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Stay Cozy All Year With Preventative Fall And Winter HVAC Check-Ups

Stay Cozy All Year With Preventative Fall And Winter HVAC Check-UpsWith the mild winters in Arizona, you may not think about having your heating and air conditioning system professionally inspected and maintained until spring, when it’s already warming up. To guarantee your family’s comfort throughout the most severe seasons, the best times to have a professional inspection and maintenance are fall and winter.

Don’t Wait For An HVAC Disaster

According to a 2015 Emerson survey, the most common reason homeowners replace their HVAC system is a major breakdown. Most people wait until a system is completely non-functional and beyond repair to get a new one. However, the most common time for an heating and air conditioning system to break down in Arizona is in the heat of summer.

Arizona residents don’t want to be stranded without air conditioning in such high temperatures. With proper professional maintenance in the fall or winter, a professional technician can tell you if your system will need to be replaced soon. With this information, you can schedule a convenient time to have your technician replace your system. You wouldn’t want to go without the comfort of your HVAC system during the summer. At such a busy time, it can take days for a technician to make it out to your home.

If your system does need replacing in the fall or winter, you will have time to research and speak with your technician about your specific needs. What size, efficiency rating, and features does your home require?

What Maintenance Does My HVAC System Need?

According to ENERGY STAR®, a typical professional system maintenance should include the following:

  • Checking the thermostat settings – Make sure your thermostat is programmed to give you the perfect temperature when you are home and save money when you are away.
  • Tightening the electrical connections – A professional should also measure the voltage and current on all the motors in your system to keep your system working safely.
  • Lubricating the moving parts – Un-lubricated moving parts cause friction in your motors, which increases wear and tear, and reduces the efficiency and lifespan of your system.
  • Checking the controls on the system – Does your system start, operate, and then shut-off correctly?
  • Checking gas or oil connections, your gas pressure, and burner – A gas or oil leak can be dangerous. A dirty heat exchange or heater causes your system to operate inefficiently.
  • Inspecting, cleaning, and changing your air filters – This one doesn’t require a professional, you should do this yourself often. Check your owner’s manual for additional information.

Having your HVAC system professionally inspected in the fall or winter offers you the time and ability to choose the right system for your needs. If your system fails in the summer, as most do, you will likely be tempted to find the first available technician with a replacement – and that’s not always the best option. Targeted inspections during fall or winter mean greater peace of mind and a more comfortable home. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

HVAC Parts And Terminology That Every Homeowner Should Know

This entry was posted in HVAC and tagged , on by .

HVAC Parts And Terminology That Every Homeowner Should KnowThe heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one of the most important parts of any home. It keeps a house warm in the winter and cool in the summer, making the environment comfortable year round.

Because this system is so important, homeowners should know some of the basic parts involved in its operation as well as the common terminology used to discuss HVAC systems. Knowing these things will allow homeowners to more easily recognize and diagnose problems, enable them to fix some simple issues themselves, and allow them to more effectively communicate with HVAC professionals when needed.

Common HVAC Parts

Every HVAC system is set up slightly differently to allow for various building sizes and layouts. However, they all serve the same function and thus have several common parts. There are eight parts to all HVAC setups that homeowners should know about:

  1. The furnace is one of the largest single parts of the system. It’s usually installed in its own particular space within a building, often in the basement, the attic, or a closet. Despite common belief, the furnace isn’t the part that creates heat; it’s only responsible for pushing air – hot or cold – through the ducts and into the rest of the home.
  1. Heat exchanger. This is the part that actually warms a house. The heat exchanger is housed inside of the larger furnace unit. When it’s turned on, air is sucked into the heat exchanger from outside of the house or through specific vents inside (these vents are known as cold air return chases). Once the air is in the heat exchanger, it’s rapidly heated and then blown out through the ductwork and into the house.
  1. Evaporator coil. This part is normally housed ON the top or side of the furnace in its own metal housing. The evaporator coil serves the opposite function from the heat exchanger, providing cold air to cool the house when turned on.
  1. Condensing unit. Evaporator coils are connected to the condensing unit. This is the part most people think of when they picture air conditioners. Condensing units sit outside of the home, where they cool a special refrigerant gas that’s passed into the evaporator coils, used to cool the air, and sent back to the condensing unit.
  1. Refrigerant lines. These are the metal pipes, through which the refrigerant flows, connecting the evaporator coil and condensing unit.
  1. Homeowners should already know about the thermostats in their properties. This is the part of the HVAC system that people interact with the most. It controls the rest of the system.
  1. Ducts run throughout a building, connecting the vents to the furnace and allowing for hot or cold air to be distributed.
  1. Air vents are usually placed near the ceiling, are rectangular, and should be in every room. They simply allow air to exit the ducts into a home. Most ducts contain slats to direct the air flowing out; some slats have manual controls to allow homeowners to close a vent or change the direction of the air flow.

