In Florida, two things that we’ve gotten used to are humidity and pests. We have an abundance of each here. The hot, moist air and vegetation combines to form an ideal breeding ground for many insects and other pests. To keep your HVAC system healthy and avoid any unnecessary repairs that could have been prevented, handling these problems proactively is important.
To give you a jump on the problem, here’s some tips for handling humidity and pests in Florida.
FLORIDA HVAC PEST PROBLEMS
Homes near wetlands can be more susceptible to insects than homes in other areas. If you don’t maintain your HVAC system properly, then bugs (and larger pests that feed off of them) could make their way into your home. This can be a major health concern depending on the type of pest that you have — and if the pest itself isn’t a threat to your health, then the damage it leaves behind in your heating and cooling systems could be. Some possible ramifications of an infestation include:
- Broken, chewed through, and debris-laden parts within the system that could damage the system or permanently disable it.
- Low air quality caused by the droppings and carcasses of the pests that live and die in your system.
- Low air quality caused by poisons that were unwisely used in an effort to get rid of the pests.
- Various infections and disorders from the two latter problems listed above.
- Blocked vents and flues because of the size and location of the pests’ nest.
- Stings and bites, if you have pests that are particularly aggressive.
Prevention and Solutions to Florida HVAC Pest Problems
While an infestation should be handled by a professional in order to prevent further damage to your HVAC system, there are things you can do to prevent the arrival of pests and ward off the problem before you need to take that step.
Steps to Prevent Pests in Florida HVAC Systems
- Wire mesh covers over outdoor vents can be a good solution to keep bigger insects, small rodents, and their nests out of your vents.
- Building a structure around your outdoor components can be a really good idea, if you do it correctly. Solid walls can be climbed over, but they will deter the vast majority of insects from getting into your system. The ceilings of these structures can be a little trickier because the system needs to vent but you don’t want to invite birds to sit on the roof and defecate into the system. One good solution would include slats that are close together, with ventilation points near the top of your wall where it meets the roof.
- Make sure there are vent covers on all exterior flues and vents, as well as the ones inside your homes, this won’t keep pests out completely but it will at least deter bigger ones from getting in.
- Keep the area around your vents tidy. This isn’t going to keep bugs away entirely, but it can greatly reduce the risks of pests entering your home if you don’t have tall shady areas of grass surrounding your HVAC system
THE DANGERS OF HUMIDITY
Humidity is something we can’t avoid in Florida! While HVAC systems deal with a lot of moisture regularly, excess amounts of it can cause the system to struggle.
Humidity’s Effect on Heating
The problems that exist in this instance are mostly comfort issues, but some of them can extend to your health or things you might notice physically. For example, when a heating system is active (most noticeably with forced air systems such as furnaces) it can reduce the humidity in your home. This can lead to symptoms such as dry eyes, aggravated asthma or breathing issues, among other things.
As long as you don’t overdo it with dehumidifiers, this should be a problem that’s easy to avoid due to the high Florida humidity. But, if you do need to take action, then there are humidifiers that can be built into your HVAC system.
Humidity’s Effect on Cooling
Because the humidity is high here year-round — and your air conditioner or heat pump is handling most of the heavy HVAC work throughout each year — humidity is a big concern. Air conditioners are designed to take heat and moisture out of the air, but when the moisture levels are too high this can cause your air conditioning system to overheat.
Aside from your home feeling much hotter than it is, it can cause other issues as well.
- Feeling clammy, even though the temperature gauge reads at a comfortable level.
- Foggy windows.
- A musty odor resulting from moisture getting into the wood fixtures of your home.
- Mold growth in the ducts and air conditioner coil, which can not only introduce mold into the air throughout your home, but significantly impact the life of your Florida HVAC system.
HOW TO CONTROL HUMIDITY IN YOUR FLORIDA HVAC SYSTEM
Preventing too much humidity from getting into your systems can be accomplished best by using a properly sized air conditioner. Another way is to have a dehumidifier installed in your system, or upgrade to a new HVAC system that incorporates one.
HOW TO STOP MOLD GROWTH IN YOUR AC SYSTEM
A byproduct of humidity, as we mentioned earlier, is mold growth in the ducts, AC coil, and other components of your HVAC system. One of the most popular methods of controlling mold growth is to install a UV light for HVAC. UV, or ultraviolet light, has been shown to effectively neutralize mold spores along with helping to destroy germs and improve general air quality. All of these benefits are within reach, as HVAC UV lights are quite affordable!
Ionic air purifiers such as the Reme Halo can also help to control mold in your system, although they specialize in whole-home air purification, particularly controlling particulates such as pollen. However, you can install these devices together so they work in tandem. This maximizes both your indoor air quality and the life of your HVAC system. (See our detailed blog for more information on UV lights for HVAC and air purification)
To learn more or get a free quote on UV lights or other indoor air quality equipment, give us a call at 941-766-0975 or contact us online!
GET PROFESSIONAL HVAC SERVICE
If you find you’re having problems with pests or humidity in your HVAC system, we’d love to help as best we can. For maintenance, repair, or inspection, contact the professionals at AA Temperature Services! We’re based in Punta Gorda and have been serving Southwest Florida, from Sarasota to Naples, since 1998.