Category Archives: Heating

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.

Heat Pump 411 – Everything You Wanted to Know About Heat Pumps

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Many Phoenix area homeowners have questions about heat pumps. How does a heat pump differ from an air conditioner? Can a heat pump keep my home comfortable during the winter months? Is a heat pump the right choice for my home? Traditionally, in colder winter weather areas of the United States (the East Coast, Midwest and northern states) home heating and cooling systems are installed with two basic components – a gas furnace, as well as a separate air conditioning unit. However, in Arizona, many neighborhoods and outlying areas are without gas lines, so gas furnaces are not always an option. In many instances, heat pumps are the logical choice.

What Are the Differences Between Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners?

If you see an air conditioning unit sitting next to a heat pump in a showroom, they look the same. The inner workings are very similar with one major difference. An air conditioner can only cool your home by transferring the heat from inside your house to the outdoors (that is, of course, an oversimplification of the process of air conditioning). While a heat pump has the ability to reverse the process and extract heat from the outdoors and “pump” it into your home. Pump is not the ideal word in describing this process. Heat pumps “move” heat from one place to another rather than generate heat (which is what gas furnaces or electric heaters do.) Generating heat, whether utilizing gas or electric power can get costly. The good news is Phoenix winters are generally very mild with only a few cold snaps per year.

Is There More Than One Type of Heat Pump?

There are three main types of heat pumps; air source, split ductless and geothermal. Air source heat pumps are the most popular choice for Arizona homes and can reduce your heating bill significantly over old school electric baseboard heaters. Split ductless can be an excellent option for one room additions, garage workshops or a separate studio because they do not require any ductwork. Geothermal heat pumps can greatly reduce your home’s energy usage, but they require major upfront installation costs. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of heat pump system. It’s a good idea to call in one of our experienced professionals to perform a complete HVAC inspection and assess your needs, review the options available to you and explain which system might work best for your home.

There are many reasons to consider choosing a heat pump for your home, including:

  • Heat Pumps Are Extremely Energy Efficient – A quote from the Department of Energy website states, “Today’s heat pump 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 yield more heat compared to the amount of electricity it takes to run them than older types of electric furnaces or heaters.
  • Cost – Which Is More Economical? – An expense comparison between a traditional AC/gas furnace house versus a home with a heat pump shows that over the course of one year, the cost works out to be just about the same. It is true that purchasing a heat pump with an extremely high SEER rating may be more expensive initially. However, there is no clear financial advantage to going with an air conditioner/gas furnace system over a heat pump.
  • Heat Pumps in Below Freezing Temperatures – People from all over the US visit Arizona from November through April because of the ideal desert climate. Temperatures in Phoenix are near perfect while the rest of the country bundles up for winter. However, occasionally temperatures will dip below freezing which can present a challenge for heat pumps. The solution is added heat strips which are electrically powered wire heating elements that warm up the air before it is blown into your home. Depending on how warm you like the temperature to be (especially in the mornings) your heat strip usage will vary.

Winter Is Coming

With the beautiful fall weather and relief from summer’s extreme heat, HVAC issues may be the last thing on your mind. However, November is a great month to schedule a fall checkup and review your options if you are considering a heat pump. Why not give us a call, and one of our friendly service pros will drop by and perform a full HVAC system assessment for you.

What Is a Water Heater Booster?

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Do you have family members who take long showers, leaving you in the cold? If you’ve discovered the chilly truth of running out of hot water due to a too-small water heater, you may want to consider a simple addition to your water heater called a water heater booster.

Homeowners are often surprised to learn that a single shower can use 10 or more gallons of hot water. If you have a standard 50-gallon tank, you can quickly surpass your family’s hot water needs. Dishwashers and washing machines only add to the daily consumption. If you’re tired of running out of hot water mid-shower, it might be time to consider the installation of a water heater booster.

What is a Water Heater Booster?

A water heater booster is installed directly on the water line to provide more hot water than the tank can provide. In fact, this small device, that is attached to the tank or nearby wall, can nearly double your shower time. Compatible with both electric and gas tanks, a water heater booster detects the temperature of the water from the tank outlet and activates when it senses that the inlet temperature has dropped below a set activation temperature.

Should You Invest in a Water Heater Booster?

If your household is battling the daily challenge of not enough hot water, it may make sense to consider a water heater booster. A unit can be added to an existing tank or installed along with a new water heater. Call Cool Blew today to learn more about the benefits of a water heater booster and if it’s right for your home.

Looking to Reduce Hot Water Use for Energy Savings

Nearly 15 percent of your home’s energy costs can be attributed to your water heater. While a water heater booster can help increase the amount of available hot water in your home, it’s also wise to consider ways to increase the efficiency of your water heater. Often, a few small modifications can make a big difference.

Consider Low Flow Showerheads

Reducing the flow of water in your shower and sinks can mean more hot water when you need it.

Insulate the Tank

Wrapping your tank can save up to 10 percent in heating costs. Check your tank’s manual for specific insulation requirements.

Replace an Inefficient Water Heater

Today’s energy-efficient water heaters can save 15 percent or more in energy costs over older models. Look for an Energy Star model that has heat traps that prevent convective heat losses through inlet and outlet pipes.

Have questions about water heaters? Call Cool Blew today at 623-872-2900. Serving Peoria, AZ and the greater Phoenix area.

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.