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Air Conditioning (26)

As the warmer spring weather arrives in the Sarasota area and your air conditioner runs more ofter you may be wondering how many more years your central air conditioner will last. The short answer is approximately 10-15 years. But the long answer is more complicated, because it depends on many factors. Some of these factors include the quality of the furnace itself – lower costs models will likely need replacement before a more expensive, higher end model does. A lower cost air conditioner in a hot climate may be ready for replacement in as little as 6-8 years.

The good news is that many of the factors that determine how long a central air conditioner will last are under your control. The most important thing you can do is have your air conditioner professionally maintained every year. This will not only make the unit last longer, it will help it operate more efficiently saving you money on your utility bill and unexpected repairs.

Because most air conditioner parts can be replaced as they wear out, it's usually a good idea to repair parts as wear out. With new air conditioners operating at much higher efficiency than units made just a decade ago, replacing the unit may be more cost effective in the long run when compared to the repair cost of keeping a 10-15 year old unit running.

Have questions about your air conditioner? Give Gibson's a call, we're here to help.
Buying a new central air conditioner is a big investment.  If your old air conditioner is nearing the end of it's lifespan, and repairing your old unit is no longer an option, it's time to purchase a new air conditioner. Here are some things to consider.

Choosing the Best Air Conditioner

1. EFFICIENCY - Depending on the age of your old air conditioner, installing a new, energy efficient system could pay for itself over time. By looking at the Energy Star Label on new air conditioners you can find out how efficient the unit is, as indicated by a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating). The SEER rating tells you how efficiently a unit uses electricity: the higher the number, the greater the efficiency.

The typical SEER rating of units manufactured prior to 1992 is about 6.0. In 1992, the government established a minimum cooling efficiency standard for units installed in new homes at 10.0 SEER. High efficiency units have a rating of at least 12.0 SEER.

2. MULTIPLE SPEED OPERATION - Multi-speed units can run on low-speed (using about 50 percent of the energy) 80 percent of the time. Consequently, they use fewer on/off cycles and produce fewer drafts and small temperature swings.

3. AIR QUALITY - If indoor air quality is a concern, you can effectively reduce indoor pollution by installing a whole house air cleaner to the AC units air handler. You'll breathe easier knowing that your new system is capturing the contaminants that can cause health problems.

4. BRAND REPUTATION - You want an air conditioner that will last as long as possible, and operate quietly and reliably. Going with a well-regarded brand will give you piece of mind that your cooling system will last.

Have questions about choosing the best air conditioner for your home? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help you choose the right central air conditioner for your needs.
As summer winds down and our central air conditioners are turned off for the season, there are a few maintenance tasks that you can perform to keep your air conditioner in good condition during the winter months, while also having it ready to go the first hot day of spring.
  1. Shut-Off Power to the AC Unit - First, and most importantly, always turn off power to the AC unit before performing any cleaning or maintenance tasks on your air conditioner. There are electrical and moving parts that can easily injure you, so always use caution. On the outside of the home near the condenser/compressor, there should be an exterior shut-off box. Also turn off power to the unit at the breaker box.
  2. Clean the AC Unit - Remove the fan cage on top of the condensor/compressor. You will need either a screwdriver or wrench to remove the fasteners. Next, lift the fan grill off the top of the unit and set it aside. Using a wet/dry vacuum or gloved hands, clean away leaves and debris from the interior of the unit.
  3. Clean The Fins - Using a garden hose – NOT a pressure washer – gently spray through the fins from the inside out to blast away any built up dirt or debris from between them. If the water from the hose is not able to remove dirt that has built up, there are commercial sprays available at most home stores that can safely loosen the dirt so it can be sprayed off. Never use unapproved detergents or solvents to clean the air conditioner.
  4. Straighten The Fins - bent fins can restrict airflow and reduce efficiency. One way to straighten fins is with a butter knife. Fin straightening tools are also available. Be careful not to damage the tubing that is embedded within the fins.
  5. Clear the Area Around the Air Conditioner – Cut away tree branches and shrubs in all directions within two feet the unit. Rake away debris and leaves. If the unit will be unused for a period of time, cover the top of the unit to protect it from falling debris. Enclosing the entire condensor unit in a plastic cover can reduce ventilation and cause corrosion, and is not recommended.
Have questions about maintaining your central air conditioner? Give Gibson's Heating and Plumbing a call, we are here to help.
Ecobee Smart ThermostatA traditional thermostat works by detecting the temperature in the room and sending a signal through wires to the heating or cooling system to turn on when the temperature drops above or below the preset temperature.

