How Well Does a Heat Pump Work in the Winter?

April 11th, 2014

It’s a serious question if you’re considering installing a new HVAC system: how well does a heat pump work in the winter? The sad answer is, not as well as you might like. Heat pumps have a lot of benefits, which we’ll discuss in a moment. But when temperatures drop below 40 degrees, they lose a lot of efficiency, and here in Rocky River, heat pumps run into cold weather on a regular basis. Ohio winters are often more than a heat pump can handle, but don’t worry. With a little modification, you can still enjoy all of the benefits that a heat pump can provide.

Heat pumps operate in a manner similar to air conditioners, circulating refrigerant gas that is first transferred into a liquid and then converted back into a gas. The process generates both warm and cool air, which the heat pump can blow into your home via a fan. In the summer, cool air is the priority. In winter it’s the warm air. The heat pump can handle both and because it’s merely transferring heat instead of generating it, it uses a lot less energy than traditional furnaces do.

Unfortunately, it does much less well in the cold, and in this neck of the woods “cold” is par for the course during the winter months. In practical terms, it removes a lot of the benefits that a heat pump has. Enter the hybrid unit. This brings a smaller auxiliary furnace to bear on days when the temperature gets really chilly, helping the heat pump out and ensuring that you still have a warm and comfortable home no matter what. Because the furnace in a hybrid system is small, it still costs less than other forms of heating, saving you money without having to skimp on your ability to warm your home.

Heat pumps and other heating system services in Rocky River are offered by the experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. We know that heat pumps don’t always work as well as you’d like in the winter, and we have the solutions to make your system work as well as you could wish. Call us today to discuss your options. You’ll be glad you did!

The Principles Behind Geothermal Heating

April 4th, 2014

Geothermal heating is actually a very old concept, going back to the 14th Century. We have more modern ways of dealing with it today, of course, and here in the 21t Century, geothermal heating can be used as a viable alternative to gas furnaces for heating your home. Indeed here in, Westlake, geothermal heating makes a lot of sense, both in terms of its efficient means of warming your home and in the reduced environmental impact it makes in comparison to boilers and gas furnaces. The principles behind geothermal heating are what makes it all work.

It starts with a physical constant: once you further down than a few feet, the temperature of the earth remains constant. No matter what the temperature is like outside, it won’t impact the ground itself past the first few feet of topsoil. That constant allows the right system to facilitate a heat exchange: pulling heat from the earth or returning heat to the earth, depending upon your needs.

That’s where the geothermal heating system comes in. It buries a series of looping coils into the ground, below the frost line and well past the point where the surface temperature can affect them. It then pumps a mixture of water and antifreeze through the tubes, which facilitates the transfer with the earth: pulling in the heat and transferring it back to your home. The remainder of the system then transfers the heat from the mixture to the air, and blows it into your home via a fan or motor.

Because it doesn’t have to create any heat – merely transfer it form the ground into your home – it takes far less energy to operate than other forms of heating. And because the bulk of the system lies safely underground (and features no moving parts in those sections), it’s much less prone to breakdowns and repairs. Geothermal heating and other heating system services in Westlake is offered by the experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. We understand the principles behind geothermal heating and our staff has considerable experience with their installation and maintenance. Call us today for a consultation and we’ll help you decide on the best heating for you.

The Best Ways to Protect Your Furnace This Summer

March 28th, 2014

Spring is here, and with it, the cold temperatures that make your heater a daily necessity as slowly giving way to blue skies and warm days. That means your furnace probably won’t see much use between now and next fall. Here in Avon, furnace use will drop off considerably in the next few weeks until the time comes to put your air conditioning system on the same rigorous schedule that your furnace was once. Even though your heater is going into mothballs for a few months, however, you want it to perform at its best when you have need of it again next fall. Here’s a general guideline on the best ways to protect your furnace this summer.

It starts with a routine furnace maintenance session from a qualified technician. He or she can clean dirty parts, tighten loose components, unclog burners that may be choked with detritus and perform a thorough inspection designed to spot any potential problems that may still be in the development stages. If he or she notices one, you can then plan for a repair session at your leisure. Because you won’t be needing the heater for a time, you have a lot of flexibility and can fit the repair session into your schedule without worrying about the timing. (Contrast this with scheduling a session during the winter, when time is a factor and you need it to run ASAP.)

You can further protect your furnace by running it every few weeks during the summer, for at least 15 minutes or more, and checking for any signs of problems. (Ideally, you can do it at night when things are cooler.) Again, that gives you a jump on any lingering issues, and lets you take care of it before you have need of your heater.

If you know the best ways to protect your furnace this summer, the next step is to contact Westland Heating and Air Conditioning to help you out. Furnace maintenance and other heating system services in Avon are a regular part of our service, and we’re dedicated to your complete satisfaction at every step of the way. Give us a call today to set up an appointment.

How Does Air Filtration Make for Healthier Living?

