Minimum Wage goes up – FL Reemployment Rate Comes Down

By now most of you have received the notice of the minimum wage has increased as of 1/1/14 to 7.93 per hour. If you have not posted your notices in your breakrooms, community office areas in order to be compliant please take a moment to do so.

Also the Florida Department of Revenue has been mailing out their annual notice of reemployment tax rates (formerly unemployment tax). Surprisingly most have been receiving notices of lower rates. Those of you who have been paying 1.2% and have not had any claims should see your rate lowered to .59%. Remember this is for the first $8000.00 of wage earnings for each employee – while employed by your company. If the employee starts with you in June & has already hit their $8000.00 wage cap from their previously company that does not carry over to your company, they start over.

Want to learn more about changes and how they can affect your business or what you can be doing to save you money? Contact me today Lauree Adams, Owner Adams Business Solutions. * 850-319-4205.

How to Choose an Air Conditioner for a New Build

If you are in the process of or even considering the prospect of building a new home in Florida, then you will inevitably need to put some thought into the air conditioner you purchase. There are several different factors you should consider to ensure that your air conditioner is an efficient workhorse for many years to come.

Size Comparisons

You can purchase an air conditioner in almost any size imaginable, so it is important that you select one that is just right for the size of your new home. The absolute best way to do this is to have your contractor perform what is known as a ‘load calculation.’ Essentially, this helps in determining the size of the home, the amount and type of insulation being installed, and even the amount of window space in the home. All of these things can have a significant impact on the efficiency of your air conditioner, so they should be considered carefully.

Position of Installation

Something else that you will need to consider is the position within your home that you will be installing your air conditioner. Simply put, if you will need a large unit, then you’ll need to make sure that you can install it in such a place that the cooled air will be able to adequately reach every room in your house through the ducts. If you install the unit in the corner of a basement, for example, then the cooled air will have a more difficult time reaching the areas of the home that are the furthest away.

Consider the Moisture Performance

The primary purpose of an air conditioner is to remove the humidity from the air in your home, thereby causing it to become cooler. As such, you’ll want to be sure that you carefully consider the efficiency with which a unit can remove this humidity from the air. The abilities of these units vary, and not all air conditioners are created equally in this regard. Your unit must be able to sufficiently remove enough humidity from the air to keep you comfortable during even the hottest, stickiest days.

Don’t Go Too Largejimypic

One of the most common mistakes that homeowners make when purchasing a new air conditioner is purchasing one that is simply too large for their homes. While it may seem as if the unit would run more efficiently, this isn’t the case. Consider this: a unit that is too large will cycle on and off more rapidly. This alone causes plenty of problems, including more wear and tear on the unit and higher electricity bills. Furthermore, because the unit will cycle on and off so quickly, it will not have the ability to adequately remove the moisture from the air in your home. It is very important to choose a unit that is the right size for your new home.
If you have questions about different air conditioners, or if you are confused about your load calculation results, then please contact us here at A Superior Air Conditioning. We are always available to discuss different products and applications with you, and we will be more than happy to provide you with estimates for our professional installation services.

Celebrate the Arts is Bigger and Better this Year!


Save the Date for Saturday, Jan 25th!

Celebrate the Arts Local Artists Market,  just got bigger and bolder thanks to Harley Davidson of Panama City Beach.

This year the event will also include a Celebrity Fashion Show and Live Auction, where local “celebrities” from Sheriff Frank McKeithen to Holly, Mandy and Miguel of Island 106 will not only be modeling the latest Harley fashions but will be auctioned off for a lunch date to benefit Beach Care Services.

In addition to the Fashion Show, with a $10 donation, participants can also enjoy a wine and cheese tasting.

The artists market portion of the event is free to the public, who can expect the same great wares from years before, with the addition of some new artists such as Roxanne Turnipseed who will be debuting her young girls’ bracelet line and Christon Anderson, whose works can be viewed from Main Street Gallery in Panama City to A.Wickey’s Gallery on 30A.

More About Celebrate the Arts

The event was born three years ago when business neighbors Karen Smith of Beachy Beach Real Estate and Roy Eure Jr., designer and owner of Cerulean Interiors fantasized about using art to help their community.  Eure, an artist himself, wanted to show his support for the local artist community and give them an opportunity to share their work while Smith saw an opportunity to fund raise for charity.  Artists would sell their wares and give a portion of the proceeds to Beach Care Services, a local charity that helps Panama City Beach locals in need.

This year’s event is expected to not only offer more, but more people will get an opportunity to take part due to Harley Davidson  providing the event location.   To stay tuned into the event, visit the Celebrate the Arts Facebook Page.

