Advice From the Pros

How to Get the Most Out of a Struggling Air Conditioning Unit

That famous summer heat has begun to descend on North Texas, and it’s only the start of June. It is a heavy life to ask for from your AC unit, especially considering that we are in for months more of this. When your air conditioner starts to struggle, few people have a budget set aside for a brand new air conditioner! Luckily, there is usually a bit more time you can get out of a system at the end of its lifespan. This post will help you get the most out of your unit while you budget for a new air conditioning system.

Read on for some tips on how to get the most out of your struggling AC unit, and what to expect:

Turn up the thermostat. This should be the first and most obvious step. 78 degrees is the high end of comfortable temperatures for most people. The less the unit runs, the less chance for a breakdown.

DO NOT turn the unit off while you are not home. This is a common practice, but your air conditioning unit will have to work harder overall to catch up when you return.

Change your air filters monthly. Dirty filters make it harder for your unit to move air, which causes system strain.

Make your house use as little energy as possible. This not only will save you money on your energy bills but will go a long way toward keeping your home cooler overall. Draw your blinds and shades, caulk windows, seal gaps and cracks that let outside air in, keep as few lights on as possible, and only run your major appliances like dishwashers and dryers late at night. You can also consider limiting the use of your oven on hot days.

Run your ceiling fans to make the air feel more comfortable. This is a helpful trick all summer, regardless of whether your air conditioning unit is struggling or brand new.

Finally, be prepared to spend some money to keep it going. Breakdowns may happen and refrigerant may be needed. It is not ideal, sometimes a bandaid repair is best in the short term to keep your system afloat until you can make your big purchase of a new system.

If you find yourself in this situation this summer, get in touch with us here at Gentry Air Conditioning immediately. We can help you and your family stay comfortable in the short and long terms!

 

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Looking for a New Thermostat? Here’s What You Need to Know

Time for a new thermostat?

With all this extra time we have all been spending at home lately, you may have realized that it is time to upgrade your thermostat. Gentry is here to help! Here are our expert tips for making the upgrade:

Assess your needs

The first step is to assess what your needs are in a thermostat, with your specific home and family in mind. Are you looking to add wifi connectivity, smart home integration, and/or scheduling capabilities? Does your system currently have multi-speed AC and heat? These are the questions you should answer before looking for the perfect product to match your system and desires.

Don’t go overboard

Once you assess your family’s needs, use that as a guide to select your thermostat. If wifi is not important to you, then there is no need to spend your money on a wifi enabled thermostat. Some people find that all they want is a basic programmable thermostat. Bigger or more expensive isn’t necessarily better here. Focus on fit.

Read reviews 

Every brand has its pros and cons. Reading reviews online can help you narrow down which thermostat is the best fit, and can help answer some of the questions that you may have about the product. This can be especially helpful currently when you might be shopping for a thermostat exclusively online.

Narrow down your choices and read the requirements for that thermostat to make sure it will work in your home. Some require an extra “common” wire that you may not have. You also need to consider whether the wifi router is close enough to the thermostat location and whether your it will require professional installation to maintain the warranty. Even aesthetic considerations have to be addressed, such as whether it will cover the paint behind the existing thermostat, and whether they have covers available for this purpose if not.

Know your product

Some thermostats like Nexia and Honeywell are programmed by the homeowner or installer and then settings can be manually adjusted as you go. Other thermostats, like the Nest, ask you some basic information and then “learn” your heating and cooling habits over time. You need to be prepared to actively adjust the Nest type thermostats for a period to ensure consistency in the operation.

There are so many excellent thermostat types and products out there right now. Please don’t hesitate to give our friendly professionals at Gentry Air Conditioning a call if you have questions or need any help making your decision.

 

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Common A/C Problems and What to Address

Common A/C Problems

Before you know it, the temperatures will be soaring, and we will all be cranking up our air conditioning systems here in Texas. It goes without saying that you’ll want to start off the warmer weather months prepared, which means keeping you and your whole family comfortable all day and night. A preemptive air conditioning troubleshooting mission and appropriate air conditioning maintenance can aid you in your goal of smoothly operating air conditioning systems and happy family members (and pets).

It’s crucial to learn about the most common A/C problems so that you can take preventive measures to avoid bigger, costlier repairs down the line. Let’s take a look at some of the most common air conditioning problems, and what to check to get them fixed quickly:

Issue: Water is leaking out of the overflow drain

What to check: There are a few possible causes for this issue. Your condensate line may be backed up, you might have low refrigerant levels, your unit could be out of level, or you could have a dirty air filter.

Issue: Your thermostat is blank

What to check: Make sure you have good batteries in the thermostat (if present), make sure the furnace is plugged in or the switch is in the ON position. Other causes: The thermostat could be bad and need replacing. Additionally, some units have an overflow water switch that shuts the unit down when the main drain is clogged. If this is the issue, the main drain needs to be cleared to correct this.

Issue: Copper lines freezing up or icing up

What to check: Check your air filter to see if it is dirty. Other causes: This could be caused by low refrigerant, a blower motor out or running below normal speeds, or dirty coils on the unit.

Issue: Little or no air flow coming from vents

What to check: First thing, check your air filter to ensure that it isn’t too dirty. Other causes: Reduced or absent air flow can be a result of blower motor failure, or by low refrigerant levels.

When in doubt, give Gentry Air Conditioning a call for help with all of your common A/C problems! Our experienced professional HVAC technicians are here for you anytime, to help you keep your system running smoothly and your home a comfortable haven no matter what the weather brings.

 

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