Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Duct Cleaning and Root Cause Analysis of Dirty Ducts

What Causes Dirty Ducts?

At Gator Air and Energy, we not only clean dirty ducts but we look for the root cause of what is causing unhealthy air in the customer’s home. Ducts mainly get dirty for two reasons: 

  1. Poor quality or filter location in relation to airflow.
  2. The AC unit growing contaminants due to operating conditions. For example, fungal growth that builds in the cooling coil and blower wheel during the summer dries out in the heating and off cycles of the equipment.

Oftentimes, we see both conditions as well as condition 1 contributing to condition 2.

Duct Cleaning Done Right

Let us examine poorly placed filters or improperly installed filters with an example. Often, the house we visit is 30 years old with an air handling unit and filter in the garage that is of poor quality or the wrong size for the opening. The return air travels from an unfiltered grille in the house for 25 feet before “seeing” a filer in the unit. The owner of the house has 2 dogs that shed hair. In this house, we take a picture of the duct full of dog hair and the homeowner knows right away they are a good candidate for return duct cleaning at the very least. 

Next, we cut an opening in the supply air duct above the fan or cooling coil and take a picture of fungal growth in the supply air ducts. In this instance, the growth is likely being fed by the dirty duct conditions and the cold, dark, and humid conditions that all HVAC equipment in Florida operates in during summer without the addition of UV lighting.

For this home, we recommend cleaning (or replacing) the return air duct seeing unfiltered air in addition to supply air cleaning. We’d also recommend painting the first three feet of the duct with microbial paint and adding, at a minimum, a UV light to kill fungal growth or, even better, a combination of UV light and an air purifier to aid in dust collection and air purification. We could also offer a better filtration system, such as a 5-inch filter or an electronic air cleaner in place of a filter to remove 99.8% of all contaminants for an exceptional system that delivers the cleanest and purest air attainable for the customer.

In addition to duct cleaning, we pull and clean (or replace) the grilles and seal the boots to the ceiling that increase hygiene and typically reduce duct-leakage rates by 10 cfm per grille on average.

While $1,500 to $2300 for an average job may seem like a high price to pay for some customers, we believe in doing the job right the first time and fixing the “root cause” of an unhealthy environment, saving you money in the long run.

Duct Cleaning With Gator Air & Energy

Here is a picture of one of our recent jobs, where we added a Trane Clean Effects electronic air cleaner and a dust-free air purifier for long-term HVAC hygiene for a person who suffered from allergies. We also thoroughly cleaned the ducts that had collected over 30 years of dust.

Here, you can see the original dirty return duct. We’ve actually seen much worse as this customer didn’t have a pet to build up dog hair.

 Dirty return duct

For this home, we installed the Trane Clean Effects electronic air cleaner at the bottom of the unit and a Dust Free Air purifier in the supply duct.

Trane clean effect electronic air cleaner

Here, a thorough cleaning involved going into the attic to clean the vertical run of the supply duct.

thorough duct cleaning

Breathe Easier by Trusting Our Experts

At Gator Air and Energy, our trusted team prioritizes the health of your home and the quality of our work. For information on indoor air quality, we recommend customers research air purifiers and UV lights before we prepare an estimate or air quality analysis. Give us a call for professional duct cleaning at (352) 415-9559!

The 2020 Freon Ban: Do You Need to Replace Your Old AC Unit?


As 2019 comes to a close, you’ll probably be hearing more reports in the news about the 2020 Freon ban; a ban on  R-22 that goes into effect on January 1, 2020. You may be concerned about whether or not this ban will affect you as a homeowner and if so, how. 

Let’s take a closer look at the details of this ban and how it might affect you.

What is R-22 and Why is it Being Banned?

R-22 is a refrigerant commonly used in air conditioning systems that were built and installed prior to 2010. It is categorized as a Class II controlled substance by the EPA. In the U.S., the EPA regulates ozone-depleting substances (ODS) as either class I or class II. Class I substances have been almost completely phased out in the U.S. because of their higher ozone depletion potential. Ozone absorbs UV radiation, so depletion is potentially threatening to humans and can lead to increased rates of skin cancer.  Class II substances are all hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are less damaging to the ozone than class 1 substances, but still harmful. New production and import of most HCFCs will be phased out by 2020. The most common HCFC in use today is HCFC-22 or R-22, which is commonly known by its trademark name, Freon. This colorless, odorless, nonflammable, noncorrosive substance was introduced as a refrigerant in the 1930s. It also proved useful as propellants for aerosols and in numerous technical applications.

How Does a Refrigerant Like R-22 Work?

