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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Indoor Air Quality Solutions

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Indoor air quality solutions

Ever looked at a ray of light streaming through your windows and noticed floating dust particles? The sunlight can reveal a lot about a room’s air quality. While it may be tempting to open up the windows and doors for a quick fix, we’re in the thick of ragweed season, so it probably won’t do you any favors. The EPA recommends upgrading your HVAC filter or using an air cleaner to reduce harmful airborne particles. Read our blog to learn why and discover some more indoor air quality solutions.

New filters

Your HVAC filter traps microorganisms, animal fur, hair, lint, dander, mold, pollen, dirt, and more so they don’t accumulate in your system or irritate your lungs. Check your filter once a month to see if it needs replacing. A clogged air filter can cause your HVAC equipment to overheat, short cycle, or even break down. At the very least, changing a dirty filter could lower your energy bills because your system won’t have to work twice as hard just to obtain adequate airflow.

Air cleaner

An air cleaner uses a filter to trap particles like bacteria, mold, ragweed, pet dander, and dust mites. It can even eliminate viruses, kill germs, neutralize fumes, and remove odors. Those with allergies, asthma, or sensitivity to chemicals can benefit from an air cleaner, which can remove up to 97 percent of pollen-sized particles.

Air exchanger

Every time you cook, shower, clean, and breathe, you release pollutants into the air. Airtight buildings are more energy efficient, but they need to somehow circulate air to maintain a healthy environment. Without adequate ventilation, old air will sit in enclosed spaces and accumulate dust, bacteria, mold, and other harmful particles.

An air exchanger provides refreshed, filtered air to reduce these allergens. Air exchangers use two fans, one to take stale air out, and the other to pull in fresh air, run it through a filter, and disperse it through the ductwork.

Dehumidifier

Humidity makes a room seem hotter than it is and increases the likelihood of mold and mildew growth. Drier air feels cooler. A dehumidifier can increase your comfort and allow you to raise the temperature a few degrees to save on cooling expenses. You can use a portable unit or install a whole house dehumidifier that works in conjunction with your HVAC system.

Dehumidifiers pull moist air over a cooling coil that condenses the moisture vapor into droplets. Moisture along the coils drips into a collection pan or directly down a drain.

Duct cleaning

In most HVAC systems, all the conditioned air passes through ductwork to supply vents in each room, and back through return registers to be conditioned again. Particles floating in the air could become trapped in the many channels and crevices behind your walls. If the ductwork is dirty, your indoor air will be, too, no matter what air cleaning accessories you install. During air duct cleaning, your technician will use powerful vacuums and brushes to dislodge debris and allow proper airflow.

Bonus tip

Plants clean the air of carbon dioxide and can remove cancer-causing formaldehyde, benzene, and other toxins. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to purify your indoor air, bring in some potted vegetation. They can improve your physical health as well as your mental well-being by reducing stress, building memory retention, and increasing concentration, which in turn boosts productivity.

At WestAIR, we care about you and your family’s health and comfort. We offer air quality solutions to rid your home or business of harmful pollutants and provide fresh oxygen, day in, and day out.

Contact us to learn more.

This entry was posted in Duct Cleaning,Indoor Air Quality,Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

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

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.

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

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.

This entry was posted in Air Conditioning,Duct Cleaning,Indoor Air Quality,Repairs,Spring and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Importance of Air Duct Cleaning

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Professional air duct cleaning can keep harmful pollutants from circulating and settling in your ductwork, improving indoor air quality and your family’s health. Learn more.

Air ducts are like the lungs of your home, supplying your HVAC system with a steady stream of fresh air. With so much dust, pollen, mold, and other harmful particles floating in your indoor air, your ductwork can quickly become a home for dirt. Professional air duct cleaning can keep harmful pollutants from circulating and settling in your ductwork.

What is air duct cleaning?

Your technician will inspect the system to make sure there’s no asbestos-containing materials, as those materials require specialized procedures to disturb or remove. They may cut out small holes in the ductwork to get inside. Using vacuum equipment and bristled brushes, your technician will dislodge and draw out particles and dust. Then, they’ll seal and re-insulate holes. Make sure to research and hire a qualified contractor with the resources and expertise to clean your air ducts safely. If not properly cleaned, you could face problems like damaged HVAC components or holes that have not been tightly sealed, compromising an airtight system.

How often should I schedule air duct cleaning?

