Category Archives: Heating

Getting Your HVAC Preventive Maintenance Schedule on Track

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Did you have spring HVAC preventive maintenance this year? Although it’s easy to procrastinate on this task, it’s an important part of maintaining your home. Once you learn the basics of maintenance on your air conditioning and heating system, you’re likely to never miss another seasonal tune-up and inspection again

The Importance of HVAC Preventative Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is designed to keep your HVAC system running as long as possible, without any unexpected breakdowns or declines in operational efficiency. Like with other household systems, it’s easy to forget until something goes wrong. Yet, similar to cars, air conditioning and heating systems require regular maintenance. Imagine what would happen if you never took your trusted vehicle in for an oil change or tune-up? Yes, it would eventually stop running, and this is exactly what could happen to your HVAC system.

All HVAC systems require tune-ups and have the potential of needing repairs occasionally. They consist of complicated mechanical equipment. But, the chance of a system failure or a costly repair is greatly reduced when you are diligent about regular HVAC preventive maintenance.

What Can You Expect from a Tuned-Up HVAC System?

Are you asking yourself if the cost of maintenance is really worth it? You be the judge! Here are the primary benefits you’ll gain by scheduling a quick, convenient, and yes, affordable maintenance appointment with Ellsworth Home Services:

Less Expensive Energy Bills

A neglected HVAC system loses its efficiency and ability to keep your home comfortable. Thus, it requires more energy on a daily basis. This extra energy consumption adds up big time over the course of a year. By keeping your system tuned up, you’ll be confident that you’re getting the optimal energy efficiency.

Longer System Life

Air conditioners, furnaces and other aspects of your HVAC equipment will last longer if they’re regularly cleaned and serviced. It only takes one malfunctioning component to produce a domino effect that can result in an entire system breakdown. In other words, HVAC preventive maintenance can literally add years to your system’s life.

Reduced Chance of a Total Breakdown

If you’ve ever experienced a system failure during an Arizona summer day, you know just how disruptive a loss of air conditioning can be. Don’t take chances with such an important part of your home that you rely on each and every day. Gain the peace and mind of breakdown-free seasons by scheduling regular inspections twice a year.

Schedule your HVAC Preventive Maintenance Check Today!

Fall is just around the corner. Don’t procrastinate and schedule your appointment today with Ellsworth Home Services. You’ll be glad that you did!

Thermostat Envy – Is It Time to Invest in a New Thermostat?

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In the grand scheme of home appliances, many so called “breakthrough” products are simply incremental steps up from the previous year’s model, providing marketers with new bells and whistles to promote, which they hope will be enough to get you to buy. A true technological leap forward that reinvents a home appliance, such as digital, wi-fi enabled thermostats, can be a game changer and make a compelling argument for spending the money to upgrade the thermostat in your home.

Manual or Digital – Which Thermostat Is Best?

Thermostats are the control center of your home heating and air conditioning system. Manual thermostats have been around for decades. Though they don’t offer many options, they are very reliable and rarely breakdown. Homeowners usually have a long list of home improvement projects that need to get done at any given time. Switching out a working thermostat (which is a problem solved) for a new digital model is not generally at the top of the priority list. In fact, for technology wary individuals who resist change, installing a jazzy new thermostat may present an unwelcome challenge. Still, digital thermostats are experiencing explosive growth. What makes these new thermostats so intriguing?

New “learning” technologies, employed by the Nest Digital Thermostat, for instance, track your temperature settings and tendencies and then incorporate your “learned” preferences into your weekly temperature settings. The Nest thermostat adjusts the temperature when you are at work, after you go to bed and throughout different time periods during the day, on weekends, etc. If you are using a manual thermostat, it’s easy to forget to change the temperature and obviously, you can make absolutely no adjustments when you’re physically out of the house. Digital thermostats give you the ability to communicate with your thermostat through an app on your phone.

Digital Thermostats Save You Money

One of the strongest arguments for purchasing a new digital wi-fi enabled thermostat is these units can save you money. Having the ability to program your thermostat for maximum efficiency throughout daily and weekly cycles means you won’t be paying for air conditioning when you don’t need it. With digital thermostats, you can even program your air conditioner to come on a short time before you get home from work or 30 minutes before you get up in the morning. Most digital thermostats pay for themselves through energy savings in a relatively short period of time.

The Internet of Things

The rapid pace of change through the next wave of wi-fi enabled appliances means we will soon be “talking” to everything in our home from refrigerators to home security systems. Controlling the indoor climate is a key element to maintaining a happy home. Digital thermostats offer more options to accomplish that goal.

Call Ellsworth Home Services today to learn more about installing a new home thermostat and the many benefits you’ll gain.

The Importance of Replacing Your HVAC System Air Filter

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When was the last time you replaced your HVAC system air filter? If you can’t remember, make it priority number one to do it today!

While the simple task of replacing your filter only takes a few minutes, many homeowners never think about it until something goes wrong with their air conditioner or heater. Unfortunately, they often find out that their negligence has resulted in a major system breakdown.

