South West Florida (Lee, Collier & Charlotte): 239-567-9661
South Orlando (Marion, Lake & Sumter): 352-329-0707
North Orlando (Orange & Seminole): 407-630-7008

What are the Benefits of a Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat?

 

In today’s world, everything that we do and use is moving to “smart technology,” through the use of apps on our phones. These changes to our lifestyle are actually helping to make us more efficient. Technology has influenced all aspects of our daily lives, the way we learn, the way we interact, the way we read, the way we bank, even the way we shop; everything is now at the click of a button. So why would we not use technology to help us regulate the temperature in our homes? Smart thermostats not only make heating or cooling your home more convenient, they actually help you save money and conserve energy.

What is a smart thermostat? 

Smart thermostats are automated devices that control your home’s heating and/or air conditioning. They perform the same functions as a traditional thermostat by allowing you to control the temperature of your home throughout the day. What makes a smart thermostat different is that it connects to the internet and allows you to control your home’s temperature from your smart phone. 

Most smart thermostats have other features that a traditional thermostat does not. A smart thermostat can show you how long it takes to make the change you’ve requested, so you can see how effective your climate control system really is. It actually works to discourage you from making changes to your home’s temperature that you should not make such as, turning the thermostat all the way down to try “cooling off the house faster” (which never works). Some of the models of smart thermostats will actually learn from your behavior and adjust themselves accordingly (and therefore don’t even need you to program them). The biggest difference and benefit of smart thermostats is, of course, that you can manage them right from your phone or a web-app. This feature is what gives you full control to tweak the programming, allowing you to save money, and see the financial benefits immediately. 

Popular Smart Thermostat Brands 

One of the most popular brands of smart thermostats is the Nest Thermostat. This one was the first of its kind and therefore the most widely known. This product came out of the gate with a lot of great features, making it a powerful pioneer. The Nest thermostat has a lot of positives; it combines a good-looking design and a bright LCD that provides a wealth of useful data with powerful remote management apps and tools to help you save money. In addition to that it has key features that make it a great contender to other brands. It is a learning thermostat, which can sense whether someone’s home, whether the air is suddenly getting humid, or someone’s fired up the oven, and adjust itself accordingly.

As this thermostat picked up in popularity other smart thermostats followed, brands like Ecobee Smart Thermostat, Honeywell Prestige series, Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat, and Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat are all other popular smart thermostat brands. Each of these brands are slightly different in price, features, and benefits. It’s important to research each thermostat to find which one will be the best solution for you.

If you are wondering if there is a down side to these wonderful devices, it is important to mention that the initial purchase of these thermostats is quite pricey. The price of these thermostats can range from $150 – $500 which makes them way more expensive than a traditional thermostat which would only range from $100 – $150. Keep in mind that these thermostats are investments and the EPA’s Energy Star program concluded that homes with programmable or smart thermostats could save up to $180 per year on heating and cooling, which is a sizable chunk of change.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Can Lightning Ruin my AC?

 

When lightning strikes an air conditioning unit it can damage the system. Unfortunately, this is not a myth; it is something to be aware of and something to watch for because the effect may not be immediately apparent. Over the course of a few months following a nearby or direct lightning strike, you might notice your air conditioner doesn’t work as well.

ASAP Heating and Cooling wants you to look for some potential problems with your air conditioning following a lightning strike: 

  • Damaged compressor 
  • Burned wires
  • Damaged capacitor
  • Blown fuses

These problems can range from simple fixes to expensive replacements. In order to understand your situation, it is important to have a professional from ASAP Heating and Cooling inspect your air conditioning system. Skipping a post lighting strike inspection could cause your system further damage by allowing stressed equipment to run inefficiently and wear down other parts of your unit.

Power Surges as a Result of Lightning Strikes

Though you may fear lighting hitting your unit directly and causing damage the truth is that the initial lightning strike isn’t what typically damages an AC unit. The real damage to your air conditioning system is from the power surges that follows an outage. These surges will cause damage to your AC condenser.

ASAP Heating and Cooling would like to provide you with some ways to prevent your AC unit from being damaged during a lightning storm (these tips will not guarantee protection from damage, but will help avoid damage):

  • Shut your system off from the thermostat.
  • Shut off the electrical circuit to the entire HVAC system.
  • Purchase whole-home surge protectors.
  • If you live in a high strike area, you may need to consult a professional about installing lightning rods.