When warm air inside your home blows across the indoor evaporator coil of your air conditioner, its heat energy transfers to the refrigerant inside the coil. That transfer, in turn, “cools” the air. A refrigerant such as R-22 is pumped back to the compressor where the cycle begins again. The heat absorbed by the R-22 or other coolant is moved outside your home while cooled air is blown inside. Moisture that contributes to humidity is also condensed out of the air. Your cooling system is usually combined with your central heating system because they share the same ductwork for distributing conditioned air throughout your home. 

Will You Be Affected by the Ban? 

Experts estimate half of all residential AC units in the U.S. currently run on R-22 coolant.

If your air conditioning was installed prior to 2010, it’s likely it uses R22 refrigerant. Many air conditioners state what type of coolant the system uses on a label somewhere on the unit but we recommend giving us a call so we can send an experienced, licensed HVAC technician to confirm this. During your service call, we’ll also check your unit for any signs of leakage. 

Your air conditioner is a closed system, so as long as it is in good working order, your Freon level shouldn’t change. However, if you’ve ever needed to have your HVAC system re-charged with Freon or you’ve been limping along with an old AC unit that you know has a leak, we recommend getting your unit repaired and recharged as soon as possible before the ban goes into effect. Freon prices are expected to rise as supply diminishes.

If My AC Unit Runs on R-22, Does That Mean I’ll Have to Replace It?  

Not necessarily. There are many factors to consider before replacing your existing unit. As we explained in a previous article, a great tip to think about when deciding if it’s time for a new unit is if the cost of repair, multiplied by the age of your unit, is more than the cost of a new unit.

(Cost of Repair) X (Age of Old AC Unit in Years) > (Cost of Your New AC)

For Example:

Cost of repair: $450.00

Age of Unit: 15 years

Price of new unit: $5,450.00 (with installation)

($450.00) X (15) = $6,750.00

$6,750.00 > $5,450.00 = Time for a new AC unit.

Regardless of the type of refrigerant your system uses, If your air conditioner is giving you the following warning signs, your unit may be in need of repair:

  • Strange noises
  • Warm air coming from your vents
  • Spike in your electric bill
  • Strange odors coming from your vents
  • Dripping water is creating puddles
  • Electric breaker keeps tripping

If your older unit has been properly maintained and is running well, there’s no immediate need to replace it. And you don’t need to worry that you will be forced to purchase a new unit if supplies of R-22 will run out. According to Trane, there is still enough R-22 available to fill 90.7 Olympic-sized swimming pools!

However, if your unit has been struggling for some time and you anticipate that the 2020 Freon ban will only increase the cost of your future repairs, fall is a great time to have a new unit installed. Not only will you be purchasing an air conditioner that uses a more environmentally-friendly refrigerant but today’s HVAC units are also more energy-efficient, which can help lower your monthly electric bill. Fall is also a good time to have a new AC unit installed because the demand for HVAC servicing is lower in the cooler months which means installation can happen more quickly.

If you’ve been on the fence wondering if it might be time to purchase a new air conditioner, call us to assess the current condition of your unit. We’ll give you an estimate of how much life is left in your HVAC system and help you calculate how much future repairs might cost. We can also give you a quote on a new unit and explain our convenient financing options. 

Here’s to a more energy-efficient and healthier planet in 2020!

7 Steps to Protect Your AC From Hurricane Damage

Here in Florida, hurricane season starts on June 1 and runs until November 30th each year. According to the National Hurricane Center, the majority of dangerous storms hit during peak hurricane season which falls between August and October. You may already know how to prepare your home to withstand torrential wind and rain, but do you know how to protect your AC from hurricane damage? 

Here are 7 ways to ensure that your air conditioner will continue keeping your family cool long after the storm has passed. 

How to Protect Your AC From Hurricane Damage (7 Steps) 

Before the Storm

Step 1: Start With a Well Maintained Unit

You can protect your AC from hurricane damage by starting with a good maintenance plan. A good plan calls for a comprehensive check on your entire AC system every three to six months. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your unit inspected, you should call an experienced contractor to assess your AC for any potential problems which could be made worse by extreme weather such as loose electrical connections or dirt covering the condenser.

This would also be a good time to install an HVAC surge protector if you haven’t done so already. HVAC surge protectors were not common in the past decade because old HVAC systems had minimal electronic parts and were mostly mechanical in nature. (1) However, the more modern systems we have today have a plethora of electronic components that need to be protected against the sudden electrical surges caused by lightning strikes. 

If you live in a flood zone, your HVAC professional can also tell you if you should elevate your unit to protect it against water damage.

Step 2: Secure any loose items in your yard

Walk around your property and secure any loose items such as lawn furniture, plants, bikes, and sports equipment that could become dangerous projectiles in high winds and damage your outdoor unit. You will also want to clear away any shrubbery that is within 3 ft of your air conditioner to reduce the likelihood of debris entering the system. This will also make it easier for a technician to make any repairs after the storm if necessary. 

