Cool Touch Blog: Archive for the ‘Services’ Category

Indoor Air Quality Tips: Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Microbial volatile organic compounds are chemical agents produced by organic materials like mold that can have a potentially dangerous effect on your nervous system, and negatively affect your indoor air quality in Gilbert. In fact, some MVOCs have an equal or even worse effect on the human body as petroleum based VOCs which have long been labeled as dangerous to inhale by the EPA.

The problem of course is that there are too many talking heads out there telling you that MVOCs will kill you or that they can be ignored. The truth is in between, and for your family to remain safe and healthy you need to keep a close eye on the effects of potential black mold patches in your home.

Toxicity in Many Molds

The most commonly cited “toxic” mold is black mold or stachybotrys. This mold produces a mycotoxin that can quite literally poison anyone who breathes or ingests it. However, other forms of mold which might appear as red, white, green or grey produce MVOCs that are equally dangerous. Many people with mold have these dangerous chemicals in their home and don’t even realize it.

Typically, MVOCs can be smelled as a musty, organic gas that develops from the mold as it matures. Mold produces a variety of chemicals including benzene, aldehyde, tulolene, more. These chemicals create that musty scent and are all quite dangerous to the human body. Just because a chemical is organic doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous to your health. Imagine if man made formaldehyde or benzene were in the air near your children – what would you do?

Handling MVOCs

The first step to reducing MVOCs in your home is mold abatement. Proper removal and air purification will reduce the volume of mold that can off gas these chemicals. Additionally, you should reduce your use of such chemicals as aerosol sprays, paints and paint thinners, hobby supplies, air fresheners and other chemicals compounds that produce manmade or petroleum based chemicals that feed mold.

Finally, make sure you have your home inspected as soon as you suspect the presence of mold. Regardless of the mold’s color and the smell you notice, it should be checked by a professional in the mold detection and abatement field. It might be nothing, but if it is something, you want someone you can trust to take care of it immediately.  Call Cool Touch to set up an inspection today.

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Air Conditioning Tips: How to Troubleshoot a Failed AC Unit

Monday, April 30th, 2012

In most cases, an air conditioners in need of maintenance may be fixed by going through some troubleshooting guidelines. If you would like one of our Cave Creek air conditioning technicians to help you get your AC unit running again, give Cool Touch for assistance. We can also send someone to your home if we can’t get your system working again.

Here are some basic steps to try before you call for a repair.

Check All Controls and Fuses

When your air conditioner won’t cool your home properly, always check the thermostat to see if it is on “cool” and set for the right temperature. If the air conditioner has shut down, check to make sure that the unit is receiving power by looking in the fuse box for a flipped circuit breaker and also making sure it is plugged in properly. You can also inspect the visible wires and electrical components for obvious damages. Call a Cave Creek air conditioning technician if you see physical damage to the electrical components. Never try to fix this yourself.

Sometimes when there’s extreme weather conditions in the summer, such as very high temperatures or high humidity levels, the high-pressure switch can get flipped and turn off the air conditioner. You can easily find the switch on most AC models in the compressor’s access panel. Check your owner’s manual or call us if you don’t know how to locate or reset the limit switch.

Check for Refrigerant Problems or Condensate Pan Leaks

Refrigerant problems caused by the wrong amount of refrigerant can keep the AC unit from cooling your home properly, and you can usually tell if there’s a refrigerant issue by looking for frost or icing on the evaporator coil. When there’s excess coil icing, it means that there isn’t enough cool air being delivered to your home. If you see thick frost on the evaporator coil, a technician will most likely need to charge the refrigerant, or there could be a leak in the refrigerant line.

Condensate leaks into the condensate pan can also cause an air conditioner to fail. The condensate drip pan is installed underneath the air handler to catch condensate leaks if the drain system gets clogged. Most of the time, a small clog in the drain line can be easily cleared. Also check the condensate switch for issues; sometimes these can be defective and cause your air conditioner to shut down.

