Frequently Asked Questions
How do air conditioners work?
Air conditioners perform two basic functions: heat removal and moisture removal. The lower the humidity level, the more comfortable you'll feel at a given temperature. As warm indoor air is drawn up through the air handler, it passes over a really cold coil that removes heat and moisture. The basic science of how air conditioning works is this: the refrigerant in the system absorbs the heat inside your home and carries it to the condenser outside and vents it to the atmosphere, therefore removing enough heat from your home to drop the temperature to your desired degree.
What is the difference between a straight cool system and a heat pump system?
A straight cool system and a heat pump system essentially perform the same function. They differ in how they heat air. A straight cool air conditioner uses a heat strip, comparable to your oven coil, to heat the air as it blows into your home. A heat pump air conditioner has a reversing valve that reverses the cooling cycle so that instead of cool air being blown inside, hot air is blown inside the home and the cold air is vented outside. However, heat pumps are still installed with a backup heat strip in case the reversing valve fails. Since we are in Florida, and will only use our heating once or twice a year, there is really no significant savings to using a heat pump system.
How long do air conditioners last and how do I know when it is time to replace my unit?
We get plenty of service calls for air conditioners that are 20-25 years old. Typically these have been well kept and serviced regularly. The life of an air conditioner depends on several factors including where you live, how well you are maintaining your system and how you use it. The best way to lengthen the life of your air conditioning system is to change filters regularly, maintain a reasonable temperature at all times and keep your outside unit clean from debris. Having a yearly inspection by a licensed contractor is a small investment that can have a big impact on the life of your system. Regardless of the year of your air conditioner, if it is constantly breaking down due to equipment failures, it's probably more cost effective to replace the system.
Which air conditioning brands should I consider?
We live in a branded world. In air conditioning, all the brands that you see are just that, brands. They are labels that are used for selling the product. What you want to look at when choosing an air conditioning system is who manufactured it. Many popular labels come from the same production line at the same factory and have the exact same parts inside. So the label or brand really means very little, but the manufacturer means everything. We like to give you options, so typically we offer you several systems depending on your budget and needs.
What is a SEER and a TON?
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a measurement of a unit's efficiency, the higher the SEER number, the higher the energy efficiency of your air conditioning system. Currently, as of 2013, the base SEER being sold starts at 13 SEER.
A TON is a measurement of a unit's size; each ton equals 12,000 BTU’s (British Thermal Unit).
Who should I hire to service or install my air conditioning system?
Always hire a state licensed contractor, always ask for their license number — most of us know ours by memory. It can be tempting to hire an unlicensed contractor to install or work on your air conditioner because of the low fees they charge. However, unlicensed workers do not have liability insurance, worker’s comp insurance, or public listings. They don’t answer to anyone for their mistakes, which is scary for you. We can’t stress how much risk you are exposed to when hiring someone who has nothing to lose when they work on electrical components of your home. We've had customers that have had their homes burned down because of systems being installed wrong way. The worst part is they are unable to claim their homeowners’ insurance because their contractor was not licensed and can’t be found anywhere. It's worth it to be protected. We answer to the State of Florida for our work and would never jeopardize our license doing careless work.
What is a UV light, and does it work?
A UV light system is a UV bulb that is installed into your air handler. Its purpose is to kill bacteria and prevent further growth in your air handler coil so that air passing through the coil and into your home will be clean of such bacteria and mold. Does it work? UV light does kill bacteria. It is proven. However, it is not reasonable to say that a UV light will kill ALL the bacteria in your air conditioning system. One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of companies will offer you a “free” UV system if you let them replace your air conditioner. It's not really free — it's just included in the price. Companies like to include it because when the bulb burns out and needs to be replaced it's a guaranteed callback. We always provide an honest opinion and never mislead our customers.