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How to Choose an Air Conditioning Company and What to do Next?

8 Nov
ac repairman

You should have a list of good service providers  so that it is handy when you need them including a good A/C Company.

At some point we all need to call on trusted professionals to help us solve the day-to-day issues we all face in our daily lives.

You may need a dentist, a veterinarian, an auto mechanic, a day-care provider, a doctor, a plumber, a financial planner, an electrician AND someday you will certainly need to call upon the A/C repairman (or lady) to pay a visit to your home or business…

So, how on earth do you know whom to call upon? Do you look at the sticker that’s 8 years old and fading fast on your equipment? Do you ask your neighbor who they’ve used in the past? Do you (ugh) Google “cheapest ac repair”? Do you look in the yellow pages (what are those!)? Do you try to fix the darn thing yourself?

The truth of the matter is this; all the above are commonplace – we’re going to share a few cold-hard-truths with you.

Four Fast Facts!

Fact #1
The Internet is where more and more people are doing their research and shopping nowadays. Yes, every single method mentioned above (neighbor referral, Google, the sticker, etc.) brings the A/C repairman to your door BUT how do you know you found a good one?

Do your homework!

When searching online or perusing a website be sure to read the reviews; especially any “bad” ones and learn how any issues were resolved. No company is perfect and it’s nice to see to err is human because even the best companies can have an unexpected situation arise leading to a less than perfect experience. Does the company respond to negative reviews? They happen. It’s just how business goes. And for goodness sakes please never Google “cheapest” anything, just search for “ac repair” or “air conditioning repair” so you don’t get someone advertising they are the cheapest. Need we say more?

Fact #2
Not all A/C (HVAC) companies do things the same BUT the good ones will give you what you need to make an informed decision. Once you’ve narrowed it down and decided who you’ll call; all you need to do now is pay close attention to the following BEFORE and AFTER they arrive at your door:

Before they arrive at your door…
• Were you greeted professionally over the phone or called back in short order?
• Is their license number posted on their website? It better be!
• Did they disclose any trip charges? Be wary of “FREE” estimates!
• Did they offer an appointment “window”? Did they call you if they have a delay?
• Be wary of “telephone diagnostics”; some issues are commonplace while others aren’t
• Be wary of “telephone estimates” especially if you’re price shopping (don’t buy on price)

DING DONG – the A/C repair man is at your door…
• Did he arrive in a “marked” truck? Busier HVAC company’s trucks are wrapped / painted
• Did he arrive “on time” or really close? Yes, you’re hot and he’s rushing to get to you
• Is their license / contractor number clearly displayed on their truck? It better be!
• Some park in the street or your driveway. Either is OK but watch for any vehicle leaks
• Did he introduce himself to you and SMILE? You’re having a bad day – let’s smile!
• Did he slip on some little booties over his shoes? Your better companies will do this
• Does he have a pre-printed inspection form? Did he look “inside and outside”?
• Does he answer your questions in a way that’s not condescending BUT easy to follow?

If you “feel” comfortable with your A/C technician and you don’t feel pressured by a salesman, then you’ve probably got one of the “good guys”. Sure, there are some bad actors giving the good guys and our industry a bad name BUT there are good guys out there.

Fact #3
Just because your system is “older” doesn’t mean it needs to be replaced. There are some things to consider such as expense of repair or refrigerant type or efficiency ratings BUT if you’ve got yourself one of the “good guys” then he’ll usually help you keep the ole girl running if she can be repaired reasonably. If not, you’ll be shown replacement options that are modern, sized appropriately, more efficient and carrying very good warranties.

Fact #4
Your relationship with the A/C company doesn’t stop with the repair or replacement unit! Be sure to ask for or listen to them about their Maintenance Agreement. Shameless plug here because ours is a great value but in all seriousness, even if you choose a company other than RDS Air Conditioning please be sure to do the following after your repair or replacement:
• Get every piece of paperwork and save for your records
• Be sure permits are pulled if needed
• A good A/C company will register warranties for you
• BUY the maintenance agreement whether repaired OR replaced – seriously…
• Ask about any available rebates?
• Bake you’re A/C technician some cookies. Just kidding (but who doesn’t like cookies!)

Thank you for reading. We try to bring you good and useful information so you can be a better-informed consumer. Call on RDS Air Conditioning for any of your repair or replacement needs. We work hard to be good at our trade and provide you service so good you’ll refer us to friends, family and coworkers.

