Why Pool Heater Maintenance Is Necessary

December 10th, 2014

When you installed a heater in your swimming pool, you expected it to provide you with year-round fun and comfort for many years to come. But without proper maintenance, you may notice reduced heating, poor efficiency, or other sudden repair needs right when you wanted to use your swimming pool the most. At Westland Heating and Air Conditioning, we recommend scheduling maintenance every year for pool heaters in Bay Village, as they must remain tough in order to keep up with the sometimes harsh winter climate.

Can I Perform Maintenance on My Own?

There are a few things you can do on your own to maintain your pool heater. For example, purchasing a pool cover and utilizing it whenever you are not planning on using your pool can reduce up to 50% of standard heat loss. This means your pool heater won’t have to work quite as hard, which lets you pay less on your energy bills. Furthermore, the parts won’t wear down quite as quickly. You can also reduce some heat loss if you put up a cabana or a fence to eliminate some of the chill that may be caused by incoming wind.

You can ask a technician what the most efficient thermostat setting is for your model of heater. Many modern thermostats contain an efficiency setting or comfort setting that can help keep your pool at a reasonable temperature and prevent overheating or excessive energy use. If this is not the case with your unit, keep yours set at around 70 degrees when the pool will not be in use for several days, or turn it off if you’ll be gone for a couple of weeks (as long as freezing weather is not in the forecast).

But no matter what steps you take to keep your pool heater maintained on your own, annual professional maintenance is still a necessity. This is because pool heaters contain many mechanical parts that must be inspected, cleaned, and fine-tuned to ensure maximum efficiency and as little wear and tear as possible. Professional maintenance can help you to save on your utilities and possibly keep your unit free of repairs.

Call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning to contact professionals with experience in maintaining, installing, or repairing pool heaters in Bay Village. We follow the safest procedures to make sure you can enjoy your swimming pool throughout the year.

Can I Install a Pool Heater on My Own?

December 3rd, 2014

If you own a pool in Bay Village, OH, you may have gotten used to the fact that you might not be able to use it in the cooler months. But you put a lot of money into that pool when you installed it or bought your home; wouldn’t it be nice if you could take advantage of your pool heater year round?

These days, pool heaters are far more efficient than they once were, requiring as little energy to run as possible thanks to advancements in technology. This means you can make good use of your swimming pool throughout the year, get a little more exercise, and have way more fun with your family and friends. Of course, you’ll have to make a bit of an investment when you purchase your pool heater, but for many homeowners the extra months of enjoyment are worth it. If you’re looking to cut costs, you may wonder whether it’s possible to install your new pool heater on your own. Unfortunately, depending upon your level of expertise, this isn’t often possible. Let’s take a quick look at why.

Installing a pool heater is not as simple as draining the pool, drilling a few holes, and switching on the unit. Most pool heaters actually have two parts: the heating element that goes into the pool and the outside unit. Besides being large and complex, this outside unit actually takes a lot of work and heavy equipment to install. Most of the time, you’ll have to mount this outdoor unit on a concrete slab, and professionals have the right equipment and expertise to make sure this installation goes smoothly.

Besides, if you install your swimming pool heat pump or gas heater improperly, the consequences can be disastrous. You may simply never get enough heat in your pool, or you can run into frequent repair needs. You may spend a lot of money on unnecessary heating costs for an oversized heater, or you could even end up with some safety issues from an improper electrical hookup. And if you’re dealing with a gas-powered heater, a gas line should always be handled by an expert.

Installing pool heaters in Bay Village is much simpler when you contact the experienced technicians at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. Give us a call today!

10 Facts You Should Know about Thanksgiving

November 26th, 2014

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as an official holiday in the United States for over 150 years, so you may think you understand all there is to know about this family feast. Most of us have heard the story of the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621 after arriving in North America on the Mayflower. But did you know that only about half of the people on this ship were actually pilgrims? This fact is one of ten things that may actually surprise you about the Thanksgiving tradition!

