Do Electric Furnaces Need Maintenance?

November 20th, 2017

question-mark-badgeElectric furnaces are common in older homes and manufactured homes in Phoenix, AZ. They typically aren’t as powerful as natural gas furnaces, but the mild winters usually don’t require the same high heat output for comfort in Arizona as they do in other parts of the country. Electric furnaces usually cost significantly more to run than gas furnaces because electricity is more expensive than natural gas, but the low level of use they receive compensates for this—and they cost less to install initially. Electric furnaces also need fewer repairs over their lifetime.

Because electric furnaces aren’t on the top of most homeowners minds when it comes to items requiring maintenance around our homes, it can be easy to neglect to have them checked and cleaned each fall. If you feel that this “simpler” type of furnace, that doesn’t present any gas leak dangers, doesn’t require maintenance as frequently as other types of heating systems–or maybe at all, this article is for you.  Continue Reading

Smart Thermostat Comparison – Nest vs Ecobee vs Honeywell vs Lennox

November 17th, 2017

Nest Learning Thermostat vs Nest E Thermostat vs Ecobee 4 vs iComfort E30 vs Honeywell Lyric T6

nest_vs_ecobee4_vs_lyric_vs_nesteIn this article, we chose five popular smart thermostats to go head to head in our latest thermostat comparison. Two offerings from Nest Thermostats, one from Ecobee Thermostats, one from Lennox’s iComfort model line, and of course one from the big boy in thermostats, Honeywell.

We chose five that were similar in cost (including installation) from the more basic of the bunch; the Nest E, to the most advanced; the iComfort E30 – the price range swinging about $80 each way from the median price. The only other requirement was that the thermostats be compatible with most typical air conditioning and heating equipment. None of these thermostats are proprietary to a specific air conditioner manufacturer like the Nexia 1050 is to Trane or the iComfort S30 is to Lennox. Continue Reading

Should I Buy a New AC Unit Online

November 10th, 2017

buy_new_ac_unit_onlineWe get two questions very frequently: “How much does a new air conditioner and heating system cost to install? and, “Can you give me a price to just install a new AC unit if I buy it online”?

I cover the first question in detail in an article titled How Much Does a New AC Unit Cost, which you can find here.

In that article, I give specific information on new air conditioner prices, including labor for both split systems and package units, as well as both heat pumps and AC’s with gas furnaces.

I also wrote a similar article where I break down the prices and cost to install a mini-split ductless air conditioner or heat pump by zone:Ductless AC Price. How Much Does a Ductless AC Cost? Which you can find here.

This article is for people wanting to buy an AC online

Continue Reading

Online Reviews and the Impact They Have on a Service Company

November 8th, 2017

magic-touch-mechanical-reviewsTwenty years ago, when I started Magic Touch Mechanical, an air conditioning, heating, and energy auditing company in Mesa, AZ., online reviews weren’t even heard of. In those days, if a homeowner wanted to see what past clients had to say about an air conditioning company’s service they would request a few references, pick up the phone, and reach out to people that had agreed to give a testimonial.

As we grew, we started to receive too many of these requests to comfortably ask our loyal clients to do this time and time again, no matter how much they insisted it was okay. So, we, like many other service companies, carried “brag books” full of handwritten letters from happy customers. Remember when people actually wrote letters and put them in the mail?

Continue Reading

Keeping Your HVAC System Tuned-Up Year-Round

November 6th, 2017

air-conditioning-grillOur nickname “The Valley of the Sun” tells you most of what you need to know about the weather around the year here in Phoenix. Even when the temperature cools down to its lowest point in January, the average high is around 67°F, and by April a home’s air conditioning system can be expected to running on a regular basis. Keeping an air conditioning system tuned-up and ready to help you with the heat is an important job here. You also need to ensure that whatever heating system you use for your house is able to deal the colder evenings in winter, when the temperatures can drop into the mid-40s.

If you haven’t arranged for your air conditioning maintenance in Mesa, AZ yet this year, it’s never too late to have it done! Contact us and we’ll put you on the schedule. Continue Reading

Fire Glass For Sale Near Phoenix

November 4th, 2017

Fire Glass for Fireplaces and Fire Pits

gas fireplace repair and remodel mesa azIf you were searching for fire glass for sale near me for your fireplace or fire pit, and you live in the Mesa / Phoenix, AZ area – you’ve come to the right place! Magic Touch Mechanical sells and installs fire glass, stainless burner pans, gas log sets, burning embers, fireplace remote control kits, and more.

