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Why Is There Ice on My Air Conditioner?

Have you ever noticed frost or ice on your air conditioner? Air conditioner units are designed to lower temperatures. So, it might seem logical that if your air conditioner is working extra hard to do a great job of cooling, there might be some occasional ice on the unit. Especially in Arizona during the summer, with temperatures soaring into triple digits and AC units running full tilt, a little ice might appear to be a good thing. Unfortunately, ice on your air conditioner is an indication of a problem.

Two Main Reasons for Ice on Your Air Conditioner

There are two main reasons for your air conditioner icing up. The most common cause is low refrigerant due to a leak within the system. Arizona summers push air conditioners to the limit. The constant wear and tear and relentless vibration coupled with high winds, dust storms and other factors can cause fittings to loosen and result in refrigerant leaks. A second cause for ice on your AC unit has to do with dusty, dirty coils. Both of these issues are best handled by an experienced technician with the proper tools to solve the issue.

What Is Refrigerant and How Does It Affect My AC Unit?

In creating a comfortable environment for your home, refrigerant is essential to the cooling process. Refrigerant, sometimes referred to as freon, R22, R410A or R134, transforms from a gas to a liquid and back again in an endless cycle, working with the other components of your unit to:

  • Lower the temperature of the cooling coils
  • Transfer heat from inside your home, which is blown outside as exhaust
  • Force cooled air into your home through your AC vents

If there is a leak or you are low on refrigerant, the temperature will drop significantly on the coils containing the refrigerant. Condensation from the humidity in the air will form ice on the coils. As the ice increases on your coils it makes the unit work harder and harder to maintain the cool temperature in your home. If not detected, you will notice your air conditioner working harder and longer to maintain cool in the home. Eventually, this condition can lead to serious problems for your air conditioning system.

Dust and Debris in Your AC Unit

With monsoon season in full swing, desert dust storms kick up dirt, dust and debris which can clog up the filters and coils in your air conditioner. Dirty, dusty coils are also a cause of inefficient air flow which can, in turn, cause ice on your air conditioner.

The Best Solution Is to Call in the Professionals

Many homeowners do their best to maintain their AC units by replacing air filters on a timely basis. However, this is only one part of an overall maintenance program. If you’ve detected frost or ice on your air conditioner, or if you noticed your AC unit working harder to maintain the same temperature in your home, call Bruce’s Air Conditioning and Heating today. We proudly serve the greater Phoenix area providing prompt service and expert advice for keeping your HVAC running smoothly year-round.

Setting Your Thermostat for a Good Night’s Sleep

During the hot summer months in the greater Phoenix area, it’s easy for bedrooms to become too warm for restful sleep. You may even be trying to save a few dollars by setting your thermostat as high as possible. Yet, your thermostat can make or break your slumber. For many, an optimal temperature is necessary for sound sleeping.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the suggested bedroom temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. When you’re in bed and trying to sleep, your body temperature naturally decreases. A lower room temperature helps induce sleep faster. Temperatures within the recommended range also can improve the quality of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the restorative stage of sleep in which you dream.

The Effects of Sleep Deprivation

If you’ve ever spent a night tossing and turning, unable to sleep, you know that the next day can be tough. Along with feeling groggy and grumpy, it can impact your mental abilities and even impact your physical health. Over time, the effects of sleep deprivation include weight gain, cardiovascular disease and weakened immune system. A lack of sleep also puts you at greater risk for accidents and injury.

Keeping Cooling Costs in Check

Consider your bedroom a cave. It should be quiet, cool and dark – particularly if you have sleep difficulties. Yet, it’s important to balance your need for cool temperatures with the monthly cost of air conditioning. It may be cost-prohibitive to keep your thermostat continuously set at the cool temperature needed for a good night sleep. This is when a programmable thermostat can be very beneficial. By setting your thermostat for a lower temperature at night and a higher temperature when you’re away from home, you can significantly cut energy usage.

Other Ways to Save

It’s also important to ensure your air conditioner is tuned up and functioning as it should be. Call us to schedule a tune up if you haven’t had one recently. It can really make a difference in terms of the efficiency of your unit. As well, don’t forget to change your HVAC system air filter on a monthly basis. Dirty clogged filters hinder air flow, causing your air conditioner to work harder to cool your indoor air.

What’s the cost of a good night sleep? When a lack of sleep impacts your health, happiness and productivity, it’s vital to optimize your sleep space for restful nights, and your air conditioner plays an important role. Want to learn more? Call the experts at Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating today.

Monsoon Consequences – Can Dust Storms and Torrential Rains Affect Your Air Conditioner?

The National Weather Service has designated June 15th through September 30th as the official monsoon season for Arizona. Caused by a seasonal shift in the prevailing weather patterns, monsoons blow cooler, humid winds (loaded with moisture from the Gulf of California) north over the hot, dry and dusty Arizona desert. Clashing weather fronts result in severe storms known as haboobs, an Arabic word defined as a violent and oppressive wind blowing in summer, bringing sand from the desert. Dust storms that accompany monsoons can be both awe inspiring and dangerously beautiful. On July 5th, 2011 Phoenix experienced one of the largest, most dramatic dust storms of the last century. It was reported a towering wall of dust appeared on the horizon almost 100 miles across and between 5,000 – 8,000 feet high blotting out the sun, limiting visibility and causing damage across the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

Monsoons and Your Air Conditioning System

It is hard to calculate the amount of wind-whipped dust circulating during an Arizona haboob, but suffice to say, tons of fine dirt and sand is blowing in the air, which is dangerous for your eyes (if you happen to be caught outdoors) and bad news for your air conditioning system. Dust can clog air conditioner air filters, get into moving parts and generally impede your unit’s efficiency.

