With the start of the New Year comes the official start of high season in the Naples, Fort Myers, and Cape Coral area. From January until early April, Southwest Florida sees their population spike up to three times the number of the off-season population. Many winter “snowbirds” own homes that sit vacant during the hottest summer months. But, make no mistake; our winter months can be very hot and when it comes to AC, the best surprise is no surprise! Few things are worse than returning to your SW Florida home to learn that your AC is not working.

HVAC Tips for Snowbirds in Fort Myers, FL

Here are some tips to keep your AC running in top form.

First, your AC should have been running while you were away; if not, you could be returning to a dank, musty, and potentially moldy home. Even if the AC seems to be just fine, run through this checklist as soon as possible upon arrival. These five tips could save a service call to your local HVAC contractor.

  1. Start out with a fresh filter and change it monthly while in residence.
  2. Switch out the old batteries in the thermostat with fresh, new ones.
  3. Check the outside unit and make sure that the condenser is not blocked by leaves, shrubs or debris of any kind. Obstructions limit efficiency and can cause premature wear.
  4. While you’re outside, check the drain line; make sure that it is draining freely and not blocked by mulch, debris, lizards or plants.
  5. Set the humidistat to the “On” position. This will ensure that the thermostat will run at the chosen temperature set on your thermostat.

If you’re AC is not working, don’t panic. It could be something simple. Make sure to check the following:

  1. Thermostat. Make sure that your thermostat is set to “COOL” and the fan is set to “AUTO”. Set the temperature a few degrees cooler than current room temperature and wait 3-5 minutes to see if the unit comes back on. If you didn’t already replace the batteries in the thermostat, do that now
  2. Circuit breaker. Your air conditioner has two circuits: one for the indoor and one for outdoor components; most homes have at least two corresponding circuits. Check the electrical panel box or the circuits labeled AHU (indoor) and AC (outdoor). Flip each circuit off then on, one at a time to make sure that both are turned on. If your home has a fuse box, check all fuses and replace as needed. If the power has been off, it can take a few minutes before the air conditioner comes back on
  3. System Freeze UpIf your filters are dirty, turn the air conditioner off, replace the filter, and wait several hours before turning the system on again. The system may need to defrost; turn the thermostat fan to the “ON” position to help the process along. If the unit freezes up again, the system could be losing refrigerant and you will need to schedule a service call with an HVAC contractor to have it repaired.

Think Ahead, Think Certified

Since your AC system is such a critical component for comfort, as well as air quality and mold prevention, consider joining Certified’s Blue Ribbon Maintenance program. With this plan, one of our AC installation technicians will inspect and maintain your system every six months, so you will have one less thing to worry about when you are away. The low monthly fee pays for itself in maintenance and repair costs, as well as energy savings.

Call us today at (239) 205-8342 for all your air conditioning needs or to learn more about our Blue Ribbon Maintenance Plan.