Category Archives: Air Conditioning

Is It an Air Duct Problem?

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When you think about your HVAC system, the first things that come to mind are probably your air conditioner and furnace. However, your air ducts also play a vitally important role in your home’s cooling and heating, as well as its energy efficiency. While your air conditioner and furnace control your indoor air temperature, your HVAC system air ducts are necessary for circulating the conditioned air through each room of your home. Thus, an air duct issue can cause major problems.

Duct Blockages

Twists and kinks in your system’s air ducts can greatly reduce airflow and efficiency. Tears, gaps and holes in ducts can also result in air leaking out and not reaching your interior spaces.

Layout Problems

Many homes simply have inefficient ductwork layouts. For example, a home that has air running through a long stretch of ductwork in an attic can cause the system to work harder than necessary. Oftentimes, a redirect of ducts can produce a more direct route and increase overall system efficiency.

Insufficient Airflow

A lack of airflow can also cause systemwide problems. Your HVAC system requires ample supply of air to cool and heat your home. Without it, your system will work harder and can’t generate the cooled or heated air you need to keep your interiors comfortable.

Dirty Air Ducts and Filters

You may be surprised to know that indoor air can be up to 70 times more polluted than outdoor air. Dust, dirt, pollen, dander and smoke can continuously circulate through ductwork. When you add humidity and hot temperatures to the mix, there is also often growth of mold, fungus, spores and dust mites. In other words, regular cleaning of HVAC system air ducts is essential to maintaining your indoor air quality.

At Ellsworth Home Services, we can ensure your air ducts and entire HVAC system are working optimally. Call us now at 480-593-2265 to schedule an appointment.

Do You Need to Replace Your Furnace and Air Conditioner at the Same Time?

Many of our customers ask us if they should replace their furnace and air conditioner at the same time. While some HVAC companies always say, “Yes,” we say, “It depends.” There are certain advantages to replacing your furnace and air conditioner at the same time, but it may not always be necessary. Let’s consider the important factors.

Average Lifespan

While the average lifespan of an air conditioner is 10 to 15 years, the average lifespan of a furnace is 20 to 30 years. In other words, you may have a furnace on your hands with 10 years of life left on it when you need to replace your air conditioner. However, you can figure out an optimal time to replace both with some simple math. Once a furnace and air conditioner are over 15 years old, you’re reaching the time when both have the potential of failing within the normal range.

Location

Is your furnace in a 2-foot crawl-space under your house? Is your air conditioner on the roof, surrounded by antique, hand-made tiles? One of the factors that impacts the price of a new furnace or air conditioner is installation. If the location is difficult to access, it may make more sense to schedule the installation of both units at the same time to save on installation costs.

Do You Want a High Efficiency Air Conditioner?

If it’s time to replace an outdated or malfunctioning air conditioner, you may opt for a newer, more energy-efficient unit. A high SEER rating model will save you on your monthly utility bill. Yet, it’s important to note that your furnace doesn’t impact your air conditioner’s efficiency. However, it does use the same blower motor (fan) that runs your air conditioner. This is what pushes air through your home’s ductwork. If your furnace doesn’t have a variable speed motor, any air conditioner you buy with a 16 SEER rating or higher may have reduced efficiency.

In other words, it’s not always a good idea to mix and match your HVAC system components. The alternative solution is to install a variable-speed blower motor in your existing furnace. However, this is akin to installing a Porsche engine into a Volkswagen bug. While it may be possible to do, it’s probably not a great idea. If you are considering replacing an aging air conditioning unit with a higher efficiency SEER model, it’s good practice to replace your furnace, as well.

Want to learn more about timing furnace and air conditioner replacements? Call the experts at Ellsworth Home Services today.

HVAC Tips for a Great Night’s Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 50 percent of Americans have poor or insufficient sleep. This impacts their daily activities and reduces quality of life. One of the most important things we can do for our health and happiness is get sufficient sleep. While there are plenty of gadgets and medications that can induce sleep, one of the simplest ways to wake up feeling refreshed is to optimize your HVAC system. By effectively managing your indoor air temperature and quality, you set the stage for a good night’s sleep.

Keep It Cool

Although it’s tempting to turn up the heat and bundle up under layers of blankets on a cold fall evening, cool temperatures are actually better for sleep. Sleep experts recommend a bedroom temperature of between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Maintaining this temperature is relatively simple during the fall and winter. But, here in the greater Phoenix area, it’s more challenging and costly during the warm weather months. This is why proper insulation and ceiling fans are also beneficial.