Information on how to pre-purchase Fashion Show and Wine Tasting tickets will be announced soon. Until then Save the Date for January 25th starting at 11 am.






Where are Mortgage Rates Headed in 2014?

Happy New Year!!

The Fed taper is officially happening. Starting in January, the Fed will cut back its bond buying by $10B per month. This is good news in general, in that it means the Fed sees the economy strengthening to the point where it can start to pull back the artificial support it is providing.  In the latter half of 2013, just on the speculation that this taper was coming, mortgage rates went up around 1.00%.  What will happen now that it is officially here?

While the Fed is merely reducing its $85B in bond purchases to $75B and still providing a great deal of stimulus to prop up the economy, it is expected that rate volatility will be higher in 2014.  A recent AP article states  “Homebuyers aren’t going to be happy,” says Ellen Haberle, an economist at the online real-estate brokerage Redfin. “In the weeks ahead, mortgage rates are likely to reach or exceed 5 percent.”  However, one good thing is that if the economy is truly recovering and improving, then consumer jobs and income levels should also improve to bring new homebuyers into the market.

Another important factor is the stock market which is at all-time high levels right now. The Fed included language in its taper announcement to help ease the market’s fears. It stated it will keep the Fed Funds rate where it is now between 0% and 0.25% for the foreseeable future and not increase it until unemployment drops below 6.50%. Normally what is seen when bond prices rise is that the market declines.  However, with the Fed’s statement, bond prices rose, and the market also increased.

Many are now expecting a market correction as the recent large gains are based on an economy that is reported to be improving, but is currently falsely supported by the artificial low interest rate environment created by the Fed.  Many economists are predicting a substantial stock market correction in 2014, and if this happens, investors may flock back to the safety of bonds, which would in turn have the impact of lowering rates.

Another important factor to watch that may have a larger influence over where mortgage rates and lending take shape in 2014 is related to the loan programs themselves.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which control 2/3 of the mortgage market recently announced they would be increasing overall guarantee fees as well as raising loan-level guarantee fees to lenders where the borrowers have good, but not the best credit.  Experts predicted this would increase mortgage rates from 0.25% to 0.40%.

The good news in this is that the incoming regulator for these two agencies, U.S. Representative Mel Watt, has delayed the increases to allow time to study the impact of the increased pricing.

So where are rates headed in 2014?  While no one knows for sure, all indicators seem  to point towards a long term continued higher rate trend. They cannot stay at these low levels forever.  I would predict a 0.50% to 1.00% increase over the course of the year with a lot of volatility in between.

It may be years from now, but the day will eventually arrive sooner or later, when the Fed is not artificially controlling interest rates to keep them low and the focus is on fighting inflation. We all know raising rates is one of the Feds favorite tools to fend off inflationary pressure.  Those who have purchased houses and obtained long term low rate financing at today’s rates will be pleased to know they did so at the right time.  If you are in the market to buy  a new residence, 2nd home, vacation home or investment property there is no better time than now to get pre-qualified, contact your Realtor and start shopping.

The Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps in Florida Homes

More and more often, the installation of heat pumps in Florida homes is becoming mainstream. This is because the unit can not only cool homes in the hot and humid Florida summers, but it can also heat homes here when the temperatures plummet.

How a Heat Pump Works

There is one basic principle upon which the concept of the first heat pump was designed: the sun’s warmth is always in the air, even when it is cold outside. The purpose of the pump is to collect this air and pass it across a condenser where heat is either added to warm the home or removed to cool the home. Then, once the air has been sufficiently heated or cooled, an electric blower system sends the air through the home through a series of ducts. The principle is actually quite simple to understand.

Best Climates for Heat Pumps

The best climates for heat pumps are mild climates, and this is likely why there are so many heat pumps in Florida homes today. While a heat pump can maintain itself in the hot Florida summers and keep residents cool, extreme temperature changes – plummeting temperatures, namely – are not a heat pump’s forte. Thus, a heat pump is a viable option for both cooling a home in the hot summer and heating it during a mild winter.

The Benefits

The primary benefit of heat pumps in Florida homes is that they are incredibly economical, and this is especially true for the short heating season. Another thing is that these units are naturally better at extracting humidity from the air and this is great news for Floridians who are used to steamy summers and extreme levels of humidity. Finally, because the heating and cooling features are included in the same system, it leaves a much smaller footprint than its more traditional counterparts.

The Drawbacks

There are some drawbacks to consider, too. First of all, the initial purchase and installation costs associated with heat pumps are higher than with their traditional furnace/central air counterparts. The main drawback, though, is that these units deliver the least amount of cooling during the hot summer months meaning that some may struggle to keep their homes as cool as they’d like. Finally, depending upon the model chosen and the location of the unit and the blower, they can be a bit noisy.

