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Heat Pump vs Air Conditioner: Which is Better For Beating the Florida Heat?

When living in Florida, having an efficient home cooling system like an air conditioner or heat pump is not just a desire, it’s a necessity! Because of the heat and humidity, most Florida residents today rely on one of these systems to maintain not only reasonable comfort levels but to lower humidity levels as well.

But which HVAC system is better for beating the Florida heat? A heat pump or air conditioner?

To answer that question, we first need to explain how the two systems operate. Then we’ll look at 2 factors important to homeowners who might be considering the purchase of a new HVAC system: Cost and Efficiency.

What is a Heat Pump and How is it Different Than an Air Conditioner?

Many homeowners believe that air conditioners work by introducing cold air into the home. But in fact, air conditioners make your home cooler by using a compressed refrigerant to collect heat from inside your home as air passes over the coil in the air handler and pumping it outside. A heat pump, in cooling mode, does the same job. It is a mechanical-compression cycle refrigeration system that can be reversed to either heat or cool a controlled space. 

A heat pump is always working, in summer and in winter, transporting warm air from one place to another, to heat or cool, according to the season. In cold weather, a heat pump will extract the heat outside and move it indoors. When it’s warm outside, the heat pump will reverse direction and operate in the same fashion as an air conditioner to cool the home. 

Cost Considerations: Heat Pump Vs Air Conditioner

The largest consumer of energy in a typical Florida home is the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, which can account for more than 40% of home energy use and, therefore, for more than 40% of your utility bill. Energy use by your HVAC system is affected by many factors such as insulation levels, system efficiency, shading on the home, quality and sealing of the windows and doors, design and integrity of the duct system, and, of course, how the system is used. (1)

In cooling mode, there really isn’t much difference in cost or efficiency whether you use a heat pump or an air conditioner.  But remember, while a heat pump can both cool and heat your home, an air conditioner cannot. It can only provide cooling. This means that you’ll have to pair your air conditioner with a furnace or natural gas unit to provide heat in the colder months.

Another consideration in terms of cost is longevity and unit replacement cost. Since a heat pump both cools and heats a home, it works year-round. For this reason, AC units, which don’t need to run continuously in the winter months, experience less wear and tear and may not need to be replaced as often. 

This expense could be offset, however, by the yearly cost-savings of owning a heat pump, which is more energy-efficient than a furnace in the cooler months. 

Let’s explore heat pump energy efficiency a little more.

Which is More Efficient: Heat Pump or Air Conditioner? 

At Gator Air and Energy, we want our customers to get the best, most energy-efficient products. That’s why we install Trane® cooling units. Trane® offers a variety of air conditioners, heat pumps, and more that range in efficiency (SEER), sound levels, price, and more. 

What is SEER?

SEER measures air conditioning and heat pump cooling efficiency, which is calculated by the cooling output for a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same time frame. A SEER rating is a maximum efficiency rating, similar to the miles per gallon for your car. Your car might get 28 miles per gallon on the highway, but if you’re stuck in city traffic it could be lower. If your air conditioner is 21 SEER, that’s its maximum efficiency. (2)

As we stated earlier, in cooling mode, there really isn’t much difference in cost or efficiency whether you use a heat pump or an air conditioner.

When it comes to heating your home in the winter however, a heat pump will typically be more energy-efficient than a furnace which is paired with an air conditioner. 

Why?

A heat pump transfers or recycles heat rather than generating it as a furnace does. 

Under ideal conditions, a heat pump can transfer 300 percent more energy than it consumes. In contrast, a high-efficiency gas furnace is about 90 percent efficient. Heat pumps are powered by electricity, so you can save substantially on fuel consumption. A heat pump is over 100% efficient in temperate climates with milder winters. (3)

Heat pumps are highly efficient and effective in temperatures as low as 25 degrees. If homeowners use a furnace in the 40-60 degree range, it will provide significantly more heat and power than is needed, which will result in higher energy consumption.

Of course, in order to optimize the efficiency of your heat pump, it’s important to keep it well-maintained. Let’s look at how routine maintenance positively affects efficiency.

How to Optimize Heat Pump Efficiency

As we explained in a previous post, you shouldn’t wait until something’s broken to service your heat pump. Routine maintenance will increase your system’s longevity and prevent expensive repairs. At least once a year, you should:

  • Inspect ducts, filters, and indoor coils for dirt
  • Diagnose and seal duct leakage
  • Inspect heat pump belts for wear
  • Make sure your thermostats are working
  • Verify proper airflow

The more you care for your heat pump, the more likely your heater will work when you need it!