Step 3: Lower Your Thermostat

Once you are under a hurricane watch or warning, you should lower your thermostat a few degrees and close your blinds, drapes and interior doors. In the event of a power outage, this will help your home maintain a comfortable temperature until power can be restored. 

During the Storm

Step 3: Turn off the Electricity to Your Air Conditioner

In times of severe weather, Trane recommends you turn off the power to your AC unit from your thermostat and circuit breaker. Not only can lightning cause an electrical surge that could damage your air conditioner but flying debris could also lodge itself in your outdoor unit, causing the motor to burn out. If you have a window unit, you should unplug it from the wall. Window units can become projectiles in high winds, so you may want to completely remove them from the wall and then reinstall it once the storm has passed. 

Step 4: Cover Your Outdoor Unit

Intense wind gusts can topple trees and break branches that could damage your AC unit if they land on it. A tarp will protect your unit from smaller branches but if you have large trees in your yard, you may want to consider covering your HVAC unit with plywood. Make sure you have turned off the electricity to your unit before covering it! You’ll want to remove the covering as soon as it is safe to do so since any type of covering will eventually trap moisture and encourage the growth of mildew and mold. If possible, instead of a tarp, consider using a custom cover made from breathable fabric which may be available from the manufacturer.

Step 5: Secure Your Unit With Hurricane Straps

If your home has more than one story and you have an elevated air conditioner, you may want to consider securing it against powerful storm wind gusts with hurricane straps. Make sure the electricity to your unit is turned off before attempting to secure it. 

After the Storm Has Passed

Step 6: Inspect Your AC Unit For Storm Damage

Before turning your air conditioning system back on, it’s very important to inspect the unit for any possible storm damage. Electrical connections compromised by high winds and rain could start a fire and fluid leaking from your air conditioner could be refrigerant, which is toxic. If left unchecked, other problems caused by debris hitting your unit or water having entered the system could worsen over time. One of our licensed technicians would be happy to conduct a complete inspection of your HVAC system and alert you to any concerns about the safety of your unit. 

In the weeks following a storm, you’ll also want to watch for any of the following signs of damage:

  • Strange noises
  • Warm air coming from your vents
  • Spike in your electric bill
  • Strange odors coming from your vents
  • Dripping water is creating puddles
  • Electric breaker keeps tripping

All of us at Gator Air & Energy wish you and your family a safe storm season!



AC Repair for the Summer Months

As we approach the summer season here in the sunshine state, it’s no secret that the weather is going to intensify. With higher temperatures, increased humidity and frequent thunderstorms looming around the corner, now is the time to make sure that none of these weather-related factors will have a negative impact on your air conditioning unit.

Here are a few potential repair scenarios you may encounter during the dog days of summer:

High Cost

When the mercury is climbing outside and just walking from the driveway to the garage becomes a sweaty endeavor, it can be tempting to ratchet down the air conditioning temperature in your home. Unfortunately, the lower the temperature, the higher your energy bill will be at the end of the month.

One helpful way to cut down on energy costs is by programming your thermostat. Many AC units, whether they’re residential or commercial grade, have two different fan settings: ON or AUTO.

The ON setting will keep the fan running and air flowing around the clock. This can drive up your utility costs and sometimes place added stress on your AC unit, increasing your need for potential maintenance or repair. The AUTO setting on your thermostat ensures that once your desired temperature is reached, the unit will turn off automatically. Once the temperature increases past the number you’ve programmed into your thermostat, the unit will turn on once again until the desired temperature is reached. This is a simple, cost-effective, energy efficient way to save money during the summer months.

Overworking Your Unit

This is the portion of the blog where common sense definitely applies. Perhaps you own your own business and you don’t have the luxury of shutting down your AC unit at the end of the work day. Maybe your employees have complained that the office is too hot when they arrive on Monday morning. Either way, it’s your responsibility to find a solution and to keep your employees happy and comfortable in their workspace.

Being that you’re a good boss, you’re going to do everything you can to keep everyone calm, cool and productive. However, you don’t want to over-extend your budget.

Most commercial air conditioning units have a programmable thermostat which allows you to create a cooling schedule based on your hours of operation. This gives you 100% control of your AC unit’s running time and is a surefire way to reduce the cost of energy and repair.

For example, if your doors are open from 9am – 5pm, giving your unit an hour or two head start will provide ample time to thoroughly cool the space before you open for business.


The best insurance you can possibly have during the sweltering summer months is a reliable maintenance plan. At Gator Air and Energy, we provide multiple HVAC repair services that are guaranteed to keep you cool all summer long. Call today to receive more information and helpful air conditioning tips @ 352-275-4827 or send us a message on our website.
As always, we look forward to hearing from you!

How Proper Ventilation Helps Cool Your Home

One of the most critical components of air conditioning maintenance is proper ventilation. In order to ensure that you are breathing clean air and that you’re getting the most efficient output from your AC unit, it is crucial that air ducts are free of debris, vents remain open and routine maintenance is performed on a regular basis.