Common HVAC Terms

When talking with an HVAC professional, it can be helpful to understand some of the common terms used in the industry. Here are a few of the most frequently used:

  • This is a rating system for the energy efficiency of gas furnaces. Ratings are out of 100. Higher is better.
  • Air Handler – This separate part of some systems allows for better airflow through a building.
  • In the HVAC industry, British Thermal Units are a measure of heat used.
  • CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) – This is a measure of airflow.
  • Cycling – This is when the system turns on or off.
  • HEPA filter – These air filters are designed to improve air quality in homes.
  • The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor  – Rates the efficiency of a heat pump. Higher is better.
  • The Season Energy Efficiency Ratio – Rates the energy efficiency of air conditioners. Higher is better.

When homeowners know the parts of their HVAC systems and the terms used when referring to different things in the industry, they can understand and explain any problems with the system more fully. If you need professional help with your HVAC system, contact Bruce’s AC today.

4 Reasons Why Water Could Be Leaking From Your AC

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning and tagged , on by .

4 Reasons AC Leaks WaterDuring the summer months one of the most frequent calls we get is:

“There’s water leaking from my AC.”

This common issue has a variety of causes. Most of them can be resolved without too much fuss, but more importantly, they can be prevented with regularly-scheduled maintenance.

The following are four reasons that your AC could be leaking.

4 Reasons Your AC Could Be Leaking Water

Your AC will naturally pull water vapor from the air as it condenses on the evaporator coil, which is the part of your AC unit that makes the air cold. From there the water will drip off and fall onto the aptly-named drip pan and then through a PVC drain pipe to the outside somewhere. Naturally, during the start of the summer as temperatures and humidity rise, you will start to use your AC more, which will pull more water from the humid air and exacerbate any existing issues with leakage.

1. Clogged Drain Lines And Drip Pans

The first and most common reason why your AC unit will leak water is a clogged drain line. Dust, dirt, mold, insects, insulation, or anything else that can make its way into the line can lead to it being clogged. The pan can only hold so much water and then it will overflow. When you have regularly scheduled preventative maintenance performed, the technicians will generally blow the drain line out to prevent that. They will also add special acid tablets to the drain pan that will help stop any clogs from forming in the line. The pan itself must also be installed on a slope towards the drain plug so that the water will flow that way. If it’s not, then water can easily overflow. It is possible that the pan could have rusted through as well, which clearly would cause leaks.

2. Installation Issues

The line itself can also be the cause of the issue if the PVC wasn’t cemented together when it was installed. Another improper ac installation cause is not having a p-trap or air vent installed on the drain line, which will allow the water to drain in the negative pressure created when the unit is running. If those weren’t installed the water will be pulled back into the pan until it overflows. (Caveat being that not all systems need to have a p-trap or air vent installed on the line.)

3. Ice Formation

Another reason why your AC unit will leak is from the formation and melting of ice on the components, which can happen for several reasons. The first is a low charge pressure. When the pressure is low the temperature inside the evaporator coil can actually drop in temperature and cause the humidity pulled from the air to freeze on the coil and then drip off later onto the walls or ceiling.

4. Low Air Flow

The fourth reason is the low air flow. Not having enough air flowing over the evaporator coil can cause ice to form, like the above reason. This can be problematic for an AC unit because forming ice insulates the coil from the air blowing over it, causing it to stay cold, and causes more ice to form – creating a cycle. Things like dirty filters are the most common cause of this (so change your filters regularly), less common issues are fan related.

