These 3 Shocking Things Can Be a Sign of HVAC Trouble

Posted on in Articles

Sign of HVAC Trouble

When you adjust the thermostat in your Lorenzo, Texas, home, you probably expect the system to kick on and start heating or cooling your home. Most homeowners don’t spend a lot of time thinking about their HVAC systems, at least not until something goes wrong. However, surprising warning signs like an increase in dust, strange odors or sounds, or uncomfortable allergy symptoms can all indicate HVAC trouble. Keep an eye out for these signs and bring in a professional to do an inspection if you notice anything concerning.

Strange Smells or Odors

Odd sounds coming from your heating or cooling system can mean you have a more concerning problem. You might hear shuddering, clanking, grinding, or squealing noises, which all indicate some type of problem. Shuddering or clanking sounds might mean that a component has moved out of its normal position, causing it to grind against other pieces or shake and clank as the system runs. Grinding and squealing noises often mean that a part is wearing out and needs replacement. Ignoring a sound could end up costing you more, especially since continuing to run the system would cause further wear and tear on the damaged part.

Unpleasant odors are never fun to deal with, but they nearly always indicate an issue. You might catch a whiff of burning electrical wiring, which can mean that you have a circuit issue or something is sparking where it shouldn’t. Since this odor could indicate an increased risk of a fire, it’s critical to bring in an HVAC technician to carry out an inspection, rather than ignoring it. Another concerning odor is the smell of natural gas, which could mean you have a leak. A gas leak can also increase the risk of a fire, as well as cost you more in energy bills.

If you smell mildew, you could have excess moisture in your ducts, which could allow mold to grow. As the air moves through the system, the mold spores decrease the indoor air quality and can lead to serious allergy symptoms, including headaches, congestion, and a sore throat. It’s best to keep up regular duct cleaning to avoid mold growth and keep the symptoms under control.

Unpleasant Health Symptoms

Another warning sign of an HVAC problem is a sudden increase in allergy symptoms. You might notice that you’re sneezing and coughing more often, or you could wake up in the morning with a sore, dry throat. Other signs include increased congestion, headaches, and itchy, watery eyes. One easy way to tell if you’re suffering from an allergy to something in your indoor air is if the symptoms disappear when you leave home. If you’re allergic to something outside, your symptoms tend to stick around whether you’re home or outside; while indoor allergies are worse when you’re in the house.

An increase in indoor allergies can indicate an HVAC issue, such as mold growth in your system or a buildup of dust or other allergens. Duct cleaning can make a big difference in reducing your symptoms and help you feel better. The service will also improve the quality of the air you breathe, which can help you feel better overall.

More Dust 

Dust is normal, but a sharp increase in how much dust accumulates in your home can indicate HVAC problems. The most common problem is excess dust and dirt in your ducts, which moves around as the air circulates. When the system stops running, the dust will settle on tables, countertops, and other surfaces. The movement of dust and debris in the air can also lead to allergies, causing you to feel uncomfortable in your home.

Regular duct cleaning can also minimize this issue since it gets rid of the dust in your ducts. Another benefit of duct cleaning is improved efficiency, which helps to reduce monthly utility bills and extend the life of your HVAC system.

If your HVAC system is showing any of these signs, contact our team at BTAC (Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning) to schedule an HVAC inspection by calling 806-589-1014.

Image provided by Bigstock

How to Know Packaged Is the Way to Go

Posted on in Articles

Go Packaged

A packaged HVAC unit is a great option when you don’t have the space in your Morton, Texas, home or office building for multiple parts of the system. Packaged units contain all of the necessary parts within a single box that sits on the roof or to the side of your building. When you’re trying to decide whether a packaged HVAC unit is the right choice, check out these benefits of this type of system.

Takes Up Less Space

The main reason that property owners choose a packaged HVAC unit is to save space. Newer buildings are typically designed with enough space for a split system while older homes and offices may not have the room to accommodate both sections of the unit. Even if you have a newer home, you can still take advantage of the extra space that comes with choosing a packaged system. The outdoor unit of an air conditioning system tends to be the bulkiest, and many property owners would rather give up their outdoor space.

