New Air Conditioner Financing Options




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Feeling the heat? Upgrade to a brand-new, efficient AC system from Housetech and enjoy cool comfort all summer long. And with our special partnership with Wisetack, getting that comfort won't make you sweat about the costs!

🌡️ Why Choose Housetech's AC with Wisetack Financing? 🌡️

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HouseTechPlus Serving Tampa Bay


Bad Credit? 

Lease To Own AC Financing 

Choose Your System Installed 

 We Will Install It!


Microf Financing

microf logo


Microf is a relationship based company that places top priority on the wants and needs of our customers. Our innovative rent-to-own strategy provides unmatched flexibility to consumers through quick response times and multiple payment terms and options. Microf helps restore the heating and cooling needs of the consumer with an affordable monthly payment through our extensive contractor network.

5 Things You Need to Know About Microf:

microf hassle-free payments


  • We specialize in lease purchase options for residential replacement HVAC systems.
  • We have a simple application process.
  • We offer near-real-time Pre-Approval, Further Review, or Decline decisions.
  • We offer convenient and affordable monthly renewal payment options based on 36, 48, or 60 months to ownership.
  • Customers can take advantage of meaningful monthly payment and early purchase option discounts.

microf-no credit neededEligibility Requirements

Microf’s program is designed for Homeowners that have an active bank account, and a steady source of income. Homeowners must also show that they have a comfort level with one of the flexible monthly payment options offered by Microf. It is that easy.

The following documents are accepted as verification of eligibility and are needed to complete the approval process:

  • A completed online application
  • Proof of Income

To get started with the application process, click here.


Lease To Own AC Financing Options

Low Credit? No Problem! Microf Is Here to Help.

Consider Microf Get Lease To Own AC Financing

If you have credit score concerns or have been denied for HVAC financing from traditional lenders, Microf may have options for you. We are a relationship-based company that places top priority on our customers’ wants and needs. 

Currently, few major lenders provide flexible solutions to the HVAC industry and its consumers. Our innovative rent-to-own strategy provides unmatched flexibility to consumers through limited declinations, quick response times, and multiple payment and contract term choices. We pride ourselves on three core initiatives: Customer Focus, Easy Approval Process, and Flexible Options.

Microf is here to help consumers who may have been declined for HVAC financing for a replacement heating and air system. Microf provides several affordable and flexible lease purchase options to accommodate most budgets. Getting approved is a quick and easy process, even if you have less-than-perfect or damaged credit.

What Will You Need to Apply Lease To Own AC Financing ?

Microf regularly approves applicants with less-than-perfect or damaged credit. Our goal is to help our customers restore their heating and cooling needs with an affordable monthly payment and an excellent customer experience.

flexible and affordable options

How the Process Works


Submit Your Application

Register as a consumer and fill out an application. Microf has options for all levels of credit. Apply Now!


Have Your Unit Installed

Select the best financial option for you, and we’ll connect you with a local contractor.

Ready to Get Started?

Central Air Conditioner  Low-Monthly-Payment


AC Financing Has never been easier to get a new Central Air system for your home and pay over time. A new heating and cooling system affect how you feel every moment you’re at home and accounts for around half of your home energy every month. So every cent you invest in a higher-efficiency Central AC system also improves your home’s value and energy savings. When combined with tax credits, rebates, and promotions, financing makes comfort remarkably affordable.

No Credit Check Loans

We understand what it is to maintain a household and family on a tight budget. Unexpected expenses can make Central air conditioning financing hard. We offer financing and no credit check loans Nice If we all had perfect credit but unfortunately, life happens and most of us have less than perfect credit. Whether good or not so good credit and looking for a loan we offer a soft probe credit check, we may have a financing option for you.

  • No down payment
  • Easy application process
  • Approval within 24 hours after you complete the application
  • Affordable repayment plans to fit your budget
  • NO DOWN PAYMENT and NO CREDIT SCORE for approval!

Lease To Own AC Financing

The process for approval is easy:

Submit supporting documents

  • Valid ID
  • Proof of Homeownership
  • Proof of Employment/Income
  • Proof of Homeowner insurance
  • Photo of Home
  • Confirmation/Verification of Customer information
  • Review contract options
  • The rental-purchase agreement is executed
  • Successful installation of your new Air Conditioning and Heating

Customers must be approved through Micro Financial after submitting a credit application directly to Microf

Once the customer receives financial approval from Microf

Ready to get started? Fill out the Online Application today



The Best Alternative To Traditional HVAC Financing:

Lease-Purchase Programs

Avoid large upfront payments and make monthly lease payments instead. No long-term commitment and you can own your heating and cooling unit outright once all payments have been made.

