Author Archives: Bruce's Air Conditioning

Ice on the Air Conditioner, Water Dripping Down Walls and Ducts – Common AC Summer Puzzlers

Every summer we receive calls from puzzled customers who ask, “Why do I have ice on my air conditioner?” A block of ice on an air conditioner is an unusual sight to see in the desert in the middle of July. During monsoon season, especially in the run up to a storm, the air is heavy with moisture. When humid air comes in contact with a cold surface, it causes droplets of water to form. Like condensation on a glass of iced tea, water forms on the cold metal pipes of your air conditioner’s evaporator. Simply put, when your AC unit is not adjusted properly, condensation will freeze, and the resulting ice may cause serious problems.

Condensation Can Cause Issues

When your air conditioner freezes up, you will notice the air blowing into your home is not as cold as it should be. Condensation can also form on your ducts and may cause dripping or water spots on your plaster ceiling or walls. Here’s a list of common problems that arise from AC-related condensation issues:

  • Lack of Sufficient Air Flow Across Your Coils

    One of the main reasons for an AC freeze is insufficient air flow across your evaporator coils. This can be caused by obstructions or dirt and grime on the coils which can build up over time. If you haven’t changed your air filters, this could be part of the problem.

  • Low Refrigerant

    When your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, a host of problems occur. Without going into a long technical explanation, less refrigerant causes the temperature of your evaporator coils to drop below freezing and when that happens, ice will form. If you do have ice on your AC unit, it’s best to turn off your air conditioner immediately and give us a call. Do not ignore the problem or continue to run your AC as this will cause further issues.

  • Water Spots on Ceilings or Walls

    When condensation forms on the ducts in your attic it can pool and drip down onto the plaster in your ceiling and cause nasty spotting. Sometimes with an improperly installed vent, cold air will cause condensation issues on walls. Wherever you have standing water or wet plaster, the potential for mold exists. We have observed many homes damaged by the constant drip, drip of condensation in places the homeowner has never seen (up in the attic.) If your ducts have gone unchecked for years and you notice spots on your ceiling, it might be time for an inspection.

Ice Belongs in Your Freezer, Not on Your Air Conditioner

If you’ve got ice on your air conditioner, you should call us immediately. Though it may seem like no big deal, water damage can be destructive, especially in places you can’t see. Let our expert service technicians check out your AC system and fix the problem ASAP. Give us a call today.

What to Expect When Installing a New Home Air Conditioning System

If you’re considering a new air conditioning system, you might have questions about the installation process. Especially if your AC unit is a rooftop model. Many Phoenix homeowners are surprised to learn, installing a new HVAC system can be less disruptive than it appears. That’s important to note, particularly if you’ll be installing during the hottest months of the year – July, August or September.

Whether your air conditioner is located on ground level or up on the roof, our experienced AC installation professionals are fast and efficient. Here is a brief overview of a typical AC installation. Disclaimer: All air conditioning systems are unique, and each installation presents its own set of challenges. These overview notes are provided as a general guideline.

It Takes Many Component Parts to Keep Your Home Cool

HVAC systems are incredibly complex and comprised of multiple components. Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system has parts located both inside and outside your home as well as ducts and vents located above the ceiling and behind walls throughout your house. It’s a very complex system. The major components of your AC system include the compressor, condenser coil, evaporator, air handler, air ducts, vents and the thermostat. A successful installation will replace all the major parts, but generally leave the duct system in place. It is important, however, for the ducts to be inspected for cracks, leaks and general effectiveness. Our installers will check your duct system while preparing your estimate.

How Long Does an Installation Take?

There are many variables when purchasing a new air conditioner for your home. Depending on the system you’ve chosen, the age, size and layout of your home, whether you’re going with a ground level or rooftop model and the condition of your duct system – an installation can be accomplished in as little as one full day or it may stretch into multiple days. If we do not encounter any unusual circumstances, generally, installations will last anywhere from eight to 16 hours. A consultation with one of our installers will help establish a more specific timeline for your installation.

