Blogs

3 Common Indoor Allergens

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Many allergens are present all year and can cause a range of symptoms, including sinus trouble, eye irritation, rashes, headaches, and sore throats. You may have also noticed that your symptoms tend to increase when you’re able to open the windows in your Lubbock, Texas, home during the cooler weather. Here are the top three culprits for your allergy symptoms and strategies for taming your indoor allergies all year long.

Pollen

Even if you stay inside almost all the time, you still can suffer from pollen allergies. People and pets can bring pollen indoors, and even house plants produce pollen.

To prevent pollen’s adverse effects, ask guests and family members to remove their shoes and coats before they enter your home, and wipe down your pets with a damp cloth. Another way to cut down on symptoms is to vacuum and dust regularly and be sure to wear a dust mask while doing so. You can also use an indoor air purifier to remove pollen and other pollutants. Avoid indoor plants that produce significant pollen, like juniper, ficus, and chrysanthemum.

Pet Dander

Pet dander is the tiny dead pieces of skin that cats, rodents, dogs, and birds shed with their fur or feathers. You should have your pet groomed regularly to remove excess dander. Don’t let pets sit on your furniture, and wash their beds often. You should also change your HVAC system’s air filter once per month to keep your indoor air quality high.

Pests

You might also be allergic to the droppings from cockroaches, dust mites, and other pests. In cold weather, these small insects are attracted to your home for warmth, moisture, and food. They can even get into your ductwork and spread their allergens around your house. You can prevent this by having your ducts cleaned by a professional every few years.

Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning has more than 45 years of heating, cooling, and indoor air quality experience. We can help you avoid allergy symptoms and keep you and your family breathing easy. Call us anytime at 806-589-1014 for prompt, expert service.

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Plumbing Upgrades That Save You Money

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Are you on the prowl for new ways to save money in your Lubbock, Texas, home? The latest green plumbing technologies are both efficient and economical.

Tankless and On-Demand Water Heaters

The latest and greatest water heaters provide hot water on demand. There’s no need for a storage tank, and that saves space. You don’t have to worry about leaks, and these units live for about 20 years. That’s twice as long as traditional tanked units that last for around 10 years.

Water travels through a pipe during which it’s heated by a gas burner or an electric heating element. Small tankless water heaters can be used to generate additional hot water for laundry, washing dishes or for showering and bathing. Larger units can provide hot water for the whole house.

On-demand units eliminate energy losses associated with keeping a full tank of water hot. Instead, hot water is only generated as needed. Tankless units also eliminate energy losses that accrue while running the water and waiting for it to heat up. Savings can stretch to 15 percent annually.

Low Flow Toilets

Low flow toilet technology can save you money as well. Compared to traditional toilets, low flow fixtures have a smaller tank. That allows greater efficiency of water use. Traditional flush toilets use about 3.4 gallons of water per flush. Low flow toilets only use about 1.6 gallons per flush. No plumbing revisions are required, so installation is quick and easy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, high-efficiency toilets can save you up to $2,200 during the lifetime of the fixture.

Residential and commercial plumbing upgrades conserve water while saving you money. To schedule an installation of either of these money-saving plumbing items, call us at (806) 589-1014. We serve all of Lubbock, Texas, including the South Plains.


3 Reasons to Get Regular HVAC Tuneups

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Annual tuneups are essential if you want to get the most out of your HVAC installation. You should schedule a visit in fall for your heating system and another one in spring for your air conditioner. These regular visits will help you get optimum comfort and efficiency in your Lubbock, Texas, home.

Lower Your Utility Bills

Regular tuneups for your furnace and air conditioner are key for efficient operation. During your maintenance visit, our technicians will carefully calibrate your system, check thermostat function, lubricate moving parts, and tighten electrical connections. These small tweaks can provide big energy savings. Don’t leave your system to struggle with components that haven’t been cleaned or adjusted in years. Schedule a tuneup now for optimum energy efficiency.

