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Understanding the Upcoming Ban on R22 Freon

In less than 60 days, a new law will enforce a complete ban on the production and importation of R22 refrigerant, the refrigerant that has been widely used in the air conditioning industry for decades. While the benefits of this ban are clear, it will help protect the earth’s ozone layer, it does cause some challenges for homeowners with aging HVAC systems.

As of January 1, 2020, there will only be a limited supply of recycled or existing quantities of R22. So, if you have an older system, you may want to start considering your options now.

Do Nothing

If your current HVAC system has an air conditioning unit with R22, you don’t necessarily have to do anything immediately. If it’s running fine without any refrigerant leaks, you can cross your fingers and hope that things remain the same for now. However, it’s important to note that if and when you need refrigerant, the cost of stockpiled R22 is skyrocketing, and it’s unclear how long there will continue to be a supply at all.

Retrofit Your Existing Air Conditioner

The newer, legal refrigerant available is R410A, called Puron. Air conditioners can be retrofitted to use this type of refrigerant, but this comes at a cost. If your system is already on the decline, it may not be your best option. At Bruce’s, we’re happy to assess the condition of your air conditioner to determine if it’s a possible candidate for retrofitting.

Replace Your System with a New Air Conditioner

Yes, new air conditioners can dip into your budget. However, replacing an older air conditioner that uses R22 with a new, more energy-efficient model that uses R410A will save you monthly on your utility bill. And, you won’t have to be rolling the dice with an aging system that will eventually break down. Contact us for a free estimate and to learn about your financing options.

The switch to non-ozone depleting refrigerants is a good thing, and we support this shift. And as your HVAC experts, we’re here to help you through this transition while ensuring the function and efficiency of your air conditioner.

The Cold Facts About Pests and Your HVAC System

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Summer in Arizona is officially over. November has arrived, and temperatures have been dropping accordingly. As the seasons change and nights get colder, neighborhood critters may be considering setting up a winter residence in your home. That’s not a pleasant thought, however, we receive calls every fall from Phoenix homeowners who’ve noticed something is amiss when they fire up their furnace for the first time. Heat will sometimes reveal surprising odors that may have gone unnoticed with the air conditioning blowing cold air for the last six months.

Pests – Unwanted Furry Friends

The dictionary defines pests as an annoying or troublesome person or animal – a nuisance. We can’t do anything about irritating relatives residing under your roof, but we do have extensive experience with mice, squirrels, rats and raccoons. Unfortunately, air conditioning ducts and idle furnaces are perfect places for animals to nest. It may surprise you to know that rodents chewing on wires can cause extensive damage to HVAC systems and even trigger fires. Up to 20 percent of fires with an “unknown origin” are attributed to exposed wires from rodent chewing.

Steps to Take to Eliminate Pests

Protect your family, home and investment by taking these steps:

  • Be Aware

    Rats and mice are particularly adept at hiding out. We’ve performed many air duct inspections and informed shocked homeowners they’ve got a rodent infestation problem on their hands. “I had no idea,” is the usual response from the distressed residents. Rodents leave telltale signs and droppings. Also, heat from the furnace will sometimes release unpleasant odors from urine or feces. A visual inspection is the best way to determine if your ducts are free from unwanted furry visitors.

  • Seal Points of Entry

    Pests can find their way into your house through tiny openings you would never imagine they can fit through. Attic vents and openings around your AC unit, compressor or furnaces are particularly vulnerable. Cracks and loose fittings in your duct system provide a point of entry for rodents and once they are in, they have a ready-made highway to every room in your home.

  • Schedule Your Fall Checkup

    You may be tempted to skip your fall AC tune up. Especially if your air conditioner has been running smoothly all summer. However, if you fire up your furnace and notice unwelcome odors, or if you’ve seen any telltale signs of pests, schedule a full HVAC inspection pronto.

We Love Pets – Not Pests!

Whether you have an unwanted furry guest residing in your duct, or you just want to make sure your furnace is tuned up and ready to go, please give us a call.

5 Frightening HVAC Noises and What to Do About Them

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With Halloween just around the corner, you may enjoy hearing the spooky sounds from little ghosts and goblins dressed in their costumes. Yet, haunting sounds aren’t quite so entertaining when they’re coming from your HVAC system. In fact, they can be downright alarming, so it’s a good idea to know what to do when you hear them.

Clunk, Clunk, Clunk

It’s the start of furnace season, and a banging can indicate an ignition problem. When a gas valve opens the pilot light or electric starter, it should fire up immediately. If it doesn’t the gas can make a banging sound not unlike that of a zombie knocking on a door. Like with the walking dead, you don’t want to take a wait and see approach. Instead, call out the professionals who can ensure turning on your furnace is a quieter and safer experience.

Rattle, Rattle

Could that rattling sound be from spirits from beyond? Doubtful. It’s more likely the result of a loose blower motor or fan blade in your air conditioner. As time goes on, the sound will grow louder, so why not get it fixed now?