Besides getting twice yearly maintenance checks, the next most important strategy for maintaining your HVAC system is changing your filter on a regular basis. An old filter clogged with dirt, dander and debris is not only disgusting to look at, it also can cause a variety of costly problems.

Lack of Airflow

Simply put, a dirty air filter hinders airflow. This means your HVAC system must work harder to keep your home comfortable. With greater energy consumption, you have higher utility bills. And, the excess usage also decreases the life of your system. Thus, you’ll be buying a new unit sooner just because you forgot to replace the air filter. That’s not a good idea!

Poor Air Quality

Check out what is collected in your air filter. It’s not pretty. If this builds up over time, it begins to get recirculated through your home. If you or anyone in your house has allergies or respiratory problems, a dirty filter is a recipe for breathing problems and other unpleasant symptoms.

Make a Regular Date with Your Air Filters

Just like many household chores, you should change your air filter on a regular basis. This should be considered a once-a-month task. If you have multiple pets or if there have been dust storms, you may need to replace it even sooner. Most grocery stores and all home improvement stores sell air filters. Often, they can be purchased in bulk at a discount. Buy enough for six months or a year, and set a day each month in your calendar as a reminder.

Need help?

Breathe easy with Ellsworth Home Services. We’re here to help you with all of your HVAC system needs – big or small. Call us today to learn more about air filters or if you need any service on your system.

Service Your HVAC System When Selling Your Home

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Real estate professionals will tell you that keeping a regular routine of maintenance on your HVAC system, along with records and invoices, is important if and when you’re selling your home. This is particularly true during the home inspection. Potential buyers will want to see that this important system is maintained and serviced properly. If it’s not, they will immediately wonder what else has been neglected in your home. It’s simply a fact that HVAC systems can be a sticking point when it comes to closing or negotiating a final sale price.

Schedule a Maintenance Inspection and Cleaning

This is something you should be doing regardless if you’re selling or not. Not only will it help you understand the condition of your home’s HVAC system, you’ll be able to make an educated decision on the relative costs of repairs or replacement.

Don’t Expect a 100 Percent Return on Investment

In some cases, you may need to replace the HVAC system to sell your home. It’s important to understand that even if you’re replacing it days before selling, you’ll unlikely get your money back on a new system. However, it can enable you to sell your home faster with less negotiations.

A new HVAC system may also propel a homebuyer to overlook other flaws with your home. New equipment has a way of giving homeowners peace of mind. Even the addition of a small component like a smart thermostat can be a great selling point.

Be Willing to Negotiate

Perhaps, you don’t want to update your HVAC system before selling. If this is the case, be prepared to negotiate a price break that will help cover the cost of a new system or an aftermarket warranty on an old system.

HVAC systems are something that will always come up during the process of selling a home – especially here in the Phoenix area where temperatures can be extreme. Old systems can sometimes dissuade buyers, but others may prefer to handle the replacement themselves. The key is to educate yourself on replacement costs and the real estate market. With this information, you can make the best decision to maximize profits from the sale of your home.

To learn more about HVAC system replacement, contact the experts at Ellsworth Home Services at 480-593-2265.

Understanding the Difference between Heat Pumps and Furnaces

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In nearly all Phoenix area homes, heating is provided by either a heat pump or a furnace. Both types are effective, but there are differences and unique characteristics that you should weigh before purchasing a heating system.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump is basically an air conditioner that can also work in reverse to heat your home. Rather than creating heat, as a furnace would, a heat pump shifts heat from one point to another. Thus, during the scorching hot summer days, a heat pump moves heat from your home. In the winter, the process is reversed, and heat is moved from outside into your home.

The pros of a heat pump are:

  • It’s a single unit that works efficiently year-round.
  • More environmentally-friendly.

The cons of a heat pump are:

  • More expensive than a furnace
  • May require an additional heat source when exterior temperatures are extremely cold.

Furnaces

Gas furnaces create heat by burning natural gas. Heat is transferred to the air and distributed throughout your home.

The pros of a furnace are:

  • Less expensive than a heat pump. However, you will require maintenance on both your air conditioner and your furnace, which increases the cost of upkeep.
  • More energy efficient. Gas furnaces can convert up to 97 percent of the gas they consume into heat.

The con of a furnace is:

  • Gas costs more than electricity.

Making the Decision

Before choosing a heat pump or a furnace, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons and to consult with an HVAC specialist who can help guide your decision. At Ellsworth Home Services, not only can we help you with this decision, we can provide the latest information on sizes, brands, warranties, and rebates to ensure you get the best product for your specific needs. Call us today at 480-593-2265 for a free estimate.

3 New Year’s Resolutions to Keep Your HVAC System Running Smoothly in 2018

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Many of us ring in the new year with resolutions that we intend to keep all year long. While not all are easy to sustain, the following HVAC system resolutions are well worth the effort to keep you and your family comfortable and your energy bill manageable all year-long.