Gusts of Wind, Driving Rain and Your AC Unit

When architects design homes, HVAC is often not a major priority. Some air conditioners are located in protected areas near the side of a house or enclosed behind a wall. However, most air conditioners are exposed to the elements with many Arizona units installed on rooftops. What this means is that during a severe monsoon downpour, gusts of wind can blow water directly into your AC unit. This can cause problems with circuitry or your electrical connections. Wind can also blow branches or debris into your unit which may affect your fan or other moving parts. In severe weather conditions, it’s not a bad idea to consider shutting your AC unit down for the duration of the storm.

Monsoon Season Air Conditioner Inspection

Given the extreme conditions of the monsoon season in Arizona, it’s a good idea to schedule an inspection for your HVAC system and to have your air filters replaced. Call the pros at Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating for service. And, remember safety first! Stay on your toes when those monsoon storms roll into town.

What’s That Funny Smell Coming from My Air Conditioner?

Everyone “nose” a dog’s sense of smell is better than a human’s. When it comes to sniffers, human beings just aren’t up to snuff. There’s a common held belief that as homo sapiens evolved over the ages, they put more focus on their abilities to see and think and relied less and less on their sense of smell. However, science has proven the human olfactory sense has been getting a bum rap for hundreds of years. Conventional wisdom generally held that humans could discern approximately 10,000 different odors. However, Leslie Vosshall, a researcher and molecular biologist at Rockefeller University, conducted a study that proved otherwise. Her research established that the human nose can detect at least one trillion odors.

Human being’s olfactory sense is highly attuned and triggers immediate sensory and memory responses. Some fragrances trigger pleasant memories that make you smile while others make you laugh. However, there’s nothing funny about a faint, foul odor coming from your air conditioning vents. If you’ve been experiencing something less than fresh air coming from your AC vents, consider the following possible causes for malodorous scents associated with your air conditioning system.

Dirty Socks Syndrome

If you’ve had the misfortune of leaving your laundry in the washing machine for a few days, you’ll recognize this smell only too well. One whiff of the unpleasant “dirty socks” aroma and you’ll know you’ve got a problem. Mildew loves cool, dark, damp places which your air conditioner’s drainages lines and pans can provide. AC units remove heat and humidity from the air in your home. Sometimes that condensation can pool in the wrong places. Standing water is an open invitation for mildew to grow. Often in Arizona, people notice the dirty socks smell when they first turn on their air conditioners in late spring. It’s important to note, moisture can build up in your HVAC system in any season, for a variety of reasons. The best thing to do is to call in an expert to determine where the moisture is coming from and how it’s affecting your air conditioning system. Moisture can also lead to mold, which can be a serious problem and is not to be taken lightly.

Animals in Your AC System?

Sometimes, rodents and other little furry friends find their way into HVAC system ducts. The pitter patter of little feet echoing down the vents in the dead of night can be a clue. However, if you have the misfortune of one of those little fellows expiring within the ducts, you will most assuredly notice a foul odor. This problem will call for a duct system inspection and cleaning. It’s important to note, poisoning mice in your AC duct system means you may eliminate your rodent problem, but you’ll be causing an odor problem as the animal decomposes. It’s best to let the professionals handle this problem.

Electrical Burning Odor

When a motor overheats or if there’s an issue with wiring, you may notice an electrical burning smell. This smell will get your attention and requires immediate action on your part. Turn off your air conditioning unit at the circuit breaker and call for service immediately. Do not try to convince yourself that your AC unit just needs to cool down. Electrical problems are serious and can cause extensive damage if ignored.

If Your Air Conditioning System Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test

There are a wide variety of odors that may emanate from your air conditioner vents. Most of these odor indicators are best handled by the pros at Bruce’s Air Conditioning. The best way for us to determine the cause of a foul odor is by setting up a service call.

Air Conditioning – How Important Is It?

In the still of 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? 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!


Oxygen. Cool clean air. Just how important is it? Though human beings vary in their stamina and endurance, the rule of threes often applies – most people can go three weeks without food, three days without water but only three minutes without oxygen. From the moment we take our first breath, air is one of the most precious gifts we are given in life. It’s also something many of us take for granted. It might sound a little dramatic for an air conditioning blog post, but it’s useful to reflect on what’s truly important as the residents of Air-izona prepare for another long, hot summer.

Is Your Air Conditioner Ready for Another Record-Breaking Summer Scorcher?

Remember the old TV commercials for the Maytag repairman, “The loneliest guy in town?” There’s a variation on that theme in the air conditioning repair business. It’s true that most air conditioning units are well built and last for years. 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 Arizona, air conditioning repairmen are the most popular guys in Phoenix! They’ve got friends they never knew they had. The point is, no one wants to be without air conditioning when it’s 114 degrees. The problem is, when the heat is on, most repairmen are booked solid. If your system has not been checked recently, or you notice a decrease in cool air or strange noises from your unit, don’t put off calling for service. An ounce of prevention in June will pay dividends in July, August and September.

The Most Precious Oxygen in the Atmosphere – The Air Inside Your Home

The air inside your home should be cool and clean all year long. Our expert technicians will review your entire HVAC system and give you peace of mind for the rest of the summer and beyond.
Call Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating for a service. Don’t take the air you breathe for granted. Give your family the very best.