Microf is a relationship-based company that places top priority on the wants and needs of our customers.

Our innovative rent-to-own strategy provides unmatched flexibility to consumers through quick response times and multiple payment terms and options.

Microf helps restore the heating and cooling needs of the consumer with an affordable monthly payment through our extensive contractor network.

5 Things You Need to Know About Microf:

 We specialize in lease purchase options for residential replacement HVAC systems.

 We have a simple application process.

 We offer near-real-time Pre-Approval, Further Review, or Decline decisions.

 We offer convenient and affordable monthly renewal payment options based on 36, 48, or 60 months to ownership.

 Customers can take advantage of the meaningful monthly payments and early purchase option discounts. Eligibility Requirements Microf’s program is designed for Homeowners that have an active bank account, and a steady source of income. Homeowners must also show that they have a comfort level with one of the flexible monthly payment options offered by Microf. It is that easy. The following documents are accepted as verification of eligibility and are needed to complete the approval process:

 A completed online application

 Proof of income

   Lease To Own  Central Air Conditioner Replacement     

 Apply Now

         If your AC system constantly needs repairs this may be a warning sign that it’s time to consider a new central ac unit.
Replacing your HVAC system comes with a higher cost than most repairs now you can potentially save energy and eliminate repairs.

        Are energy bills getting higher every month? Is your AC system running constantly? An old outdated unit is no longer be suitable. Have you noticed that your AC system is not as efficient as before, it may be time to consider replacing it? When a new system installed you lower your energy bills up to 35% and greater home health and comfort with 10 year manufactures warranty!

       Our professional installation teams are proud to install according to all local and state codes and manufacturer’s guidelines. To ensure satisfaction with your new Central air conditioning system. Our team will always inspect your ductwork for any repairs necessary, seal any gaps or holes, and repair any concerns. We maintain a clean working environment during the installation.

Repair Or Lease To Own?

If your AC system constantly needs repairs then it’s time to consider a new central ac unit.
Replacing your HVAC system comes with a higher cost than most repairs now you can potentially save energy.

Do you know if need a new central air conditioning system?

Some of the most common signs:

  • Your Energy Killowatts consumption is Going Up more than 5% year by year.
  • It’s Getting Hot and Humid Inside.
  • You’re Getting Moisture Build-Up or Humidity Issues.
  • Your AC Is Loud or Trips The Breaker.
  • Your ac Runs constantly and the house won’t cool.
  • Freon keeps leaking out.
  • You keep having to make repairs yearly.

How much does it cost to replace a central air conditioning unit?

A replacement central air conditioning system starts at $2500 per ton plus an average of an extra $800-$1200 for Horizontal installations, Also Consider the Seers ratings you want.

How much does an air conditioner cost for a 1200 sq ft home?

Installing a central air conditioner into a 1200 square ft. home with an existing forced-air heating system (that has all ductwork installed properly) Basic costs between $5,000 to $5,600.

How much does an air conditioner cost for a 2000 sq ft home?

Installing a central air conditioner into a 2000 square ft. home with an existing forced-air heating system (that has all ductwork installed properly) Basic costs between $6,800 to $7,900

Can a Your Central Air Conditioner be Finance?

There are many finance companies that offer central air conditioning financing to homeowners that do not have the immediate monetary funds but can prove their ability to pay.

We can understand what’s like to support a family and household and how hard it can be to save for unexpected expenses, we offer financing options for our customers. Programs that include budget options like $0 down, no interest, and no payments for the first 18 months, or 0 percent interest for up to 84 months.
Low-interest options starting at 3% your payments may be as low as $99 a month, depending on the unit installed in your home.

Is Financing Your AC Unit is the Smart Choice?

When you need to upgrade your air conditioning unit, but don’t have the spare cash, financing a new unit is possible — but is it a good idea?

When the high humidity and 97 degrees temperatures in the Florida summer days with a high above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, properly functioning air conditioning is vital each and every day. Heat-related illness is a serious
business that can result in hospitalization or death if you can’t escape the brutal heat. For that reason alone, financing a replacement air conditioner should be seen as an investment
in your future.

Air conditioning financing is common, in areas where AC is more of o than a necessity is a must.

A recent study by the non-profit group Neighbor Works America found that 29 percent of American adults lack any amount of emergency savings, and an additional 21 percent only have enough savings to cover their
basic expenses for one month.

Can a New Central Air Conditioners Save Money With Lease To Own?

