Category Archives: Air Conditioning

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.

Is a Noisy Air Conditioner Ruining the Peace and Quiet of Your Home?

According to the National Weather Service, the summer of 2018 featured no less than 128 days of 100 degrees or more. That’s over four months of serious Arizona heat! The long-range forecast in 2019 is for more record-setting triple digit temperatures. As modern inventions go, it’s hard to imagine a more useful, life-saving appliance in your home. Air conditioners make summer in Arizona livable. However, for all their ingenious heat transferring qualities, air conditioners are not always the quietest appliance in your home.

What Is That Noise?

Do you experience an ear-splitting high-pitched whine every time your air conditioner starts up? Are there serious thumps and ka-chunks when the compressor kicks in? This might be your air conditioner’s way of telling you, “I’m not going to be ignored. It’s time for my spring AC service call.”

Here’s a list of common AC noises and what they might be indicating as far as your air conditioner is concerned:

That Annoying, High-Pitched Squeal

A high-pitched whine or squeal is a sound often associated with slipping belts or an issue with the bearings. Either way the noise is most unpleasant and indicates service is needed.

Thump, Ka-chunk or Loud Rattling During Start-up

There is some argument as to whether the sound is more of a Ka-chunk or a thump. We’ll let the sound effects experts debate that point. Unfortunately, these noises are frequently caused by loose mounts, but more often than not, can indicate a problem with the compressor. This is not a sound you want to ignore.

Tick-tick or Clicking Sounds

A rhythmic tick-tick or clicking sound is often caused by faulty fan blades. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a branch or a twig lodged in the fan. An obvious question is, “How can something hit the fan blade when it’s in an enclosed area?” Occasionally, high winds from thunderstorms blow branches and debris into your air conditioner. Clicking sounds can also be caused by defective relay switches.

A Loud Buzz

Air conditioners rely on electric motors to make the fans go, power the compressor, move liquids through the pumps and more. As with any electrical device or motor, if you hear a loud buzz or notice an incessant humming coming from your air conditioning unit, you’ll want to turn it off right away. If you hear crackling or detect a burning smell, you’ll want to act immediately. Turn off the AC unit at the circuit breaker and call for service. Electrical problems are responsible for over 80 percent of AC issues.

Wind Whistling Sound Near Vents Inside the House

If you hear wind whistling, whooshing or the faint sound of a distant train coming from your vents, you can rest assured, it is not an errant Amtrak whistle or a ghost train calling to you from the other side, but rather a pretty decent hint that there’s a loss of pressure or an opening somewhere in your duct work.

The Only Sounds You Want to Hear – The Sounds of Silence

“And the people bowed and prayed, to the “freon” God they made…” so wrote Paul Simon in his famous 60’s hit, The Sounds of Silence. When your air conditioner is working properly, you’ll hear a little whoosh from the fans or no noise at all. Silence is the sound of a healthy air conditioner. For most people, out of sight – and out of earshot – is most ideal. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to help your air conditioner pass the ear test. Call us today.

Financing A New Air Conditioning System for Your Phoenix Home

In many regions of the U.S., air conditioning is a nonessential amenity. It’s a handy convenience that is enjoyed a few weeks out of the year. In Arizona, air conditioning is an absolute necessity. An improperly cooled, over-heated desert home makes life miserable. An air conditioning system improves every aspect of daily living and makes the summertime in Phoenix manageable. If your air conditioner was failing last summer or you already know it’s time to replace your AC, early spring is the ideal season to install your new HVAC system. The weather is mild, so you won’t be sweating it out while the new system is installed. As well, scheduling is easier in February and March before the temperatures heat up and the AC service calls start rolling in.

A New HVAC System Is a Major Purchase

For most homeowners, a major purchase, such as a new air conditioning system, requires a fair amount of research and consideration. Let’s face it, air conditioning systems are not cheap. Air conditioners are built to last a long time (ten years or more). However, the unforgiving desert climate means AC systems need to be replaced sooner rather than later in Arizona. If you find yourself in the position of needing to replace your HVAC system and you’re concerned about paying for it in one lump sum, Bruce’s Air Conditioning has financing options for you to explore.