Maintaining proper ventilation has a number of advantages, but let’s focus on these three key points which are applicable to both residential and commercial air conditioning units:

  1. Better Cooling Efficiency
  2. Lower Costs
  3. Dust and Debris

Better Cooling Efficiency

Its safe to say that when you walk into your office in the morning or open the front door to your home after a long day, you want to feel cool, clean, refreshing air as you move throughout the space. From one room to the next, the temperature on your thermostat should be the temperature of the entire home or workspace.

In order to maintain that balanced, cool, breezy air flow, the vents themselves should be cleaned regularly and remain open. The ducts, which funnel the cool air into your home or workspace are designed to provide a balance and consistency in temperature. By closing the vents, which are the exit points of the ducts, it can cause an imbalance in temperature with some rooms becoming warmer than others.

Allowing the vents to remain open ensures proper ventilation and is also a great way of reducing stress on your AC unit. Since timers and thermostats typically turn on and off based on the temperature of the room, closing vents can cause the unit to have to work harder and run more often in order to account for the warmer temperature. This can lead to added costs on your energy bill as well.

Lower Costs

Let’s be honest – when it comes to your energy bill, you don’t want any surprises. Receiving a bloated utility invoice for your home or business can put a serious damper on an otherwise great day, especially when you consider how simple it is to keep that from happening.

Here are a few short ventilation tips that will save you money this summer and ensure a clean, healthy, comfortable indoor environment for you and your guests:

  1. Take a walk around your home or office. Make sure each vent is open and positioned for maximum cooling. This will allow you to accurately point cool air in a direction that is most convenient for you.
  2. If you do find it absolutely necessary to close one or more vents, it may be a good idea to increase the cooling temperature on your thermostat. This will ensure that your AC unit shuts off instead of continuing to run.

Dust and Debris

Keep your vents clean! If you notice dust, dirt or debris beginning to accumulate on or around the vents, make sure you give them a good detailed dusting. Airborne debris can lead to sneezing, elevated allergy symptoms and irritation of the nasal passages. Clean ventilation is a quick and simple way to keep you and your space healthy and happy.

For more helpful ventilation tips, please contact Gator Air & Energy. We are always striving to provide YOU with the best HVAC services in Gainesville.

What You Should Expect In Your Company’s HVAC Contractor

Helpful tips on attributes to look for in an HVAC contractor for your business

As a small business owner, you have many important decisions to make, and finding a reliable HVAC contractor is one of them. At first glance, many A/C companies offer similar products, and therefore, service is often the feature that sets them apart.

In fact, the quality of service your HVAC contractor maintains is actually so important that poor service can be detrimental to your business. So, in order to assist you in your search for the HVAC contractor that will supply you with the best service, Gator Air and Energy has compiled a list of things to look for when you are choosing an HVAC company with which to work.

What to Look For In An HVAC Company

Speedy Response Time

When your A/C goes out during a Gainesville summer, it is not hard to imagine why you would want a company that responds to your calls as soon as possible. Most companies will talk about their response time on their website, but you should definitely test them on that before locking into any contracts. Call them to ask questions and schedule inspections for various maintenance needs to see how quickly they arrive. If you don’t have the time or the resources to be calling other companies, just check their customer reviews. Most companies should have reviews on their website as well, and usually, people will rave about the speedy response if that is a strongpoint of the company.

Hidden Fees

Whether they appear in cell phone bills, online buys, or car purchases, no one likes hidden fees. Therefore, to avoid these unpleasant financial surprises, make sure that the HVAC company is completely upfront with you about what they will charge before going into long-term business with them. Generally, you can just ask them if they charge any fees that aren’t advertised on the website when they come out to inspect or fix something.

Trained Technicians

Does the company you’re considering have technicians trained in every aspect of air conditioning repair, or do they have people specifically trained for just one job? To save money, many companies will hire someone and teach them just how to change filters, and they’ll send that person out for those jobs. However, without having a fully developed eye and ear for A/C units, those technicians might not notice other potential issues that more knowledge would enable them to prevent. A technician trained in all aspects of A/C units can better service your company than one with limited skills.

Customer Reviews

Most local HVAC companies produce relatively comparable products and services, so their customer service is the reflection of their company that will really make them shine. Therefore, the most effective means of discovering if a company will suit your needs is to ask other local business owners and read the reviews on the Internet about their service.


Most local HVAC companies produce relatively comparable products and services, so their customer service is the reflection of their company that will really make them shine


What HVAC Company to Look For

If your business is located in Gainesville, FL, and you are looking for a great HVAC company that cares about its customers, then look no further than Gator Air and Energy! Feel free to contact us for a consultation, and we’d be happy to meet with you.