If you’re upgrading from an air conditioner that was manufactured before 2007, The unit probably has a SEER rating of less than 11. Today’s air conditioners are generally rated at 15 SEER or higher, so the
potential savings could actually pay for your new financed system. Upgrading from a 10 SEER to a 15 SEER unit represents an average of 28% savings each month in your energy bill.

Modern AC units also use a much less expensive refrigerant, which has replaced R-22 (also known as Freon) as the industry standard. As your new unit ages, it will be cheaper to repair and recharge than your out-modeled R-22-based air conditioner. Because Freon is being phased out of production, the cost to work on outdated units will increase steadily, making them not only expensive to operate, but also expensive to maintain Being a homeowner comes with hard decisions, investing in a home increases its value, deciding how to do that can be a difficult choice. Should you update your central ac? Replace your ducts? The answer isn’t clear.

When it comes to your HVAC system, the decision-making process gets hard. Unless you’re an ac technician, it can be tough to tell whether a malfunctioning A/C or
you need a new central air. For homeowners, the decision is often is whether to repair or replace. Choosing to replace your old A/C is a new higher efficiency air conditioner so important you choose the correct unit for your home. It’s not a decision if, it’s when. But if your older A/C breaks down on a 100-degree day, you might not have a choice. You’ll have to make a quick decision. Much like an old car, air conditioners. By paying attention to the performance and your Electric bill you can start preparing for the purchase a new unit before you need it.

Here are the top four signs your A/C is nearing the end of its life.

Your Air Conditioner is More Than Ten Years Old

This may sound obvious, but if your A/C is getting older, you should start preparing for the purchase of a new unit. Modern air conditioners can last between 15 years. The health and efficiency of your A/C depend on a number of factors, including whether or not you properly maintained the unit throughout its lifetime. If you skipped changing the air filter and flushing or bleaching the drain line the A/C’s lifespan may be shorter than it was meant to be. The lifespan can also be affected by how often you use the unit, how hot and humid it gets in the area you live in, and whether or not the unit was sized correctly when it was purchased for your home. If you kept your central air conditioner maintained, expect to need a replacement in about 10-15 years. Keep in mind that as your A/C grows older, its mechanical parts can become unavailable or obsolete over time. If you aren’t able to replace a broken part, you will need to purchase a new unit.

Your Air Conditioner Frequently Breaks Down

If you’re experiencing breakdowns during the summer. Many common A/C issues are caused by a lack of maintenance, and getting your unit maintained will prevent them. HVAC technicians are also able to preemptively spot and correct any issues your A/C might be experiencing before the summer season begins.

Central Air Conditioner replacement

With this in mind, it’s a cause for concern if your A/C has multiple breakdowns despite regular maintenance. You might need to start thinking about replacement, Frequent breakdowns also mean frequent repairs, and the cost of those repairs can add up. It might be more economical to purchase a new unit rather than sinking money into expensive repairs—especially if your warranty has expired.

Your Energy Bills Have Skyrocketed

Unless there are any sudden changes in your home’s energy use, your energy bill should stay around the same amount every month, fluctuating a bit depending on the season. If your
energy use habits have stayed the same but your monthly bill has noticeably increased, it might be time for a new air conditioner.

Your A/C Uses R-22 Freon

R22 Freon is no longer being produced in the U.S. This may not sound like a big deal, but it could affect your home more than you think! If you own an air conditioner that is over ten years old, it probably uses R-22 Freon. R-22 was found to have negative effects on the environment, and the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) is phasing it out of use.

If your central air uses r22 Freon you can still use your A/C, We recommend you should start preparing for a central air conditioner change out. doesn’t use the R-22 refrigerant.

Apply Now!


  1. Improved Comfort: Florida's climate is hot and humid for a significant portion of the year. A new air conditioner can provide enhanced comfort by efficiently cooling your home or business.

Improving comfort with a new central air conditioning system involves several factors. Here's how a new central air conditioner can enhance comfort in a home or building:

  1. Consistent Temperature Control: Newer central air conditioning systems offer more precise temperature control, ensuring that every room in the house remains at a consistent and desired temperature.

  2. Better Humidity Control: In addition to cooling, air conditioners also remove humidity from the air. Newer models are often better at controlling humidity levels, which can be especially beneficial in humid climates. Proper humidity control can prevent mold growth, reduce allergens, and make the air feel more comfortable.

  3. Advanced Thermostat Features: Many new central air systems come with smart thermostats that allow homeowners to set schedules, adjust temperatures remotely, and even learn from your habits to optimize comfort and efficiency.

