Author Archives: ellsadmin ellsadmin

Unbalanced Air Conditioner – Why Can’t I Get the Air Conditioning Temperature Right in Certain Rooms?

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

As the song goes, Summertime and the living is easy – as long as the air conditioning is cranked up and blowing cold! Air conditioning makes summer in Arizona bearable. Many homeowners call us to say they are happy with their air conditioning, but they have one annoying problem. The temperature is fine throughout most of the house, but it’s much warmer in one room. Maybe you are experiencing a similar issue? Whether it’s the kitchen, your family room or one of the kid’s bedrooms, it can be a frustrating experience.

There is no set rule as to which rooms are harder to cool than others, although south and west facing rooms with large windows will always present a challenge for your air conditioning unit. Heavy blackout curtains or blinds can help to block out the desert sun. As well, kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms have extra heat and humidity. Equally-balanced air conditioning depends on many factors, including the general layout of the house, the design and installation of the air conditioning system and vents, and the human factor in your home which includes kids leaving doors or windows open, using ovens, hot showers, and running the washer and dryer in the utility room.

Air Conditioning – A Tricky Balancing Act

As any air conditioning expert will tell you, properly balancing an air conditioner in any structure, be it a house, office or industrial building, requires solid engineering, careful calculations and years of experience. There are multiple challenges to be met, and depending on the size, layout, insulation and age of your home, your room to room air conditioning balance might be in need of some professional attention – especially if your house has been remodeled or you have added rooms. Homes are designed and built with the best intentions, but air conditioning systems and vents don’t always get the attention they deserve. Here are the top three reasons your air conditioning may not be reaching every room in your home equally.

Do Your Ducts Work? – Long Ducts and Uninsulated Ducts Pose Problems

Long stretches of ducts that are exposed to hot air, such as ducts in the attic running to the furthest rooms in the house can be challenging. It’s especially bad if the ducts are not insulated. A thorough inspection of your HVAC system, ducts and vents will reveal any such issues.

Too Large or Too Small – Is Your HVAC System the Right Size for Your House?

There is a myth that buying a larger air conditioning system will cool your house even better (bigger is better, right?) But that is not necessarily the case. If your system is too small, you may not have the tonnage (BTU’s) required to get the job done. The best solution is to have a professional assessment of your home by one of our service technicians.

Home Renovations

During the course of home renovations or room additions, air conditioning is not always a high priority. Adding rooms or square footage changes the balance of air conditioning in your home and should be checked and addressed by an expert. Having a carpenter run an extra vent is not always the best solution.

Why Not Hire the Best?

There are multiple reasons for unbalanced air conditioning throughout a home. If your house has not been professionally checked in the last few years, why not call the pros at Ellsworth Home Services?

Soothsayer or SEER – Does the Future Hold Lower Energy Bills for Your Air Conditioning?

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

Can a new air conditioning system actually save you money? Or is that just fuzzy math? What is SEER and why is a SEER rating important? As the hottest part of the summer approaches, many Phoenix area residents’ thoughts turn to air conditioning systems, SEER ratings, AC repairs and skyrocketing monthly energy bills.

SEER Ratings – What Do They Mean?

SEER is the acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio which expresses the effectiveness (efficiency) of a given air conditioner in producing cooling. Greater cooling with less electricity translates into higher efficiency. The proper equation is the amount of cooling BTU’s (British thermal units) divided by watts – or the amount of electricity used. The greater an air conditioner’s efficiency, the higher the SEER rating.

Like MPG (miles per gallon) ratings for automobiles, SEER ratings are overall indicators of the effectiveness of your AC system. The SEER rating was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy to give consumers a basis for comparison between various manufacturers’ HVAC systems. Not surprisingly, many homeowners are unaware of the SEER rating for their home air conditioning unit.

How Old Is Your Air Conditioner?

Phoenix is a hot real estate market experiencing exponential growth. Many people purchase homes in Arizona without focusing too much attention on the HVAC unit. Even though it can be argued the air conditioner is the most important appliance in the house – paperwork listing the manufacturer, invoices, warranties, SEER rating and service history are rarely provided in detail. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a professional technician perform a complete system inspection to establish the age and SEER rating of your AC unit.

Many older Phoenix homes have AC systems with SEER ratings below 10. Current, highly efficient air conditioners can have SEER ratings as high as 20 or above. A minimum SEER rating of 13 is required by law as of 2005. Central air conditioning systems that qualify in the top 25 percent efficiency rating carry the Energy Star label. To qualify for the Energy Star they must have a minimum SEER efficiency level of 14.

