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5 New Year’s Resolutions to Protect Your Home’s Plumbing

This entry was posted in Plumbing on by .

As we ring in 2018, it’s time to make some resolutions to make your life better. At Cool Blew, we believe that keeping your home’s plumbing in excellent shape is a resolution worth keeping all year long. The following are some easy-to-follow strategies to ensure the coming year is smooth and clog-free!

  1. Be Careful What You Place in Your Garbage Disposal
  2. Your garbage disposal is not a garbage can. To maximize the lifespan of this essential kitchen tool and your pipes, here’s the list of what to prevent from going down your kitchen drain:

  • Asparagus
  • Banana peels
  • Bones
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cooked meat scraps
  • Eggshells
  • Fruit pits and scraps
  • Grease
  • Nuts
  • Vegetable peels (including potato)

  1. Don’t Flush Trash Down the Toilet
  2. Limit what you flush to toilet paper and human waste. Avoid flushing Q-tips, cotton balls, diapers, feminine products and paper towels. None of these items were meant to go down the drain and can cause challenging clogs that lead to costly repairs. Even bathroom wipes that claim to be flushable can result in clogs. Instead, invest in a conveniently placed waste bin that can be used to catch all those items that don’t belong in the toilet.

  3. Reduce Your Water Consumption
  4. Here in the Arizona desert, water is precious and something we all need to conserve. Why not make 2018 the year that you make a few minor adjustments to your water usage patterns that can also save you money. Consider creating a family agreement to shorten shower time, run only full loads in the washing machine and turn water off when it’s not in use. Minor changes can result in big savings that help both the environment and your budget.

    1. Maintain Your Water Heater
    2. Throughout the greater Phoenix area, we have hard water, loaded with minerals. Protect your water heater in 2018 from rust and corrosion by removing sediment. This is a relatively easy process that can be accomplished with a hose and a bucket. If you don’t feel comfortable handling hot water heater maintenance, call Cool Blew today at 602-872-2900.

    3. Schedule a Plumbing Tune-Up
    4. A tune-up for your plumbing system is a great way to kick off 2018. One of our expert plumbers will inspect your home’s drains and water lines to ensure everything is functioning properly. A tune-up can also identify small issues before they turn into bigger problems.

    Wishing you a happy and successful 2018!

Give the Gift of Home Comfort This Season

This entry was posted in HVAC Maintenance on by .

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

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

Maintenance Contract

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

Programmable Thermostat

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

Filters

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

An Energy Audit

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

New HVAC Systems

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

Happy Holidays from the entire team at Cool Blew

Maximize the Lifespan of Your Water Heater

This entry was posted in Plumbing on by .

Think about how much you rely on your water heater each and every day. From providing warm showers to cleaning your clothes, dishes, pots and pans. While you may not think about all that your water heater does on a daily basis, it’s a good idea to give it some love with a routine maintenance schedule. By doing so, you can keep it running optimally for many years to come.

What You Need to Do

Caring for your water heater isn’t difficult, but it does require some effort. The following are the steps necessary to keep this vital component of your home running as it should be:

Keep the thermostat at 120 degrees or below

You can save up to five percent in monthly energy costs for every 10 degrees you reduce your water heater’s temperature. You’ll also reduce its workload and any risk of scalding, too.

Remove sediment

At least two or three times a year, partially drain your tank to remove sediment and debris. Here in the greater Phoenix area, minerals that build up can corrode tanks. To drain the tank, turn off the cold- water supply and hook up a garden hose to the drain valve. Water can be drained into a bucket until the water runs clear.

Test the pressure relief valve

At least once a year, test the pressure relief valve by discharging it two or three times. Look for small leaks from the valve which signal a need to call for service.

Insulate the tank

A fiberglass jacket for your water heater tank and insulation around the cold and hot water pipes can improve efficiency all year-long.

Reduce the temperature when out-of-town

Whether you’re a snowbird who is gone for part of the year or just taking a two-week vacation, you can extend your water heater’s function by turning it to the vacation setting while you’re away. This maintains the pilot light without continuously heating the water.

And, remember to call Cool Blew at 623-872-2900 if you’re in need of water heater repair or replacement. We’re here to ensure you and your family are never left in the cold.

Holiday Decorating Electrical Safety Tips

This entry was posted in Safety on by .


Safely decorating your home for the holidays should be the top item on your holiday wish list. To have a healthy and happy holiday before you deck the halls, follow these important tips to keep your tree glowing and outdoor lights impressive.

