Category Archives: Air Conditioning

Understanding the Upcoming Ban on R22 Freon

In less than 60 days, a new law will enforce a complete ban on the production and importation of R22 refrigerant, the refrigerant that has been widely used in the air conditioning industry for decades. While the benefits of this ban are clear, it will help protect the earth’s ozone layer, it does cause some challenges for homeowners with aging HVAC systems.

As of January 1, 2020, there will only be a limited supply of recycled or existing quantities of R22. So, if you have an older system, you may want to start considering your options now.

Do Nothing

If your current HVAC system has an air conditioning unit with R22, you don’t necessarily have to do anything immediately. If it’s running fine without any refrigerant leaks, you can cross your fingers and hope that things remain the same for now. However, it’s important to note that if and when you need refrigerant, the cost of stockpiled R22 is skyrocketing, and it’s unclear how long there will continue to be a supply at all.

Retrofit Your Existing Air Conditioner

The newer, legal refrigerant available is R410A, called Puron. Air conditioners can be retrofitted to use this type of refrigerant, but this comes at a cost. If your system is already on the decline, it may not be your best option. At Bruce’s, we’re happy to assess the condition of your air conditioner to determine if it’s a possible candidate for retrofitting.

Replace Your System with a New Air Conditioner

Yes, new air conditioners can dip into your budget. However, replacing an older air conditioner that uses R22 with a new, more energy-efficient model that uses R410A will save you monthly on your utility bill. And, you won’t have to be rolling the dice with an aging system that will eventually break down. Contact us for a free estimate and to learn about your financing options.

The switch to non-ozone depleting refrigerants is a good thing, and we support this shift. And as your HVAC experts, we’re here to help you through this transition while ensuring the function and efficiency of your air conditioner.

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners – Not Just for Cooling

Ductless mini-split air conditioners are becoming a popular home cooling choice for many Phoenix residents – especially for room additions, garage workshops, home offices or anywhere air conditioning ducts are not a viable option. What may come as a surprise to many homeowners is these energy efficient units also do an excellent job of heating, especially in regions of the country with moderate winters, like the Southwest.

What Makes Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners Different?

So there would be no confusion, manufacturers labeled their number one product advantage right up front – ductless. No air ducts or venting systems are needed for these units. When properly installed and maintained, traditional air ducts provide the conventional pathways for cooled or heated air to be dispersed throughout your house from your HVAC unit.

However, air ducts are not always the most energy efficient way to reach every area of the house. In fact, leaky air ducts can cause a loss of up to 40 percent of cooled air. With ductless systems, being installed directly in the room where cool or warm air is needed, there is virtually no loss in the process. Ductless mini-split air conditioners also take up a relatively small amount of space and require only a small hole to the outside condenser, which makes them less of a security risk than window air conditioners.

When considering a ductless mini-split system for your home, keep these advantages in mind:

  • Energy Savers

    Ductless mini-split systems are big energy savers and have high SEER ratings. SEER ratings indicate the energy efficiency of various air conditioners. Because there is no loss of air through vents and due to their energy efficient inverter-driven compressors design, ductless mini-split systems can save you up to 30 percent on your monthly utility bills.

  • Remote Controlled

    Most units come with a hand-held remote control that also serves as a thermostat. This is very convenient for night-time adjustments or changing the setting from your easy chair.

  • Wall and Ceiling Units

    Ductless mini-split units can be installed on your walls or in the ceiling. Ceiling units are popular in kitchen installations. Multiple units can run inside the home from one outside condenser. These units are remarkably quiet and blend in well with their surroundings.

Learn More About Ductless Mini-split Systems

Ductless mini-split air conditioners have proven to be an excellent option for many of our customers. If you’d like more information on these innovative units, please give us a call.

Remodeling? How Adding a Room or Wing Can Change the Calculus for Your Air Conditioner 

Remodeling your home can prove to be a wise investment and an enjoyable design challenge. Expanding the kitchen to include an island with increased workspace which opens to a great room, creates an area where families can spend more time together. Adding a master suite to an older, three bedroom Arizona home is a popular addition for growing families. During the design process, it’s easy to get excited about the look of the space, choosing surfaces and selecting colors and finishes. However, don’t forget one of the most crucial elements to enjoying any room – air conditioning.

