Advice From the Pros

Cooling Tips for Upstairs Bedrooms

 

Heat rises. You know this is true because each night when you travel from the first level of your home to the second, you are hit with a wall of heat that almost takes your breath away. Falling asleep can be difficult because you are never quite comfortable.

Perhaps you’ve even tried different methods to try and cool your upstairs bedrooms. You’ve turned the temperature down hours before bedtime. You take a cold shower right before bed. You turn off the air conditioner downstairs, thinking less heat will rise. Nothing really solves the problem, though.

Don’t worry! We have helped many homeowners find the right solution to their indoor cooling problems. The tips below are steps you can take today.

Darken the Rooms
The windows in each room, when uncovered, allow sunlight to shine through. While this can help save on electricity, it also heats the room. If you are having a hard time cooling the upstairs bedrooms, this may be one reason why.

Pull down the shades or shut the curtains in the rooms you do not use when the sun is shining. You may even want to purchase blackout curtains to help on the hottest Texas days.

Start at the Top
Your attic is the highest point in your home. If your attic is hot, your upstairs bedrooms will be hot. The solution? Insulation. Without proper insulation, when your heat rises to the top of your home, it gets trapped in the attic. Once this happens, you can expect the upper level of your home to be warmer than the lower levels.

Our HVAC technicians can work with you to create an insulation plan for your attic. They can also help you figure out if cold air is leaking from other spots in your home, like around windows and doors.

Check Windows and Doors
If your curtains are blowing in the wind, but your windows are closed, you may have a sealing problem. If you can feel air coming into your home from the outside around any of your doors and windows, this also means your indoor air is escaping to the outdoors.

When this happens, your HVAC system must work harder to cool your home, costing you more money, and preventing any of that cold air from reaching your upstairs bedrooms. Because this is one of the simplest issues to discover, you will know quickly what needs to be done to correct it.

Clean, Clean and Clean
First, clean your vents and registers in your upstairs bedrooms. If a rug covers them, uncover them. If they are clogged with debris, unclog them. Ensuring they are clean means cool air can travel to the right places.

Second, clean or replace your filter. The dirtier your filter, the harder it is for your HVAC system to perform.

Finally, clean the outdoor unit of your HVAC system. It’s been sitting there all winter, in the elements. While they are durable, tiny twigs and leaves can find their way inside the metal structure. When this happens, your air conditioner can malfunction, meaning no air will make its way upstairs.

Add Fans
Occasionally, HVAC systems are not installed using a plan that appropriately directs airflow throughout your home. Maybe the ductwork does not cover enough area. Perhaps there are not enough vents or registers. Whatever the problem, the air will need help getting to other areas of your home. You can do this by using fans to push the air further, like up your stairs. You can use fans on the second level too.

Add Additional HVAC
Another solution to cooling upstairs bedrooms is to install a separate, smaller HVAC system explicitly designed for your upper area. Our technicians at Gentry Heating and Air can assess your upstairs area and fit the space with the right unit. This can save you money in the long run because your main level unit does not have to work as hard to cool your entire home. You may even choose to leave one off while using the other.

You don’t have to struggle with cooling your upstairs bedrooms. We have the solution for you. Give us a call!

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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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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 system 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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