The Real Cost of DIY Air Conditioner Repairs

When it comes to home repairs, some tasks are simple enough for almost anyone to tackle on their own. In fact, you might find videos online to help you tackle some of the more complex issues, too. However, when it comes to DIY air conditioner repairs, you may actually do more harm than good in some cases. Here, you will learn more about the reasons why you should call a professional when you experience air conditioner issues.

Repairs Take Time

DIY air conditioner repairs are time-consuming, and this is especially true if you need to spend time scouring the web. After all, you’ll first need to diagnose the issue, and then you’ll need to figure out how to fix it. These instructions are often model-specific, which can make it difficult to find reliable, trustworthy information. At this point, you still have to carry out the repairs yourself, which takes even more of your precious time. It’s faster, simpler, and safer to call a professional.

You May Not Save Any Money at All

Most people set out to perform DIY air conditioner repairs because they believe it will save them money. In the short-term, this may be the case. Rather than paying for parts and labor, you’re only paying for parts. However, there are some other things you should consider.

  • Tools – DIY air conditioner repair requires tools that you may not keep around. You may have to buy or rent very specific tools to complete your project. Sometimes, these tools are so expensive that you may actually save money by hiring a professional.
  • Unforeseen problems – After self-diagnosing your HVAC issue and diving in to start the repair, you might come across something you didn’t expect – or something you simply cannot do. At this point, you will need to call a pro anyway.
  • Mistakes and accidents – If you make a mistake while attempting your repairs, you may cause more damage, which will cost more to fix when you inevitably contact a professional.

DIY Air Conditioner Repairs and the Cost to Your Comfort and Safety

Last, but certainly not least, DIY air conditioner repairs can take a toll on your comfort. The longer it takes for you to resolve the problem at hand, the longer your home will be without cooling, and the more uncomfortable you will be. What’s more, waiting to call a pro can cause problems, too, especially during peak cooling season. Aside from this, failing to carry out your DIY air conditioner repairs properly can put your safety in jeopardy. Injuries caused by moving parts and electrical shocks are real hazards, and people are injured in this manner every single year. For these reasons, it is always better to call an experienced, knowledgeable professional to resolve HVAC issues.

You might think that DIY air conditioner repairs can save you money, and in some cases, they can. However, in nine out of 10 cases, doing things yourself can end up costing you more in the long run. If you need HVAC repairs of any kind, consider the benefits and the risks of DIY repairs, and contact a professional to get a quote for diagnosis and repair.

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Air Conditioners 101: Buying Energy Efficient HVAC Systems

Whether you’re searching for just the right system for a new build or it’s time to replace your older, inefficient central air conditioner, these days, there are many options from which to choose.  Learning more about energy efficient HVAC systems can help you make better decisions for your home and your unique needs, so keep the following four tips in mind.

#1 – Choose a Reputable Brand

The phrase “you get what you pay for” often rings true, and that’s also the case when it comes to central air conditioners and HVAC systems. There are many reputable brands on the market, including Carrier, Trane, Goodman, and others. Each one has its own unique set of benefits, but of these, the most important is the manufacturer’s warranty. It is important to choose a system from a manufacturer that offers you an excellent warranty on parts and labor as this can save you money should something go wrong.

#2 – Enlist the Help of a Professional

Shopping for energy efficient HVAC systems is far different from shopping for a new television or laptop. There are technical specifications, sizes, and styles to consider. Making the wrong choice could spell disaster for your comfort – and your energy bill. The best way to buy energy efficient HVAC systems involves calling your trusted local professional for advice. With just a few simple questions and a quick survey of your home and its layout, they can provide you with several options that are sure to meet your needs.

#3 – Understanding “Right-Size” Energy Efficient HVAC Systems

When it comes to air conditioners, bigger isn’t always better. Though it may stand to reason that a larger system will cool your home more quickly, this is not the case. Buying a system that is too big or too small reduces efficiency tremendously, and it could even lead to mechanical failure. When you call a professional for advice in choosing new energy efficient HVAC systems, these individuals can find the perfect size unit for your needs. This way, you can rest assured that the system you install is just right for your home and its unique layout.

