Looking to stay up on the latest home improvement tips and tricks to live efficiently and comfortably? Subscribe to our blog today and we’ll keep you in the loop with useful HVAC tips and home comfort advice.

Subscribe Today for the Latest Tips

V for Ventilation – The “V” in HVAC and Why It’s Important

When it comes to H-V-AC – heating and air conditioning take top billing. In the Valley of the Sun, it’s all about lowering indoor temperatures, staying cool through the long, hot days of summer and keeping warm during the winter nights. “V” stands for ventilation, which is an essential yet underappreciated component in creating a comfortable and healthy environment in your home. If you’ve spent any length of time in the attic, a windowless tool shed or enclosed garage on a summer’s day, you know just how stifling and unpleasant an unventilated environment can be. Though unseen and largely unnoticed, proper ventilation improves indoor air quality, which is essential to your quality of life.

What Is Ventilation?

Most homeowners equate ventilation with opening a window or door and letting the fresh air in. Of course, in Arizona, that’s not advisable during the summer season when temperatures routinely climb into the 90s and above. In terms of properly installed HVAC, ventilation is the movement and circulation of air in, throughout and ultimately exiting your home. The goal is to constantly refresh the air inside your home. This helps to eliminate problems associated with stagnation, removes odors, fumes and VOCs and reduces unhealthy levels of humidity.

Humidity and Ventilation

Imagine a bathroom with no working windows and a broken exhaust fan. Within a few minutes of turning on the shower, there’s steam on the mirror and water droplets collecting on the ceiling, walls and tiles. Without exhaust or ventilation, the humidity builds, the temperature rises, and the bathroom becomes extremely uncomfortable. Within a few days or weeks, the increased humidity can lead to the growth of mold on the walls and tiles, which can be hazardous to your health. If you have visible mold anywhere in your home that generally indicates the indoor relative humidity is too high, and your home could benefit from improved ventilation.

Are Advancements in Insulation Impeding Home Ventilation?

The push for more energy efficient designs means builders place more emphasis on sealing homes through installing double-pane low-emissivity windows, improved insulating techniques, increased weather stripping, and super sealing homes. In older houses, a fair amount of ventilation was achieved through the less than perfect construction methods (little or no insulation, loose fittings, etc.) and the standard living room fireplace, which enabled a house to “breathe.” Today’s homes are built and wrapped nearly airtight. The good news is, advancements in sealing and insulation make your home more energy efficient, which helps lower your monthly utility bill. The bad news is, indoor air quality has become an issue. Now, more than ever, homeowners need to ensure their HVAC system has adequate return vents and the duct system is in good working order.

We Put the “V” in Ventilation Visitation

Before things really heat up in Phoenix for the summer, why not grant us visitation rights with your air conditioning system? When you schedule a spring tune up, we’ll drop by for a visit to inspect your entire system and provide you with a full evaluation. This summer, head into triple digit weather with peace of mind and improved indoor air quality. Our friendly and experienced service technicians are ready to serve you.

If It Looks Like A Duct, Acts Like A Duct and Leaks Like A Duct – It Might Be A Leaky Duct

This entry was posted in Maintenance on by .

Modern air conditioning is a clever invention that combines technology, electric motors, fans, compressors, coils, refrigerant and more to produce cold air on demand. In addition to that, as you know from paying your monthly utility bill, a lot of electricity is used to power your AC unit. All this effort and energy goes into creating cold air which is then dispersed by the blower throughout your home through your ductwork system. Unsung and unseen, your ducts are the final piece of the puzzle that delivers precious cold air which keeps you comfortable all summer long.

How Much Cold Air Are You Losing Through Leaky Ducts?

Ducts are not only the most overlooked components in your HVAC system but quite possibly the biggest offenders when it comes to lowering the overall efficiency of your air conditioning system. Did you know that faulty ductwork can allow 20, 30 or even 40 percent of your valuable cold air to escape through leaks and openings? In our many years providing AC service in Phoenix, we have seen all kinds of unfortunate duct-tales. Here are the most common duct related problems which are all very fixable:

  • Expansion and Contraction – Ductwork, especially in an attic is subject to extreme heat in the summertime. The temperature on your roof can exceed 140 degrees. Over time, your ducts expand in the intense heat and contract with the cold air. This punishing process of constant expansion and contraction can loosen joints, connectors and seals and cause leaks.
  • Foundation and Settling – As gravity works its magic on your house and the foundation settles, parts of your home may move slightly or get out of alignment. Foundation issues are very common in Arizona homes. Crossover areas where ducts connect from one part of the house to another are particularly susceptible to getting off kilter which can cause leaks.
  • Problems with Original Installation – Depending on the contractor who did the original HVAC installation when your house was built, you may have problems that have never been detected. It pains us to perform a duct system inspection only to find out work was left undone or unfinished years ago and the homeowner has been paying the price ever since.
  • Remodeling and Clumsy Repairs – We’ve seen a lot of damage done to ductwork (especially ceiling ducts) during remodeling projects by clumsy repairmen who weren’t paying attention to what they were doing or where they were stepping. Knocking a duct out of alignment to get at something else is unfortunately a very common occurrence.

The Good News Is Fixing Your Ducts Produces Immediate Results

Inspecting your ductwork, sealing leaks and closing holes in your duct system will pay significant dividends in terms of delivering more cold air where it belongs – in your home. There’s been a tremendous amount of construction over the last 50 years in Phoenix. Many homes that were built decades ago have never had their ducts checked. It’s something most homeowners simply haven’t considered having done.

Leaky Ducts Are Costing You Bucks!

An Arizona home air conditioning system represents a sizeable investment on your part. The actual cost of electricity can amount to 60 percent of your monthly utility bill in the summer. It’s a shame to allow your cold air to vanish into thin air due to leaky ducts. Give us a call so we can schedule a duct inspection today.

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.