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Will Your Air Conditioner Last Through the Summer of 2019 – 3 Key Questions to Ask

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

Typical Phoenix temperatures in early June hover in the nineties. As July approaches and triple digit heat descends on the Valley, you have to ask yourself one important question – is your air conditioner going to make it through the hottest months of the year? In 2018, there were over 128 days with temperatures above 100 degrees. This July, August and September will push your air conditioner to its very limits. If you had AC issues last summer or if you’re air conditioner is making funny noises, not cooling properly or just plain making you nervous, here are three questions to ask in considering if now is the right time to replace rather than repair. It’s important to remember, replacing your air conditioner during the hottest part of the summer is an option you want to avoid if at all possible.

  • How Old Is Your Current Air Conditioner?

    Manufactured to last a long time, in most parts of the U.S., air conditioners can last 10 to 15 years. However, in Phoenix, the hottest city in America, air conditioners have a shorter life span and generally provide reliable service up to 8 years. Not unlike an automobile with high mileage, desert air conditioners log heavy usage year in and year out. Dust storms and monsoons can take their toll and rooftop air conditioning units operate in intense sunlight with punishing UV rays and temperatures exceeding 140 degrees. To determine the age of your air conditioner, check your original AC invoice or warranty papers to determine if you have them. If you purchased your home more recently and have no idea how old your AC unit is, our service techs can usually figure it out based on the general condition of the air conditioner and reviewing the manufacturer’s model number and information.

  • How Much Have You Spent on Repairs in the Last Two Years?

    As air conditioners get older, more and more repairs are required to keep the unit running in top form. Major repairs, such as replacing the condenser, can be very expensive. If your AC unit is over eight years old and you’ve started to notice major repairs over the last two years, it may be time to replace. One typical guideline is if repairs are going to exceed one third of the cost of a new unit within a two-year period and your air conditioner is over 8 years old, you are probably better off replacing rather than continuously repairing your unit.

  • How Much Is Peace of Mind Worth?

    We understand that replacing an air conditioning unit represents a significant expenditure for homeowners. We don’t take this decision lightly. We pride ourselves on providing excellent service which ensures air conditioning units will last as long as they possibly can. However, when an air conditioner is approaching the end of its useful life, we generally advise, getting the new unit installed before the very hottest part of summer. We replace air conditioners all throughout the year and we are happy to do so. It’s simply more comfortable for homeowners to have trouble free AC without interruption through the months of July, August and September. Over the years, we’ve had many situations where customers tried to squeeze another year of service out of their AC unit and it unfortunately died at the very worst time imaginable.

  • Is It Time to Replace Your AC Unit?

    If your air conditioner is faltering, why not schedule a service call to determine what’s best for the hot summer ahead? Our professional and friendly service technicians have years of experience and will provide you with the information you need to decide if your AC unit is all set for the summer of 2019.

5 Ways to Save on Phoenix Utilities This Summer

This entry was posted in HVAC Maintenance on by .

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.

Countdown to Monsoon: Preparing Your Phoenix Home for Summer Storms

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

Throughout the fall, winter and spring, the weather throughout the greater Phoenix area is the envy of the country. Yet, things can become less than desirable during the summer months when temperatures soar, and monsoon conditions take shape. High winds, walls of dust, downpours of rain and plenty of lightning and thunder can be exciting to watch but also damaging to your home. Yet, with a few precautions, you can protect your home from severe weather that can unexpectedly hit from mid-June through late September.

Protect Your Air Conditioner

Your outdoor air conditioning unit is vulnerable to damage during severe summer storms. A simple way to protect this vital and valuable piece of equipment is to trim back all the brush, trees and landscaping around it. The greatest risks during monsoon weather conditions are falling trees and blowing branches and leaves. They can both damage the unit from impact, as well as blow debris that can get lodged inside it.

As well, grass, brush and weeds can flood into the lower components of the system which can restrict airflow, clog coils and hinder the function of the system. Before the monsoon hits, take a few minutes to cut back vegetation and clean up all clippings to keep the area around your unit as clear and clean as possible.

Invest in a Surge Protector

With severe storms come plenty of lightning strikes. If one hits your home, you could experience an electrical surge which can damage your electronics and electrical systems. With a whole house surge protector, you can protect your HVAC system, as well as all the important electrical equipment that you rely on each and every day.

Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance Today

At Cool Blew, we recommend Phoenix-area residents to have their HVAC system maintained. Before monsoon season is an ideal time to ensure your system is running efficiently and effectively.

With regular maintenance, you’ll be able to better manage summer electrical bills, correct small issues before they become costly repairs and prevent breakdowns before they happen.

Schedule your maintenance today. We’ll send out an experienced technician who can help provide peace of mind to you throughout monsoon season and beyond.

What is KVAR?

This entry was posted in KVAR and tagged on by .

If you want to save on energy consumption costs, then you’ve probably heard of a KVAR unit or KVAR energy savings devices. These are units that help residential homes and commercial businesses generate savings on their electric bills, especially in the use of their AC systems.

There are three terms one can use to refer to alternating AC power. The first one is the kilowatt, which represents real power. This is the measurement used to record power in the utility meters by the side of your house. The second is reactive power, which is measured in KVAR or Kilovolt-Ampere Reactive. In the context of transmission and distribution of electric power, Kilovolt-Ampere Reactive is used to refer to a unit of measurement of reactive power. You don’t pay for this, though, which is why KVAR doesn’t show up on your utility meters. The third term is apparent power and is referred to as KVA. To understand these concepts better, you’ll want to mention the power factor, which is the ratio between apparent power and active power. Apparent power, in turn, is made up of two types of power: active power and reactive power. The lower the reactive power component is, the higher the power factor, which leads to better cost-savings for you.

How is a KVAR Calculation done?

There are several ways to perform a KVAR Calculation if you need to calculate the reactive power of a given load. If you want to go with a practical approach, use a voltmeter along with an ammeter or amp meter to get it done. The product of the readings will give you the apparent power of the load in volt-amperes. The resulting figure will also help you work out the true power in watts of the given load. Given those numbers, finding the vectorial difference shouldn’t present any problems. When you determine what the reactive power is, you can find the right capacitors necessary to lower apparent power components in your systems. That’s how you can cut down on the power factor if you want to save on costs. For instance, if you install a 30 KVAR of capacitors, these will go on to reduce the reactive power provided by the utility company to 30 KVAR. The apparent power supplied by the utility, on the other hand, will drop to about 85.4 kVA.

What is Reactive Power/ KVAR formula?

Reactive power is the unused power generated by reactive components in an AC circuit or system and is measured in KVAR. In terms of the power factor, the greater the reactive power is, the higher the apparent power or kVA is as well. In residential homes, the amount of kWh’s used is quite low. That’s why companies don’t charge residential properties for it. The low amounts of power don’t cause any alarm for electricity companies. Commercial and industrial electric firms, though, consume this in massive amounts, so electricity companies charge them a premium. For the KVAR formula, it is as follows: Q = X*I*I. In reactive power formula, X refers to the reactance of the circuit and I is the current that runs through the circuit. You’ll need to understand the formula to learn more about the use of reactive power.

How does the KVAR power factor unit work?

Before you understand how the KVAR power factor works, you need to be clear about what the power factor is. It is essentially a measure of how effective the use of incoming power in your electrical system is. The ratio is working power to Apparent or total power. That is the power factor formula. To understand what the power factor correction KVAR is, remember that the power factor is the ratio between real and apparent power. That means the higher the percentage of the KVAR in your load, the lower the ratio of the kW to the kVA. The outcome gives you a poor power factor. Use that observation when you perform a power factor calculation formula KVAR.

How do I install a KVAR energy controller?

If you want cost-savings and plan to install a KVAR energy controller in your system, then stick to the basics. Follow the instructions carefully. Make sure you turn off the power first before you start to work on installing a KVAR energy saver unit. If you don’t have the tools, experience, and knowledge—not to mention the time and skills—to carry out this task, then you’ll have better luck—and results—when you hire a professional. Look for someone with the experience and knowledge to add an energy saver unit to your existing system. After that, you only need to wait for the cost-savings to start making a difference in your bills.

What is kVA and how do I calculate it?

While KVAR means Kilovolt-Ampere Reactive, kVA stands for Kilovolt amperes. For the most part, it is commonly referred to as Kilowatt or kW, which is the general term. It’s the unit measurement used to rate most—if not all—of the electrical items you have at home.

