Westland Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

3 Ways to Assess Your Heater This Fall and Winter

November 5th, 2018

clipboard-checklistAs we advance further into the cold season, we’ll soon be turning our heaters on during the day and not just at night. Naturally, the more we use our heaters, the more wear and tear we’ll be putting them through. Paying extra close attention to them can help you find some repair problems before they arise. Also, now’s the perfect time to assess if your HVAC system is doing everything it needs to.

In this post, we’ll give you some advice on how to assess your system.

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5 Electrical Problems That Require Air Conditioning Repair

October 22nd, 2018

electricians-inspecting-circuit-breaker-panelYou discover one day that your air conditioner isn’t working. Uh oh.

If you’ve read our blog before, you’ll know that we like to cover common AC repair issues and their causes, and you may think to first look into those issues. However, even if you diligently change your air filter, check your evaporator coils for ice, and see no indication of a refrigerant leak, you might still have an AC repair problem you can’t locate. In that case, it could be a problem that’s much harder to spot: an electrical problem.

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Everything You Need to Know About Air Conditioner Leaks

October 8th, 2018

air-conditioning-repairEven for those who aren’t mechanically adept, most of us know that leaks in a machine are never a good sign. For your air conditioner, that’s also true most of the time. Sometimes it could be harmless condensation dripping off the machine. But in other cases, it could be something like…

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Setting A Temperature For Comfort

September 27th, 2018

Westland Heating & Air Conditioning maintains a climate of family, performance and customer care

Jeff Mitchell, left, Vice President/service manager, and Zack Mitchell, President, chose the Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system shown in the background for the company’s offices in Westlake, Ohio. Westland Heating & Air Conditioning is a leader in VRF technology and one of a few contractors able to offer this high-efficiency system.

Jeff Mitchell, left, Vice President/service manager, and Zack Mitchell, President, chose the Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system shown in the background for the company’s offices in Westlake, Ohio. Westland Heating & Air Conditioning is a leader in VRF technology and one of a few contractors able to offer this high-efficiency system.

Service professional Sean Rusnak performs diagnostics on a VRF system.  All Westland Heating & Air Conditioning technicians are trained on start-up  procedures and the precise calculations required on these highly efficient systems.

Service professional Sean Rusnak performs diagnostics on a VRF system. All Westland Heating & Air Conditioning technicians are trained on start-up procedures and the precise calculations required on these highly efficient systems.

The father-and-son team of Jeff and Zack Mitchell has channeled its passion for the newest products and the best customer care to develop a family-focused atmosphere at Westland Heating & Air Conditioning (Westland).

Jeff and his wife, Debra, started the company in 1984 in Westlake, Ohio, after Jeff worked for several different residential HVAC and refrigeration contractors. “We found this to be one of the most fascinating industries to be in, but not all companies in it performed well from start to finish,” Jeff says. “When we started our own business, we were determined to make it phenomenal. When Zack joined us, he had the same passion for high performance and high-quality care for customers and employees, and that helped expand our sights even more.” From the beginning Debra managed the administrative and customer service needs while Jeff serviced customers in the field.

Steady Leadership

In 2009, Jeff turned over leadership to his son, Zack, who now is President; Jeff serves as Vice President and service manager. Debra is now retired and happily spending time with her grandchildren. The company takes care of customers with a combination of old-fashioned customer service and cutting-edge technology. “We’ve had a history of looking at new, innovative ideas,” Jeff says. “We evaluate new systems or processes from a performance and economic standpoint and are not afraid of bringing on new technology. The challenge is the learning curve, but the benefit for our customers is worth it. Plus, we stand behind everything we do and work with our manufacturers and customers to be sure everything is right. Sometimes it costs us money, but it’s worth the gain.” When Zack started working for the company in 1986, he was 14 and eager to learn everything. For four years, he worked part time cleaning the shop, working on inventory and stocking the trucks. He slowly transitioned into joining his dad and other techs on service calls. “I had a chance to go to college and play football, but I knew my passion was with the heating and air conditioning business, so I decided to stay with it and go through what my dad called ‘the Jeff Mitchell Technical Institute,’ ” Zack says.

