Author Archives: Bruce's Air Conditioning

What Constitutes an Air Conditioning Emergency?

This entry was posted in Repair on by .

It is the middle of the night. You wake up out of a deep sleep feeling discomfort from heat. As you rise to turn on the light, you realize, something must be wrong with the air conditioner because the house is hot and stuffy. Now you have an important decision to make. Can this wait until morning or could something possibly be wrong? There’s a difference between an unfortunate inconvenience and a true emergency. Here are a few tips for dealing with a midnight air conditioning failure.

Trouble Shooting at 3 AM

Occasionally, we receive “emergency” calls from panicky homeowners, and it turns out the power is down in the entire neighborhood. If your power is on, then the first thing you need to check is your thermostat to see if it’s working properly. If your thermostat is off, you may need to replace the batteries. Next, check to see if the AC system circuit breaker has been tripped. It’s important to note, circuit breakers are installed as a safeguard. If you’ve been having problems with your AC circuit breaker constantly going off, that indicates an electrical issue, which is something you don’t want to ignore.

If the power’s on and you’ve reset your thermostat to the correct temperature and your AC still won’t work, you should check your air conditioning unit to make sure you don’t have a serious situation, such as:

  • Electrical Problems – Burning Smell – Over 80 percent of AC repairs are related to electrical issues in your air conditioner. There are numerous electrical switches, condensers, controllers and motors, which all have a tendency to wear down over time. If you notice a burning smell or any signs of smoke or a flame out, you should immediately call for service. Electrical issues are dangerous, can cause fires and should be dealt with by professionals ASAP.
  • Wiring Issues – Exposed Wires – Wiring issues and exposed wires can be hazardous and cause harm. Remember, never touch an exposed wire. Loose or frayed connections can cause a short circuit to components within your AC system. Wiring issues should be handled by professionals.
  • Gas Furnace Leaks – Any time you can smell gas around your furnace, you should call for service immediately. Whether you have been using your furnace or not, the smell of gas always represents a danger to you and your family.

Don’t Get Overheated

If you do not detect any immediate danger signs, remember, temperatures can rise very quickly inside a home when the AC is not working. If you have young children, an elderly person, or someone who suffers from respiratory distress, soaring heat inside the home can constitute an emergency situation.

Our Motto Is – At All Times, Safety First!

We’d like to stress that you should never ignore a problem if you think it requires immediate attention. Our phone lines are open 24/7 to handle emergencies as they arise. If you have any questions concerning your HVAC system, please feel free to give us a call.

How Regular Service Extends the Working Life of Your Air Conditioner

This entry was posted in Maintenance on by .

In the Valley of the Sun, air conditioners put in a lot of overtime. For many months out of the year, Arizona AC systems operate almost nonstop, providing homeowners with cool relief from the intense heat. In fact, it’s affordable air conditioning that makes it possible for people to live and thrive in the desert and is a fundamental reason for Phoenix’s phenomenal growth over the last 40 years. In 1980, the population was just under 800,000 people. Today, Phoenix is the fifth most populous city in the U.S. with 1.6 million residents, and they nearly all have air conditioners.

Replacing an air conditioning system is a major expense for homeowners. In fact, other than adding an addition or doing a major remodeling job, it’s one of the largest expenses a homeowner will incur. In the desert, it’s not a question of if, but rather when you will need to replace your AC system. Getting the most out of your AC system, both in terms of performance and longevity, is truly important. The secret to extending the life of your air conditioner is expert, regular maintenance performed by a top AC service provider. We recommend two service checkups per year – one in spring and another in fall. Here are a few service keys to keep your air conditioner running smoothly for years to come:

  • Keep Your Air Conditioner Clean – The desert can be a windy, dusty place and dust is the enemy of your air conditioner. Regular cleaning, removing dust and dirt and lubricating moving parts is essential. Even though you may not notice it, wind-blown dust is a problem for your AC system.
  • Replace Air Filters – Replacing air filters on a regular basis helps eliminate dirt and dust from getting into your air conditioning system. Performing this simple task six times per year will lengthen the life of your air conditioner and improve the indoor air quality of your home.
  • Check Electrical Components – Over 80 percent of all air conditioning repairs are related to electrical issues. Extreme desert conditions (wind, dust, high temperatures, exposure to UV rays) are hard on electrical motors, parts and wiring. Many AC units are located on the roof, which means in the summer months, your air conditioner is toiling in temperatures above 140 degrees. Electrical issues can be dangerous and are best handled by professionals with proper equipment.
  • Check Refrigerant – It is crucial that refrigerant is monitored regularly and that your system has no leaks. When you have too much or too little refrigerant, it makes your air conditioner work harder to achieve the desired indoor temperature. Special tools are required to check your system for leaks.

