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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10 Signs You Should Replace Your Furnace

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

 

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

Signs you need a new furnace

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

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

Why upgrade my furnace now?

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

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

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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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Take Care of your Home Before You Travel

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

With the kids off from school and long holiday weekends, summer makes the perfect time for a family vacation. AAA reports more than 40 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles away from home this summer. Ensure your home remains safe with these easy tips:

  • Switch off / unplug all electrical appliances (except the refrigerator / freezer!)
  • Turn your air conditioner off, or even better – set your programmable setback or Wi-Fi thermostat to “away” status to keep a manageable temperature
  • Ensure valuable personal items are away from windows (televisions, computers and other electronics)
  • Store other valuables in a safe place
  • Pause all deliveries such as newspapers and mail
  • Use a timer device to automatically turn on lights at a pre-scheduled time of day
  • Avoid any mention of travel on social networking sites

Contact WestAIR Heating & Cooling at 763.498.8071 if you have any questions about seasonal settings for your Air Conditioner, Furnace, Thermostat, Humidifier or Air Exchanger!

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Save Money with a Programmable Thermostat

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Upgrading your home’s thermostat to a programmable set-back unit is one of the simplest things you can do for your home, and the most practical. Today, home owners expect these units to do more than just regulate temperature — they demand units that enhance energy efficiency, indoor air quality, maintain consistency and more.

WestAIR offers set-back thermostats with four settings (wake, day, evening, sleep) that allows you to set and monitor your home’s climate to your liking:

Wake: Program your thermostat to reach your favorite comfortable temperature about 10 minutes prior to your alarm going off in the morning. It’ll be the perfect start to your day.

Day: Daytime is the perfect opportunity for energy savings. Set your thermostat 10-15 degrees up or down from your preferred comfort temperature, then program it to resume 10 minutes before you arrive home.

Evening: Set your thermostat to your preferred “at home” temperature in the evenings. Energy Star recommends setting your thermostat to 68 during the winter months and 78 during the summer.

Sleep: Overnights are a great opportunity to save energy as well. Program your thermostat a few degrees higher/lower than your preferred comfort temperature.

Learn more about programmable thermostats by contacting WestAIR Heating & Cooling today at 763.498.8071 or browse our website for more info.

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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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Money Saving Tips for Heating Your Home

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Winter has arrived in Minnesota and with it, increasing costs to heat our homes. Here’s a few ways you can save money on your heating bill this winter:

Turn Down The Thermostat
You can save 5%-15% a year on your heating bill by simply turning down your thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake, or lower while you’re sleeping or away from the home. An easy way to do this is to purchase a programmable thermostat so you can set it and forget it.

Winterize Your Windows
Purchase plastic film to help seal leaky windows from cold air drafts.

Use The Fan
Toggle the fan on your thermostat to ‘on’ to force warm air into rooms throughout your house.

Keep Vents Open and Unblocked
Be sure vents are open and furniture isn’t blocking them so air can properly circulate the room.

Let The Sun Shine
Open drapes and shades over windows facing sun to naturally warm up your home.

Layer Up
Wear a sweatshirt, socks or cover up with a blanket before reaching for the thermostat dial.

Service Your Furnace
It’s important to have annual service performed on your furnace to ensure it’s running safely and efficiently. If your unit isn’t working properly, it can end up costing you more to heat your home.

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

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Tips to Keep your Furnace Working Properly

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Remember that improper care of your furnace may be lessening its efficiency.

  • Regular/Monthly filter changes.  A dirty filter forces your furnace to work harder, which leads to a decrease in energy efficiency and can wear down the working components of the furnace.
  • Regular system Check and Cleans. Your furnace requires regular maintenance just like your car. An annual check and clean of your furnace will help it to run at its peak ability. Smaller problems may be detected early before they develop into big problems requiring unexpected service.
  • Clear the space around your furnace. Keep the area around your furnace free and clear of clutter. This reduces a fire hazard and helps the furnace to get all the air it needs for proper combustion.
  • Use a Set-back Programmable Thermostat. Lowering your temperature settings when there is no one home and/or sleeping at night will reduce the load on your furnace and help you save money.

Follow these tips to extend the life of your HVAC equipment and help prevent breakdowns.

As your furnace continues to battle the Cold Days of Winter, remember to call your local professional at WestAIR Heating & Cooling if your furnace is giving you any trouble. We’d be happy to come out to your home and personally assess your heating system. We want you to be comfortable in your home, all year long.  Contact us today at 763.498.8071

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