Rely on Your Programmable Thermostat

You don’t necessarily need to keep the thermostat set to 60 degrees around the clock, unless you really like high utility bills. Instead, you can program it to cool air to a lower temperature when you go to bed for a set amount of time. Thirty minutes to one hour is often sufficient. This will give you enough time to wind down and fall asleep. This one tip can save you hundreds of dollars every year.

Clean Your Air Filters

Your HVAC system doesn’t just cool and heat your indoor air, it also is designed to remove particulates in the air which can cause allergic symptoms and breathing problems. Many people lose sleep at night due to congestion, wheezing, itchy eyes and sneezing. A simple way to combat this is to regularly change your system’s air filters. We recommend that homeowners change them out at least once a month.

Do you want to learn more about how HVAC systems and indoor air quality can optimize your home for a better night’s sleep? Call the experts at Ellsworth Home Services at 480-593-2265.

5 Simple Tips to Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

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Your Phoenix area home’s indoor air can be 10 to 70 times more polluted than outdoor air. Poor air quality can impact your family’s health, particularly for those who are immune-compromised or who have allergies or asthma. While this may seem alarming, the good news is there are simple strategies you can take to ensure your indoor air quality is high quality.

  1. Focus on Vents

    Certain areas of your home can directly impact your home’s air quality, such as bathrooms, the laundry room and the kitchen. Ensure each of these spaces is vented directly outdoors. Dryers and central vacuum cleaners, as well as fireplaces and wood stoves, should also be vented outside.

  2. Don’t Install Furnaces or Air Conditioners in the Garage

    HVAC units located in garages can draw contaminants, such as car exhaust, paint, pesticides and other contaminants, directly into your home. Always work with a qualified, professional HVAC specialist who can determine the best location for your HVAC equipment.

  3. Store Contaminants Out of Occupiable Space

    Solvents, paints, pesticides, and cleaners should be kept outside of your home’s livable space.

  4. Replace Air Filters

    Regularly swap out your air handling system’s air filters to keep dirt out of your indoor air and ductwork. This will not only improve air quality, it will also increase the efficiency of your HVAC system and extend its lifespan.

  5. Use Door Mats

    Yes, this may seem like a very basic tip, but one that can have a big impact on your home’s air quality. Individuals track dirt and contaminants into your home on their shoes. Door mats are a low-tech way to collect unwanted pollutants before they reach your floors.

At Ellsworth Home Services, we offer a variety of solutions to encourage the flow of fresh air into your home, including insulation and air sealing, along with HVAC system maintenance and repair. Don’t continue to breathe less than fresh air in your home. Call Ellsworth Home Services today at 480-593-2265 to schedule an appointment. Serving the greater Phoenix area, we’re your home service experts throughout the Valley.

Prepare Your HVAC System for Fall

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Those triple-digit temperatures are coming to an end. Delightful fall days and cool nights are here! Is your HVAC system ready for the change of seasons? Here are some tips to ensure your home is prepared for the chillier temperatures that will soon be here.

Clean Your Filters

Summer dust storms result in dirty air filters and ductwork. This is the perfect time to replace or clean your indoor air filters. This simple task only takes a few seconds but can dramatically improve your air quality and the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Clear Debris from Your Outdoor Unit

Vegetation, dirt and dust naturally collect around your exterior unit during the spring and summer months. With the monsoon season now over, clear vegetation, dust and dirt on and around your unit which can potentially impact your system’s functionality. Landscaping and other vegetation should be kept clear of the area surrounding any part of your HVAC system.

Evaluate Your System

Get to know your HVAC system. Grab a flashlight and begin with a thorough inspection of your outdoor unit. Look for any possible issues, such as leaks, loose seals or cracks. Now, turn on your system at your thermostat. Make sure air is circulating through each vent. Smell something burning? Likely, this is dust residue that has collected over the past several seasons. However, if you continue to smell something not right, call for service right away.

Schedule a Tune-Up

At Ellsworth Home Services, we offer seasonal tune-ups on every make and model. Schedule preventive maintenance service today to ensure your system is ready and functioning as it should be. We offer service on heat pumps and furnaces and can help protect you from an unexpected breakdown while extending the life of your HVAC system.

If it’s time for a new heating system, we can help with that, too. We work with you to determine the best options, based on analyzing cost, load calculations, energy consumption and other considerations. We provide professional heat pump and furnace installations and carry the leading brands to help you maximize your savings on monthly utilities. Call us today at 480-593-2265 to schedule an appointment.

 

Is It an HVAC Emergency?

