, FL to come to your home and inspect your unit and ductwork can help you identify maintenance needs that may be running up your power bill.

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  • Insulate your home – If you’re living in an older home, it may not be sufficiently insulated. If your home has a garage that was enclosed to create additional space, this space may not have been properly insulated, either. Hiring a contractor to check your home for proper insulation, and to perform other maintenance tasks such as installing new weather-stripping can help lower your cooling bills.

Air Rescue’s Track Record

For homeowners who wish to hire a Largo AC maintenance firm to help with their HVAC system needs, finding a reliable provider is important. Tampa residents have been using Air Rescue for their HVAC needs for generations. This family-owned Tampa business has built a reputation over 70 years for great customer service and technical excellence in installing, maintaining, and repairing HVAC units.

With Air Rescue’s assistance, Tampa homeowners can enjoy lower energy bills and cooler homes . Call Air Rescue today for a free consultation to learn more about how this AC maintenance and repair company can help you.

Sources

1. https://energy.gov/public-services/homes/heating-cooling

2. https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_ducts

Six Warning Signs Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning or Replacement

Most people give little thought to their HVAC system’s ductwork until something has gone horribly (and expensively) wrong with it. This is a huge mistake as a little preventative air duct maintenance can go a long way toward keeping your system running efficiently and preserving the indoor air quality of your home or business.

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Let’s face it. Here in Tampa, air conditioning is something you just can’t live without. With average highs in the low-to-mid 90s in the summer and an average daily humidity of around 74 percent , life in Tampa becomes quickly unbearable without a properly functioning air conditioning unit.

Your air ducts are important infrastructure for your HVAC system. Your ducts provide a conduit for the cool or heated air produced by your HVAC system to flow into the various rooms of your home to achieve your desired temperature. When ducts are obstructed or have leaks, it can cause your system to lose efficiency, running up your energy bill and increasing wear and tear on your HVAC unit.

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Air conditioning repair experts recommend duct cleaning every few years to dislodge dirt and other debris in the ducts. If your ducts haven’t been cleaned in a while, here are a few signs that cleaning is needed immediately.

Warning Signs Your Ducts Need Cleaning

  • Unexplained spikes in your energy bills – If your bills are climbing and there’s no good explanation for the hike, such as increased usage or mechanical problems with your unit, you may have clogs or leaks in your ducts that are reducing the system’s efficiency. Air conditioning repair services can inspect your ducts to see if this is the problem and take steps to clean and seal your ducts as needed.
  • Signs of rodent or insect infestation – If you see or smell evidence that rodents or insects may be living in your ducts, it’s definitely time to have your ducts cleaned. Debris from these infestations can cause damage to your HVAC system, reducing its efficiency. Over time, the smell from droppings and other debris can also become highly unpleasant. Also, having contaminants from rodent or insect droppings and shells and husks from insects circulating through the air that you and your guests breathe can cause sickness. A rodent or insect infestation in your ducts represents a big health threat, and one you should deal with immediately.
  • Dirt and debris around your vents – If you’re noticing dirt and debris around your vents, there’s a very good chance that your ducts have developed blockages or have a high amount of contaminants circulating through the system. High levels of dirt and debris circulating through your system can exacerbate allergies and other respiratory problems, so it’s well worth your while to have your ducts cleaned.
  • Unexplained respiratory problems – If you or members of your family are having unexplained allergy, sinus, asthma, or other respiratory problems, excessive dirt and debris circulating through your ducts may be the problem. Air cycles through your home about seven times a day, and if your ducts have high levels of dirt and debris, it can have a big impact on indoor air quality. If sneezing and wheezing have become a problem in your home, and if it’s been years since your last duct cleaning, you may want to call an air conditioning maintenance company out to inspect your ducts and clean them.
  • Visible mold growth – Because of Tampa’s humid climate, mold growth is a huge problem here. Mold exposure in homes has been linked to many health issues , some of them very serious. Mold can often cause respiratory issues, eye irritation, throat irritation, and even skin irritation. People with compromised immune systems or chronic lung illnesses may develop serious infections if exposed to mold.

If you see mold growing around your vents or inside your ducts, do not hesitate to call an air conditioning repair company to perform an inspection and cleaning of your ducts. Mold is more prevalent in Florida than most parts of the country, so homeowners must be constantly vigilant against this serious health threat. Catching mold infestations early before they can spread throughout the home and become difficult to eradicate can help reduce the cost of remedying this problem.