Don’t Settle for Less, Use RDS!

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Why is there “water” dripping from that white pipe outside of your home or business…

25 Aug
air conditioning condensate drain line

If this gets clogged, your ac unit will stop working!

Ah, the beaches, the dining and the weather…  Southwest Florida has so much to offer!  But it comes with a price, the HEAT and HUMIDITY. Your air conditioning unit is working very hard to keep your home or business cool and comfortable.

Did you know the high humidity here in SW Florida makes your ac unit work even harder than it would in other climates?

Let’s talk about humidity and the role your air conditioner plays to remove excess humidity from your home or business.

The moment your unit turns on it is moving air through a sealed system to provide you with air that has been filtered, cooled and dehumidified.

Because of this very hard work of producing cold air and removing humidity; as a byproduct, your ac unit produces condensate (water) and this water drops from the evaporator coils into a condensate drain pan which then moves the water through a pipe that is carefully routed to a drain outside of your home or business.  This steady drip is normal.  But, sometimes there’s an issue that occurs…

A common cause of the a/c system to stop blowing cold air is when the condensate drain pan gets blocked up and then the water does not drain through the pipe any longer.  If your air conditioning unit stops blowing cold air and you don’t see that steady drip then it is quite possible your pan and pipe have become clogged.

A safety switch installed inside of the drain pipe will even trip and shut down your unit to help prevent water damage from an overflowing drain pan due to a clogged line.  “Clogged with what?”  We’re glad you asked!  Over time, if not properly treated under a routine maintenance plan, your system becomes susceptible to the growth of algae and mold and your pipe can and will eventually become clogged.

Fortunately, this common breakdown is easily preventable as are most malfunctions we find with poorly maintained a/c systems.  To learn more about what we have to offer to help keep your existing system running in tip-top condition please visit our website or call us today at 239-313-9174. Stay tuned for additional tips and information we hope you may find useful.

Don’t Settle for Less, Use RDS!

The Evolution of Air Conditioning

30 Jun
first air conditioner

Dr John Goorie’s Air Conditioning Invention

Air conditioning is something that can be found in about 100 million homes across the USA but that was not always the case.

There was a time in our history that people were very uncomfortable when the temperature went up due to air conditioning not yet being invented or not yet developed to the point where it could be easily installed into someone’s home.

Let’s take a look at the evolution of the air conditioner:

1840 – A Floridan named Dr John Goorie, proposed that a cooler environment would help decrease disease and make patients more comfortable in their hospital rooms. He tried to accomplish this by having ice shipped in from frozen lakes and streams up north but that became too expensive. Next, he started fiddling around with the concept of an artificial cooling system.

1851 – Dr John Goorie secured a patent for a compressor that was powered by a horse, wind and utilized water or steam. Although his financial backer died before this invention could come to market, the foundation for modern style air and refrigeration was set.

1904 – Willis H Carrier filed a patent for an apparatus for treating air. His system controlled humidity by using cooling coils. He eventually left his job and with six other engineers formed Carrier Engineering Corporation.

1904 – The first time the public was exposed to the comforts of having cooled air was at the St Louis World Fair. Organizers for the fair used mechanical refrigeration to cool the 1,000-seat auditorium at the Missouri State Building.

1922 – 1925 – The first early public cooling systems were in the movie theater where crowds would flock to watch movies while sitting in the comfort of cool air. These early units were heating systems modified with refrigeration equipment (huge sized systems) that cooled to some degree but not evenly. Some areas of the room would be hot and some cold.

1929 – Frigidaire came up with a split level unit for home use but still it was too expensive, heavy and required a separate condensing unit.

1930 – 1931 – General Electric produced 32 prototypes of a room cooler that was self contained which was an improvement on Frigidaire’s model from the year before.

1932 – H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman built units that could fit on a window ledge but were too expensive so not many were purchased.

1947 – Engineer Henry Galson developed a better more compact ac unit that was spin off of the window ledge unit but was less expensive so he set up production lines with multiple manufacturers and for the first time the public could enjoy the comfort of cool air without having to make expensive changes to their homes.

1960 – Most new homes were being equipped with central air conditioning and window units were very affordable.

1970 – After the energy crisis hit, new laws were passed to reduce energy consumption which included new regulation on energy efficiency standards for air conditioning units.

Since 1992 conservation standards from the Energy Department for manufacturers of residential central air conditioners and heat pumps have been issued. New a/c units are much more efficient than they were in 1990 utilizing 50% less energy to operate.