How to Prepare for Your AC Installation

During the summer months, perspiring Phoenix homeowners often ask, is there anything I can do to speed up the installation process? Naturally, our goal is to get your new system running as quickly as possible. Having your home ready will help. Here are some steps you can take to ensure the installation goes smoothly:

  • Clear the Area Around Your AC Unit

    Full access to the areas where your current components are located will make it easier for the installers to do their job. It’s important to have a clear path to the outdoor condenser. Bushes, branches or overgrown greenery should be cleared. Try to make sure toys, bikes, patio furniture and other obstacles are removed.

  • Clear the Driveway for Equipment Delivery – Space for Trucks and a Crane

    When the components are being delivered, a fair amount of space will be required on your driveway. If your unit is being installed on the roof, an HVAC boom crane will need clearance close to your house. Flowerpots, planters and patio furniture may need to be moved. Our installer will let you know in advance. When installation day arrives, it’s advisable to remove all vehicles from the garage and park your cars on the street so you won’t get blocked in. If you have an RV, you might want to move that also.

  • Ducts – Inspection, Repair and Replacement

    If your home requires extensive repair or replacement of ducts, the team will be working in the attic and throughout your house. It’s a good idea to move or clear storage containers and boxes from the areas of the attic where the ductwork is installed. Unfortunately, some dirt and dust will be raised while working on ducts. It is unavoidable. Our goal is to minimize dust and prevent dirt from circulating throughout your house.

  • Kids and Pets

    We always promote safety first. Kids are naturally curious. We ask, if at all possible, please keep children indoors while work is being done. When it comes to pets, dogs are not always thrilled to see us. Please keep pets corralled inside during installation.

For More Installation Information – Just Give Us a Call

We understand that a new air conditioner is a major purchase and installation can be stressful. The goal of our installers is to get the cold air flowing ASAP and to keep the disruption of your home to a minimum. For more information on installing a new air conditioning system in your home, please give us a call.

Don’t Let Your Air Conditioning Skyrocket This Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is the time for backyard barbecues, parades and firework displays. And for Arizonans, Independence Day is also about hot temperatures – sizzling hot. The kind of temperatures that send your utility bill skyrocketing like a Fourth of July firework.

To help keep your mind on the holiday’s fun and festivities instead of on your thermostat and next month’s utility bill, we have a few cost-saving tips to share.

Run the Fans

Moving air helps evaporate sweat from the skin. Evaporational cooling is an energy-efficient and effective process that you can take advantage of by simply turning on your ceiling fans. In fact, this one simple action can make a room feel several degrees cooler than it actually is.

Avoid the Stove and Oven

It’s the Fourth of July – time to fire up the barbecue and enjoy cold foods like potato salad and watermelon. By not cooking during hot spells, you can reduce indoor heat and lessen the load on your air conditioner.

Consider Humidity

If the air isn’t humid, turn your air conditioner fan speed on high. This helps circulate the air and improves the efficiency of your air conditioner. However, on those muggy monsoon-like days, turn the fan speed to low. The slower air movement through your air conditioning system will remove more moisture from the air, making you feel cooler.

Take a Dip

Water cools you down – plain and simple. So, take a cool shower, soak in a bath, hop in a pool or run in the sprinklers on your front lawn. You’ll chill out quickly without having to amp up your AC.

Happy Fourth of July from our family to yours! Have a safe and wonderful holiday.

Extreme Weather, Arizona Heatwaves and Air Conditioning

Phoenix residents know a thing or two about extreme weather. Powerful summer thunderstorms with intense lightning, dangerously high winds (microbursts – strong downdraft gusts of wind localized to small geographical areas up to 80 mph) and severe flash-flooding are routine during monsoon season. Dust storms up to eight miles-wide, towering a mile high in the sky, inspire awe. Many Phoenix residents recall the harrowing hailstorm of 2010 when a huge supercell rolled over the valley and dumped three-inch diameter ice balls which rained destruction on cars, buildings, homes and air conditioners. Total damage from that storm exceeded three billion dollars. However dramatic the weather may be, the most dangerous element in the Valley of the Sun is the silent storm sometimes taken for granted – the unrelenting extreme desert heatwaves.

The Peril of Extreme Heat and Air Conditioning

Arizonans love their air conditioners. In fact, many Phoenix residents have their summer routine down to a science, such that they rarely find themselves outside of an air-conditioned environment until mid-fall. From home to car to office to store, they never spend more than a few moments outside. The danger comes when individuals, so accustomed to having AC, find themselves in a situation where extreme heat sneaks up on them and pushes them into a dangerous situation. Remember, during a heatwave, if you experience a breakdown and are without air conditioning, things can rapidly deteriorate. Especially if you suffer from asthma or a respiratory condition, properly working air conditioning can be a life saver.

