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.

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HVAC Checklist for Winter Trips 10 Tips

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

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

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

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

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

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7 Tips for Winter Indoor Air Quality Maintenance

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

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

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

Poor Winter Indoor Air Quality: Causes and Effects

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

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

Tips for Winter Indoor Air Quality Maintenance

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

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

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

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

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

Understanding and Controlling Indoor Humidity

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Happy family smiling, laughing, and having fun while playing games together on a tablet.

The hottest time of year is upon us, and we all know how uncomfortable Minnesota’s humidity can be. Our home should be a cool, comfy escape on hot summer days. To help, we put together this guide to understanding and controlling indoor humidity.

Understanding the Basics: Humidity Vs. Relative Humidity

Simply put, humidity measures the amount of water vapor in the air. However, since warm air can retain more moisture than cold air, we look at relative humidity (RH): the amount of water vapor present relative to the total amount the air can hold at the given temperature. RH illustrates how the air actually feels and affects our comfort. The ideal RH for a home is typically between 40 and 60 percent.

Methods for Controlling Indoor Humidity

Essentially, high levels of indoor RH occur when excess moisture enters the home but can’t escape. Use these tips for controlling indoor humidity and keep your home cool and cozy this summer. 

Run Your Air Conditioner

By replacing warm air with cooler air, A/C systems naturally reduce indoor humidity. Again, cool air retains less moisture, so running your air conditioner helps decrease RH in the home.

Don’t Introduce Extra Moisture to the Air

More moisture means more humidity. Certain everyday activities naturally release moisture in the air and should be altered to control RH:

  • Avoid meals that require boiling water, or at least cover the pot whenever possible. Use the kitchen exhaust fan when cooking.
  • Take colder, shorter showers to avoid the steam of hot water, and run your exhaust fan during and for 5 to 10 minutes afterwards.
  • Hang laundry outside to dry so the evaporated moisture doesn’t get trapped in the home.

Provide Proper Ventilation & Exhaust

Remember, higher humidity happens when moisture can’t escape, so make sure that it can:

  • On nice days, open up the windows to let stale, humid air out and fresh air in.
  • Change or clean your HVAC system’s filter monthly for optimal cooling and ventilation.
  • Ensure laundry, kitchen, and bathroom exhaust fans are clear of dust and debris.
  • Schedule an A/C tune-up with your local HVAC specialist to ensure your system runs at peak performance.

Fix Plumbing Leaks

Leaky pipes and fixtures can damage your home and also add moisture to the air, so get them fixed ASAP. Warning signs include water stains on ceilings or walls, wet spots, and irregularly high water bills. You can also wrap exposed pipes with insulators to prevent condensation.

Seal Leaks in Ductwork

Well designed, properly installed ductwork distributes air evenly throughout the home. Leaks create a pressure imbalance and can let humid air in or cold air out. Have your ducts professionally cleaned and inspected to make sure your system circulates air properly.

HVAC Solutions

Humidity can crack or warp wood, promote rot in the home’s structure over time, and increase accumulation of dust and other irritants to asthma and allergy sufferers. Luckily, there are supplemental HVAC solutions to consider if indoor humidity is a big concern:

  • Whole house dehumidifiers work in conjunction with your HVAC system to remove excess moisture.
  • Portable dehumidifiers can be placed in bathrooms, basements, and other specific locations known to house extra moisture.
  • Air exchangers exhaust excess humidity and stale indoor air and deliver filtered outdoor air inside simultaneously.

As we use our homes as a welcome escape from the heat, clean and cool air becomes a must. Use this guide to controlling indoor humidity to keep your family comfy throughout the dog days of summer. And remember to rely on the residential HVAC experts for all your air conditioning and indoor air quality needs.

Contact us today to schedule service and learn more.

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Energy-Saving HVAC Tips for Summer Cooling

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Loving family enjoying the summer sun together while hanging laundry on the clothesline.

So far, June has given Minnesotans multiple occasions to fire up the A/C. With the dog days of summer yet to come, plenty more hot and humid days await. But don’t sweat it – WestAIR is here to help! We put together these energy-saving HVAC tips to help minimize your utility bills this cooling season.

Prevent Issues Later with Professional Service Now

Having an HVAC technician inspect, service, and clean your system now helps ensure peak performance and prevent costly repairs down the road. If you haven’t already, contact your local HVAC professional about the following services.

