When is it Time to Get a New AC System?

There are a number reasons to replace your current AC system, check out our checklist to see if it is time to consider replacing your current system.

Factor 1: Consider the Age of Your System

The age of your heating and cooling unit plays a large role in determining whether it is necessary to replace the unit entirely or if maintenance is needed. If your unit is 10 to 12 years old (or more), then you can consider it replaceable, as it has fulfilled its life expectancy. New air conditioning systems are much more efficient and environmentally friendly and can save you money. Upgrading can be a great way to bring down your electricity bill and keep your home more comfortable. Energy Star units can save an estimated 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

Factor 2: Consider the Estimated Cost of Repairs

As a general rule in the HVAC industry, if the cost of repairing your current AC system equals or exceeds 50 percent of the value of your current system then it is time to replace.

Factor 3: Does Your Repair Exceed the $5,000 Rule?

If you don’t know or can’t determine the value of your current AC system, you can use the $5,000 rule to determine if you should replace your system. Start by taking the age of your current air conditioning system in years and multiplying it by the cost of the repairs needed. If this amount is more than $5,000, then we recommend replacing your system. For example, if your system is eight years old and the cost to repair it is $400 dollars, then your $5,000 rule cost is $3,200, and it is advisable to repair instead of replacing.

Factor 4: Reliability

If your current system requires frequent repairs, it might be time to upgrade. Repairs performed out of warranty can add up, and the downtime without AC can help justify the cost of a new unit.

Factor 5: R-22 and Coolant Leaksdirect heating and cooling, cape coral, fl, HVAC, Air Conditioner, Freon

If your AC system requires additional refrigerant, it might be time to consider upgrading. Refilling and topping off a system with R-22, also called Freon, can be costly, with average prices ranging from $550 to $1,000 according to AC experts. Once your system develops a leak, the compressor will eventually go out, which can cost up to $2,000.

R-22 is also rising in price since the EPA has decided to phase it out in favor of R-410A, which is more efficient and better for the environment. Production of systems that use R-22 stopped in 2010, so if your unit was made before this, it is probably charged with R-22.
Direct Heating and Cooling serves customers in the in the Ft. Meyers and Cape Coral, FL areas. Please feel free to contact us at 239-217-4148 with any questions about AC system replacement or service.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


When to Get Your Ducts Cleaned and Why

Duct Cleaning in Cape Coral & Port Charlotte, FLOne of the services that has skyrocketed in popularity recently is air duct cleaning. Almost everyone knows someone who has scheduled this service. If you’re like many homeowners, you might wonder why you should have professionals clean your home’s air ducts and when to schedule this work.

What Exactly Does Duct Cleaning Involve?

Professional duct service cleans the intake, return, and supply ducts placed throughout a home. Service providers use special brushes, blowers, and vacuums to accomplish this. A complete service includes thoroughly cleaning your air handler, registers, motors, fans, housing, grilles, and HVAC system coils.
It takes two to five hours to clean ducts in an average home. The job might take more than a day in larger residences with many ducts.
Modern construction methods account in large part for the need for this service. They have made homes more airtight than ever, shutting out outside air. Indoor air is three to five times as contaminated with pollutants, allergens, and irritants than outdoor air. Since the average American family now spends up to 90 percent of its time indoors, exposure to these undesirables can be significant.

Why is Air Duct Cleaning Necessary? 

There are many important reasons to have your home’s air ducts cleaned. Here are the major ones:

Someone in the household has special health needs.

One or more occupants might suffer from asthma, airborne allergies, or allergies to pet dander. Seniors suffering from respiratory conditions are typically sensitive to airborne irritants. Tobacco smoke is additional consideration.

There’s mold in your home.

If significant mold growth is visible inside ducts or other parts of your home’s HVAC system, duct cleaning is in order.

You have a vermin infestation.

Think insects or rodents. Check for nesting in the ducts or other parts of the system.

Ducts appear clogged. 

In registers, you can see hunks of dust and debris that invade your home’s air.

You want energy savings. 

