This post will cover AC hurricane protection. But before we do that, we need to stress the importance of personal safety during tropical storms and hurricanes. These recommendations are common sense, especially if you live in Florida. But nevertheless, in case we're in the midst of another hurricane or tropical storm:
The first thing you want to do is shut everything down, including the circuit breaker. If a power outage occurs, shutting your system down will reduce the risk of blowing out circuits and frying your compressor when the power comes back on. Power surges are also a fire hazard. So it’s imperative you keep your AC system shut off. If you have a window AC unit, unplug it right away. And if you have a backup generator, prepare it for use. A backup generator will allow you to use ceiling fans and other appliances during a power outage.
Cover your outdoor air conditioning unit with a tarp to secure it from flying debris and water damage. But only do this during hurricanes, not during a typical rain or thunder storm. As the infographic above indicates, a tarp is not a good idea for regular use. But it can be helpful to protect your outdoor condenser against debris during a tropical storm or hurricane. Also, secure your AC with hurricane straps and tighten the bolts to keep the base intact.
Bring all potential flying objects indoors. And keep an eye out for any other potential flying debris such as tree branches. Anything that could land inside and severely damage your outdoor condenser during high winds should be cleared before the storm.
The first thing you should do after a hurricane or tropical storm has passed and it’s safe to go back outside is to make sure your AC unit was not damaged during the storm. Don’t just fire it back up like nothing happened! Water may have damaged your system or debris could be lodged in the fans or ducts. So give it a thorough inspection first. Lightning strikes could have also damaged your air conditioning unit. We recommend you contact one of our HVAC technicians before firing up your AC unit. Again, if you need help inspecting your air conditioning system after a storm, call Super Heat & Air and we’ll do it for you!
AC hurricane protection is crucial to ensuring your air conditioning system will survive hurricane season. And as you already know Tampa Bay gets hot! So if your AC unit has been severely damaged during a hurricane or tropical storm and needs to be repaired or replaced, ask us about portable AC units. Portable air conditioners will help keep you cool until the AC repair can be completed.
We all know weather forecasts have been wrong in the past. But whether the weather is bringing rain to Tampa Bay this summer or not, a common concern for homeowners is air conditioner rain protection. It’s a valid concern and a frequently asked question with all the heavy rain that happens around here. But really, your AC system will be fine outside in a rain storm for the most part.
People seeking to protect their air conditioning units might seize the tarp and throw it over their outdoor AC unit to shield it from rain damage. However, putting a plastic or rubber tarp over your air conditioning unit during a rain storm may cause more harm than good. That's because tarps can trap moisture and actually cause your outdoor unit (also known as the condenser) to rust or gather mold and mildew. So when it’s raining outside, leave the tarp alone.
So rain alone will probably not do any harm to your air conditioning unit. But what about severe weather storms? This is Florida, and we do get hit with hurricanes, tropical storms and sometimes even tornadoes. So in this case, there is cause for concern. Here are some ways you can keep your air conditioning unit protected during severe weather:
Storms can make stuff fly around outside. Any objects such as patio furniture, toys or scraps can become flying kamikaze objects that could strike your AC unit and cause serious damage. Be sure to clear away any objects or debris such as tree branches that can slam or fly into your air conditioner.
You can purchase hurricane straps to protect your AC unit during ... um … hurricanes, of course! And because no Super Heat & Air blog post would be complete without a shameless plug, we would like to mention that every air conditioning unit Super Heat & Air installs comes with hurricane anchors to hold it to the ground.
Yeah, we just threw in a little old-school hip-hop on that heading for fun. But seriously, you should invest in a backup generator. When severe weather happens, the power can go out. And we’re in Tampa Bay, which can get hot. Very hot! And muggy. And humid. And … oh hell, you get the point, you live here! You know what it's like. Having no power and no working AC in your home will not be a pleasant experience, especially if you're stuck inside during a severe rain storm. A backup generator is a wise investment to keep your air conditioner running during a power outage.
Air conditioning units are built to be tough. But regardless, an outdoor condenser submerged underwater could sustain serious, permanent damage. There’s not a whole lot you can do on your own to protect your AC units from a flood, but that’s where we come in! Let’s hope it never happens, but in case your condenser unit finds itself under water, Super Heat & Air will come out and check the damage for you. We'll make sure your air conditioner is back up and running in no time!
Coming up with an exciting Mother’s Day present is always a challenge. You want to get your mother and the mother of your children (if you have them) something special. And because you never want to give the same gift twice, each year it’s harder to come up with something new and exciting to show Mom appreciation on her special day.
(Cricket. Cricket.) ...
Ok, ok, hear us out for a second! Yes, we know an air conditioner is not your typical Mother’s Day present. But come on: you’ve already done the flowers thing more than once. You’ve done the dinner, the chocolates, the gift cards, the day at the spa and pretty much everything that everybody else has already done over the years!
