We are here to serve you and your family in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Be cautious when dealing with contractors during these difficult times and make sure you’re checking their licenses and reviews. Don’t be pressured. We offer free second opinions on A/C repairs and free estimates for new A/C systems. Give us a call or text us today at (941) 485-2222! We take our jingle seriously and we are working hard to fulfill it: “No matter what the weather, Tri County makes it better!”

How Does Central Air Work?

How Does Central Air Work?

In its modern form, air conditioning has been around since 1902. Willis Carrier’s invention has been improved and modified over the years, leading to many cooling options today. But split-system air conditioning (or “central AC”) is still the most popular. Aside from air temperature, it can control humidity, airflow, and air quality. Continue reading for a more in-depth look at the answer to the question, “How does central air work?”

Parts of a Central Air Conditioning System

Together all the system’s components provide cool air to your entire home, unlike a window AC or mini-split unit that serves a single room. To help you understand how a central AC system works, here’s a look at some of its major parts:

  • Outdoor Unit: A casing that houses the compressor, condenser coil, and fan, it sits on a concrete pad next to an outside wall.
  • Indoor Unit: Includes the evaporator coil and fan that circulates air throughout your home; it’s usually a furnace or fan coil.
  • Ductwork: Connects the indoor unit to registers/vents in rooms and living spaces, allowing conditioned air to circulate.
  • Copper Tubing: Provides a conduit for refrigerant, in vapor and liquid form, to flow between the outdoor and indoor units.
  • Thermostat: Reads room temperature and controls the system based on whether air temperature matches set thresholds.

How the Process Works

Here’s a simple view of how central air works. Warm air blows across a cold coil inside your home. The cold refrigerant absorbs heat from the air and becomes a gas. Colder air is then blown back into the house. On the outside, gaseous refrigerant is compressed as it enters the outdoor unit’s coil. As the refrigerant converts back to a liquid, heat is released. A fan directs the heat away by pulling outdoor air through this coil.

A more detailed look at the central air conditioning process is as follows:

The Thermostat Sends a Signal to the AC

Usually mounted on a wall in a centralized area, the thermostat constantly senses air temperature. When the ambient indoor temperature rises above what you set on the thermostat, it automatically sends a signal to a circuit board.

The Blower Motor Starts Running

Electricity starts flowing so the blower motor can turn on. The fan in the indoor unit starts pulling hot air from inside the house. As air flows through return air ducts, it is filtered, removing dust, lint, and other particles and pollutants. Meanwhile, the outdoor condenser starts to run.

Air Passes Over the Evaporator Coil

Filtered, warm air passes over the evaporator coil, through which liquid refrigerant flows. The heat from the air is absorbed by the refrigerant, causing it to turn into a gas. Cooled air blows through air ducts to vents in each room. Meanwhile, a condensate pan picks up excess moisture that flows into the drain line to the outside unit.

Refrigerant Gas Is Sent Outside

A copper tube delivers gaseous refrigerant to the compressor, which pressurizes the gas. The heat is evacuated via coils or metal fins and dissipated by a compressor fan. As the heat is released outside, the refrigerant turns back into a liquid.

Refrigerant Returns to the Indoor Coil

Coolant returns inside through a copper tube. An expansion device controls how much refrigerant flows back to the evaporator coil. Cold refrigerant can then absorb more heat from your home in a continuous cycle. The process continues until the system achieves the desired temperature, at which point the thermostat will cycle the system off.

Types of Central Air Conditioners

The most common type is the split central AC. Indoor air handlers and outdoor units contain most of the system’s components. The evaporator coils are near the air handler or furnace. Packaged central air conditioners work similarly, except all components are in one unit; which pumps warm air from inside and returns cooled air in exchange. Usually installed on the ground, a packaged unit may also be roof-mounted.

Tri County Air Has Your Central AC Needs Covered

The question “How does central air work?” is fully understood by our licensed HVAC technicians, who can install and fix any make or model of unit. Since 1977, we’ve provided a wide range of HVAC services for residential and commercial clients in Charlotte, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties. If your central AC isn’t working or it’s time for maintenance, we’re here to help. We provide 24/7 emergency service and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. For more information about central AC and other HVAC topics, visit our Learning Center. Request your appointment online or call 941-841-8384 for prompt service!

Does Humidity Outside Affect My AC?

Does Humidity Outside Affect My AC?

High humidity inside and outside can have an impact on your air conditioner. Ideally, the humidity level should be below 60% in your home or business. An AC is designed to remove heat and moisture, but higher humidity outside can negatively affect its ability to cool.

