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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!

How to Choose the Best Air Conditioning Unit for Your Home

Living in North Florida, we’re no strangers to smothering heat and humidity, and our climate is a real testing ground for air conditioners. Choosing the right air conditioning unit is one of the most important decisions homeowners can make. Our goal is to find an efficient, reliable system of the proper size and capacity for our home that requires minimal repairs over its lifespan. Read on to learn what to look for when choosing the best AC unit for your home.

What to Consider When Choosing an Air Conditioning Unit

When selecting an air conditioning unit for your home, there are several factors to consider, including the following.

Your Home’s Condition

Bigger is not always better. Many homeowners make the false assumption that if they buy a massive air conditioning unit — regardless of their home’s square footage — it will effectively keep their home cooler. Although it seems that simply having a bigger air conditioning unit is best, an oversized or undersized unit creates several issues.

There are other important variables to consider besides square footage. Therefore, it’s best to have a professional home energy audit completed to account for the following.

  • Local climate
  • Existing ductwork quality
  • Insulation quality and window condition
  • Home floorplan and construction materials
  • Sun exposure
  • Occupants living in the home

These energy audits are integral to tailoring an AC system to your home. Keep in mind if you’re replacing a unit, you don’t necessarily want to replace it with the same size system. It’s best not to assume that a proper size unit was installed the first time.

Central AC vs. a Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioning Unit

These factors will also help you determine if you should choose a central system or go with a ductless mini-split. Central HVAC systems are just as they sound with a centralized outdoor unit (or 2 units if the home is 2-story) and an indoor component called an air handler. The air handler is usually located in the garage or utility room. Central units also have ductwork usually run through the attic that distributes cool or warm air throughout the home via the air handler.

Ductless mini-splits, on the other hand, are not centralized. Instead of supplying air throughout the entire property like centralized systems, they are individual units that cool and heat specific rooms or areas of the home.

There are pros and cons to each system type. Central HVAC systems generally make a home’s interior more appealing because the air supply vents are less noticeable. However, mini-splits may be a better option for homes that don’t have existing ductwork, have limited space, or had a recent addition.

Mini-split installation is also simpler and less invasive because it’s ductless, creates cost and energy savings, and gives a home greater curb appeal because the outdoor unit is much smaller than a central system.

Brand

Like any product or system, many different companies manufacture air conditioning units. Although we service multiple brands of HVAC units, we exclusively install Trane air conditioners, mini-splits, furnaces, and heat pumps. Trane produces industry-leading HVAC systems that are reliable and resilient in the Gainesville, FL climate.

These systems come with various thermostats, including smart thermostats, so you can efficiently cool and heat your home. These thermostats provide users with filter cleaning and replacement notifications along with system errors or warnings. Choosing the best brand is important to stay comfortable all year long.

Trane Air Conditioner

Budget

Upgrading or installing a new HVAC system is a major homeowner decision. Therefore, determining your budget is an important factor in deciding what type of system to have installed. Some homeowners may not be able to make a large purchase right away. In those situations, it may be more cost-effective to repair an existing system until their budget allows them to install a new system.

Another option is financing for those who qualify. Financing a system helps offset the upfront costs of installing a new system and allows homeowners to spread the cost out over monthly installments. Regardless, choosing a reliable system like a Trane is ideal because, like most things in life, we get what we pay for.

Contact Gator Air & Energy for AC Installation

At Gator Air & Energy, we help the residents of Gainesville and surrounding communities keep their homes cool. We install air conditioning and heating systems in Lake City, High Springs, Alachua, and Melrose. Our experts help you choose the optimal HVAC system by assessing your home and performing an audit. During our installation process, you can expect punctual service, clear communication, expert technicians, and friendly faces. Ready to schedule your AC installation for your home? Call us today at (352) 389-4396 or fill out our online contact form to get a quote!

Breathe Easier: Improving Indoor Air Quality

How often do we actually think about indoor air quality? Whether at home or the office, we’re usually more concerned with temperature than we are with quality. However, low-quality air presents a host of issues. Read on to learn more about the most common contaminants and how to improve and maintain your indoor air quality.

