Archives for Cooling

r22 freon

R22 Freon: What is it and Why is it being phased out?

r22 freon

Refrigerant is what cools the air coming out of your air conditioning unit. If your system is 10 years or older it probably uses a refrigerant called R22. This refrigerant became the main chemical used after its introduction in the 1950s. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was founded in 1970 to protect human health and the environment. Afterwards, many household systems and cleaners were found to have harmful effects on people and the earth.

EPA Rules

Under the Clean Air Act, R22 was found to contain an ozone depleting chlorine and the EPA with other groups and agencies started to phase out the refrigerant. In 2015 the production and importation of R22 compatible air conditioning units was prohibited and only what was left in the country could be used. The goal is that by 2020, the United States would no longer need R22. The EPA rules will most likely not apply to HVAC equipment built after 2010. If your unit was purchased before 2010 there are a few options for you to consider as a result of R22 being phased out.

If you are unsure as to how old your unit is, contact us and we will come out to inspect it and be able to assist in what steps you want to take next. You could retrofit your system by changing the parts and making it compatible with new approved refrigerant. However, that is a lengthy process and is not a lasting solution.

Make the Switch

Switching out the parts may give you a few more years with your HVAC unit.  You can use R22 until 2020, but costs to service these now outdated units is beginning to rise. You may lose more money sticking it out than making the switch. The best option then may be to purchase a new unit as soon as possible. An upgraded HVAC system will be more environmentally friendly and cut heating and cooling costs as a result of not requiring R22.

Alternatives have been created and one is R-410A, which is a blend of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that don’t harm the atmosphere. The various trade names for this compound are GENETRON AZ-20®, SUVA 410A®, Forane® 410A and Puron®.

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Keep Your Pets Cool

How to Keep Your Pets Cool When It’s Hot

Keep Your Pets Cool

As temperatures rise to new heights this summer, we must not forget about our furry family members. Cats have the luxury of napping and running around in the air conditioned inside but dogs require a bit more care. Here is how you can keep your pets cool in the heat:

Take your dog for their walk either early in the morning or later at night.

Temperatures soar during the day and spike around 4-5pm. Exercise is always necessary for a healthy pup, but in the summer, you can be a bit more relaxed. If you must take your dog out at the hottest times of the day, be sure their feet are protected. If you live in the city and grass is not an option, use doggie boots. They can be found at your local pet store and they protect your puppy’s feet from sizzling on the cement. Heat rises from the ground and surfaces like cement and pavement are especially hot. Dogs absorb and release heat through their feet so boots can help keep them cool.

Humans need to stay hydrated and so do dogs!

Keep their water bowl full at all times and if you travel, be sure and bring a bowl and water for them. There are many collapsible bowls on the market as well as water bottle attachments. Put ice in their water or even make them some homemade frozen treats!  Darker coats absorb more heat than lighter and that dogs who are overweight are more prone to dehydration. If you notice that your dog is drooling excessively, lethargic, or has bloodshot eyes, he may be overheated and need water. Dogs can’t sweat and they cool off by panting.

Some breeds do better in the heat than others.

Those with thinner coats like Beagles, Dalmatians, and Chihuahuas as well as dogs with longer noses do the best in hot temperatures. Dogs with shorter noses and thicker coats and dogs with health problems like diabetes and weight will struggle more in the heat.

Know the signs of heatstroke and never leave your dog in the car.

They will have a raised temperature (above 101.5 degrees), muscle tremors, staggering, and fatigue. If you think your puppy is experiencing heat stroke, cool them off with wet towels and if it continues, get them to the vet.

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Mini-Split System

Is a Mini-Split System Right for Your Home?

Mini-Split System

There are times in our lives when we have to make a decision we dread making. Replacing that air conditioning unit that you thought would last forever shouldn’t be a stress-inducing decision. A mini-split system uses heat pump technology and works well in homes that do not have a high heating and cooling load and good sealing and insulation. Choosing both cost-savings and optimum functionality is important for your home and should be an informed decision. Here is how to decide if this system is right for you.