A spike in humidity can make it hard for your HVAC system to cope. Increased moisture content makes it feel warmer than it actually is, and can cancel out the cooling effect of the system. Running the AC longer or at a lower temperature setting may not achieve the desired results. Nevertheless, you’ll end up paying more in cooling costs.

Effects of High Humidity

Even if you have every window and door closed, and it’s humid outside, your skin may feel clammy while indoors. Moisture may even cause your windows to fog up. And when there is persistent dampness, you may start to notice a musty odor.

But in addition to making it feel hotter, high humidity can damage your AC. If your air conditioner isn’t built with a dehumidifier, greater demand can strain it. That’s because as higher moisture content makes the air warmer, the system must work harder. Wear and tear can lead to mechanical and electrical issues and the need for AC repair. High humidity can also promote mold and algae growth within ducts, triggering allergic reactions and further reducing indoor air quality.

How Can My Air Conditioner Worsen the Problem?

You may think that a more powerful air conditioner can counter the effects of high humidity outside. But the opposite is true. If you have a higher capacity AC than is needed, it won’t run long enough to remove enough moisture. Indoor air will still be humid and outdoor conditions won’t help the matter. There are also other factors that affect how conditions outside affect your AC, including:

  • Air Conditioner Speed: A single-speed AC only runs at full blast. Once it cycles off it won’t turn on again until the temperature goes above the thermostat setting. Your home will be more humid, but a variable speed system is much more effective at removing humidity.
  • The Fan Runs Continuously: While fans produce a wind chill effect and make you feel cooler, they can blow moisture back into your rooms. Your AC may have previously removed it, but moisture must condensate in order to drain away; the fan may not give it a chance to do this.
  • Negative Air Pressure: Design issues with your ventilation system can cause too much air to be vented. Outside air is drawn in. So, if it’s muggy outside, things will get quite sticky in your home. The only resolution may be to redesign your ventilation system.

An older AC may cause trouble as well. Worn parts and a lack of maintenance can lead to inadequate cooling and inconsistent temperatures, which in turn affect humidity control. Regardless of the humidity outside, it may be time to consider repair vs. replacing the unit.

Can a Dehumidifier Improve My AC System?

Pairing a dehumidifier with your HVAC system allows it to adjust both temperature and humidity. This may seem like more for it to do. However, good humidity control allows an AC to do its job better. You’ll feel cooler and your energy bill may be lower.

Contact Tri County Air

At Tri County Air, we can address indoor humidity issues in Florida and provide all types of AC service. We’re committed to helping your air conditioner last longer and run more safely. Whether you need AC maintenance, repair, or replacement, our licensed technicians can provide the service you need, while ductwork, insulation, and air quality services are also available to clients in Manatee County, Sarasota County, and Charlotte County. To request an appointment, contact us online or call 941-841-3688.

What Is a Quantum Coil?

What Is a Quantum Coil?


At Tri County Air, we’re proud to be a premier dealer of Lennox HVAC systems. Lennox is known for superior quality heating and cooling systems, variable speed compressors, and its Quantum Coil. That’s not to mention the manufacturer’s 10-year transferrable warranty. But our customers often ask, “What is a Quantum Coil?” when we discuss HVAC options from Lennox.

Made of an all-aluminum alloy, the Quantum Coil is designed to withstand the harshest of weather and most volatile of compounds. It is resistant to corrosion and will not rust. Air conditioner coils can cause the entire system to fail if they start to degrade. Homes and businesses in humid climates and near the ocean are most susceptible to these types of problems.

Corrosion Resistance Outside and Inside

There are many types of corrosion and your AC coil can be damaged by elements from outside and inside your home. Salt air is prevalent in coastal areas. It eventually causes aluminum fins to corrode, which reduces cooling capacity.

However, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from inside your home can damage your HVAC system too. New furniture, carpets, and fresh coats of paint can emit VOCs without you even knowing it. When combined with moisture, organic acids from these compounds create a corrosive environment that starts to degrade AC coils within just a few short years.

The Quantum Coil from Lennox is highly durable and resistant to the effects of corrosion. Your AC can therefore maintain its cooling capacity for longer. Maintenance, repair, and performance issues are therefore reduced. That’s because the aluminum alloy used resists oxidation and corrosive processes that occur with exposure to moisture and salt.

Other Benefits of Aluminum vs. Copper Coils

Depending on the product, a Quantum Coil unit can weigh as much as 50 pounds less than a copper-based coil system. This not only makes installation easier. It also means emissions and fuel consumption during transport and delivery are reduced.

Rust in an AC coil and condenser unit can reduce performance. But it also has an impact on indoor air quality. If your condenser coil is rusting, refrigerant can start to leak, which is itself a health hazard. Rust particles and other compounds that get into the air can have short-term and long-term health effects as well.