Why It’s Important to Factor Air Conditioning into Your Remodeling Equation

The hidden aspects and engineering details of most building projects, such as plumbing, wiring and ductwork (for AC and proper ventilation) don’t always receive as much attention as design elements. Most homeowners trust the architect and contractor to do what’s necessary to meet building codes and satisfy permit inspections. Unfortunately, air conditioning often is not as high on the list as it should be when it comes to prioritizing. Depending on the size of your addition, your air conditioner may or may not be able to handle cooling the additional square footage. Over the years, we have responded to many service calls with frustrated homeowners bemoaning the fact that the new master suite (or addition) is always hotter than the rest of the house. That’s why we strongly encourage our customers to get HVAC professionals involved early in the design process.

When adding on to your home, there are three main options to consider:

Extend Your Existing Ductwork

It seems logical that if you have a small or modest sized room addition you ought to be able to extend your existing ductwork and utilize your current equipment. In many cases, this is true – but not always. The safest approach is to have us perform a load calculation on your air conditioner and determine if your AC system can handle cooling the additional square footage. Once the room is enclosed and finished your AC system will need re-balancing so proper airflow will be directed to all areas of your home.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If after completing an evaluation and load calculation it’s determined that your current air conditioner cannot meet the requirements for the new addition, then you will need to upgrade to a larger, more powerful AC system. Depending on how old your air conditioner is, this may turn out to be a smart option. New energy saving air conditioners operate and cool more efficiently and will help lower your monthly utility bills.

Ductless System or Mini-Split

A third option is to leave your existing air conditioner intact and treat your addition as a separate unit with its own system. Some homeowners opt for a ductless air conditioner or a mini-split system. Our service technicians can explain how these units work and advise you of the pros and cons for each. 

If You’re Planning an Addition to Your Home, Please Give Us A Call

When you engage in the design and planning of your new room addition, remember to get us involved early in the process. We’ll be happy to do a service check on your current unit and calculate what you’ll need for your new addition. Call us today.

My Air Conditioner Keeps Tripping the Breaker – Is That Normal During This Time of Year?

During periods of extreme heat and constant use, you may occasionally need to reset the circuit breaker for your air conditioner. Especially after a severe thunderstorm or power outage. During the hottest months of the summer, Phoenix’s electrical power grid is pushed to the limits and fluctuations in power or brown outs can cause your breaker to disengage. However, if you find yourself resetting your AC circuit breaker two or three times within the same day, you probably have a problem that needs to be addressed. In the interest of safety for you and your family, please do not keep constantly resetting your breaker. The circuit breaker trips when your air conditioner is drawing too much power and is a clear warning that some part of your AC unit is not working properly.

Electrical Issues – A Major Cause of Air Conditioner Repairs

Electrical problems are the cause of over 80 percent of all AC repairs. Your air conditioner is a complex, multi-component system loaded with fans, electric motors, capacitors, condensers, electric wiring, switches and many other electrical parts that can wear down and malfunction. When electrical parts breakdown, it may cause your AC unit to come to a complete halt or make your air conditioner work harder, thereby drawing excess power and tripping the breaker. Here are a few of the most common reasons your AC circuit breaker is being tripped:

Faulty Capacitors

Replacing worn, defective or blown capacitors is a common electrical repair. The startup capacitor provides a high-voltage electrical boost to initiate your compressor. When this startup capacitor fails, your compressor stops working. As with all electrical repairs, we recommend you do not attempt to replace capacitors on your own. Always call professionals for electrical repairs.

Condenser Coil Issues

It is the job of your condenser coils to dissipate heat from your home into the outside air. Over time, condenser coils can become covered with dirt, dust, grime and debris which prevents heat from being dispersed properly. When this happens, your AC unit has to work harder and this may cause your unit to overheat, tripping the breaker. If your condenser coils have not been cleaned recently, it’s a good idea to have them checked.

