The Importance of Air Duct Cleaning

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Professional air duct cleaning can keep harmful pollutants from circulating and settling in your ductwork, improving indoor air quality and your family’s health. Learn more.

Air ducts are like the lungs of your home, supplying your HVAC system with a steady stream of fresh air. With so much dust, pollen, mold, and other harmful particles floating in your indoor air, your ductwork can quickly become a home for dirt. Professional air duct cleaning can keep harmful pollutants from circulating and settling in your ductwork.

What is air duct cleaning?

Your technician will inspect the system to make sure there’s no asbestos-containing materials, as those materials require specialized procedures to disturb or remove. They may cut out small holes in the ductwork to get inside. Using vacuum equipment and bristled brushes, your technician will dislodge and draw out particles and dust. Then, they’ll seal and re-insulate holes. Make sure to research and hire a qualified contractor with the resources and expertise to clean your air ducts safely. If not properly cleaned, you could face problems like damaged HVAC components or holes that have not been tightly sealed, compromising an airtight system.

How often should I schedule air duct cleaning?

According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), air pollutants like dander, dust, and chemicals are re-circulated in your home five to seven times a day, on average. You should have your air ducts cleaned every three to five years, or more, depending on your lifestyle. In a home with pets, cigarette or cigar smoke, water damage, or renovation projects underway, more pollutants may be circulating. Schedule duct cleaning service if

  • You’re unsure whether previous homeowners cleaned the air ducts in your current residence.
  • There’s mold growth on visible parts inside your ducts or other heating system components.
  • Your ducts are infested with vermin like rodents or insects.
  • Your supply registers spew out dust when your HVAC system turns on.
  • Your family is experiencing unusual or unexplained respiratory problems (allergies, asthma, sore throat, etc.).

How do I keep my ducts clean on a daily basis?

Follow these tips from the pros:

  • To prevent dirt from getting into your system, use a high efficiency, manufacturer-recommended air filter for your HVAC system and change it regularly, especially if they clog frequently. When installing, make sure that air cannot get through gaps around the filter holder/frame.
  • When you schedule your regular HVAC maintenance service, ask your provider to clean cooling coils and drain pans.
  • If you are having renovations or construction work done, seal off supply and return registers throughout your home and don’t turn on your HVAC system until you’ve cleaned up the dust.
  • Vacuum and dust frequently.

WestAIR Heating & Cooling provides duct cleaning service with our innovative Rotobrush equipment. Using a powerful, specialized vacuum and cleaning devices, we draw air through your duct system to dislodge any debris that may be stuck on interior surfaces. We also offer air exchangers, air cleaners, whole house humidifiers, replacement filters, and more to improve indoor air quality. Contact us to learn more.

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How Indoor Air Quality Impacts Your Family’s Health

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Indoor AirHumans inhale 11,000 to 15,000 liters of air per day. Most families spend more time in their home than anywhere else. Without proper ventilation, your indoor air could hold gases, chemicals, or other pollutants that can cause headaches, eye and skin irritation, allergies, asthma attacks, fatigue, and even cancer or long-term health complications. What’s even scarier? Ninety-eight percent of all airborne particles are below one micron (1/25,000 inch) in size and invisible to the naked eye.

Imagine a toxic soup of pollutants constantly re-circulated throughout your home, through your respiratory system, and into your bloodstream.

The most obvious pollutants are secondhand smoke, radon, and carbon monoxide, but harmful airborne particles could come from any of the following:

  • Gas, oil, kerosene, or wood stoves and fireplaces.
  • Building materials like insulation, carpet, cabinetry, and pressed wood products.
  • Personal care products and household chemicals like cleaning solutions, glues, and pastes.
  • Pesticides, pollen, pet dander, hair, or other fibers.
  • Dust mites, molds, and bacteria.

Children are more susceptible to all these things because their bodies are still developing. They breathe more air and eat more food in relation to their body weight than adults do. Properly maintained indoor air quality is especially important for people with asthma, allergies, chemical sensitivities, respiratory diseases, suppressed immune systems, or contact lenses. Here are some basic tips to make sure your home has clean, fresh air free of pollutants:

  • Invest in a whole house humidifier or a smaller unit. The Mayo Clinic recommends you keep your home between 30 and 50 percent humidity.
  • Make sure all vents are clear of obstructions and working properly.
  • Have your ducts cleaned and change your furnace filter regularly (check it once a month).
  • Buy a houseplant like a peace lily, dracaena, or garden mum to act as an air purifier.
  • Use an exhaust fan when cooking, running the dishwasher, or bathing.
  • Make sure gas stoves are well ventilated.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Use craft supplies in well-vented areas.
  • Minimize clutter.
  • Remove carpeting if possible.
  • Don’t wear outdoor shoes around the house.
  • Keep the trash covered.
  • Test your home for radon and use carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Fix water leaks.
  • Dust surfaces.
  • Vacuum frequently, and open windows when you do.
  • Wash bedding weekly.
  • Keep a lid on scented candles when not in use.

