Money-Saving Tips to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

The warm weather is almost here, and while the sunshine is more fun for the family, it can also mean an increase in your energy bill. Try these money-saving tips to keep your home cool this summer.

Replace Your Air Filters

A dirty air filter restricts air flow for your home’s HVAC system, which makes it less efficient, ultimately costing more to cool your home. Most air filters last up to three months, but if you have pets or allergies, you’ll want to replace them more often. We advise changing your filters every month, even during cooling season. A dirty or clogged filter is the number one reason for AC failure. Check the recommendation on your air filter’s packaging or install a smart thermostat to tell you when it’s time to swap out your filter.

Service your AC

The start of summer is a great time to make sure your air conditioner is ready to take on the heat. Make sure your condensing unit—the outdoor section of your central AC system—is clear of grass, leaves, pet hair, and other debris. If your system is older, have a professional out to service your air conditioner.

Adjust Your Thermostat

If you’re not home during the day, consider setting your thermostat seven to ten degrees higher. This can save as much as ten percent on your energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Can’t remember to make those adjustments? A seven-day programmable thermostat allows separate programming for each day to help you save on your cooling costs.

Consider Zoning

A zoning system takes temperature regulation a step further, separating your home into the living area and the sleeping area. This means you don’t waste energy (and money) cooling parts of the home you aren’t using during the hottest parts of the day.

The money-saving tips can help improve your home’s cooling efficiency this summer. The experienced HVAC professionals at West Air are here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our HVAC experts.

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4 Spring HVAC Reminders to Prepare for Cooling Season

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Spring officially began on March 20 and despite some chilly days and “surprise” snowfall, cooling season is on its way. You may be ready for the shift, but is your air conditioner? Use these spring HVAC reminders and tips to help prepare your system for the hot summer days ahead.

Cleaning Tips Around the Home

Whether you’ve already finished your spring cleaning or have yet to bust out the rubber gloves, don’t forget to incorporate your HVAC system into your routine:

  • Dust and disinfect floors and hard surfaces around the home. Keeping them clean helps prevent dirt, allergens, and other airborne particles from getting inside your ductwork.
  • Clear debris buildup from exhaust fans. After making sure the power is off, wash with soapy water and use a toothbrush to clean dirt and debris off the fan blades.
  • Clean windows, blinds, and curtains. That way you can let in fresh air and sunlight without a producing a cloud of built-up dust whenever you open them.
  • Dust the blades of your ceiling fans. Similarly, you don’t want dust to fly all over whenever you turn the fan on. And remember to run fans counterclockwise in the summer to blow air straight down and create a windchill effect.
  • Clean the grills of floor registers and air vents. Use a vacuum to remove collected dust and debris. For a deeper clean, remove the vent, scrub the individual grill spaces with a rag and butter knife, and then rinse with warm soapy water.

Have your Ductwork Professionally Cleaned

While regular dusting, mopping, vacuuming, and cleaning of the vents and registers helps minimize the amount of debris that gets into your ductwork, there’s no way to prevent it entirely. Duct cleaning helps prevent dust, pollen, and other harmful particles from accumulating and impacting the health of your HVAC system and indoor air quality.

Seal the Home

Don’t let the cool air your HVAC system produces go to waste. Check windows, doors, and exterior walls for cracks and seams that could let indoor air escape and hot, humid outdoor air sneak in. Seal them with caulk to help maintain efficient cooling.

…but Provide Proper Ventilation

Providing fresh air and adequate ventilation are vital to maintaining indoor air quality. Open windows on nice days for natural ventilation and air flow. Consider installing an air exchanger that simultaneously removes stale, recycled indoor air while supplying fresh, filtered air from outside.

Test the System & Schedule Preventative Maintenance

Don’t wait for the first hot, humid day of the year to test your air conditioner. Turn the system on now to check for any issues, and schedule annual preventative maintenance with the local HVAC experts at WestAIR to ensure optimal performance, efficiency, and safety.

With Minnesota’s unpredictable weather, spring can feel like little more than a brief break between the last snowfall and the first hot, humid day of summer. Don’t let the window sneak by without giving your home’s air conditioner some much needed TLC! Use these spring HVAC reminders to help ensure your system is ready to keep your home cool and cozy all season long.

