Cool Touch Air Conditioning and Heating Blog: Archive for the ‘Heating’ Category

How Dirty Ducts Affect Your Homes Air Quality

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Modern gas furnaces depend on a system of ducts to distribute hot air throughout your home. Over time, dust and debris can easily build up inside those ducts. We live in a very dusty part of the country here in Phoenix, and over time that can create severe problems with the quality of your indoor air.  Dirty ducts can affect your furnace’s ability to heat the household, making it work harder to do its job.   If you need duct cleaning in Phoenix, Peoria, Glendale, Goodyear, Tempe, Chandler or Scottsdale, give Cool Touch a call today.

dirty air ducts

dirty air ducts

First, air flow through the ducts can be restricted if the build-up gets high enough. Reduced air flow means that the heated air isn’t circulated through your home as quickly as it could be, slowing the heating process and forcing your system to work harder to get to the temperatures you need it to be. That means higher monthly heating bills as well as increased wear and tear on the components.

Dirty air ducts can also lead to clogged air filters, which can cause your heating system to heat less effectively. Really dirty filters can restrict air flow so much your furnace will shut down to prevent overheating! If you have to change your furnace filters often because they keep getting clogged, its a good sign you need your ducts cleaned.

Furthermore, dust and dirt can lead to poor air quality. This can worsen allergies and increase irritation to the nose and throat, which you certainly don’t want to have to make any unnecessary trips to the doctors.

before and after air duct cleaning

before and after air duct cleaning

The good news is that you don’t have to live with the problem. Once you know how dirty ducts affect your home’s heating, you can take steps to correct it. Here in Phoenix and the West & East valley, duct cleaning services are provided by the professionals at Cool Touch A/C and Heating. We’ll get the dust out of your duct system and set up a maintenance schedule to help keep your heating system free of dust going forward. Pick up the phone and give us a call today to make an appointment. You’ll be glad you did! 623-584-3762

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Differences Between Furnaces & Heat Pumps

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

From the point-of-view of a person standing in a room where a vent is sending out warm air, there seems to be little difference between a heat pump and a furnace. The end result is the same: heated air. The two units, wherever they are housed, may make different sounds, but otherwise nothing else is.

There is an illusion however, that almost all furnaces and heat pumps are vastly different devices that operate on separate principles. We’ll go into a bit more details about the differences between the two comfort systems. We hope this will help you if you’re trying to make a choice between the two for your home. But to make a final decision, you should have expert guidance: Cool Touch Air & Heating. Our experience will help you decide if a furnace or heat pump is right for you.

Furnaces create heat and then transfer it to the air. In a general sense, they are similar to ovens in which they heat up the air using their fuel source. Most furnaces either use electricity or natural gas to create this heat. The heat is transferred to the air, and then fans blow that air into the ducts that send it through your home. Natural gas furnaces have to vent away the exhaust from combustion. All this occurs inside a single indoor cabinet.

Heat pumps do not create heat at all, however, they move heat from one place to another, using separate units: one indoors and one outdoors. The outdoor unit draws heat from the air, then transfers it indoors using refrigerant. The inside unit then releases the heat to the indoors, which blowers send through vents. Heat pumps use electrical power to run and do not create any emissions from burning fuel.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that the heat pump can also serve as an air conditioner: if it reverses the direction of heat exchange, drawing heat from indoors and putting it outdoors, it will cool down the inside of a home. Furnaces will only heat, heat pumps can heat and cool.

They sound a bit too good to be true, don’t they? But heat pumps are not ideal for every home or every climate. Sometimes they have trouble providing enough heat, something at which furnaces excel. However, the easiest way to know which system will work the best for you is to consult with experts, such as those at Cool Touch Air and Heating (623-584-3762). Our specialists are devoted to bringing you the best comfort they can, and they’ll help you decide which one is best for your Phoenix, AZ home.

 

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Heating System Maintenance & Repair Can Prevent House Fires

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

As temperatures stay cool in the evenings and mornings here in Phoenix, many homeowners find themselves turning up the thermostat before heading to bed. Before February hits, have Cool Touch come out to your home to look at your heating system. If any heating repairs need to be performed, we’ll be sure and take care of it as this simple action may save your life and your home this winter.