Time to Schedule a Spring Tune Up

Spring is the best time of year to schedule a system checkup. Our friendly service technicians will be happy to perform a full inspection and provide you with an assessment of your air conditioner. Don’t head into summer unprepared. Why not call us today?

How to Avoid A Costly Air Conditioning Compressor Breakdown

This entry was posted in Maintenance on by .

If you ask a random group of five phoenix air conditioning repair technicians, “What’s the most important part of an air conditioning system?” It’s quite possible you’ll get five different answers. There are so many critical components working together to deliver cool air through your home’s AC system, it’s almost impossible to label a single part as the most critical. However, if you ask those same service specialists, “What’s the most expensive repair on a home AC system?” They’ll all give you the same answer – replacing a faulty air conditioning compressor.

Summer Will Be Here Soon

Phoenix is known as the hottest city in America and with good reason. The summers are long, and the desert sun is unrelenting. There are more 100+ degree days in Phoenix than just about any other major metropolitan area in the U.S. All that heat for much of the year puts a tremendous strain on your air conditioning system.

What Does an Air Conditioning Compressor Do and What Causes It to Breakdown?

Your air conditioning compressor is one of the largest components in your HVAC system and is installed either on the ground outside your home or up on the roof. At the very center of the cooling cycle, the compressor (you guessed it) compresses and pumps refrigerant through highly pressurized pipes throughout your entire system, to achieve cooling inside and to transfer (remove) unwanted heat outside. There are many factors that can cause your compressor to break down, including:

  • Clogged or Dirty Coils – The coils in your compressor facilitate the transfer of heat out of your house into the outside air. Unfortunately, coils are a magnet for dirt, debris and grime. If your coils become covered with dirt, it inhibits proper functioning and your compressor ends up working harder to achieve the same level of cooling. Over time, clogged coils will damage your compressor.
  • Leaks or Punctures in the Coils – If you have ever heard a slight hissing sound coming from your compressor, it could be refrigerant escaping from a tiny leak. Small holes and punctures occur, often due to corrosion. Depending on the age of your air conditioner, corrosion may be affecting the refrigerant level in your compressor.
  • Improper Refrigerant Levels – Your pressurized refrigerant lines are a closed system and require an exact amount of gas to run properly. Too much or too little refrigerant will cause problems within your system. Our trained service technicians will check for correct refrigerant levels in your compressor and system during a spring tune up.
  • Electrical Power Issues/Normal Wear and Tear – Electrical power and the correct voltage (not over, not under) is crucial to the normal operation of your compressor. Over time, depending on how old your AC system is, wires can degrade, and other electrical issues may arise simply due to normal wear and tear. Power surges, not uncommon during the summer in Phoenix, can cause electrical issues with your AC system.

We’ll Check Your Compressor and Your Entire System During a Spring Tune-up

Spring has sprung and summer will be here before you know it. Don’t wait until the hot weather hits to call for an HVAC check-up. The friendly, professional and highly trained service technicians at Bruce’s Air Conditioning will be happy to perform a full inspection of your compressor and entire air conditioning system so you’ll be ready for the long summer ahead. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Terms of Endearment – Air Conditioning Words That Can Save You Money

Unless you’re an electrician or in the HVAC business, most air conditioning related terms are somewhat puzzling. Condenser, compressor, capacitor and contactor relate to specific parts in your air conditioner (and those are just the ones that begin with the letter “c”). As a busy homeowner, you can’t possibly be expected to understand all the systems in your home. Most people feel lucky if they can figure out the TV remote, program the DVR and keep the Wi-Fi system up and running.

Some Words Are Worth More Than Others

HVAC systems tend to reside in the background of home life. Generally, people only pay attention to their air conditioner when something goes wrong. However, there are times when knowing a little something about air conditioners can be helpful. If you’re in the process of doing research to purchase a new air conditioning system or if you are considering a significant upgrade to your air conditioner this spring, a little knowledge can go a long way. Here are a few AC words and terms that can put money in your pocket:

