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If you’re a homeowner in Jacksonville, you’ve probably witnessed firsthand how extreme weather can affect your home. Whether it’s summer heat waves that reach 100 degrees and cause your energy bill to skyrocket, or serve storms that bring damaging winds and flash floods, extreme weather can be very costly. Unfortunately, extreme weather can also affect your HVAC system, causing it to underperform, or worse yet, damaging it beyond repair when you need it the most. 

To help you protect your investment and keep your HVAC system performing efficiently, we’ve listed some of the ways weather can damage your system.  

HEAT WAVES
Summertime in Jacksonville can do a number on your HVAC system and your power bills. With the summer heat and rain comes extreme humidity, which means your AC unit will have to work overtime to cool your home and remove the excess moisture from the indoor air. 

Most systems are designed to keep your home about 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. So, the hotter the outside air is around your HVAC system, the warmer the inside air will be. An easy way to lower the Freon temperature in your unit is to place a sprinkler near it and use water to cool it down. You can also try planting trees or tall plants next to your HVAC system to give it some shade. But be sure that your unit isn’t overcrowded and has plenty of room for air intake.  

STRONG WINDS
Severe thunderstorms are quite common in Florida, and lately, hurricanes have caused extensive damage to the Jacksonville area. These types of storms produce strong winds that can strike your HVAC unit with flying debris. This is difficult to prevent, but tying down any loose objects nearby will help protect your investment. If your unit has been damaged by debris, have an HVAC professional take a look at it. 

FLOODS
Jacksonville is no stranger to flooding. From Hurricane Matthew to summer afternoon downpours, flash floods have wreaked havoc on homes and their HVAC systems. Your HVAC system is engineered to be impervious to rainfall, but not flooding. Water that exceeds 15 inches in depth can damage your system and require repairs or full replacement. 

Most concrete bases for HVAC systems are flush with the ground or only a few inches off it. Placing your system on a higher concrete base is a good way to keep it high and dry if flooding occurs. 

SALT AIR
If you live near Jacksonville’s beaches, salt air can damage your HVAC system and shorten its lifespan. The sodium chloride in the salt air interacts with the aluminum on your unit, creating damaging corrosion. An easy way to help prevent this is by frequently hosing down your HVAC system with fresh water.

If your HVAC system has been affected by extreme weather, call the pros at Thompson Electric and Air, Inc. We’ll help you find the perfect replacement or get your existing unit working like new. 904.353.1500. 

Jacksonville’s trusted electric company has expanded their services! You can now call Thompson for your HVAC service and repair! We have combined these services to make your experience with us easy and seamless, and to provide you with more quality services.

Our HVAC team is qualified to provide a wide range of services for all of your air conditioning needs! Below is a current list of new services we offer:

– AC Repair
– AC Service
– Changing filters
– Commercial HVAC
– Heating Repair
– Quarterly Maintenance
– Heating Service
– Air Conditioning Installation
– Heating Installation

If you need a reliable and quality HVAC service or repair in the Jacksonville area, we are here for YOU! Call us today to schedule an appointment: 904.353.1500. We’ve got you covered!

 

As simple as turning on a light can be, it is good to know the different types of light bulbs that are available to you, and which ones are the best for your home or office.

Below labels out the different types of lightbulbs you can purchase, and what the benefits are for each bulb so that you can choose the right bulb for you.

Incandescent

Typically the cheapest of all bulbs, it is also the most common, but they are not as energy efficient as other options out there. It has a warm light, and is very complimentary to skin tones. It also has a psychological appeal. Typically a bulb will last for 700 – 1,000 hours. They can also be used with a dimmer in the house.

Halogen

These are a variation of Incandescent bulbs, but use a “white light” instead of a warm light, giving you the feel of natural daylight. Colors tend to appear more vibrant under halogen bulbs. While they are a little more expensive and burn at a higher temperature than incandescent bulbs, they are more energy efficient.

An important note is to NOT touch a halogen bulb with your bare hands. If you get any skin oil on the bulb, it could explode when it’s turned on because it can warm up too quickly.

Fluorescent

Similar to Halogen, these are daylight-equivalent, but are often blue-ish and harsh, bright lights. These bulbs will typically last longer than an incandescent bulb, but are not able to be put on a dimmer. Typically, these are used to light large areas, such as an attic or basement.

Compact Fluorescent Lights/Bulbs (CFLs)

One of the more popular options. These bulbs last 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb, and consumer 1/4 of the energy as a them. They are quiet, and turn on instantly. They have warmer, color-corrected tones, and can be used anywhere you’d use an incandescent bulb. This is the second most common one found in homes today.

IMPORTANT: These bulbs do contain mercury, so extra care is needed to be safe. They will need to be recycled once they have burnt out.

