Posted on April 13th, 2017
How To Protect Your A/C From Storm Damage
After the sudden storm we had recently, many of our customers have been asking what can be done to protect their A/C from being damaged.
Just before the storm begins, you may be focused on stocking up food, making sure you have candles or preparing to go to a storm shelter. In the midst of all this, don’t forget you have important equipment to protect. Here are 5 tips for keeping your air conditioner safe during a storm:
Turn off your AC
Electrical surges are common when lightning hits and you don’t want your air conditioner’s electrical components destroyed (and you certainly don’t want a fire to start!)
Make sure your AC is off before the storm hits. If the weather is particularly hot, you can run it until the sky darkens (lightning might be flashing before the rains come so don’t wait that long). Then make sure you remember to turn it off.
Exposed components can be damaged from flying debris. Use a tarp, or board to cover your unit and protect it from anything that the wind throws at it. Protect your refrigerant piping from damage since leaking refrigerant is hazardous to both you and the environment.
Make sure your cover is secure so it doesn’t turn into debris itself to cause damage elsewhere. And after the storm passes, remove the covering before starting up your unit.
Clean up your yard
Before the storm hits, pack away outdoor furniture, toys, your barbecue pit and anything else that’s not tied down. Clean up branches that might have fallen and inspect and remove anything else that could puncture your equipment. Collaborate with neighbors to clean up their yards as well. Storms have no respect for property lines!
Strap it down
If you live in a hurricane prone area, you need hurricane straps, which are specifically designed to withstand hurricane-strength winds. If your unit is newer, you might already have these straps installed. If not, don’t wait for the storm warning. Get them right away to save yourself stress and the unnecessary cost of replacement or repair.
Inspect and clean it before start-up
Once the storm has passed, do a thorough inspection of your A/C unit and refrigerant piping for damage. Clear any debris that might be covering it. As long as you’re certain that the unit is free from damage and debris, turn it on and monitor to make sure it’s working as it should.
Get professional help
If, despite your best efforts, your unit or piping has been damaged, give us a call right away. We can also help you prepare for the storms ahead and reduce your equipment’s risk.
If you have had storm damage on your A/C unit, we’re ready and prepared to help! Give us a call at 801-735-COOL or visit TimeForComfort.com
Posted on April 6th, 2017
4 Reasons to Tune Up Your Air Conditioner Before Summer
When was the last time you changed the oil in your car? Probably when the manufacturer recommended, based on the mileage and time since the previous oil change.
Your heating and cooling equipment should be no different. It might be stationary equipment, but it’s certainly not something you can set and forget.
Maintenance is a must for your furnace and air conditioner, not an option. Here’s what you can expect from a tune up:
1. A thorough inspection of the fan, burners, pulleys, belts, motors, heat exchanger and controls.
2. Burner cleaning.
3. Filter replacement if needed.
4. Lubrication of bearings.
5. Tightening of connections.
Reduce risk of shutdowns at the wrong time
The first reason to keep on top of your HVAC equipment is to prevent a major catastrophe. Having no furnace in the middle of winter is like shutting down at the side of the highway. You never want to be in that situation. Preventative maintenance on your furnace reduces the likelihood of being left out in the cold.
Keep your equipment working longer
The harder your equipment has to work, the shorter its lifespan. As with any machine, wear and tear will take a toll. The inevitable shutdown happens much sooner if you keep pushing your equipment without proper maintenance. Regular tune-ups will lengthen your HVAC equipment life, saving you money.
Lower your energy bill
No matter what shape your equipment is in, it has to provide the same amount of heating or cooling on a given day. A unit in top shape will do so with less effort, using less electricity and gas to keep your home at the right temperature. Proper tune up will allow your furnace or AC to work without emptying your pockets to pay outrageous energy bills.
Keep your family safe and improve air quality
Furnaces can introduce deadly carbon monoxide into home if not maintained. A cracked heat exchanger can allow combustion gases to enter the supply air. A dirty burner can result in incomplete combustion, which in turn increases the amount of carbon monoxide produced. A professional inspection and tune-up will prevent these situations from happening, keeping you and your family safe.
Getting it done
To keep your home’s air system working well, give us a call and we’ll tune up your HVAC equipment so you’ll be cool this summer and toasty in the winter.
Call 801-735-COOL or click the button below
Posted on March 14th, 2017
6 Reasons Your Hot Water Is Cold
Have you ever jumped into your shower only to be welcomed by icy water? Well that can be explained! Here are SIX reasons why your hot water is out, and how to fix it..
