Experience the Benefits of a Humidifier

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

As we sit back, sigh, and accept that winter has once again returned, we also realize the damage Minnesota winters can do to both our homes and our bodies. But with the right tips and tricks, you can conquer the consequences of the dry winter air. Continue reading our blog to learn about the top benefits of a humidifier and why your home needs one.

Hydrate Your Skin

When your home has proper humidity levels, it keeps your largest organ, your skin, hydrated. Although many dermatologists will suggest thick creams and gels to keep your skin hydrated, those expensive topicals will only act as a temporary band-aid. Without the proper amount of moisture in the air, it will continue to dry out your skin and cause itchiness, peeling lips, and eye irritation.

Stay Healthy

The cold winter doesn’t only take a toll on your skin, it also increases the distance germs travel, in turn, increasing the likelihood of you contracting an airborne illness. Recently, studies have shown that higher humidity levels are proving to have a dramatic effect on most airborne viruses, making their traveling distance much shorter because of the added weight.

Protect Your Home

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

Hardwood floors specifically take a hit when the air becomes dramatically dry. When the wood is faced with extreme circumstances, it can lead to permanent damage. The boards themselves may split and crack in the center or at the ends, damaging the finish. Unfortunately, once the finish is compromised, the boards will have to be replaced.

Save Money

Not only will your home benefit from more humid air, but so will your bank account. The more humid the air, the more warmth it can hold. By using a humidifier, you’ll be able to set your thermostat lower and give your heating system a break. Although we have focused on the benefits of humid air, be careful: excess moisture may cause mold, bacteria, and mildew growth in poorly ventilated areas of your home.

To ensure these many benefits, aim for a humidity level somewhere between 35 and 55 percent. WestAIR Heating & Cooling offers whole-house humidifiers that will keep your house comfortable, even in winter. Our humidifiers will automatically work with your HVAC system to distribute moisture throughout your house. Contact us today to start living your most comfortable life. We are happy to discuss your heating and indoor air quality options.

This entry was posted in Humidifier,Indoor Air Quality,Winter and tagged , , , , ,

Stay Warm, Reduce Energy Costs This Winter

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

In a previous blog, we introduced energy-saving ideas to help keep your home cozy even on those blustery days. Since the weather outside is sure to gradually become frightful, we thought now would be a good time to offer new suggestions and reintroduce valuable tips to stay warm and reduce energy costs this winter.

Adjust Your Thermostat

When you’re asleep or away from home, turn down the thermostat to save energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, setting your thermostat seven to 10 degrees lower for eight hours can save as much as 10 percent on your heating bill.

Additionally, you can keep the thermostat slightly lower even when you’re awake by adding another layer of clothing. Grab a hoodie or a thick pair of socks and stay comfortable without having to crank up the heat.

Execute General Maintenance

Scheduling an annual tune up for your furnace will keep things running smoothly and efficiently. A system that’s well cared for will run better and last longer, saving you time, headaches, and money.

Between tune-up appointments, be sure to check and change the air filter. A clogged filter causes the furnace to run less efficiently and work harder to push air through, leading to undue wear and tear. This simple task also helps prevent operational issues and extends the life of your furnace.

Protect Your Water Heater

The water heater accounts for about 17 percent of energy usage. Insulating unit will help it run more efficiently, reduce heat loss, and keep costs down.

Check the Flooring

If you have tile or hardwood flooring, an easy way to save energy during the winter is to throw down a rug. That extra layer of insulation traps cold air underneath, keeping your home (and your feet) warmer while keeping energy use low.

Also, check to make sure the heat vents are clear and clean. Furniture, drapery, and debris can block the flow of heat coming from the vents. Unobstructed vents help keep warm air flowing and your furnace running at regular intervals.

Use the Sun’s Power

Give your furnace a break and take advantage of the sun’s warmth to help heat your home during the day. Open the blinds or curtains to let in some sun – and the heat. Your home will be toasty without your furnace doing any extra work. Just be sure to close the drapes as nightfall sets, to help keep that warm air from escaping.