(Cricket. Cricket.) ...
Older AC’s typically have a low Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER rating. The SEER rating of an air conditioning unit, according to U.S. Department of Energy website Energy.gov, “indicates the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output.” So if Mom’s air conditioning unit is several years old, it probably has a low SEER rating. And it's probably consuming a lot of electricity too, which is costing her money!
What that means is our AC units will save mommy lots of money! Not sure if your mom already has an energy efficient air conditioning unit? Besides asking your mom how old her air conditioner is, you can also check to see if it has the ENERGY STAR® label on it. If it doesn’t, your mom is paying way too much on energy bills! Every new air conditioner Super Heat & Air installs is up to code. And we ensure that Mom’s new AC unit will save her the most money possible every month on energy bills. So you’re not just saving momma money. With a new air conditioner installation from Super Heat & Air, you are providing the woman who gave you or your children birth the gift of comfort, as well as improving the quality of the indoor air they breathe!
So you just read this (entirely shameless plug of a) blog post and thought, “Nah, I can’t afford a new air conditioner for mom.” Well, think again! We have many affordable financing plans available for our customers with approved credit! (See the cleverly placed Zero Percent interest financing ad below this paragraph)
So there you have it, a nontraditional Mother’s Day gift that will keep on giving for many years to come for that special mom in your life! Forget the chocolates, bypass the spa and put a stop to the flower shop!
When we invest in something as expensive as a car or an air conditioning system, we hope it will last forever. Unfortunately like cars and humans, air conditioners age and eventually die. As mentioned in the last post, regular maintenance is the best way to prolong the life of an air conditioning system. But even with regular maintenance, air conditioners are not built to last forever.
As we already mentioned, air conditioners age and eventually die. The older AC systems get, the more prone they are to breaking down. If your air conditioner is more than 15 years old, you can pretty much assume its on its way out. An air conditioner that makes it to the age of 20 is somewhat of a miracle, especially in Florida. But with the evolution of HVAC technology, it’s also considered inefficient at this point and should be replaced anyway.
A good idea to keep in mind as a homeowner is to start preparing a “retirement plan” for when your AC system hits the decade mark. That means you should prepare for your AC to kick the bucket by the age of 15 and start budgeting for a new one before it happens.
If your energy bills have been steadily rising over the years, it’s also a sign that your air conditioner is dying. It could be due to parts wearing down, which cause the AC system to lose efficiency over time. Higher energy bills doesn’t exactly mean that your air conditioner is going to die. But it’s a tell-tale sign if your energy bills are still on the rise even after performing routine maintenance and repairs over the years. So if the cost of running your AC system becomes unreasonably expensive, it’s time to replace it.
Before you replace it due to rising energy bills, have an AC technician give you a diagnostic and repair anything that could be causing it to lose efficiency. But if no amount of repairs solves the problem, expect to have a funeral for your air conditioner soon!
Your AC system isn’t only supposed to cool your home. Part of its job is to remove humidity from the air. So if your home feels increasingly humid regardless of whether the AC is cooling, it’s a sign your air conditioner is dying. A noticeable increase in the humidity of your home tells you that your AC system is losing its ability to do its job. So if it’s not removing moisture from the air like it should, it’s time to replace it.
Before you do, have a professional check if the evaporator coil needs replacing. The evaporator coil is responsible for removing moisture from your home. If fixing or replacing the evaporator coil doesn’t solve the problem, be ready to buy a new AC system.
Your AC system constantly needs fixing. This one is pretty obvious, but if you find yourself constantly calling us or any other air conditioning company to make repairs on your AC system, you know it’s on life support. So when it comes to repair vs replace, consider what it’s costing you to have your air conditioner constantly repaired versus just replacing it altogether.
One of the signs that your air conditioner is dying is that it seems to run all day, even if you have it programmed not to. That doesn’t mean it’s a problem that can’t be fixed. It could be low on freon or it could be something as simple as a damaged contactor. But if the problem is not addressed, you'll probably be facing the death of your AC system soon enough.
A quiet AC systems is a healthy AC system. So if your air conditioner rattles or hums louder than usual, you need to call us for help. Strange noises can mean anything from loose components to debris buildup. And if any of these issues occurs and are not addressed quickly, your AC system is surely on its way to our AC graveyard!
With regular maintenance, your AC system could reach or even surpass its life expectancy! But every air conditioning system eventually breaks down and needs to be replaced. So be on the lookout for these signs that your air conditioner is dying. And unless your air conditioner is past its prime, make sure you don’t jump the gun and buy a new one until a professional diagnoses these problems for you.
