Category Archives: Maintenance

HVAC Problems Can Be Scary – Is It Time to Prepare for Colder Nights?

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For many families, especially kids, the holiday season starts with Halloween. The Great Pumpkin, children in colorful costumes, hayrides and trick or treating – all are welcome hints that summer is over and cooler nights will soon be here. When you live in the desert, waving goodbye to triple digit temperatures for another year feels liberating. Walking the dog in the middle of the day (instead of 6 am) or just enjoying the perfect fall weather reminds Arizonans why they moved here in the first place.

October is also a great month to have the “H” in your HVAC checked. Firing up the furnace for the first cold night can sometimes bring unwelcome surprises. Many homeowners schedule two HVAC checkups per year; one in early spring for air conditioning and another in fall to check the furnace and prepare for winter.

Your Furnace Has Been Idle All Summer Long

Many Phoenix residents chuckle at the thought of getting their furnace inspected. “It’s been as hot as blazes, and you want me to have my heater checked?” It’s important to note, though winters are mild in Arizona, desert nights can get downright cold. Any appliance that has been unused and collecting dust for six months can benefit from a service inspection. Here are a few reasons why October is the perfect time for an HVAC checkup:

  • The First Time Is Not Always a Charm – The intense summers in Arizona push your air conditioner to the limit. Monsoon dust storms deposit fine desert dirt and dust in your HVAC system. Depending on the type of air conditioner/furnace combination you have installed in your home, the constant vibration from the air conditioner can cause problems with other moving parts including your heater. As the weather cools down, we often receive calls from concerned customers telling us there’s a burning smell coming from their furnace. This may be something as simple as dust burning off or, if it persists, it might be something more serious. If you notice a burning smell you haven’t noticed before, please call for service immediately.
  • Gas Furnaces – Gas furnaces do a great job of providing heat for homes. However, because they are slightly more complex than electric heaters, they don’t always fire up perfectly the first time after their summer vacation. Our experienced technicians will check all aspects of your gas furnace (including that darn pilot light that always seems to need relighting) to insure a safe, first time start up when the temperature drops.
  • Have You Installed a New Thermostat? – Thermostats are generally very reliable and problem free. However, many homeowners have elected to install smart thermostats which give them more control over their HVAC system. As with any new piece of equipment, it may be a good idea to have one of our technicians double check the thermostat and make sure the settings are correct for both the AC and the heater.
  • Prepare for the Holidays – Scheduling a HVAC checkup in October means you will be all set for the coming holidays. There’s nothing worse than a furnace malfunction on a holiday weekend. With summer over, the air conditioning emergency calls slow down and regular maintenance appointments can be scheduled and completed in a jiffy.

Furnace Problems Can Be as Scary as Halloween – But Not As Fun

It’s best to play it safe with winter on the way. If your furnace has not been checked for over a year, why not call us to schedule a check up and make sure everything is in proper working order. One thing is for certain, turning on your heater on the first cold night only to find out it’s not working is downright scary. Call Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating today.

Air Conditioning Maintenance: 3 Simple Things to Do Today!

For most homeowners, air conditioners are complex, multi-component systems that sit outside (or up on the roof) humming along, providing a cool interior environment through sweltering Arizona summer heat. It’s not unusual for people to go an entire summer without giving air conditioning maintenance a thought – until something goes wrong. It is an unproven scientific fact that air conditioners tend to breakdown at exactly the worst times. What can a homeowner do to decrease the number of AC related emergencies and increase the indoor air quality enjoyment index?

There are how-to books and endless articles about the care and maintenance of your air conditioning system. There are YouTube videos explaining AC parts and how they work. But let’s face facts – most homeowners have neither the time nor inclination to attempt a do-it-yourself approach for something as crucial as air conditioning. The extensive electronics and intricate systems are simply too complex, require special tools and monitoring gauges, and are too important to be handled by untrained novices. The most important decision you can make when it comes to your air conditioning system is to choose a team of specialists to keep your air conditioner in top shape.

#1 – Change Your Air Filters Once a Month

During monsoon season, dust storms generate tons of wind-whipped dirt and dust in the Phoenix air. Mile high dust storms blotting out the sun are a sight to behold. However, all that dust can affect healthy breathing, especially for people with asthma or respiratory conditions. Living in the desert means indoor air quality is of tremendous importance to you and your family. During the summer months in Phoenix, most families spend over ninety percent of their time inside. When you get in the habit of changing your air conditioning air filters once a month, you’ll notice a dramatic improvement in the indoor air quality in your home.

