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What to do for your Air Conditioning System during a Hurricane or Thunder Storm in Florida

lightning storm

  • When there is a lightning storm in the area, turn off your air conditioning using the thermostat. Equipment is generally only susceptible to power surges if it is on.

Even a small surge can weaken or damage parts, such as capacitors, within your air conditioner. A damaged capacitor will cause the motor or compressor in your unit to draw more electricity, run hotter and shorten it’s lifespan.


Other things you can do to prevent damage to your air conditioner:

  • Have your A/C condensing unit raised on a 8 inch thick hurricane pad. This prevents minor flooding from shorting out your unit and possibly your whole house. An added benefit you get is that grass clipping’s and other debris are less likely to clog the condenser bottom coils and prevents high head pressure which can lead to your compressor shutting down. Sometimes if your outside unit is level with the ground and the area stays moist, the bottom of the unit prematurely rusts to the point of requiring replacement.
  • Code requires tie down straps rated for 160 miles per hour on all new A/C condensing units and A/C Package units. These can be installed on existing Air Conditioning Equipment.
  • Install a gas driven generator to keep your food safe and your house cool.

If you have any questions regarding your Air Conditioning System or need Emergency Service, call Air Masters 813-234-2419.
By John De Young
CEO
Air Masters of Tampa Bay (813) 234-2419

Repairing your A/C- Heating System versus Replacing in the Tampa / St Petersburg Market

There are three things to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace.

    1. Life Expectancy — Most units last 10 to 12 years,after that point they become expensive to repair and may break down more often. After this time the parts may be discontinued, causing them to be more expensive if not completely unavailable. Consider the age of your equipment when you decide whether to replace or repair your unit.If you have had maintenance performed every year on your unit add 4 to 5 years.
    2. Efficiency — If you restore an aging unit,which is expensive to do,you will still only have the same efficiency that it was rated for when it was manufactured at best. Older units have a lower efficiency [S.E.E.R.] than the new model would.Savings can amount to 40% and higher.Installing a new system can pay for itself in energy savings within a relatively short period of time and increase your comfort level in the home.
    3. Current Condition — Consider the condition of your system when you decide whether to repair or replace.Some considerations are the Quality of the equipment { reputable,builder models} number of breakdowns and how the unit has been maintained.

Note : Matching systems,when either the air handler or the condenser needs replacing the technicians should recommend both indoor and outdoor units be replaced so you have a matched system.If you do not do this 99% of the systems will not operate correctly leaving you with a system that will have a shorter life span and be very inefficient.it will not pass a code inspection also and you will not have any warranty if the manufacture finds our about the mix match.

What to expect when an air conditioning co. comes to your home to install a a/c system

Every once in a while Air Masters of Tampa Bay receives a testimonial letter from a customer that explains all the things we tell our customers we do when our technician’s show up at there front door. As we try to inform home owners about the air conditioning business we present this letter.

Gentlemen:

I would like to extend my thanks and compliments for the work provided by Antonio Gaston and his assistant Eddie during the installation of the new A.C. unit at my home, June 22, 2012.

They both arrived at my home as scheduled at exactly at 8:00 a.m. and politely and professionally introduced themselves.

They explained what they were going to do, where they needed to go in my home to get it done, and asked if I had any questions.

They then began work immediately setting up their truck and equipment, and checking out what unit and equipment I had that they were going to remove.

They presented an image of experience and confidence and quickly established a plan of action and moved efficiently to set up.

Throughout this process they laid down tarps and other sheets to protect my flooring and home, and were always respectful when they had to enter a new area or needed to use the bathroom.

Antonio set up the work to be done and kept both he and Eddie busy throughout their stay. I never saw them standing around or wasting time, and they seemed to move well together and independently.

It was very hot and especially humid that day yet they moved quickly and carefully to dismantle the unit in the attic, and to quickly set up their work area up there before it became too hot. Very Smart!!

They graciously and respectfully accepted offers of cold water or Gatorade, yet did not take advantage of the situation. They were always very respectful of my home and property.

