Category Archives: HVAC Maintenance

Furnace Foresight – Preventive Maintenance on Your Heating System Saves Time and Money

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Imagine an appliance that doesn’t get a tremendous amount of use, rarely causes problems, works year in and year out and almost never seems to need service. For many Phoenix homeowners, that describes their furnace. In Arizona, your furnace plays a distant second fiddle to the hardworking and all-important air conditioner. A summer without air conditioning is utterly unthinkable. However, Phoenix weather is so perfect during the winter months, some residents can go an entire season without turning their furnace on. This can lead to a bad case of FNS (Furnace Neglect Syndrome).

OK, so there’s not really a condition known as FNS, but it is true that many Arizonans take their furnace for granted and let years go by without having a service check performed.

Furnaces Are Built to Last Decades – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

It is absolutely true that most furnaces are manufactured to very high standards and are extremely reliable. The fact that furnaces are so dependable can lull homeowners into a false sense of security. Here are the top five reasons to have your furnace inspected even if it appears to be working just fine:

  • Detect Carbon Monoxide Leaks – One of the most important reasons for a yearly furnace inspection is to check for carbon monoxide leaks – an odorless, colorless gas that can be potentially dangerous (even deadly) to you and your family. If you have a faulty heat exchanger or it becomes cracked, it’s possible for carbon monoxide to escape into your home. Our trained technicians will inspect your furnace to insure there are no carbon monoxide leaks.
  • Check Igniters and Clean the Burners – Whether you have an older gas furnace with a pilot light or a newer electronic ignition system, it is essential that the igniting sequence of your furnace works perfectly. If you notice a hesitation or delay in the ignition process of your furnace once it is turned on, your burners might need to be cleaned. Our technicians will inspect this crucial part of your furnace.
  • Inactivity Often Leads to a Dusty, Dirty Furnace – When your furnace sits inactive for many months, a year or even more, dust and dirt builds up and settles into the moving parts and fittings of your furnace. Occasionally rust will appear on the burners. You may notice the first time you fire up your furnace after months of inaction, there is a funny odor. That smell is the dust being burned off the exposed surfaces of your furnace. During a pre-winter inspection, our service techs will clean your furnace and get rid of excess dust and dirt, so it does not make its way into your home.
  • Thermostat Checkup – The key to proper home heating starts with your thermostat. We will check the calibration, the wiring and the accuracy of your thermostat and make sure it’s working properly. We will also provide you with information about new wi-fi enabled “smart” thermostats which can save you money and help you heat your home more efficiently.
  • Replace Dirty Filters with Clean Air Filters – Air filters keep your home free from indoor air pollutants, such as dust, dander and the fine desert dirt that tracks into your home. Replacing your air filters is a priority for any service inspection.

The Heat Is On

With Thanksgiving behind us and the new year just ahead, take the time to have your furnace checked before you experience any problems. Preventive maintenance detects and solves small problems before they turn into big headaches. Give us a call at 623-872-2900 and one of our expert technicians will inspect your furnace and your entire HVAC system for you.

HVAC Air Filter Tips to Help You Breathe Easier

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If you’ve ever forgotten to change your HVAC air filter for any length of time, you know just how much dust and dirt is collected. Air filters are vitally important to the function of your HVAC system. They not only trap particles that can hinder your breathing, they also help your system run more efficiently. So, it’s important to know the basics of air filters if you’re a homeowner.

Choose the Optimal Filters

First, it’s important to remember that not all filters are created equal. They range dramatically in terms of price, function and durability. The most common type of HVAC air filter is the fiberglass/synthetic type that is commonly found in home-improvement and grocery stores. They are able to catch about 80 percent of particles in the air that are 50 microns or larger. These products can help prevent the buildup of dust and dirt on heat exchangers, fan motors and other surfaces of your HVAC system, but they’re not the most effective type available.

Polyester filters are made with a higher quality material that remove up to 95 percent of particles 5 microns or larger. They’re about five times pricier than fiberglass/synthetic filters, but they are a solid choice if you’re continuously battling dust in your home. Pleated filters offer even greater efficiency by trapping particulates 0.3 microns in size, including viruses and bacteria. Electrostatic filters are another filter option, and they’re available in both disposable and washable models.