Many energy audits show that up to 40 percent of energy that heats or cools a home is wasted. Contaminants in the system force it to work harder and shorten its life. Clean HVAC systems have less work to do to maintain a desired temperature than those with dirty ducts.

 

When Is the Right Time?

A number of events call for a professional air duct cleaning:

You just bought a new home.

Debris in new construction is lurking in all sorts of places. Drywall dust is common. Avoid exposure by having the air ducts cleaned before you move into your new residence.

You recently completed a renovation.

Even a significant remodeling project leaves behind debris that can spread throughout a home through the HVAC system.

You’re ready to sell your residence. 

Adding a recent duct cleaning service to the list of maintenance items you’ve completed is a plus for prospective buyers. How an owner has taken care of a home can easily make or break a sale.

You’ve experienced water contamination or damage. 

Flooding, a hole in the roof, or other events that affect your home or its HVAC system mean it’s time to have ducts professionally cleaned.

Someone develops an unexplained illness suggesting an allergy. 

You’ve already taken all the important steps to decontaminate your residence, but a household member still has unexplained symptoms that resemble allergic reactions. An air duct cleaning can reveal whether your home’s HVAC system was the culprit.
Hiring a professional to clean your air ducts is an investment in your home and in your well-being. It’s also important to clean and change filters on schedule, have regular HVAC inspections, and keep moisture out of places where it doesn’t belong.


Blog Courtesy of Preston Guyton, Direct Heating and Coolinga native of the Grand Strand and Broker in Charge/Managing Partner of CRG Companies.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Ultraviolet Lights Can Clean the Air

Ultraviolet Lights in Cape Coral & Port Charlotte, FL

Micro particles such as dust, dirt, mold and fungi accumulate on your heating and cooling system. When it operates, these particles are spread through all the rooms of your home or business. Direct Heating and Cooling installation of an ultraviolet (UV) light to eliminate much of the contamination and improve indoor air quality.

Why DO I NEED UV LIGHTS?

Over time mold, mildew and bacteria can build up in a HVAC’s air handler.  Filters work well to remove large particles of dust from the air, but micro particles like mold spores, mildew, and bacteria cannot be trapped effectively with filters alone. UV lights will kill micro particles as they pass through the airflow.

HVAC ultraviolet lights can benefit you and your family in many ways. They:

  • Control mold and bacteria
  • Reduce colds and flues – germs are not re-circulated by HVAC system
  • Reduce smells / odors
  • Remove VOCs
  • Are more effective in humid climates than dry climates
  • Reduce clogging in condensate drain lines by preventing algae growth.
  • Maintain a cleaner coil, improving cooling efficiency
  • Provide cost savings by reducing your electricity bills

ARE ULTRAVIOLET LIGHTS SAFE?

Since 1903 ultraviolet lights have been widely adapted for all kinds of uses: sterilizing hospitals, sterilizing water, and germicidal lamps in food establishments. It is a proven safe and effective technology and is now available to provide these same benefits in the home.

The technicians at Direct Heating and Cooling will recommend a small, self-contained system that remains separate from the electrical wires in your home or business. Installation is simple, and no alterations to your existing heating and cooling system are necessary.

HOW MUCH DO ULTRAVIOLET LIGHTS COST IN CAPE CORAL?

The cost to install ultraviolet lights in your home will depend on your system and your needs. To get an accurate cost for installing ultraviolet lights, obtain an estimate. You can call Direct Heating and Cooling today to schedule a free estimate for installing ultraviolet lights and learn about financing options.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Hurricane Season in Florida – June 1

Direct Heating and Cooling

Hurricane Season is Here

The media will soon be busy writing articles and broadcasting specials providing tips and checklists to help us prepare before a storm approaches. Their advice will tell us the importance of water, batteries, flashlights, radios, plywood, generators and gasoline in securing our homes and surviving during and after a storm, but none of them talk about the importance of protecting the largest and most expensive appliance in your home…your air conditioning system.