What will happen with the future of air conditioning? As we all know new technologies are always on the horizon in many different industries including HVAC so we will see what comes down the pipeline in the future.

If your ac unit is in need of maintenance, repair or you need a new system for your home or business, give us a call. Don’t Settle for Less, Use RDS!

We are a Certified Florida Contractor – Lic.# CAC1816713

 

 

 

 

Sources: Dept of Energy
Wikipedia

How Long Should My Air Conditioning System Last Before Needing to Be Replaced?

25 Feb
air conditioners

To make your ac system last as long as possible, follow these guidelines…

SWFL is a unique area with a subtropical climate and many of our residents are here seasonally.

When it comes to an air conditioning system, many individuals who live up north have the same expectations for their ac systems here in Southwest Florida.

We are often asked, “how long should my air conditioning system last”?

That is a question that can’t be answered simply because there are many variables that come into play:

  • How old is the ac unit?
  • How often is maintenance performed?
  • How often do you change the filter?
  • Do you keep debris away from the outside unit?
  • How often does it run?
  • As soon as you hear a noise or problem, do you get it fixed or let it go until a breakdown happens?
  • Is your ac unit the correct size for the space (not oversized or undersized)?

In SWFL, the average ac unit is running about 3000 hours a year and that will rack up many miles quickly. There are some really good thermostats on the market that feature apps that you can download to your phone to control the temperature from any location.

For example, if you are away from home, you can increase the temperature and when you know you are going to return, open the app on your phone and decrease the temperature to make your home cooler by the time you arrive.

This will save on electricity and the amount of time your ac unit is running. To answer the question how long should your ac unit last before it needs to be replaced? On average is between 8 to 14 years.

In SWFL, ac systems don’t last as long as they do up north due to our sub tropical environment plus chemicals from salt-water, sulphur and farming (many communities are built on old farmland).

To get the most life out of your ac system and to try to make it last as long as possible before having to be replaced:

  • Change the filter on a regular basis – Tip: when you change the filter write the date on the side of the filter facing out so you can easily keep track of the last time it was changed.
  • Regular maintenance – Tip: It is a good idea to sign up for a maintenance agreement so that your ac system will be serviced twice a year.
  • The size of your unit – Tip: Have an HVAC contractor install your ac unit since they can help you decide on the best unit to fit your needs and space.
  • Have problems fixed in a timely manner – Tip: As soon as you hear a noise or detect an issue, call an HVAC contractor to fix it. Letting a problem go on can cause more damage over time.

The life of your ac unit depends mostly on you and how you care for your ac unit once it is installed by having regular maintenance done and having problems that arise fixed right away.

RDS Air Conditioning is ready to help with all of your air conditioning system needs. We install new ac systems in residential and commercial buildings, perform ac repair, ac maintenance and we have many customers in SWFL who depend on us to keep their ac systems running at full capacity.

We also offer a comprehensive maintenance package. Give us a call to get started (239-313-9174). Don’t Settle for Less, Use RDS!

Why You Shouldn’t Let Just Any Contractor Install Your New AC Unit

10 Jan
trane ac unit

Make sure your new ac unit is installed by the right person

In our area of SWFL the outside temperature varies throughout the year. According to US Climate Data, the annual high temperature is 84.8°F, annual low temperature is 65.4°F and the average temperature is 75.1°F.

Although these are average temperatures, if you live in SWFL you know it can get much hotter (summer months) and much colder (winter months) than that.

Over the last few days our overnight and morning temperatures have been in the 50’s and by afternoon it is in the 70’s. So, you may turn on the heat overnight into the morning then switch the thermostat to cool in the afternoon.

It is better to have an efficient system that will keep you both warm and cool as needed.

All ac systems will eventually stop working and get to the point where repair will not help or it would be more cost effective to just replace the whole unit.

When this happens and you need a new HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) it is important to have a certified licensed contractor install your new unit because:

  • Precise calculations must be done to ensure the ac unit chosen and installed will be the best fit for your home or business
  • Correct installation and sealing of all duct-work is needed to send the proper amounts of conditioned air to all rooms in the building
  • Size efficiency and placement of your ac system affects energy used and humidity control
  • Proper installation effects operating efficiency and for achieving performance rating
  • Your system needs the right controls and thermostat and they must be installed properly

Your HVAC system accounts for over 40% of your electric bill so you want a new unit that is the right size and is installed and sealed properly so that you can save on your utility bill each month.

