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Should You Replace Your Electrical Panel?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on by .

Your electrical panel is a vital part of your home and something you want to ensure is working properly. As the location where the main power line from outside enters your home and routes power through your electrical system, it’s important to watch for problems. Particularly if you have an older service panel, you should be looking for signs of failure and perhaps even consider a replacement. Here are some of the warning signs that indicate you may need a new panel:
Regularly Tripping Circuit Breakers A panel that is past its prime may not be able to handle a power surge and will start to disconnect circuits. This can also occur because your home energy needs have exceeded the capacity of the panel. If breakers require resetting more than once a week, this is an indicator that it’s time for a new panel.

Charred or Discolored Marks Around the Circuit Breakers

Worn down wires inside the electrical panel can spawn fires that often burn themselves out. The most common indicator is charring around the circuit breakers or an unusual smell from the panel. If you suspect a panel fire, even a small one, take it seriously and get help from a licensed, professional electrician right away.

Breakers That Won’t Reset

Usually, if a circuit breaker trips, you can flip the switch, and the problem is solved. However, if the circuit breaker won’t stay reset, or if it just doesn’t restore power, the problem can be in your panel.

Have an Old Fuse Box?

Antiques around the house can be charming, but not when they can cause electrical fires. Old fuse boxes are hazardous and insufficient for supporting today’s electrical needs. It’s time for a new, more modern electrical service panel.

Electrical Panels Aren’t DIY Projects

This isn’t the project to attempt by yourself. If you’re struggling with problems with your electrical panel, or if it just looks antiquated, it’s time to call in the experts. At Cool Blew, we’re here to help with all your electrical needs. Call us at 623-872-2900 today.

It’s Cool to Be an Air “ConditioNerd”

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

Are you someone who never drives over the speed limit, religiously schedules dental cleanings every six months and files tax returns long before the April 15th deadline? While no one will deem you a rebel when you play by the rules, it can pay off in the long run – especially when it comes to diligent air conditioning maintenance.

By being the air “conditioNerd” who replaces filters every month, knows how to program the thermostat and sticks to a regular schedule for maintenance and tune-ups, you’ll ensure a long life for your air conditioner while saving on your monthly utility bill. And when you consider just how much you rely on this essential piece of home equipment, doesn’t this just make good common sense?

It’s Cool to Be Cool

Don’t let others make fun of your diligence and commitment to protecting this important investment. The irony is that those “rebels” who think it’s funny that you buy air conditioner filters in bulk and invest in a maintenance contract will likely want to hang out in your cool house when their air conditioner fails.

Ready to Become an Air ConditioNerd Too?

It starts with thinking of your air conditioner like a car. Give this complex system the attention it deserves. This includes ongoing maintenance. Without the twice-yearly tune-ups and inspections, you’re likely to run into issues down the road.

Your air conditioner can account for more than 40% of your total utility bill. And, the average new unit with installation can cost more than $5,000. Treat your unit right, and it will treat you right in return. Change air filters once a month and learn the basic components of your air conditioner. Take the time to learn how to program your thermostat so it is optimized for efficiency and be proactive if you suspect a malfunction. In other words, call for help sooner than later.

Want to learn more about caring for your air conditioner and preventive maintenance agreements? Call us today at 623-872-2900.

Why Your Toilet Keeps Getting Clogged

This entry was posted in Plumbing on by .

One of the most irritating, and yes downright gross, household inconveniences is a clogged toilet. Yuck! While it’s bound to happen every once in a while, you may have a bigger problem if it’s occurring with some frequency. If unclogging is becoming a commonplace task, keep reading…

Consider What You’re Flushing

We all know what should be flushed down the toilet – waste and toilet paper. But, often other things are also flushed down which can cause clogs. If you’re experiencing ongoing clogs, consider if any of the following items have been flushed down:

  • Paper towels
  • Wet wipes
  • Dental floss
  • Medicine
  • Hair
  • Facial tissues
  • Sanitary products
  • Diapers

By keeping these non-flushables out of your toilet, you can avoid many clogs.

It Could Be Mechanical

One of the most common sources of clogged toilets is an improperly working flapper inside the toilet. The flapper needs to open all the way to release sufficient water to enable a proper flush. If the flapper isn’t working correctly, first adjust the chain to make sure it opens completely when flushing.

Grab the Plunger

Another source of clogs can be objects getting stuck in the trap of the toilet. This is the s-shaped portion of the toilet that sits between the toilet and the drain. If this is a possibility, place your plunger over the entire toilet opening and move it up and down. The suction of the plunger may be able to remove anything that is caught in the trap.

Unclog the Drain Line

If it’s not the trap or flusher, the clog may be further down in the drain line. A chemical, lye drain unclogging solution can help remove the clog. Make sure to carefully follow the directions on the product. However, if this doesn’t work, it could be a problem with a connecting drain line. This is a good time to call in a professional to check all your drain lines and identify the source of the problem.