The term refers to the amount of power that is used to work is converted into an output, so when you talk about kW, you are talking about actual power. To calculate actual power or the power consumption of a device, you need to determine the apparent power. This can be calculated with the following formula: Amps x Volts = Volts-Amps. Once you work out how much the apparent power is, you can determine the real power. For instance, that will mean Amps x Volts x Power Factor = Watts. That’s the KVA calculation.

For the KVA formula to generate the results you want, you’ll need to determine the power factor too. The power factor is essential if you want to know the real power consumption of a device in your home—for instance, your AC. Once you’re done, you will end up with an accurate calculation of your system’s power consumption. The information will help you manage your home or facility’s utility bills.

What is the difference between kVA and kVAR?

The power supplied to us by electricity companies is called the apparent power. That is the actual power measured in kVA and expressed in terms of voltage and current, which is then broken down into two types of power: you have active power (kW) and reactive power (kVAR). If you want to be particular about the difference between KVA and KVAR, kVA stands for real or actual power while kVAR stands for reactive or inductive power.

When you see the energy that creates motion, light, heat, and sound, those are all powered by active power. Reactive power is the power that generates magnetic fields that drive rotating equipment and is dependent on the power factor. The power factor formula is the following: active power x 100 / apparent power.

If you are looking for a way to save on energy consumption costs, then think about having capacitors installed. Use of the right capacitors will decrease the reactive power component by the Utility, which will lead to a drop in the apparent power component. The result? You’ll end up with a higher power factor.

Getting help

Understanding these concepts can help you improve energy efficiency at your facility. If you’re tired of paying more than you should on your energy bills, then look for pros that can provide you with a home energy evaluation. Find out what you can do to reduce energy consumption levels. With the help of a team of expert and trusted electricians to undertake the work for you, you can find a way to save on costs and ensure better financial performance for your facility.

To pick the right service provider, make sure you do your homework. Check out reviews about the firm. Are there a lot of complaints or positive comments? What do the majority of the feedback say about the quality of the firm’s services? Factor these in when you look for an electrical services provider. Dig into the company’s background too. How long has it been in business? Does it have enough experience to have built a solid reputation in the industry? Does the firm deliver quality results?

These considerations will matter. The more you know, the easier it will be for you to pick the right firm to handle your energy consumption needs. If you want to save on costs, then start looking for the right firm to help you get your power consumption and utility bills back on track.

Dust Mites Just Might Be Aggravating Your Allergies and How Your Air Conditioner Can Help

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

Springtime in Arizona is often referred to as allergy sneezin’ – er, season. If you’ve been suffering from itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose and labored breathing, it could be from the pollen and ragweed found floating in the air this time of year. However, if your symptoms extend beyond spring, remember, not everyone suffers from hay fever. Some individuals are allergic to dust. For all its beauty, the desert is one extremely dusty place to live. If you’ve observed dust storms darkening the sky a mile high and blotting out the sun, you understand there’s some serious dust swirling around the Phoenix metroplex. Unfortunately, some of that dust finds its way into your home.

What Is Dust Made Of?

Have you ever been vacuuming and noticed a shaft of golden sunlight shining through your window to reveal an alarming amount of dust particles suspended in the air in your home? Though it largely goes unnoticed, left unchecked, dust in your home will build up quickly. Dust is comprised of fine dirt, tiny grains of sand, flaked skin cells, pet dander, small hairs, bits of threads, minute pieces of cotton fabric, pollution from automobile exhaust and even a little cosmic dust which falls to earth from the atmosphere. Microscopic dust mites live on human skin, animal dander and fungal spores. We’ve had astonished customers ask us, “You mean to tell me all this is inside my home?” The answer is yes. Incredibly, often the air quality inside your home is worse than the air outside. Here are steps you can take to minimize dust in your home, reduce your allergic reactions and improve your indoor air quality:

  • Change Your Air Filters Regularly – With the doors and windows closed, your home becomes, more or less, a closed system. Of course, dust and air pollution will get in when you open the doors. However, for most of the summer, your doors and windows remain closed all summer long to keep out the severe heat. Your greatest safeguard against dust is the air filter in your air conditioning system. As air from your home is recirculated through your AC system, the air filter helps remove all the little nasty little particulates listed above. If your air filters become clogged with dust and dirt, their effectiveness is greatly reduced, and more dust will circulate through your home.
  • Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned – Dust and dirt can accumulate in your air ducts. Many homeowners have no idea of the condition of their air ducts because they’ve never seen inside them. In many Phoenix homes, the ducts have never been cleaned. A duct inspection will also reveal if there’s any water collecting inside your ducts, which can cause mold and a faint, foul odor.
  • Consider an Added Air Filtration System Utilizing UV Lights – Ultra-violet lights add extra protection in that they eradicate biological contaminants from the dust in your air. If you or a family member is suffering from respiratory distress, this might be an option to explore. Our service technicians can review your present system and explain how UV light technology works.