#2 – Embrace the New Wi-fi Enabled Programmable Thermostats

Many homeowners are reluctant to upgrade their thermostats. Two axioms come to mind: If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it, and human beings are, by nature, resistant to change. You may be happy with your current thermostat, but did you know you can save a lot of money with a new programmable thermostat? The fact is, changing your thermostat will probably take some getting used to. However, the benefits will far outweigh the inconvenience of learning a new system. Many of the new programmable thermostats are equipped with smart technology that tracks your schedule and learns your temperature preferences. With many models, you can tie your thermostat into an app on your phone which will enable you to adjust your home system from anywhere via your smart phone.

#3 – Schedule Regular Service Calls in the Spring and Fall

There’s no doubt that Phoenix is the hottest city in America. The desert climate is extremely demanding on your AC unit. Your air conditioner sits in the hot sun, exposed to the elements, cranking out the cold air for months at a time. Even though air conditioners are built to last, the best way to take care of them is with a preventive maintenance program. Scheduling two service calls per year ensures that your HVAC unit is ready for summer and winter. Why not call the pros at Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating and see how simple and easy air conditioning maintenance can be.

Air Conditioning Oversights That Can Cost You A Lot of Money

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So far, you’ve managed the summer swelter as well as anyone can in Arizona. With Labor Day approaching, you check your Phoenix Area National Weather Service Temperature Guide and realize that there are still two more months of 100-degree plus days. Ouch! Summer just won’t quit, and National Weather Service statistics confirm, summer in Arizona is getting hotter and lasting longer.

Because air conditioning is critical to comfortable living in the desert, it’s often a good idea to do a late summer air conditioning essentials recap. Let’s take a moment to review your household’s unwritten AC rules and habits. Have your electric bills been sky high? Is everyone on the same page temperature-wise? Sometimes, one family member will crank up the AC and forget to reset the thermostat for days, which can really add up. Air conditioners tend to work quietly in the background, providing a cool environment for you and your family, so they are easy to forget. Here are three common air conditioning oversights that may be affecting your overall air conditioning bottom line.

Are You Guilty of Filthy Filters?

This may be the most common oversight of all air conditioning-related issues. In Arizona’s dusty desert climate, clean air filters are absolutely essential. Running your AC unit 24/7 throughout the entire summer means you are moving a tremendous volume of air through your home each and every day. Replacing your air conditioning filters on a monthly basis is advised, especially if you have someone with a respiratory condition living in your home. In some parts of the country, replacing air filters once every three months is common. However, the level of dust, pollens, particulates and pollution in Phoenix demands more. Did you know that dirty filters can add up to 15 percent to your electric bill? In summertime, for the sake of your health, get in the habit of changing your filters on the first of every month.

Is It Time to Upgrade Your Thermostat?

There’s no doubt, the first wave of wi-fi programmable thermostats were a bit complicated and not for everyone, especially the technically challenged. However, over the last five years, programmable thermostats have grown incredibly more useful and much easier to use. Consider these benefits:

  • Smart thermostats get to know your schedule and habits and will adjust the temperature accordingly.
  • Raising the temperature when you are at work or away from the house saves money.
  • Programmable thermostats save you time – you won’t be forgetting to constantly reset the temperature.
  • Some models include a phone app that allows you to control your thermostat from anywhere.

Are You “Saving” Money by Putting Off Service?

One of the most serious oversights when it comes to air conditioning is saving money by foregoing regular service calls. It’s easy enough to forget. Especially if your AC unit seems to be working just fine. Yet, it’s important to remember that the desert is an unforgiving place. Many AC units are located on the roof where temperatures can exceed 140 degrees. Running flat out for months at a time, HVAC systems are put under tremendous stress. The extreme heat, the constant vibration, the exposure to the sun and storms, dust and monsoons – it all adds up over time. Regular service calls with our expert technicians will keep your air conditioner running in top form and prevent big breakdowns which always seem to happen at the worst times. The simple fact is regular maintenance is the best insurance against expensive major repairs.

Let Us Oversee Your HVAC

At Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating, we believe in preventive maintenance and making sure little problems don’t turn into big ones. Our friendly and experienced technicians will assess your HVAC system and provide you with excellent service to keep your AC running cold and strong all summer long.

Autumn – The Perfect Season for an HVAC Checkup

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In Arizona, air conditioning is so central to the enjoyment of life through the summertime, it’s easy to forget that cooler temperatures are only a few months away. Though there are many 100 degree plus days yet to come in September and October, the colder nights will be here before you know it. If you haven’t already done so, establishing twice yearly HVAC checkups is a great way to keep your system in top working order. The best approach is to schedule a springtime inspection for air conditioning and a second, autumn service call to check the furnace and prepare for winter. The autumn inspection verifies that no damage occurred to your HVAC system over the grueling summer. Falling behind in maintenance can often lead to bigger problems down the road.