How Much Can You Save?

In calculating how much money you will save on gas with a new car, it is understood that the guidelines are not set in stone. If you upgrade from owning a car that gets 15 MPG to a car that gets 30 MPG, you are going to greatly increase your MPG efficiency and see significant savings in your monthly gas expenditure. Simple math tells us you will save approximately 50 percent on your gas.

Likewise, with SEER ratings. If your current air conditioner has a SEER rating of seven, and you upgrade to a unit rated at 14, you could save approximately 50 percent on your monthly energy costs (Disclaimer: a blog post cannot accurately predict all the factors that will go into an individual homeowner’s energy bill and should only be considered a general guideline.)

Is It Time to Purchase a New Air Conditioner with a Higher SEER Rating or Keep Your Old AC System?

As always, the answer is up to the homeowner. However, you might want to consider these points when calculating if it’s time to upgrade. Consulting with an experienced technician will provide facts and make your decision-making process easier. Here are five key questions:

  • How old is your current unit?
  • What is the SEER rating of your unit?
  • What is your average monthly energy bill?
  • How much have you spent on major repairs in the last 3 years?
  • How much will you save each month if you cut your energy bill by 20%, 30% or more?

Some general indicators that it may be time to replace is if you have spent more than $3,000 on repairs in the last few years, if your current unit is more than 10-12 years old or if your monthly energy bills are out of control.

Choose Comfort for You and Your Family

New air conditioners, SEER ratings, calculating energy costs and understanding the differences between AC manufacturers can be very confusing. Let the experienced pros at Ellsworth Home Services shed some light on the best solution for you and your home.

Summer Exterior Paint Projects: What You Need to Know

This entry was posted in Home Painting on by .

Tired of looking at cracks, chips and faded paint on your home’s exterior walls and trim? In the bright Arizona sun, there’s no hiding a paintjob that is past its prime. However, there are factors to consider before painting your home, especially during the summer.

Hot, Hot, Hot

There’s no getting around the fact that it’s darn hot in the greater Phoenix area. The average summer high hovers around 107 degrees. This means that your home’s walls top out at about 120 degrees. It’s also a fact that the ideal paint temperature is about 70 degrees.

Not only is it more difficult to paint in the heat, the heat also affects the quality of the paint before it goes on the wall, causing it to thicken. At Ellsworth Home Services, we’re experts in exterior painting in these tough conditions. We know which side of your home to start on to avoid direct sunlight and to maximize shade. We understand the fine details of prepping, drying times, double coats and more.

Monsoon Challenges

The desert heat becomes more complex during monsoon season. Fast-paced storms with high humidity, pounding rain, dust and wind can also damage a newly painted home. Timing is everything when it comes to painting. Let us time it right for you so that you get a quality paint job that you can be proud of all year long.

Quality Materials

Your paint job will only be as good as the materials that are used. In Arizona, with its harsh conditions, you definitely don’t want to scrimp on paint, brushes and rollers. You’ll get the best outcome if paints are designed for all weather. At Ellsworth Home Services, we are proud to work with only the highest quality professional paints and materials. Don’t trust your home to anything less. Call Ellsworth Home Services today!

Prepare Your Air Conditioner for Monsoon Storms

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

The monsoon season is officially here. This means wind, lightening, rain and plenty of dust. If you’re like most Valley residents, you probably welcome the dramatic weather as it can provide some much-needed relief from the heat. Yet, it has the potential to damage your air conditioner – especially if it has not been routinely maintained.

Electrical Surges

Among the most common and potentially damaging aspects of summer monsoon storms are electrical surges caused by lightening. A single bolt can trip your circuit breaker and damage your unit. This is why it’s a wise idea to have a surge protector installed.

Dirt and Dust

With a single haboob, your air conditioning unit can be blanketed in dirt and dust. Over the course of a summer, this can clog your system’s filter, block airflow and even damage the motor. Take proactive efforts to wipe down your unit after each storm.

Debris

Winds often exceed 50 miles per hour during Arizona summer storms. One strong gust can cause backyard items to become airborne and potentially damage your air conditioner. Take this time early in the season to clear vegetation and remove items, like light-weight things such as toys, which can be blown into your unit during a storm.

