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How to Win the Thermostat War

This entry was posted in HVAC on by .

Do you have a loved one who regularly complains about the temperature in your home being too hot? Here in the Valley of the Sun where temperatures frequently climb above 100 degrees, it’s a common problem that plagues many households. Yet, even in the mild months of winter and spring, there’s often at least one dweller who likes it cooler than the others. The key to avoiding a thermostat war is establishing some ground rules and ways to compromise.

Gender Differences

There are definite physiological differences between the genders that result in women experiencing temperature differently than men. In general, women have a lower metabolic rate and a greater percentage of body fat, resulting in them being more sensitive to cold.  In other words, if you’re arguing that it’s too hot or too cold, you both may be right. The key is being able to negotiate a comfortable temperature in the middle that is bearable for both of you.

Overcome Perception

Feeling a little overheated can often be more in your head than a reality. If you’re feeling warm, check the thermostat. You may be surprised that it’s well within the normal range. To keep the temperature steady, consider investing in a programmable or smart thermostat that enables you to set the temperature and go. At Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating, we recommend 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees during the winter for the times when you’re both at home and awake.

Manage Stress

With today’s hectic lifestyles, there’s plenty of stress to go around. Family members under the most stress likely will feel hotter. This is because body temperature rises with additional stress due to increased blood flow. If you or a loved one is regularly complaining of heat, it may be time to evaluate stress levels. Often some deep breathing or yoga can help lower the tension enough to bring your temperature back into check.

But, It Could Be an HVAC Problem

While a home that’s too hot could be just the opinion of a family member, it can also be a sign of a failing HVAC system. To ensure a consistent temperature in your home, call Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating today to schedule AC service or to learn more about our affordable maintenance plans. Call us at 480-968-5652.

Are You Ready for a Smarter Thermostat?

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If you’re like many homeowners, you’re still using the same thermostat that was installed when your home was built. While it’s definitely a trusty, durable household device, technology has advanced in the last several years. Even if you have moved beyond the manual control thermostat to the programmable model, you’re not necessarily maximizing your HVAC system’s efficiency. Today’s smart thermostats can dramatically improve your ability to monitor your energy consumption and regulate temperature.

So, what exactly are the benefits of a smart, wi-fi-enabled thermostat? These advanced devices enable you to control your home’s climate from anywhere using a mobile device. And, they monitor your habits and energy consumption in real-time to enable you to keep track of your spending on cooling and heating costs.

Cost-Savings and Convenience

Smart thermostats do cost somewhat more than standard, programmable models. However, there is often a quick return on investment by being able to better manage your energy consumption. Those who are forgetful about adjusting a programmable thermostat will likely find considerable savings, especially during the hot months of summer when energy consumption for air conditioning is high.

Yet, long-term cost-savings isn’t the only benefit. In fact, the biggest perk is probably convenience. Imagine not having to manually adjust your thermostat when you leave for an extended time or go on vacation. Consider the additional insight of knowing exactly how much energy you’re consuming without having to wait for your monthly bill. With a smart thermostat, this information is available at your fingertips from any mobile device. You can adjust your heating and cooling with better insights to ensure you stay on budget every month.

At Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating, we offer the latest Energy Star certified smart thermostats which deliver demonstrated energy savings, as well as superior performance, convenience, insight and control. Make the smart choice when it comes to your next thermostat. Contact the expert team at Bruce’s to find out more about how you can reap the advantage of this innovative technology. Call us today at 480-968-5652.

Understanding the Pros and Cons of a Heat Pump System

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Here in the greater Phoenix area, there are not that many cold days or evenings when you need to crank up the heat in your home. Because of our mild winters, heat pumps are often the preferred choice when it comes to home heating. Still, it’s important to know your options when it comes to heating so you can choose the best option for your specific needs.

What Exactly Is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is actually an air conditioner that has a reversing valve, enabling it to run in reverse to heat your house instead of cooling it. This is much different than a furnace which is a separate piece of equipment in your HVAC system.

Increased Energy Efficiency

One of the primary benefits of a heat pump is energy efficiency. A heat pump uses electricity to transfer heat from one area to another which is inherently more efficient than generating heat itself. It also doesn’t require any fuel source to heat your home. However, energy efficiency doesn’t always mean more cost efficiency. Because heat pumps run on electricity instead of fuel, they can be more expensive to operate. Often, furnaces are chosen for homes when there is access to natural gas while heat pumps are the right choice when there is only electricity available to heat a home.

Heat pumps work optimally when temperatures remain above freezing. Thus, they’re not a good idea for northern and high elevation parts of Arizona where temperatures frequently dip into the low 30s and below. However, here in the valley, a heat pump is sufficiently efficient to keep everyone warm and toasty during even the coldest evening. And, because they combine heating and cooling into one system, you save on space and installation costs.

