Category Archives: Air Conditioning

Icy Air Conditioner? What Does That Mean

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This time of year, it’s hot by anyone’s standards. This makes it all the more striking when you notice ice on the exterior of your air conditioner. Yes, it happens, and it’s an indicator that there’s a problem that you need to address sooner than later.

Low Refrigerant

The most common cause of ice buildup on your air conditioner is a refrigerant leak within the system. This is often due to wear and tear and ongoing vibration of the unit. High winds, dust and pounding rain associated with monsoon storms can also be contributing factors.

When a refrigerant leak occurs, the temperature will drop on the coils containing the refrigerant. Condensation from the humidity in the air will then form ice on the coils. This kicks off a bad cycle of increasing ice buildup that results in your air conditioner working harder to maintain a cool temperature in your home. Over time, this can lead to the complete failure of your air conditioning system.

Clogged Filters and Coils

Refrigerant isn’t the only problem related to icing of your air conditioning unit. Those monsoon storms can also cause dirt, dust and debris to clog filters and coils, producing inefficient air flow. With reduced air flow, the outcome is the same as with low refrigerant – ice on your air conditioner.

What Should You Do?

While the sight of frost or ice on your air conditioner may initially make you think that the unit is functioning to full capacity, it’s important to know it’s a signal to call for service. Don’t wait for the situation to change. It will, but the next indicator of a problem will likely be an air conditioner that isn’t working at all. If you’ve detected ice on your air conditioner, or if you’ve noticed that the unit is working harder than it used to, don’t delay in calling Cool Blew. Our team of highly trained HVAC technicians has the experience and expertise to diagnose and repair any and every air conditioning problem – including icy coils. Call us today to schedule a service call at 623-872-2900.

Humanity Verses Humidity – How Moisture Affects You and Your Air Conditioning System

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Air conditioning experts often ponder a simple question – what is the perfect temperature?

It’s All Relative

Albert Einstein’s celebrated general theory of relativity transformed the world of physics and astronomy. Not considered light reading, it is complex and difficult to understand. In the hopes of simplifying his concepts, this humorous anecdote has often been told, “When you place your hand on a hot stove for a minute, it feels like an hour; yet when you spend an hour with someone you’re attracted to, it goes by in a minute.” This comparison illustrates the point that the perception of time is relative. So too, is the perception of temperature.

Consider these examples. A round of golf in 80-degree winter weather in the dry Arizona desert (humidity less than 20 percent) feels comfortable. However, in the summer months, 80 degrees in muggy weather with the humidity climbing to 95 percent feels oppressive and stifling. It’s the same temperature, but the difference is the humidity. That’s why people from all over the world flock to Phoenix in winter. The weather is near perfect. Average daytime temperatures hover between 68 and 75 degrees while the relative humidity is an ideal 40 to 50 percent. As we all know, summer in Phoenix is another story.

What Is Humidity?

Humidity is the measure of moisture or water vapor in the air, which can be expressed in absolute humidity or, more commonly, the term most often used on TV weather forecasts, relative humidity. The higher the number, the more water vapor in the air. In Arizona, the months of July, August and September bring monsoons which carry moisture from the Gulf of California north over Mexica to Arizona. Monsoons greatly increase the amount of moisture in the air which you can feel as the storm approaches, and the outdoor temperature drops.

Why Does Humidity Make Humans Feel Hotter?

The human body has a built-in temperature regulator. As our bodies heat up, the hypothalamus triggers our perspiration response, and we start sweating. The water in sweat absorbs heat energy from inside the body and releases that heat as sweat, which evaporates through the pores in your skin (forehead, palms, arms and feet mostly.) If there is extra moisture in the air, your sweat doesn’t have the opportunity to evaporate as quickly, increasing your internal temperature and causing you to feel hot and sticky. Not unlike stepping out of the shower on a hot day in a closed bathroom. Though the water temperature was cool in the shower, upon getting out you notice perspiration on your forehead almost immediately, defeating the purpose of taking a shower in the first place.