Christmas Tree Electrical Safety

Check all your lights for any damaged plugs, frayed or bare wires and loose connections. Light string defects may possibly cause fires or electrical shocks. Make sure the lights and decorations have certification labels from UL, CSA or other accredited inspection agencies. Look for lights certified as safe for indoor use. You might want to use LED lights which are cooler to the touch, more energy efficient and last longer than incandescent bulbs. Replace burned out bulbs, and do not leave any empty sockets.

When using extension cords, make certain cords are not a tripping hazard across open spaces. Do not place cords under rugs, by any heat sources or attached to any metal, such as staples or nails. As well, uncoil extension cords completely before use.

Turn off all electrical decorations before going to sleep or leaving home. Keep Christmas trees and wrapped gifts at least three feet from heat sources, such as space heaters, radiators and fireplaces. Don’t let young children and pets play with or pull on Christmas lights.

For a live Christmas tree, check for freshness and refill the tree stand daily with water. If using an artificial tree, choose one with a fire-resistant label, and avoid hanging lights on artificial trees with metallic branches or leaves. And, of course, a good rule of thumb any time of the year is to test all smoke alarms and replace batteries if not functioning.

Outdoor Decoration Safety

Be certain extension cords and electrical decorations are rated for outdoor usage and inspect for any damage before using. All outdoor lights and extension cords should be plugged into GFCI protected outlets for safety. Avoid plugging in more than three light strings to a single extension cord. Do not extend the length of an extension cord by connecting it with another extension cord.

Keep lights and cords away from standing water and securely fasten lights to trees, shrubs and your home’s exterior to protect from wind damage. Use only fiberglass or wooden ladders when hanging electrical decorations outside. Metal ladders will conduct electricity. If you use spotlights for illuminating decorations, make sure they are protected from weather conditions and a safe distance from flammable items.

Have a joyous holiday season. For your holiday electrical questions, call Cool Blew at 623-872-2900.

Drop the Drip: Overcoming a Common Plumbing Problem

This entry was posted in Plumbing on by .

Drip, drip, drip. The sound of a leaky faucet is unarguably one of the most annoying sounds known to mankind. Tiny drops of water steadily hitting a sink or shower can keep you up at night and waste a surprisingly large amount of water. But, what exactly causes a leaky faucet? We have answers.

In the vast majority of leaky faucets, the cause is simply wear and tear on your faucet. Continuously turning it on and off can cause faucet washers and stems to wear out. It can be a problem with an O ring which is an integral point wherein dripping can occur or a corroded valve seat which serves as the connection between the faucet and the spout. Over time, an accumulation of water sediments can cause the valve seat to corrode and leak. Worn out or improperly installed washers, loose parts and worn out seals can also be the culprit. In rare cases, a leak can be caused by a broken pipe or fitting. Regardless of the cause, a leaky faucet is undoubtedly irritating. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to repair. In nearly every case, a skilled plumber can replace worn out parts without requiring you to invest in a new sink or faucet.

The Water Adds Up

Not only is a leaky faucet incredibly annoying, it can cost you big on your water bill. Even a small drip can add up to gallons of water wasted each day. Here in the Phoenix area where water is hard, a steady drip can also damage your faucet and sink. So, even if you aren’t bothered by the relentless noise of a drip, there are plenty of other reasons to get it fixed promptly.

Be Proactive with Plumbing Problems

Like with many household issues, dripping faucets and other plumbing problems should be fixed as quickly as possible to avoid water waste and to protect fixtures. Taking a wait and see approach will likely lead to a higher water bill and the potential for having to replace fixtures instead of just a minor part. Leaky faucets do not repair themselves!

Understanding why a faucet is leaky is necessary for fixing it effectively. This is why it’s important to call a qualified plumber who has the expertise to identify a problem and make the necessary repairs. In other words, call Cool Blew if and when you are dealing with a leaky faucet.

Should You Replace Your Air Conditioner in the Winter?

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

Temperatures in the Valley of the Sun have finally dipped into the comfortable zone. During the fall and winter, Arizona homeowners rejoice in switching off their air conditioners for at least a couple of months. While it’s easy to turn your attention away from your air conditioner when you don’t need it, it may be the ideal time to consider replacement. If you’ve already identified that you will soon need a new unit because it’s old and beginning to malfunction, there are significant benefits to replacing it now, rather than waiting until the spring or summer.

Most HVAC experts will tell you that mid-October through April is the right time to replace your air conditioner for several important reasons. First, fewer homeowners and business owners are replacing units during these months. This means that you won’t have an extended wait for an estimate or for installation. Replacing your unit while you’re not reliant on it also means that you won’t be caught unexpectedly with a system failure. As anyone who has survived the heat of an Arizona summer knows, an air conditioner failure can be very disruptive.

Is It Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner?

Of course, it’s important to know when it’s time to invest in a new air conditioner. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict exactly when your air conditioner will stop functioning.  However, there are some indicators that signal that you should consider a replacement.

