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Monsoon Season, High Humidity and Your Air Conditioner

We often get comments in the summer from homeowners who have recently moved to Phoenix from other areas in the U.S. like the Midwest. The puzzled newcomers will ask, “This is Arizona, isn’t it supposed to be a dry heat? What’s with these crazy rainstorms?” They have experienced their first couple of monsoon storms and are concerned about possible damage to their air conditioners and the high humidity levels in their homes.

Arizona Monsoon Weather Patterns

This year, Phoenix has already experienced heavy rainfall during the winter months due to El Niño. The monsoon season in Arizona officially begins on June 15th. Every year, as summer approaches, there’s a significant shift in the prevailing winds. For most of the year, weather and winds roll in from the west. However, during monsoon season, the prevailing winds come from the south, out of Mexico. As the winds travel north, they pick up moist air from the Gulf of California, the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The moisture accumulates in the atmosphere over the Southwest and above the Valley of the Sun. As a result, severe thunderstorms, often preceded by haboobs (giant dust storms) are a common occurrence in late June, July, August and early September.

When Monsoons Hit – Remember, It’s Personal Safety First

Monsoons can bring extremely high winds, lightning, driving rain and sometimes, hail. Never underestimate the power of these storms. High winds can knock down trees and power lines. Heavy monsoon rainfall often causes flash flooding, which is extremely dangerous to motorists. If possible, get off the roads and stay indoors during the storm. Here are steps you can take to prepare for monsoon season:

  • Inspect Your AC System

    Check your outdoor AC unit to ensure there are no obstructions, branches or plants growing nearby. Also make sure if flash flooding does occur near your home, your AC unit is well out of reach of any pooling water. Some homeowners keep a tarp or cover handy to protect their exposed air conditioner when the storm hits. Wind whipped dust and driving hail and rain can damage your AC unit. If you do cover your air conditioner for the storm, make sure the power is off before you cover it.

  • Consider a Whole House Surge Protector

    Severe monsoon thunderstorms bring lightning which can topple trees and power lines. Power outages are common during or after monsoons. Fluctuations in power can affect your air conditioner’s electrical system and circuitry. You might want to consider adding a whole house surge protector to prevent power surges from damaging your AC unit.

  • Check Your AC Drainage Lines

    Not only does your air conditioner keep you and your family cool, it also acts as a dehumidifier and removes moisture from the air in your home. During monsoon season, there is a significant increase in humidity, which means more moisture in your home. It’s important that the water drain line is clear and unclogged, so you don’t have water backing up or pooling near your AC unit.

Let Our Service Technicians Prepare Your Air Conditioner for Monsoon Season

Your air conditioner represents a huge investment in your home. We receive many calls every summer for damage done to air conditioners by monsoon storms. Why not have your air conditioning system checked by one of our experienced professionals. Call us today to schedule a pre-monsoon check-up.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Commercial Space Cooler This Summer

This entry was posted in Commercial on by .

While summer is here, it’s still business as usual in most Arizona commercial spaces, as well as for the employees who work in them. Productivity needs to remain consistent throughout the year – even when temperatures hit the triple digits. The challenge is ensuring indoor temperature stays consistently cool and comfortable.

If you have a commercial space, you know that not only can it be difficult to maintain a consistent indoor temperature in the summer, it’s also costly. At Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating, we’re here to help with all your commercial air conditioning needs, including a few tips to help keep your space comfortable with costs under control.

Schedule maintenance

If you haven’t yet, make sure your HVAC system is functioning efficiently by scheduling a preventive maintenance call. Not only will we, at Bruce’s, ensure that your units are ready for the hot season ahead, we can help you increase efficiency to save you on your monthly utility bill.

Change air filters

Ensure air filter replacement is part of your regular building maintenance. By replacing or cleaning filters at least once a month, you can reduce your energy consumption by 15 percent while helping to improve indoor air quality throughout the space.

Consider energy-saving blinds

Do you have windows that let in a lot of sunlight? They also let in heat which makes it harder for your HVAC system to cool your space. With window coverings, your units don’t have to work as hard and will last longer, increasing your system’s return on investment.

