Isn’t the Air Filter in My HVAC System Enough to Clean the Air?

September 17th, 2014

Your air conditioner comes with a standard air filter, but its job isn’t to improve your indoor air; rather, it is there to reduce the amount of dirt and dust in your system. To improve your indoor air quality, you’ll want to consider installing a whole-home air filtration system in your Westlake home. There are several types of air filters you can add to your HVAC system, and choosing one depends on your needs. To gain the benefits of any upgrade to your HVAC system, it’s important to schedule a professional installation. Westland Heating and Air Conditioning has the indoor air quality products and trained technicians to help you improve the comfort of your home, so call us today.

Types of Air Filters

There are two main types of whole-home air filters:

  • Mechanical
  • Electronic

Mechanical Air Filters

Mechanical air filters are very commonly used with HVAC systems; in fact, the standard air filter that comes with your system is a mechanical filter, but as mentioned above, it is not designed to filter the air. Mechanical filters are square-framed and have filter media inside that traps particles. The kind of particles a filter can trap depends on the material used and how tightly together the material is woven. The best way to determine how effective a particular mechanical filter will be is to check its MERV rating. Mechanical filters should be changed every 3 months to remain effective.

Electronic Air Filters

There are two types of electronic air filters:

  • Ion Generators
  • Electronic Precipitators

Both use electricity to capture particles, but each does this a little differently. An ion generator disperses negative ions into the air that attach themselves to particles; the ions are attracted to the surfaces in your home, like walls, counter tops and tables, and attach to them with the particles. When these surfaces are cleaned, the particles are also removed.

Electronic precipitators do a similar thing, but they are built differently. Rather than dispersing ions into the air, they draw particles inside it and into an area known as an ionization section. In the ionization section, these particles are charged; these newly-charged particles are then moved to an area in the precipitator where there are oppositely-charged metal ion plates. The charged particles are attracted to the ion plates, and are captured there. The plates need to be cleaned approximately every 3 months to remain effective.

Adding an air filtration system to your Westlake property can greatly improve your indoor air quality. If you are concerned about the quality of your indoor air, call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning and schedule an appointment.

When Is a Standard Tank Water Heater a Better Option Than Tankless?

September 10th, 2014

When you need a new water heater, you want to choose the option that’s best for your home. There’s a lot of talk about the efficiency of tankless water heaters, but are these always the right choice? Despite the high efficiency of tankless systems, standard storage tank water heaters remain the most popular units found in homes today. This is because every home has different needs, and efficiency is not the highest concern for every homeowner.

Storage tank water heaters are sometimes critiqued for their energy usage. Water is stored in a 20 to 80 gallon tank and heated by a gas burner or electric heating element, so that hot water is available for use at any time. This means you are paying to heat water that may not be used for quite some time. Tankless water heaters are a solution to this problem, as they only heat water on demand. As soon as a hot water tap is turned on, water flows past a heating element that heats it immediately. As soon as the tap is turned off, the unit shuts down.

While tankless units are more efficient than storage tank heaters, they are considerably more costly. A tankless water heater will save you money every month, but it will take years to offset the initial cost. And sometimes, the cost of installation is just a more important factor. Tankless water heaters also run into problems when multiple people need hot water at a time, so you may even need to install 2 or 3 tankless units.

Another reason to install a storage tank water heater is if you haven’t had problems in the past. Are you replacing an older storage tank system? If your previous unit worked well, you probably won’t run into many problems with a new one either. Sometimes, storage tank water heaters have a problem heating water as quickly as it refills. But if this has never been much of a problem for you before, it probably won’t be with your newer system. And, many manufacturers offer systems with greater recovery rates as an alternative to their standard systems.

When you need a new water heater in Avon, let the experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning help you decide whether a storage tank water heater is the best option for you. Give us a call today!

The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

September 1st, 2014

You may have heard about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. In the present, this tradition is usually treated as old fashioned and a joke. Few people will criticize you for wearing white articles of clothing after the first Monday in September, or even take notice of it except to wonder why it was ever a major concern at all.

Where did this tradition of white clothing going out of fashion after Labor Day come from, and why did it fade away like colorful fabric washed in a hot load in the washing machine?

In general, white makes sense for the heat of summer. Light-colored clothing reflects away the radiant heat of the sun, instead of absorbing it the way dark colors do, so for thousands of years of human history people have preferred to wear white clothing during the hotter months.

However, the idea of white as strictly fashionable during the summer season only emerged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the time when the very concept of “fashion” began to spread across the Western Hemisphere.

It was only the highest level of post-Civil War society in the U.S. that strict and often bizarre rules for fashion controlled whether someone was in with the “in” crowd. Compared to our ideas of what’s fashionable today, the Czars of Style in the 1880s were true despots. Things as trivial as sleeve length could determine whether a woman in high society—no matter her level of wealth—was fashionable or a pariah.