March 21st, 2014

Most heating and air conditioning units have some kind of air filtration, whether it’s a replaceable screen, a UV light or an electronic air filter. Basic air filters usually need to be replaced every few months, while more elaborate ones can usually be installed to work in conjunction with your HVAC system. Here in Fairview Park, filtration systems can be readily installed by qualified professionals. But that doesn’t explain why you’d want to install such a system in your home. How does air filtration make for happier living? A few answers can be found below.

Air filtration screens out dust and detritus in your home, with an eye on improving your indoor air quality. Standard filters typically screen out larger particles while missing smaller ones, though you can improve on that front by installing HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Absorption) filters, which strain much smaller particles than a standard filter. Electronic filters use electromagnetism to capture a wide array of dust particles, while UV lights kill bacteria and other biological organisms. Both can be installed in your existing HVAC system in many cases.

Regardless of the level of protection, however, the presence of a clean filter elevates the quality of your indoor air. That means a reduced risk of nose and throat irritation, fewer colds and flu bugs, and relief for family members suffering from allergies. In the latter case, a high-end system can help make your home a haven from allergens, allowing asthmatic or allergy-sensitive family members some respite. Even if you don’t have those concerns, air filters help you breathe more easily and can reduce the risk of viruses and other common infections.

For more on how air filtration makes for healthier living, or to schedule an installation session, call on Westland Heating & Air Conditioning to help. Filtration systems are part of our standard coverage, and we are committed to making you happy at every step of the way. Pick up the phone and give us a call today to set up an appointment. We’ll find and install the right kind of air filter for you! And don’t forget to let us know if you have any other questions you may have about other HVAC services in Fairview Park.

Why Would I Want to Raise the Humidity Levels in My Home?

March 12th, 2014

Humidity levels in your home play as much a role in your comfort levels as the temperature itself. Simply heating or cooling the air is only one step in the process. You also need to make sure that humidity levels are neither too dry nor too moist. Here in North Olmsted, humidifier technology can be installed in your HVAC system to help when the air feels too dry. “But why would I want to raise the humidity levels in my home?” you ask. A few of the answers can be found below.

According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, humidity levels should be between 30% and 60% for most human beings to feel comfortable. (Air in the desert usually has a humidity level of between 20% and 25%.) If you heat your house on a chilly day, that number can drop to 15% or below. You can definitely feel the difference. More importantly, it can caused cracked, dry skin, chapped lips and other health problems. Breathing, in particular can become ragged or even painful, and if someone in your family has asthma or a similar respiratory issue, then excessively dry air can exacerbate his or her condition. In addition, dry air can damage your furnishings: cracking furniture glue holding your couches or chairs in place, drying out painting, increasing static electricity as you walk and damaging house plants.

A whole house humidifier can be an easy solution to improve your indoor air quality. It systematically adds moisture to the air until it reaches a level comfortable to you and your family. (You can achieve that with portable humidifiers as well, but if the issue recurs and/or you need to buy multiple portable units to cover your whole house, then something more elaborate may be in order.) Humidifier technology can be installed in your HVAC system by the experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. We can explain why you would want to raise the humidity levels in your home, then install a reliable system to do it for you. Call us today to set up an appointment! We offer quality HVAC system services in North Olmsted to help keep the air quality as high as possible for your home.

Things to Plan for with Radiant Heat Installation

March 7th, 2014

Radiant heat systems in Bay Village form a viable alternative to traditional boilers and forced-air furnaces. It entails a series of metal tubes installed below your floorboards, along with reflective tiles hat easily transfer heat. When installed, the tube carry heated water which radiates warmth upward and into the room itself. Because the heat is transferred directly, it eliminates many of the problems associated with forced air furnaces. It’s also very efficient, since it transfers the energy directly instead of relying on a fan or blower. Once it’s installed, it should save you a great deal of money on monthly energy costs, but the installation itself can be quite involved and take up a great deal of time. Here are some things to plan for with radiant heat installation.

In the first place, you need to be prepared to move your furnishings out of any room where the radiant system will be installed. The entire premise of radiant heating is that it sits beneath your floorboards, which will need to be removed and replaced once the system is set up. Prepare a location to store the furniture, lamps, rugs and other accoutrements while the technician is doing his or her work. In some cases, it may be necessary to rotate the location throughout your house as the technician moves to different areas.

On top of that, you need to find a place for the central pump and control unit, which usually sits nearby and allows you to operate the system effectively. Your technician can provide specific details based on the exact model you have, but it will probably need access to your electrical system and possibly the plumbing lines as well. Once you have the specifics (including dimensions and power needs), you can locate the ideal spot for you installation.

The trained professionals at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning can provide you with quality HVAC services in Bay Village. Installing radiant heat systems is one of our specialties. We have years of experience with these systems, and we will guide you through each step with clarity and precision. So give us a call today and schedule your next appointment with us.

