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

10 Facts You Should Know about Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as an official holiday in the United States for over 150 years, so you may think you understand all there is to know about this family feast. Most of us have heard the story of the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621 after arriving in North America on the Mayflower. But did you know that only about half of the people on this ship were actually pilgrims? This fact is one of ten things that may actually surprise you about the Thanksgiving tradition!

  1. Although we often consider Thanksgiving a holiday unique to the United States, many other countries and cultures celebrate their own set of harvest-time and thanksgiving traditions. In Korea, Chu-Sok (or “fall evening”) is put on in remembrance of forefathers on August 15th of every year. Brazil celebrates a contemporary version of the U.S. holiday. Chinese, Roman, and Jewish cultures all have a history of harvest celebrations as well.
  2. President Harry S. Truman began the tradition of a ceremony held before Thanksgiving during which the president receives a turkey. George H.W. Bush was the first to pardon the turkey instead of eating it.
  3. In Minnesota alone, farmers raise over 40 million turkeys a year. In fact, U.S. farmers produce about one turkey for every one person in the country.
  4. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American will gain about one to two pounds every year during the holiday season.
  5. On the other hand, turkey is naturally high in protein and has been known to support and boost immune systems to protect against illness and speed up healing. So feast on!
  6. Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863, but a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale can be credited with the idea. While Thanksgiving had been celebrated at different times of year in many areas of the U.S. for years, it was Hale, prominent magazine editor and author of the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who urged Lincoln to finally establish the national event.
  7. President Franklin D Roosevelt once tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday of the month in order to extend the holiday shopping season and boost the economy.
  8. Only about half of the people on the Mayflower were what we would consider today as “Pilgrims.” The other (approximately) 50 people were simply trying to find a way over to the New World.
  9. Gobble, gobble! Click, click? While male turkeys make a gobbling noise, females (hens) do not; it’s often described as a clicking.
  10. Even though we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, the month of June has been declared National Turkey Lovers’ Month by the National Turkey Federation so you can continue the celebration in the summer as well!

From our family here at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning, we’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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Some Benefits of Radiant Heating to Consider

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Radiant heating can conjure images of bare feet on warm floors, and this wouldn’t be incorrect. But there are a few options to choose from when it comes to radiant heating, including radiant panels for your walls and ceilings. While DIY shows make radiant heating installation look pretty easy, it takes skill and experience to install a radiant heating system. This is one of the reasons why it is important to hire trained professionals for quality heating installation service in Rocky River, OH. Westland Heating and Air Conditioning technicians have the training and expertise to install any heating system, including radiant systems, so call us today!

Types of Radiant Heating

Electric Radiant Floor Heating

Electric radiant floor heating uses electrified cables to generate heat for your home. These cables can be installed via a “wet” installation in which the cables are placed in wet cement to create a radiant slab when the cement hardens; the cables can also be laid directly onto subflooring in a specific pattern; or an electrically-conductive plastic mat embedded with electric cables can be installed onto subflooring. One type of installation isn’t better than another; choosing the method will depend more on your needs and preferences.

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating

With hydronic radiant floor heating, hot water or steam is used to heat your home. Durable PEX tubing is installed onto subflooring and a boiler heats the water; once the water or steam reaches the correct temperature, the steam or water flows through the tubing and heats your home.

Radiant Panels

As mentioned above, radiant panels can heat both walls and ceilings. Electricity or hot water can be used with radiant panels, but electricity is preferred. Radiant panels heat quickly but also have low heat capacity.

Benefits of Radiant Heating

Here are some of the benefits radiant heating has to offer:

  • Good for allergy sufferers – there is no circulating dust with a radiant system as there can be with a forced air system, which can be particularly helpful for allergy sufferers.
  • Comfortable heating – the heat generated by a radiant system is gentle and gradual, which many people find more comfortable than forced air.
  • Easy to zone – it is very easy to zone radiant heating, giving you the ability to customize your comfort.

Radiant heating has become popular with homeowners, and for good reasons. If you think a radiant heating system may be right for you, call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning today to schedule an appointment!

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Are There Any Furnace Repairs I Can Do on My Own?

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Doing home repairs yourself can seem like a good idea, but the truth is that, unless you are an expert at a chosen task, you may do more harm than good. Case in point: furnace repairs. Furnaces are complex combustion systems that are not for novices to work on. Choosing to repair your own furnace in Westlake may actually make your problems worse and potentially compromise your safety – two things that are definitely not worth risking. But there are other reasons to consider hiring an expert from Westland Heating and Air Conditioning to repair your furnace system.

  • Specialized tools – there are a few reasons why a trained technician arrives with a company van; one of these reasons is because all of the tools he/she needs are inside it. There are a number of specialized tools needed to work on heating systems, and unless you have all of them, as a technician will, it may be challenging to correctly repair your furnace.
  • Time is money – trained professionals do repair work every day. As such, they are both effective and fast at what they do. A trained professional doesn’t have to figure out things every step of the way – he/she knows the layout of the furnace and what to look for – do you?
  • Mistakes cost money – furnaces are complex systems with many components. Making a mistake with one can lead to a variety of problems that you may not be able to fix. As a homeowner, you have to weigh your ability to truly fix something against the possibility that you could make it worse and potentially more expensive to repair.
  • You may find bigger problems – it isn’t unusual to find other, more serious problems once you start investigating the initial problem. Do you have the expertise to correctly repair the other problem(s) you are discovering?

DIY is a nice idea – for those with the knowledge and expertise to truly perform repairs as needed. For most people, the best decision is to hire a trained professional. If you experience problems with your furnace in Westlake, call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning and schedule a service appointment with one of our specialists.

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Heat Pump Repairs: The Reversing Valve

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Heat pumps are becoming more and more popular in many parts of the U.S. and for good reason. They’re an incredibly efficient heating option, providing just as much heat as a combustion system while avoiding some of the drawbacks. Like all heating systems, though, heat pumps can develop some unique repair needs over time. One of the most prominent of these is the broken reversing valve. Let’s examine what the reversing valve is, and why repairing it is of such a high priority.

What is the Reversing Valve?

As you probably know, heat pumps are capable of both heating and cooling functions. This is accomplished by reversing the flow of refrigerant between the interior and exterior units. In most forced air systems, the refrigerant flows only in one direction. One unit is the evaporator, while the other is the compressor. In a heat pump, the two units switch these functions depending on the mode selected. The reversing valve is what makes this possible.

The reversing valve is a four-way junction between the intake, exhaust, compressor, and evaporator lines. A slide in the valve determines the direction the refrigerant flows. This slide is attached to a solenoid, an electromagnetic coil, which pulls the slide to one side or the other.

What Causes the Reversing Valve to Break

There are usually only two possibilities when a reversing valve stops working. The first possibility is that the slide in the valve is stuck. This prevents it from directing the refrigerant properly, leaving the heat pump stuck in heating or cooling mode. The other possibility is that the solenoid is broken and/or has lost its magnetic charge. If this is the case, the solenoid will be unable to pull the slide back and forth through the valve. The effect is the same, regardless: the heat pump becomes stuck. If you turn on your heating system and it only blows cold air, the reversing valve might be the reason.

If you’re having problems with your heat pump, call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning to schedule an appointment with us. Our professional heating repair service covers the entire Avon area.

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