Indoor Air Quality

Just as it sounds, indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the air inside building structures and can sometimes refer to its immediate outside air. Air quality is usually defined as it relates to human health. Indoor air pollutants can cause various human health issues depending on the type, dosage, and length of contaminant exposure.

North Florida’s Most Common Indoor Air Contaminants

The main sources of indoor air pollution in the Gainesville area include:

  • Mold
  • Excess Moisture
  • Radon
  • Formaldehyde
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Construction Dust
  • Household Cleaning Products
  • Pet Dander
  • Bacteria

Note, that this list isn’t exhaustive. Depending on life habits, this list can be much longer or shorter. For example, well-maintained homes feature better air quality than homes where cleanliness is poorly maintained.

Indoor Air Contaminant Health Impacts

Florida is a peninsula with a warm and humid climate. Therefore, mold is a common issue in many homes and offices. The presence of mold indoors isn’t unprecedented. Instead, issues arise when the mold count indoors begins to exceed the outdoor count — mold concentrations indoors should be nearly identical to outdoors.

Mold begins to get out of control when homeowners fail to practice some of the following habits:

  • Regularly running their air conditioner unit during the humid summer months.
  • Quickly identifying and addressing an unwanted water source like a slow plumbing leak or roof leak.
  • Running their bathroom’s vent fan while showering.

There are thousands of mold species, and some are more toxic than others. Additionally, mold sensitivity varies from person to person, increasing in concert with mold exposure. In other words, the longer a person is exposed to mold, the more their sensitivity increases.

Nearly every home contains various levels of VOCs and formaldehyde from building materials such as insulation and flooring. When a remodel or construction project is completed in a home, there is likely construction dust that can affect the human respiratory system. Homes with pets also contain dander and hair, which can become trapped in crevices and the home’s HVAC duct system.

If left unchecked, these contaminants work together to cause diseases and conditions, including weakened immune systems, cancer, respiratory illness, allergies, and a host of other issues.

How to Improve and Maintain IAQ

Improving and maintaining indoor air quality is accomplished by the following:

  • Properly maintaining your home’s HVAC system.
  • Regularly cleaning your home.
  • Keeping your thermostat setting within an appropriate range (68°F – 78°F).
  • Quickly addressing water leaks from faulty plumbing or leaky roofs.
  • Checking caulking around windows to ensure they’re properly sealed.

Dirty return duct

These habits form a great starting place for improving and maintaining indoor air quality. Most of these habits, including some aspects of HVAC maintenance, can be performed by the average homeowner. For example, homeowners can maintain their HVAC system by regularly replacing their air filter every 1-3 months. Other aspects of HVAC maintenance, such as duct cleaning, can be done by a professional.

Contact Gator Air & Energy For a Healthier Home

Here at Gator Air & Energy, we can help you with your indoor air quality. Our services start with proper HVAC system maintenance, including coil and pan cleaning, air filter replacement, duct cleaning, and UV light installation in the HVAC system’s air handler.

Practicing good home cleaning habits and allowing us to provide routine maintenance every 6-12 months will help you breathe easier in your home. Contact us today for more information about our indoor air quality services here in Gainesville, FL, and the surrounding areas.

How Can I Protect My Outdoor Condenser?

There are a host of outdoor elements that your condenser is exposed to daily. Animals, debris, extreme heat, and flooding can all cause damage to your outdoor unit, but there are ways to protect your investment from damage. At Gator Air & Energy, we want to help you keep your air conditioner running as long as possible, so we have some advice on how to prevent damage to your outdoor condenser.

At Gator Air & Energy, we want to help you keep your air conditioner running as long as possible.

Protecting Your Condenser From Animals

dead snake inside a condenser Gator Air & Energy Gainesville FL

The animals in Gainesville are adorable but they can also wreak havoc on your outdoor condenser. The tiny lizards (known as anoles), snakes, raccoons, squirrels, birds, and even pets can cause physical damage to your unit.

Particularly, animals can cause damage to your condenser fan motor and capacitor. Snakes, for example, like to curl up inside the condenser when it is off. But when it turns back on, it’s bad news for the snake and bad news for your air conditioner!