Schedule a Preventive Maintenance Tune-up

Maintenance is essential for keeping your air conditioner fully operational before, during and after monsoon season. Schedule a routine tune-up and maintenance inspection today so you can learn about any potential issues before they turn into big problems.

Monsoon storms are not something to take lightly. They can be damaging, especially if you’re not prepared. Your air conditioning unit is likely in your backyard or on your roof, making it highly vulnerable to summer storms. Be proactive and schedule a maintenance call today.

Why Does the Air Coming Out of My Air Conditioner Vent Smell Funny?

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

At one time, it was commonly believed that humans could discern approximately 10,000 different odors. Molecular biologist Leslie Vosshall, a researcher at Rockefeller University, conducted a study that proved otherwise. Did you know, the human nose can detect at least one trillion odors? The olfactory sense is highly attuned and triggers immediate memory responses. Some fragrances make you smile, and others can make you laugh. However, there’s nothing funny about a bad smell coming from your air conditioning vents. If you’ve been experiencing something out of the ordinary coming from your AC vents, or you find yourself asking what is that funny odor when you step into a room, consider the following possible causes for malodorous scents connected to your air conditioning system.

Musty Dirty Socks Smell

If you’ve ever left your laundry in the washing machine over the weekend (over a week – if you’re a bachelor) you know this smell only too well. The “dirty sock” odor is unpleasant and undeniable. Mildew loves damp, dark, cool places which your air conditioner, drainage lines and pans and ducts can provide. Often, in Arizona, people notice the smell when they first turn on their air conditioners in late spring. It’s important to note, moisture can build up in your HVAC system in any season, for a variety of reasons. The best thing to do is to call in an expert to determine where the moisture is coming from and how it’s affecting your air conditioning system. Moisture can also lead to mold, which can be a serious problem and is not to be taken lightly.

Electrical Burning Odor

When a motor overheats or if there’s an issue with wiring, you may notice an electrical burning smell. This smell will get your attention and requires immediate action on your part. Turn off your air conditioning unit at the circuit breaker and call for service immediately. Do not try to convince yourself that your AC unit just needs to cool down. Electrical problems are serious and can cause extensive damage if ignored.

Animal Infestations

Not often, but occasionally, rodents and other little furry friends find their way into HVAC system ducts. The pitter patter of little feet echoing down the vents in the dead of night can be a clue. However, if you have the misfortune of one of those little fellows expiring within the ducts, you will most assuredly notice a foul odor. This problem will call for a duct system inspection and cleaning.

If Your Air Conditioning System Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test

There are many other “fragrances” that our customers have tried to describe to us over the phone. The best way for us to determine the cause of a foul odor is to inspect your entire HVAC system. Call Ellsworth Home Services today for service, and we’ll do our best to help your house pass the smell test.

Why Does My Air Conditioner Make This Weird Noise – Top 5 AC Noises Explained

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

We live most of our lives indoors in an insulated world, protected from the sun, the heat, strong winds and rain. Given the extreme temperatures in Arizona in the summer, being inside in air-conditioned comfort is a good thing. But it might surprise you to you know, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that most Americans spend over 90 percent of their lives indoors. The breakdown is 87 percent in home or office and 7 percent of the time commuting or driving in cars. All this time inside behind insulated windows and closed doors means we often don’t hear the sounds of the outside world. That is, except for those annoying leaf blowers.

The Sounds of Silence – A Healthy Air Conditioner

Are you inside right now? Close your eyes and listen. Hear anything? A little white noise or possibly the quiet whirring of your AC fan outside? Essentially, when your air conditioner is working properly, you should be hearing little or no noise at all. Silence is the sound of a healthy air conditioner. For most people, out of sight – and out of earshot – is definitely out of mind. Most air conditioners are built to last and with regular service, can run problem free for years. People rarely think about their air conditioning unit until it starts making odd sounds.

Clunks, Clatter and Racket

In the air conditioning industry, we receive many calls from customers who go to great lengths to imitate the “weird noise” their air conditioner is making. Some of the voice impressions are downright hilarious! In case you’re not so talented at making air conditioner sounds, we’ve compiled a list of the most common noises made by ailing air conditioners and what all that racket generally indicates.

High Pitched Squeal

This is a sound you may also associate with faulty automobiles fan belts. An ear piercing, high-pitched squeal or squeaking generally indicates a problem with belts slipping or an issue with the bearings.
Clanking, Ka-chunk or Loud Rattling during Start-up
These noises are sometimes caused by loose mounts, but more often than not, can indicate a problem with the compressor. This is not a sound you want to ignore.