For all your heating and cooling needs, trust the knowledgeable, experienced HVAC professionals at WestAIR. Contact us to learn more about our services.

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Keeping Air Ducts Clean

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

In a previous blog, we discussed air duct cleaning and maintenance. Because these duties help provide better indoor air quality, we wanted to mention them again and reiterate their importance to your home and health. Learn more about some reasons for keeping air ducts clean and ways to do so.

Indoor Air

Wherever you go, it only makes sense that you want to breathe the cleanest, healthiest air possible.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American spends 90 percent of their life indoors. As such, it’s important for your home’s air to be free of as many contaminants as possible. This is especially important since the accumulation of indoor air pollutants is exponentially higher than regular outdoor concentrations.

Some effects of poor indoor air include respiratory issues and disease, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Oftentimes indoor air pollutants can increase the intensity of issues like asthma and even cause eye, nose, or throat dryness and irritation. Protect yourself and your family by keeping air ducts and your home’s air clean.

Duct, Duct, Dirty Duct?

Your HVAC system often pulls in outside air to condition and distribute through the home, so dirt, dust, and other allergens find their way in. Since the ductwork throughout your home is hidden, you probably don’t give it much thought. And because it’s hidden, it’s more difficult to access and clean.

So how do you know if your ductwork is hiding something unhealthy? Look for telltale signs, such as:

  • Dust. If you continually notice dust even after you’ve cleaned, check your vents. Remove the register cover to see if the ductwork is lined with dirt or dust, too.
  • Cost increase. Are your utility bills noticeably higher compared to the same time last year? Your HVAC system may be working harder (and less efficiently) because of restricted airflow. This could be from dirty ducts or dirty air filters. A trusted technician can perform an inspection and determine the cause. 

Keeping Air Ducts Cleaner

Routine home maintenance can help keep your air ducts cleaner and your indoor air fresher.

Check and change HVAC filters. This could be every 30 days or every few months, depending on how often your system runs, if you have pets, or if you have younger children or allergy sufferers in the home. Check the filter on a regular basis and change it as needed.

Have your HVAC system inspected at least once a year to ensure it is operating at peak performance. This will also allow you to catch and fix any smaller issues before they become potentially bigger problems. Routine maintenance can extend the life of your heating and cooling systems, saving you money in the long run.

Complete household chores each week. This includes dusting hard surfaces and flooring, vacuuming carpeted areas (and vent covers), and running bedding through the wash. Also, vacuum and wash pet bedding as needed, and consider a high-quality HEPA filter vacuum to further reduce indoor air contaminants.

A few upgrades will also go a long way toward improving air quality at home.

  • Rid your home of dry air with a whole house humidifier. Dry air can make skin to feel tight and itchy or cause nose or throat discomfort. The wood inside your home can also be negatively affected by dryness. Adding moisture to the air can increase your overall home comfort.
  • Remove odors and pollutants with a UV light air purification system. A BreatheCLEAN UV air purifier works with your current HVAC system and removes contaminants to provide continuous protection.

Small changes to daily, weekly, and yearly routines can help with keeping air ducts clean while increasing overall indoor air quality. If you think your ductwork should be checked, rely on the experienced professionals at WestAIR Heating & Cooling.

Contact us today to learn more about our duct cleaning or other services.

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7 Tips for Extending the Lifespan of HVAC Equipment

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Woman setting her programmable thermostat - a great investment for extending the lifespan of HVAC equipment.

When it comes to weather, Minnesota is a place of extremes. Our harsh, bitterly cold winters and hot, humid summer days make a functioning furnace and air conditioner crucial to a comfy home. Follow these tips for extending the lifespan of HVAC equipment to get the most out of your system.

Schedule Preventative Maintenance Twice Annually

Have your system professionally serviced before each heating and cooling season for a thorough tune-up, cleaning, and maintenance service to ensure peak performance and efficiency. Your technician will also catch minor issues to prevent costly repairs later on, as well as help you decide if it’s better to repair or replace.

But don’t wait for maintenance service or a total breakdown to have your system inspected. If you notice strange sounds or smells, decreased efficiency or performance, or any other warning signs, call your local HVAC professionals to diagnose and repair the issue before it gets worse.

Have Ductwork Professionally Cleaned Every Other Year

Dirt, dust, pollen, and other debris naturally settle inside your ductwork over time. This buildup not only impacts airflow and efficiency, but it also becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. As your HVAC unit pumps air to the home, these contaminants get blown out with it and decrease your indoor air quality.