Packaged AC systems don’t need separate units for indoor and outdoor use. Instead, you’ll have one single unit that your technician will install, freeing up valuable space at your property.  

More Accessible

One of the problems that HVAC technicians face when working on split heating and cooling systems is accessibility. The process of examining the system is basically doubled since the technician has to look at components within two different units. As a result, you’re left for a longer period of time without a working air conditioner. During the summer months in Texas, this is something that most property owners simply can’t bear. At an office building, a lack of air conditioning could even result in having to close down for the day since comfortable working conditions are a legal requirement for employees.

With a packaged system, your HVAC technician can easily reach all components within the unit for faster, more efficient service. A packaged system is a benefit for you as the property owner as well as the technician since maintenance and repair services are easier to tackle. When you keep up on regular HVAC maintenance, you don’t have to worry as much about your unit giving out in the middle of the summer or winter. An HVAC technician will perform a thorough inspection of all components of the heating and cooling system and make recommendations for repairs or replacements to make sure that it keeps up with the changing seasons.

Improved Efficiency

When you choose a government-certified Energy Star packaged system, you can enjoy the benefits of lower heating and cooling bills. In fact, these options tend to be 15-25 percent more efficient than split models. Most packaged systems are more efficient than split options since they are self-contained. Air doesn’t have to travel as far, which can often lead to loss and reduced efficiency.

These systems also don’t have to work as hard, reducing the amount of energy it takes to heat and cool your house. While putting the packaged HVAC unit into your home or business will require an initial investment, you can start taking advantage of cost savings right away, making it well worth the installation cost.

It Can Keep Up

Some owners of large buildings worry that a packaged HVAC unit won’t be able to keep up with the demands, especially when the weather gets hot and humid during the summertime. However, a packaged unit is just as efficient, if not more so, than a split system. In fact, most units are between three and 20 tons in size, which means that they can cool at an average of 12,000 BTU (British Thermal Units) each hour.

Larger homes and commercial buildings can rely on larger units to ensure a comfortable temperature, while a three-ton unit is typically large enough to keep a home cool or warm. Your HVAC technician can determine which size of packaged unit will be most efficient in your home or office building.

Contact us at BTAC (Bruce Thornton) by calling 806-589-1014 to learn more about packaged heating and cooling units and how they can improve the efficiency in your home or office.

Image provided by Shutterstock

How to Improve Air Quality at Your Business

Posted on in Articles

good iaq at work

Indoor air quality is one of the most important, yet overlooked aspects of the day-to-day operations of your Lubbock, Texas, business. When properly maintained, good air quality improves employee health and productivity, as well as customer and client comfort. If you’ve overlooked this part of your business, don’t fear. Here are a few ways to improve the air quality at your business.

Change Your Air Filter

One of the easiest, quickest, and most cost-effective ways to improve air quality and even energy efficiency at your business is simply to change the air filter. Located between the HVAC unit and the ductwork, these filters help trap particulates that diminish air quality. Over time, the filter becomes clogged with these contaminants, making the air less breathable and even dangerous for those with allergies or asthma.

Make sure to replace your filter every 30 to 90 days depending on how much you use your HVAC system. Not only will you breathe easier, but you’ll also have a more efficient system that lowers energy bills and improves your bottom-line.

Add a Humidifier or Dehumidifier

According to studies, the ideal indoor relative humidity is somewhere between 35 percent and 60 percent depending on the climate and location of the business. However, winter weather often causes humidity to drop low during this time. When the air becomes too dry, it leads to a number of health issues such as sinus infections, dry, cracked skin, and difficulty breathing.