Final Considerations Before Choosing a Heat Pump or Air Conditioner

After you’ve researched the different types of systems, your next call should be to a skilled air conditioning contractor. Why? The operating efficiency of a system relies on proper installation to achieve its performance rating. At Gator Air and Energy, our licensed technicians will advise you on the proper sizing of the system for the specific cooling load of your home. We’ll also ensure the selection and proper installation of thermostats or controls; proper installation and commissioning of the system; and, if required, a duct system designed to deliver the correct amount of conditioned air to each space within the building; and sealing and insulating all ductwork.(4) 

Whether you choose a heat pump or air conditioner for your next HCAV system installation or upgrade, you can relax knowing that Gator Air and Energy provides the highest quality cooling systems to help you beat the Florida heat! 

  References:

  1. http://www.myfloridahomeenergy.com/help/library/hvac/air-conditioning/#sthash.t7XPRHUM.dpbs
  2. https://www.trane.com/residential/en/resources/glossary/what-is-seer/
  3. https://www.trane.com/residential/en/resources/heat-pump-vs-furnace-what-heating-system-is-right-for-you/
  4. http://www.myfloridahomeenergy.com/help/library/hvac/air-conditioning/#sthash.t7XPRHUM.dpb

5 Biggest Furnace Hazards: How to Protect Your Family

 

Furnaces are the most commonly used residential heating system in the United States. Running most often on gas, but sometimes on oil, propane, or electricity, furnaces deliver their heat through a duct system. Since we don’t use our heaters too often in Florida, it’s easy to neglect routine maintenance. But there’s nothing worse than turning on your heater on a cold winter morning and finding your heater not working! According to Angie’s List, some HVAC experts say up to 75% of no-heat calls in the winter are related to a lack of maintenance. 

Neglecting your furnace can also create serious health hazards. Let’s take a look at these common furnace hazards and explain how to protect yourself and your family from these dangers.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a life-threatening emergency that occurs from inhaling carbon monoxide (CO) fumes. CO is a colorless, odorless gas made when fuels such as wood, gasoline, natural gas, or kerosene burn. Breathing in carbon monoxide prevents the body from using oxygen properly, which can harm the brain, heart, and other organs. An estimated 500 people die each year, and 15,000 people are taken to emergency rooms, because of exposure to carbon monoxide. Most of these are avoidable and occur in the winter when our homes are closed and heaters are in use. 

Regular maintenance of your home’s heating and ventilation system will help prevent a carbon monoxide leak. You should also protect yourself with alarms installed on every floor and near every bedroom in your home as well as one by your furnace (at a distance of 10 or more feet away). According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a qualified heating contractor should inspect your home heating system annually. The technician will check your furnace, its electrical and mechanical components, thermostat controls, and automatic safety switches. Checking ventilation systems for any blockages or cracks that could allow carbon monoxide to leak into your home prevents HVAC safety hazards.

Carbon monoxide is especially important to be aware of if your house has a chimney and you use your fireplace. If unchecked for an extended period of time, a chimney can gather grime and soot. This can trap some of the fumes in the house, including carbon monoxide. Even if you don’t have a chimney, the furnace burner, electrical wiring, mechanical controls, and more can also be potential causes of this dangerous gas. A Gator Air & Energy technician can ensure that your house is clean of carbon monoxide and help prevent future issues by finding areas where the gas might get trapped in heating the house.

Allergens

Your furnace heats your home by taking in air, warming it, and dispersing it through your home via ductwork and in-room vents. During the spring and summer months, your unit accumulates dust as well as allergens and indoor air quality contaminants including pollen, mold, and pet dander, which are then circulated through your home when you turn on the heater. The immediate effects of encounters with these pollutants can include:

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Long-term effects from the presence of these pollutants sometimes involve:

  • Humidifier fever
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer

Dr. Adrian Casillas, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of clinical immunology and allergy at the University of California, at Los Angeles, School of Medicine suggests that one way to cure this problem is to have your heating ducts cleaned prior to firing up your furnace for the first time. In addition to cleaning your ducts, Gator Air & Energy will conduct a thorough inspection to check your ducts for holes and leaks, hidden restrictions, and insufficient insulation that could cost you extra money each month on your energy bill.

Fire 

Whether gas or electricity powers your furnace, it has the potential to be a fire hazard for your furnace. As we explained in a previous article, the furnace burner is the spot in your central heating unit where air and fuel are burned to produce heat. Because there’s an actual flame here, it’s very important that the burner is clean of any dirt, grime, grease, or anything else that could inadvertently catch on fire. Gator Air & Energy technicians have the proper tools and equipment to carefully and thoroughly clean your gas or electric furnace and are also trained to identify and remedy potentially dangerous electrical issues such as frayed wires or corroded electrical contacts before they cause a dangerous house fire. 

Crowding

Your furnace needs room and unobstructed airflow to operate properly. You should always keep at least a 3 ft clearance around all sides of your unit. This will not only make it easier for your Gator Air & Energy technician to service your unit but it will help ensure that combustible items are not in the immediate vicinity. Never store volatile chemicals such as gasoline, paint thinners, or paint near your furnace. The high heat and sparks produced could ignite dangerous fumes. It’s also important to avoid clutter around your furnace. Hang laundry several feet away from your unit and keep cleaners and detergents capped securely and at a distance. 