Schedule professional duct cleaning service once every two years to help maintain air quality and reduce stress placed on the system.

Maintain a Clean Air Filter

Clogged filters decrease airflow, forcing the system to work harder and experience a higher level of wear and tear. They’re also the number one cause of breakdowns. Remember to clean or change your HVAC system’s air filter every month.

Take Care of the Condenser Unit

While A/C condenser units are designed to withstand the elements, they’re not invincible. Inspect your condenser for any damage or debris buildup on occasion, especially after severe storms and instances of hail. Additionally, give the unit two to three feet of space to easily and efficiently draw in air. Keep the unit and surrounding space clean and clear of obstructions as well as grass clippings, leaves, branches, dirt, and other debris.

Check the Drainage Pipe Regularly

HVAC systems feature a PVC pipe on the indoor unit that leads outside to drain excess condensation. Serious damage to this outlet line can result in expensive repairs, so inspect yours regularly for blockages, debris, and any other issues. Be sure to do so more frequently in winter due to the potential of ice or snow deposits.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Being strategic with your thermostat can help lower utility bills and stress on your system. However, constantly adjusting the temperature can have the opposite effect. With a programmable thermostat, you can preset temperature and humidity levels over multiple days without worrying about manual adjustments.

Ease Stress on the System in Other Ways

Give your HVAC system a break whenever possible to maximize its performance and useful life. For more information, check out our helpful guides to optimizing HVAC efficiency in the winter and summer.

Heating and cooling systems contribute up to half of a home’s energy consumption, and we rely on them throughout the year in our state. Use this guide to extending the lifespan of HVAC equipment to keep the air in your home clean and comfy for years to come.

Backed by over 30 years of industry experience, locally owned and operated WestAIR has the knowledge and expertise for all your heating, cooling, and indoor air quality needs. Contact us to learn more about our services.

This entry was posted in AC,Air Conditioning,Cooling,Duct Cleaning,Energy Savings,Fall,Furnace,Health Tips,Heating,Humidity,HVAC Maintenance,Indoor Air Quality,Tips,Winter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Winter Furnace Maintenance Tips

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Woman performing routine cleaning on a heating unit, one of a few simple but important winter furnace maintenance tips.

We rely on our heating systems a lot during Minnesota’s long, brutal winters. As we continue through the coldest months of the year, homeowners should take steps to minimize stress on their HVAC system to help prevent inconvenient breakdowns and costly repairs. Use these winter furnace maintenance tips to enjoy optimal performance, efficiency, and comfort all season long.

  1. Keep the air filter clean. A clogged filter forces the HVAC system to work harder, decreases efficiency, and is also the most common cause of breakdowns. Be sure to change or clean your air filter every month.
  2. Maintain a clear, clean area around the unit. Giving your furnace room to breathe promotes safe, efficient operation, as well as easy access to the unit for you or your HVAC specialist if necessary. As a general rule, give your furnace or indoor air handling unit three feet of clearance and clean the space regularly.
  3. Inspect flue pipes for damage. Your furnace naturally produces gases during the combustion process, and flue pipes carry these gases to your home’s ventilation system to be safely exhausted. Check the pipes for any damage that could be leaking CO into the home, as well as signs of soot and/or rusting. Have an experienced HVAC technician inspect any issues immediately.
  4. Clean supply and return vents. Supply vents feed warm air produced by your furnace to your home; return vents pull old indoor air and deliver it to the HVAC system to maintain indoor air quality and comfort. Cleaning them helps prevent dust and other airborne irritants from getting into the air you breathe or sucked back into the system.
  5. Check for signs of dirty ductwork. Air ducts carry air between your HVAC system and home and naturally collect dirt, dust, and other debris over time. Issues to look for include mold around your vents or furnace, excessive dust accumulation (especially around vents), inconsistent heating throughout the home, unexplained increases in allergy symptoms and/or respiratory problems, and signs of a rodent or pest infestation. Schedule professional duct cleaning service if you see any of these, and plan to do so annually.
  6. Turn the temperature down but keep the system on. Turning the thermostat down at night or when the house is empty can help cut utility costs, but don’t turn the system completely off. Having to fire the furnace back up whenever you wake up or return home requires more energy and adds unnecessary stress. Just remember to go no lower than 55 degrees (or closer to 60 during extreme cold) to help prevent frozen pipes. For ultimate ease and efficiency, consider installing a programmable thermostat that lets you pre-set temperature settings for multiple days ahead of time.
  7. Don’t ignore the warning signs. Don’t wait for a complete breakdown to give your furnace the attention it needs. If you notice uneven or inefficient heating, unexplained spikes in energy bills, or any other furnace issue warning signs, call WestAIR for professional diagnosis and repair before the issue gets worse.