This is How Cooling Towers Work

February 25th, 2014

You often see cooling towers in commercial and industrial sites, helping to keep components cool and allow the HVAC system to do its job with less stress and strain. Here in Avon, cooling towers are a common site for many commercial HVAC units, and installing one could be a very wise move towards keeping your costs down. But what do cooling towers do for you that you wouldn’t fin in an air conditioning system without one? Here’s a brief rundown of how cooling towers work.

In basic terms, they facilitate a heat exchange with the condenser in the HVAC systems, usually using water to transfer away the excess heat.  It starts with a stream of cold water, which pulls excess heat form the convert and helps cool it down. The now-warm water moves through the cool, cooled by a second flow of cool water which evaporates and helps cool off the hot water. Once the water has been restored to a cooler temperature, it can then return to the compressor to continue cool it as well.

Cooling tower come in multiple types, including crossflow cooling towers (which blow the air horizontally while the water flows vertically) and counterflow cooling towers (which blow the air vertically and use pressurized sprays to hit the air with the water). Both types periodically need to be refilled with water, since the process leads to a lot of evaporation and can dry out the unit if you’re not careful. On the other hand, it helps the existing HVAC system handle the load much more effectively, reducing wear and tear and helping lower your overall energy costs in the bargain.

If you know how cooling towers work, you know that they need care and maintenance just like the rest of the HVAC system. In Avon,  We have the experience and know-how to deal with any problems you might experience and we stand by our work with your complete satisfaction in mind. For all of your cooling tower and commercial HVAC system service needs in Avon, look to the experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. Give us a call today to make an appointment. You’ll be glad you did!

Professional Chillers Installation and Repair

February 19th, 2014

Chillers form an important part of a commercial HVAC system. They remove heat from liquid vapor using a compressor, an evaporator, a condenser, and a metering device. The cooled liquid then circulates through a heat exchanger to cool down air for an air conditioner, or to cool down equipment.

The work of the four different components in a chiller mean they are devices that require highly trained and professional work to install and repair them. When you need this level of service for your commercial chillers in North Olmsted, OH, make sure you only work with qualified technicians to help you with your chiller installation and repair.

Contact Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. Homeowners and business owners alike have trusted our work for over 25 years.

Installing and repairing chillers

If you need a new chiller, you can have it integrated into your existing HVAC system, which will require the installers to help you select the chiller model that will match up with your system’s requirements for cooling. You can also choose to have a new chiller installed as part of a full installation of a new HVAC system in North Olmsted.

Repairs for chillers go far beyond those required for any residential HVAC system because they contain numerous subsystems, which means that necessary repairs often combine knowledge of many different types of HVAC systems. Chillers can require electrical work, refrigerant leak sealing, water leak sealing, plumbing fixes, and compressor repairs—all on a larger scale than that for any residential unit. For service on a chiller, you need technicians with specialized training and experience.

You can help avoid expensive repairs for a chiller with routine maintenance checks. We recommend you have professional maintenance done on your system once a year to see if it requires any parts replacements and to have a technician perform adjustments, lubrications, and any necessary minor repairs.

If you need repair for chillers in North Olmsted, OH, look to the commercial HVAC services of Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. We have experience with the complex technology involved to deliver the repairs you need. We also perform full installation for new chillers, and carry an excellent line of products so you’ll get the chiller you need. Our maintenance program will help keep your system up and running.

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Love Poem?

February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning hope you have a pleasant February 14th.

Signs of Problems with Your Boiler

February 5th, 2014

Boiler technology is a very old and reliable form of heating for your home. In Avon Lake, boiler systems see a lot of use in many homes, and if properly maintained can last you for many years. Sooner or later, however, every appliance needs repairs and your boiler is no different. The sooner you can spot a potential difficulty, the faster you can get it addressed and possibly keep a small malfunction from turning into a bigger one at the same time. Her are a few signs of problems with your boiler.

  • Strange noises
    If air gets into the system or mineral build-ups appear in the boiler, you’re apt to hear strange gurgling, rattling or whistling noises.  The sounds can be a nuisance, but more importantly, they signal a significant problem with the boiler’s ability to function.
  • Leaks
    Leaks can appear anywhere in the system. You can spot some of them by puddles of water forming, but some leaks are too small to develop a drip. Instead, check the pressure gauge; if the water pressure is dropping you’ve probably got a leak somewhere.
  • No heat
    The most obvious sign that something is wrong with your boiler is the simple fact that it won’t generate heat. If could be any number of things, from a broken thermocouple to a valve failure to a lack of pressure in the pipes. It might even be a malfunctioning thermostat.
  • System keeps shutting down
    If the boiler shuts off unexpectedly before it’s heated the home the way it should. That can stem from low water pressure caused by a leak, a problem with the pump, or with a broken valve, among other reasons.

If you spot the signs of problems with your boiler – basically anything out of the ordinary – then you need to shut off the system and call in a trained plumber right away. For homeowners in Avon Lake, boiler repair can be conducted by the experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. Pick up the phone and call us today to schedule an appointment with us for your next heating service repair in Avon Lake. You’ll be glad you did!