The Leading Cause of House Fires

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that heating is one of the top causes of house fires nationwide, especially during the winter months. In order to keep themselves and their homes warm, many people use a variety of devices, such as fireplaces, home heating systems, and space heaters that could potentially cause a detrimental house fire, injuries, and even death.

You can easily reduce this high risk by having heating repair done on your heater before you start using it regularly and taking other protective measures. For example, if you choose to use a space heater, never leave your home with it turned on, and keep it at least three feet away from anything flammable. Space heaters cause approximately 90,000 house fires each year so be careful with these devices and use other heating methods with care.

You should also have your ducts inspected to make sure debris, lint and large quantities of dust aren’t clogged up in them. Having debris and lint clogged in your household ducts could be an easy way for a fire to start.

When looking at your heating system, make sure the flame is blue, a yellow flame may be a sign that the burner could be out of adjustment.

If your home has a fireplace have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually for creosote build-up and cracks in the mortar or chimney flues. Do not exceed the fuel capacity of your fireplace.

Protect Your Home and Your Safety

Don’t go any longer without having heating repairs done by us at Cool TouchContact us at 623-584-3762 to schedule heating maintenance and repair, serving the entire valley to protect the safety of your home and your loved ones this winter.

 

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Common Issues with Gas Furnaces

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Gas furnaces do not pose a large safety risk. Although they use a gas that is combustible and potentially toxic to inhale, modern gas furnaces are constructed with safety features. If a homes gas furnace receives regular maintenance and any necessary repairs, it should pose no danger to you or your family.

When a gas furnace does run into problems, it’s important that you have the issues fixed as soon as you can and make sure that only professionals work on the repairs. Gas furnace problems can lead to a potential full breakdown as well as the hazard of carbon monoxide leaks. Stay safe with prompt work from an experienced company like Alaskan Home Services for your furnace repairs in Phoenix, AZ.

Some common troubles with gas furnaces

  • Dirty burner: The burner is the place in a gas furnace where the jets ignite that create the combustion gas used to raise the temperature of the air. A build-up of dirt and grime along the burner, or the development of rust, will restrict the oxygen available to the jets and make it more and more difficult for them to ignite. If your furnace uses a pilot light, a clogged burner could also cause it to go out. The burner will need to be removed and cleaned, and for this you will require professionals.
  • Failed thermocouple/mercury sensor: Depending on the age of your furnace, you will either have a thermocouple or a mercury sensor registering whether the pilot light is lit. If the pilot light goes out, the thermocouple or sensor will automatically shut of the gas supply so carbon monoxide will not flood the combustion chamber and potentially cause a danger of explosion. Thermocouples will need occasional replacement and sensors repaired, so make sure you schedule regular maintenance to catch these needs.
  • Cracked heat exchangers: The heat exchanger transfers the heat from the combustion gas to the air. If a heat exchanger develops cracks—usually because of corrosion weakening the metal—then it can lead to exhaust gases leaking into the cabinet or into your living spaces. If you suspect a heat exchanger problem (usually signaled by a loud clicking sound right before the blower fan stars up), then you need to shut off the gas supply to the furnace and call for repairs.

Use only professionals to solve these problems

Gas furnace repair is risky for amateurs to perform, and in some local codes it may be illegal for anyone who isn’t licensed to work on an appliance connected to a gas line. Don’t risk damaging your furnace or hurting yourself, let the pro’s at Cool Touch maintenance or repair your household furnace. Call us today 623-584-3762

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Why a Little More Humidity in Your Home Can Help

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

If your throat feels a bit dry or your skin feels itchy, scratchy and uncomfortable, it may have a lot to do with your indoor air – or what’s missing from it. Efforts to keep your home warm throughout the winter months may also remove much of the water vapor present in your home’s indoor air, effectively drying it out. Heavy use of your furnace can cause your home’s humidity to fall well below the 40 to 50 percent threshold needed to maintain a comfortable environment.

