Advice From the Pros

HVAC Maintenance Tips for Fall and Winter

 

During those cold winter nights, your HVAC system becomes the most valuable equipment in your home. But if it’s running poorly, that means less comfort and higher energy bills. Complete these steps in the fall to help your HVAC system operate efficiently throughout the winter. This way, you can save money to be enjoyed in other ways during the holiday season!

Change the Air Filter and Clean the Vents

Changing the air filter every month is one of the most important things you can do to support your HVAC system. It’s also one of the easiest. The filter should be checked every month and replaced if it is dirty. Filters should be replaced at the very least every three months, no matter what. Keep up with this simple project by choosing a regular day to check the filter, such as the first or last day of the month.

The same day the filter is replaced is also a good time to vacuum the air vents. This keeps them clean and allows warm air to flow freely, easing temperature regulation throughout the home.

Have an Inspection

Yearly service of your HVAC system ensures it runs properly. Homeowners should have the system inspected in the fall to best prepare it for the demands of winter. Give us a call at Gentry today and schedule your annual HVAC inspection.

If Your HVAC System is Ancient, Replace It

Replacing the home’s HVAC system is an expensive proposition, but if your system is old and inefficient, the added comfort and financial benefits of a new system can be very real. If your system is more than 10 years old, ask a service technician’s opinion on the longevity of your system. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing it with a new high-efficiency model could reduce your home’s annual energy bill by as much as 20 – 40 percent.

Sufficiently Insulate the Attic

One of the easiest ways to help your HVAC system operate at peak performance is to lighten its load. Insulating the home’s attic keeps warm air in the home and prevents it from escaping outside. This allows your HVAC system to do less and still maintain the home’s proper temperature. Per EnergyStar.gov, a simple visual test will determine whether the home’s attic is sufficiently insulated. According to their recommendation, insulation in the attic should be high enough to obstruct the view of the floor joists. If this is the case, additional insulation will offer little to no benefit.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

The right temperature inside a home depends largely on who is there at the time, and when no one is in the home, the right temperature can be significantly lower. Many homeowners however fail to adjust their thermostats when they leave their home because it’s too much work, they forget, or they don’t want to return to a cold home.

Read more

The Advantages of a Maintenance Plan for Your HVAC System


What if – for a relatively small investment – you could save money, breathe cleaner air, enjoy increased safety and comfort in your home, and help the environment while boosting your overall peace of mind?

That’s just a quick synopsis of the benefits of getting regular HVAC maintenance. Now let’s take a closer look at why HVAC preventive maintenance is such a wise and worthwhile investment.

Save Money
Regular HVAC maintenance is said to reduce the risk of costly breakdowns by as much as 95%. Chances are you wouldn’t drive your car for 30,000 miles without getting an oil change; you’d be asking for trouble. This analogy holds true for your heating and cooling system.

Preventive maintenance helps ensure that your HVAC system runs at close to peak efficiency. This can mean savings of up to 30% on your energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Regular maintenance extends the life of your system, reducing the likelihood that you’ll need to spend big bucks on an HVAC installation soon.

It’s also important to be aware that most HVAC manufacturers require proof of annual maintenance when a repair claim is submitted under warranty. Some of the components that make your HVAC system work are fairly expensive, so investing in annual maintenance to keep them covered under your warranty can save you a significant sum if something goes wrong.

Improve Your Air Quality
The EPA reports that indoor levels of airborne pollutants may be 2-5 times higher (in extreme cases more than 100 times higher) than outdoor levels. This is particularly significant if you or any family members suffer from respiratory issues such as asthma.

Though we are not aware of it day to day, we share our homes with a variety of substances that we would rather not breathe. These common indoor allergens range from ordinary household dust that can contain dozens of respiratory issues to pet dander, dust mites, cigarette smoke, pollen, and mold.

If a musty odor has you concerned about mold, it may be time to consider having the air ducts professionally cleaned. Generally speaking, preventive maintenance helps ensure that the warm or cold air pumping through your vents is as clean and well-filtered as possible.

Improve Your Comfort
You depend on your HVAC system to keep you comfortable year-round. Regular maintenance helps your system produce and distribute the warm or cool air more evenly and steadily. It also reduces the odds that you’ll come home from work one winter’s day to find frigid air blasting through your vents.