Remember too that newer AC systems are much more efficient than older ones. So if your AC system has surpassed the decade mark, at the very least start thinking about looking into brand new high-efficiency models. And don’t wait for “Old Yeller” to kick the bucket! Make sure you’re ready to invest in a new system when the inevitable death of your old one happens.
Many variables help determine the lifespan of an air conditioning system, especially in Florida. It’s not a difficult question to address. But there isn’t a definitive answer either, if that makes sense. The longevity of air conditioning units and HVAC systems as a whole can vary based on factors like type of AC unit; size of the unit; who the manufacturer is; how often it’s used; the environment it operates in; and of course, how well it’s been maintained. The typical answer in Florida (if all goes well) is approximately 10-15 years, but it could last up to 20 years or more.
Of course, the climate in the Sunshine State has a lot to do with the lifespan of an AC unit. After all, an air conditioner (aka condenser) in Florida is exposed to hot, humid weather. And of course Florida is no stranger to severe storms like hurricanes and thunderstorms, which also come into play. If you live in a coastal area, add exposure to salt and sulfur into the mix. So how long does an air conditioner last in Florida? The climate you chose to live in certainly works against its lifespan.
We’ve said it a million times and we’ll say it again: maintenance matters! It could mean the difference between an air conditioner that lasts 20 years and one that craps out after 10. A well maintained air conditioning system has been cleaned regularly, had seasonal tune-ups performed annually, and had its air filters changed often.
Summertime heat in Florida takes the biggest toll on an air conditioner. And whether you live in Florida or not, the Sunshine State is notorious for its searing heat and intolerable humidity. If you've been negligent with having routine maintenance performed, don’t be surprised if your air conditioner dies before it hits the age of 10!
Air conditioning systems in Florida are used twice as much as those found in cooler states. So if you’re lucky, your AC system will live past the decade mark. And we’ve also mentioned before that an air conditioner that’s 10 or older is no longer considered energy efficient by today’s standards. Additionally, if your AC system runs on the soon-to-be-phased out R-22 refrigerant, you’re going to have to replace it anyway.
Remember too that if your air conditioner is not receiving regular service, it has to work harder and use more energy to do its job. And the harder it has to work, the faster it will lose efficiency and experience wear-and-tear. Much like a dental cleaning to prolong the life of your teeth, a good rule of thumb is to have one AC maintenance performed every 6 months. This goes a long way toward extending the lifespan of your AC system in Florida. And again, something as simple as replacing the air filters at least every 3 months is something you can do yourself to help prolong the life of your investment.
Another thing you can do yourself to prolong the life of your air conditioning system is to keep the outside condenser clear of debris. If you have shrubbery or anything else blocking your outside unit, it may shorten its lifespan. Doing your due diligence and keeping up to date with the care of your air conditioner conditioner is the best way to ensure its longevity.
Here's the deal: professional duct cleaning is not an easy process. It involves the use of specialized blowers, vacuums and brushes to clean out the supply, intake and return ducts in your home. Duct cleaning also involves a thorough cleaning of the air handler, registers, grilles, fans, motors, housings and coils of the HVAC system. With dirty ducts, you could be breathing in anything from dust to cobwebs to pet hair and who knows what else! Aside from that, dirty heating and cooling coils, motors and air handlers can make your HVAC unit less efficient. That means it will cost more to operate your AC system.
We’re not going to B.S. you here: sometimes duct cleaning is not necessary. Regular preventative HVAC system maintenance could spare you the need for duct cleaning. So before you call us to schedule a duct cleaning, we want to make sure you actually need one. But we will say that regular air conditioning inspections and maintenance are necessary. And having these done often helps prevent situations that would lead to the need for duct cleaning service.
When you schedule an inspection and/or maintenance for your AC system, technicians will recommend and implement measures to prevent your ducts from becoming polluted. Duct cleaning is not cheap. And maintenance and inspections are designed to (among other things) prevent your ductwork from becoming infected with mold, allergens and pollution. The EPA recommends professional duct cleaning in the event of mold growth, vermin, recent construction or renovation, indoor smoking and excessive amounts of dirt and debris in your ducts.
If there's any visible mold growth inside your ductwork, your ducts and entire HVAC system need to be cleaned. Breathing in these pollutants will have serious negative effects on your health.
If there’s any evidence of animal nesting or breeding in your ducts, you should have a professional animal control service remove them and immediately have your ductwork and HVAC system cleaned out.
Any buildup of debris, pet hair, odors, or other contaminants found in your ducts after the registers have been cleaned and vacuumed will require a full duct cleaning service.
If someone living in your home has an unexplained allergy related illness , you may want to have your air ducts cleaned to help ensure more severe respiratory problems don’t develop over time.
If your home has been renovated, your ductwork needs to be cleaned to remove any asbestos, lead paint or significant dust and debris from construction.
