Author Archives: CoolBlew

80% of Americans Have Hard Water. Should You Invest in a Water Softener?

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You have probably heard many great things about water softeners and how they can improve the texture of your hair, boost skin appearance and extend the lifespan of your custom appliances. Yet water softeners are also an investment, and not all households necessarily need them. How do you know if you could benefit from a water softener? Let’s find out!

What are Water Softeners? How Do They Work?

Water softeners have an important job: they remove minerals such as calcium and magnesium from the water and replace them with a softer mineral like sodium or potassium. Not all water is created equal, however. Some states and some communities have softer water than others.

In Arizona, hard water is a given. The Water Quality Association states that water is moderately hard when it contains 3.5 to 7.0 grains per gallon of calcium and magnesium ions. In some parts of Arizona, these levels can be as much as 20 grains per gallon. Though not dangerous, this can make your water hard, causing effects on your hair, skin, appliances and plumbing.

Is Hard Water Really That Bad?

It’s estimated that approximately 80 percent of the water in America is hard. If the majority of Americans are living with hard water, then what’s the big deal?

Some people don’t like that hard water can cause things like the following:

  • Mineral buildup occurs in plumbing and appliances, creating rust, corrosion and shortened lifespans.
  • Some appliances – specifically dishwashers, washers and water heaters – can be shorted because of the excess of minerals.
  • When doing laundry, whites look grayer after being washed.
  • Drinking hard water can have a mineral-heavy taste. A distillation unit or reverse-osmosis system can help.
  • It’s more difficult to clean showers, tubs and sinks because of the buildup of soap scum.
  • Hard water doesn’t thoroughly rinse away soaps, detergents and shampoos, creating skin irritation and dryness.
  • Adverse health effects have been documented from increased exposure to calcium and magnesium, such as increased cardiovascular disease, reproductive failure and cancer.

Can You Benefit from a Water Softener?

A water softener installed by an HVAC service in Peoria is guaranteed to offer some benefits because of the hard water in your home. One of the key advantages is that it will increase the lifespan of your appliances. Though water softeners cost an average of $1,000 to $2,000, they can double the lifespan of some appliances.

Installing a water softener prevents calcium and magnesium from building up in your plumbing, meaning that you will see less corrosion and clogs. Plus, cleaning your showers and tubs will be easier thanks to less soap scum, and you’re bound to see softer skin, hair and clothes, cleaner glassware and whiter fabrics.

When it comes to your health, things aren’t quite as clear. First, calcium and magnesium are essential elements to the body, so an immediate decrease in them may cause adverse health effects. Second, if you are on a strict low-salt diet, talk to your doctor about adding a water softener to your home. The additional salt in your water supply could be cause for concern.

Bottom line: If you’re only concerned about the chemicals in your water, use a water filtration system and not a water softener. If you’re looking to see more life from your appliances and enjoy softer skin, hair and linens, opt for a water softener installed by an AC service in Peoria.

Cool Blew has a great team of technicians who can answer your questions about water softeners and help you choose one that is right for your needs and budget. Call us today for an estimate!

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Should I Get Rid of My Exhaust Fans?

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Exhaust fans may seem like a rather outdated bit of technology, given the fact that so many high-tech gadgets are appearing all the time for use in the home, but in truth these simple devices still serve a very useful purpose in the home, and especially in bathrooms. Most new homes come with the exhaust fans already installed, but surprisingly they are not always as effective as they could be. Here are some of the common functions that exhaust fans are intended to perform, and if you feel that your fans are not living up to these standard functions, you should probably shop around for some more effective exhaust fans, because they really can be a benefit to all concerned.

Moisture removal

The most obvious purpose of a bathroom exhaust fan is of course to remove moisture from the air, and this can be a major function because all the occupants of your home are showering and taking baths daily, which can lead to the retention of high levels of moisture in the room. If that moisture is allowed to collect and stay in place, it can easily lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which would then become a health hazard for household residents.
Management of odors

Another primary function of bathroom exhaust fans is the elimination of unappealing odors in the room. A well-maintained bathroom exhaust fan extracts these odors, and conducts them out of the room so that subsequent users are not offended by unpleasant air quality. In a household of numerous occupants, this can be a fairly significant issue, especially if everyone has to use the same bathroom.

