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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A/C Tune-up – Why Should You, When Should You?

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Summer is just around the corner and having a broken a/c is no joke on those scorching hot days.

A/C Tune-up - WestAir Heating & Cooling

Why You Need an A/C Tune-up

Give your air conditioner a head start this summer by cleaning the key areas where dust and dirt accumulate. You can reach maximum efficiency by scheduling a thorough tune-up. Maintenance involves a comprehensive cleaning of condenser coils, maintaining coolant levels, calibrating your thermostat, tightening electrical connections, and inspecting the ductwork and performance.

Cleaning

  • Condenser coils
  • Condenser drain
  • Air filter

Testing

  • Coolant levels
  • Thermostat calibration
  • Supply and return temperature differential
  • Compressor

Inspecting

  • Electrical wiring
  • Bearing lubricant
  • Safety devices
  • Refrigerant
  • Indoor coils
  • Fan blade
  • Test capacitors
  • Service valves
  • Ductwork
  • Blower motor and belt

Regular maintenance will almost always cost less than a repair or a replacement and can decrease your electricity bill. Your cooling unit lasts longer – sometimes twice as long as a neglected one. And to top it off, missing regular tune-ups can void your warranty.

When to Service Your Air Conditioner

Spring is the best time for an annual air conditioner tune-up. Summer becomes one of the busiest seasons for technicians with repairs and emergency service. Waiting until a serious problem develops with your a/c can mean delays in service or additional costs for emergency repair.

Is it Time to Consider a New Cooling System?

Sometimes, it’s worth upgrading your air conditioner system for something that’s more efficient and requires fewer repairs.

If your electricity bill keeps going up without any changing variables like extra hot weather, you might be ready for a new air conditioner. You also need to consider how old your a/c is – most last 10 – 15 years. If your system is unreasonably noisy or dusty, this could indicate that there are leaks in the ductwork or the system isn’t the right size for your home. Lastly, an efficient air conditioner should remove humidity from your home. Any trouble with humidity and inconsistent temperatures where vents are located also signifies a problem.

On our next visit, we can give your current air conditioner an energy assessment to see you need to tighten or clean a few parts or if it’s time to upgrade to a new cooling system. We are proud dealers of Rheem air conditioners – top-quality, innovative products with the latest technology.

Contact us to schedule a service today!

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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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Top Tips: How to Lower Your Summer Cooling Costs

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

How to Lower Summer Cooling Costs - WestAIR

Summer has arrived. And even though the temps are soaring, your energy costs don’t have to. We’ve put together our top tips to keep your cooling costs in check this summer.

Monitor Your Thermostat

Keep an eye on your thermostat settings. If your family is curled up under blankets on the couch, it’s a good sign that your thermostat is set too low. Aim for between 72 and 78 degrees in summer. Even bumping up the number 2 to 4 degrees will have an impact on your bill.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

For the ultimate in home comfort and energy efficiency, install a programmable thermostat. Today’s technology allows you to access and control your home’s temperature remotely, and some thermostats will even “learn” and adjust to your family’s schedule. If you’ve already got a programmable thermostat, make sure you’re using it correctly.

Change Your Air Filter

Change out your air filter on a regular basis to ensure maximum air flow, improve overall efficiency, and prevent coil ice-ups.

Close Your Blinds

Blocking out sunlight by closing your blinds can not only reduce your cooling costs, it also can keep out harmful UV rays.

Cook Outside

Things can really heat up in the kitchen during the summer. Fire up the grill instead.

Bonus Tip: Flip the Switch

Unplug unused electronics or appliances. Use surge protector power strips or switched outlets that can be easily turned on and off. Don’t leave lights on in unoccupied rooms. While this may not directly keep your cooling costs down, you’ll still save on your electric bill.

Call WestAIR for an Annual Service Maintenance Check

It’s not too late to have your system checked by our professional technicians. We’ll make sure your system is running at the highest level of efficiency, determine if any repairs are needed, and make recommendations for replacement if necessary. We carry top quality air conditioning brands for the highest in energy efficiency.

Contact the cooling experts at WestAIR today. Call us at 763-498-8071.

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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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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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It’s getting hot, Hot HOT!

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Hey Twin Cities! The first HOT day of the year is in the forecast! Time to get your home air conditioner fired up and running.  Worried that maybe it had a hard winter and might be slow to get going? Call WestAIR to schedule your tune up.

Yearly maintenance on your home’s air conditioner can greatly reduce your energy costs, extend it’s lifetime AND improve system performance. The best way to get the most out of your AC is have a qualified air conditioning specialist come out to your home to perform an inspection. They can give you recommendations such as:

  • Keep outside unit clear of leaves, sticks and other debris
  • Clean or change your air conditioning filters according to the manufacturer’s specifications
  • Check hoses and fan belt for leaks or cracks
  • Use a programmable thermostat to control the temperature of your home while you are away

And if that isn’t enough, right now, WestAIR is running a coupon special on AC Tune Ups  AC Tune Up Special

Contact WestAIR for a Free Estimate to evaluate your home HVAC system.

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