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Interested in keeping up with the latest HVAC tips from a local expert? The Simply the Best heating and cooling blog offers a variety of home tips including: energy efficiency, heating and cooling, air quality, home comfort and more.
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Should You Leave Your Air Conditioner on When You’re Not at Home?

If you’re like most homeowners, you dread summertime electricity bills. Air conditioning can drive up monthly costs by tens and even hundreds of dollars. While there is no way to get around using your air conditioner during the hot Arizona summer, there are ways to keep costs under control. One of those ways is to think strategically when it comes to when and how your use your air conditioner. This includes determining if it is more economical to keep your AC on or off while you’re away from home.

Should You Turn It Off?

Many homeowners wonder if it’s better to turn off their air conditioner while they’re at work all day. This is really a question of indoor climate control efficiency. Many believe that it is more economical to leave their air conditioner continuously on rather than jumpstart it upon returning home.

This is a myth that will be disproven by any experienced air conditioning professional. It’s a reality that leaving the air on all day results in a higher use of energy which can increase your monthly bill. The ongoing fluctuation to sustain a constant temperature is more taxing on an air conditioner than if you flipped on the system when you returned home. With more use, you’ll also decrease the lifespan of your air conditioning system. By turning your air conditioner off when you’re not home, you will see an immediate difference in your utility bill, as well as increase how long your system functions.

Other Cost-Saving Air Conditioner Tips

Along with turning off your system when you’re not home, there are other ways to reduce your energy consumption.

  • Lower your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home.
  • Use screens to shade your windows.
  • Add more plants around your home.
  • Turn on your ceiling fans.
  • Limit use of your oven and burners.

It’s also important to maintain your air conditioning unit’s efficiency with ongoing maintenance and proactive repairs. At Simply the Best, we’re here to keep you cool throughout the summer with expert service across the greater Phoenix area.

When Is It Time to Call for Air Conditioner Service?

Temperatures are heating up in the Valley, and it’s time to turn on the air conditioner. If you’re already experiencing cooling issues, you may be wondering if you should call an air conditioner service provider. Before you schedule a service call, there are some quick fix tips that may help you diagnose and solve your own air condition problem.

Thermostat

At the start of the summer season, we always get a flurry of service calls that are related to improper thermostat settings. It’s important to switch your thermostat to “Cool” and “Auto” if you want it to start cooling your home or business. If you have a digital thermostat, you’ll also want to check the time/date/room setting. If you’re not able to reconfigure the settings, it may be a battery issue within your thermostat. By simply changing your batteries, you can save yourself the aggravation and headache of an air conditioner service call.

Air Filter

In the desert, dust and debris quickly collects in air filters. We recommend changing out disposable air filters at least once a month. This will help your system run more efficiently and can even save you money on your monthly utility bills.

Check Your Circuit Breaker

Is your system not turning on at all? Before you assume that your air conditioner has broken, it’s worthwhile to try resetting the power to the unit. Often an air conditioner can trip a circuit breaker. To make the fix, flip the breaker to the off position and then on again. If your circuit breaker isn’t clearly labeled, ask your service technician to help you.

The Outside System Isn’t Working

If your air conditioner system isn’t working at all, you don’t want to take chances with trying to fix the problem yourself or by calling for outside help.  Instead, call us! At Simply the Best we specialize in cooling and heating services, as well as indoor air quality. Call us today to schedule an appointment at 480.361.8458.

Sleep Better at Night with a Preventive Maintenance Agreement

Hot weather is right around the corner. In Arizona, you just can’t take chances with an air conditioning system that isn’t properly maintained. A system breakdown can quickly lead to soaring interior temperatures and unexpected repair costs. As the old adage goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This certainly applies to cooling systems, particularly when temperatures begin climbing into the triple digits.

The Peace of Mind of a Well-Maintained AC System

Air conditioning systems require regular maintenance to run efficiently and effectively. A twice-yearly tune-up can save you money by greatly reducing the risk of costly breakdowns. It can also reduce your monthly utility bill. In the Phoenix metro area, cooling systems are used heavily during the summer months. Then, they go unused for several months during the short but surprisingly chilly winter. Without regular maintenance, the wear and tear can lead to a decreased lifespan of a system. As one the most important components of your Arizona home, it just doesn’t make sense to neglect the maintenance of your HVAC system

When to Schedule AC Maintenance

With an air conditioning maintenance plan, it’s your choice when you want to schedule tune-ups. With Simply the Best’s Gold Service Protection Plan, you even get preferred scheduling for your convenience. Ideally, HVAC systems units should be tuned up before the hot summer months begin and before you switch over to indoor heat in the winter. This will ensure that your system is functioning properly and will eliminate any uncomfortable surprises when it’s time to heat or cool your home.

During your tune-up, it’s also a good time to ask your technician any questions you have regarding your system. You can also get some cost-savings tips and ideas for maximizing energy efficiency. A few simple strategies can save you substantially! For example, sealing exterior gaps and spaces around your windows and doors can prevent cooling energy from escaping outdoors.

When Repairs Are Needed

During a tune-up, a problem or potential problem that requires repair may be found. Simply the Best Heating & Cooling technicians also keep their trucks well-stocked with heating and air conditioning system parts. In most cases, repairs can be made during the same visit. This eliminates the hassles of requiring multiple service calls, and most importantly, the surprise of discovering a system malfunction.