Have A Leak Or Need Preventative Maintenance? Call The Air Conditioning Experts Today!

The good news about a residential and commercial air conditioning leaking water is that most of the time it can be fixed without too much fuss. However, you can avoid an emergency call simply by having regularly scheduled maintenance performed. Now that monsoon season is here and the humidity has increased, air conditioning leakage is more common. So before the next big storm hits the valley, and you need AC repair, give us a call now or click on the button below to learn more about our maintenance services, which could prevent this issue from happening. One of our expert air conditioning technicians will effectively and quickly service your unit.

Learn More About Our Maintenance Services

Phoenix Area Top 4th Of July Celebrations & Events!

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4th of July - BruceACAll of us at Bruce’s Heating & Air Conditioning are going to be proudly celebrating our country’s birthday soon and want to wish you a happy 4th of July, as well! We’ve compiled a list of a few events around town to help you plan your 4th of July weekend coming up.

We’ve chosen a few events from each part of the valley, family-friendly events as well as some events with 21+ refreshments or gambling available, so that all of you can find an event to celebrate in style.

From all of us at Bruce’s Heating & Air Conditioning, happy 4th of July, Phoenix!

4th Of July Weekend, 1st-3rd, Events

Since the 4th falls on a Monday this year, a lot of cities in the Valley are having fireworks displays and events beginning on Friday the 1st, through the weekend.

Red, White & Rawhide, July 2nd, Chandler

Rawhide Western Town is known for its family-friendly good times all throughout the year. This 4th of July weekend is sure to kick that up even further when they celebrate America’s birthday! Featuring live music courtesy of Frankie J (formerly of the Kumbia Kings), Latin & Tejano, Stefani Montiel, and Zavala. Festivities and attractions include fantastic food and food trucks, merchandise vendors, activities for the kids, a beer fest for the grownup kids, a self-billed party “So big it could only be done at Rawhide!”, and of course – fireworks!

Doors open at 4 pm. Tickets are $15 (plus tax & service fees) in advance, or $20 at the door, and kids 5 and under get free admission.

Rawhide Western Town Event

Light Up The Sky, July 1st, Phoenix

Featuring an inflatable fun-zone for the kids, mascots from local sports teams, games and activities for all ages on the baseball diamonds, food and drink vendors, and an impressive fireworks display, this event is one the whole family can enjoy. Fireworks begin at 9:10 and the event starts at 6:30 and continues until 9:30, at the Maryvale Baseball Park. 602-262-6575

Light Up The Sky Event

Red, White, And BOOM!, July 1st, Ahwatukee Foothills

This event features a little something for everyone in the family. Everything from live entertainment, to food, drinks, patriotic games, and a fireworks display that the event takes its name from, it’s sure to be a hit. Admission is $5 per person, but kids under 5 are free. Admission gets you access to the festivities, an expanded kids-zone, premium entertainment and of course, the fireworks show. The celebrations are being held at Pecos Park, beginning at 5 pm, and running through 10 pm. The fireworks begin at 9pm, 480-753-7676

Red, White, And BOOM! Event

Lunar Bingo, July 2nd, Fort McDowell Casino

If you’re looking for more adult-oriented celebrations, Fort McDowell casino is hosting Lunar Bingo on Saturday the 2nd. Complete with great music, dance-offs, cash prizes, and of course, your favorite games of chance. The fun starts at midnight. 1-800-THE-Fort.

Lunar Bingo Event

4th Of July Proper Events

Fabulous Phoenix Fourth, Phoenix

Come out and enjoy local entertainers along with festival-style beverages and food, arts and crafts, classic cars, and interactive exhibits. Plenty of youth activities as well – rides and inflatables, and a water spray zone to keep cool and have a blast in! Event is being held at Steele Indian School Park. Festivities begin at 6 PM and run through 10 PM, with the fireworks show beginning at 9:30. For more information call 602-534-3378.

Fabulous Phoenix Fourth Event

Tempe Town Lake Festival, Tempe

Featuring a little something for everyone, this celebration being held alongside Tempe Town Lake is sure to be one of the Valley’s best this year. Live music will be provided by local bands. Plenty of vendor and merchandise booths offering a variety of food, drink, and merchandise. And for the little ones there’s an inflatable village that is totally free. The fireworks show is one of the best in the Valley and is put on by the Kiwanis Club so bring your blankets and chairs! Celebrations are going to be held at Tempe Beach Park with gates opening at 5 PM. Admission at the gate is $8, but kids 12 and under are free, For more information call 480-350-5189.

