Keeping Air Ducts Clean

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

In a previous blog, we discussed air duct cleaning and maintenance. Because these duties help provide better indoor air quality, we wanted to mention them again and reiterate their importance to your home and health. Learn more about some reasons for keeping air ducts clean and ways to do so.

Indoor Air

Wherever you go, it only makes sense that you want to breathe the cleanest, healthiest air possible.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American spends 90 percent of their life indoors. As such, it’s important for your home’s air to be free of as many contaminants as possible. This is especially important since the accumulation of indoor air pollutants is exponentially higher than regular outdoor concentrations.

Some effects of poor indoor air include respiratory issues and disease, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Oftentimes indoor air pollutants can increase the intensity of issues like asthma and even cause eye, nose, or throat dryness and irritation. Protect yourself and your family by keeping air ducts and your home’s air clean.

Duct, Duct, Dirty Duct?

Your HVAC system often pulls in outside air to condition and distribute through the home, so dirt, dust, and other allergens find their way in. Since the ductwork throughout your home is hidden, you probably don’t give it much thought. And because it’s hidden, it’s more difficult to access and clean.

So how do you know if your ductwork is hiding something unhealthy? Look for telltale signs, such as:

  • Dust. If you continually notice dust even after you’ve cleaned, check your vents. Remove the register cover to see if the ductwork is lined with dirt or dust, too.
  • Cost increase. Are your utility bills noticeably higher compared to the same time last year? Your HVAC system may be working harder (and less efficiently) because of restricted airflow. This could be from dirty ducts or dirty air filters. A trusted technician can perform an inspection and determine the cause. 

Keeping Air Ducts Cleaner

Routine home maintenance can help keep your air ducts cleaner and your indoor air fresher.

Check and change HVAC filters. This could be every 30 days or every few months, depending on how often your system runs, if you have pets, or if you have younger children or allergy sufferers in the home. Check the filter on a regular basis and change it as needed.

Have your HVAC system inspected at least once a year to ensure it is operating at peak performance. This will also allow you to catch and fix any smaller issues before they become potentially bigger problems. Routine maintenance can extend the life of your heating and cooling systems, saving you money in the long run.

Complete household chores each week. This includes dusting hard surfaces and flooring, vacuuming carpeted areas (and vent covers), and running bedding through the wash. Also, vacuum and wash pet bedding as needed, and consider a high-quality HEPA filter vacuum to further reduce indoor air contaminants.

A few upgrades will also go a long way toward improving air quality at home.

  • Rid your home of dry air with a whole house humidifier. Dry air can make skin to feel tight and itchy or cause nose or throat discomfort. The wood inside your home can also be negatively affected by dryness. Adding moisture to the air can increase your overall home comfort.
  • Remove odors and pollutants with a UV light air purification system. A BreatheCLEAN UV air purifier works with your current HVAC system and removes contaminants to provide continuous protection.

Small changes to daily, weekly, and yearly routines can help with keeping air ducts clean while increasing overall indoor air quality. If you think your ductwork should be checked, rely on the experienced professionals at WestAIR Heating & Cooling.

Contact us today to learn more about our duct cleaning or other services.

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

6 Furnace Issue Warning Signs to Watch Out For

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

November may have given us a few warm, sunny days, but it’s safe to say heating season is upon us in Minnesota. We’ll have our furnaces working hard for the next few months, making it crucial for homeowners to know when their system needs professional repair or replacement. Use these furnace issue warning signs so you know when it’s time to call in the pros this winter.

Old Age

With proper installation and regular maintenance service, furnaces will last 15 to 20 years on average. Check the age of your furnace, and if it’s over 15 years old, it’s time to start considering an upgrade. Contact WestAIR for a free estimate and to schedule a professional inspection and evaluation with one of our HVAC technicians.

Frequent, Costly Repairs

Your furnace should be serviced annually for maintenance, but regular repairs that take a toll on your wallet are a sure sign that your furnace needs replacing. If repair service costs 50 percent or more than a replacement, a system upgrade is highly recommended. Not only will you receive peace of mind throughout the heating season, modern furnaces offer much higher efficiency and performance, saving you money on utility and repair bills.

Irregular Sounds, Smells, and Cycling

HVAC systems operate quietly and can easily go unnoticed if they’re functioning properly. Keep an eye (as well as an ear and nose) out for these irregular warning signs:

  • Banging, rattling, popping, humming, or screeching sounds
  • Persistent or random burning smells
  • More frequent on/off cycling (AKA short cycling)

These complications indicate serious mechanical problems that decrease heating efficiency and pose a potential fire hazard. Contact WestAIR, your local HVAC company, ASAP if you notice any of these issues.

Uneven or Inefficient Heating

Properly sized, installed, and maintained furnaces are designed to heat your entire house evenly. Signs of inefficient heating include:

  • Finding cold spots or different temperatures in rooms around the home
  • Having to adjust the thermostat frequently to maintain comfort
  • Turning the temperature higher than normal to keep the house warm
  • Seeing unexpected spikes in utility bills

If you experience any of these issues, the solution could be anything from a simple repair to a thermostat or furnace replacement. Don’t suffer through poor heating and higher costs – have an HVAC technician inspect your system and diagnose the problem and discuss your options.

Decreased Indoor Air Quality

Furnaces and HVAC systems are designed to help maintain indoor air quality and humidity as well as temperature. Yours might be failing if you or your family notice the following:

  • Stuffy or stale air
  • Dry nose, throat, or skin
  • Excessive dust accumulation
  • Frequent static shocks
  • Cracked wood on furniture, fixtures, and frames
  • New or worsening allergy symptoms

Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Furnaces fueled by gas or oil produce carbon monoxide, which is poisonous and potentially life-threatening with prolonged exposure. Heating systems are designed to trap and safely exhaust this dangerous gas, but it is possible for a leak to develop over time and put your family at risk. Signs of a carbon monoxide leak include:

  • Yellow and/or flickering burner flame (should be blue with a consistent burn)
  • Soot around the furnace and registers
  • Excess moisture on exterior windows, walls, and other cold surfaces
  • Rust, cracks, or corrosion on/around flue pipes and other furnace components

Warning signs of carbon monoxide exposure can also mimic common illnesses, so beware of unexplained nausea, frequent headaches, confusion/disorientation, burning nose and eyes, and flu-like symptoms. Remember, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause serious health issues and even death. If you or a family member experience any of these signs and symptoms, seek medical attention immediately and then call your utility provider and HVAC technician ASAP.

We all know that Minnesota weather offers plenty of surprises, and getting stuck with a broken furnace is a surprise we could all do without. Remember these furnace issue warning signs so you can stay ahead of issues and know when it’s time for professional repair or replacement service.

WestAIR is a Rheem Pro Partner and proudly services all residential HVAC brands. Contact us for all your heating and cooling needs.

This entry was posted in Furnace,Health Tips,Heating,Repairs,Tips,Winter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

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