Category Archives: Heating

The Smells of a Failing Furnace

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Chilly winter temperatures mean you’re probably running your furnace in the morning and evening. As a reminder, it’s important to pay close attention to unusual smells from your home’s furnace. A malfunctioning furnace can actually be dangerous and pose hazards to your house and family. When in doubt, turn off the furnace and immediately call your local HVAC professionals. Here are some faulty furnace smells to watch out for.

Burning Smell

An overpowering burnt smell from your furnace may mean a blower motor has overheated. An excessively clogged air filter can cause dust and dirt to rapidly collect on the furnace. A dusty, burning smell when the furnace is running, lasting over an hour, may swiftly turn into a fire danger.

Electrical Smell

A burning electrical smell from your home’s air vents requires immediate attention. Electrical components may be broken or the blower motor may be overheating. The risks for an electrical fire or blower motor fire rapidly increase and may put your family in danger.

Gunpowder Smell

Do you sense a gunpowder odor when your furnace is running? An overheated circuit board or an overheated fan motor can create a smell similar to gunpowder. It’s another sign that it’s time to call for service sooner than later.

Plastic Smell

Burning plastic smells are immediately noticeable. A myriad number of things can cause this smell. Some type of object may have fallen into the furnace or have been placed next to it. The causes may range from a plastic bottlecap, a children’s or pet’s toy in or near the furnace, rubber or plastic casing from electrical wiring, an overheated furnace motor or a cracked heat exchanger. The fumes created by burning plastic are not safe to breathe in.

Metallic Smell

Smelling or tasting an acrid, metallic-like smell from your home’s air vents? Some parts of the furnace made entirely of metal may overheat or furnace insulators may be burning. The metallic odor is unmistakable and requires immediate attention.

Rotten Egg Smell

If your furnace is running on natural gas and you’re getting a rotten egg smell from the air vents, there’s most likely a leak. Shut off the furnace, evacuate your home, call your gas company immediately, so they can inspect for a gas leak, and notify your HVAC company.

Call Cool Blew

Call your HVAC technicians for further investigation and repair with any unusual odor coming from your furnace. Until the professionals arrive at your home, turn off the furnace. Remember – you can call us anytime of the day or night at 623-872-2900 for all your heating and air conditioning issues. Call Cool Blew today to schedule an inspection appointment with one of our certified professionals.

Home Heating Safety Tips

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Even in the desert southwest, home heating is necessary this time of year. Yet, safety should always be a paramount focus while using furnaces, heat pumps, and space heaters. Why? Home heating-related fires account for nearly 50% of all home fires in the winter months. By implementing a few safety tips and precautions, you can prevent most home heating fires from happening while keeping you and your loved ones comfortably warm and safe this winter season.

Safety Tips

Did you know that approximately half of all home heating fire deaths were caused by having heating equipment too close to household items that can quickly burn, such as mattresses, bedding, clothing, upholstered furniture, and drapes? Even though there are several safety features built into home heating systems, accidents do happen. But by following these safety tips, you can dramatically lower the risk of them happening.

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Always have a qualified, licensed professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.
  • Test smoke alarms and CO2 (carbon monoxide) detectors once a month.
  • Check and replace any dirty HVAC air filters monthly.
  • Don’t overload electrical extension sockets.
  • Make certain there are working fire extinguishers on hand and know how to use them.

Space Heaters

Another fact to keep in mind during winter is that portable and stationary space heaters cause over 80% of home fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Here are some important tips to keep in mind.

  • Don’t leave a space heater on while you sleep.
  • Never leave a space heater running in an empty room.
  • Use a safety gate around any space heaters to keep children and pets safe.
  • Make certain that your space heater has an auto shut off mechanism when it’s tipped over.

Call Cool Blew

By following these tips and precautions, along with having your HVAC system professionally inspected at least twice yearly, you’ll be safely prepared for the chilly months.
For additional questions, call Cool Blew, your locally owned experts in HVAC, at 623-872-2900.

Easy Ways to Save Money by Regulating Your Indoor Temperatures

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In between running your dishwasher, washing machine, and the oven, it can be challenging keeping your home’s indoor temperature comfortable, without causing a large increase in monthly utility bills. Here are some simple adjustments that can help without having to change your thermostat setting.