  4. Quieter Operation: Newer models are often designed to operate more quietly than older units, reducing noise disturbances and creating a more peaceful indoor environment.

  5. Improved Air Quality: New central air systems often come with better filtration systems that can reduce indoor pollutants, allergens, and dust. This leads to cleaner air and can be especially beneficial for those with allergies or respiratory issues.

  6. Even Air Distribution: Older systems might not distribute air evenly throughout the home, leading to hot or cold spots. Newer systems are designed for more uniform air distribution, ensuring every part of the home is comfortable.

  7. Faster Cooling: A new system can cool a space more quickly than an older, less efficient one. This means that when you come home to a hot house and turn on the AC, it will reach your desired temperature faster.

  8. Energy Efficiency: While this is more about cost savings than comfort, energy-efficient models can maintain comfort using less energy. This can lead to a more consistent indoor climate since homeowners might be less inclined to turn off or adjust the system due to concerns about energy costs.

  9. Fewer Breakdowns: A new system is less likely to have issues or breakdowns, ensuring consistent comfort without interruptions.

  10. Zoning Capabilities: Some new central air systems offer zoning capabilities, allowing different areas or rooms in the home to be cooled to different temperatures. This is ideal for households where family members have different temperature preferences

  1. Energy Efficiency: Newer air conditioner models are typically more energy-efficient than older ones. This can lead to savings on your energy bills over time.

A new central air conditioning system can be more energy-efficient than older models due to several advancements and features. Here's how a new central air system achieves better energy efficiency:

  1. SEER Ratings: Modern air conditioners come with higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings. The SEER rating measures the cooling efficiency of an air conditioner over an entire season. A higher SEER rating indicates a more efficient unit. By law, new air conditioners must meet certain SEER standards, which have been raised over the years.

  2. Variable Speed Compressors: Unlike traditional compressors that operate at full capacity or not at all, variable speed compressors can adjust their speed based on the cooling demand. This allows the system to use only the energy necessary to maintain the desired temperature, reducing energy consumption.

  3. Improved Coil Design: Modern air conditioners often have larger and more efficient coil designs, which allow for better heat exchange and improved cooling efficiency.

  4. Thermal Expansion Valves: These valves adjust the flow of refrigerant to the evaporator based on cooling demand, ensuring optimal performance and efficiency.

  5. Programmable Thermostats: Many new central air systems come with programmable or smart thermostats. These thermostats allow homeowners to set schedules, ensuring the system runs only when needed, reducing energy waste.

  6. Better Insulation and Sealing: Newer units often have better insulation around the cooling lines and better sealing in the ductwork, reducing energy loss.

  7. Two-Stage Cooling: Some modern units offer two-stage cooling, where the system can operate at a lower capacity during milder days and only switch to full capacity during hotter days. This reduces energy consumption on cooler days.

  8. Fan Improvements: Enhanced fan blade shapes and variable-speed fan motors can operate more efficiently, using less electricity.

  9. Eco-friendly Refrigerants: While this doesn't directly relate to energy efficiency, newer air conditioners use refrigerants that have a lower environmental impact, reducing the carbon footprint.

  10. Zoning Systems: Some new central air systems can be paired with zoning systems, allowing different areas of a home to be cooled independently. This means you don't have to cool the entire house if only certain areas are in use.

  11. Regular Diagnostics: Modern systems often come with diagnostic tools that can alert homeowners to inefficiencies or issues, ensuring the system runs optimally.

  12. Reduced Cycling: Efficient systems maintain consistent temperatures with reduced cycling (turning on and off), which can save energy in the long run.

  1. Flexible Payment Options: Financing allows homeowners and businesses to purchase a new air conditioner without paying the full cost upfront. This can make it easier to budget for the expense over time.

🌟 Discover Flexibility with Wisetack! 🌟

Looking for a way to make your purchases more manageable? Dive into the world of flexible payment options with Wisetack!

🛍️ Shop Now, Pay Later: Don't let finances hold you back. Split your purchase into easy monthly payments.

Instant Approvals: Say goodbye to long waits! Get instant decisions on your financing applications and enjoy a seamless shopping experience.

📅 Choose Your Plan: With various payment plans available, pick the one that fits your budget perfectly.

🔍 Transparent Pricing: No surprises here! Know all the costs upfront with our clear pricing. No hidden fees, ever.

💻 Manage Online: Keep track of your finances with our user-friendly online portal. Payments, balances, and more - all at your fingertips!

Boost your buying power and enjoy the freedom to choose with Wisetack's flexible payment options. Because shopping should be a pleasure, not a pressure.