  • Annual preventative maintenance: Give your system a tune-up before the season to ensure optimal performance and efficiency. During service, the technician can also catch small issues before they become expensive repairs and help you decide if it’s time for an upgrade.
  • Duct cleaning: Ductwork should be cleaned annually as dirt, pollen, hair, dust, and other particles collect inside and reduce indoor air quality over time. They can also clog up the system if left long enough, decreasing its efficiency and increasing energy bills.

Optimize A/C Performance with Tips Around the Home

You don’t have to shut down your HVAC system and suffer through the heat to cut costs. Instead, follow these simple tips and get the most out of your A/C this summer.

  • Keep vents clean and clear. Blocking vents with rugs, furniture, and other items decreases efficiency. Make sure cool air can circulate freely, and vacuum vents regularly to clean away dust, dirt, and other debris.
  • Maintain a clean air filter. Filters prevent debris from getting into your HVAC unit and naturally become dirty or clogged, which adds stress onto the system. To avoid issues, change (or clean, if re-usable) your filter monthly.
  • Seal the home. Don’t let cool air escape or heat enter whenever possible. Caulk any cracks or seams around the home; lock windows shut to ensure a tight seal; draw blinds and curtains to prevent any natural heating from sunlight.
  • Be smart about electronics. Unplug chargers, small appliances, and other electronics when they’re not in use. Also, avoid placing heat-generating devices like lamps and TVs near thermostats – the heat can make it seem like the room is hotter than it really is and trick the thermostat into working harder to cool the home.
  • Grill outside or plan cold meals. Cooking in the oven or on the stove produces heat and can raise the temperature in your kitchen by up to 10 degrees. Take advantage of the summer weather and fire up the grill, or plan some cold meals like salads and sandwiches.
  • Use ceiling fans. Set ceiling fans to spin counterclockwise so they blow air straight down. This will keep cool air low and create a wind chill effect, allowing you to turn the thermostat up a few degrees.
  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat. While proper thermostat management can help keep bills low, constantly changing the thermostat can impact your HVAC system’s efficiency and health. Programmable thermostats let you pre-set custom temperature and humidity levels for multiple days instead of monitoring it manually.

Lower Utility Bills with Strategic Water Use

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), 18 percent of your home’s energy consumption comes from water heating. Try these water use strategies to help cut utility costs throughout the summer months.

  • Wash clothes with cold or warm water. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), water heating accounts for 90 percent of the energy used by your washing machine. Avoid washing with hot water whenever possible. Also, line-dry laundry outside to save more energy and reduce indoor humidity.
  • Take cold(er) showers. Hot showers require more energy, and the steam they produce increases humidity. Take colder, shorter showers to lower costs and help maintain indoor air quality.
  • Water the lawn and garden at dawn or dusk. Water usage tends to increase in the summer, especially outdoors due to lawn, garden, and landscape watering. Do these tasks in the early morning or at dusk to prevent the water from quickly evaporating in the summer heat. This will help cut costs and keep your yard and garden healthy.

With July and August still ahead, we know the cooling season is far from over here in Minnesota. Use these energy-saving HVAC tips to minimize utility costs while keeping your home cool and cozy this summer. And for all of your heating and cooling needs, rely on the residential HVAC experts at WestAIR for thorough, high-quality service.

Contact us today to schedule service and learn more.

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Common Summer HVAC Mistakes to Avoid

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Summer HVAC Mistakes to Avoid

Summer weather is finally upon us, and we know that 2020 won’t be like every other year. Air conditioners play a vital role here in Minnesota and keeping them running properly will be even more important this time around. To help, we gathered a list of common summer HVAC mistakes to avoid as you keep your home feeling cool and cozy.


Neglecting Regular Maintenance

Regular HVAC maintenance helps prevent inconvenient breakdowns that leave you without cool, comfortable air and with an expensive repair to get it back. Avoid these mistakes to help keep your system running smoothly all season long.

  • Not scheduling preventative maintenance. Don’t wait until you need an HVAC professional to call one. Have a regular preventative maintenance check early on to promote optimal performance throughout the summer.
  • Running a system with dirty ducts. Dirt, dust, pet hair, and other harmful particles settle into your ductwork over time and get blown into the air you and your family breathe. Left long enough, they can also clog the system, forcing it to work harder and hiking up your utility bills as a result. Annual duct cleaning is vital to the health and efficiency of your HVAC system, as well as indoor air quality.
  • Not keeping a clean filter. Just like ductwork, dirty or clogged air filters cause added stress on your HVAC system and decreased air quality. Plan to change your air filter (or clean if re-usable) monthly.


Having an Oversized System

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to HVAC. Proper air conditioning will circulate cool air and remove humidity simultaneously and evenly – if the unit is too big, it will cool the home quickly without removing enough moisture from the air. As a result, you won’t feel comfortably cool and may turn the thermostat even lower, working the system harder and increasing energy use.