Area Rugs

Flooring, such as Saltillo tile, linoleum, bamboo, natural and engineered, hardwood can be chilly to walk on during cooler months. If you want a warm, comfortable experience for your feet, place area rugs in strategic locations throughout your home to keep heat from escaping through the tile and floorboards.

Thermostat Placement

A thermostat placed on an interior wall will operate at higher efficiency levels when it is not in direct sunlight emanating from a skylight, nearby windows, or exposed to frequent air drafts from opening doors. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “Thermostats should be located where natural room air currents — warm air rising, cool air sinking — occur,” Your local handyman or certified HVAC professional can help you with the optimal thermostat location.

Seal Windows and Doors

Windows and doors are the biggest offenders for heat loss. The best way to check for heat loss is to use a flashlight. When light shines through frame cracks or caulking, it means your home is losing heat. In other words, it’s a clear signal that it’s time to add caulk and sealant.

Change Filters

Dirty, clogged HVAC air filters can contribute to uneven indoor temperatures. Changing your home’s air filters regularly will save you money on utility bills and reduce mechanical strain on your HVAC system.

Smart Home

A smart, long-term investment would be to consider installing a home automation system to save even more on monthly expenditures. A home automation system may include smart thermostats, smart power strips, smart lighting, smart appliances, and any other home automation technology that will remotely monitor and control your house. You won’t have to remember whether you turned off the oven or dryer after leaving home. There are upfront costs of purchasing and installing home automation systems, but you’ll save money in the long run-on utility bills and make your life easier.

Call Cool Blew

These helpful tips will save on your energy costs. How to skillfully manage indoor temperatures, recommend, and install smart automation products is what your local professionals at Cool Blew do best. Call us today at 623-872-2900 to schedule your appointment with our expertly trained technicians.

Safety Tips for Your Home’s Heating Equipment

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Fall is a fantastic time of year here in Arizona. The leaves are starting to change colors. And the weather is cooler—opening up the possibilities for a bounty of outdoor activities.
Yet, evenings can be chilly, with temperatures dipping down into the 50s or below. This means you may want to consider turning on the heat—making it the perfect time to remind you of a few safety tips for your home heating equipment.

Most homeowners are surprised to learn that heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires. With home fires happening every 87 seconds, heating products caused an estimated 34,000 residential fires in 2019 according to data from the U.S. Fire Administration. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to keep you, your loved ones, and your home safe.

Schedule a Tune Up

First and foremost, schedule a tune-up with your local HVAC professionals to check for problems like cracked heat exchangers, damaged wires, and other hazards that can potentially cause a home fire. A qualified technician can ensure your system is working efficiently and safely throughout the season.

Make Room

Keep the area around any heating equipment or vent clear. This means removing blankets, toys, furniture, clothing, and other items that can potentially catch fire.

Be Especially Cautious with Space Heaters

When buying a new or used home space heater, make certain it carries the mark of an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories. Whether your space heater is portable or installed, read the manufacturer’s instructions closely before using it.

All space heaters should be kept at least three feet away from any combustible material, including clothing, bedding, mattresses, draperies, upholstered furniture, and rugs. Test the shut-off function of any space heater you’re using to ensure it automatically turns off when tipped or knocked over. Plug the power cord only into electrical outlets with sufficient capacity and never plug into an extension cord.

Do not use space heaters in any part of the house where children and pets are not properly supervised, nor any areas in your home near water sources like sinks or indoor water fountains. Heaters should never be used in bathrooms or kitchens. Turn off space heaters whenever the room they are in is not occupied. If you use a space heater in your bedroom, turn it off at night before going to bed to avoid knocking over the space heater in the dark.

Call Cool Blew

These home heating safety tips can help keep you and your family safe through the cooler fall days and evenings ahead.
Whether you have a heating problem or just want a maintenance check, Cool Blew is your resource for all your home electrical and heating needs. Call us today to schedule an appointment at 623-872-2900.

Heat Pumps vs. Gas Furnaces

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Heat pumps have become increasingly popular for home comfort – and for good reason. They offer both heating and cooling in just one unit and typically cost far less to operate than gas furnaces. In fact, heat pumps can save a typical household up to 30 percent off their annual heating bills, according to a US government study.

What’s the Controversy with Heat Pumps?

Some homeowners are reluctant to choose a heat pump because they’ve heard that they don’t effectively heat in all climates. It is true that heat pumps aren’t ideal for temperatures that fall below freezing. However, this is seldom the case in sunny Arizona. In other words, you’re highly unlikely to have a situation when a heat pump would have difficulty providing ample heat. And the cooling ability of a heat pump is the same as any air conditioner of the same size.

