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.

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10 Signs You Should Replace Your Furnace

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

 

If you’re like most homeowners, you want to get the most out of your furnace and avoid the cost of replacement for as long as possible so you make sure it’s outlived its parts. When is it time to say goodbye to your furnace and buy a newer model? The excessive amount of money you put into utility bills and repairs for your old furnace may indicate it’s time for an upgrade. Though expensive, a newer model can increase your home comfort, efficiency, savings, and safety in the long run.

Signs you need a new furnace

The average furnace will last 15 to 20 years if it is installed properly and regularly serviced. But you’ll have to get a new one eventually, and a newer model can save up to 20 percent in energy. Here are 10 signs that you may need to replace your furnace:

  1. If you’re calling for repair services too often.
  2. If your furnace repair costs 50 percent or more than it would to replace.
  3. If it’s over 15 years old.
  4. If your furnace is making loud sounds (rattling, popping, humming, or screeching).
  5. If your furnace is short cycling.
  6. If your heating bill has increased even though you aren’t changing the thermostats.
  7. If you set the thermostat, but your home is not heated evenly.
  8. If you notice soot around the registers. Older furnaces spew dust, dirt, or rust particles.
  9. If there’s a crack in the heat exchanger. Carbon monoxide could be leaking and poisoning your home.
  10. If you notice rust, cracks, or corrosion on or around furnace components.

Why upgrade my furnace now?

With new technology, you can easily and conveniently regulate the temperatures in your home and be more comfortable, while saving energy. Buying a new furnace can be a planned home improvement or a panic replacement. Don’t wait until it breaks down in the freezing cold of winter. In your desperation for a warm house, you may not take the proper time to research and choose a furnace with the best deals.

But first, have an HVAC technician evaluate your entire heating system. Maybe it only needs a simple repair, like a new filter or thermostat.  The WestAIR service team is here to help you make a sound decision so you can prevent costly breakdowns and save money. When it comes time to replace your furnace, our HVAC technicians will help you choose the right make and model for your home. We recommend Rheem® furnaces for their energy savings, advanced features, and reliability. Contact WestAIR today for more information.

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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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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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Six Tips to Reduce Your Heating Bill

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Lower Your Heating Bill

Winter has arrived in full force, but that doesn’t mean you have to blast money from your wallet as you turn up the heat. WestAIR Heating and Cooling offers six easy ways to reduce your heating bill this winter and for years to come.

1. Control your Thermostat

Using a thermostat is an easy way to control your home temperature and maximize your savings. While you are away, set it 10 degrees cooler than your regular setting. So, if you feel comfortable at 69 degrees, you would program it to be 59 degrees while you’re at work or on vacation. Some newer thermostats have capabilities to be controlled by a phone app or website!

2. Insulate Windows and Walls

You can lose half of your heat if your home is not well insulated! Is your attic or basement insulated? If not, fill all the gaps with fiberglass insulation. If your windows are drafty, fill in the leaky spaces with caulk.

3. Look at those Ducts

Heat can leak right through your air ducts too. You can patch them with aluminum foil tape (not duct tape) and mastic sealant. First, clean the surface near any leak you find in your air ducts. The aluminum foil tape works best on flat surfaces. Mastic is for curved surfaces that would be difficult to tape. Use both for leaks bigger than a quarter-inch for extra protection!

4. Keep Up on Filters

Did you know that you should change your furnace filter each month? Not only will it let warm air flow freely, but it will reduce the need for costly repairs. Inexpensive fiber filters work fine, but standard pleated filters are better for airborne dust.

5. Take Care of your Furnace

Many people forget this step, but tune-ups are necessary for furnaces just like an oil change is for your car. Nobody wants to wake up shivering in the middle of the night because the furnace isn’t working properly. Although we do offer same-day and emergency service in case this happens, avoid breakdowns with a scheduled maintenance check. Take advantage of our current promotion and save $10 on any repair or service call.

6. Invest!

Sometimes you must kick your old furnace to the curb. If your repair costs more than 50 percent of the cost of a new furnace, or your monthly heating bills have significantly increased, you should most likely consider a replacement. Upfront costs may seem daunting, but today’s furnaces are more energy efficient and will save money in the long run. If you think it’s time to replace that old furnace of yours, we stand by Rheem heaters for quality. Rheem is a leading provider of top-quality, innovative heating products that offer the latest technology, lasting performance, great warranties, and excellent service and support. As a proud Rheem Pro Partner, our highly trained, licensed technicians can recommend a Rheem furnace or other heating product to best meet your needs.

Contact us to learn more about a furnace tune-up or questions!

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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 , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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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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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