  • Dusty air filters or air return grilles – If your recently installed air filter is covered in dust, chances are that your ducts are clogged and need cleaning. Return air grilles with thick, fuzzy coatings of dust are also indicators of a duct problem.

How Ducts Are Cleaned

Professional duct cleaning services can provide a thorough cleaning far beyond what the average homeowner can do on his or her own. Air conditioner maintenance service technicians have specialized tools and training that allow them to remove nearly all dust and contaminants from duct work, even in the most hard-to-reach places.

When duct cleaning services visit your home, they’ll often inspect the unit and ducts. Technicians will use small cameras to check the more inaccessible areas of the ducts. After inspection, technicians will use specialized brushes and tools to loosen debris within your ducts.

Next, they will use a vacuum to remove dirt and debris from the ducts. They will also likely clean the cooling coils and the blower unit. Your technician may also decontaminate your ducts with germ and odor-killing compounds. In addition to cleaning the ducts and other parts of your unit, your technician will also clean grilles and vents.

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If your technicians detect leaks in your ducts, they may offer to seal these leaks. It’s well worth your while to have leaks sealed, as the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through your home is lost through leaks in your duct work. A properly sealed duct system can reduce air loss, thus reducing the amount of work your HVAC system must do to maintain comfortable temperatures in your home.

Taking care of your ducts can reduce your power bills and increase the longevity of your HVAC system by reducing its workload. As new HVAC systems can cost thousands of dollars to install, keeping your system running efficiently for as long as possible can save you lots of money. Regular cleaning of your HVAC ducts can also greatly benefit the indoor air quality in your home or place of business.

Poor indoor air quality is being increasingly linked to a variety of illnesses , and modern home design has made maintaining good indoor air quality difficult because new homes are so tightly sealed for energy efficiency purposes. Cleaning your ducts can help keep mold and contaminants from constantly recirculating through your home and giving rise to respiratory and other illnesses.

When hiring a company to perform air duct cleaning services, make sure you hire a professional company with the tools, training, and experience to do the job correctly. Check online reviews and ask your friends and neighbors who they use for air conditioner service. Talk to prospective service providers about their professional credentials and experience. Also, don’t be afraid to ask prospective providers for references.

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Air Rescue is a Tampa-based air conditioning repair and maintenance company. In business since 1946, Air Rescue has experienced staff and a well-earned reputation for excellence. Air Rescue also is committed to staying abreast of the latest changes to the HVAC industry—the company’s technicians regularly train with the newest HVAC technologies. The company has several affordable maintenance options available to customers, including a club membership program that provides discounts on important repair and maintenance services.

The Five Benefits of Air Filtration

We need it to survive: clean air is as important as the water we drink and the food we eat when it comes to physical and mental well-being. Unfortunately, many live their lives without any type of air filtration system in their homes and places of work.

Perhaps because many of the most troublesome air quality pollutants are functionally invisible, it can be difficult to recognize the need for whole-home air filtration as a necessary aspect of any AC installation.

Fortunately, home air cleaners and filtration systems come in a variety of cost-effective forms. When people experience the difference that air purification makes to their health and happiness, they tend to realize just how important clean air is. Here, we’ll discuss several benefits of air filtration, and some of the ways that an air purifier can work to improve your home and even your quality of life.

hvac-technician

Allergies and Asthma

Anyone who lives with seasonal allergies can attest to the frustration and difficulty that come with regular changes in the weather. When seasons shift, it can wreak havoc and throw a monkey wrench into our overall productivity at work and at home.

Busy working people don’t have time to take off from their lives when sniffling, sneezing, watery eyes, and other hay fever symptoms emerge like clockwork following the seasonal proliferation pollen and other allergens in the air.

In addition to seasonal symptoms triggered by the explosion of pollen-producing plant life around spring time, allergy-sensitive individuals are often plagued by reactions to dust mites.

Mites live and reproduce in neglected dusty areas of the home and have been proven as a cause and irritant of dermatological and respiratory allergies. Asthma sufferers, in particular, are susceptible to dust mites and other minuscule atmospheric interlopers, and trying to get rid of them with a vacuum cleaner often just makes things worse by upsetting the resting mites and vaulting them into the air.

air-conditioning-filter

Air filtration works wonders for asthma and allergy sufferers by removing such triggers from the air in your home or office, giving you an oasis of respite from the ravages of seasonal allergens. Sneezing fits and bouts of hay fever symptoms can destroy healthy sleep patterns, and over-the-counter medicines to treat said symptoms often leave people feeling hazy and slow.