Greater than 10 Years Old

Although some air conditioners will function seamlessly for decades, others don’t. A good rule of thumb is to begin considering the possibility of replacement when your unit hits 10 years in service.

Efficiency Issues

Have your utility bills increased considerably despite no change in your usage pattern? Has your unit always underperformed or cycled excessively? It may be time to call out an expert for a load calculation. An HVAC professional can help you understand what size unit you need, based on your square footage, insulation, windows and other factors.

You may also be struggling with an older air conditioner with a low Seasonal Energy Efficiency (SEER) ratio. Today’s air conditioners must have a rating of at least 13, and many quality units will have ratings well above 14.  A higher SEER rating means greater efficiency and a lower monthly utility bill.

Extend the Lifespan of Your Air Conditioner

While a new air conditioner can ensure you’re cool for many years to come, you may still have plenty of years of life left in your existing unit. If so, the best way to maximize its lifespan is to get it serviced regularly. Air conditioners in the hot temperatures of the greater Phoenix area work hard to keep your home cool. By keeping your HVAC system well-maintained, you can extend its usability dramatically.

Want to learn more? Call your cooling experts, Cool Blew, for a home energy evaluation.

Pros and Cons of Having Two Air Conditioning Units for a 2-Story Home

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

Here in the greater Phoenix area, there are neighborhoods that primarily have 2-story homes. These include many of the relatively newer communities in Ahwatukee, Gilbert and Peoria. While these homes can be great for growing families, they can be challenging when it comes to maintaining a consistent, comfortable temperature with a single air conditioning unit.

Balancing Temperature

There’s the obvious issue of warm air rising. In general, upstairs bedrooms will be warmer than the rest of the house. Thus, one area of the house can seem too hot or too cold. With separate central air conditioning units for each floor of your home, you can maintain a comfortable temperature for each defined space. This not only improves comfort but can also enable you to save money on utility bills.

Energy Savings

With a single, non-zoned air conditioning unit, you have to keep every area cool at the same time. With a second unit, you can choose to cool just the upstairs bedrooms at night. Or, if you primarily spend your time downstairs, you can turn off your upstairs unit when you’re not up there. This can reduce the square footage you’re regularly cooling considerably.

System Failure

As many Arizonans know, air conditioners have a habit of failing at the worst possible time. With two units, you can at least keep the house cool enough while repairs are being made. However, it’s also important to note that two units double your chances of a system failure and increase your overall cost of repairs over time.

Other Cost Considerations

Yes, two air conditioning units are more expensive than one to purchase, too. But the cost difference is often not as high as you think. This is because you will need two smaller units compared to one larger unit to cool the entire home. The added cost of the second unit can also be offset by the ongoing energy savings. Much of this depends on your home’s floorplan and how you plan to use the air conditioner.

A Zoned System

Another option is to install a single air conditioning unit with two or more thermostats. This is particularly beneficial for larger homes. A zoned system uses dampers within the ductwork that open and close to control the temperature and flow of air within each zone. This type of system costs more than a regular zone-less system, but the energy savings can add up over time.

Call Cool Blew today for a free estimate on cooling equipment for your home at 623-872-2900.

Thanksgiving Plumbing Tips

This entry was posted in Plumbing on by .

It may surprise you, but Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the busiest day of the year for plumbers, across the United States. We, plumbers, jokingly refer to it as “Brown Friday.” Yuck!

Now, why do you think plumbers are so busy after this particular holiday? Well, there are two common problems that occur. Clogged or broken garbage disposals often happen during this food-focused holiday. Sewer line backups are the other frequent issue. Because a holiday plumbing problem can quickly turn into a plumber-worthy emergency, we’ve provided some preventive tips that hopefully will keep everything smooth-sailing throughout Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

Don’t Put Bones or Peels in the Garbage Disposal

After ten hours of cooking, we understand it’s tempting to shovel what’s left on plates right into the disposal. Don’t do it! Your garbage disposal was never intended to grind bones, or mounds of potato peels for that matter. By doing so, you’re creating a recipe for your disposal’s grinding halt.

Don’t Pour Grease or Oil Down the Drain Either

You would think that pouring a liquid down a drain wouldn’t cause a problem. Think again! The problem with grease and oil is they coagulate, becoming solid and sticky. A lump of grease in your sewer pipe can quickly cause a not so pleasant sewer line backup. Instead, pour unwanted oil and grease in a coffee can or other metal container. Let it cool off and throw it in your garbage can.

