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How to Avoid a Holiday Season Furnace Failure

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How to Avoid a Holiday Season Furnace Failure

What happens when an appliance that rarely causes problems goes out? In Arizona, your furnace plays a distant second fiddle to the air conditioner, but it can cause problems—and Murphy’s Law dictates that it will most likely cause you grief during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Freshen Up Your Furnace

The fact that furnaces are so dependable can lull even longtime homeowners into a false sense of security. Here are five reasons to have your furnace inspected sooner than later, even if it appears to be working just fine:

  1. Detect Carbon Monoxide Leaks – One of the most important reasons for a yearly furnace inspection is to check for carbon monoxide leaks. An odorless, colorless gas, it can be potentially dangerous (even deadly) to you and your family.
  2. Check Igniters and Clean the Burners – Whether you have an older gas furnace with a pilot light or a newer electronic ignition system, it is essential that the igniting sequence of your furnace works perfectly. If you notice a hesitation or delay in the ignition process of your furnace once it’s turned on, your burners might need to be cleaned. Our technicians will inspect this crucial part of your furnace.
  3. Inactivity Often Leads to a Dusty, Dirty Furnace – When your furnace sits inactive for many months, dust and dirt builds up, settling into the moving parts and fittings of your furnace. Occasionally rust will appear on the burners. You may notice the first time you fire up your furnace after months of inaction, there is a funny odor. That smell is the dust being burned off the exposed surfaces of your furnace.
  4. Thermostat Checkup – The key to proper home heating starts with your thermostat. We will check the calibration, the wiring and the accuracy of your thermostat and make sure it’s working properly.
  5. Replace Dirty Filters with Clean Air Filters – Air filters keep your home free from indoor air pollutants, such as dust, dander, and the fine Sonoran Desert dirt that tracks into your house. Replacing your air filters is a priority for any service inspection.

Heat is On

With Thanksgiving behind us, and the new year just ahead, take the time to have your furnace checked before you experience any problems. Give us a call at 623-872-2900 and one of our expert technicians at Cool Blew will inspect your furnace and your entire HVAC system for you.

Replacing your HVAC System During the Holidays

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During the fall and winter, Arizona homeowners rejoice in switching off their air conditioners for at least a couple of months. While it’s easy to turn your attention away from your air conditioner to heating when you don’t need it, it may be the best time to consider replacement. If you’ve already identified that you will soon need a new unit because it’s old and beginning to malfunction, there are significant benefits to replacing it now, rather than waiting until the spring or summer.

Most HVAC experts will tell you that fall and winter are an optimal time to replace your HVAC system for several important reasons. First, fewer homeowners and business owners are replacing units during this time. This means that you won’t have an extended wait for an estimate or for installation. Replacing your unit while you’re not reliant on it also means that you won’t be caught unexpectedly with a system failure. As anyone who has survived the heat of an Arizona summer knows, an air conditioner failure can be very disruptive.

When Should You Replace Your HVAC System?

There are some indicators that signal that you should consider a replacement. Let’s take a look at four signs.

1. Older Than 10 Years

Although some air conditioners will function seamlessly for decades, others don’t. A good rule of thumb is to begin considering the possibility of replacement when your unit hits 10 years in service.

2. Problems with Efficiency

Have your utility bills increased considerably despite no change in your usage pattern? Has your unit always underperformed or cycled excessively? It may be time to call out an expert for a load calculation.

3. Low SEER Rating

You may also be struggling with an older air conditioner with a low Seasonal Energy Efficiency (SEER) ratio. Today’s air conditioners must have a rating of at least 13 and many quality units will have ratings well above 14. A higher SEER rating means greater efficiency and a lower monthly utility bill.

4. Extend Lifespan

While a new HVAC system can ensure your home is functioning smoothly for many years to come, you may still have plenty of years of life left in your existing unit. If so, the best way to maximize its lifespan is to get it serviced regularly. By keeping your HVAC system well-maintained, you can extend its usability dramatically.
Want to learn more? Call your HVAC experts today at Cool Blew at 623-872-2900.