Heat pumps are also durable and long-lasting. They typically last 15 years or more for a unit that is well maintained.

What About a Gas Furnace?

Gas furnaces are another option for Arizona homeowners. They work by heating cool air from inside the house and distributing it into living spaces. A furnace requires a fuel source, such as propane or natural gas, to warm the air.
Gas furnaces are effective in warming a home, but they also pose more health risks due to improper handling and maintenance. These include fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Which Is Better?

Here in the Valley of the Sun, a heat pump is typically the better option considering our warm climate and mild winter. Of course, you’ll want to factor in your upfront and operating costs. Want to learn more about heat pumps or gas furnaces? Call the HVAC experts at Cool Blew at 623-872-2900. We provide maintenance, repair and installation throughout the greater Phoenix area.

Temperature Tussles – Couples Who Thermostatically Disagree

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The concept that opposites attract has been featured in many poems, songs and movies. To be sure, relationships run hot and cold. However, when it comes to room temperature and thermostat settings, many couples have strongly differing opinions. Even though there’s little science to support it, in many cases, the guy would like it to be cooler, and she can never get warm. Because it is so central to comfortable living, temperature sensitivity can sometimes cause discord in the home.

Is Temperature Perception a Scientific Fact or a Matter of Opinion?

Do men and women maintain the same core body temperature under controlled circumstances? As we all know, internal body temperature for humans, men and women, hovers around 98.6 degrees. The National Institute of Health (NIH) asserts differences do arise within various groups depending on age, race, gender and physical condition. The main point is, when it comes to temperature, it’s all about perception – how your body perceives the atmosphere around you. Factors such as body weight, muscle mass, level of activity, person metabolism all contribute to feeling warm, hot, or cold. So, a “perfect” 70 degrees affect you one way and your spouse, another.

January is the coldest month of the year in Phoenix. As temperatures drop and night’s dip below freezing, waking up to a cold house can be bothersome. Unfortunately, cranking up the heat all night can get expensive. Here are some options which will give you more control over the temperature in your home:

  • Smart Thermostats Make Your Life Easier

    If you have an older, single thermostat located in one part of your home, it may be time for an upgrade. New Wi-fi enabled “smart” thermostats save you money and allow you to heat your home more efficiently by making it easy to tailor temperature settings throughout day and night. These digital wonders actually learn your schedule and tendencies and adjust accordingly. You can install multiple smart thermostats throughout different areas of your house, so they communicate with each other. This is especially important for expansive homes with a furnace on one end of the house and bedrooms on the opposite side of the house. It’s important to remember, various brands will provide different options. Our friendly service techs will be happy to explain the advantages to you.

  • Zone Heating and Cooling

    By creating separate, dedicated areas, zone heating and cooling allows you to adjust individual rooms to a higher or lower temperature depending on how you or your spouse (or children) prefer it. If you’d like your master suite to be 5 degrees warmer 30 minutes before you wake up, just program it in. Zone heating and cooling puts tremendous control in the homeowner’s hands.

  • Increased Efficiency of Your Current HVAC System

    When people experience temperature fluctuations from room to room, they are often surprised to find that an HVAC system inspection may reveal certain problems or deficiencies which can be repaired and remedied quickly. Over the years, we’ve found disconnected or crushed air ducts, faulty fans, gaping leaks or holes and all other kinds of impairments to free-flowing air. If your system has not been checked lately or if it has been years since your ducts and vents were inspected, please give us a call.

Let Our HVAC Experts Solve Your Temperature Tussles

Our experienced technicians will review your entire HVAC system and solve the mystery of fluctuating temperatures from room to room. We will be happy to discuss your heating and cooling challenges with you. We’ll prepare a detailed HVAC plan to end your temperature tussles once and for all. Why not give us a call today.

The Great Escape – Where Does All the Heat Go?

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Arizona’s climate is so varied. Record high and low temperatures can occur within the state on the very same day. As the valley gets colder, and winter approaches, Phoenix residents’ thoughts turn to heat. We’ve already had a few calls from concerned homeowners awakened in the middle of the night by the smell of burning dust when their heater kicks in for the first time. With the holidays approaching, and temperatures dropping, it’s a good idea to schedule your winter HVAC tune-up to make sure your furnace is working properly, and the heat you are paying for is being delivered efficiently to every room in your house.

