This year on April 22, we celebrate the 49th Earth Day. Created to increase awareness about the environment, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the planet by taking part in eco-friendly activities. Because we, at Cool Blew, focus on conserving water and other “green” plumbing-related strategies each and every day, we wanted to share a few tips that can help you save water. And, as an extra bonus, these tips can help you save some “green” in your wallet, too!
Switch to a Low-Flow Showerhead
Consider that a conventional showerhead uses approximately four gallons of water per minute. With a low-flow showerhead, you can slash this in half. This means that this one simple change can save nearly 3,000 gallons of water per year for a family of four.
Check Toilet Tanks for Leaks
You may be surprised to learn that water leaks account for about 12 percent of all water use in the average American home. One of the most common sources of leaks is toilets. Take a few minutes and test for leaks. Simply remove the tank lid and drop a dye table or a couple of drops of food dye into the upper tank. Wait about 15 minutes. If you see color in the toilet bowl, your toilet is leaking.
Consider a Water Heater Upgrade
If you have an aging water heater, you’re likely using more water and energy than you need to be. Today’s tank water heaters and tankless water heaters can help you save substantially on your water and energy consumption.
Get Faucet Leaks Fixed
Do you have a faucet that drips? This is a major contributor to water waste. Call Cool Blew, your local plumbing experts, to look for and stop leaks throughout your home. You’ll start seeing the savings on your water bill immediately.
Make the message of Earth Day something that’s with you every day by preventing water loss around your home. Call Cool Blew today to schedule an appointment. We can help you with everything from toilet and faucet leaks to water heater replacement.
With the wealth of home improvement shows and online how-to videos now available, it’s no wonder that do-it-yourself projects are more popular than ever. Homeowners are increasingly emboldened to tackle a bathroom renovation or paint a bedroom. Yet, not all home improvements are wise to do without professional help. And, some can even be risky if they’re not executed correctly. When it comes to potentially dangerous projects, those that involve electrical work top the list.
In other words, when it comes time to fix, rewire or repair electrical work, don’t take chances. Call a professional electrician.
Unlike painting, tiling or demo work, electrical wiring is complex and potentially dangerous. Amateur electrical work can result in poor wire connections, overloaded circuits or faulty grounding. All these issues can be hazardous to your home, as well as to you and your loved ones. Just how common are electrical malfunctions? According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, over 50,000 house fires each year in the United States are caused by an electrical problem.
Don’t be tempted to save money by doing it yourself or trusting an unexperienced friend or family member. It’s better to be safe than sorry by getting the job done right.
Licensed electricians undergo extensive education and training and stay up-to-date on the most current electrical codes. They also must pass an electrical licensing exam which requires an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the National Electrical Code – a set of standardized guidelines adopted for the United States for the installation of electrical wiring and the operation of equipment and tools that may be needed on the job. While licensing requirements vary from state to state, most require electricians to first gain electrical work experience as an apprentice for three to six years before they can be licensed.
Also, some electrical work requires a permit, and cities are reluctant to issue permits to unlicensed electricians. Working with a licensed electrician means the work in your home will be done according to both city requirements and safety guidelines.
Whether you need wires fixed or installed, choosing a licensed electrician offers you peace of mind and protection. Call Cool Blew today for all your home’s electrical needs.
Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote, “In spring, a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love.” Spring fever has been an ailment lamented by poets and songwriters for centuries. However, in the Valley of the Sun, there’s a more common ailment that happens in the spring – hay fever.
Symptoms of Hay Fever
Following the cold days of winter and this year’s extended rains of March, nature’s beautiful explosion of spring growth has been magnificent in the Southwest. As Robin Williams once said, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!’” The party has definitely begun, and the uninvited guests include the usual suspects – prolific pollinators such as ragweed, Russian thistle, and blooming trees (Arizona Ash, Mulberry and Juniper, to name a few) and other common Arizona allergens. Unpleasant signs of allergic rhinitis, doctor’s official moniker for hay fever, include sneezing, wheezing, watering eyes, nasal congestion and other asthma-like symptoms.
How to Achieve Pollen Free Clean Air Inside Your Home
Allergists estimate up to one-third of Arizona residents suffer to some degree or other from hay fever this time of year. Homeowners can take certain steps to lower the effects of pollen and other allergens inside their homes, including:
Replace Your HVAC Air Filters – Replacing air filters on a regular basis helps eliminate pollen and dust from getting into your air conditioning system in the first place. As wind-blown allergens float through the air, your HVAC air filter forms the first line of defense in safeguarding your indoor air quality (IAQ). Performing this relatively easy task, especially at the start of spring and at regular intervals throughout the year will lengthen the life of your air conditioner and improve the IAQ in your home.
