Category Archives: HVAC Maintenance

Maximize Your Air Conditioner Efficiency in 2020

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While most of us aren’t running our air conditioners in February, there’s no disputing that they are essential throughout most of the year in Arizona. So, it’s a good thing that they’re built to last and work reliably for years.

Yet, like all good things, air conditioners can be taken for granted. Most work without a problem, even in extreme heat, without missing a beat. But, if they are neglected or not properly maintained, problems can happen.

The Time to Call Is Before There’s an Issue

Consider that your air conditioning system has many components – both inside and outside of your home. These include motors, switches, fans, vents and more. They all work together to generate comfortable, cool air. Keeping this mechanical and electronic symphony playing in harmony requires regular, preventive maintenance.

Choose a Trusted Provider of Air Conditioning Maintenance and Repair

Today’s air conditioners are complicated. You want an HVAC service provider that is both highly trained and experienced. Establish a relationship so that the provider can get to know your HVAC system. The goal is to get in the habit of twice-yearly service inspections (ideally in the spring and fall), so that you don’t have breakdowns in the hot summer months or in the chill of winter. Yes, air conditioners, as well as other HVAC, parts and components can wear out or malfunction – and at different times. With regular maintenance, potential problems can be identified proactively, and parts replaced before you experience a problem.

Don’t Forget Your Ductwork

In the dusty environment that we live in, ductwork isn’t something to ignore. Ducts are vital for delivering conditioned air to every room in your house. So, if they’re loaded with dirt or mold, you and your loved ones are breathing that in. As part of HVAC system efficiency and upkeep, make sure that your ducts are checked and cleaned.

Let Us Perform a Complete Inspection and Evaluation of Your HVAC System

Make 2020 the year for an air conditioner reset. Let Cool Blew help you maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your air conditioner and entire HVAC system. Call us to schedule a tune-up and inspection today!

Is Your Heat Pump Leaking Refrigerant?

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Just like your refrigerator and air conditioner, a heat pump requires refrigerant to work. Yet unfortunately, many homeowners don’t discover that their heat pump’s refrigerant levels are low until they’re experiencing a problem like icing or no heat.

Is It a Leaking Heat Pump?

Within your HVAC system, your air conditioner and heat pump both rely on refrigerant to provide an optimal temperature inside your home. And, it shouldn’t dissipate during operation. Instead, your HVAC system should convert refrigerant from liquid to gas and vice versa – never decreasing in volume. However, leaks can happen, and they often occur at connector points.

During the cold winter months, often the first sign of a refrigerant leak is an indoor temperature that begins to drop. You may notice that the heater seems to be running continuously. Yet, the temperature doesn’t seem to be matching the thermostat setting. If it’s getting chilly, and the heat doesn’t seem to be where it should be, it’s time to call for a technician.

What About Icing?

When a heat pump is leaking refrigerant, there’s often a snowball effect of problems. The first of these can be the heat pump’s evaporator coil. Because heat absorption is the refrigerant’s purpose, leaking refrigerant can prevent the coil from absorbing heat. This ultimately causes moisture on the evaporator coil to ice over. You may be tempted to scrape off the ice but note that this isn’t going to solve the problem. What you actually need to do is call an HVAC technician who can both seal the leak and add the necessary refrigerant to enable your system to operate efficiently.

Don’t Neglect a Refrigerant Leak

Low refrigerant isn’t an HVAC problem to put off for another day. The stress caused by this problem can leave you in the cold, as well as impact the compressor and drive up electrical costs. If you’re struggling with a lack of heat, call the experts at Cool Blew. We’re here to help you identify the cause of the problem and ensure that you’re up and running as quickly as possible.

Is Your Thermostat the Problem?

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When your heater is not quite getting the job done and you’re feeling an uncomfortable chill in your indoor air, it’s natural to think there’s a problem with your furnace or heat pump. And, the unit could certainly be the culprit. But, it’s important to understand that a heating system is made up of a group of components that work together. And, if one is malfunctioning, it can cause a system-wide problem. Sometimes, the problem is one that often gets overlooked – the thermostat. Even minor thermostat problems can have an impact on your comfort and cause your utility bills to soar.

Poorly Placed Thermostats

If you’ve been struggling with HVAC challenges for a while, the problem may be with your thermostat’s installation. Often, we find that the device has simply been installed in the wrong part of a house. It should be located near the center of your home so that it’s accurately picking up the average temperature rather than the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Thermostats placed near direct sunlight or drafty doors or windows can pick up false readings and cause your heater to either work overtime or not at all.

Miscalibration

One of the most common thermostat issues is miscalibration. There is a sensor in the wall unit of your thermostat that should accurately read the temperature inside your home. Even if it’s off just a couple of degrees, it can increase energy bills and affect your comfort. Indicators of this type of problem are a heating system that runs too long or not long enough. The good news is that the experts at Cool Blew can recalibrate your thermostat quickly and get you back to an accurate reading.

Connection Failure

Thermostats are connected to your heater or air handler via wires that control when the heater and the blower motor turn on and off. If these connections are lost, you’re going to experience problems. Again, this is a common problem that we’re well-versed in repairing.

Old Thermostat

Do you still have a manual thermostat that uses sliders and dials or a stripped-down digital model? If so, you’re not getting the maximum value of your heating system. Smart, programmable thermostats offer tremendously improved control and energy savings over the older models. And, they can be conveniently controlled via an app on a phone or tablet. Don’t miss out on this technological advancement that delivers tremendous benefits in your home.

At Cool Blew, we’re focused on your comfort. Call us for heating and thermostat repairs 24/7/365.

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.