Residents in Cape Coral, Ft. Myers, and the Miami area should follow these few simple steps before, during and after a storm to ensure that your A/C system is ready and safely survives a hurricane:

Before the storm:

  1. Make sure that the outside condensing unit is safely secured to the concrete slab or roof curb/stand with the adequate number of hurricane approved code compliant metal tie-downs. If you are not sure whether or not you meet this requirement, schedule an appointment with us today and we can make sure that you do.
  2. Remove loose items such as patio furniture, potted plants, bicycles, pool toys and other outdoor items from the area around the outside condensing unit. These items can become airborne during a hurricane and cause impact damage to the equipment.

During the storm:

Turn the system completely off both at the thermostat and the circuit breaker. This will prevent damage to the equipment from electrical power surges and will prevent electrical shock and/or fire hazard in the event of flooding.

After the storm:

Make sure that it’s completely safe before restoring power to the system and turning the thermostat back on. This includes:

  1. Inspecting the unit to see that it is still secured to it slab or roof/curb stand and that the condensing unit was not damaged
  2. Allowing any flooding to recede
  3. Ensuring that all electrical wires and connections are undamaged.

Depending on the severity of the storm and the damage that it causes, it may be necessary to call a certified air conditioning repair contractor such as Direct Heating and Cooling to do a complete inspection of the system.

We all hope that we are spared a direct hit by a hurricane during this season, but just in case we aren’t, BE PREPARED, stay safe and rest assured in knowing that the professionals at Direct Heating and Cooling are always here to help if and when you need us!!!

 

 

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


What happens when a technician is on site?

THE FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD EXPECT

When an AC technician is on site, there are five basic things that they should all do. This list was created to help get the most out of your AC technician.

1. A General Safety CheckAir Conditioning Installation in Cape Coral & Port Charlotte, FL

A seasoned technician should go through the general safety checks on whichever system you currently have installed and look for any issues that could be dangerous to the resident(s). These general safety checks will include inspecting the heat exchanger for cracks, rust, or pits as to making sure that no harmful gasses are being exposed to the house. Small cracks or rust exposures have been known to be dangerous and we highly recommend you make sure your AC technician is doing his or her job. In a general safety check, they should also focus on if the system is working properly.

2. Any Repairs if Necessary

After a technician goes through the general safety check, they should repair anything that may be out of date or broken. Generally, repairs tend to be very minor and would require nothing more than a tightening of a screw or a replacement of a bolt.

3. Cleaning

Every technician should clean out areas that have had dirty or grim build up, especially in places that a homeowner can’t or probably will not access. Though general cleanliness such as dusting isn’t the technician’s jobs, they should search for and remove any rust or grim.

4. A Written Report

After the technician has finished the maintenance visit, he or she should give a written report summarizing all that was done to the unit. This includes any repairs, cleaning, replacements, or tightening. This is for reference just in case you may want to call and check on something later.

5. Any Questions You Have Will Be Answered

One the technician is done with the maintenance visit and has completed the written report; he or she should be able to answer any question you may have. No matter how trivial the question may be, the technician should be able to answer in a easy to understand way so you know what is going on. Also, if you ever ask for tips on preventative steps to keep your system running, they should be able to do so.

If you would like to contact Direct Heat and Cooling…
Phone: 239-217- 4148
URL: www.directheatingandcooling.biz
Address: 1227 Southeast 47 th Street Cape Coral, FL 33904

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Trouble Shooting an Air Conditioner

Before You Call

Before you call an Air Conditioner technician, which could run you upwards of a hundred dollars per hour, you should perform these simple troubleshooting techniques to make sure you can’t solve the problem.

  1. Check to See if it is RunningAir Conditioner Maintenance in Cape Coral & Port Charlotte, FL

The first thing you should do is check to see which AC vents the air isn’t coming out of. After this, you should check to see if the fan is running in the outside unit. Your problem may be as simple as a breaker being tripped. If the breaker has been tripped, just switch it off and back on. If it trips again, check the wiring being the ac unit to see if there are any obvious repairs that need to be made and repair as necessary.

  1. Is The Fan Blowing Out Hot Air?

If the fan is blowing out hot air on the outside unit, this is good but if it is not, you should try trouble switching the breaker again. If the unit is still not starting, check for a reset button on the AC unit. If AC Unit is still not powered, check to see if there is any faulty wiring on the back electric panel.