Benefits of Bruce’s Air Conditioning’s Financial Partner

We’ve been around for many years and have worked with thousands of Phoenix area families. We understand that sometimes air conditioners break down and need to be replaced at exactly the wrong time, financially speaking. Being able to purchase a new AC system and space out the payments means you and your family will enjoy a cool, comfortable summer without having the burden of writing one huge check.

Here are the benefits of utilizing Bruce’s Air Conditioning’s financial partner:

  • Quick Approval Process – We’ve made applying for financing as painless as possible, and the approval process is quick and easy. You’ll know in a very short period of time if you are approved for financing for your new air conditioning system.
  • Open Line of Credit – You’ll have an open line of credit for future, additional purchases if other projects come up or if you care to utilize it.
  • Credit Limit Increase – You have the option of an unsecured, revolving line of credit, meaning you won’t have to offer any collateral for the credit limit, and you won’t have a set monthly payment. The lender may even increase your maximum credit limit if you’re making significant, consistent payments toward the balance on your new AC system.
  • Manage Your Account Online – You can manage your account simply and easily online.

Why Not Get Started?

We know that buying a new air conditioning system is a big deal. Choosing, purchasing, financing and installing a new HVAC system can be a daunting process. It all starts with a phone call. Contact us today and we’ll help you every step of the way. Call Bruce’s Air Conditioning at 480-968-5652.

Air Conditioning A-B-Cs – A Simple System for Home Comfort

Let’s face it. Managing a household is more easily said than done. Between landscaping, pool maintenance, HVAC, normal home repairs, odd jobs and honey-dos, it’s more than a full-time job. As appliances and home systems become more complex (such as wi-fi networks, cable or satellite television and home alarm systems with cameras) keeping track with what needs to get done on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis becomes more challenging. Homeowners are faced with so many demands on their time, it helps to have some simple systems in place to lighten the workload.

Air Conditioning ABCs

During the summer months in Arizona, air conditioners are arguably the most important appliance you own. Homeowners often forget about their AC systems because they generally provide good, reliable service quietly, coolly and effectively. For many people, setting the thermostat is the extent of their AC involvement. That is, until it breaks down. Here are a few ABCs of air conditioning service that will aid you in keeping your system in top form.

  • A is for Air Filters – Changing your air filters on a monthly basis, especially in Arizona, is a great habit to get into. Living in Phoenix means dealing with tons of ultra-fine desert dirt swirling through the air during monsoon season dust storms. The extremely hot, dry climate and excess of particulate matter and dust floating in the air necessitates paying attention to your filters. Homeowners with cats or dogs know that dander can accumulate at an alarming rate. Clean air filters are your best defense against a home full of pet generated dander.
  • B is for Breaker Switch – If your air conditioning unit stops working, the first thing you should always do is check your breaker switch. Power outages, power surges, lightening, storms and brown outs can trip your breaker. Many times, power will go out for a brief moment then back on without you realizing what has happened. Yet, 30 minutes later, you notice your house is getting warm. Over the years, we’ve made numerous service calls for worn down, faulty or easily tripped breaker switches.
  • C is for Capacitors – Actually, your air conditioner has a lot of Cs in it. Capacitor, compressor, condenser, coils, contactor – of these, one of the most common air conditioner repairs is replacing burned-out capacitors. In fact, more than two-thirds of all air conditioning repairs are related to electrical problems, which leads us to our final ABC bullet point.
  • ABC – Always Be Careful – Your air conditioner is powered by high voltage electricity. Electric motors, fans, wires and parts are not for amateurs. Know your limitations when dealing with your air conditioner. Capacitors contain hazardous materials. You may be tempted to make what looks like an easy repair, but electrical jobs can be tricky. Leave electrical repairs to the pros.

The Best Advice for Keeping Your Air Conditioner in Top Form

Scheduling regular maintenance on your AC system twice a year, in spring and in fall, is the best advice we can offer to keep your AC system running smoothly. Why not call Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating today at 480-968-5652.