The Quantum Coil eliminates these hazards and can enable your air conditioner to perform at peak efficiency and do so for longer. It is also leak-resistant and extremely durable.

Dealers benefit from easier transport and installation. In addition to being lighter, the system also reduces handling damage and is easier to clean. It takes less time to clean while no harsh chemicals are needed to maintain peak efficiency.

How Do I Take Advantage of a Quantum Coil?

Lennox has incorporated the Quantum Coil into many products. It has also made it easier for customers to recognize which models include it. The naming protocol is as follows. Units in the Dave Lennox Signature® Collection feature the letters “SL”. Elite® air conditioners and heat pumps are identified with the letters “EL”, while those in the Merit® collection are identified with the code “ML”. The CBA Series of air handlers as well as 35 Series coils also contain the Quantum Coil.

Contact Tri County Air for HVAC Installation

A residential and commercial HVAC company serving Manatee County, Sarasota County, and Charlotte County, Tri County Air specializes in the latest leading-brand air conditioning systems. These include products from Lennox with the Quantum Coil. Whether you need AC installation, repair, or maintenance, our licensed technicians can help. Choose a membership plan for maintenance and discounted repair services, or contact us to learn more about our products, financing, and specials.

To get started, request your appointment online or call/text 941-265-8294 today.

Life Cycle Maintenance Costs You Can Expect Over the Life of Your AC System

Life Cycle Maintenance Costs You Can Expect Over the Life of Your AC System


Customers often ask us how they can keep their air conditioning and heating system working at its best for as long as possible. Though it is true equipment does not last as long as it used to, there are plenty of things you can do to protect your investment. Here is a general guideline of what we recommend customers do each year. Please keep in mind your technician may recommend something a little bit different depending on your specific home and application. We always suggest you follow the recommendations of your technician since they are most familiar with you and your system.

Air Conditioner Heat Pump

  • Year 1:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out and maintain your air conditioning system. If you had a new install and your drain line was not replaced, we recommend you purchase Dain Solve treatment at the time of this maintenance.
  • Year 2:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out and maintain your air conditioning system. If you had a new install and your drain line was not replaced, we recommend you purchase Dain Solve treatment at the time of this maintenance.
  • Year 3:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out and maintain your air conditioning system. Even if you had your drain line replaced with your new install, we recommend you purchase Drain Solve treatment every year at your maintenance appointment starting in your air conditioning system’s third year.
    • Depending on your system, we may recommend installing a Compressor Saver Kit. This is an electrical component that benefits the compressor (the heart of your system, and the most expensive part in your system). This component allows the compressor to start easier and use less power. The benefits of a compressor saver can be electrical savings, increased longevity of the compressor, and protection from electrical short cycles caused by power surges.
  • Year 4:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
  • Year 5:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
    • We recommend replacing your float switches at least every 5 years.
    • At your maintenance, your technician may recommend a pull-and-clean of your blower wheel or evaporator coil.
  • Year 6:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
    • At your maintenance, your technician may recommend a pull-and-clean of your blower wheel or evaporator coil if you have not had this done in prior years.
  • Year 7:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
    • At your maintenance, your technician may recommend a pull-and-clean of your blower wheel or evaporator coil if you have not had this done in prior years.
  • Year 8:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
    • At your maintenance, your technician may recommend a pull-and-clean of your blower wheel or evaporator coil if you have not had this done in prior years.
    • We recommend beginning to budget for a new air conditioning and heating system once your current system is 8 years old.
  • Year 9:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
    • At your maintenance, your technician may recommend a pull-and-clean of your blower wheel or evaporator coil if you have not had this done in prior years.
    • Continue budgeting for a new system.
  • Year 10:
    • Monthly: Pour 1 cup of vinegar down your drain line(s) and flush with hot water.
    • As needed or every 3 months: change your filter(s)
    • Annually: Schedule a time for us to come out to maintain your air conditioning system and perform a Drain Solve treatment.
    • If you replaced your float switches at year 5, replace them again in year 10. We recommend replacing your float switches at least every 5 years.
    • At your maintenance, your technician may recommend a pull-and-clean of your blower wheel or evaporator coil if you have not had this done in prior years.
    • Continue budgeting for a new system.

 

Air Conditioning and Heating Maintenance, Service, and New Installations

Our team is ready to help you keep your air conditioning and heating system running for as long as possible. Learn more about our membership plans, or schedule service, by calling 941-485-2222 or schedule an appointment online!

