Property Management

Benefits of Preventative AC Maintenance

any of us have been bombarded with ads and phone calls, offering free or even $8 preventative AC maintenance. Many of these ads seem suspect at best, and when the hidden charges are eventually revealed, they seems downright dishonest. The old adage, “You Get What You Pay For” has never been more true.

Preventative AC Maintenance

As an HVAC service specialist for Kalos Services, Inc., I can tell you that a large percentage of service calls I run could have been avoided with a preventative AC maintenance. Many people don’t realize that even new units can develop maintenance issues after a relatively short period of time. Are your refrigerant levels where they should be? Units that are as little as a few ounces undercharged are going to run less efficiently, than a system with proper refrigerant levels.

Prevent Problems with Regular Maintenance

Amperage checks on fan motors and the compressor can give a trained technician an idea of the condition of these parts.  Not always, but often the compressor, or fan motors will begin drawing more amps than what they are designed for. This could indicate something minor, such as a failing capacitor, or dirty coil, or it could indicate something major such as component failure. Either way, knowing this and taking care of it ahead of time during a maintenance is less hassle and more cost effective than waking up on a hot summer night because the air conditioner has stopped working.

Find Small Issues Before They Can Ruin Your Day

By far, one of leading causes of service calls are a result of a backed up drain line. Often, to prevent flooding, systems are installed with a float switch. By design, when the drain line backs up, water is then diverted to a separate float reservoir. As it fills it trips a low voltage switch, thus interrupting any call for cool. This does a great job of preventing any water damage in the home, but also means your air conditioner will not be working until the drain line is cleared. Drain cleaning is just one of the many procedures we do during our preventative AC maintenance. Follow this link to see what we consider the 8 Essentials to Every Preventative AC Maintenance and call us today for more information on our maintenance agreements, and to schedule a maintenance on your air conditioner today.

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The Dirty Truth About Duct Cleaning

The demand for duct cleaning is something that has been on the rise over the last 10 years in the HVAC industry. It has gone from a very small niche business to a large and profitable industry and with this growth has come many questions. Before we get started allow me to establish my experience. I have been in the HVAC industry for over 15 years. I have never personally performed a duct cleaning but I have been back to multiple HVAC service after duct cleanings have been performed. I personally have no issue with the duct cleaning industry as a whole, I simply have concerns with the common practices I have observed as well as customers expectations in relation to the outcome.
Duct CleaningFirst, we must establish that the vast majority of residential and light commercial duct systems installed in Florida are flex and board systems. This means that the bulk of the air flows through flexible insulated tubes with a thin plastic inner liner. The remainder of the duct system is constructed of fiberglass board that is formed into boxes and triangle shapes that act as the main lines and distribution boxes.   Second we must state clearly that almost anything can be cleaned if enough time and resources are applied this is as true of ducting as any other surface.

The real questions are:

  1. Is duct cleaning effective at consistently providing cleaner air?
  2. Are the practices consistently applied that produce a good result?
  3. Is the cost of properly cleaning the ducts vs. replacing them represent a real value?

Is duct cleaning effective at consistently providing cleaner air? A report produced in 1997 by the EPA states that duct cleaning has not been proven to produce cleaner indoor air. The EPA has consistently stood behind this stance and this applies to all types of ducts. It stands to reason in my opinion that cleaning metal or meal lined ducts would be effective. There are many before and after representations of what duct cleaning can and has done for metal ducts. The issue remains in all ducts that cleaning can often dislodge matter that then may be reintroduced into the air stream had the cleaning not been performed. This leaves the question that unless the ducts are left completely clean has the duct cleaning been successful in reducing indoor air contaminants?

Are the practices consistently applied that produce a good result? The NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaning Association) has very good training and application guidelines on the proper cleaning of most duct systems. These practices if consistently applied by well trained professionals with well-maintained and cleaned equipment will result in the best outcome. My experience has shown that many companies that provide duct cleaning service do not consistently or fully abide by NADCA standards, this can result in a poor outcome as well as possible damage. When damage does occur due to improper duct cleaning practices it is often concealed which results in the property owner being unaware that there is an issue.

