Blogs

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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Trim Springtime Energy Costs

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Springtime Energy Costs

As the seasons change in Ransom Canyon, Texas, you may notice an increase in your energy bills. The warmer months tend to hit homeowners hard in the form of higher monthly bills. With a few simple changes, you can reduce your cooling costs even when it’s warm outside.

Use Fans

During the spring and summer seasons, use fans as much as possible to keep air moving in the space. Although fans don’t produce any cool air, they can create a cooling effect as the air blows. Fans don’t require nearly as much energy to operate as your air conditioning system, so try to utilize them frequently. Both ceiling fans and freestanding fans can provide air movement.

Keep Registers Clear

< p>If you’re in the habit of piling stuff up around your HVAC registers, it’s time to break that habit. The system requires plenty of space around the vents and returns to operate efficiently. Even a piece of furniture that sits too close to one of these open sections could result in reduced efficiency. Poor efficiency causes the system to work harder to move the air, which means it’s using more energy and costing you more each month.

Maintain the System

Routine maintenance is one of the best ways to trim your bills throughout the year. Replace the HVAC filter once a month to keep the air moving and reduce the contaminants that can get into your system. Having the ducts cleaned can also improve efficiency, which in turn can help reduce your bills.

During a duct cleaning service, an HVAC technician will use strong suction to remove any dirt, dust, pollen, dander, pet hair, and other debris that settles in the ducts. Air can’t move as freely when the ducts get clogged with stuff, which happens over time. After cleaning out the ducts, your technician may also use sanitizing spray to kill any biological growth in the system. This service can help reduce your bills and improve the indoor air quality.

Learn more about HVAC efficiency by calling our experts at Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning (BTAC) at 806-589-1014.

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How Your HVAC System Can Prevent the Spread of the Flu

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Prevent the Spread of the Flu

With everything going on in your life, the last thing you need is to come down with the flu, especially during a season when the flu is on a rampage. Fortunately, your HVAC system does more than keep your home cozy; it also maintains indoor air quality within your Lubbock, Texas, home. Use your HVAC system to transform your home into a haven free from illness. Here’s how your system can do it.

Regulate Humidity

Humidity plays an important role in the health of your home. With too low a humidity level, viruses and bacteria can thrive. You need just the right amount to maintain health in your home, and with a little help, your HVAC system can regulate those humidity levels for you. A whole-home humidifier, which you can have installed as part of your HVAC system, will add moisture to your airflow as it passes through the system and into your home. Healthy humidity levels will make it more difficult for the flu virus to spread.

Filter Air

Every HVAC system comes with a built-in filtration system that catches particles as air passes into the duct network. Filters are effective at catching dust and the allergens and particles that ride along, but the standard filters alone often aren’t enough to maintain a high level of indoor air quality. 

If your HVAC system is going to catch particles like a flu virus particle, you need to install a whole-home air purifier. Purifiers use finer filters that catch more particles than a standard filter. Many purifiers also release an electric pulse that neutralizes any harmful organisms caught in the mesh. 

Keep Warm

Keeping warm during the winter is about more than comfort. Your body can put up a better fight against illness when you’re warm, and your HVAC system can provide that necessary comfort. Just take sufficient care of your system so you can rely on it.

Don’t let the flu ruin your season as it has done to so many others. Enhance your indoor air quality by calling BTAC at 806-589-1014.

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Energy-Saving Technology with New Heat Pumps

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Heat Pump

Heat pumps are highly efficient for both heating and air conditioning. According to the Department of Energy, heat pumps provide conditioned air for about one fourth of the cost of traditional units. They are efficient because they use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat. In the summer, heat is extracted from the air inside and moved outside of your Lubbock, TX house. In the winter, heat energy is extracted from the outside and moved in. The direction of the refrigerant is reversed by flipping a switch.

Variable speed motors and 2-stage compressors create even better efficiency. Studies indicate that multiple-speed technology can save up to 40 percent on energy costs.

Variable Speed Motors Explained

Traditional air conditioners operate at one speed, full blast, until reaching the temperature on the thermostat. They then turn off until a temperature change starts the cycle again. Two-stage compressors operate at two speeds, high and low. When there is a smaller demand, the unit uses less power by running at lower speed. Two-stage compressors run at the lower speed approximately 80 percent of the time. When temperatures rise, the unit powers up to meet demand.

Variable speed compressors run between 25 and 100 percent of capacity in response to cooling or heating needs. With both 2-stage and variable speed systems, the compressor uses less energy to start, and there is less cycling on and off. Units run longer but use less energy.

Improved Comfort

Multiple-speed units achieve and maintain precise temperature settings. The result is improved comfort and better humidity control. With longer run times, more moisture is withdrawn from the air, increasing comfort. Longer run times also result in more air filtration, which improves indoor air quality.

Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning provides commercial and residential air conditioning and heating services, including new installations, 24-hour emergency service and preventive maintenance. Our more than 45 years of service in Lubbock, TX and nearby communities gives us the experience to know what systems work effectively in the area. Call (806) 589-1014 to find out more about how multi-stage heat pump technology can keep you comfortable and save money.


