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Caring for Your Evaporative Cooler Throughout Monsoon Season

With high heat and low humidity, Arizona offers a prime environment for evaporative cooling for most of the year. Yet, things dramatically shift towards the middle of the summer.  The monsoon season hits, and with it comes high winds, clouds and plenty of moisture. From mid-July to mid-August, it’s primetime for powerful monsoon storms, along with high humidity that hinders the function of evaporative cooling systems. Yet, it’s important to know that you can still use what is commonly referred to as a “swamp cooler” during Arizona’s monsoon season. It just requires a few tips.

Protect Against Dust and Dirt Buildup

The single largest challenge when it comes to evaporative cooling is the dust from haboobs (dust storms). They can leave a buildup of dust, clog filters and cooling pads, and prevent the unit from operating. If you are experiencing a decrease in air flow following a monsoon storm, the most likely problem is dust. With a stiff bristled brush, or whisk broom, you can loosen dirt and dust that has collected in the unit. Use a wet/dry shop vacuum to remove debris.

Prevent Mold Growth

Evaporative cooling units are notorious for producing an unpleasant, dirty, sponge-like odor. It doesn’t have to be this way. Coolers can quickly become infested with mold and bacteria, causing respiratory and allergic reactions. If you are smelling this odor, the first step is to drain the unit and remove the water tanks and cooling pads. Soak the pads in a mixture of water and lemon juice to break down mold buildup. The water tank should be cleaned with warm water and a soft cloth. A 50/50 solution of vinegar and water can be run through the cooler to minimize the smell. Don’t forget to replace the cooling pad, dust the filter and run the unit once the unit has been drained and refilled.

Overcoming Persistent Smells

If you are experiencing lingering odors, despite taking proactive steps to clean your evaporative cooler, it may be time to add a few drops of an essential oil to your unit’s water tank, such as that of lavender, peppermint or lemon. As the water soaks into the cooling pads, the smell will be emitted throughout your home.

Whether you have a single evaporative cooler or a multi-unit HVAC system, it’s important to consider your options and protect your cooling needs here in the desert. Are you prepared for the next haboob? If not, give us a call, and we can help you protect yourself from summer dust storms and winter’s chilly temperatures that will be here just around the corner.



5 Tips to Maintain Air Quality during the Summer Months

Summer poses unique air quality issues for Arizona homeowners. With extreme heat, most individuals keep their windows and doors shut and the air conditioner on. While this is necessary for comfort, it can also result in unfiltered air trapped in the house. For those with respiratory issues, such as COPD, allergies and asthma, this can be very problematic.

Harmful contaminants, bacteria and particulates are only part of the issue. Desert monsoon dust storms can also bring inside infection-generating spores and plenty of dust which can collect in vents, ductwork and throughout the home.

Yet, there are solutions to maintaining your home’s air quality all year long. The following guidelines can help you breathe easier throughout the season.

    1. Replace Air Filters
      During the summer months, dust storms, also called haboobs, can quickly push dirt and debris into your HVAC system. This ultimately collects in your air filters and ductwork. By getting in the habit of regularly replacing or cleaning air filters, you can minimize much of the contaminants from entering your inside air. Ideally, filters should be replaced or cleaned every few weeks during the summer months.
    2. Stay on Top of Dust
      No one enjoys pulling out a vacuum, broom or feather duster, but it’s necessary for keeping dust levels down. A little housework can go a long way toward managing air quality.
    3. Open Doors and Windows in the Early Morning
      While it’s often over 110 degrees during the late afternoon hours, the temperature can be quite comfortable in the early morning. Take the opportunity to open windows and doors even for a few minutes to encourage air circulation.
    4. Add Some Indoor Plants
      Not only do plants add color to a room, they can also clean indoor air of carbon dioxide and even reduce formaldehyde, benzene, and other toxins. When ventilation is limited due to the heat, a few additional plants can definitely improve overall air quality.
    5. Consider a Whole-House Air Purifier
      A qualified air conditioning technician can provide you with an evaluation of your home’s air to let you know what particulates are circulating inside. In some cases, a whole-house air purifier may be a smart decision to rid your home’s air of dust mites, mildew, fungus, bacteria and more.

With these tips, you can breathe a little easier during the hot months of summer. And, call 480-968-5652 to speak with one of our air quality gurus.

Understanding SEER Ratings

Is it time for a new HVAC system? There are many considerations, including brands, capacity and price. As well, one of the key items to compare is the SEER rating.

What Are SEER Ratings?

While we certainly deal with plenty of searing heat during hot Arizona summers, SEER actually stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. SEER ratings are important when comparing HVAC units because they help you determine energy efficiency which translates into how much you’ll be spending on your utility bill each month.