A smart thermostat consists of a control panel that connects wirelessly to a home's HVAC system. To control the thermostat you can use the interface on the wall mounted unit, or an app for your smartphone or tablet. One advantage of a smart thermostat is you can monitor and control the thermostat from any location. Alerts can even be set up to notify you if the temperature drops to an unsafe level during the winter... providing additional peace of mind while you're away from home on vacation.

Another key benefit of smart thermostats is their ability to learn a household's routine and adjust the temperature to optimize comfort and reduce energy waste. When the thermostat senses that no one is home, the temperature is adjusted to maximized energy savings over comfort.

Have questions about connecting your home's heating and cooling system to the latest smart thermostat technology? Give us a call, we can help.
During the summer months, does the upper level of your home feel hot and stuffy while the lower levels are freezing cold? In multi-level homes it's not uncommon for there to be an 8-10 degree difference between the lowest level and the highest level in the home during the summer months. Here are some steps you can take to even out the temperatures.

First, it's important to leave all of the air ducts open throughout the house. Central heating and cooling systems are designed to work with the air volume of every room. Closing air ducts can reduce the performance of the system and waste energy.

Leaky Ductwork
Even minor leaks from poorly aligned or uninsulated ducts can dramatically reduce airflow, making it difficult for conditioned air to reach the outer reaches of the home. An HVAC professional can help find and seal leaks with with special pressurizing equipment.

Check Insulation Levels
Improving attic insulation can mitigate air leaks and can reduce the effect of environmental factors on the temperature inside of the home. The US Department of Energy has some great tips for installing insulation here.

Consider a Zoning System
A zoning system allows you to control the temperature on multiple levels of the home independently using thermostats installed on each floor. The thermostats are rigged to control panels that adjust dampers installed inside your ductwork.

In addition to balancing the temperature on different floors, a zoned system will allow you to heat or cool individual rooms on demand, or close off unused rooms entirely.

Have questions about maintaining even temperatures throughout your home? Give Gibson's Heating and Plumbing a call, we can help.


If you are considering replacing your old central air conditioner, there are a few important things to consider when it comes to selecting a new AC unit for your home.

1. Reliability - An air conditioner is a major investment that you will depend on for years to come. Do your research and go with a proven brand and you'll reduce the chances of having problems down the road.

2. Efficiency - By choosing an EnergyStar® rated system you can save you up to 30% on your annual cooling bill.

3. Variable Speed Operation - One of the features that has improved heating and cooling efficiency and comfort in the past decade is variable speed operation. By more precisely controlling the speed of the fans, the system runs quieter and provides more advanced control.

4. Professional Installation - The most important day in the life of your air conditioner is the day it's installed. Proper sizing and correct installation is critical. Choose a heating and cooling company with experience and one that stands behind their work, now and down the road.

5. Indoor Air Quality - To reduce indoor pollution consider attaching a whole house air cleaner to your furnace or air handler. You can have peace of mind knowing your new system is capturing small contaminants that can cause health problems.

Have questions about choosing a new air conditioner? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We're here to help.
Your central air conditioner works hard to keep your home cool during the hot and humid summer days. However, much of the heat and humidity could actually be coming from inside your home. Here are the main heat sources in the home that can make your AC work harder.

1. Lighting - If you're using incandescent light bulbs as much as 90% of the energy sent to the bulb is converted to heat. Consider upgrading to more energy efficient CFL or LED, which run much cooler while using far less electricity.