Home Air Quality

Home Air Quality

While too much moisture in your home can be a bad thing, the same goes for having too little moisture in your indoor air. A low-humidity environment not only causes dry and itchy skin, but it can also make you more susceptible to infections, as well as viruses that cause colds and flu.

Woodwork, hardwood flooring and walls can also crack, warp and shrink due to the lack of moisture in the air. The dry air also can cause an increase in static electricity, putting your electronics in danger, as well as giving you a nasty shock now and again.

Restoring your home’s humidity levels is simply a matter of adding more moisture to the air. Although everyday activities such as showering and cooking create additional moisture, installing a whole-house humidifier to your heating and cooling system is one of the best ways of managing your home’s relative humidity.

A whole-house humidifier accurately provides balanced indoor relative humidity levels based on outside temperature and indoor, allowing for just the right amount of moisture in the air for improved indoor air quality. These systems require only minimal maintenance and are relatively inexpensive to operate. If you just want to control moisture levels in a single room, a portable room humidifier is also up to the task.

For more tips on how you can improve your homes indoor air quality please visit www.cooltouch.us or call us 623-584-3762.

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Capitalize on the Efficiency of Your Home’s Energy

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Imagine your home as a giant storage space with connected ducts, which are highly effective tools for accomplishing consistent energy efficiency.  Just as a business is only as strong as their employees, no overall energy system is more efficient than its most inefficient component.

Your home comfort system comprises about half of the full amount of your total residential energy usage.  It’s only logical and quite obvious that maximizing energy efficiency must also begin at the biggest source of waste – HVAC.

Below is a basic overview of the best ways to harmonize all systems in order to optimize overall energy efficiency.

Peak energy efficiency cannot possibly exist where inner air constantly seeps outside.  As long as warm air can escape during colder weather and enter throughout sizzling summers, your heating/air conditioning equipment must work overtime to compensate in order to maintain programmed interior temperatures.

Take a long stroll through the inside and outside of your house at least once a year to look for potentially air leaks, such as:

– Worn/damaged weather stripping around windows and door casings

–  Gaps between windows and/or doors and surrounding framework

– Cracking or gaps between exterior siding and underlying foundation

– Open spaces around holes bored into walls to provide entry points for pipes or wiring

Replace  Insulation

Insulation is designed to decrease heat entrapped within interior wall spaces.  Verify whether existing insulation complies with current Zone 1 and Zone 2 R-value specifications.  Start in the attic and work your way down into smaller areas and exterior wall insulation.

Duct Work

Schedule a professional duct inspection to ensure sufficient insulation, sealing, and absence of any blockage in your duct work. Cool Touch specializes in duct testing and will run a thorough test to determine where leaks and blocks may be coming from.

HVAC Machinery

If your HVAC system was installed more than fifteen years ago or requires excessive repair, consider replacing it.  Consider switching to an energy star unit and are easily identifiable by a bright yellow sticker on the side.  A large black number printed on its surface reveals the relative energy efficiency of the equipment it is attached to.   That number is far more important than the digits displayed on the price tag.

Cool Touch has been serving the valley for almost 10 years. We have a very strong reputation and have a team of professional technicians that will assist with any heating or cooling issue. Call us today to schedule an appointment 623-584-3762

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Leaky Duct Tests Are a Waste of Money

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Ducts carry air from the central heater or air conditioner to each part of the home and back again. In a typical house, up to 33% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost because of leaks or improper installation. Fixing duct leaks can save you $200 or more in annual energy costs and improve the comfort of your home.

“Typical duct systems lose 25 to 40 percent of the heating or cooling energy put out by the central furnace, heat pump or air handler. Duct repairs could be the most important energy improvement measure you can do” –US Department of Energy Consumer Reports

Household Duct Tests

Household Duct Tests

“The ducts that are part of central heating and cooling systems are the best opportunities to increase your energy and your comfort. Studies indicate that up to 30% of the heated or cooled air is lost along with the money spent to heat or cool that air through leaky ducts.” – Pacific Gas and Electric Utility

 

 

If you are like most homeowners, as long as you’re cooling and heating system is keeping you comfortable, you usually don’t give it much thought. But what you don’t see could be costing you a lot of money each year. Most duct systems are installed in attics or building cavities where they are rarely seen or inspected. They may have been poorly sealed when installed, fittings may have come loose, and duct runs may have become disconnected. All of this leads to a lot of lost air!