Swap Out Light Bulbs

LED bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs. Swap out your old bulbs for LEDs this winter and watch the energy savings add up.

Block Out Cold Drafts

Installing storm windows over the existing windows can help seal off drafts, keeping the cold air out of your warm home. Otherwise, try shutting out cold drafts with a window insulation kit. Adding a thin layer of plastic film can help the house feel warmer and save up to 15 percent on energy bills.

Trust the Team at WestAir

The full-service team at WestAir Heating & Cooling is here to help you stay warm and reduce energy costs this winter. We provide high quality heating (and cooling) systems and solutions all year round as well as preventative maintenance to keep those systems running effectively and efficiently. Contact our knowledgeable experts today with your winter heating questions or to schedule service.

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

Benefits of Heating Your Garage

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Benefits-of-Heating-Your-Garage

When you think about heating your home, you likely zero in on the traditional, indoor living space. But what about the garage? Today’s garage is more than simply a place to park the car or store tools. And with the frigid temperatures of winter just around the corner, you may want to consider the benefits of heating your garage.

Protect Your Car

Parking your car in a garage during the winter helps protect the vehicle from the bitter cold and blustery winds that come with the season. Bitter cold temperatures reduce the car battery’s ability to hold a charge, possibly leaving you stranded. Chilly air can also affect tire pressure, oil thickness, and acceleration.

Having a heated garage keeps the vehicle at a steady temperature. This helps preserve the battery and allows the car to warm up faster, cutting down on fuel consumption and wait time. What’s more, any snow or ice that accumulates during your commute to work or trip to the store will melt away, which means no more scraping the windows before heading out.

Protect Your Family

Cold mornings often mean starting the car to let it warm up before heading out for the day. Doing so while the car is parked in an attached garage can create issues for the air inside your home. Exhaust fumes and emissions can seep in, which can be a threat to your family’s health. A heated garage negates the need to warm up the car, even when it feels like the frozen tundra outside.

Warm the House

If you have a rec room, family room, or even bedrooms adjacent to or directly above your garage, chances are those spaces get pretty chilly in the winter. A garage heater can help remedy this situation. Heating the garage that’s next to or below your additional living space keeps those areas inside the home warmer. As heated air makes its way into those rooms, you’ll notice the whole house staying cozy.

Work(out) in Comfort

Many garages double as workshops, fitness areas, art studios, or even man caves. If you’re building your body or a project in your garage, working on a car or motorcycle, painting, or hanging out with friends, you want to be comfortable, not cold. Keep your space warm with a garage heater and you won’t have to worry about cold discomfort and frozen fingers.

Stay Warm with WestAIR

With winter just around the corner and surely on its way, now is the time to think about how to deal with the cold in and around your home. These benefits of heating your garage are just the start. The experienced professionals at WestAIR Heating & Cooling are happy to discuss garage heaters and determine the best fit for your space, needs, and budget. Contact us today to set up your installation or to learn more.

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

5 Reasons to Switch to In-Floor Heating

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Radiant in-floor heating systems are becoming a more popular way to heat your home. It’s typically installed during the construction period as a boiler, pump, and gas lines are needed to complete the system. This form of heating uses hot water pumped through plastic tubing. It’s laid out in a serpentine pattern underneath the flooring to heat the house.

In-floor heating is a great way to add a touch of luxury to your space. The chilly winter evenings no longer require slippers and the air around you feels cozy. This addition to your home is a great way to upgrade your most trafficked spaces, allowing all family and friends to enjoy its benefits. Continue reading our blog to explore the pros of radiant in-floor heating.

Uniform Heating

In-floor heating will allow uniform heating throughout your space. When your home is heated with only forced-air systems, locations of the vents determine which parts of the room are warmer and cooler. Underfloor radiant heating warms the entire floor equally, meaning you will be comfortable at lower temperature levels because you won’t have cold spots or drafts.