If you’ve noticed a decline in the performance of your AC after a thunderstorm it is important to call the professionals at ASAP Heating and Cooling to make sure to have your HVAC unit inspected immediately to avoid more expensive replacements down the road.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


How to Read an EnergyGuide Label 

 

There is nothing exciting about going to wash a load of laundry and realizing that your washer is no longer functioning. Replacing your home appliances is typically inconvenient and fairly expensive to replace. However, there is an opportunity in this situation to upgrade an old (energy inefficient) appliance to a newer, energy saving, cost efficient, model that will allow you to save money long term and leave less of an environmental footprint. 

These energy-saving appliances are easy to locate in the store because they bare a bright yellow label that reads EnergyGuide. The EnergyGuide is extremely helpful in understanding the product you are about to buy and helps you make the best decision on how this investment will fit into your home and lifestyle. Manufacturers of most major home appliances are required to attach these labels to their products under the FTC’s Appliance Labeling Rule.

The intention of this label is to tell you how much energy an appliance uses and makes it easier to compare the energy use of similar models. Since these large home appliances are usually over $1,000, details like this can help you make the best decision for your budget. The more energy efficient an appliance is, the less it costs to run, and the lower your utility bills will be. Using less energy is not only good for your future energy bills but also for the environment, as they can help reduce air pollution and conserve natural resources.

Here are some key things to notice on the EnergyGuide Label when reviewing it:

  • Key product features are listed at the top left, under the EnergyGuide logo.
  • Estimated yearly operating cost savings is listed in the middle.
  • Under the cost savings is the cost range to help you compare the energy use of different models with similar features.
  • The next number is the estimated yearly electric use and measured in kWh (kilowatt per hour).
  • At the bottom, right you will see the Energy Star™ logo, which means the product is better for the environment because it uses less energy than standard models.


At ASAP Heating and Cooling, we believe in energy conservation, which is why all heating and cooling systems sold by our company bear the Energy Star™ rating.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Why Should I Buy Energy Efficient Appliances? 

 

To understand why you should get energy efficient appliances, it is important to understand what energy efficiency is and how it can really benefit your life and your bank account; not to mention the environment overall.

What does it mean to be energy efficient?

Energy efficiency means using less energy to provide the same service. The phrase “energy efficiency” is often used as a shorthand to describe any kind of energy-saving measure. The team at ASAP Heating and Cooling feels that energy efficiency is always a good idea and would like to give some tips on energy efficient home products. This does not mean that you have to switch out everything in your house immediately, but may help you make more energy efficient purchases in the future as home items need to be replaced. These items can include: Energy Star

  • LED lights
  • Programmable thermostats
  • Energy Star appliances

Manufacturers label all products that meet the Energy Star™ standards. A blue and white label identifies the product as Energy Star™ rated. Look for these products when you are purchasing new appliances.

Is energy efficiency really that important?

Improving energy efficiency is a key tool for reducing CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions are, in large part, the carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels. CO2 gases disturb the earth’s balance and atmosphere. This is what is leading to an increase in the earth’s surface temperature and causing negative effects on climate, sea level rise and world agriculture. By using energy efficient products, appliances, cars, etc. and working toward energy conservation and low-carbon energy sources we can help counter these effects on our environment.

Can being energy efficient really help me save money?

The answer is “yes.” Though purchasing Energy Star™ appliances, LED lights, programmable thermostats, and other energy conscious items, may be slightly more expensive at the point of purchase; the savings that you gain by using these products out-weights the initial spend. The more energy efficient appliances that you add to your home, the more you will see these savings compound. The reason for the savings is because you will actually be using less energy to receive the same service, the result is a lower energy bill!

If you have any questions about energy efficient air conditioning units, call us today. We believe in energy conservation, and that is why all heating and cooling systems sold by ASAP Heating and Cooling bear the Energy Star™ rating.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Five Interesting Facts about Air Conditioning 

 

Don’t think that air conditioning was a fun topic? Though it may not seem like a great discussion topic, there are some really cool facts that can give you a greater appreciation for your heating and cooling system!

  1. You can thank air conditioning (or the lack there of) for summer blockbusters. Before most every household had AC, especially during the Great Depression, the movie theaters were the coolest place to go. People would go to the movies to get out of the heat and, as a result, studios started releasing their biggest films during the summer.

 

  1. The very first president to acquire cooling in the Oval Office was Herbert Hoover. This came during the reconstruction of the West Wing in 1930, after extensive damage done by a Christmas Eve fire in 1929. Central air conditioning system was installed by the Carrier Engineering Company during this renovation. However, it wasn’t until Franklin Roosevelt that air conditioning was added to the White House’s private quarters (bedrooms) in 1933.

  1. One of the very first buildings to install an air conditioning system was the New York Stock Exchange in 1903. 

 

  1. The founder of the Heating and Cooling Brand Carrier® was Willis Carrier. He was the person who invented the first modern AC Unit. He created the air conditioning that we know and love today in the year 1902. However, air conditioner sales did not really explode until the 1950’s and by 1953 more than one million air conditioner units had been sold.