Making a Choice jimypic

Whether or not a heat pump is your best bet can be a difficult choice, especially in Florida where temperatures can certainly soar in the summer. Therefore, you should carefully consider not only the benefits associated with these systems, but also the drawbacks that could have a significant impact on your overall level of comfort. Some of this may have to do with whether or not your home is constantly shaded, your optimal comfort level, and more.
If you are interested in installing a heat pump in your Florida home, if you are having trouble with your existing heat pump, or even if you just have questions, A Superior Air Conditioning is here for you. Please don’t hesitate to give our friendly agents a call at your earliest convenience!

How to Minimize the Loss of Energy in Your Ducts

Whether you are heating or cooling your home, ensuring that your system is as efficient as possible is one of the most important things you can do to make sure that you are getting the most value for your energy dollars. There are some great tips to consider that will definitely help you save money.

Cleaning heater vent withVacuumConsider Installation in the Conditioned Space

If your home is in the process of being designed, you may want to consider having your ducts installed within the conditioned spaces in your home rather than under the floors. This is because even the most well-insulated and properly constructed ducts are going to leak some heated or cooled air and it is best to make use of this air in your home rather that under it. Oftentimes, ducts can be installed in drop ceilings and even in the corners of rooms. This minimizes the aesthetic effect while helping to reduce wasted energy dollars.

Make Sure Vents are Not Blocked or Clogged

The next thing that you can do to help improve your furnace or air conditioner’s efficiency is make sure that the vents themselves are not being blocked. Though this seems simple, having a large piece of furniture close to a vent blocks a significant portion of the air that you are paying to heat or cool. Move sofas, draperies and more out of the way of these vents to realize more savings. Similarly, it is important to vacuum your vents from time to time to remove debris. This is as simple as it sounds as long as your vacuum cleaner has a hose attachment.

Upgrade the Ductwork

Older homes and those which have the ductwork installed under the floors often suffer from trouble with heating or cooling one or two rooms. While this can certainly cause discomfort to the occupants of those rooms, the fix isn’t always difficult. In fact, simply installing a new return air grille or undercutting the door to allow for more airflow can fix these problems. Next, homeowners should take the time to ensure that their walls are properly insulated and that windows are sealed when shut to prevent heated and cooled air from escaping.

Insulate the Ducts

If the ducts in your home are located under the floor, it is always worthwhile to have them insulated. This way, you are not losing energy to the outdoor air as heated and cooled air passes through the ducts. Typical insulation will do the job, but if you aren’t up for the task then it can certainly be performed professionally. Many homeowners are shocked by the amount of money they can save when they invest in new insulation for their ductwork. jimypic

All in all, saving money is about keeping the air that you are paying to heat and cool inside your home where it belongs. When it loses energy as it travels through the ducts, it becomes inefficient and costly. For an evaluation of your ductwork, don’t hesitate to contact us here at A Superior Air Conditioning. Our friendly professionals will evaluate your situation and provide you with the answers you need.

Help your Montego Bay Friends!!!

As many of you know, there was an unfortunate fire that occurred at Montego Bay Restaurant on Thomas Drive. Not only did we lose a great restaurant in our community, but several families lost a source of income just one short week away from Christmas. Let’s get together as a community and help these families out!! This Sunday (December 22nd) from 6-9pm, Willy’s Live will be hosting live music with Kevin Jacobs and Terry Brock, as well as serving up some heavy Hors d’oeuvres. All we ask for is a a $10 donation at the door for entrance. All money raised at the door, and a portion of the bar sales will be donated to the families that were impacted by the fire at Montego Bay.

How to Troubleshoot Your Gas Furnace

Florida is generally a warm state and temperatures of 70 degrees in winter are not uncommon. However, it does get cold here and many people have installed gas furnaces to keep them warm as the temperature plummets. If you have a gas furnace, then the following troubleshooting tips may help you stay warm in the event of a problem.

Gas Energy FlamesFigure Out the Problem

The first thing to do if your gas furnace starts acting up is to pinpoint the problem. Will the unit not turn on at all? Is the unit trying to run, but the burners won’t fire? Is the air coming from your ducts cool instead of warm? All of these things definitely indicate that there is some sort of problem, but the solution may be simpler than you think. A lot of troubleshooting starts at the thermostat and making sure that the unit is set to ‘heat’, that the temperature is set at least five degrees above room temperature, and that the fan is set to run automatically.