Tick-tick or Clicking Sounds

A rhythmic tick-tick or clicking sound is often caused by an obstruction of one sort or another hitting a fan blade. An obvious question is, “How can something hit the fan blade when it’s in an enclosed area?” There are a variety of reasons. One of the most obvious is high winds during monsoons or thunderstorms can blow branches and debris into your unit. Clicking sounds can also be caused by defective relay switches.

Buzzing or A Loud Hum

As with any electrical device or motor, if you happen to hear a buzz or notice loud humming coming from your air conditioning unit, you’ll want to turn it off right away. If you hear crackling or detect a burning smell, you’ll want to act immediately. Turn off the AC unit at the circuit breaker and call for service. Electrical problems can be very serious.

Wind Whistling Sound Near Vents Inside the House

If you hear wind whistling, whooshing or the faint sound of a distant train coming from your vents, you can rest assured, it is not an errant Amtrak whistle or a ghost train calling to you from the other side, but rather a pretty decent hint that there’s a loss of pressure or an opening somewhere in your duct work.

The sounds listed above (and others you may have heard) are strong indicators that your air conditioning unit needs service. Why not let the pros at Ellsworth Home Services perform a complete inspection of your HVAC unit to guarantee a quiet, cool summer for yourself and your family?

Memorial Day Celebrates Veterans and Marks the Beginning of Summer Air Conditioning Season

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

With Memorial Day weekend here, Americans set aside time to honor their veterans and commemorate those fallen heroes who have given their lives for freedom. All of us at Ellsworth Home Services say thank you to Arizona veterans and all the servicemen and women of the United States for their service and sacrifice.

Summer Is Definitely Here

For many, Memorial Day weekend also marks the unofficial beginning of summer. Schools close, the Diamondbacks’ season picks up steam, and summer heat descends on the valley like a sweltering blast furnace. Triple digit temperatures force kids inside for the hottest parts of the day, and parents face the daily challenge of finding interesting indoor activities for their kids.

There’s Nothing Average About Arizona Summer Temperatures

One thing is for certain, from June through September in the Valley of the Sun, your home provides protection from the scorching and at times, dangerous desert heat. As temperatures average 105 degrees or more and soar above 110 during heatwaves, your air conditioning unit becomes the single most important appliance you own. If you have ever experienced an air conditioning breakdown during an Arizona heatwave, you know how miserable your indoor environment can be without cooling AC. The very qualities that help insulate homes and keep cooled air from escaping make it almost unbearable inside when your air conditioner is down.

Don’t Wait to Schedule Your Annual Air Conditioner Service

Umbrella sales skyrocket when it rains, roofing contractors are deluged with calls after monsoons, and HVAC companies get overwhelmed with service calls during heatwaves. We’re all human, and it’s easy to forget about scheduling AC service, especially if your unit has been quietly getting the job done. Ironically, that’s part of the problem. Many air conditioning units are so reliable, they work for years without a hitch. People often call and say, “We can’t understand, we’ve never had any problems with our air conditioner before.” However, in Arizona, air conditioners run full tilt from June through September which places an enormous strain on the unit. You wouldn’t take a chance on a long drive through the desert without having your fluids checked and your car serviced. You also don’t want to head into the summer months in Phoenix without having your air conditioning unit checked.

For peace of mind and the comfort of your family all summer long, call Ellsworth Home Services for a comprehensive inspection of your entire air conditioning system.

Understanding Radiant Barrier

This entry was posted in Insulation on by .

With daytime average temperatures topping 100 degrees during the summer months, Phoenix is a warm weather lover’s dream. Yet, even the most enthusiastic desert dwellers want cool comfort in their home when it’s swelteringly hot outside. Of course, you can just crank the air conditioning to keep it cool inside, but you’ll likely be hot under the collar when you see the impact it has on your utility bill.

The key to home comfort in the Valley of the Sun is reducing attic heat that enters your living spaces and air conditioning ducts. While insulation definitely helps with summer heat gain in your attic, it’s even more effective when used in combination with radiant barrier protection.

At Ellsworth Home Services, we offer HeatBloc-Ultra, the most effective type of radiant barrier on the market. This water-based, low emissivity coating is installed under your home’s roof decking and works like shade trees to decrease heat. In fact, HeatBloc-Ultra can block more than 80 percent of the radiant energy from the sun. With less heat entering your attic, your home stays cooler with reduced air conditioning.