Adding home air cleaners as part of your next HVAC repair will lead to an immediate reduction in symptoms and suffering that seasonal allergies mean for so many.

Pet Dander

Pets like cats and dogs are often considered a part of the family. In many homes, they’re allowed inside, on the furniture, and often sleep right alongside us in bed at night. Unfortunately, their contribution to the household goes beyond simply being cute, loveable companions. Pets leave dander everywhere they go. Dander is created from the buildup of tiny skin flakes and other microscopic pollutants that can accumulate on couches, beds, and other lounge furniture which, over time, will have a negative impact on the overall air quality in your home.

Simply vacuuming up the visible fur and debris in their wake barely makes a dent in the problem.

Have you ever had someone over for dinner, only for them to have an allergic reaction or remark on the “pet smell” in your house? Air filtration helps mitigate pet dander and creates an air system virtually free of allergens, so that any friends who are bothered by cats can finally come inside for a visit without feeling miserable the entire time.

Odor Control

Even if your pets are incredibly clean and well-groomed, their odor can quickly permeate the house if left unchecked, particularly if your animals are allowed freedom to move between the indoors and outdoors. In addition, there are many other odors common to living spaces which tend to hang heavily in the air even after the source has been removed.

Regular preparation of strong-smelling foods like fish, eggs, kimchi, or curry can “stain” the air in your kitchen and dining areas with their scent, as can tobacco smoke, which can waft indoors through open cracked windows and doors even if nobody smokes inside the home.

Companies specializing in air conditioning repair in Tampa, FL are well-versed in air filter installation and maintenance, and their HVAC repair professionals will be the first to sing the praises of an air purifier when it comes to ousting troublesome and lingering smells throughout your home. There’s no need to live with pungent food or smoke odors when a good filtration system can clean the air that you breathe and remove the tiny odor particles which like to hang around.

Germs and Bacteria

Even beyond allergies, there are all types of microscopic pollutants which can set up shop and reproduce in your home, biding their time until they can infiltrate your body and derail your immune system.

air-mold-spores

Mold spores, many of which can be harmful to our health and, in some cases, potentially deadly if left unchecked, tend to thrive in damp and humid areas like bathrooms, swamp coolers, and pool houses; during the dog days of the heavy Florida summer, “damp and humid” is an apt descriptor for the general atmosphere, which is why quality filtration and air conditioning near Tampa, FL is an absolute must.

Mold proliferation in your home, even if you can’t see it, can destroy a healthy immune system and cause lung infections and difficulty breathing if inhaled—sensitive people don’t even need much exposure to mold in order to be triggered by spores.

In addition to microscopic spores, germs like the flu virus and other health hazards are routinely carried into our homes from the outside world on our hands, clothes, and shoes, and can easily find a roosting place within your home to infect you when you least expect it.

An air purifier works to scrub your home free of spores, viruses, and other microscopic airborne menaces which seek to derail your life and make you sick, which is especially important when it’s hot and humid.

Atmospheric Benefits

Air filtration systems have many benefits, but also have immediate and easily appreciable advantages when it comes to the overall home atmosphere. Their primary function may be to remove breathable pollutants from your air, but many people choose to install air purifiers for home comfort.

Clean, filtered air is, quite simply, easier to breathe. While this assertion may raise eyebrows among people who have never experienced the difference between filtered and unfiltered air, the difference is noticeable and often remarked upon by satisfied customers following the installation of an air purification system.

Heating and cooling near Tampa, FL is big business because the weather in the Sunshine State can be so oppressive; to live comfortably during the humid summer months, in particular, some level of air conditioning is an absolute must for homes and businesses alike.

air-conditioning-unit

A quality air filtration system does a lot of heavy lifting in the way of removing moisture from the air and creating a cooler, cleaner feeling atmosphere inside your home. In addition to the cooling benefits of a standard AC installation, air filtration actively wicks moisture molecules from the air in your space and helps dehumidify the area for maximum comfort and air conditioning efficiency.

Don’t go through another brutal summer without speaking to an HVAC repair specialist about the difference filtered air can make to your health, home, and happiness.