Monsoon Season and Haboobs (Dust Storms) Will Be Coming Soon

Summer will be here before you know it. That means triple digit temperatures and dust storms accompanying monsoons. Now is the perfect time to have your air conditioning system checked and serviced, before the extreme weather hits. Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to schedule a service call to get you ready for the summer.

Should You Get a Home Energy Audit?

This entry was posted in HVAC Maintenance on by .

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.

This Spring, Declare Your Home A Pollen Free Zone

This entry was posted in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) on by .

Spring is the best time of year in the Valley of the Sun. With heavenly weather, budding trees and colorful flowers swaying in the breeze, Phoenix couldn’t be more beautiful. There is one drawback, though. The extensive winter rains have guaranteed an extra heavy onslaught of pollen. Weeds, grasses and trees are pollenating which brings hay fever along with the joys of spring. Many who suffer from wheezing and sneezing in April and May call this allergy season.

Allergies and Your Air Conditioning System

For those affected, hay fever is an agonizing condition. Symptoms include itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, sneezing and a general blah feeling that robs you of your energy. Pollen is not the only allergen floating in the air. There’s also air pollution, particulates, desert dust and if you have dogs and cats, pet dander. It all adds up to a big challenge for your air conditioning system. Once you are inside, with the doors and windows shut, your home becomes a closed system. Your air conditioning unit contains a key element to fighting the effects of allergens in the air you breathe – your AC air filters.
Here are three things you can do to get relief from hay fever once you’re inside your home:

#1 – Change Your Air Filters

As air flows through your AC system, the air filters collect pollen, dust and other particulates and then recirculate the air into your home. If your air filters are dirty or haven’t been changed for months, they fill up with dirt and dust and their effectiveness is greatly reduced. Like a vacuum cleaner with an overloaded bag, clogged air filters have nowhere to hold pollen, dander and other allergy offenders. Make sure you have new high efficiency air filters for spring, especially if you are experiencing respiratory distress.

#2 – Check for Mold

Standing water or condensation in your AC system can cause mold which will negatively impact your allergies. If you notice a faint musty smell coming from your vents, you may need to have your ducts checked. Also, extra humidity in bathrooms or the laundry room can cause mold which may show up as dark gray or black mottled streaks on the walls or tiles. Our service techs will offer advice on how to improve the proper flow of air to reduce the relative humidity in your home.

#3 – Schedule A Spring Inspection and Tune Up for Your Air Conditioner

Doctors recommend spending more time indoors during allergy season. Having a clean, fully functioning air conditioning system with newly replaced filters will insure you’re breathing pollen, dander and dust free air in your home. Why not call us today to schedule one of our experts to check your HVAC system and make sure you’re ready for the summer months ahead.

This Earth Day Don’t Forget Your Plumbing

This entry was posted in Plumbing, Uncategorized on by .

This year on April 22, we celebrate the 49th Earth Day. Created to increase awareness about the environment, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the planet by taking part in eco-friendly activities. Because we, at Cool Blew, focus on conserving water and other “green” plumbing-related strategies each and every day, we wanted to share a few tips that can help you save water. And, as an extra bonus, these tips can help you save some “green” in your wallet, too!

Switch to a Low-Flow Showerhead

Consider that a conventional showerhead uses approximately four gallons of water per minute. With a low-flow showerhead, you can slash this in half. This means that this one simple change can save nearly 3,000 gallons of water per year for a family of four.

Check Toilet Tanks for Leaks

You may be surprised to learn that water leaks account for about 12 percent of all water use in the average American home. One of the most common sources of leaks is toilets. Take a few minutes and test for leaks. Simply remove the tank lid and drop a dye table or a couple of drops of food dye into the upper tank. Wait about 15 minutes. If you see color in the toilet bowl, your toilet is leaking.

Consider a Water Heater Upgrade

If you have an aging water heater, you’re likely using more water and energy than you need to be. Today’s tank water heaters and tankless water heaters can help you save substantially on your water and energy consumption.

