Fall HVAC Maintenance: What’s Up With Rob Terry of Terry’s A/C & Heating

Liz Hamm, publisher of Roots Magazine for the Harvest Green neighborhood in Richmond, Texas, catches up with Robert Terry, owner of Terry’s A/C & Heating with some fall HVAC maintenance tips. Watch the full video below and enjoy the edited highlights that follow with HVAC maintenance tips every homeowner can use.

Tell us how long you’ve been in business and a little bit about Terry’s A/C & Heating.

To go way, way back. I’m actually a fifth-generation technician. My great-great-great-grandfather worked in refrigeration for hotels in the early days in San Antonio. If you had a beer or a cerveza from Monterrey,  his team probably put the refrigeration in the beer factories where the product was made.

My grandfather, a Marine WWII vet, was in sales for HVAC distributors. And when my dad got out of the Air Force Search and Rescue, he brought him into the wholesale side of the HVAC business. My dad started out as a liaison to the Rheem/Ruud factory with a company called Comfort Supply.  When things changed, he decided he wanted to get out on his own.

Dad started the company, Terry’s A/C & Heating,  in 1982. I was a wee little squirt at that time. As I got older, there were times I wanted to go play or go hang out or go on dates and stuff. And Dad would say, “Well, that’s cool, but how are you going to pay for it? You’ve got to come to work.” Ever since, we’ve kind of been in it.

Tell us about your family.

I’ve got two daughters. One is 11. One is 16. Annabelle is my youngest, and she is my spitfire. Abigail is my eldest and shoots competitive clays. When you call the office and you hear from Summer, that’s my wife. Mom and dad are still in the area. They live here in Richmond, Texas in Woods Edge.

Going into the fall, is there any HVAC maintenance tips you can share?

The biggest thing that we are seeing right now is condensate drain issues because we’ve gone the entire summer and we’re having cold mornings and warm afternoons. In some homes we are seeing the heater on in the morning and the air conditioner on in the afternoon. Treating condensate drains is a smart thing to do.

The number one thing we see often is clogged air filters. We get called out a lot because there’s a repair needed caused by a dirty air filter. The HVAC system isn’t getting enough air. It’s easy and cheap for a homeowner to replace air filters ideally every three months or every time the season changes. Usually we’ll find the air filters last a little bit longer in the winter because the air is colder and more dense. In the summer, the air is a lot lighter and it tends to let the dirt travel through the air to a greater extent. Changing air filters regularly prevents the evaporator coils or the part that keeps the house cool, from getting dirty and unable to cool properly.

We don’t recommend the high quality air filters you buy at the store that are $30-40 a pop to filter viruses. If you are interested in air purification, there are other routes to do that.

Do you recommend a maintenance program for a home’s HVAC system?

We recommend HVAC maintenance in the fall and the spring for peace of mind. It made sense to call our scheduled maintenance program the “Peace of Mind Protection Program.” It is a prepaid maintenance program done on air conditioners and heaters in the fall and the spring. Right now, we’re doing our heater checks, and heater checks are a lot about safety in a home.

There’s a lot of homes today even brand-new homes that have no carbon monoxide detectors in them. They just have smoke detectors, which isn’t enough if you have a fuel-sourced heater or furnace with the potential to make carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. We see it in the news every year. It’s something that’s so easily prevented. This is why we’re looking for those safety devices.

We’re going through all of the safety mechanisms inside your furnace and we document what we find on our checklist. Our checklist tells you exactly what we’ve done and what we’ve seen, and you get a copy of it, too. It allows us to take a look over time. How was the health of your system whether it’s your air conditioner or your heater? Are we seeing more breakdowns? Are we seeing a tendency for parts to get weaker? Are they starting to fail? It gives us a way to be preventative.

The Peace of Mind Protection Program offers preferred pricing at 5% for any repairs, equipment or accessories, such as air purification or UV lights. It also gives you preferential treatment when you call for service. You pretty much get first in line ahead of anyone else.

What can a homeowner look for before calling the expert in to get better heating or cooling distribution room to room within the home?

The technical term for that is balancing or home balancing. Probably the number one reason is going to be a child’s bedroom. Usually it’s a teenage girl or boy because they’re at that point where they want a little bit of privacy and they close that door as quick as they could get in their room to get into “their zone.”

If I don’t have any type of return air in there, then I can only put enough air into that room until it pressurizes. When it pressurizes, it stops putting in cold air or hot air, and then that excess air starts going elsewhere in the home. The biggest thing to confirm that is to take a shoe and put it in between the door and the door jam, so it doesn’t allow the door to shut. That will prevent the room from  pressurizing. That could solve your comfort problem.

There are times when that doesn’t do it at all. Sometimes homebuilders miss or forget details. Usually it’s a two-story home with the master bedroom on the first floor and all the children’s bedrooms are upstairs. If mom and dad’s room isn’t comfortable, we can sometimes fix this by closing some of the other vents to force more air into the parent’s bedroom. If that’s the case, we can actually calculate how much needs to be closed down and do it in the attic with dampers.

Is there anything else we should know?

I’m going to extend preferred 5% pricing on our Peace of Mind Protection Program to the first 15 people who contact us through the end of November 2020. Contact us at (281) 495-7830 to take advantage of this offer and see our specials and promotions.

We do our very best to try to make our HVAC service as customized and personalized to you, like a concierge. And that’s really my goal. That’s why I don’t have 50 trucks. I don’t have 50 people. I want to make everything personalized and we want to provide this high level of service to other Richmond, Texas families who like a premium service provider who will take care of them no matter what.