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

This entry was posted in Heating on by .

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.

Avoid These Common Thanksgiving Electrical Problems

This entry was posted in Electrical on by .

Thanksgiving is that time of the year when our thoughts turn to family and feasts. It’s not the time when you want to be struggling with an electrical problem. Yet, the holidays are primetime for “technical issues.” Here are some helpful tips to ensure an electrical malfunction doesn’t throw a monkey wrench into your Turkey Day.

Don’t Overload Outlets

There’s a lot going on in the kitchen with Thanksgiving meal preparation. Simultaneously plugging in the mixer, electric knife, food processor and can opener can overload outlets and cause a short. Before cooking comes to a screeching halt, carefully consider what you’re plugging in and where. In some cases, it may be necessary to rotate countertop kitchen appliances being used to not cause an overload.

Be Careful with Electric Ranges

Your stovetop and oven are absolute essentials when it comes to holiday food preparation. It goes without saying that you want to ensure your electric range is working properly prior to Thanksgiving. If it’s not, make sure to check for a blown fuse before calling for appliance repair. There are also safety issues to consider. With all the holiday kitchen commotion, accidents can happen – like throwing a dish towel accidentally onto a burner or grabbing a pan out of the oven without a potholder. Throughout the day, use caution around heat and limit the number of people around the electric range.

Limit Energy-Thirsty Decorations

Decorations requiring electricity are very common during Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays. Tree ornaments and strings of lights, both indoors and out, create a festive atmosphere. But, they also can increase the risk of electrical problems like overloads, blown fuses and even fire.

The best way to avoid a holiday electrical problem is to use non-electric holiday décor when possible. If you are going to use lights, choose low-wattage, LED lights that draw less energy and produce less heat. This will reduce the risk of overloads and fires. Electric lights and decorations should also be spread across multiple circuits to avoid placing too large a load on a single circuit. Finally, don’t use damaged or tattered lights with frayed or torn insulation.

At Cool Blew, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones. And, if you run into an electrical issue, remember to call us at 623-872-2900.

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

This entry was posted in Heating on by .

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.

The Latest in Smart Plumbing Technology

This entry was posted in Plumbing on by .

Smart technology is being integrated across our daily lives in a wide range of ways. From wearable devices that track our steps to home security systems and virtual assistants, there’s not shortage of products that are designed to make our home and lives easier and more efficient. Among some of the most intriguing products on the market today involve plumbing.

Smart Faucets

Leading plumbing fixture manufacturers are introducing faucets that integrate smart capabilities that enable them to be turned on or off with just a voice. Some even have intriguing features that let users request a specific temperature or quantity of water to be dispensed.

Advanced Toilets

The humble toilet has become increasingly advanced with smart features enabled by Bluetooth technology. These include lighting, heated seats and automatic flushing. Along with more streamlined designs, today’s advanced toilets are a quick way to enhance the look of any bathroom.

Voice-Controlled Showers

Like with other plumbing fixtures, shower faucets have entered the Internet age. Homeowners can opt for a system that turns on or off the shower by voice. They also can help manage water efficiency by enabling users to choose a specific amount of time for a shower.

Home Leak Detection

Leaks are among the most frustrating aspect of homeownership. They can cause water waste and damage before you even know anything is wrong. Today’s smart water alarm systems can help minimize these occurrences. With internet-enabled sensors placed near common sources of leaks, including water heaters, dishwashers and washing machines, a system’s sensors can identify a water leak, trigger a water supply shut down and send you a notification before the damage is done.

If you’re considering upgrading to any smart plumbing capabilities, you’ll want to include a smart phone hub that connects all your home’s systems. Options from Amazon, Google or Samsung are all solid choices and can serve as the central solution for enabling all your smart home features to work together.

Find out more about the many smart plumbing options available for your home. Call Cool Blew today at 480-610-2100.

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

This entry was posted in Heating on by .

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.

5 Haunting Electrical Problems You Can Avoid

This entry was posted in Electrical on by .

In the spirit of Halloween, we thought it was a good time to run down some common, yet somewhat haunting electrical problems that often spook homeowners. The good news is these malfunctions are quite fixable, but they often require the help of a skilled, experience electrician.

