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 , , , ,

Holiday Home Safety Tips

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

The holidays are exciting, filled with gift shopping, decorating, cooking, hosting the extended family, or traveling to a Christmas getaway. But don’t overlook small details that are mishaps waiting to happen. From the ten-year-old string of decorative lights wrapped around your banister to the poisonous poinsettia plant sitting on your dining room table, the festivities bring many hazards to your home. Have an enjoyable and accident-free Christmas season with these holiday home safety tips:

Electrical threats

Before you hang up electric decorations, inspect them for damage. Look for cracked sockets, loose connections, or frayed cords. An exposed wire could light up your Christmas tree in flames. Never overload outlets or connect more than three strings of electrical lights. They could trip a breaker or start a fire.

Fire

You should always check your fireplace and chimney before you light it. Santa may not be peeking down at you from the roof, but there could be debris blocking smoke and creating a fire hazard. If you have a real Christmas tree, water it daily, and don’t put it too close to the fireplace. Keep combustibles at least three feet from heat sources and never block exits in case of a fire.

Decorating danger

In a quest to outdo last year’s Christmas décor, many homeowners take decorating to new heights, quite literally. If you plan to hang sparkling ornaments or lights in high places, don’t climb or stand on furniture. Use a proper ladder and have someone support the base if you need to hang decorations beyond your normal reach.

Theft

Try not to order anything online to be shipped to your home if you plan to be away for the holidays. Thieves can easily run up and snatch retail packages on a porch. Don’t leave large displays of holiday gifts near windows where passersby can easily see them. If possible, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home while you are away so you don’t have to worry about holiday theft.

Cold weather

If you plan to be away for the holidays, take steps to prevent frozen pipes. Basement, attic, and garage pipes are most susceptible to freezing and bursting in cold temps, causing significant water damage in a matter of hours. Make sure to close your garage door when you leave to keep the cold air out. Open kitchen and cabinet doors so the warmer air throughout your home will circulate and reach the pipes in your walls. Set the thermostat to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees.

WestAIR Heating & Cooling offers programmable thermostats with vacation-hold settings so you can easily stay in control of your heat while you are away. We can install a gas fireplace so you don’t have to worry about the decorations, Christmas tree, or wrapping paper falling into the hearth and catching fire. Contact us to learn more about your heating options this holiday season.

This entry was posted in Winter and tagged , , , , ,

Are Radiant Infloor Heating Systems Worth the Cost?

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Are Radiant Infloor Heating Systems Worth the Cost?

Have you ever been to a home or building with heated floors? Even on a chilly winter evening, your feet feel warm. The air around you feels comfortable, not drafty. Some homeowners find heated floors a necessity, while others think they’re an expensive and frivolous feature. Let’s consider the pros and cons of radiant infloor heating.

Advantages

Energy Efficiency

Traditional boiler and forced air systems heat the nearest area of space. The radiator can have an internal temperature between 159-167 degrees Fahrenheit just to heat up a room. By the time the warm air makes its way to the other side of the room, the air cools below the programmed temperature. Depending on the location and size of the room, a radiator or forced air can create inconsistent temperatures.

Infloor heating covers the entire floor. Heat rises, so no matter where you walk, the room will reflect the correct temperature. Furthermore, the source typically heats up between 80 – 90 degrees. Best of all, radiant heat can save 15 to 40 percent on energy bills because of its efficient technology.

Minimal Maintenance

Did you know you should have your furnace checked once a year, as well as change your air filter multiple times a year? Service visits costs add up, especially if your heating system needs replacement parts. There are no maintenance costs with radiant infloor heating, and some brands guarantee their product for decades!

Space

Boiler systems and forced air take up space. Boiler radiators reduce physical space in a room and can create challenges with furniture placement. Forced air systems make use of ceiling, wall, and floor space for ducts and vents. With infloor heating, the flooring conceals all equipment, allowing for an open, spacious feel.

Comfort

We all have experienced the shocking feeling of bare feet on a cold floor during the winter. With radiant infloor heating, your feet will feel cozy all winter long, even without socks.

Versatility

Infloor heating works with all floor types: wood, stone, tile, carpet, laminate, and more.