Neglect

Dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating and cooling system inefficiency and failure. Routine maintenance is the best way to ensure your furnace continues to operate at peak efficiency. Trane recommends scheduling an appointment to have a licensed HVAC technician inspect your furnace annually before the heating season begins because most furnace problems can be caught early with preventative maintenance. With regular maintenance, feel confident that when it comes to turning your furnace on, it will work safely. 

Annual maintenance can also save the cost of an emergency call for a costly repair.

When performing routine maintenance on your furnace, a Gator Air & Energy technician will:

  • Check the combustion chamber for cracks
  • Test for carbon monoxide (CO) and remedy if found
  • Adjust blower control and supply-air temperature
  • Clean and oil the blower
  • Remove dirt, soot, or hazardous corrosion from the furnace or boiler
  • Check fuel input and flame characteristics, and adjust if necessary
  • Seal connections between the furnace and main ducts.

We hope this information has deepened your understanding of how important it is to have your furnace inspected by a professional. If it’s been more than 12 months since your last furnace inspection, contact Gator Air and Energy to set up an appointment so we can make sure your furnace will be ready for the next cold snap and you and your family will enjoy a warm and safe winter season!

Switching to heating from cooling, heating tips as Gainesville temperatures Fall!

Everyone that lives in Gainesville and the surrounding areas is probably grateful for the cooler weather we have been experiencing! As you open your windows and turn off the AC. It’s important to prepare for when it gets a little too chilly and it comes time to switch to heating from cooling.

Switching From Cooling to Heating Best Practices

It may seem simple and self-explanatory, and for the most part, it is! But, there are some best practices to ensure that your heating and cooling system are properly prepared for winter.

Furnace Inspection

Before you turn on the heat, a simple furnace inspection can go a long way to guarantee your system is ready for winter. This isn’t completely necessary to do before turning on your heater, so don’t freeze if you can’t get an inspection in time for the cold weather. However, if you are thinking ahead, an inspection is a great way to make sure your system is clean and your filters are changed!

Turning Up The Heat

It is best to switch your system to “heat” after the system completes an entire cycle. Therefore, if your AC is currently running, make sure that it switches itself off. When in between cycles, switch the thermostat from “cool” to “off.” 

Leave the system in “off” mode for at least 5 minutes. If you don’t wait, this could cause issues with your system’s pressure, if the pressure is too high when you switch to “heat,” the compressor can lock up and cause a blown fuse or tripped breaker.

If your heat doesn’t come on right away, you may have to check the furnace itself to make sure it is turned on. Most furnaces have a switch on the side of the furnace, so make sure this is in the on position.

 

Prepping Your AC for the Cold

As Floridians, we don’t have to deal with the same level of temperatures as our friends up North. Even so, there are still steps you should take to prepare your AC for the winter.

  • Turn the power to your AC off: There should be a small box on the outside of your house near the condenser. This is where you will find the power switch for your AC unit. Turning this off is a great way to save energy, as it keeps your unit from turning on during unseasonably warm days, and reduces the risk when completing other maintenance tasks.
  • Clean Your AC Unit: When your AC Unit is turned off, this is a great time to do some cleaning to the exterior of your system. Removing unwanted leaves, dust, dirt, pollen, and everything else that manages to dirty your unit is a great way to keep your unit from getting clogged in the seasons it is running.
  • Cover The AC Unit: Despite not having to deal with snow and very little ice, covering your unit in the winter is a great way to keep your system from cracking or rusting while it isn’t running.

 

Heating Tips for This Winter

We all have felt the increased cost of Gainesville Regional Utilities, better known as GRU, this summer. Gator Air and Energy has already given you our tips and tricks to keeping your AC bill low, so here are some tips to get the most out of your Furnace this winter. Most of which, not surprisingly, is the exact opposite advice to keep your AC bill down.

Keep Your Heater Set to 68°

Similar to keeping your AC at a modestly higher temperature, keeping your heater at a lower temperature will save you money. For every degree below 70°, you can expect to cut your energy bill by 5%. This means you can save 10% on your energy bill, simply by keeping your heat set to 68°. It is called sweater weather for a reason after all!

Flip Your Fan Switch

If you followed our guide to keep your AC bill low, then your fan is probably rotating counterclockwise. Now that the temperature has fallen, and we are switching to heating from cooling, it is time to switch the fan to rotate clockwise. This pushes warm air down and reduces the stress on your furnace.

Direct Heat to the Rooms That Need it Most

The bigger your living space, the more energy it takes to keep your home warm. A great way to reduce energy consumption is to close the vents and doors to rooms that aren’t being used. This keeps the rooms you spend time in nice and cozy, without overworking your furnace..

