Posted on January 17th, 2020
As an HVAC Contractor, some of our greatest challenges involve keeping your home’s indoor environment at the right conditions while reducing your energy bills. Here are some things we want you to know that will give you the best outcome for your HVAC system.
- Your home will never be the perfect temperature everywhere
Heating and cooling a home to the perfect temperature year-round is virtually impossible. The American Society for Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) spends tons of time figuring out the details of components and comfort requirements for HVAC systems. There’s always something new to learn. Getting the perfect system that meets the individual needs of your family all the time would be expensive and cumbersome, if not completely impractical. What we can do is get you as close as possible while saving you money in the process.
- Ventilation is important
You might not feel ventilation the way you feel heat and cold, but you will still feel the effects of poor ventilation. Increased sickness, poor air quality, the spread of pathogens and deterioration of your home are all effects of limited fresh air.
- Mechanical rooms are not for storage
Storage is always a challenge and it might be tempting to put those old suitcases or books in your furnace room. But the space around your equipment is important for its function. Limiting clearances can cause your furnace to burn without proper oxygen levels or cause a fire. It also makes repair and maintenance challenging. Keep this room clear at all times.
- You must keep vent openings clear
In addition to keeping your mechanical equipment clear of other items, you must ensure that vent openings outside are not blocked. Poor venting of gas equipment can cause carbon monoxide production which will endanger your family.
- Old equipment is costing you big
You might be saving on a huge expense like a furnace replacement when you repair your old equipment, but the money that you pour into repairs is only part of the expense. Old equipment is inefficient and this costs you every time you pay your energy bills, which will add up over time. Replace your equipment now, and we will also include a free duct cleaning ($699 value).
- Skipping maintenance will cost you more in the long run
This seems obvious when you think about it but it’s so easy to procrastinate on regular maintenance, especially when things get busy. But dealing with a repair or complete replacement that could have been prevented will cost you more time and money. Not to mention the additional cost of having HVAC equipment run inefficiently.
If you want to discuss your HVAC concerns, we’d love to talk to you! Please give us a call at 385-273-3200 and we can help you optimize your home’s heating. You can also our website at www.WesternHeatingAir.com for more information.
Posted on January 15th, 2020
Performing DIY repairs on any large appliance, especially a furnace, can be intimidating. Thankfully, one of the most common furnace maintenance projects can be done with no specialized knowledge.
Learning how to replace a furnace filter should be part of every homeowner’s skill set. If you aren’t sure where to start, read on to find out how to know it’s time for a replacement and how to install a filter.
How Do You Know It’s Time to Change a Furnace Filter?
Many people leave the same filter in their furnace for months (or years) at a time. It’s an easy thing to forget, but filters should be changed out every 30-60 days to keep your heating system working at its best. The exact amount of time will change depending on your home’s existing air quality, whether you have pets, and if anyone in your family has breathing issues.
Single-use paper and fiberglass filters should be white and free of buildup or debris. If you notice that the filter is gray and dirty, don’t just shake off the dust and put it back. It’s time to replace it altogether.
If you have a permanent or reusable filter, you can still follow the steps below. The only difference is that instead of replacing it with a new one, you’ll clean it out with a water sprayer and let it dry off before putting it back in.
How to Replace a Furnace Filter
How long has it been since your filter was replaced? If it has been more than a few months (or you aren’t sure if it has ever been replaced) it’s time to open up your furnace and take a look at what’s inside.
1. Turn off the Furnace
Before opening up any appliance for maintenance, the first step is always to turn it off. Even though the danger of electrocution is small, you could burn yourself if the furnace has been running. There’s also a chance that the system could kick on while the filter is out and send debris circulating through the rest of your HVAC system.
Shut down your heating system by setting your thermostat to “off” and disconnecting power from the furnace. If it’s hot, wait for it to cool down before opening it up.
2. Open the Filter Compartment
Your furnace should have a marked service panel on one side. If you aren’t sure where to look, check the manual or look up your furnace model online. For old furnaces that don’t have manuals, look around the ductwork and blower compartment for a small door panel.
3. Remove and Inspect the Old Filter
Now that the service panel is open, you should be able to peek inside and see your old filter in place. Before you take it out for the first time, make a note or take a photo of how it’s installed so you can put the new one in the right way.