Before making any decision to switch to a heat pump or to a furnace, it’s important to consult with an HVAC specialist. At Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating, we can help you determine the right option for you and your home. Call us today for a free consultation at 480-968-5652.

Are You A Cool Customer? How to Lower Your Air Conditioning Bill This Summer

Are you a cool customer? When the delightful, shirt sleeves weather of spring gives way to the blistering heatwaves of summer, do you get a little hot under the collar? Does steam come out your ears when you review your utility bill? Air conditioning makes the summer months bearable in the greater Phoenix area. However, paying those electric bills can be a prickly matter, about as much fun as a jumping cholla.

Arizonans love their air conditioning and are happy to share with you their personal tips. How they use it, when they use it, where they set their thermostat, what kind of thermostat they choose to use are all very personal choices. There’s a familiar phrase in the Lone Star State – “Don’t mess with Texas”. In AZ, it’s “Don’t you dare touch my AC.” Here are some ways to raise your AC IQ and a few cost-cutting air conditioning tips to lower your utility bill.

Reduce You Air Conditioning Bill

If you think of yourself as the CEO of your home, then you know you are constantly making decisions to allocate family resources for one thing or another. Unless you have an unlimited budget, every choice you make has a ramification, and this is especially true with your air conditioning. As soon as you lower the temperature setting, you’re going to raise your electric bill. The average Phoenix electric bill is five percent higher than in other regions of the United States, and air conditioning accounts for half the cost. Lowering your bill a few percent could mean extra money for other family priorities, like a family vacation! What steps can you take to allow you to live in comfort and not see red at the end of the month?

Combat the Rays

Keep the drapes and blinds closed and make sure the fireplace damper is shut. You don’t want cool air going up the chimney. Install ceiling fans in every room. Kids often need frequent reminders to keep the doors closed and to not play with the thermostat.

Tips on Thermostats

Setting the thermostat at or above 78 degrees and well above 80 degrees when you aren’t home will help cut costs. Set your fan to AUTO, and do not run the fan motor all day as this will use a lot of power.
Consider installing a new programmable thermostat which will increase your ability to control your environment and allow you to make changes through the app on your phone, whether you are home or not. Products such as Nest provide you with helpful data about your home cooling system, so you are better able to track what’s working for you.

Schedule an AC Home Inspection with a Professional

In spring, while the temperatures are cool, schedule a pre-summer air conditioning inspection to check the outdoor unit and your entire AC system. What happens during an AC maintenance check?

  • Remove debris and leaves (twigs, branches and leaves can be a fire hazard)
  • Make sure there’s no damage from winter storms
  • Check for animals and nests
  • Inspect the wires and electrical hookups (squirrels and mice have been known to chew through wires)
  • Checkout the air ducts and vents
  • Replace the air filters (make a notation of the date replaced)

Working with an HVAC professional will help you to save money in the long run. Air conditioning units work extremely hard in Arizona, and it’s important that they receive professional care and maintenance.

Air Conditioner Readiness – Get Ready for Triple Digit Heat

In The Call of the Canyon, author Zane Grey wrote, “There’s something wonderfully healing in Arizona air.” There’s no doubt, springtime in the Valley of the Sun is a very special time of year. The perfect days of February and March lull you into forgetting about the triple digit days of June, July and August, which lie just ahead. Keeping the air temperature in your home at a comfortable level when the heat soars outside requires checking in advance to make sure your air conditioning system is working properly and ready to take on the blistering summer sun that will soon be here.

Yearly Air Conditioning Check Up

On a yearly cycle, February, March and April are ideal months to schedule an HVAC maintenance checkup. An ounce of prevention can save a lot of headaches down the road. After a huge rainstorm, roofing companies receive hundreds of emergency service calls. Likewise, the first extended heatwave of summer pushes old or faulty HVAC systems to their limits, resulting in a huge spike in service calls. As any Phoenix homeowner will tell you, living without air conditioning in 115-degree heat while their unit is being repaired is no fun at all. The desert climate is so unforgiving, that putting off regular maintenance means it’s only a matter of time until something goes wrong. Don’t wait until disaster strikes. It’s best to get out in front of this yearly challenge.

Indoor Air Quality

It’s not only cooling your home that matters, but also the quality of the air circulating through your vents that can make a noticeable difference. A yearly maintenance check includes changing the air filters and examining the air ducts. Dust and dirt from the desert winds are the enemy of clean air inside your home. Pollen and allergens are rampant in spring. If it has been awhile since your last checkup, an air duct inspection will enhance the indoor air quality in your home.
Call Bruce’s Air Conditioning and Heating today to learn more about a yearly checkup for your air conditioner maintenance at 480-968-5652.