Don’t Turn Your Heat Off When You are Not at Home

It may seem like turning off your heater when no one is home would be a great way to save energy. If the temperature outside isn’t too cold, this may be the case. But, if the temperature inside your home drops too low. It can take more resources to heat your home back to being comfortable as opposed to turning it completely off.

Not to mention, you also run the risk of your pipes bursting if the temperature of your home drops below freezing.

Improving Your Homes Insulation

Poor insulation in your home could cost you an additional 15% of your energy bill. There are a few DIY methods to improve insulation to reduce your heating bill this winter. The biggest offenders of poor insulation are typically the cracks in your doors and windows. These can be filled with weather stripping or caulk and make a massive difference in your home’s insulation.

Maintain Your Heating System

Just like AC units, heating systems get worn down over extended periods of time. One of the best ways to ensure your furnace is working properly is to schedule an inspection of your system. 

There is also a time when older systems are so inefficient that they cost more money than a new system would save you. Especially in the Gainesville area, there are a lot of older homes that have been using the same system for over 15 years. If this is the case, it may be time to consider the value of a new furnace or heat pump for your home.

Are you ready to switch your system from cooling to heating?

Now that you have these tips and tricks for heating your home this winter, you should be better prepared to save money and reduce wear on your heating system. There are a few best practices that only experts in the HVAC industry can perform, and for these services, Gator Air & Energy is your go-to Gainesville HVAC company this winter!

Get in touch with our experts today, to ensure that your family stays warm this winter, without breaking the bank!

Replacing Your Central AC Unit – What You Need to Know 

AC units can last a very long time. With proper maintenance and care, homeowners can go 10-15 years without replacing their units. Eventually, the time will come when purchasing a new unit will give you more value than repairing an old one.

Gator Air & Energy wants to prepare Gainesville and Ocala for anything that comes your way when it’s time for a replacement Central Air Conditioning Unit.

Signs That You May Need a New AC Unit

Air conditioners are essential to making it through North Florida’s hot and humid summers. There are some telltale signs that your AC unit is in need of a replacement. 

  • Frequent Breakdowns

  • Blowing Hot Air

  • Poor Airflow

  • AC Unit won’t turn off or on

In most instances, a repair can solve these issues, At Gator Air and Energy repairing is always the first option. We do what we can to save our customers time and money, and if it is cost-effective, we will always recommend repairs over replacements.

When Should You Repair and When Should You Replace Your Central AC Unit?

There are instances where replacing a unit will be the more cost-effective and efficient option for home and business owners. There are 3 major factors that help determine whether you should replace or repair your air conditioner.

  • The Age of Your Unit

With the average life expectancy of an air conditioner at between 10-15 years, it doesn’t make much sense to continue maintaining and repairing a unit that is going to continue causing you problems.

  • The Cost of Your Energy Bills

Regardless of how well-maintained your current unit is, old units will be less energy efficient and have higher energy bills than new ones. 

A new unit could end up being a long-term investment and over time eventually save you money.

  • The Cost of the Repair

In most cases, it is more cost-effective to repair a central unit than to replace one. This is especially true when dealing with a relatively new system. But as time goes on, the money you put into old AC units becomes less and less valuable. 

“The Rule of 5000” is a good practice to reference when making this decision. That is, if the cost of the repair X and the age of the unit exceeds 5000, it may be time to consider replacing the unit.

How Can I Prevent Broken AC Units?

You can take plenty of preventative measures to make your AC units last longer. Gator Air & Energy goes deep on keeping your AC running smoothly in this blog article.

New Central AC Unit

Total Cost of a New AC Unit In Gainesville

The cost of new air conditioning can vary greatly depending on square footage, energy needs, and many other factors. The only way to know 100% what a new central AC unit is going to cost is to have an expert evaluate your energy needs.

What Goes Into a New AC Unit Cost in Gainesville?

With such a wide range of what a new AC unit can cost, it is evident that a lot of factors go into the pricing of a new unit. Here is a brief rundown of what you are paying for when getting a new air conditioner.

Air Conditioning Unit Energy Efficiency

Gator Air & Energy installs Trane® air conditioners, these units vary in energy efficiency based on their SEER.

What is SEER? 

A SEER is the rating or ratio a central AC unit is given that is based on how energy efficient the unit is. SEER actually stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is determined by the output divided by the Watt-hours of the central AC unit.

Trane® (our go-to HVAC system) has a great blog post that goes into great detail about what a good SEER rating consists of. 

Central AC Unit Capacity

The size of your home or commercial space plays a large part in what your AC unit capacity needs are. While being too small can obviously cause issues, being too large can be just as detrimental. 

A central AC unit that is too big can cause the unit to turn off and on too often, which can cause issues with removing moisture from the home, which is super important in Gainesville’s swampy climate!

Ductwork Modification

Having ductwork that fits the requirements of your AC unit is extremely important to the longevity and performance of your system. 

