Gator Air and Energy

Looking for Financing Options?

We have special financing available!

Learn More »

Archive for the ‘Gainesville AC Repair Tips’ Category

Why Your Home is Heated Unevenly (With Solutions)

Many homeowners find that a certain room or floor consistently has a different temperature than the rest of the home. If your home is heated unevenly, there may be a few factors at play. Here, we’ll outline the most common issues, along with solutions to get your whole home consistently comfortable. (more…)

Five Tips to Avoid Costly Commercial HVAC Repairs

Commercial HVAC isn’t something you think about day-to-day. It’s designed to run in the background, take as little active maintenance from you as possible, and let you and your team work comfortably.

Until it doesn’t work. Then, it’s all that’s on your mind.

Nobody ever wants to get to that point. It’s an uncomfortable and frustrating interruption. Luckily, just a little forethought can prevent all that.

Preventative Maintenance

You’ve got two options when it comes to commercial HVAC maintenance: a reactionary approach, where you fix it when it breaks. The issue with that approach is that it involves your system breaking.

The other option is proactive and very low effort. Not only does it avoid the interruption of an HVAC system not running well, but it avoids the costs associated with repairs, and keeps your system running well. It involves your system running at peak efficiency.

Scheduling routine maintenance keeps you, your team, and your system happy.

Change Your Filters

You know that chore on your list every few months at home? The one that takes little time to actually accomplish, but keeps your AC running smoothly?

Yes, your commercial HVAC unit runs the same way. Find out what your manufacturer recommends, and take the simple step of changing out your filter when it’s time.

Clean Condenser Coils

If you have a rooftop unit, a lot of gunk can build up. Using a pressure washer (on a light setting) will help get a lot of the excess off, which can save you up to 30% over 20 years. It will help extend the life of your unit, and your unit will run much more efficiently (saving your money on energy costs).

Repair in the Winter

If you know you’ll need an upgrade or repairs that aren’t immediately pressing, wait until the winter. Or, get them out of the way in the winter before the summer months come around. More commercial HVAC technicians will be available in off-peak months, and it’s much better than dealing with emergency maintenance in the heat of summer.

Ask Your Commercial HVAC Professionals If It’s Time To Replace

Cleaning, regular maintenance, and filter changes will go a long way towards keeping your commercial HVAC running, but units still need repairs from time to time.

If you’re noticing that the repairs are getting more frequent, or more expensive, ask your technician if it’s time to replace. It may be more cost-effective in the long run to avoid costly repairs as they build up.

 

Your HVAC unit is important to your office, even though you rarely think about it when it’s doing its job. Contact Gator Air and Energy for more information or to schedule your next maintenance appointment.

Heating and Cooling Your Home: Does Insulation Matter?

Just about everyone knows one of the best ways to keep your home warm in the winter is to pack in the insulation. The idea seems to be that more insulation means more warmth. While that’s certainly true while you’re running your heater, the fallacy is that people think of home insulation in the same way as they do insulation in, say, a winter coat. (more…)

How to Ensure Maximum AC Efficiency

As the dog days of summer are upon us, lets take a look at your AC efficiency. Are you receiving maximum cooling when you need it most? Are you overexerting your unit? Are there any preventative measures that can be taken to avoid maintenance issues?

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 10.46.59 AM

Low Cost, Maximum Cooling

During the summer months, it can be especially tempting to lower your thermostat to 65 degrees and set your fans to the highest settings in order to combat the heat. Meanwhile, proper AC efficiency requires a little bit of restraint. Setting your thermostat at a lower temperature than the room itself won’t actually cool the room any faster. In addition to placing undo stress on your AC unit, it could also dramatically increase your electricity bill.

Can Outdoor Heat Effect AC Efficiency?

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 10.38.35 AM

Have you ever noticed how your air conditioning unit can take especially long to cool you off your home when the temperature is hot outside? That’s because before your AC unit can disperse cool air, it must first convert liquid refrigerant into a gas, a process that occurs at a high temperature. When it’s hot outside, the combined heat from the sun and the conversion of refrigerant can delay the process of cooling the air.

Dirty air filters and coils can also effect your AC efficiency, causing your unit to overheat. Preventing these issues could be as simple as checking your coils and filters once a month. Keeping an eye on your AC unit can go a long way in ensuring reliable AC efficiency and extending the lifespan of your unit. In addition to doing it yourself, we also recommend calling your AC vendor to schedule routine maintenance.

For even more AC efficiency tips and tricks, head over to the energy.gov and download their Home Cooling Energy Saver Infographic!

How Attics Affect Your Home Cooling

It’s easy to forget about your attic unless you’re making routine trips into it. For most Gainesville, FL homeowners, the attic is a place for storage and is rarely considered unless it’s being used.