Having a cooling or heating problem is never a fun situation. However, not all HVAC issues are created equal. Homeowners are often unsure when their problem is bad enough to warrant calling for emergency service. The following are some guidelines to help you assess your situation when you’ve discovered a problem with your air conditioner or heater.

Air Conditioner Failure

Here in the greater Phoenix metro area, we rely on our air conditioners for much of the year. When a unit stops cooling, interior temperatures can soar rapidly, especially during the late spring through early fall. This is considered an HVAC emergency, particularly if there are young children, pets or elderly family members in the home.

No Heat

There are not many days in the Valley of the Sun when temperatures dip below freezing. But, when they do, you need to have access to adequate heating. If your heat pump or furnace isn’t producing heat, and the interior temperature is dropping quickly, it warrants a call for emergency service.

Safety Concerns

Better safe than sorry when it comes to some issues related to your HVAC system. Leaking refrigerant or gas, smoke or sparks aren’t something to take a “wait and see” approach with. Call immediately if you are worried about the safety of your family or home because of a heater or air conditioner problem.

When It’s Not an HVAC Emergency

Although any problem with your HVAC system can be a hassle, not all issues warrant a call for emergency service. These include:

  • General repairs when the outdoor temperatures are moderate
  • Air filter cleaning
  • Routine maintenance
  • Installations
  • System failure due to a power outage

Not Sure If You Need Emergency Service?

Before calling for emergency HVAC service, it’s a good idea to first try these strategies:

  • Check your thermostat to make sure that the air conditioning or heat hasn’t been turned off.
  • Go to your circuit box and look to see if a circuit breaker has been tripped. Often, returning a lever to its on position can instantly solve the problem of a unit that has stopped working.
  • Defrost any buildup of ice on your air conditioner by shutting off the unit and operating the fan to melt the ice. Once the ice has melted, a unit may return to full function.

At Ellsworth Home Services, we hope you never experience an HVAC emergency. However, if you do, we’re here to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

What You Need to Know about SEER Ratings

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Is your air conditioning reaching the end of its usability? It can be daunting to evaluate options for a new air conditioning unit with such a wide array of brands, capacities and price points. To make this even more challenging, it’s important to evaluate the SEER rating of any specific units that you’re considering.

SEER: An Important Tool for Comparing Air Conditioners

SEER is an acronym that spells out Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This rating was introduced by the U.S. Department of Energy to enable consumers to make better buying decisions when it comes to their HVAC systems. The rating indicates the level of a model’s energy efficiency. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit.

Typical 10-year-old air conditioners have SEER ratings under 10. Today, the federal minimum is 13. Many models have SEER ratings of 14 or above. Units with higher SEER ratings will have a higher price tag than those with lower ratings. However, there will be greater energy efficiency which translates into lower monthly utility bills. Often, the upfront cost of a new energy-efficient air conditioner can be somewhat offset with tax credits and manufacturer rebates. So, the return on your investment may be better with a higher SEER rating air conditioner with a higher price.

What’s the Right Air Conditioner for You?

An air conditioner is one of the largest investments in your home. In other words, it’s important to do your homework when it comes to selecting the right model for your specific needs. It’s wise to understand the value of higher SEER ratings when comparing your options. You will also want to choose a skilled HVAC system installer who can help guide you to your best options based on your home’s specifications and your family’s usage patterns.

At Ellsworth Home Services, we are certified dealers of Rheem, Day and Night and American Standard HVAC products. To learn more about our installation services, give us a call today at 480-593-2265. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you with all your installation and service needs.

5 Tips for Choosing an Air Conditioning Technician

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In the greater Phoenix area, there is a dizzying number of HVAC technicians who will gladly work on your air conditioner. Yet, not every technician is created equal. There’s a wide range of service quality, experience and knowledge out there. This is why it’s important to do your due diligence before hiring anyone to repair your air conditioner. To ensure your air conditioning repair, maintenance or installation is completed right the first time, here are a few tips to consider.

Factory Training

Today’s air conditioners are incredibly complex pieces of technology. Extensive training is necessary to be able to install and service them. The best technicians are those who have undergone factory training to learn the subtle nuances of each brand. There are differences that can be overlooked by inexperienced or insufficiently trained technicians. Before you hire a technician, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask what level of factory training they’ve undergone.

License and Credentials

There is risk involved in working on an air conditioner. In fact, a lot can go wrong. Don’t take chances with an unproven technician. A license proves that the technician has been professionally trained. Additional certifications such as NATE, HVAC Excellence certification and EPA 608 certification provide even more evidence that you’re dealing with someone who knows what they’re doing.