Non-Allergenic

Radiant in-floor heating systems directly warm the flooring of the home. This heating is great option for families that are prone to allergies. Any time a forced-air systems is turned on, instantly dust particles are disturbed and scatter into the air being breathed in. In-floor heating will warm the space more evenly without agitating allergies.

Energy Efficient

In-floor heating is 25 percent more efficient than forced-air systems, which push warm air through ductwork that’s susceptible to leaks and will ultimately expend more energy to heat the home. Additionally, the space between vents allows warm air to cool before making it to the other side of the room. With inconsistent temperatures, the thermostat sensor will read incorrectly and keep the heat running constantly. By not using air ducts for distribution, radiant in-floor systems eliminate these heat loss issues and retain more of the warm air.

Minimal Maintenance

Unlike forced air heating, there are no maintenance costs with radiant floor heating. Depending on the brand you choose, some companies even guarantee their product for decades. In-floor heating allows you to skip the bills that come with annual furnace checks and air filter replacements and spend that money elsewhere.

Safety

Radiant in-floor heating is one of the safest heating options for your home, especially a home with children. In-floor heating is completely enclosed while other heating options are not. Old fashioned radiators may be a fun piece of history that comes with an older home, but they also come with a glaring warning sign. Radiators can pose as a safety hazard and cause burns as their pipes heat up. Not only can an adult be burned who is aware of the heat coming from the radiator, but it can be a serious hazard to children.   

For all your heating and cooling needs, trust the HVAC experts at WestAIRContact us today to learn more about in-floor heating.

This entry was posted in Energy Savings,Heating and tagged , , ,

Automatic Zoning Equals Automatic Savings

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

As technology progresses towards robots and flying cars, it has made a few impactful technological home breakthroughs along its journey. HVAC systems have become more advanced, smart, and convenient, ultimately making your life easier. Continue reading our blog to learn about automatic zoning technology.

The Smart Home Rises

Automatic zoning allows a homeowner to control the temperature in each living space or zone in their home. No longer will thermostats read the temperature in the middle of the home, leaving the second story warm and the basement feeling cold, like they have in the past. With automatic zoning, the ductwork controls airflow for each zone, not the whole house, allowing temperatures to be customized. The control panel in the HVAC system receives the temperature from your smartphone or other device and sends the information to the thermostat, changing the temperature instantly.

Benefits of Automatic Zoning

  • Zoning makes it possible to regulate temperatures in all rooms of your house, allowing you to save money by keeping rooms you use less often at a warmer temperature.
  • Manufacturers have created a smart thermostat that syncs with your Wi-Fi. This technology allows you to adjust your home’s temperature from anywhere.
  • HVAC systems are likely to experience less wear if you install a zoning system. Your HVAC unit will rarely run at full capacity when some rooms are requiring less heating or cooling from lack of use.
  • Add-on features can be installed when you choose to have automatic zoning such as an air cleaner and a humidifier.

The benefits of automatic zoning are countless. WestAIR can create a comfortable atmosphere for any room in your home. Save on energy bills by installing energy efficient zoning. This smart technology is something we are happy to discuss further with you. Contact us today.

This entry was posted in AC,Air Conditioning,Energy Savings and tagged , , , ,

IMPROVING YOUR INDOOR AIR QUALITY: DEHUMIDIFIERS

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

During the summer months, do you find the air inside your home feeling damp? Living in Minnesota, we know exactly what an overly humid summer day feels like, even from inside. Not only is it sticky and uncomfortable, but we also see a rise in our electricity bill from our HVAC system working overtime. Humid air can also damage floors, furniture, and walls making homeowners spend even more money down the line. A dehumidifier can fix all of this. Read our blog as we discuss how dehumidifiers can improve your indoor air quality.

Why do you need a dehumidifier?