Humidity in Your Home

Have you ever noticed water dripping from an air conditioner? Air conditioning systems not only lower the temperature, they also remove moisture from the air circulating inside your home. The evaporator coil of the air conditioner condenses excess water vapor (humidity) into liquid water which collects in the pan and is drained from the system. Think of a glass of iced tea on a hot, humid afternoon. Moisture (water vapor) in the air is condensed by the cold ice in your glass, creating drops of water which run down the side of the glass and pool on the table top.

Is Your Air Conditioning System Running at Maximum Efficiency?

Excess humidity, condensation, drips, drainage issues and standing water can present problems for air conditioning systems. With the monsoon season in full swing, don’t struggle with a malfunctioning air conditioner that isn’t reducing the humidity in your home. Call the pros at Cool Blew today.

Miffed About Myths – 5 Myths About Air Conditioning That Just Aren’t True

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Here are five common myths about air conditioning that will make you a crusader for the truth in air conditioning.

As Long as I Change My Filters My System Will Be Fine

Many do-it-yourselfers are satisfied that they’ve done an adequate AC maintenance job by installing new filters once a year. In fact, filters should be changed about once a month and even more often if there are pets in the home. In addition to changing filters, refrigerant levels should be inspected at least once a year. Other parts of an air conditioner need to be cleaned and checked regularly, such as the blower. Certain moving parts also may require routine lubrication. Unless you are a trained technician with the proper tools, you are not going to have the expertise to maintain your HVAC system.

All New Central Air Conditioning Units Are Created Equal

One is as good as another. They’re all basically built on the same principles. It’s true that there are many similarities across manufacturers and brands. However, different companies have strengths in different areas. The main component that is unique in every case is the customer. What are your needs? If you are searching for a new air conditioning unit, it’s in your best interest to speak with a professional who brings years of experience to the table. Choosing the right unit for your home is critical, and proper installation is crucial.

Bigger is Better

It’s as American as hot dogs on the Fourth of July. Everyone knows bigger is better. A large engine makes your car go faster. A bigger fan moves more air than a tiny one, so why not super-size your air conditioning system? Funny thing about air conditioners and cooling power – size matters – the correct size. Consult with our AC experts to see if you have the proper sized unit for your home. Have you added a room or remodeled extensively? It may be time for an air conditioning inspection.

Closing Vents Will Save Me Money by Pushing Cold Air to Other Rooms

Not true. Air conditioning systems are based on balance and pressure. By shutting off one room, you are creating an imbalance in the entire system which does not help and in fact, hinders the effective cooling of your home overall.

If You Wait Long Enough, That Weird Noise Will Go Away

This is one of those enduring myths in life which starts with a different version in childhood. If I hide under the covers, and keep my eyes shut, the monster under the bed won’t be able to get me. If your air conditioning unit is making a horrendous noise when it starts up, it’ll probably work itself out if I just let it run long enough. Sorry, both are not true. Ignoring warning signs from your AC unit can lead to bigger problems down the road.

Service Contracts Are a Bad Idea

In Arizona, where air conditioners are pushed to extremes every summer, service contracts are a wise idea. Like your car, it doesn’t make sense to drive your air conditioning unit as hard as you can for years in a row without service. It’s bound to break down. Don’t be fooled by air conditioning myths. And, don’t take chances with your home comfort. Call Cool Blew today.

Return on Investment of a High Efficiency Air Conditioner

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You’re struggling with a failing or non-working air conditioner. And, it’s only getting hotter here in the Valley of the Sun. It’s time to make a decision on what to do now. Here’s how to evaluate the purchase of a new high efficiency air conditioner as an investment rather than just another household expense.

Energy Savings

Maintaining a cool, comfortable home in the greater Phoenix area is costly by anyone’s standards. But, you’re already well aware of this. For most of us, the benefits of living in the desert far outweigh a higher than average utility bill. Yet, the good news is that you’ll start reducing your energy consumption and saving on your monthly bill the moment you swap out your system for a new high efficiency air conditioner.

