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

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

“No two snowflakes are alike.”

This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at Westland Heating & Air Conditioning, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!

Continue Reading

Reasons Your Furnace Isn’t Turning On

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

This is an ordeal that can happen for any homeowner. You wake up in the morning to discover your furnace has turned off. You run to the thermostat to switch it back on, only to find out it’s already set to a high temperature. You turn up the dial or press a few buttons and still get nothing. When your furnace stops working, you’re bound to feel a slight sense of panic over what steps to take next. Luckily, technicians recognize that this is a serious problem, and most will do their best to get out to your home and solve the problem as soon as possible.

Here are some of the most common reasons for a lack of heating which lead homeowners scrambling to find a qualified technician for repairs. When you need heating repair in Westlake, OH, trust the experts at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning.

  • Faulty Thermostat: One of the most common reasons a furnace will not turn on is if the thermostat, which communicates to the furnace when the temperature has dropped lower than the desired setting. If the thermostat is broken due to faulty wiring or even just a dirty sensor, your furnace simply cannot turn on. A replacement thermostat is generally your best option.
  • Defective Thermocouple: The thermocouple is a component in older standing gas pilot models that senses how much gas flow is let into the unit. When working properly, it should shut off the unit should the gas flow become too high or too low. This is a safety feature that generally must be replaced if it has stopped working. Alternatively, your furnace may have stopped working due to blockage in the gas line sensed by the thermocouple.
  • Broken Fan Switch: The fan switch basically controls when the blower fan turns on and off. When the fan switch is working correctly, the blower fan should start a couple of minutes after the burner lights turn off. A faulty thermostat will not allow the blower fan to come on, causing no heat to reach your home, and should generally just be replaced.

Call the heating professionals at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning to schedule a service appointment when you need quality heating repair in Westlake, OH.

Continue Reading

Why Pool Heater Maintenance Is Necessary

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

When you installed a heater in your swimming pool, you expected it to provide you with year-round fun and comfort for many years to come. But without proper maintenance, you may notice reduced heating, poor efficiency, or other sudden repair needs right when you wanted to use your swimming pool the most. At Westland Heating and Air Conditioning, we recommend scheduling maintenance every year for pool heaters in Bay Village, as they must remain tough in order to keep up with the sometimes harsh winter climate.

Can I Perform Maintenance on My Own?

There are a few things you can do on your own to maintain your pool heater. For example, purchasing a pool cover and utilizing it whenever you are not planning on using your pool can reduce up to 50% of standard heat loss. This means your pool heater won’t have to work quite as hard, which lets you pay less on your energy bills. Furthermore, the parts won’t wear down quite as quickly. You can also reduce some heat loss if you put up a cabana or a fence to eliminate some of the chill that may be caused by incoming wind.

You can ask a technician what the most efficient thermostat setting is for your model of heater. Many modern thermostats contain an efficiency setting or comfort setting that can help keep your pool at a reasonable temperature and prevent overheating or excessive energy use. If this is not the case with your unit, keep yours set at around 70 degrees when the pool will not be in use for several days, or turn it off if you’ll be gone for a couple of weeks (as long as freezing weather is not in the forecast).

But no matter what steps you take to keep your pool heater maintained on your own, annual professional maintenance is still a necessity. This is because pool heaters contain many mechanical parts that must be inspected, cleaned, and fine-tuned to ensure maximum efficiency and as little wear and tear as possible. Professional maintenance can help you to save on your utilities and possibly keep your unit free of repairs.

Call Westland Heating and Air Conditioning to contact professionals with experience in maintaining, installing, or repairing pool heaters in Bay Village. We follow the safest procedures to make sure you can enjoy your swimming pool throughout the year.

Continue Reading

Can I Install a Pool Heater on My Own?

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

If you own a pool in Bay Village, OH, you may have gotten used to the fact that you might not be able to use it in the cooler months. But you put a lot of money into that pool when you installed it or bought your home; wouldn’t it be nice if you could take advantage of your pool heater year round?

These days, pool heaters are far more efficient than they once were, requiring as little energy to run as possible thanks to advancements in technology. This means you can make good use of your swimming pool throughout the year, get a little more exercise, and have way more fun with your family and friends. Of course, you’ll have to make a bit of an investment when you purchase your pool heater, but for many homeowners the extra months of enjoyment are worth it. If you’re looking to cut costs, you may wonder whether it’s possible to install your new pool heater on your own. Unfortunately, depending upon your level of expertise, this isn’t often possible. Let’s take a quick look at why.

Installing a pool heater is not as simple as draining the pool, drilling a few holes, and switching on the unit. Most pool heaters actually have two parts: the heating element that goes into the pool and the outside unit. Besides being large and complex, this outside unit actually takes a lot of work and heavy equipment to install. Most of the time, you’ll have to mount this outdoor unit on a concrete slab, and professionals have the right equipment and expertise to make sure this installation goes smoothly.

Besides, if you install your swimming pool heat pump or gas heater improperly, the consequences can be disastrous. You may simply never get enough heat in your pool, or you can run into frequent repair needs. You may spend a lot of money on unnecessary heating costs for an oversized heater, or you could even end up with some safety issues from an improper electrical hookup. And if you’re dealing with a gas-powered heater, a gas line should always be handled by an expert.

Installing pool heaters in Bay Village is much simpler when you contact the experienced technicians at Westland Heating and Air Conditioning. Give us a call today!

Continue Reading