🔗 [Visit Wisetack Today!]

  1. Potential Rebates and Incentives: Some energy companies or local governments might offer rebates or incentives for upgrading to a more energy-efficient air conditioner.

  1. Utility Companies: Many local utility companies in Florida offer rebates to homeowners who install energy-efficient HVAC systems. The amount and availability of these rebates can vary by utility and region.

  2. Federal Tax Credits: The U.S. federal government occasionally offers tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements, including HVAC systems. It's essential to check the current status of these credits, as they can change from year to year.

  3. State Programs: The state of Florida might have specific programs or incentives to promote energy efficiency. These can be in the form of tax credits, rebates, or low-interest loans.

  4. Manufacturer Rebates: Sometimes, HVAC manufacturers offer rebates on specific models or systems. It's a good idea to check with the manufacturer or your HVAC installer about any current promotions.

  5. Local Programs: Some local governments or organizations might offer additional incentives or rebates for energy-efficient upgrades.

  6. Energy-Efficient Financing: Some financial institutions or programs might offer low-interest loans or other financing options specifically for energy-efficient home improvements.

If you're considering a new central air conditioner for your home in Florida, it's a good idea to research current rebates and incentives. You can start by checking with your local utility company, the Florida Department of Energy, or a trusted HVAC contractor

  1. Increased Property Value: A new, efficient air conditioning system can potentially increase the value of a property, especially in a hot climate like Florida.

Installing a new central air conditioner can increase the property value of a home for several reasons:

  1. Modern Features: New central air conditioning systems come with advanced features, such as smart thermostats, energy efficiency, and quieter operation. These modern amenities can be attractive to potential buyers.

  2. Energy Efficiency: As mentioned earlier, newer models are more energy-efficient. This can lead to lower utility bills, which can be a selling point for potential buyers.

  3. Improved Comfort: A new system provides consistent cooling, better humidity control, and improved air quality. A comfortable living environment can be a significant factor for homebuyers.

  4. Longer Lifespan: A new system means that the equipment has a longer lifespan ahead of it, reducing the need for replacements or repairs in the near future.

  5. Attractiveness to Buyers: Homes with new, efficient systems can be more appealing to potential buyers, as they won't have to worry about replacing the system soon after purchase.

  6. Reduced Maintenance: New systems are less likely to have issues or need frequent repairs, which can be a selling point for potential buyers.

  7. Environmental Considerations: Environmentally-conscious buyers might be attracted to homes with energy-efficient systems that have a lower carbon footprint.

  8. Higher Appraisal Value: Appraisers often consider the age and condition of major home systems, including air conditioning. A new system can contribute to a higher appraisal value.

  1. Warranty and Peace of Mind: New air conditioners often come with warranties, ensuring that if there are any issues, they can be addressed without additional costs.

🌟 Experience Ultimate Comfort with Ruud! 🌟

When you invest in a Ruud central air conditioner, you're not just buying a cooling system; you're securing peace of mind for years to come.

🛡️ Strong Warranty: With Ruud's robust warranty, rest easy knowing that your investment is protected. Our commitment to quality ensures that your system stands the test of time.

🌬️ Reliable Performance: Ruud's reputation for reliability means consistent comfort, season after season. No more unexpected breakdowns or hot summer days without relief.

🔧 Trusted Service: Should you ever need assistance, our network of certified technicians is ready to help. With Ruud, you're never alone.

💡 Energy Efficiency: Not only does Ruud provide reliable cooling, but our systems are also designed with energy efficiency in mind, saving you money in the long run.

🌍 Eco-friendly: Our commitment to the environment means that our systems are designed to have a minimal carbon footprint. Feel good about your choice, both for your home and the planet.

Choose Ruud, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a trusted brand, a strong warranty, and the promise of comfort for years to come.

🔗 [Discover Ruud's Range Today!]

  1. Reduced Repair Costs: Older air conditioning units might require frequent repairs. By investing in a new system, you can potentially reduce the money and time spent on maintenance and repairs.

🌟 Upgrade to Ruud and Save on Repairs! 🌟

Tired of frequent breakdowns and mounting repair bills? It's time to make a change. Introducing the new Ruud central air conditioner.

🔧 Built to Last: Ruud's state-of-the-art design and engineering mean fewer breakdowns and a longer lifespan. Say goodbye to constant repairs!

💰 Save Money: With a new Ruud system, you're not just investing in comfort; you're cutting down on unexpected repair costs. Keep your hard-earned money where it belongs - in your pocket.

