22 Energy Saving Tips To Save You Money

Little changes that can add up to big savings on your annual cooling costs

cut your annual cooling costsWith energy prices on the rise, these energy saving tips can amount to big savings on your cooling and heating expense. Energy costs in South Florida are 40% higher than the national average, according to EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey. Your air conditioning system is responsible for up to 60% of your energy consumption in South Florida. With just a few simple changes to your lifestyle and your home, you could be saving hundreds of dollars on your annual energy bills.

 

  1. Use ceiling fans to cool off for less. Ceiling fans use no more electricity than a standard light
    bulb. However, be sure to turn fans off when you leave the room.
  2. Switch your ceiling fan to turn in a counter-clockwise direction In the summer; in the winter, run it at low speed, but clockwise.
  3. Cool your home at 78 degrees or higher with the thermostat fan switched to auto. For additional savings, raise your thermostat to 82 degrees or higher when you’re away.
  4. Install a programmable thermostat to adjust your temperature during the day.
  5. Close your exterior doors and windows tightly when the AC is on. Save even more by turning off kitchen and bath exhaust fans.
  6. Window tinting can help reduce room temperature in rooms that have a sunny exposure. Especially a south west exposure in late afternoon when the outside temperature is at its highest.
  7. Clean or replace the A/C filter at least once per month to help your unit run more efficiently and trim cooling costs.
  8. Consider purchasing an lifetime electrostatic air filter. It will do a better job of keeping your coil clean and trap allergens better than the thick hypoallergenic  disposable air filters that restrict air flow.
  9. If you have an older air conditioner with a SEER rating of under 16, consider upgrading to a higher efficiency model. Not only will your AC be more efficient, you could also be eligible for a utility company rebate and Energy Star Federal Tax Credit. The higher the SEER rating, the more your will save. Consider a two stage or multi-stage AC unit for even more saving.
  10. If you have a manual thermostat be sure the fan switch is set to “auto” to save energy. Leaving it in the “on” position keeps air running constantly.
  11. Block the sun from overheating your home! Inside, use shades, blinds and drapes. Outside, use awnings, trees and shrubs..
  12. Get a AC tune-up. Running an inefficient AC system can result in high monthly bills.
  13. Open interior doors so that cooled air flows freely throughout your home.
  14. Repair leaky ducts to reduce heating and cooling costs.
  15. Install attic insulation to reduce high home cooling costs up to 20%. You’ll save money each month and may qualify for a rebate.
  16. Check for household leaks to make sure air isn’t escaping through openings such as fireplace dampers, doors and windows. Make sure your weatherstripping is not allowing air to escape. If it is, replace it.
  17. Decorate for a cooler home by hanging light-colored curtains that allow light to enter a room while blocking some of the sun’s rays, and light-colored paint to reflect heat.
  18. Close unused air vents. If you have central AC you can close air vent and doors in rooms you’re not using so you’re not paying to cool them.
  19. Plant trees to provide shade on the sunny side of your home. Use large potted plants that can provide adequate shade (Ficus Trees) if you have a patio apartment.
  20. Install more ceiling fans. Because the breeze of a fan can make you feel three to four degrees cooler, you can raise that thermostat and still stay comfortable.
  21. When you have your roof replaced, go with a lighter color. The more reflective the color the lower your attic temperature. One study showed a 20 degree temperature difference in the attic when the homeowner changed from dark grey roof tiles to white.
  22. Have your AC system evaporator coils cleaned, if needed. Restricted air flow will not only cause your air conditioning unit to freeze up, it will impact your cooling costs. An air conditioner with restricted air flow causes your air conditioner to work much harder and can potentially damage your air conditioner and reduce its lifespan.

Your comfort is our top priory.
Universal air and Heat is dedicated to providing the best air conditioning repair and installation service from South Florida to Tampa, Florida. We have become a leader in the air conditioning industry by consistently delivering outstanding customer service.

 We offer Free AC System Estimates and Free Service calls ($49 value) with repair.
Call Universal Air and Heat for all of your air conditioning and indoor air quality needs.