Wearing white during the only summer, when it was common for weddings and outdoor parties, was only of these restrictive society rules. When the U.S. government made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, the Fashion Czars gained a definite cut-off point for when wearing white was no longer “acceptable” in the upper echelons of wealthy society.

For many decades, this rule only applied to a small number of millionaire socialites in a few big cities, but in the 1950s it reached general fashion magazines that were read around the country and started to affect more people.

But time eventually broke apart this odd rule, and during the 1970s fashion became more individual. Some fashion legends, like Coco Chanel, also purposely rejected the restriction and wore white throughout the year. Today, the “no white after Labor Day rule” is little more than an amusing gag to tease friends, and almost nobody takes it seriously.

Whatever you choose to wear after Labor Day (and if it’s white, we won’t tease!), everyone here at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

The Principles of Commercial Chillers

August 27th, 2014

If your large commercial property has unique cooling needs, a commercial chiller may be the right system for your building. Commercial chillers provide excellent and efficient space conditioning throughout a large space, but they may also be used for a variety of industrial process cooling needs. This may include cooling requirements for laboratory equipment, hospital equipment, or factory machinery. There exist many different types of chillers that can be used for a range of purposes, so it will be difficult to select the right type on your own. To choose the correct kind of chiller for your building in Avon Lake, you’ll want to talk to the experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. For now, let’s take a brief look at how these systems operate and how you should maintain your unit.

How Chillers Work

Chillers rely on a vapor-compression cycle to remove heat. A liquid is chilled as it continuously cycles through the system. While this liquid is usually purely water, water may be combined with glycol or propylene as well. First, the water absorbs heat at the evaporator. Then, the compressor allows water to release heat into the outside air. In most commercial applications in the U.S., a type of mechanical compressor is used, in which the refrigeration process lowers the temperature, but other chillers may rely on air cooling or water cooling to remove heat. In any case, chilled water is stored in a reservoir and a pump circulates water to the building or to the area requiring cooling. The liquid is then pumped back to the evaporator to begin the process again.

Chiller Maintenance

Cooling a large space uses a lot of energy, so it’s important to keep your system efficient by scheduling regular maintenance for your chiller and calling a technician at the very first sign of a problem. Listen for strange noises, check for leaks, pay attention to temperature settings, and call a professional technician twice a year for a professional cleaning and inspection.

Call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning for more information about chillers in Avon Lake. We install all kinds of chillers and offer professional installation, maintenance, and repairs.

Ways to Keep Your Air Conditioning Bills Down

August 20th, 2014

Your air conditioner works hard to cool down your entire home, so it’s no wonder the AC consumes a lot of energy. But by the end of summer, many homeowners will try anything they can to save a little bit on cooling costs. Of course, you can save money by shutting off your air conditioner. But on a hot day, isn’t there some other way to beat the heat and keep costs low? Here at Westland, we want to help you save some money, so we’ve put together a guide to a few of the ways you can lower your air conditioning bills.

Change or Replace Air Filters

The filter in your air conditioner helps improve the air quality in your home. Most manufacturers recommend replacing or cleaning the air filter once a month, but this isn’t only to keep the air clean. A clogged air filter can significantly decrease the efficiency of your air conditioner, reducing the fan’s ability to suck in the air from your home in order to remove heat.

Keep Outside Unit Free of Debris

The outside portion of your air conditioner contains a large fan that sucks in the outside air to help refrigerant with the condensation process and help heat to dissipate into the air. If clutter or vegetation blocks the outdoor unit in any way, it may become impaired or unable to complete the refrigeration process effectively and efficiently. Clear away large debris from the unit and listen for unusual noises, such as a banging noise, that may indicate debris is stuck in the unit. Call for repairs at the first sign of damage.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

One of the most beneficial things you can do for your air conditioning system is scheduling regular maintenance with an air conditioning technician. Maintenance is an important service in which a technician inspects, cleans and adjusts various parts of your system. It’s important to catch repair needs early on to prevent the possibility of sudden breakdowns and to lessen the impact of wear and tear on your system.

If you need air conditioning services in Bay Village, you can count on the technicians at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. Call us today!

How Heat Pump Repair Differs from Air Conditioning Repair

August 15th, 2014

There’s a lot of confusion about how heat pumps differ from air conditioning systems. The truth is that a heat pump in cooling mode is an air conditioner. The main difference is that a heat pump can also heat, due to its reversing valve. So, when it comes to heat pump repair versus air conditioning repair in Avon, there are only a couple of key differences between the two. For over 25 years, Westland Heating and Air Conditioning has helped customers with both heat pump and air conditioner repair, and we can help you, too.

