Archives for Tips

Breaker Tripping in Your A/C Unit

Breaker Tripping Your A/C

Many calls are made at the end of a long summer about A/C breakers. The causes can range from a simple fix to a major repair. Here are some of the potential causes of a tripped breaker and how you can prevent them.

Condenser Coils

Outdoor condenser coils can become dirty and this can cause problems. A dirty coil will block the airflow into the unit and cause the compressor to overheat. If this happens too often or for too long, the compressor can cause the break to trip. To solve this problem, turn the off the disconnect for the unit and run a water hose through the coil until the water runs clear. If your are unsure of how to disconnect the power, or if something doesn’t seem safe, we recommend you call a HVAC professional.

Circuit Breakers

Another issue can be a weak circuit breaker. Breakers can go bad over time and the wires connected to the breaker may be loose. The breaker itself might be bad and need replacing. This fix is relatively inexpensive but you will need to hire a licensed electrician to determine if this is the problem or not.

Compressors

The compressor is the heart of the air conditioning system. It pulls loads of electricity when it starts up and over time can get worn out. The compressor or fan motor can start to short. If this happens, the breaker will start to trip immediately once the unit tries to start. If your compressor is “grounded” or “short to ground” it means that it is not repairable. The worst case here is that it could cause a direct short to the ground that will ignite oil and cause a burnout.  Fan motors can be easily replaced but compressors take several hours of labor and a lot of freon. If you are using R22 freon, that is scheduled to be discontinued in 2020, then a new unit may be better than repair.

Bad Capacitors

Lastly, you may have a bad capacitor or start kit. These parts hold the charge that jump starts the compressor and fan motor to come on. Occasionally they go bad and the breaker trips. To have this diagnosed fixed, contact your local AC repairman.

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Reducing Humidity in your Home

Reducing Humidity In Your Home

Reducing Humidity in your Home

Humidity is uncomfortable. It can cause allergies from mildew and dust mites. It causes our bodies to sweat more and release heat less efficiently. High humidity also makes the temperature outside feel hotter than it actually is. It only takes four to six pints of water to raise the humidity level inside of 1,000 square feet from 15% to 60%. Luckily, there are ways to reduce humidity and make life at home enjoyable.

Ventilation

First, you want to ensure that your house is well ventilated, including the attic. Pay close attention to rooms and areas that create moisture like the kitchen and bathrooms. If you or your family members like to take long hot showers use vent fans. Let them run longer than you think in these rooms. When cooking, try and cover your food as much as possible. Take advantage of the exhaust fans in your kitchen as oven and stove top cooking produces more moisture than slow cookers. Washing machines and dryers also affect the amount of moisture found in the air. If your house does not have vent fans, open a window to allow fresh air in and to circulate moisture out.

House Plants

House plants are great, but do not help in reducing humidity as they release vapors into the air. If you can, place them outside for a little while or put them all in one room. If you have lots of plants, think about cutting back.

Air Conditioning

Running your air conditioning costs a little more but does best to remove moisture from the air. Check the air filter. If it is dirty it may cause your unit to freeze and create excess humidity. Check your windows as well. North Texas heat is not dry and if there are cracks the outside air during the summer months may be creeping in and causing humidity. Also check that there is proper drainage around your house.

If humidity is a chronic problem consider purchasing a dehumidifier. They are commonly placed in basements and work best with closed doors and windows. For proper circulation, they must be placed away from walls and furniture.

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How to Prepare Your AC Unit For a Storm

Prepare Your AC Unit for a Storm

Wind, rain, and hail are likely to cause serious damage to your home and this includes your HVAC system.  There are steps you can take to ensure that your HVAC system is protected when storms arrive. Here are ways to safeguard your system before bad weather hits.

Secure The Unit

Make sure that your HVAC system is properly secured to the building structure and tie down the condenser. You are not protecting your unit from being blown over necessarily, as that would require extremely strong winds, but from debris laying around. Gardening tools in the yard, children’s toys, and patio furniture are all things that if left out during a storm can be tossed around and could harm your HVAC unit. If you know a storm with high winds is coming make sure to put everything away in the garage or shed.

Cover It

Another way to protect your unit is to put a tight cover over it. This will prevent anything from getting into the condenser and flooding it as well as prevent damage to the coils and fins. You can use something simple like a tarp or invest in a screen protection such as hail guards.  Hail guards are filter screens made from a heavy-duty fiber and can be installed to prevent hail damage. They are designed for high strength and durability. Power surges are also common during storms.

Breakers

Experts strongly advise turning off the breakers at both the thermostat and breaker box to prevent any damage to the HVAC unit. Install a surge protector for your unit in case you are not home to turn off the breakers. Consider using surge protectors all over your home as an added measure of protection. Either option will shut off the equipment if there is a spike in line voltage.

After a storm, look for these things to ensure your unit will be fine. First, go outside and assess if there is any outside damage to the unit like dings or dents. Switch the breakers back on and restart the unit slowly. Listen for any unusual noises in the equipment. If you are unsure or have any questions about your unit after a storm, contact your local HVAC contractor.

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Local HVAC Contractor

How to Choose a Local HVAC Contractor

Local HVAC Contractor

You want to make sure that the local HVAC contractor you hire to take care of your heating and cooling system is well-trained and certified, because systems are very complex and host numerous safety concerns. On top of that, you want your home to be well cared for. Here are things to do and not to do when looking for an HVAC contractor.

Do not take estimates over the phone.

No two air conditioning units are the same, therefore there are too many factors to consider. While some contractors may give you a price range, no reputable contractor would give you a bid over the phone because they must be able to check a list of things. They must be able to see the ducting, how your unit is registering in each room, what kind of insulation you have, and lots of other details including measuring your home for a properly sized unit. Make sure that the contractor surveys your house, crawls into your attic and walks around the house to inspect it. Inexperienced contractors and someone trying to gain business without doing the work will give an estimate without really seeing what is going on.