Increase the Life of Your System

An HVAC system that’s well-maintained will enjoy a longer lifespan than one that’s been neglected. With annual maintenance visits for both your air conditioner and your furnace, you can get as many years as possible from your installation. You’ll also suffer from fewer repair needs, so even the individual components of your system will last longer.

Improve Your Home Comfort

If your HVAC system isn’t providing the comfort you need, a maintenance visit is an easy way to start troubleshooting the problem. In many cases, you’ll find that the standard cleaning and calibration that comes with a tuneup is all you need to get things back in order.

During your tuneup, our technicians will also inspect the unit for other signs of potential problems. We can let you know ahead of time if a part looks like it will need to be replaced soon. Our technicians can also offer valuable insights into whether your system is properly sized for your home, so you’ll know what to look for when it’s time for a replacement.

If you haven’t seen one of our technicians in the last year, it’s time to schedule a visit. Call Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning at 806-589-1014 to schedule your maintenance now.

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Is a New Water Heater in Your Future? Here’s What You Need to Know.

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Water heaters in Lubbock, Texas, last for about 10 years, sometimes longer. They also show clear signs of impending demise before they call it a day. Listed below are some common symptoms of a unit that’s nearing replacement. We’ve also included a few reasons to consider a tankless water heater installation:

Is Your Hot Water Turning Cold?

You might have hot water when you start your shower, but then it disappears. You have lukewarm water, or water that’s downright cold. This is usually caused by sediment in the tank that impedes the connection between the water and the heating element.

Is Water Puddling Around the Base of the Unit?

Water leaks typically occur when the hot metal tank expands. The expansion creates small cracks, and water seeps out through the openings. Schedule tank replacement as soon as possible and drain the tank to avoid water damage in your home.

Does Your Hot Water Look Discolored?

Water discolorations are caused by corrosion or rust inside of the tank. Hot water tanks with discolored water are ripe for leaks. If the unit is also nearing 10 years of age, your best bet is a new water heater installation.

Is the Unit Making Loud Noises?

As heating tanks age, sediment buildup can cause odd noises. You might hear rumbling, crackling or banging. The unit might sound like it’s making popcorn. The more sediment there is in the tank, the higher the risk for leaks.

Reasons to Consider a Tankless Water Heater Installation

Tankless units are an energy-efficient alternative to traditional metal tanks. These units provide hot water on demand that never runs out. No energy is wasted keeping a full tank of water hot. Tankless units can last up to 20 years. They never develop leaks, and they consume only half as much energy as traditional water tanks.

To learn more about tankless water heating, visit Bruce Thronton Air Conditioning. Call us at (806) 589-1014 to explore your options for a new water heating installation.


How to Prevent Short-Cycling

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hvac unit

Your air conditioner should work for about 10 minutes to cool down your Ropesville, Texas, home and then shut off until the temperature rises again. If your HVAC system is short-cycling or always turning on and off, it will make noise, cause unneeded temperature fluctuations, and waste energy. It could also shorten your system’s life. You can prevent short-cycling by checking your thermostat, ensure the correct sizing of your air conditioner, and maintaining your HVAC system.

Checking Your Thermostat

For accurate readings, your thermostat should be near the center of your home. It could cause short-cycling if it’s near a window or an outer wall where temperatures change faster. You should have your thermostat and the rest of your HVAC system checked regularly by a professional like the technicians at Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning.

Sizing Your Air Conditioner

If your air conditioner has too much cooling capacity for your home, short-cycling is almost guaranteed. Experts use Manual J, also called the Residential Load Calculation, to find the system size you need based on factors like your home’s insulation, local temperatures, the amount of shade, and the number of windows and doors. Upgrading to a more efficient unit is expensive at first, but the investment can provide increased comfort and energy savings.

Maintaining Your HVAC System

Dirty ductwork or a clogged air filter can reduce your air conditioner’s airflow. It can also force your system to shut down before your home reaches the desired temperature to prevent overheating and damage. You should have any problems repaired before they can waste energy or force you to replace expensive equipment.

Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning is an Amana Advantage Specialist with over 45 years of experience. We can help you prevent problems like short-cycling and keep your HVAC system in excellent condition. Call us anytime at 806-589-1014 for outstanding service from our knowledgeable technicians.

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3 Signs of a Clogged Air Filter

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family and indoor air quality

If your HVAC system’s air filter is clogged, keeping you and your family comfortable and healthy will be more difficult. Contaminants and reduced airflow could shorten your system’s life, make your Brownfield, Texas, home uncomfortable, and cause costly, inconvenient breakdowns. Common signs of a clogged air filter include a dirty fan, high utility bills, and poor indoor air quality.

A Dirty Fan

Your air filter is meant to catch contaminants before they get inside your system. Watch for excess dust or bad smells around your home which are indications of problems. You should also check your air filter at least every three months. If you can see dust and dirt or you have trouble shining a light through it, you should change your filter to avoid problems.

High Utility Bills

If your utility bills are higher than usual, a dirty or clogged air filter could be forcing your HVAC system to stay on longer. Some of the areas in your home might be too warm or too cold because of clogged or blocked ductwork or vents.

Poor Indoor Air Quality

A dirty air filter will spread contaminants like pollen and pet dander around your home instead of removing them. You and your family could experience asthma or allergy symptoms, headaches, or other health problems that get better when you’re away from home. You may also notice bad smells when you enter your house.

If changing your air filter doesn’t solve these problems, please call the friendly expert technicians at Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning at 806-589-1014. We have more than 45 years of experience, and we can help you improve your indoor air quality and keep your HVAC system in peak condition.

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3 Qualities to Look For in an HVAC Specialist

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Qualities to Look For

Are you in need of an HVAC technician to repair your system or perhaps install a new system in the Lubbock, Texas, area? If so, you might not know where to turn. When narrowing down HVAC specialists for your repair and maintenance issues, you should find someone who possesses the following qualities.

NATE Certified

One of the first things you should always ask is whether an HVAC professional is NATE-certified. NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence. The organization requires HVAC professionals to pass a number of exams in their chosen specialization before they can earn certification. It’s the premier qualifying agency for the industry, so any worker without recognition from this group is likely not up to par with the knowledge and skills required to repair your unit.

Licensing

Just because an HVAC professional is certified by NATE, doesn’t mean he or she is qualified to work in your area. If an HVAC technician isn’t licensed with the state, then he is operating illegally and could get in big trouble. For example, in Texas, all HVAC contractors must be registered with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. This requires them to take an exam, pay a registration fee, and follow all regulations as set down by the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Advisory Board.

High Better Business Bureau Rating

You’ve found someone who is certified and licensed, so clearly, he knows his stuff. Now you want to know something about the company he owns or works for. The company’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating will give you a good idea. This is a ranking compiled by real customers’ reviews of the business. The top rating is A+ and the lowest rating is F. Numerous factors affect the rating, including complaints against the business, the business’s response to any complaints, and whether or not complaints were resolved.

One sure way to find all these qualities in an HVAC professional is to contact us at Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning. Our entire team is certified and licensed, and we are proud to maintain a steady A+ BBB rating. Give us a call today at 806-589-1014 for help with all your HVAC needs.

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3 Steps to Take if Your AC Breaks Down in a Heat Wave

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AC Breaks Down

Summers in Lubbock, Texas, can be real scorchers, so if your AC unit breaks down in the middle of a heat wave, you need a way to stay cool. Take the following steps to get relief from the heat while you arrange to have your home’s air conditioner repaired.

Close the Blinds

One of the easiest ways to keep the temperature in your home a little lower is to close the blinds. This prevents sunlight from entering the house through the windows. A few hours of sunlight during the day can raise the temperature in a room by several degrees.

Use a Fan

Another great way to keep cool when your air conditioner isn’t working is to set up portable fans in the rooms you will be in. The breeze that a fan creates can make you feel cooler by evaporating your sweat and eliminating body heat. If you leave a room, be sure to shut off the fan. Fans only work when you are within range of the breeze.

Eliminate Heat Sources

If your air conditioner isn’t working, avoid using anything that will produce heat inside your house. In particular, skip cooking food in the oven or on the stove, as this appliance is one of the major heat producers in your house. Turn off any incandescent lights that may be on, as they also add a small amount of heat to the air. One additional electronic device to shut off is a desktop computer. Desktops can get hot after periods of intense use and will fill your room with the hot air they produce.

You will need to have your AC unit fixed as soon as possible, so call us at the first sign of a problem with your AC. These ideas are short-term ways to help you feel cooler until your air conditioning is fixed. When you need to have your AC unit repaired, call us at Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning, at 806-589-1014. Our technicians can return your home to a cool oasis where you can seek respite from the hot sun.

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3 Accessories for Improving Your Indoor Air Quality

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air purifier

If the air quality in your Lubbock, Texas, home is low, you and your family could experience bad smells, inconvenient breakdowns of your HVAC system, and health problems. Contaminants like pollen, bacteria, dirt, dust, and fungi can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, rashes, or eye irritation. Fortunately, you can increase your indoor air quality with convenient accessories like air purifiers, ventilators, and UV air cleaners.

Air Purifiers

An air purifier uses an air filter similar to the one in your HVAC system. It can catch many of the contaminants that your air conditioner’s filter misses. Some models can even remove viruses and bacteria from your home’s air. You can have a whole-home unit connected to your HVAC system or use a less costly portable unit to clean the air in one or two rooms at a time. However, portable air purifiers are usually noisier than whole-home models.

Ventilators

Many new homes have a lot of insulation to make them more efficient. This makes getting rid of stale air difficult. An ERV or energy recovery ventilator can remove stale and humid air from showering or cooking, along with many other pollutants. It has a heat exchanger that works like a heat pump to conserve energy, and it cools and dehumidifies fresh air before bringing it into your home.

UV Air Cleaners

Instead of filtering or removing your indoor air, UV air cleaners use ultraviolet light to kill fungi, bacteria, viruses, and dust mites. They use UVC light, which is typically filtered out by the atmosphere. It has a shorter wavelength than UVA and UVB light which causes sunburns, and it damages the genetic structure of many small organisms. A UV air cleaner can help you prevent biological growth in your HVAC system that could impact your indoor air quality.

Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning or BTAC has more than 45 years of HVAC experience. We can help you install a variety of indoor air quality accessories. Call us anytime at 806-589-1014 for excellent service from our highly qualified technicians.

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3 Ways to Conserve Water

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Conserve Water

Conserving water can help you lower your Ropesville, Texas, home’s utility bills, extend your plumbing system’s life, and help the environment. You can also save power by using less hot water. Take shorter showers and water your lawn in the morning or the evening, not in the middle of the day when more moisture evaporates. Other ways to conserve water include using a dishwasher, adding faucet aerators, and repairing leaks.

Using a Dishwasher

A dishwasher is more efficient and convenient than washing dishes by hand. It can help you save time and increase the value of your home. Choose a new, efficient model and only run it when there’s a full load of dirty dishes inside. Modern dishwashers can remove tough stains, so you shouldn’t need to pre-rinse your dishes.

Adding Faucet Aerators

A faucet aerator makes the water pressure in your home seem higher, allowing you to save water when you wash your hands or do other daily tasks. Low-flow shower heads are available as well. Some kitchen faucet aerators will let you switch between a spray and a stream to fill pots and pans quickly, and others can swivel to direct water where you need it most.

Repairing Leaks

You should look for leaks in your home regularly. Check under all your sinks and inside crawlspaces. You should learn how to read your water meter as well. Even a small issue can lead to water damage and biological growth as well as wasted water. If you notice a leak, contact an experienced plumber to repair it before the problem becomes worse. If your water bills increase when you’re not using lots of water for landscaping or household tasks, have a professional check for hidden leaks.

Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning or BTAC has more than 45 years of plumbing, heating, and air conditioning experience. We can help you upgrade or repair your plumbing to conserve water. Call us anytime at 806-589-1014 for outstanding service from our friendly, expert technicians.

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