Fire Up the Heat

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With temperatures dropping, and Thanksgiving just around the corner, most Phoenix metro homeowners will soon be firing up their furnace for the first time since spring. To get ready for the holidays while avoiding common furnace frustrations, it’s helpful to take a few minutes to schedule a seasonal maintenance visit. You’ll ensure the safe and successful operation of your furnace and go a long way towards enabling it to last for years to come. And it’s important to remember, where there is heat, there may be a potential for danger.

Turn on the Gas

Gas furnaces do a dependable job of economically heating homes. With gas being highly flammable, you should always maintain a safety-first attitude. If you notice the smell of gas at any time, immediately open doors and exit your home before calling for emergency services. The ignition sequence for your gas furnace is triggered by the pilot light, which should be on and ready to go. Until your pilot light is on, your furnace will not work at all. If you’re having difficulty lighting your pilot, just give us a call.

Keep the Air Flowing

The importance of unobstructed airflow in forced air heating cannot be overstated, both in terms of exhaust and distributing heat throughout your house. The danger of gas heaters is real. Burning fossil fuels produces carbon monoxide (CO), which can be lethal if not properly vented from your home. It’s highly recommended that you have professionals check your HVAC system once a year to guard against CO poisoning. During a fall tune-up Cool Blew will inspect your draft inducer fan which feeds air to the heat exchanger. Our professionals will check your blower fan which pushes warm air throughout your house.

Be Smart

One of the most common problems we encounter in service calls this time of year is the case of mistaken identification. Many times, homeowners go to turn on their heat and nothing happens. People often assume something is wrong with their furnace. However, many times the issue is with the thermostat and not the furnace. It may be time for you to replace your old thermostat with a new wi-fi enabled smart thermostat.

Cool Blew is Hot

Making certain your HVAC heat is working properly and safely in your house is a top priority. Call our Cool Blew professionals today at 623-872-2900 to schedule your appointment.

We salute our veterans and active-duty members of the military on November 11 for Veterans Day. Thank you for your service.

When’s the Best Time to Check Your Home’s Water Heater?

This entry was posted in Plumbing on by .

If you don’t want to get out of bed one morning and find a pool of water forming inside your home or outside your house from a broken water heater tank leaking, there is no better time than the present to inspect your water heater. Homeowners frequently ask how they can best prevent water heater-related issues in the Valley of the Sun. Here are a few things to consider now that the weather is changing to chilly mornings and evenings.

Inspect

On average, hot water heaters have a lifespan of 10 years. Summer heat in the Valley of the Sun, malfunctioning parts, and rust and sediment buildup can all cause premature failure. A visual inspection of your water heater only takes a few minutes. Be on the lookout for some of these common signs that indicate a possible water heater leak or rupture.

Rusty

If you notice rusty water flowing out of hot water taps, a likely culprit is corrosion in your water heater—a clear signal to get your tank evaluated.

Pooling

When you inspect the tank and notice water pooling underneath it or leaky pipe connections, it’s also time to call for plumbing help.

Water

More than 85% of America’s water is considered hard water. Phoenix is among the cities with the hardest water with an abundance of calcium, iron, and magnesium, originating from the soil. It then travels to Phoenix area water treatment plants which contributes to hardness. Hard water minerals can build up on your water heater’s heating element. And sediment can collect at the bottom of the tank, causing the heater to run longer than necessary. As the water takes longer to heat, it causes the steel on the bottom of the water heater to deteriorate. Eventually your water heater will break whether it’s electric, gas, or solar.

Anode Rod Issues?

Never hear of an anode rod? It’s the steel core wire with magnesium, aluminum, or zinc around it that protects the metal lining inside your tank to prevent premature rust and corrosion. The anode rod is designed to last about five years, but some things can shorten its lifespan, including water salts and well water. If your water heater is over five years old and hasn’t had the anode rod replaced, it’s time to call your local professional plumber.

Schedule

Cool Blew’s experienced plumbers can help to quickly inspect, check, and replace the anode rod, or fix a malfunctioning part like a thermostat. We replace broken water heaters, too. Want to learn more about water heaters and how to keep them functioning longer? Call the licensed plumbers at Cool Blew today at 623-872-2900.

Schedule Preventative Maintenance to Prevent Your HVAC System from Playing Scary Tricks!

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Schedule Preventative Maintenance to Prevent Your HVAC System from Playing Scary Tricks!

