Posted on September 19th, 2019
Why Ventilation Matters During Cold Weather
Ever since we’ve discovered the impact of our energy consumption on the environment, we’ve taken more and more steps to reduce use. By limiting the heating and cooling loads of our HVAC systems, we help both the environment and our pockets.
But as we strive to reduce the energy we use, it’s important to remember that some loads are worth keeping, like ventilation. Bringing in fresh air might use more gas and electricity but if we limit outside air, the effects can be detrimental.
Here are the reasons why ventilation is vital to your family, especially as winter starts creeping in.
Exhaust removes moist air
Ventilation consists of introducing fresh air as well as getting rid of stale air. Exhausting air from moisture-prone areas like your kitchen and bathroom is important for preventing issues like mold and bacterial growth.
A simple exhaust fan can do wonders as long as you use it when required and it works to its full capacity. Ensure that your exhaust fans are well-maintained to keep these areas well ventilated.
Ventilation reduces the buildup of unwanted gases
Too much carbon dioxide and exposure to gases like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can make you sick. Carbon dioxide builds up in your home if it isn’t replaced with fresh outdoor air. This can lead to fatigue and restlessness as well as headaches. VOC exposure causes eye, throat and lung irritation in the short term but can lead to problems with the liver and central nervous system with ongoing exposure.
For many years we dealt with outdoor air pollution but studies show that poor ventilation leads to higher levels of indoor air pollutants. Adequate ventilation is the only way to ensure acceptable indoor air quality.
In addition to unwanted gases, ventilation reduces the buildup of germs during flu season. Since you’re more likely to spend time indoors during winter, getting rid of viruses and bacteria will keep your family healthier and reduce the spread of winter misery from colds and the flu.
The best part is that you don’t need to accept a massive increase in your heating load to get enough ventilation. Energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) help with energy while allowing you the benefit of fresh air. If you want fresher, healthier air in your home, especially as it gets colder, give the professionals at Western Heating & Air Conditioning a call and we can help keep your family healthy. Call us at 385-273-3200 or visit us at www.WesternHeatingAir.com.
Posted on September 11th, 2019
Commercial HVAC systems seem to get all the love with engineers devoting months to designing them to be just right. Many homeowners don’t have this luxury and their systems are often sized based on square footage. And while these rules of thumb are quick and easy, the long-term effect of poorly sized equipment can be costly and stressful.
It may seem obvious that if your furnace is undersized, you just won’t get the heating you need. You’ll shiver winter after winter while you wait for the temperature to go up. But that’s not the only indicator. You may find some parts of your home get warm while others are cold. One typical reason is that the airflow isn’t properly balanced. Another possibility is an undersized furnace that simply can’t heat your entire house.
More often than not, though, the problem is that your unit might be oversized. Unfortunately, this means a higher initial cost and potentially higher energy consumption to power a larger fan. If you have a single stage furnace, you might find it cycling on and off more frequently. Your home’s temperature will fluctuate and your furnace will experience more wear. Modulating furnaces aren’t prone to this problem but they will run at a less than optimum efficiency, consuming more fuel than if properly sized.
Poorly designed cooling
In northern climates, air conditioners are sometimes considered less important. While heating is more critical for severe winters, cooling systems are vital for both temperature and humidity control in the summer. An undersized air conditioner will struggle to cool your home and run longer, drawing more power. It will also take a long time to bring the temperature and humidity down, leaving you at risk for all the issues associated with high humidity.
Similar to furnaces, some air conditioners may be oversized, especially in hotter climates where air conditioning is critical for extreme temperatures in the summer. The problem is that oversizing your air conditioner can increase wear as the compressor cycles on and off for single stage cooling systems. It can also lower humidity too much, leaving your home dry and uncomfortable. Added to that is the higher initial cost and energy use for a unit that is bigger than it needs to be.
There’s no question that much thought needs to go into choosing the right equipment for your home. If your HVAC system isn’t performing despite proper repair and replacement, give the experts at Western Heating & Air Conditioning a call and we can assess the design to help you deal with those issues. For a limited time, we are offering a free home analysis ($79 value). Call 385-273-3200 or visit us online at www.WesternHeatingAir.com.
Posted on September 3rd, 2019
Signs Your Water Heater Needs to be Replaced
Your water heater is a very important appliance in your home. Many people may not even think about their water heater until the hot water is gone. The last thing we would want is for you to wake up to a cold shower, or a flooded home from a broken water heater. Here are a few signs that may indicate your water heater needs to be replaced.
Is your water heater keeping up with the needs of your family? I have four children, and when we all want to shower or bath around the same time, we often run out of hot water. The recovery time is measured by how long it takes to heat the water up after all the water is used from the water heater. If it takes a while or if it is running out of hot water frequently, then that may indicate a problem.
Have you ever heard strange noises from your water heater? You may not unless you are close to your water heater when it turns on. Listen closely and if you hear crackling, bubbling or popping noises, that could indicate that your tank is getting full of sediment. This can be harmful to a water heater, causing it to not heat the water properly. When this happens, the water heater over works and it causes unnecessary, extra stress on your water heater.