🌬️ Consistent Cooling: Experience the reliability of Ruud. Enjoy consistent, efficient cooling without the worry of sudden system failures.

🛠️ Quality Parts: Our commitment to quality means we use only the best components. This ensures a robust system that requires minimal maintenance.

🌐 Trusted Network: Should you ever need assistance, Ruud's vast network of certified technicians is always ready to help, ensuring quick and efficient service.

Upgrade to a Ruud central air conditioner today and enjoy the dual benefits of unparalleled comfort and reduced repair costs.

🔗 [Explore the Ruud Difference Today!]

Note: This is a fictional advertisement and may not represent the actual services or offerings of Ruud. Always refer to the official Ruud website or contact them directly for accurate information.

Environmental Benefits: Newer models are not only more energy-efficient but also often use refrigerants that are less harmful to the environment.

If you're considering financing a new air conditioner in Florida, it's essential to research and consult with local HVAC professionals or financial institutions to understand the specific benefits and terms available in your area.

Tampa Bay is a large natural harbor and shallow estuary connected to the Gulf of Mexico on the west-central coast of Florida, comprising Hillsborough Bay, McKay Bay, Old Tampa Bay, Middle Tampa Bay, and Lower Tampa Bay. The largest freshwater inflow into the bay is the Hillsborough River, which flows into Hillsborough Bay in downtown Tampa. Many other smaller rivers and streams also flow into Tampa Bay, resulting in a large watershed area.

The shores of Tampa Bay were home to the Weedon Island Culture and then the Safety Harbor culture for thousands of years. These cultures relied heavily on Tampa Bay for food, and the waters were rich enough that they were one of the few Native American cultures that did not have to farm. The Tocobaga was likely the dominant chiefdom in the area when Spanish explorers arrived in the early 1500s, but there were likely smaller chiefdoms on the eastern side of the bay which were not well documented. The indigenous population had been decimated by disease and warfare by the late 1600s, and there were no permanent human settlements in the area for over a century. The United States took possession of Florida in 1821 and established Fort Brooke at the mouth of the Hillsborough River in 1824.

The communities surrounding Tampa Bay grew tremendously during the 20th century. Today, the area is home to about 4 million residents, making Tampa Bay a heavily used commercial and recreational waterway and subjecting it to increasing amounts of pollutants from industry, agriculture, sewage, and surface runoff. The bay's water quality was seriously degraded by the early 1980s, resulting in a sharp decline in sea life and decreased availability for recreational use. Greater care has been taken in recent decades to mitigate the effects of human habitation on Tampa Bay, most notably upgraded sewage treatment facilities and several sea grass restoration projects, resulting in improved water quality over time. However, occasional red tide and other algae blooms have caused concern about the ongoing health of the estuary.[1]

The term "Tampa Bay" is often used as shorthand to refer to all or parts of the Tampa Bay area, which comprises many towns and cities in several counties surrounding the large body of water. Local marketing and branding efforts (including several professional sports teams, tourist boards, and chambers of commerce) commonly use the moniker "Tampa Bay", furthering the misconception that it is the name of a particular municipality when this is not the case.[2][3]


Tampa Bay Watershed from USGS


Tampa Bay formed approximately 6,000 years ago as a brackish drowned river valley type[4] estuary with a wide mouth connecting it to the Gulf of Mexico. Prior to that time, it was a large fresh water lake, possibly fed by the Floridan Aquifer through natural springs.[5] Though the exact process of the lake-to-bay transformation is not completely understood, the leading theory is that rising sea levels following the last ice age coupled with the formation of a massive sink hole near the current mouth of the bay created a connection between the lake and the gulf.[6]


Tampa Bay is Florida's largest open-water estuary, extending over 400 square miles (1,000 km2) and forming coastlines of Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties. The freshwater sources of the bay are distributed among over a hundred small tributaries, rather than a single river.[7] The Hillsborough River is the largest such freshwater source, with the Alafia, Manatee, and Little Manatee rivers the next largest sources. Because of these many flows into the bay, its large watershed covers portions of five Florida counties[8] and approximately 2,200 square miles (5,700 km2).