  1. Although we often consider Thanksgiving a holiday unique to the United States, many other countries and cultures celebrate their own set of harvest-time and thanksgiving traditions. In Korea, Chu-Sok (or “fall evening”) is put on in remembrance of forefathers on August 15th of every year. Brazil celebrates a contemporary version of the U.S. holiday. Chinese, Roman, and Jewish cultures all have a history of harvest celebrations as well.
  2. President Harry S. Truman began the tradition of a ceremony held before Thanksgiving during which the president receives a turkey. George H.W. Bush was the first to pardon the turkey instead of eating it.
  3. In Minnesota alone, farmers raise over 40 million turkeys a year. In fact, U.S. farmers produce about one turkey for every one person in the country.
  4. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American will gain about one to two pounds every year during the holiday season.
  5. On the other hand, turkey is naturally high in protein and has been known to support and boost immune systems to protect against illness and speed up healing. So feast on!
  6. Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863, but a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale can be credited with the idea. While Thanksgiving had been celebrated at different times of year in many areas of the U.S. for years, it was Hale, prominent magazine editor and author of the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who urged Lincoln to finally establish the national event.
  7. President Franklin D Roosevelt once tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday of the month in order to extend the holiday shopping season and boost the economy.
  8. Only about half of the people on the Mayflower were what we would consider today as “Pilgrims.” The other (approximately) 50 people were simply trying to find a way over to the New World.
  9. Gobble, gobble! Click, click? While male turkeys make a gobbling noise, females (hens) do not; it’s often described as a clicking.
  10. Even though we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, the month of June has been declared National Turkey Lovers’ Month by the National Turkey Federation so you can continue the celebration in the summer as well!

From our family here at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning, we’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Some Benefits of Radiant Heating to Consider

November 19th, 2014

Radiant heating can conjure images of bare feet on warm floors, and this wouldn’t be incorrect. But there are a few options to choose from when it comes to radiant heating, including radiant panels for your walls and ceilings. While DIY shows make radiant heating installation look pretty easy, it takes skill and experience to install a radiant heating system. This is one of the reasons why it is important to hire trained professionals for quality heating installation service in Rocky River, OH. Westland Heating and Air Conditioning technicians have the training and expertise to install any heating system, including radiant systems, so call us today!

Types of Radiant Heating

Electric Radiant Floor Heating

Electric radiant floor heating uses electrified cables to generate heat for your home. These cables can be installed via a “wet” installation in which the cables are placed in wet cement to create a radiant slab when the cement hardens; the cables can also be laid directly onto subflooring in a specific pattern; or an electrically-conductive plastic mat embedded with electric cables can be installed onto subflooring. One type of installation isn’t better than another; choosing the method will depend more on your needs and preferences.

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating

With hydronic radiant floor heating, hot water or steam is used to heat your home. Durable PEX tubing is installed onto subflooring and a boiler heats the water; once the water or steam reaches the correct temperature, the steam or water flows through the tubing and heats your home.

Radiant Panels

As mentioned above, radiant panels can heat both walls and ceilings. Electricity or hot water can be used with radiant panels, but electricity is preferred. Radiant panels heat quickly but also have low heat capacity.

Benefits of Radiant Heating

Here are some of the benefits radiant heating has to offer:

  • Good for allergy sufferers – there is no circulating dust with a radiant system as there can be with a forced air system, which can be particularly helpful for allergy sufferers.
  • Comfortable heating – the heat generated by a radiant system is gentle and gradual, which many people find more comfortable than forced air.
  • Easy to zone – it is very easy to zone radiant heating, giving you the ability to customize your comfort.

Radiant heating has become popular with homeowners, and for good reasons. If you think a radiant heating system may be right for you, call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning today to schedule an appointment!

Are There Any Furnace Repairs I Can Do on My Own?

November 12th, 2014

Doing home repairs yourself can seem like a good idea, but the truth is that, unless you are an expert at a chosen task, you may do more harm than good. Case in point: furnace repairs. Furnaces are complex combustion systems that are not for novices to work on. Choosing to repair your own furnace in Westlake may actually make your problems worse and potentially compromise your safety – two things that are definitely not worth risking. But there are other reasons to consider hiring an expert from Westland Heating and Air Conditioning to repair your furnace system.

  • Specialized tools – there are a few reasons why a trained technician arrives with a company van; one of these reasons is because all of the tools he/she needs are inside it. There are a number of specialized tools needed to work on heating systems, and unless you have all of them, as a technician will, it may be challenging to correctly repair your furnace.
  • Time is money – trained professionals do repair work every day. As such, they are both effective and fast at what they do. A trained professional doesn’t have to figure out things every step of the way – he/she knows the layout of the furnace and what to look for – do you?
  • Mistakes cost money – furnaces are complex systems with many components. Making a mistake with one can lead to a variety of problems that you may not be able to fix. As a homeowner, you have to weigh your ability to truly fix something against the possibility that you could make it worse and potentially more expensive to repair.
  • You may find bigger problems – it isn’t unusual to find other, more serious problems once you start investigating the initial problem. Do you have the expertise to correctly repair the other problem(s) you are discovering?