 

  1. Air conditioning has helped to change our housing architecture. House builds shifted due to this invention, and with the new and widespread use of air conditioning many features that buildings used to have (high ceilings, brick structures, breezeways, sleeping porches, etc.) are now being replaced for less pricey solutions. Current structures are built to use air conditioning efficiently, and older structures would be unbearable in the summer without these artificial cooling features.

Air conditioning is a modern luxury that most of us take for granted. Looking back at the time before our AC units cooled us down on hot summer days, puts into perspective just how great of a comfort we get from this invention. If your AC unit is not working to its full potential, don’t forget to call ASAP Heating and Cooling and let one of our professional technicians assure that you are as comfortable as you can be.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


Can I Add New Insulation Over Old Insulation?

Does your home need more insulation? Looking to improve your home’s cooling and heating efficiency? If you’re wondering whether or not it’s okay to install a new layer of insulation over existing insulation, check out our guidelines below.

 When to Add New Insulation Over Old Insulation

As long as the old insulation is in good condition and shows no evidence of exposure to moisture or wetness, you can add new insulation over existing insulation. Here are some tips for installing the new insulation over existing insulation:

 ·         Faced insulation should not be placed on top of existing attic insulation. Any new batt or roll insulation that is going to be added on top of existing attic insulation needs to be without a vapor retarder (face). The presence of a vapor retarder between layers of insulation can trap moisture that could lead to mold. Any existing batt or roll insulation in the attic should have the facing (vapor retarder) against the attic drywall or no facing at all.

  • Only use batt, rolled or blown loose-fill insulation (fiberglass or cellulose) on top of the old insulation.
  •  If you are installing rolled insulation, make sure to install it perpendicular to the old insulation. Be sure to use un-faced rolls.
  • Avoid taking down the new insulation.
  • If you discover vermiculite insulation, make sure to have it tested for asbestos and removed if it is found.

 When to Remove Old Insulation Before Adding New Insulation

  • Old insulation should be removed before new insulation can be installed when:
  • Old insulation is wet, has been wet, or appears like it has been wet in the past.
  • Evidence of mold is present; the mold should be cleaned before new insulation is installed. The cause of the mold or moisture should be identified and repaired and affected insulation removed.

 ASAP Heating and Cooling serves customers in the in the Ft. Myers and Cape Coral, FL areas. Please feel free to contact us at 239-217-4148 with any questions you may have regarding the addition of new insulation in your home.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


When Should I Add Insulation to my Home?

If your home is not comfortable, has trouble maintaining temperature, or you are experiencing large heating or cooling bills, it may be time to add insulation to your home. Insulation helps control conduction, one of the ways heat flows through the home. One of the most common areas that homes can benefit from adding insulation is in the attic.

How Insulation Helps Control Heat Lost Through Conduction

The transfer of heat by contact with solid objects such as the walls, floor, ceiling, or roof is called conduction. Adding insulation in these areas to provide a good thermal barrier can help decrease the amount of heat transfer, which means cooler temperatures in the summer and warmer temperatures in the winter. HVAC systems will have to work less hard to maintain the desired temperature when less heating/cooling escapes through conduction.

How Insulation Performance is Measured

Insulation is rated by the amount of thermal resistance. This resistance, known as an R-value, refers to the amount of heat insulation can resist over time. A higher R-value indicates a higher heat resistance. Newer insulation has a higher R-value than old insulation that is probably already installed in your home. Adding additional layers of insulation can increase the R-value of your home and bring down heating and cooling costs.

Potential Benefits of Adding Insulation

Adding insulation to your home can have a number of benefits:

  • Decreased living costs;
  • Increased occupant comfort;
  • Decreased energy demand;
  • Decreased greenhouse gas emission; and
  • Lower energy bills.

Where to Add Additional Insulation

Adding additional insulation to the attic is critical because more heat travels through your ceiling than any other structure in the house. The attic is the most cost effective, quickest, and easiest place to add additional layers of insulation. You can measure your attic’s current insulation rating by measuring the thickness of the insulation in your attic and multiplying it by that insulation R-value.

ASAP Heating and Cooling serves customers in the in the Ft. Myers and Cape Coral, FL areas. Please feel free to contact us at 239-217-4148 with any questions you may have regarding insulation.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


What Does a Humidistat Do?

A humidistat (also called a hygrostat) is a measurement device that helps to monitor and maintain the humidity level in the air. Humidistats are often found on portable humidifiers or combined air cleaner/humidifier units that can help manage the moisture level in your home. Maintaining a certain humidity level is often desirable for various health reasons.

