7 Ways to Get the Most From Your Air Conditioner This Summer

With summer in full swing, life in central Florida can either be paradise or unbearable. If you’re looking for some quick tips to get the most from your air conditioning here in the Orlando heat, you’ve come to the right place.

Although a properly working, well maintained A/C is definitely your first means of defense when beating the heat, these 7 timely tips will help you save money and get the most from your system.

Summer Heat and A/C Efficiency

1. Don’t Let it Get Away! – The first thing homeowners and  contractors need to be aware of is the fact that air sealing your home should be top priority for energy efficiency. Your air conditioning unit is a big investment, but without proper home sealing, you’re basically letting your money blow away with the summer breeze.

So, what do you need to look for?

  • Caulk all cracks between the floor and walls.  If you’re replacing flooring be sure to apply a generous amount of bead of caulk or spray foam between the baseboard and the subfloor.
  • Fill in leakage gaps in the drywall – around receptacles, pipes, wires, window and especially door trim. So many Orlando homes have gaping cracks where you can actually see light from the outside coming in through the front door crack! There’s more than just light coming in!
  • Use foam gaskets behind electrical plates.
  • Check your attic insulation by pulling it away from pipes, wires, walls, and any other openings in the ceiling and sealing any holes before replacing the insulation.
  • If you have an attic stair or attic door inside your home (many are in the garage) you need a nice foam box to seal it over. This is often the biggest hot air leak in the house.

2. Here Comes the Sun! – In the morning as it begins to warm up, be sure to close the blinds on the south side of your home to keep it from heating up.

3. You’re Going the Wrong Way! – A favorite quote from “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” also may apply to your ceiling fans. For maximum cooling power your ceiling fans should be set at the lowest speed and spinning in the direction that pushes warm air down during the winter months (since hot air rises). The opposite is true in the summer.

4. Here Comes the Sun! – In the morning as it begins to warm up, be sure to close the blinds on the south side of your home to keep it from heating up.

5. When is a Door Not a Door? When It’s a Jar (ajar…get it? The word ajar means ‘partially open.’) – Okay, dumb joke, but it is important to close the doors of rooms that you’re either not using or using very little. Also, be sure to adjust the air conditioning vents to allow for minimal air flow. Of course, we don’t recommend completely shutting vents as this can create an opportunity for mold to grow in your home, but reducing the air flow to rooms not in use will increase the amount of cooled air used where it’s needed the most.

For more information on how to save on your air conditioning and to receive a general maintenance check-up, give us a call today!

5 Ways to Beat the Heat This Summer

With summer heat on its way, this is the time of year when many Florida homeowners can be found lounging in the refreshing waters of their pool. While this may be a quick fix, it’s certainly not your only option.

Whether you’re new to the sunshine state or have spent a number of years trying to beat the heat, here are some ideas for dealing with the ever climbing temperatures.

Beating the Summer Heat 

  • Unique Refreshments – Let’s face it; even though we all know that water is important, it can become very boring very quickly. If this wasn’t true, there wouldn’t be a thousand different soft drinks and powdered punch brands on the market today. We need water to stay hydrated and stay cool though, so if you are having trouble getting in your 8 glasses or more a day, consider making your water a bit unique by adding fruits and herbs. Combinations like citrus and lime, sage and blackberries, or watermelon and rosemary can leave you feeling fulfilled, refreshed, and keep your body hydrated so you stay cool.
  • Come to the Dark Side – While taking in the breathtaking view of your Florida property may be something you enjoy, keeping those blinds open could be making it harder for your Orlando air conditioning system to work properly. That means your home will be much hotter than it needs to be. Keeping the blinds closed, especially on the side of the house with the most direct exposure, can reduce the temperature by up to 5 degrees!
  • Apply Some Mint – Lotions and soaps made of mint can be extremely handy during the hottest days of summer. Mint leaves the skin feeling cool, while refreshing it at the same time. Take a shower using peppermint soap, soak your feet in a minty scrub, or use peppermint lotion to cover your entire body with minty freshness.
  • Program the Thermostat – Almost every home in Florida has central heat and air, but many homeowners don’t know how to keep their home at its coolest. Setting the thermostat to a slightly higher temperature at night and when you aren’t home, then dropping it down a degree upon your arrival (only if it feels slightly uncomfortable) is the best way to save on your electric bill while keeping you cool. Making the mistake of setting your a/c above 80 degrees when you aren’t home will not only cause your unit to work twice as hard, it will also allow your home to become humid and muggy, which is a certain recipe for mold and bacteria growth.
  • Changing the Air Filter – Make sure the air filter is changed at least once every 30 days. A dirty air filter will prevent your air conditioning system from functioning as it should.

