Author Archives: Bruce's Air Conditioning

HVAC Tips to Keep Your House Cool

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With monsoon season now here, dewpoints are thankfully beginning to rise. This means a break from the relentless dry heat and hopefully some precipitation in the very near future. What are some ways to help keep your home cool and comfortable during this time?

Air Balancing

Air balancing delivers the right amount of air conditioning to every room in your home. A professional HVAC technician will test and adjust your AC system to improve air circulation and increase comfort. The National Comfort Institute says air balancing is one of the most important steps in HVAC performance. Your Bruce’s HVAC expert can check for air drafts, fix ductwork, check and adjust the AC blower fan speed, adjust ceiling fans, and install additional return ducts if needed.

Air Filters

The best way to extend the life of your HVAC system is to check your air filters. Dirty air filters cause your AC to work harder to keep your house cool. A reduction in air flow can result in your cooling system overheating and shutting down. Regularly checking and changing dirty air filters will save 5% to 15% on your monthly utility bills and improve your home’s air quality.

Window Coverings

The sun’s energy falls on double-pane windows without drapes, shutters, shades, or blinds, entering your house as heat according to Energy.gov—causing your HVAC unit to work longer to keep your house comfortable. Insulated cellular shades can help by reducing solar heat through windows by up to 80%. With blinds, you can easily adjust the sunlight entering your house and diffuse it without too much glare or additional heat. Drapes and curtains with white plastic backings can further reduce summer heat gain by a third or more.

Exterior home awnings, if your house can accommodate them, can reduce solar heat gain up to 65% on south facing windows and 77% on west facing windows. Installing adjustable or retractable awnings are best for summer and for using in the winter to allow sunlight inside. Solar window screens can also be installed on windows, reducing glare, decreasing solar heat gain, and minimizing UV damage to furniture, accessories, and carpet.

Window low-e film can also work well when you want unobstructed window views along with reductions in solar heat gain, UV blocking, and glare. Window film is most effective on east and west facing windows. South facing windows benefit in the summer but will reduce heat entering your home from the winter sun. North facing windows will not benefit at all from window film.

Given the extreme weather conditions of the monsoon season in Arizona, it’s a smart idea to call the pros at Bruce’s for service. Schedule time now by calling our experts at 480-968-5652.

Your HVAC and Your Home’s Air Quality

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The sky in the Valley of the Sun has been blanketed by smoke from recent forest, industrial, roadside, and grass fires. And metro Phoenix consistently ranks in the top 10 of most polluted cities in America. With ozone and small particulates delivering unhealthy levels of air pollution, it’s vital to maintain the quality of the air you’re breathing inside your home. Your HVAC unit is key to making this happen.

Your home’s AC system is essential for circulating fresh air. The HVAC unit pulls outside air into your house, passing air through a filter, over cold coils, and then pushing it through inside vents. An older unit may not run as efficiently, and this will directly impact your indoor air quality. Even regular AC filter replacements will not resolve this situation. A dirty evaporator coil and dusty ductwork will further reduce your air quality. With outdoor temperatures consistently over 100 degrees, your AC will be running almost continuously. And the air you breath can be impacted by an outdated, inefficient air conditioning system.

For loved ones suffering from allergies, respiratory, or immune system issues, an old AC unit or a poorly maintained AC unit can directly contribute to health problems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outside air. Fresh air from outside, proper airflow, and ventilation are crucial to improving your house’s indoor air quality.

A properly running HVAC system not only cools and cleans the air inside your home, it also removes moisture, so your skin feels cooler and less sticky. An optimal humidity level for your home is between 35 percent to 60 percent. If your AC system needs an overhaul, Bruce’s can help.

Our team of professionals is dedicated to ensuring your indoor air quality is properly maintained. We provide free, prompt estimates for purchase and installation of new air conditioning equipment. We also can provide details on how the addition of an indoor air quality (IAQ) system can improve your home’s air quality even more. Let us answer all your questions. Call our HVAC specialists today at 480-968-5652.

Energy Saving Tips for Homes with High Ceilings

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Summer is upon us once again, with triple digit temperatures expected every day for the next several months. That means high energy bills. For rooms with high ceiling height, your HVAC system will need to run longer to minimize heat gain versus a home with standard-height rooms. With afternoon temperatures often exceeding 110 degrees during the summer months, we want to share some energy saving ideas for homes with high ceilings.

Energy Efficiency Audit

Having an energy expert visit your house to detect energy waste is an important first step. This way you can determine the best upgrades to boost comfort and lower monthly energy bills.

Ceiling Fans

Using your ceiling fans in summer can lower temperatures by up to four degrees. Large rooms with high ceilings should have more than one ceiling fan. When installed in the hottest areas of the room at the proper height, generally near west-facing windows, ceiling fans will improve air circulation. Ceiling fans with wider paddles move more air and will cool your room more efficiently.

