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5 ways to protect

When you go out to the beach, go for a jog or even watch your child’s baseball game this summer, you’ll be roasting in 95 degree weather with 75% humidity. Heat stroke is a distinct possibility for children, adults and pets this summer. These cool down tips will help you and your loved ones make it through the heat this year. 1.) Protect your head: Everyone knows to protect their head in the cold with ear muffs, wool hats and scarves but do you know how important it is to protect your head during the blazing hot days of the summer? By wearing a hat such as a baseball hat or even a cowboy hat, you will not only prevent your face, scalp and ears from getting burned but you will also be cooling your brain. This will help prevent you from getting dizzy or tired when outside. 2.) Drink lots of water: When it’s hot out, your body sweats more often, increasing body water loss. To balance this out and also cool your system, be sure to drink lots of water. This also prevents dehydration, which is common with heat stroke. 3.) Wear sunscreen: Of course you don’t want skin cancer, but you can also help yourself stay cooler by wearing sunscreen. Have you ever noticed how feverish you felt after getting a very bad sunburn? By avoiding sunburns with adequate sunscreen, you can avoid feeling hot and feverish. 4.) Avoid too much sun: If you’re doing outdoor activities, take frequent breaks to give yourself a rest from sun exposure. If you’re at the beach, sit under the blanket or go for a swim in the cool water. If you’re playing Frisbee golf at the park, rest under a shady tree and drink some water. Prolonged, direct sun exposure increases your chances of heat stroke and dehydration. 5.) Use your a/c to your advantage: When you’ve been out in the sun all day, your body needs a chance to cool down. You don’t want to go jogging along Bayshore Blvd. in full sun at 95 degrees with 75% humidity for 2 hours, then come home to a hot house. Your body needs the cooler temperatures provided by a/c to cool down and return to its normal body temperatures. If you haven’t had your a/c system refreshed in a while, called Independent Air today for regular maintenance to make sure your home is cool all summer long!

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Staying cool and saving money

As the owner of an air conditioning business in Tampa Bay, I hear frustrations over energy costs every day. The cruel reality is that we live in a sub-tropical location that, despite its many advantages, requires us to use more air conditioning than other locations. Air conditioning is, unfortunately, the number one energy user in homes, which is why you see the higher energy costs in our warmer climate, especially during the summer! While you want to stay cool and comfortable in your home, there are some things you can do to make your system more efficient and reduce energy costs: The more current your system is, the more efficient it will be. Is your A/C unit very old? Has it been recently serviced? Proper maintenance can help your unit be more efficient, even if it’s an older system. A programmable thermostat with auto adjust temperature will prevent you from unnecessarily cooling your home when no one is home so that your system will not run as much. Simply replacing filters regularly and keeping your system clean can make a big difference. Clean systems run more efficiently because there is no dirt and dust restricting the airflow. When you let dirt and dust accumulate, the unit will not release all the air it should be releasing, which means your system will work harder to do less work —drawing additional but unnecessary power. I have lived in Tampa my whole life so I know the feeling of wanting to stay cool without paying an arm and a leg for air conditioning. Hopefully these tips can help you do just that!

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Watch out for leaking coils

Summer is winding down, but we still have a couple months of high heat and humidity here in Tampa Bay. You do not want your air conditioning unit to stop working and leave you with no relief from this heat, so make sure you are taking care of any refrigerant leaks you may have. First of all, let me help you understand what these leaks mean because I see them pretty often. When there is a leak in a coil in your system, you’ll lose refrigerant. Some coils can be repaired, but in most cases, the coil is actually not repairable. We need to look at how the leak started in the first place and also identify if there are multiple leaks. Because coils are fragile, it’s very easy to destroy the coil as you attempt to repair it. If you do succeed in making the repair, it’s very probably that another leak could occur in another coil because the cooling system has already been compromised. In my opinion, it’s usually not worth it to repair the leaking coil. Let’s look at why these leaks happen in the first place: Environmental factors such as salt water and sulfur water can both be reasons for leaks. If the coil is near either of these solutions, they could come into contact with it, get corroded and start to leak. Rust and vibration from within the unit could cause leaks as well. As a home owner trying to stay in that comfortable indoor temperature, you are probably wondering how long you have after a coil leak until your system stops working completely. The problem is pretty significant, so it is something you are going to want to take care of immediately. As soon as the leak begins, your system will begin to lose efficiency as well as the ability to pull properly. The system could stop working altogether. The pressure in your system will drop, and it will accumulate more ice and freeze up. This can happen from other causes like air clogged filters, but primarily it means that you have a leaking coil. Hopefully this information will give you a better understanding of potential problems with your system. If you see a sign that you may have a leaking coil, make sure you contact us and take care of it before you experience unnecessary discomfort!

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Don’t ignore your a/c unit

Let’s think about routine maintenance: You probably get oil changes, and haircuts. You may mow the lawn. Our schedules are full of scheduled service appointments. Well, did you know that the most important thing you can do for your A/C is to also service it regularly? Many people don’t realize the importance of scheduling routine maintenance. We’re all busy and there are many competing priorities for our time and attention. Still, you don’t want to be forced to realize how important regular maintenance AFTER your system has shut down and you’re stuck in the heat with no A/C. Not only does maintenance keep your system running efficiently and ensure its availability when you need it, it’ll also help you avoid breakdowns, failures, and times where it will not operate. Without the maintenance, any of these problems can occur. We don’t want to see you in a hot, uncomfortable and humid situation!

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Duct work can have big effects

A/C units need air ducts to be able to properly distribute cool air and run efficiently. Yet, many people ignore their duct work! They’ll replace their air conditioning system and assume that they will automatically have much better efficiency. While it’s true that units are obviously more efficient when they come right out of the box, you need to consider the entire system when you think about performance and efficiency. That system includes duct work. In fact, an A/C system is composed of installation, piping and ductwork. When these elements all work together, then the system is primed to work at full efficiency. Duct work is often undersized, which makes it tougher for the unit to do its job, decreases its efficiency and possibly shortens its life. Duct leakage can also occur. Did you know that just a small percentage of duct leakage can greatly affect the efficiency of the system? Because duct work does not usually wear out over time, there’s not a set amount of time you can go by to wait for maintenance. A qualified professional can help you determine when it’s time to clean your ducts. Optimal efficiency comes from sizing and sealing—the joints and seams have to be tightly sealed and the ducts have to meet the unit’s specs and be large enough to provide adequate air delivery. In summary, keep up with your routine maintenance and stay comfortable in hot and humid Tampa!

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Are your ducts dirty?

Ducts can get dirty, although how rapidly this happens is highly variable. Do you have pets or do you live in a high-traffic area? Do you have carpeting? A lot of factors contribute to the soot, pollen, dander, and dust content in the air—all of which can clog your ducts over time. Clogged ducts can greatly impact the efficiency of your A/C unit, can heighten your allergies or asthma and can make your home harder to clean! Do you see excessive dust on furniture or flat surfaces? Are you or others experiencing respiratory issues? Do a quick check: remove a register grill and look into the duct work with a flashlight. If you see dust bunnies that have morphed out of control into man-eating dust bunny monsters, let us know! We can help you. The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that indoor air can be up to 70 times more polluted than outside air! Let’s get those dirty ducts cleaned up so that you can be cool and confident here in Tampa Bay!

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