“Studies have shown that an average duct system loses 10 to 40 percent of the cool air through gaps in the duct joints. While sealing the ducts is a common practice now, few homes have had this done.”- Readers Digest Family Handyman Magazine

“For an average home, leaky ducts can waste hundreds of dollars each year. Duct leakage also lowers the heating and cooling capacity and can lessen equipment life.” – Southface Energy Institute

The results of a recent utility company study on duct leakage found:

  • Up to 33% of a heating/cooling system’s airflow could be leaking through the ducts, causing a loss of comfort and cooling capacity.
  • The impact is most severe in ducts installed in attics where temperatures can exceed 140 degrees in the summer.
  • On average, almost 15 percent of cooling energy is wasted due to duct leakage.
  • While there will always be some duct leakage, homes with properly sealed ducts can often have leakage reduced from 3 to 5 percent.
Duct Air Flow

Duct Air Flow

“We have done a lot of work in looking at how ducts impact air conditioning systems. Typically a leaky duct system can lose 20% to 40% of the energy you pay for to heat and cool your house,” – Dr, Max Sherman, Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Does your home need to be tested? Here’s a few questions that if you answer yes to, you should probably have the test performed.

Does your furniture seem to get dusty within a few days after house cleaning?

Are any areas in your home colder in the winter?

Are any areas in your home hotter in the Summer?

Do you ever feel uncomfortable even though the A/C is on? ( wake up sweating or clammy feeling)

Does your system ever run non-stop and still not keep you comfortable?

Does your house ever smell musty or unpleseant?

Does anyone in your home :

Ever go to bed with a clear head and wake up stuffy the next morning?

Get frequent headaches, flu like symptoms, or feel tired all the time?

Have asthma, or allergies to dust, pollen or molds?

If any of these symptoms are experienced by any of your family members or you would like to see if a duct test will save you money in energy costs, then call Cool Touch today and schedule your test. 623-584-3762.

 

 

 

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An A/C Units Biggest Predator

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

With all the building continuing throughout Phoenix and the valley, especially on what was once farmland, wildlife has been pushed off of that and into the suburbs. In regards to the HVAC industry this usually wouldn’t be anything to regard, however, one type of wildlife that has made its home around many homes here in Phoenix and it’s surrounding cities are rats.

Rats generally are not a welcomed sight for any home owner. However, they may be even more despised if the wires of your AC unit are being chewed up by them. In most homes in Arizona, AC Units consist of a Split Unit system where the Air Handler unit is inside the house, within the attic. The Condenser Unit is placed either on the roof, or beside the house. Both of these areas are prime areas for rats to attack exposed wiring that is connected to the units. While it may be difficult to look at your AC Unit to inspect if wires are being chewed on, most home owners are unaware there’s been rodents in the area.

 

 

Chewed A/C Wires

Chewed A/C Wires

As the weather is now cooling off and your air condition is not being used, this is a great time to consider AC Service and Repairs and to have an inspection done to see if rats are an issue. Cool Touch A/C and Heating has a team of professionals that can come to your home and provide a complete inspection of your AC Unit. If we suspect that your system has been effected by rats or any other type of rodent we can suggest ways to protect your unit from them.

If there has been any issues with the unit whether from rodents or just from heavy use in the summer, we can service the unit and get it primed for next year. While we’re there, you may even want us to double check your heating system to make sure that is ready for winter. The cold weather is now here, the nights are about to drop to the 40’s and 30’s, and you don’t want to wake up to a very cold home in the morning.

