What is Automatic Zoning?

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

What is Automatic Zoning?Artificial Intelligence. Self-Driving cars. Virtual Assistants. Every day, advancements in technology amaze and inspire us to automate and simplify our lives. So, what’s stopping you from getting smart with your HVAC system?

Home Automation

Automatic zoning or smart zoning, a category of smart home technology, allows you to control the temperature of each living space or zone in your home. Your bedroom or living room are primary zones that most people like to set to different temperatures. The issue? Older thermostats read the temperature in the middle of the home. Basements end up feeling cooler while second story rooms become warmer. Automatic zoning uses motorized dampers inside your ductwork that control the airflow to each zone. Select a zone and set a comfortable temperature using your smartphone or other device. The control panel in your HVAC system receives the information from your thermostat to adjust the dampers and temperature to your desired settings. It’s that simple!

New Technology

Zoning your HVAC system is not necessarily new technology but monitoring your setting from a device is. In the past, homeowners installed multiple thermostats or HVAC units to control these systems. Now you can regulate the temperature through one system in one location without ever touching a thermostat. If a room is not in use, automatic zoning reroutes the air to save energy. You can control all these settings with your phone, online, or right on the thermostat. Manufacturers create smart thermostats to sync with your Wi-Fi and easily customize to your lifestyle. Adjust your home’s temperature from anywhere!

Add-on Features

When you install automatic zoning, you can add more features to your heating and cooling system, too.

Fresh Air Intake
Bring fresh air into your home while using your heating or cooling unit.

Air Cleaner
Install an air cleaner to remove pollutants such as dust, pollen, and contaminants throughout the home.

Humidifier
Add a humidifier to make cold seasons more comfortable while preserving your home. Dry air cracks and warps the woodwork and building materials.

WestAIR can create a comfortable atmosphere for any room in your home. Save on energy bills by installing energy efficient automatic zoning. Contact us today to learn more.

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How to Reduce Indoor Humidity

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

How to Reduce Indoor Humidity In the Midwest, we feel the weather to the extremes – below zero and dry in the winter to 90+ degrees and humid in the summer. For those summer months, many of us cool our homes with some sort of air conditioning, but the humidity still sticks around the house. Extra moisture makes the air feel warmer and damages your walls, floors, furniture, and cabinets. You can effectively reduce indoor humidity with three different products, but which one will work best for you?

Portable Dehumidifier

These units plug into any room and are suitable for homes with poor air circulation or no ventilation. Spaces like the basement, kitchen, or bathroom become susceptible to mold. Dishwashers, dryers, and showers add extra heat and moisture to your home. Portable dehumidifiers are the smartest solution for rooms that smell of must or feel damp and stale.

Whole House Dehumidifier

This system works best for old houses that use ductwork for heating and cooling. Older houses are prone to leaks and mold. If you often find condensation on your walls or you’ve had problems with mold before, you should consider a whole house dehumidifier. If you or a family member has asthma or chronic respiratory issues, humidity can aggravate your symptoms. Install a whole house dehumidifier to reduce moisture and improve your health.

Air Exchanger

An air exchanger has two channels of air flow, ventilating your home with fresh, filtered air.  One channel pulls outside air into the home, while the other pushes stale air out. This exchange removes humid air or pollutants. The air exchanger works seamlessly with your heating & cooling equipment to improve air quality. If you own a newer home and want a constant supply of fresh air, consider adding an air exchanger to your HVAC system.

Contact WestAIR Heating and Cooling to learn more about reducing humidity, improving indoor air quality, and installing an air exchanger in your home.

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Money-Saving Tips to Keep your Home Cool this Summer

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Money-Saving Tips to Keep your Home Cool this Summer

Have you switched your thermostat over to cool yet this spring? When the weather turns hot and sticky, you may be tempted to crank the a/c. Give yourself some peace of mind and follow these money-saving tips to keep your home comfortable this summer.

A/C Maintenance

Avoid an expensive breakdown during summer’s scorching hot days. HVAC technicians are working their peak seasons, so wait times could be longer than you’d like. Instead, schedule your a/c tune-up to keep your air conditioner working at top performance. Technicians will clean parts covered with dust and debris, fill coolant levels, tighten electrical connections, and more. You should always change your air filter every month during cooling (and heating months), too!