AC systems manufactured more than a decade ago are dramatically less efficient than today’s models. On average, you can expect to see about a 20 percent drop in your utility bill following the installation of a new system. In other words, each month you’ll have a little more in your pocket, and this can lead to long-term savings.

If you’ve already started researching your air conditioning options, you’ve probably noticed the acronym SEER which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the AC system. Older systems usually have SEER ratings of less than 12. To gain any amount of energy efficiency, you’ll want to choose a model that has a rating of at least 13. Ratings go as high as 25. You will pay more for a unit with a higher SEER rating, but you will also save more monthly on your utility bill.

But There’s More

The benefits of a high efficiency air conditioner go far beyond energy savings. Today’s systems are much more efficient at controlling the cleanliness of your indoor air and do a better job of managing humidity, temperature and odor. A new system also doesn’t run on Freon, which is being slowly eliminated by the US Environmental Protection Agency. By 2020, there will be no more Freon available for air conditioners. So, you’re better off replacing your air conditioner sooner than later.

Still not sure? Call the experts at Cool Blew today for a free in-home estimate on a new high efficiency air conditioner. We’re here to help you get the perfect system for your specific needs.

Does Air Conditioning Cause Summer Colds?

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Cold and flu season finally is coming to an end. While summer is usually the time when you’re less likely to catch a bug, it can still happen. And, many believe that the cause of summer colds is air conditioning in homes or offices that is too cold. Could this be true?

Cold Doesn’t Cause Colds

While there are plenty of people who will believe cold causes colds no matter what evidence they receive to the contrary, the reality is that cold temperatures aren’t the direct culprit. You can thank viruses for those miserable cold symptoms like coughing, runny noses and sore throats.

However, cold temperatures are not completely off the hook. There can be certain environmental conditions which make cold and flu viruses more likely to spread. Cold, dry indoor conditions can irritate eyes and disrupt the protective mucous barrier in your nose. This can make you more vulnerable to acquiring viruses.

Also, viruses are more likely to attack those who have weakened immune systems. Stress, caused by rapid changes in temperature and humidity, like what you experience when shifting between scorching outdoor heat and chilly indoor spaces, can impact your immune system.

Symptoms of a Cold May Not Be a Cold

Sneezing, runny noses, watery eyes and coughing are all common symptoms of colds. Yet, allergy symptoms, caused by airborne contaminants, can feel strikingly similar. Pollen, mold, dander blowing from an HVAC system with a dirty air filter can cause a host of very unpleasant symptoms that can feel just like a cold that never quite goes away.

Keeping Colds and Allergies Away

Although air conditioning does play a part in summer colds, it’s still a must-have here in the Valley of the Sun. The benefits of cool indoor air certainly outweigh the risks of developing a virus. However, there are ways to mitigate these risks while still staying cool and comfortable.

  • Keep the temperature at a comfortable level, between 72 and 78 degrees.
  • Open windows and doors in the early morning and evening to get rid of existing air pollutants.
  • Clean or replace air filters at least once a month.

Have questions about your air conditioning system? Call the experts at Cool Blew at 623-872-2900.

It’s Cool to Be an Air “ConditioNerd”

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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.

The Diminishing Returns of an Aging Air Conditioner

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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.

Should You Replace Your Air Conditioner in the Winter?

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Temperatures in the Valley of the Sun have finally dipped into the comfortable zone. 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 when you don’t need it, it may be the ideal 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 mid-October through April is the right time to replace your air conditioner for several important reasons. First, fewer homeowners and business owners are replacing units during these months. 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.

Is It Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner?

Of course, it’s important to know when it’s time to invest in a new air conditioner. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict exactly when your air conditioner will stop functioning.  However, there are some indicators that signal that you should consider a replacement.

Greater than 10 Years Old

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.

Efficiency Issues

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. An HVAC professional can help you understand what size unit you need, based on your square footage, insulation, windows and other factors.

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.