At Cool Touch, we want to be the only Cave Creek air conditioning contractor you’ll ever need. Call Cool Touch any time to get troubleshooting advice for your AC system.

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How To Save Energy and Money This Summer in Phoenix

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Though Phoenix residents hate to admit it, we all do it without thinking: turn the AC higher instead of turning on a fan, or forget about the thermostat settings which are set to full-blast when we are not at home.  Oftentimes it is the simple things which can have the most impact, and with saving energy this is true as well.

Households throughout the US will spend somewhere between $1,200 and $2,200 per year on energy costs.  With the cost of living in many areas of life skyrocketing, it’s nice to know there are some easy ways to lower at least one household bill: the energy bill.  Of course, some of these fixes are free, and some cost a little time and energy, while others must be paid for as long-term investments.

Free, Do-It-Yourself Energy Solutions

These quick and easy, do-it-yourself, no cost solutions produce energy saving results almost immediately!

  • Adjust the air conditioning thermostat to higher numbers, such as 78 while at home and 85 or higher when away.  Supplement AC usage with a ceiling or room fan, as moving air feels cooler on the skin.
  • Eliminate wasted energy by turning off appliances, lights, and equipment when not in use, unplug electronic chargers when not in use, and get rid of spare appliances such as refrigerators which are plugged in but not in use.
  • Put those dishwashing gloves away and let the dishwasher do the dirty-work!  Dishwashers use less water than washing by hand.  In addition, let the dishes air-dry rather than running through the heat-cycle to save even more.
  • Do laundry more efficiently by washing and rinsing in only cold water, and line dry instead of using the dryer.
  • Use the microwave to cook and not only speed up the cooking process, but use two-thirds less energy than a stove or conventional oven.

Low-Cost, Economical Energy Solutions

Most of these energy saving options can be procured at the local hardware store, are fairly inexpensive, and can be easily done by any competent home-owner.

  • Perform air conditioning maintenance and replace air filters as often as the manufacturer’s specifies.
  • Weather-proof your home by plugging air leaks on doors and windows with weather stripping, sealant, or caulk where applicable.
  • Purchase and install ENERGY STAR® certified products such as porch lights, floor and table lamps, pocket lights, and even programmable thermostats to ensure energy using items are using as little energy as possible.

Invest in Energy Solutions

If it is important to you to save energy and money long-term and on a larger scale, there are a number of durable energy-saving investments to consider.

  • Purchase new windows, a new air-conditioning unit, refrigerator, or other household appliances which use less energy than older units
  • Install window and house shading such as patio covers, or strategically plant trees to shade the home during peak times of heat
  • Install a whole house fan which can suck cool air into the home after sundown or in the early morning in order to cool the entire house thus reducing air conditioning usage
  • Seal and insulate all household ducts in crawl spaces and attics
  • Increase or upgrade attic insulation to higher than the standard grade to keep housing temperatures more constant

To save energy also means to save money, and by following any of the simple steps listed above the average consumer can save energy and save money almost immediately.  Please contact Cool Touch Air Conditioning & Heating Specialists with and questions or concerns

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Indoor Air Conditioning Components for Peoria Homes

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Air conditioning in Peoria is a modern convenience that we can easily take for granted as long as all the parts are working well.  In every unit, no matter the size, the basic process is one of extracting heat from the conditioned space and moving it to the outside, leaving cool air in its place.

This process easily divides into indoor and outdoor components.

Air Conditioning 101

Based on the principal of thermal energy which states that heat gravitates toward cooler temperatures, compounds known as refrigerants are moved through a closed loop system, repeatedly contracting and expanding between liquid and gas forms, alternately releasing and absorbing heat along the way.  The particular chemicals are selected for their abilities to transform from one state to the other at low temperatures.

While the refrigerant evaporates into a gaseous state within the looped system, it absorbs heat, removing the stale air from the space being conditioned and evacuating it to the outdoors. The warm air is pulled through ducts to meet with the cooling loop.