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Two Stage Air Conditioning System Advantages

What is the advantage of a  two stage air conditioning system compared to a  a single stage air conditioning system?

Benefits of a Two Stage Air Conditioning System Verses a Single Stage AC Unit:

rheem-prestige-series-280A two stage air conditioning system has many more comfort features, one of the best features is the on-demand dehumidification feature. The on-demand dehumidification feature will allow you to feel more comfortable at a higher temperature set point with a lower percentage of humidity in the air. Comfort aside, when moisture levels are high, there’s a higher potential for mold and other pollutant problems that could potentially lead to health issues.

How does it work?
The air handler fans speed ramps down into a lower speed utilizing a variable speed motor, when it ramps down to a lower speed it starts pulling more humidity out of the home.

Here is an Example
When you set your thermostat to 76° on the single stage system the air-conditioner will continue to run at 100% capacity in order to bring it down to 76°. However, on a 2 stage system with the humidity control feature you can set your thermostat to 78° and then set the humidity at 45%. Once the air-conditioner reaches 78° The two stage air conditioning unit will drop down into first stage and the fan speed will drop down as well, this allows the air conditioning unit to begin the dehumidification process and then starts to pull the humidity level down until it reaches Trane air conditioning system -cleaneffects - communicating thermostat45% humidity in the home. Once it reaches 45% humidity the AC unit will shut down and it will feel like 76° even though the temperature is actually 78° in the home. This is because the humidity is only at 45%. This will save you money on your electric bill because your air conditioner does not have to operate at 100% capacity all the time of time  in order to bring  your home temperature down 76°

A two stage air conditioning system works 2 stages on the compressor mode, it starts up at 66% drawing less amperage upon start up and this is where you consume most of your energy costs. If the heat load in the home calls for more cooling 15 seconds later the 2nd stage kicks in the 100% capacity mode. Example, if you have a 4 ton air-conditioner with a 2 stage system it will start up as if it were a 2.5 ton drawing the amperage of a 2.5 ton system and then 15 seconds later it will go to 100% (only if the heat load in the home calls for 100% capacity) which will be a full 4 ton capacity however on a single stage system it will always start up at 100% capacity and draw the amperage that a 4 ton compressor will need and that 100% capacity is what winds up costing you more money on your energy bill. Dual stage air conditioners also tend to last longer because they are not running at full capacity all the time.

Summary

Two stage cooling means the air conditioner or heat pump has a compressor with two levels of operation: high for hot summer days and low for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet household-cooling demands 80% of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and produces more even temperatures.

Longer cooling cycles also translate to quieter, more efficient operation, enhanced humidity control, substantial savings on your annual energy costs and extended lifespan of your cooling and heating system. Compared to a single-stage unit, a dual stage air conditioner or heat pump can remove twice as much moisture from the air. This is important because when moisture levels are high, there’s a higher potential for mold and other pollutant problems.

Purchasing  a new air conditioning system is one of the most costly home improvement investments you will make  so when it’s time to replace you air conditioning system or heat pump, call a name you can trust.  Universal Air and Heat sells top rated residential and commercial two stage air conditioning systems by Rheem, Carrier, Bryant, Trane and Goodman at low prices in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Weston, Tamarac, Pompano Beach, West Palm Beach Jupiter and Tampa FL. Serving the Tri-County area of South FL and Tampa Fl with affordable AC repair and low cost air conditioning replacement since 1997.

Call for your free “no obligation” AC unit estimate today.

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Energy Efficiency Ratings

How Energy Efficiency Ratings Affect Savingsenergy savings chart

Energy-efficient heating and cooling products make home comfort more affordable. Understanding efficiency ratings is an important first step in choosing the system that’s right for you. Let’s decipher the standards used to measure the efficiency of furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps, and how they impact your monthly utility bill:

Furnaces: If you have an older furnace, you could save considerably on your heating bill by upgrading to a higher-efficiency model – start by checking out the AFUE rating.

AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency)

    Standard measurement of efficiency for gas and oil-fired furnaces
    Tells you how much of your fuel is used to heat your home and how much is wasted
    The higher the rating, the greater the efficiency
    Minimum required rating is 78%
    Many manufacturers offer a full line of furnaces with AFUE ratings of up to 98.3%

Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps: Upgrading to high-efficiency heat pumps and air conditioners requires an initial investment, but you’ll quickly see payback in the form of lower, annual utility bills for the life of your system.  To compare the efficiency of these products, look for two numbers –SEER rating for cooling, and if you’re considering a heat pump, HSPF for heating.

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)

    Standard measurement of efficiency for the cooling process of air conditioners and heat pumps
    The higher the number, the greater the efficiency
    Minimum required SEER rating is 13
    Many manufacturers of residential cooling systems have units with SEER ratings of up to 20.5

HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor)

    Standard measurement of the efficiency of the heating mode of heat pumps
    The higher the number, the greater the efficiency
    Minimum required HSPF rating is 7.7
    Many manufacturers of residential heating and cooling systems make heat pumps with HSPF ratings from up to
    13.0

rheem-prestige-series-280Cost Savings: Upgrading to high-efficiency heat pumps and air conditioners requires an initial investment, but you’ll quickly see payback in the form of lower, annual utility bills for the life of your system.

Matching Your System for Optimum Efficiency

An additional factor that affects the efficiency of your system is your indoor coil (also called an evaporator coil). In order to maximize SEER and HSPF ratings and ensure proper performance, your air conditioner or heat pump unit must be matched with the correct indoor coil. When you replace an existing system, make sure you consider replacing the indoor coil so you get the most efficient performance.

Universal air and Heat only sells and installs matched heating and cooling system components in accordance with manufacturer specifications.

Call for a Free “no obligation” AC System Estimate 866-999-2556 (COOL)

Or schedule online today!

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Energy Savings Tips – Air Duct Cleaning Saves At Least 11 Percent On Your Annual Energy Costs

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning a home or small commercial building is requires a lot of energy.

duct cleaning pompano beach flYour HVAC (heating, air conditioning and Ventilation) system accounts for 30 percent of the energy used in an average home or small building. In addition, heating and cooling larger dwellings accounts for up to half of the energy use. On the whole, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are by far the largest sources of energy use within a home or building. Heating and air conditioning systems tend to be the most important and expensive investment we make to our property but somehow, we take it for granted and most heating and cooling systems tend to be poorly maintained. These systems, which are used every day of the year, get dirty and can become heavily contaminated with dirt, dust, animal dander, and more.

Your HVAC (heating, air conditioning and Ventilation) system accounts for 30 percent of the energy used in an average home or small building.

Believe it or not, heating and cooling systems in new homes and buildings are often heavily fouled before occupants move in due to construction debris. Contaminated heating anddirty air conditioner blower cooling systems contribute to poor indoor air quality in the form of increased airborne particulates and reduced comfort. Fouled systems have to work much  harder due to decreased air flow which makes them more prone to failure. When it comes to having a productive, energy-fan blower motor cleaning uahacefficient heating and air conditioning system, air flow is king. Increased air flow equals better performance. When HVAC systems become fouled, air flow is reduced. Dirty filters, clogged coils, fouled blowers and other components impede air flow and and make your air conditioning unit work harder and result in increased energy costs.

The solution is to have the heating and air conditioning system professionally cleaned by a NADCA certified Air systems Cleaning Specialist. Professional cleaning for a heating and air conditioning system entails cleaning not only the ductwork, but also the vents, registers, blower, coils, and other complete cleaning of the heating and air conditioning system is a highly specialized duct cleaning service that differs from the routine maintenance provided by the air conditioning technician sent out to clean and adjust the air conditioners. Complete cleaning of the heating and air conditioning system is important to ensure your air conditioning system continues to operate at peak efficiency. Call Universal Air and Heat to thoroughly clean your air handler components. 813-510-5667

So how much does it cost to operate a fouled heating and cooling system?

piechart_ac_energy_costsThat is the question asked by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), a not-for-profit association representing companies around the world that inspect, clean and restore heating and air conditioning systems. In 2008 NADCA initiated a project with researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) to conduct an in-depth study of this issue. Researchers conducted two field trials to assess the accuracy of the computer model.
Through this process, researchers came to realize that there was no comprehensive data available to quantify the savings that can be achieved through cleaning of heavily-fouled systems, typical of systems regularly encountered by NADCA members. (For purposes of this research, “Heavily-fouled” systems are defined as systems where complete cleaning results in a pressure change of at least 30 percent. Pressure change is simply an easier way to measure air flow.)
The calculations in the computer model were based on data collected from lightly-fouled systems – systems that are not very dirty.