Don’t Put Trash or Food Down the Toilet

This seems only logical. Right? Well, a house full of people often leads to guests using toilets as garbage cans. The only thing that should be flushed down is toilet paper and biological waste which dissolves quickly. Anything else can stick around in your sewer pipe and cause a backup. This Thanksgiving give thanks to all guests who only use the toilet for what it was intended to be used for.

Get a Plumbing Check-Up

Do you have frequent sink backups? Do pipes make weird noises or leak? Don’t wait for the busiest day of the year to make that call. Before you are cooking that Thanksgiving turkey, ensure your plumbing is working properly. Call Cool Blew today to schedule a plumbing check-up at 623-872-2900.

Yes, this is not the most pleasant topic, but it’s better to learn these tips and follow them than having sewage bubbling up in your guest bathroom on Thanksgiving evening. By doing so, you won’t have to experience the hassle of Brown Friday.

Winter Electrical Safety Tips

This entry was posted in Electrical, Safety on by .

Home fires are more common during the winter months than any other time of the year – even in the greater Phoenix area. The increase in electrical product purchases along with colder weather means an unfortunate jump in electrical fires, electrocutions and injuries. Many homeowners are surprised to learn that heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires. In fact, over 65,000 home fires are caused by heating equipment every year. Other electric appliances are also a leading cause of fires. Thus, it’s necessary to be extra vigilant during the winter months.

The following are some electrical home safety tips that can help keep you and your family safe through the cool winter months.

Space Heaters

Follow the manufacturer’s instruction manual before using any space heater. All space heaters should be kept at least three feet away from any combustible material, including clothing, bedding, draperies, furniture and rugs. Test the shut-off function of any space heater you’re using to ensure it automatically turns off when tipped or knocked over.

Do not use space heaters in any part of the house where children are not supervised, along with areas near water. Heaters should never be used in bathrooms or kitchens.

Electric Blankets and Heating Pads

Heating pads and blankets can warm you up on a cool evening, but they are not risk-free. Don’t use any heating pad or electric blanket that is worn or frayed. Don’t fold when in use and avoid placing other blankets or other items on top of them when in use.

Furnaces

Fall is the right time to ensure your furnace is working properly. Schedule a tune-up to check for problems like cracked heat exchangers, frayed electrical wires and other hazards that can potentially cause a fire. Keep the area around your furnace clear and change the air filter to eliminate any restriction to your furnace. Test your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms to ensure they are functioning properly.

Call Cool Blew

Whether you suspect a heater or electrical problem or just want a maintenance check, Cool Blew is your resource for all your home electrical and heating needs. Call us today to schedule an appointment at 623-872-2900.

6 Scary Things That Can Happen without HVAC Maintenance

This entry was posted in HVAC Maintenance on by .

It’s Halloween, the time for scary, spooky things like ghosts, goblins and ghouls. Yet, for homeowners, there are few things more haunting than an HVAC problem that could have been prevented with regular HVAC maintenance.

With temperatures beginning to drop in the Valley of the Sun, it’s the ideal time to schedule preventive HVAC service. This can greatly reduce the risk of your system experiencing a frightful malfunction. Here are 6 scary things you can avoid by scheduling an HVAC maintenance appointment.

  1. Unexpected Loss of Heat or Cool Air

    Minor issues can be identified early during an HVAC maintenance check and repaired so they don’t turn into system failures. This can prevent the unexpected frustration of having a home without heat or air conditioning.

  2. Reduced Efficiency

    Without regular maintenance, you can have a host of issues that impact your HVAC system’s efficiency. The result can be one downright frightening utility bill! Cleaning, early identification of problems and proactive repairs are fundamental to ensuring your system is functioning at full capacity.

  3. Compressor Failure

    Dirty condenser coils cause your compressor to work harder than it needs to, shortening its lifespan and putting you at risk for a costly system failure. During regular HVAC maintenance, your coils are cleaned, greatly reducing your chance of a compressor failure.

  4. Leaking Refrigerant

    Your air conditioner requires a set amount of refrigerant to properly function. Even with a minor leak, your system efficiency can be reduced by 20 percent or more. Don’t take chances with this easily corrected problem. During a system-wide tune-up, leaks can be identified and repaired.

  5. Heater Exchange Failure

    Do you have a gas heater? A failing heat exchanger can result in the seeping of dangerous carbon monoxide into your home. Besides having working carbon monoxide detectors, it’s vital to get regular maintenance on your heating system to ensure your heater exchanger is functioning properly.

  6. Motor and Bearing Malfunctions

    Like with any piece of machinery, HVAC equipment requires lubrication to keep the motor and bearings operating smoothly. Without this, the motor can heat up and result in a completely preventable system failure.

Schedule your fall maintenance appointment today with Cool Blew. We’re here to help you maximize the life and efficiency of your HVAC system.