Low Refrigerant

Refrigerant is held within a closed system of pressurized pipes. If you are running with low refrigerant it indicates there is a leak in your system. Refrigerant leaks should be repaired rather than constantly adding more refrigerant to your system. When you air conditioner is low on refrigerant, you may notice warm air coming out of your vents. Your air conditioner has to work a lot harder when your system is low on refrigerant. Once again, this can cause your AC unit to overheat and trip the breaker.

Electrical Problems Are Best Left to Professionals

It’s important to remember, electrical issues can cause serious problems and result in fires if ignored. We don’t want to scare our customers, but unfortunately, we’ve seen many dangerous situations over the years due to unaddressed electrical issues. If you’re constantly resetting your AC breaker, please give us a call so we can fix the problem.

In the Zone – Is Zone Air Conditioning Right for Your House?

Take a moment to imagine July, August and September in Arizona without air conditioning. That’s a scary thought, right? Air conditioning is so universal and essential, we often take it for granted – until it breaks down. The engineering principles of modern air conditioning, invented by Willis Carrier in the early 1900s, haven’t changed significantly in the last century. Yes, there have been improvements and technological advancements. However, the basics of home cooling have largely remained the same. Most Phoenix homeowners love their air conditioner and as long as it’s working properly, rarely give it a thought.

Air Conditioning – It’s on Full Blast or Completely Off

You come home from work late one night to a dark house. You walk in the front door and flip on the light switch. Suddenly, every light in your house turns on and stays on. Because that’s the way your lights have always worked, you don’t really notice. You simply go about your business unfazed. Later, when you go to bed, you turn off the lamp on the nightstand and every light turns off. That type of arrangement would account for a lot of wasted energy.

Essentially, most home air conditioning systems work this way. You set the thermostat, your AC unit turns on full blast, blowing cold air to every room in your home until the desired temperature is achieved. Then your unit shuts off. The temperature of the entire house is controlled by a single thermostat – usually located in a central area in the main part of the house. Homeowners often complain the temperature is nice and cool in the main living areas, however the master suite or further reaches of the house are too warm.

What Are the Principles Behind Zone Air Conditioning?

Zone air conditioning, as indicated in the name, divides your house into multiple zones and allows you to control temperature settings separately from one part of the house to the next. This is an advantage for many homes where the layout is divided into different wings, or for example, a house where the upstairs rooms are not being used. Many homes experience dramatic increases in temperatures in the rooms facing south and west. If your office is located on the southwest corner of your house and you work at home, you’ve certainly noticed the extra AC required to keep your workplace comfortable. Zone air conditioning allows you to increase delivering cold air where you need it most and to not cool the areas of your home which are not being used, which will help you save money on energy.

  • How Does Zone Air Conditioning Work?

    Electronically controlled dampers placed strategically throughout your system of ducts form the basis of zone air conditioning. Dampers are like large valves that you can turn on or off and control the flow of cooled air throughout your home. The zone dampers also control the heat in wintertime. Multiple thermostats placed throughout the various zones in your home are controlled by a central controlling thermostat.

  • How Many Zones Are in a House?

    There is not set answer to this question. Depending on the design and layout of your home and your current AC system including the ductwork, zones can vary from house to house. Typically, one of our service technicians will come out to inspect your entire HVAC system, come up with a plan and then discuss options and recommendations with you.

  • What the Advantages to Zone AC?

    One of the main advantages of zone AC is it allows you to control the temperature settings more accurately throughout your home. There’s no point in cooling an entire wing of your house if there’s no one using it. Conversely, if you have a family member who wants or needs the temperature to be cooler than the rest of the house, zone AC will make that adjustment. Another compelling reason for installing a zone system is energy savings. Stop wasting energy to cool the areas of your home you’re not using.

Our Service Professionals Can Help You Decide If Zone AC Is Right for Your Home

If you’re considering splitting your home into zones, let one of our friendly service professionals do an assessment of your current HVAC system and present you with options for you to consider. Many Phoenix area residents are enjoying the advantages of zone air conditioning. We can help you decide if it’s right for you. Call us today.