Advice From the Pros

Variable Speed

Advantages of Single Stage, Multiple Stage or Variable Speed Equipment

Variable Speed

You may have reached this by looking for what the difference is in cost and what someone means when they say staged or variable speed in relation to A\C. Before replacing your unit, let’s discuss what these terms mean in hopes of making a better choice.

Staged – particularly single staged – means that an air conditioning or furnace unit has one speed. All the way ON or all the way OFF. When the temperature sensor trips to meet the programmed number, the unit turns all the way on until it is reached and then turns itself off. A Two-Stage system would be more like a High and Low gear in a car. If your home’s air conditioning unit is 10 or more years old, chances are it is a Single Staged system. They are the least energy efficient because naturally, they can only draw power at one rate- all ON or all OFF.

Multiple Stage equipment is more like changing gears on a bike. They are not as able to incrementally change as a variable speed compressor, but they will have two “stages” – think around 10 “stages” that have different power outputs.  Multi-speed, or variable speed, air conditioners ramp up or down in tiny increments depending on the “load” or how much cooling is needed to get the job done.  These refer to the compressor or blower and its ability to match the needs of the environment as opposed to just turning full on or being off. You only have one system year round, so having a variable speed compressor lets your system appropriately adjust. If the temperature is milder, it may not take as much cooling to get to your set temp, and this translates to savings in energy usage as the machine doesn’t need to run at full blast only.

You should notice a difference in energy usage and sound. When a variable speed unit starts blowing at a slow speed and increases as the heating or cooling needs to increase, it is quieter than what you are probably used to. Also, air is continually being cleaned with a variable speed blower. Single-stage systems will come on more frequently, for less time but with a large power pull when it starts up and runs. It tends to wear out the system earlier due to being hard on working parts to go from 0 to Full Blast and also uses more energy to cycle more often.

Variable speed systems run for a longer period, using less energy and more evenly heating or cooling your home.

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Safe Holiday Travel Tips

Safe Holiday Travel Tips

Safe Holiday Travel Tips

Whether by plane, train or automobile, there are a few common things that you should prepare to make the best of your holiday season travels. Holidays are wonderful times to gather together, and we hope you enjoy your time with family and friends.

Prepare your Home

Let’s start with the most common factor – you’re leaving your home. You don’t want to leave it open or inviting to theft, and there are several things you can be mindful to leave yourself more protected.
If you have never installed any monitoring or home surveillance, there are many options that are much more affordable today than in the past. Whether using a DIY system or paying for professional monitoring, consider having some kind of system in place before you leave for the holidays. Nest Secure ($400+), Ring Alarm Home Security System ($200), SimpliSafe Home Security System “Knox” Package 2018 ($380) and Ooma Home Security Starter Kit ($120) are all DIY options.
Everyone loves to share their happy holiday spirits on social media, but be mindful of your privacy settings and consider posting pics of you out of town AFTER you get back. Many celebrities have recently been burgled – and that is one thing you definitely do not want to have in common with the stars.  The victims’ homes had been selected based on social media posting, touring or travel schedules of the owners.

Prepare your Car

Before leaving, make sure you have recently had your vehicle inspected and serviced. Consider putting together an emergency kit if you do not already have one. One of the most common problems travelers experience are vehicle troubles and nothing ruins a trip quite like being stranded on top of heavy holiday traffic. If you are traveling far north, the winter freeze has come early this holiday season, so prepare accordingly. At an absolute minimum, make sure you carry proper clothes, have a spare tire and the tools needed to change it.

Plan Your Route

… and know alternate routes. Today, virtually all of us have access to map programs or dashboard navigation systems. With the sheer number of travelers that will be on the roads this season, having the ability to choose an alternate route can help save you a lot of gridlocked frustration. Also, if you want to avoid traffic, plan to leave at a specific time when you might be able to drive through that area before or after peak traffic times.

Wash your hands frequently with soap or antibacterial hand sanitizer

Especially if you are flying or riding a train or bus. Everything you touch has been touched by someone else, including armrests and door handles. Many times, people are completely unaware that they are spreading their sicknesses. In addition to typical germs that can be on someone’s hands, it is also flu season, which can be very contagious and really put a drag on your holiday season.

Communicate your travel plans

It is a good practice to let both people that you are visiting and people that live near you know your travel plans. In case something happens, at least someone will be looking for you. Also, if an emergency arises, it lets people have a way to find you. If you are traveling out of the country, leave photocopies of your passports, credit cards, and any other types of identification with a person you trust. Keep a separate set of photocopies in your own luggage as well.

Medications

If you have chronic medical issues, make sure you are traveling with proper prescriptions that are up to date and documented. It can be illegal to possess certain medications without a prescription and if you have diabetes or take medication using a syringe, get a signed letter from your doctor explaining that your syringes are a medical necessity. If you have allergies, let the people you are traveling with know about it and know where to get to your Epi-pen or take other measures in case an emergency arises.

Talk to Your Children

Make sure your children know their home address or the address you are traveling to and also have a contact number to reach someone in case of separation. If you’re traveling together in an airport or mall, or separate while shopping, make sure you have a time and place agreed upon to meet back together. If you are a single parent traveling with your children, have a signed letter of permission from the other parent. If traveling by plane, you could be barred from the plane if you are unable to prove you have the right to take your children with you.

Happy Holidays and Be Safe!

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Ways to keep your home warm

Ways To Keep Your Home Warm This Winter

Ways to keep your home warm
The colder temperatures are here and soon, we may have the possibility of snow on the ground. While this may be a welcome sign to some, to others it means staying inside with a cup of hot tea while wrapped in a blanket. Don’t forget about your heating system, though! It’s working hard to keep your home 30-40 degrees warmer than it is outside. That’s a tall order considering how hard it is to keep hot air inside of a home! Here are a few tips on how to keep your home warm without depending solely on your HVAC system.
 
Seal Any Air Leaks
Doors, windows, fireplace flues and electrical outlets are a few examples of areas of your home that need to be looked at to insure that it is sealed properly. If the rubber seal around the door frame is missing or has worn areas, you’re sending hot air outside. The same goes for windows. After many years of use, window frames can lose their seal.
 
Close Your Curtains
At night, when the temperatures drop even further, it’s necessary to block any type of radiant cooling. Glass pane windows are notoriously bad at keeping the cold out. Even if you have sealed them properly, single and double pane windows will still radiate cold. The easiest way to minimize that is to close your curtains and keep it between the window and the curtain.
 
Insulate the Attic
Hot air rises, so anything above you in your home is responsible for keeping the heat in. This includes air vents and light fixtures. By insulating the attic, you will eliminate the ability for hot air to seep through the tiny cracks and spaces.
 
Reverse your fan
Your ceiling fan has 2 settings, one for forcing air downward and the other upward. By forcing air upwards, you are dispersing the hot air that has collected at the top of the room. This will keep the room at an even temperature throughout.
 
Schedule a heating tune-up
By maintaining your HVAC equipment and keeping it running efficiently with an annual heating tune-up, you will reduce the energy consumption necessary to keep your family warm.

Contact Gentry Air Conditioning today via our online contact form or call us at 817-488-6733.

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