Because different units have different requirements when getting an HVAC system replaced it is important for the installers to make any necessary modifications to your pre-existing ductwork.

Electrical Costs

Some older AC units do not have thermostats with the level of air control that you will want with a new HVAC system. This can occasionally require updating the control wiring to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Gator Air & Energy only recommends the best option for your HVAC needs!

What If I Can’t Afford a Replacement AC Unit?

An entire new air conditioning unit can be expensive, and not many people have the cash on hand to cover such an unexpected cost. Luckily, Gator Air & Energy has financing options available to make replacing your central AC a more approachable option. With credit approval, you can receive a loan with no down payment, convenient monthly payments, and easy account management. 

This allows our customers to make the financially smart decision, even if they don’t have the ability to pay for it up front!

Get An Estimate on How Much Your AC Replacement Will Cost in Gainesville.

With so many factors to consider when choosing which HVAC Unit meets your needs while still maintaining an affordable price, an expert needs to evaluate your space to give you the best and most accurate price estimate.

Gator Air & Energy has the experience and expertise required to give North Central Florida residents the best possible options when it comes to AC installation.

GRU Energy Costs Increasing? Try Our 10 Energy Saving Tips!

Are you feeling the pain of increasing energy costs this summer? You are not alone. Gainesville has been affected by the GRU rate hikes, brought on by increasing natural gas and energy costs. But are there steps you can take to mitigate these cost increases? Yes! Gator Air and Energy specializes in energy efficiency, and we want to give you some tips on how to keep your energy bills as low as possible with these energy-saving tips!

Save Energy by Decreasing the Stress on Your AC

Gainesville is hot – really hot. This means that your air conditioning has to work extra hard to keep you cool, which increases your energy costs. Any stress you can take off of your AC unit will help keep prices down. Here are some tips to do so!

Keep Your Blinds Shut!

As much as we all love keeping our homes and apartments filled with natural light, this can heat up your space fast! We recommend keeping your blinds closed, especially at the hottest times of the day. 

Is Your Fan Running? It Better Be!

Fans can decrease the temperature in your rooms by up to 4 degrees! This means you can keep your thermostat running at a higher temperature without being uncomfortable. One thing to keep in mind is that your fans should be rotating counterclockwise in the summer. This creates increased air circulation and produces a nice breeze effect

energy saving ceiling fan

Turn the Thermostat Up.

Duke Energy confirms that every degree your thermostat is set above 78, can decrease your bill by up to 10% (if your apartment complex allows it). If you are out of the house during work hours, consider raising your thermostat a couple of degrees, and turning it back down when you return.

Replace Your AC Filters.

A congested AC filter can take a toll on the efficiency of your unit. A dirty filter can decrease airflow and force your AC to work harder for the same results. This is also a great practice to increase your indoor air quality!

Ensure proper insulation.

If you are a homeowner, ensuring that your home is properly insulated can make a huge difference in your energy consumption. If you are a renter, consider speaking to your landlord about your insulation. This will help not only in the summer months but the winter months as well. Many homes and buildings in Gainesville are older, so they may not have the best insulation.

Consider a Smart Thermostat.

This is one of the more costly solutions to help lower your energy consumption, but there are many great Smart Thermostat options available that can help regulate your home’s temperature. 

Close Vents and Doors!

The bigger your space is, the more likely you are to be cooling rooms that are not in use, such as guest bedrooms. By closing the vents and doors in these spaces, you can keep the other rooms in your home cool at a lower price.

Get a Free Energy Audit 

Gator Air and Energy offers free energy audits to GRU customers! We offer these services to both Residential and Commercial customers, as part of our efforts to save Gainesville money and energy!

Use LED light bulbs!

Not only can LEDs use 75% less energy, but they also emit less heat! This means you aren’t warming your rooms up by using old and energy-inefficient bulbs!

 Schedule an Air Duct Cleaning.

If your air ducts have leaks or debris clogging the airflow, this can greatly reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning. We at Gator Air and Energy have duct cleaning services that can save you money on your monthly energy bill!

HVAC  Gainesville FL Gator Air & Energy

How can Gainesville Air and Energy Help?

Apart from these simple, free DIY tips and tricks, AC maintenance can help you decrease your energy bills greatly! Gator Air and Energy takes energy efficiency seriously, it’s one of our core values! Not only does it help mitigate the increasing energy costs our customers are all facing, but it also mitigates your carbon footprint and helps the environment!

What Is Required to Perform Home AC Services in Florida?

Florida AC services are extremely important with our consistently high temperatures. Running your HVAC system more leads to increased issues and outages, causing a high demand for repairs. How can you decide what repair company to hire? Looking at a company’s licenses, certifications, and experience can provide the best indication of its reputation. Knowing that the repair company you hire has licensed and certified employees will ensure you can trust them to get the job done right.