Fume control

Ironically, actions taken to maintain cleanliness and health in the bathroom can actually lead to problems. For instance, many cleaning agents are comprised of fairly aggressive chemicals, and these can become a health problem when inhaled, particularly for people who already have respiratory issues. It can also significantly impact young children and elderly residents of the home. An exhaust fan can be a big help with eliminating chemical odors that might otherwise lead to health issues in the home

It’s there, but is it used?

From the above, it’s easy to see that bathroom exhaust fans provide a really useful service to household residents, and should be used appropriately to overcome the common issues they are intended to. In many cases however, people are reluctant to use bathroom exhaust fans because they’re loud or noisy, and they don’t want to be disturbed by them.

If this is the case in your home, you should have your bathroom exhaust fans checked by a reputable service technician, because there’s a good chance it simply wasn’t installed correctly, and is not functioning up to manufacturer specifications. Homeowners in the area of Scottsdale, Peoria, Sun City, Surprise, or Glendale are fortunate, in that you have access to the expert HVAC professionals at Cool Blew Inc.

Keeping You and Your Four-legged Friends Cozy

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If you live anywhere around the region which includes Peoria, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sun City, or Surprise, you’ll know that keeping your air condition in great running shape is very important for your comfort and for the quality of the air you breathe indoors. But have you ever thought about how it affects your cat or dog? Your pet is breathing the same air that you are, and it is affected in much the same way by the indoor air quality of your home. When your air conditioner or your furnace is not performing at peak efficiency, your four-legged friends are suffering just like you are.

Poor indoor air quality

When air is not being conditioned properly inside your home, it can lead to some serious respiratory issues, or even some cardiovascular problems, both of which can affect humans and pets. Air quality can easily be degraded by cooking fumes, mildew, cleaning products, and cigarette smoke, all of which can be harmful to your pets and yourself. For both your own well-being and for the safety of your feline/canine friends, healthy air quality needs to be maintained.

Simple enhancements

There are some very simple things you can do to improve air quality in the home, the first of which should be regularly cleaning your reusable filters, or discarding dirty filters which are not reusable. When you have pets in your home, filters are almost certain to attract animal hair, along with all the other pollutants it extracts, such as pollen, dirt, mold, and bacteria. No smoking should be allowed indoors at all, because smoke-laden air will be breathed in by everyone in the home, including pets.

If there are any cracks or gaps in the structure of your home, they could allow external contaminants inside, so these should be filled in somehow to prevent penetration by sources of contamination. It would also be a good idea to regularly groom your pets, because if they’ve been outside at all, they can easily bring in pollutants.

Air quality solutions

Beyond the simpler enhancements that you can do without incurring expense, you can also invest in the improvement of air quality by installing air purifiers, humidifiers, ventilation systems, and even ultraviolet lamps. All of these can enhance air quality in their own way, and should be considered as potential solutions depending on the specific shortcoming of your air quality. Having your ductwork cleaned at least once a year will also remove a great deal of debris and pollutants from your home’s air circulation network, and it will also improve air flow in general.

Call the professionals

To be sure that the air quality of your home is healthy enough for you and your pets, call the experts at Cool Blew Inc. and schedule an evaluation of your air quality. If any steps need to be taken to improve it, your HVAC specialists are sufficiently knowledgeable and experienced to make just the right recommendations for your home.

Indoor Air Quality Attracts Quality Tenants

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When you’re trying to attract quality tenants to your rental property or apartment complex, there are a great many things you can do to make it appealing to potential tenants. For instance, you can make use of all available channels for advertising, so that you can reach a wide audience, after which you would screen for the most suitable clients.

One component of this advertising should be to make the exterior landscape surrounding the rental unit as appealing as possible, because anyone casually driving by would then acquire a great first impression of the property. When you’re conducting tours through rental units, the first thing prospective tenants will see is the surrounding landscape, and how well it’s maintained.

