Boca Raton Landscape Excellence Awards Sponsored by Lang Realty

Lang Realty Salutes Boca Raton Beautification Winners

Boca Raton Beautification CommitteeOn Wednesday, May 16, 2012, the Boca Raton Beautification Committee selected the winners of their Annual Landscape Excellence Awards at a ceremony held at City Hall. The recognition encourages businesses, churches, homeowners associations and schools in the city limits to improve their landscaping and add to the beauty of Boca Raton. Lang Realty and Lang Management were proud to host a special luncheon for winners and officials following the ceremony.

“Lang Management and Lang Realty salute today’s winners. We are proud to be the sponsor of the post awards luncheon and to have the opportunity to celebrate the beauty of Boca Raton.” remarks Kevin Carroll, President, Lang Management.

  • One Boca Place
  • Woolbright Development
  • NSD (Nation Safe Drivers)
  • Les Jardins
  • Provence
  • The Mayfair
  • St. Andrews South
  • Boca Village Corporate Center
  • Chabad of East Boca
  • Mobile Service Station
  • Boca Garden Club
  • Large Commercial
  • Small Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Residential Low Density Gated
  • Residential Low Density Ungated
  • Residential High Density
  • Institutional
  • LEED Environmentally Green
  • Place of Worship
  • Automotive Services
  • Open Category

Interested in contributing to the landscape and beauty of the neighborhoods of Boca Raton? Read more about this local community effort at the Boca Raton Tribune online newspaper.

lang realtyThis guest post has been provided courtesy of Lang Realty, a leading Boca Raton real estate broker. Lang Realty has eight office locations throughout Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast, including Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, Downtown West Palm, Port St. Lucie, and Downtown Delray Beach.

Are you looking to purchase a new home or property in Boca Raton? Please visit for more information.

Home Buying Advice: Signs of a Faulty Air Conditioning System

New Homeowners: Never Purchase a Home without an Inspection!

new homeowners

New home buyers need to exercise caution about the condition of the appliances in any home that they are considering purchasing. Unless the buyer is exceptionally knowledgeable, arranging an inspection by a certified home inspector is advisable. It is a rude awakening when the buyers move into their new home and are faced with high appliance repair or replacement costs. Your realtor will be happy to assist in finding a qualified inspector.

Existing Maintenance & Repair Issues

The condition of the central air conditioning system is especially important. There are a few things that the buyer can do, but it takes an expert to accurately determine the condition. Air conditioner replacement can be as high as $5000; the cost could be $10,000 if duct replacement is needed.

The buyer should check for noisy operation. An air conditioner evaporator cooling coil is usually installed inside the furnace plenum. The furnace fan is then used to direct the cooled air through the duct work to all the rooms. The fan can be noisy, but that is fairly inexpensive to repair. If the coils are dirty, a simple coil cleaning may be all the A/C system needs to start cooling properly again.

A water leak around the furnace, while the air conditioner is operating, can be misleading. The air conditioner removes humidity from the home. The apparent leak may be caused by a plugged drain line and not be a sign of a larger problem. However, if the system continues to leak even while the air conditioner is off, than chances are the system needs to be seen and repaired by an A/C technician.

Because of improper installation of the duct work, a high percentage of homes do not receive the benefit of the ability of an air conditioner to provide high-efficiency cooling. Many contractors install sub-standard duct work to increase profits. This may result in uneven heating and cooling of rooms. Uninsulated duct work that passes though the attic or garage can cause condensation and loss of cooling efficiency.

A home inspection is needed to determine the condition of the duct work and issues that are beyond the skill range of the average home buyer. The following two videos show some example problems that can come up during a home inspection:

Energy Efficiency

Much efficiency can be lost by air leakage in the joints due to improper sealing. Ordinary duct tape can dry out and lose the seal. Resealing the joints can be extremely time-consuming. Ducts can be concealed under insulation and above false ceilings.

The seller should provide copies of electric bills for the months that the air conditioner was used. A transferable manufacturer’s air conditioner warranty is a tremendous asset.

energy star air conditionersAll air conditioners have a SEER rating, which means Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. A higher SEER rating means lower electric bills. Before 2006, the government required a minimum SEER rating of 10. Now the minimum requirement for a “high-efficiency” air conditioner is 16. Some high-efficiency units are rated as high as 20+.