The SEER rating was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy to give consumers an understandable comparison between manufacturers’ HVAC systems.

SEER ratings are not unlike the fuel efficiency of a vehicle. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the heating or cooling of a unit will be. In other words, an air conditioner with a SEER rating of 18 is more efficient than one that has a rating of 16.

The average 10 to 15-year-old air conditioner has a typical SEER rating of less than 10. Today’s models can have SEER ratings of 13 (the federal minimum) or greater. Higher rated units cost more, yet will have greater savings on monthly utility bills. There also are often tax credits and rebates to lower up-front costs.

The Benefits of Consulting an Air Conditioner Specialist

Of course, there’s more to choosing an HVAC system than looking at the SEER rating. It’s a smart idea to work with a professional HVAC system installer who has deep experience and knowledge in choosing the best system, based on the specific needs of a home and its occupants.

At Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating, we’re here to help you choose the right AC unit for your home that will keep you cool and comfortable for many years while also saving you money on your utility bill. We provide free estimates on the purchase and installation of new air conditioning units throughout the greater Phoenix metro area.

Call today at 480-968-5652 and get a free quote. We carry HVAC products from leading manufacturers, including Trane, Ruud, and Frigidaire.

Air Conditioning Tips During Monsoon Season

Monsoon rain, wind, thunder and lightning will be here by the middle of the month. Although Valley residents enjoy the cooler temperatures that can come with summer storms, the associated water, wind and dust can wreak havoc on air conditioning units. Not sure how to care for your air conditioner during monsoon season? The following are a few proactive steps that can go a long way toward ensuring your system is ready when the storms hit.

Prepare Your Yard – Gale force winds are not uncommon during monsoon storms. Tree branches can easily break and hit your air conditioning unit, as well as your home. Before the season begins, remove any dead branches and thin out leaves to avoid breakage during high winds.

Stock Up on Air Filters – Dust can blanket the entire Phoenix metro area during a monsoon storm. This ultimately collects in your air conditioner’s filters. Change out filters at least once a month or more often if there is a series of dust storms.

Check Condensation and Moisture – Dust can also clog your air conditioning unit’s drain lines. If water is collecting in your drain pan, it’s likely you have a clogged line. You can either unclog a line using a wet/dry vacuum or call a professional air conditioning technician for assistance.

Schedule a Service Call – If your air conditioner hasn’t been serviced in a while, schedule an appointment today. Not only can any problems be identified and repaired proactively, your unit can be evaluated for efficiency.

The old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly rings true when it comes to maintaining your air conditioner during the wild and wooly Arizona monsoon season. By taking a few preliminary steps to ensure your air conditioner is protected and working properly, you can have a summer free from air conditioner problems.

Call Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating today at 480-968-5652 for valley-wide service during monsoon season and throughout the rest of the year, too!

Commercial Air Conditioning Service Tips for Your Business

During hot Arizona summers, businesses need to pay attention to their air conditioning units to prevent a costly system failure. Even a slight dip in temperature can impact employee efficiency and the related bottom line. In other words, commercial air conditioning units need to run flawlessly. Maintenance is key to making this happen. The following are some tips to prevent a costly air conditioning-related problem.

Don’t Overload the Unit

While it can be incredibly hot during the summer months, it’s never wise to turn the thermostat to the lowest setting. Not only will it not cool down a building or office quicker, it can put a tremendous strain on the system. Instead, set the thermostat to a consistently comfortable setting to avoid system wear and tear and a higher utility bill.

Keep the Condensing Unit Clear

A common workplace issue is blocking the air conditioner with chairs or other outdoor furniture. This hinders the unit’s ability to draw air in and can increase strain.

Replace Filters and Clean Vents

Workplace HVAC system filters and vents can quickly collect dirt, pollen, bacteria and mold. This is why they should be a regular maintenance focus. Filters should be replaced at least once a month during the summer months. Call us for more specific manufacturer guidelines. Vents should be cleaned on a regular basis to keep air circulating and to stop the spread of bacteria and viruses which can run rampant through a commercial property.

Check Freon Levels

Commercial air conditioning units shouldn’t be leaking Freon. However, a decrease in performance is an indicator that Freon levels are slowing diminishing. This is a common problem for older units.

Obtain Regularly Scheduled Maintenance

Unlike homeowners that typically only use air conditioners during the summer months, businesses often run them year-round. Because of this, maintenance tune-ups should be scheduled more often – at least twice a year.  These checks are ideal for identifying and addressing minor problems before they turn into business-halting issues that reduce your employees’ efficiency. At Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating, we can help ensure your commercial air conditioning unit runs seamlessly so you don’t have to fear an unplanned breakdown. Call us today at 480-968-5652 to learn more about commercial air conditioning maintenance for businesses in the greater Phoenix area.