Thermostat

Program your thermostat this summer to the warmest comfortable temperature, and even warmer while you are away. However, while you’re away, don’t turn your air conditioner off on extremely hot days. The materials in your home will retain heat, so keeping the room cooler will make it easier for your air conditioner to run. On colder nights, you can turn off your cooling unit and open the windows. Then close them right away in the morning to trap the cooler air inside.

Windows

Use curtains and shades during the day to block direct sunrays from heating your home. Exterior awnings can reduce extra heat by up to 75 percent on west-facing windows! It’s also important to caulk or weather strip any drafty windows.

Air Circulation

Maintain maximum efficiency by inspecting your air ducts for any leaks. Keep cool air circulating in the right areas by closing doors and vents to any rooms not in use. Using an exhaust fan in bathrooms or kitchens also removes heat and moisture from your home, which helps prevent wall damage and mold.

Appliances

Save money on your electric and water bills by less frequent use of appliances that add heat to the house. Avoid using the oven by preparing cold meals or grilling outside on hot days. Air-dry your dishes and laundry. Your water heater is another culprit for extra heat, so try taking shorter and cooler showers on warm days as well.

Plant trees

Planting tall trees can cool your house naturally. Suburban and urban areas are warmer than rural ones because of the heat absorbed by roads, buildings, and parking lots. Planting tall trees to block windows can save you up to 35 percent annually on energy costs while keeping your home cooler and giving your yard extra curb appeal.

Contact WestAIR Heating & Cooling for your annual a/c tune-up and personalized suggestions to keep your home comfortable this summer!

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Extend the Life of your HVAC Equipment

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Extend the Life of your Heating & Cooling Equipment

Having a working furnace and air conditioner is crucial during the winter and steamy summer days. Don’t run it and forget about it, as wear and tear is inevitable. You can save on costly replacements or repairs through proper maintenance. Extend the life of your HVAC equipment by following these steps.

Heating & Cooling Tips

1. Follow manufacturer instructions.

2. Have your systems checked every year by a qualified service technician. It’s best to schedule maintenance in the spring and fall. Technicians are busy in the hot and cold months, and you don’t want to wait until there’s something wrong.

3. Check your filters. Replace your filters every 30 to 60 days. If you have a permanent filter, clean it with mild detergent every 30 to 60 days. This is the most important step to increase the life of your equipment. Dirty filters make heating and cooling units work harder, which will shorten the life with use.

4. Keep your doors and windows closed. Your air conditioner and heater will work harder when there is more air to circulate. Make each space with ventilation smaller by closing your doors. This is the also the case for houses with boilers or window air conditioners. Rather than labor to regulate air temperature in the whole house, your a/c only needs to cool the individual room. With a boiler system, it’s efficient to close off rooms without a radiator.

5. Caulk and weather-strip air gaps on windows. This step is good for your wallet and your HVAC equipment. Old houses are especially drafty, so locate the air leaks by finding damaged glazing or old caulking. Another trick is to turn off all appliances and light an incense stick in each room. Turn on your exhaust vent if you have one. Then hold your incense stick close to windows, doors, and walls for a noticeable change in the smoke. If you have drafty doors, invest in some door draft blockers.

6. Use your thermostat. It’s a myth that you should keep your thermostat at a steady temperature. Most of the time, your furnace will be working harder to maintain the heat at a steady rate. Instead, program your thermostat for a comfortable temperature while you are home and ten degrees less while you are away. However, fidgeting with the thermostat will be less efficient, even if it seems harmless to put it up or down a degree or two. Keep it on a consistent schedule.

Energy Efficiency

Winter

1. Open window shades when windows are facing the sun. Let the sun warm your house naturally, putting less work on your furnace. The vitamin D is good for you this time of year!

2. Take advantage of using your oven. Slow cook your chicken and oven roast your veggies. The extra warmth will give your furnace a break. Your oven will be working two jobs at once without the added cost.