2. Cooking - Kitchens are a major source of heat and humidity inside the home. When the weather is hot, cook outside on a grill or use a microwave instead of an oven or range.

3. Laundry - Clothes dryers generate a lot of heat and humidity. Consider hanging clothes outside on a laundry line. Or, have an exhaust fan installed in the laundry room to vent the hot air outside.

4. Dishwashers - During hot weather washing dishes in the sink will reduce heat and humidity. If you run the dishwasher turn off the heat dry and let the dishes air dry instead.
If you're ready to replace or upgrade your window air conditioners, you may want to consider a ductless, or mini-split system instead. While initial installation costs are usually higher, in most cases a ductless system will offer better aesthetics, efficiency, convenience and versatility that will pay for itself.

Here are a few of the advantages ductless systems offer versus window AC units.
  1. No window needed. A window air conditioner blocks the view outside and can present security issues. Window AC units can also be unsightly both inside and outside the home. Ductless systems are typically small, narrow units that can be mounted up high near the ceiling or in the floor where they won't get in the way.
  2. Heating. In addition to cooling, some ductless systems can provide heating.
  3. Expandability. Mini-split systems can be connected together to cool and heat up to 8 rooms.
  4. Less Noise. Because the condenser is located outside the house, ductless mini-split systems are typically much quieter than window air conditioners.
  5. Advanced Features. With some models you can monitor and adjust your ductless system with a remote control and create programs and schedules from your smartphone or tablet.
If you're considering replacing your window air conditioners with a ductless cooling system, call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help answer all your questions.
If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, you may be surprised by how far home cooling technology has improved. These are just a few of the advancements that you can expect with a new central air conditioner.

Less noise - Advanced designs with quieter fans and newer refrigerants have enabled air conditioners to run much quieter than previous generations.

Green - Unlike the Freon® coolant used over a decade ago that caused damage to the earth's ozone layer, newer R410A are environmentally friendly and also perform better.

Reduced Energy Consumption - Decades ago it was not uncommon for a central air conditioner to consume 6,000 watts of electricity every hour to cool a typical house. Today, that level has been reduced to around 1,700 watts an hour, thanks to technology like variable speed fans and scroll compressors.

Have questions about central air conditioners? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help answer all your home cooling questions.
Monday, 27 March 2017 17:46

Spring Energy Savings Plan

Written by
With the winter heating season winding down and the hot weather not far behind, spring is a good time to identify areas to save energy around the home by increasing efficiency and eliminating energy waste.

Fix Drafts and Air Leaks

While we usually think of drafts and leaks when the weather is turning cold, you can waste just as much energy in the summer by running your air conditioner in a drafty, poorly insulated home. Replace worn weather striping around doors and windows and ensure that you have sufficient insulation in your walls and attic.

Stop Vampire Energy Loss

With the increase in electric gadgets and appliances in the home, so does amount of electricity used. Energy that is consumed while electronics are not in use or are in standby mode is called vampire energy loss. Unplug devices that are not in use or use power strips that can turn off the power supply.

Don't Rinse Dishes Before Loading Them In the Dishwasher

Most newer dishwasher and detergents are designed to clean dishes without pre-rinsing.

Replace Your Old, Inefficient Water Heater

Replacing a 10-year-old water heater with a new, high efficiency Energy Star® rated model  can save a family of four over $325 a year on their utility bill. At that rate the new water heater can pay for itself in less than three years.

Tune-Up Your Air Conditioner

It's a fact that a dirty, unmaintained air conditioner cost you money not only in less efficient operation, but in the increased likelihood of unexpected breakdowns and repairs.

Dry Clothes On a Clothesline

Clothes dryers use a lot of energy and generate heat and humidity which can make your air conditioner work harder. Consider using an outdoor or indoor clothesline to dry your clothes.

Perform a Home Energy Audit

Looking for more ways to save energy around the home? Consider hiring a professional to perform a home energy audit. Or, check out energy.gov for tips on performing your own energy audit to find out where your home is losing energy. With help from the pros you can prioritize areas that need attention to make your home more efficient and comfortable.


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