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Air Conditioners and Hurricanes: Best Practices For You and Your Machine

General AC Maintenance Before the Storm

Clear the Debris

This should really be done on a bi-weekly basis but as most of us neglect this, now would be a great time. Debris sitting around, and on-top of the unit is already very close to being logged inside of your unit and hurricane force winds can make that happen quickly. One of the most common reasons people call for AC repair is because something is keeping the unit from running at its best. This is often caused by something that has fallen or been logged into your AC unit. By constantly trimming the shrubs, weeding, removing loose objects in the yard, and keeping the area clear, you are also less likely to have a storm drive debris into your unit.

Maintain Your Trees

As we know, hurricane winds can really kick but often it’s not the wind that does the damage. Normally broken tree branches are the cause of your property damage. Bring in a tree expert to look at the health and strength of all the trees on your property. Those beautiful old oaks won’t seem as majestic as they are being cut and removed from your AC unit.

Arrange for AC Repair and Maintenance

Proper AC repair and maintenance is also very important in maintaining the efficiency of your unit. Before storm season, have your air conditioning unit serviced by an AC professional. With such short notice, this will likely be difficult but please be prepared to have your unit serviced after the storm.

During the Storm

With Michael approaching here’s what you can do to protect your AC unit.

Tie it Down

Your local hardware store has hurricane straps, or you can cage the unit in. You may need to call around a little bit, but it will be worth it. This helps keep it secure and minimizes the amount of debris the unit takes on. Some homeowners wrap their system in a tarp and continue to use it. This may cause the unit to overheat and it is not optimal nor recommended.

Turn it Off

Power surges and shortages are common during storms. Turning your unit off will ensure it’s not exposed to them and their damaging effects. Areas closer to the Forgotten Coast, like St. Marks, Alligator Point, Panacea, Shell Point, and pretty much everyone within a few miles of Apalachee Bay should be turning off their AC system.

After the Storm

Check it Out

If your power has been knocked out and you did turn your unit off, look around the unit for debris and damage prior to turning it back on. Don’t try and fix the unit yourself, particularly if there are exposed wires. Call a 24-Hour emergency A/C repair company to look at your unit first if you have any concerns. Though being sweaty and hot is very uncomfortable, it’s always better to be safe and confident before you turn the unit back on.

Geothermal for Heating or Geothermal for Cooling?

The answer to this question is actually both! Geothermal systems will replace your existing unit and save you hundreds of dollars monthly! Just how much you ask?

Imagine being able to cut your energy costs by up to 70%. The monthly savings that you would see would be huge! Especially in Tallahassee where we use our AC systems three-quarters of the year.

With multiple designs and options, knowing what’s best for you can be a little tricky.

The “Loops”, which are used for the heating or cooling, can be configured in a variety of methods. The loops are sealed piping that allows the system to draw the heat or cool from the earth.

One option would be to have the loops set-up horizontally. This would require them to be buried in trenches ranging from 3 to 6 feet deep.

Another option would be a vertical loop where the sealed piping is inserted into small holes. The small holes can range from 150 to 400 feet deep and are installed utilizing a well drilling rig.

Your last options would be utilizing a pond or well on your property. This would involve submerging the sealed piping under the water to provide your home the heating and cooling it needs from your geothermal system.

Now that we’ve talked about what it is, how exactly does it work?

A geothermal system generates its air from in the house. The heat from your home would be transferred to the heat pump, absorbed, sent to the piping loop, then sent back to the earth which would then provide cool, dehumidified air through your duct system.

During the colder times of the year, the earth becomes the source of the heat as well. Water circulates in the loops and absorbs heat from the earth. It then carries it to the heat pump where it is then concentrated and finally distributed through your home as comfortable warm air.

I don’t know about you but I like free! Another value you will receive from your geothermal system is that in all seasons, nearly free hot water is provided whenever the system is in use.

Compared to traditional heating and cooling systems, geothermal systems can be 400% – 600% more efficient. The only real downside at this point is the initial investment though geothermal systems have begun to drop in cost. Depending on your coast of installation, it could take as little as 2-3 years for you to start experiencing the savings. With the overall life of geothermal units almost twice that of traditional units, it is a very sound investment for your property.

We hope you’ve had as much fun reading this as we had writing it. As always, E&B Heating & Air is here to answer any and all questions you may have about making a decision about purchasing and installing a geothermal system. Give us a call today!