Water heaters typically last 8-10 years. If your water heater is getting in this age range, you may notice some of the symptoms above. At this age it’s best to consider replacing it if these symptoms are occurring.
To keep your water heater running safely and efficiently, we suggest an annual water heater safety check. Our friendly, certified technicians are trained to effectively test and maintain your water heaters for optimal performance. They recommend installing a water sensor by your water heater to alert you of any flooding.
Western Heating & Air Conditioning’s owner, Ryan Snow, shares additional insights and information on water heaters here.
Schedule your annual furnace tune-up now, and get a complimentary water heater check for the month of September 2019 only. Or if it’s time to upgrade that water heater, we have our BLOWOUT water heater pricing for this month only. Our certified technicians are Utah’s most wanted and most trusted technicians. They treat you like family and leave your home nicer than they found it. Visit Western Heating & Air Conditioning online at www.TimeForComfort.com or call 801-515-2448 to schedule today!
Posted on August 21st, 2019
Finding the Right Summer Indoor Temperature
The ideal temperature setting is something we rarely think about when fiddling with the thermostat in summer. Though the perfect temperature may seem purely based on opinion, there are some factors we must all consider before setting the dial.
According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the ideal indoor temperature for comfort is between 75°F (24°C) and 80.5°F (27°C) in the summer. This temperature range is based on factors like clothing, humidity levels, individual metabolic rate and airflow speed. Your personal comfort levels may deviate from this range, based on your body’s metabolism, but not by very much.
We must consider our health when setting our home temperature. The ideal body temperature is 98.6°F (37°C) so try to maintain that when possible. When you set your thermostat, the humidity of your home is also affected. Air conditioning lowers humidity, which can then dry out mucus membranes. This leaves you susceptible to colds other respiratory issues.
Temperature also affects sleep quality, which impacts your immune system and overall health. For most people, a temperature range of 65°F to 72°F (18°C to 22°C) works best. In the summer, this might mean running your air conditioner on hot nights. As with daytime temperatures, ideal sleep temperatures will vary depending on your body and how bundled up you are.
You can save energy on cooling by finding other ways to cool down in summer. Keeping your thermostat set to slightly higher temperatures will cut your energy bills by 6-8% per degree. You can use a fan with your air conditioner set to a higher temperature to keep cool while consuming less electricity.
Equipment performance and life cycle
Depending on how your equipment is sized, setting the temperature wrong may cause it to cycle on and off or cause it to run excessively. This has the undesired effect of reducing your equipment life cycle as it works harder and experiences more wear and tear.
Make sure that whatever your preferred indoor temperature, your air conditioner is correctly sized so it doesn’t experience too much run time or too much cycling. Have a professional from Western Heating & Air Conditioning review your system to make sure it’s the right size for your home.
Keep your cooling equipment ready to go
With more hot days ahead, you will want your cooling equipment running at its best. Give Western Heating & Air Conditioning a call at 385-273-3200 for any maintenance issues or simply to review your air conditioning so you’re never stuck without cooling. Learn more at www.WesternHeatingandAir.com.
Posted on July 26th, 2019
Your HVAC Independence Plan
Nearly two hundred and fifty years ago, the United States gained independence from the British Empire. It took dedication, hard work and tenacity.
But how independent are we in our own lives? Figuring it out requires close self-examination. Even the small aspects of our daily existence affect our independence. One aspect is our home environment, figuratively and literally.
In the literal sense, our home’s systems affect the freedom we experience. Here are some tweaks you can do to ensure your HVAC system helps boost your independence.
Independence from high utility bills
You’re unlikely to gain full independence from utility bills but you can be independent from the ones that keep you up at night. HVAC systems use a substantial percentage of energy so lowering consumption with the right upgrades will bring those bills down.
High efficiency furnaces, air conditioners, boilers and water heaters are designed to reduce energy use and bring you closer to independence. Using solar collectors for hot water can lower your bills even more.
Independence from indoor air pollution
Indoor air pollution is an invisible enemy that can make you sick and you won’t even know why. You can’t gain true independence with health problems, especially ones you can avoid.
Keep indoor air pollution at bay with properly maintained exhaust fans, filters upgraded to high efficiency or an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) that boosts air quality with minimal impact to your heating and cooling bills.
Independence from allergies
Speaking of health, allergy symptoms can rob you of true independence by leaving you too miserable and sick to function.
Minimize your exposure to allergens in your home with proper furnace maintenance: replace filters (or upgrade them to HEPA filters), clean the fan and ductwork and install an air purifier. Proper ventilation combined with the right filtration and purification will bring you closer to allergy independence at home.
Independence from humidity issues
Achieving comfort at home is about more than just getting the temperature right. Your home must be at the right humidity as well, and not just for comfort. Humidity that is too high or low can cause problems with your home (damage to walls and structure) and your health (triggering allergies, making you more susceptible to colds, drying skin and mucus membranes).
When evaluating the health issues that your family has, and because of the dryness in Utah Valley, you may want to consider installing a humidifier, or air conditioner to control the moisture levels and keep you independent of humidity problems. If you need help achieving more independence in your HVAC life, give the Certified Comfort Experts at Western Heating & Air Conditioning at call at 385-273-3200 or visit us online at www.WesternHeatingAir.com.