According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), air pollutants like dander, dust, and chemicals are re-circulated in your home five to seven times a day, on average. You should have your air ducts cleaned every three to five years, or more, depending on your lifestyle. In a home with pets, cigarette or cigar smoke, water damage, or renovation projects underway, more pollutants may be circulating. Schedule duct cleaning service if

  • You’re unsure whether previous homeowners cleaned the air ducts in your current residence.
  • There’s mold growth on visible parts inside your ducts or other heating system components.
  • Your ducts are infested with vermin like rodents or insects.
  • Your supply registers spew out dust when your HVAC system turns on.
  • Your family is experiencing unusual or unexplained respiratory problems (allergies, asthma, sore throat, etc.).

How do I keep my ducts clean on a daily basis?

Follow these tips from the pros:

  • To prevent dirt from getting into your system, use a high efficiency, manufacturer-recommended air filter for your HVAC system and change it regularly, especially if they clog frequently. When installing, make sure that air cannot get through gaps around the filter holder/frame.
  • When you schedule your regular HVAC maintenance service, ask your provider to clean cooling coils and drain pans.
  • If you are having renovations or construction work done, seal off supply and return registers throughout your home and don’t turn on your HVAC system until you’ve cleaned up the dust.
  • Vacuum and dust frequently.

WestAIR Heating & Cooling provides duct cleaning service with our innovative Rotobrush equipment. Using a powerful, specialized vacuum and cleaning devices, we draw air through your duct system to dislodge any debris that may be stuck on interior surfaces. We also offer air exchangers, air cleaners, whole house humidifiers, replacement filters, and more to improve indoor air quality. Contact us to learn more.

This entry was posted in Duct Cleaning,Indoor Air Quality and tagged , , , , ,

How Indoor Air Quality Impacts Your Family’s Health

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Indoor AirHumans inhale 11,000 to 15,000 liters of air per day. Most families spend more time in their home than anywhere else. Without proper ventilation, your indoor air could hold gases, chemicals, or other pollutants that can cause headaches, eye and skin irritation, allergies, asthma attacks, fatigue, and even cancer or long-term health complications. What’s even scarier? Ninety-eight percent of all airborne particles are below one micron (1/25,000 inch) in size and invisible to the naked eye.

Imagine a toxic soup of pollutants constantly re-circulated throughout your home, through your respiratory system, and into your bloodstream.

The most obvious pollutants are secondhand smoke, radon, and carbon monoxide, but harmful airborne particles could come from any of the following:

  • Gas, oil, kerosene, or wood stoves and fireplaces.
  • Building materials like insulation, carpet, cabinetry, and pressed wood products.
  • Personal care products and household chemicals like cleaning solutions, glues, and pastes.
  • Pesticides, pollen, pet dander, hair, or other fibers.
  • Dust mites, molds, and bacteria.

Children are more susceptible to all these things because their bodies are still developing. They breathe more air and eat more food in relation to their body weight than adults do. Properly maintained indoor air quality is especially important for people with asthma, allergies, chemical sensitivities, respiratory diseases, suppressed immune systems, or contact lenses. Here are some basic tips to make sure your home has clean, fresh air free of pollutants:

  • Invest in a whole house humidifier or a smaller unit. The Mayo Clinic recommends you keep your home between 30 and 50 percent humidity.
  • Make sure all vents are clear of obstructions and working properly.
  • Have your ducts cleaned and change your furnace filter regularly (check it once a month).
  • Buy a houseplant like a peace lily, dracaena, or garden mum to act as an air purifier.
  • Use an exhaust fan when cooking, running the dishwasher, or bathing.
  • Make sure gas stoves are well ventilated.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Use craft supplies in well-vented areas.
  • Minimize clutter.
  • Remove carpeting if possible.
  • Don’t wear outdoor shoes around the house.
  • Keep the trash covered.
  • Test your home for radon and use carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Fix water leaks.
  • Dust surfaces.
  • Vacuum frequently, and open windows when you do.
  • Wash bedding weekly.
  • Keep a lid on scented candles when not in use.

WestAIR Heating & Cooling wants to help you live a healthier life with safe indoor air quality. We offer air exchangers, air cleaners, whole house humidifiers, replacement filters, and more to equip your HVAC system against contaminants. We also provide duct cleaning service so you can rest assured your air has clean, unobstructed passage throughout your home. Contact us to learn more.