They answered my questions willingly and respectfully and with easy explanations so that I understood what or why they were doing things.

They didn’t like to make small talk yet were patient and easy to talk with if I had a question or interrupted.

They were conscious of keeping the area clean, both around the attic entrance, in my garage, in my yard around the condenser, and in the driveway around their truck.

They were also mindful of safety and hazards as they worked with heavy equipment, sharps, electrical panels, chemicals, and tight work spaces in the attic.

Once they completed their work Antonio reviewed with me some of the operating tips and instructions, explained the paperwork, and was very thorough in ensuring I was comfortable with the new unit.

They completely cleaned the area before they left, and left behind virtually no trash, damage, or any other signs of their work other than a nice new A.C. unit!

This experience was a pleasant continuation of the experience I had with Matthew Larson, the sales consultant that initially met with me and proposed the job.

Matt also called the day before the install to ensure we were ready, and also visited the site Friday morning to ensure everything was going well and as promised.

All of these actions and little attentions to detail added up to a very positive experience with Air Masters. I will use this experience as the benchmark to which to compare future contractors that work on my home.

You have set a high standard!!

I have already been asked by 3 neighbors about the work that was done by Antonio and Air Masters and have given both very positive compliments along with Matt Larson’s contact information.

I will happily pass along my compliments and positive experience to others whenever possible thanks to Matt’s, Antonio’s, and Eddie’s work!

Thank you for a positive experience!!

Kevin J. Copestick

Tampa, FL 33624

I hope this helps you, it sure made our day!!!!!!!

Replacement refrigerants for R22 good or bad?

With the cost of refrigerant 22 increasing many people have been asking if there was a less costly refrigerant to replace R 22 when they have a leak in their air conditioning system.The answer is yes with cautions.They are:

  1. Manufactures are recommending that only original R 22 be used in there A/C equipment and if they find out that other than new R22 refrigerant was used they will not honor their warranty.
  2. The drop in refrigerant does not have the exact quality’s as the original R 22
  3. It changes the properties of the original refrigerant if mixed with the drop in refrigerant and will not give the same efficiency as originally stated.
  4. You have to remove all original R 22 refrigerant before the Drop in refrigerant can be used.
  5. The drop in refrigerant only works with expansion valve metering devices.Most residential air conditioning units that are older had orifice flow control for metering and the drop in refrigerants don’t work well.

So in conclusion, you can save some money by using the drop in refrigerant. With manufacturers recommending against it and a lot of air conditioning company’s not understanding how to use it. I would say No,No,No.

Spring Flowers Bring Many Allergies – Five Ways to Reduce Allergens in your Home

It may seem like Tampa Bay never has a winter, but if you have allergies then you know spring has sprung when you step outside and find yourself exclaiming to the world, “Ha-ahhh-AHH-CHU!”. Head congestion, sneezing, runny noses, headaches and itchy, watery eyes – you know the deal. It’s one thing when you suffer from allergies outdoors, but it’s an endless nightmare if you can’t find relief from your allergies in the comfort of your own home.

You’ve seen it before… all that stuff floating in the room when the sunlight hits it just right. Most homes are full of allergens; dust, pollen, pet dander, molds, etc. They sift through the air and settle on furniture, ceiling fans, blinds, floors, etc. As people move about through the day, the allergens are kicked up and inhaled. As a result, your body reacts with all the tell-tale symptoms that can easily resemble a common cold. Sometimes, it’s all you can do to get a halfway decent night’s rest!

Five simple ways you can reduce allergies in your home

If you suffer from asthma or severe allergies, following are a few tips you can use to improve indoor air quality in your home which will help you get by more comfortably during the spring and summer months in Tampa, Florida.

TIP # 1 – Change Air Filters Frequently, Use the Right Filters!

Air filters for your air conditioner collect most of the unwanted elements from the air. They not only prevent the elements from building up in your air conditioner, but also protect you and your family from breathing the elements into your nose and lungs. But beware of the type of air filters you install in your central air conditioning system.