If you or other members of your household have allergies, asthma or other respiratory issues, HEPA filters may be the way to go. These capture 99 percent of particles 0.3 microns and larger. Yet, it’s important to remember that these premium filters cost more and slightly reduce the air flow in your HVAC system, which translates into higher utility costs.

Determine the Right Size

HVAC filters come in a variety of sizes. To ensure you get one that fits correctly, measure the air filter cabinet space or your existing filter. The most common filter sizes are:

10 X 20, 14 X 20, 16 X 24, 18 X 30, 12 X 12, 14 X 24, 16 X 25, 20 X 20, 12 X 20, 14 X 25, 18 X 18, 20 X 24, 12 X 24, 14 X 30, 18 X 20, 20 X 25, 12 X 30, 15 X 20, 18 X 24, 20 X 30, 12 X 36, 16 X 20, 18 X 25, 4 X 24 and 25 X 25

Replace Filters Often

In the desert, dust abounds, and it will collect in your HVAC system. This is why it’s vitally important to change out filters at least once a month to ensure your home’s air is clean and your system is functioning optimally.

Have Questions about Filters?

Call the pros at Cool Blew today, and we can help ensure you have the right filter for your HVAC system

The “Fur” in Furnace and Other HVAC Animal Oddities

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Many Phoenix homeowners schedule two HVAC maintenance checks per year. One in the spring to ensure the air conditioner is prepared for the grueling desert summer ahead and another in fall to prepare the HVAC system for winter. During the six months of Arizona summer, your idle furnace (depending on where it’s located) can make an attractive vacation home for squirrels, roof rats and other critters. During our fall checkups, we have found evidence of furry friends in furnaces and air vents. Unfortunately, rodents can find their way into very tight spaces. If you notice strange pitter-pattering noises in the middle of the night, you might have furry trespassers.

When Animals Invade

Many housing developments in the Phoenix metropolitan area are located near open spaces where animals abound. Even established neighborhoods are teeming with critters. It’s not uncommon for squirrels, rats and other rodents to seek refuge inside your outdoor HVAC unit or in your home via air ducts – many times gaining entrance through vents. Animals belong in the great outdoors. If your furnace or HVAC ducts have evidence of pests, it’s best to have us perform an entire system inspection and rid your house of these rodent intruders immediately.

Snakes and Spiders in Places They Don’t Belong

Phoenix residents have the added joy of occasionally discovering snakes and spiders in places they don’t belong. Snakes infrequently will make their way into the shade on the inside of an outdoor HVAC unit as well as black widow spiders spinning their webs on compressor hoses. We don’t report this to scare homeowners, but rather to let you know, over the years, we’ve seen just about everything. Always be cautious when uncovering an outdoor or utility room unit (or any HVAC unit) because you never know what you might find inside.

If you hear animals in your vents, or you see evidence of critters in or around your HVAC unit, the best solution is to call in professionals. Here’s a list of unwelcome visitors that may be trying to live in your HVAC system rent-free.

  • Squirrels and Raccoons – These are determined and ingenious creatures (particularly raccoons). They often find their way into your home through old, damaged, or faulty vents. You will likely hear them before you see them. If you notice foul odors from their droppings, call us immediately for service.
  • Mice and Rats – Small and crafty rodents can crawl into extremely small holes and spaces. They often cause damage by chewing on your refrigerant lines, electrical wires and other parts. Rats and mice love to pilfer insulation to build nests. Rodents present health risks for your family and need to be dealt with immediately. It is advised to clean and sanitize ducts if rodents have infested.
  • Spiders, Insects and Roaches – If you live in Arizona, spiders, insects and roaches are going to occasionally make their way into your home. It’s simply unavoidable. What we have noticed, over the years, is that certain areas are more susceptible to infestation if they have been ignored for long periods of time. Having regular inspections insures that your HVAC system won’t be overrun by creepy crawlers.

Living in the Desert

Close to Nature The beauty of Arizona is being so close to nature. This means being surrounded by critters and furry creatures, some of whom will occasionally invade your home. Twice yearly service calls and regular HVAC inspections will protect you and your family from the problems they can bring. Give us a call today!

The “H” in HVAC Is for Halloween – A Great Reminder Winter Is Not Far Off

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The signs of autumn are everywhere. Pumpkins for carving, fall decorations and Halloween costumes are on display in stores. Children are choosing their favorite scary characters in preparation for the big night of trick or treating. And you are correct, the “H” in HVAC is not for Halloween – it’s for heating. However, Halloween serves as a great yearly reminder that the extreme 100+ degree temperatures of summer will soon be replaced by the cooler nights of fall. That means winter is not far off.