Consider an Added Pollen and Dust Collector – For individuals with extreme allergies or respiratory conditions, high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters remove more than 99% of particles. These special HEPA filters can be added to your existing HVAC system. Our service techs will be happy to discuss the benefits of the HEPA option.
Schedule a Spring Tune Up – One of the best things you can do for you family’s health and for your air conditioner is to schedule a spring inspection of your entire HVAC system.
For Cleaner Air Inside Your Home, Call Us Today
Whether you are suffering from spring fever or hay fever, our staff is sympathetic to your dilemma. Call Cool Blew today so we can schedule a spring tune up, and you can breathe easier.
When it comes to pollution, Phoenix seems like it would be an ideal location for clean air. With loads of sunshine, not a lot of heavy industry and plenty of wide-open spaces, the Valley of the Sun appears to be a picturesque mix of the charming old west and a trendsetting city of the future. However, on closer inspection, the air we breathe is less than perfect. In fact, data from the EPA confirms that Phoenix is among the top five smoggiest cities in the U.S. totaling over 100 days of degraded air quality per year. Only Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Atlanta have more bad days.
At Least The Air Inside My Home Is Clean, Isn’t It?
Here’s another shocker – people spend up to 90 percent of their time inside their homes, yet studies confirm that indoor air quality can often be worse than outdoor air. In fact, the EPA says indoor air quality can be two to five times worse than outdoor air quality. How can that possibly be, you might ask? In the continuing effort to increase air conditioning and heating energy efficiency, homes are being constructed with ever more effective insulation, air-tight window and door seals and more extensive caulking and weather-stripping. This means, your house is, more or less, a closed system. The air inside your home is recirculated, especially during the summer season when windows stay closed for months at a time.
How Can I Test the Air Quality in My Home?
There are many home indoor air quality monitors available. A quick Google search will produce a long list to choose from. Another air quality indicator is the condition of your air conditioning air filters, which will be checked by our service techs when you schedule a spring tune up. Here is a list of the major IAQ pollution offenders you need to be aware of:
Pet Dander – If you have cats or dogs, you know that pet hair and dander can cause strong allergic reactions. The love you get from your pets far outshines their contribution to your indoor air pollution. However, changing the air filters more often will help lower pet dander and particulates.
Volatile Organic Compounds – You may have heard the term VOCs in recent years. Construction materials, furniture, flooring, new carpeting, electronic products, cleaning solutions (and so many more household items) emit odors and compounds into the air that can be hazardous to your health. It’s obvious when you are painting your bedroom that fumes and VOCs are being released and can make you sick. Good ventilation is the key to dealing with fumes and VOCs. Speak with our service techs about the ventilation in your house.
Pollen and Outdoor Allergens – Spring is here, and pollen is in the air. Outdoor allergens make their way into your home when you, for instance, hold open the door to bring in groceries or deliveries. It’s unavoidable. Your air filters do their best to reduce the effects of outside allergens.
The List Is Long
Unfortunately, the list of irritants, pollutants and indoor air quality detractors is long and complicated. One of the easiest things you can do to improve your IAQ, is change your air filters more often. If you’d like to discuss your IAQ with one of our service technicians, just give us a call. We’ve been improving indoor air quality for thousands of Phoenix residents for years. Call us today.
Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is a highly complex, mechanical, electrical and engineering marvel – a large, multi-component appliance installed inside and outside your house. For most homeowners, air conditioning is the mysterious, essential, unseen magic trick that turns a hot house into a cool desert sanctuary. With summer on the way, you have to ask yourself, where would Arizona be without AC?
7 Major Components in Your Air Conditioner
There are seven major components (and many smaller ones) that make up an air conditioning system. Each component is critical to the overall successful operation of your AC. It takes years of study and apprenticeship for service techs to gain the knowledge required to service and install HVAC systems. As a homeowner, you can’t possibly be expected to know how all these components work or the proper way to fix them. Similar to an automobile, most people don’t understand how their car parts work, they just know when they turn the key, the car starts up and off they go. When it comes to automobiles and home air conditioning systems, the most important thing to know is the phone number of a great service tech (that’s Cool Blew for AC!)
It can be useful to have a general understanding of the major components in your air conditioner. It will help reduce some of the confusion when your service tech gives you an evaluation of your system. We’ve all heard these terms at one time or another. Here’s a brief description of the major parts and the functions they perform:
Blower – Air conditioning is a continuous process of removing heat from the warm air inside your home. The cycle of cooling begins with the blower circulating cold air through the vents into the rooms in your home and pulling warm air back through the supply register/return ducts for heat and humidity extraction and cooling.