Yes, rodents can crawl up into your ductwork and start nesting in it. So if you hear strange noises coming from your air conditioning system and want to check for yourself if anything is crawling in there, you can do your own inspection. Simply remove the register grill and look around with a flashlight, or attach your phone to a selfie stick and fire off some photos.
This could help you find vermin (dead or alive), as well as droppings and other nastiness like mold. If you find anything in there that shouldn’t be there, you should go ahead and schedule a duct cleaning.
We’ve covered HVAC scams in the past. And these include duct cleaning scams. Some unscrupulous HVAC services will advertise duct cleaning specials with dirt cheap gimmicks. For example, “This Week Only: $49 for an entire duct cleaning service!” Don’t buy it! Again, a full duct cleaning service can't be done cheap. A routine maintenance, however, can be done inexpensively. And Super Heat & Air advertises a $29.95 maintenance special for first time customers only (cough cough, call us). But an entire home duct cleaning service costs hundreds of dollars. And it requires a lot of time, equipment and manpower that too-good-to-be-true offers cannot cover!
Super Heat & Air offers $100 off duct cleaning service because it costs more than $100 to provide a comprehensive duct cleaning, period! If an HVAC service is offering a super cheap deal on a duct cleaning service, take it as a red flag for a bait-and-switch.
By the way, you should only call Super Heat & Air for duct cleaning service! But whether you call us or somebody else, make sure the technician does a full cleaning of the ducts and the entire air conditioning unit. Also make sure the technician shows you the “before and after” of what was cleaned. That means you should always ask to see what needs to be cleaned first and then ask to be shown the end results after. And you should also request and be provided with a full visual inspection after the job is done. Get before and after photos from the technician. And make sure you get an itemized bill of everything that was cleaned too.
Another way to avoid duct cleaning scams is to ensure you check references from other customers who were provided duct cleaning service and what they got for their money. Check online reviews of any air conditioning company you are considering hiring ahead of time. And even though we encourage you to hire us, you should shop around and get written estimates from at least three HVAC companies.
In case we haven't already hammered it home, a comprehensive duct cleaning is not a small job! It can take anywhere from 2-5 hours to complete. Or even a couple of days for larger houses with a lot of ductwork. A thorough cleaning isn’t just sweeping the ducts. It also includes cleaning every component that air passes over such as coils and the central system.
Duct cleaning involves at least two workers, several hours or days and costly equipment. This is why you should never trust a service that advertises a duct cleaning service for any less than $300 (and that’s pushing it). The price will depend on the scope of work. But it typically costs hundreds of dollars even for the most basic home duct cleaning service. So if you see a duct cleaning special for a two-digit price, buyer beware!
A professionally handled and comprehensive duct cleaning can yield long-term energy savings. After all, dirty coils and blowers are efficiency killers. And a professional duct cleaning will include cleaning essential components in your HVAC system. Removing dirt and debris from your ductwork and all essential components of your HVAC system prevents it from having to work harder to heat or cool your home, which leads to energy savings.
The hot, humid weather that makes us want to fire up our air conditioners is also weather that is prone to thunderstorms. The idea that a nearby lightning strike can affect your home’s HVAC unit is a legitimate concern. But running your AC during a thunderstorm can lead to some serious damage.
We know what you’re thinking: “Turn off my AC during hot weather? No way!” We’re sorry to inform you that the best way to prevent lightning damage to your air conditioning system is to shut it off during thunderstorms. But the good news is humidity and temperatures can drop during thunderstorms, so it’s not so bad now, is it?
Make no mistake about it: damage caused by a lightning strike can kill your air conditioner, which is full of sensitive electrical circuitry. (FREESTYLE ALERT!) This could lead to a costly air conditioning repair, and that’s when you know it’s time to call Super Heat & Air! (Pretty slick, huh?)
But anyway, an air conditioner’s system controls can be corrupted if a lightning strike occurs while the system is operating. It may not damage your HVAC unit right away. But the power surges that follow an outage from a thunderstorm can mess up your air conditioner. Power surges create a spike in voltage that can damage appliances and electronics. The effects of lightning strikes on an air conditioning unit may not be immediately noticeable. However, you may experience poor performance from your unit over time.
Lightning strikes can create a plethora of problems for your air conditioning unit, including a damaged capacitor. It’s one of the parts most commonly affected by lightning and one of the most common problems associated with a damaged air conditioner. Basically if the capacitor goes, the compressor will soon follow.
A compressor is one of the most expensive parts of an air conditioner to fix or replace. And it can take months for an air conditioning system to fail after the compressor has been damaged. A spike in voltage could also cause the breaker to trip or fuses to blow due to damaged electrical lines. A power surge can burn electrical wires within the air conditioner or within your home, which could lead to air conditioning unit failure.
