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How Long Will Your Air Conditioner Last?

Among the most common questions we get from customers is, “How long does an air conditioner usually last?” It’s a valid question, but the reality is there are many variables that can have an impact on the lifespan of your system.

In short, the answer is there is no single answer. While most air conditioner manufacturers will tell you that the average lifespan for a new system is between 10 and 15 years, it’s different in the Valley of the Sun. It’s important to consider that most of us run our systems a lot during the summer months which can take years off the expected lifespan. In other words, air conditioning systems can fail sooner in Arizona than in the rest of the country. But the good news is that you can proactively take steps to extend the lifespan of your air conditioning system.

Start with the Right Sized Unit

An oversized or an undersized unit can dramatically reduce the lifespan of an air conditioner. This is why it’s important to always choose a professional to manage the installation of a new unit – ensuring that measurements are accurately taken to determine the right sized system.

Change Air Filters Regularly

It’s such a simple task, but one that is often overlooked by homeowners. With an air conditioner working at full capacity through the summer months, we suggest changing out filters every month.

Regularly Scheduled Maintenance

At Bruce’s, we can arrange your air conditioning maintenance and keep you on schedule. This means an annual maintenance check and tune-up. If you have a heat pump, maintenance should be twice a year, just as you would schedule maintenance on a separate furnace.

Don’t Wait on Repairs

If you’re experiencing a problem with your air conditioning unit, don’t wait for the issue to worsen. This can make the difference between a minor fix and a major repair or even a replacement.
Rely on the team at Bruce’s Air Conditioning to help extend the life of your air conditioner and maximize the return on your home comfort investment. Call us today.

In the Zone – Is Zone Air Conditioning Right for Your House?

Take a moment to imagine July, August and September in Arizona without air conditioning. That’s a scary thought, right? Air conditioning is so universal and essential, we often take it for granted – until it breaks down. The engineering principles of modern air conditioning, invented by Willis Carrier in the early 1900s, haven’t changed significantly in the last century. Yes, there have been improvements and technological advancements. However, the basics of home cooling have largely remained the same. Most Phoenix homeowners love their air conditioner and as long as it’s working properly, rarely give it a thought.

Air Conditioning – It’s on Full Blast or Completely Off

You come home from work late one night to a dark house. You walk in the front door and flip on the light switch. Suddenly, every light in your house turns on and stays on. Because that’s the way your lights have always worked, you don’t really notice. You simply go about your business unfazed. Later, when you go to bed, you turn off the lamp on the nightstand and every light turns off. That type of arrangement would account for a lot of wasted energy.

Essentially, most home air conditioning systems work this way. You set the thermostat, your AC unit turns on full blast, blowing cold air to every room in your home until the desired temperature is achieved. Then your unit shuts off. The temperature of the entire house is controlled by a single thermostat – usually located in a central area in the main part of the house. Homeowners often complain the temperature is nice and cool in the main living areas, however the master suite or further reaches of the house are too warm.

What Are the Principles Behind Zone Air Conditioning?

Zone air conditioning, as indicated in the name, divides your house into multiple zones and allows you to control temperature settings separately from one part of the house to the next. This is an advantage for many homes where the layout is divided into different wings, or for example, a house where the upstairs rooms are not being used. Many homes experience dramatic increases in temperatures in the rooms facing south and west. If your office is located on the southwest corner of your house and you work at home, you’ve certainly noticed the extra AC required to keep your workplace comfortable. Zone air conditioning allows you to increase delivering cold air where you need it most and to not cool the areas of your home which are not being used, which will help you save money on energy.

  • How Does Zone Air Conditioning Work?

    Electronically controlled dampers placed strategically throughout your system of ducts form the basis of zone air conditioning. Dampers are like large valves that you can turn on or off and control the flow of cooled air throughout your home. The zone dampers also control the heat in wintertime. Multiple thermostats placed throughout the various zones in your home are controlled by a central controlling thermostat.

