Repair or Replace: 6 Signs You Need a New Air Conditioner

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Certified HVAC Technician performing an inspection for signs it's time for a new air conditioner.

The weather is heating up here in Minnesota. Have you given your cooling system a test run yet? Doing so allows you to address any issues before the hot and humid summer days arrive. But how will you know if you need a repair or a replacement? Read on to learn about six signs you need a new air conditioner.

Frequent Repairs and Old Age

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), central air conditioners typically last about 15-20 years. And while occasional repairs are to be expected, having to do so frequently means you likely need a replacement. If your AC is around 15 years old and/or needs multiple service calls during the cooling season, it may be time to forget the repair bills and invest in a new cooling system.

Strange Odors and/or Sounds

Your AC shouldn’t be silent, but be on alert for certain noises that point to a problem:

  • Loud grinding, squealing, or scraping noises could indicate a faulty belt, which can damage other parts if unaddressed.
  • Frequent cycling (system turning on/off) could be caused by an improperly sized unit, a leaky ventilation system, or issues with the evaporator coils.

Additionally, the air pushed out by the system should not offend your nostrils. Don’t ignore strange odors when your AC is on:

  • Burning smells may be due to burned-out wiring or other issues with the unit’s internal pieces, which could lead to an electrical fire.
  • Foul, rotten egg smells could indicate a gas leak that poses a serious health and safety hazard for you and your family.
  • Musty smells could mean moisture is escaping into your ductwork and creating health risks.

If you notice any of these issues, contact WestAIR ASAP to investigate and resolve the issue to keep your household safe.

Moisture Buildup On/Around Condenser Unit

Your AC will naturally produce some condensation, but liquids should never leak from the unit. Pooling water may be caused by a blocked or busted condensation tube and is a less serious issue. However, the refrigerant the system uses to cool the air is poisonous. Contact our expert HVAC technicians immediately if you notice any liquids on or around the condenser unit.

Excess Indoor Humidity

Speaking of moisture, a properly functioning cooling system should help maintain proper indoor humidity levels. If your home feels excessively humid, that’s a sign that your AC is failing and may need to be replaced.

Weak, Warm, and/or Uneven Air Distribution

Air conditioners should supply your entire home with cool, evenly distributed air. Warm air could be caused by a problem with the compressor or restricted airflow. If you notice uneven or weak air distribution from your vents, you may need to change/clean your filter or clean your ductwork to clear a blockage. You should schedule a professional inspection from an HVAC specialist to diagnose the exact cause and discuss the ideal solution to these problems.

Higher Energy Bills

Higher energy bills are to be expected as we increase the demand on our HVAC system during the cooling months. But if your bills seem to spike unreasonably, it’s likely that your AC isn’t operating efficiently and needs to be repaired or replaced.

Rely on WestAIR Heating & Cooling for AC Repair and Replacement

As we prepare for the hot and humid summer days ahead, now’s the time to ensure your AC is ready. Keep an eye out for these signs you need a new air conditioner when testing your system before the cooling season is in full swing. If you notice any issues, the local HVAC experts at WestAIR are here to help.

Contact us to learn more and schedule service.

This entry was posted in AC,Air Conditioning,Cooling,Health Tips,HVAC Maintenance,Indoor Air Quality,Repairs,Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Benefits of UV Light Air Purification

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Did you know that ultraviolet (UV) light technology has been used for disinfectant purposes for over a century? While not a novel concept, the technology has grown in popularity among homeowners seeking to improve indoor air quality (IAQ). Read on to learn more about the benefits of UV light air purification.

Reduced Allergen Presence & Improved Overall Air Quality

Working in conjunction with your current HVAC system, UV lights help eliminate odors and harmful airborne pathogens. This effectively reduces the presence of allergens and improves overall IAQ.

Removes Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile Organic compounds (VOCs) pose a health and safety hazard if breathed in, especially with prolonged exposure. While naturally occurring, they’re also found in many cleaning and disinfectant solutions, aerosol sprays, and other common household products. UV lights target and eliminate VOCs to improve IAQ and help protect your family.