Keep More Heat Inside Your Home – After All, You’re Paying for It

Whether your home has a gas furnace or electric heat, energy costs are significant (and just like heat, they keep rising). Retaining the maximum amount of heat in your home is the name of the game. Here are a few places where heat is escaping from your house:

  • Heat Loss Is Going Through the Roof

    Your roof takes a beating from the sun all summer long. It’s a shame that heat can’t be magically stored for the colder months. In most houses, there is significant heat loss through the attic and roof. Heat rises, so it stands to reason that an uninsulated roof can cost you up to 25 percent loss of the heat generated by your furnace. If you haven’t already done so, and especially if you live in an older home, you may want to consider installing insulation in your attic.

  • Significant Heat Loss Through Walls

    Current homebuilding techniques include extensive insulation and home wrapping, which does a good job of preventing heat loss. Older Arizona homes, however, have gaps, cracks and uninsulated areas where heat escapes. The good news is cavity walls can be easily insulated by injection method and will not only save you money on heat but also help keep cold air inside during the summer. You might want to consider a home energy audit in 2020.

  • Doors, Windows and Your Garage Door

    The usual suspects – older doors, windows and the garage door can be problem areas for heat loss. A simple visual inspection will let you know if you need to consider window replacement. Kids playing outdoors during winter often leave the garage door open for hours. Stop heating the great outdoors and tell your kids to shut the door!

There’s Still Time to Schedule Your Winter Service Before the End of the Year

We know everyone gets busy this time of year. Shopping, concerts, school events and parties make the season bright. One thing you don’t want to deal with is a faulty furnace. Give us a call and make sure your holidays are carefree.

Think Outside the Furnace – Is A Heat Pump Right for Your Arizona Home?

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What looks like an air conditioner, sounds like an air conditioner and cools like an air conditioner? A heat pump. When customers see heat pumps sitting next to air conditioners, they are often confused because the two are identical. Around this time of year, with temperatures dropping fast, many Phoenix homeowners realize it’s time to retire the ol’ reliable gas furnace. If your home was built in the 80s or 90s, your gas furnace is way past its prime. If you’re considering replacing your fossil fuel burning furnace with a new model, you might want to explore an energy efficient alternative to gas – a heat pump.

What’s the Differences Between a Heat Pump and a Gas Furnace?

Air conditioners cool your home by transferring heat from inside your house to the great outdoors. A heat pump has the ability to reverse the process and extract heat from the outdoors and “pump” it into your home. The big difference between a furnace and heat pump is a gas furnace burns fossil fuels to generate heat while the heat pump extracts surrounding heat from the outdoors and brings it inside. The reason heat pumps are rated so highly for energy efficiency is that it’s generally cheaper to move heat around than it is to create heat, whether from burning fossil fuels or by electricity.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps?

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of using heat pumps in Arizona:

  • Pro – Heat Pumps Are Energy Efficient

    The Department of Energy states, “Heat pumps can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50% compared to electric resistance heating such as furnaces and baseboard heaters. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months.” Heat pumps only use electricity to power the fans, condenser and pump – not to create heat – which is a more efficient usage of energy.

  • Pro – Heat Pumps Are Safer Than Gas Furnaces

    Heat pumps are a safer alternative to gas furnaces because whenever you have a combustion-based heating element in your home, the potential for danger exists. Gas furnaces produce carbon emissions and CO (carbon monoxide) which can be harmful and even fatal to your family if not vented properly. Heat pumps are installed outside your home and use electricity.

  • Con – Heat Pumps Are at a Disadvantage in Extremely Cold Weather

    The main knock on heat pumps is they have a difficult time extracting heat from the outside air when the temperatures drop below 20 degrees. The good news is, winter weather in the Valley is mostly moderate to ideal with a few cold snaps thrown in for good measure. Occasionally, when temperatures dip below freezing, added electrically powered heat strips and heating elements warm up the air delivered into your home.

Winter Is Almost Here

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and winter is almost here. Why not have one of our friendly service technicians drop by to check out your heating system and get you ready for winter? We’ll be happy to explain all the pros and cons of heat pumps versus gas furnaces. Whichever you choose, we’re ready to service your needs.