Ever seen an abstinence PSA, where they say the best protection from pregnancy or STDs is abstinence? The same principle can be applied here: the best way to protect your HVAC unit is to abstain from using it during a storm. That means there is lightning protection out there for your AC. But unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot you can do to prevent a direct lightning strike from damaging your air conditioner during a thunderstorm. We can’t predict when or where lightning will strike. However, there are protective measures you can take to reduce the risk of damage.
One measure you can take is surge protection for your entire home. Surge protection is a great idea and a wise investment. However, it may not provide enough protection alone against a lightning strike. Aside from surge protectors, you can have lightning rods, conductors and ground rods installed to create an alternate path for lightning to reach the ground and prevent it from traveling through your home’s electrical system. But again, the best protection is to not run your air conditioner during a lightning storm, period.
After all, a dirty air filter may cause many unlucky mishaps to your air conditioning unit and can actually kill your AC. ... You might be saying to yourself, “Kill my air conditioner? No way! Come on, really, how important is an air filter?” We understand your doubt. After all, it’s just a cheap little thing made of paper and cardboard that goes in your air conditioning unit to trap some dirt, right? How much harm can a dirty little air filter really cause?
Oh boy, are you in for a surprise! You probably already know that your air filter keeps pollution and debris out of your air conditioning unit. But most people don’t realize an air filter — that cheap little paper and cardboard thingy — really can wreak havoc on your air conditioning system if it gets clogged. We know you probably have a busy life and can easily overlook checking your AC's air filter, but the fact is changing it is a pretty simple task and replacing it is relatively cheap.
When your air filter is dirty, everything that moves past it gets dirty too, including your air ducts. And if your air ducts are dirty [cue: scary music], the air you’re breathing is dirty too! Keep breathing that filthy air and instead of wearing a Jason Voorhies hockey mask for Friday the 13th, you’re going to need a Darth Vader mask to breathe! You should get your air ducts inspected and cleaned anyway, and (here comes the shameless plug) when you get your air ducts cleaned by Super Heat & Air, you get $100 off for an entire home duct cleaning service!
No, we're not talking about the classic rock band that brought us “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. In this context, AC/DC stands for Air Conditioner/Dirty Components. As we already mentioned, everything that gets past dirty air filters gets dirty too. So if your air filter is dirty, your AC components will get dirty too. Makes sense, right? We’re talking components like dirty cooling coils, which eventually leads to freezing evaporator coils, which could block airflow and that’s not cool! Frozen evaporator coils cause your system to work harder, which means higher energy bills and possibly total system failure, which means you will have to get your AC replaced [cue: horror scream]! And getting your air conditioner replaced is a dirty deed that CANNOT be done dirt cheap!
Dirty air filters can also be deadly to your air handler (the indoor A/C unit blowing the air throughout your home). A dirty air filter can cause the air handler to overheat and break, which is another problem that is not “dirt cheap” to fix. An overheating air handler is most common during the summer, when your air conditioner is most frequently used. A clogged air filter means reduced airflow, which in turn causes the fan motor to work harder. If the fan motor burns out from being overworked, it could result in overheating and eventually system failure. So if you let your AC break down during a hot Florida summer, we’re not talking about Friday the 13th anymore: we’ll be talking about Hellraiser instead! Don't be a pinhead: change your air filter!
Hey, did we mention that when your air filter is dirty, everything that moves past it gets dirty too? … Yeah, yeah, we know, it’s getting a little redundant, but the best way to get the point across is to hammer it home! Allergens can cause more than just the sniffles. They can cause headaches, fatigue, and a slew of other nasty symptoms you won’t like. The most common cause of allergic reactions to air conditioning is a dirty air filter. So when your air filter is dirty, it becomes less effective at blocking dirt, dust, mildew and other allergens from flowing through your indoor air. And yes, at the risk of being redundant once again: you’re breathing that stuff in! [cue: jump scare]
We already mentioned reduced air flow’s effect on your fan motor due to a dirty air filter. But reduced air flow also leads to cooling inefficiency, which in turn leads to higher cooling bills. Air conditioning units are designed to meet a certain amount of internal airflow. And if yours is struggling to produce that airflow, it will raise your energy bills to horrific highs! A simple changing of your air filter once a month or even every 3 months (for higher quality filters) is not only simple and inexpensive, but will save you money on your monthly electric bill. Pretty scary, huh?
We’ve covered indoor air quality in the past. But we also understand that not everybody reads everything we post. So every once in a while we’ll revisit a subject that is of the highest importance to what we do. And indoor air quality is of great importance not only to the HVAC business, but to homeowners as well. After all, you can’t live without air and indoor air quality is well … a pretty big deal!
People typically spend more time indoors than outdoors. From your home to your job, you likely breathe more indoor air than outdoor air on a daily basis. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, human exposure to air pollutants may be a lot higher than outdoor levels. In Florida, mold is a particularly significant contributor to poor indoor air quality due to high humidity.