#4 – Know Your SEER Rating

The HVAC industry uses several unique ratings to describe products’ energy efficiency, but in hot and sunny Florida, the SEER rating is by far the most important. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it measures a system’s performance over a typical cooling season. To put it simply, it is the ratio between the system’s cooling power in BTUs and the amount of energy the system consumes. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner. Once upon a time, the most energy efficient HVAC systems had SEER ratings of anywhere from 12 to 14. Today, though, you can find systems that come very close to a rating of 25.

With the four tips above, buying energy efficient HVAC systems does not have to be a daunting task. In fact, if you understand the basics of energy efficiency ratings and you’ve done your research on the top brands, you are already one step ahead. Contacting a professional for sizing and recommendations is the final step in choosing the right system for your home and family.

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Steps to Follow After a Florida Severe Weather Event

Severe weather is common in Florida. Residents deal with their fair share of thunderstorms, and many have witnessed tornadoes and hurricanes, too. Whether you choose to shelter in place for these events, head to a local shelter, or even evacuate the state, understanding what to do after a Florida severe weather event can help you remain organized and calm.

Is the Worst Over?

Many people mistakenly assume that once the storm has passed and the wind has died down, the worst of the storm is over. This is not always the case. One of the biggest concerns during a Florida severe weather event is flooding, which can continue to occur. Remember that hurricanes, especially, tend to create their own weather, and this may lead to rain that lasts for days after the main event. Pay close attention to NOAA weather and your local news to learn more about flooding after any significant weather event.

Should You Come Out of Your Shelter?

Another common concern after a Florida severe weather event is whether it is safe to come out of a shelter. Once all warnings have expired for your area, you can leave your shelter – but do so carefully, especially if you sheltered in a cellar with outdoor entry during a tornado warning. You may come across debris or downed power lines, and these can be dangerous. Observe the area closely before you exit.

Should You Return Home?

If you evacuate your home before a hurricane, you may wonder when it is safe to return home. You should only do so once officials have deemed it safe. After a significant Florida severe weather situation, officials will often allow a few neighborhoods at a time to return to their homes. This is done to keep traffic under control and to aid in rescue efforts. Remember that officials may not see all potential hazards in your neighborhood, so be aware of your surroundings and report any major damage, flooding, or downed power lines to the proper channels.

Insurance after a Florida Severe Weather Event

After a Florida severe weather event like a flood, hurricane, or tornado, you should contact your homeowner’s insurance provider to file a claim, if necessary. Your insurance provider may ask you to send photos of the damage, and it may ask whether you took any preventative measures (boarding up windows, for example) to prevent damage. Remember to keep any receipts for everything from meals to hotel stays as you may be reimbursed depending on your policy. Make a list of everything that you lost due to the weather, even if there is already a record of those items on file with your insurance company. This will help to speed up the claim process.

Safety is the most important thing after a Florida severe weather event, so be sure to follow the tips here for guidance. Your local news and weather will provide most of the information you need to start getting back to normal after tornadoes, hurricanes, and severe flooding.

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What is the Best Way to Heat Florida Homes?

Even in areas like Lakeland where winter temperatures are mild, there may be days when you will need to close the windows and turn on the heat to stay comfortable. The best way to heat Florida homes varies based on many factors. The information below will help you make a choice that will serve you well for years to come.

Efficiency is Key

If you want to stay warm during the chilly nights without paying a small fortune in energy, it is important to find an energy efficient heating system. The term “efficient” simply means that your system makes the best use out of whichever fuel it uses, whether that fuel is electricity, gas, oil, or even wood. Efficiency ensures that you can keep your home warm and comfortable at the lowest price. Before you go out and buy a heating system, remember that the best way to heat a Florida home is with efficient appliances.

Heating Options and Their Overall Efficiency

There are several ways to heat Florida homes, and each one offers its own unique set of benefits and downfalls.