  1. Light bulbs burning out frequently

    Could it be the work of a pesky poltergeist? Probably not. However, this baffling issue is worth investigation. In some cases, it’s just a matter of frequent use of a light or lamp. It can also be a more challenging problem, such as a loose connection in a socket or circuit. If you think bulbs are burning faster than they should (or if you see them flickering), contact a licensed electrician to check out the electrical connections.

  2. Outlets cease to work

    Are zombie-like outlets leaving you in the dark? Like with flickering or rapidly burning bulbs, outlets that stop working can be caused by a faulty circuit connection. Of course, it can also be due to a tripped breaker, so it’s always worth checking your breakers before calling an electrician.

  3. Breakers tripping

    Are goblins playing with your electrical system? Doubtful. But, you could have a circuit that’s drawing too much electricity, causing an overload. This is another problem that requires calling in an expert.

  4. Hot fixtures or switches

    Did a witch cast a spell on the switch to your antique chandelier? More likely, a hot electrical fixture or switch is an electrical issue that requires immediate attention. This isn’t the time to mix up a magic potion. Rather, you need to call an electrician.

Don’t Get Fooled by Tricks or Treats. Choose Only a Licensed, Experienced Electrician

Not all electricians are created equal. When you’re experiencing a problem, you want a skilled, experienced specialist who can make sure your home and its electrical system is safe and working as it should be. If your home is being haunted by an electrical issue, call Cool Blew at 623-872-2900 and we’ll chase the ghouls away.

As Fall Approaches, Here Are a Few Furnace Safety Precautions

This entry was posted in HVAC Maintenance on by .

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.

Avoid Scary Clogs and Other Spooky Plumbing Problems This Halloween

This entry was posted in Plumbing on by .

For homeowners, few things conjure up more fear than a clog or other plumbing problem. Not only are they always unexpected, they usually come at the most unfortunate time – like during a Halloween party or other get-together. But fear not. There are strategies you can take to eliminate and treat clogs.

Common Causes of Clogs

Inside your home, clogs can happen due to buildup of soap scum, hair, grease, fats, oils and paper. Clogs can also occur outside your home when tree roots block the main line, when the sewer collapses or when there is a major buildup of oil or scum. The good news is most of these clog-causing problems are preventable.

Preventing Clogs

Here are some go-to preventive techniques you can use to reduce your chance of experiencing a clog:

Don’t dispose fat and oil down the kitchen drain – Throw them away instead of allowing them to run down the drain.

Don’t plant trees close to your sewer or main water line – Consider your placement of trees in your yard and avoid having to eventually deal with invasive roots that cause clogs and other plumbing problems.

Don’t flush hair down drains – Cover drains with filters that capture hair and throw it away. This one simple and inexpensive trick can save you substantially on future plumbing repairs.

Use vinegar and baking soda in drains – This cleaning mix made from common kitchen items clears out grease and dissolves organic material caught in pipes. Simply mix the baking soda and vinegar and pour it down drains. Let it sit in the pipes for several hours before flushing it with hot water.

Use enzymes – Enzymes work like baking soda and vinegar but are stronger to help keep drains flowing smoothly. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on how to use.

Eliminating Clogs

If you are experiencing a clog, you may be able to eliminate it yourself with a tool called a plumber’s auger – a type of stiff cable with a corkscrew-like tip. To eliminate a clog, push the auger down the drain and turn the hand crank when it engages with a clog. Continue to push the cable and turn the crank down the pipe until the clog can be pierced. Then remove the auger and flush the pipe with hot water.

Main line or sewer line clogs need to be repaired by a professional. The best way to determine this type of problem is if multiple plumbing fixtures are suddenly experiencing the same problem.

Call Cool Blew when you need assistance with clogs and other plumbing problems. We promise that we’re not scary at all and we can get your plumbing back up and running in no time.

How Will the Upcoming Ban on R22 Freon Affect My Air Conditioner?

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

As a reminder to all our customers, in approximately 90 days, R22 freon (once an industry standard) will be prohibited from use in the United States. As part of a continuing, multinational effort to protect the earth’s ozone layer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been steadily phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) over the last decade. As of January 1st, 2020, a complete ban on the production and importation of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b will go into effect. Once the new year begins, servicing of HVAC systems with R-22 will rely strictly on recycled or stockpiled quantities of R22. This ban will mainly affect older air conditioners. In fact, AC units using R22 have not been manufactured in the U.S. since 2010. It is quite possible the ban on R22 will not affect your system at all. However, if you have an older AC unit, you may want to schedule a fall service so we can check your refrigerant.