So while people might struggle to breathe due to high levels of pollen and pollution outdoors, they might not fare better indoors if the air quality is bad. Long-term exposure to mold, dust and other indoor air pollutants leads to serious respiratory problems down the line. Since studies have shown that indoor air quality can be worse than outdoors, evolving HVAC technologies are bringing ways to move outdoor air in to minimize issues with indoor air quality.
The “V” in HVAC stands for Ventilation. And natural ventilation, which describes air movement through open windows and doors, can improve indoor air quality. One way of lowering indoor air pollutants in your home is to increase the amount of outdoor air intake. And natural ventilation can be beneficial at times when humidity levels are lower in Florida. So if the humidity is high, it’s best not to open your windows for long periods of time because it could lead to mold growth in places like closets and cabinets where there’s not much ventilation.
Poor ventilation can also ruin indoor air quality because proper air circulation reduces moisture in the air. So if your home feels stuffy or you see condensation around the house, its ventilation is probably poor. Scheduling AC maintenance at least once a year can help reduce moisture indoors and allow an AC professional to identify ventilation issues in your home.
Modern homes are built with energy efficiency in mind. And duct systems are often built tighter to save energy, which could cause ventilation concerns. Dirty or leaky ductwork can negatively impact your indoor air quality. So it's important to have your ductwork inspected and cleaned at least once every few years. Super Heat & Air offers top-notch duct cleaning service, and we can easily identify and repair any ductwork issues to purify your air and greatly reduce the amount of pollutants that can make their way into your home.
We’ve mentioned it over and over again, and we’ll mention it again: change your air filters! Doing so at least every 3 months significantly helps improve indoor air quality. Air filters keep out dust, pollen and other airborne pollutants that affect your health. And a dirty air filter reduces airflow, which increases energy consumption and could damage your AC system. Always check your air conditioning system’s air filters and replace them when they’re clogged or dirty. We advise changing them every 90 days if you don’t have pets and every 60 days if you do. And if you have more than one furry friend or suffer from allergies, replace your air filter every 30 days.
Keeping your indoor air quality clean requires constant airflow moving through your air conditioning system. And higher efficiency AC systems run at lower power for longer periods of time, which keeps the air flowing constantly. This not only improves your indoor air quality, but saves you money by being more energy efficient. If you’re not ready to buy a new AC system, you can have a high efficiency air filtration system installed in your home. It can work with your existing HVAC system to deliver cleaner air to your home.
Humidity makes the air feel hotter than it actually is. In Florida we are constantly running our AC systems because it feels hot during times of high humidity. Your central air conditioning system removes moist, humid air from your home. As we mentioned before, high humidity can cause mold growth, which leads to greater health problems. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends keeping humidity levels inside your home somewhere between 30-60%.
Clean and vacuum your home at least once a week
Monitor pest control to keep your home free of bugs
Wash dust-collecting linens such as bedding, curtains and stuffed toys regularly
Use eco-friendly cleaning supplies instead of chemical-based household cleaners
Ensure proper ventilation for all gas appliances
Don’t smoke tobacco products indoors
Keep your windows closed during times of high humidity and pollen
Use ventilation fans in bathrooms, kitchens, attics and basements
That’s right, your air conditioning system is your best friend when it comes indoor air quality. As we mentioned, air conditioning is more than just about comfort. Your AC system provides cool air, but it helps control indoor air quality as well. When maintained properly, it provides clean air and does wonders for your health! This is especially true for high efficiency AC systems, which are designed with evolving technologies to provide cleaner indoor air.
Stating the obvious. We're an air conditioning company (duh!). So first and foremost, if you're sunburnt, spend some time inside with some air conditioning! ... Yeah, yeah, we know. This seems obvious, right? But one of the best ways to prevent heat-related illnesses after baking in the sun is to cool your body down in an air-conditioned environment. And what would a Super Heat & Air blog post be without a call to action to call us? So if your air conditioner is broken: call us! (Brilliant!)
While your air conditioner is broken, stay in a shaded area or sit under or near a fan until we come by to fix it.
Common sense too. Before you go get toasted, check the labels on your sunscreen. If your sunscreen bottle is from last year, make sure it hasn’t expired. And if you don’t understand what a sunscreen’s Sun Protection Factor — more commonly known as SPF — is, and you’re not sure what level of SPF sunscreen to use, buy one with at least 30 SPF as a rule of thumb.
All sunscreens are not created equal. And neither are all skin types. So buy a sunscreen made for your skin type. For example, cream or lotion-based sunscreens are best for dry skin. On the other hand, gel sunscreens are better for oily types of skin. Have you ever missed a spot and it burned like hell while the rest of your body feels fine? Yeah, it sucks. So remember to apply sunscreen evenly over all areas of your exposed skin. That one unprotected sunburnt spot will ruin your day!