Differences Between Heat Pumps and ACs

The best way to answer the question about repair differences is to first look at the comparative components of a heat pump and an air conditioning system. Both have a compressor, a condenser and an evaporator. Both use fans and refrigerant. The main difference, as mentioned above, is that a heat pump has a component called a reversing valve that allows the heat pump to both cool and heat by reversing the flow of refrigerant; a second difference is that a heat pump’s mode of operation is reverse refrigeration, whereas an air conditioner’s is a vapor compression cycle.

Heat Pump Reversing Valve

The reversing valve resides inside the heat pump. The valve is attached to a small solenoid that supplies low-voltage electricity to it that is necessary for making the switch between heating and cooling. Common problems that can occur with the valve are:

  • The valve gets stuck
  • The solenoid goes bad
  • A refrigerant leak develops in the valve

Sometimes a stuck valve can be repaired, but sometimes it needs to be replaced. A solenoid can be repaired, rather than replacement, unless the solenoid is no longer available. Refrigerant leaks can be repaired, and should be repaired by a trained professional.

Year-Round Operation of Heat Pump

Air conditioners run only during the warm months of the year, whereas a heat pump will run year-round. As such, normal wear-and-tear for heat pumps is higher, so there is more likely to be a need for repairs on a heat pump versus an air conditioner. Additionally, it is important to keep up with bi-annual maintenance on heat pumps due to the year-round operation.

Use a Professional for Both

Whether you need heat pump or air conditioning repair in Avon, it’s important to always use a trained professional. Call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment with one of our trained technicians.

What Size Pool Heater Do I Need?

August 8th, 2014

A quality pool heater, properly sized, is essential if you want to receive the most use from your home’s pool. You can enjoy your pool during more months of the year outside of summer thanks to an effective pool heater keeping the water warm and pleasurable. If you have a pool, or are planning to construct one, you should arrange for installation of a pool heater.

However, a heater that’s the wrong size for a pool will cause problems. How can you know the correct size of heater? The easiest way is to contact professional installers, like those at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ve had extensive experience with sizing and installing pool heaters in Westlake, OH during the more the 25 years we have been in business. Call us today to set up an appointment for finding the right pool heater for your comfort. We will handle installation and the necessary maintenance as well.

Determining Pool Heater Size

Although you should leave the actual job of sizing a pool heater to trained professionals, we can give you a quick tour through the factors used in finding out the right size of heater.

One of the first things to know about sizing a pool heater is that water volume isn’t the essential aspect of determining how powerful the heater should be. A pool heater takes on the job of replacing the heat that the pool loses across its surface, so surface area is the most important specification to know about a pool.

The installers first take the average pool temperature you wish for comfort. They then determine the average temperature of the coldest month when you plan to use the pool, and subtract this temperature from the target temperature. This number is the temperature increase at its greatest that the pool needs.

Next, the installers calculate the surface area of the water in the pool in square feet, and use this formula to find out how many BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour a pool heater must generate to reach the temperature increase: pool area X temperature increase X 12. The last multiplier is based on average heat loss considering wind speed and the rate of outdoor temperature increase, and the installers will adjust the multiplier according to your local conditions.

With the right installers with experience sizing pool heaters in Westlake, OH on the job, you will receive a system with the right BTUs per hour to keep your pool comfortable late into the season. Westland Heating and Air Conditioning has a team to handle this job, one familiar with local weather conditions that will factor into the calculations. Make us your first call for all your home heating needs.

Pollutants That Air Filtration Will Remove

July 31st, 2014

An unfortunate side-effect of the modern energy-efficient home is that the heat sealing on the home prevents the circulation of fresh outdoor air. This results in a buildup of pollutants inside the home that cannot escape but instead continue to move about the house. Because of this, low indoor air quality has become a significant health issue in the U.S.

One of the best ways to counteract the trouble of low indoor air quality is the installation of an air filtration system into your home’s ventilation. Whether mechanical or electronic, and air filtration system will clean out the air passing through the ducts before it reaches your indoor air.

You will need air quality specialists, like those at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning, to help you choose and install the right system for your home. Air filtration in Rocky River, OH can remove many types of particles, and the installers need to know which type to target so they can install the filtration system that will do the best job. Below are some of the pollutants that pass through a ventilation system that filtration will eliminate:

  • Dust and dirt: The most common contamination is old-fashioned dirt, dust, and lint. These are the easiest to stop using filtration; standard mechanical air filters can trap particles down to 0.3 microns in size, and sometimes smaller.
  • Dander: Hair dander, especially from pets, is a major trigger for allergies. Mechanical filters easily catch these nuisances.
  • Dust mites: These tiny insects are responsible for symptoms in humans similar to asthma and allergies: red, irritated eyes; stuffy nose; sneezing and coughing. High efficiency filters like HEPA filters can stop dust mites.
  • Gaseous pollutants: Numerous kinds of gases and odor molecules can circulate through your home and cause health issues. Among the more common are carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, smoke, pesticides, and residue from cleaning products, paints, and adhesives. Mechanical filters usually will not stop gaseous pollutants, and electronic air purifiers that use ionization are a better solution.