It Might Be Hard Water Build Up

Here in Arizona, our hard water can cause mineral deposits to form on anything – including the inside of your toilet. If there appears to be lime buildup under the rim of your toilet, use a wire hanger to scrape it off. You can also use a mixture of one-part muriatic acid to 10-parts water. Pour this solution down your toilet’s overflow tube. This quick fix can frequently eliminate clogs.

If you can’t figure out the source of your clogged toilet, or you just don’t want to deal with the problem yourself, call the experts at Cool Blew at 623-872-2900 today.

The Diminishing Returns of an Aging Air Conditioner

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

Like a beloved car with too many miles on the odometer, an aging, but still functioning, air conditioner can be hard to part with. Yet, there comes a point when you need to weigh the benefits of keeping it versus investing in a new, more efficient model.

Although, a well-built air conditioner should provide up to 20 years of cooling comfort, its capabilities can begin to diminish over time, and this usually happens around the same time that minor malfunctions begin to occur. The key to maximizing your investment in an air conditioner is knowing the point when there are diminishing returns in ongoing repairs and dropping efficiency.

Containing Monthly Utility Bills

Homeowners often find utility bills creeping up as their air conditioner gets close to the end of its lifespan. This is because aging units lose efficiency. With a new air conditioner, you not only get the benefit of a unit that is functioning optimally, you also gain the advantage of improved technology that has dramatically increased efficiency. You’ll likely find moderate to substantial savings, particularly during the hot summer months. Your air conditioning specialist can help you calculate just how much you can expect to save each month.

Mitigating the Risk of Repairs

A repair here. A repair there. Over time, even minor fixes can add up. This is money that could be invested instead into a new, more efficient system. If you’re finding that you’re frequently calling for repairs or trying to ignore the problems that will require yet another service call, you may likely save yourself money and headaches by replacing your unit.

It’s Easier Than You Think

Yes, replacing your air conditioner is a big deal. But, it doesn’t have to be a big hassle. At Cool Blew, we are here to help you through the process – from guiding you towards the right unit for your home to providing seamless, professional installation. We even offer financing to help minimize the upfront investment.

With a new air conditioner, you won’t have to worry about that next air conditioner problem, and you’ll delight in the savings on your monthly utility bill. Call us today for expert guidance on your next air conditioner at 623-872-2900.

What’s a Slab Leak and How Can It Affect My Home?

This entry was posted in Plumbing on by .

Imagine coming home from a two-week vacation feeling rested and restored from your time away. You pull up to your Phoenix area home and everything looks fine. But when you open the door you notice a slightly musty smell. A moment later, as you step into the living room, your heart sinks. There’s an inch or two of water on the floor, and everything is completely soaked. There’s no gushing water from a broken pipe, no evidence of a what caused the flood. Unfortunately, you’ve just discovered the homeowner’s nightmare referred to as a slab leak. Undetected slab leaks that grow into major water damage incidents affect many homes in the greater Phoenix area.

Slab Leak Causes

New homes are built on large concrete pads referred to as “slabs.” In the past, many Phoenix area home builders made the choice to install plumbing pipes under the slabs of new homes for a variety of reasons. In terms of design, there were some perceived advantages, but also, over time, unintended negative consequences. Under certain circumstances, water pipes beneath a slab can become damaged or develop leaks, and that’s when serious water damage can occur. Soil conditions, shifting soil or improper installation can affect the outside of the pipes while hard water, chemicals and mineral deposits can degrade the inside of pipes. Either of these conditions can result in leaking pipes beneath the concrete foundation of your home. A slab leak can degrade the foundation of your home, as well as cause significant damage to your carpeting, flooring, furniture and possessions.

Signs You May Have A Slab Leak

There are some early warning signals that indicate you may have pipes leaking beneath your concrete slab. Has your water bill increased for no apparent reason over the last few months? Do you notice moisture on the floor or unexplained wet spots in your carpeting? When it’s very quiet late at night, do you notice the faint sound of gurgling or running water even though there are no faucets turned on, no appliances running, such as your dishwasher or washing machine? These signs could point to a slab leak and should be checked by a professional.

What Should You Do If You Have A Slab Leak?

A slab leak is a serious problem which has the potential to cause severe damage to your home. It’s not a do it yourself weekend project and unfortunately, it won’t fix itself. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse. If you suspect water may be leaking under your foundation, call the professionals at Cool Blew for expert leak detection today.

For all your plumbing and HVAC needs, call the true blue, Cool Blew professionals today at 623-872-2900.

Ensuring the Safety of Your Ceiling Fans

This entry was posted in Safety on by .