DIY is a nice idea – for those with the knowledge and expertise to truly perform repairs as needed. For most people, the best decision is to hire a trained professional. If you experience problems with your furnace in Westlake, call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning and schedule a service appointment with one of our specialists.

Heat Pump Repairs: The Reversing Valve

November 5th, 2014

Heat pumps are becoming more and more popular in many parts of the U.S. and for good reason. They’re an incredibly efficient heating option, providing just as much heat as a combustion system while avoiding some of the drawbacks. Like all heating systems, though, heat pumps can develop some unique repair needs over time. One of the most prominent of these is the broken reversing valve. Let’s examine what the reversing valve is, and why repairing it is of such a high priority.

What is the Reversing Valve?

As you probably know, heat pumps are capable of both heating and cooling functions. This is accomplished by reversing the flow of refrigerant between the interior and exterior units. In most forced air systems, the refrigerant flows only in one direction. One unit is the evaporator, while the other is the compressor. In a heat pump, the two units switch these functions depending on the mode selected. The reversing valve is what makes this possible.

The reversing valve is a four-way junction between the intake, exhaust, compressor, and evaporator lines. A slide in the valve determines the direction the refrigerant flows. This slide is attached to a solenoid, an electromagnetic coil, which pulls the slide to one side or the other.

What Causes the Reversing Valve to Break

There are usually only two possibilities when a reversing valve stops working. The first possibility is that the slide in the valve is stuck. This prevents it from directing the refrigerant properly, leaving the heat pump stuck in heating or cooling mode. The other possibility is that the solenoid is broken and/or has lost its magnetic charge. If this is the case, the solenoid will be unable to pull the slide back and forth through the valve. The effect is the same, regardless: the heat pump becomes stuck. If you turn on your heating system and it only blows cold air, the reversing valve might be the reason.

If you’re having problems with your heat pump, call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning to schedule an appointment with us. Our professional heating repair service covers the entire Avon area.

How a Boiler Heats Your Home

October 29th, 2014

Boilers were the first whole-home heating systems, so they’ve been around for a long time. They are more reliable, durable and energy efficient today than ever before, and can be used with several kinds of heat distribution outlets. If you are interested in a boiler in Avon Lake, call the people who have been installing boilers for over 25 years: Westland Heating and Air Conditioning.

How a Boiler Works

Boilers are part of a hydronic heating system, which is a system that uses hot water or steam from hot water to heat your home. The two main types of fuels used with a boiler are natural gas and oil, but propane or solid fuels can also be used. The water in the boiler is held in a vessel and is heated to a temperature of 180 degrees. If the boiler is a steam boiler, the steam is captured in a small dome that sits on top of the vessel; the steam is then distributed throughout a piping system. If the boiler heats via hot water, the water is pushed through the piping via circulating pumps. There are two ways water is heated:

  • Firetube – metal tubes are submerged in the water tank and the hot gases from the burner are directed into the tubes, where they heat the water.
  • Watertube – water inside metal tubing is heated from the outside by the flames of the burner.

Distribution Outlets

There are a few heat distribution outlets that can be used with a boiler:

  • Radiators
  • Baseboard heaters
  • Hydronic floor heating

Benefits of a Boiler System

  • Comfortable heating –boiler systems heat homes gradually, which can be more comfortable and consistent than forced hot air.
  • Good energy efficiency – the average energy efficiency of today’s boilers is 89%, and can go as high as 95%.
  • No swirling dust – boilers are a closed heating system, so there is no need to worry about swirling dust, as there can be with forced air systems. This can be particularly helpful for allergy sufferers.

Installing a boiler in Avon Lake can be a great heating option for your home, but it’s important to hire professionals for installation. Call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation specialists.

Why Low Humidity Can Be a Problem for Your Home

October 22nd, 2014

Low humidity can cause problems for you and your HVAC system. When the air inside your home is too dry, your home can sustain damage and your health can be compromised. One of the best ways to battle dry air is by installing a whole-home humidifier in Bay Village. With a home humidifier, moisture is added to your air seamlessly so each room can maintain a healthy moisture level. Professional installation is recommended for any upgrade you make to your HVAC system, so if you are ready to move ahead with an upgrade to your system, call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning today.

