You’ve boarded the pets, asked the neighbors to get the mail, and turned off all your appliances and lights. You’ve taken care of everything, and now you can enjoy a few weeks of well-earned vacation away from the hassles and tasks at home.
Not quite. Before you hit the road, there are a few things you need to do regarding your HVAC system to keep it in good shape and ready to resume service when you return. At the end of your vacation, the last thing you want to do is return to a hot, sweltering home and a big heating contractor bill because you failed to take a few simple precautions before leaving on your trip.
Your HVAC unit is one of the most complex pieces of machinery in your home. It’s also one of the biggest consumers of energy, accounting for about 48 percent of energy use in the typical home in America, and likely even more in hot and humid areas like Tampa. Properly maintaining it when it’s in use and during periods of dormancy such as vacation travel will help preserve the longevity of your unit and help you keep your energy costs down.
Vacation HVAC Checklist
Before your next vacation, be sure to take care of these tasks to keep your unit in good repair and to lower energy costs while you’re gone:
- Turn it down, don’t turn it off – Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t completely shut down your HVAC unit while you’re gone. HVAC units are designed for regular usage, and when they are inactive for long periods, important components can deteriorate and operate at diminished capacity when put back into regular use. Also, when your HVAC isn’t active for long periods of time, moisture can build up in your home, creating conditions where mold can flourish.
- Change the air filters – Under normal conditions, you should change your air filters once a month to prevent them from becoming clogged. While you’re gone, your HVAC unit will be running less often, and dirt and dust will have less of an opportunity to build up on the filters.
- Prepare for adverse weather – Tampa is prone to storms during the summer, and these storms can cause damage to an HVAC unit. The most likely cause of storm damage to an HVAC unit is that of downed trees and limbs. Before leaving on vacation, inspect the area around your unit to see if there are any limbs hanging over it. If there are, remove them. Also, clear the area of underbrush and other objects a storm could cause to collide with your unit.
- Give your home a good vacuuming – Dust and other contaminants will accumulate while you’re gone and will circulate through your HVAC system. Reduce the amount of dust and allergens available to accumulate by giving your home a thorough vacuuming and cleaning before you leave for vacation.
When preparing to leave your home for a vacation, turn your thermostat up by about five degrees. Your unit won’t run as often as it does when you’re there, and the need for a comfortable temperature is paramount, but it will run enough to prevent moisture buildup and to provide sufficient activity for the system. Experts say the ideal temperature to turn up your unit to in the Tampa area is around 80 degrees.
You should still pop a fresh one in the unit before you leave to ensure the unit has the best possible protection from dirt and dust while you’re away. If you’re leaving for an extended vacation of several months, it may be worthwhile to have a neighbor or your regular ac maintenance technician change the filter a few times during your absence.
- Ensure sufficient airflow to your outdoor unit – Good airflow is essential to the operation of your HVAC unit. When the outdoor unit’s air intake is clogged, it has to work harder to perform, consuming more energy and putting more wear and tear on the device. Before leaving on vacation, check the intake on your unit and clear any leaves, limbs, or grass clippings from it.
- Make sure all windows are closed – Closing all the windows will reduce the amount of hot air entering your home, causing your unit to run less often. It’s also just good common sense from a security and safety standpoint.
- Close all your blinds and curtains – Blocking sunlight from entering your home will reduce the temperature inside, thus reducing your unit’s workload. You’ll want to make sure that there’s no direct sun shining on your unit’s thermostat, as this can cause it to indicate the room is hotter than it actually is, resulting in increased usage of the unit.
- Make sure the unit isn’t leaking – A leaking unit is the sign of a serious problem. If your unit is leaking, resolve the issue before you leave for vacation. An AC technician can quickly diagnose the problem and make a fix, averting the likelihood that the leak will result in the system failing. Replacing a system is much more expensive than fixing one, in most cases, so you’ll need to take care of this problem ASAP.
- Make sure all vents are open – Open all the vents in your home to ensure that air flows throughout the system and your house. HVAC systems are designed to operate with maximum airflow, so opening the vents will allow the system to operate in optimal conditions while you are away.
- Clean your system’s condenser coils – Your outdoor condenser coils are vital to the operation of your system. Condenser coils take heat collected from your home and release it into the outdoor air. When condenser coils are dirty, they won’t function at peak efficiency.
You can easily clean your condenser coils with water and coil cleaner but, if you’re not comfortable with doing this, you can get an firm to handle the job for you. If you clean the coils yourself, be sure to turn off the power to the unit before beginning work.
Keeping your coils clean is one of the most helpful things you can do to reduce energy consumption. According to the Department of Energy, dirty coils can increase the amount of energy needed to run your unit by about 30 percent . Giving the coils a good cleaning before leaving for vacation helps ensure they don’t accumulate debris and dirt that can hinder their effectiveness.