Experts say that in warm climates that require a lot of air conditioning, the more expensive high-efficiency unit would probably be worth the extra cost. In cooler climates with minimal requirement for air conditioning, the savings on the electric statement may not justify the price difference. Sometimes there are power company rebates and federal tax credits that can reduce the price difference and change the benefit equation.

The proper size air conditioner unit is essential. A too-small unit will cause continuous operation on unusually hot days. A too-large unit will cycle on and off very often and not reach the point of maximum efficiency. Short periods of operation will not allow the home to reach a uniform temperature in all rooms. A reputable contractor will not try to sell a unit that is too large for the home.

Environmental Concerns

green eco-friendly air conditionerOlder units may contain refrigerants that cause degradation of the ozone layer of the atmosphere. Leakage of this gas is harmful. Newer units contain refrigerants that produce less ozone damage. The Carrier company is producing a unit containing the R134a refrigerant that does not damage the ozone. Other manufacturers are following suit.

The two most common reasons for replacing an air conditioning unit are a complete failure or maintenance has become too expensive. The information supplied by a qualified home inspector will help the buyer to make an informed decision about buying a home, by factoring in the cost of correcting any deficiencies in the air conditioning system.


EPA Ozone Layer Protection Homeowner FAQs

Dryer Fire Statistics

dryer fire firefighters

Dryer fires are a cause of house fires that is more common than many home owners realize. Proper cleaning and maintenance of clothes dryers is the best way of avoiding this not so rare tragedy.

Every year in the U.S., there are an average of 13,000 house fires caused by clothes dryers. There are also approximately 370 injuries, ten deaths and $97 million dollars in property damage. Most of this damage and destruction is preventable by having the dryer duct cleaned regularly and the dryer serviced when it is not running correctly.

Causes of Dryer Fires

dryer lint buildupTypical consumer drying machines can be electric or gas; both types are susceptible to fire due to the combustible nature of accumulated lint build-up (see right). A dryer works by removing water from all the fabric placed inside the appliance. This process creates lint, which becomes compressed overtime in the ducts of the appliance.

A dryer has a motor that rotates the drum and a flame, or electric heating element, that dries clothing, towels and fabric. Both generate substantial heat (in addition to consuming large amount of electricity).

Good ventilation of this heat is needed so that the dryer will operate efficiently, as well as for safety. And if lint is causing a blockage, ventilation becomes virtually nonexistent.

Inadequate Ventilation

Unfortunately, dryers are typically installed in a tight location, such as in a closet or pressed up against a wall, which restricts access and ventilation. Obstruction of the dryer duct is the biggest cause of these fires. This problem accounts for over one third of all dryer fires. Lint is the biggest culprit for obstructing a duct. This is most common with flexible tubing, especially ones that are long, or have bends in them. Most homeowners assume that by simply cleaning out the lint trap after every cycle, they’ve eliminated all lint caught up in their machine. This is not the case. Lint, dust and debris builds up in the ducts as well as in and around the lint trap and is not easily removed. At least, not without the proper tools.

Clogged Ducts

Flexible ducts are prone to sagging, leading to a pile up of lint which then prevents the hot air from getting out. A blocked duct can cause overheating of the motor, which can then ignite lint and lead to a fire. This is especially true for condominiums and multi-story apartment complexes.

Bird Nests

bird nest in dryer ductBirds and insects are often attracted to openings in the outside of buildings and choose these locations for nest building. As with lint build up, nests will keep air from flowing properly and the motor can overheat igniting material that has accumulated underneath the dryer.

Damaged or missing lint screens can also result in lint being drawn into the interior of the dryer and be another route to fire. Thermostats and limit switches that are malfunctioning are another source of fires, along with flexible ducts that get crushed.

How to Prevent a Fire

Indications that a dryer is not working right in ways that could lead to a fire include:

  • The dryer taking longer and longer to dry clothes;
  • Clothing that is still damp or extra hot when removed from a normal drying cycle;
  • A duct flap that does not open when the dryer is operating;
  • A low amount of air exiting the duct when the dryer is running.

The best ways of preventing a dryer fire are cleaning the lint trap every time the dryer is used and having the duct that leads outside cleaned and inspected at least once a year. More frequent cleaning might be needed if the dryer is used a lot. Replacing flexible tubes with ridged metal ducts makes it harder for material to build up and will also make cleaning easier. If there is a fire, metal ducts are more likely to contain it.