Is the cost of properly cleaning the ducts vs. replacing them represent a real value? Here is an excerpt from the NADCA website. The Environmental Protection Agency says that duct cleaning services typically “ but not always“ range in cost from $450 to $1000 per heating and cooling system, depending on the services offered, the size of the system to be cleaned, system accessibility, climactic region, and level of contamination and type of duct material. Consumers should beware of air duct cleaning companies that making sweeping claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning such claims are unsubstantiated. Consumers should also beware of blow-and-go air duct cleaning companies. These companies often charge a nominal fee and do a poor job of cleaning the heating and cooling system. These companies may also persuade the consumer into unneeded services with and/or without their permission. This makes it clear that proper duct cleaning does come at a price. In many cases the cost of proper cleaning may not be cost effective when compared with replacement. This depends on the age, condition, type and access to the duct system currently in place. In summary, I would advise the following

  1. Only have ducts cleaned if it is necessary, in most cases cleaner air can be more easily and consistently achieved through air filtration / purification.
  2. If you are going to have ducts cleaned make sure to use a NADCA accredited professional and check their work against the NADCA checklist  HERE
  3. If your ducts are in need of cleaning look at the comparable cost of replacement vs. cleaning
  4. Recognize that Florida duct systems are often not very conducive to proper cleaning reducing your potential success rate

Contact Us with any further questions and we hope this was helpful!- Bryan Orr VP Service Kalos Services Inc. Licensed A/C Contractor CAC1814620

Resources mentioned in this article can be found: EPA.GovNAIMA.Org, and Angie’s List. You can also check out these videos of news teams exposing the potential scams that can come with duct cleaning:

Three Concepts of Energy Savings + 10 Tips!

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Tips for Reducing Power Consumption in Your Home or Business

 

  • Replace air filters regularly – a dirty air filter can reduce the efficiency of your A/C system in the short term as well as in the long term by resulting in dirty coils and ducts.
  • Improve attic and wall insulation – There are several excellent products now on the market such as Icynene that can insulate and seal your attic and walls and dramatically reduce cooling and heating costs.
  • Window Coverings – Installing window coverings and leaving them closed during the Summer and at night and opening them during sun light in the Winter can reduce both heating and cooling costs.
  • Low heat appliances – Many newer appliance technologies reject less heat into the home resulting in lower cooling costs inductive ranges and CFL / LED bulbs are common examples.
  • Thermostat settings – Increasing the setting of the A/C thermostat in the Summer and lowering in the Winter can drastically improve both your heating and Cooling costs. You may also install a Programmable thermostat in which the temperatures can be automatically adjusted to match your lifestyle.
  • Water Heater Settings – Setting the thermostat on your water heater to a lower setting will increase the efficiency of the heater by reducing your thermal losses in the tank and pipes. You may also install a timer on the water heater to keep it off during the night which may also result in modest savings.
  • A/C and appliance maintenance – Having your HVAC system and appliances checked and cleaned periodically can result in big savings over the long run. Dirty condenser and evaporator coils alone can result in major efficiency losses.
  • Photocell controlled outdoor lighting – turning your lights on and off by a photocell may result in savings if you periodically forget to turn outdoor lights off during the day.
  • Timer switches – Installing timers in place of switches can reduce the cost of items that may accidentally be left on such as bath fans, pool lights, garage lights and attic lights. Intermatic makes an assortment of these timer switches and then can be installed directly in place of a switch.
  • Ductless A/C – Installing high efficiency ductless A/C in areas of intermittent or special use can save on energy while improving comfort. These systems are super high efficiency from 16 to 25 SEER and they can give you the flexibility to cool or heat only a specific space without the need to affect the entire home or business.

How to Protect Your A/C Unit From Thieves

A rising trend of air conditioning theft has been growing around the country. For years throughout the United States, thieves have been keen to cut the copper lines in a central air conditioning unit and selling it for scrap metal, but recently there has been a growing number of reports of thieves stealing the entire outdoor condenser to sell for salvage money or as replacement units online. News stories like the one below illustrate the growing problem. A growing number of consumers are have seen their units, worth anywhere from 3 to 10 thousand dollars, destroyed with no choice but to buy a brand new system. It is a costly inconvenience but one that can be avoided. We have a solution below the video for how to secure your unit, and potentially protect your A/C unit and 1000’s of dollars in replacement cost!

Concerned about the possibility of this happening at your residence or business? Don’t be! Protect your A/C unit by installing what’s called an Air Conditioner Cage. This is a steel frame cage that is bolted to the ground around the outside condensing unit. It’s a great way to deter thieves from tampering with or ruining your costly heating and cooling equipment. While it won’t stop every thief, the chances are, it will cause them enough trouble and hassle that they will move on to other homes that aren’t protected. In the end, it comes down to security and peace of mind. If you’ve just recently purchased a new system, or feel like you can’t afford to buy a new one in the event of a robbery, give this product some thought and protect your A/C unit today. Check out the sample picture below and call us if your interested or have any questions about securing your assets and obtaining some more peace of mind!

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Call 352-243-7088 for more information or visit www.KalosFlorida.com