If you’re like most Tampa Bay area residents, you try to do the right thing by buying the expensive, pleated AC filters with the dense filtering system because logically they will catch more dust and particles. However, if the air filters are not engineered correctly for the residential home, then they could be too restrictive resulting in damage to the AC compressor over time. This damage is due to your air conditioner having to work extra hard to draw the air through the AC system. With the extreme temperatures in Tampa, your air conditioner may seem to run non-stop in the summer. Likewise, washable air filters usually have a high pressure drop across them, so reusable air filters are not a recommended option for home owners. The best solution for taking particles out of the air is to install an Everclean Green System or duct a special filtering system in parallel with the air handler.

 

TIP # 2 – Service your Air Conditioner Regularly

AC maintenance is typically the last thing on people’s minds, especially if the system properly cools their home during the blistering hot summers in the Tampa Bay area. Although the system may be cooling, the AC system itself can collect allergens over time. The internal A/C components can accumulate each form of allergen, from pet dander to mold, if the air conditioning system is not cleaned and maintained regularly. Routine AC maintenance service is a key component to extending the life of your air conditioner, but also ensures that there are not air pollutants or mold building up throughout the air conditioning system. Many people call a Tampa Air Conditioning Contractor to perform maintenance on their air conditioner in the spring so their AC system is prime and ready to handle the hot, humid Florida summer and again in the fall to recover from the summer wear and prepare for the heating season.

TIP # 3 – Reduce Indoor Humidity Levels

Tampa is extremely humid in the summer, but spring and fall can get pretty muggy, too! Have you ever broken a sweat just walking to your mailbox? Just as humidity causes mold and mildew outside your home; on your fence, roof top, exterior walls, in your lawn – Likewise, the inside of your home is susceptible to mold caused by high levels of humidity. Mold and dust mites love a moist household; mold spores, mildew, and dust particles kicked up into the surrounding air will remain suspended for longer since the air is so moist, providing allergy sufferers with even more allergens to inhale. Reducing the indoor humidity level will help to prevent more mold from forming and contributing to the overall allergen levels in the home.

Is there such thing as Too Cool in Tampa?

You may be inclined to reduce the temperature in your home in an effort to reduce the humidity level. On the contrary, a study conducted by the Florida Solar Energy Center at University of Central Florida found that lowering your thermostat can slightly increase your indoor humidity levels, and also cause moisture condensation to accumulate on your walls, floors and other surfaces in your home. Have you ever noticed condensation forming on your windows in the summer? The Florida Solar Energy Center recommends maintaining a temperature in your home within a couple degrees of 78 degrees. Even when going away for vacation to escape the Tampa heat, we recommend keeping your air conditioning running to maintain the optimum temperature to discourage any change in your environment while you’re away.

Running the Air Conditioner in Fan Mode?

Another common misconception homeowners have is to run their AC system in “fan” mode to promote constant air flow throughout the home to cycle the air through the air filters in hopes to collect the elements in the air. However, the flow of air through the air conditioning system will push the air by the wet coils and the drip pan which picks up moisture and causes a higher humidity index in your home by about 10 percent. Instead, we recommend you run ceiling fans to move the air. Using your ceiling fans will extend the life of your air conditioner motor since it won’t be running constantly, and expends approximately the same amount of electricity.

Run the exhaust fan while you shower

Surprisingly, we have found that many of our customers don’t run their bathroom fan while taking a shower. However, running your bathroom fan during your shower (and even up to 15 minutes after) can help control mildew in the bathroom and reduce humidity levels in the rest of your home. If you’ve bought a used home, or you use your bathroom fan often, then it may be time to change out the exhaust fan. Have your AC repair contractor inspect your exhaust fan the next time you schedule your routine air conditioning maintenance.

TIP # 4 – Air Duct Cleaning

The air ducts in your home that route air to and from the AC unit may need to be cleaned. Although air passes quickly through the ducts, they do have twists and turns throughout their lengths that can cause allergens to settle into tiny crevices. As a result, turning on the heat or air conditioning after a period of time can deliver a large blast of allergens through the ventilation.