Pay special attention to the direction of airflow—you may want to mark it with an arrow on your furnace or ductwork for future reference. The arrow should point toward the fan. If you reinstall the new filter backward, its efficiency will decrease.
Take the old filter out and immediately seal it in a trash bag to keep the dust from becoming airborne. It should slide out of the furnace with little effort.
With the filter slot empty, take a moment to brush out any visible debris from inside your furnace. A large buildup of debris is a sign that it’s time to schedule a heating tune-up.
4. Purchase a Matching Replacement Filter
Check your furnace’s manual and the existing filter to make sure you buy the correct replacement. You can find furnace filters at most stores with a hardware section. Ordering them online is also simple and can give you a wider selection to choose from.
When buying a replacement, make sure you choose the correct size, material, and MERV rating for your furnace.
5. Install the New Filter
Now that you’re ready to put the new filter in, use the directions you left for yourself earlier to insert it in the right direction. Match up the airflow direction on the filter with your filter’s fan unit and slide it into place. Then, close up the service panel and you’re ready to go.
6. Record the Date of Installation
To make sure you don’t forget to check your filter before it’s too late, write the date down for later reference. Place a sticker or magnetic notepad on or near your furnace to record the dates of your filter changes and any other furnace maintenance and repairs.
7. Restart the Furnace
Now that everything is back in place, you can reconnect the power to your furnace and turn your HVAC system back on with the thermostat. If your old filter was caked with dust before you replaced it, there may be a noticeable improvement in your home’s air quality.
Why You Should Never Ignore a Dirty or Damaged Filter
Not only can keeping your filter clean and updated extend the life of your furnace, but it will also make a huge difference in your home’s air quality.
The EPA recommends using a variety of methods to improve your indoor air quality (IAQ). Using clean filters in your furnace and HVAC unit is one of the easiest ways to trap pollutants before they enter your lungs. If your filter is damaged or caked with dust, your furnace will recirculate harmful particles back into your home’s air.
This is especially important to consider if anyone in your home has asthma or allergies or if you have dander-producing pets. Even if everyone has healthy lungs, a dusty furnace can fill your entire house with an unpleasant burning odor.
Looking for Help with Furnace Repairs?
Even though you now know how to replace a furnace filter yourself, sometimes you need a professional to help you out with repairs.
When that happens, call us at Western Heating & Air Conditioning. We can help you tune-up, fix, and replace your furnace when it’s no longer working at its best. Contact us today to schedule your appointment with a 24/7 service technician.
Posted on January 8th, 2020
Our Promise To You!
Highly trained, clean professionals
Consistent, quality performance
We respect your home and family
We are honest and do things the right way
Educate you on your system
Show value and save you money
100% Satisfaction Guarantee
Posted on December 31st, 2019
Benefits of a Smart Thermostat
If you lived in the era before the invention of thermostats, you would have to go to the boiler and manually adjust the heat output every time it got too hot or too cold. Thanks to the thermostat, you can set it and forget it. Most of the time, anyway. There are some limitations to thermostats, even programmable ones.
Nowadays, you have the option of installing a smart thermostat to deal with some of those shortcomings. Here are some benefits of smart thermostats that make it almost a no-brainer for your home.
Smart thermostats learn your patterns and some monitor the weather to adjust set points accordingly. This means that instead of constantly tweaking the thermostat because you’re too hot or cold, the adjustments are carried out to maintain your comfort levels.
Energy use monitoring
One of the features of a smart thermostat is the energy use report that shows you how much you are consuming and how that changes over time. It allows you to assess your habits to find ways to save energy based on your needs and lifestyle.
Reduced energy use
The energy report is one tool that helps you save energy by allowing you to change habits. The other feature that smart thermostats have is the ability to use your patterns to know when to reduce heating and cooling while you’re away or asleep. This setback function saves you energy while you go about your daily routine.
Better performance from HVAC equipment
Smart thermostats allow your HVAC equipment to work at optimum efficiency and to reduce the time they run at full capacity. Overall this extends their lifespan and saves on energy and maintenance.
