Advice From the Pros

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.

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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.

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Creating Comfort Through Humidity Control

It is not often thought about as obviously as temperature control, but humidity is one of the most important aspects to creating a comfortable indoor space. Commercial buildings, especially, should focus on maximizing customer comfort. This is perhaps truer in dining spaces than anywhere else.

If a building HVAC system isn’t recirculating the air like it should, customers will notice. Cooking produces heat and humidity, and so does dishwashing. Just ask anyone who has ever worked in the back of the house! Without a robust HVAC system in place, customers will feel the increased humidity and temperature in the restaurant. They’ll notice sweating windows, potentially feel moisture at their dining table, even see it dripping from ceiling supply air diffusers. For restaurants in high humidity regions, this can become alarming as it can frequently lead to mold growth.

With so many variables impacting humidity in restaurants and kitchens, a building automation system (BAS) can help you maintain best practice humidity levels based on The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommendations.

Today, roughly 30 percent of restaurants and retail buildings are managed using some type of remote capability. By switching from more manual ‘in-person and on-site’ traditional thermostat, facility managers are saving up to 15 percent or more in operating costs by avoiding service truck rolls and utility costs by simply remotely managing temperature setpoints and occupancy schedules.

While the cost of a fully-featured building automation solution may be outside most budgets, there are lower cost building automation solutions. For instance, Trane offers Nexia, an easily installed, cost-effective building automation solution.

As customers become more educated on the indoor air spaces they visit, delaying maintenance and service could cost a restaurant a repeat visit.

If you aren’t sure whether your building humidity levels are correct – let us help. Our experts understand the unique applications for restaurants and kitchens and can help you achieve your IAQ goals using the most cost-effective solutions. Especially if you’re reopening, take the time to schedule a visit by the experienced heating and air conditioning experts from Gentry. We can help you optimize your space and keep those valuable customers happy.

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