Category Archives: HVAC Maintenance

Top HVAC Gifts for the Holidays

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Black Friday has come and gone. The holiday shopping season is in full swing. As your go-to HVAC professionals, we’re not always thought of as Santa’s little helpers. However, we specialize in gifts that keep on giving all year long. In fact, if you’ve got a certain someone in your home who is always cold or, during the summer months, forever complaining about the heat – we’ve got you covered. There may be flashier presents stashed under your tree, but possibly none will be more appreciated than the gift of year-round temperature comfort and control.

Pre-Winter Walk Through

By December, your furnace has been sitting idle for many months. Taking the time to go through your house and check all the various elements of your heating system will pay big dividends when the cold weather rolls in. A seasonal system check is a great gift for any homeowner.

Digital Thermostat – A “Smart” Gift

Here’s a great tech gift for dad that will benefit the entire family. If you’ve been resisting upgrading to a Wi-Fi enabled, digital smart thermostat, all we can ask is what are you waiting for? These thermostats are easy to use, allow you to adjust temperature and make changes to your system over your cell phone and can save you significant money on your energy costs. It’s finally easy to manage your HVAC system from wherever you are.

Cold Hands – Warm Heart

Many Phoenix homeowners are converting little used spaces or storage rooms into home offices. The problem is many of these rooms are not heated or cooled properly. Want to be an HVAC hero? Consider giving a ductless mini-split heat pump to your sweetheart and keep him or her warm all through the winter.

Stop Worrying About Maintenance

It may sound funny, but busy people really love this gift. When you give the gift of a service contract, your HVAC troubles are over for an entire year. We will schedule the maintenance of a system and keep your loved ones toasty warm in winter and cool as a cucumber in summer.

A Brand New HVAC System

Maybe you’ve been putting off this big purchase for a year or two. We understand, a new HVAC system for your home is a considerable investment. However, we have many homeowners who choose to buy at the end of the year and schedule installation early the next year. It’s a great gift to give, especially if your current system has failed you this past summer.

While You’re Shopping, the Temperature Will Be Dropping

Remember, temperatures usually drop significantly in December, and January is the generally the coldest month of the year. Why not schedule a pre-holiday HVAC checkup to make sure you’re ready for the cold weather ahead? And for goodness sakes, don’t use the fireplace on the evening of December 24th!

As Fall Approaches, Here Are a Few Furnace Safety Precautions

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As fall approaches, and nighttime desert temperatures dip into the 50s, homeowners are reminded that it will soon be time to fire up the furnace for the first time this season. We recommend an autumn service call to make sure the “H” in your HVAC is tuned up and ready to go. Many Arizona homes have gas furnaces, while others utilize heat pumps or electric wall or baseboard heaters. Whatever type of heat source you have installed in your home, it is always a good idea to have your unit inspected before you turn it on for the first time.

My Furnace Never Gives Me Any Problems – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Most electric heaters and gas furnaces are manufactured to high standards and work reliably for years. However, the fact is, when gas and electricity are involved, the potential for danger exists. The National Fire Protection Association website states, “Heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes. Local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 52,050 fires involving heating equipment each year in 2012-2016.”

It is not our intention to promote fear or scare homeowners. Rather, we simply believe in putting safety first. Remember, depending on when your home was built, your furnace may be decades old.

Here are a few home heat safety precautions to consider:

  • Furnace Reminders

    Summers last a long time in Phoenix. We often completely forget about our furnaces from April through October. Over the years, we have seen furnaces cluttered with boxes or used as temporary storage shelves during the summer. Remember, it’s critical to keep the area around your furnace completely clear. Furnaces require the free flow of oxygen to operate effectively. Also, clutter and flammable materials can be extremely dangerous if placed near your furnace. Paint cans, cleaning solutions, old rags and newspapers, to name a few, should not be anywhere near your furnace.