When considering fire glass, it’s important you purchase the right product, as not all fire glass for sale online are actually designed to withstand the high temperatures a gas fireplace or fire pit produce. Remember, even though we mainly use our fireplaces in central Arizona for ambiance, they are in-fact designed for heating.

Installing the wrong fire glass may only cause the glass to discolor, lose its luster, or turn black – but in some cases, it can produce toxic fumes, unpleasant odors, smoke and ash. Our high-quality fire glass is designed and tested specifically for fireplaces and fire pits. It is guaranteed to safe and will last for life. Continue Reading

Lennox XC25 vs XC20 – Inverter Unit Comparison

October 25th, 2017

Lennox XC25 Air Conditioner VS. Lennox XC20 Air Conditioner

A Side by Side Comparison of Lennox’s Two Variable Speed Inverter Compressor AC Units

If you’ve read any of my other new AC unit comparisons, you know I typically pit brand against brand; like Trane vs. Carrier, Lennox vs. Trane, etc. but since we HVAC nerds most frequently get asked about the differences in models from the same manufacturer…I thought I’d write a few.

I hope you find them helpful in your hunt for the perfect central air conditioner for your home, and if you’re in the Phoenix, AZ area…you’ll consider Magic Touch Mechanical when thinking about a new AC unit install or replacement. If not, please do me a favor and give our blog a plug with a Google or Facebook review so more people can find it!

I chose the Lennox XC25 and the Lennox XC20 for this comparison because these are their two, inverter compressor (aka variable speed compressor) units in their product lineup. Lennox places two units “between” these two machines in their line up (the XC21 and the SL18XC1), neither of which have a variable speed compressor – the XC21 has a 2-stage compressor, and the SL18 is marketed as “the quietest and most efficient single-stage air conditioner you can buy”. Continue Reading

What Is Inverter or Variable-Speed Cooling?

October 23rd, 2017

air-conditioner-on-leavesThe technology of air conditioners is always moving ahead. If you don’t work in the HVAC industry, you probably won’t know much about the improvements manufacturers are constantly making to their products. At Magic Touch, we always keep up with the best in current energy-saving technology. That’s because we aren’t just an AC repair company—we’re home performance specialists, finding ways to make houses energy-efficient as well as comfortable.

Start boosting your home performance with an energy audit in Scottsdale, AZ. Call us to make arrangements. Continue Reading

Air Scrubber Plus Review 2017

October 21st, 2017

A Review of the Air Scrubber Plus From Someone Who Owns Three of Them.

air scrubber plus reviewThis is part two of the Air Scrubber Plus review. The original article was written in April of 2014, and was not so much of a review, as it was a testimonial from myself, and not as the owner of Magic Touch Mechanical, but as the owner of three Air Scrubber Plus units. We have two of these units installed in our offices in Mesa, and the other in my home. In the first article, I talked about how I could sneak a smoke in the house without my wife knowing I did.

I thought a follow up was in order as we have now had the Air Scrubber Plus installed in three different air conditioning and heating systems for 3-1/2 years. If you visit the Air Scrubber Plus website they boast about the NASA technology, blah, blah, blah. Most people don’t want to know how the sausage is made, they want to know if it tastes good…or in this case, does it work? Continue Reading

Why You Might Need to Redesign Your Ductwork

October 9th, 2017

duct-sealing-with-caulkingDuring fall, as we start to get a reprieve from the intense summer Arizona heat, this is a great time to start thinking about making energy efficiency upgrades to your home and even your AC & heating system. Fall is the best time for this, as any comfort issues like hot rooms or humidity issues are still fresh in your mind and you can best describe these concerns to our expert BPI Certified Building Analyst. If your home has an AC that’s more than 15 years old, it’s considered “elderly” and not only may it not be “keeping up” anymore, it’s costing you a lot more to run than todays high-efficiency AC units. You want to replace the heating and cooling system on your timetable, not a timetable the HVAC system picks!

We’re here to help see you have a great new heating and/or air conditioning replacement in Phoenix, AZ.

But… there is a part of the air conditioner and heating system that people overlook that often needs improvement—or a full redesign—as well. It’s the ductwork…the “lungs” of your HVAC System. Continue Reading