The best way to start with cleaner air for your home is to schedule indoor air testing services. Professionals will perform a series of tests that will identify exactly what is lowering your air quality and how best to treat it. They can then install an air filtration system that will eliminate the problem.

Our indoor air quality team at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning perform air testing services and the installation of a variety of systems for air filtration in Rocky River, OH. We have NATE-certified technicians on staff who are familiar with ventilation systems and will make sure that you receive the best air filtration installation possible. Contact us for other indoor air quality services such as installing humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and UV germicidal lights.

Signs of Trouble with Rooftop Units in Bay Village

July 25th, 2014

The workhorses of the commercial HVAC world are packaged rooftop heating and cooling units. Since the earliest days of electromechanical air conditioning for businesses, these rooftop units have been the standard way to deliver comfort for a workplace. The modular nature of these systems allows for easy expansion, and because they are designed as packaged units with all the components located in one cabinet, they are convenient to repair and maintain.

If the rooftop units in your Bay Village, OH business start to show signs of malfunctions, then it’s time to call on the work of commercial repair specialists. Westland Heating and Air Conditioning handles many commercial HVAC services and has for over a quarter of a century. Place your company’s comfort in our skilled hands.

Watch for these signs of rooftop unit troubles

  • Uneven heating or cooling: It’s likely that you have more than one rooftop unit working to condition your business. If one stops working, you may at first not notice it because the others will continue to supply conditioned air from the vents. However, not all the rooms or zones of the workplace will receive the same level of heating/cooling, and you will start hearing complaints from customers and employees regarding hot and cold spots. These are early warnings that one or more of the rooftop units is encountering trouble.
  • Odd noises from the vents: One of the advantages of rooftop units is that they remove noise from the workplace. However, a malfunctioning rooftop unit can often begin to make large amounts of mechanical noise, and this can echo down through the vents. If odd noises start to disrupt your business, then you should bring in HVAC repair specialists to look into the issue.
  • Spike in utility bills: Rooftop units are durable and will often continue to produce their standard levels of heating and cooling despite having operational problems. However, they will drain far more energy to achieve their normal heating and cooling levels, and you will see this reflected on your bills. Since you keep a close watch on your company’s finances, you should quickly notice these leaps in costs. Don’t ignore them, since they will not improve over time. Instead, contact reliable repair professionals to see what work needs to be done.

To help avoid trouble from the rooftop units that keep your workplace comfortable for employees, customers, clients, and/or tenants, make sure to schedule twice-yearly maintenance visits.

Westland Heating and Air Conditioning provides comprehensive maintenance in Bay Village, OH for rooftop units, and we are available whenever you need repairs.

Which Air Filtration System Is Right for Me?

July 17th, 2014

Indoor air quality is an important part of your overall comfort. While your air conditioning system comes with a standard air filter, this filter isn’t made to improve air quality; rather, it is used to keep dust and dirt from clogging your system. The best way to improve indoor air quality is with a whole-home air filtration system that can remove problem particles from the air in your Avon Lake home. As air quality specialists for over 25 years, Westland Heating and Air Conditioning has the air filtration products you need and the expertise to install them.

Types of Air Filtration Systems

Mechanical Air Filters

Mechanical filters come in a frame and insert directly into your air conditioning system, just as the standard air filter does. However, mechanical filters are made to remove different particles in the air to improve air quality while the standard air filter is not. The two most common types of mechanical air filters are:

  • Pleated
  • Extended surface (this includes HEPA filters)

Each of these filters strain out particles in the air stream before they can reach your indoors.

Electronic Air Cleaners

Electronic air cleaners trap particles using electrostatic charges. There are two types of electronic air cleaners:

  • Electrostatic precipitators
  • Ion generators

Electrostatic precipitators use an external power source to draw your system’s air through an ionized area, then trap and collect the newly-charged particles onto oppositely-charged plates. These plates need to be cleaned approximately every 3 months to maximize performance.

An ion generator, also known as an ionizer, charges the air the same way as a precipitator, but does not have collection capability. Instead, the charged particles attached to oppositely-charged particles, and land on walls and other surfaces, where you can clean and remove them.

Which Air Filter Is Best For Me?

Choosing an air filtration system depends on your needs. Allergy sufferers will need an air filter strong enough to remove particles like pollen and some mold and mildew spores; asthma sufferers may need help with both allergens and certain types of indoor air pollution. The best way to determine which air filtration system is best for your Avon Lake home is to work with a trained specialist.

For over 25 years, Westland Heating and Air Conditioning has helped Avon Lake customers with better indoor air quality. Interested in improving yours? Call us today.