What You Need to Know About Your Indoor Air Quality

April 13th, 2015

Do you find yourself coughing and sneezing a lot, even when you’re in your own home? Do you often get sick, even outside of common seasons for it? If so, then you just might have a problem with your indoor air quality. It may seem like the air in our homes is largely empty, but in fact it is brimming with millions of microscopic particles. These particles include dust, mites, insect dander, pet dander, mold spores, bacteria, viruses, and all sorts of other harmful contaminants. Some are lung irritants, some are allergens, and some are infectious agents. All of them lower your quality of life when you breathe them in.

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How a Failed Anode Rod can Lead to Water Heater Repair

April 6th, 2015

The typical storage tank water heater is exposed to millions of gallons of water over its lifetime. The most popular kind of water heater in the country, the storage tank water heater, keeps a large amount of water heated at all times in case it is needed. This leaves these systems extremely vulnerable to rust, which can rupture the tank and cause thousands of dollars in water damage to the surrounding area.

Why, then, does that not happen more often? Because of a safety part called the sacrificial anode rod. Read on to find out more about the sacrificial anode rod, and what can happen if it fails.

What is it?

The anode rod is a long metal rod, formed around a steel wire, which is inserted into the storage tank of your water heater. It is often made of either magnesium or aluminum, though zinc is also used in larger systems. While the anode rod is in the tank, it will degrade instead of the tank itself. This is where it gets the “sacrificial” part of its name. As long as the sacrificial anode rod is intact, then the water heater tank will be protected from rusting. There comes a point, however, when the anode rod is just too degraded to continue protecting the tank.

When the Anode Rod Fails

Once the anode rod has degraded down to the steel wire, it loses the ability to protect the water heater. At that point, the water heater will begin to rust. As the rust eats through the lining of the tank, it will weaken it to the point that the tank will start to spring leaks. Eventually, the tank will lose too much structural integrity and rupture. That is why it is so important to check your anode rod at least once a year, and replace it if need be.

If you aren’t sure how to check or replace your anode rod, call Westland Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide water heater repair services throughout Westlake, OH. 

The Blower Fan and AC Problems

April 3rd, 2015

When you consider what an air conditioner actually does in your home, you’ll probably first think about the cool breezes that blow from the vents. That breeze comes from the blower fan in the air conditioner’s indoor unit. If the blower fan doesn’t work, your air conditioner doesn’t work: it’s that simple.

Are you experiencing troubles with your air conditioner’s fan? Then you only need to contact Westland Heating and Air Conditioning for repair in Avon, OH. We take pride in the excellent service we have provided the area for the past quarter century.

Why the blower fan is important

The most common type of air conditioning system is packaged in the same cabinet with the furnace (plus an outdoor condenser unit to release heat) where both systems use the same blower fan, which is housed at the bottom of the cabinet. The blower fan handles two vital functions in the operation of the air conditioner: it sends conditioned air through the ventilation system and out into the rooms, and it runs the warm air from the return vents across the evaporator coils of the AC. To effectively cool down air, an air conditioner’s evaporator coils must have a stream of air moving across them to create the evaporation that absorbs heat from the air.

Because the blower fan does an enormous amount of work whenever an air conditioner comes on, it will suffer from wear and may eventually need repairs. Regular maintenance service from professional technicians will make sure that the blower motor is properly lubricated and cleaned so it will have a long service life. They will also check fan blades for damage.

However, there is no way to avoid all repair needs for a blower fan. If the fan in your AC fails to come on, or you hear clicking and grinding noises whenever it activates, call for repair technicians right away. Also watch for any change in the airflow from the vents they may indicate the fan is experiencing problems. Change the air filter regularly (once a month during the summer) so that no debris will enter the return vents and dirty the blower motor.

For quality air conditioning repair service in Avon, OH on which you can count, turn to Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. Our technicians have more than 100 years of combined experience and use the newest technology to see that any repair they do for your home’s cooling (or heating) system will fix the problem and keep it fixed.