  • Heat Pumps

    During a fall checkup, our friendly service technicians will inspect the blower and coil for dirt and other obstructions which can cause your unit to operate inefficiently. We will also inspect wiring, connections and electric terminals to make sure they are safe and ready for winter.

  • Air Filters

    Replacing air filters on a regular basis is always advisable. During a fall tune up, we not only replace the air filters, we also vacuum the dust and debris which accumulates on your furnace over the summer months. We often receive calls from customers who have fired up their furnace and are concerned about the burning smell. In many cases, it is simply dust being burned off the unit. If you ever notice a burning smell in your home after turning on your furnace, you should stop what you are doing and check into it immediately.

October and November Are the Ideal Months to Schedule Your Fall Service Call

The first time you notice the autumn chill in the air, remember to call us for a fall checkup. Our friendly service technicians will inspect your entire HVAC system and get you ready for the cooler weather ahead.

Is Your Air Conditioner Leaking Refrigerant?

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Depending on the age and condition of your home air conditioner, you might have a refrigerant issue. One indicator of leaking refrigerant is a noticeable decrease in the amount of cool air your air conditioner is pumping into your home. Another sign you might be losing refrigerant is the formation of ice on your evaporator coils. Or you might hear a faint hissing sound coming from your unit. If you’ve noticed that something is not right with your air conditioner, or it doesn’t seem to be working as efficiently as usual, you may want to give us a call.

What Is Refrigerant and How Does It Work?

Many people mistakenly believe air conditioners pump cold air into their homes until the temperature goes down to their desired setting. However, the key to modern air conditioning is removing heat from the air inside your home and transferring that heat to the outside. Refrigerant is the central element in this ingenious transfer of heat. Refrigerant is a fluid or compound which has a very low boiling point and can easily transform from liquid into gas and back to liquid again. In an endless cycle, refrigerant passes through your AC system’s main components – from the evaporator to the compressor to the condenser, etc. and (to oversimplify) picks up the heat from inside your home and “carries” it to the condenser (which is designed to dissipate heat and is located outside your home and) where it is blown away.

The important thing to know about replacing refrigerant is it’s not a job for do-it-yourselfers. Refrigerant is encased in a closed system and should be checked often (we recommend twice a year.) Detecting leaks and replacing refrigerant is best left to professionals. Here are just a few of the refrigerant related issues we inspect during a summer check-up:

  • Check Refrigerant Levels and Replace If Needed

    As mentioned, your AC system’s refrigerant is carried within a closed, pressurized system of pipes which should never leak. As we all know, refrigerant is toxic to the environment and bad for the ozone. Our expert technicians will check your refrigerant levels and replace if necessary. If there is a significant loss of refrigerant, that would indicate a leak in your system.

  • Check for Corrosion and Leaks

    Refrigerant leaks often occur in older air conditioning units due to corrosion. There is always a fair amount of moisture surrounding your AC components and the metal parts and pipes are susceptible to rust and corrosion. At a certain point, small leaks may develop as the corroded metal degrades. We’ll check all the pressurized lines and metal parts to verify if your system has any leaks.

  • Inspect the Components

    Evaporator coils and condenser coils are built with metal tubes and U-bends which are subject to constant vibration. Over time, the vibration of these tubes and joints can cause tiny pin hole leaks. Our technicians will check to see if your coils need replacing.<.li>

Summer Service Is the Best Way to Prevent a Summer AC Slump

In Phoenix, we all know the worst time of year to experience an AC slowdown or breakdown is the middle of summer. We’ve been lucky so far – June temperatures have been mild. However, the heatwaves are coming. Schedule a summer service call and we’ll make sure your AC system is full of refrigerant and operating efficiently.

5 Ways to Save on Phoenix Utilities This Summer

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In the Valley of the Sun, utility bills skyrocket during the summer. Not only do homeowners spend more on electricity for air conditioning, water consumption also increases to keep pools filled and landscaping green. To help you keep Phoenix utility costs down, here are a few best practices worth considering.