  • How Many Zones Are in a House?

    There is not set answer to this question. Depending on the design and layout of your home and your current AC system including the ductwork, zones can vary from house to house. Typically, one of our service technicians will come out to inspect your entire HVAC system, come up with a plan and then discuss options and recommendations with you.

  • What the Advantages to Zone AC?

    One of the main advantages of zone AC is it allows you to control the temperature settings more accurately throughout your home. There’s no point in cooling an entire wing of your house if there’s no one using it. Conversely, if you have a family member who wants or needs the temperature to be cooler than the rest of the house, zone AC will make that adjustment. Another compelling reason for installing a zone system is energy savings. Stop wasting energy to cool the areas of your home you’re not using.

Our Service Professionals Can Help You Decide If Zone AC Is Right for Your Home

If you’re considering splitting your home into zones, let one of our friendly service professionals do an assessment of your current HVAC system and present you with options for you to consider. Many Phoenix area residents are enjoying the advantages of zone air conditioning. We can help you decide if it’s right for you. Call us today.

Air Conditioning Tips: Work a Little Less This Labor Day and Still Stay Cool

With Labor Day weekend upon us, Arizona homeowners begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This means summer is coming to an end, along with the triple digit temperatures. Yet, we all know that we’re likely to experience several more weeks with still having to crank the air conditioning to keep cool and comfortable.

We get it. With high temperatures come high utility bills. And we all want relief from those. While the temperatures are still hot, there are some strategies you can take to lower costs by reducing the load on your air conditioner.

Become a Fan of Fans

You probably have at least a couple of ceiling fans. Nearly every Arizona home does. Make it a habit of turning them on when you’re in a room. While they don’t actually lower the temperature, they can circulate air and help to cool you down.

Throw Some Shade

No, don’t start launching insults on your HVAC system or your HVAC technician. We mean keep it cool by closing blinds, curtains, shades and other window coverings during the peak sunny hours of the day.

Buy Filters in Bulk

Yes, it’s easy to forget to change those air filters, but they really can make a difference when it comes to the efficiency of your air conditioner. If you haven’t recently, replace that clogged filter. You’ll not only save on air conditioning costs, you’ll be breathing in cleaner air, too.

Fire Up the Grill

Summer is the season for barbecues and salads. By not using the stove and oven, you’ll help keep your home cooler. Even better – minimize the use of other heat-producing appliances, like dryers and dishwashers.

Get Techy

Is your thermostat past its prime? It could be costing you serious bucks. A smart thermostat enables you to gain better control of your home’s temperature – reducing wasted energy and lowering your monthly utility costs. And you will probably be surprised by the inexpensive price of these cost-cutting devices.

Want to learn more ways to save on air conditioning? Call Bruce’s Air Conditioning today.

5 Reasons Why Your Air Conditioner Keeps Tripping the Circuit Breaker

Has your air conditioner tripped your circuit breaker more than once? It’s a common problem that can be a real hassle – especially during the summer months. The good news is that often simple fixes can solve the problem. Here are the five most common causes for AC-related circuit breaker tripping.

Clogged Air Filter

When your air filter is blocked with dust, dirt and debris, it makes your air conditioner work harder to circulate air. This causes the blower to draw more electricity and potentially trip the breaker. The quick fix is to replace the air filter. In fact, you should be replacing the filter at least once a month.

Dirty Air Conditioner Unit

Monsoon storms can blow a lot of debris into your unit, making it difficult for it to disperse heat and cool indoor air. If you haven’t done so recently, call the pros at Bruce’s Air Conditioning to have your unit professionally cleaned by a technician who has the right equipment to clean it effectively.

Shorted Motor

The motor in an air conditioner can run for many years, but eventually it can result in the wire insulation to break down – causing a “short.” When this happens, more electricity can be passed through than the wires can handle, causing overheating and sometimes a fire. If you suspect a shorted motor, don’t hesitate in calling for service.