Ignoring it could be part of the reason for your escalating utility bills. It’s always possible that the cool air produced by your A/C unit is slipping through your home and into the attic, and the reverse is also true with the hot air from the attic coming into your home. Attics affect your home cooling in a major way.

Here are some tips on how to limit the impact your attic is having on your home as we head into the hot summer months.

Insulation is Important

To keep the cool air from escaping through your walls and into the attic space, insulation is a big deal. If home cooling is a big deal to you, adding insulation during the home building process can ensure savings over the lifetime of the house.

If you built the home, hopefully you had conversations with the builder about how much insulation would be put into the house. If you bought the house when it was already built, it can be tough to know how well insulated the house is. However, if you’re noticing some rooms heat up faster than others in the summer time, that’s a strong sign that those rooms didn’t receive the insulation the others did.

While trying to figure out if the bottom of your attic has enough insulation, a good rule of thumb is to look at how high it comes up. If the insulation ends at the top of the joists, then you should consider adding more. If it comes over the joists, then you should be fine and it wouldn’t make sense financially to add any insulation. Improving the insulation can reduce the way attics affect your home cooling.

Attic Ventilation Plays a Role

Just as insulation is important to your attic, ventilation is also a big deal. There are big problems, like hurting the life of your shingles and supporting mold growth, that come with a lack of ventilation. For home cooling purposes, lacking ventilation can have a negative impact on your attic’s insulation.

During the hottest months of the year, the built up heat in your attic can get over 120 degrees. When that starts to seep into your living space, home cooling costs can increase.

If ventilation is set up properly with your home, it should give a constant flow that pushes air from outside of your home and through your attic space. This gives your attic a chance to breathe and lower the temperature.

Pick a Color

Gainesville, FL homes are in prime location to get beaten down by the sun. One simple way to limit the impact the sun has on your attic is to go with a lighter colored roof. This can help reflect some of the sun’s energy and keep it from heating up your attic space.

If that doesn’t work, you can use reflective coatings on the roof to reflect the sunlight and keep it from having a major impact on the temperature of your attic.

Studies have shown that wood roofing panels under black shingles are usually 10-15 degrees warmer than white shingles on similar days. These temperatures can play a big role on the temperature of your attic and ultimately make your home cooling more difficult.

If you’d like to have your A/C unit looked at by a trained professionals, call Gator Air & Energy at 352-275-4827 or send us a message on our website.

What You Need to Know About Your First Home’s HVAC System

First-time home buyers learn a lot during the home buying process, but it’s not all about your mortgage. The home has many parts that must be considered and looked at before moving in or immediately after.

One of the most important steps should be to check out the HVAC system to get an idea of how old it is and how long it can go without being repaired or replaced. Here are some tips about the system when you move into your first home:

Have the HVAC System Inspected

You can do this by yourself with a quick check or hire a professional to do a thorough check. If you’re doing it by yourself, look at the unit to see if there is any rust and listen to see if it sounds normal when running.

The general rule of thumb is that an HVAC system needs to be replaced after 10 years, but that can vary depending on how well it was cared for throughout its life up to that point. If the unit is getting close to the 10-year mark, consider that if it needs to undergo any repairs. It could be cheaper in the long run for you to purchase a new system instead of continually paying for fixes.

If you can investigate the HVAC system before you move in, consider trying to use it as leverage to get the house for a cheaper price since the unit will likely have to be replaced in the future.

Ducts Play An Important Role

Seek out the ducts that are visible in the house — check the attic or basement for those — for any noticeable problems. Any rust, condensation on the outside, gaps or loose connections can be red flags with the ducts and should be fixed by the owner or an A/C professional.

If the duct issues go ignored, it will cost you monthly on the utility bill and could shorten the life of the system because it will put more work on the HVAC system. Duct work is an important part of making sure your first home is off to a good start.

Insulation Can Ease Stress

Insulation is one of the most important elements to your comfort indoors. If helps keep the cool air inside during the summer and the warm air inside during the winter. However, it’s tough to know much about the insulation when you move into your first home. Ask your realtor or the previous home owner to try gaining more information about how you should proceed.

The insulation is one of the most important areas of the house regarding your future comfort, but it’s also one of the most difficult to account for since you can’t see it. If you don’t have enough of it, you’ll notice almost immediately after moving into the house. It’s also important to remember that some rooms could have more insulation than others.

If you’re moving into your first home and want trained professionals to make sure your HVAC system is in good shape, call Gator Air & Energy at 352-275-4827 or send us a message on our website.

When to Kick Your A/C Unit to the Curb

A/C unit repair is a frustrating option for homeowners, but when is it time to stop calling for repairs and start calling for a new unit?

