Westland Heating & Air Conditioning Blog: Archive for November, 2013

Thanksgiving, 2013: A Brief History

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Thanksgiving is upon us: a time to get together with relatives, eat some great food, watch a little football and/or parades, and stop to appreciate the good things we have in life. There’s a fascinating history to the holiday that goes beyond the traditional Pilgrims-and-Indians party we read about in school.

The first Thanksgiving was indeed celebrated in 1621 in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. Records are spotty at the time, but indicate that the harvest was particularly good that year due to help from the local Native Americans. The meal was probably much different than current times, with venison and fish more likely than turkey, but the general principle was unchanged. (Critics have pointed out that the popular image glosses over the suffering endured by Native Americans, but we prefer to see it as a symbol of brotherhood and a call to rise above our differences to find common ground.)

It wasn’t a few centuries later, however, that Thanksgiving became an annual tradition. George Washington called for a “national day of Thanksgiving” in 1789, and again in 1795, but they were both “one shot” declarations, rather than a call for an annual tradition. Individual cities and states picked up the ball, but it wasn’t until 1863 that Thanksgiving became a national once-a-year event. President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November to be a Thanksgiving “to heal the wounds of the nation and restore it.” (Lincoln was not speaking in reference to the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving, but to the divisions of the Civil War, which he hoped to heal.)

From there, it remained a tradition until Franklin Roosevelt signed a law in December of 1941, making it a federal holiday. The law also changed the date from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday in November, making it a little earlier in some cases (which Roosevelt hoped would give the country an economic boost).

Wherever you celebrate the holiday and whoever you choose to celebrate it with, we wish you nothing but happiness and joy this Thanksgiving.

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How Can I Tell if My Furnace Needs Professional Repair?

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

There are few better ways to make it through a cold winter in Avon, OH than a furnace. These old warhorses of the HVAC world continue to prove their usefulness each year with dependable and effective warmth. Continual advances in heating technology keep furnaces up-to-date and competitive with other heating systems. The furnace in your home should give you many years of comfort with few issues, as long as you make sure it receives regular maintenance and prompt repairs. If you think your furnace requires professional attention, don’t hesitate: call in trained professionals, like those at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning, to have the problem looked at right away.

But how can you know that your Avon furnace needs professional repair?

Here are 4 signs to watch (and listen) for:

1. Strange sounds from the furnace cabinet

Furnaces contain numerous mechanical parts, and malfunctions in moving parts often create obtrusive noises that indicate something is awry. Clicking sounds can mean trouble with the pilot light or the ignition; booming sounds come from dirt over the burner; rattling may mean loose pieces in the motors. Have a professional investigate to find the source of the noise and a method to fix it before the problem becomes worse.

2. An unexpected increase in energy bills

You will expect to see your energy bills climb during the winter, but if you notice a spike that can’t be accounted for, then it may indicate a malfunctioning part that is making the furnace work harder than it should.

3. Low air flow from the vents

If you feel the air coming from the vents into the rooms is much weaker than it used to be, it might mean trouble with the blower motor fans. Another culprit is leaks in the ductwork causing a loss of air pressure.

4. Odd smells from the vents

If the air coming from the vents develops a musty or acrid odor, it could point to a number of problems. Excessive dust along the burners, a motor overheating, or gaps in the ducts drawing air from a musty attic or crawlspace… all of these are serious issues that require professional attention.

Furnaces are intricate machines that require work from technicians with special training and tools to safely repair. Do not open the furnace cabinet yourself and attempt to troubleshoot when you think there is a problem. This will put both you and your furnace at risk. Rely on the NATE-certified technicians at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning to take care of your furnace in Avon, OH. We also offer an Ultimate Service Agreement Plan that delivers a yearly maintenance visit for your furnace, plus a 5-year guarantee on all repairs performed, and many other benefits.

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Did You Know Heat Pumps Need a Special Thermostat?

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

It would require work to locate a superior option for year-round comfort than an air-source heat pump. Heat pumps work as both air conditioners and heaters, giving you the temperature control you need, no matter the season. As a plus, heat pumps require less energy to run when it comes to heating than most other systems, such as furnaces. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a family of four can save 30%-40% off their yearly heating costs when they switch to a heat pump.

If you think a heat pump in Bay Village, OH will work well for your needs this coming year, contact our installation experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. We can also provide repairs for heat pumps and answer any questions and concerns you may have regarding them.

