HVAC Tips for Summer Trips

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

hvac tips for summer trips

What exciting summer trips do you have planned? Before you pack up those bags and lock the door, take time to make sure your air conditioning will fare well while you are gone. Proper preparation will save you money on utility bills and keep your home’s air quality safe. So before you leave town, check out these HVAC tips for summer trips:

Don’t turn your HVAC system off

Many homeowners think they need to turn their cooling off to save money while they’re away in the summer. But you may end up spending more than you saved trying to cool your home back down when you return. An HVAC system doesn’t just regulate temperature, it also circulates air, controls humidity, and keeps indoor pollutants at bay. If you turn it off in the summer, humidity levels may rise, and you could come home to mold issues.

Program your thermostat

Before you leave, set the thermostat four degrees higher than your normal comfortable temperature, but keep it below 85 degrees. Check out the smart thermostats we offer with easy, seven-day programming and humidity control so you can rest assured your home is in good hands.

Prepare for rain

Install a full-house surge protector to save your system from power outages in case of a large summer storm or downed power lines. A surge protector will absorb the electrical overload and channel it into the ground so the power doesn’t damage your HVAC units.

Seal your home

Close all doors, windows, blinds, curtains, and storm shutters. Your home will stay cooler if you block the sun out, and conditioned air will remain inside if your home is sealed from the elements. Make sure supply and return registers are open so air circulates freely throughout the home.

Unplug

Unplugging electronics before you leave for vacation will help your system cool more efficiently. Some appliances still generate heat even if they aren’t being used. If you plan to be away for a significant amount of time, empty and unplug the refrigerator and turn down the water heater.

Give your equipment some attention

Even if you’ve just recently serviced your equipment, it’s important to check it before you leave it unattended. Replace the air filter if it’s dirty and clear the outdoor units of anything that would obstruct airflow. Pull away weeds, trim shrubbery, remove branches or twigs resting on the unit, and unclog the condensate drain if it is blocked.

Call WestAIR

Finally, schedule service so you don’t have to worry when you are states away enjoying vacation with your family. Our technicians will recharge the refrigerant if it’s low, clean the evaporator coils, and address any issues your air conditioning unit may have.

WestAIR Heating & Cooling provides cooling solutions to fit your home and budget. We offer energy-efficient A/C units, smart thermostats, filters, air cleaners, and more. Contact us today.

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Top Tips for Summer Cooling

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

top tips for summer cooling

Warm weather is great for barbecues, days at the beach, and evening campfires, but not so great on your home’s cooling system. Some homeowners fight the urge to turn on their air conditioning, and others let it run, dreading their summer utility bills. Thankfully, there are options that will save you from the heat, give you peace of mind, and treat your pockets kindly. Here are some top tips for summer cooling:

Protect your home and equipment

Weatherizing your home isn’t just for winter. An air-tight system will save you money on cooling. Caulk your windows and doors so the cool air your system produces won’t escape.  Up to 30 percent of home heat in the summer comes in through the windows. Use blinds, curtains, and drapes to block out the sun and keep daytime heat out.

Schedule maintenance with a qualified technician before the heat of summer. If you regularly service your HVAC equipment, it’ll last longer and run more efficiently. Proper DIY maintenance like keeping your outdoor unit clear of debris and regularly dusting your home will ensure dirt and dust don’t infiltrate your system and ruin your equipment. Check your filter once a month and replace as needed. If your air filter collects dust and debris, airflow will be restricted, and your unit will have to work harder.  

Distribute air

Close off any unused rooms so you are only cooling the areas you use frequently, but make sure the rest of your home is well ventilated. Check that your supply and return registers aren’t blocked by furniture. Flip the switch on the motor housing of your ceiling fans to summer mode (counterclockwise). The blades will push the air straight down and create a wind-chill effect. Turn off your cooling system and open your windows in the evening to save money and provide your home with fresh air. Consider other indoor air quality solutions like an air exchanger or cleaner.

Avoid heat-producing appliances

Appliances that use heat can waste the cold air your cooling system produces. Instead of cooking in your oven, enjoy the outdoors by grilling more often. Air-dry your dishes and laundry instead of using the dishwasher and dryer. Take cool showers so your water heater won’t have to run as often. In addition, keep heat-producing appliances away from your thermostat so it reads the temperature accurately and doesn’t overcompensate.

If you’re still using incandescent light bulbs, replace them with LED lights. Incandescent bulbs create light by using electricity to heat up a filament until it glows. Ninety percent of the energy used to light up the filament is wasted on heat. LEDs create light through a cold process, producing little amounts of heat in comparison.

Take advantage of technology

According to the EPA, when used properly, a programmable thermostat can save you up to $180 a year in energy costs. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature of your home higher when you leave for work or a trip and lower it shortly before you return.