Why Worry About My Furnace in the Middle of a Heat Wave?

Of course, it might seem counter-intuitive to focus on your furnace when it’s 108 in the shade. However, there are many good reasons to get out in front of all your HVAC service needs, including:

  • Preventive Maintenance Is the Key – HVAC units work harder in Arizona than just about anywhere else in the U.S. The desert climate, with its intense heat, high winds, dust storms and monsoons, is very tough on all the moving parts of your HVAC system. Often situated on the roof, HVAC units are utterly exposed to the harsh elements and relentless sun. By the time September rolls around, your unit has been operating at full tilt for four months. Just like pushing an automobile at high speeds for months on end, the opportunity for failure is increased as the constant heat and vibration works on all the moving parts, motors and fans. The key to avoiding costly overhauls is preventive maintenance. The experts at Bruce’s Air Conditioning can spot problem areas before they turn into major breakdowns.
  • HVAC Companies Are Often Booked Solid During Summer – Summers are extremely busy for Phoenix area HVAC service companies because the extreme heat can wreak havoc on AC units. Often booked solid from May through October, (including nights and weekends), most service technicians are dealing with urgent AC-related emergency repairs. Autumn presents an opportunity for a slightly slower pace and non-emergency regular maintenance calls. As always, it’s best to schedule service calls well in advance.
  • Check for Damage from Electrical Issues, Monsoons and Critters – During extreme heat and monsoons, the Phoenix metro power grid experiences power surges and power outages. Electrical issues can arise from these power fluctuations. High winds and driving rains can also cause issues for HVAC units. It is not uncommon for branches, leaves and debris to be blown into HVAC units or suffer wind related damage during monsoons. Animals and critters can find their way into places they don’t belong, sometimes gnawing on wires or creating problems.
  • Have You Thought About a Service Contract? – It is a fact that most HVAC units are well built and quietly do their job throughout the year. We only think about our HVAC systems when they start making unusual noises or stop working properly. It’s human nature to forget to schedule maintenance for something you rarely think about. If you sign up for a yearly service contract, you won’t need to remember to call. You will be automatically scheduled for spring and fall.

Prepare for Winter Well in Advance

At Bruce’s Air Conditioning, we understand that the best way to keep HVAC repair costs in line is to stay on top of regular maintenance. There is a big difference between getting out in front of potential problems verses waiting for breakdowns to occur. Why not call us today and schedule a fall checkup so you can sail through the winter months trouble free? Call us at 480-968-5652.

Dirty Filters, Dirty Life – Is Your Air Conditioner Blowing Cold, Dirty Air Around Your House?

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We’ve all heard the adage, “happy wife, happy life.” In Arizona, if your air conditioner isn’t working, it makes for an unhappy wife, unhappy kids and an unhappy life for everyone. However, what if your AC is working like gangbusters, blowing cold air throughout the house yet you’ve forgotten to change the air filter? Or, what if you can’t remember the last time your air conditioning unit, air vents and filters were checked out? Now you’ve got an issue but it’s not a problem you can see, which is why so many people tend to overlook it. If your HVAC system air filters are maxed out, and your vents are dirty, then quite simply, your unit is going to be blowing dust and other allergens into and around your home. Unfortunately, what you don’t know about the air quality inside your home definitely can hurt you and negatively impact your health and quality of your life, which is why so many AC experts say – dirty filters, dirty life.

Indoor Air Quality – You Deserve the Best

Newcomers and visitors to Arizona are astounded when they observe their first major dust storm in conjunction with a monsoon. Many people can’t believe their eyes when they see the ominous, swirling dark clouds of dust and silt miles wide towering hundreds of feet in the air. You don’t need to be a clean air expert or an environmentalist to understand the implications of that much particulate dust and dirt churning in the air. Unless you filter it out, that dust is getting into your house and ultimately in the air you breathe inside your home. In addition to silt, sand and dust, Arizona desert air may also contain allergens, such as:

  • Pollen
  • Ragweed
  • Air pollution from combustible engines
  • Animal dander
  • Mold

All of these allergens present serious challenges for people with asthma or respiratory conditions. Did you know asthma is the number one illness-related reason for children missing school? Many retirees move to Phoenix to get away from winter weather and enjoy the desert lifestyle, but respiratory conditions can worsen with age and are not to be taken lightly.

The only way to insure you’re getting clean air inside your home is to have your air filters changed regularly and have your HVAC vents inspected by a professional. Why not call the experts at Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating today? We’re here to help you breathe easier.