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Two AC Units for Two-Story Homes

In the Metro Phoenix area, there are plenty of neighborhoods that primarily have two-story homes. These include many of the newer communities in Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Laveen, Surprise, Buckeye, Avondale, and Peoria. While these homes are perfect for growing families, they can be challenging to keep room temperatures consistent with a single air conditioning unit.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Two HVAC Units

The primary issue is one of warm air rising. Usually, second level rooms will be hotter than the rest of the home, leading to one part of the house being too warm or too cold. When air conditioning units are installed for each floor, you can sustain comfortable temperatures in every room. This increases comfort, saves on energy bills, and keeps everyone in the family happy.

When your home has one air conditioning unit, you must keep every area cool at the same time. When you install a second HVAC unit, you can choose to cool only the upstairs bedrooms in the evening. Two units allows for you to turn off your upstairs AC unit when you are going to be away or mostly downstairs.

Another advantage of two air conditioning units is if one unit stops working due to monsoon storms or malfunction, you can keep your home comfortably cool while waiting for repairs to be made.

The downside? Two units double your chances of a system failure and may increase your repair costs over the lifespan of the units. Two air conditioning units are also more expensive than one to purchase, install, and maintain. However, the cost difference sometimes is not as high as you think. This is because you will need two smaller units instead of one larger unit to cool your entire residence. The additional cost of the second HVAC unit can also be offset by the ongoing energy savings. Of course, this depends on your home’s floorplan, square footage, and how you plan to use the additional air conditioner.

Another Solution: One HVAC Unit and Two Thermostats

An alternate option would be to install one zoned AC unit with two thermostats. A zoned system utilizes 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 be substantial over the lifespan of your unit.

Call Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating today for a free estimate on cooling equipment for your home at 480-968-5652. We’re your HVAC experts.

In Arizona, Air Conditioning is Vital

With summer now in mid-swing, some states are experiencing their third or even fourth heatwave. Here in Arizona, we endured a severe heatwave in mid-June before summer officially started due to a massive heat dome sitting over the state. And more is sure to come before fall kicks into gear.

The July 15th U.S. Drought Monitor Western US map estimates that over 59 million people are living in drought conditions. In the Sonoran Desert, during a prolonged summer heatwave, the intensity of the stifling, triple-digit temperatures will make you gasp for air when you step outside in the heat of the afternoon sun. Is it possible that this summer will be hotter than last summer with the “non-soon” monsoon? Turns out, cool air is not only a luxury, but often a lifesaver.

Air conditioners do more than provide comfort in the Valley of the Sun. Sometimes, they literally save lives! The combination of scorching heat, forest fires, a global pandemic and extreme drought conditions makes for an uncomfortable summer. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, supplies of AC units and parts are in short supply worldwide. And many factories are running at 50% capacity. Components used in air conditioning units like steel, copper, aluminum, and duct work parts are experiencing shortages.

There has not been any type of AC system parts situation like this ever. The equipment and parts shortage are an issue for all HVAC manufacturing companies. It’s not specific to any brand or unit. This has impacted contractors, home builders, suppliers, businesses, and homeowners. As the summer heat pushes your AC system to the limit, the pandemic shortage has the potential to delay repairs. If you need your unit checked, fixed, or replaced, take care of it now.

Is Your AC System Ready?

Most homeowners rarely consider their AC until something goes wrong. The Maytag repairman might be the loneliest guy in town, but when a heatwave hits the Valley of the Sun, air conditioning repair people are in high demand! If your system has not been checked in recent months, your home feels uncomfortably warm even with the AC running, or you hear unusual sounds from your unit, don’t put off calling for service from local professionals.

Our skilled technicians will examine your entire HVAC system and give you peace of mind for the rest of the summer. Call Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating for servicing. Don’t take air conditioning for granted. Call us today at 480-968-5652.

HVAC Thermostat Energy Savings

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In the Valley of the Sun, summer temperatures and summer utility bills can quickly become unbearably high. Even if you’ve selected the most optimal utility service plan, you still can find yourself paying substantially to keep your home cool.

Are there other ways to save on electricity? You bet! It’s time to take a closer look at your thermostat.

What’s the Right Temperature?

What summer indoor temperature is most comfortable for you and your family—68 degrees, 72 degrees or maybe 78 degrees? There is no right answer. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to indoor air.

If you will be away from home during the day, you can set the thermostat to 80 degrees or above dependent on whether you have children, pets, and plants. Before arriving back home, if you have a programmable or smart thermometer, allowing your house to automatically cool down to a more comfortable 72-78 degrees would be perfect. If your home has a non-programmable thermostat, reset to a cooler temperature when you walk in the door.

The Department of Energy estimates that you can save up to 10% a year on cooling costs by dialing up your thermostat 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours a day. Just keep a watch on humidity levels. Humidity higher than 50% for an extended period will make the air sticky and may cause condensation on windows, mold, and mildew growth.