Training and License Expectations 

In Florida, technicians must undergo educational training and obtain a license to perform HVAC work. While there are several options to become a professional HVAC contractor, they all have key requirements:

  • Degree, typically from a community college or trade school.
  • Hands-on experience. 
  • Passing two licensing exams.
  • Associated fees.

What Types of HVAC Licenses Are There?

License options have increased with the growing demand for repairs and new HVAC technologies. It’s important to know which type of license a technician has and the requirements they had to meet. In fact, you can verify if a company is reputable by looking at the DBPR (Department of Business and Professional Regulation) website. Here you can see if they are licensed and what type of license they have. You’ll find that technicians have 4 main licenses requiring different education levels, work experience, and fees. 

Here is a list of these four licenses, ordered from highest qualification to lowest.

Class A – State Certified 

This is the most comprehensive certification that allows a technician to work anywhere in the state of Florida. To earn this license, you must have plenty of experience and workers compensation. Having a class A state-certified license is an indication of a reputable contractor.

Class A – State Registered 

For a localized option, technicians can choose to get the class A state registered license. While this only allows for work in specific areas, the fees are lower, and it only requires you to meet local standards. 

Class B – State Certified 

Unlike class A, this license restricts the types of air conditioning systems you can work on. However, you’re still required to complete a four-year degree and at least 1 year of work experience. Benefits of a class B license include lower exam and renewal fees.

Class B – State Registered 

While a class B state registered license may have the least requirements, it also has the highest restrictions. HVAC technicians may only work in specific locations and only on certain types of air conditioning systems.

Pick the Professionals at Gator Air & Energy

Our team is made up of highly qualified contractors that have experience in helping the Gainesville community with their AC services. Finding a reputable company is the key to keeping your home and family comfortable through the Florida heat. At Gator Air & Energy, we maintain the highest standards for our technicians, just as our clients deserve. Contact us today to hire professionals you can count on.

Commercial Air Conditioners: 3 Maintenance Tips

Living in Gainesville, FL, air conditioning is an essential part of life. We use it at home, in the car, and where we work. If you own or manage an office or some other type of commercial facility, it’s important that you properly maintain your facility’s commercial air conditioners. The well-being of your tenants, employees, and assets depends on it.

Read on to learn the three most common AC maintenance tips for commercial AC units.

How Can I Properly Maintain My Facility’s Commercial Air Conditioners?

You may wonder if maintenance on commercial air conditioners differs from residential units. The answer is yes and no, but commercial units have many of the same maintenance needs. Here are the most important maintenance tips for taking care of your commercial AC unit.

1. Use a Smart or Programmable Thermostat

Thanks to technology, controlling the indoor temperature of a commercial property is much easier than it was a decade ago. We now have the luxury of smart or programmable thermostats.

commercial air conditioners - trane smart thermostat

Smart thermostats do everything programmable thermostats do but with the added benefit of remote control. Additionally, smart thermostats track and provide vital information such as the commercial HVAC system’s health, performance, and efficiency.

They can provide you with error messages or warnings and even inform you when to change your unit’s air filter. At a minimum, when it comes to your commercial HVAC system, you want to ensure you can schedule your run times. In other words, outside the normal office or hours of operation, you want the system to keep the temperature slightly warmer to save energy costs and reduce unnecessary wear and tear.

2. Clean the Indoor and Outdoor Units Regularly

Keeping your commercial air conditioners clean is vital. When it comes to the outdoor unit, keep it clear from tree limbs, weeds, and any other debris. Rooftop commercial HVAC units might be even more susceptible to overhanging tree limbs or leaf litter.

Be aware of pine needle build-up inside the unit from our many North Florida pine trees for both rooftop and ground-based units. The indoor unit must have a clean condensate line and regularly maintained ductwork. Dirty ductwork will reduce the efficiency of your unit and lead to unhealthy indoor air quality.

Lastly, make sure you regularly change your commercial HVAC system’s air filter. How often you change the filter depends on the type of filter and the manufacturer’s recommendations. It’s best to consult with a commercial HVAC professional to determine what’s best for your system.

3. Get the Unit Professionally Maintained

Regular maintenance by a qualified commercial HVAC professional is ideal for your commercial air conditioner. A professional HVAC contractor has all the tools necessary to run diagnostics tests and identify potential problems before they arise.

Additionally, trained technicians have the proper equipment and materials on-hand to clean the unit, change out filters, and inspect certain electrical components that would otherwise be dangerous for an untrained professional to handle.

Contact Gator Air and Energy for Your Commercial Air Conditioner Needs

At Gator Air & Energy, we can help you with all your commercial air conditioning needs, including emergency commercial AC repair, AC maintenance, or AC installation. Our repair services start with proper diagnostics followed by clear advice to help you determine the best solution.