Safety

Radiators can pose safety hazards and cause injuries such as burns and cuts. In addition, forced air reduces oxygen and the thermal circulation kicks up dust, which can aggravate allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. Radiant heat keeps air fresh and oxygen-rich and dust out of the air.

Disadvantages

Electric heating installation costs $10 to $20 per square foot. Connecting the system to your power supply adds an extra few hundred dollars to the bill. Another disadvantage—the process takes one to two days to dry, because of leveling compound that tops the thermal mat.  Water-based systems cost more than double that of electric heating and require installation during the build phase of a new home. Lastly, radiant infloor heating adds about half an inch to the floor. Experts recommend using insulation boards underneath, increasing height by approximately an inch more.

Many homeowners say that the advantages of infloor heating outweigh the disadvantages, and the cost of installation is ultimately worth it. You don’t need to build a new home to try radiant infloor heating. If it’s time to remodel your bathroom or basement, look into infloor heating for added comfort, improved energy efficiency, and increased resale value.

Contact WestAIR Heating & Cooling to learn more about installing radiant infloor heating.

This entry was posted in Heating,Winter and tagged , ,

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!

This entry was posted in AC,Air Conditioning,Cooling,Furnace,Heating,Winter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why You Need a Whole-Home Humidifier

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

whole-home humidifier
Did you know that the most comfortable indoor air humidity level is 40 to 60 percent? Cold air does not hold water vapor well, making it drier as it gets colder. Dry air could be the reason you get nose, throat, and skin discomfort in the winter.

What makes it worse?
Turning on your heat.

Heated air with low humidity also dries out the wood in your home, shrinking the wood framing around doors and windows. The shrinking causes gaps to occur and allows cold air in. Any moisture will drain outdoors, leaving you with cracked and dry skin.

Unfortunately, you can over-humidify your house as well. Too much humidity in the winter can damage windows as ice forms. If this happens, moisture will most likely be present in walls and attics, causing sheathing and woodwork to rot over time. This not only damages your house, but the mold can make you sick.
What do you do then?

The solution needs to keep your home’s humidity at a happy medium. The percentage of optimum humidity changes as it gets colder.

Outside Temperature
Max Humidity
20 – 40 40%
10 – 20 35%
0 – 10 30%
-10 – 0 25%
-20 – -10 20%
Below -20 15%

*Based on an indoor temperature of 70 degrees F

You can improve your humidity levels and your heating bills by caulking and sealing your windows and doors. Next, you can maintain indoor humidity levels with a home humidifier. When your home’s humidity falls below the optimum level, a whole-home humidifier from Aprilaire goes to work, adding moisture to your dry air. This dry air is forced through the water panel evaporator and is distributed throughout your home, eliminating that parched, dry air lurking in your home. Aiprilaire offers humidifiers that are energy efficient, reduce airborne viruses, and protect wood floors or furniture.

Eliminate the damage and discomfort caused by dry air. We’re currently offering $25 off the installation of an Aprilaire Whole-house Humidifier. Offer ends December 31st. Call us today!

This entry was posted in Humidifier,Winter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Find the Right Garage Heater

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

find the right garage heater

 

November is finally pushing us to turn on our thermostats. If you have any last-minute home or work projects to finish, you will need a garage heater as well. If this is your first heater, you will need to assess this situation first. Ask yourself, what do you need a heater for?

Heaters for quick projects.

Are you doing some quick fixer-uppers such as fixing or replacing parts from time to time? Do you have a designated workspace in your garage? If so, consider getting a portable electric heater. These garage heaters are lightweight, quiet, and provides direct heat.

Heaters on the go.

Do you need your garage heater for work projects outdoors or for a traveling job? You will want something fast and portable. Portable gas and kerosene heaters are lightweight and need little maintenance. Both use a fan to help circulate air.

Heaters for long-term projects.

Do you spend most of your time in the garage? Fixing up cars or hanging out with your buds, or just finished the great “Man Cave”? You will want a heater that is installed and thermostat controlled. Installed gas heaters are quick, quiet and project more heat. Electric installed heaters are compact and need little maintenance. Both types of heaters require mounting or installation. We recommend this option because you can keep your space warm to avoid letting your car idle in the winter. You can also provide a warm area for your family or pets.

Schedule an appointment today if you are interested in installing a unit heater for your garage.

 

 

This entry was posted in Fall,Furnace,Garage,Heating,Winter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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