But it can also be easy to take maintenance for granted, or to get used to the idea that a room is just too hot in the summer or chilly in the winter. Preventive steps like cleaning your ductwork can help ensure that your home heats and cools as evenly and efficiently as possible.

Keep Your Home Safer
Preventive HVAC maintenance also helps safeguard you and your family against the risk of carbon monoxide – the colorless, odorless gas whose effects can be deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure to even low levels of carbon monoxide can cause serious health issues.

The most common cause of carbon monoxide leaks is a cracked or failed heat exchanger. An HVAC maintenance checkup typically includes a carbon monoxide test that would detect any potential hazard. Your HVAC professional can also talk to you about the benefits of installing a carbon monoxide detector.

Help the Environment
Keep in mind that a well-maintained HVAC system consumes considerably less fuel – and that’s good for the planet. Environmentally savvy homeowners will also want to be aware of what kind of refrigerant is used in their system since the EPA has been working to phase out substances that harm the environment. HVAC technicians handling controlled refrigerants are required to have EPA Section 608 Certification and can help you understand what kind of refrigerant you’re using, its impact on the environment, and your options.

Your HVAC contractor can also talk to you about the benefits of using a programmable thermostat or switching from oil heat to natural gas so you can reduce your system’s impact on the environment.
Investing in a preventive maintenance plan gives you the comfort of knowing that if something goes wrong, you’ve already taken steps to make the situation as painless as possible.

Read more

Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner and the Upcoming Flu Season

Indoor air quality and its impact on reducing the spread of viral illnesses has been at the front of our minds for nearly two years now, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. When we think about the upcoming winter season, it’s important to consider that cold and flu viruses will soon be prevalent in the mix. One of the easiest and most reliable ways to help keep your family healthy during flu season is to maintain clean air at home, and this is easier than ever thanks to the excellent technology that is available now.

Setting the standard in air quality, the Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner uses revolutionary technology that supplies your home with a cleaner, healthier environment. Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner removes up to 99.98% of airborne particles – including those as small as .3 micron, making it 8 times more effective than even the best HEPA room filters and up to 100 times more effective than a standard 1-inch filter.

Standard air cleaners have filters that are very dense, so they stop the dust by trapping it in a slightly porous filter. The fewer the pores, the more dust it can trap. However, this not only stops the dust and dirt, but it also stops the air from moving as well. So, you may not be as comfortable, and less air is cleaned efficiently. This is called pressure drop. The revolutionary Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner has the lowest pressure drop with the highest efficiency possible.

Particles like dust, smoke and bacteria are often .3 microns or less. At that size, allergens can get deep into your lungs because they aren’t filtered well by your nose and throat. An effective Trane air cleaner, such as Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner, can reduce the presence of potential asthma and allergy attack triggers in your home, like dust, pollen, pet hair and dander, dust mites, mildew, lint, fungus, most tobacco smoke, cooking grease, and even bacteria.

The Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner utilizes patented, breakthrough air cleaning technology to remove up to an astounding 99.98% of airborne allergens from the air that passes through the filter. It catches particles as small as .3 micron, making it 8 times more effective than even the best HEPA room filters and up to 100 times more effective than a standard 1-inch filter.
Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner has been performance-tested by LMS Technologies and Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc., with the results verified by professors from the Harvard School of Public Health, so you know you are getting an air cleaner for your home like no other.

Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner was designed to fall well below the 50 parts per billion (ppb) FDA voluntary emission limit for medical devices. Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner contributes a negligible amount of ozone – less than .3 ppb to the living space.

Typical ozone levels during the summer outdoors are at about 60 to 90 ppb, and indoor levels can vary greatly but are typically between 12 ppb to more than 80 ppb. Testing of Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner by third parties has shown there’s no more ozone in a home installed with Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner than what naturally occurs in the environment already. A Trane air cleaner is the industry benchmark supported and verified by third parties who make it their business to know about clean air.

If this technology sounds right for your space, we would love to talk! Give us a call at Gentry today, and we can walk you through all your air cleaner options.

Read more