Hot and Cold Spots in Your Home? A Ductless Mini-Split Could Be the Answer

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Ductless HVAC

Many Lubbock, Texas, homes have hot and cold spots, and they can be a real problem. When you set the thermostat to keep the family room cool and comfortable in summer, the upstairs kids’ bedrooms are too hot. If you crank up the AC to keep the kids’ rooms cool, the family room becomes a walk-in freezer. Family disagreements can break out over who controls the thermostat, who’s comfortable and who’s not. These annoying spots can develop for several reasons:

  • Improperly sized HVAC
  • Ductwork leaks
  • Room additions that increase your home’s square footage
  • Insufficient insulation

Hot and cold spots reasons are difficult to diagnose and sometimes expensive to overcome. Fortunately, there’s a simple and effective solution.

Ductless Mini-Splits Banish Hot and Cold Spots

Zoning gets rid of hot and cold spots, and ductless mini-splits are zoned systems. Mini-splits have an outdoor unit connected to one or more indoor units. Each indoor unit controls a separate zone and has its own thermostat, so you can maintain different temperatures in different rooms. Mini-split installation offers numerous benefits:

  • No loss of treated air through ductwork cracks and leaks
  • Heat and cool only the rooms you use
  • Virtually silent operation
  • Cleaner indoor air and improved humidity control
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Energy Star-certified systems may qualify for up to $1,000 in utility company rebates

Versatile Heating and Cooling Applications

Ductless split systems can be used to heat and cool a whole house or room additions, garage apartments and basement remodels without ductwork. They can be used for backup heating and cooling in rooms that get insufficient treated air, and they’re perfect for older homes without ductwork.

Mini-split installation requires specialized skills like those possessed by the certified installers at Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning. To learn more about mini-splits or to schedule a no-cost installation consultation, call (806) 589-1014.


How You Can Help Your Heater Be More Effective

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warm couple

Warm Is The Word

Winter is a wonderful season. Cuddling up in a fluffy blanket with a cup of hot cocoa while the wind whips around outside is such a great feeling. Great, that is, as long as your Lubbock home’s heating system is in top working condition.

Keeping your heater working well isn’t difficult. You can take some simple steps to keep it in good shape to ensure that it will be effective in keeping your home toasty warm when the temperature drops. Keep your heater working perfectly with the following tips.

Keep Air Filters Clean

One of the easiest ways to keep the warm air flowing is to check your furnace’s air filter and change it when needed. When a filter becomes clogged with dirt, dust, and debris, heat cannot move through it to get to the air ducts and out to the vents in the house. The filter generally only needs to be changed once at the beginning of the cold weather season.

Have A Professional Inspection Done

If you want to make sure everything is in tip-top shape prior to firing up your furnace for the season, having a professional technician perform regular maintenance is a great idea. A technician can also provide information on proper home insulation, which also lessens the strain on your heater’s output. This can prevent problems later on that could become major issues in the middle of winter.

Add Moisture To Warm Up The Air With A Humidifier

Indoor heat can create extremely dry air. Air that contains moisture feels warmer than air that is dry. A humidifier helps to add moisture to the air, making it feel warmer so that you can dial back the thermostat, giving your heater a bit of a break.

It takes just a little planning and attention to help keep your heater working perfectly. For more tips on helping your heater perform perfectly, go to https://btacinc.com or call (806) 589-1014.


Top 3 Problems and Fixes With Household Plumbing

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Fix Those LeaksMost people have a few tools on hand to fix minor plumbing repairs. Many times, a clogged drain or leaky faucet only needs a little elbow grease to get things up and running again. And if you’re handy around the house, tackling small repairs like replacing a drain cover or worn out washer is easy. However, trying to repair even the most common issues can sometimes lead to more significant problems.

Common Household Plumbing Problems

Dripping Faucets

There you are snug in your bed and you hear it; drip, drip. This common problem is not only annoying, but it’s also a huge waste of water. When the washer wears out, they can become stiff or even tear, which allows a tiny trickle of water to drip. Replacing the old washer usually fixes this problem. However, if your faucet continues to drip, the repair job could be more complex than simple washer replacement.

Clogged Drains

If the water in your tub or sink is slow to drain or not draining at all, a plunger may be the answer. Plungers work well to dislodge clogs, but they cannot completely remove them. Drain cleaners are also safe for occasional use, but if you find yourself reaching for the plunger on a regular basis, it’s time to call a plumber.

Running Toilet

If you have to jiggle the handle of your toilet to make it stop running, you may need to replace its inner workings. Typically, toilets will continue to run when the flapper valve is no longer doing its job. Most toilet repair kits work for most models and require very little effort to install. However, there are times when toilets run for more complex reasons. If you replace the flapper and still have to jiggle the handle, a plumber can dig deeper to find the root of the problem.

Some issues are far too complex or even dangerous to tackle on your own. When in doubt, contact us at (806) 589- 1014 and we’ll send an experienced plumber to your home who can identify and correct the plumbing problem.