Orlando summers involve serious heat and the ever-present threat of a hurricane. Both can wreak havoc on a house. Take steps now to ensure that your home survives the summer intact.
Service Your Air Conditioner
Florida air conditioners work twice as hard as other air conditioners. These workhorses are no different than their counterparts, but their cooling loads are much heavier. AC maintenance can restore your overworked system to a like-new condition and prime it for optimal performance. AC breakdown may be every Florida homeowner's worst nightmare, but unless your system is on its last legs, annual tune-ups will keep it going strong.
Replace an Older AC Before It Bites the Dust
Central air conditioners generally last 15 to 20 years with good maintenance. If your unit is nearing the end of its service life, consider replacing it now. If it goes out, you could wait days for a technician, and your replacement options will be few. A new system with the minimum SEER will be way more energy-efficient than what you have now. You’ll have time to find a sweet deal, and you'll have peace of mind knowing that your new system is under warranty.
Consider a variable speed AC upgrade: Do you want the ultimate in high-performance cooling? A variable speed air conditioner will deliver that and more. For Florida homeowners, variable speed AC may be the most energy-efficient cooling option there is.
Traditional air conditioners only run at full blast. After achieving the thermostat setting, they turn off. Variable speed systems achieve the thermostat setting, but they don't turn off. Instead, they maintain the desired temperature with longer and slower running times. The long cycles use less energy and deliver a steady flow of cool indoor comfort. Long-run times also increase air circulation, and that lowers humidity and improves indoor air quality.
Protect Your AC During a Storm
The outside condenser unit is a sturdy piece of equipment. However, extreme weather events can irreparably damage the appliance. Follow these steps to protect it in the event of a hurricane:
Turn off the electricity to your air conditioner to protect it from power surges.
Once it’s powered down, cover the AC unit with plywood or a tarp.
If your area is prone to flooding, talk with an HVAC technician about placing the unit on an elevated platform.
Assess the storm damage before turning your AC back on.
Keep Windows Covered by Day
If you don't use window coverings, the sun can turn your cool home into an inferno. Closing drapes, shutters, blinds, and curtains during the day can cut indoor heat accumulation significantly. Most of the heat inside your home comes from the sun, so keeping the sun out means keeping the heat out.
Beef Up Attic Insulation
Attic insulation will keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Orlando homeowners can save up to 15 percent on heating and cooling costs by insulating attics, crawl spaces, and basement rim joists.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable devices are affordable and come in all shapes and sizes. You can set a basic programmable thermostat to automatically reduce cooling output while you’re at work or when no one is home. These devices can cut cooling costs by up to 30 percent.
Keep AC Air Filters Clean
Nothing wrecks an air conditioner faster than a dirty filter. When your AC has to force clean, cool air through a clogged and grungy filter, airflow is restricted. Indoor air is contaminated, and your air conditioner can be severely damaged. The unit will be subjected to excessive wear and tear that can significantly shorten its lifespan. An overworked air conditioner burns up a lot of energy, so utility bills will go up.
When you can't see the filter through the dirt, or you can't see light through the filter, it's time for a replacement. Check the filter every month, and replace it before it reaches the grunge zone. The Department of Energy tells us that keeping filters clean can reduce cooling costs by up to 15 percent.
Bottom line: Explore your cooling options by scheduling a free AC installation consultation with ServiceOne Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We're in Orlando and Longwood, and we're always happy to help. To schedule an appointment, call (407) 499-8333.