How to Protect Your System and Maintain Excellent Indoor Air Quality

How to Protect Your System and Maintain Excellent Indoor Air Quality

The condition of your HVAC system has a direct impact on indoor air quality. Poor drainage can reduce performance and allow for mold and mildew to grow. Clogged/dirty filters, air ducts, and A/C components can contribute to poor air quality as well. You can protect your system to avoid these problems, humidity issues, and concerns over viruses, bacteria, dust, particulates, and a host of pollutants.

Having clean air at home is extremely important. Pollution can affect your comfort, health, and well-being as well as strain your cooling and heating system. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to protect it that are very effective at improving air quality in your home. We will explain a few key areas where you can start.

Protect Your Drain Line

New drain line vs clogged drain line

If you find your system regularly shuts off or is dripping water at your air handler, you may be suffering from a clogged drain line. This issue is very common and also very easy to prevent on your own. The following steps will protect your drain line, keep your air conditioning system working efficiently, and may also reduce service calls:

  • Pour 1 cup of distilled white vinegar down your drain line each month and flush with hot water.
  • At your regular maintenance appointment, your technician may recommend treating your drain line with Drain Solve or another drain line deep cleaning agent. The frequency recommended will change based on your specific application, the age of your drain line, and how it was installed.

Install and Maintain UV Lights

UV Lights in Air Handler

UV Lights, installed on the return side of the evaporator coil and in the blower compartment of your air handler(s), prevent mold and mildew buildup inside your air conditioning system. Mold and mildew thrive in dark, damp environments like that found inside your air handler, especially in Florida.

Installing and maintaining UV lights keep mold and mildew at bay, which keeps your air conditioning system clean and working as efficiently as possible. Remember, a clean air conditioning system is one aspect of great indoor air quality.

Install Surge Protectors

HVAC Surge Protector

Surge protectors should be installed on both the air handler and condenser to prevent equipment failure due to power surges. In your HVAC equipment, there are various sensitive electronics, like motors, that are hyper-sensitive to power surges and lightning strikes. Often, equipment failure due to power surges are not covered under the manufacturer warranty and can be quite costly.

  • One of the best ways to protect your investment in your HVAC system is to protect your HVAC system with a surge protector. Although not invincible, a surge protector is the best defense against power surges. It absorbs the surge and channels it to ground instead of having the surge hit your HVAC system.

Surge protectors are a common practice in protecting electronics. Many times, surge protectors are used to protect your TV, computer, and other household electronics. Why not have a surge protector that protects your comfort and indoor air quality?

Install Air Purifiers

An air purifier doesn’t only have to serve one small area. At Tri County Air, we offer more sophisticated air purification equipment for your air conditioning system that can work for your entire home. Here are some examples of our indoor air quality solutions:

REME HALO and REME HALO LED

REME HALO LED

The REME HALO and the REME HALO LED are in-duct whole-home air purification systems. They reduce both airborne and surface contaminants and pollutants through bi-polar ionization and REME technology in every cubic inch of air-conditioned space. The goal of REME products is to improve indoor air quality and eliminate sick building syndrome risks by neutralizing odors, particulates, air pollutants, VOCs, smoke, mold, viruses, and bacteria.

  • Inactivates SARS-CoV-2 by 99.9%, commonly known as the coronavirus 2019 or COVID-19
  • Kills 99+% of H1N1 Swine Flu on surfaces
  • 99% reduction of surface bacteria/viruses
  • Over 85% VOC reduction
  • 99% of microbes in human sneeze killed at 3 feet
  • 97% reduction of airborne bacteria
  • 99% reduction in Ecoli, Listeria, Strep, Tuberculosis, Bird Flu, etc.
  • 85% odor reduction
  • 97% airborne mold reduction
  • US Military approved for mold protection in field hospitals
  • Hospital approved for infectious diseases – US and International –Achieved 99% reduction of Staph (MRSA) in tests
  • Major US city schools have reported 20% reductions in absenteeism

Austin Air Purifier

Austin Air Purifier

The only clinically proven, medical-grade air purifier.

“There is no silver bullet for excellent indoor air quality, but the Austin Air HEPA filter works well and I highly recommend it. I’ve tested the majority of the air cleaners available on the market and this one is the best. I have personally been using the Austin Air Purifier in my home for nearly two decades!” -William Swanson, Owner of Tri County Air

Air Quality Solutions from Tri County Air

Our team is ready to help improve indoor air quality and protect the air conditioning system in your Florida home. Several options are available that can eliminate pollutants and improve the function and efficiency of HVAC equipment. We offer specials and financing options to help you afford to ensure your family’s health, safety, and comfort. Learn more about our air quality solutions, maintenance plans, and duct insulating/replacement services, or schedule service, by calling 941-485-2222 today!