It may be the beginning of a new year, but we have a lot of cold days and harsh weather ahead of us yet. Follow these winter furnace maintenance tips to help your heating system run safely, efficiently, and uninterrupted for the rest of the season.

Trust the highly knowledgeable and experienced HVAC professionals at WestAIR for all your heating and cooling needs. Contact us to learn more.

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HVAC Checklist for Winter Trips 10 Tips

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

When winter hits in Minnesota, it’s easy to understand why some of us want a temporary escape to somewhere warm. Others might head up north for long ice fishing trips or to enjoy the winter wonderland. Whatever the reason to leave the house empty, you want to make sure it’s prepared for the weather. If you’re planning an extended vacation this season, follow this HVAC checklist for winter trips to help keep your home safe while you’re away.

  1. Turn the thermostat down but not off. There’s no need to keep an empty home comfortably warm, but you want to help protect against frozen pipes. It’s recommended to set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees (closer to 60 during severe cold) and to open closet and cabinet doors so the warm air can reach the plumbing. For extended trips away from home, shut off the main water valve, drain remaining water by opening faucets, and leave them open until you return.
  2. Change or clean the air filter. Ensure your system has a fresh filter to prevent efficiency and performance issues while you’re away. And remember to change (or clean if reusable) your air filter monthly!
  3. Seal the home to trap the heat in and the cold out. The lower thermostat setting makes sealing warm air inside the home even more important. Check around windows, doors, and exterior walls and fix any potential leaks with caulk. And before you leave, lock all windows and doors to ensure a tight seal.
  4. Clean the home (especially dusting). Sealing the home naturally decreases ventilation. Clean the house to reduce the presence of dust and other airborne pollutants that impact indoor air quality, using extra care while vacuuming carpets and dusting hard surfaces.
  5. Clear/clean the area around the furnace/HVAC unit. Generally, there should be at least 3 feet of distance around your furnace or indoor air handling unit. Move any potential obstructions and clean the area, and ensure flammable items are kept far away from the unit.
  6. Ensure vents are clean and clear of obstructions. Similarly, make sure that the vents that feed the warm air to your home are dusted, cleaned, and free of obstructions – a closed or blocked vent will alter the system’s even distribution of air and decrease efficiency.
  7. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Make sure they are clean and working properly with fresh batteries, and remember they should be tested weekly and cleaned at least monthly. You should refer to the manufacturer’s manual regarding maintenance and replacement schedules, but CO detectors should typically be replaced every five years and smoke detectors every 10.
  8. Unplug unnecessary appliances for extra safety and savings. Large appliances like TVs and sound systems, as well as smaller ones like coffee pots and toasters, will draw some electricity even when not in use. Unplug any appliances that don’t need power while you’re away to help reduce your utility bill.
  9. Make plans for monitoring. Consult your local HVAC company about any remote monitoring options available for your system. Before you leave home, notify close friends, family, and neighbors who can keep an eye out for any issues that you’ll be away. If you feel comfortable enough, consider giving a spare key to someone you trust so they can check on your home and provide updates.
  10. Schedule a professional inspection/maintenance service. The best way to ensure optimal safety, performance, and efficiency of your system is to schedule a professional inspection and maintenance service with an HVAC technician. Call the pros at WestAIR!

If you’re planning a fun, relaxing adventure away from home, the last thing you want to return to is a broken furnace, frozen pipes, or any other disaster around the house. Follow this HVAC checklist for winter trips to keep your home protected.

For all your residential heating and cooling needs, trust the experience and expertise of the professionals at WestAIR. Contact us to learn more.