Trouble with the Thermostat Itself

Most newer thermostats are battery powered so if the battery is dead, the thermostat will stop working and the furnace will shut off. In a few cases, it could be that the thermostat itself has gone bad and needs to be replaced. Thermostats, depending upon the features you select, can be quite inexpensive and are not at all difficult to replace. Of course, you can always call us here at A Superior Air Conditioning to help you out.

Check for Power to the Furnace

If the unit isn’t coming on at all, you will need to check to make sure that there is power getting to the gas furnace. To do this, simply move the switch under the ‘Fan’ label on your thermostat, whether it is physical or digital, to the ‘on’ position and see if the fan comes on. If it does not, it could be that there is a blown fuse or breaker, that the wiring is bad, or even that there is an issue with the furnace’s internal circuit board.

Burners Not Igniting

If the fan runs but the burners themselves will not ignite, there could be any number of problems. Starting with the simplest, you should check to make sure that the pilot light for your furnace is lit. If you have an electric ignition system, you can carefully clean the igniters themselves (these are what generate the spark that lights the gas) with a lint-free cloth being careful not to get any oil from the skin on them as this may cause them to malfunction. If this doesn’t do the trick, it could be anything from the draft inducer motor to a problem with the burners themselves.

If these simple tricks do not help you get your gas furnace running again, you may be able to find a reset button on your unit or simply flip the breaker powering the unit off for two minutes before turning it back on. A Superior Air Conditioning is available 24 hours a day to help you get warm again, as well, so do not hesitate to call us if troubleshooting indicates a serious problem.

HOT DOG Join the parade!!!!!

Hot Dogs Hamburgers and great fun!!!
Hot Dogs Hamburgers and great fun!!!

Christmas Parade tonight at 7pm. Come out early to the association office for a prime seat and help us raise funds in support of our BCAR Haney Scholarship and enjoy a hotdog, burger, drinks and other delicious treats! Don’t forget to tell your friends and family to stop by too! See you there!!

I love love love that my precious Realtor Friends love giving back to their community by having events such as these. When you buy a hot dog or a hamburger today realize that you are part of giving back. How fun is that to have a dog and be able to help another!!! And to top it off enjoy the parade and be grateful that we live in such a sweet place.

Make sure you get there EARLY and get a PRIME spot!!!!

Location: 1123 Harrison Ave and the corner of 11th street

What is a SEER Rating for an Air Conditioner?

If you are looking into purchasing a new air conditioner at some point in the future, then you will likely come across a term known as ‘SEER rating’. This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating and it can give you a good idea of the amount of money you are likely to spend on energy should you purchase any given unit.

SEERHow the Rating is Calculated

The SEER rating for any air conditioner is calculated by measuring the amount of cooled air that it puts out for every unit of energy it consumes. Each matched system (meaning both the indoor and outdoor parts of the entire unit) is given an Energy Efficiency Rating for the consumer to consider in much the same way miles per gallon are considered when purchasing a new car. The higher the efficiency rating, the less it will cost to cool your home in the long run. Similarly, air conditioners with a high SEER are better for the environment because less energy is expended as your home is being cooled.

Ratings and Government Mandates

Since January of 2006, the federal government has required that all new air conditioners have a SEER of at least 13, but there are some units out there with ratings as high as SEER-18 and even SEER-23. Most professionals recommend that consumers purchase units that have at least a SEER-16 rating, but this is especially true in the Florida area because the units run more often here than in other parts of the country. Of course, the amount of difference that the rating makes for you depends upon the size of your home, the age of your air conditioner and more. The SEER number is only at its peak when the unit is properly maintained, too.

Huge Savings – Monetarily and Environmentally

As an example, consider a Florida homeowner who replaces an old, outdated, inefficient three-ton air conditioner with a new one that boasts a SEER-16 rating. The average operating life of a brand new air conditioner is about 12 years (though there are some that are guaranteed by the manufacturer for as many as 20) and the average cost of electricity per unit is $0.11 per kWh. Over the lifetime of the new unit, that homeowner will save more than $2,000 in operating costs and prevent more than 300,000 metric tons of harmful greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. That is the equivalent of taking three cars off the road or planting four acres of trees each and every year.

Choosing a Unit

With all of this information in mind, you should always check the SEER associated with an air conditioner that you are considering purchasing. Not only will this number tell you how much money you can expect to save, but it will also tell you how much good you will be doing for the environment. Every air conditioner brand in the industry must provide a SEER number to consumers and it can typically be found on a yellow tag like the one shown here.

For help with choosing a new air conditioner with the best SEER possible, please do not hesitate to contact us here at A Superior AC. We can help you choose the right size unit for your home, provide you with a professional installation, and make sure that your unit continues to operate at peak efficiency for years to come.