This entry was posted in Duct Cleaning,Health Tips,Indoor Air Quality and tagged , , , , , , , ,

Dry Indoor Air + Humidification

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Dry indoor airWinter is already uncomfortable enough with the freezing temperatures, so why not make the most of your cozy indoor living space where you can escape the dry and brittle cold air? Lower temperatures mean lower humidity levels because cold air can’t hold as much moisture as warm air. Here are two simple reasons your dry indoor air needs humidification:

Your comfort

Overly dry air can make your skin and respiratory problems flare up, from asthma and allergies to eczema and acne. If your home air is too dry, it could cause bloody noses, chapped lips, and itchy skin. Your respiratory system is lined with moist membranes in your nose and throat that prevent bacteria, viruses, dirt, and dust from getting into your lungs. If they are dry, they won’t keep particles out effectively, making you more vulnerable to sickness.

In addition, dry air increases static electricity, which produces painful shocks and zaps when you walk around on the carpet or touch metal surfaces. It will also make your hair more difficult to maintain and cause your clothes to stick to you uncomfortably.

Your belongings

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

Books, artwork, and even the paint or wallpaper on your walls can get brittle, warped, or wrinkled in dry air. If you have musical instruments, they may lose their shape and tune. Humid air feels warmer, so moderate levels of humidity can allow you to set the thermostat lower and give your heating system a break. That way, you can live comfortably and save money on your heating bill and maintenance. But be careful: excess moisture may cause mold, bacteria, and mildew growth in poorly ventilated areas of your home.

You can keep an ideal, comfortable humidity level between 40 and 60 percent with a whole home humidifier. WestAIR Heating & Cooling offers whole house humidifiers that will keep every room of your home comfortable, even in the dry winter. Our humidifiers will automatically work with your HVAC system to distribute moisture throughout your home’s entire duct system. We offer programmable thermostats that come with a built-in humidity sensor so you can test and regulate home humidity and avoid going overboard.

Contact us to learn more about your heating and indoor air quality options.

This entry was posted in Energy Savings,Furnace,Health Tips,Heating,Humidifier,Indoor Air Quality,Tips,Winter and tagged , , , ,

Four Benefits of a Humidifier During Cooler Months

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Winter is here, and so is crisp Minnesota air. As the temperatures drop, so does humidity levels which can cause poor indoor air quality in our homes and negative effects on the body’s immune system. If you’re concerned about your health and comfort this season, consider using a humidifier during the cooler months.

  1. Dry air dries out your sinuses, nose and throat making it harder for your body to fight off unwanted germs. A humidifier increases humidity levels in your home, helping you breathe easier. Small portable humidifers work well for one room, or consider installing a whole house humidifier which works in conjunction with your HVAC system. Whole house humidifers also benefit allergy and asthma sufferers by keeping the throat, lungs and sinuses well lubricated.
  2. Whole home humidifiers also regulate indoor air quality to ensure the proper balance of humidity in your home.
  3. If you or someone you know suffers from eczema or other skin conditions, you know first-hand how dry air affects them. Moisturizing the skin helps, in addition to maintaining the proper humidity levels in your home.
  4. Have you ever woken up in the morning with a dry, sore throat? Your throat, chest, nose and mouth become progressively drier during the winter months. Maintaining the proper humidity levels in your home can help manage the air, giving you a better night’s sleep.

To learn more about indoor air quality, whole home humidifiers, or to schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable WestAIR service techicians, call us today at 763-498-8071

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

Dry Winter Months

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

During the Upper Midwest winter months the air inside of our homes tends to get etremely dry. There are simple signs such as dry skin, dry nose, and dandruff. A humidifier is the best solution to combat dry winter air in your home.

Portable humidifiers are like a piece of furniture taking up extra space in various rooms. They also involve the inconvience of always having to be refilled with more and more water. Even with this type of humidifier, you may still experience dry skin and dry air at times. Coming home to a dry house is just as unpleasant as coming home to a cold house after a long day at work or a weekend away.

A whole house humidifer is the number one solution to all of the discomforts and hassles of dry winter air. No more refilling the humidifier with water and no extra furnitiure in rooms throughout the house. Our whole house humidifiers involve a simple installation and will deliver healthier air to you and your family. If you would like to read more information about Aprilaire humidifiers please visit our website via the following link: WestAIR Whole House Humifidiers. Give us a call today for a free estimate on a whole house humidifier designed just for your home.

This entry was posted in Indoor Air Quality,Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , ,

Subscribe to Our Blog

With RSS feeds, you don't have to visit our site everyday to keep up to date. Simply subscribe to our blog via RSS or Email and our posts will come to you!