Aging Compressor

As a compressor starts to age out, it can have difficulty in starting, pulling more power than normal. This can trip the breaker. Often, a capacitor can be installed to give the compressor motor extra electricity to get it moving.

Undersized Breaker

Defective or undersized breakers for the size of the HVAC system can result in a circuit breaker tripping. An experienced technician can quickly diagnosis this problem and replace the breaker if necessary.

Tired of circuit breaker-related, air conditioning problems? Don’t keep fighting the battle of the breaker and call Bruce’s today. We’ll be able to troubleshoot the problem and fix it to ensure you have a steady stream of cooling throughout the summer and beyond.

Extreme Heat – 31 Days of 100+ Degrees – Surviving the Dog Days of Summer in Arizona

So far, Phoenix temperatures have been well above 100 degrees for all of August. “The dog days of summer,” calls to mind panting canines with their tongues hanging out in search of a shady spot to rest. In fact, the phrase goes back to ancient Greek and Roman astrologists who relied on the stars to set their calendars. In late July/early August, Sirius (the Dog Star, so named for its canine resemblance on astrological charts) appeared on the horizon just before the sun at dawn. Greek and Roman mythology associated the “dog days” with feverish heat, crippling drought, unpredictable thunderstorms, mad dogs and ill fortune. Of course, ancient Romans and Greeks never had air conditioning to help them beat the heat.

Extreme Heat Weather Warning Reminders

At this point in the summer, with weeks on end of scorching triple digit temperatures, we’d like to take a moment to remind Phoenix area residents of the danger extreme heat poses. Yes, you’re in an air-conditioned environment throughout most of the day and night. However, when the temperatures are this high and you find yourself outside, situations can go from serious to life-threatening very quickly. Treat the heat with the respect it deserves and, especially with children or the elderly, never let your guard down.

A few reminders; always keep extra water in your vehicle in case of emergencies. Drink water even when you’re not thirsty. Walk your dog early in the morning, limit your time (and your kids time) in the sun even if they’re splashing in a pool. Avoid outdoor activity in the afternoon. Wear light clothing. Monitor infants and your elderly relatives, especially if they suffer from asthma or respiratory distress. Please Note: Never leave children or pets in cars – not even for a minute. The consequences of children being left in parked cars are too heartbreaking to imagine.

Air Conditioning Tips During Extreme Heat

At this point in the summer, your air conditioner has been working hard for months. If you did not have a spring inspection this year, you might want to consider scheduling an AC check-up now. Thirty-one days in a row of 100+ degree heat is bound to take a toll on your air conditioner. You may make it through the summer without any trouble. However, we can tell you how upsetting it is for the homeowners who do experience AC breakdowns in August. Houses heat up in a hurry when it’s 110 degrees. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Set the Thermostat a Few Degrees Higher

    Scientific studies have shown that our bodies adjust to temperatures over time. In other words, you may be able to set your thermostat a little higher and not really notice the change. This will lessen the load on your AC unit and save you money on your utility bill.

  • Install a Wi-fi Enabled Smart Thermostat

    Smart thermostats allow you to control more aspects of the temperature in your home. They also make your life easier by allowing you to make adjustments to your AC settings from your smart phone. If you have an old analog thermostat, you will notice a significant difference in your electric bill once you install a smart thermostat.

  • Crank Up the Ceiling and Portable Fans

    During the dog days of summer, your ceiling and portable fans can be your best friends. Take the time to make sure all your fans are working properly and consider purchasing a few extra portable fans to create cross flow in warmer rooms.

The Best Way to Beat the Heat – Make Sure Your AC Unit Is in Tip Top Shape

We like to remind our customers; August is the worst time of the year to experience an air conditioning breakdown. If you’re air conditioner is faltering, making weird noises or not delivering the proper amount of cool air to your home, please give us a call. Our service technicians will make sure your air conditioner is in top shape.