October is the perfect month to schedule an appointment to have your furnace inspected. The “H” in your HVAC system has been idle for months. After avoiding the extreme Arizona heat for six months, many Phoenix area residents forget winter nights in the desert can get very chilly.

Your Furnace Has Been on Summer Vacation

HVAC systems are complex, and your AC has been getting heavy use throughout the summer. Switching to heat means engaging a separate component that has not been used for a long time. Here are a few reasons why October is the perfect month for a fall HVAC checkup:

  • The Heat Is On – The first time you turn on your furnace each year can bring an unwelcome smell of burning dust. A fine layer of desert dirt and grime from summer wind storms can cover your heating elements and cause problems. During a fall service call, our technicians will inspect your furnace and remove any dust or debris from inside your heater. Also, it’s not uncommon for us to find evidence of furry friends making a home for themselves in your furnace. Air filters, which are also dust magnets, will be replaced. Remember, whenever you notice a burning smell, it’s always a good idea to have it checked out.
  • Gas Furnaces – Gas furnaces are generally very reliable. With their igniters and gas burners, they are slightly more complex than electric heaters. Unfortunately, with months of sitting idle, they don’t always fire up perfectly the first time. There is nothing more annoying than trying to figure out the instructions for lighting the pilot with a flashlight in your hand on the first cold night. To ensure a safe, first time start up for your gas furnace, have it checked in advance.
  • Have You Checked Your Thermostat Lately? – One of the most unsung and underappreciated elements of any HVAC system is the thermostat. Because they tend to work reliably and trouble free for years and years, we often inspect thermostats that are decades old. Replacing your old thermostat with a new smart thermostat can save money and make it easier to program your settings. Our service techs can explain the many options available. However, if your happy with your current thermostat, we’re happy to check it out and make sure it’s working properly.
  • Thinking Ahead to the Holidays – If you schedule a fall HVAC checkup for October or November, you can put your mind at ease knowing you’re set the holidays ahead. Now is truly the best time to get prepared for winter.

Happy Halloween

Each year, October 31st marks the start of the holiday season. We wish you and your children a safe and happy Halloween. For service so good that it’s scary call Cool Blew today for your fall tune-up.

Illnesses You Can Get from a Poorly Maintained Air Conditioner

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If you’ve ever caught a summer cold, you know how surprisingly bad they can be. In fact, these nasty viruses often last longer than winter colds! Why? In many cases, the culprit is an air conditioner circulating less than pristine air. The reality is a poorly maintained air conditioner can cause a range of very unpleasant health problems.

Even if you keep your home pristinely clean, unseen pollutants can circulate through your HVAC system if it’s not clean. Often, these go under the radar because they’re not visible to the naked eye. And, their effects are usually associated with other conditions or causes.

Is Your Air Conditioner Making You Sick?

Of course, not every illness can be traced back to your HVAC system, but the following symptoms could indicate the possibility of an AC-related illness:

  • Frequent colds
  • Ear infections
  • Chronic headaches
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Lingering cough
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Irritated nasal passages
  • Sore throat
  • Dry or watery eyes

Mold, dust, dander, bacteria and viruses can all circulate through your HVAC system. Individuals living or working in an environment where these particulates are in the air frequently report health problems ranging from allergies to serious illnesses. For those with weakened immune systems, young children and the elderly, symptoms can often be more pronounced.

What You Can Do

Air conditioner filters are designed to clean inside air and prevent the circulation of symptom-causing particulates. However, as they collect pollutants, they become less effective. Not only does this decrease the air quality, it also causes an air conditioner to work less efficiently. An easy and simple way to prevent symptoms from occurring is to change filters on a monthly basis.

Professional HVAC System Maintenance

Although changing your filter is an important step in preventing illnesses, it’s not enough to eliminate all pollutants. HVAC systems require regular maintenance. This includes cleaning the system and, if necessary, using a chemical cleaner to kill fungi, bacteria and viruses.

Learn more now about preventing illness by maintaining your HVAC system. Call the experts at Cool Blew today!

Should You Get a Home Energy Audit?

