You may have noticed that there are several after-market gadgets that can be added to your air conditioning system. They are added for a multitude of reasons including but not limited to: safety, convenience, efficiency or just to make the air conditioning contractor more money. Keep in mind that I’m only expressing my opinion.
We will start out with a few of them that I think are good or helpful, and as stated, these are the add-ons that should be part of an air conditioning system.
- A time delay – this is a device that prevents your outside system from starting up just after it shuts down. This is really bad for the compressor and really stresses it out. This is very useful when you have people that like to set the temperature at different settings.
- A float switch – this is a device that tells the system to stop running if there is water in places it shouldn’t be, this helps prevent water damage due to a/c back ups.
- Humidistat – this is a control that runs your a/c in your absence, and it’s used to control humidity. When we are not in our homes for extended periods of time, our biggest concern is to control humidity to prevent the growth of microorganisms.
Now let’s consider a few that I don’t find all that helpful. These are add-ons that I feel are not needed on your air conditioning system, but we see them out there anyway.
- Programmable thermostats – Programmable thermostats are a great device, but they are not for everyone. If you only use your home on average 4-6 months per year here on Sanibel and Captiva islands, and then rent it out to guests for the rest of the time, it’s not something that will work for you. A programmable thermostat can be complicated to set if one is not familiar with it, and can easily become more trouble than it’s worth. Everything that needs to be accomplished in this situation can be done with a non-programmable thermostat and a humidistat. Now if you are here throughout the year, many after-market devices can help you program you’re a/c to your desired schedule and will help you avoid unnecessary waste of energy, especially during the hours when no one is home.
- A hard start device – a hard start is like a battery, it stores energy until it’s needed. These are useful devices when used properly. For the most part, they are used to help an older compressor that is worn to start on its own. We do, however, see these added to systems when they are not needed. This, unfortunately, is how some contractors will make additional money by selling things that are not needed.
While it’s not a long list of products, it can certainly help you figure out what may or may not be useful in your case. If your a/c contractor is offering to sell you one of these, always try to ask some questions: What does it do? Why do I need it? How will it benefit me? The most important point is for you to feel comfortable with your service provider.
Thanks for reading,
Bryan Hayes, along with his brother Todd, is a co-owner of a Sanibel Air Conditioning company on Sanibel, FL. They also own and operate an island-based electrical service company Sanctuary Island Electric, Inc. Bryan can be reached at Bryan@Sanibelair.com