Ductwork

The cooled air is distributed through ducts or tubing and released into individual spaces.  Additional ductwork is required to remove the stale air and pull it back to be reconditioned as it passes over the loop containing the refrigerant.  The air is moved in both directions by a blower, usually electric and sized to handle the amount of air no matter the building.

Ductwork is also sized to handle appropriate volumes of air. To maintain efficiency, large trunks distribute along central lines to smaller ones reaching farther out. The return air is usually taken from common areas.

The grates are found in the walls, floors and often as part of the dropped ceiling. When combined with a forced air heating system, the total energy use is much more efficient.

Looped Coils

The refrigerant is enclosed in a loop where it can expand and contract to make its transformation from gas to liquid and back again.  To change into a heat-absorbing gas, it travels through the evaporating coils, an intricate series of delicate fins that meets with the ductwork to regenerate the conditioned air.

An exchange valve allows just the right amount of liquid refrigerant into the evaporator coils.  If there is too much, the tube is flooded too tightly to allow expansion of the molecules and room to attract the heat.  If too little, the process is inefficient.

Cool Maintenance

If an air conditioning maintenance is performed on a regular basis, the system functions with little attention and over sight.  Relaxed and comfortable, even on the most brutal of days, we are able to do our stuff and sleep well.  Contact Cool Touch Air Conditioning & Heating Specialists

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The Danger of Refrigerant Leaks in Phoenix

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Air conditioners in Phoenix are filled with a chemical compound called refrigerant. This substance is what allows air conditioners to remove heat from and dehumidify homes. It is a necessity, but it is also a dangerous chemical that, if released, can cause damage to the environment and pose health risks to your family.

Why Refrigerant Is Dangerous

There are many types of refrigerant but most air conditioners use either R-22 or Freon coolant – depending on their age. Newer air conditioners may use R410-A refrigerant, an environmentally safer, but still dangerous alternative.

All of these refrigerant types are chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. These chemicals are controlled substances by the Environmental Protection Agency, meaning they must be properly removed and disposed of. Because your air conditioner does not consume any of coolant in operation, it should never need to be refilled unless there is a leak. Such a leak would require immediate air conditioning repair due to the immense damage CFCs can do to the environment.

If refrigerant leaks into your home it will evaporate as a gas and is harmful to inhale, causing a variety of health problems, including nausea, headache and in extreme cases asphyxiation. This is not a common occurrence but if you suspect a leak, you should call a professional immediately to inspect your air conditioner.

Damage to Your Air Conditioner

Beyond the environmental and health issues posed by a refrigerant leak, the biggest problem you will face is damage such leaks can cause to your air conditioner. Low refrigerant levels put undue stress on your compressor and can lead to damage in almost every part of the device.

Not only that but the air conditioner won’t work as efficiently. A 10% loss in refrigerant volume can result in up to a 20% increase in electricity cost to run your air conditioner.

What to Do in the Event of a Refrigerant Leak

If you suspect a refrigerant leak in your air conditioner, take action immediately. Call Cool Touch Air Conditioning & Heating Specialists so we can recapture the escaped gasses and seal the leak fast. It is important not just for your safety but for the wellbeing of the environment.

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Air Conditioning Guide: The Ins and Outs of Ductless Splits Air Conditioning

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

So, it’s time to install a new air conditioner and you’re pretty sure there just isn’t enough room in the walls or ceilings to place the necessary ductwork. No problem. There is a rapidly evolving technology that allows you to have air conditioning without ductwork. It’s called mini-split ductless air conditioning and it relies on individual units placed in key locations around your house. Here’s how they work.

Multi-Zone Cooling

The first step is to install a central unit. This is your compressor and condenser and is usually placed outside like the core of a central AC system. These units range between 15,000 and 40,000 BTUs depending on how much cooling your home needs and will support up to 4 zones within your house.