  1. Is There Ice?

If you see ice buildup on our around the unit, turn off the outside unit for a few hours to let it melt. After the ice has melted, turn it back on and after five minutes; check the copper pipes to see if they are cold. If it is not cold at all or icing over again, calling a repair man may be necessary due to FRU regulations.

  1. Bad Cooling?

If the outside unit is running perfectly but there seems to be no cooling, you should check the temperature gauge of the system. An accurate reading can only be assessed fifteen minutes or more after the unit has been running. What you should find is 59 degrees for a high efficiency unit and 65 to 68 degrees for an older unit. If the temperature is lower, the problem may be the refrigerant. If the temperature if higher, something could be wrong with the airflow. This could be caused by clogged air filters, small air duct systems, or improper installation design.

  1. If The Problem Persists

If the problem is not going away, it is time to get a professional involved. You should contact Direct Heating and Cooling.

Call: 239-217-4148

 

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Indoor Air Pollution

Air Quality in Cape Coral & Port Charlotte, FLIndoor air pollution affects many households, creating comfort and health problems minor to severe. Many sources contribute to indoor air pollution – combustible gasses, a poorly maintained air conditioning system, dust, chemical cleaning products, asbestos insulation, excess moisture, and more.

If a household member suffers allergies, it’s a strong indicator of an indoor pollution problem, but in some cases, air quality issues are not easily recognizable. Living in a home with air quality issues can lead to issues over time, including headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and eye, nose, and throat irritation – these symptoms are similar to cold and flu symptoms, and are often mistakenly wrote off as such. Long term, exposure to indoor air pollution created by combustible materials can cause a person to develop heart disease, respiratory disease, and even cancer.

HVAC solutions to cut indoor air pollution

Correcting indoor air pollution issues creates a healthier living environment for all in your household. One way Direct Heating and Cooling has experience treating a wide range of indoor air pollution issues. One way we create a cleaner home is through duct cleaning, which is an essential component of maintaining your air conditioning system. Our duct cleaning process includes three key steps to eliminate indoor pollutants:

  • Cleaning the evaporator coil of your air conditioner system
  • Performing fresh duct treatment
  • Applying microbiocide treatment

How do contaminants enter the duct system, creating the need for duct cleaning? Gaps, fallen sections of the duct, and other openings within the duct system allow contaminants to enter the duct work as well as your home. These disconnections also permit conditioned air to be deposited in areas other than your interior rooms, wasting as much as 30 percent of your heating and cooling energy and causing your system to overwork in order to deliver the warm or cool air you want.

Direct Heating and Cooling may recommend other HVAC indoor air quality solutions, based on the air pollution you face indoors.

  • Ultraviolet lights can be installed to work with your HVAC system, killing off existing mold and mildew while preventing their reoccurrence.
  • High-efficiency air filters and filtration systems trap pollutants, pulling them from your air supply. These products can reduce allergy symptoms by removing more allergens from the home.
  • Installing zoning systems can create balance and improve air quality throughout a home.
  • Dehumidifiers keep moisture levels in check throughout the home while cutting contaminant buildup throughout.

Reducing indoor air pollution

Here are some measures you can take to improve your indoor air quality:

  • Keep contaminants out of your home by performing air sealing. Caulk around plumbing and lighting fixtures with approved sealants.
  • Limit your appliance use to off-peak hours to save more energy.
  • Check that the insulation in your home meets current standards.
  • Switch to natural cleaners and air fresheners, rather than chemical solutions.
  • Open windows and doors to naturally ventilate your home.
  • Leave shoes at the door when entering the home.
  • Vacuum and clean surfaces more frequently.
  • Do not smoke in the home.
  • Use houseplants for natural air filtering.

Direct Heating and Cooling serves a large spread of customers – we’ve encountered and corrected a broad range of indoor air quality issues to give our customers cleaner, healthier indoor air. Whatever your issue may be, our team has experience implementing specific indoor air quality solutions that will correct your problematic conditions. Contact us today to discuss your indoor air quality needs!