#1-Leaking hot water pipe
If water’s leaking in the basement, it won’t reach your bathroom, especially if your shower is on the second floor. As long as the pipe isn’t hidden in a wall, you should be able to find the problem easily. Have it repaired immediately and everything will be back on track.
#2 -The pilot light is out
This is a potential problem for gas-fired water heaters. If you don’t know how to check your heater for the pilot light, look in your heater’s manual. Follow the instructions to relight it and if it doesn’t work, you have a bigger problem that needs special attention.
#3 -The burner isn’t working
Electric heaters have an element (sometimes two) that heats the water. If there’s no hot water and no leak, your element might not be working. These water heaters typically have a lifespan of about 7-10 years so if your heater is around this age, it’s possible that the element has failed and needs replacement.
#4 -Thermostat is set wrong or not working.
Water heaters have a thermostat to set the supply temperature. It might be set too low, not giving you hot enough water to have your shower. Follow the instructions to change the thermostat setting. If it still doesn’t work, you may need to change your thermostat.
#5 -The Breaker Tripped
Your water heater might have tripped the breaker. Check your panel and reset the breaker. If it happens again, that signals an electrical problem and you should call in a professional. You may have to replace your heater, depending on the severity of the problem.
#6 -Tank is too small
If everything is working well but you constantly face a cold shower if you’re the last one in, your heater might be undersized. You can either race to the bathroom before everyone else, wait for the water to heat up again, or replace your heater with one that has a larger capacity.
Don’t take chances with your hot water system. Give us a call at 801-375-COOL to make sure everything is working well and your water is running hot!
Don’t Worry! One of Utah’s Most Wanted Techs is Headed Your Way!
Posted on March 3rd, 2017
Case Study: Repair or Replace My Furnace?
Summary: David Allen is a rental property owner in Utah County. There was a carbon monoxide leak from a furnace in one of his rental homes in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Mr. Allen was unsure if it needed repaired or replaced. He contacted Western Heating and Air for a second opinion, after having received a bid from another company already. Western Heating and Air sent out a tech, who then performed an analysis on the unit and was able to resolve Mr. Allen’s issue.
In October of 2016, Mr. Allen discovered a carbon monoxide leak from a furnace in one of his rental properties in Pleasant Grove, Utah. He called an HVAC company to come look at the furnace and repair it. They gave him a bid for replacing his furnace, which Mr. Allen felt was misquoted and was unsure that replacing the furnace was necessary. Mr. Allen chose to call Western Heating and Air for a second opinion.
Western Heating and Air’s Solution to the Challenge:
The same day Western Heating and Air received Mr. Allen’s call, they sent one of their Most Wanted technicians, Jose Lobo to visit Mr. Allen’s rental home to inspect the furnace. Jose thoroughly tested the furnace as well as looked at the water heater. Mr. Allen said, “The technician was very helpful, clearly explaining what was wrong as well as the advantages and disadvantages of repair versus replacement.” Jose gave Mr. Allen the option to repair or replace the appliances.
Mr. Allen chose to replace both the furnace and water heater. Mr. Allen shared, “When I chose to replace I was given a good price that was $650 less than a competitor’s bid.” Western Heating and Air replaced the furnace and water heater on schedule, as promised. When asked if he would use Western Heating and Air again, Mr. Allen said, “My technician was polite and professional, I felt he went the extra mile to make sure I was satisfied. I will ask for him next time I need heating work.”
Call 801-375-COOL or click the button below.
If you are looking to repair or replace your furnace this year, schedule a full furnace assessment with us and get ready to experience a whole new level of service with Utah’s Most Wanted Technicians.
Posted on February 22nd, 2017
In 2016, Ryan and I traveled to Las Vegas to the Service World Expo. While there, I was surprised to be named Service World’s Woman of the Year!
Below is the article published in theNEWS, a national publication that goes out to contractors all over the country, announcing the award and sharing how I went from an elementary education major with a Masters in math, to being a Vice President in a heating and cooling company, and loving every minute of it!
Utah Contractor Focuses on Family Friendly Environment, Service
January 23, 2017
Like many women in the HVACR industry, Angie Snow, owner and vice president of Orem, Utah-based Western Heating & Air Conditioning, never aspired for a career in the trades. However, she now owns and operates her own company along with her husband, Ryan Snow.
