Advice From the Pros

Tips to Prepare Your HVAC System for Summer


Preparing your air conditioning unit for the requirements of summer air conditioning is not a difficult task, but it’s crucial for ensuring the system runs efficiently through the heat of the summer. HVAC systems consume up to 30% more energy if not maintained which can send your utility bills through the roof in the heavy-use season.

Here are the main things you should do to prepare your unit for summer air conditioning:

Filter Maintenance
Clogged filters lead to decreased cooling and higher electricity bills, as the unit works harder to keep your house cool. The particles stuck in dirty filters affect indoor air quality, since they get pushed out with cooled air. They can also cause damage within the system. Change the air filters regularly; at least once a month in summer when they see heavy use.

Check for Air Flow Leaks
Gaps or obstructions in duct work can reduce air flow in the HVAC unit, so check the ducts and connectors for loose spots or damage. Check the blower components, since the system’s efficiency can drop by 15% if they aren’t properly adjusted.

If you have a fireplace, close the damper to prevent cool air from escaping through it, making the HVAC run longer to compensate. Check walls, doors and windows for cracks and leaks that will let warm drafts in and cool air out. Seal up any that you find.

Compressor and Coil Maintenance
If there’s any dirt, debris and plant matter like leaves and twigs around the outdoor unit, clear them away on a regular basis. Keep the area around the evaporator and air conditioning coils clean, since accumulated debris can get into the system and damage it. Clean the coils and condenser regularly, even if they are indoors. Dirty air conditioning coils can impact efficiency and raise energy costs. If the outdoor unit isn’t kept clean, the extra load on the system can cause overheating and reduce its lifespan.

Prepare Your Thermostat
Test the thermostat and furnace system controls to see if they are working properly, especially the starting cycle. Consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat that allows different temperature settings to be automated throughout the day. This allows you to get the best energy use for summer air conditioning.

Smart thermostats can turn on before you reach home from work, remaining off when no one is home, to prevent energy waste. Some thermostats can also be controlled from a Smartphone, so you can monitor and select your settings on the go.

HVAC Repair and Maintenance
Before Summer starts, it’s a good idea to call in a professional HVAC technician to check and service your system. Our certified technicians can tighten the electrical connections, check fuses and circuit breakers and replace any worn wiring.

We will check and recharge refrigerant levels, since excess or too little refrigerant can affect performance of your summer air conditioning. Our technicians can also lubricate moving components and check for damage in hoses and condensate drains. In case of damage or other issues, we can quickly conduct repairs to get your home’s system summer ready.

If you wait until the heat arrives to prepare your HVAC for summer use, you could end up suffering unnecessary discomfort. Technicians are usually overloaded at that time, so schedule a tune up soon before the rush begins!

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Trane Quikbox Media Cabinet

The Benefits of a QuikBox™ Media Cabinet Air Filtration System

For most of us, an air filter is an air filter. You have one because you need one to protect the inner workings of your HVAC Trane Quikbox Media Cabinetsystem from dust and dirt. Air filters are often given very little thought. Now however, we know a lot more about indoor air quality, especially during the last year thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve learned that viruses, allergens, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) tend to accumulate inside indoor air. We know that we need a way to remove these contaminants from our homes.

Most people use typical 1″ air filters, and they do an okay job of keeping dust and particulates out of your HVAC equipment. They’re also cheap and readily available.

However, when you use a 1″ air filter, there are also drawbacks:

High static pressure
1″ filters are available in a variety of MERV ratings. MERV, of course, is a measurement of a filter’s ability to filter out contaminants. It stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the MERV, the smaller the contaminants it can remove from the air.

Unfortunately, pleated 1″ filters with MERV values above 12 can increase the static pressure in your HVAC system. Raise the static pressure enough, and you’ll inhibit airflow. This often leads to serious discomfort, not to mention equipment problems.

Inadequate filtration
To avoid raising static pressure, you might be tempted to use a low-MERV, non-pleated 1″ filter. That filter might keep your HVAC system clean, but it won’t keep your indoor air very clean! It’s just really hard to balance adequate air cleaning (MERV values) with minimizing airflow restrictions.

Poor filter racks
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad design around 1″ filter assemblies. If your filter rack doesn’t hold the filter just right, air will go around the filter. In other words, a lot of your air will be unfiltered. MERV 0. We see it all the time.

Frequent filter changes
In most cases, you’ll have to change the 1″ filter very frequently – every 60 to 90 days depending on how much you run your AC and heat.

Media filters offer the filtration performance you want without the downsides. Basically, you get high-MERV filtration with zero negative consequences for static pressure and airflow. If that sounds like what you’re looking for, the media filter is your answer.

There are different brands and types of media filters out there, but the one we like most is the Trane QuikBox™ Media Cabinet.

High-MERV 1″ filters simply don’t have enough surface area to provide good filtration performance and airflow performance at the same time. A media filter is more than 1″ thick. It’s got enough surface area to prevent significant static pressure increases while also filtering bacteria and allergens as small as 0.3 microns.

For efficient removal of household dust and allergens a QuikBox™ air filter is a sensible and affordable solution for all homes. Their perfect fit design filters, available in nine sizes, match Trane equipment for neat and easy install.

A Trane Quikbox™ air filter is an integral part of a whole home comfort system that protects your equipment as well as your family by filtering dust and allergens from the air you breathe! Even better, the Quikbox™ filter can last up to 6 months and is easily replaceable by you or your installer.

Give our friendly experienced professionals at Gentry Air Conditioning a shout if this system upgrade sounds like the right fit for you! We are here to help.

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4 Hacks to Get the Most Out of Your Furnace This Winter

 

We are firmly in the winter season, and the temperature is going down, down, down. That means heating bills will go up, up, up unless you make a few changes. Turning up the thermostat isn’t the only way to keep your home warm during winter. Try these suggestions to stay comfortable and save energy at the same time.

Let the sun in, keep the night out

This winter, take advantage of the most effective natural heater there is: the sun! During sunny, warm days, open the shades and let the radiant heat warm up your home. Open blinds and curtains during the day to let the sunlight in to bring the house temperature up. Similarly, if you’re eager to keep the cold out, it pays to close those curtains when the sun sets. At night, do the opposite and draw the shades and curtains to retain as much heat as possible. Conventional draperies can reduce heat loss from a warm room up to 10 percent, according to Energy.gov research.

Keep the air in your home

Check doors and windows for leaks and seal them where the cold air is entering your home. If your windows (and doors leading to the outside) have any gaps or cracks, the warm inside air is likely leaking to the outside. This will leave you chilly and cause you to overspend on utilities to maintain your desired indoor air temperature.

Each season, check all windows and doors that open to the outside. You can feel by hand for drafts with all windows and doors closed. Or hold a burning incense stick around the windows and doors, and watch for any abnormal smoke movement. A lesser-known place to check is electrical outlets on exterior walls. Fix the gaps, and your rooms will stay warmer. Caulk or weatherstrip are easy and cost-effective ways to seal those small leaks around windows and doors.

Double check your thermostat

Make sure the program is set to heat only when you are in the house. Running the heat when no one is home will only drive up your bill.

Invest in a WiFi thermostat

Don’t like managing thermostat schedules or do the kids mess with the thermostat too much? Install a WiFi thermostat and you can control the temperature from anywhere in the world as long as you have cell service and your WiFi is on at home! The right thermostat goes a long way when it comes to keeping your home warm during the winter. A smart thermostat that is programmable, which allows you to set the thermostat for warmer temperatures just before you wake up and prior to returning home, enhancing your comfort.

 

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