Halloween is here, and it’s time to turn our attention to those spooky, scary things that send shivers up our spine. Yet, being frightened by a ghoul or ghost is one thing. Being haunted by a malfunctioning HVAC system is something else entirely.

The best way to avoid an unexpected and unwanted air conditioner or heater problem is to schedule regular, preventive maintenance. Without those twice-yearly tune ups and inspections, your HVAC system is at risk of some scary and potentially dangerous problems.

Boo–No Heat or Cool Air

A neglected system is prone to unexpected and sudden breakdowns. And you know what that means? Yes, you got it. You’ll be dealing with an uncomfortably cold (or warm) house and an unhappy household.

Hallo-Scream You’ve Got Restricted Airflow

Clogged, dirty air filters restrict airflow, create stress on your system, and rapidly diminish indoor air quality. If you do just one thing for your HVAC system, make it regular air filter replacements.

Drain Pans Gone Batty

Drain pans can leak and overflow if they’re not regularly cleaned. This can result in water damage, as well as unhealthy mold, spores, and mildew growth.

Spooky Acting Belts

A slipping belt can wreak havoc on bearings, pulleys, and shafts within your HVAC system. This ultimately will damage the motor, resulting in higher utility bills and expensive repairs.

Mind Your Mummy Bearings

Bearing cavities require regular lubrication to keep them operating effectively. If they aren’t maintained, you can expect to be dealing with costly issues of overheating and bearing failure.

Refrigerant Leaks are Witchful Thinking

Refrigerant leaks, big and small, can reduce the efficiency of your system. With a routine maintenance visit, any refrigerant level issue will be identified and repaired quickly.

Trick or Treat Broken Compressor

Like filters and drain pans, compressor coils require regular cleaning.

A Faulty Heat Exchanger Is Hair Raising

A faulty heat exchanger isn’t just a hassle. It can be downright dangerous by causing carbon monoxide to seep into your indoor air.

Calling Cool Blew Is a Treat

What’s not scary during Halloween? Making an appointment for a tune up of your home’s HVAC system. Don’t wait until you’re dealing with the unexpected. Schedule time with Cool Blew today. Worry-free HVAC is a Halloween treat that will continue to give throughout the year. Call Cool Blew today at 623-872-2900 to learn more about our preventative maintenance plans.

Have a spooktacular and safe Halloween from the team at Cool Blew!

When Should You Replace Your Furnace with a Heat Pump

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Summer seems to never end in Arizona. Then October rolls around, nighttime temperatures begin to drop below 80, you wake up chilly, and your thoughts turn to heat. For some Phoenix metro residents, the old gas furnace has been doing a serviceable job of heating the house for years—in some cases, decades. Exactly because furnaces tend to operate trouble free, furnaces are hardly given a thought until something goes wrong, or their useful service lifespan has ended. Depending on when your house was built, how old your furnace is, and its type, you may want to consider making the switch from a gas furnace to an energy efficient heat pump.

Gas Furnace

Phoenix has experienced many homebuilding booms since the 1970s. Depending on when your home was constructed, you may have a gas furnace that’s well past its prime. The fact is heat pumps are very efficient and cost less to run than most gas-powered systems.

Heat Pump

Heat pumps operate through heat exchange by transferring heat from one place to another—like an air conditioner in reverse. When in heat mode, they move heat from the outdoors to the indoors which turns out to be a very efficient way to heat your home. Studies have shown that heat pumps can save homeowners up to 30 percent annually on their energy bills.
Any time a combustible fuel is involved, there’s always the chance for accidents. Heat pumps have a better safety record than gas because there’s literally no chance for gas leaks or fires. Whether you choose to go with a heat pump or stay with your gas furnace, you should have your HVAC system checked every fall to make sure it’s in safe, working condition.

Cool Blew Can Help You

The best way to evaluate what form of home heating you have and what type of replacement system is best for you is to schedule a visit with one of our service technicians. Our experts will perform a home heating assessment which can be done in conjunction with your fall service tune up. Our friendly service professionals will provide you with all the information you need to make the right decision.
As the temperatures drop, your need for effective, efficient home heating will be on your mind. If you’ve got questions about heat pumps, we have answers. Give Cool Blew a call today to schedule your consultation at 623-872-2900. Your comfort is our business 24/7.