The return on your investment when you purchase a preventive maintenance agreement is significant when you add up the savings. From extending the life of your system and increasing energy efficiency to greatly reducing the need for costly and time-consuming service calls. Want to learn more? Call Simply the Best Heating & Cooling today at 480-361-8458.

Can Your HVAC System Help with Those Annoying Seasonal Allergies?

While much of the United States is mired in cold winter weather, springtime has officially arrived in Arizona. Trees and plants are in full bloom, and sneeze-inducing pollen is already blanketing the Phoenix metro area. For anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies, this time of year means struggling with the very uncomfortable symptoms of hay fever, which include itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing and coughing. To make matters worse, the pollen doesn’t just stay outside. It enters our homes and workplaces via open windows, doors and vents. The result can be around the clock symptoms that can make life very unpleasant.

While a trip to the allergist is always a good idea if you’re struggling with seasonal allergies, it’s good to tackle the problem from multiple fronts. This includes allergy-proofing your home’s climate control system. The following strategies can help make your HVAC system more hypoallergenic.

Schedule an AC Tune Up

Air conditioners require regular cleaning and maintenance. This includes cleaning or replacing filters to eliminate pollen, dust and mold growth. Electrostatic filters can be particularly beneficial because they can remove a high percentage of allergens. Make sure to ask your technician to turn on the recycle switch on your air conditioning system. This will recirculate clean air, as opposed to continuously pulling in pollen-loaded air from outside.

Don’t Forget Your Furnace

During the late winter and early spring, temperatures in Arizona can vary wildly. It’s not uncommon to require both air conditioning and heating in a single day. If you have forced-air heating, it’s important to clean furnace filters and vents at least twice per month to reduce pollen and dust.

If you don’t have a forced-air HVAC system, you may want to consider investing in a portable HEPA filter that can help reduce the pollen count in a single room. Place the filter off the floor in the middle of a closed room and away from dusty areas for optimal results.

Is It More Than Seasonal Allergies?

Of course, pollen is not the only allergen of concern for many individuals. Other household particulates can also cause irritating allergy symptoms. These include:

  • Dust
  • Mold spores
  • Pet dander
  • Smog
  • Environmental pollutants

If you or your loved ones are struggling with allergy symptoms year-round, consider UV (ultraviolet) lights to improve overall indoor air quality. These lights are installed in your central AC system to prevent the growth of airborne particles, such as mold, bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that can cause breathing difficulties and other allergy symptoms. UV lights also improve air flow, and reduce overall energy costs by providing greater system efficiency.

Our Expertise Is Nothing to Sneeze At

At Simply the Best Heating & Cooling, improving indoor air quality is one of our specialties. If you’re struggling with hay fever, asthma or just want cleaner air inside your home, give us a call today at 480-361-8458. Our team of experts is here to help.

 

What are the Pros and Cons to Electrostatic Filters?

Electrostatic filters

Electrostatic filters are also known as washable air filters. They are just one of the many air filters on the market today, and like others, they have pros and cons.

If an electrostatic air filter was recommended by your HVAC service in Gilbert, you probably have a lot of questions about how well they work and whether they’re right for you. If you have someone in the household with severe allergies or asthma, the air filtration system you choose is even more important.

What are Electrostatic Filters? Why Do People Like Them?

The appeal to electrostatic air filters is that they don’t need to be replaced. This is the claim, though it’s hard to believe that something that attracts dust and debris won’t need to be replaced at some point. At the very least, you can expect a much longer lasting air filter compared to conventional filters.

To keep these washable air filters cleaned and maintained, you are responsible for taking them out once a month and hosing them off. Once cleaned, the air filter can be popped back in. However, it is extremely important that the filter is washed each month. Failure to do so can result in a quickly dirtied system that leads to increased allergens and dirt coming out of the ductwork.

What are the Pros and Cons to Washable Air Filters?

Now that you know a bit more about electrostatic filters and how they work, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons and whether your household can benefit.

Pros

  • Good air filtration. Electrostatic filters do a good job of filtering out the air, though they are not as effective as pleated air filters. If you have someone in the home with asthma or allergies, the filter probably won’t be enough.
  • Efficient operation. Reusable filters have MERV ratings of around 5 or 6, which is what you will see with a pleated filter. However, cheaper brands might have a negative impact on equipment performance.
  • Cost effective. Washable air filters pay for themselves in about one year. They cost around $50-$60, which you probably already pay for conventional filters every 12 months.
  • Save time and hassle. Not only can you save on the cost of the filter, but also you don’t have to worry about going to the store, standing in line and purchasing air filters every few months.

Cons

  • Monthly maintenance. In order to be effective, electrostatic filters must be removed and cleaned monthly. If they’re not, they can stop working efficiently and put allergens and dirt into the air.
  • Less effective than HEPA filters. Electrostatic filters rely on static electricity, which is enough to filter out small, lightweight particles but not enough for larger dust particles or mold spores. They are not as good as HEPA filters or even a 1200 MPR filter.
  • Not a good choice for asthma sufferers. Since washable filters are not as efficient at removing particles and mold spores from the air, they are not ideal for people with allergies or asthma.

What’s the Verdict?

Is a washable air filter right for you? It could be. As long as you don’t mind doing the work each month, and there’s no one in your home with severe allergies or asthma, an electrostatic filter is a good choice for air filtration. However, if you’re not prepared to be diligent with monthly cleanings, or you need more efficient filtration, it’s best to go with a higher quality conventional filter.

If you have questions on the best air filters for your home, give Simply The Best AC a call and we’ll be happy to help you select an option for air filtration.

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/ToriCampbell