  • The #1 Rule of Air Conditioning – Be Prepared for the Coming Heatwaves

    Global warming is pushing Phoenix temperatures higher and higher, with approximately three months of 100+ degree days predicted for this summer. With that kind of extreme heat headed our way, is it any wonder we say, the #1 AC rule is be prepared. You would never think of going on a long automobile trip through the desert without filling up with gas first as well as having your car fluids and radiator checked. The same is true for your air conditioner. You should never head into the July, August and September in Phoenix without having your AC system checked, air filters replaced, refrigerant replenished and all components inspected for possible problems.

  • Have a Plan in Place If Your Air Conditioner Goes Down

    Many of us can go a few days in an uncomfortable home where the temperature is in the 90s while the air conditioner is being repaired or replaced. However, if you or someone in your family suffers from asthma or a respiratory condition, it’s important to have a plan to get that person into a cool environment quickly.

Don’t Wait Until A Heatwave Makes You Miserable

Every summer, we perform hundreds of service calls during scorching heatwaves in July, August and September. Many times, we find that the problem could have been detected and dealt with during a pre-summer service checkup. Please, don’t wait for the breakdown to occur. As the Boy Scouts say, “be prepared.” Why not call us today?

Heat Gain, Cool Air Loss and Making Your Air Conditioner More Efficient

Phoenix residents know a thing or two about heat gain, which occurs when the radiant warmth of the sun transfers heat into your home. Whether it’s from sunlight coming through windows or the relentless buildup of heat on your roof (where temperatures can easily exceed 140 degrees), the scorching desert sun is relentlessly trying to increase the temperature inside your home. Heat gain also occurs when you turn on the oven to bake a cake, take a long, hot shower or run the dryer on wash day. In Arizona, it’s a constant battle to keep the cool air inside and the hot air outside!

Cool Air Loss – How Efficient Is Your HVAC System?

Most homeowners assume 100 percent of the cold air generated by their air conditioner makes its way into their home via a closed system of ducts and vents. However, poorly designed, inefficient or leaking ducts can cause up to 40 percent loss of cool air actually delivered into your home. This is the kind of cool air loss you will never see until you look at your electric bill. Why? Because most people set their thermostat and don’t realize their inefficient AC system has to work harder and run longer in order to cool their home to the desired temperature. The more electricity you use, the higher your monthly utility bills – especially during the summer months.

Here’s a few tips for lowering heat gain, eliminating cool air loss and making your HVAC more efficient:

  • Lowering Heat Gain

    You don’t have to be an HVAC expert to know – the less direct sunlight hitting your home or shining through your windows, the better. Homes with large shade trees planted on the south side of the house have a significant advantage in lowering heat gain. We all love the view large picture windows and sliding glass doors provide. Sun block shades and blackout drapes help keep the heat and UV rays out of your home. In summer, consider using your oven less and eating lighter fare. Take shorter showers and, if possible, consider doing your laundry at night when it’s cooler. The breeze generated by ceiling fans makes it seem cooler.

  • Prevent Cool Air Loss

    Because they are out of sight and out of mind, most homeowners are unaware of the condition of their duct system. Ducts are located above the ceiling, in between walls and in other hard to see locations. However, leaking or damaged ducts can cost you dearly. Ducts expand with the heat and retract with cool air – especially in the attic. Over time, the constant expansion and contraction causes sealed joints to leak. Even small leaks (which you’ll never see) can add up to big electric bills. Let us perform a duct inspection to determine the efficiency of your system.

  • Early Summer – the Best Time for an AC Checkup

    With the heat of the summer just ahead, we think it’s a great idea to schedule an AC checkup before a big problem occurs. Let one of our experienced professionals inspect your entire HVAC system and provide you with information on how you can make your HVAC system more efficient.

This Summer Gain an Edge on the Heat

When you prevent cool air loss, you’ll put energy dollars back in your pocket. Figuring out ways to increase AC efficiency is something we love to share with our customers. Call us today before the first heatwave hits.