Ready to beat the summer heat? Use these steps to stay refreshed and cool despite the warm Florida temperatures.

Top Tips for Cooling Off Your Attic and Giving Your AC a Break

If you live in Florida, you already know what your summer is going to consist of: heat. Chances are, most of your spare time will either be spent in the pool, at the beach, or sitting in your home enjoying your Orlando air conditioning system. While your home may stay cool through the summer months, it might be working harder than it has to thanks to your attic or crawl space.

During the summer, heat seeps through the roof on your home and enters the attic, increasing the burden on the air conditioner and making it work twice as hard to keep your home at a cool temperature. As a result, your electricity bills often grow higher during these months and your home may not be as comfortable a place as you want it to be.

There are steps you can take, however, to reduce the amount of heat in the attic and lower your electricity bills.

Reducing the Burden on Your Orlando Air Conditioning System

  • Seal spaces around recessed lights, vents, and plumbing – During the summer, a Florida attic can experience temperatures as high as 150 degrees. This hot hair can use spaces around recessed lights, vents, and plumbing to escape the attic and enter your living space. Properly sealing these areas can prevent leaks and save you as much ten percent each month on your electricity bill.
  • Install Insulation – Take a look at the insulation in your attic. Insulation can be found in a variety of forms, such as blanket or loose-fill, but each type will have what is known as an “R-value.” The R-value number refers to how well the insulation performs at blocking out heat; the higher the number, the better it will be. If the insulation has a low R-value, consider replacing it; however be careful when handling insulation if you decide to install it yourself.
  • Put in Some Gable Vents – Gable vents aren’t expensive to install, and they can help out tremendously when it comes to a super heated attic. These vents allow hot air in the attic a chance to escape back outside, resulting in lower attic temperatures and reducing the burden on your Orlando air conditioning system.
  • Install and Attic Fan – When you use an attic fan, hot air is blown out of the home so your air conditioner doesn’t have to make as much of an effort when keeping your home cool. This not only prevents the AC unit from experiencing premature wear and tear, but also helps to lower your power bill each month. Install an attic fan, and make sure to have it serviced regularly to ensure it is doing its job.

You might not know it, but the heat from your attic or crawlspace could be affecting the way your Orlando air conditioning unit functions. When this additional heat seeps into a home, the system must work twice as hard to keep each room cool, resulting in higher electric bills. Save money, and your AC, by taking steps to reduce attic heat during summer.

Controlling Your Thermostat Remotely? There’s an App for That

Where would you be without your smart phone? If you’re like many tech savvy individuals today, your iPhone (or Android) is used for everything from paying bills online to posting on Facebook or sending a fax.

Apps, which are like mini computer programs, provide you with the freedom to step away from your computer, home, or workplace while still allowing you to get things done right from your phone.

There’s an app for almost everything these days, so it shouldn’t come as a shock to discover there are apps available to help you save money by controlling your thermostat remotely.

Here’s the breakdown of a few of them:

Remotely Controlling Your Orlando Air Conditioning and Heating System

#1. Nest 

The Nest thermostat and app is designed to work on any iOS device, like Androids, iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone and offers a simple and straightforward approach allowing users to control their heating and cooling systems right from their phone.

With this app, users can:

  • Set schedules for heating and cooling, designating when air conditioning will turn on and off throughout the day.
  • View energy usage each week, providing users with insights on how they can make adjustments and save money on their electric bill.
  • View the current temperature and humidity levels in the home, no matter where they are, and make adjustments to the temperature settings, fan settings, and humidification settings immediately.
  • Set a temperature for when they are away from the home. The app will automatically detect when they are leaving the house and adjust the temperature to save energy. It will then automatically return to the normal scheduled temperature once it detects they have arrived back at the home. This auto feature can be overridden manually.

#2. FriedrichLink 

Another app iPhone and iPad users can take advantage of is the FriedrichLink mobile app. This app only works with 2012 Kuhl units, but allows users to control almost everything about their air conditioning and heating system, including:

  • Fan speeds
  • Timer settings
  • Temperature settings
  • Energy use

A seven-day schedule is also available, allowing users to set temperatures in advance and monitor them in each room throughout the week.

#3. Ecobee

Ecobee is a smart thermostat very similar to Nest. Users can easily use an app downloaded to  their smart phone to control heating and cooling systems for both residential and commercial properties. While it has many similar features and abilities to Nest, Ecobee is specifically designed to help users save money.

This app pays attention to the amount of energy consumed in the household, alerts users to potential problems, and provides insights on how to reduce energy costs.