  • Space heaters. These come in many varieties, and they’re by far the simplest to install. Just plug them into a wall outlet, turn them on, and wait for the temperature to rise. Unfortunate, space heaters are usually quite inefficient, and they can be fire hazards when they are not used according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Heat strips. Heat strips are usually electric, and in most cases, they’re designed to supplement a heat pump when temperatures outside are below about 40 degrees. They are a good choice to heat Florida homes that are small and well-insulated as this can boost the strips’ efficiency. They are usually not as suitable for larger homes that are not well-insulated.
  • Heat pumps. When it comes to efficient ways to heat Florida homes, you cannot go wrong with a heat pump. These are the most cost-effective heating systems out there, and because Florida’s winters are very mild, supplemental heat is rarely necessary. Heat pumps are expensive in terms of purchase and installation, but they last anywhere from 30 to 50 years with proper maintenance.
  • Furnaces. Gas, electric, and oil furnaces are not as popular in Florida. For those who prefer the traditional central heating and air setup, they can be quite efficient. They cost more to run than heat pumps, but less than space heaters and heat strips.
  • Wood or pellet stoves. If your home is very small, or if you only plan to heat one or two rooms, a wood stove is a great choice. Like space heaters, these can get very hot to the touch and may not be suitable in homes with small children. These must be properly ventilated for safety, and some people find that regularly stoking the fire with wood or pellets is tedious.

The best way to heat Florida homes depends on the size of your home, your household, and your budget. Heat pumps are by far the most efficient options, followed closely by newer-model electric and gas furnaces. For quick heat, or to supplement a heat pump, space heaters and heat strips can certainly do the job.

 

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Stay Safe with These Florida Hurricane Preparedness Tips

Hurricanes are part of life for people on the coasts of the United States. Some are barely more than some heavy rain and gusty wind, but others can be devastating. With Irma closing in on the East Coast, now is the time to act. You can feel confident when it comes to your safety with these Florida hurricane preparedness tips.

Put Together Your Emergency Kit

When it comes to emergency kits, chances are good that you already have the basics. A transistor radio, a flashlight, and a first aid kit are the bare essentials, but you’ll also want to make sure you have non-perishable food items. Store them in a location that will remain dry – even in the event of flooding, and remember a can opener and utensils. Aside from this, you might think about adding the following to your kit:

  • One gallon of water per person per day for a minimum of three days.
  • Extra batteries for flashlight and radio.
  • A whistle for signaling others for help.
  • Tools for shutting off utilities such as gas and water if needed.
  • Cellphone chargers and backup batteries.
  • Dust masks.
  • Garbage bags and baby wipes for hygiene and sanitation.

Don’t Forget the Contact List

Another important addition to your Florida hurricane preparedness kit is a list of important contacts that may come in handy. Write these numbers on heavy paper, such as cardstock, and then laminate it. This will keep it safe, even if it gets wet.

  • Local emergency management offices
  • County police, fire, and rescue
  • Local government offices
  • Local hospitals
  • Local utilities
  • Nearest Red Cross
  • Radio and television stations
  • Home insurance provider

Right Before the Storm

As the hurricane gets closer to you, it’s time to really pay close attention to the weather forecast and your local news. Local radio and NOAA weather radio are your best outlets for information. Be ready for the governor to issue evacuation orders, which occurs when storms are expected to be particularly severe. Never disobey a mandatory evacuation; these are not issued unless the situation is dire. Be sure you have an evacuation plan and route that will take you inland, and keep a list of local emergency shelters that are open to those who cannot evacuate safely.

Protect Your Home and Yourself

Before the storm hits, there are a few Florida hurricane preparedness tips that may help keep you and your home safe. If you have time, move all your outdoor furniture to a garage to prevent it from blowing in the wind and causing damage. Carry your indoor furniture to a higher level of your home, if possible. Unplug your appliances to prevent lightning damage and even electrocution in case of severe flooding, and turn off your utilities if your local companies advise it.

Florida Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Children

Storms of any kind can be terrifying for children, so it’s a good idea to prepare them in advance. You might choose to talk about what a hurricane is and how it forms. You might even watch videos online so they can see a hurricane out in the ocean. If you will be sheltering in place, ask the kids to pick one or two items that will provide them comfort. If you will evacuate, remind them that homes and material things can be replaced while families cannot, and ask them to bring one or two items that will remind them of home.

These Florida hurricane preparedness tips are just the tip of the iceberg, and you can learn more by visiting NOAA and Red Cross websites. A great site for information specific to Florida is www.FloridaDisaster.org, too. These will all provide you with up-to-date, relevant information to help you prepare.

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