Once the central unit is installed, smaller room-sized units are placed throughout your house. These units are designed for between 9,000 and 18,000 BTU spaces and are usually placed high on the wall of your room to distribute cooled air. The smaller units are connected to the main unit by refrigerant lines that are run up the side of your house (or inside if you want them out of the elements).

Because each indoor unit is individual and has its own thermostat, you save electricity by having direct control over each part of your home. In fact, the average Phoenix ductless split system uses something like 30% less electricity than a standard Phoenix air conditioning system.

Is it Right for You?

This is the most common question we hear and to be honest, it really depends on your needs. If you have a large house – we’re talking 3,000 square feet or bigger, a multi-zone ductless system may not provide enough cooling on its own. Most systems only support up to 4 individual units and therefore cannot cool massive spaces. However, if you have a smaller home, or more importantly have no space for ductwork, these systems are much more efficient than installing multiple window units.

For more information about having a mini-split ductless air conditioning system installed in your home, give Cool Touch Air Conditioning, Heating, Plumbing & Electrical a call today!

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Why it is Important for Phoenix Residents to Examine Their Ducts Before Installing a New AC System

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

The day people install a new air conditioner in Phoenix is a terrific day for them. It means they can look forward to a summer of cool comfort, sheltered from the blistering summer heat that would otherwise make you feel sticky and sluggish.

Before that air conditioning installation can take place, however, there are many smaller tasks that must be performed. You have to do some research, shop around, consult with a contractor and finally decide on the best system for your home. Finally, you should have your ducts examined.

Your ducts are the pathway by which cooled air will be distributed through your home. Without regular maintenance, ducts are less efficient in transferring air and can cost you money, not only in electricity but in air quality control. Like any major component of your HVAC system, they need to be properly maintained to work properly.

So, you want your ducts to be in tip top shape for your new AC system. Having a professional inspect them thoroughly prior to installation will identify any damage, dirt, debris, leaks, corrosion or other trouble spots that could impede your air conditioning.

This gives you the opportunity to get any of those problems fixed before the new system is installed. Plus, a professional inspection is an important part of routine duct maintenance anyway. Having it done at this juncture is easier and ensures you know will have a smooth running air conditioner for some time to come.

Having duct work in good repair is vital to the operation of your HVAC system, including the new AC system you want to install. If you are contemplating having a new air conditioning system installed or even if you are not, now is the time to call Cool Touch Air Conditioning & Heating Specialists for full inspection of your ductwork. Especially if you have a forced air heating system and those ducts are used year round, you want to know for a fact that they will work properly in the future, no matter what is hooked up to them.

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Toxic Mold Prevention For Phoenix Homes

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

As a Phoenix resident you’ve likely heard the horror stories associated with the development of toxic mold in homes like yours where family members were sick for weeks or even months with no clear sign. Black molds and toxic fungi can cause a number of health problems ranging from respiratory distress to long term disease. So, the best response is to prevent it from developing in the first place, and maintain good indoor air quality.

Moisture is the Enemy

Mold needs one thing to grow – moisture. So, the easiest way to prevent mold from developing is to minimize the amount of moisture in and around your home. This is especially true in your attic and your basement. Any space beneath ground level is susceptible to leaks while the attic can leak due to gaps in the chimney lining or roof problems.

Mold develops on carpets, upholstery and other fabric and cloth spaces – so it’s a good idea to pay close attention to these spaces when in the basement or attic. In most cases, it is recommended that you stick with tile or wood floors anywhere that water has a habit of getting in.

Humidity should be removed from your basement with a dehumidifier as well to reduce the chance of sweating on concrete walls when the temperature drops outside. Sealing potential leaks and cracks in your roof will reduce the risk of other potential issues as well – dropping the total health problems faced by even the most innocuous of mold spores.

What to Do When Mold Appears

Obviously the goal is to stop mold from developing at all with dehumidifiers and air cleaners, but what happens when you see the telltale sooty black or gray patches on walls, carpets, or upholstery? Most mold abatement companies will start by sealing up the sources. Getting rid of mold is pointless if you cannot stop it from redeveloping. For that reason, you should work with whichever firm you hire to develop a clear and direct plan for removal of the offending mold.

