Simply the Best Heating & Cooling Blog

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Interested in keeping up with the latest HVAC tips from a local expert? The Simply the Best Heating & Cooling blog offers a variety of home tips including: energy efficiency, heating and cooling, air quality, home comfort and more.
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Five Signs That Your AC System Needs to be Replaced

Five Signs That Your AC System Needs to be Replaced

Cranking up strong and reliable air conditioning systems is the best way to beat the summer heat, especially if you don’t have a pool or lake nearby where you can take a quick dip. As a result, it should come as no surprise that, in 2012, an estimated 87% of American homes used some form of AC. But, unfortunately, even the most dependable units do not last forever, even if homeowners invest in the necessary air conditioning services and upkeep. In the same way that your beloved old car isn’t going to run forever, at some point you’ll need an AC replacement. Thankfully, there are a handful of signs that let you know when it’s time.
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5 Strategies For Reducing Your Home Heating Bill This Winter

5 Strategies for Reducing Your Home Heating Bill This Winter

Brrr! Nights and even days can be cold this time of year in the Valley of the Sun. With temperatures often below freezing throughout the Phoenix metro area, most homeowners are turning up the heat and facing rising utility bills.

While these bills are often less than those of the summer when air conditioning systems are on around the clock, they can be high enough to put a significant dent in a typical budget. What’s a homeowner to do?
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Don’t Skip Steps When It Comes To Your Home Heating System

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Don’t Skip Steps When it Comes to Your Home Heating System

Worrying about heating system repair is something that will plague you as a homeowner from time to time. While it can be expensive, it shouldn’t be so costly that it forces you to drain your bank account dry. Spotting some of these red flags early on could be a terrific way to avoid being ripped off on a heating system repair. Continue reading

Should You Be Concerned About the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home?

Indoor Air Quality

The effects of indoor air quality have been well documented. The complications of breathing in contaminated air range from short term effects – sneezing, coughing, headaches – to more severe, longer term effects – chronic fatigue, respiratory conditions and cancer. The biggest time of concern is during the winter when homes are sealed from the cold. Although here in AZ, summer can be an even greater concern because it’s too hot to open the windows.

How Much of a Concern is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a major concern, and federal scientists have ranked it as being one of the most important environmental issues in the country. EPA studies have shown that indoor air pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor pollutants. There are many reasons for this, including poor ventilation, the use of air fresheners, candles and cleaners that contain chemicals and more.

Believe it or not, one of the biggest culprits of indoor air pollution is funiture. Before 2006, furniture contained PBDEs, a type of flame retardant. However, even furniture purchased today might have other flame retardants that can be released into the air. These chemicals are sometimes used in children’s pajamas!

Small Steps to Improving Indoor Air Quality

In the end, IAQ is something that we should all be more aware of. We can’t avoid chemicals and pollutants entirely, but there are ways to make your home safer and healthier. Below are a few suggestions to start with.

  • Replace candles and air fresheners with essential oils. You can diffuse these oils for emotional and physical benefits, and they smell great, too.
  • Choose cleaners made from natural ingredients. They should be nontoxic, hypoallergenic, environmentally friendly and low on VOCs. Or, consider making your own household cleaners using basic ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar.
  • Change your air filters on time. Dirty air filters blow dirty air back into your home. Stock up on air filters so that you have them available to switch out, or ask our AC repair company in Gilbert about washable electrostatic air filters.
  • Open your windows daily. Fresh air acts as a filter for your indoor air. Better yet, get outdoors regularly and soak in the sun. This isn’t hard to do in sunny Arizona!
  • Be a smart shopper. Pay attention to the purchases that you make. Many laundry detergents, dish soaps and household cleaners are made in “clear & free” versions. Also be mindful of furniture, clothing and linens that you add to the home.

Consider UV Light Installation

If you are concerned that IAQ is affecting your family’s health, there’s another step that you can take. Ultraviolet lights can help you maintain a safer environment, and once installed, you don’t have to do anything extra. Our AC service in Gilbert offers ultraviolet light installation.

Here’s how the process works. UV lights are installed into your central air conditioning system, preventing the growth of harmful airborne particles such as mold, bacteria and viruses. Since these are stopped from being released into the air you breathe, your home’s IAQ is significantly improved. Also, the efficiency of your HVAC equipment is enhanced, resulting in better performance and a longer lifespan.

Let’s sum up the benefits to installing UV lights in your heating and cooling system.

  • Improve indoor air quality
  • Create optimal airflow
  • Destroy mold and bacterial on coils
  • Improve efficiency of HVAC equipment

If you have questions about how to improve IAQ in your home through UV light installation, better air filters or other measures, call Simply The Best AC. Our experienced techs will be happy to make suggestions and get you on the right track to a healthier home!

Photo Credit: Jack Moreh

Attic Insulation in a Nutshell

If you aren’t the do-it-yourselfer type who enjoys home improvement projects and has some experience and skill with them, it might be best to leave attic insulation to a well-qualified professional, like those at Simply the Best Heating & Cooling. While you might not think your attic needs insulation in areas like Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, or Gilbert, insulation works to keep cool air inside the home in the same way that warm air is retained in a cooler climate. Here’s what you need to know about installing attic insulation.

Types and methods of insulation

Probably the most popular form of insulation is known as blanket insulation, and its popularity is partly due to how easy it is to work with. When you’re working with this kind of insulation however, you should be sure to keep covered, because when your skin comes in contact with it, itchiness can develop. Recycled insulation is an environmentally friendly alternative which does not make your skin feel uncomfortable or itchy when contact is made. There’s no real difference with the installation of either type, but there is a definite difference in the handling comfort between the two.

Loose-fill insulation can be blown in with the use of a special machine which distributes loose-fill cellulose all throughout the framing of the attic, in all the obvious places, and especially in nooks and crannies, which can’t really be addressed by blanket insulation. The big advantage of this insulation method is that it can be very thorough in its coverage, and thus its effectiveness. However, this is probably not a method you would undertake as a homeowner, if for no other reason, because you wouldn’t have the necessary equipment.

Another insulation method calls for the use of sprayed foam polyurethane. The big appeal of this insulation type is that it does not intrude on the living space to any real degree, so if you’re intending to use the attic as a finished room, this would be a good choice, especially since in this case, the actual insulation is done to the roof, not the attic. The polyurethane molds itself to every part of the roof’s interior, creating a highly effective barrier between inside and outside, with great retention properties. The downside of this method would probably be its higher cost, which runs as much as twice the cost of an ordinary insulation strategy.

Level of insulation

While the appropriate level of insulation varies across climatic regions, a good rule of thumb is insulating to R-50 or R-60 for a high degree of retention. If you have existing insulation, you need only insulate to the difference between R-50 and what you already have, and for all new insulation you’d need the full amount. For further guidance on how much insulation to install in your geographic area of the country, consult your local heating and cooling contractor.