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6 Furnace Issue Warning Signs to Watch Out For

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

November may have given us a few warm, sunny days, but it’s safe to say heating season is upon us in Minnesota. We’ll have our furnaces working hard for the next few months, making it crucial for homeowners to know when their system needs professional repair or replacement. Use these furnace issue warning signs so you know when it’s time to call in the pros this winter.

Old Age

With proper installation and regular maintenance service, furnaces will last 15 to 20 years on average. Check the age of your furnace, and if it’s over 15 years old, it’s time to start considering an upgrade. Contact WestAIR for a free estimate and to schedule a professional inspection and evaluation with one of our HVAC technicians.

Frequent, Costly Repairs

Your furnace should be serviced annually for maintenance, but regular repairs that take a toll on your wallet are a sure sign that your furnace needs replacing. If repair service costs 50 percent or more than a replacement, a system upgrade is highly recommended. Not only will you receive peace of mind throughout the heating season, modern furnaces offer much higher efficiency and performance, saving you money on utility and repair bills.

Irregular Sounds, Smells, and Cycling

HVAC systems operate quietly and can easily go unnoticed if they’re functioning properly. Keep an eye (as well as an ear and nose) out for these irregular warning signs:

  • Banging, rattling, popping, humming, or screeching sounds
  • Persistent or random burning smells
  • More frequent on/off cycling (AKA short cycling)

These complications indicate serious mechanical problems that decrease heating efficiency and pose a potential fire hazard. Contact WestAIR, your local HVAC company, ASAP if you notice any of these issues.

Uneven or Inefficient Heating

Properly sized, installed, and maintained furnaces are designed to heat your entire house evenly. Signs of inefficient heating include:

  • Finding cold spots or different temperatures in rooms around the home
  • Having to adjust the thermostat frequently to maintain comfort
  • Turning the temperature higher than normal to keep the house warm
  • Seeing unexpected spikes in utility bills

If you experience any of these issues, the solution could be anything from a simple repair to a thermostat or furnace replacement. Don’t suffer through poor heating and higher costs – have an HVAC technician inspect your system and diagnose the problem and discuss your options.

Decreased Indoor Air Quality

Furnaces and HVAC systems are designed to help maintain indoor air quality and humidity as well as temperature. Yours might be failing if you or your family notice the following:

  • Stuffy or stale air
  • Dry nose, throat, or skin
  • Excessive dust accumulation
  • Frequent static shocks
  • Cracked wood on furniture, fixtures, and frames
  • New or worsening allergy symptoms

Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Furnaces fueled by gas or oil produce carbon monoxide, which is poisonous and potentially life-threatening with prolonged exposure. Heating systems are designed to trap and safely exhaust this dangerous gas, but it is possible for a leak to develop over time and put your family at risk. Signs of a carbon monoxide leak include:

  • Yellow and/or flickering burner flame (should be blue with a consistent burn)
  • Soot around the furnace and registers
  • Excess moisture on exterior windows, walls, and other cold surfaces
  • Rust, cracks, or corrosion on/around flue pipes and other furnace components

Warning signs of carbon monoxide exposure can also mimic common illnesses, so beware of unexplained nausea, frequent headaches, confusion/disorientation, burning nose and eyes, and flu-like symptoms. Remember, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause serious health issues and even death. If you or a family member experience any of these signs and symptoms, seek medical attention immediately and then call your utility provider and HVAC technician ASAP.

We all know that Minnesota weather offers plenty of surprises, and getting stuck with a broken furnace is a surprise we could all do without. Remember these furnace issue warning signs so you can stay ahead of issues and know when it’s time for professional repair or replacement service.

WestAIR is a Rheem Pro Partner and proudly services all residential HVAC brands. Contact us for all your heating and cooling needs.

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7 Tips for Winter Indoor Air Quality Maintenance

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Women enjoying a hot beverage from the warmth and comfort of her home during winter.

With the recent snowfall and chilly temps, there’s no denying that winter is almost here. Time to prepare! As heating season makes its way to Minnesota, we must remember to keep the air in our home clean as well as warm. Use this guide to winter indoor air quality maintenance to keep your family cozy, healthy, and happy throughout the season.

