Archives for Maintenance

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  You can use R22 until 2020, but costs to service these now outdated units is beginning to rise.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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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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furnace maintenance

Keep your Furnace Maintained!

furnace maintenance

We just had our first cold front of the fall therefore, the phone has been ringing non-stop with broken furnaces. We thought this would be a good time to remind everyone about our furnace maintenance and what all it entails. Proactive furnace maintenance is the best way to make sure you will be warm inside when the cold hits outside. Below are the items we inspect and clean when you have us out for a heating maintenance:

Inspect Air Filters

One of the keys to keeping your heating system in working order is by making sure the air filter has no problems passing air through it. A dirty air filter means your system has to work twice as hard to pull air, therefore, putting strain on the blower motor and other major heating components.

Inspect heating operation

We will inspect all of the integral parts of your heating system to make sure your home will stay warm this Winter.

Carbon Monoxide Testing

Carbon monoxide is a dangerous and odorless gas that can harm or even kill without warning. You should always have a professional ensure that any carbon monoxide is being sent outdoors and not collecting in your home. Having carbon monoxide detectors in your home is also a good idea! 

Check Heat Exchangers

How does carbon monoxide leak into your home? The most common cause is a broken heat exchanger. A heat exchanger is what creates the heat in most modern heating systems. It is a series of metal tubes that get hot when natural gas is forced through them, the air from your house blows over the hot tubes and this heats your home. If there’s a problem in your heat exchanger, then your home will not reach the desired temperature, or may take twice as long to get there! 

Clean or Replace Sensors

All heating systems rely on sensors to function properly, once one is broken or burned-out, it must be replaced by an HVAC professional. Gas-fired heaters use flame sensors to regulate the heat that is being put out by the heater. Just the slightest bit of build up can cause it to shut down or misfire.

Inspect electrical components

We ensure that all wires and fuses are connected properly, because blown fuses can occur with any voltage spike, or lightning strike. They protect the power surge from reaching the vital electrical components inside your heating system!

Inspect belts

If your system is struggling to keep your house warm, then there’s a good chance that your belts are stretched. A new set of belts could get it back to running like new!

Check Freon levels for heat pump units

A new shot of Freon can give your heat pump the boost it needs to run more efficiently!

Check amp draws on electric heaters

If your electric heater is drawing too much or too little amperage, as a result, it will not function properly. We can come in and make sure everything is ready to go make sure you spend your night in comfort!

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air filter

Common Air Filter Questions

Seasonal allergies are picking up again, time to change your air filters!air filter

Why should I change my air filter? 

Longevity, performance, and efficiency all start at the air filter, so it is important to make sure that it is in good condition. The other main purpose of the filter is to keep particles, dust, allergens and other things in the air from circulating into your home, thus improving your indoor air quality. Just remember, everything caught by the filter stays there until you replace it! An air conditioning system with constantly dirty filters inevitably has larger problems down the line (think if you never changed the oil in your car).

How often?

There a lot of opinions on how often to change your air filter. The industry standard is that you should change it every 30 days, but this isn’t the case for everyone. Our advice is to check it every 30 days. If you can see the dust particles on the filter then its time to change it. If it still looks brand new, put it back in and check again in 30 days. Why throw away a clean filter? Generally, homes with kids, pets, and lots of in/out traffic will see their filters get dirty very quickly. We see homes with less activity easily go 60-90 days before needing to change the filter. More runtime on your unit equals more air passing through the filter, so it will get dirty quicker during times of high use.

Filter Types

If you have been to the hardware store or searched for air filters online, you know there are many options with varying prices. We are going to let you in a little secret here, you don’t need the $35 air filter. The best filter for quality and value is a simple pleated filter with reinforced cardboard around the edges. Make sure it is appropriately sized for your filter housing so that it filters the air properly. Most of us are stuck with 1″ thick filters, but many new AC and furnaces can use a 1″ thick or a 4″ thick filter. The 4″ filters cost more, but they filter the air better with increased surface area and tend to last longer.

As for the expensive premium allergen and mold fighting filters, the benefits over the standard filter are minimal. If you have asthma, allergies, or other breathing related issues, you may need to look at an electronic air cleaner or UV filter.

Keeping your air filter clean is both the easiest and most effective way to keep your unit in good shape!

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Why Proactive HVAC Maintenance Saves You Money

HVAC Maintenance

We’ve said it before, most people don’t call us at Gentry AC until it’s too late to save their current HVAC system. Instead, we end up doing near complete replacements that cost quite a bit more than simple maintenance would. However, a lot of people don’t really understand how investing in preventative HVAC maintenance can save you money in the long run. In response to that, we’re going to run through three key areas where a proactive approach can show tremendous value in the long run.

 

Repairs are smaller and least expensive.

HVAC systems generate a lot of heat due to friction, so small parts will undoubtedly fail over time. The difference is that by being proactive with HVAC maintenance, the small inexpensive parts can be replaced at a lower cost before their failure leads to a larger, more expensive part failing as well. Part failure, and general wear & tear tend to snowball if not addressed quickly, so by replacing small parts as they fail, you save money by not having to replace expensive parts or an entire system.

 

Your energy bills can be significantly reduced.

Your monthly energy costs are extremely dependent on the efficiency of your HVAC system. In turn, the efficiency of your system is dependent on the quality of the parts within it. By not routinely cleaning vents & ducts, replacing filters, and repairing broken parts, you’re seriously hampering the effectiveness of the system. Conversely, by keeping an eye on vents, ducts, and filters, and by hiring a professional to perform routine maintenance, you can keep your system as efficient as the day it was installed, which has a strong effect on your energy bills.

 

Your HVAC system will simply last longer.

Like any other part of your home or business, your HVAC system will wear down over time. No amount of preventative maintenance can prevent the inevitable. While expensive, the more preventative maintenance you do, the less often you’ll have to replace your system. The life of your system will be significantly longer if you’re proactive, which means you’re replacing it far less often.

So, does preventative, proactive HVAC maintenance cost money? Yes, of course. But, does it save you a lot of money over time? Absolutely. At Gentry AC, we strongly encourage you to engage in preventative maintenance. Reach out to us today, either online or over the phone, and schedule your routine HVAC check as soon as possible, especially as Summer is upon us!

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