Fortunately, there are several ways to improve the relative humidity in your business. Plants actually give off a bit of humidity, so adding a few extra to the office is always a good idea. Another option is portable humidifiers or whole-business humidifiers, which provide ample moisture to the air. Not only will your employees and clients breathe better, but the humidity also provides the impression that it’s warmer, adding comfort to your business. If summer brings too much humdidity, a dehumidifier will do the trick and help you feel cooler.

Keep Contaminants Out

Another source of poor air quality at work is contaminants and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These two types of pollutants come from many sources, and create poor indoor air quality that can linger for weeks or longer. The most common types of VOCs are air fresheners or candles. If possible, don’t allow your employees to use these at their desks unless they can find a natural alternative.

However, it’s not just your employees that cause these contaminants to stay around the office. If you’re in a business that uses equipment with hazardous by-products, you need to keep the area separate from workspaces. You should also require your employees to wear proper safety masks or breathing apparatuses when necessary.

If you spray each year for insects, you should also schedule the appointment on a date that’s the furthest away from people being in the office. A Friday afternoon or Saturday morning should do the trick unless your business does most of its work over the weekends.

Get a Tuneup

As a business owner, it always seems like you’re short on time. Instead of trying to solve the indoor air quality problem on your own, leave it up to one of our professionals. We’ll ensure your system has adequate airflow, ventilation, and is free from any contaminants such as pet dander or dust. You can even opt for a maintenance plan, which gives you priority treatment and discounted prices for service that will improve your air quality.

Test for Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that comes from the burning of fuels. If you have a gas stove at the office or any other type of appliance that operates of natural gas, oil, or wood, carbon monoxide poisoning could be a cause for concern. To combat this issue, install a carbon monoxide detector in high-risk areas and places that are most frequented by employees and customers. We can also test for carbon monoxide and provide advice on how to adequately vent areas of your business.

When it comes to improving the indoor air quality of your business, don’t leave anything to chance. Instead, contact BTAC, Inc. for all your air quality needs. Give us a call today at 806-589-1014.

Image provided by Shutterstock

What HVAC System Is Best for My Home?

Posted on in Articles

Ductless HVAC

You’re on the hunt for a new home and looking for ways to pay less on utilities than you did in your previous home. Or maybe you’re finally ready to replace that old HVAC system that’s been giving you trouble for years. Before you install a new HVAC system, know that simply a newer version of your previous system may not be the best fit for your home and lifestyle.

But remember: the system you choose will determine the efficiency and comfort of your home for at least the next decade. Consider the size of your home, your budget, and the level of energy efficiency you want, and decide which of these systems works best for you.

Central Heating and Cooling

Central HVAC systems, which generally consist of a furnace, air conditioner, outdoor compressor, and a duct network that connects it all, are powerful and reliable. With proper care, a central heating and cooling system can keep your home at whatever temperature you prefer, with relatively little maintenance. No matter how extreme the temperature outside may be, you can be comfortable.

When compared to other types of heating and cooling, however, central HVAC systems tend to be less efficient. Leaks in the ductwork can contribute to high energy bills and reduced comfort, and central heating and cooling systems use a substantial amount of power. And while central heating and cooling can be relatively cheap to install when compared to some other systems, costs can go up if your home doesn’t have existing paths for a duct network.

Heat Pump

Heat pumps are somewhat similar to a central heating and cooling system in that they both use indoor and outdoor components and a duct network, but one particular difference sets them apart. While standard central heating and cooling systems require both an air conditioning unit and a furnace, heat pumps are a two-in-one system. During the summer, heat pumps draw heat from your home and deposit it outside, while in the winter, the process reverses and the system brings heat indoors.

Heat pumps are known for their efficiency, especially when compared to a central heating and cooling system. And if you’re replacing an old central heating and cooling system, putting a heat pump in its place will be relatively inexpensive. They are, however, less powerful than regular central systems.


In contrast to central heating and cooling and heat pumps, ductless systems do away with the duct network and instead only consist of an outdoor air compressor that pumps refrigerant directly to an air handler unit that hangs right on the wall of your living room or bedroom. By eliminating the duct network, ductless systems retain the efficiency that could be lost thanks to issues with that network. And since air handlers are installed into individual rooms, you can customize the comfort of each area of your home.