1. Focus on the Minor Fixes

Even seemingly minor adjustments can have a big impact over time when it comes to your energy usage. To maintain a cooler home during summer daytime hours without blasting your air conditioner, close drapes and blinds to keep out the heat. Make sure your fireplace damper is also closed to prevent cool air from going up the chimney. Turn on your ceiling fans and reduce your use of heat-generating appliances like dryers, stovetops and ovens.

2. Raise the Thermostat

You may be surprised to learn how much you can save by simply setting your thermostat a few degrees higher. It’s significant! By turning your thermostat to 78 to 80 degrees, you’ll see real savings without sweltering.

3. Reset Your Water Heater Thermostat

By turning your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or less during the summer months, you can save approximately $10 a month or more. And if you’re familiar with Phoenix summers, you know that that there’s little need for hot water when it’s 110 degrees outside.

4. Change Your Air Conditioner Filters

Efficiently running air conditioners simply use less electricity. By replacing the filter to your HVAC system every month – or even more if there are monsoon dust storms – you can gain the advantage of better air flow and lower utility bills.

5. Replace Standard Light Bulbs

Changing out standard bulbs with LEDs can save energy and money. Start with your highest-use bulbs and fixtures and make it a point to make the switch completely to gain the biggest savings.
Finally, don’t delay in fixing electrical, HVAC, or plumbing issues around your home. Properly running systems use less water and electricity and make your home more enjoyable all year long.

Call Cool Blew today for all your plumbing, electrical and A/C needs.

Should You Get a Home Energy Audit?

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With summer rapidly approaching, jaw-dropping utility bills are just around the corner. But what if there was a way you could slash the cost of electricity as temperatures rise and save yourself from investing a small fortune into cooling your home? There is a way. In fact, with a home energy audit, you will likely find that there are numerous ways you can start reducing your electricity costs.

What is a Home Energy Audit?

When you think of a home energy audit, you probably think of someone coming to your home to identify areas where there is leaking air. At Cool Blew, we will check for areas where air may be escaping, such as windows, doors, attics, ductwork and more. But, there’s a lot more to an audit than just that.

We also identify hot and cool spots in your home, check for sufficient insulation and inspect your entire HVAC system.

Why Invest in an Audit?

This is a fair question – especially if you keep up with regular maintenance on your HVAC equipment. However, there are many potential deficiencies in a home that can be a drain on your energy expense. Not only do we identify those, we give you strategies for remediating them. This includes information to determine if it’s the right time to repair or replace your heating and cooling unit.

You may be surprised to learn that customers can save up to 30 percent on their monthly utility bill following upgrades found during a home energy audit. And, there’s almost always some quick and easy fixes that can instantly improve your home’s energy efficiency. But you won’t know what those are until an audit is performed.

If you want to contain your cooling costs this summer, why not give us a call now? Schedule an energy audit from Cool Blew and find out where you can start saving money. Call us today at 623-872-2900.

Spring Cleaning and Your HVAC System

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Spring is just around the corner – making it the ideal time to renew and refresh your home. Along with scrubbing down floors, cabinets and counters, you don’t want to forget your HVAC system. Starting the season with a tuned-up air conditioner with clean vents and filter ensures you’re ready for when temperatures begin to climb.

Here are the steps to spring clean your HVAC system:

Start with the Filter

Let’s face it. The desert is dusty. If you live in Phoenix or any of the surrounding cities, you’re likely battling dust on a daily basis. Well, that dust doesn’t just collect on your coffee table. It also finds its way into your HVAC system. This is why you want to regularly replace your system filter. A clean filter not only helps to collect dust and other particulates from entering your indoor air, it enables your system to work efficiently.

Clean the Condenser

And all this dust, dirt and debris doesn’t just enter in your house, it also collects inside your air conditioner’s condenser. Fortunately, it can be easily cleaned. Simply turn off the system and remove the motor cover to gain access to the fan and coil. Remove debris, like leaves, grass, dirt and dust. If the condenser is really dirty, don’t be tempted to wash it with water. This can create mud that can clog the system. Instead, use a condenser coil cleaner available at most home improvement or hardware stores.

