7 AC Heating Tips for the Florida Winter
With highs around 72°F and lows around 52°F, winters in Tampa are not exactly thermal jacket weather. That, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make sure your house is ready for the new season. But where do you even start? If you’re used to the hot summertime temperatures, but don’t want to pay through the nose for the privilege of staying warm, here are the top 7 AC heating tips to get you through the Florida chilly spell some insist on calling “winter”.
Winter Heating Tips that Won’t Break the Bank
- Make sure your HVAC is equipped with strip heaters. These are electrical heating elements that, to simplify a complex process, produce warm air, which the AC fan will then push out and circulate. Strip heaters need to be regularly cleaned, since they are hardly ever used and can gather flammable particles throughout the year.
- Replace filters regularly. You should do that at least once a month, to make sure that dust doesn’t clog the filters, reduce airflow and lower your AC’s efficiency.
- Insulate and ventilate your attic. Running your AC through the winter is sure to incur additional costs. Offset that by making sure you have eliminated all potential losses in temperature. The attic is usually the most common cause for heating or cooling losses, since it is often improperly ventilated and insulated. In fact, the best heating tip might be that you should check that your roof vents are fully functional. They allow moisture to escape and create a dry environment that helps propel warm air.
- Seal your windows and doors. Another source of heat loss is, predictably, through improperly sealed windows or doors. Just as in the case of an improperly insulated attic, any place that allows warm air to escape in cold weather will add up in your bills. Air leaks can be easily fixed with caulking and weatherstripping.
- Check the AC units for any potential problems, from cracks in the casing to leaves on top of it. Any mechanical obstruction can lower the efficiency of the HVAC system and add to your overall costs.
- Set your thermostat to lower temperatures at night. Not a heating tip per se, but rather a way to make sure you don’t run up extravagant costs for your winter comfort: 65°F is generally considered ideal for your bedroom temperature. While you may want your 72 degrees during the day, there is every reason to lower the temperature at night and when you are away for longer. Even at 68°F, you can still shave five to ten percent off your heating bill. Quick note: while there is no danger of freezing pipes in Florida, it’s advisable not to lower your thermostat’s temperature below 55°F.
- Have a specialist check your AC unit before the cold season. Rather than a winter heating tip, this is a general rule of thumb: a specialist knows best. At least once a year, get someone to turn off your HVAC altogether and do a proper check-up: check that seals and pipes are intact, make sure there are no leaks, insulate whatever wiring may be at risk, and just generally certify that your HVAC is in good shape.
For many of these heating tips, the common denominator is making sure there are no leaks that decrease the efficiency of your HVAC. These leaks can be easily spotted with a thermal imaging camera, for instance, or by doing an energy audit. Even more simply, you can just take the time to inspect the house before the cold weather sets in, and seal the leaks yourself. This way, you can make sure the HVAC system delivers its best performance at the lowest cost possible.