Replace your old unit with a more efficient system. It may be more expensive up front, but a new air conditioner with a high SEER rating can give you maximum energy savings and reduce your carbon footprint. You’ll also enjoy peace of mind knowing your unit won’t likely break down on the hottest days of summer.

WestAIR Heating & Cooling provides energy-efficient Rheem A/C units, smart thermostats, filters, and other cooling solutions. We offer annual service maintenance and a variety of specials so you can save money and keep your HVAC system running smoothly. Contact us to learn more.

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Spring HVAC Checklist

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

spring hvac checklist

Some of the most pressing concerns for Minnesota homeowners are humidity levels, poor air quality, and increased utility bills. In the spring, those HVAC issues are a hot topic as the warm weather approaches. Follow our spring HVAC checklist to inspect and prepare your equipment for summer.

  1. Turn off power to your outdoor unit from the electrical disconnect and clear away plants, weeds, fallen leaves, and branches. Use a garden hose to gently rinse off the condenser coils. If the unit doesn’t get enough air or the coils are covered in dirt, it could overheat.
  2. Change your filter, and plan to do so monthly when your furnace and air conditioning are in use. Filters keep dust and dirt from entering your system, extend equipment life, reduce energy costs, and improve indoor air quality.   
  3. Clean return air vents and floor registers in your home with a vacuum. If dust gets in the system, it could compromise energy efficiency and air quality. For a deeper clean, remove the vent, wrap a butter knife in a rag to scrub the individual grill spaces, and rinse with warm water and soap.
  4. Check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector(s) and replace if needed so you know it is working properly to keep your family safe.
  5. Caulk windows and doors to minimize air leakage so the cool air your system produces isn’t wasted. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the best time to apply caulk is in low humidity when the temperature is about 45 degrees, making spring the ideal time for this simple maintenance.
  6. Dust and mop so dirt, allergens, and other airborne particles don’t end up in your ductwork. Schedule duct cleaning if you haven’t done so in a while or you suspect your ductwork is dirty.
  7. Clean windows, blinds, and curtains so you can let the sunlight into your home and enjoy a clear view of the outdoors without producing a cloud of dust each time you open them.  
  8. Dust ceiling fan blades and reverse their direction to rotate counterclockwise so they’ll blow air straight down and produce a wind-chill effect. Most fan models have a small switch on the motor housing.
  9. Power up your air conditioning to see if everything is working properly. You should visually inspect the unit for any leaking chemical fluids and check your home for burning, gas, or musty odors.
  10. Schedule service with your HVAC contractor for a thorough inspection. They’ll clean, lubricate, and troubleshoot your equipment so it will run smoothly and efficiently.

Midwest summers can be particularly hot and sticky, and homeowners can spend up to 250 dollars a month running their air conditioner. WestAIR Heating & Cooling is here to help you save money in every season with a variety of specials on our services. We also provide indoor air quality solutions so you can minimize spring allergies and live comfortably. If you are having trouble with your HVAC system, contact us for repair and replacement services.

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Air Duct Cleaning & Maintenance

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Air Duct Cleaning & Maintenance by WestAir Heating & Cooling

Clean air ducts help keep dirt, dust mites, and mold out of the air of your home. Turning on a contaminated or clogged heating and cooling system can cycle these potentially harmful particles into the air you breathe and decrease indoor air quality. How do you know if you need an air duct cleaning service?

Check with your local HVAC technician to find any visible mold or excessive dust and debris inside your ducts, or if there has been a recent infestation of rodents or insects.

Keep your ducts clean by practicing proper home habits.

• Change your furnace and air conditioner filters regularly.
• Check to make sure you use the right air filters that fit your equipment.
• Make sure your HVAC equipment is efficient and regularly maintained.
• Dust and vacuum your home regularly. Vacuuming can increase the amount of dust in the air, so it’s worth upgrading to a high efficiency (HEPA) vacuum cleaner.
• Seal off supply and return registers during home renovation or construction.
• Maintain your humidifier to prevent mold inside the home.
• Repair leaks and water damage promptly.
• Make sure ducts are sealed properly and insulated in attics and crawl spaces.
• Invest in an Aprilaire Air Cleaner to reduce the amount of dust circulating around your home. Air cleaners trap 98 percent of visible dust and irritating particles, and 97 percent of airborne pollen. Attached to your furnace, the filters remove matter through the blower fan and return clean air back into the rooms of your home.

Air duct cleaning is not an annual service, but might be needed after some time, especially if you have pets, smoke, sensitive allergies, respiratory needs, or live in a humid environment.

At WestAir Heating & Cooling, we use a specialized Rotobrush cleaning system to clean air duct systems. This “source removal” cleaning method utilizes powerful vacuums and brushes to dislodge any debris that stick to the surface.