A mini-split system is highly efficient and is the most effective cooling and heating system available. You can choose which areas of your home should receive the most air, unlike central heating and cooling. They come in different sizes and no gas is required. Mini-splits dispense air into a room straight from the heat pump coils so there are no ducts required. This means less leakage and no maintenance for duct work. Installation is more advanced than a window unit but much less complicated than a central AC system. Although advertised as a DIY job, this job is best left to professionals to ensure it is installed properly and the warranty is valid. If correctly installed, your mini-split system can last 12-18 years. Mini-split systems are customizable with timers and sleep functions allowing homeowners to take more control of when and how they heat or cool their homes.

Mini-Split AC Unit Limitations

For all of their advantages, Mini-split A/C units do have their limitations. If your home is large and poorly sealed, a mini-split system isn’t able to handle it. Despite the excellence of engineering, you cannot compensate for a lack of insulation or poor building composition. You must decide if this type of heating system is best for how many rooms you have and the capacity of those rooms. You will save money in energy efficiency but installation is a little more expensive and electricity costs more than gas. Aesthetics may be a problem for you if you do not want your heating and cooling on the wall. You do have a choice as to where the unit goes, but if you do not wish to have a vent in your living room, mini-split may not be for you.

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reducing your ac bill

5 Tips For Reducing Your AC Bill This Summer

reducing your ac bill
Summer is just around the corner and that means our electric bills are going to rise with the heat. Below are some tips for reducing your AC bill.
1. Draw the window shades
It’s a simple, but brilliant concept. Closing your shades will block a large amount of sunlight that would otherwise directly enter and heat up your home. If you prefer to have some natural light then turn the shades open just enough to not let the sunshine hit directly the floors or walls inside.
2. Use a Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans do not work by cooling the air, but by moving the air around and making us think that it feels cooler. Oscillating fans box fans are even more effective in creating the feeling of cooler air.
3. Lighten up the bedding
If you like the AC cold when you are asleep, then don’t use the same bed comforter that you do in the winter. Try sleeping with a light blanket or just a bed sheet so that you aren’t surrounded by your own body heat
4. Use Your thermostat’s AC program
If you have a programmable thermostat, review the settings make sure your house isn’t trying to cool when no one is there. Opinions vary, but we say that 80 degrees is a good place to start when the house is vacant. At 80 degrees the house will still be able to cool down in a reasonable amount of time when you get home. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, be sure to change the settings before you leave the house.
5. Change the Air Filter
In the summer your air conditioner is running a maximum capacity. This means that more air than normal is passing through the air filter and bringing dirt and dust with it. As the filter collects more dust, your ac system performance goes down. Make sure to check your air filter at least monthly.
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AC Unit Leaking Water

Why Is Your AC Unit Leaking Water?

AC Unit Leaking Water
Do you ever see water running out of a pipe on the side of your home, or worse, water stains on the ceiling below your AC unit? This is not normal for your ac unit and needs attention right away. To help explain why you need it checked out we will cover some common causes of your AC unit leaking water.

My AC Unit Makes Water?

When cooling the air in your home, the humidity is also being removed. The result is water that has been condensed from vapor in the air. During normal operation this water removed from the AC unit by a pipe called a condensate drain. When you can see the water that means that something is abnormal and the water is not flowing throw the condensate drain properly. This is a simple issue to fix, but If left untreated the overflow of water can lead to further issues.

Blocked Condensate Drain

As mentioned above, the condensate pipe’s function is to remove normally occurring water from your AC unit. Over time, rust, dirt, and other debris can build up in the line. Eventually that build up will block the flow of water. On the tough clogs we use compressed nitrogen to force the blockage out.

Dirty Air Filter

That’s right, a dirty air filter can cause water to flow out of unwanted areas of your AC unit. A dirty air filter restricts the air flow across the evaporator coil and thus causes the coil to ice up. Once the ice thaws the amount of water is too much for the condensate drain to handle and it overflows.

Low Freon Levels

Low freon levels can cause your unit to ice up, as well. This will have the same effect as a dirty air filter.

Broken or Disconnected Drain Line

Over time, the materials on your condensate drain can weaken and even come unglued under the wrong conditions. If either happens, water will leak out of the unit.

Broken Condensate Pump

Some AC units need to have their water removed via a condensate pump. Like all machines, these pumps can fail. The pump should have an emergency switch that detects failure, but if it doesn’t work water will leak out where it shouldn’t.