Allowing us to provide routine maintenance every 6-12 months will help prevent unnecessary repairs. Please reach out to us today for all your commercial air conditioning repair service needs here in Gainesville, Florida, and the surrounding areas.

3 Common Myths About Air Conditioners

Air conditioners are an amazing invention. Can you imagine living in North Central Florida prior to air conditioning? However, there are many myths about them. Everyone has their own “nugget of wisdom.” Although they may seem logical, many of the popular beliefs about air conditioners aren’t necessarily backed by facts. Read on to learn three of the most commonly held myths regarding air conditioners.

What Are the Most Common Myths About Air Conditioners?

This list isn’t exhaustive, but here are the most common myths about air conditioners.

1. Closing Vents In Unused Rooms Saves Energy

It makes sense logically. If you have an office or guest room in your house that you rarely use, why strive to keep it cool? You could save money by cooling less square footage and redirecting the air to help keep the other parts of your home cooler, right?

Closing your AC vents actually decreases your air conditioner’s efficiency. Whether a few vents are closed or not, the same amount of air is pushed through your ductwork by your system. This excess air in the ductwork causes pressure to build up and makes your HVAC system work harder to distribute the air to the other parts of your home.

Another issue is excess moisture build-up in your unused rooms. Living in Gainesville, FL, we have very high humidity during the summer months. A hot, humid environment in a room can cause damage to furniture, electronics, clothing, flooring, and walls. These conditions can also lead to mold growth.

Therefore, closing vents in unused rooms isn’t the best strategy.

2. Bigger Is Better

When it comes to the size of your air conditioning unit, bigger is not always better. Air conditioners must be tailored to the square footage of your home. An oversized unit reduces efficiency and causes higher indoor humidity and short cycling.

air conditioners - a picture of the outside air conditioning unit.

Short cycling is when your air conditioning unit starts and stops rapidly. This happens because an oversized unit cools your house too quickly — causing drastic temperature swings. Short cycling causes issues with your unit over time through unnecessary wear and tear.

Another issue with rapid cooling is that your house will not be cooled evenly. This means you will have some areas of your home that are overly frigid and other areas that are blazing hot.

3. Set Your Thermostat High When You’re Not Home

Another common misconception is to turn your thermostat up when you’re not home during the day or when you go on a trip. Although it’s true you can set your thermostat slightly warmer to conserve energy, setting your thermostat high in the morning and then cranking it back down when you return in the evening makes your air conditioner work harder.

Think about it this way: it’s way easier for your unit to maintain a cooler, consistent temperature than to cool it back down again, causing it to use more energy and creating more wear and tear. Another issue is excess humidity build-up, especially when you go out of town for a few days. In Florida’s climate, humidity levels can build up in your home far too quickly and cause mold growth or damage to drywall within days.

It’s okay to turn your thermostat up a couple of degrees when you’re not home, but don’t overdo it. For example, if you like to keep your thermostat at 73℉ while you’re home, set it to 75℉ while you’re gone. Most new systems also have schedules you can program on their thermostats so you can have a slightly warmer home during work hours and have it cool again by the time you return.

Contact Gator Air and Energy for All Your Air Conditioning Needs

At Gator Air & Energy, we can help you with all your air conditioning needs, including emergency AC repair, AC maintenance, or AC installation. Our repair services start with proper diagnostics followed by clear advice to help you determine the best solution.

Allowing us to provide routine maintenance every 6-12 months will also help you prevent unnecessary repairs. Please reach out to us today for all your air conditioning repair service needs here in Gainesville, Florida, and the surrounding areas.

Characteristics of a Reputable AC Company

What’s worse than having your AC unit stop working? Gainesville residents are fully familiar with the oppressive heat and humidity in North Florida, so we love our central air conditioning. In the unfortunate event that your air conditioner stops working, you need to know what AC repair company you can call and trust. You want to make sure the company has certain characteristics. Read on to learn some of the most relevant ones.

What Should I Look for in a Reputable AC Repair Company?

Licenses and Certifications

Like any homes services industry such as plumbing, electric, or general contracting, the HVAC industry comes with its own list of required licenses and certifications. In Florida, technicians must have a license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). You can also verify their license on the DBRP website.

There are different classes of licenses that carry different requirements depending on where and on what type of equipment a contractor wants to work. Reputable Florida AC repair contractors will have an updated license that is verifiable on the DBRP website.

Transparency

When it comes to finding a reputable contractor for AC repair services, another red flag to look out for is a lack of transparency. Reputable contractors should gladly and willingly walk you through every step of the AC repair process and answer any questions without push-back.

After the diagnostic tests and before performing any AC repairs, the HVAC technicians should go over the scope of work necessary to fix the issue and outline the cost of the repair. They should explain why they’re replacing a particular part of your unit and why that part is important.

Industry Best Practices and Regulations

Reputable AC repair companies will follow local ordinances and regulations like pulling permits and getting inspections when necessary.