Some people claim that your air ducts should be cleaned often. However, having your air ducts cleaned can be costly not to mention you have the potential to do damage to your duct work, loosening the fiber glass insulation causing fiberglass particles to enter the air stream. It’s important that you only clean your air ducts when it’s deemed necessary by a certified air conditioning contractor that has the proper training to inspect and clean your air ducts professionally. A lot of people claim to clean air ducts, but due to the risks involved you should do your homework to ensure a proper cleaning.

It may not be the best investment to clean your air ducts. If your duct system is old and you have hot and cold spots in your home due to poor duct design, you may be better served by investing that money into a new engineered duct system. New duct systems meet today’s code standards, save energy because of new installation values, and you receive a utility rebate for improving your duct system with energy savings.

TIP # 5 – Clean your home

The routine regimen of cleaning your home can get quite tiresome. Sometimes I wish I could just hire a Tampa maid service! All kidding aside, keeping your home clean plays a big part in the quality of your indoor air. Following are some cleaning tips you may want to consider to help maintain a comfortable living space for those with allergies.

  • When dusting, use a slightly damp rag
  • Dust shelves, counter tops, televisions often
  • Dust ceiling fans, window blinds, plants, lamps
  • Vacuum/sweep/mop the floors at least once per week
  • Clean Bathrooms (tubs, showers, sinks, toilets)
  • Change bed sheets, including the comforter which tends to collect a lot of dust
  • Bath your pets frequently. If they shed, brush their hair daily, and clean their sleeping pad often.

Keeping a cleaner home, and giving regular attention to your air conditioning system can improve your home’s indoor air quality making it a more comfortable living space in an uncomfortable time of year for many in Tampa Bay. Hopefully we shared some things you didn’t know before.

Post your thoughts!

We’d love to hear how our tips have helped you cope this allergy season. Or, feel free to share some of the things you do to help you and your family beat the Florida summer heat and reduce the impact allergens have in your home.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from AIR MASTERS OF TAMPA BAY.

Last year was a busy year for us and I would like to give you an update. Beverly Bosley our President had a baby girl named Persephone. I hope the kid is an English major to explain her name all her life. This is Beverly’s 6th and last child. I think she is running out of steam. Not to be outdone, our Vice-President Phillip Gonsalves also had a baby girl named Emma. This is Phillip’s 2nd child and he feels just fine. Moms and babies are doing great.

Now on to the HVAC business: Last year we again won Best A/C Company for 2011 voted by the customers of the Tampa Tribune. We were awarded Angie’s List Distinguished Service Award for 2011. Thank you for so many reviews on Google, Yellow Pages, and Angie’s List. We also appreciate the many letters we receive about our workmanship and our employees. If you do have an issue with our workmanship or something one of our employees said, do give us a call so we can resolve the situation. You can also just call and say Hi. You can find us on Facebook and “like us”.

As we mentioned last year, we had hired Mr. David Horton for commercial sales. This has been a great partnership with our commercial department growing by leaps and bounds. Take a look at our website and click on commercial department for information. If you own a business or know someone who would be in need of a good commercial HVAC contractor, please recommend us.

So what’s going on for the home owner? If you are thinking of replacing your old a/c system with a 15 SEER efficiency rating or higher, time is running out on the $300.00 Federal Tax Credit. Remember this program was $1500.00 Tax Credit in 2010, then it dropped to $300.00 in 2011. TECO has increased their rebates this year from $125.00 to $275.00 heat pump to heat pump 15 SEER and up. Straight cool to heat pump from $275.00 to $400.00 and if you are changing to natural gas, it starts at $500.00 and goes to $750.00 depending on the configuration. TECO has also come out with a new maintenance and high performance tune-up that they will give a $75.00 rebate once every 5 years if you perform their maintenance and tune-up. This can only be performed by a TECO certified contractor, which we are.