Best energy savings will be achieved at 78 degrees. Don’t try to quicken the pace of temperature drop though. You won’t reach ideal temperature any faster by lowering the thermostat to 65 degrees before arriving home. Keep in mind, you may want to adjust the thermometer even lower at bedtime for a more comfortable sleep.

To get your body adjusted to a higher indoor temperature, gradually raise the indoor temperature by one degree every day. Surprisingly, you will be acclimated to the higher temperatures in about one week. Adding in ceiling fans to generate a breeze will make your rooms feel one to four degrees cooler. Having portable fans will allow you to cool down even more when you need quick heat relief.

In other words, setting the thermostat higher in the summer is the key to summer energy bill savings. Call us at 480-968-5652 for all your HVAC service and installation needs.

HVAC Summer Troubleshooting

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July is primetime for fun filled barbeques, pool parties—and keeping cool inside. It’s also an ideal time to check on your HVAC system. No one wants to have their air conditioning unexpectedly shut down. No cooling when it’s hot and humid outside in the Valley of the Sun can be a life-disrupting problem.

Let’s look at some HVAC DIY troubleshooting suggestions that can help save you the hassles of a hot house this summer.

AC On, House is Hot

Are the ice cream cones you’re scooping inside for your family and friends instantly melting? You hear the air conditioning system running, yet every room in your house feels too warm. Time to check on key HVAC unit components as your first line of defense before calling your trusted local AC professionals.

Check Power

Take a look at your system’s thermostat. The batteries in your thermostat may be dead and require replacement to communicate with your air conditioner. If it’s a smart “Internet of Things” thermostat, check the Bluetooth connection to make sure it’s paired with your AC unit. If there’s still no power, check your electrical panel inside or outside your home. See if any breakers are tripped or fuses blown.

Then, check any electrical circuits powering hardwired devices such as a thermostat, any indoor and outdoor air handling equipment, and the outdoor AC condenser. A final step, if there still is no power, would be to look at all indoor and outdoor power switches to make sure they haven’t accidently been switched off.

Check Air Filters

Open the grate and pull out your air filter. Is the filter mostly covered in dust, looking grey and dirty? Clogged air filters choke air moving throughout your home keeping AC condenser coils from getting the proper amount of air flow to effectively run.

Check All Vents

Walk throughout your house and ensure all vents are open. If vent have louvers, allow them to open and close, jiggle the louver switch to make sure each vent is open. Any furniture, hardware devices, decorative items, or rugs blocking your vents should also be moved away from vent openings.

Check Indoor AC Equipment

Check air handler doors that may not be tightly shut. Safety controls on certain brands automatically turn off if the access panels are breached or not properly closed.

After DIY checking your AC system, and you still can’t find the source of your AC not working, then it’s time to call your HVAC cooling professionals at Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating. Schedule a service call at 480-968-5652.

HVAC Tips to Keep Your House Cool

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With monsoon season now here, dewpoints are thankfully beginning to rise. This means a break from the relentless dry heat and hopefully some precipitation in the very near future. What are some ways to help keep your home cool and comfortable during this time?

Air Balancing

Air balancing delivers the right amount of air conditioning to every room in your home. A professional HVAC technician will test and adjust your AC system to improve air circulation and increase comfort. The National Comfort Institute says air balancing is one of the most important steps in HVAC performance. Your Bruce’s HVAC expert can check for air drafts, fix ductwork, check and adjust the AC blower fan speed, adjust ceiling fans, and install additional return ducts if needed.

Air Filters

The best way to extend the life of your HVAC system is to check your air filters. Dirty air filters cause your AC to work harder to keep your house cool. A reduction in air flow can result in your cooling system overheating and shutting down. Regularly checking and changing dirty air filters will save 5% to 15% on your monthly utility bills and improve your home’s air quality.

Window Coverings

The sun’s energy falls on double-pane windows without drapes, shutters, shades, or blinds, entering your house as heat according to Energy.gov—causing your HVAC unit to work longer to keep your house comfortable. Insulated cellular shades can help by reducing solar heat through windows by up to 80%. With blinds, you can easily adjust the sunlight entering your house and diffuse it without too much glare or additional heat. Drapes and curtains with white plastic backings can further reduce summer heat gain by a third or more.

Exterior home awnings, if your house can accommodate them, can reduce solar heat gain up to 65% on south facing windows and 77% on west facing windows. Installing adjustable or retractable awnings are best for summer and for using in the winter to allow sunlight inside. Solar window screens can also be installed on windows, reducing glare, decreasing solar heat gain, and minimizing UV damage to furniture, accessories, and carpet.

Window low-e film can also work well when you want unobstructed window views along with reductions in solar heat gain, UV blocking, and glare. Window film is most effective on east and west facing windows. South facing windows benefit in the summer but will reduce heat entering your home from the winter sun. North facing windows will not benefit at all from window film.

Given the extreme weather conditions of the monsoon season in Arizona, it’s a smart idea to call the pros at Bruce’s for service. Schedule time now by calling our experts at 480-968-5652.