With triple digit heat throughout a good portion of the year, ceiling fans are a necessity in Arizona homes. While they are incredibly useful and energy-efficient, it’s important to keep some safety precautions in mind when installing them.

Distance from the Floor

Where to install a ceiling fan is an important decision. Fan blades should be no closer than seven feet from the floor. For maximum efficiency, the fan should be set around eight to nine feet above the floor. Fans with low profiles are available for ceilings that are lower than eight feet. As well, fans should be at least 18 inches away from walls and doors to prevent blades from hitting.

Lack of Support

One of the biggest hazards of ceiling fans is that they can break free from the ceiling if they’re not installed properly.  Every ceiling fan should be supported by an electrical junction box that was designed specifically for ceiling fans. A fan brace box must also be used to keep it secure. Don’t be tempted to simply install a ceiling fan where a lighting fixture once hung without upgrading these boxes. It can lead to the fan falling.

Poor Quality Assembly

Misaligned fan blades can cause fans to wobble. The biggest risk with a wobbly fan is its light fixture covers or shades loosening and falling. This misalignment can be caused by warping or bent or loose blades. To ensure your fan is safe and not wobbling, each blade should be securely attached with screws and tightened, prior to installation.

Call an Expert Electrician for Ceiling Fan Installation

Proper installation and maintenance of your ceiling fans is essential for keeping you and your loved ones safe. Your best option is to call an expert electrician who has the installation know-how to eliminate the risk of a falling or wobbly fan. At Cool Blew, we work with you to ensure your ceiling fans are properly placed and installed. As well, we are available for all your other home electrical projects of any size. From repairing an outlet to complete rewiring, call the Phoenix area electrical experts at Cool Blew at 623-872-2900 today.

Spring Cleaning for Your Plumbing System

This entry was posted in Plumbing on by .

Spring is nearly here, tempting us to open windows and doors to bring the season’s freshness indoors. This makes it the perfect time to do a little deep cleaning around the house. As part of your “spring clean,” you won’t want to forget your plumbing. Yes, it requires some freshening up just like other aspects of your home. And, with a little annual TLC, you can enable your plumbing fixtures and system to last longer and perform better.

Here are some plumbing-related items to add to your home maintenance “to do” list.

  • Use a bacterial drain cleaner to eliminate debris and build-up from drains.
  • Snake any slow floor drains and pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains to prevent sewer odors from entering your home.
  • Remove mineral build-up from faucets and shower heads.
  • nstall mesh strainers over floor drains to prevent hair and other debris from going down and causing clogs
  • Check water supply lines to your faucets, toilets, washing machine and water-using appliances. Look for tears, leaks, or bulges.
  • Do a leak inspection in and around your home, including a water meter reading check to ensure you’re not missing anything.

It’s a Good Time to Call Your Plumber Too!

Along with performing these annual maintenance tasks, it’s also wise to obtain an annual inspection from a plumber who can check pipes for leaks or damage, test your system and replace any pipes or lines before they become bigger problems. Don’t forget your water heater. Your plumber can also ensure it is working as it should be to prevent any unwanted surprises.

Your plumbing is vital to your home. It’s good common sense to be proactive and keep your system and fixtures clean and well-maintained. By doing so, you will save yourself a lot of headaches and dollars down the road by preventing a minor issue from turning into a major problem. Call Cool Blew, your expert source for plumbing in and around Phoenix today at 623-872-2900.

The Benefits of a Smart Thermostat

This entry was posted in HVAC Systems on by .

For most homeowners, controlling the temperature in your home means manually adjusting a thermostat that regulates your heating and air conditioning system. If you have a programmable thermostat, you have the benefits of setting the temperature for different times of the day. The next step in the evolution of heating and cooling is smart, wi-fi-enabled thermostats that enable you to control your home’s climate remotely, learn from your habits and behaviors, monitor your energy consumption in real-time and even adjust the temperature based on ambient conditions like humidity.

This means you don’t have to turn the dial from a panel on your wall to change the temperature. Instead, you can tell your HVAC system to turn on or off from an app on a mobile device. Your smart thermostat will not only adjust the temperature. It will also show you how long it will take to make the change you requested. And, you can keep track of how much you’re really spending on cooling and heating costs.

Could a Smart Thermostat Save You Money?

Although a smart thermostat is more expensive than your standard wall-mounted, programmable model, it may be able to save you dollars in the long run by enabling you to better manage your energy consumption. This is particularly true if you’re forgetful about adjusting a programmable thermostat and choose a learning type smart thermostat that can eliminate the hassle out of managing your home’s temperature.