WestAIR Heating & Cooling wants to help you live a healthier life with safe indoor air quality. We offer air exchangers, air cleaners, whole house humidifiers, replacement filters, and more to equip your HVAC system against contaminants. We also provide duct cleaning service so you can rest assured your air has clean, unobstructed passage throughout your home. Contact us to learn more.

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Dry Indoor Air + Humidification

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Dry indoor airWinter is already uncomfortable enough with the freezing temperatures, so why not make the most of your cozy indoor living space where you can escape the dry and brittle cold air? Lower temperatures mean lower humidity levels because cold air can’t hold as much moisture as warm air. Here are two simple reasons your dry indoor air needs humidification:

Your comfort

Overly dry air can make your skin and respiratory problems flare up, from asthma and allergies to eczema and acne. If your home air is too dry, it could cause bloody noses, chapped lips, and itchy skin. Your respiratory system is lined with moist membranes in your nose and throat that prevent bacteria, viruses, dirt, and dust from getting into your lungs. If they are dry, they won’t keep particles out effectively, making you more vulnerable to sickness.

In addition, dry air increases static electricity, which produces painful shocks and zaps when you walk around on the carpet or touch metal surfaces. It will also make your hair more difficult to maintain and cause your clothes to stick to you uncomfortably.

Your belongings

Dry air will pull moisture from hardwood floors, furniture, and even the walls, doors, and general frame of your home, making it contract and shift. As the frame shifts, doors may be hard to open and close, or gaps may form between the ceiling, walls, windows, and door frames.

Books, artwork, and even the paint or wallpaper on your walls can get brittle, warped, or wrinkled in dry air. If you have musical instruments, they may lose their shape and tune. Humid air feels warmer, so moderate levels of humidity can allow you to set the thermostat lower and give your heating system a break. That way, you can live comfortably and save money on your heating bill and maintenance. But be careful: excess moisture may cause mold, bacteria, and mildew growth in poorly ventilated areas of your home.

You can keep an ideal, comfortable humidity level between 40 and 60 percent with a whole home humidifier. WestAIR Heating & Cooling offers whole house humidifiers that will keep every room of your home comfortable, even in the dry winter. Our humidifiers will automatically work with your HVAC system to distribute moisture throughout your home’s entire duct system. We offer programmable thermostats that come with a built-in humidity sensor so you can test and regulate home humidity and avoid going overboard.

Contact us to learn more about your heating and indoor air quality options.

This entry was posted in Energy Savings,Furnace,Health Tips,Heating,Humidifier,Indoor Air Quality,Tips,Winter and tagged , , , ,

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 Improve Indoor Air Quality

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality In some cities, air pollution and smog create major health concerns. But the air inside of your home could contain more contaminates no matter where you live. Changing your living habits and investing in superior equipment will make major improvements to your indoor air quality.

Cleaning

If your home contains carpet, use a high-quality vacuum with a HEPA filter to reduce household dust, pet dander, and chemicals. Experts recommend vacuuming at least two times a week. For homes without carpet, sweeping and mopping effectively captures dirt and pollutants. Dry microfiber mops successfully grab dust and allergens as well but don’t require any chemical cleaners. Putting extra care into your cleaning routine will not only improve the look of your home but also the air quality. Think of all the chemicals, fecal matter, and allergens that cling to your shoes or clothing when you enter a building. Taking your shoes off or using a large matt to wipe your shoes can help reduce pollutants as well.

Reducing Toxicity

One of the worst culprits of compromised indoor air quality is cigarette smoke. The smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and can increase the risk of asthma, lung cancer, and stroke. Radon poses as another risk for lung cancer, especially in the Midwest where the gas concentrations are high. Radon gas comes from the natural decay of uranium in the ground and leaks through your home’s foundation. Call a professional if your house has not been tested for radon. Toxic particles can come from the products you use to clean, too. Fragrance and household chemicals emit VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). You can find VOCs in higher concentrations indoors, and they come with serious health risks. Reduce these chemicals by switching to natural or mild soaps or cleaners. Essential oils, vinegar, and baking soda can become effective DYI cleaners, too.

Air Support

Adding plants like dracaena, peace lilies, and spider plants improve indoor air quality and attractiveness inside your home. Air purifiers or air cleaners are even more effective at creating fresh and clean air. An air cleaner can capture 98% of airborne particles circulating through your home. We recommend these heating and cooling add-ons for people with asthma, allergies, or chronic illnesses. Depending on the MERV or HEPA rating, filters capture dust, pollen, mold, pet dander, pollutants, viruses and bacteria in the air. Dust mites and mold also thrive in moisture, so investing in an air exchanger or dehumidifier to use in the summer months will help as well. If your house smells musty or already shows signs of mold, you should invest in a dehumidifier.

Would you like better indoor air quality?
Contact WestAIR Heating and Cooling for more information on dehumidifiers and air cleaners.

 

 

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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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Air Duct Cleaning & Maintenance

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Air Duct Cleaning & Maintenance by WestAir Heating & Cooling

Clean air ducts help keep dirt, dust mites, and mold out of the air of your home. Turning on a contaminated or clogged heating and cooling system can cycle these potentially harmful particles into the air you breathe and decrease indoor air quality. How do you know if you need an air duct cleaning service?