If your A/C isn’t cooling the home how you feel it should, consult your local HVAC experts about possibly upgrading to a right-sized system.


Closing Unused Air Vents

Some homeowners worry about cooling rooms that aren’t used on a daily basis. However, as mentioned above, properly sized systems are designed to evenly distribute cool air to the entire home. While it may seem logical to close unused vents to focus on cooling high-traffic areas, closing unused air vents decreases system efficiency and increases its workload.


Improper Thermostat Management

Altering the thermostat setting can be a touchy subject in the home, and doing so can impact the efficiency and health of your system. Remember to avoid these common mistakes.

  • Don’t crank the thermostat. You may be tempted to turn the temp extra-low to cool the home quickly, but this method actually decreases efficiency and adds stress onto the system. Be patient. Set the temperature to a comfortable level and let it run at its optimal rate.
  • Don’t pay to keep an empty house cool. No need to use extra energy to keep the house comfy if no one’s home. Turn the thermostat up when you’re gone for work or out of town, and turn it back down when you return.
  • But don’t turn the system off. Turning the system completely off forces it to work harder to cool the home when it’s fired back up. Unless you’re leaving for an extended trip, keep the A/C running at a higher temperature.


Consider Installing a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats let you customize and set temperature and humidity settings for multiple days, eliminating the need to manually monitor them throughout the day. Contact us to learn more about optimizing your summertime cooling performance and schedule with a new smart thermostat.


Crowding/Obstructing the Outdoor Unit

Outdoor units need to easily draw in air to operate efficiently. Clear any clutter and obstructions within two to three feet of the unit and be sure to keep it clean of grass clippings, dirt, and other debris throughout the summer.


Not Properly Sealing the Home

It’s a pretty simple concept: Keep cool air from escaping and heat from entering the home. Be mindful of these simple mistakes that impact your home’s cooling comfort and costs.

  • Neglecting leaks and drafts. Inspect windows, doors, and exterior walls and seal or caulk any small cracks or gaps that could let cool air out and warm air in.
  • Leaving windows unlocked and uncovered. Even shut windows can have small leaks, so lock them to ensure a tight seal. During the day, use curtains and shades to block direct rays of sunlight from heating your home.


Not Managing Indoor Humidity

Humidity plays a crucial role when it comes to home comfort and air quality. While HVAC systems pull moisture from the air, there are many things you can do to help reduce humidity in your home, such as taking cold(er) showers, using exhaust fans, and installing a dehumidifier to work in conjunction with your air conditioner.

Minnesota summers provide amazing opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature’s beauty, but we all know the importance of having a cool, comfortable home to relax in. Keep these common summer HVAC mistakes in mind to help avoid any issues with your system this cooling season.

As your residential HVAC experts, WestAIR is proud to reliably serve all your heating and cooling needs. Contact us today to schedule service and learn more.

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Tips for Controlling Spring Allergies at Home

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Family cleaning together to help control spring allergies at home.

Seeing warmer weather and longer days is bittersweet for allergy sufferers. Spring may be in the air, but so are pesky allergens. As we spend more time in our homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor air quality becomes more important than ever. Use these helpful tips for controlling spring allergies at home to stay healthy and comfortable.

Change Shoes and Clothing After Being Outdoors

Controlling allergies begins with limiting exposure to allergens. Limit your time outdoors whenever possible. If you do venture out, don’t wear the same clothing and shoes around your home. Dirt, dust, pollen, and other irritants can cling to you and your wardrobe. Avoid tracking them around by changing as soon as you return home.

Dust, Vacuum, and Mop Regularly

Dust and allergens will settle on the surfaces of your home. Try to clean them at least weekly, and more often if you are leaving windows and doors open.

Have Your Ductwork Cleaned

Air ducts transport fresh air between your home and HVAC system, and over time will collect dust, pollen, and other airborne particles that travel through them. Having them cleaned annually is vital to indoor air quality. Schedule a professional duct cleaning service to help ensure you’re ready for the season.

Maintain a Clean Air Filter

The air filter blocks airborne irritants from getting into your system. However, it becomes dirty and less effective over time. If left long enough, the filter can also become clogged and make your system work harder, causing higher bills and faster wear and tear. Change (or clean it if re-usable) your air filter monthly to keep the system running properly.

Install an Air Cleaner

The name says it all. An air cleaner uses a filter to trap up to 97 percent of airborne bacteria, mold, dander, and other pollen-sized irritants. It can also eliminate viruses, kill germs, and neutralize odors and fumes.