Resolution #1 – Proactively Schedule HVAC System Maintenance

In the Phoenix area, it’s common to ignore your HVAC systems until there is a sudden problem, like no cool air in the middle of the summer! Yet, this approach is a surefire way to disrupt your household and increase the likelihood of costly repairs. Make 2018 the year to start scheduling regular tune-ups on your system to ensure everything is working optimally. Your HVAC system is too valuable to neglect and too important to you and your family. Call today to schedule a tune-up to get on track for the year.

Resolution #2 – Change Your Filters

Do you procrastinate when it comes to your system’s air filters? While it may be a simple oversight, old, dirty filters can lead to poor indoor air quality, increased load on your system and reduced energy efficiency. Air filters are inexpensive and should be replaced every 30 days. Schedule a date each month to replace your filters and stick to the schedule. It’s easy to do once you get the hang of it, and it can pay off substantially with cleaner air, a better running system and lower energy bills.

Resolution #3 – Repair Problems Promptly

Have you been ignoring a squeak or rumble in your HVAC system? Maybe, your thermostat isn’t working quite as it should be. Problems happen, and sometimes repairs need to be made. By calling for service right away, you may be able to prevent a minor problem from turning into a major issue. Even seemingly minor concerns like a not-so-cold air conditioner can indicate a dangerously low level of refrigerant or debris in the unit. Don’t wait until a problem has become critical to call Ellsworth Home Services at 480-593-2265.

Happy New Year from your HVAC specialists at Ellsworth Home Services!

Holiday Heating Tips

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When you think of the holidays, you probably have visions of a warm home filled with friends and family. While there’s nothing cozier than enjoying festivities in front of a warm fireplace, it’s also essential to ensure your heater is functioning to keep you and your loved ones warm throughout the winter months.

Schedule Winter Maintenance

With Phoenix winter temperatures frequently dipping into the 30s, you don’t want to be left in the cold due to a malfunctioning HVAC system. Now is the perfect time to schedule your seasonal maintenance check. An experienced contractor is the right choice for checking your system for any issues, such as gas pressure problems, cracks in the heat exchanger or loose belts.

Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Do you have a gas furnace? If so, you’ll want to make it a habit to regularly check both your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are operational. Remember – your carbon monoxide alarm should be placed at least 15 to 20 feet away from your furnace or any fuel burning equipment in your home.

Get Your System Ducts Inspected

Leaky air ducts can drive up your utility bill dramatically. If you are continuously increasing the temperature of your thermostat, and it’s still chilly, it may be a duct problem that is preventing the flow of heated air into your home.

Set Your Programmable Thermostat

Why deal with teeth-chattering cold in the mornings? Instead, you can set your thermostat to warm your rooms before you wake up. Most thermostats allow you to set optimal heat temperatures for up to four times per day, so you can have the ideal temperature day and night.

Clean Filters and Vents

Sadly, most home heating fires occur during the winter months, and many are due to clogged and dirty equipment. Take the time to schedule a tune-up of your HVAC system and clean filters and vents. As well, keep flammable items, including decorations, gifts, blankets and toys away from vents, space heaters, fireplaces and other sources of heat.

Schedule your seasonal HVAC maintenance check today with Ellsworth Home Services and ensure your home is comfortable throughout the winter.

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 Scary Home Heating Problems You Can Avoid

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Halloween is nearly here. It’s the time for goblins and ghouls and cooler temperatures. Soon, you’re likely to flip your thermostat to heat to warm your home during those chilly fall evenings. Yet, is your heater ready to be put to the test? If you’re not sure, you may be setting yourself up for a scary heating problem.

The following are five common issues that you can prevent with regular home heating system maintenance.

Thermostat Malfunction

Your thermostat is one of the most common sources of heating problems. The good news is they are relatively inexpensive to replace. Some signs that indicate a potential thermostat issue:

  • Your thermostat and room temperature do not match
  • Heat pump blower is running continuously
  • Room temperatures are fluctuating

Carbon Monoxide Leaks

Older, gas furnaces often have rusted, cracked heater exchangers which can leak carbon monoxide. This is why it’s vital to have a carbon monoxide detector and to have your furnace regularly inspected by an HVAC contractor.  A trained professional can identify even tiny cracks that can be a source of gas leaks. Don’t take chances with an older gas heater. Call for a maintenance check today!

Warm Room, Cold Room

This is a perplexing problem, yet one that you may be able to fix yourself. Often, manually adjusting the vents in your home can improve airflow to a room. If you’re having a lack of heat in multiple rooms, it may be due to clogged or dirty filters or coils. This is yet another reason why a maintenance check is such a good idea.

Ignition Issue

If your heat suddenly stops, it could be due to a malfunctioning pilot light or ignition control. This is not a problem to tackle alone. Call immediately for service to determine the cause and for fast repair.

Drafty Rooms

Drafty windows and doors and poor insulation can result in insufficient heating and sky-high utility bills during the cold weather months. A professional HVAC contractor can identify the specific sources of escaping heating to help you keep your system as efficient and effective as possible.

Don’t be scared to turn on your heater this fall. Call Ellsworth Home Services now to schedule your seasonal maintenance check at 480-593-2265.