“HVACR was never my first intention; it was never something I planned on doing when I was younger,” Angie Snow said. “My husband has been doing it for more than 20 years, and he worked his way up through the industry. My education was in elementary education, and I was a school teacher for several years. We had an opportunity to buy a business about nine years ago, and it was something my husband really wanted to do. It was always something he kind of worked toward, and he wanted me to come run the books, since I had a master’s degree in math education. So I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ I kind of went into it to help him and support him with his dream of owning his own HVAC business, but once I got into it and started working on it with him, I realized I really enjoyed the business side of it.”
“HVAC is an interesting industry, and it has become a passion of mine now where I had never envisioned it being a path I would take,” Angie Snow said. “Now, I love it, and I enjoy doing this with my husband. We work really well together as a team, and we worked really hard to get to where we are right now. It’s been really fun.”
Angie Snow was most recently named Woman of the Year at the Inaugural Service World Expo in Las Vegas in October.
“That was really cool; she definitely earned it,” said Ryan Snow. “Being a school teacher, she came into our industry without knowing what to expect. Now, she’s very active in the industry and loves going to trade shows and business meetings. She’s serious about the industry and a great representative for it. She’s been able to recruit other women to come into our organization, which is generally hard to do on the technical side. She definitely deserves it. She’s got some big plans and is always trying to give back to the industry and help others have some success as well.”
FOLLOWING A DREAM
Ryan Snow found the industry by following in his brother’s foot tracks.
“We grew up in a small, rural area in Utah, where the big economic force is coal mining. My brother was caught in a cave-in inside a coal mine and was really fortunate to make it out. Afterwards, he decided he didn’t want to go back, so he got into heating and air conditioning. A couple of years later, he got me into it, as well. The original plan was to go into business together and move back home. Only half of that happened. We didn’t end up going into business together. Instead, all these years later, Angie and I elected to start our own business.”
Ryan Snow said he was torn over the decision of whether or not he should own his own company. “My first job was through a big national HVAC company, and I really enjoyed my time with them. I got a taste of moving up the ranks of a big company, as I became a general manager for them. I gained experience running my own branch out in Fresno, California, and had 30 employees. But, there was a lot of uncertainty. If my boss changed, I was unsure what would happen to my employment. I felt like there was a little more security in starting my own business and seeing what I can bring to the table.”
The Snows moved back to Utah and ended up purchasing Western Heating & Air Conditioning in 2007.
“The previous owner and I had known each other before I moved to California,” Ryan Snow said. “He had turned 60 and was at the point where he needed to start hiring more people to grow the company, and he didn’t want to do that, as he was ready to retire. So, we looked at the business and decided to move back and buy the business from him.
“I love the challenge of it,” he continued. “It’s an evolving industry that’s always fascinated me. I really enjoy working with customers, which I don’t do quite as much now. Now, I look at my employees as my customers and do whatever I can to make them happy and successful — that is what drives me. Our greatest success is our employees’ success.”
The Snows decided to keep the company name, but needed to put a lot of work into revamping it.
“There wasn’t a whole lot the previous owner put into the branding other than the logo,” Angie Snow said. “We worked really hard to build a Western brand with images, values, and different slogans to show who we are. It’s been really neat to watch our brand grow. More and more people recognize us, and I think that has been a big contributing factor to the growth we’ve had over the last few years.”
When the Snows took over the company, there were four employees on payroll. Today, that number has grown to 20, with 15 vehicles in the company’s fleet. Additionally, the company’s 2015 revenue has risen from $2.7 million to about $3.6 million in 2016.
“We’re looking at about a 30 percent growth rate this year,” said Angie Snow. “It’s been awesome. Some of it comes from branding, but a lot of it comes from our culture. We’ve set up a very positive culture and work environment here. We try to take really good care of our employees, so they can take care of our customers. We all just pull our weight and work hard. And, of course — work hard and play hard.”
Western does about 80 percent of its work in the residential market and 20 percent in the commercial market. The company operates in Utah County, south of Salt Lake City, and just started serving Salt Lake County, as well. the goal is to keep expanding and start covering more of Utah, Angie Snow commented.
Angie Snow is a member of Women in HVACR, while Ryan Snow is the president of the Rocky Mountain Gas Association (RMGA). The company is also active in the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations.
“Involvement in these organizations is huge,” Angie Snow said. “Community has been one of the driving factors along with our culture that has helped us grow. We’ve been partnering with different businesses and charities to really try to give back to the community. Meeting these people through different connections and networking has really been a lot of fun. We find new opportunities and doors have just been opened for us. It’s been a big blessing.