Evaporator Coils – Refrigerant flows through the evaporator coils and absorbs/extracts heat and humidity from the air in a process known as phase conversion.
Compressor – The compressor, which is the pumping heart of the cooling cycle, circulates refrigerant (now in a gaseous state) under extreme pressure until it is super-heated, then the super-heated gas travels to the condenser coils. As the gas releases heat it turns back into a liquid. It’s important to note, the compressor is the most expensive component in your system.
Condenser Coils – While the evaporator coils pick up heat from air inside your home, the evaporator coils release the heat into the outside air. Due to high pressure and corrosion, condenser coils can be susceptible to pinhole leaks which can cause loss of refrigerant.
Fan – Sometimes referred to as the condenser fan, intense heat surrounding the condenser coils is dispersed by a fan that blows outside air across the coils. Though the fan is protected by a grill, high winds and severe storms can blow leaves and debris into the fan, which should be checked.
Air Filter – Air filters are an extremely important component of your air conditioning system because they form a shield of protection against dust, pollen, dander and other particulate irritants and pollutants. Air filters are crucial to your indoor air quality and should be replaced often.
Thermostat – As the main controlling device for your complicated HVAC system, the thermostat is the focal point for your home air conditioner. New Wi-fi enabled smart thermostats provide more options for energy savings and allow you to change the settings on your thermostat from your mobile device. This can be an incredibly useful tool when your plans change, or you go on a trip.
Time to Check the Components of Your Air Conditioner?
In Arizona, trouble-free air conditioning is essential to the enjoyment of summer, which is not far off. As the days get warmer, people start turning on their air conditioners. In many cases, the AC has been off for months and can benefit from a spring service tune up. Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to check your system before the big heat rolls into Phoenix.
Spring has sprung and one thing’s for certain – plumbing emergencies are no fun. Do you have leaky faucets or a trickling toilet with a handle that always needs jiggling? Sometimes, winter weather can affect water pipes and fittings adversely, especially under the house or outside. When homeowners notice pesky little plumbing problems, they often tell themselves they’ll “get to” the needed non-emergency repairs some quiet Saturday afternoon. However, with today’s busy schedules, finding a free Saturday can be a real challenge. Running back and forth to the hardware store for parts can be a time-consuming hassle. Meanwhile, water’s running down the drain, and the monthly water bill is going up. If you’ve noticed plumbing issues in your home, remember, spring is the perfect time of year to schedule a home plumbing tune-up.
The Nature of Plumbing Problems
Let’s face it, homeowners don’t spend a lot of time thinking about plumbing. In fact, many home plumbing systems (drains, sewers, water pipes, faucets, etc.) work perfectly for years unnoticed in the background. Water heaters can provide faithful service for decades without being touched. Then, often without warning, something goes wrong, and a faulty water heater, a clogged drain or a broken water pipe will require immediate remedial action.
At Cool Blew, we believe a proactive approach to plumbing will make for a happier home. A yearly plumbing inspection will ensure that everything is working properly and will provide you with peace of mind. Here are just a few of the items we will check during a spring tune up:
Faucets – Examine all faucets, including checking for drips and leaks and ensuring they are working properly.
Toilets – Check that all toilets are in good working order, with tight seals, flushing properly, with firm handles and fittings, water tanks filling correctly, not wasting water, trickling or seeping.
Water Heater – Inspect water heater and examine all fittings, check for corrosion, flush the sediment, look for any damage, review temperature settings to make sure you are conserving energy.
Drains – Verify that sink, shower and tub drains and sewers are unobstructed and flowing freely.
Water Lines – Check visible water lines, fittings and connectors to washing machine, water heater and faucet supply lines to make sure everything is in good working order.
Minor Plumbing Problems Repaired Before They Become Big Issues
At Cool Blew, we pride ourselves on fixing the small issues before they become big problems. Our friendly and knowledgeable plumbers have seen it all. Upon completing a spring inspection, we will provide you with a full assessment and discuss with you any needed repairs or recommended improvements. Why not put our experience to work for you?
A surprise snowstorm and a fair amount of February rain made this one of Arizona’s wetter winters in recent years. For most of the country, the old saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” rings true. However, in Phoenix, with all the precipitation, it’s more accurate to say, “When February brings rain and snow – in March, the ragweed and pollen will blow.” Trees that normally bloom in February are raring to blossom in March. Spring is bustin’ out all over and that means airborne pollen will be affecting allergy sufferers throughout the Valley of the Sun.
Pollen and Your IAQ (Indoor Air Quality)
Indoor air quality is extremely important, especially to people with allergies and individuals living with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD. Asthma is one of the top reasons for children missing school.