Higher Than Normal Humidity Levels

Running a humidifier or leaving the front door open on a rainy day with the AC on? You can bet that this will cause excess condensation in your AC unit.
It is normal for AC units to make water and even to overflow in the emergency pan at times. If you notice prolonged drainage out of a pipe on the side of your home or a water stain on your ceiling below the unit, call an HVAC professional right away!
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Air Conditioning System Cost

How Much Does A New Air Conditioning System Cost?

Air Conditioning System Cost

For many reasons, “How much does a new air conditioning system cost?” is a big unknown for homeowners. The broad answer for 2017 is $5000-$18,000, and you shouldn’t see more than a $1000 difference between HVAC contractors on an “apples to apples” bid. We will dive in further on this post to explain the variables that can greatly affect the cost of an air conditioning system replacement and give some more specific pricing.

Tonnage

This is the size of the AC unit that you need to stay comfortable in your home. Like most things, the price goes up with the size of the unit. This factor is largely determined by the composition of your home. An HVAC professional can properly size the unit for you.

SEER

This is the efficiency of your AC system. Federal registrations require a minimum of 14 SEER in the DFW area and we have units all the way up to 20 SEER. The 14 SEER AC units are basic in terms of features and energy usage. As the SEER goes up, the energy usage goes down and comfort features are added.

There are many factors may come into play such as: duct work, unit relocation, accessibility, air balancing, and difficulty of the install. Now that you have some more information, we will give you some price tiers within the broad range:
Good = 14 SEER AC & heat system – $5000 to $7000
Better = 16 SEER AC & heat system – $6000 to $8000
Best = 17 SEER  and some 18 SEER AC & heat systems – $8000 to $10000
Premium = some 18 SEER and 20 SEER AC & heat systems – $10,000 to $18,000
As you can see, the ranges for each type of air conditioning system still vary even when we break them down into tiers. The best way to see what it will cost is to replace your air conditioning system is to schedule an appointment with us for a free estimate and we can take a look at all of the factors and give you a quote.
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Two-Stage Air Conditioning

What Is Two-Stage Air Conditioning?

Two-Stage Air Conditioning

Two-stage air conditioning is an extremely beneficial option in terms of comfort, energy savings, and many other areas. In this blog we are going to explain what two-stage air conditioning is and what it can do for you.

What is Two-Stage Air Conditioning?

It’s all in the name. Traditional air conditioning systems are either on 100% or completely off. Those systems use a lot of energy on start up and blow out a lot of cold air into the house very quickly. Two-stage systems start out using 70% capacity and then kick in the remaining 30% of capacity if needed. The result is that less energy is used and the airflow is more evenly distributed through the home.

Benefits

When our customers ask us what the #1 benefit to a two-stage AC system is, we answer with comfort. You may have experienced a traditional single stage AC system that it is loud and blasts air out of the vents that lead to humid conditions and hot/cold spots through the house. A two-stage air conditioner solves these issues. Instead of racing to get the thermostat down to the set point, this AC system only uses the amount of cooling capacity and air flow that is needed. This allows your home to be cooled evenly, quietly, and removes excess humidity by running at a lower speed for more time.

Lower Utility Bills

Air conditioners are just like vehicles, they are more efficient by running at a consistent speed. Which scenario would use more gas? 5 miles of stop and go traffic or 10 miles of highway driving? The single stage AC works a lot like stop and go traffic and the two-stage AC is like cruising on the highway. The result is that your AC unit works longer, but not as hard, and thus uses less energy. The minimum efficiency for a two-stage system is 17 SEER, which can help recoup the cost of a two-stage system.

Contact Gentry AC for all of your commercial and residential HVAC needs.

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Air Conditioner Unit Repair

Are Air Conditioning Unit Tune-Ups Necessary?

Air Conditioning Unit Repair

Ask a homeowner if they get their air conditioning unit tuned up and you will usually get a distinct “Yes, every year” or “No, never”. Then ask them how often they break down. It’s not a coincidence that the “No Tune-up” people will sometimes say that they have frequent repairs or comfort issues. Air conditioning units have come a long way in recent years in terms of efficiency and comfort. As they get more precise, maintenance on those units has moved from an option to a must. There are many benefits that we will list below:

Increased lifespan

If anything convinces someone that they need regular air conditioning unit tune-ups, its the fact that they will help get the most life out of a unit. A lot of companies say that a unit will only last you 10-15 years. Without proper maintenance 10-15 years is all you can expect, but well maintained units can go 20 or more!