Kills Mold, Bacteria, and Viruses

UV lights produce UV rays that break through an organism’s cell wall and sufficiently damage or destroy its DNA. As a result, the organism is unable to reproduce and cause illness or irritate asthma or allergy sufferers. In addition to VOCs, these rays attack other contaminants like viruses, mold, and bacteria—including odor-causing bacteria.

Better Airflow Throughout System

The air filter works to trap contaminants before they can enter the HVAC system. However, over time, dust and other debris naturally collect in the ductwork and throughout the system, forcing it to work harder. UV lights clear these buildups, improving IAQ as well as the airflow of your system.

Increased HVAC Efficiency

As mentioned, UV lights work to remove debris buildup in ductwork, as well as your HVAC system’s pipes and cooling coils. They also help reduce moisture within the system, which can help prevent condensate drain line clogs. In the end, these factors improve airflow as well as overall efficiency, resulting in decreased energy costs.

Trust WestAIR Heating & Cooling to Help Clear the Air in Your Home

Considering how much time we spend inside our homes, indoor air quality plays a vital role in our health and safety. And with cooling season right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the benefits of UV light air purification with your HVAC system.

Contact the local HVAC experts at WestAIR to learn more and schedule service.

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Breathe Cleaner Air at Home

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Breathe-Cleaner-Air-at-Home

In a previous blog, we discussed the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ), especially as it relates to your family’s comfort and health. With the cold winter temperatures keeping people inside, we wanted to revisit the topic and offer tips to breathe cleaner air at home.

Air Quality & Your Family’s Health

A lot of factors play a role in your overall health. One of the biggest is the air inside your home. This is particularly true right now, with more people spending time indoors to stay warm.

If your home has low-grade IAQ, you and your family may feel the effects. Poor air quality contributes to conditions including headaches, fatigue, skin irritation, coughs, and sore throats. Air pollutants can also trigger or worsen allergies and asthma.

Focus on Filters

Checking and changing air filters is a simple task you can perform to help ensure you and your family breathe cleaner air at home. Filters catch and remove contaminants as air passes through your HVAC system each time the unit runs.

Each month, check the filter to see whether it needs to be replaced. If you have animals, for instance, you may need to change the filter more often than in a pet-free home. Dirty filters can contribute to reduced air quality while putting undue stress on your heating and cooling unit.

Double-Check Ductwork

Your home’s ductwork is the system through which air passes from the HVAC unit to heat or cool each room, depending on the season. Dirty ducts can also distribute contaminants from one room to another as particles collect within the ductwork over time.

To ensure your ducts are free of debris and harmful pollutants, schedule regular duct cleaning maintenance from a professional and trusted team. Clean ducts will help keep the air within the home cleaner and safer for your family.

Manage Moisture

Moisture also contributes to the quality of your home’s indoor air. Help control that moisture with a whole-house humidifier.

Winter air is extremely dry and can cause sore throats or scratchy skin. A humidifier adds enough moisture to make your indoor air more comfortable to breathe. Adding a bit of moisture also helps the air stay warmer, allowing you to turn down your thermostat a few degrees in the winter.

Clear Out Contaminants

Another way to rid your home’s indoor air of harmful pollutants is with an air purifier. Working with your existing HVAC system and ductwork, an air purifier uses ultraviolet (UV) light technology to remove bacteria, viruses, mold, volatile organic compounds, and even odors.

The BreatheCLEAN UV purifiers from WestAIR Heating & Cooling offer an easy installation process and a number of health benefits, including:

  • UV bulbs eliminate almost all harmful organisms
  • Asthma and allergy relief
  • Nonstop protection from viruses, mold, and bacteria

The knowledgeable and experienced professionals at WestAIR Heating & Cooling want to ensure your home safety and comfort. Contact us today to learn more about our indoor air quality products and services and how they can help you and your family breathe cleaner air at home.

This entry was posted in Duct Cleaning,Health Tips,Humidifier,Indoor Air Quality,Tips 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.

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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.

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 , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

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

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.

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

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