  • Wi-Fi Enabled Smart Thermostats – Smart thermostats represent a significant innovation in HVAC technology and can offer you considerable savings on your monthly energy bills. Though Wi-Fi enabled smart thermostats are more expensive than programmable models, they provide additional tools for you to manage the temperature in your home. With a standard thermostat, it’s easy to forget to adjust the setting when you leave for work or go on vacation. Smart thermostats learn your tendencies and adjust automatically. As well, Wi-Fi enabled means you have the added convenience of being able to talk to your thermostat through an app installed on your mobile device. Other advantages include advanced tracking features so you can tell how much energy you are using at any given time, verses waiting until the end of the month to receive your electric bill.
  • SEER Rating – In the U.S., all air conditioners are given a SEER rating, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Much like miles-per-gallon for automobiles, SEER ratings indicate energy efficiency for air conditioners. The higher the MPG, the better the fuel efficiency for your car. With AC systems, a higher SEER rating means less electricity will be used to achieve the same cool temperatures in your home. The minimum standard SEER rating in Arizona is 14. SEER ratings go all the way go all the way up to 25. When considering a new air conditioner, go for the highest SEER rating possible. Raising your SEER rating from 13 to 20 will cut up to 30 percent off your monthly utility bills. The energy savings will add up over time and help pay for the cost of your new system.
  • Variable Speed Technology – Older AC systems were built with single speed fans for the blower and compressor. This means that older air conditioners turn on and run at full capacity until your house is cooled to the desired temperature and then they shut down. It’s on full blast or it’s off. This cycle repeats endlessly throughout the days, weeks and months of summer. New air conditioning systems with higher SEER ratings utilize variable speed technology, which is designed to run your air conditioner at the optimal speed for maximum energy efficiency. Variable speed blower fans and compressors use the least amount of power required to achieve the preferred temperature in your home.

We Provide Great Service on Your Terms

At Bruce’s Air Conditioning, we pride ourselves on providing first rate professional service on your terms. When you schedule a spring tune-up, our friendly service technicians will take the time to perform a full inspection of your AC system and provide you with a complete system evaluation. Summer will be here before you know it. Don’t wait until the last minute to assess your air conditioning system.

Cool Ways to Increase Your Home’s Air Conditioning Efficiency

Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic fame recently launched the Global Cooling Prize. In an effort to spark advancement in AC technology, the Global Cooling competition is offering a $3 million prize for the most innovative solution to increase the efficiency of air conditioners worldwide. Closer to home, you can win big and conserve energy (which helps you save money on your monthly utility bill) by making your home air conditioning system as efficient as possible. It all starts with a complete home HVAC assessment by one of our knowledgeable and experienced service technicians. In order to achieve maximum AC efficiency, it’s important to evaluate every aspect of your HVAC system and your home.

Air Conditioners and Energy Usage

As the single largest appliance in your home, air conditioners use more electricity than anything else. During the long summers in Arizona, energy usage by your air conditioner can be responsible for up to 60 percent of your monthly utility bill. All that power usage adds up. Here are ways to reduce your AC energy consumption and make your entire system more efficient:

Your Current Air Conditioner – Is It Time to Replace?

How old is your air conditioner? In many regions of the United States, air conditioners can last from 10 to 12 years, sometimes longer. In the “hottest city in America,” due to heavy AC usage, air conditioners last (on average) approximately eight years. The U.S. Department of Energy website states, “Today’s best air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the mid-1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.” The fact is, if you have an older AC unit, upgrading to greener, more current technology will save you significant money on your monthly electric bill which will add up to significant savings over time.

SEER Rating

If you do decide to purchase a new air conditioner, choose one with the highest SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) possible. The SEER rating compares various manufacturer’s air conditioners and indicates the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner.

Air Conditioning Systems Require Professional Service

Your air conditioner is comprised of many components, motors, fans, electrical parts, pressurized refrigerant pipes, blowers, capacitors, compressors, electrical wiring and more. This extremely complex system is installed both inside and outside of your home. It is far too complicated for most homeowners to perform do-it-yourself repairs. Yes, some basic upkeep, such as changing air filters and keeping the unit free from debris can be handled by homeowners. However, when it comes to true maintenance, today’s AC units require professionally trained technicians with special tools and equipment. Our specialists have the knowledge and experience needed to fine tune all the intricate parts of your air conditioning system, allowing them to perform at maximum efficiency.

Are You Losing Cool Air Through Poorly Sealed Ducts?

Inefficient or poorly sealed ducts can cause cool air to be lost through leaks in the system. Lack of insulation surrounding ducts, especially in the attic where the temperature can soar to 130 degrees and above in the summer can also negatively impact the cool air being dispersed throughout your home.

A More Efficient Air Conditioning System Will Save You Money

By making the effort to improve the efficiency of your home air conditioning system, you will not only save money but also help reduce overall energy consumption which is good for the environment. When you schedule a spring service inspection, our dedicated service professionals will perform a detailed inspection and provide you with a comprehensive evaluation of your system. We’d love to fine tune your air conditioning system so it’s running perfectly and efficiently this summer. Give us a call today.