This is a question many homeowners battle with, especially as their A/C unit ages. There comes a time where you should stop dealing with the frustrating, continued repairs and purchase a new unit.

Here’s how to know when that time comes:

Think About The Age

When an A/C unit passes the 10-year mark, it’s time to start planning for a replacement. It doesn’t have to happen immediately at the 10-year mark, but this is the general rule of thumb for the average lifespan of a unit. That can increase or decrease based on how well the unit is maintained throughout its life.

If you need continued repairs around the 10-year mark of a unit’s lifespan, this is the time to heavily consider starting over with a brand new unit. It’s also a good time to evaluate how long you plan to stay in the home and make the decision based on that.

Frequency of A/C Unit Repairs

A one-time repair is nothing to worry about. These small repairs aren’t uncommon and shouldn’t have you questioning the long term health of your system.

The problem comes when the repairs begin to happen frequently. When that becomes a routine and the system gets up in age, that’s when you need to start considering if it would be more cost effective to get a new A/C unit.

History of Energy Bills

It’s always a good idea to keep your eye on the price of your monthly utility bill. Any sharp spikes could be a sign of issues, but even without a quick increase, the bill can still tell you a lot about the unit.

HVAC systems are typically responsible for about half of the money in your bill. The bill will naturally go up as the system runs more when the weather gets hot, but continued increases in the bill can be a sign that there is something wrong with the unit. If the cost continues to go up and you have an old A/C unit, it’s not a bad idea to start planning for a new one.

Home Temperature

When the A/C unit gets up in age, it’s even more important to keep an eye on the temperature inside your home. If you notice it feeling hotter than normal, this can also be a sign that the HVAC system needs to be replaced.

These hotter temperatures can signal that your unit is having problems cooling the house. When that happens, it’s usually time to start looking at a replacement.

If you’re debating whether or not your A/C unit should be replaced and want the help of trained professionals, call Gator Air & Energy at 352-275-4827 or send us a message on our website.

AC Repair: What Does Regular Maintenance Entail?

Question: How often do you think you should have your HVAC serviced by an experienced contractor?

Once a year?
Every 5 years?
Only when it stops working?

A good HVAC maintenance plan calls for a comprehensive check on your entire AC system by an experienced contractor every three to six months

There are 2 main reasons this maintenance schedule is recommended:

  • To make sure your system is running smoothly, at its maximum capacity, and its minimum energy consumption, BEFORE you really need to use it.
  • You are likely to get a more timely service if you arrange it for before service technicians get busy in heavy air conditioning season.

Regular HVAC service can be compared to regular car maintenance: you can pay a little bit for routine service or wait and pay a hefty amount for major ac repairs. Many people wait until their air conditioner is making a strange noise or isn’t running properly before they call for service but costly ac repairs can be avoided by preventing a problem before it starts. 

Even if your air conditioner seems to be running smoothly, it can lose about 5% of its operational efficiency every year. According to energy.gov, regularly servicing a a unit will maintain up to 95% of its original efficiency. This means that the cost of a regular service is quickly recovered in savings on your monthly electricity bill as well as reduced repair costs. A properly serviced air conditioner will also do a better job of dehumidifying your home

What does regular HVAC maintenance entail?

A service technician looks at and listens to your air conditioning system closely. Typically, maintenance includes:

  • Check for correct amount of refrigerant
  • Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
  • Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
  • Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
  • Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
  • Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wea
  • Check the accuracy of the thermostat
  •  While it may be tempting to investigate and try to fix AC problems yourself, more often than not, taking matters into your own hands can cause more harm than good. There are, however, ways to assist a licensed contractor with his/her inspection and repair of your AC unit.

How to prepare for your service call

Outdoor Maintenance

  • Clean any dirt, leaves and debris outside the main cabinet.
  • Inspect the base pan for blocked drain openings.
  • Inspect the coil and cabinet for any holes and leaks.
  • Inspect the fan blades while they’re in motion and stationary to determine wear and damage.
  • Inspect and clean outside of control box associated with unit.

Indoor Maintenance

  • Clean or replace filters.
  • Check for leaks in the ductwork.
  • Check for any unusual odors when your system starts.
  • Listen for abnormal noises when your system starts.
  • Inspect your control box wiring and connections.

What are the benefits of regular service?

All major equipment needs routine maintenance to keep it running reliably. Regular servicing of your air conditioner will provide you with a number of benefits, such as:

  • Improved efficiency
  • Chances of a costly, major breakdown at the worse time will be reduced
  • Lifespan of the unit will be prolonged
  • Your comfort will be increased
  • Energy efficiency that translates to lower bills

Have more questions about maintenance and AC repairs? 

Contact Gator Air and Energy for more information or to schedule your next maintenance appointment.