Preparing for Winter – Cold Winds from the North, Gas Furnaces and CO Poisoning

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Last week, wintertime paid an early visit to the central and northern US, as well as parts of the west. A massive arctic blast blew frigid winds from the north and brought record-breaking low temperatures as far south as the Grand Canyon. For what it’s worth, the Farmer’s Almanac predicts a “polar coaster” winter for 2019-2020. As the days get shorter and the nights grow colder, many Phoenix homeowners will be firing up their furnaces for the first time in November.

A Word of Caution

Here at Cool Blew, we always stress safety first. Heating equipment, such as gas furnaces as well as wood, coal or oil burning appliances produce an undetectable odorless, colorless, tasteless, silent killer – carbon monoxide. Every year, carbon monoxide poisoning causes hundreds of fatalities, thousands of hospitalizations and countless visits to emergency rooms across the country. Animal lovers should know that CO, (the chemical symbol for carbon monoxide) is also toxic and harmful to pets. One of the most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning in homes is faulty, obstructed or improperly vented furnaces. Here are some important facts on a subject which only gets negative press:

  • What Produces Carbon Monoxide?

    Burning combustible fuels causes fumes which contain CO. Gas furnaces, water heaters, gas stoves, fireplaces and of course, exhaust fumes from cars and trucks all contain carbon monoxide. For HVAC, a yearly check-up of your gas heater is advised to ensure the safe venting and operation of your heater.

  • What Symptoms Are Associated with CO Poisoning?

    The great danger of carbon monoxide poisoning is that people don’t realize what is happening to them until it’s too late. Symptoms can include headache, feeling disoriented, confusion, weakness, nausea, vomiting and chest pain. People rarely connect the symptoms to the cause because they have no experience with CO. Accidents can occur particularly at night when people are sleeping.

  • What Can I Do to Protect My Family?

    We recommend a fall HVAC tune up to make sure your furnace is checked out and working properly. We also advise you install a carbon monoxide detector in your home, preferably with a digital readout that will inform you of the concentration of CO in your home. It’s important to place the CO alarm near your bedroom so it will wake you up if problems occur while your asleep.

An Ounce of Prevention

No one ever expects to have a carbon monoxide problem in their home. However, fire departments know that accidents happen all the time. If you haven’t already done so, consider installing a carbon monoxide alarm to safeguard you and your family from this elusive danger. Our friendly service techs will be happy to advise you during your fall HVAC inspection. Give us a call today.

Is It Time to Replace Your Old Gas Furnace with an Energy Efficient Heat Pump?

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In Arizona, summer seems to go on forever. Then November rolls around, nighttime temperatures drop, you wake up with a chill, and your thoughts turn to heat. For many Phoenix residents, the old gas furnace has been doing a serviceable job of heating the house for years – in some cases, decades. Let’s face it, winters are mild, and furnaces barely get a workout during Arizona winters. Precisely because they tend to operate trouble free, furnaces are rarely given a thought until something goes wrong or their useful service lifespan has ended. Depending on how old your furnace is, it might be time to consider making a switch from gas to an energy efficient heat pump.

Gas Furnace Verses Heat Pump – Which One Is Best for You

Phoenix has experienced many homebuilding booms over the decades. Depending on when your home was constructed, you may have a gas furnace that is past its prime. The fact is, heat pumps are very efficient and cost less to run than most gas-powered systems. Here are points to note if you’re considering switching:

  • How Heat Pumps Work

    Heat pumps operate through heat exchange by transferring heat from one place to another – like an air conditioner in reverse. When in heating mode, they move heat from the outdoors to the indoors which turns out to be a very efficient way to heat your home. Studies have shown that heat pumps can save homeowners up to 30 percent on their energy usage.

  • Safety Issues

    Any time a combustible fuel is involved there’s always the chance for accidents. Heat pumps have a better safety record than gas because there’s literally no chance for gas leaks or fires. Whether you choose to go with a heat pump or stay with your gas furnace, you should have your furnace checked every fall to make sure it’s in safe, working order.

  • Schedule an HVAC Assessment

    The best way to evaluate what form of home heating is best for you is to schedule one of our service techs to come out and perform a home heating assessment which can be done in conjunction with your fall service tune up. Our friendly service techs will provide you with all the information you need to make the right decision.

Heat Pumps

As the temperatures drop, your need for effective, efficient home heating will be on your mind. If you’ve got questions about heat pumps – we’ve got answers. Please give Cool Blew a call to schedule a consultation today.