Advice From the Pros

new air conditioner

5 Warning Signs That It’s Time For A New Air Conditioner

5 Warning Signs That It's Time For A New Air Conditioner

Photo courtesy of Jason Rufus/Flickr

Buying a new air conditioner is a big expense, we know, but, if you hold out until your unit goes “kaput”, then you may be wearing your wallet out unnecessarily premature. Here in Texas, during our hot Summers, our AC units work extra hard keeping our homes and businesses cool. If you’re wondering what warning signs there are that it’s time to replace your AC unit, here are a few signs to watch out for.

Higher than normal electricity bills

One of the first signs you’ll notice of a failing AC unit is that your electric bills have jumped. Taking into account the time of year (Summer is always higher), and your past payment history, if you’ve noticed that your bill has gone up, then your AC unit is working harder than it should.

Unit never shuts off / not keeping up in the heat of the day

A highly efficient AC unit runs for a time, then shuts off when it reaches your set temperature. This results in your AC unit shutting down and starting up numerous times during the day. If your AC unit never shuts off and can’t keep up during the heat of the day, then it is consuming more energy than it should to keep your house cool.

Unit needs multiple repairs outside of warranty period 

Once a unit has outlived its normal lifespan, it will start to require repairs to keep it running. These repairs will eat into your budget over time and once you hit a certain threshold, then you’ve spent more money keeping the old one running instead of purchasing a newer, more efficient system that will save you money in the long run.

Age of system

Most AC units are designed to last 15 years. Well-maintained systems can push it to 20 years. If you go over either of those time-frames, you are running the risk of coming home one day after work to a house that has no air conditioning and will need to wait a few days or weeks before a new one can get installed.

System uses R-22 refrigerant (being phased out in 2020, prices are skyrocketing) and it needs a major repair

If your AC system is still using R-22 refrigerant, then you will need new equipment, as it will be phased out by 2020. With the upcoming cut-off date of manufacture, the prices of R-22 refrigerant has skyrocketed and soon, it will be less expensive to change out your AC unit to a newer model than to keep your old one running.

If you have any questions regarding any of these warning signs or you’re ready to install a new air conditioner, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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5 Ways to Keep Your HVAC Running Strong

HVAC Air Filter

People spend thousands of dollars every year replacing their HVAC systems, and more often than not, the damage to their current system was preventable. By taking steps to ensure the health of your current HVAC system, you could potentially save you and your family a great deal of money. Most of these tips are simple, and don’t take very much time, so if you can implement them into your monthly routine, you’ll certainly have a strong HVAC system for a while longer.

 

Replace Your Dirty Filters Regularly

Everyone has replaced their air filters before, but most people don’t do it until they notice a dip in the effectiveness of their HVAC system. That mindset towards filter replacement can be extremely detrimental to your system. All air filters are labeled with their window of effectiveness, with industry standard being about 90 days, and if you continue to use them past that point you could be forcing your system to work around 20% harder, which costs you money and causes parts to wear quickly.

Clean Air Vents & Air Ducts

Much like air filters, when air vents and ducts become clogged with dust particles or other obstructions, they force your HVAC system to work exponentially harder. A simple periodic cleaning, from either yourself or a professional, will ensure that your system is clean and clear, and running efficiently. Also, make sure you don’t have any curtains or furniture blocking an internal vent or duct. This dramatically reduces their effectiveness. As we mentioned, the harder a system has to work, the fast parts will break down. This isn’t a standard service for most HVAC service companies, and we’d be happy to make you a recommendation to a trusted company who specializes in this sort of cleaning.

HVAC Air Duct

Clean & Shade Outdoor Units

The outdoor unit of your HVAC system has the appearance of a hearty piece of machinery, but in reality, it must be treated delicately in order to make sure your system maintains peak performance. In general, this unit is the costliest element of the system. First things first, make sure that there isn’t a lot of debris or trash around your unit. Outdoor units tend to be a magnet for garbage blowing in the wind. Once you’ve cleared the area surrounding the unit, it’s a good idea to purchase or build a shade for it. There are a lot of moving parts inside an outdoor unit, and temperatures can get very high, so steps must be taken to make sure the unit doesn’t overheat, especially during the summer. There are some commercially-available HVAC shades, or you could assemble one yourself without much difficulty. This is a one-time purchase that can save you tremendous wear & tear.

 

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Now more common than they’ve ever been, programmable thermostats are purpose-built to keep your home as energy efficient as possible. In terms of HVAC health, it means that your system will not be overtaxed by continuing to run when it doesn’t need to. That reduction in the wear & tear of your HVAC system will help it to last far longer than with an old school thermostat system.

 

Schedule Annual Tune-Ups

Most people don’t call us at Gentry Air Conditioning until their system has stopped working. HVAC replacement is a huge cost for most consumers, and one key recommendation to prevent an all-out replacement is to invest in annual check-ups. By checking in on your system, and making necessary small fixes, we can work to avoid an all-out replacement, which comes with a much larger price tag.

 

We hope that these cost-saving tips save you the pain of a full-on air conditioner replacement. However, if you do absolutely need a replacement, or you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Gentry AC. We take the comfort of North Texas seriously, and look forward to serving you!

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Why Proactive HVAC Maintenance Saves You Money

HVAC Maintenance

We’ve said it before, most people don’t call us at Gentry AC until it’s too late to save their current HVAC system. Instead, we end up doing near complete replacements that cost quite a bit more than simple maintenance would. However, a lot of people don’t really understand how investing in preventative HVAC maintenance can save you money in the long run. In response to that, we’re going to run through three key areas where a proactive approach can show tremendous value in the long run.

 

Repairs are smaller and least expensive.

HVAC systems generate a lot of heat due to friction, so small parts will undoubtedly fail over time. The difference is that by being proactive with HVAC maintenance, the small inexpensive parts can be replaced at a lower cost before their failure leads to a larger, more expensive part failing as well. Part failure, and general wear & tear tend to snowball if not addressed quickly, so by replacing small parts as they fail, you save money by not having to replace expensive parts or an entire system.

 

Your energy bills can be significantly reduced.

Your monthly energy costs are extremely dependent on the efficiency of your HVAC system. In turn, the efficiency of your system is dependent on the quality of the parts within it. By not routinely cleaning vents & ducts, replacing filters, and repairing broken parts, you’re seriously hampering the effectiveness of the system. Conversely, by keeping an eye on vents, ducts, and filters, and by hiring a professional to perform routine maintenance, you can keep your system as efficient as the day it was installed, which has a strong effect on your energy bills.

 

Your HVAC system will simply last longer.

Like any other part of your home or business, your HVAC system will wear down over time. No amount of preventative maintenance can prevent the inevitable. While expensive, the more preventative maintenance you do, the less often you’ll have to replace your system. The life of your system will be significantly longer if you’re proactive, which means you’re replacing it far less often.

So, does preventative, proactive HVAC maintenance cost money? Yes, of course. But, does it save you a lot of money over time? Absolutely. At Gentry AC, we strongly encourage you to engage in preventative maintenance. Reach out to us today, either online or over the phone, and schedule your routine HVAC check as soon as possible, especially as Summer is upon us!

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