After your contractor does come to your home and surveys your property, get your estimate in writing. Do not accept a verbal contract. If they are reputable, this should not be a problem. It should include the price as well as all services that need to be done.

Experience and knowledge are vital.

Technology is ever changing and what might have worked ten years ago could be outdated regarding your air conditioning system. Ask if the company is knowledgeable about new technologies, including smart home planning. If they don’t know what the latest updates are you may want to move on. If you are wanting someone a little more seasoned, most states require that contractors have 2-5 years of experience before being hired. Just ask the company what they require before they hire their contractors.

Make sure your contractor is licensed.

It’s easy to see and find out. License numbers are required to be listed on their website and paperwork. Some cities and states provide websites with licensed information. If there is no license, there is no insurance to cover the job if it is not done properly. Do not risk hiring someone who is only claiming to be licensed. They could severely damage gas lines or electrical applications that you, consequently, would be responsible for.

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Local HVAC Tech

Why Should You Hire a Local HVAC Company?

Local HVAC Tech

With summer in full swing, your A/C might need a tune up. When looking for local HVAC services, you only want the best. There are plenty of options to choose from but hiring from a big company may be a mistake. How will they know the area? How can you trust their reputation? Will they have time to answer your questions? There are many benefits to hiring local. Here are some to consider before making your service appointment.

Your home is where your family is and this includes your neighborhood. One of the main advantages of hiring a local business is that they will value your relationship and want to establish trust. You will be treated like a neighbor because you are one. They will likely see you in the grocery store following your HVAC service. Also, local businesses thrive on referrals. You can find out, pretty quickly, if they are worth your time and money. If their services are poor, their reputation dies, and then their business. You also know where their office is. If you have questions or any problems, you know exactly where to go or who to contact.

Smaller businesses mean more one-on-one time with the customer. Hiring a local HVAC service can provide you with personalized attention and service and quicker follow-up appointments or responses. Big companies struggle with longer wait times, anonymous service repairmen, and cannot guarantee you will talk to the same person twice.

Local HVAC companies help build strong communities. Everyone benefits when positive and productive relationships are built, including commerce. Locally owned businesses create more jobs and sometimes offer better wages that will then pour back into the local economy. Lastly, local companies are free to make decisions benefitting the community and are free to engage in ways they see fit.

Most importantly, local service providers are more direct with their customers. Their business is on the line so they want to do the right thing. They do not have the capital to waste on stringing customers along. This will also come to mean that you will receive higher quality work for the right price. Local services do not have to answer to a national headquarters office or pay lots overhead.

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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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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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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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Replace HVAC System Before Selling

Replace Your HVAC System Before Putting Your House On The Market?

Replace HVAC System Before Selling

A question we get asked often is “Should we replace our HVAC system before putting our house on the market?” 

Selling your home can be a nerve-wracking time. Packing, hiring movers, last minute showings and all of the other necessities are all stressful. Most sellers have little time to think about their HVAC system. It may seem counter-intuitive to make a large investment on an HVAC system for a home that you are selling. When a potential buyer walks through and around a home, that rusty unit or dusty furnace can be a red flag. No one wants to purchase a home, then months later have to spend thousands of dollars on repairs or replacement. Having the ability to show that your current HVAC system is healthy and shows no signs of breaking down is vital to selling your home.

Potential HVAC Issues

We often get called to homes by sellers and buyers to evaluate HVAC systems to see if there are issues or weaknesses. An old or inefficient system can lead to high utility bills, plus signal possible breakdowns in the future. A trend that is popping up nowadays is home buyers requesting recent utility bills. A higher average electric bill will likely detract a person from purchasing a home. 

Many home sellers schedule us to come out and identify any potential issues that could hold up the sale. You may not recoup 100% of the cost from replacing your HVAC. However, it will help with marketability and the ease of selling your home for the price you’ve asked. All home buyers would prefer a new HVAC system in their new investment! If you want to make sure your home’s HVAC system will pass the test before you put your home on the market, give us a call!

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What To Do When a Furnace Repair Won’t Fix the Problem

furnace repair

Most of us don’t think about our furnace until it stops working, but sooner or later we all will have that unfortunate experience. When we go out to check a furnace, every attempt is made to repair it. Despite our best efforts, sometimes a repair isn’t enough and replacement is the better route to go. Below are a few items to consider when deciding if your furnace should be replaced or repaired:

Frequency of Breakdowns

Since many breakdowns are tied to other parts of the furnace this is the number one consideration for furnace replacement. Are you calling your furnace repair company every winter for unexpected breakdowns? Is the cost of each breakdown slowly creeping up? We can help you navigate whether your money would be better spent on a new furnace versus repairing the existing one. 

Age

Sometimes it is just a number, and other times it is a reality. Due to our mild winters here in North Texas we get a lot of life out of our furnaces. Unfortunately, as time goes by efficiency goes down, and a new furnace could pay for itself in energy savings alone. Most new furnaces operate as much as twice the efficiency of older units. 

Maintenance History

You may take great care of your furnace or heating system, but how good did the previous owners do? A good indication is how well they kept up the rest of the property. If a lot things around the home visibly lacked maintenance, then odds are that the HVAC was neglected too. This neglect takes time off of your furnace’s life. A good tip when buying a home is to ask the owners for any maintenance records they have and contacting us to do a full inspection. 

Cost

Before you do anything, it has to make sense financially. We offer guaranteed pricing, warranties, and flexible financing options to help you with your decision should the furnace need replacement. 

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