Evaluate the System

With a clean filter and condenser, it’s time to check the system. Turn it on by flipping the thermostat to the cool setting and lowering the temperature. Carefully listen for how long it takes and for any unusual sounds. If it doesn’t start quickly check to make sure your air conditioner is plugged in. If it doesn’t start or if it’s making unusual sounds, call Cool Blew for further evaluation.

Make Time for a Tune Up

Regularly scheduled tune ups on your HVAC equipment are essential for preserving your investment. With a seasonal tune up, you can keep your system running efficiently and identify issues before they turn into big problems.

Call Cool Blew today to schedule your spring cleaning HVAC system tune up and prevent unexpected air conditioning problems this year.

Does Your Air Conditioner Have a Dirty Little Secret? (Hint: Cruddy Coils Create Uncool AC)

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When it comes to air conditioning and staying comfortable in your desert home, it’s all about air flow – the free movement of cooled air throughout your house and the transfer of heat from inside your home to the great outdoors. A key component to extracting heat from the inside of your home is your air conditioning system’s condenser, which is located outside. The condenser coils are truly where the rubber meets the road – where the indoor heat is transferred and released. If anything is hindering the coils from releasing heat, the efficiency of your air conditioner can be greatly compromised. Your AC unit will be forced to work harder and use more energy to accomplish its cooling mission. Quite simply, the dirty little secret of air conditioning is if your condenser coils are clogged, your utility bill will most likely be going up.

Dirty, Clogged Condenser Coils Hamper Heat Transfer

In order to disperse the heat from your home to the outside, condenser coils need free flowing air to pass over them. If your coils are covered with dirt, crud and grime, it becomes similar to a layer of unwanted, unnecessary insulation preventing the flow of air over the coils. In some extreme cases, we’ve seen condensers that have been neglected and not cleaned for years and as a result, are almost completely blocked. When that occurs, the homeowner will notice “uncool” (warm) air coming out of the vents.

Because the condenser sits outside or in some cases, on top of the roof, it is at the mercy of the elements. Rain storms, monsoons, wind driven dust, leaves, grass and debris can all find their way into this key component of your air conditioning system. Here are some of the most common condenser issues we encounter:

  • Damaged Condenser Coils – Obviously, dirty coils create problems. However, they can be cleaned. If a condenser coil is actually broken it can negatively impact the entire AC unit. Condenser coils are occasionally damaged by accidents, such as falling trees or branches during heavy storms. Corrosion and rust can compromise older units. There are even cases where well intentioned homeowners have damaged their coils accidently while rigorously cleaning their condenser.
  • Leaks or Failing Tubes – Being exposed to the elements, condenser tubes and seals are more susceptible to leaks. In Phoenix, this is often due to the intense heat which results in extra wear and tear on the unit. Checking for leaks and faulty tubes requires special equipment. Our service technicians will perform a full inspection on your condenser, the coils, seals and tubes to make sure there are no leaks or broken seals.
  • Faulty Capacitor, Bad Relay Switch and Control Board Failure – Capacitors, relay switches and control board failures are all electrical issues that can occur as a result of uncontrollable factors, such as power surges, power outages, rainstorms, lightning and wear and tear. Over time, electrical parts can simply wear out. Occasionally, there will be warning signs that a particular part is about to give out. However, the best approach to dealing with electrical problems is to schedule regular service calls so your air conditioner is being inspected by expert professionals.

It’s No Secret Our Service Is Second to None

It’s early in the year and scheduling a service call before you use your air conditioner for the first time in 2019 is a great idea. Your air conditioner has been idle for months and may have collected a lot of dirt and dust during its winter vacation. We’ll be happy to clean and inspect your condenser coils as well as your entire HVAC system. Give us a call today.

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!