Well, thanks for listening. We hope this information will help you make informed decisions and save you money in the coming year. Right now we need to go hang our holiday decorations. Before we go, we want to say thanks for all of your business and recommendations to friends and family. If you do refer someone and they decide to install a new system, we will send you $50.00. Keep yourselves happy and healthy and if you ever need to contact us please call (813) 234-2419 or you can email us at info@airmasters.net.

Hope your Holidays are Comfortable and Healthy!

John De Young, CEO

Lets talk service charges in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties

On one of the many places to write a review about Air Masters of Tampa Bay a client of ours questioned the cost of analyzing their problem and then questioned the cost of the quote we gave them. I must say these are commonly asked questions of us, so let me explain how it works.

There are usually 3 separate charges to consider:

  1. The initial trip charge.
  2. Time to diagnose the problem.
  3. Quote to repair.

The Trip Charge: When a mechanic is sent to your home to diagnose an A/C problem, most companies charge a trip charge (as we do) which covers the cost of getting the mechanic to your home no matter where he my be located or what happens to him on the way. Companies average out that cost and come with a trip charge.

Diagnostic Time: Once on site, the technician will check the system thoroughly and charge a rate for every half hour of diagnosis time. Often, they can determine the problem within the first half hour to hour on site. Then they will give you a quote for the repair that includes the diagnosis charge.

Repair: If you accept the quote for repair, the mechanic will fix the problem and provide a bill to you for the trip, diagnosis time and actual repair costs (labor and parts). If you don’t accept the quote and want the work done by someone else, you should be charged only for the trip charge and diagnosis time. In most cases, we can fix the problem within one hour on the job site. On larger jobs (leaking coils, bad compressors) additional time may be needed.

If it sounds too good to be true…

Some companies advertise Free Service Calls. As a business owner, I don’t know how they can afford this unless their mechanic is told to try and sell you something. I think I will leave it at that.

Now, if a company advertises a Free Second Opinion (like we do), it is thought that we are doing a service for you. If you like the way we handled ourselves in confirming the diagnosis, or our explanation to you of the misdiagnosis and identification of the real problem, we feel you will hire us. Lets face it, the only reason you called for a second opinion was that you did not trust the other company for some reason. When the technician arrives, he is looking for a service ticket showing what the diagnosis was from the other company so he can confirm or deny that diagnosis. There is no charge for this service.

I hope this helps you when you call for service and I did not confuse you.I also hope I did not make it too personal using Air Masters of Tampa Bay as an example. But in this case, I can only speak for our company and I can only assume what other companies do.

Lets Talk Air Conditioning and Heating Utility Rebates for Hillsborough County

OK starting May 3rd 2011 TECO has come out with a new updated Rebate Program.So here we go.

For Hillsborough County and Surrounding Counties that TECO serves

If you are adding a New Air Conditioning Heat Pump system to your existing home you receive $400 instant rebate from TECO. What that means is that we subtract the TECO rebate off your contract price and we submit the paper work to TECO who than reimburses us. All other rebates involving TECO will work the same. Here’s why this is a big deal. TECO has never given a rebate for a brand new installation before. You get this rebate also if you are adding an addition to your house*. If you are building or buying a new house there is no rebate. The following is the equipment that qualifies for the rebates.

 

Heat Pump Old to New 15 SEER Heat Pump————————————$275

Heat Strip Old to New 15 SEER Heat Pump————————————$400

Gas Furnace Old to New 15 SEER Heat Pump———————————-$400

Oil Furnace Old to New 15 SEER Heat Pump———————————–$400

 

Gas Furnace and Air conditioning Old to New Gas Furnace and 15 SEER Air Conditioning–$500

Straight cool or Heat Pump Old to New Gas Furnace and 15 SEER Air Conditioning–$750

*15 SEER mini-split heat pumps now qualify for $400 rebate

The auxiliary Heat Strip KW for a Heat Pump has changed to the following

  1. Up to 2.5 tons————-5KW
  2. 3 through 4.5 tons——–8KW
  3. 5 ton————————-10KW

This was done because in colder temperatures some customers felt that their home was not keeping warm enough. So they increased the allowable heat strip size and still qualify for the rebate.