Your lips don't lie. You want to get a tan so you can look good, right? And looking good will probably increase your chances of getting kissed, right? So protect your lips from the sun too. Don’t be a chap-skate (that’s not a typo)! Spend a little extra cash and buy a lip balm with at least SPF 15 to protect your lips from sunburns. High SPF lip balms also protect your lips from nasty, ugly, itchy cold sores (ewwww). Because if you get one of those, who's going to want to kiss you anyway, right?
Oh the pain! Oh the misery! OH THE … alright, we’ll stop. You probably already know how bad being sunburnt is, so we don’t need to exaggerate (much) here. But there are ways to reduce the pain and redness of existing sunburns. One way is to take ibuprofen, aspirin, or other anti-inflammatory medication as soon possible to reduce swelling and irritation. And just like reading the labels on your sunscreen, read the labels on these medications too before taking them.
Another thing you can do for relief is apply a cool cloth to the affected area to dampen the skin and reduce the pain. You also want to hydrate by drinking water or other clear fluids after over-exposure to the sun and to help reduce fatigue. Aloe vera is a common remedy for sunburnt skin. It minimizes redness while cooling off the irritation. And if you don’t have aloe vera and you don’t mind looking like breakfast, take an oatmeal bath or apply cold yogurt to the affected areas instead.
Not always cool. We already mentioned that we're an air conditioning company, right? Of course we did! And you’re reading this blog post so you already know that! But while we're all about being cool, we have to be anti-cool here when it comes to putting ice on a sunburn. Applying ice to a sunburn seems like a logical choice. But ice creates what’s called an “ice burn” feeling, which can actually make your pain even worse! Sunburns and ice don't go well together. So find another way to cool down. Speaking of things that don't go well with sunburns ...
Lukewarm is the way to go. If you've been overexposed to the sun, then yes, do make your way indoors where the air conditioning is. You know, the cold, soothing, can’t-live-without-it air conditioner like the ones Super Heat & Air installs. But seriously, like applying ice to your skin may seem logical, the same goes with cold showers. A lukewarm shower is better suited for sunburnt skin, as it will help to improve circulation. And a cold shower can actually backfire on your sunburnt skin. That's because your body temperature could rise to counteract the cold water and actually make you feel even hotter than before.
We often give tips about cooling efficiency from the inside of your home, but it’s good to look outside as well. Your condenser is outdoors, and it needs a good amount of space to live in. The condenser cools down the refrigerant in the system and turns it from a hot vapor back into a cool liquid. The condensing coil dumps the heat picked up inside the home to the outdoor air. So the quicker your condenser can do its job, the lower the chances your system will break down. Not to mention it will save you money on electricity if it does its job efficiently.
We get it: that big box isn’t necessarily attractive. But homeowners often make the mistake of wanting to conceal their condenser unit by trying to cover it up. If you want to conceal your condenser unit, that’s cool and all, but do it properly. That means not trying to cover it up with objects that can obstruct it. In other words, don’t do something like build a deck over it to hide it. Interfering with airflow around your condenser unit will make your air conditioning system work harder, which costs you money.
Having your outdoor condenser unit shaded with bushes or perhaps a lattice fence around it can help improve its efficiency. But having too many obstructions around it can seriously damage your condenser unit. “Let it breathe, let it breathe! Speaking words of wisdom, let it breathe!” … Sorry.
A shaded area can be created by strategically planting different kinds of plants or vegetation around the condenser. This could help your system run more efficiently and prevent the unit from overworking. However, you want to surround it with plants that have little or no shedding of leaves. Anything that can block the airflow over the condensing coil can damage it. So planting trees or bushes that shed leaves or branches can cause the debris to block its airflow. And the less air flows over the coil, the less heat is removed. That’s a bad thing!
Keep in mind too that as the shrubbery gets bigger, it's going to crowd your condensing unit. So it’s always important to keep the landscaping around your condenser up to date. If you decide to plant shrubs around the unit, make sure there is a good amount of space between the closest branches. We recommend at least three feet of space or more.
Dirt and leaves around the condenser unit can cut air flow, too. If enough dirt gets between the fins of the condenser, it’s going to reduce airflow. Make sure you trim the plants around the condenser and clear away any debris. We also often recommend with our shameless plugs to have your AC maintained regularly. So, you know, calling Super Heat & Air and taking advantage of our $29.95 Maintenance Special is a great thing! AC maintenance includes cleaning of the condenser coils, so it’s wise to call us and get it done!