Regular maintenance is recommended once mold has been removed to check for new growth. Even when mold is removed and the conditions that lead to the growth of the toxic substance are fixed, mold can come back. So, it’s important to check for potential regrowth on an annual basis.  If you have any questions about indoor air quality place call Cool Touch Air Conditioning & Heating Specialists.

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AC and Energy Recovery Ventilators in Phoenix

Friday, March 16th, 2012

As a homeowner in Phoenix with an air conditioning system, you know that it costs plenty to keep your home cool and comfortable in the summer. It is an expense you are willing to pay for the comfort and overall health of your family, but if you are like most homeowners, you would do anything to lower your monthly electric bills where possible.

One way to make your air conditioning system a little more efficient is to install an energy recovery ventilator (ERV). Read on to learn what ERV is and how it works alongside your AC system to reduce energy loss and improve indoor comfort control.

What Is an ERV?

Not to be confused with a heat recovery ventilator, an ERV is a mechanical device that transfers heat and water vapor between the incoming (i.e. outside) air and outgoing air being moved by your ventilation system.

The main difference between an energy recovery ventilator and a heat recovery ventilator is that the former transfers both heat and moisture, while the latter transfers only heat.

What Does an ERV Do?

What does that transfer mean for your air conditioning system? Well, in the hot summer months, your air conditioner pulls in warm air from the outside, cools it and then blasts it into your home, while exhausting warm air to the outside.

What an ERV does is make that process a little easier for the air conditioner to handle by transferring heat from the warm air coming in to the exhaust air that the AC is blowing out of the house. The incoming air therefore has to be cooled less, which means your AC doesn’t have to work as hard, which means less electricity is used.

After adding this air conditioner installation, many users of ERV systems report that the moisture exchange also makes the air in their homes feel “fresher,” rather than the stale feel that air conditioning can sometimes produce.

So, if you would like to increase efficiency and reduce the cost of running your AC system, consider an ERV as one possible solution.  Call Cool TouchAir Conditioning & Heating Specialists with any questions.

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Key Components for Annual Maintenance of Your HVAC System in Glendale

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Annual service checkups in Glendale are an important component of your HVAC system’s ongoing operation. Without this anual air conditioning maintenance, the system may not run properly when the hottest days of the summer are upon you. While there are some tasks you can perform yourself, most of the vital maintenance tasks need to be performed by a professional annually.

As you look for a contractor to perform your annual maintenance, make sure you find someone who will perform each of the most important tasks listed below for your system each year:

  • Electrical Connections – These should be tightened, tested and replaced as necessary.
  • Thermostat – A professional thermostat calibration ensures the system runs at the right temperature throughout the summer.
  • Control Panel – The control panel is checked for error codes and recalibrated to ensure it continues running as intended for another year.
  • Blower Parts – The fan and motor are checked and serviced as needed. Replacement parts are installed.
  • Condenser Coils and Evaporator – Both are cleaned and checked for signs of wear. Any bent coils are repaired.
  • Gas Connections – An inspection of your gas lines, if applicable, is made. Additionally, if you have electrical components, they will be checked for damage.
  • Exchanger and Combustion Components – If you have a packaged system, these are checked for the entire system.
  • Refrigerant Check – If you have a refrigerant filled air conditioning system, it will be checked to ensure levels are high enough for another summer.
  • Air Filters – While you can do this yourself each month, a professional will check permanent and replaceable filters for wear and tear.
  • Moving Parts – All moving parts are inspected, oiled, and checked for damage. If a part needs replacement it is done now to avoid future problems.

Good annual maintenance is necessary to keep your system running smoothly year round. While there are plenty of cleaning tasks you can perform each month, the most important tasks are those performed by your contractor.

If you are interested in learning more about how maintenance will be performed on your system, call Cool Touch Air Conditioning & Heating Specialists today.

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