Let’s Talk Water Leaks in air conditioning units around Tampa,Lutz,Brandon,Temple Terrace and Riverview

OK, so you come home and there is water coming from the ceiling or the closet and you know there’s no plumbing in those areas but there is an air conditioner air handler in the ceiling or closet. So what do you do and how do you prevent it from happening again?

Turn your A/C system off at the thermostat but leave the fan set to on. The reason for this is that while the unit was running and cooling the system is taking a lot of moisture out of the air (we are in Florida hot and humid). The evaporator has a lot of water in it when it is cooling and if you shut off the air handler all that water drains off the evaporator coil and causes more water damage because the reason we have a water leak is that there is a drainage problem.

So lets think and find out what the problem may be. For the Mr. fix-it person who could be a woman as well as a man these days, you would think easy fix, the drain is plugged and if we can blow it out and discharge the blockage, problem solved. Some times, maybe 20% of the time there is another problem causing the water leak but first lets take the easiest solutions.

Go outside and find out where your condensate line is coming out from your house. Make sure nothing is blocking the outlet and if you can take a piece of wire or some flexible item and fish it through the p-trap that is normally at the end of the drain line. If water starts coming out, you have fixed the problem. Now lets do a little preventive maintenance at this time. Take a rag and rap it around you garden hose end and the end of the drain line. Have someone quickly turn on the water hose and shut it off immediately or you are going to have a flood in your house. The reason you do this is to wash as much slim as possible out of the drain line. Another thing you might think of doing at this time is to extend the drain line out about 12″ from the house. The reason for this is that they have found that if you have water standing at the base of your house it may draw termites to your house. This way the water disperses and dries out. If you made it this far, good job!

Now if your air handler is in the closet and you can get to it, look to see if there is a cap on a pipe at the drain line leaving the air handler. Remove the cap and pour a bleach solution down the opening. This kills that slime I was talking about. Most units do not have this port installed at the air handler. You must put the cap back on. This procedure should be done once a year if not twice a year here in Florida.

If your air handler is in the attic you need to get up there to do the same thing. For the more advanced Mr. fix-it person, turn the unit off at the disconnect, open the side panel and remove. Take flashlight, look in drain pan to see if there is blockage or slime in the drain pan. If so, clean it out and then pour a bleach solution in the drain pan and watch it drain out. Put the side panel back on, turn on the disconnect switch. Go to thermostat and set for proper setting.

Now for the rest of us, call for service at (813) 234 2419
 

Lets Talk Federal Tax Credits Now

I apologize for being gone for the last 3 months but I’m back and will try to give you some good information that you can use to make some informed decisions about our industry.

Being that this is the beginning of the year I thought I would start off by bringing you up to date on the Federal Tax credits for Air Conditioning and Heating Systems and comparing them to last year.

2010 2011

General Provision

30% of installed cost, up to $1500 10% of installed cost, up to $500

Central A/C

Split systems: 16 SEER & 13 EER
Packaged: 14 SEER & 12 EER
30% of installed cost, $1500 max
Split systems: 16 SEER & 13 EER
Package systems: 14 SEER & 12 EER
10% of installed cost, $300 max

Furnaces

Gas furnaces: 95 AFUE
Oil furnaces: 90 AFUE
Boilers: 90 AFUE
30% of installed cost, $1500 max
Gas furnaces: 95 AFUE
Oil furnaces: 95 AFUE
Boilers: 95 AFUE
10% of installed cost, $150 max

Efficient Indoor Fan

30% of cost of fan, $1500 max $50

Heat pump

Splits: 15 SEER, 12.5 EER, 8.5 HSPF
Packaged: 14 SEER, 12 EER, 8 HSPF
30% of installed cost, $1500 max
Splits: 15 SEER, 12.5 EER, 8.5 HSPF
Packaged: 14 SEER, 12 EER, 8 HSPF
10% of installed cost, $300 max