Other Energy Saving Apps for Your Home

iGo Vampire Calculator – While ‘vampire energy’ is an old phrase, it’s still one that many don’t realize could be causing increased energy prices in their homes. This type of energy is caused by appliances that are turned off, but still draining power and racking up the bill. The iGo Vampire Calculator app helps you find these culprits and determine how much power they are stealing.

Light Bulb Finder – These days, there are many different light bulbs available on the market, all claiming to be the best one for the job and the most energy efficient. So, how do you know which to choose? You could spend hours researching each bulb, or simply use the light bulb finder. This app calculates how much electricity each bulb will save and tells you when and if the bulb will pay for itself in energy savings.

Having an app to control your Orlando air conditioning and heating systems offers many advantages. It can help save money, is convenient, helps the home stay at a comfortable temperature, and provides you with immediate knowledge about the current temperature in your home.

Take advantage of today’s technology with apps that help you save money!

Allen Wilson

Monday, December 12, 2011

Meet The Team: Allen Wilson

Allen Waters - EC Waters - Orlando AC Repair
Allen Wilson does duct work and air conditioning installations for EC Waters. He has over 15 years of Orlando air conditioning experience and looks foward to serving you!
What should Allen’s customers know about him?
“I treat every job like I was working on my own home.” – Allen Wilson
Certifications Held By Allen Wilson:
EPA
What is your favorite recipe?
“Work hard, work fast, and get the job done the first time!” – Allen Wilson
Allen’s dedication and work ethic are clearly shown in this short interview. He is one of the many reasons why EC Waters earns customers for life with integrity!
Schedule your Orlando air conditioning maintenance by calling 407-294-6464.
Allen Wilson 12/12/2011

Check Your Air Filter

Can you guess the mess in the picture below? The number one thing homeowners can do to ensure the functionality and longevity of their Orlando air conditioning system is to change the air filter regularly. A dirty air filter hampers air flow causing the unit to work that much harder, and if there isn’t enough air moving over the evaporator coil, it can freeze over into a solid block of ice (That’s solid ice surrounding the evaporator coil in the photo!).

Orlando AC repair evaporator coil frozen over.

If  you guessed the mess, good job! Feel free to contact us if this happens to your air conditioner.

AC Cages or GPS to Protect Your Orlando AC from Copper Theft?

Recently there was a flyer circulating that read “Stop Oralndo A/C theft 100%“.  It also read “GPS it, don’t cage it.” The article implied that cages for air conditioners are ugly and for the most part ineffective. It goes on to say how for $200 up front, the A/C unit would be equipped with a “State of the Art” GPS tracking system specifically designed for this. The company also claims to have a 15 second response time and “if the cops don’t get there fast enough to catch the thief, we will track the GPS to where the stolen Orlando Air Conditioner is and retrieve it for you for an additional recovery fee of $100”. Let’s not forget the $40.00 a month monitoring fee. This is not a practical solution for protecting your air conditioner.

First, this does nothing to stop your air conditioner from being stolen. Despite the claim of cages being unsightly, an enclosure could arguably enhance the aesthetics of an air conditioner, especially if the unit is older. There are several styles to choose from and many actually keep leaves and debris from collecting in your unit which could extend the service life. Damage from storms and vandalism also are minimized with an air conditioner cage.

Second, whether a GPS sends a distress signal to the police or not, do you honestly think they are going to put out an All Points Bulletin for your air conditioner crying for help? Remember, it takes less than 5 minutes to steal an un-protected unit and the police department has far more serious crimes to deal with prior to rushing to a call like this.

Third, the valuable copper, which is what is ultimately stolen, will be long gone by the time the GPS and the rest of the  Orlando air conditioner scrap are found.

Finally, even if you pay your monthly monitoring bill, your unit is stolen and found without significant damage, and the thief goes to jail, do you think the satisfaction of knowing you helped put a criminal behind bars is going to make up for the expense of replacing your unit? After you pay your $100 recovery fee, you will still be financially responsible for having the unit repaired or replaced. So where is the advantage? Just the damage of having a unit ripped from its foundation often costs more than an Orlando air conditioner cage. By the way, how long have you been without air conditioning or heat since this happened?

Cages are the best solution for Orlando air conditioner theft. When a thief is looking to steal an air conditioner, you want to be ruled out from the very beginning. If there are three bicycles outside a department store and one has a chain, one has an alarm, and the third has nothing, which one would you guess would be first to get stolen? The bicycle with nothing right? Which one would be next? You guessed it, the one with the alarm or GPS. The bicycle with the chain is not going anywhere without a lot of work and that is why you should invest in a cage to protect your expensive investment.

If you are ready to protect your upgraded Orlando AC , call E. C. Waters at 407-294-6464.