Poor Winter Indoor Air Quality: Causes and Effects

When cold weather hits, we seal our homes to prevent the warm air produced by our furnaces from escaping. While this helps increase comfort and energy efficiency, it also traps dust, pollen, and other airborne contaminants inside the home that then decrease indoor air quality. Common signs of poor winter indoor air quality include:

  • Dry, itchy, or watery eyes
  • Cold or flu symptoms: coughing, sneezing, nausea
  • Heightened symptoms of asthma and other respiratory illness
  • Fatigue and trouble concentrating
  • Irritation of the nose and throat, particularly dryness
  • Headaches

Tips for Winter Indoor Air Quality Maintenance

Escaping the bitter cold of Minnesota winters means spending more time inside our home, making clean indoor air crucial to our comfort and health. Thankfully, homeowners can improve and maintain air quality with these helpful tips.

  1. Clean regularly – Don’t let dust, mold spores, and other pollutants build up around the home. Dust hard surfaces and vacuum (using a vacuum with a HEPA filter if possible) at least weekly. Use non-toxic cleaners free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are a major contributor to unhealthy air.
  2. Maintain a clean filter Air filters keep dust and other debris from entering and harming your HVAC system, but must be maintained in order to prevent these irritants from making their way back into the air. Remember to change air filters monthly or clean if resuable.
  3. Schedule annual service maintenance – Ensure your heating system runs at peak performance and provides clean, warm air with professional maintenance service from a WestAIR HVAC expert.
  4. Have your ductwork cleaned – Dirt, dust, pet hair and dander, and other irritants settle inside your air ducts over time. Schedule duct cleaning service before winter is in full swing, and plan to do so annually.
  5. Enhance ventilation with an air exchanger – Sealing the home in winter leads to recycled, stale air inside. To resolve this, air exchangers deliver a continuous flow of fresh, filtered outdoor air while simultaneously exhausting unhealthy indoor air.
  6. Control humidity with a whole house humidifier – Humidity plays a crucial role for indoor air quality. Dry winter air can cause nose, throat, and skin discomfort, as well as damage wood fixtures and furniture over time. Installing a whole house humidifier will help maintain proper humidity levels in your home.
  7. Consider additional clean air solutions Air cleaners work with your current system to remove excess dust and other irritants that decrease indoor air quality. Ultraviolet (UV) light purification systems utilize UV rays to eliminate odors harmful airborne pathogens like viruses, bacteria, mold, and VOCs.

This year has presented us all with new and unique challenges. But no matter how unpredictable 2020 has been, we know we can always plan for harsh winter weather here in Minnesota. We’re already seeing the temps drop and snow fall, so don’t wait! Use these winter indoor air quality maintenance tips to enjoy clean, comfy air inside your home this heating season.

For all your heating and cooling needs, trust the HVAC experts at WestAIR. Contact us today to learn more.

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Fall Maintenance Checklist

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

It’s that time of year again. Fall is here and winter is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to check your HVAC system. Your heating and cooling system, like all major electrical appliances, needs regular maintenance to ensure it operates at peak performance, which can save you money and headaches down the road.  Follow our fall maintenance checklist to keep your system running smoothly all season long.

  1. Check and replace your filters – The most important thing you can do at home is inspect the air filter and change it as needed. A dirty or clogged filter makes your system operate less efficiently and can cause unnecessary wear and tear. A good rule of thumb is to replace your filter every month, especially during heating and cooling season.
  2. Clean your registers – Keeping your registers and ducts clear of dust and debris is crucial for your HVAC system to run smoothly. Wipe down your registers often and have your duct system professionally cleaned and inspected at least once every three years.
  3. Keep your AC and furnace clear of debris – Check your outdoor air conditioning unit for leaves, dirt, sticks, or other debris and if necessary, use a hose to clean the top and sides. Make sure the unit is turned off inside before cleaning. This allows for maximum airflow to the fan and increases the efficiency of your system. In addition, remove debris or anything that blocks airflow from your furnace and keep the area clean.
  4. Use ceiling fans and give your HVAC system a break – Although summer is winding down, we’re still enjoying warmer weather that requires air conditioning. Instead of running the AC 24/7, try using ceiling fans to give your system a well-deserved break. On hot fall days, ceiling and portable fans circulate air through the home to help bring the temperature down quicker. On cooler days, try opening your windows and turning on the fans to circulate the cool air into the house to keep it comfortable. Giving your system a break will extend its life and save you money on repairs down the road.
  5. Shut down the AC for winter and inspect it for damage – Running your air conditioner nonstop all summer can take a toll on the unit. When the cold weather hits, turn off your AC and check for damage such as cracks or leaks in the refrigerant lines. Also, check to see that the fan is operational and not damaged from falling debris.
  6. Replace batteries on smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – Fall is the perfect time to check all your home’s alarms. Alarms should be tested every six months. Replace the batteries if necessary.
  7. Listen for unusual noises – Unusual noises coming from your HVAC system are often a result of blockages, debris in the vents, or loose bolts on the furnace or heat registers. If you hear an odd noise, try to locate the source, then call an HVAC technician for an inspection.
  8. Turn on the heat now – Don’t wait until the first freeze to test your furnace. Turn on the heater now when temperatures are mild to check for any issues. It’s a good idea to have your furnace inspected and tuned up once a year. Call your heating and cooling technician to schedule an appointment.
  9. Know when to call a pro – Many HVAC manufacturers require annual preventative inspections to maintain the unit’s warranty. Review your system’s warranty to determine whether you need professional service. It’s better to have your furnace inspected in the fall before the technicians get too busy. Your heating and cooling professional will check your system for issues, make adjustments to loose wires or bolts, and address any other problems you may have with your unit.