Whining and Moaning

It may sound like ghosts are haunting your house when you hear that telltale whooshing whine or moan. However, this noise typically indicates a malfunction of your system’s motor. Often, it’s a matter of worn bearings which require a technician to replace.

Clacking and Crackling

The sound of a witch’s hands mixing up a deadly brew in her cauldron or just frozen evaporator coils on your air conditioner? The wicked sounding clacking and crackling sound you hear from your air conditioning vents is often the result of dirty evaporator coils that restrict airflow and cause ice buildup.

Have a fun and safe Halloween and don’t forget to overcome your fear of HVAC-related noises by calling Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating.

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners – Not Just for Cooling

Ductless mini-split air conditioners are becoming a popular home cooling choice for many Phoenix residents – especially for room additions, garage workshops, home offices or anywhere air conditioning ducts are not a viable option. What may come as a surprise to many homeowners is these energy efficient units also do an excellent job of heating, especially in regions of the country with moderate winters, like the Southwest.

What Makes Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners Different?

So there would be no confusion, manufacturers labeled their number one product advantage right up front – ductless. No air ducts or venting systems are needed for these units. When properly installed and maintained, traditional air ducts provide the conventional pathways for cooled or heated air to be dispersed throughout your house from your HVAC unit.

However, air ducts are not always the most energy efficient way to reach every area of the house. In fact, leaky air ducts can cause a loss of up to 40 percent of cooled air. With ductless systems, being installed directly in the room where cool or warm air is needed, there is virtually no loss in the process. Ductless mini-split air conditioners also take up a relatively small amount of space and require only a small hole to the outside condenser, which makes them less of a security risk than window air conditioners.

When considering a ductless mini-split system for your home, keep these advantages in mind:

  • Energy Savers

    Ductless mini-split systems are big energy savers and have high SEER ratings. SEER ratings indicate the energy efficiency of various air conditioners. Because there is no loss of air through vents and due to their energy efficient inverter-driven compressors design, ductless mini-split systems can save you up to 30 percent on your monthly utility bills.

  • Remote Controlled

    Most units come with a hand-held remote control that also serves as a thermostat. This is very convenient for night-time adjustments or changing the setting from your easy chair.

  • Wall and Ceiling Units

    Ductless mini-split units can be installed on your walls or in the ceiling. Ceiling units are popular in kitchen installations. Multiple units can run inside the home from one outside condenser. These units are remarkably quiet and blend in well with their surroundings.

Learn More About Ductless Mini-split Systems

Ductless mini-split air conditioners have proven to be an excellent option for many of our customers. If you’d like more information on these innovative units, please give us a call.

Remodeling? How Adding a Room or Wing Can Change the Calculus for Your Air Conditioner 

Remodeling your home can prove to be a wise investment and an enjoyable design challenge. Expanding the kitchen to include an island with increased workspace which opens to a great room, creates an area where families can spend more time together. Adding a master suite to an older, three bedroom Arizona home is a popular addition for growing families. During the design process, it’s easy to get excited about the look of the space, choosing surfaces and selecting colors and finishes. However, don’t forget one of the most crucial elements to enjoying any room – air conditioning.

Why It’s Important to Factor Air Conditioning into Your Remodeling Equation

The hidden aspects and engineering details of most building projects, such as plumbing, wiring and ductwork (for AC and proper ventilation) don’t always receive as much attention as design elements. Most homeowners trust the architect and contractor to do what’s necessary to meet building codes and satisfy permit inspections. Unfortunately, air conditioning often is not as high on the list as it should be when it comes to prioritizing. Depending on the size of your addition, your air conditioner may or may not be able to handle cooling the additional square footage. Over the years, we have responded to many service calls with frustrated homeowners bemoaning the fact that the new master suite (or addition) is always hotter than the rest of the house. That’s why we strongly encourage our customers to get HVAC professionals involved early in the design process.

When adding on to your home, there are three main options to consider:

Extend Your Existing Ductwork

It seems logical that if you have a small or modest sized room addition you ought to be able to extend your existing ductwork and utilize your current equipment. In many cases, this is true – but not always. The safest approach is to have us perform a load calculation on your air conditioner and determine if your AC system can handle cooling the additional square footage. Once the room is enclosed and finished your AC system will need re-balancing so proper airflow will be directed to all areas of your home.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If after completing an evaluation and load calculation it’s determined that your current air conditioner cannot meet the requirements for the new addition, then you will need to upgrade to a larger, more powerful AC system. Depending on how old your air conditioner is, this may turn out to be a smart option. New energy saving air conditioners operate and cool more efficiently and will help lower your monthly utility bills.

Ductless System or Mini-Split

A third option is to leave your existing air conditioner intact and treat your addition as a separate unit with its own system. Some homeowners opt for a ductless air conditioner or a mini-split system. Our service technicians can explain how these units work and advise you of the pros and cons for each. 

If You’re Planning an Addition to Your Home, Please Give Us A Call

When you engage in the design and planning of your new room addition, remember to get us involved early in the process. We’ll be happy to do a service check on your current unit and calculate what you’ll need for your new addition. Call us today.