According to the results of the study, cleaning even lightly-fouled systems can produce substantial energy savings. These findings are based on complete cleaning of heating and cut your cooling costs duct cleaningair conditioning systems in accordance with NADCA’s ACR 2006 Standard, which includes cleaning ductwork, coils, blower, other air-side system components, and changing the filter. Based on the initial research, cleaning a lightly-fouled system provides, on average, an 11 percent savings off of the energy used for heating and air conditioning systems.

Researchers have proven that cleaning even lightly-fouled heating and cooling systems can result in energy savings of 11 percent. Cleaning heavily-fouled systems is expected to produce an even greater savings than cleaning systems that are essentially clean. In addition to these savings, consumers who have their heating and cooling system cleaned can benefit from improved indoor air quality, reduced maintenance costs and extended life expectancy for the heating and cooling system. While not yet confirmed, cleaning
heavily-fouled systems is expected to produce even greater energy savings.

 

Universal Air and Heat is Waging War on Indoor Air Pollution!


Your air conditioning duct system functions as the respiratory system of your home. Dust, dirt, pollen, animal dander and other airborne contaminants are pulled into your system every timNADCA Certified e your air conditioner runs. Over time, these contaminates build up inside your duct-work, making your system a breeding ground for mold spores, bacteria, fungus, mildew, and other microbes, which are then re-circulated through your home, impacting the health and comfort of your family. Those who suffer from allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, especially children, the elderly and birds are vulnerable to the effects of indoor air pollution.

  • 50% of all illnesses are either caused or aggravated by polluted indoor air. (American College of Allergists)
  • Levels of air pollution inside the home can be 2 to 5 times higher, and occasionally 100 times higher, than outdoor levels. (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • One out of six people who suffer from allergies do so because of the direct relationship to the fungi and bacteria in air duct systems. (Health Magazine)

Universal Air & Heat uses the latest state of the art Rotobrush BrusBeast Machine with 90% more suction power of  any other air duct cleaning equipment used by our competitors. Our qualifiedrotobrush XP Air + air duct cleaning duct cleaningteam of professional duct cleaning technicians will help reduce microbes, spores, mildew and fungus to ensure that your ac system is free of all contaminants and bacteria. Having your ac air ducts cleaned regularly will give your home or business a healthy breathing environment.

Universal Air and Heat makes air duct cleaning affordable and has one of the largest Service Areas of any of our competitors in Florida. We proudly serve Miami Dade County FL, Broward County FL, Palm Beach County FL and Tampa FL.

Universal Air and Heat offers Air Duct Cleaning Services vent using the newest state-of-the-art air duct cleaning equipment along with air duct sanitizing. We also offer dryer vent cleaning services to help prevent lint build up that is one of the major causes of home fires nationwide.

Universal Air and Heat is committed to improving indoor air quality at an affordable price.

 

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Buying a Replacement Central Air Conditioning System?
Ask The AC Expert: Is Buying a Bigger Replacement Air Conditioner Better?

AC Repair Broward and Palm Beach County FLWhen you’re ready to buy a replacement air conditioner you will need a professional AC contractor to accurately determine the correct size air conditioner for you particular home’s need. Any contractor you hire should calculate the size of the cooling equipment you need by using such recognized methods as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual J. A professional air conditioning technician will assess the square footage of your home, ceiling height, sun exposure, climate and insulation in your home in order to calculate the heat load. All of those factors are used to properly determine your air conditioning and heating needs.