If a replacement unit is installed, it’s required to be inspected by a certified inspector. This state-certified inspector will pass or fail the inspection based on the city codes currently in effect. Copies of the report are also made available to both the customer and the contractor. It’s a major red flag if an HVAC company tries to circumvent or dismiss the need for an inspection.

Contact Gator Air and Energy for AC Repair Services

Here at Gator Air & Energy, we can help you with your AC emergency service needs. Our services start with proper diagnostics followed by clear advice to help you determine the best solution.

Allowing us to provide routine maintenance every 6-12 months will also help you prevent unnecessary repairs. Please reach out to us today for all your air conditioning repair service needs here in Gainesville, Florida, and the surrounding areas.

Common Issues Leading to AC Repair Service

As Florida homeowners, we have unique challenges regarding our air conditioning repair service needs. Due to North Florida’s long summers and nearly year-round demand for air conditioning, our HVAC systems experience different types of stress than our northern counterparts. For this reason, we are taking a look at the most common issues that require AC repair service in our area.

Signs You Need AC Repair

Having to call an AC repair service company to come out to your home or business can feel a little intimidating. We ask ourselves questions like, “What if I call an HVAC service technician to come out, and it turns out to be something simple that I could’ve solved myself?” We may also wonder, “How much is this going to cost?”

The following are the most common issues that air conditioning repair service technicians encounter during service calls.

  • Bad AC contactor or capacitor
  • Blown breaker
  • Air handler condensation line blockage
  • Faulty compressor

AC Repair or Replacement

Bad AC Contactor or Capacitor

What is an AC contactor and capacitor? Think of this duo as being like your AC unit’s “spark plug.” An AC contactor and the separate capacitor are small components that fit in the palm of your hand that build up enough electrical charge to initiate the compressor in your exterior condenser unit to “kick on.” Over time, corrosion builds up on the contactor, or the capacitor loses its charging ability — preventing them from doing their job.

Keep in mind the contactor and capacitor don’t have to go out simultaneously. If one is bad, they will not work in tandem. Usually, when one or the other is out, it’s easiest to have both replaced simultaneously. One telltale sign that you have an issue with your contactor or capacitor is if your outdoor unit’s fan is turning on, but your system is not blowing cool air. The lack of cool air means the compressor is not turning on.

It’s important to note having a bad compressor will also cause this issue. We will cover a bad condenser in the final section.

Blown Breaker

Every electrical circuit in your home has an associated breaker. Appliances and systems like your HVAC System require higher amperage, so they tend to have higher amp breakers in your home’s electrical service panel. Sometimes, the breaker associated with your AC unit will go out for various reasons. One cause is if the AC unit is pulling a high load of amperes (amps) that exceeds the breaker’s limit.

Breakers are rated according to their maximum amp load. If this load is exceeded, newer breakers have a mechanism that will automatically shut them off. However, in some cases, the breakers are damaged due to overload. This requires breakers to be replaced. Your constantly-running AC unit places a great load on the breaker. An indicator of this issue is if your HVAC system won’t turn on at all.

It’s best to have a professional replace breakers. It can be dangerous for homeowners to attempt to replace breakers on their own.

Air Conditioner Condensation Line Blockage

Central HVAC systems have air handlers. Air handlers are usually in the home’s utility closet or garage. These units have internal coils that create condensation as they cool the air. This condensed water collects in a condensation pan near the bottom of the air handler, where water is then drained out via a condensation line. These condensation lines usually drain the water outside on an exterior wall.

When air filters become dirty or if there are leaks in the system that allow air to circumvent the filter, debris builds up in the condensation pan and mixes in with the water. This dirty water can lead to blockages in the condensation line.

Newer HVAC systems come with a float switch component designed to shut the system down should the water level in the condensation pan exceed a certain threshold. This prevents the pan from backing up and causing water damage to your home.

Often, blocked condensation lines are the culprit for a system that won’t run. A blocked condensation line is an easy fix and can be solved by flushing the line or physically clearing the blockage.

A Faulty Compressor

Earlier, we talked about how a bad capacitor or contactor can allow the outdoor condenser unit’s fan to run but keep the unit from cooling because the compressor won’t turn on. When your fan is running, but your air isn’t cooling during a cooling cycle, the hope is that it’s just a bad capacitor or contactor because they’re cheaper and easier to replace.

However, a faulty compressor will present the same symptoms, and it’s much more expensive to replace. An HVAC professional will determine the cause after running a few diagnostic tests.

Contact Gator Air & Energy for Air Conditioning Repair Service

At Gator Air & Energy, we help the residents of Gainesville and surrounding communities keep their homes cool. We provide AC repair service in Lake City, High Springs, Alachua, and Melrose. Our experts can troubleshoot and solve any of your AC repair needs. Do you need air conditioning repair service at your home? Call us today at (352) 389-4396 or fill out our online contact form to get a quote!

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