Listen for potential problems

If you notice noises from an air conditioner that are growing louder, it’s worth getting your system checked out. A common problem is a cracked or broken belt, but it could be something more serious. To ensure you don’t have a system failure which could halt business altogether, be proactive with addressing possible problems.

Use ceiling fans

Ceiling fans can enable you to raise the thermostat setting by about four degrees without any noticeable impact on your employees’ comfort. By using your ceiling fans with your air conditioner, you can save money throughout the summer by creating a wind chill effect that will keep everyone cooler and more comfortable.

Don’t forget! Call Bruce’s Air Conditioning & Heating for all of your commercial air conditioning needs this summer.

Summer in Phoenix, Air Conditioners and Over 100 Days of Temperatures Over 100 Degrees

By the calendar in the Old Farmer’s Almanac, meteorological summer lasts for 92 days. However, Arizona residents know better. Summer in Phoenix lasts a lot longer than 92 days. In fact, last year, the National Weather Service recorded 128 days with temperatures above 100 degrees. As a homeowner, you have one main concern when the temperature hits triple digits – keeping your air conditioner in top form so your house remains cool all summer long.

The Hottest City in America

Phoenix is known as the hottest city in America. Between the extreme temperatures, haboobs and monsoons, the Valley of the Sun earns its nickname every summer. As June approaches, keep in mind, your air conditioner will be running full tilt for most of the next four months. That can put quite a strain on the hardest working appliance in your home. Many homeowners call us and ask, “What can I do to prepare for summer?” Here are a few home cooling tips to help you get through the hottest part of the year:

  • Schedule Your AC Checkup

    We understand that might sound self-serving. However, time and again, we are deluged with calls during the first major heatwave when air conditioners are completely down, and panicky homeowners need repairs immediately. We often see problems that could have been addressed during a spring checkup. Try to remember, we recommend two service calls per year. One in spring, to prepare for summer and again in fall. When your air conditioner is serviced on a regular basis, small problems are spotted before they become big issues.

  • Sun Proof Your Home

    As much as possible, you’ll want to install heavy drapes, sun block shades or shutters to block out the sun in rooms facing south and west. The sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays not only fade furniture, rugs and carpeting – direct sunlight can raise the temperature in a room by up to ten degrees.

  • Consider Installing Shade Trees

    Shade trees and well-placed landscaping, especially planted on the south facing side of your house can help keep your home cool. Let the trees absorb the heat while you keep cool in the shade. Many homeowners are surprised to learn that landscaping can affect room temperatures inside their home.

  • Ceiling Fans Are a Must

    If you haven’t already done so, have ceiling fans installed in every room. Fans are a must in Phoenix homes, however, as years go by, homeowners don’t always replace them when they malfunction or start wobbling. Efficient fans will allow you to feel cooler while helping to lower your monthly electric bill.

Our Service Technicians Know All the Cool Tips

During a home HVAC inspection, our friendly and experienced service techs will review your entire system and provide cool tips for summer. Triple digit temperatures are not far off. Don’t wait until the heatwave hits. Call us today and we’ll get you ready for 100+ days of 100+ heat.

How to Avoid Air Conditioning-Related Fire Hazards

This entry was posted in Maintenance on by .

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season. In Arizona, that means temperatures will soon soar. As the valley heats up, Phoenix residents count on their air conditioners to provide trouble-free cooling all summer long. Most air conditioners are manufactured to extremely high standards and are reliable year in and year out. However, there is one fact that most homeowners remain unaware of – air conditioners can pose a risk of fire and need to be inspected on a regular basis to ensure the safety of your home.

There is nothing more heartbreaking than suffering the misfortune of a house fire. It is one of the most traumatic experiences a homeowner will ever go through. The National Fire Protection Association reports that HVAC-related fires cause close to $100 million in property damage in the United States each year. Fires caused by HVAC related issues are particularly frustrating because many, if not most HVAC fires, are utterly preventable. It’s ironic that the very appliance responsible for cooling your home can also, if neglected, be responsible for torching it.

Most fires would never happen if homeowners took the time to inspect potentially hazardous areas of their home and practice preventive maintenance measures.