There is a popular misconception that having a larger AC unit will cool better. Not true! When the air conditioning system is too big it will cool the area too quickly without having enough time remove enough moisture. You will be left with a cold and clammy indoor environment.

On the other hand, an air conditioner that’s too small won’t do a good job cooling your home and will be more expensive to run. When you install central air conditioning, size matters. Underestimate your cooling needs, and you could be sweating. Buy more power than you need and your living space may become cold and dank.

If you live in a colder climate you may already have ductwork for your heating, adding a central system can cost less. But keep in mind that ducts used for heating might not be the right size or in the right location for optimal cooling.

Your contractor should use a duct-sizing method such as the ACCA Manual D. The pros should make sure that all duct sections are properly sized and that there are enough supply registers to deliver sufficient air flow to the right places. Not only is the proper size ductwork essential for meeting each room’s heating and air conditioning needs but also because undersized ductwork can make for noisy operation. Leaky ductwork or ducts with insufficient  insulation can reduce system efficiency considerably. All joints and seams must be sealed and not with duct tape that can dry and fall off.rheem-ac-condensing-unit-221x225

If your home doesn’t have ducts, adding them can be expensive, though if you plan to cool your entire home, central air is typically the best choice. If you are not planning to cool the entire home, you might want to consider a split-ductless system. Unlike central systems, split-ductless systems need no ductwork (though they require connections for electrical, refrigerant and condensate drains), making them easier to add to homes with designs that aren’t conducive to installing ductwork.

It would not be practical to guesstimate the correct size central air conditioning system  because there are so many variables to consider, including a home’s size and design, and how the air-conditioning unit is installed. In fact, a significant variable affecting performance is the quality and construction of the duct distribution system. Poorly designed or installed ductwork can cause improper cooling, noise and even equipment failure. Instead, to help you make an informed choice we strongly recommend you contact Universal Air and Heat, a licensed, professional HVAC contractor, we can determine the correct air conditioning equipment for your home and assist in choosing the perfect heating and cooling system that meets both your needs and budget.

 

Call Universal Air and Heat for your FREE ” no-obligation” air conditioning estimate today!

813-510-5667

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Palm Beach Post Energy Saving Tips

Universal air and Heat Answers You Questions

palm beach post article - energy saving tips

 

 

 

Keep cool, save money

Mike Thompson, of  Universal Air and Heat, answers some questions that will help readers ensure their heating and cooling systems are running as efficiently as possible – and what to do if they’re not


Living in South Florida, it is nearly impossible to overstate the importance of a properly functioning air conditioning system. Not only is it necessary to keep you cool UNIVERSAL AIR AND HEAT FLEET OF AIR CONDITIONING REPAIR TRUCKSduring nearly year round hot temperatures, but it will keep your monthly electric bill under control.

Universal Air & Heat service professionals arrive with fully-stocked trucks with all the common parts and standard tools needed for complete coil cleaning, fan cleanings, drain-line cleanings and more. Living in South Florida, it is impossible to overstate the importance of a properly functioning air-conditioning system. Not only is it necessary to keep you cool during nearly year round hot temperatures, but it will also help keep your monthly electric bill under control.

Question: What are SEERS?
Answer: SEER stands for “seasonal energy efficiency ratio.” The SEER rating is the BTU of cooling output during its normal annual usage divided by the total electric energy input in watt hours during the same time frame. SEERS range from 13 (lowest) and 21 (highest). The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient the system is.

Question: I bought my first house and am now responsible for air-conditioning care. What is the difference between all these stage systems and compressors, and what will help me with my electric bills?
Answer: A two-stage system is a much higher-quality system than a single-stage system. Most people purchase single-stage air-conditioning units because they are less expensive than a two- stage, but aside from the price factor, most people are not properly educated on the benefits of having a two-stage system. A single stage starts up at 100% capacity while two stages start up at 60% capacity, and 15 seconds later go into 100% capacity. A two-stage system draws less amperage on start up, which helps you save money on the electrical bill. Other added benefits of the two-stage system include on demand de-humidification features. If your home reaches the desired temperature set point but the humidity level is very high in the home, the system will go into de-humidification mode that brings the humidity levels down to the requested level. This allows you to have your home set at a higher temperature set point with less humidity in the air, so you are more comfortable in your home at an even higher temperature set point because there is less humidity in the air.

