Westland Heating & Air Conditioning Blog: Archive for September, 2014

Is a Heat Pump a Good Replacement for a Furnace?

Wednesday, 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!

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

Wednesday, 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.

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

Wednesday, 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!

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The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

Monday, 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!

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