You can prevent damage and extend the life of your condenser by making sure that the coils and fins don’t get physically damaged. By installing a border such as a stone border around the base of your condenser and filling it with rocks or gravel can help keep your condenser clean. This could also help protect it from muddy rainwater runoff and from rocks and grass kicked up by your trimmer or lawn mower. Outside debris like grass, sticks, rocks, and even small critters like lizards can do a number on your air conditioning system if you neglect condenser care. ... Yes, even lizards! And this is Florida, which has no shortage of geckos.
The location of your air conditioning unit greatly affects its energy efficiency. Allowing your outdoor unit to breathe improves ventilation. When a condensing unit is too close to the wall, it can create major problems. If there’s more than one condenser unit and they are too close to each other, they will literally be fighting for air!
Proper spacing around and above your AC unit should always be considered when laying out the area around the condenser. As mentioned before, we recommend keeping plants and other obstructions at least two to three feet from the condenser on all sides. We also recommended keeping at least five feet of clearance above the condenser.
Keeping your AC system clean both inside and outside will ensure its longevity. Change your air filters regularly and have routine maintenance done inside but don’t neglect the outdoors. Get the most out of your air conditioner by keeping obstructions out of its way.
The MERV rating on an air filter was designed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to rate the effectiveness of air filters. In other words, MERV ratings indicate an air filter’s ability to remove pollutants from the air. So the higher MERV rating, the higher its performance.
We think clean air is important. And most would agree that everybody wants to breathe clean air. So we’ll never stop reminding you about the importance of changing your air filters. It’s good for your health, as well as for the health of your air conditioning system. The MERV rating on an air filter serves as a guide for making a purchasing decision. Factors to consider when choosing an air filter include whether anyone in your home suffers from allergies; whether you have pets in your home; and of course, the cost of the air filter.
The MERV rating is determined by comparing the filter’s efficiency to the particle size it can capture. So again, the higher the MERV rating, the more efficient it is. The most recommended MERV ratings for residential filters are between MERV 7 and MERV 13. Most airborne contaminants can adequately be removed with an air filter within those ratings.
Anything higher than a MERV 13 is typically found in a hospital environment, where air sanitation is of the highest importance. Most air filters of MERV 6 or higher are effective at trapping dust, mold spores, tobacco smoke, pet dander and pollen. Anything below that, good luck breathing! The MERV rating of an air filter probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to the average person. But if you're a person dealing with pets or allergies, then you should care more. Higher-rated filters are beneficial to those who are chronically ill; have respiratory conditions; or live with family members who have health issues.
These air filters are the cheapest ones and are considered the bare minimum of efficiency. MERV 6-8 filters protect your HVAC system, but are not considered the most effective at catching large portions of airborne particles. So if anyone in your home has allergies or a respiratory condition, you should consider getting a higher MERV air filter. Filters with a MERV 6 rating are more affordable and will do the job for the most part, as long as you don’t have furry pets or ashtma.
These air filters are also common for household use and are still fairly affordable. But MERV 8-10 filters capture more of the large particles and at least half of the smaller particles like pollen, mites, and mold and mildew spores. These air filters are also a more affordable option for allergy sufferers than higher MERV filters. So if you’re looking for a high quality common household air filter that’s efficient with airflow, then a MERV 8-10 filter is all you really need.
MERV 11-13 air filters are somewhat of a middle ground between the cheap ones and the more expensive ones. They capture nearly all of the largest particles, as well as most of the smallest ones. If you have pets and dander is an issue, a MERV 11-13 will be much more effective at cleaning your indoor air. These air filters are also highly recommended if you or anyone in your family has heavy allergies or asthma. And they provide highly effective residential air filtration for a much healthier breathing environment.
MERV 13 air filters are considered the best overall for residential HVAC systems. Schools commonly use MERV 13 air filters to provide clean learning environments for their students and staff. It’s worth noting that anything higher than MERV 13 is not recommended for residential use. MERV 13 air filters are highly effective at removing a higher range of particles including smoke, bacteria and even some viruses. They're perfect for people who are prone to illness and need the cleanest, most sterile environment possible.
These air filters are incredibly efficient, but are not recommended for residential use. They're large and bulky, and are designed primarily for heavy duty filtration in places such as medical facilities. However, air filters with MERV ratings above 13 tend to restrict airflow. That’s because they have smaller pores to capture smaller particles. A MERV 14 or higher air filter can create more resistance in airflow than a residential HVAC system is designed to handle. And a reduction in the air flow of your system can worsen the air quality in your home, as well as put too much pressure on your AC system.
Before shopping around for higher efficiency air filters, do your research. Make sure the air filter you purchase is not too efficient for the size of your AC system. Also keep air flow restriction in mind. And if you don't have pets or any respiratory problems, do you really need to spring for a super high efficiency air filter? Remember too that higher MERV air filters need to be changed more often to avoid restricted airflow that can damage your AC system.