Use a Pest Repellent

One way to prevent animals from harming your outdoor condenser is to spray pest repellent around the unit. Commercial pest repellents are found at most hardware or outdoor stores as well as online. They use a scent that most pests will find unattractive. Spray the pest repellant evenly around the unit, and it should help keep the pests away.

Clean the Area Around the Condenser Regularly

If animals urinate around the unit, it can attract other animals to the area. Spray down the area around your condenser unit with water regularly to ensure that no other animals come around.

Protecting Your Condenser From Leaves & Debris

Leaves, pollen, branches, and other debris can get caught in your outdoor condenser. This debris not only harms the unit’s fan, but if enough debris is sucked through the system, it can drastically reduce your air conditioner’s efficiency. As part of AC maintenance service, we clean your unit and ensure that your unit is free of debris.

Use a Condenser Cover

Once you have cleaned the outdoor condenser, you can use a condenser cover to protect the unit. These covers are made of a thin sheet of fabric that allows the unit to take air in but also prevents debris from getting in the unit.

Use a Year-Round Exterior Filter

Another option is to use a year-round exterior condenser filter. This option is typically made of a thin mesh of metal and protects the unit from larger debris. You can find these filters at any major home improvement store as well as online.

Protecting Your Condenser From Extreme Heat

Extreme heat can take a toll on your air conditioner on all fronts, but the outdoor condenser unit is especially vulnerable. There are a few things you can try to keep your unit from overheating, but it’s important to note that these methods are only necessary if the temperatures rise above 120℉. Air conditioners can withstand high temperatures in normal operation, even for the high temperatures in Gainesville.

Use a Mister

In extreme heat, you can use a water mister to cool the unit down from the outside. However, this is only a strategy for extreme heat and shouldn’t be used on a regular basis. Prolonged exposure to misty water can rust the unit’s components.

Check Your Ducts

If air is escaping anywhere in your air conditioning system, then it will affect how efficiently your condenser runs. Our duct sealing service ensures that your system is working as intended, which will help your outdoor condenser function, even in extreme heat.

Protecting Your Condenser From Flooding

A typical rainfall, even the downpours we experience here in Gainesville, won’t damage your outdoor condenser. Condensers are built to withstand even the heaviest downpours, and the components in the unit are well protected with plastic and are water-repellent.

However, flooding is a different story. If your unit gets submerged in water, it can cause damage to the unit and also pose a serious safety concern.

Immediately Turn Off Electrical Power

If you notice that your outdoor condenser is flooded, immediately turn off any electrical power going to the unit. The circuit breaker in your home should have a switch labeled for the condenser. Leave your condenser off until you have a qualified HVAC professional inspect the unit.

Get Rid of Standing Water

If you can, get rid of any standing water around your unit. You can use a shovel to create a makeshift drain to carry water safely away from your unit. Also, remove any debris that you see that may have settled around your condenser due to the flooding.

Contact Gator Air & Energy for AC Repair and Maintenance

If you have experienced any of the problems listed above, we can help you repair your outdoor condenser and get it back to running efficiently as quickly as possible. Also, we recommend regular AC maintenance service is performed on your unit every 6 months. During our service, we inspect, clean, and tune up the outdoor condenser to make sure it works properly.

Call us today and let our experts help you keep your condenser running at its best!

Remedies for Clean Indoor Air

Whether you’re spending time inside your home or outside, the quality of the air you breathe is incredibly important for your health and wellness. Harmful air pollutants can build up and collect in the air supply within your home, posing significant health threats to your household. As we tend to spend approximately 90% of our time indoors, it’s crucial to ensure that we have clean indoor air in our homes.

While it may seem as though indoor pollution may simply be the remnants of excess outdoor pollution, there are various sources of indoor air pollution directly stemming from your home. These sources include your building materials, cleaning products, pet dander, appliances, excess humidity, and furnishings.

In fact, according to the EPA, indoor air can be up to 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air.