Experience

While you don’t need to hire the most senior technician out there, it’s always a good idea to choose one who has at least a few years under their belt. Many of the best technicians begin in apprenticeship programs and gain experience working alongside more experienced technicians.

Versatility

Ideally, you’ll want an air conditioning technician who has the ability to work on all major HVAC systems. There are benefits to developing a strong working relationship with a technician you trust. If the technician has this level of versatility, you’ll gain confidence knowing you can stick with them if and when you decide to install system components from other manufacturers.

References

It may be tempting to call the number on the ad touting cheap air conditioner repair, but what do you know about their work? Don’t roll the dice with your air conditioner. The risks are too high. The best way to find an HVAC repair company you can count on is word of mouth. If a friend or family member has had a good experience with a particular company or technician, you will likely have a similar experience. Other sources for finding quality service providers include the Better Business Bureau and online review sites. It’s also a good idea to ask any technician you’re considering to provide a list of references. And, take the time to call these references to get a clear picture of the technician’s work.

Ellsworth Home Services is proud to have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Ask us for references anytime!

Set Your Thermostat for Summer Savings

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Homeowners throughout the greater Phoenix area know firsthand just how quickly temperatures can rise inside a home during the late spring and summer. It can be downright unbearable without the benefits of a well-functioning air conditioner. However, home cooling doesn’t come cheap. Utility bills can quickly reach triple digits and can throw off an otherwise manageable household budget.

What’s the Right Thermostat Setting?

When it’s 110 degrees outside, it’s natural to want to lower the thermostat into the 60s. Not so fast! This can send your utility bill soaring! The key to keeping costs in check is setting the thermostat to a temperature that is tolerable. For most people, a setting of 78 degrees Fahrenheit is very comfortable. With each additional degree that you can tolerate, you’ll see a measurable savings on your bill.

Leverage the Advantage of the Programmable Thermostat

Most homes have programmable thermostats. These handy devices let you set your thermostat to different temperatures depending on the time of day. If you’re at work by 8:30 am, you can set your thermostat into the 80s when no one is home. You can also set it to return to 78 degrees when you get back home. By taking the time to automate the system to your schedule, you will save a significant amount by reducing your daily energy consumption.

Other Tips to Stay Cool

Along with optimizing your thermostat, there are several other simple ways to stay cool.

  • Turn on ceiling fans – Ceiling fans can lower the temperature in a room by up to five degrees. They are also highly energy efficient, so don’t be afraid to keep ceiling fans running throughout the day and night.
  • Cover windows during the day – Curtains, blinds, and shutters can keep out light and heat during sizzling afternoon temperatures.
  • Open windows at night – Even when temperatures are well into the triple digits during the day, they can drop 20 degrees or more overnight. Take advantage of this cooler air by turning off your air conditioner and opening up windows.
  • Schedule a Tune-up – A properly-functioning air conditioner is more efficient and can help you stay cooler while reducing your monthly bill. If you haven’t had your air conditioner serviced this year, call Ellsworth Home Services now to schedule service at 480-593-2265.

Summer Air Conditioning Problems to Avoid

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Here in the greater Phoenix area, homeowners are naturally very reliant on their air conditioners throughout the scorching hot summer months. Because even a few hours without AC can turn your home into a sauna during the days and evenings of triple digit heat, it’s vitally important to be aware of the leading summer air conditioning problems and learn how to avoid them.

Diminishing Air Flow

Do you keep turning the temperature on your thermostat lower but the temperature continues to climb? It might be an air flow problem. Decreased air flow can be caused by a variety of factors, including a dirty blower, old filters, leaking refrigerant or malfunctioning condenser coils. Decreased air flow is not something to ignore because it rarely improves on its own. In other words, it warrants a service call almost always.

The Air Conditioning Unit Won’t Turn on at All

Like with air flow problems, there can be many reasons why an air conditioner isn’t turning on. Everything from a faulty transducer or tripped circuit to a clogged condensate line can be the reason why it fails.

Rapid Cycling

Is your air conditioner turning on and off continuously? It’s likely that the condenser or the evaporator needs to be cleaned. The condenser unit can become partially or even completely blocked which will lead to the unit flipping on and off.

Stay Cool All Summer

Don’t risk an unexpected system failure by not getting your air conditioning unit tuned up. At Ellsworth Home Services, we are here for you with reliable, professional air conditioning maintenance, repair and installation. Family owned and operated in Gilbert, AZ and providing service throughout the greater Phoenix area, we can help you avoid unexpected problems and emergency repair.

Call us now at 480-593-2265 to learn more about why Ellsworth Home Services is the right choice for all of your air conditioning needs.