After the installation you want a contractor that will be available for future maintenance (to keep your warranty) and when a repair is ever needed.

It is a good idea to build a relationship with a local contractor you can trust who is reliable, has a great reputation in the community and has been around for a long time.

RDS Air Conditioning has been installing new ac systems plus repairing and maintaining them for over 25 years. Give us a call with any questions about your ac unit or if you would like to set up a new install, service or repair.

Don’t Settle for Less, Use RDS!

Do You Know How Temperature Can Affect Your Pet’s Health?

12 Dec
variety of pets looking down

Do you know the correct temperature range for your pet? Too cold or too hot can cause health problems.

Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit, ferret or bird, our pets become part of the family. Some pets are furrier than others and temperature affects them differently depending on how well covered they are.

The annual temperature in our area of Southwest Florida ranges from 65.4°F to 84.8°F but as we all know it can get much colder or hotter.

If your pet is younger, older or has a health condition, they may have a more difficult time adjusting to temperatures and humidity levels than a healthy adult pet.

Here are some optimal air temperatures for some types of pets:

  • Most dogs begin to overheat when the temperature rises above 80ºF. Optimal temperature for a dog will depend on the thickness of its coat and how efficient their breathing. Pugs, Bulldogs and Boston Terriers do not have as efficient breathing to keep cool through their primary cooling mechanism (panting).
  • Your indoor cat will usually be comfortable at the same temperature you are.
  • Optimal air temperature for a rabbit is between 50ºF and 70ºF.
  • The optimal indoor temperature for a ferret is between 68ºF and 76ºF.
  • According to Gregory Burkett, DVM, most pet bird’s comfort range is between 65ºF and 80ºF.

It is a good idea to check with your vet to be sure of the best temperature range for your pet.

If your air conditioning or heating breaks down, as you can see, temperatures rising too high or too low can affect your pet. It is a good idea to have regular maintenance performed on your air conditioning unit to keep it running efficiently and to avoid breakdowns to keep you and your pet/s comfortable.

RDS Air Conditioning will maintain, repair or install a new air conditioning system in your home or business. RDS offers a comprehensive affordable maintenance package to take care of your a/c unit all year long. We are a Certified Florida Contractor – Lic.# CAC1816713.

Don’t Settle for Less, Use RDS!

How to Stop a Hurricane or Severe Storm from Ruining Your Air Conditioner

5 Oct

hurricane with palm trees

As hurricane Matthew pummels the Caribbean and heads towards the Southeast Coast of the United States, many business and homeowners are putting up hurricane shutters and boarding up to protect their properties.

When preparing for a storm protecting your a/c unit is usually not on the list. It can be very costly if your air conditioning
unit is damaged during a hurricane. High winds, debris flying around and if your a/c unit isn’t secured, it can loosen and become a dangerous flying object.

Luckily, it looks like this time SWFL has avoided a direct hit. Follow these tips to prepare your air conditioning unit before and after a hurricane or severe storm:

Before the storm:

  • In Florida, most of us have a split system with an outside unit on the ground. This outside unit should be installed on a concrete slab and tied down with hurricane straps.
  • Take a look around outside of your home or business and remove anything that could be picked up by heavy winds and become a dangerous flying object.
  • Clean up debris around your yard and a/c unit plus trim and dispose of any branches that are hanging near your a/c unit.
  • Often, debris flies around during a hurricane or severe storm so cover your a/c unit with a heavy tarp to protect it from flying debris.
    Make sure your air conditioner is turned off before covering it.
  • There are quite a few electrical components on your a/c unit so install a surge protector that can protect your air conditioner as well as your entire home.

After the storm:

  • Inspect the area surrounding your a/c unit before removing a tarp or turning the unit on. Look for downed power lines, water or debris that are close by. If you notice a downed power line do not go near it and call FPL immediately. Everyone knows downed power lines can be deadly.

Hurricane season 2016 does not end until November 30th and hopefully we will not have to deal with a hurricane anytime in the future but it is a good idea to keep these tips in mind if you ever have to prepare for a hurricane or severe storm.

RDS Air Conditioning would be happy to install a surge protector on your a/c unit to protect it from power surges that frequently occur in our area even when there is no hurricane or severe storm. Also, regular maintenance will help prolong the life of your a/c unit as well as keep it running as efficiently as possible.

Don’t Settle for Less Use RDS!!