Dehumidifiers are the key to better air quality in your home. Not only do they help maintain your comfort, but also help prevent the growth of mold in your home, which means improved health and safety for you and your loved ones. When there is less humidity in the air, it also allows you to raise the temperature a few degrees to save on cooling expenses. Installing a dehumidifier is sure to save you money and benefit your health in the years to come. The gains of a dehumidifier are infinite!

How do dehumidifiers work?

Dehumidifiers work in one of two ways, either by refrigeration or absorption. Let’s take a look at how both methods work.

  • Refrigeration: These dehumidifiers pull moisture over a cooling coil inside either a portable or whole house dehumidifier. The moist air condenses down, and any vapor is turned into droplets that collect in a pan or directly down a drain. Now free of moisture, the air passes over the hot compressor and warms back up to its original temperature before being blown back into the room.
  • Absorption: These dehumidifiers pull moist air in through a duct which then moves past a large rotating wheel. The wheel is made of water-absorbing material. Once the air meets the wheel, any vapor is absorbed into the material leaving only dry air to be blown back out into the room.

Dehumidifier types and models

Dehumidifiers are available in a variety of different models. If you are looking to dehumidify a small space, a portable dehumidifier is the way to go. Portable models are available in different sizes, yet they all function the same by collecting moisture in a container. Whole house dehumidifiers are similar, but they empty directly into a drain.

If you are looking to dehumidify your whole home, you can purchase a system that attaches to your HVAC system. Living in Minnesota, this is a staple for living comfortably. Excessive humidity can seep into your home decreasing the indoor air quality and becoming a breeding ground for mold growth. HVAC dehumidifier attachments allow your cooling system to work efficiently and keep your home’s air quality and moisture level at your desired level.

The professionals at WestAIR are ready to assist with all your home comfort needs. Contact WestAIR Heating and Cooling today to learn more about reducing humidity and improving your indoor air quality.

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

Indoor Air Quality Tips to Help You Breathe Easy This Summer

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

In the hottest summer months, there’s nothing quite like drinking a glass of iced tea and sitting in an air-conditioned room. But that seeming escape can actually be detrimental for your health if you have poor indoor air quality. From headaches, fatigue, and trouble concentrating to irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, indoor air contaminants have been linked to diseases like asthma. How can you improve the air quality in your home? There are a number of available solutions. We’ve pulled a few of them together here to help you decide which one is right for you. Read on as we discuss indoor air quality tips to help you breathe easy this summer.

Air Exchangers for Fresh, Filtered Outdoor Air

Circulation is critical for good indoor air quality. Stale indoor air can become thick with contaminants and excess humidity, which can lead to mold growth. An air exchanger like the Venmar® Ventilation System, provides your home with a continuous flow of filtered outdoor air, reducing humidity and expelling pollutants from the home.

Take Air Quality a Step Further with an Air Cleaner

With an air cleaner, you can upgrade your existing heating and cooling system to help you improve the air you breathe. These systems capture airborne dust, pollen, and other particles far better than your standard furnace filter, helping eliminate pollutants in the air.

The Power of Ultraviolet Light

UV light technology can go beyond removing airborne particles to eliminating volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and reducing microorganisms. The best part? UV air purification systems like the BreatheCLEAN UV air purifier can be easily installed into existing ductwork with no major changes to your HVAC system.

If you’re looking to breathe easier, the experienced indoor air quality professionals at WestAIR are here to help. See what our customers have to say, and then contact us to schedule a service today!

This entry was posted in AC,Air Conditioning,Health Tips,Indoor Air Quality,Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

This entry was posted in AC,Air Conditioning,Energy Savings,Tips and tagged , , ,

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.

This entry was posted in AC,Air Conditioning,Cooling,Duct Cleaning,Energy Savings,Health Tips,HVAC Maintenance,Indoor Air Quality,Spring,Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

This entry was posted in Duct Cleaning,Health Tips,Humidifier,Humidity,HVAC Maintenance,Indoor Air Quality,Spring,Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

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