While having multiple air handlers can be a benefit, it can also end up costing a lot of money to put an air handler in every room of your home.


If you’re looking for the greenest option of HVAC systems, then go with the geothermal heat pump. Rather than exchanging heat with the air, as a standard heat pump does, geothermal heat pumps exchange heat with the relatively constant and reliable temperature of the ground through a system of rods placed in the earth.

But while geothermal systems are the most efficient of this group of HVAC systems, they would also likely be the most expensive for you to install since doing so requires digging up your yard to install the rods. On the up-side, those expensive costs can be made up by the money you’ll save thanks to its efficiency.

Since your HVAC system is such an integral part of your home, installing a new one can be a stressful procedure. Each system has its pros and cons, and it’s up to you to decide which will benefit you and your family the most We’re happy to provide information and make recommendations that will help you make the best decision for your situation . To have any of these systems installed in your home, call BTAC at ,strong>806-589-1014.

Image provided by Shutterstock

3 Ways to Greenify Your Home

Posted on in Articles

Greenify Your Home

Looking to save a few bucks, and the environment while you’re at it? Energy efficiency is more than a fad with money-saving benefits, it’s a lifestyle with positive monetary, comfort, and environmental consequences. If you raise the energy efficiency of your home, you’re not only helping the environment, but you’re also bringing your Lubbock, Texas, home closer to that sanctuary you’ve always wanted it to be. “Greenify” your home and you’ll save money and increase comfort and health for you and your family. Here’s three ways to help you get started.

Cut Out Commercial Cleaners

You may think that the best way to start cleaning up your environment is to clean your home, but watch how you do it. Many household cleaners contain dangerous chemicals that are rarely listed with the ingredients of the cleaner, though they often fall under the vague category of “fragrances.” So, even if your home smells lemon-y, with every breath of that “fresh” air, you’re breathing in noxious chemicals that can cause headaches, allergic reactions, and other health issues.

Instead, start a habit of using more organic cleaners. When you aren’t sure if a cleaner contains those dangerous chemicals, you’re always safe sticking to the classic water and soap combination. If you’re having a hard time getting out those stains, add some baking soda to the mix. Rather than using Windex on glass, mix vinegar and water for a healthy mirror-cleaning solution.

Install a More Efficient HVAC System

Over time, HVAC systems lose efficiency and reliability. Eventually (usually around 10 years), your HVAC system will need to be replaced. And fortunately, in the decade that you’ve been using that original HVAC system, improvements have been made in the industry so that more efficient systems are available to customers.

Every type of HVAC system has become more efficient over the years, but some systems are naturally more efficient than others. For example, ductless (or mini-split) heat pumps eliminate the possible energy waste that can take place because of duct networks. By directly heating or cooling a room via an air handler, ductless systems are far more efficient than central heating and air.

Geothermal heat pumps, another efficient method of heating and cooling your home, transfers heat with the cool ground underneath your yard. While costly to install, geothermal systems will pay themselves off with the money you save while using them. Whether a ductless system, a geothermal heat pump, or a more efficient central system is the best fit for your family depends on your needs and your budget. But no matter what you choose, a more efficient system is bound to greenify your home.

Seal Thermal Envelope

You wouldn’t allow your car tires to continue leaking air if you knew it was happening. Instead, you would either have them patched or replaced. It’s possible, however, that you may be unaware of areas of your home leaking air. Any room that is poorly insulated or has breaches in the thermal envelope (any part of your home that separates the indoor air from outdoor air) is allowing your heated or cooled air to escape while allowing the cooler or warmer outdoor air inside.

Sealing your thermal envelope could turn into quite the DIY project, but containing that air will pay off. If you have one, your attic is a great place to start, since attics tend to be less insulated and prone to letting out air. Once you have sufficient insulation in your attic, check for breaches in the seals around windows or doors. A little weather stripping around doors and some caulk around windows will often do the trick, but some old windows may need to be replaced to truly seal off your home.