Should You Consider HeatBloc-Ultra?

The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Every Phoenix homeowner can benefit from the heat reduction capabilities of HeatBloc-Ultra. Unlike other home improvements, adding radiant barrier protection to your home offers significant return on your investment. By reducing your reliance on your air conditioner, you’ll quickly see savings each month on your utility bill. And, you’ll sleep better in a cooler home while also knowing that you’ve decreased your overall energy consumption.

The Experts in Home Comfort

At Ellsworth Home Services, we offer a full range of solutions designed to keep your home cool and comfortable, even during those scorching summer heatwaves. Along with providing radiant barrier protection, we also offer insulation installation, attic and garage ventilation, and, of course, air conditioning.

Avoid getting overheated this summer. Call Ellsworth Home Services for a quote on one or more heat-beating solutions that will keep you cool all season long.

Crunch the Numbers on a New Air Conditioner

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

Purchasing a new air conditioner is a big decision, and one that requires a serious look at your potential return on investment. And yes, an air conditioner is an investment, not just a household expense. Let’s take a look at the possible savings.

Most aging systems have a SEER rating of around 10. Thus, moving to a new system of at least 13 SEER will reduce the cost of your air conditioning by 30 percent. This means you can expect to see an 18 to 20 percent savings on your monthly electric bill. With the amount you’ll save each month, you’ll be on your way to paying back what you invested in your system.

How Fast Can You Get a Return on Your Investment?

With a high efficiency air conditioner, you’ll see impressive savings over time. However, if patience isn’t your virtue, you may prefer a less expensive, lower SEER system. This is an ok option, but keep in mind that you’ll take the financial hit over time with higher energy bills.

What about Doing Nothing?

Choosing to wait until your system completely fails is an option, but you won’t begin to see energy savings until you swap out your aging unit. Keep in mind that the refrigerant used in older systems is currently being phased out by the US Environmental Protection Agency. So, you’re going to have to replace your unit sooner or later.

What Else?

Of course, there are more benefits to a new air conditioner than just reduced energy consumption. A new system will also decrease humidity and reduce allergens like mold. Many homeowners discover that they feel better after installation due to the improved indoor air quality. Allergy symptoms often lessen, which can result in reduced medical expenses and improved quality of life.

And once your new air conditioner is in place, you can stop worrying about the potential of a breakdown. Today’s systems typically run for well beyond 10 years. What’s your peace of mind worth?

Want to learn more about the measurable benefits of moving to a new air conditioner? Call Ellsworth Home Services today.

Air Conditioner Drain Lines – What You Need to Know

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning on by .

Can you believe that summer is nearly here already? It’s time to get your air conditioner in tip-top shape – before the relentless heat kicks in. Yes, this means a spring tune-up to ensure your system is functioning optimally. This includes checking your air conditioner drain line. You may be surprised to learn that clogged drain lines are among the most common sources of HVAC problems – especially here in the Greater Phoenix area during the summer months.

With high levels of dust and high humidity, the conditions are perfect for clogs to occur. And, this is a problem you don’t want to have. A clog that isn’t repaired can cause harmful mold, mildew and bacteria to grow in the line and be pushed into your ducts and ultimately into your indoor air. Blocked lines can also cause fires because they can eventually cause your air conditioner to overheat or cause backed up water to leak onto electrical components which can spark.

Unclogging Air Conditioner Drain Lines

While there are plenty of air conditioner problems that require the expertise of a professional technician, if you’re handy, you can tackle unclogging an air conditioner drain line. It requires a wet/dry vacuum to suck out the blockage. Start by locating the main drain line, which is usually near the ground on the outside of your home. It will be a PVC pipe coming out of your home. Connect the vacuum to the drain line and make sure you have a good seal on the pipe. Turn on the vacuum and let it run for several minutes. Turn off the vacuum and see if any debris, like dirt, algae, bugs, and water were sucked up.

Turn to Your HVAC Professional

At Ellsworth Home Services, we understand that not everyone enjoys do-it-yourself projects. If you suspect a clogged drain line or just need a seasonal tune-up, give us a call. We’re here to ensure you have an enjoyable summer without an unexpected HVAC breakdown. Family-owned and operated, we’re dedicated to getting the job done right the first time.