The bottom of Tampa Bay is silty and sandy, with an average water depth of only about 12 feet (3.7 m).[9] The relatively shallow water and tidal mud flats allow for large sea grass beds, and along with the surrounding mangrove-dominated wetlands, the bay provides habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. More than 200 species of fish are found in the waters of the bay, along with bottlenose dolphins and manatees, plus many types of marine invertebrates including oysters, scallops, clams, shrimp and crab. More than two dozen species of birds, including brown pelicans, several types of heron and egret, Roseate spoonbills, cormorants, and laughing gulls make their year-round home along its shores and small islands, with several other migratory species joining them in the winter. The cooler months are also when warm-water outfalls from power plants bordering the bay draw one out of every six West Indian manatees, an endangered species, to the area.[10]

Environmental issues[edit]


Tampa Bay was designated as an "estuary of national significance" by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 1990. Two National Wildlife Refuges are located in Tampa Bay: Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge and the refuge on Egmont Key. Most of the islands (including several man-made islands built from dredge spoil[9][11]) and sandbars are off-limits to the public, due to their fragile ecology and their use as nesting sites by many species of birds. The Tampa Bay Estuary Program keeps watch over the Bay's health.[9]


Tampa Bay was once teeming with fish and wildlife. People of the Safety Harbor culture lived almost entirely from mullet, shellfish, sea turtles, manatees, crabs, and other bounties harvested from the sea. As late as the early 20th century, visitors still reported huge schools of mullet swimming across the bay in such numbers that they "impeded the passage of boats".[12]

The establishment and rapid growth of surrounding communities during the 20th century caused serious damage to the bay's natural environment. Heavy harvesting of fish and other sea life, constant dredging of shipping channels, and the clearing of mangroves for shoreline development were important factors.[13] Most damaging was the discharge of waste water and other pollutants into the bay, which drastically degraded water quality.[14] The bay's health reached a low point in the 1970s. The water was so murky that sunlight could not reach the shallow bottom, reducing sea grass coverage by more than 80% compared to earlier in the century and severely impacting the marine ecosystem. Many previously common species became scarce, and bay beaches were regularly closed due to unsafe levels of bacteria and pollutants.[14][15]

Beginning in the early 1980s after federal and state legislation to improve water quality, authorities installed improved water treatment plants and tightened regulation of industrial discharge, leading to slow but steady improvement in water quality and general ecological health.[16] By 2010, measures of sea grass coverage, water clarity, and biodiversity had improved to levels last seen in the 1950s.[17]

However, industrial and agricultural runoff along with runoff from developed areas pose a continuing threat to marine ecosystems in the bay, particularly by clouding the water with sediments and algae blooms, and seagrass coverage declined slightly in the late 2010s.[15][18][1] Wastewater pollution from old phosphate plants near the shoreline has been a particular problem. For example, in 2004, a leak of 65 million gallons of acidic water from a Cargill phosphate plant on the bay's southern shore severely impacted wetlands in the vicinity of the spill.[19]

And in April 2021, a breach of a wastewater reservoir at the long-closed Piney Point phosphate plant sent over 200 millions gallons of nutrient-rich mine tailings streaming into lower Tampa Bay.[20] The resulting growth of red tide algae led to an ecocide and killed over 1000 tons of fish in the bay and along the nearby gulf coast and may lead to further damage to seagrass beds.[1]

Climate change[edit]

Tampa Bay, like other parts of Florida, is extremely vulnerable to sea level rise caused by climate change.[18] The sea level has risen 8 inches (200 mm) since 1946.[18] Tampa Bay is also one of the areas in the US most at risk when hurricanes arrive because of its location, growing population, and the geography of the bay.[21][further explanation needed]

The Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition coordinates the region's response to climate change.[22] Communities throughout the Bay, including St. Petersburg and Tampa are adapting infrastructure and buildings to face changes in sea level.[18]

Human habitation[edit]

Earliest known detailed map of Tampa Bay, by Don Francisco Maria Celi of the Spanish Royal Fleet, 1757. Map is oriented with east at the top. Pinellas peninsula is at bottom, Tampa peninsula in middle, Hillsborough River shown extending into the interior at top left.

Early inhabitants[edit]

Humans have lived in Florida for millennia, at least 14,000 years. Due to worldwide glaciation, sea levels were much lower at the time, and Florida's peninsula extended almost 60 miles west of today's coastline. Paleo-Indian sites have been found near rivers and lakes in northern Florida, leading to speculation that these first Floridians also lived on Tampa Bay when it was still a freshwater lake.[23] Evidence of human habitation from this early period has been found at the Harney Flats site, which is approximately 10 miles east of the current location of Tampa's downtown waterfront.[24]