Summer

1. Close window shades facing the sun. Opposite of wintertime, you want to block the sun from adding extra heat to your house. Make sure to put your plants outside so they don’t suffer from the lack of sun!

2. Be smart with your other appliances. When you are doing laundry, hang up your clothes on a line to save energy or strain on your a/c. Why work an appliance that uses heat when it’s already hot outdoors? Washing clothing shouldn’t be an issue, though, if you stick to cold water. If it’s humid out, dry your clothes during the coolest part of the day: around dawn. Same goes for dishwashers.

3. Use your exhaust fans when cooking. Whether you plan on using the oven or stovetop for dinner, turn on the exhaust fan to let out the excess moisture and heat. Or maybe fix a cold sandwich or salad. In return, your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard! Same goes for your bathroom, but not everyone likes cold showers!

Annual Service Maintenance

Spring is around the corner, so it’s time to schedule your maintenance visit with WestAir Heating & Cooling.
Our technician’s maintenance list will take care of most things you cannot do yourself to ensure your equipment is running smoothly for summer and winter:

Annual Service Maintenance list:

• Clean furnace and check operation/filter
• Clean air conditioner and check operation
• Clean outdoor condenser and check refrigerant level
• Clean air exchanger filters and core
• Check radiant in-floor pressures and go over system
• Check humidifier filter and drain line
• Check unit heater operation
• Clean fireplace and check operation

Contact us for more information on heating, cooling, or our service maintenance!

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Why You Should Change Your Furnace Filter Often

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Why You Should Change Your Furnace Filter

Changing your furnace filter seems to be an easily forgotten task. HVAC companies try their hardest to remind you to do these things, but do you know why you should change it more often than you think?

Maintenance

Getting an oil change for your car is as important as changing the furnace filter for your house. It simply extends the life of your equipment. A dirty filter means that less air is circulating, which then means that your furnace is working harder to keep your house warm. Over time, having a furnace go into overdrive for too long can overheat the system or break down the entire unit. This is not something you do want to deal with in subzero temperatures.

A little dirt can do a lot of damage. If your furnace filter is dirty, not only will it make your HVAC unit work harder, but it will also make your heating bills go up over time. All the extra effort that this heater is putting out digs a deeper hole into your wallet. While a new furnace filter might cost money, ignoring it will cost more in your gas bill, except you’re doing more damage than good by trying to be frugal.

Air Filter Quality

Skip the fancy furnace filters. A furnace filter is designed to protect your furnace, not improve indoor air quality. Some people swear by these special filters, but you’ll most likely have to run your furnace fan year-round to get the benefit of a high-efficiency filter. Extra work and extra care (replacing them often) will cost you more in the end.

There is a happy balance that you could achieve between cost and efficiency. For homeowners, we recommend purchasing a MERV 7 or 8 pleated filter, which traps 80 to 95 percent of air particles. If you are looking to get rid of pollutants and breathe cleaner air, consider getting an air cleaner instead.

When to call your HVAC technician

– Unit fails to turn back on
– Noisy or slow fan
– Bent fins
– Coils are extra dusty

Remember to change your furnace filter every month when fan is in use for heating and cooling seasons.
Got more furnace questions? Call us at (763) 498-8071.

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Take Care of your Home Before You Travel

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

With the kids off from school and long holiday weekends, summer makes the perfect time for a family vacation. AAA reports more than 40 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles away from home this summer. Ensure your home remains safe with these easy tips:

  • Switch off / unplug all electrical appliances (except the refrigerator / freezer!)
  • Turn your air conditioner off, or even better – set your programmable setback or Wi-Fi thermostat to “away” status to keep a manageable temperature
  • Ensure valuable personal items are away from windows (televisions, computers and other electronics)
  • Store other valuables in a safe place
  • Pause all deliveries such as newspapers and mail
  • Use a timer device to automatically turn on lights at a pre-scheduled time of day
  • Avoid any mention of travel on social networking sites

Contact WestAIR Heating & Cooling at 763.498.8071 if you have any questions about seasonal settings for your Air Conditioner, Furnace, Thermostat, Humidifier or Air Exchanger!