Check with your local HVAC technician to find any visible mold or excessive dust and debris inside your ducts, or if there has been a recent infestation of rodents or insects.

Keep your ducts clean by practicing proper home habits.

• Change your furnace and air conditioner filters regularly.
• Check to make sure you use the right air filters that fit your equipment.
• Make sure your HVAC equipment is efficient and regularly maintained.
• Dust and vacuum your home regularly. Vacuuming can increase the amount of dust in the air, so it’s worth upgrading to a high efficiency (HEPA) vacuum cleaner.
• Seal off supply and return registers during home renovation or construction.
• Maintain your humidifier to prevent mold inside the home.
• Repair leaks and water damage promptly.
• Make sure ducts are sealed properly and insulated in attics and crawl spaces.
• Invest in an Aprilaire Air Cleaner to reduce the amount of dust circulating around your home. Air cleaners trap 98 percent of visible dust and irritating particles, and 97 percent of airborne pollen. Attached to your furnace, the filters remove matter through the blower fan and return clean air back into the rooms of your home.

Air duct cleaning is not an annual service, but might be needed after some time, especially if you have pets, smoke, sensitive allergies, respiratory needs, or live in a humid environment.

At WestAir Heating & Cooling, we use a specialized Rotobrush cleaning system to clean air duct systems. This “source removal” cleaning method utilizes powerful vacuums and brushes to dislodge any debris that stick to the surface.

If you think you might need your ducts cleaned or worry about your indoor air quality, contact us for more information.

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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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The Benefits of a Whole House Dehumidifier

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Whole House Dehumidifier

We’ve all heard the saying: “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity!” And summer in Minnesota proves it with hot, sticky, oppressive days. When the air inside your home feels like the air outside, it may be time to consider a whole house dehumidifier from WestAIR Heating & Cooling.

SIGNS OF EXCESS HUMIDITY

When there’s too much humidity in your home, not only can you feel it, you can see it and smell it as well. You may need a whole house dehumidifier if:

  • Condensation appears on the inside of windows, on mirrors, or on cold drinks.
  • Your home has become an insect breeding ground.
  • Mold and mildew are present.
  • Wood furniture, wood floors, and trimwork warp or rot.
  • Skin feels sticky in the summer (or clammy in the winter).
  • Rooms smell musty.
  • You experience excessive sweating at normal indoor temperatures.

Excess humidity also provides an environment where dust mites thrive. These and other contaminants, like mold and mildew, can aggravate health problems, including asthma and allergies.

A whole house dehumidifier, working in connection with your heating and cooling system, removes the right amount of humidity from your home to alleviate these issues. At the same time, it prevents the air from becoming too dry, which can also be problematic. WestAIR installs the industry’s top whole house dehumidifiers from Aprilaire.

SPORTABLE DEHUMIDIFIER RECALL

Homeowners have used portable dehumidifiers for decades, most often in basements or cellars, which tend to be more humid. While a portable dehumidifier may seem to temporarily improve a sticky situation, a portable unit is unable to remove humidity throughout the home. In addition, portable humidifiers can pose a safety risk.

At the end of 2016, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 5.6 million portable dehumidifiers. The recall included more than 60 brands of dehumidifiers sold at various retail outlets, including Menards, Lowe’s, and Home Depot, due to a potential fire hazard. The units were built over a ten-year period, from 2003 to 2013. Three years prior, 12 brands of dehumidifiers were recalled.

2013 Recall
2016 Recall

If you own a portable dehumidifier, we encourage you to check to see if your unit is included in these nationwide recalls.

Contact the indoor air quality experts at WestAIR Heating & Cooling to discuss the benefits of whole house dehumidifiers for your home and your family.

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Four Benefits of a Humidifier During Cooler Months

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Winter is here, and so is crisp Minnesota air. As the temperatures drop, so does humidity levels which can cause poor indoor air quality in our homes and negative effects on the body’s immune system. If you’re concerned about your health and comfort this season, consider using a humidifier during the cooler months.

  1. Dry air dries out your sinuses, nose and throat making it harder for your body to fight off unwanted germs. A humidifier increases humidity levels in your home, helping you breathe easier. Small portable humidifers work well for one room, or consider installing a whole house humidifier which works in conjunction with your HVAC system. Whole house humidifers also benefit allergy and asthma sufferers by keeping the throat, lungs and sinuses well lubricated.
  2. Whole home humidifiers also regulate indoor air quality to ensure the proper balance of humidity in your home.
  3. If you or someone you know suffers from eczema or other skin conditions, you know first-hand how dry air affects them. Moisturizing the skin helps, in addition to maintaining the proper humidity levels in your home.
  4. Have you ever woken up in the morning with a dry, sore throat? Your throat, chest, nose and mouth become progressively drier during the winter months. Maintaining the proper humidity levels in your home can help manage the air, giving you a better night’s sleep.

To learn more about indoor air quality, whole home humidifiers, or to schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable WestAIR service techicians, call us today at 763-498-8071

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