Fall is finally here after a scorching summer and all-too-active hurricane season. The first cold front is only weeks away. Is your A/C System ready to heat your home?

Since most homes in our part of Florida utilize air-cooled split systems or package units, the most common supplemental heat source is an electric heating element, also called a “strip heater”, which is installed within the air handler. The strip heater is essentially an electrical coil that heats up as electrical current is applied – like a light bulb. The fan within the air handler forces air through the heated coil, thereby circulating warmed air throughout the home.

The good news with strip heaters is that that are very simple and fairly inexpensive to install. The bad news is that strip heaters are not very efficient and can lead to a much higher power bill when used. However, most Florida homeowners are willing to accept the higher bills since it is not often that strip heaters are required.

Here are a few tips for using strip heaters:

  1. Before the winter season is in full swing, test your strip heater to ensure it works and also to determine if it is a fire hazard. Lint and dust can build up on the heating element when not used regularly. The line and dust could catch fire if the buildup is too great. An AC Today Maintenance Contract will prevent the risk of fire since our ACT EMTs clean your heating elements as part of your regular inspection and maintenance.
  2. Be sure to keep your filters clean or replace them monthly. The better the airflow, the more efficiently the warm air can be circulated throughout your home.
  3. Set your thermostat as low as comfortably possible. For every One Degree in temperature that you lower your thermostat during colder weather, you can save up to five percent in monthly heating costs.
  4. Add insulation to your attic and to your hot water heater.
  5. Make sure that all windows and doors are properly sealed to prevent air from entering or escaping your home.

There are alternatives to systems that require strip heaters, including Water Source Heat Pumps. Heat Pumps are “reverse-cycle” systems that cool and heat your home with very good efficiency. However, Water Source Heat Pumps require a water source such as a well, cooling tower or closed loop system in order to function. You will find Water Source Heat Pumps in most condominium towers along the coast. Contact the AC Today Installation Specialists for more information on Water Source Heat Pumps and whether your home is a candidate for a Water Source Heat Pump installation.

We at AC Today are here for you. Please call AC Today or stop by our headquarters to have a hot chocolate with our System Experts and Maintenance Agreement Specialists.