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When the summer heat settles in, it can be hard to keep your cool. Even if your home already has central air conditioning, though, that doesn't necessarily mean you should take that window unit out and put it in the corner of the basement. There are pros and cons to these units, though, and you should keep them in mind before you make your decision regarding keeping your bedroom as comfortable as you can.

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During the summer heat, homeowners need good air conditioning. There are easy steps you can take in order to keep your air conditioner running efficiently and reliably. Let's talk about your outdoor condenser unit.

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What does your outdoor condenser unit do?

The outside part of your air conditioner is commonly known as the "condenser unit." It is the big box (some are round) outside of your house. Its purpose is to take the heat that has been removed from your home and release it to the outside air. Keeping the condenser running smoothly lowers your energy bills and reduces the chances of a system breakdown. The key parts of your outdoor condenser unit include:

  • The compressor. The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant (a special fluid essential to the process), thereby raising its temperature.
  • Condenser coils and fan. Next, the refrigerant travels through your condenser coils. A fan cools the coils and releases the heat to the outside air.
  • Refrigerant lines. These lines connect your indoor and outdoor units, to cycle the refrigerant.
Keeping critters out

Whether they crawl, gnaw, slither or build nests, critters and pests can cause a problem with your air conditioning system. Mice and rats love small spaces. They can chew through refrigerant lines, wires and can even use duct material to build their nests. Snakes like to build nests in the ductwork. Sometimes they coil up inside the condenser and damage the components. Termites, ants, wasps, and similar pests can also cause a problem. Termites may be attracted to your home by the water produced by your air conditioning unit. Ant mounds and wasp nests may interfere with the operation of your unit.

Therefore, to maintain your system in good working order, it is important to prevent critters and nesting insects from accessing your air conditioning unit. These simple preventative measures can help:

  • Install mesh screens or coverings made for air vents and flue pipes to keep pests out.   
  • Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal cracks near windows and other spots where bugs may enter your air conditioning system.
  • Have a professional inspect your ductwork and repair cracked or loose ducts promptly. Sealing holes or cracks in your ducts is an easy and efficient way to control pests.
  • Keep the area around your condenser clear of bushes, weeds, and other vegetation that could attract or harbor rodents or snakes. Check for ant mounds or signs of rodents.
  • Watch out for standing water or unusual moisture around your condenser. Wet conditions are ideal for termites.
Landscaping around your condenser

Some people prefer to landscape around the condenser unit to block it from view. Others install shade plants around the condenser, theorizing that cooling the air around the unit is beneficial to it. However, it is important to landscape carefully, so that you do not restrict air flow around the condenser. A restricted air flow, as well as dirt and debris, may damage the condenser system. Before landscaping, consider these tips:

  • Create a shade canopy. If your condenser is sitting in the hot sun, adding some plants with sufficient height to make a shade canopy. It may reduce your unit's workload and energy usage.
  • Choose your plants carefully. Evergreen shrubs are a good choice because they won't drop leaves in the fall. If you are looking for a faster growing deciduous tree or bush, you may want to consider installing an air conditioner shield which protects the unit from dirt, leaves and weather elements. 
  • Allow for plant growth. When choosing your plants, consider what size they will be when fully mature. You should allow several feet on each side of the unit and make sure there is easy access for maintenance.
  • Trim regularly. When performing yard work, don't forget to trim all of the vegetation near your condenser unit and hose the exterior casing down. You may wish to install a cement block or gravel barrier around it to deter plant growth, etc.
  • Keep it clean. Dirt around the condenser creates dust and mud, which may collect on the fan blades and coil. Hose your exterior casing down as needed.

For professional air conditioner repairs, installation, or to schedule a preventative maintenance visit, contact American Air Cares.

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Summer is fast approaching, and many areas are already experiencing massive heat waves. In fact, some areas have already experienced record-breaking highs!

As a homeowner, you want to keep costs low while keeping your house cool and comfortable. What are some things you can do to make for a pleasant summer this year? This article will discuss 5 tips on how to beat the heat and stay cool when the sun gets hot.

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Is the loss of air conditioning in your Florida home concerning for you? As a Florida homeowner, you need to be aware of a variety of AC FAQs and home maintenance repairs. These repairs, such as insulation, ensure your home's systems are performing at it's highest potential. Did you know insulation affects your home's ability to heat or cool the rooms in your home? Here are the facts you need to know about having a well-insulated home.

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You're thinking about replacing your thermostat. What comes next? Perhaps you are thinking of upgrading to a smart thermostat. Consider some of these important elements.

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With the summer heat steadily rising in Florida, you're likely running your home air conditioning system constantly. With regular use comes normal wear and tear. This is why regular maintenance is so important to the lifespan of your air conditioning unit, especially in hot places like Florida. Without regular maintenance, your AC could experience a variety of problems such as a coolant leak. Coolant, also known as refrigerant, is what helps your AC keep your home cool and comfortable. Without it, your system can't efficiently and adequately cool your home.

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As summer approaches, the heat and humidity in Florida rise to uncomfortable levels. When it gets like that, there's nothing better than retreating to your cool, comfortable, air-conditioned house. The problem is that if you aren't keeping your air conditioner in good condition, the quality of the indoor air will decrease, your utility bills will increase, and your unit won't last as long as it should.

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From mold and mildew to warped wood and damaged, wet electronics-- high humidity can cause havoc on your home. High humidity causes moisture to settle on surfaces and this can be just as damaging as sitting water. Florida is known for high humidity levels, but fortunately, having a dehumidifier in your home can negate many of these issues. In this post, we're going to break down the basics of a dehumidifier and give you five warning signs that the air in your home is too humid.

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In-duct air purifiers (also known as HVAC air purifiers and whole-home air purifiers) provide an excellent opportunity to improve the air quality throughout your home. Traditionally, most homeowners have opted to use smaller air purifiers on an as-needed or room-by-room basis; but taking the steps to purify the air your family breathes before it's released back into your home is ideal for maintaining good health.

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There are many essential components of a working AC system. As a homeowner, it's important to perform routine maintenance on your air conditioning system to ensure durability and quality air circulation. Your AC's air filter is one of those parts that need regular maintenance for optimal performance. Changing your air filter is one of the easiest maintenance tasks you can perform on your HVAC system, but it's also one of the easiest to overlook. Not changing your AC's air filter can wreak havoc on your unit and can even cause it to fail. You should know the common problems that can occur when you don't change your air filter on a regular basis.

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