Consider this. Your AC system draws air from the outside and brings it into your home. Many homeowners are under the false impression that once inside their home, they are protected from outdoor air pollution. The fact is, when the windows and doors are closed, your home is a closed system, and the air inside is recirculated many times per day. What stands between you and the outside pollen-filled spring air is your AC system’s air filter. The cleaner your air filters, the better your IAQ. Here are a few factors affecting the quality of air inside your home:
Air Conditioning Air Filters – During the hot summer months, Arizonans spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors. The key to cleaner indoor air and a higher IAQ is replacing your air filters on a regular basis. Because air conditioners get such heavy use in Arizona, it’s a good idea to replace your air filters at least six times per year. When your air filters get clogged, your air conditioner ends up recirculating dirty air throughout your home.
Home Insulation – Newer construction techniques have greatly increased the effectiveness of insulation to protect houses against heat. Air tight, double paned windows and sealed tight door installations prevent hot desert air from getting inside your home. It’s all designed to keep your home cool. However, the downside can be recirculating air which is less than perfect if your air filters are dirty.
Pollen, Pets and Particulates – Pollen isn’t the only offender when it comes to allergies. Dust and other airborne particulates from desert windstorms can lower your IAQ. If you have a dog or cat, pet dander can cause serious allergic reactions. It all adds up to one simple fact – your air filters might deserve more attention than they are getting.
We’re Remedying Arizona’s Pollen-Nation One Home at a Time
Spring is here, and summer is not far off. The beauty of the desert bloom means pollen is in the air. Schedule a spring tune-up and we’ll be happy to replace your air filters and checkout your entire system, so you’ll be ready for the heat when it hits. Why not call Cool Blew today?
As spring training gets underway and homeowners prepare for another blistering summer in Phoenix, DST seems like a good idea. No, not daylight savings time. DST – Demand a Spring Tune-up for your air conditioner and have our expert professionals perform a home energy assessment to see where you might be losing precious cool air. Your air conditioning system uses a tremendous amount of electricity to cool down the hot desert air. In summer, up to 60 percent of your monthly energy bill can be attributed to your air conditioner. It’s an unfortunate fact that many Arizona AC systems are working overtime cooling the great outdoors due to cold air escaping through substandard window and door seals, leaky ducts and lack of proper home insulation. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your air conditioner is working efficiently to cool your home:
Lack of Proper Ceiling Insulation Can Cause Your Electric Bill to Go Through the Roof In Arizona, many home air conditioning units are located on the roof. During the summer, in the heat of the day, roof temperatures can exceed 140 degrees. Without proper insulation, your attic can be a major factor in contributing to inefficient cooling and cold air loss. When your attic is super-heated it affects the temperature throughout your entire house. Air conditioning ducts in the ceiling are warmed by the surrounding hot air and reduce the overall efficiency of your AC system, which means your air conditioner uses more electricity and your bill goes through the roof.
Leaking Ducts Generally speaking, air conditioning ducts are out of sight, out of mind. However, they are crucial to the delivery of cold air throughout your home. If you’ve got leaks in your duct system, that means cold air is escaping into thin air. One of the most common areas for leaking ducts is in the attic. Over the years, we have seen many duct disasters including ductwork that was improperly installed when the house was built or (even worse) ducts that have been damaged by repairmen working on other issues in your home such as wiring or other home repairs. If your ducts have been neglected for years, this spring might be the right time for duct inspection.
Don’t Forget Where the Heat Pours In Once you’ve checked your windows and doors for proper seals and insulation, don’t forget – cold air not only goes out, heat pours in from large, south facing picture windows and patio doors. Proper window treatments and sun block curtains or heavy blinds help insulate Arizona homes and keep the sun from heating up your home.
You Might Be Surprised – Our Recommendations Can Save You Money
Get a fresh start this March by demanding a spring tune-up for your HVAC system. It might surprise you to find out our recommendations can help you save on your utility bills. Why not give us a call today?