 

 

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Air Conditioner Checklist for New Homeowners

Air Conditioning Installation in Cape Coral & Port Charlotte, FLTo ensure the air conditioner in your new home is working correctly, this is the process we use:

  • Test the unit to ensure it is blowing cooled air
  • Replace or clean the air filter
  • Inspect for fan or blower clogs; if clogged, professional assistance is required
  • Inspect condensation lines and drains for mold and algae grown; if detected, run bleach through the system to eliminate growth
  • Test the thermostat – to do so, ceiling fans are turned on, and all doors opened while the air conditioner system is set to 76 degrees; if the home cannot be brought to 76 degrees by the cooling system, repairs are needed

Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover catastrophic situations only; this does not include system malfunctions or repairs. If the outdoor air conditioning unit is damaged by fallen limbs caused by a lightning strike, for example, the situation should be covered by your policy, and insurance should pay for the replacement. If wear and tear from regular use has caused repair issues, the cost is not typically covered by homeowner’s insurance.

To keep your new home’s air conditioner working properly, the air filters should be replaced a minimum of four times each year; during periods of heavy use, they may need to be replaced monthly.

An inspection of the air conditioner should be performed during your home inspection, prior to your move-in, and you should continue to have the system inspected annually. During an air conditioner system inspection, coolant levels, and system pressure are reviewed. The technician also checks thermostat calibration for correct temperatures and cycling. Wiring and electrical contacts of the air conditioner are tightened. The evaporator coil is inspected to ensure it is clear. The condensate drain is checked and cleared. The condenser is cleaned and inspected, its fan motor is lubricated, and the amps are measured at start-up.

If air conditioner problems turn up via the inspection, you may consider having the unit replaced with a new high-efficiency cooling system. This could cut energy use by 20 to 50 percent versus an older, lower efficiency air conditioner.

In addition to an air conditioner assessment, there are numerous energy-saving measures you should perform when moving to your new house, including:

  • Inspect attic insulation to ensure it meets applicable standards
  • Adjust the water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees
  • Install ceiling fans throughout the home
  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes
  • Upgrade to a programmable thermostat and learn to set it properly
  • Replace air filters
  • Clean air vents to remove dust and other contaminants
  • Mark cracks found on basement walls and monitor for expansion over time
  • Use a clothing rack inside or outside instead of a clothes dryer
  • Inspect toilets, faucets, and plumbing under sinks for leaks and running water
  • Install CFL or LED light bulbs
  • Purchase energy efficient appliance models
  • Use smart strips with your electronics
  • Landscape by planting trees to shade the home
  • Install new locks and make a set of spare keys
  • Seal gaps and cracks throughout the home
  • Look for tax advantages you may qualify for
  • Create a maintenance checklist to be performed on a monthly and yearly basis

 

Direct Heating and Cooling has served a wide range of customers, tackling the gamut of heating and cooling problems. No matter when the problem occurs, our team will be to your door to solve your comfort issues, big or small.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Add Years to Your Air Conditioner’s Service Life

Air Conditioning Service in Cape Coral & Port Charlotte, FLIt’s no secret that purchasing an air conditioner is expensive. When you make such a large investment in your home comfort, you’ll want to take the steps necessary to get the most out of your system – that includes steps which will extend the service life of your air conditioner. Air conditioners last an average of 10 to 15 years – the tips below will help you add years to your air conditioner’s service life.

  1. Have your air conditioner professionally maintained each year

Routine maintenance is critical to keeping your air conditioner operating smoothly – even air conditioner manufacturers note their systems should be maintained yearly. When an air conditioning technician performs annual maintenance, he or she will inspect the system, test for safety, and perform lubrication, cleaning, and tightening of components to boost the system’s performance. During this time, they will identify system issues that could pose a threat to its performance down the road – these issues can be corrected early on before they cause great damage or force stress to the equipment, which can result in your system breaking down before its expected service life.

  1. Never skip filter changes

The purpose of your system’s air filter is to remove contaminants, benefiting your air quality and protecting the equipment. If the air filter becomes blocked with contaminants, it restricts airflow – this forces your system to overwork to deliver cool air to your living areas, stressing the air condition to the point of potential breakdown. HVAC filters should be replaced a minimum of every three months, though you may find it necessary to do so monthly during periods where you are using your air conditioner often.