AC Capacity

You may want to check the BTU capacity of your air conditioning unit. A unit with 1 or 2 BTUs higher than recommended will cool high ceiling rooms more efficiently based on square footage. HVAC units lower in BTU capacity will cycle off too often, and rooms with vaulted ceilings will not remain cool enough.

Condenser Location

Your air conditioner condenser should be located on the shadiest side of your home. The unit will use up to 10 percent less energy when it’s not exposed to direct sunlight during the day.

Insulate and Seal Leaks

Check to make sure your house is well-sealed and insulated. Properly insulated rooms with high ceilings will help keep cool air inside. Make certain your attic has at least 11 inches of fiberglass insulation. Cracks or seams that may have developed since your last home inspection should be closed with foam sealant.

Windows

Windows can cause energy bills to skyrocket due to air leakage through and around the windows. Any single-pane windows should be replaced with double paned windows. Windows with the lowest U-factors, the rate at which windows conduct non-solar heat flow, are the best choice. Checking window units for other Energy Star ratings for visible light transmittance (VT) and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SGHC) are other energy saving performance rating factors to consider. Energy efficient windows not only save on your electricity bills, but they also increase your home’s property value.

At Bruce’s we’re proud to be your dedicated HVAC professionals. Call us today to get started on energy efficiency at 480-968-5652.

Dust and How Your Air Conditioner Can Help Reduce It

It’s just a fact—dust collects everywhere inside Arizona homes. No matter how often you clean your house, this fine particulate matter scatters onto appliances, furniture, bedding, carpet, flooring, blinds, and curtains. Composed of dirt, lint, pollen, animal and human skin cells, organic fibers, and anything that can break down, dust is just a fact of life—especially in the desert. And keeping dust accumulation under control requires more than flicking surfaces with a feather duster. In fact, what keeps your home cool and comfortable in the summer is an important part of reducing dust. Yes, it’s your air conditioner.

So, how can you ensure your air conditioning system is doing its role in combatting dust? Keep reading.

Ductwork

The beautiful Sonoran Desert is one extremely dusty place to live. Ductwork not properly sealed or damaged can pull in dust, hot air, suspended particulate matter, such as pollen and dust mites, and even attic insulation. When the air conditioning system is running, it can operate like a vacuum cleaner bringing debris and dust inside and distributing it throughout your home. Damaged and leaking ductwork may even be the cause of return airflow not passing through the HVAC system air filter.

Look at the grills and vents inside your home. Do you spot dust or dirt around the vents and grills? Gaps between the ductwork and the ceiling line can cause dust to be pulled in from your living spaces.

Air Filters

Improving indoor air quality is important for reducing dust and controlling allergens. Clean HVAC air filters are key to removing dust particles from your home’s air. Installing a higher efficiency air filter with a MERV rating of 9 will filter most pollens, dust mites, mold spores, and carpet fibers. A MERV rating of 16 will also filter bacteria, tobacco smoke, and pet dander. Changing your air filter more often than the recommended every three months may further reduce indoor dust for those with seasonal allergies or lung diseases such as asthma and COPD. After dusting your house, run your HVAC fan for 15 minutes to allow your indoor air to cycle through your air filtration system.

If you have any questions about how best to reduce household dust, contact our HVAC experts. Give us a call at 480-968-5652, and we will be happy to schedule a service call to get your house ready for the summer.

Happy Memorial Day from the Valley’s Leader in HVAC

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Valley of the Sun temperatures are rising, and Memorial Day is here. Yes, it’s the unofficial kickoff of summer! And it’s also the perfect time to consider the health of your HVAC system if you’re planning a getaway trip.

Going Away for the Memorial Day Weekend?

Don’t be tempted to set uncomfortably high thermostat temperatures while you’re away from home. This will result in your air conditioner battling to lower the indoor temperature to a pleasant level when you return, overworking your system. If you have pets staying at home, make sure to keep it cool enough for them to be comfortable while you’re away.

Even worse is turning your HVAC system off. Indoor temperatures will climb rapidly if your AC is turned off. You don’t want to return from vacation to a home that is 90 degrees or higher. Mold can begin to grow from a lack of air circulation and high humidity levels.

Cool Summer Tips

These easy-to-follow suggestions will help ensure your house’s AC unit works properly while you’re away.

  • Closing blinds and curtains will help keep your home cool while you’re away. Sunshine can heat up your house, causing your AC to work longer and less efficiently.
  • Think about buying a programmable thermostat to regulate indoor temperatures and humidity levels. They’re easy-to-set up, so your home stays comfortable for your return.
  • Check and change your air filter. A dirty air filter decreases airflow and increases the demand on your cooling system.

The professionals at Bruce’s Air Conditioning understand the extreme summer heat and the demands placed on your AC unit. Call the experts at Bruce’s Air Conditioning today at 480-968-5652.

Happy Memorial Day