While cost-savings is certainly a perk, the real benefit of a smart thermostat is automating a task that you previously had to do manually. Not having to adjust your wall-mounted thermostat every time you leave, come home or go on vacation may be well worth the investment.
At Cool Blew, we sell and install a variety of wireless and wi-fi-enabled thermostats. Call us today at 623-872-2900 to learn more about this advancement in your home’s comfort.

HVAC Related Fires and How to Prevent Them

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If you have a relative or a friend who’s been through the extreme misfortune of a house fire, you know it’s one of the most traumatic experiences a homeowner will ever go through. Seeing a family’s possessions, hopes and aspirations go up in flames is utterly tragic. In the United States, over 350,000 homes are affected each year with fires causing billions of dollars in damages. Fires caused by HVAC related issues are particularly frustrating because many, if not most HVAC fires are utterly preventable. It’s ironic that the very appliance charged with cooling your home can also, if faulty or left neglected, be responsible for torching your dreams.

As any fireman will tell you, most fires would never happen if homeowners would simply pay attention to typical home danger zones and fire hazards and practice solid home maintenance preventive measures. Oddly, when queried, most homeowners feel that though they are aware house fires occur, it will never happen to them. Why is that?

Optimism Bias

The term, “optimism bias” (also known as unrealistic optimism) states most people believe they are at less risk of going through a negative experience, like a fire, than their neighbors or someone on the news. The danger of this kind of rosy thinking is it gives people a false sense of security and blinds them to taking basic steps to protect their homes.

Home HVAC Fire Hazards

When a fireman walks through your home, he sees things differently than you do. Here are some of the most common HVAC related fire hazards:

  • Electrical issues are the number one reason for HVAC-related fires. When people purchase homes, they don’t always know the history of their HVAC units. As appliances get older, the wear and tear can cause issues with electrical wiring or circuits. HVAC units pull a lot of power, and they can overheat when they are running full tilt for hours or even days at a time during a summer heatwave. Knowing the condition of your HVAC unit, inside and out is essential to preventing dangerous situations. If your unit has not been serviced recently, it’s a good idea to have a professional check it out. Maybe you haven’t had any problems with your unit in years. Don’t let your optimism bias prevent you from having regular checkups for your HVAC unit.
  • HVAC units in the garage or basement are sometimes incorrectly used as shelves or “temporary” storage areas, which is especially dangerous in cramped quarters. Setting boxes, paints, chemicals, cleaning solutions or anything at all on an HVAC unit is a very bad idea. The area surrounding your HVAC unit should always be completely clear.
  • Improperly installed units with poorly fitted connections can sometimes go unnoticed for years. Many HVAC related fires are the result of a mistake made by an installer which went undetected until some other factor (such as an earthquake) occurs. A good technician will check all the fittings, gas and electrical lines connecting to your unit.

Schedule an AC Home Inspection with a Professional

Springtime is a great season to schedule a home inspection. Don’t wait for the first heatwave to hit when HVAC companies are deluged with calls. Call Cool Blew today!

Spring Cleaning for Your HVAC System

This entry was posted in HVAC Maintenance on by .


Spring cleaning is a term generally associated with a thorough house cleaning or emptying the garage to get rid of accumulated junk. Out with the old, in with the new. Are you aware that your HVAC unit runs better with regular maintenance? And, your air filters and system also benefit from a deep cleansing on a regular basis. Spring is the perfect season for yearly maintenance before the HVAC busy summer season hits.

One of the most important, yet unseen, aspects of a clean house is clean air to breathe day in and day out. Protecting your family from dust and allergens, especially during the pollen-heavy spring and summer months can be crucial to those suffering from asthma or other respiratory conditions. The fact that we cannot see the insides of our home air delivery system often means air ducts suffer from neglect. Dust and dirt accumulates over time, and it’s important to include air ducts on your spring cleaning list.

Desert Climate

When it comes to air conditioners and compressors, the desert can be a harsh and unforgiving environment. Exposed to the elements, often installed on roofs where temperatures soar, air conditioning units are subjected to intense sunlight, extreme wind, heavy rainstorms and constant dust. No other household appliance withstands the year in, year out stresses that your HVAC system routinely absorbs. Dirt and dust blowing in the desert wind is an ever-present nemesis and can negatively impact the workings of your compressor and air conditioning unit. It would surprise many homeowners to see what an HVAC spring cleaning reveals.

Spring Checkup

During the winter months, your air conditioning compressor can accumulate dirt and debris which may hinder the inner workings of the unit. Our trained technicians will perform a detailed inspection and restore your air conditioner to top form. Just like your car, regular maintenance checks of your HVAC unit will help prevent major problems from occurring.

Spring in Arizona is the best time to take advantage of the most perfect winter weather in the U.S. While you’re busy with outdoor activities, don’t overlook the opportunity to schedule a checkup for your HVAC system before the summer heat hits. Call Cool Blew today to schedule your maintenance check at 623-872-2900.