The heat pump thermostat

We often hear questions about how heat pumps differ from other systems—specifically from air conditioners. Among these differences, we discuss the special thermostats that heat pumps need. Why do heat pumps require a particular type of thermostat that’s different from an air conditioner’s?

The reason is that heat pumps must control both heating and cooling. To switch from one to the other, the thermostat needs to signal the reversing valve to change the direction of the flow of refrigerant. Where a standard AC thermostat uses four wires (hot wire, compressor and outdoor fan wire, indoor blower wire, battery wire) to run the unit, a heat pump thermostat requires a fifth wire to handle the change in the reversing valve. These wires are usually color-coded, and the reversing wire is the brown wire.

Don’t try this at home (unless you have experts in your home)

However… please don’t use this information to attempt to install or repair a thermostat on your own. Even if you think you’ve managed a repair correctly and the thermostat appears to be working, even a slight miscalibration can lead to serious problems with your heat pump. It will incorrectly sense the temperature in your home and begin to shut on and off at the wrong time. This means less comfort for you and more wear and tear on your heat pump.

If you need help with the thermostat on your heat pump in Bay Village, OH, look to Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. We have more than a quarter of a century of experience, and our NATE-certified technicians will get any repairs done promptly and accurately. Schedule an appointment with us today.

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How to Get Efficient Heating This Winter

Friday, November 8th, 2013

When it comes to heating in North Ridgeville, OH, residents want to get the most bang for their buck. Midwest winters are very cold, and we need a reliable heating system to keep our homes cozy and warm. But we don’t want to have to pay an arm and a leg for the privilege. A few judicious tips and a little preparation can save you a great deal of money in unnecessary costs. Here’s how to get efficient heating this winter.

  • Get your heater serviced in the fall. Before the snows arrive in earnest, schedule a maintenance session for your heater with a qualified service technician. He or she will clean dirty parts, tighten loose bolts and fittings, and otherwise give your heater a thorough tune up. This helps cut down on were and tear, as well as ensuring that your heater will use less energy to do its job.
  • Consider an upgrade. You can improve your heater’s efficiency by adding new features and upgrades to it. For example, look in to the possibility of a zone control system, which allows you to heat each individual section of the home separately (or refrain from heating unoccupied portions of the house). Old mercury thermostats can be replaced with newer digital models as well, allowing you to turn the heater on and off automatically to reflect periods in the day when no one’s home.
  • Insulate your home. This includes not only adding formal insulation in your attic and other appropriate places, but sealing up openings around the edges of your doors and windows. They’ll help keep the heat inside your home where it belongs, instead of slipping out and costing you money in the process.

These tips on how to get efficient heating this winter come on top of more common-sense suggestions, such as setting your thermostat down a few degrees and wearing warm clothes such as sweaters in the house. In matters of heating, North Ridgeville OH can use every trick it can get. You can help yourself by making a timely call to the experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning.

We handle repairs and maintenance issues of all varieties, so don’t hesitate to contact us!

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Heating Repairs Caused by Lack of Maintenance

Monday, November 4th, 2013

In matters of heating repair, North Olmsted, OH residents can’t afford to take chances. Our winter nights are too cold to simply leave a heating problem be, and the faster a repairman can do his job, the better off you and your furnace are likely to be. But in many cases, repair begins with prevention, rather than reaction. A good maintenance session can stop a number of problems before they start. On the other hand, a lack of maintenance can lead to much more serious issues requiring considerably more out-of-pocket expenses. Heating repairs caused by a lack of maintenance can hit much harder than you think.

Maintenance sessions essentially act as a tune-up for your heater. The technician starts by cleaning dust and grime which have accumulated on the internal components (always important, but especially after the summer season when the heater has likely sat idle). He or she also tightens any fittings that have become loose, to seal up potential fissures and keep components like the fan motor from rattling around in their housings (which increases stress and decreases efficiency). If something more serious is brewing, the technician can note it and plan to get it fixed via a more serious repair session.

All of that is a necessary part of keeping the heater running: no different than taking your car in for an oil change or replacing a burnt-out light bulb. When you don’t plan for that kind of maintenance, however, repairs immediately become more serious. Loose fittings lead to increased strain on motors, while accumulated dirt creates friction in moving parts. Little problems have a way of suddenly turning into big ones in those conditions, as the lack of maintenance catches up to the heater and creates much larger issues than might have been present otherwise.

An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure as the saying goes. Heating repairs caused by a lack of maintenance have an easy solution: schedule an upkeep session from a reliable service technician. For maintenance or heating repair in North Olmsted, OH, we at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning are the solution. Contact us today to make an appointment.

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