Do-It-Yourself Dryer Vent Cleaning

Removing lint and reducing a fire hazard in your home is by no means difficult to do by yourself. For $20 to $30 bucks you can pick up a vent cleaning kit from your local hardware store, which typically contains a wire, circular brush, some rods, and some vacuum attachments. The video below is a great walkthrough for how to clean and maintain your dryer ducts by yourself.

Having the dryer duct cleaned is also good for the life of the dryer. It will last longer and cost less to run. Most importantly, it will greatly reduce the chances of your house becoming a dryer fire statistic. If home improvement is not your forte, give us a ring and we can come out and clean your dryer vents for you. Our duct cleaning company charges only $69 for a thorough, professional cleaning, no mess, no fuss.

Need your ducts cleaned as well? Contact us about our $99 Platinum Air Duct Package. This offer includes dryer vent cleaning, air duct and coil cleanings, a complete duct system diagnostic, and complimentary organic deodorizing. For more information, contact our friendly customer service department at (561) 404-0340.

What to Do When Your Air Conditioner Stops Working

ac downLife in South Florida can be a lesson in an easygoing life, with lots of fun in the sun and no harsh, frigid winters.

However, the very same sun that makes a day on the beach so enjoyable often combines with Florida humidity to make life a swelteringly hot and miserable existence once the temperature begins to soar. When it comes to living here, your central air conditioner is your best friend. But if your A/C suddenly stops working, spending time in your home will quickly become a hot, sweaty inconvenience.

While living in a home with a faulty air conditioning system can certainly still beats life with no A/C at all, that relief will quickly end once your air conditioner stops working altogether. If your house is suddenly hot and sweaty and your air conditioner is not putting out any cool air, or if your a/c is leaking water it is time for a little air conditioner 101 before the problem gets any worse.

Troubleshooting the Causes of a Broken Air Conditioner

  1.  Start with the A/C power. It may seem too obvious, but many times the air conditioner is not working because it does not have power. Check the power cord and make sure the electrical plug is fully pushed into a working outlet. Inspect other appliances plugged into the same outlet and if they are not working either, then replace or reset your fuse or circuit breaker.
  2. Stop while the air conditioner is turned off, open the front panel to where the air filter is housed, and remove the air filter. You can either replace the filter with a new one from your local hardware store or clean the old one by vacuuming it or washing it with soap and water, then rinsing it and letting it dry thoroughly before you slide it back into the air conditioner. A clogged air filter can really slow down or even stop air conditioner performance.
  3. Now that you have a clean air filter, shut the access panel, look to see if the cord is plugged into a working outlet, and make sure the main power switch on the air conditioner is turned to “On”. There may be more than one “On” switch on the unit, so check the system thoroughly for switches. While you are at it, make sure the front panel of the unit is shut firmly, as most units will not function if the access panel is open.
  4. Next, move to your thermostat. Make sure the settings are placed at “On” or “Auto Cool” and the temperature is set to a point that is at least 10 degrees below the current outdoor temperature. If the fan is set to “Heat” or “Off”, then your air conditioner is not broken, it just needs to be set to cool correctly. Note: Turning up your thermostat a couple of degrees while you’re not home helps to prevent maintenance problems and can also help you save on energy costs during the summer.
  5. Give the air conditioner a few minutes to turn on once you have set the thermostat to “Cold” and the temperature down, then walk around and check all your vents and registers to make sure that they are all open so cool air can move around the house.
  6. If you still aren’t getting cold air, head outside and make sure the cover on the outdoor unit has been removed, since airflow is essential to proper function. In addition, make sure the unit power switch is turned to “On” and look around the outside unit for signs of damage, clogs due to leaves or other debris, or leaks around the unit. If you find debris or other items that may be blocking the condenser coil, turn the system off and let it cool and stop completely, then clean the debris from the outside of the unit and turn it back on. If you see signs of damage or leaks, turn it back off and call a repairperson for assistance.
  7. If you cannot identify why the air conditioner is still not working, you can try some of the more sophisticated repair attempts as suggested on, but you are probably best off calling for a Boca Raton AC repair person for help.