6 Steps to Finding the Right Orlando AC Repair Contractor

On July 10, NBC’s Today Show aired an undercover investigation segment on air conditioning repairs. The “sting” operation took place at a home in New Jersey, where contractors were called to a home experiencing a problem with its air conditioning system. When they misdiagnosed or misled the customer, they were confronted by the Today Show team about their methods. It was very frustrating to see so many untruthful contractors in the HVAC industry!

Finding a good Orlando Ac repair contractor and avoid scams.

These featured contractors were in New Jersey, but trust us when we say they are here in Orlando too. What can you do to protect yourself?

First and foremost, don’t wait until you find yourself stranded in 100-degree heat, feeling pressured to make a decision quickly. Start looking for your Orlando AC Repair company before you get into a jam.

The steps to finding the right Orlando AC Repair contractor include:

  • Get referrals from friends and neighbors. The best predictor of a contractor’s future behavior is to find out how well they    performed for someone you trust.
  • Google the Orlando AC repair company and see if any bad reviews come up. Check their Facebook and Twitter pages too!
  • Florida requires HVAC licensing, verify that the contractor is properly licensed. Each jurisdiction has different rules, unfortunately, so you will need to check with the appropriate websites.
  • Ask the Orlando AC Repair contractor to describe their employee training program. If they’re not able to answer this question, they probably don’t have one, and that’s a red flag.
  • Verify that the Orlando AC Repair contractor provides a regular maintenance or service agreement program.

For more information about this morning’s Today segment, visit http://www.today.msnbc.msn.com/.

 

To find out more about our Orlando AC repair company, please visit our website at www.ecwaters.com and Like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/E.C.WatersAirandHeat

 

Solar Powered AC Units Help Orlando Beat the Sun at its Own Game!

With renewable energy becoming more and more of a necessity, we wanted to let our customers and neighbors know that we carry solar powered AC units!

A solar powered air conditioner is an important step towards “going green” because in general, over 50 percent of a building’s energy consumption comes from its air conditioning — especially in Orlando!

Solar energy is an infinitely renewable resource that uses the sun’s rays to generate electricity for use in your home. By going solar, you can reduce your energy costs and also lower your dependence on fossil fuels, thereby making your own contribution to a cleaner environment.

How Solar Air Conditioners Workorlando solar air conditiong

The solar modules harness the sun’s energy to power the heat pump or air conditioner. When the heat pump or air conditioner isn’t running, the solar power can also operate other electrical devices in your home. Additionally, the solar powered air conditioner still functions as a normal solar panel by producing electricity.

“This is a way to use a renewable resource, the sun, to provide most of our cooling needs,” reports our VP of  Operations, Steve Waters.

The device will allow businesses and homeowners to incorporate new “green” technologies that will actually save money over time while simultaneously helping to save resources.

Learn more about our solar air conditioners here.

 

 

Orlando AC Repair: Does Closing Off Air Conditioning Vents Save Money?

To avoid paying costly Orlando AC repair fees, follow these tips!

orlando ac repair

Fact or Myth? Does closing ac/heat vents in rooms not being used save money on your energy bill?

Some people still think that by closing off an unused room and its vents saves energy. Some people close off all vents except for the one in the living room.

While this may have worked with older, non-insulated homes, it doesn’t work with today’s central heat and air conditioning systems.

According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory:

“Closing vents and leaving some rooms in a house unconditioned has been suggested as a method of quickly saving energy for consumers. This study combined laboratory measurements of the changes in duct leakage as vents are closed together with modeling techniques to estimate the changes in energy use attributed to closing vents.

“The results of this study showed that vent closing led to INCREASED energy use for a typical Orlando house over a wide combination of climate, duct leakage, and number of closed vents. The reduction in building thermal loads due to conditioning only a part of the house was offset by increased duct system losses, mostly due to increased duct leakage. Therefore, the vent closing technique is not recommended as a viable energy saving strategy for Orlando homes.”

Our very own Orlando AC repair specialist,  Steve Waters gave a great explanation as to why closing vents is NOT a good idea and will not save you money:

“Closing vents does not save money. It can actually increase your bill because it creates a restriction (back pressure) on air flow and causes motor to work harder drawing more amps. Can also lead to shorter life span on motors and compressors. Systems are designed to deliver a certain amount of cfm (air) per tonnage and when it can’t get rid of it it works harder. Best analogy is breathing thru a straw and someone pinches it makes it hard to breath.”

If you have been keeping vents closed in your home, now is the time to open them back up and call your Orlando AC Repair company to check and make sure your air conditioning unit is working properly.

We hope this Orlando AC repair tip has helped you maintain the life of your AC unit and save you money! Feel free to call Clark or Steve Waters if you have any questions….407-294-6464