Tempe Town Lake Festival

Star Spangled 4th, Goodyear

Those of you over on the west side of town don’t fret, we haven’t forgotten you. The Star Spangled 4th is fun for all ages. The All-American-Cookout has some of the best food around town and a variety of food and drink vendors to add to the fare. A number of activities for the kids and live music by the Groove Merchants round out this west-side celebration until the fireworks start. Gates at the Goodyear Ballpark open at 6 PM and the fun goes on until 10 PM. Admission and parking are free. For more info call 623-882-3120.

Star Spangled 4th Event

By no means is this a complete list of what’s going on this 4th, and 4th of July weekend, but we’ve selected a few to try and cover all major parts of the valley and offer up some family-friendly events and those with adult beverages..

All of us at Bruce’s Heating & Air Conditioning want to wish you a happy 4th of July and remind you to celebrate responsibly, and not drink and drive, and stay hydrated!

Happy 4th of July, Phoenix!

How Does A Gas Water Heater Work? Can I Easily Maintain It?

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Man Working On Water Heater-Maintain Gas Water HeaterGas water heaters are a triumph of simplicity in engineering. Without significant energy consumption they can supply showers, faucets and washing machines with all the heated water they need for extended periods of time.

Unlike many household appliances, gas water heaters are relatively easy to “decode” once you know a little bit about them. In other words, after our rundown of your water heater’s anatomy and what to maintain, you should be able to understand how your water heater works, how each part contributes to its functioning and how you can properly maintain unit to make it last for years.

How Gas Water Heaters Work

Here’s a brief description of how your gas water heater works:

When a hot water faucet is turned on in your home, water is transported from the water heater tank to the faucet through the heater’s hot water outlet. To replace what is lost, fresh water is then added to the tank through the cold water inlet, which feeds into the bottom of the tank through a long tube (the dip tube).

Whenever cold water is added to the tank the gas burner underneath the tank is triggered into action, and it will reheat the water until the proper temperature setting has been reached.

There is a control connected to the gas burner that can turn it on and off as needed, so that the preferred water temperature can be maintained at all times.

Simple Gas Water Heater Maintenance

Easy Gas Heater MaintenanceThere are two important home maintenance procedures you can perform to help keep your gas water heater in great working order.

Monitor The Sacrificial Anode

First, you can monitor the condition of the sacrificial anode. This is a long rod made of magnesium or aluminum that protects the metal interior of the water tank by rusting away in its place. When two metals are in contact under water the one that is more reactive will corrode down to nothing before the second metal is affected. As long as sacrificial anodes are replaced before all the magnesium or aluminum is corroded, it will prevent the interior of the tank from rusting.

Sacrificial anode maintenance is simple and straightforward. You can remove the anode from the top of the tank, and put it back again, by unscrewing it with a wrench, and if you see it has been rusted away to the point that six inches of its wire core is showing you should buy a replacement right away. You can look online for guidance or ask your plumber for more detailed instructions on how to check and replace your sacrificial anode—but it should be an easy task to perform.

Drain Your Water Heater

Next, you can protect your water heater from the damaging effects of sedimentation by draining it completely with a hose attached to the drain valve, which is located at the bottom of the tank. There are plenty of ‘how to’ guides available on the Internet that can show you the specifics. Draining a water heater can be done without the assistance of a plumber (make sure the power and the water supply are both shut off). How often you will need to drain your water heater depends on how hard your water is (harder water causes faster sedimentation), but in general it is a good idea to do it annually at a minimum.

Keep in mind that a licensed plumber is always the recommended and safe way to properly drain your unit.

By simply maintaining these two components of your gas water heater, you can extend both the efficiency as well as the life of your unit.

Now discover how to increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system below.

Save Money On Your HVAC System This Summer

As the temperature continues to increase in Arizona, we are all looking for easy ways to increase our AC’s efficiency and save money on our utility bill. Check out 3 tips to save money on your HVAC system.