How Geothermal Systems Help the Environment

March 25th, 2015

There are many excellent reasons to consider installing a geothermal heat pump (a.k.a. a ground-source heat pump) for your home. Like other heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps provide both heating and cooling, but they also work at higher efficiency during cold weather than standard air-source heat pumps because they use the stable temperature under the ground at their medium for heat exchange. This energy-efficient performance translates into long-term savings on heating and cooling bills. Geothermal heat pumps also have a lifespan that surpasses most other comfort systems, giving homeowners an even longer period to enjoy the energy savings capabilities.

But investing in geothermal power for your home is also an investment in the environment as a whole. In fact, the eco-friendly benefits of ground-source heat pumps are one of the main reasons that many people choose to install them.

To find out more about the many advantages of a geothermal heat pump in Bay Village, OH, call up our experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. We have a history of excellent geothermal heating and cooling services in the area.

The environmental benefit of geothermal systems

If you are concerned about greenhouse gases, you’ll be glad to know that a geothermal heat pump produces far fewer harmful emissions than a furnace and less even than a conventional heat pump—and that’s even when you consider the emissions from the power plant that provides the electricity to run the heat pump.

Here’s an example of the difference that geothermal can make on a large scale: A 3-ton geothermal heat pump (about average for most homes) generates around one pound less of carbon dioxide per hour than an air-source heat pump. Because a geothermal heat pump’s interior components will last around 20 years, which is an average of 6–7 years more than an air-source heat pump, it will result in a significant lifetime reduction of carbon monoxide emissions. When you take into account that the carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. from residential and commercial air conditioning and heating systems is equivalent to all the carbon dioxide from vehicles, you’ll see what an important contribution to air quality a geothermal system can be. Installing 100,000 geothermal systems would be equal to removing the pollution from almost 60,000 cars.

If you would like to contribute to the growing number of homes that are helping the environment through geothermal power, call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. Our professionals will find out if your house and property are suited for the installation of a geothermal heat pump in Bay Village, OH and then arrange to have the work done.

Health Issues a Humidifier Can Help With

March 20th, 2015

People often associate high humidity with an uncomfortable environment. There’s no doubt that when the moisture level is too high in a home that it will cause discomfort and end up placing additional strain on the AC. However, the opposite problem, low humidity, can also create severe issues. Not only does it make it harder to keep warm, but excessively dry air can also trigger health problems in a home.

If you have experienced low humidity in your home (a good indicator is if static electricity has become a nuisance), then get in touch with [(site_name)] and arrange for installation of a humidifier in Avon Lake, OH. Our indoor air quality professionals offer both humidifier and dehumidifier services so you can have the balanced indoor humidity necessary for comfort, energy savings, and better health.

Health conditions and low indoor humidity

Low humidity is principally an issue during the winter, and it can lead to an increase in colds and flus in a household. Dry air leads to inflamed and dried-out mucus membranes along the respiratory tract. Since these membranes are one of the body’s principle defenses against communicable diseases, when they dry up it will become easy for illnesses to spread from person to person. Dry conditions also allow for a number of viruses to survive longer outside of the human body, making the chance of catching a cold or flu even higher.

Dry air will also cause skin, nose, eye, and throat irritation. There is a specific danger to eyes, because low humidity causes tears to evaporate faster, leaving the eyes exposed to damage.

As skin loses moisture to the dry air (which also takes heat with it, the reason low humidity makes cold temperatures feel worse), it will start to develop cracks and become itchy. Cracked skin also serves as a path for illness to enter your body.

Although there are a number of methods you can use to increase humidity in your home, you must be cautious about maintaining balance. Too much humidity and you will have a whole different set of problems. The best way to be certain of achieving the correct balance is to contact indoor air quality professionals and schedule the installation of a whole-house humidifier.

You can count on the experience of the technicians at [(site_name)] to see that you receive our professional installation of a humidifier in Avon Lake, OH. Give us a call today if you are suffering from dry air in your home.