Tips to Prevent Your A/C from Breaking

Preventing problems with your air conditioner in the first place is actually simple and can save you quite a bit of money in the end. Here are a few air conditioning maintenance tips to make sure you are not dripping with sweat in the middle of the summer with a dead air conditioner:

  1. Perform regular maintenance on your air conditioner, even during months when you do not use it. This will help make sure the air conditioner will run when you DO need
  2. Every three to six months, remove and clean the air filter and make sure the access panel is shut firmly when you are done.
  3. Check the outside unit for any items that have blown into the unit, potentially blocking the condensing coil. It is best to keep the area around the unit clear of bushes, leaves and other items that can easily enter the air conditioner and cause trouble. Put a cover over the outdoor unit when it is not in use.
  4. Run the air conditioner for a few minutes after you have performed your regular maintenance to make sure everything is working fine, and then turn it back off.
  5. During the summer, set your thermostat to “Auto” and raise the temperature at night or when you are not at home, so that the unit only needs to run as needed. If you leave the thermostat at “On” or “Cold” and set at a chilly temperature 24 hours a day, you run a greater risk of burning the unit out.

Schedule Your A/C Repair

USA Air Conditioning Services offer same-day emergency service for broken air conditioners seven days a week. If your A/C is not cooling and you need help now, schedule your service online or give us a call today at (561) 404-0340.

Why is My A/C Leaking Water?

air conditioner leaking water One of the most common problems homeowners face with their air conditioning systems is sudden and seemingly inexplicable leaking. A/C window units tend to leak small amounts of water, which is normal, but when a central air conditioner begins to leak large amounts of water all over your floor, it is probably time to call up a technician.

There are a number of reasons that can cause an air conditioning system to leak water. Some are easily fixed, others are more complicated and some water draining out is actually a normal part of operation. The trick is knowing what is normal and what is an indication of a bigger problem.

central air conditioner

During normal operation, your air conditioning system will be removing moisture from the air inside the home. This moisture will condense on the A/C coils and then drain down and exit through a drain hole at the bottom of the machine. Some A/C window units have a groove in the base pan that leads the water outside rather than a drain hole. Either way, there is always a means for water to drain out of the machine.

If you see a small amount of water coming out of a pipe leading from your air conditioner when it is on, this is probably normal condensation and is nothing to worry about. If the water is coming out from somewhere other than the drain, or if it is excessive, then there is a problem. Regardless of whether you hire an A/C company or choose to fix the leaking yourself, running your A/C system while it is leaking water will only worsen the problem and reduce the efficiency and lifetime of your central air system.

Causes of Air Conditioning Leaks

One reason for water not making it to the drain and flowing into the room instead is the installation of the A/C. An A/C must be tilted slightly backwards toward the outside, so that water will flow toward the drain. If it is installed incorrectly and tilts inward or is level, water may drip into the room. If your A/C is tilting inward, call a repair person and have it reinstalled correctly.

ac leak Algae and other material can accumulate in the pan and clog the drain. A clogged drain is often the reason for an A/C leaking. The drain can usually be cleaned out by flushing with water or vacuuming, but making sure the power is off at the breaker is extremely important for avoiding dangerous accidents while cleaning an A/C drain.

When your air conditioner is running constantly (or in rare cases when the outside temperature in Florida gets below 60º Fahrenheit), ice can form on the coils and then melt causing water leakage. Turning off the A/C every couple of days to allow your system to is the best solution for avoiding this problem.

Why Window Units Tend to Leak Water

ac window unit leaking

Another installation factor that can affect water leaking from an A/C is not having a good seal around the unit where it goes through the wall. If warm air leaks around the machine and then meets cooler air inside the house, condensation can happen in the wrong place causing leakage into the house, or outside along the wall. Installing a foam sealer around the unit and creating a tight seal will solve this problem.

How to Fix an A/C Leak

Fixing a leaking air conditioner is simple, but a tad time-consuming for the motivated do-it-yourselfer. The video below briefly explains what to look for when checking your A/C for possible leaks and causes:

Having your A/C serviced regularly by a professional is one way of preventing water leakage problems in the first place, but chances are, you’re reading this article after the fact. Our A/C techs offer same-day service call for A/C repairs in Broward and Palm Beach county. Need service now? Give us a ring at (561) 404-0340.