“My favorite thing about being in the industry is all the people I’ve met,” she continued. “The other successful contractors and businesspeople who have helped us — the relationships I have with them are priceless. I learn a lot from them, and I’m looking forward to meeting with them and sharing ideas for years to come.”
The Snows have worked extremely hard to build a strong culture.
Sharee Landers, system advisor for Western, said the company is definitely the most personable place she’s ever worked.
“When I came here five years ago, they were pretty small,” she said. “I built a really good relationship with Ryan and Angie, because we didn’t have many techs. They’ve always been there for me. And watching them interact with employees is amazing. They keep an open-door communication policy, strive to connect with each of us, and help us grow. They keep us interested in working. Everything they put into the company is amazing.”
Landers, previously a school bus driver, became interested in the industry after taking an online refrigeration course and attending a hands-on training session.
“One of the teachers there had been in the industry for a long time and told me there was big a demand for women,” Landers said. “Of course, I was the only woman in there. He just really got me excited because he was like, ‘You just don’t know how many things you can do in this trade.’
And it would be so great to have more women in HVAC. I came back and thought I was just going to go for it. I applied to a few places, and Western was the first place that offered me an interview. I was offered a job and took it right away.
“My favorite thing is helping people —the customer service side of it,” she continued. “I enjoy fixing people’s problems, especially hidden problems like air quality and heating and air that people are not really aware of all the time. I like helping them feel more comfortable and healthy in their homes.”
Landers said she absolutely loves working for Western and the Snows. “They are very open and welcoming. If anybody has opinions, they want to hear them, and they actually will apply them. They’re very good when it comes to listening to their employees, and they take feedback really well. It’s a very healthy environment — there’s not a lot of negative going around like you see in other companies. If there’s an issue, we always keep lines of communication open and try to settle it between all of us. And, personality wise, we all just mesh. We did a personality test last week and everybody is kind of on the same level. We make sure everybody is happy. I think that’s helped a lot, because we have so many people who care deeply about the company. We’re very family-oriented here.”
Like most contractors, Western is having a difficult time recruiting experienced technicians.
“Finding the right type of people who fit into our culture is challenging,” Ryan Snow said. “At our company, we’re very particular about who we bring on. We’re recruiting all the time. RMGA is a good group that has trade schools represented on it, and we’ve developed good relationships with them. They’ll send us referrals for guys just getting started in the industry. Additionally, simply advertising our culture has been a powerful recruiting tool.”
Angie Snow affirms that no matter what challenges arise, it’s important to remain flexible. This flexibility helped Western survive the Great Recession, which hit right after the Snows purchased the company.
“We look at every hurdle as it comes,” she said. “When the recession hit, we thought we were in a really good place. We really didn’t feel the effects until 2011, which is when it hit our company really hard. And when that hurdle came, we had to really sit down and look at every part of our business, from marketing to employees to cost of our services. We had to take a good look at insurance and what we could do. I just feel you really have to be flexible so that no matter what hurdle comes your way, you’re willing to bend, mold, change, and adapt to get through it and move forward. Sometimes, changes are not easy to make, but we did it, pushed through, and we’ve seen more success over the last several years because of it.”
The Snows said their goal is to make Western into the premier heating and air conditioning company in the area.
“Utah County is our first and foremost goal,” Ryan Snow said. “And we’re working toward that. We want to set up small branches throughout the Salt Lake area, which is exciting for us as it gives our employees new opportunities to grow. It will also make it so we can respond to our customers faster.”
Angie Snow said she is excited for the future.
“I feel like we’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “I’m hoping to start making a bigger impact in the community and start making HVAC seem a little more glamourous, because, right now, contractors are sort of looked down upon. I’m hoping we can raise HVAC to a whole new level of expertise and class, because that’s the kind of people we have in our industry. I would love to see this industry raised to a higher level of respect. When people go into a nice steak house and order a steak, they don’t say, ‘What’s the cheapest price you can give me for this steak?’ I would love for people to call us and say, ‘I need a tuneup; give me the best one you have, and I’ll pay whatever for it,’ because that’s how respected our industry could be. I see a vision for that. We can do it.
“I just want to leave a lasting legacy of good, quality service. We want to be recognized as the company that always did the right thing,” Angie Snow added. “I want Western to have a good name, if nothing else, even if we don’t grow throughout all of Utah. I just want to be known as a good, reputable company.”
Publication date: 1/23/2017