There are specialized HVAC features that can foster clean indoor air by significantly reducing the number of pollutants, including UV lights, increased ventilation, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, and air filter systems. In addition to improving your home’s HVAC system, you can take some simple steps to reduce the source of indoor air pollutants and work with these features to help purify the air.

Add Greenery to Your Home

While plants aren’t as effective as air purifiers, they offer a simple solution to help clean your home’s air naturally and in a cost-effective manner. By nature, some plants help to filter out harmful chemicals in the air, allowing your family to reap the benefits of thriving plants far beyond just aesthetics. We recommend adding these houseplants to help refresh your home’s air supply:

  • Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
  • Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
  • Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum)
  • Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum)

These plants are also some of the easiest houseplants to care for, so even if you don’t have the greenest thumb, you can surely keep these plants thriving. Place two to three of these houseplants about every 100 sq. ft. within your home to help remove harmful pollutants from the air. If your house is not only home to your family but also some furry friends, remember that most houseplants are toxic to animals. You may want to keep houseplants on shelves or safely tucked out of reach from your pets.

Switch to Cleaner Household Products

When we speak about fresh air, that’s not a cue to reach for a spray can of air freshener. While that freshener can make your room smell pleasant, it may also release harmful aerosolized chemicals. Many common store-bought household cleaners consist of toxic chemicals that can increase the pollution of your home’s air, causing additional health-related concerns. As an alternative, switch to non-toxic cleaners at the grocery store with simpler, healthier ingredients or make your own natural cleaning products.

Maintain Your Pet’s Grooming

Pet dander can easily build-up in a home with pets. Pet dander refers to your pet’s skin cells circulating in the air, causing much greater allergic reactions and respiratory problems than the pet fur you see throughout your home. To keep pet dander from accumulating in your home, groom your pet often, ensure that any brushing takes place outdoors, vacuum frequently, and change your AC filter regularly.

Take Your Shoes Off at the Door
When coming home, try to make taking off your shoes one of the first things you do. Walking through your home with your shoes on will transfer dirt throughout your house. This can leave behind harmful substances, including pollen, fungi, pesticides, fecal matter, and bacteria contributing to poor air quality.

Care for Your Home

Cleaning Your Carpets

Your carpets are like sponges for harmful particles and potentially pathogenic microorganisms. By vacuuming and cleaning your carpets regularly, you can minimize the build-up of these pollutants in your home. Most pollutants tend to weigh heavily in the air, causing them to fall downward. This can often lead the lower portion of your home’s air to be even more polluted, posing specific concerns for small children. By actively cleaning these lower areas and the floors on which these pollutants can build up, you can reduce the risk of heightened indoor air pollution.

Ensuring a Healthy Environment

Proactively cleaning your home provides countless health benefits, including improved air quality. Many contributing factors negatively affect your indoor air, including excess humidity, bacteria, mold, and mildew growth. Mold often grows in damp, dark places, like your bathroom or laundry room, and will release harmful spores into the air, causing respiratory issues or triggering allergies and asthma. Cleaning your home before this happens can prevent these additional pollutants from developing.

Open Your Windows

If the weather permits, open your windows to let fresh air into your home. Doing this for a few minutes each day can help circulate the air in your home and allow cleaner outdoor air to refresh the air inside.

Change Your AC Filter Regularly

AC filters trap the indoor air pollutants that flow through your home’s air supply. Routinely changing your filter allows for better air circulation and optimal filtering capabilities, while dirty AC filters enable contaminants to enter your HVAC system and continue to build up in your home. Having a clean AC filter in place allows your HVAC system to operate at its fullest capacity, promoting better indoor air quality. Combine this proactive measure with regular AC maintenance to keep your home’s air circulating freshly.

Breathe Better with Gator Air & Energy

While these are great ways to incorporate healthier practices into your home, to get truly high-quality indoor air, you’ll need to equip your home with the tools it needs. Minimizing the sources of pollutants in your home and purifying the air as it circulates improves the quality of the air you and your family breathe every day. Reach out to our team at Gator Air & Energy to find the best ways to combat indoor pollution. Call us at 352-389-4396 to refresh your home’s air today!

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