Question: It’s 98 degrees outside and my AC is not blowing. What do I do?
Answer: Check the breakers, and if it is not related to an electrical short, call for service. You can check to see if you have a dirty filter, as this may cause the unit to freeze up.

Question: How do I care for the filter?
Answer: Filters should be changed or cleaned once per month. You can clean them by vacuuming it off and washing it with water (if it’s a washable filter). Let it dry completely before placing it back in. Use a good quality filter like an electrostatic washable, which we sell and can have custom made to fit in the AC unit. If you prefer to change the filter every month, invest in a sponge pad smart filter that has a custom-made aluminum frame and a rubber seal gasket that goes along with the top of the filter. With filters removed, check the coils by shining a flashlight. If they appear to have microbial growth on the coils or appear to be clogged in any way by dog hair or dirt impacts, have a specialist come in for a coil acid cleaning. The fan blower inside the AC should also be removed and cleaned once every two to three years.

Question: How often should I clean my air ducts?
Answer: If you have a really good filter and a UV light, you should only have to clean your ducts every three to four years. If you have a standard filter and no UV light, you should probably clean your ducts every one to two years. Different air-duct cleaning packages are available, depending on how dirty the ducts are. Call our experts and we can help determine how severe the air-duct buildup is.

Question: How do I care for my AC’s drain line?
Answer: Pour a little bit of bleach down the drain line pipe every six months — that will reduce the amount of algae build up in the drain line and reduce the chance of the drain line filling up with water.

Question: How often should I have my AC tuned up?
Answer: It is recommended that you check your unit every six months. We perform a 21-point inspection, and make recommendations on anything that needs to be done. Our service professionals arrive with fully- stocked trucks with all the common parts and standard tools needed for complete coil cleaning, fan cleanings, drainline cleanings, UV light installations, etc.

Question: What brands do you recommend?
Answer: Rheem, Trane, Carrier, Byrant, American Standard, Payne.

Universal Air and Heats sells, services and installs all major brands of heating and air conditioning equipment. We offer free estimates and free installation on all air conditioning and heating systems we sell. You will not find a lower price or better service than Universal Air and Heat and we back it up in writing with our Quality Assurance Guarantee.

Our Team is Available 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.  Monday through Saturday to help with any air conditioning related questions you might have.

Mike Thompson – Universal Air and Heat

Air Conditioner Tune Up Specials – How to Stay Cool in Florida During the Summer Heat

AC REPAIR SERVICE  – MIAMI FL – BROWARD COUNTY FL – PALM BEACH COUNTY FL – TAMPA FL

 

AC Repair Broward and Palm Beach County FLIt’s that time of year again…  Summer in South Florida where the average daily temperature is 95 degrees with 90 percent humidity. That’s a lot of wear and tear on your Air Conditioner, the most essential and expensive piece of equipment in your home.  Can you imagine surviving the hottest time of year without your AC Unit? Like all machinery your air conditioner requires routine maintenance in order to cool at peak efficiency and help prevent costly breakdowns. The best way ensure your air conditioning system will cool reliably and keep your energy bills in check is to call the professionals at Universal Air and Heat. Our air conditioner Tune Up includes a 24 point check up in addition to checking for microbial growth inside you air conditioning unit. Schedule your appointment online and enjoy additional savings. That’s right, take 10% off any AC Repair, air conditioner tune up or duct cleaning service when you schedule your appointment online. Our certified air conditioning technicians will keep your A/C system working properly to keep you cool during the hottest summer days in South Florida. All of our professional air conditioning service technicians are employees of Universal Air and Heat. This ensures the highest quality AC repair service every time you call. Our  friendly and knowledgeable customer service staff are always here to assist you.

 

Call Today

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Universal Air and Heat is gearing up with amazing air conditioner Tune-Up specials for Summer…

Beat the heat at unbelievable savings!