Over the years, we’ve worked with thousands of homeowners in the ever-expanding Phoenix metro area. Installing new HVAC systems, performing regular service and providing emergency repairs in the hottest city in America keeps us very busy indeed. We’re grateful for all our customers. In our line of work, given the complex nature of the electrical circuits, motors and multiple components involved, we can honestly say, no two air-conditioning/duct systems are exactly alike. Customers call us all the time with questions about their air conditioners. Here are few questions we’re asked on a regular basis:
My air conditioner isn’t working. How can I tell if it’s broken? We often receive emergency calls in the middle of the night from frantic customers claiming, “My air conditioner just stopped – you’ve got to get someone over here right away.” As soon as you notice your AC is not working, there are a few initial troubleshooting steps to take. First, checkout your thermostat. If the screen is blank or dark, that could be the problem. If the batteries are dead or there’s an electrical wiring problem preventing electricity from getting to the thermostat, then it’s not communicating with your HVAC system. If the thermostat appears to be in working order, then the next step is to check the circuit breakers for you AC system. If a breaker has been tripped, you’ll need to reset it. Turn it all the way off then back on again. Remember, some circuit breakers can be tricky. They’re not always clearly marked (although they should be), and they may require turning off and on more than once. If you reset the system, and your air conditioner turns on and works for awhile, then trips the breaker again, there is definitely something wrong and you should give us a call.
My electric bill has increased dramatically. Is there something wrong with my AC? The Department of Energy states that air conditioning is responsible for the lion’s share of your monthly electric bill – especially in the summertime in Phoenix, when your air conditioner could be accountable for as much as 60 percent of your entire energy consumption. Common factors increasing your energy use include the settings on your thermostat. If you’re keeping it nice and cool inside your home, and your air conditioner is operating constantly, you’re going to run up a significant utility bill. That might seem so obvious, you wonder why we mention it. A few degrees higher or lower on your setting can make a big difference. Forgetting to adjust the thermostat while you’re at work can be significant. You might want to consider installing a new smart, wi-fi enabled thermostat which will give you more control over your air conditioning system. Other factors include refrigerant leaks, dirty coils, faulty fans or capacitors or other problems that impede air flow and lower the efficiency of your air conditioner. In other words, the harder your air conditioner is working to achieve the cool temperature you desire in your house, the more energy you’re going to use. Ideally, you should schedule service twice a year for your HVAC system to make sure everything is working properly.
How will I know when it’s time to replace my air conditioning system? This is an important issue for all Arizona homeowners because replacing your air conditioner is something you’ll need to do sooner or later, as well as a major expense, quite a considerable job and not something you want to do in the middle of a blistering summer. In other words, if you’re trying to squeeze another year or two out of your old system, you may live to regret that decision. If your air conditioner happens to break down during a major heatwave when AC repair companies are overloaded with service calls, you could be without air conditioning for days. The best approach is to establish the age of your air conditioner (most systems will last up to 8-10 years). Have regular maintenance performed by the same company so they will get to know your AC system and understand its strengths and weaknesses. And keep track of your repairs so when the expenses total more than a third of the cost of a new system, you’ll know it’s probably time to consider a newer, more efficient AC system.
We’ve Got the Answers to Your Questions
If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Our friendly service technicians will take the time to perform a thorough and complete service inspection of your entire system and provide you with a detailed evaluation so you can determine what’s best for the comfort of your family this coming summer. Call us today.
Spring is just around the corner – making it the ideal time to renew and refresh your home. Along with scrubbing down floors, cabinets and counters, you don’t want to forget your HVAC system. Starting the season with a tuned-up air conditioner with clean vents and filter ensures you’re ready for when temperatures begin to climb.
Here are the steps to spring clean your HVAC system:
Start with the Filter
Let’s face it. The desert is dusty. If you live in Phoenix or any of the surrounding cities, you’re likely battling dust on a daily basis. Well, that dust doesn’t just collect on your coffee table. It also finds its way into your HVAC system. This is why you want to regularly replace your system filter. A clean filter not only helps to collect dust and other particulates from entering your indoor air, it enables your system to work efficiently.
Clean the Condenser
And all this dust, dirt and debris doesn’t just enter in your house, it also collects inside your air conditioner’s condenser. Fortunately, it can be easily cleaned. Simply turn off the system and remove the motor cover to gain access to the fan and coil. Remove debris, like leaves, grass, dirt and dust. If the condenser is really dirty, don’t be tempted to wash it with water. This can create mud that can clog the system. Instead, use a condenser coil cleaner available at most home improvement or hardware stores.
Evaluate the System
With a clean filter and condenser, it’s time to check the system. Turn it on by flipping the thermostat to the cool setting and lowering the temperature. Carefully listen for how long it takes and for any unusual sounds. If it doesn’t start quickly check to make sure your air conditioner is plugged in. If it doesn’t start or if it’s making unusual sounds, call Cool Blew for further evaluation.
Make Time for a Tune Up
Regularly scheduled tune ups on your HVAC equipment are essential for preserving your investment. With a seasonal tune up, you can keep your system running efficiently and identify issues before they turn into big problems.
Call Cool Blew today to schedule your spring cleaning HVAC system tune up and prevent unexpected air conditioning problems this year.