Home Air Conditioning Fire Hazards and Danger Zones

In the aftermath of a fire, inspectors often note that the cause of the blaze was avoidable. Here are some of the most common HVAC-related fire hazards:

  • Electrical Issues – Over 80 percent of AC repairs are due to electrical issues which are the number one reason for air conditioner-related fires. As appliances get older, normal wear and tear can cause serious problems with electrical wiring or circuits. Air conditioners use a lot of power and can overheat when they are continuously running full blast for months. Understanding the condition of your HVAC unit and all its component parts, inside and out, is essential to preventing dangerous situations. Our experienced professionals know what to look for whether it’s a frayed wire or a potentially faulty circuit which may flame out.
  • Combustible Materials – HVAC units in the garage or basement are sometimes incorrectly used as shelves or “temporary” storage areas, which is especially dangerous in cramped quarters. Setting cans of paint, solvents, chemicals, cleaning solutions or any other combustible materials on or near your HVAC unit is a very bad idea. Outside, it’s important to inspect the area surrounding your condenser and check for leaves or debris which can cause problems. The areas surrounding your HVAC unit should always be completely clear.
  • What Can Possibly Go Wrong? – Over the years, we have seen bare wires chewed by rodents, units damaged by storms or lightening, and faulty electrical parts that have simply worn down over time. There are many potentially dangerous situations which homeowner have no way of knowing about unless they are a trained electrician. It’s important for your AC unit to be checked by a professional at least once a year.

Schedule an Air Conditioning Home Inspection Today!

As summer draws near, remember what Ben Franklin advised, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Don’t wait for small problems to turn into major headaches or costly fires. Give us a call today and schedule your pre-summer air conditioning inspection.

Pre-Summer Air Conditioning Checklist for a Worry-Free Summer Season

Sun block – locked and loaded. Pool gear and new swimming suits – check. When it comes to the rhythms of the seasons in Arizona, children complete their school year just as the temperatures start to heat up. Being prepared for summer means ensuring a cool inside environment for your kids and for everyone else as the hottest part of the year approaches. Air conditioning is a necessity in Arizona, and if you have only one service call per year (we normally advise two, one in spring and a second in fall), be sure to have your air conditioner checked while the temperatures are still below 100 degrees.

Phoenix Is Known as the Hottest City in America

Monsoon season starts in June, bringing high winds, driving rains ands incredible dust storms. Global warming means the trend for even more 100 degree plus days will continue. In 2018, there were 128 days where the temperature soared above 100. It all adds up to quite a challenge for the hardest working, largest and most complex appliance you have in your home – your air conditioner. Here is a pre-summer checklist of things you can do to get ready for the sizzling summer ahead:

  • Check Your Air Conditioner for Obstructions – Set aside some time on a weekend afternoon to check the general condition of your air conditioner. Make sure there are no obstructions or debris blocking the unit. Clear out grass, weeds, branches or anything that may hinder the free flow of air around your outdoor condenser.
  • Check All the Vents Inside – It is a good idea to do a walk through your house and inspect the vents to make sure they are all open. Ensure they are not blocked by furniture or storage boxes. Do you hear an annoying whistling in vents when your AC is on? This may be an indication of low return airflow. Our service technicians will make sure your return air ratio is in balance.
  • Replace Your Air Filters – Clogged or dirty air filters can cause problems for your air conditioner. It’s important to replace your air filters, particularly before the hottest part of the year. Your air filters help remove unwanted particulate dust, fine dirt, pollen and pet dander from the air circulating throughout your home. For better indoor air quality, change your filters more often.
  • If You’re Going to Install a New Air Conditioner, Now Is the Time – Installing a new air conditioner will save you money on your electric bill and provide years of cool comfort. However, you don’t want to wait until your old system totally breaks down. Especially in the middle of summer. If you think your present air conditioner may bite the dust this summer, it’s best to have an assessment performed sooner rather than later.

May Is Slipping Away – Summer Heat Is Just Around the Corner

With Memorial Day approaching, we know the busiest time of our service year is just about to start. Service calls increase dramatically with the first heat wave. In the desert, it’s best to be prepared for summer. Why not call us today for a worry free, cool summer!