Isn’t the Air Filter in my HVAC System Enough for Clean Air?

March 11th, 2015

When it comes to the job of keeping unhealthy particles from circulating through a home, one of the best options is to have mechanical air filters professionally installed into the HVAC system. Mechanical filters require no power to operate; they capture pollutants down to 0.3 microns in size (which includes dust, pollen, dander, dust mites, and lint that can fill your air) in a mesh of fibers. You can call on the indoor air quality specialists at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning if you are interested in installing air filtration in Avon, OH for your home. Our technicians will see that you receive the best filter type to match your HVAC system and remove the airborne particles that are affecting your home.

But doesn’t my air conditioner/heater already have an air filter?

Well, it should. (If it doesn’t, give us a call right away and we will help fix that.) This filter is an important part of the operating of an AC and a forced-air heater such as a furnace. The filter is part of the return air vents that bring air from the rooms of the house into the HVAC system where it is heated or cooled. The filter prevents contamination from the inside of the house from entering and damaging the components of the air conditioner and/or heater. This filter needs to have regular changing or cleaning to make sure that it doesn’t clog up the airflow into the HVAC system and lead to inefficient performance.

This filter isn’t enough to clean the air you breathe

The air filter for an air conditioner and heater is not designed to remove airborne contaminants from the air moving around your home. It does some good, but not enough. If you are experiencing low quality air right now, chances are high that your HVAC system has an air filter in it—and it clearly isn’t taking care of the job.

The air filters that will keep contaminating particles from polluting your air are specifically designed with your health and comfort in mind. If matched correctly to your HVAC system and installed by professionals, they can remove more than 99% of the unwanted particles attempting to move through them without negatively affecting the airflow from the system.

Our team at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning is dedicated to finding the right air filtration systems for our customers. If you want excellent air filtration in Avon, OH, give us a call.

Should My Heat Pump’s Outdoor Unit Run during Cold Weather?

March 4th, 2015

A heat pump is both a cold weather and warm weather indoor comfort system. During cool temperatures, a heat pump draws ambient warmth from the outside air using refrigerant and then moves it indoors. During warm temperatures, it removes the heat in the air from the indoors and shifts it outdoors. If a heat pump is well-matched to a home and receives professional installation and regular maintenance, it should keep a house at the right temperature no matter the weather outside.

For excellent installation, repairs, and regular maintenance for a heat pump in Westlake, OH that will provide your family with comfort all through the year, always look to the experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning.

HVAC technicians sometimes receive calls from new heat pump owners regarding what seems like a malfunction: the outdoor cabinet running during cold weather. If a homeowner has only used a standard air conditioner before, this may seem like odd behavior from the system. After all, an air conditioner isn’t supposed to run during cold weather, and if the outdoor cabinet starts running, it means there is something wrong.

However, a heat pump’s outdoor unit is supposed to operate during cold weather. Although a heat pump resembles an air conditioner in many ways, it has the important difference of being able to change the direction it circulates refrigerant, which causes the indoor and outdoor coils to swap functions. During cold weather, the heat pump’s compressor (which is housed in the outdoor unit) will still run in order to place the refrigerant under high pressure and high heat. The fans in the outdoor unit must also run in order to draw the outside air across the coils where the refrigerant absorbs its heat through evaporation and then takes it indoors. You should expect to hear the components in the outdoor cabinet working whenever you switch your heat pump over to heating mode: if you don’t, then something is definitely wrong.

Nonetheless, you should stay vigilant when it comes to the sounds your heat pump makes while it operates. Always call for repair technicians when you hear clanging, banging, clicking, or hissing noises from either cabinet. And if the outside unit of your heat pump is running, but you aren’t receiving heat, you should also call for technicians right away to investigate the problem.

No matter what your concern is regarding your heat pump’s operation, you can trust to the experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning to take care of it. When it comes to servicing a heat pump in Westlake, OH, we are the people to call.