Minimized repairs

An AC tune-up can’t guarantee that you wont have a break down, but it goes a long way in heading off those breakdowns and giving you the chance to make preventive repairs before they happen at an inconvenient time

Improved efficiency 

Using our checklist, we cover the components that can start to ratchet up your energy bill.

Increased comfort

Most AC service calls start with a customer that is uncomfortable. It could be humidity, thermostat not reaching the desired temp, foul odors coming from the AC unit or a number of other items. During a tune-up we cover your bases on items that lead to discomfort.

Relationship

If you are using the same AC company year after year then you have a chance to build a relationship on trust that you can rely on when a major repair or replacement is needed. There is no one more distraught than a homeowner in the middle of summer hiring an AC company that they know nothing about to invite into their home to fix their AC unit.

Call Gentry Air Conditioning today to schedule your air conditioning unit maintenance!

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air conditioning tune-up

What Is An Air Conditioning Tune-Up?

air conditioning tune-up

Customers ask us all the time what happens during a tune-up. An air conditioning tune-up is a full inspection and analysis of your cooling system along with the cleaning of accessible parts. The cost of scheduling a tune-up will easily pay for itself in extend life of your air conditioning system and breakdowns that are avoided. Below is a list of what we do during an air conditioning tune-up and what makes Gentry Air Conditioning different than the rest.

Inspect all electrical components

Capacitors, fan motors, compressors, thermostats and circuit boards. The key with checking these items is that we can see signs of weakness that can cause a break down during the hottest days of the year. When we find these issues, we inform of the issue and their options, and then let them decide to leave the part as is or replace it to prevent the breakdown.

Freon levels

A system that is low on Freon will start developing other directly related issues. Checking your Freon annually helps catch a leak before it becomes a larger problem

Condensate drains

Have you ever seen water dripping from a pipe on the side of your house? That typically means that your condensate drain is clogged. We check for this and clear any clogs if present

Air Filter

A dirty air filter can cause issues all down the line of your system. We make sure that yours is clean and ready to go

Condenser coils

We thoroughly wash the outdoor condenser coils. Keeping these clean helps your AC system run at peak efficiency

Ductwork and other items

We visually inspect your ductwork and other items to identify and air leakage or efficiency issues.

We only use knowledgeable “Service Technicians” with several years of experience that can, not only, maintain your AC units, but identify any potential issues that may arise. Some companies use “Maintenance Technicians” that have limited knowledge of AC systems and perform only basic functions.

Call Gentry Air Conditioning today to schedule your air conditioning tune-up before the heat gets here!

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air conditioning service

What to Check Before Scheduling An Air Conditioning Service Call

It’s the middle of Summer, you have guests in town, and your air conditioner decides that today is a air conditioning serviceperfect day to stop cooling. These machines seem to know when it is the worst possible time to give up on us. As a result, you want to get it fixed quick. Here are a few things that anyone can check on their air conditioner and prevent an unnecessary visit from the AC guy.

Is it plugged in?

It sounds simple, but most gas furnaces are powered by a light switch or a plug that goes into a standard outlet. Take a look at the indoor air conditioning unit and see if the switch is on/ the plug is plugged in. If the plug is in, you may want to plug another appliance(ex: hairdryer) in the outlet to make sure the outlet is good. You wouldn’t believe how many service calls are for this reason alone.

Breakers

Open the electrical panel and see if any breakers are tripped. If they are marked “Air Conditioner, Furnace, Heat, or Air Handler” try to reset the breaker. If it trips immediately, don’t reset it. Further inspection is needed by an air conditioning company or an electrician.

Thermostat

Take a look at your thermostat. Is the display blank? If so, replace the batteries.

Air Filter

We all change our filters within 30 days exactly, right? Well, not always. If your filter is clogged with dirt and dust then it could cause the unit to freeze up or overheat.

Outdoor Unit

Check the coils on your condenser or outdoor unit for dirt. As a result, aq`a dirty condenser coil will cause the outdoor unit to be over stressed and not cool properly. If it is dirty, turn the power off to the unit and spray a garden hose on the coil to remove the dirt. Let the water dry and turn the power back on.

Call an Air Conditioning Professional

If you check all of these things and find nothing out of the ordinary, you can feel confident that your money will be well spent on an air conditioning service call.

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