How Does a Humidistat Work?

Humidistats contain a sensing element with two conductors. Variations in the relative moisture in the air cause electrical resistance. These two conductors measure the electrical resistance of the air and compare that measurement to known resistances that correspond to the humidity level in the air. The humidistat can then adjust the relative humidity of the air by turning the humidifier on or off depending on the humidity preferences.

Humidistats are often used in conjunction with hygrometers. A hygrometer gives humidity readings of a room like a humidistat but lacks the capability to maintain the desired humidity. Hygrometers are often used to check how a humidistat is functioning and if adjustments to the desired humidity level need to be made for certain spaces.

Where to Use a Humidistat?

Humidistats are generally used in humidity-related devices like stand alone humidifiers and dehumidifiers, though they can be used with HVAC systems to help regulate airflow and maintain desired humidity in certain rooms or spaces. Humidistats are often used in crawl spaces to control ventilation fans to keep humidity down.

Maintaining a proper moisture balance in your home is critical to prevent over-humidifying, which can result in mold spores. A home that is too dry can also be uncomfortable. Adding a humidistat to your current HVAC system can help make your home more livable.

Who can benefit from a Humidistat?

If you live in Florida seasonally, or are a “snowbird” a humidistat is ideal for your home. The humidistat will regulate your home based on humidity rather than temperature, thus resulting in your air conditioning turning on less, lowering your energy bills.

The recommended humidity level for a home is from 45 to 60 percent. Factors that can influence this level are climate, weather, outside temperature, and insulation. Adding a humidifier or dehumidifier along with a humidistat can help maintain a humidity level in the acceptable range if your home does not fall within it. Combining a humidistat with a hygrometer can help you achieve optimum results.

Special pricing is available on humidistats from ASAP Heating and Cooling. Call us today for the latest special. 

ASAP Heating and Cooling serves customers in the in the Ft. Myers, Cape Coral, Orlando and surrounding FL areas. Please feel free to contact us at 239-567-9661 with any questions regarding humidistats.

 

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


How to Prevent Mold Growth Indoors in Florida

Types of Mold

The type of mold in your home can only accurately be determined by a mold remediator and with proper testing.

Here are some common types of mold:

Some molds can produce chemicals called “mycotoxins.” These molds are common and can cause unique health conditions. Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra) is a type of greenish-black mold that grows on materials such as wood, ceiling tiles, drywall, and sheetrock that have been come moist or water damaged.

Some strains of Stachybotrys chartarum can produce mycotoxins. Stachybotrys is wet and not airborne if it dries it may become airborne and cause exposure. Though there are many types of molds, they should all be treated the same when it comes to removal and health risks.

Hazards of Mold

Exposure to mold can cause four types of health problems: allergic illness, irritant effects, infection, and/or toxic effects. People who are sensitive to molds can experience symptoms such as nasal and sinus irritation or congestion, dry hacking cough, skin rashes, wheezing, and watery eyes. People who are allergic to molds can have more serious symptoms such as shortness of breath and hay-fever-like symptoms. Many types of molds can trigger asthma attacks. Headaches, mood swings, memory issues, body aches and nosebleeds are also reported as complaints due to molds.

How to Prevent Mold Growth

Mold cannot grow without water. The easiest way to prevent mold from growing and spreading is to control dampness. Keeping a clean and dry home is key. Moisture levels below 60 percent are ideal and keeping cooking and bathing areas well ventilated also helps control mold.

Mold can begin growing in standing water in as little as 24 hours. Other ways to prevent mold growth include:

  • Cleaning up spills and drying spills within 24 hours;
  • Using a humidistat to regulate and monitor humidity levels; and,
  • Remove carpeting in bathrooms or basements.

How to Clean Mold

Mold should be cleaned as soon as it is noticed. As a general rule, if the moldy area is less than 10 square feet, you can clean the mold yourself (in most cases). If you are going to clean mold, you should take necessary precautions to protect yourself from injecting mold spores. Gloves, goggles, and some form of mask should be worn. Persons who clean mold should be free of allergies. Small areas of mold should be cleaned with a detergent, soapy water, or commercial mold cleaner. In some cases, the mold may require heavier cleaners such as bleach or biocides. Once the mold has been cleaned it should be thoroughly dried. All sponges, rags, etc. used to clean mold should be thrown out and not reused. If the mold returns or spreads, this could indicate a leak or underlying problem. If this is the case, you may need professional assistance.

ASAP 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 you may have about dealing with and preventing mold growth in your home.

 

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling


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.
ASAP 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