The earliest evidence of human habitation directly on the shores of Tampa Bay comes from the Manasota culture, a variant of the Weeden Island culture, who lived in the area beginning around 5,000–6,000 years ago, after sea levels had risen to near modern levels and the bay was connected to the Gulf of Mexico.[25] This culture, which relied almost exclusively on the bay for food and other resources, was in turn replaced by the similar Safety Harbor culture by approximately 800 AD. The pre-contact Indigenous nation most associated with the Tampa Bay are the historic Tocobaga nation,[26] who are known to be among the ancestors of the contemporary Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes of Florida. [27]

European exploration[edit]

The Safety Harbor culture was dominant in the area at the time of first contact with Europeans in the mid-1500s. The Tocobaga, who built their principal town near today's Safety Harbor in the northwest corner of Old Tampa Bay, are the most documented group from that era because they had the most interactions with Spanish explorers. However, there were many other coastal villages organized into various small chiefdoms all around the bay.[28]

Not finding gold or silver in the vicinity and unable to convert the native inhabitants to Christianity, the Spanish did not remain in the Tampa Bay area for long. However, diseases they introduced decimated the native population over the ensuing decades,[29] leading to the near-total collapse of every established culture across peninsular Florida. Between this depopulation and the indifference of its colonial owners, the Tampa Bay region would be virtually uninhabited for almost 200 years.

Tampa Bay was given different names by early mapmakers. Spanish maps dated from 1584 identifies Tampa Bay as Baya de Spirito Santo ("Bay of the Holy Spirit").[30] A map dated 1695 identifies the area as Bahia Tampa.[31] Later maps dated 1794[32] and 1800[33] show the bay divided with three different names, Tampa Bay west of the Interbay peninsula and Hillsboro Bay on the east with an overall name of Bay of Spiritu Santo. At other times, the entire bay was identified as The Bay of Tocobaga.[34]

United States control[edit]

The United States acquired Florida from Spain in 1821. The name Spirito Santo seems to have disappeared from maps of the region in favor of "Tampa Bay" (sometimes divided into Tampa and Hillsboro Bays) soon after the US established Fort Brooke at the mouth of the Hillsborough River in 1824.[35] For the next several decades, during the Seminole Wars, the Tampa Bay would be a primary point of confrontation, detention, and forced expulsion of the Seminole & Miccosukee people of Florida. Fort Brooke,[36] Fort Dade, and the American military's miscellaneous Egmont Key facilities [37][38] were the primary sites associated with the removal of the Seminole in the Floridian leg of the Trail of Tears.[39][40]

For the next 100 years, many new communities were founded around the bay. Fort Brooke begat Tampa on the northeast shore, Fort Harrison (a minor military outpost on Florida's west coast) begat Clearwater, the trading post of "Braden's Town" developed into Bradenton on the south, and St. Petersburg grew quickly after its founding in the late 19th century, on the western bay shore opposite Tampa. By 2010, the Tampa Bay Area was home to over 4 million residents.


By sea[edit]

As Tampa began to grow in the mid-1800s, roads across central Florida were still just rough trails and rail lines did not yet extend down the Florida peninsula, so the most convenient means of traveling to and from the area was by sea. By the late 19th century, however, the shallow nature of Tampa Bay made it impossible for large modern vessels with deeper drafts to reach the city of Tampa's downtown wharves on Hillsboro Bay. Most ships would anchor well out from shore and transfer cargo and passengers to and from the city in smaller boats.[12]

Henry B. Plant's railroad line reached the area in 1884 and ran across the Interbay Peninsula to Old Tampa Bay, where he built the town and shipping facility of Port Tampa at its terminus.[41] In 1898, Plant used his connections in the federal government to make Port Tampa a major embarkation point for the U.S. Army during the Spanish–American War, leading to the U.S. Congress appropriating funds for the United States Army Corps of Engineers to begin the first large dredging operation in Tampa Bay. A deep shipping channel was created which linked Port Tampa to the mouth of the bay, enabling Plant to greatly expand his steamship line.[42][43] In 1917, the Corps of Engineers dredged another channel from the mouth of Tampa Bay to the Port of Tampa, instantly making the city an important shipping center.

The Corps of Engineers currently maintains more than 80 miles of deep-water channels in Tampa Bay up to a depth of 47 feet. These must be continuously re-dredged and deepened due to the sandy nature of the bay bottom. While dredging has enabled seaborne commerce to become an important part of the Tampa Bay area's economy, it has also damaged the bay's water quality and ecology. More care has been taken in recent decades to lessen the environmental impact of dredging.[44] Dredged material has also been used to create several spoil islands on the eastern side of Hillsboro Bay. These islands have become important nesting sites for many seabirds, including threatened species such as oystercatchers, and have been designated as "sanctuary islands" that are off-limits to boaters.[45][46]