You might be surprised to learn that another very effective way of attracting quality tenants is by ensuring that breathable air in the living spaces of rental units is a benefit to them, made possible by your conscientious upkeep of HVAC systems within the units. In the region which includes Glendale, Peoria, Scottsdale, Surprise, Phoenix, and Sun City, you can ensure that the HVAC systems in your rental units are operating at peak efficiency by having regular maintenance performed by the professionals at Cool Blew Inc.

Keeping up repairs and maintenance

Good tenants quickly become disillusioned with management or landlords when equipment and appliances provided in rental units are not kept up to snuff, thereby diminishing the comfort of residents, and instead becoming a source of irritation. This is particularly true of HVAC units, which have a direct bearing on the comfort of everyone inside, as it relates to indoor air quality.

In order to be really comfortable, residents must be provided with well-conditioned air appropriate to the season, with indoor air quality which is constantly filtered and kept fresh, and free of contaminants. This is of particular concern to people who have respiratory issues to begin with, but in truth it affects everyone, regardless of their health status.

Emphasize benefits

Many landlords and property managers make the mistake of overlooking benefits while promoting the features which a rental unit may have, for instance a ‘new refrigerator’ or a ‘third-floor location’. By themselves, these announcements don’t mean much, and they are not as appealing as they might be to a prospective tenant.

However, by listing the benefits instead of the features, they can be made much more attractive. In the two cases mentioned above, they could be modified to say ‘highly efficient, low energy cost refrigeration unit’, and ‘outstanding upper-level apartment with a great view of the surrounding area’. In the same way, announcing to tenants that a furnace or air conditioner is new doesn’t evoke much in the way of appeal. Far better would be to say a ‘modern, energy-efficient air-conditioner capable of maintaining fresh, contaminant-free indoor air, promoting good health for all residents’.

How Much Insulation Do You Need?

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There really isn’t any one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much insulation you need in your home. As a rule of thumb however, it centers around the climate in your area and the cost of energy which supplies your home. Since insulation retains warmth or heat which can add to the comfort of all occupants in the home, and can help keep your utility bills lower, it’s certainly worth maintaining the proper level of insulation.

If you really want to be sure about having the proper levels of insulation at your home in Surprise, Phoenix, Sun City, Scottsdale, Peoria, or Glendale, you can simply call the experts at Cool Blew Inc. and have the heating and cooling professionals determine all that for you. And if you are the do-it-yourselfer type, you can use the information below to help you figure out how much insulation your home needs to be well protected.

DOE recommendation

The Department of Energy has issued a chart which recommends the proper levels of insulation for each of the geographic areas of the United States, and the climates which can be expected there. These recommendations are made in the form of R-values, which are measures of the effectiveness of any insulating material for its resistance to transferal of heat.

As R-values go higher, so does the insulating material’s ability to resist heat transfer, which makes the higher R-values more desirable in terms of insulating effectiveness. This chart depicts various areas of the home and the appropriate levels of insulation for each, for instance floor insulation, attics, and rooms with cathedral ceilings. It also shows how each of these should be insulated in the various climatic zones across the country. If you don’t want to bother calculating or using the chart, simply insulate to R-60, which is a high level that you can’t go wrong with at any location.

Attic insulation

If you’re using blanket-type insulation rolls, they should be at least 12 inches thick in your attic, although 15 or 20 inches would be even better. Anything less than 12 inches means that you’re probably letting warm or cool air escape, and wasting money on your energy bills. For do-it-yourselfers, this is one of the most cost-effective projects you can undertake in the home, and it’s well worth the cost of whatever insulating materials you use.

Wall insulation

Without a doubt, wall insulation should be as thick as you can possibly make it, and there’s really no way you can overstuff the insulation between walls. It should also go literally from floor to ceiling, with no missing areas or gaps in the wall coverage. If this is a project you’re doing yourself, make sure to wrap the insulation snugly around the ductwork, all plumbing fixtures and piping, the electrical boxes, and all wiring or cabling which runs through the walls.