These three steps are only a few of the foundation stones to an energy-efficient lifestyle. But by putting your plan into action with this head start, you’ll be on your way to building the environmentally-friendly, comfortable, and healthy home that you and your family have always wanted. For more help raising the energy efficiency in your home, call BTAC at 806-589-1014.

Image provided by Shutterstock

No More Static Electricity

Posted on in Articles

Sitting by Fire

Winter weather brings along many small annoyances: getting all bundled up before a quick run to the grocery store, freezing fingertips while driving, cold and flu season, and the occasional static electricity. Each time you reach for the door handle or your pet, there’s a moment of hesitation, wondering if this will be the moment of shock. A static electricity shock is not painful, but it can be surprising and unpleasant. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you reduce the prevalence of static electricity in your Petersburg, Texas, home this winter

Cause of Static Electricity

Where does static electricity come from? Why is it only common in the winter? And why do I get shocked every time I pet my dog or cat? There are many questions surrounding static electricity, and we’re here to provide the answers. One of the biggest factors in static electricity is humidity. That pesky weather factor that causes sweating in the summer? Yep! Its opposite, lack of humidity, causes static electricity in the winter. 

When the air in your home gets dry, there are a number of symptoms that it can cause. Dry air can produce itchy skin as well as irritated sinuses, eyes, and noses, and you become more vulnerable to contracting a cold. Turning on the heat can further lower the humidity in your home. Essentially, it can feel like a losing battle. 

More specifically, static electricity is caused by a buildup of energy on the surface of an object, which is released when touched. For example, when fabrics rub together, the energy builds up on your body, and then when you reach for the doorknob, a shock is released.  

Let’s Fix It!

One of the simplest ways to fix low humidity in your home is to add a humidifier. You can purchase a basic humidifier at most stores or online or, if this is a big concern for your family, you can install one to your existing HVAC system. Maintaining your home’s humidity will help reduce static electricity, improve health and indoor air quality, and will make sure that your home’s structural health is good. So if you’re really tired of getting those static electricity shocks, the simplest solution is to purchase a humidifier and monitor the humidity, keeping it between 40 and 60 percent in your home. 

If you’re not interested in purchasing a humidifier, there are some easy ways to increase your home’s humidity. When taking a shower or bath, the heat and steam from the water will increase the humidity. Don’t be afraid to leave off the fan and keep the windows closed. Boiling water on the stove and indoor plants can also be an easy way to increase humidity. 

Choose Your Clothing Wisely

But, humidity is not the only factor in static electricity. What you wear and how you move around your home can increase or decrease the chances of getting shocked. Wearing natural fibers, such as cotton, reduce the likelihood of a static shock. To keep away static cling, consider using dryer sheets. They can be used in the dryer, on your hair, and even on your clothes once you’re already dressed.

Slather Up

As we’ve covered, static is attracted to dry air. Another simple way of getting rid of static and reducing your chance of shock is by putting on lotion. When you get out of the shower, or even throughout the day, put on some lotion to keep your skin moist. The more hydrated your skin is, the less likely you are to receive a shock and to have your clothes hugging your body from static cling. Adding conditioner to your showering routine can also help by keeping your hair from standing on end from static. 

If your home seems to have a lot of static electricity buildup, you can also treat your carpets with an anti-static chemical. We hope these tips will come in handy this winter season and prevent you, your family, and your pets from receiving the nasty surprise of a static electricity shock. If you have any HVAC questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning a call at 806-589-1014

Image provided by Shutterstock

Ways to Save Money During Fall by Making Your Home Energy Efficient

Posted on in Articles

energy effciency

Fall and the cooler temperatures that roll in with it are just around the corner, even here in Texas. You’ve probably noticed the pumpkin patches full of bright orange gourds, as well as other holiday decorations now lining the aisles and shelves of stores. Your Morton, Texas, home also needs some preparation to keep it warm and energy-efficient, even through those chilly nights.

Stay Warm

No one wants to be cold, especiallhy in their own home, and there are lots of ways to stay warm during fall that don’t involve turning up your thermostat. If you put all of these tips to use, you may even be able to program your thermostat down a few degrees. Test yourself by starting at 68 degrees. If you’re comfortable, decrease the thermostat a degree or two if you want. Each degree you heat your house above 68 increases your energy use by six to eight percent. That can add up to a lot of money!

To stay warm, put on some extra layers of clothing. Instead of wandering around the house in your T-shirt and comfy pants, put on a sweater, fluffy scarf, socks, or even wear sweatpants over your yoga pants. These extra layers help you to feel warmer, even if the air around you is colder. When sleeping, pull up the blankets and even consider adding an extra one to your bed.

Wherever you have ceiling fans, be sure to set them for winter to spin in the reverse direction. When fans spin the opposite way, they push warm air, which rises to the ceiling, back to the floor to keep you nice and warm. Another easy warming technique you can use in your home is to open the curtains during the day to let in the natural sunlight.

Energy-Efficient Power Usage

Making your home energy-efficient is not just about limiting your use of the HVAC system; there are plenty of other appliances in your home that can be made more energy efficient also. If you haven’t already done so, one of the easiest ways to save energy is to switch from incandescent to compact fluorescent light bulbs or even LED bulbs. Do this with the light fixtures throughout your house, and you’re sure to see the difference in your next energy bill.

Whether you’re using your appliances or not, they are still sucking up a little bit of electricity. Consider upgrading any of your older appliances to those that have Energy Star ratings; they’ll definitely be more energy-efficient. A bi-annual or annual maintenance inspection of your HVAC system when the weather changes also can make your equipment use energy more efficiently.

Seal the Leaks

Sealing your home will make sure that you can heat the inside without letting in the cold, outside air. Leaks often appear around windows, doors, and any other seams in your home. With just a little caulk or sealant, you can easily block the leaks and keep out the cold air. At night, cover your windows with heavy curtains to add an additional layer of insulation to your home.

When sealing those leaks, be sure to check your fireplace. If you never use your fireplace, or it’s not functional, consider sealing the chimney to keep it from leaking cold air into your home. If you do use your fireplace, make sure that the damper is closed when a fire isn’t lit. An open fireplace damper can let in as much cold air as leaving a window open.

If you can incorporate even just a few of these energy-saving tips, your home is sure to be more energy-efficient and will save you money on utility costs this fall. If you find that you need repairs or annual maintenance on your HVAC unit, don’t hesitate to give Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning a call at 806-589-1014. We hope you have a warm, happy, and healthy fall in your Morton, Texas, home.

Image provided by Shutterstock

A Quick Guide to Commercial Refrigeration

Posted on in Articles

restaurant cooler

If you own a restaurant, you know the importance of refrigeration. It keeps all your meat and produce fresh, resulting in better quality and happy customers. However, if you’re looking to upgrade your system or just starting your venture into the restaurant business, you may not have the knowledge needed to purchase the perfect system for your establishment. Luckily, we have a quick, handy guide to get you up-to-date on the pertinent aspects of commercial refrigeration for your Lubbock, Texas, business.

Read more

4 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade or Replace Your Plumbing

Posted on in Articles

Fix Those Leaks

Unless you just built your home or it’s a few years old, there’s a chance that your plumbing is outdated. Over time, pipes suffer from the elements, resulting in corrosion, rust, and eventual disrepair. However, you don’t have to live in fear of a leak or raw sewage flowing under your house or in your basement. Before catastrophe strikes, look for these telltale signs it’s time to upgrade the plumbing in your Lubbock, Texas, home.

Read more

5 Ways to Manage Humidity In Your Home

Posted on in Articles

home humidity

A humidity problem in your Shallowater, Texas home can really compromise your family’s comfort. But humidity problems can also quickly become an indoor air quality issue that affects the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Read more