Invest in Ultraviolet (UV) Light Air Purification

Breaking through an organism’s cell wall to destroy its DNA, UV light rays prevent that organism from reproducing and causing illness. UV technology has been around for over 100 years, and many homeowners today utilize it as a highly effective way to kill harmful bacteria, mold, and viruses in the home.

These systems conveniently work in conjunction with your current HVAC system. WestAIR is an authorized dealer of BreatheCLEAN UV air purification systems. Contact us to learn more or to schedule your UV light system installation.

Consider an Air Exchanger

Letting fresh air into the home can be beneficial, but it brings allergens along with it. An air exchanger solves this by exhausting stale indoor air and excess humidity while also delivering a continuous flow of filtered outdoor air inside. Installing a programmable thermostat will help you maintain indoor comfort without constantly managing temperature. And again, remember to keep your filter clean!

Controlling spring allergies at home comes down to limiting exposure to allergens. It sounds simple, but don’t be fooled into thinking the home is a completely irritant-free safe space. While we may be spending less time outdoors than usual this spring, use these tips to maintain indoor air quality and keep allergy symptoms at bay.

WestAIR’s HVAC experts are here for all your heating and cooling needs. As we continue helping our customers prepare their homes for the spring and summer during this time, our team is taking extra precautions to protect the health and safety of themselves and everyone they service. We prioritize your comfort and satisfaction in all that we do. Contact us today to schedule service and learn more.

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HVAC Tips for Spring Cleaning

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Happy woman dancing during spring cleaning.

We can finally see that spring is on its way! With the weather warming up, it’s time to start preparing the home for the cooling season. Will yours be ready? To help out, we put together a list of HVAC tips for spring cleaning. 

Change Air Filter (or Clean if Re-Usable) 

A dirty or clogged air filter makes your system work harder, leading to higher bills and increased wear and tear. It also negatively affects indoor air quality. Change your air filter (or clean it if re-usable), and plan to do so monthly to keep the system working properly. 

Clean Floor Registers and Return Air Vents 

If dust gets into your HVAC system, it can negatively impact both energy efficiency and your home’s air quality. Use a vacuum to clean your floor registers and return air vents. You can get a deeper clean by removing the vent, brushing the individual grill spaces with a rag and butter knife, and then rinsing with warm soapy water. 

Dust and Mop Around the Home 

Though you should do these chores regularly throughout the year, dusting and mopping are especially important during spring. With windows and doors being left open more often, airborne particles like dust, dirt, and allergens accumulate on your surfaces and eventually make their way into your HVAC system.  

Have Your Ductwork Cleaned 

Air ducts supply your HVAC system with fresh air, but they can quickly become dirty from all the dust, pollen, and other harmful particles floating in the air. Keeping them clean helps prevent these harmful pollutants from accumulating in your ductwork and impacting the health of your HVAC system and air quality. Spring cleaning is the perfect time for a professional duct cleaning service, which you should do annually. 

Clean Bathroom Exhaust Fan(s) 

Clean and properly functioning, bathroom exhaust fans help with odor and moisture control, which helps prevent mold and mildew. Be sure the power is off, wash it with soapy water, and clean dirt and debris off the fan blades with a toothbrush. 

Clean and Clear Debris from Outdoor A/C Unit 

If your outdoor unit doesn’t get enough air or has dirt-covered coils, it could overheat. Turn off the power and clear away plants, weeds, leaves, branches, etc., and then rinse the condenser coils with a garden hose. 

Check/Change Batteries in Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors 

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are a crucial line of defense against two common household dangers. Check the batteries and replace them if necessary. You should also dust or vacuum them to optimize performance. 

Schedule Preventative Maintenance 

Don’t get caught with a failing A/C or expensive repair bill down the road. Schedule a preventative maintenance service with your local HVAC contractor to ensure your system is running smoothly and ready for the cooling season. 

During Minnesota winters, at times it feels like spring will never come. But when the days get longer and the temps rise, we know it’s time to start getting ready. Use these HVAC tips for spring cleaning to help make sure your home is ready for a safe, comfortable, and happy cooling season. 

The HVAC professionals at WestAIR offer experience and expertise to cover all your heating and cooling needs. Contact us today to schedule service and learn more.