Get Ready to Fire Up the Heater

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Get Ready to Fire Up the Heater

Arizona is known for its sunshine, with over 300 days on average of sunny days in some areas. Yet, new residents are often surprised to discover that it can get downright chilly in the Sonoran Desert during the late fall and winter months. This is the primary reason why it’s important to ensure your heater is functioning and ready to go when the temperatures begin to dip.

Too often, homeowners are unpleasantly surprised that their heater is malfunctioning or not working at all when they turn it on for the first time in months. Here are two things you want to be aware of when you flip the switch.

Burn Out

After months of a heater sitting unused, it can collect excessive dust and debris. When you turn on the heater for the first time on a cool fall evening, don’t be surprised to catch a whiff of burning dust. It’s not a pleasant odor, but it usually dissipates within the first few minutes. However, if you continue to smell something burning, there could be a problem, and it’s worthwhile to call a technician to find out what’s going on. Cool Blew’s skilled contractors will blow out dust and debris inside your furnace and change air filters, as well as fix any problems causing the smell.

No Sounds of Silence

Arizona homeowners are often so accustomed to the sound of the air conditioner humming along that they barely hear it. However, a furnace or heater is a different story. They can thump or clunk when you turn on the heat. But this shouldn’t be as loud as a bang. If this is what you’re hearing, you could have a problem with an ignitor. Time to call Cool Blew.

Schedule A Tune Up with Locally Owned Cool Blew

Here in the Valley of the Sun, you probably won’t need to flip on the heat until November, but you will want to be ready when chilly evening and colder morning temperatures arrive. By scheduling a tune up today, you’ll gain peace of mind when the weather shifts to cooler daily temperatures. Your HVAC system will be thoroughly checked with an extra emphasis on ensuring the heater is ready to fire up. This includes viewing the gas pilot to make certain it’s lit and ready to go.

With Halloween and the start of November just around the corner, avoid the maintenance rush and schedule your autumn HVAC tune-up today. Call Cool Blew’s expert technicians at 623-872-2900.

Home Plumbing Headache: Sweating Pipes

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Home Plumbing Headache: Sweating Pipes

Have you noticed your home’s pipes dripping? It’s a common problem that is often caused by high temperatures combined with excessive moisture in the air. And yes, this can even happen after the official end of our yearly monsoon thunderstorm season. This phenomenon is commonly known as “sweating pipes.”

When you examine the sweating pipe closely, you’ll quickly discover that it’s not leaking. The dripping water is actually caused by condensation. Pipes can collect moisture when the warm, moist air surrounding cold water pipes interact with one another. The result is condensation. Specifically, cold water in your pipes will cool the air surrounding your home’s pipes, and condensation will form on the outside of exposed pipes. In layman’s terms, this moist air is water vapor wanting to become water once again.

The primary concern of pipe sweating is that it can create damage over time. Furniture, carpet, flooring, ceilings, home furnishings, and walls can be damaged from pooling water, mildew and mold that grows unabated. The leaking water may even increase the likelihood of an exterior or interior termite invasion.

Drip Dry It

So, what should you do if you’re seeing sweating pipes in your home? Insulation! Similar to how your hot water tank is insulated with a blanket, foam insulating pipes work the same way. If you’re a DIYer, there are self-adhesive or “drip tape” types of insulation at your local hardware store that adhere to pipes to prevent moisture. Make certain to wipe down the pipe and thoroughly dry it before applying the tape. Wind the pipe tape until it covers both fittings and pipe. Of course, beforehand turn off the water supply to the affected areas. Cutting water at the main source outside your home may be the easiest.

If you need to further reduce humidity created by sweating pipes, you can use a portable dehumidifier. Depending on your HVAC system, you can also turn on the thermostat setting to take care of this issue.

Don’t Sweat It

If you’re not the DIY-type, or your home plumbing skills can’t cut it, call your locally-owned plumbing professionals at Cool Blew today at 623-872-2900. Our certified plumbing experts can repair all your plumbing issues. We’ll fix it right the first time and take pride in being there for you 365 days a year, 24/7 servicing satisfied customers in the Valley of the Sun since 2002.