He also attended a number of factory training sessions and service/sales seminars where he found his niche. “When Zack got more involved in the company, he went toward his passion for commercial construction, focused on sales there and expanded the business dramatically,” Jeff says. “Now it’s mostly repeat business from contractors and building owners. Today, we’re about 85 percent commercial and 15 percent residential.”

Specialized Systems

Early on, Westland became a leader in variable refrigerant flow (VRF). This HVAC technology uses refrigerant as both the cooling and heating medium and is conditioned by a single condensing unit. VRF gives building owners the ability to simultaneously have different rooms in a building use independent high-efficiency heating and cooling, which lends itself to both new construction and rehab, Jeff says.

“A lot of our projects are building rejuvenations, where we take old office or warehouse buildings and make them into multiple operations or small businesses. In this situation, the typical equipment is not economical to install. The VRF is ideal for buildings like these that have areas with different needs.”

Westland runs VRF in it offices and high-tech boilers in its warehouse and shop, which gives its technicians firsthand experience on how these systems operate. Not all HVAC contractors are as dedicated to the complex VRF system and choose not to offer it. “VRF requires special training and a commitment to high quality. It involves very precise calculations and start-up procedures that some companies are incapable of or unwilling to do,” Zack says. “For a building owner, the initial investment can be higher, but it offers a payback in energy savings of 10 years or less, which makes it worth it. Facilities that are trying to get LEED certified use this as a way to meet some of the energy-efficiency levels on both new construction and rehab work.”

Safe and Satisfied

Customer satisfaction is important at Westland. The message is prominent in its ads, constantly discussed within the company and supported by training and safety programs. “We make customers’ lives easier by giving them quality HVAC systems and the comfort that all is working well,” Jeff says. “That’s why we evaluate new technology and train our technicians on every step from install to service. We use in-house plus manufacturer training at their facilities. We dedicate thousands of man hours to staff training each year because we feel it’s important for staff safety and customer satisfaction.”

Safety is at the core of all training at Westland. Its offices include a classroom where suppliers, manufacturers and safety companies come to lead training sessions. Westland also contracts with a third-party safety company, Safety Controls Technology, to conduct impromptu safety audits. “We invest in having the right equipment for our teams and make sure everything is done in the utmost safe manner,” Zack says. “We do not allow our guys to attempt anything dangerous. To be sure everything is okay, Safety Controls goes unannounced to our jobsites to perform safety audits.”

The company’s dedication to customer satisfaction is a team effort. “As we interview people, we look for a passion for this profession besides a good skill set,” Jeff says. “This is something you don’t just do 40 hours a week and leave behind. Many of our staff choose to do some research and training after hours and have a real passion for the industry. That’s the culture that both Zack and I had over the years, and it transferred to our staff. We want to be the best and have dedicated the time and effort to do that.”

Westland currently employees 65 people, with tenure at the company ranging from 6 to 22 years. “Our technicians are highly trained, with certifications from multiple manufacturers as well as full training and certification for full VRF systems and pool dehumidification systems,” Jeff says. The team effort at Westland is supported in other ways, notes Steve Showalter, operations manager. “About four years ago, Zack wanted to provide more things for employees, so he had a complete gym put in here so anyone can work out. It helps develop the team atmosphere and encourages us to stay fit and have fun,” Steve says. “Each month we also have a company luncheon to discuss team-building programs and ways to give back to the community. The result is that more of us get together for bonding time and for community involvement.”

Last year, Westland teams participated in the Harvest for Hunger, an annual awareness campaign aimed at fighting hunger in 21 of Ohio’s counties. They have also supported the annual Marine Toys for Tots drive and recently donated labor to install a new HVAC system at a local home as part of a St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway. The equipment was donated by Trane through the company’s national program.

Future Generations

As Zack continues to manage Westland, the company is determined to have future generations of the Mitchell family and their employees’ families be involved. “We want to move forward with the same foresight we have of taking care of our customers. We have fathers and sons working here for a long time. We wouldn’t be in the position we are today without all the hard work of our wonderful team members. There’s a great feeling of mutual respect here and I feel that’s a sign we’re doing things the right way,” Zack says.