Protected A/C Unit

Protected A/C Unit

Call Cool Touch and schedule your cooling and heating system maintenance check today! 623-584-3762

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Top Tips to Use When Looking for a New Heater

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Installing a new heating system can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $3,500, depending upon the complexity of your specific installation. High efficiency models might cost an additional $500 to $1,000 for the added efficiency. If your family has high annual heating bills, a higher efficiency system is going to make more economic sense than it would for a family that has very small heating bills. So when determining what type of furnace to buy, take into account what you are spending on your annual energy bills. If you are going to be in your home for a period of time that would justify these additional expenses, it makes sense to install the highest efficiency heating system that you could afford.

A new heater is a significant investment, and if you make the decision to put one in, you need to do so only after careful consideration. This means more than just deciding your old heater isn’t good enough. It means knowing exactly what you want in a new heater and ensuring that you find the make and model with those qualities.

The Top Three Tips to Look for in a New Heater

1. Size. Furnaces should be neither too small nor too large, but just right. You need a heater that creates 50 BTUs (British thermal units) of heat for every square foot of your home, modified for such factors as sunlight exposure and insulation.

2. Efficiency rating. Furnaces are rated in AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency), listed as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the more effectively the furnace does its job.  The highest rated furnaces earn an EnergyStar sticker, denoting their status as particularly efficient units.

3. Type of system. Most people think of traditional gas furnaces when they think of heaters, and those models do the job very well. You might want to consider alternate models, such as heat pumps (which combine the features of a heater and an air conditioner). Both are extremely effective in places with mild winters like ours in Phoenix.

Tips to Determine the Size of Furnace You Should Buy

1. The size and configuration of your house

2. The levels of insulation in your walls, ceilings, 2nd floors

3. The number and type of windows in your home

4. The orientation of your home to the sun

5. The size and configuration of your house

For more things to look for in a new heater, or to talk to someone about installing a new heater, contact Cool Touch Air Conditioning & Heating for help. We serve all of Phoenix,AZ, heating installation is our specialty, and we dedicate ourselves to doing the job right every time. Pick up the phone and give us a call today 623-584-3762 or visit us here!

 

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Look for These Six Furnace Warning Signs

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

It is important to know the six warning signs that your furnace may be on it’s last legs. It is especially important not to wait until a crisis occurs as this could lead to higher costs . A cold night in January, with the furnace not running efficiently or worse, completely broken down, is not the time to assess your heating system. Start now!

1. Age of your furnace

A good place to start is to compare your furnaces age to the national average. The average life expectancy of furnaces in homes today is between 16 and 20 years. If your furnace is close to this age or older, you should begin shopping. Shopping for a replacement furnace in an emergency does not allow time to make your best decision. Most people prefer to replace their furnace as a planned home improvement rather than a panic replacement when your furnace is faltering or failed.

2. Gas & Electric Bills Increasing

Increase in gas and electric prices are not the only reason for high bills. Furnaces often lose their efficiency as they age especially if they have not been properly maintained. As a result your furnace may run longer to provide the same amount of heat. This will cause your gas & electric bills to go up.

3. Furnace Repairs in the last 2 years

It doesn’t take long to spend $500 just to keep an old furnace running. Furnaces incur the most breakdowns in the last 2 years of their lives. Another repair sign is whether you had to wait to get parts replaced. As a furnace ages, it gets harder to get replacement parts.

4. Is your burner flame yellow instead of blue

A yellow or flickering flame may be a sign that poisonous carbon monoxide could be created by your furnace.

5. Is your furnace making strange noises

Old furnaces often start to make some strange noises as they get toward the end of their life. Have you heard any banging, popping, rattling, or squealing noises coming from your furnace? This is a sign that your furnace definitely needs to be looked at and may need to be replaced.

8. Is your house dry or dusty

Old furnaces often lack the ability to moisturize and clean the air in your home. Your house air may feel stuffy or stale. Does anyone in your family suffer from allergies to airborne dust, mold, pollen, viruses or dander? Or does anyone suffer from dry nose, dry throat, or dry skin? These signs all suggest that your old furnace is not capable of providing you with the comfort you and your family may want.

If you feel your furnace may be on its last legs or would like a professional to come out and inspect your heating system, please call Cool Touch 623-584-3762. Don’t get stuck in the cold this winter. Let Cool Touch keep your household warm.

 

 

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