Do It Yourself A/C Maintenance Tips

If you have an air conditioner helping you stay cool during Florida’s sweltering hot summer months, you can significantly reduce your energy and repair bills by doing a few regular maintenance tasks. Florida’s high heat and humidity levels can easily result in skyrocketing electric bills, even in late fall!

broken air conditioner Taking a minute to check your A/C system and doing some basic maintenance can help shave off quite a bit of money off an otherwise costly energy bill. Keeping up with maintenance can also increase the life and efficiency of your air conditioning system, saving you more money over the years.

Many people choose to save money on expensive air conditioning service costs by doing their own basic maintenance on their window units and central air conditioning systems. This is a common practice to which entire Do It Yourself forum communities have dedicated tips and instructions for the motivated home owner.

Getting Started

Taking care of your A/C is not hard and does not take a lot of time. But it will be time well spent, especially if your air conditioner is running a lot during the summer. You don’t need any tools to do the job, just a little common sense and a few minutes of time.

First, if you are unsure about how to do these tasks, talk to a professional A/C technician and have him show you what needs to be done. Then, you can do it yourself the next time. If you have a manual, that can be a useful resource, too.

Whenever you do any maintenance on your A/C, start by turning off the power at the thermostat and also the breaker switch (pictured below). Note: While examining your A/C system and opening the unit, be careful not to injure yourself on any sharp metal edges that might be inside your air conditioner when you take the cover off.

air conditioning breaker switch

Changing Your A/C Filter

One of the easiest and perhaps most important maintenance jobs is to check the filter and see if it needs replacing. The filter should lift out without the need for any tools. Once you have it out, hold it up to the light and see if there is dirt, dust, or pet hair clogging it. You should be able to see light through it. If not, it is time to change it, or wash it if it is reusable.

Changing the filter in your A/C should be done at least every three months when it is in service. For pet owners – especially those with long-haired cats or dogs – changing the A/C filter every month or other month is a must. Dirt particles from the air are trapped in the filter and will cause the machine to work harder, requiring more energy and raising your electric bills. In Florida, a clean A/C filter is the key to reducing indoor air humidity, which is hampered by dirt and debris. By keeping the filter clean, you can save as much as 25 percent on energy bills during months when the A/C is in operation.

Its a good idea to have a spare filter on hand before you need one. Publix and other major grocery and convenience stores typically carry disposable filters of all sizes, as well as pet-dander and allergen specific models. If you are running your air conditioning system everyday, check the filter more frequently, especially during the summer months. In areas with heavy particulate matter in the air, a filter can clog up in as little as two weeks.

How to Clean A/C Coils

The next maintenance task is to look at the coils and fins on the unit. The A/C coils are typically protected by a grill that has been screwed in, so keep a screwdriver handy for easy removal. Once you have exposed the coils on your air conditioner, softly brush them from side to side to remove any built-up dirt or leaves. Tip: use a hand clipper and cut away any bushes or plants that are touching the unit. Also, be careful not to apply too much pressure to the coils, or bend them in any way, which could damage your air conditioning system. Also check to see that water is coming out of the drain when the A/C is operating. If it is not, call your repair person for help.

ac coil cleaning tips

Checking the Freon Levels

Freon is the stuff that’s responsible for keeping the air that is blowing from your system nice and cold. Too little of it and the air in your house will remain stagnant and warm, regardless of what temperature you set your thermostat to. When it comes to A/C maintenance, taking care of the freon is an advanced task that is better left to the professionals. Under no circumstances should you consider recharge or flush your refrigerant lines without the proper tools and expertise.

However, a quick check up to make sure everything is working the way it should be is a simple enough task. A/C coolant line insulation can become worn or damaged from prolonged outdoor exposure, and is easy to see.

air conditioner coolant lines

Schedule Maintenance for Your Air Conditioner

Regardless of whether you hire an A/C company or choose to do the maintenance yourself, regularly checking the condition of your A/C system can greatly extend the lifetime of your system, in addition to maximizing efficiency and reducing energy costs.

Having a professional air conditioning technician service your A/C each year, along with these fast and easy maintenance tasks, will keep your cooling system running efficiently for a lot longer. You will stay cooler yourself, too, in more ways than one.

Need help with your air conditioner? Located in Palm Beach county? Give us a ring at (561) 404-0340 or click here to schedule your service call with us. We offer quick, professional same-day service and can help with maintenance, repairs and even new installations.