If you think you might need your ducts cleaned or worry about your indoor air quality, contact us for more information.

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Extend the Life of your HVAC Equipment

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Extend the Life of your Heating & Cooling Equipment

Having a working furnace and air conditioner is crucial during the winter and steamy summer days. Don’t run it and forget about it, as wear and tear is inevitable. You can save on costly replacements or repairs through proper maintenance. Extend the life of your HVAC equipment by following these steps.

Heating & Cooling Tips

1. Follow manufacturer instructions.

2. Have your systems checked every year by a qualified service technician. It’s best to schedule maintenance in the spring and fall. Technicians are busy in the hot and cold months, and you don’t want to wait until there’s something wrong.

3. Check your filters. Replace your filters every 30 to 60 days. If you have a permanent filter, clean it with mild detergent every 30 to 60 days. This is the most important step to increase the life of your equipment. Dirty filters make heating and cooling units work harder, which will shorten the life with use.

4. Keep your doors and windows closed. Your air conditioner and heater will work harder when there is more air to circulate. Make each space with ventilation smaller by closing your doors. This is the also the case for houses with boilers or window air conditioners. Rather than labor to regulate air temperature in the whole house, your a/c only needs to cool the individual room. With a boiler system, it’s efficient to close off rooms without a radiator.

5. Caulk and weather-strip air gaps on windows. This step is good for your wallet and your HVAC equipment. Old houses are especially drafty, so locate the air leaks by finding damaged glazing or old caulking. Another trick is to turn off all appliances and light an incense stick in each room. Turn on your exhaust vent if you have one. Then hold your incense stick close to windows, doors, and walls for a noticeable change in the smoke. If you have drafty doors, invest in some door draft blockers.

6. Use your thermostat. It’s a myth that you should keep your thermostat at a steady temperature. Most of the time, your furnace will be working harder to maintain the heat at a steady rate. Instead, program your thermostat for a comfortable temperature while you are home and ten degrees less while you are away. However, fidgeting with the thermostat will be less efficient, even if it seems harmless to put it up or down a degree or two. Keep it on a consistent schedule.

Energy Efficiency

Winter

1. Open window shades when windows are facing the sun. Let the sun warm your house naturally, putting less work on your furnace. The vitamin D is good for you this time of year!

2. Take advantage of using your oven. Slow cook your chicken and oven roast your veggies. The extra warmth will give your furnace a break. Your oven will be working two jobs at once without the added cost.

Summer

1. Close window shades facing the sun. Opposite of wintertime, you want to block the sun from adding extra heat to your house. Make sure to put your plants outside so they don’t suffer from the lack of sun!

2. Be smart with your other appliances. When you are doing laundry, hang up your clothes on a line to save energy or strain on your a/c. Why work an appliance that uses heat when it’s already hot outdoors? Washing clothing shouldn’t be an issue, though, if you stick to cold water. If it’s humid out, dry your clothes during the coolest part of the day: around dawn. Same goes for dishwashers.

3. Use your exhaust fans when cooking. Whether you plan on using the oven or stovetop for dinner, turn on the exhaust fan to let out the excess moisture and heat. Or maybe fix a cold sandwich or salad. In return, your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard! Same goes for your bathroom, but not everyone likes cold showers!

Annual Service Maintenance

Spring is around the corner, so it’s time to schedule your maintenance visit with WestAir Heating & Cooling.
Our technician’s maintenance list will take care of most things you cannot do yourself to ensure your equipment is running smoothly for summer and winter:

Annual Service Maintenance list:

• Clean furnace and check operation/filter
• Clean air conditioner and check operation
• Clean outdoor condenser and check refrigerant level
• Clean air exchanger filters and core
• Check radiant in-floor pressures and go over system
• Check humidifier filter and drain line
• Check unit heater operation
• Clean fireplace and check operation

Contact us for more information on heating, cooling, or our service maintenance!

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Top Tips: How to Lower Your Summer Cooling Costs

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

How to Lower Summer Cooling Costs - WestAIR

Summer has arrived. And even though the temps are soaring, your energy costs don’t have to. We’ve put together our top tips to keep your cooling costs in check this summer.

Monitor Your Thermostat

Keep an eye on your thermostat settings. If your family is curled up under blankets on the couch, it’s a good sign that your thermostat is set too low. Aim for between 72 and 78 degrees in summer. Even bumping up the number 2 to 4 degrees will have an impact on your bill.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

For the ultimate in home comfort and energy efficiency, install a programmable thermostat. Today’s technology allows you to access and control your home’s temperature remotely, and some thermostats will even “learn” and adjust to your family’s schedule. If you’ve already got a programmable thermostat, make sure you’re using it correctly.

Change Your Air Filter

Change out your air filter on a regular basis to ensure maximum air flow, improve overall efficiency, and prevent coil ice-ups.