Extend the Lifespan of Your Air Conditioner

While a new air conditioner can ensure you’re cool 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. Air conditioners in the hot temperatures of the greater Phoenix area work hard to keep your home cool. By keeping your HVAC system well-maintained, you can extend its usability dramatically.

Want to learn more? Call your cooling experts, Cool Blew, for a home energy evaluation.

Pros and Cons of Having Two Air Conditioning Units for a 2-Story Home

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Here in the greater Phoenix area, there are neighborhoods that primarily have 2-story homes. These include many of the relatively newer communities in Ahwatukee, Gilbert and Peoria. While these homes can be great for growing families, they can be challenging when it comes to maintaining a consistent, comfortable temperature with a single air conditioning unit.

Balancing Temperature

There’s the obvious issue of warm air rising. In general, upstairs bedrooms will be warmer than the rest of the house. Thus, one area of the house can seem too hot or too cold. With separate central air conditioning units for each floor of your home, you can maintain a comfortable temperature for each defined space. This not only improves comfort but can also enable you to save money on utility bills.

Energy Savings

With a single, non-zoned air conditioning unit, you have to keep every area cool at the same time. With a second unit, you can choose to cool just the upstairs bedrooms at night. Or, if you primarily spend your time downstairs, you can turn off your upstairs unit when you’re not up there. This can reduce the square footage you’re regularly cooling considerably.

System Failure

As many Arizonans know, air conditioners have a habit of failing at the worst possible time. With two units, you can at least keep the house cool enough while repairs are being made. However, it’s also important to note that two units double your chances of a system failure and increase your overall cost of repairs over time.

Other Cost Considerations

Yes, two air conditioning units are more expensive than one to purchase, too. But the cost difference is often not as high as you think. This is because you will need two smaller units compared to one larger unit to cool the entire home. The added cost of the second unit can also be offset by the ongoing energy savings. Much of this depends on your home’s floorplan and how you plan to use the air conditioner.

A Zoned System

Another option is to install a single air conditioning unit with two or more thermostats. This is particularly beneficial for larger homes. A zoned system uses dampers within the ductwork that open and close to control the temperature and flow of air within each zone. This type of system costs more than a regular zone-less system, but the energy savings can add up over time.

Call Cool Blew today for a free estimate on cooling equipment for your home at 623-872-2900.

Should You Get a Home Energy Audit?

During the summer months, Arizona homeowners are often shocked and dismayed by sky-high utility bills. Air conditioning costs to keep a home cool can jump up tremendously when temperatures are over 100 degrees. What if there was a way to potentially reduce these costs? There is, and it starts with a home energy audit.

The Ins and Outs of a Home Energy Audit

A home energy audit is a multi-step inspection of the potential drains on the energy efficiency of your home. This begins with carefully looking at your entire HVAC system to ensure it’s running efficiently. Often, there are simple efficiency issues, like clogged filters, that can be replaced to make your system more efficient.

During the audit, your home will also be evaluated to identify hold and cold spots that could indicate costly leaks. This includes windows, doors, attic, ductwork and other areas throughout your home. A window or door that isn’t properly sealed can be a big source of wasted energy. Simple repairs can make a big difference on your utility bill each month!

It’s Not About Pushing New Products

Unfortunately, many companies offer home energy audits with a single goal of selling products. This deters many homeowners from scheduling an audit on their home. At Cool Blew, Inc, this isn’t our goal. We are focused on finding the deficiencies in your home that can be driving up your energy expenses. We are also dedicated to educating and empowering homeowners to make the decisions that are right for them and their budget. Yes, we have the HVAC and indoor air quality products that can improve your home’s efficiency, but we also offer do-it-yourself tips that can save you money.

Get Ready to Start Saving!

Most homeowners are surprised at the level of savings they’ll experience following upgrades prescribed during a home energy audit. Customers have saved up to 30 percent by making just a few quick and easy improvements to improve their home’s energy efficiency.

Don’t spend another month paying more than you should for energy costs. Call Cool Blew’s Home Energy Audit Service today at 623-872-2900.