Problems Caused by Low Humidity

Here are some problems that can be caused by low humidity:

  • Damage to wood products – when the air in your home is too dry, anything made of wood, including flooring and furniture, can shrink and splinter.
  • Peeling paint and wallpaper – just as wood can dry, so can paint and wallpaper, causing peeling.
  • Increase energy usage in winter – humidity holds heat. When the air in your home is too dry, it won’t feel as warm as it should, which can cause you to raise your thermostat setting. According to the EPA, every degree you can lower your thermostat during winter can save you up to 4% on your monthly energy bills.
  • Health problems – dry air affects your physical health in a few ways. First, it can dry your mucous membranes, which can lead to bloody noses and sore throats. Second, too dry air can exacerbate allergic and asthmatic reactions. Third, dry air can make you more susceptible to illness.

Whole-home humidifiers help ensure that your indoor air doesn’t become too saturated by continually monitoring the moisture in the air.

If you are worried about dry air indoor air this coming winter, a whole-home humidifier in Bay Village may be the perfect option for you. Call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning today and schedule an estimate with one of our indoor air quality specialists.

Why an Oversized Furnace Is Trouble

October 15th, 2014

Bigger is not better when it comes to your heating installation in Westlake. In fact, installing a heating system that is too big for your home can cause multiple problems. Several factors must be considered to complete a proper heat load calculation, far more than just square footage, which is one of the many reasons it’s important to work with trained professionals when you need to install a new heating system. For over 25 years, Westland Heating and Air Conditioning has provided all kinds of heating services for our customers, and our technicians have the experience and training to ensure that you install a heating system that fits perfectly in your home.

Heating Load Calculation

As we discussed above, a number of factors need to be a part of your home’s heating load calculation:

  • Orientation
  • Daytime heat gain
  • Insulation levels
  • Types and number of windows and doors
  • Floor plan
  • Number of stories
  • Number of rooms
  • Number of occupants
  • Square footage

Without taking all these factors into consideration, you could easily miscalculate your home’s heating load and install a system that isn’t correctly sized.

Problems with an Oversized Furnace

The main problem with a system that is too big for your home is that the system will heat your home so fast it won’t be able to complete the full heating cycle. This can have several effects:

  • You’ll be uncomfortable – your home will heat up too quickly and potentially become too hot too fast; this can create discomfort.
  • Your system will short-cycle – short-cycling occurs when your heating system cycles on and off too much and too quickly. This can cause excessive wear-and-tear and prematurely age the components.
  • Your energy bills may go up – the constant on/off of short cycling uses more energy, especially at start-up; additionally, the extra operation will eat up energy quickly.

As we stated above, one of the best ways to ensure you install a heating system that properly fits your home is to work with a specialist. If you are ready for a new heating installation in Westlake, call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning today.

What MERV Means and Why It’s Important

October 8th, 2014

Your indoor comfort isn’t just about temperature; it’s also about the quality of the air you breathe. If you are experiencing issues with your indoor air quality, you can improve it with the addition of an air filtration system in Avon. Your HVAC system comes with a standard air filter, but the job of this filter isn’t to improve your indoor air; rather, this filter’s job is to trap dirt and dust before it can enter the various parts of your HVAC system. To find an air filter that will help you improve your indoor air quality, one of the first things you want to do is review its MERV rating. We’ll explain more about MERV below, but remember that for any upgrade to your HVAC system, be sure to call the people you can trust: Westland Heating and Air Conditioning.

What Is MERV?

MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value, and it is a scale that represents how effectively a particular air filter will operate. The scale ranges from 1 to 20, with 1 being the lowest. As an example, the standard filter that comes with your HVAC system usually has a MERV rating somewhere between 1-4. Here is an overview of MERV ranges and the particles that can be filtered within a specific range:

  • MERV 1-4 – large particles of dust and dirt (over 10 micrometers), fibers and large particles of pollen
  • MERV 5-8 – pollen, some mold spores, dust mites, pet dander,
  • MERV 9-12 – very fine dust and dirt particles, smaller allergen particles
  • MERV 13-16 – bacteria, droplet nuclei from sneezing, most smoke, some viral contaminants
  • MERV 17-20 – this is HEPA level, which can effectively trap over 99% of contaminants, including most biological contaminants (but not all)

The best MERV range for a home air filter is 5-12; air filter with MERV ratings higher than this can seriously restrict the air flow in your system, and cause mechanical problems. The best way to ensure you get the correct air filter for your home is  to consult with a specialist.

An air filtration system in Avon can give you the indoor air quality you want and need, but to ensure you are installing the correct type of air filter, it’s always best to work with a trained specialist. Call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment with one of our indoor air quality specialists.