Step into Fall with these HVAC ABCs

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Step into Fall with these HVAC ABCs

Fall has officially arrived in the Valley of the Sun. It’s time to transition from monsoon season to outdoor dining, outside festivals, and pleasant meals on your balcony, deck, portico, or patio. Running a household is challenging in the best of times. Between landscaping changes, preparing for upcoming holidays, and typical house repairs, you and your family can stay busy keeping up with everything.  You’re faced with so many demands on your precious time, it helps to have a simple system in place to lighten the workload.

HVAC ABCs

For many homeowners, programming the thermostat is the extent of their air conditioning involvement. That is, until the AC unit breaks down. Here are a few handy ABCs of HVAC service that will help you keep your system in top-notch form.

A is for Air Filters

Changing your air filters on a monthly basis, especially in Arizona, is a great habit to get into. Living in Phoenix means dealing with tons of ultra-fine desert dirt swirling through the air during monsoon season dust storms. The extremely hot, usually dry Sonoran Desert climate, excess of particulate matter from farms and minimally landscaped properties, and dust almost constantly floating in the air, necessitates paying attention to your air filters. Homeowners with cats and dogs know that pet dander can accumulate at a high rate. Clean AC air filters are your first line defense against a house full of pet generated dander.

B is for Breaker Switch

Anytime your air conditioning unit stops working, the first thing you should always do is check your breaker switch. Power outages, power surges, power poles knocked down due to car accidents or monsoon thunderstorms, and brownouts can trip your breaker. Many times, power will go out for a brief moment then back on without you realizing what has happened. Yet, 30 minutes later, you notice your house is getting very warm. Over the years, Cool Blew technicians have made numerous service calls for worn down, faulty, or easily tripped breaker switches.

C is for Capacitors

Actually, your AC unit has many Cs in it. Capacitor, compressor, condenser, coils, and contactor. But one of the most common air conditioning repairs is replacing burnt-out capacitors. In fact, more than 66% of all air conditioning repairs are related to this and other similar electrical issues.

Cool Blew is Here to Keep You Cool

Scheduling regular maintenance on your HVAC system twice a year, in spring and in fall, is the best advice we can offer to keep your HVAC system running smoothly. Call your local Cool Blew professionals today at 623-872-2900 to schedule an appointment. Your comfort is our business.

Get an Early Start to Fall by Kicking Off HVAC Preparedness

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Get an Early Start to Fall by Kicking Off HVAC Preparedness

Summer is winding down in the Valley of the Sun. You’re probably more than ready for a break from the relentless heat and monsoon thunderstorms this summer. Are you sure that your HVAC system is ready for the seasonal change to fall? The following are some tips to prepare for the annual fall kickoff as the temperatures steadily dip below the century mark.

Late Summer AC Unit Outdoors Cleaning

Summer storms often result in branches, leaves, and debris accumulating around exterior air conditioning units. With the monsoon season officially ending in a few weeks, this is the perfect time to clear vegetation and dirt that can impact HVAC functionally. Trim back bushes and landscaping that surround your unit. Remove dead leaves, branches, and weeds.

Late Summer AC Unit Indoors Cleaning

Summer winds also can wreak havoc on the interior of your HVAC system, causing dust to quickly collect inside your unit, ductwork, and filters. With summer almost over, replace or clean your indoor air filters. It’s a simple task that can dramatically improve your indoor air quality and the efficiency of your system.

Quick Visual HVAC System Inspection

While much of your system isn’t visible, you can still conduct a preliminary inspection to determine if there are any obvious issues. Grab a flashlight. Inspect the outdoor unit, as well as your furnace, vents, and any visible areas of ductwork. Look for potential problems like leaks, loose seals, or cracks. Next, turn on your system. Check to make sure air is moving properly through every vent.

HVAC Technician Tune-Up

Not every issue can be discovered through a visual inspection. This is why it’s important to get regular tune-ups to ensure your system is working as it should be. A professionally trained HVAC technician knows exactly what to look for, as well as what to do to extend the life and efficiency of your system. This includes lubricating moving parts and tightening electrical connections.

Winter chill is just around the corner. Be prepared by scheduling a late summer or early fall tune-up with Cool Blew. It’s the best way to ensure the efficiency of your system and prevent a small issue from turning into a costly repair. Call us today at 623-872-2900 to schedule a time that’s convenient for you.