How HVAC UV Lights Improve Indoor Air Quality

Mold and bacteria are pesky intruders that ruin indoor air quality. Airborne germs blow past your HVAC system’s filter and circulate around your home or business. Your air conditioning system’s indoor coil is part of what cools your home, but it can also be a hotbed of microscopic misery that affects air quality and a system’s efficiency. HVAC UV lights help to kill those bacteria and allergens as they blow through your system.

If you’re concerned about the repercussions of being the “Indoor Generation” and think it’s time to upgrade your indoor air quality, give us a call!

Why Do UV Lights Work?

Mold and bacteria don’t like ultraviolet light – to them, it’s a killer. UV lamps are proven to minimize the microbial build-up on coils, improving system efficiency and keeping mold and bacteria out of your system. All mold in line-of-sight of the UV bulb will be killed, keeping the coil mold-free.

HVAC UV Lights Bacteria

Numerous health studies have shown that ultraviolet light is very effective against mold, mildew, fungi and viruses, bacteria and spores by breaking down their DNA or RNA. UV light has also been shown to play a role in secondary allergy prevention especially where airborne allergens are concerned.

How Do HVAC UV Lights Work?

HVAC UV light fixtures are designed to serve as HVAC air cleaner systems, but Ultraviolet lighting does not clean HVAC systems and should not be used as a substitute for HVAC duct cleaning.

There are two types of UV lights for HVAC systems:

  • Coil Sterilization – A “stick type” light installed inside the return air duct near that sterilizes the air handler coil. A coil sterilization UV light runs 24/7 and is the most common type of HVAC UV light.
  • Air Sterilization – A complete UV light unit that sterilizes moving air. The UV light unit is installed in the return air duct and cycles on with the air handler blower.

Benefits of HVAC UV Lights

The initial benefit of HVAC UV lights is improved indoor air quality, but there are many other benefits including:

  • Control mold and bacteria
  • Reduce colds and flus – germs are not recirculated by HVAC system
  • Reduce smells/odors
  • Remove VOCs
  • Are more effective in humid climates than dry climates
  • Reduces clogging in condensate drain lines by preventing algae growth
  • Maintain a cleaner coil, improving cooling efficiency and reducing electricity costs

In addition to HVAC UV lights, regular coil cleaning and maintenance should be part of the measures to ensure optimum indoor air quality.

Contact Gator Air & Energy for HVAC UV Light Installation

Gator Air and Energy can install a UV light quickly and effectively into your air conditioning unit, and during annual HVAC system checkups, we can replace them as well, which makes maintenance of the UV light practically effortless. For more information on UV light installations and indoor air quality services contact us.

**Updated on 9/10/18**

5 Tips to Save Money Heating Your Florida Home

Contrary to popular belief, Florida does get pretty cold in the winter. Here in North Central Florida, we spend many winter mornings scraping frost off of vehicle windshields. These colder temps mean that heating bills can be as high, or higher, than summer months. Aside from regular maintenance of your HVAC system, there are other steps you can take to save money on heating costs. Here are some useful tips for heating your home:

  • Set your thermostat at 68°F or lower during the winter months. For each degree you increase the temperature from the recommended setting, your bill can increase up to 4%. You can also install programmable thermostats that control set temps when you’re out of the house — reducing cost. Some models allow you control the thermostat from your smartphone.
  • Check your heating system’s filters once a month and clean or replace as needed. Maintaining the system helps it to run longer while using less energy.
  • Weatherize your home. The Department of Energy confirms that you can save 30% off heating costs by simply caulking, sealing and weather-stripping around all windows, outside doors or where plumbing, ductwork and electrical wiring penetrate exterior walls, floors or ceilings.
  • If you are considering buying a new HVAC system, make sure it is sized properly. An HVAC system that’s too large for your home can use more energy than necessary to heat and cool your home. A properly sized system can save you $600 a year.
  • Install the thermostat on an inside wall, away from windows and doors. The thermostat records the temperature of your home (specifically the room in which it is placed) and uses that information to judge whether the heating or cooling system needs to kick on. If the thermostat is located near a window and heated by direct sunlight, it “thinks” the house is warmer than it actually feels. These inaccurate readings cause heating and cooling systems to waste a ton of energy unnecessarily.
  • Use insulated or heavy curtains on windows that face north. Keep curtains and shades closed at night or on cloudy days. This especially helpful with drafty windows.

For more cost-saving information, visit the U.S. Department of Energy.

Your best bet when it comes to energy savings is to have your HVAC unit checked before the temperatures start to drop. A unit that is heating properly makes all the difference.

Still have questions or need an energy efficiency consultation for your home or business? Let one of our licensed HVAC energy saving experts help!

MENU