Following these fall maintenance tips will help prepare your home for winter and uncover any issues you may have that need professional attention. Planning early can prevent expensive repair costs and keep you comfortable all season long.

The experts at WestAIR Heating & Cooling are here to assist with all your HVAC needs. Contact us today to schedule service.  

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Get a Handle on Home Humidity

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Around this time last year, we wrote about surprising ways to reduce humidity in your home. We hope some of those tips proved helpful. With the recent summer rain, heat, and excess moisture, we thought now would be an ideal time to revisit the issue to help you get a handle on home humidity.

Humidity levels

Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air around you. During the summer, humidity levels in your home should measure between 30-50 percent. Humidity levels that are too high or too low can lead to issues with your comfort, health, and home.

Too much humidity prevents the body from regulating its internal temperature, making you and your family feel sticky and uncomfortable. Excess moisture also promotes mold, fungus, and dust mites, which can wreak havoc on allergies and make you sick. Over time, dampness within the home can warp floorboards or furniture and cause wood to rot, resulting in costly repairs.

Conversely, too little humidity causes skin to feel itchy and can dry out the body’s mucous membranes, leading to sore throats, coughing, and nosebleeds. Dryness affects your home, too, when door frames or other features or furnishings made from wood begin to crack, shrink, or bend.

Poor humidity? Here’s how to tell

Establishing a comfortable home environment relies on finding an appropriate balance of air moisture. How do you know if your home humidity levels are out of whack? Look for indicators such as:

  • Condensation. Water beads are visible on the inside of the windows.
  • Constant sweating. You experience persistent perspiration, even after taking a cool shower.
  • Musty smells. You may not be able to see mold and mildew, but you can smell it.
  • Difficulty sleeping. Excess moisture makes the body work harder to cool itself, which can be a challenge when you’re trying to fall or stay asleep.
  • Water spots. Watch for stains on the walls, ceilings, or basement floor, especially after or during a rain shower.
  • Trouble breathing. High humidity can trigger allergies and asthma symptoms.

Regulating home humidity

Summer is sticking around for a bit longer, so make sure you’re enjoying the tail end of the season by staying cool and dry at home. Here are some reminders for keeping home humidity levels low.

  • Use exhaust and ventilation fans in the kitchen and bathroom. Leave those fans on for a short while after you’ve finished cooking or showering to ventilate humid air.
  • Take advantage of your air conditioner. Your A/C unit brings in cooler air while expelling warmer, humid air.
  • Take shorter, cooler showers. The less hot water you use, the less steam and humidity build up in the air.
  • Check your gutters. Keep them free from debris to avoid water buildup and indoor leaks. Also, be sure the downspout is positioned away from your home.
  • Consider investing in a dehumidifier. These portable appliances or whole home systems can help remove moisture from the air.

The experts at WestAIR Heating & Cooling are here to discuss your home humidity concerns and needs. Our technicians can explain how our high-efficiency air conditioners or air quality accessories can help you stay cool and achieve optimum indoor air quality throughout the summer. Contact us today to schedule service.

This entry was posted in Cooling,Humidity,Indoor Air Quality and tagged , , , , , ,

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