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Winter Energy-Saving Tips

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

It’s the season of heavy snow, biting wind, and frosty windows. In the freezing temperatures, you may notice your energy bills spike as you try to heat your home. WestAIR is here to help. Follow our winter energy-saving tips to keep cozy:

  1. Insulate your windows with heavy curtains. Keep the curtains closed at night and open in the day for free solar heating.
  2. If the warmth in your home sneaks away the moment the furnace cycles off, you may be losing heat through drafty windows. Use caulk, weather stripping, or draft stoppers to seal leaks around doors and windows.
  3. Seal air leaks in plumbing penetrations, gaps around the chimney, recessed lights, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Insulate the attic or crawl space and other areas of the home according to recommendations for your region.
  4. Reverse ceiling fans so they run clockwise. Hot air rises, so the fans will push the warm air back down to you. Running them in the winter can save up to ten percent in energy costs.
  5. Move furniture and other items away from vents so the heat can travel from the ductwork to your rooms.
  6. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, keep the damper closed when it’s not in use so the warm air doesn’t escape out the chimney.
  7. Change filters. Dirty, clogged filters make your heating system work harder, which puts stress on your equipment and increases energy bills.
  8. Avoid using exhaust fans, which will suck out the warm air.
  9. Recycle oven heat. When you finish baking something and turn the oven off, leave the door open to warm the kitchen.
  10. Install a whole house humidifier to combat the dry air. Relative humidity makes your home feel warmer at lower temperatures, so you can turn the thermostat down and still feel comfortable.
  11. Turn the thermostat down when you sleep and when you leave, but no more than five degrees. Your furnace may spend more energy starting up again than it does keeping the home within a steady temperature range.
  12. Invest in a programmable thermostat, so it can adjust the temperatures for you. According to Minnesota Energy Resources, you could save up to $180 dollars a year just by upgrading this simple accessory.
  13. Don’t heat unnecessary spaces. Learn how you can control where the heat goes in your home with automatic zoning.
  14. Schedule service for your heating system.

WestAIR is committed to keeping your home warm this winter. We understand the stress that Minnesota winters place on your heating system and pocketbook. Check out our Heating 101 guide for more seasonal HVAC tips.

Contact us for more information.

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

Surprising Ways to Reduce Humidity in Your Home

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

If you’ve been noticing foggy windows, musty odors, or clammy air throughout your home, chances are, your humidity levels are high. Humidity can both rob you of comfort and threaten your health. We don’t want you to suffer through the stifling heat, so we’ve outlined some surprising ways to reduce humidity in your home.

But first, a word about relative humidity (RH): RH measures water vapor relative to the temperature of the air. RH illustrates the amount of water in the air in relation to the total amount of humidity that could be held at the current temperature. Weather forecasts report relative humidity because it affects how we feel the temperature. Humid air feels warmer; dry air feels cooler. The ideal indoor relative humidity for a home is between 40 and 60 percent. If your RH is lower or higher, follow these tips:

Go old school with laundry

Dry your clothing outside. If you hang wet clothing inside to dry, all the moisture will evaporate into the air.

Accessorize with plants

Invest in some household tropical plants like Boston ferns, English ivies, Peace lilies, Reed Palms, or Tillandsias. These plants absorb moisture from the air instead of through the roots.

Take cold(er) showers

Hot showers create steam. Plan to bathe after exercising or spending time outside in the heat. You’ll be less tempted to jump into a steaming shower, and the cool water will feel refreshing. If nothing else, run the exhaust fan during and after showering.

Eat more salads

Hot weather provides the perfect opportunity to cook outside on the grill or eat cold meals like salads and sandwiches. Avoid boiling water; instead, save the heavy pasta for cooler weather. Your body will thank you in more ways than one.

Check the drainage route

In high humidity, your air conditioner or dehumidifier will produce a lot of condensation that has to go somewhere. Regularly empty the drip pan and be sure the drain lines are working properly so the water doesn’t evaporate back into the air.

Replace your flooring

Carpet is known to retain moisture. If you’ve tried all the above methods to decrease humidity, but still have a problem with moisture, consider replacing the carpet with hardwood flooring.

Benefits of proper humidity

With lower humidity levels, you could raise the thermostat setting a few degrees and still be comfortable. High humidity may cause headaches and asthma symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, or a chronic cough. Proper humidity levels are easier on your respiratory tract and can:

  • Reduce your cooling costs.
  • Minimize wear on your HVAC system.
  • Prevent dust mites, mold, bacteria, and mildew.
  • Eliminate foul odors.
  • Help you sleep better.

If you are still having trouble, consult with the professionals at WestAIR Heating & Cooling. We offer high-efficiency air conditioners to keep you cool in the muggy season and countless air quality accessories to reduce humidity. Schedule service to have a technician visit your home and recommend the right solutions for your family’s total indoor air comfort.

Contact us for more information.

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

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