This desire to do the right thing has developed a combination of old-fashioned service and the latest technology that gives customers the best comfort and sets the standard for the next generation to follow.

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The Reason Your Air Conditioner Is Freezing

September 24th, 2018

evaporator-coilImagine this scenario:

Your air conditioner is acting funny one day. It doesn’t seem to be cooling your home much. You’re doubly sure it’s not cooling the home when you put your hand up to the air vent and feel very little air (despite the fact that you can hear the AC’s fan blowing). So you go to investigate, and what you find in your indoor AC unit is a giant, frozen over block of metal!

The block of metal is nothing unusual—that would be your evaporator coil. Read on to find out why a frozen evaporator coil is enough to warrant an emergency call with a North Olmsted HVAC company.

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Is It Time to Call an AC Repairman?

September 10th, 2018

ac-repairman-going-over-paperworkWe understand no one really likes calling in for air conditioning repairs. If you’re absolutely desperate, sure, you’ll reluctantly call in. But before it gets to that point, you might be wondering if you can put off that call just a little bit longer.

You could, but you’d be placing your AC at risk of damage and possibly add some unnecessary dollars to your energy bill. We’ll give you a few scenarios where you really don’t want to put off that AC repair call any longer.

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Don’t Get Left in the Cold! It’s Time for a Yearly Tune-Up

August 31st, 2018

There’s no better time to get a tune-up than right before a new season. If you haven’t been keeping up with maintenance, we forgive you—but we don’t want your luck to run out.

The fact is, many HVAC system owners are waiting until their systems break down before making a repair call. But HVAC systems don’t just break down within seconds—there’s usually a problem that has been silently degrading the system’s performance over the span of months. When the wrong part breaks or stops working, that’s when you get problems.

Since most furnaces use gas or oil, neglecting maintenance can be especially costly or dangerous.

  • Gas furnaces need to be checked annually to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • When dealing with gas or oil fueled heaters, age can have a larger effect on their efficiency and safety than with electric furnaces.
  • A faulty ignition or pilot can prevent the heater from functioning efficiently or at all.

Maintenance can prevent up to 80% of HVAC system problems before they happen. That leaves only a 20% chance you’ll need repairs at a time when you need it most. And if you sign up for our service agreement, that 20% will be mitigated with discounts and priority service.

Don’t wait for your heater to break down this season. Contact Westland Heating & Air Conditioning today for a comprehensive maintenance check for your entire heating system.

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Why Is My AC Blowing Hot Air?

August 27th, 2018

man-feeling-hot-in-front-of-fanWe can think of one thing worse than an air conditioner that stops working when you need it most:

An air conditioner that blows hot air instead of cold air.

But we’re not just saying that as some kind of joke. There are certain kinds of AC issues that can do the opposite of what your AC is intended to do. If your AC is ever blowing out air that isn’t cold, there could be a problem. We’ll help you figure it out so you can know whether you just need to reprogram your thermostat or if it requires calling an air conditioning expert in Fairview Park, OH.

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Which AC Is the Most Efficient?

August 13th, 2018

blue-question-markWe don’t want to disappoint you later, so we’ll just say it now:

The most efficient AC depends on you and how you use it.

We know that’s not exactly the answer you want to hear. It would be better if there was one simple answer, but that won’t be the case when it comes to finding the most efficient AC for your home.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t help you. Some HVAC configurations are wiser than others, depending on how your home was built and what heating or AC systems you may have already. We’ll go over a few common scenarios and tell you which AC would be the most efficient for you.

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3 Common Ductless System Problems

July 30th, 2018

ductless-ac-blowing-cool-airIf you’re not familiar with ductless heat pumps, the main thing you need to know is that they can both heat or cool your rooms and that they’re very efficient. If you read enough about the benefits of ductless systems, you’d think they were pure magic and ran on miracles.

That’s not to say we don’t love ductless heat pumps. But we also don’t want to pretend they don’t have their own share of troubles. In fact, if you’re the owner of a ductless system, we’re happy you’re here. To help you get the most out of your ductless system and for as long as possible, we’ve listed three common ductless AC system problems.

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