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.

Why a Boiler Might Be Your Best Choice for Home Heating

October 1st, 2014

There are a lot choices for home heating these days, but not all will be a good fit for your home. Before choosing a heating system, it’s important to understand the basics of each system and what a system can offer you and your home. One option to consider is a boiler. Boilers have been around for many years, and today’s boilers in Rocky River offer the same reliable heating they have always been known for, plus the efficiency you expect from a new heating system. With professional installation from a trained and certified Westland Heating and Air Conditioning technician, you can be assured that your system will be installed correctly and efficiently.

How Does a Boiler Work?

A boiler is part of a hydronic system – a heating system in which heated water warms your home. Boilers need fuel to work, and the most common types of fuels used are gas and oil, although solid fuels can also be used. When your thermostat senses the temperature has gone below the set point, it sends a signal to the boiler, and the ignition process starts. Once the flame is lit, the water in the tank is heated to a specific degree, then released and pumped through the piping system (the same goes for steam). Distribution outlets for the heated water can be radiators, baseboard heating or hydronic floor heating systems. When the water cools, it returns to the boiler tank to be re-heated in the next cycle.

What Are the Benefits of a Boiler System?

There are several benefits worth considering when it comes to installing a boiler for your home heating:

  • Lack of dust – a boiler system does not circulate air; as such, there is no dust buildup in the system and dust doesn’t circulate around your home the way it can with a forced air system. This can be particularly important for allergy sufferers.
  • Quiet operation – except for the tick of the thermostat and the heating of the water, the operation of a boiler is very quiet.
  • Easy to establish zones – because of the piping system used to distribute the hot water, it can be very easy to establish heating zones.

Boilers are very reliable systems and can last for many years. Have questions about installing a boiler in Rocky River? Call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts.

Is a Heat Pump a Good Replacement for a Furnace?

September 24th, 2014

When it’s finally time to replace your old furnace, you may be curious about some alternative heating options for your home. Heat pumps, like furnaces, rely on ductwork to distribute warm air to the home. However, heat pumps have one key energy-saving difference; unlike furnaces, they don’t actually generate any heat. But will a heat pump be a good investment for your home, or should you stick with a furnace?

The answer, of course, depends on your home and your preferences. Sometimes, a heat pump is the best option for you, even if your neighbors may feel they are better off with a gas furnace. Both systems have their advantages and drawbacks. But if you’re looking into heat pumps as a heating option for the first time, you may be curious about some of their unique features. Let’s have a look:

  • High Efficiency: Heat pumps are very efficient systems because they don’t generate heat like furnaces do; they only move it from place to place. Heat pumps have their own rating system for heating efficiency, the HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor), and a technician can help you find a heat pump with a high HSPF that is also sized accurately for your home, for maximum performance and efficiency.
  • Heating and Cooling: Many people choose to install heat pumps because they are efficient for both heating and cooling. Heat pumps work using a refrigeration cycle just like other central air conditioners. Like traditional air conditioners, heat pumps use refrigerant move heat from the inside to the outdoors. The key difference is that heat pumps can also move heat from the outdoors to the inside in the cooling season.

However, these advantages may not make a difference for every home. If you are replacing a furnace, but your air conditioning system still works perfectly fine, you may not choose to replace both with a heat pump. And while heat pumps are an efficient source of heat, your technician may still recommend a supplementary heating source for extreme temperatures. Furthermore, the cost of operation varies from town to town. You’ll have to consider the cost of electricity versus the cost of gas in your area to decide if running a heat pump will save you enough money over time. However, some people may be more worried about environmental concerns than the cost of operation.

Every home will have different needs when it comes to choosing a new heating system. To talk to a professional technician about heat pump installation or replacement in Bay Village, call one of our friendly experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning today!

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.