Close Your Blinds

Blocking out sunlight by closing your blinds can not only reduce your cooling costs, it also can keep out harmful UV rays.

Cook Outside

Things can really heat up in the kitchen during the summer. Fire up the grill instead.

Bonus Tip: Flip the Switch

Unplug unused electronics or appliances. Use surge protector power strips or switched outlets that can be easily turned on and off. Don’t leave lights on in unoccupied rooms. While this may not directly keep your cooling costs down, you’ll still save on your electric bill.

Call WestAIR for an Annual Service Maintenance Check

It’s not too late to have your system checked by our professional technicians. We’ll make sure your system is running at the highest level of efficiency, determine if any repairs are needed, and make recommendations for replacement if necessary. We carry top quality air conditioning brands for the highest in energy efficiency.

Contact the cooling experts at WestAIR today. Call us at 763-498-8071.

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HVAC Humor

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

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The first hot days of summer are upon us. Are you worried your air conditioner might not be up to the job of keeping your home cool? Call WestAIR Heating and Cooling at 763.498.8071 to schedule a tune-up.

Scheduling a regular check-up for your air-conditioner can greatly reduce your energy costs, extend its lifetime and improve the system’s performance. Contact WestAIR before June 30, 2016 to save with one of our current specials of $95 for a tune-up of your air-conditioning system.

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Spring Cleaning & Your HVAC Unit

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Warmer weather is right around the corner — are you ready to turn on your home’s air conditioning unit that’s been sitting idle since last year?

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Here are a few tips to help you transition from winter to spring:

Schedule Annual Maintenance
Prevent spring and summer breakdowns, and extend the life of your air conditioning unit, by scheduling an annual AC service check and clean with a professional technician at WestAIR Heating & Cooling. A quick tune-up can help take care of bigger issues before they arise.

Flip The Switch
Turn on your A/C unit and let it run to ensure there are no issues. Check for malfunctions, air temperature accuracy and proper operation. It’s a good idea to do this step before a scheduled service call, so you can discuss any questions or issues with one of our knowledgeable WestAIR professionals.

Change The Filter
The start of spring is the perfect time to change your air filter. Continue to change the filter monthly during the spring and summer months as these are the most common allergy seasons.

The team at WestAIR Heating & Cooling would be happy to come to your home and personally clean  and inspect your air conditioning system. Give us a call today at 763-498-8071.

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Is your Air Conditioning System keeping up?

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Hey Minnesotans, it’s summer! We love these sun shiny, summer days, but now that Mother nature is really cranking up the heat (and humidity!) your air conditioning unit may be working overtime! Or – does it sometimes feel like it is just not doing it’s job of keeping your house cool?

There could be a number of reasons your central AC does not seem to be doing the best job.

  • Have you had your yearly routine checkup? Just like a regular checkup at the doctor, your AC unit needs to be checked out, cleaned and tuned up for optimal performance.
  • Have you checked your thermostat? Make sure your batteries are fresh (if it uses batteries) settings are correct, and it is functioning properly.
  • Have you changed your furnace filter?  Furnace filters should be changed once a month-even during the summer months.
  • Try closing the vents in rooms you don’t use on a regular basis.
  • Check out additional tips on our website.

Inefficiencies in your air conditioning system could be costing you a lot of money every month in energy bills. And many people probably think “Oh no, we cannot replace the system this year, it is too costly.” But the truth is, there may be instances that replacing your system could SAVE you money over the next few years! Your air conditioner’s inefficiency could be driving up your monthly bills substantially. Combine lower monthly bills with possible rebates and it is a win-win!

If your air conditioning system continues to battle the Dog Days of Summer this August, make sure to call your local professional at WestAIR Heating & Cooling. We’d be happy to come out to your home and personally assess your AC unit. We want you to be comfortable in your home, all year long.  Contact us today at 763.498.8071.

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It’s getting hot, Hot HOT!

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Hey Twin Cities! The first HOT day of the year is in the forecast! Time to get your home air conditioner fired up and running.  Worried that maybe it had a hard winter and might be slow to get going? Call WestAIR to schedule your tune up.

Yearly maintenance on your home’s air conditioner can greatly reduce your energy costs, extend it’s lifetime AND improve system performance. The best way to get the most out of your AC is have a qualified air conditioning specialist come out to your home to perform an inspection. They can give you recommendations such as:

  • Keep outside unit clear of leaves, sticks and other debris
  • Clean or change your air conditioning filters according to the manufacturer’s specifications
  • Check hoses and fan belt for leaks or cracks
  • Use a programmable thermostat to control the temperature of your home while you are away

And if that isn’t enough, right now, WestAIR is running a coupon special on AC Tune Ups  AC Tune Up Special

Contact WestAIR for a Free Estimate to evaluate your home HVAC system.

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