Get Faucet Leaks Fixed

Do you have a faucet that drips? This is a major contributor to water waste. Call Cool Blew, your local plumbing experts, to look for and stop leaks throughout your home. You’ll start seeing the savings on your water bill immediately.

Make the message of Earth Day something that’s with you every day by preventing water loss around your home. Call Cool Blew today to schedule an appointment. We can help you with everything from toilet and faucet leaks to water heater replacement.

Do You Need an Electrician?

This entry was posted in Electrical on by .

With the wealth of home improvement shows and online how-to videos now available, it’s no wonder that do-it-yourself projects are more popular than ever. Homeowners are increasingly emboldened to tackle a bathroom renovation or paint a bedroom. Yet, not all home improvements are wise to do without professional help. And, some can even be risky if they’re not executed correctly. When it comes to potentially dangerous projects, those that involve electrical work top the list.

In other words, when it comes time to fix, rewire or repair electrical work, don’t take chances. Call a professional electrician.

Unlike painting, tiling or demo work, electrical wiring is complex and potentially dangerous. Amateur electrical work can result in poor wire connections, overloaded circuits or faulty grounding. All these issues can be hazardous to your home, as well as to you and your loved ones. Just how common are electrical malfunctions? According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, over 50,000 house fires each year in the United States are caused by an electrical problem.

Don’t be tempted to save money by doing it yourself or trusting an unexperienced friend or family member. It’s better to be safe than sorry by getting the job done right.

Experience Matters

Licensed electricians undergo extensive education and training and stay up-to-date on the most current electrical codes. They also must pass an electrical licensing exam which requires an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the National Electrical Code – a set of standardized guidelines adopted for the United States for the installation of electrical wiring and the operation of equipment and tools that may be needed on the job. While licensing requirements vary from state to state, most require electricians to first gain electrical work experience as an apprentice for three to six years before they can be licensed.

Also, some electrical work requires a permit, and cities are reluctant to issue permits to unlicensed electricians. Working with a licensed electrician means the work in your home will be done according to both city requirements and safety guidelines.

Whether you need wires fixed or installed, choosing a licensed electrician offers you peace of mind and protection. Call Cool Blew today for all your home’s electrical needs.

When Spring Fever Turns to Hay Fever

This entry was posted in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) on by .

Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote, “In spring, a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love.” Spring fever has been an ailment lamented by poets and songwriters for centuries. However, in the Valley of the Sun, there’s a more common ailment that happens in the spring – hay fever.

Symptoms of Hay Fever

Following the cold days of winter and this year’s extended rains of March, nature’s beautiful explosion of spring growth has been magnificent in the Southwest. As Robin Williams once said, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!’” The party has definitely begun, and the uninvited guests include the usual suspects – prolific pollinators such as ragweed, Russian thistle, and blooming trees (Arizona Ash, Mulberry and Juniper, to name a few) and other common Arizona allergens. Unpleasant signs of allergic rhinitis, doctor’s official moniker for hay fever, include sneezing, wheezing, watering eyes, nasal congestion and other asthma-like symptoms.

How to Achieve Pollen Free Clean Air Inside Your Home

Allergists estimate up to one-third of Arizona residents suffer to some degree or other from hay fever this time of year. Homeowners can take certain steps to lower the effects of pollen and other allergens inside their homes, including:

  • Replace Your HVAC Air Filters – Replacing air filters on a regular basis helps eliminate pollen and dust from getting into your air conditioning system in the first place. As wind-blown allergens float through the air, your HVAC air filter forms the first line of defense in safeguarding your indoor air quality (IAQ). Performing this relatively easy task, especially at the start of spring and at regular intervals throughout the year will lengthen the life of your air conditioner and improve the IAQ in your home.
  • Consider an Added Pollen and Dust Collector – For individuals with extreme allergies or respiratory conditions, high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters remove more than 99% of particles. These special HEPA filters can be added to your existing HVAC system. Our service techs will be happy to discuss the benefits of the HEPA option.
  • Schedule a Spring Tune Up – One of the best things you can do for you family’s health and for your air conditioner is to schedule a spring inspection of your entire HVAC system.

For Cleaner Air Inside Your Home, Call Us Today

Whether you are suffering from spring fever or hay fever, our staff is sympathetic to your dilemma. Call Cool Blew today so we can schedule a spring tune up, and you can breathe easier.