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You can’t step outside this time of year and not be very aware of the tremendous summer heat. When average daily temperatures are in the triple digits, it can be difficult to keep your home comfortably cool while containing your utility bill. This is when an energy audit can come in very handy.

What is a Home Energy Audit?

An energy audit is a thorough inspection and analysis of energy uses in your home to determine the amounts of energy used and the costs. These findings can guide strategies to reduce energy use through energy efficiency improvements and conservation.

What to Expect During Your Home Energy Audit

At Cool Blew, we take a comprehensive approach to home energy audits. We don’t just look for locations of leaking air. We’re here to provide you with the latest information on ways to increase efficiencies while empowering you with the knowledge and tools you need to make them happen. Because we’re also specialists in HVAC systems, we assess your air conditioning and heating units to ensure they’re running efficiently. We also check for sufficient insulation, while identifying issues with windows, doors, attics, ductwork and more.

Customers are often surprised by the savings found with an energy audit and upgrades. While we offer plenty of products to help improve efficiencies, we also offer highly effective, yet simple DIY tips that can boost savings. In fact, the savings can be up to 30 percent or more on utility bills. Often, a few minor fixes can produce significant savings.

Are you tired of that continuously climbing, monthly utility bill? Don’t wait another month. Call Cool Blew today to schedule an energy audit. Whether you’re in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Peoria or any other city in the Greater Phoenix area, we’re to help you save money and stay comfortable all year long.

Holiday Horror Show – Avoid This Air Conditioning “Nightmare on Your Street”

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Fright night is a lot of fun at the movie theater, which is a place, by the way, where many Arizonans go to avoid the heat. Years ago, there was an amusing ad campaign for a scary movie. In the radio commercials, the announcer implored, “When you get to the theater, just keep reminding yourself, it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie!” With Memorial Day approaching and the Fourth of July just around the corner, here’s an air conditioning summer holiday “Nightmare on Your Street” that’s unfortunately going to be all too real for some Arizona homeowners.

A Four Day Holiday Weekend with No Air Conditioning

In fact, one Phoenix area resident recently recalled a long and scary Fourth of July holiday weekend (Thursday through Sunday night) that made her think she was starring in her own horror show. A heatwave had descended on the Valley with temperatures hovering around 114, her air conditioner started pumping not-so-cool air on Thursday night then completely stopped working by early Friday morning and (cue the shrieking violins from Psycho) all of the air conditioning companies she called were booked solid. The combination of a heatwave and a holiday weekend meant every available service tech was working overtime. By Friday afternoon, her house was hotter than (well, you know), and there was no repairman in sight. Even with windows open and fans blowing, the inside temperature reached 98 degrees. Sleeping was almost impossible. It took four days, numerous phone calls and multiple appointments to get her problem resolved.

Early Warning Signs Your Air Conditioner Might Need Service

Some might consider this story a “scary” tactic, but unfortunately, it’s all true and in Arizona, it happens every year. If your air conditioning system is causing you concern, please don’t wait for a breakdown to occur. Some warning signs your AC may need a service check include:

  • Major red flag – warmer air (not as cold as it usually is) coming out of your vents
  • Decrease in airflow or a noticeable increase in your energy bill over same time last year
  • Loud thumping, straining or unusual noises coming from your air conditioner
  • Musty smell or excessive water leaking from AC unit
  • Unusual electrical or burning smell from AC unit (important to call for service immediately)

If you are experiencing any of these problems, your air conditioning system may need to be checked. With Memorial Day and Fourth of July coming, make sure to get out in front of this situation so your holiday weekends are cool, and the only horror shows you see are at the theater. Call Cool Blew today to schedule a summer tune-up.

Spring Cleaning for Your HVAC System

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Spring cleaning is a term generally associated with a thorough house cleaning or emptying the garage to get rid of accumulated junk. Out with the old, in with the new. Are you aware that your HVAC unit runs better with regular maintenance? And, your air filters and system also benefit from a deep cleansing on a regular basis. Spring is the perfect season for yearly maintenance before the HVAC busy summer season hits.

One of the most important, yet unseen, aspects of a clean house is clean air to breathe day in and day out. Protecting your family from dust and allergens, especially during the pollen-heavy spring and summer months can be crucial to those suffering from asthma or other respiratory conditions. The fact that we cannot see the insides of our home air delivery system often means air ducts suffer from neglect. Dust and dirt accumulates over time, and it’s important to include air ducts on your spring cleaning list.