LED

LED stands for “light-emitting diode”. These bulbs are not really for everyone, even though they are energy efficient and long-lasting. They only provide directional light, which makes them idea for under-counter task lighting, but not to light up an entire room. These types of bulbs are also much more expensive than CFLs.

Basics of Electrical Power at Home

When owning a home, it’s important to understand how your electricity works, so you know what to do incase something goes wrong. Learning how your electricity works can be daunting for some, so we have provided the basics you can understand how electricity powers your home.

 

To start, electricity flows from a service provider, such as JEA in the Jacksonville area, through high voltages wires, like the ones birds like to sit on. The electricity then flows into neighborhood transformers where the current is reduced for residential and commercial properties – like your home or your office. A meter will record the amount of energy you are using, and route it to the electrical box or circuit breaker. The circuit breaker is like the nerve center of electricity for your home, and can usually be found in your garage or basement – somewhere that is not as obvious and might be a little more hidden.

Electricity typically comes in through 3 wires: 2 hot wires and 1 neutral wire. Each hot wires carries 120 volts and runs through the main electrical panel. Individual circuit units, which are connected to the main panel, control a section within your house, such as a light switch, and the hot wires power each of these circuits. And, each unit is connected by a circuit breaker, and when it is overloaded, it will trip or trigger, and electricity will stop flowing to the circuit, turning the unit and the connected devices off. Electricity travels in a circuit, meaning it flows in a circular route and starts and finishes in the same place and keeps repeating. The circuit will shut off the current of energy if the breaker is activated. The currents enter through a hot wire (usually black or red colored), and returns through a neutral wire (usually white). Most electricity systems use a ground wire, which is typically bare or copper in color. If a circuit breaker is tripped, the electricity will safely travel into the ground via one of these wires.

Dedicated circuits could have multiple areas or services that they control, such as outlets and light switches, but some appliances or heavy use items, such as a refrigerator or washing machine, may have their own circuit.

A current is carried through insulated copper or aluminum wires and is dispersed throughout your house. The larger the wire, the more current or ounce it can carry. If a wire uses more amps than it can carry, it will overheat. This is why a properly rated circuit breaker is very important. A switch completes a circuit when it is turned on, and disrupts it when it is turned off. There are several kinds of switches you can have in your house, such as dimmers or toggles.

A standard grounded outlet, which is the most common way to plug anything in, is designed to carry 15 amps. It has 1 slot a little bit wider than the other so that a plug can only be inserted one way. This is actually a safety feature that prevents power from running through an appliance, even when it’s switched off.

A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet will turn off the power immediately if it detects the slightest change in current flow. These are most commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor areas. They typically have a 2-wire circuit and will typically have a “test” and “reset” button in the middle of the outlet. If an outlet stops working, you can push the “Reset” button to reset the circuit breaker.

Smart Plugs For Home Automation

A smart plug is a plug that you insert into your typical wall outlet and is controlled with a smart phone or app. The device that is plugged into the smart plug (that is plugged into the wall) can be controlled remotely from your phone, even when you’re not home. Through the app, you’ll be able to turn off your living room TV – even from another location. You can turn on a coffee maker when you’re on the way home, or turn on a slow cooker while you’re still at work.

You can also program or create schedules for devices to turn on and off at certain times. So you can set your coffee to start every morning right on the dot. You can also program the lights to turn on and off periodically with an “Away” mode to make it appear that you’re home. Most plugs are compatible with Amazon Alexa and other voice assistants to turn on your device with just your voice.

 

While most plugs are for indoor use only, there are some that are specifically designed for outdoors. These weather-resistant outdoor plugs can withstand the elements but keep your Christmas holidays displays list. Some plugs are designed with multiple outlets so that you can plug in more than one device at a time.

Smart for Your Jacksonville Home

One of the biggest benefits of using a smart plug is that it will help lower your electricity bill. These devices can help save money by automatically shutting off devices when you leave the house, which helps to lower your bill. Some devices will even take it a step further by telling you how much energy you are consuming and which devices are using more energy than others. This can also help you determine which lamps should have energy-saving lightbulbs, and which appliances aren’t worth the amount of electricity they need.

Overall, smart plugs have many specific benefits and great ways to use it:

1. They can help determine which appliances are energy efficient
2. They can help control appliances and set up schedules to help cut down on energy usage
3. They can be programmed to turn on and off, and help you appear to be Jacksonville home, which can ward off intruders
4. You can help make your morning routine more efficient by turning on multiple appliances at one time.
5. You can save time and program devices to turn on sooner (such as a slow cooker, coffee)
6. Turn your lights on at a certain time every morning to help you wake up
7. Save money by turning on the AC or fans at certain times

Contact our Jacksonville office to schedule our electricians to come out and help you set up Smart Plugs and other automation electrical equipment for your home or office.