  1. Remove debris and items from around the condenser

Storing outdoor items and allowing yard debris to build up around your air conditioner’s condenser can damage the system by restricting airflow, which stresses the system as it must overwork to compensate. Keep the area surrounding your condenser free of outdoor furniture, grills, and toys. Do not allow vegetation to grow up around the condenser, and clear grass clippings, leaves, and sticks from the unit as necessary.

  1. Seal ductwork

As much as 30 percent of cooling energy can be lost through leaking ducts. Cool air exits your ducts, never reaching the living areas in your home – to make up for this loss, your air conditioner has to work harder to replace it. Sealing ductwork prevents energy loss, allowing you air conditioner to perform optimally. Another benefit of duct sealing is that it improves air quality – sealing gaps in your ductwork will prevent pollutants from entering the duct system and your home. Keeping these contaminants out of your duct system will keep them out of your HVAC system components, preventing them from building up, reducing efficiency, and causing breakdowns.

Routine maintenance and quick repairs are among the services Direct Heating and Cooling offers to help homeowners get more years of service from their air conditioning systems. We service all models of cooling units, and have served an expanding group of homeowners throughout the years – our team is equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to tackle cooling problems great and small. Whenever, wherever you have a cooling issue, call Direct Heating and Cooling for prompt service.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


What Questions to Ask Before Replacing Your Air Conditioner

Air conditioners are critical to enjoying the Florida summer indoors. As with any piece of equipment, over time they do wear out, experience problems, and require replacement. You don’t want to go without cooling when outdoor temperatures are high, so how do you decide if you should replace your current air conditioner, what new air conditioner do you choose, and who do you hire to install it? Ask yourself these questions, which will help you decide if it’s time to replace your air conditioner.

Is it better to repair my air conditioner, or replace it?

When weighing whether you should repair or replace your AC unit, consider its age and operating condition. Florida air conditioners usually last around 10 years, so if you’re nearing, in, or exceeding that age, air conditioner replacement is in your near future. Often, your air conditioner will give you signs that the end of its service life is nearing – air conditioners often experience performance problems and require repair in the last few years of service. If you’ve been calling Direct Heating and Cooling for repairs over the last few summer seasons, investing your repair dollars into a new air conditioner may be a better choice for your household.

How big should my new air conditioner be?

Sizing of your new air conditioner is important to your comfort and costs. For an air conditioner to cool your home comfortably and operate efficiency, it needs to be the correct size for your home. If the new air conditioner is oversized, you’ll overspend on its purchase and are likely to experience energy waste along with poor comfort and moisture control while using it. Undersized systems have difficulty keeping the home comfortable, as they don’t have the capacity you need to keep your home at a steady, cool temperature.

Sizing a new air conditioner is best left to the pros. Direct Heating and Cooling performs comprehensive load calculations to determine the proper size of air conditioner for your home, factoring in numerous components such as your household size, the home’s square footage, number and size of windows, and even the home’s exposure! We perform these load calculations to ensure your new air conditioner will offer the cool comfort you expect.

Which HVAC contractor should I hire?

The installation of your new air conditioner is important to its ongoing performance. A botched installation can create a range of issues, from excessive energy use, poor comfort control, and even system breakdowns.

To protect your investment in a new air conditioning system, always work with a trusted HVAC contractor for air conditioner installation – your contractor should be experienced and knowledgeable in working with the type and model of air conditioner you’ve chosen. Direct Heating and Cooling recognizes the importance of delivering quality air conditioning installation to our customers, and we are committed to earning your satisfaction on every job. We are happy to answer all your questions and provide you with homeowner references so you can discover the quality of service we provide from customers who have been in your shoes.

If you’re in the market for an air conditioner replacement, Direct Heating and Cooling can assist you. Over the years, we’ve helped numerous homeowners with a range of comfort challenges select new air conditioners that fit their needs. We ensure quality air conditioner installation on every project. When it’s time to purchase a new air conditioner, we will be there to assist you.

 

 

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling