Blogs

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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How to Save on Plumbing Repairs

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Save on Plumbing Repairs

Plumbing problems can be inconvenient, uncomfortable, and expensive. They can lead to microbial growth, rot, damage to your walls and floors, or bad smells in your Lubbock, Texas, home. These problems can also increase your utility bills and keep you from using household appliances such as dishwashers or water heaters. You can avoid most expensive plumbing repairs in your home by repairing minor issues, conserving water, and replacing old appliances.

Repairing Minor Issues

Repairing minor plumbing problems before they become severe can help you save time and money. A clogged drain or a leaky pipe can lead to bad smells, pests, bacterial growth, or water damage. If you have an experienced Bruce Thornton professional repair the issues immediately, you can keep the costs of any damage low and avoid increased utility bills.

Conserving Water

Conserving water by checking your water pressure, fixing leaks, and using an aerator or flow restrictor can reduce wear on your plumbing system and extend its lifespan. Water conservation can also help your water heater work better and last longer. Use a hose bib gauge to measure your water pressure and have one of our plumbing professionals adjust the water pressure if needed. A faucet aerator will make your water pressure seem higher so that you can use less water to wash your hands, do dishes, or complete other tasks that use water.

Replacing Old Appliances

Replacing an old dishwasher or water heater is usually less expensive than making repairs and risking water damage from future breakdowns with an older model. If you always have to wait for hot water or if you have an appliance that’s starting to leak, speak to our Bruce Thornton team about installing a new model. Since new appliances operate more efficiently, you’ll also save money on your utility bills.

Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning (BTAC) has more than 45 years of HVAC and plumbing experience. We can help you install, repair, and maintain appliances and plumbing equipment in your home. Call us at 806-589-1014 for excellent service from our team of plumbing professionals.

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3 Factors that Cause Pipe Leaks

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Cause Pipe Leaks

You turn on the faucet in your bathroom and only a light trickle drips out. A few weeks later, you get your water bill and it’s far higher than you’ve ever seen. You’re not the only homeowner in Lubbock, Texas, with such an experience. More likely than not, a pipe leak is to blame. You can catch pipe leaks early on and avoid their expensive consequences by watching out for these three factors that contribute to leaks.

Worn and Broken Seals

When your pipes were initially installed, they were connected by seals that keeps water where it belongs. Over time, however, those seals can wear and break, even if you’re doing everything right to take care of your pipes. When those seals fail, water leaks out and you’ll need a professional to seal the pipes once again.

Clogged Lines

We see it too often. You put too much grease down the sink thinking that as long as you ran hot water as you poured, everything would be okay. Or maybe your daughter continually brushed her hair over the sink and then washed the strands down the drain. Over time, you may notice that the water is draining more slowly than before, or not at all. Those clogs will then cause pressure to build up, which in turn can cause a leak.

High Water Pressure

We know you like the water pressure in your shower to be strong, but excessive water pressure can be harmful for your pipes, which can only take so much. Your pipes are designed to withstand a certain amount of pressure, and too much pressure can cause pipes to crack and leak. A professional plumber can look at your water pressure to determine its level.

Pipe leaks can happen to anyone, but if you catch them early, you won’t have to deal with the high water costs and property damage that can happen as a result. To get a leak fixed or if you suspect a leak, call BTAC at 806-589-1014.

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3 Innovations in HVAC

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two hvac

The HVAC system in your Meadow, Texas, home provides heated and cooled air throughout the changing seasons. Similar to other industries, the HVAC industry is always evolving, with new and innovative products designed to improve overall comfort while reducing waste. Check out what’s up and coming in HVAC that might be worth considering when it’s available for your home.

Motion-Activated HVAC

Motion-activated systems aren’t new; we’ve had access to lighting, home security, and other systems that turn on when motion is detected. However, a motion-activated HVAC system is a fascinating idea, and many are surprised that it hasn’t been done before. This system will use sensors attached to rods hung on the ceiling, which can detect movement and adjust the interior temperature accordingly. The benefit of this concept is that your HVAC system only runs when people are present, helping to save energy and money.

Ice-Powered Air Conditioning

Some of the very early air conditioning systems used cold water and ice to cool the air, and this innovative concept is coming back as an efficient alternative to traditional energy-based cooling systems. A company in California has created the Ice Bear, an AC system that freezes water overnight and uses that ice to cool the air in the building throughout the day. At this point, the design can provide cool air for up to six hours, so it’s currently used as a supplemental system to a traditional central AC.

Harnessed Heat

When you’re working on a laptop or other device, you may notice that the battery and components tend to heat up quickly. The founder of Project Exergy noticed that with his devices and came up with a theory that the heat generated by a computer could be used to power a building’s heating system. This concept is still in the early phases, but it’s along the same lines as using a stationary bike to power a blender or other small appliance.

At Bruce Thornton, we’re always on the forefront of innovation in HVAC so contact us to learn more at 806-589-1014.

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End the Thermostat Wars

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couple near thermostat

Dealing with thermostat wars in your O’Donnell, Texas, home can feel like you’re constantly trying to reach a comfortable temperature. Different people within the house tend to have varying ideas of what is the ideal setting, which leads to constant adjustments of the thermostat. As a result, your HVAC system may not be running as efficiently as it should. Use these tips to find a balance among your family members and reach a compromise over the thermostat.

Understand the Needs of Each Individual

You’ve probably met someone who’s always shivering, even when it’s warm outside. Some people feel colder or hotter than others, regardless of what the temperature is indoors or outdoors. In fact, the hypothalamus is the part of your brain that regulates temperature, so yours may process temperatures differently. Stress also impacts your temperature because blood moves to your core organs, causing you to feel warmer.

According to a study in the International Journal of Indoor Environment and Health, females are more likely to feel sensitive to the air temperature. These factors indicate that temperature can feel different to different people, so understanding that can help you be more sensitive to each individual’s needs.

Find a Compromise

It’s not easy to reach a compromise when it comes to a battle over the thermostat, but try sitting down together as a family to discuss how the constant adjustments are impacting the monthly bills. From there, you can adjust the thermostat by just one degree at a time to figure out a comfortable range.

Invest in Fans and Heaters

You should also invest in a few options that can provide instant heating or cooling when someone in the house is feeling chilly or hot. Use floor and box fans during the summer months to move air and provide a cooling effect. In the winter, put out a space heater and make sure to have plenty of blankets and sweatshirts around for your chillier family members.

If you can’t strike a balance, contact us at Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning to look for additional HVAC solutions by calling 806-589-1014.

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Why Do I Need HVAC Maintenance?

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Need HVAC Maintenance

The HVAC system in your Brownfield, Texas, home uses a substantial amount of energy to heat and cool the space. When your HVAC system isn’t operating efficiently, some of this energy could be wasted, causing a spike in monthly bills. HVAC maintenance is the best way to keep your system running efficiently, which helps to keep your bills low and reduce waste.

Lower Monthly Bills

When you keep up with routine HVAC maintenance, your bills will generally be lower each month. During a maintenance service, your technician will inspect the system and look at all of the moving parts. If anything isn’t operating correctly, the technician can come up with a plan for repair right away. When your system is operating at full strength, it can produce warm and cool air more efficiently, resulting in lower energy bills. 

Reduced Energy Waste

Another benefit of routine maintenance is reduced energy waste, which is especially appealing to those who want to reduce their carbon footprint. If a component in the system has slipped out of alignment or is damaged, the HVAC has to work a lot harder to produce and move air. As a result, it will use more energy to maintain a comfortable temperature, which is wasteful.

Fewer Repairs

HVAC systems aren’t cheap, so most homeowners are looking for ways to extend the lifespan of their heating and cooling system while reducing the cost of ownership. Regular maintenance can help with both, reducing the need for expensive repairs while prolonging the life of the unit by ensuring that it is always operating at peak efficiency. Most HVAC manufacturers state that their products will last for 10-15 years, but this estimated lifespan generally applies when the equipment is properly cared for and maintained. Without maintenance, you could end up having to replace your system much sooner. 

Our team at Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning (BTAC) offers HVAC maintenance to help save you money and protect your HVAC system, so call us at 806-589-1014.

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