- Use a smart thermostat – If you haven’t invested in a smart thermostat yet, now may be an opportune time. Smart thermostats allow you to program your thermostat to run at certain times or maintain certain temperatures. Many can be managed remotely from your mobile device.
Smart thermostats are great for people who own multiple vacation properties, as they can adjust those properties’ thermostats remotely for reduced use when guests aren’t in residence. For vacationers, a smart thermostat can ensure that they don’t return to an uncomfortably hot home.
By taking appropriate steps before they hit the road, vacationers can avoid expensive A/C repair bills when they return. Homeowners can also avoid expensive repair work by entering into service agreements with reputable ac repair and maintenance companies. These contracts provide regular service, such as inspections, coolant recharging, duct cleaning, and more and can help homeowners avoid having to replace their units too early.
Air Rescue is a Tampa HVAC repair and maintenance firm offering a wide range of services, including ac repair, ac maintenance, duct repair and replacement, total system rejuvenation, and furnace repair and replacement. For comprehensive care from a firm with the experience and expertise to handle all problems, contact Air Rescue today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If your current HVAC system is failing to perform to your standards, but you are not ready to invest in new heating and cooling units, you may want to talk to your technician about the benefits of total system rejuvenation . During your total system rejuvenation appointment from a company that offers HVAC repair in Tampa, a certified technician will perform a series of comprehensive repair procedures. This two hour service includes a complete inspection of all major parts, sanitization of your heating and cooling units, and a six month guarantee against repair problems.
To get a head start on your total system rejuvenation, be sure to contact your local heating and air conditioning professionals. With the winter season on its way, now is an excellent time to make sure that your heating and cooling system is fully prepared to help you stay warm and toasty when you are at home.
Your air conditioner provides reliable cool air on the hottest days of the year—or at least it should. Unfortunately, there are times when air conditioners perform less than optimally. When one of those times come, you want to make sure you have top-quality AC repair in Tampa . The best way to get your air conditioner back on line quickly is to sign up for the Air Rescue AC Club.
There are three AC Club membership levels—the higher you go, the more perks you get. First is the silver membership, which includes two tune-ups or filers a year, plus a 20% discount on repairs, $49 diagnostic service, and guaranteed 48-hour response time. The next level up is the gold membership, which comes with a 75% discount on repairs, free diagnostic service, and a guaranteed 24-hour response time. The highest membership level is platinum, which comes with the same perks as the gold membership, plus guaranteed same-day response time. Signing up for any one of the above membership levels can help you save money on AC repair in the long run and ensure that your AC system stays operational.
The summer season is in full force, and your air conditioning is your best line of defense against the hottest days of the year. Whether you are finding yourself spending a considerable amount of air conditioning repair, or you simply feel that it is time to replace your air conditioning unit, you may want to consider a split air conditioner for your next installation. A company offering heating and cooling services and ac installation in Tampa can answer all of your questions about which type of unit will perform best in your household. To help you shop for your next ac unit, here is a look at how split air conditioners work.
Thermostat Detects Warm Air
When a split air conditioner is in operation, its thermostat will continually be detecting the current air temperature. If the thermostat reads an air temperature that is warmer than desired, the split air conditioner will automatically turn on. Typically, the thermostat in a split air conditioner is located on the inside of the unit.
Compressor Circulates Refrigerant
Once the thermostat has told the split air conditioner that it is time to start cooling the space, a component called a compressor will start circulating refrigerant. Refrigerant is a liquid substance that turns into gas as it cools. When refrigerant is sent through the coils inside the unit, it will naturally start to cool down the surrounding air. Low refrigerant in a system can lead to an overall loss of performance and efficiency.
Evaporator Fan Collects Air
As the refrigerant is being circulated through the system, a component called an evaporator will start collecting warm air from the room. The warm air will be sent through a chilling chamber once it has been captured by the fan. After being chilled, the air will be recalculated into the indoor space, resulting in lower overall temperatures. The compact nature of the evaporator and compressor systems allow the split air conditioner to be an efficient addition to any HVAC system.
During the hot summer months, there are several steps that you can take to beat the heat and help your air conditioner operate at its best efficiency. In this video, you will tour some handy tips to help you keep your home cool in the summer. Your air conditioner will be able to cool your home more effectively when you install shades, curtains, or awnings over the sunniest windows in your home. Additionally, you can save energy when you connect your heating and air conditioning to a programmable thermostat. With a brand new ac installation in Tampa, you can rest assured that your air conditioning unit is operating at the best level of efficiency. By keeping these simple times in mind, you can achieve the best cooling performance from your air conditioning system.