What Are HCFCs and How Do They Affect Our Ozone?

The EPA’s website has the following to say about HCFCs; “The stratospheric ozone layer shields the Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Emissions of certain synthetic chemicals—including CFCs, halons, and HCFCs—destroy the ozone layer, and have created an “ozone hole” over the South Pole.” Essentially, by using HCFCs, we are destroying the very stratosphere which protects us.

Options to Remedy the R22 Ban

Here are a few options for dealing with the R22 ban which will go into effect in three months:

Replace Your Air Conditioner

Replacing your older, R22 freon based AC unit with a new, energy efficient air conditioner could be a sensible option. If your air conditioner uses R22 that means, it’s more than ten years old. Given Arizona’s extreme summers, your air conditioner probably has a lot of miles on it, so to speak. A new air conditioner will save you money on energy expenditures and give you peace of mind going forward. The best approach is to have one of our friendly service techs inspect your current system to evaluate the overall condition of your air conditioner and to provide you with information so you can make an informed decision.

Retrofit Your R22 Equipment

Retrofitting and upgrading to the most common alternative to R-22 (which is R-410A) might be an option if the rest of your system is in excellent condition. As air conditioners get older, they tend to break down and require more and more service. Retrofitting might make sense if your AC unit has not gotten heavy use over the last seven to ten years. A review of your recent service calls will tell the story of which components have been replaced and how many more years your AC unit has left.

Cross Your Fingers and Hope for the Best

If your AC has been running smoothly on R22 without any leaks or issues, you just might be able to squeeze another year of service out of your air conditioner. It’s important to note, the ban is on the production and importation of R22. It’s perfectly legal to continue to run your air conditioner with R22, as long it’s not leaking. However, supplies of R22 will dwindle as we go forward. It’s best to have a plan (just in case something goes wrong), and remember it’s much easier to replace a system in the off season – so don’t wait until next summer to make your move.

The Move to Non-Ozone-Depleting HFC Refrigerants Is Good for Our Environment

We support the ban on R22 and believe the switch to non-ozone depleting HFC refrigerants is the right move for protecting the earth’s ozone. After all, we want to leave a better, healthier environment for our children and grandchildren. If you have questions regarding the refrigerant in your air conditioner, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to explain it all.

Financing a New Air Conditioner This Fall

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

Let’s face it. Fall is just around the corner, but you still are reliant on your air conditioner to keep your home cool and comfortable. If you’ve been reluctant to invest in a new system this summer, despite frequent breakdowns or rising utility bills, you may want to consider an installation this fall. In fact, fall is the ideal time for air conditioner installations!

And at Cool Blew, we make financing a new air conditioner fast, simple and easy. We offer a range of financing arrangements with leading lenders, including Wells Fargo, GE Capital, Synchrony Financial, Microf and RedBrick Financial Group.

Wells Fargo

If you’re considering the purchase of a new air conditioner, you may want to consider the Wells Fargo Home Projects Card, which offers a fast, in-home, in-store or online application and credit decision. By applying, you’ll have instant access to a revolving credit line that you can leverage for home improvement purchases, including HVAC-related projects. You’ll enjoy low monthly payments and competitive interest rates, as well as no annual fee or pre-payment penalty.

Synchrony Financial

Synchrony Financial is another option with a low interest rate. Cool Blew customers enjoy up to 18 months of financing at a low rate. Credit can be used to purchase a new system which will instantly help to reduce your monthly bill and eliminate the need for costly repairs.


Don’t want to undergo a credit check? Consider Microf, a unique, rent-to-own program which gives homeowners the ability to enjoy a new HVAC system with affordable monthly payments and a range of convenient payment terms and options. The application process is simple, and you can be enjoying cool air with greater efficiency sooner than you think.

RedBrick Financial Group

Want a simple, short-term financing option on your next air conditioner? Take a look at RedBrick Financial Group which offers 90 days with no interest and no down payment.

Don’t Put Off the Inevitable

In the Valley of the Sun, air conditioners work hard and occasionally need to be replaced. If you’ve been struggling with rising repair costs, sky-high utility bills and sleepless nights worried about a system failure, why wait another day? Call Cool Blew today to schedule your free in-home estimate on a new system. We’re happy to share details on available financing options, as well as opportunities to help you save on your home cooling.