Desert Climate

When it comes to air conditioners and compressors, the desert can be a harsh and unforgiving environment. Exposed to the elements, often installed on roofs where temperatures soar, air conditioning units are subjected to intense sunlight, extreme wind, heavy rainstorms and constant dust. No other household appliance withstands the year in, year out stresses that your HVAC system routinely absorbs. Dirt and dust blowing in the desert wind is an ever-present nemesis and can negatively impact the workings of your compressor and air conditioning unit. It would surprise many homeowners to see what an HVAC spring cleaning reveals.

Spring Checkup

During the winter months, your air conditioning compressor can accumulate dirt and debris which may hinder the inner workings of the unit. Our trained technicians will perform a detailed inspection and restore your air conditioner to top form. Just like your car, regular maintenance checks of your HVAC unit will help prevent major problems from occurring.

Spring in Arizona is the best time to take advantage of the most perfect winter weather in the U.S. While you’re busy with outdoor activities, don’t overlook the opportunity to schedule a checkup for your HVAC system before the summer heat hits. Call Cool Blew today to schedule your maintenance check at 623-872-2900.

Don’t Gamble with Air Conditioner Maintenance

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During the winter months, Arizonans enjoy the best weather in the country. However, it’s a given that triple-digit temperatures are just around the corner. And, when they arrive, you don’t want to be “hot under the collar” dealing with an air conditioner that doesn’t work.

Each year, across the valley, calls flood into HVAC repair companies around late April to early May. Why? This is when temperatures reach a point when air conditioning is necessary. Homeowners who haven’t scheduled maintenance checks on their air conditioners are often surprised to find that their units don’t work when they flip their thermostat to the “cool” setting. With an influx of calls, there can be extended wait times for repair work. This is never a good way to kick off the summer season!

Don’t Put the “Pro” in Procrastination

While it’s easy to put some things off, it’s never a good idea to procrastinate on scheduling air conditioning maintenance. The stakes are too high. Not only are you risking having an unexpected system problem just when you need some cool air, you’re also jeopardizing the long-term function of a very expensive piece of household equipment.

An Ounce of Prevention…

If you think about it, there are few things more valuable in your home than your air conditioner. And, the good news is it’s incredibly easy to keep it functioning optimally whenever you need it. This begins with choosing an expert in air conditioner repair. With Cool Blew, you not only have a trusted contractor you can count on for all air conditioner repairs, you have a partner to help extend your air conditioner’s lifespan. With regular tune-ups and a residential, preventative maintenance agreement, you will have the peace of mind knowing that your air conditioner is ready to go whenever you need it.

Find out more about preventative service for your air conditioner. Call Cool Blew at 623-872-2900 today.

Give the Gift of Home Comfort This Season

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Whether it’s for you or a loved one, the gift of home comfort is truly a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. While it’s easy to not think about your HVAC system when it’s working properly, it can quickly become top of mind when there is a system problem or if energy bills start escalating due to decreasing system efficiency.

If you or someone you know could benefit from lower heating bills or wants to simply increase the energy efficiency of their home, here are some gift ideas to consider:

Maintenance Contract

A professional maintenance contract is an ideal gift because it improves the performance of an HVAC system while lowering energy bills and reducing the risk of unexpected system breakdowns. With a maintenance contract, you also gain the advantage of discounted repairs and preferred appointment scheduling.

Programmable Thermostat

An outdated thermostat not only creates the potential for an unexpected breakdown, it’s also highly inefficient. A new programmable thermostat is the gift of accurate, programmable temperatures that can ensure home comfort is maintained throughout the day.

Filters

While not expensive, filters are not something most of us think about on an average day. Yet, HVAC system filters should be replaced at least once a month. A year-long supply of filters is an inexpensive, thoughtful gift that provides better air quality, along with greater energy efficiency.

An Energy Audit

Is there someone on your gift list who is struggling with high energy bills? Call Cool Blew today to evaluate their home. With a comprehensive energy audit, leaks, cracks and areas that require more insulation can be quickly identified.

New HVAC Systems

Consider giving yourself the gift of a new HVAC system to provide greater home comfort and save you substantially on your energy bills in 2018. At Cool Blew, we offer free expert guidance on HVAC system installations in Peoria, Arizona and throughout the Valley.

Happy Holidays from the entire team at Cool Blew