There are a lot of factors when choosing your next air conditioning installation in Tampa. You have to think about financial benefits each unit can bring you in the form of energy efficiency, but you also need to know it can get the job done when air conditioning your home. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Determine Your Square Footage
Before you even start to look at air conditioner brands or different ratings, you should know the square footage of your home. Keep in mind that you should only get the measurements for the areas you want cooled. For example, you should not include the garage or an attached shop area, unless they have been converted to include cooling. After you have you found the square footage of your home, then you can start looking at various ratings, which include British Thermal Units (BTUs) and Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).
Find the Correct Cooling Capacity
With the square footage, you can now look to the cooling capacity of various air conditioner units. Cooling capacity is measured by BTUs, and it measures a system’s ability to remove heat from the area. As air conditioners remove hot air, they are leaving cool air in its place. The amounts of BTUs a unit has will determine how big of a space it can cool. For example, a small house measured at 1,200 sq. ft. will need a unit with 21,000 BTUs. A large home at 2,500 sq. ft. will need a unit with 34,000 BTUs.
Consider the Unit’s Energy Efficiency
Whether you are replacing a faulty air conditioner or simply upgrading, you should always be looking for the energy efficient models. The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Energy have the SEER, or EER, rating on every air conditioner available. This rating system states how efficient the unit is based on its cooling capacity. When looking for a new unit, you want a high SEER number. The higher the number is, the more potential you have to save on future energy bills.
Professional air conditioning maintenance in Tampa should be done at least once a year. This means a licensed and experienced heating and cooling company will come out to clean and inspect your air conditioner.
As you watch the video, you may be surprised to find out that every year your air conditioner goes without a professional tune-up, it can lose up to 5% of its efficiency. This means you are losing money every year you go without air conditioning service. The best ways to service and maintain your air conditioner are with professional inspections and cleanings. You should also change your air filters every time they are dirty. Depending on your usage, you may need to change the filters every month. This will keep your indoor air quality high and clean while your air conditioner is running.
Summer has finally begun, and that means it is getting hot outside. With the excess heat and humidity, you may have already turned on your air conditioner to cool down your home. As you use your air conditioning for the first time in months, you may be in need of some air conditioner repairs in Tampa , St. Petersburg, and Sarasota. Here are some key signs you may be in need of some air conditioner repairs or a new unit.
The Air Does Not Feel Right
Most likely, you are going to notice when the air coming out of your air conditioner is not cool, or it may actually feel warm or hot. These are clear signs you should be looking into repairs or even a new air conditioning unit. In addition to the temperature of the airflow, you should also be aware when the flow itself is poor or the air has an odor. If the airflow feels weak, or has stopped altogether, then you are probably looking at a failing compressor. If you smell something odd in the air coming out, then you might have burning insulation or mold in the unit or ductwork.
There Are Loud Noises
When you turn on your air conditioner, you are bound to hear some noise as the unit starts up and air begins to flow. However, loud noises like grinding, squealing, or clanking should not be ignored. You may have a loose belt, broken motor bearing, or a component needs to be lubricated. In most cases, these noises can be an indication that you will need a completely new unit. Consult your air conditioning service company on what is reparable and what needs to be replaced.
The Unit Leaks or Has Excess Moisture
It is normal for an air conditioner to experience condensation, especially when the air is very humid. It is not normal, however, for excess moisture or leaks to occur around the air conditioning unit. Sometimes, these leaks contain refrigerant, which can be harmful to your family’s and your pets’ health. Any possible leaks should be given professional attention right away.
The summer season is about to arrive, and now is the time to contact your HVAC company in Tampa to perform air conditioner repair for your home. With proper air conditioning repair from a highly rated company offering services for your HVAC system , you can ensure that your air conditioning is in proper working condition during the hottest months of the year. By learning about the components of your heating and air system, you will have a better idea of what to look for when something goes wrong. Read on for a closer look at what you need to know about the anatomy of your HVAC system.
Air Conditioning Components
Whether you have a ductless air conditioner or a central unit, your air conditioner will be made up of a condenser and an evaporator. The evaporator is used to generate cool air as refrigerant flows through the lines. By contrast, your air conditioner’s condenser unit is designed to eliminate any excess condensation that is created during the cooling process.
If you use your HVAC system for both heating and cooling, you may have a heat pump in your home. The anatomy of a heat pump is similar to that of an air conditioning unit. As air is pumped into your home, it travels through the heat pump, where is it heated up gradually. With the use of a heat pump, you will be able to cool your home safely, effectively, and in an environmentally friendly manner.
For those homes that are not equipped with heat pumps, a furnace is typically an integral part of the HVAC system. Unlike a heat pump, which creates hot air as it flows through the ductwork of your home, a furnace is a specially designed appliance that creates heat through a combustion system. In order to ensure that your home remains safe when your heat pump is turned on, your furnace will also be equipped with a vent that transports combustion gases safely to the exterior of your house.
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