When Furnace Replacement Is Your Best Option for Heating

February 25th, 2015

If you have an older furnace providing your home with heating in Rocky River, OH, you may have wondered at what point you should have it replaced. You don’t want to spend the money to replace a heater if it can still provide you with more years of efficient and effective heat. On the other hand, you shouldn’t continue to spend money to repair a heating system on the decline that will cost more and more each year to run—and which may even become unsafe. At a certain point, you need to know when to stop with furnace repairs and instead have a new furnace put in.

The best way to determine if you should replace your aging furnace is to call the heating experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. Our technicians will analyze your furnace and give you honest answers about the best path to take. Whether furnace replacement or continued repairs are the answer, you can trust to our trained staff to deliver whatever work you need.

Here are some guidelines to get you started thinking about when furnace replacement is the right choice:

Your furnace’s age

The first factor you should use as a basis for judging if it is time to replace a furnace is how old the system is. Each furnace has a manufacturer’s estimated lifespan, and if your furnace is at or above it, then you should give serious consideration to replacing it.

Heating bills

Are your heating bills continually climbing, no matter how many repairs you have done on the furnace? Then you probably have an inefficient system. Replacing a furnace that is wasting money each month is a much more cost effective option than simply letting it rattle on until it breaks down entirely.

Repair costs

At what point are repairs for heating system too costly? A good benchmark is that if any single repair for your furnace would cost half the price of replacing it, then you should opt for the replacement. If you spend more than $500 per year on repairs to keep the furnace running, then you should also have it replaced.

Loud operation

Is your furnace simply much noisier than it was in the past? This is often a sign that the components have worn down so much that you should have it retired sooner rather than later.

Before you make any decision regarding your home’s furnace, call on the Rocky River, OH heating professionals at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. We handle numerous services for furnaces, including repairs and replacements. If you need a replacement furnace, our team will take care of the job of seeing that you have the best new unit to take the place of the old one.

Why Radiant Heating Is Good for Allergy Sufferers

February 16th, 2015

One of the (few) benefits of winter is the end of allergies – but not for everyone. If you are someone who suffers from dust or pet dander allergies, controlling your allergies is a year-round challenge. Forced air heating systems can aggravate indoor allergies throughout the winter season, so if you are in the market for a new heating system, you may want to consider the benefits of radiant heat for your Bay Village home.

How Does Radiant Heat Work?

There are two types of radiant heating systems, and either one is a good choice for allergy sufferers. The two types are electric and hydronic, and choosing one option or the other will depend largely on your preferences. Electric radiant heating uses cables or cables in an electrically-conductive mat to generate heat; the cables or matting can be mounted directly to subflooring or set in cement to create a radiant slab. Hydronic radiant heating uses a boiler to create the hot water or steam, and flexible PEX tubing is installed directly onto subflooring or set in cement. Once the water or steam is at the correct temperature, it flows through the PEX tubing and heats.

Why It’s Good for Allergy Sufferers

The main problem with forced air systems is that they blow air around a space, which swirls dust around your living spaces. Even if you vacuum and dust regularly you can’t remove every speck of dust in your home, and each time a forced air system turns on, it kicks up any dust in your home. Additionally, if there is dust in your ductwork, it will be delivered directly to your living spaces and right to the allergy sufferers in your home.

Additional Reasons to Consider Radiant Heating

There are some other reasons to consider radiant heating for your home:

  • Comfortable, gentle heating – the nature of radiant heating is far gentler than forced air, resulting in a comfortable kind of heat.
  • More even heating – because forced air is somewhat blasted into your home, the feel can be uneven; this is not something that happens with radiant heating.
  • Easily zoned – because of the layout and structure of a radiant heating system, it is easier to create zones, which allows you to customize your home’s heating.

If you have allergy sufferers and need a new heating system, radiant heat may be the way to go. Call the experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment for our radiant heating service.

Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at Westland Heating & Air Conditioning hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.