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Save Money with a Programmable Thermostat

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Upgrading your home’s thermostat to a programmable set-back unit is one of the simplest things you can do for your home, and the most practical. Today, home owners expect these units to do more than just regulate temperature — they demand units that enhance energy efficiency, indoor air quality, maintain consistency and more.

WestAIR offers set-back thermostats with four settings (wake, day, evening, sleep) that allows you to set and monitor your home’s climate to your liking:

Wake: Program your thermostat to reach your favorite comfortable temperature about 10 minutes prior to your alarm going off in the morning. It’ll be the perfect start to your day.

Day: Daytime is the perfect opportunity for energy savings. Set your thermostat 10-15 degrees up or down from your preferred comfort temperature, then program it to resume 10 minutes before you arrive home.

Evening: Set your thermostat to your preferred “at home” temperature in the evenings. Energy Star recommends setting your thermostat to 68 during the winter months and 78 during the summer.

Sleep: Overnights are a great opportunity to save energy as well. Program your thermostat a few degrees higher/lower than your preferred comfort temperature.

Learn more about programmable thermostats by contacting WestAIR Heating & Cooling today at 763.498.8071 or browse our website for more info.

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HVAC Humor

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

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The first hot days of summer are upon us. Are you worried your air conditioner might not be up to the job of keeping your home cool? Call WestAIR Heating and Cooling at 763.498.8071 to schedule a tune-up.

Scheduling a regular check-up for your air-conditioner can greatly reduce your energy costs, extend its lifetime and improve the system’s performance. Contact WestAIR before June 30, 2016 to save with one of our current specials of $95 for a tune-up of your air-conditioning system.

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Spring Cleaning & Your HVAC Unit

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Warmer weather is right around the corner — are you ready to turn on your home’s air conditioning unit that’s been sitting idle since last year?

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Here are a few tips to help you transition from winter to spring:

Schedule Annual Maintenance
Prevent spring and summer breakdowns, and extend the life of your air conditioning unit, by scheduling an annual AC service check and clean with a professional technician at WestAIR Heating & Cooling. A quick tune-up can help take care of bigger issues before they arise.

Flip The Switch
Turn on your A/C unit and let it run to ensure there are no issues. Check for malfunctions, air temperature accuracy and proper operation. It’s a good idea to do this step before a scheduled service call, so you can discuss any questions or issues with one of our knowledgeable WestAIR professionals.

Change The Filter
The start of spring is the perfect time to change your air filter. Continue to change the filter monthly during the spring and summer months as these are the most common allergy seasons.

The team at WestAIR Heating & Cooling would be happy to come to your home and personally clean  and inspect your air conditioning system. Give us a call today at 763-498-8071.

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Is your Air Conditioning System keeping up?

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Hey Minnesotans, it’s summer! We love these sun shiny, summer days, but now that Mother nature is really cranking up the heat (and humidity!) your air conditioning unit may be working overtime! Or – does it sometimes feel like it is just not doing it’s job of keeping your house cool?

There could be a number of reasons your central AC does not seem to be doing the best job.

  • Have you had your yearly routine checkup? Just like a regular checkup at the doctor, your AC unit needs to be checked out, cleaned and tuned up for optimal performance.
  • Have you checked your thermostat? Make sure your batteries are fresh (if it uses batteries) settings are correct, and it is functioning properly.
  • Have you changed your furnace filter?  Furnace filters should be changed once a month-even during the summer months.
  • Try closing the vents in rooms you don’t use on a regular basis.
  • Check out additional tips on our website.

Inefficiencies in your air conditioning system could be costing you a lot of money every month in energy bills. And many people probably think “Oh no, we cannot replace the system this year, it is too costly.” But the truth is, there may be instances that replacing your system could SAVE you money over the next few years! Your air conditioner’s inefficiency could be driving up your monthly bills substantially. Combine lower monthly bills with possible rebates and it is a win-win!

If your air conditioning system continues to battle the Dog Days of Summer this August, make sure to call your local professional at WestAIR Heating & Cooling. We’d be happy to come out to your home and personally assess your AC unit. We want you to be comfortable in your home, all year long.  Contact us today at 763.498.8071.

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