Remote monitoring in case of equipment failure
If you’re away for the holidays and your furnace falls, you don’t have to wait until you walk into a frozen house to find out. Remote access to your thermostat allows you to see if anything goes wrong so you can take steps to prevent a major disaster.
When you combine lower energy consumption, improved equipment performance and reduced maintenance, you have a recipe for cost savings. The initial investment for a smart thermostat pays for itself while you experience increased control and comfort.
If you want to upgrade to a smart thermostat, give the professionals at Western Heating & Air Conditioning a call at 385-273-3200 or visit us at www.WesternHeatingAir.com and we can help you benefit from this great technology.
Posted on December 21st, 2019
Joy to the world! The holiday season is upon us, bringing chilly weather and the seasonal spirit along with it.
If you haven’t scheduled your annual HVAC preventative maintenance check yet, you might want to soon.
Otherwise, you may find your season isn’t as cheery and bright as expected.
HVAC repairs and maintenance typically cost between $100 to $150 an hour. If it’s an emergency in the middle of the holidays, this cost can skyrocket. There’s also the chance you might find yourself without heat while friends and family are trying to celebrate the season with good cheer.
To ensure your system works year-round, you need HVAC maintenance. Keep reading to discover the benefits of scheduling your maintenance check every year!
Once you do, you can celebrate the season without worry!
1. Reduce Emergencies
What if you’re hosting a dinner party and your HVAC breaks down? Maybe you’re running late for work when it happens. Either way, there’s never a good time to need HVAC repairs.
You might also have a difficult time calling in a repairman when the appointment is last minute.
Instead of waiting for the worst to happen, schedule your HVAC preventative maintenance ahead of time.
Scheduling an annual checkup will help you avoid costly repairs. Instead, you can maintain your unit so it doesn’t crash unexpectedly. If repairs are necessary, you can schedule them on your schedule instead of when the timing is at the worst possible moment.
2. System Longevity
Scheduling HVAC preventative maintenance every year can increase your unit’s lifespan. Without proper maintenance, however, the unit will overwork itself. This can lead to the very repairs you’re trying to avoid.
A new system can also cost thousands.
Instead of paying for a new unit at the last minute, make sure your existing unit lasts.
Think of annual preventative maintenance like an annual checkup. The HVAC technician can take a look, note any problems, and suggest changes. Then, you can keep your system healthy and working at its best for an extended lifetime.
3. Healthy Air
Every day, we breathe in dust and other indoor allergens without realizing it. These often include:
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
- Cigarette smoke
These allergens can cause dozens of respiratory issues and harm your family’s health. For example, these allergens can irritate a family member’s asthma.
When you leave your HVAC unit unchecked or fail to replace your filters, these airborne pollutants will start to fill the air.
Improve your home’s air quality by calling an HVAC technician. They can check for these allergens and professionally clean your air ducts. Regular HVAC maintenance will also ensure your unit is working to limit these allergens.
Once your vents are clean and well-filtered, fresh air can pump through your home again.
4. Lower Utility Bills
In 2017, the average residential monthly electric bill was $111.67.
When you fail to clean your filters, your HVAC unit has to work twice as hard to push air through the system. As a result, this cost will slowly start to rise.
Annual preventative maintenance will ensure your unit is working at its peak efficiency. When your unit is working properly, it won’t have to use as much energy. As a result, you can cut your energy bills and start saving money.
Without AC preventative maintenance, however, your utility bills will only continue to increase.
Carbon dioxide is an odorless, poisonous gas. Without you realizing it, this gas can invade your living space when it’s not properly venting out of your home. Older furnaces that aren’t regularly maintained are also likely to produce additional carbon dioxide.
If not vented properly, this could put your family members at risk.
It’s important to schedule your annual HVAC maintenance to avoid this issue. Then, a technician can check to confirm your gas is venting and burning properly. After their checkup, you’ll have peace of mind that your home is safe for family members and guests.
You expect your HVAC unit to keep your cool in the summertime and warm during the winter. When you neglect to schedule regular maintenance, however, your system won’t work at its best. As a result, your system might fail to keep you and your family members comfortable.
You might find your system doesn’t produce and distribute air evenly and steadily throughout your home.
If the system isn’t working properly, it might not respond to the settings on your screen, either.
Many people take HVAC preventative maintenance for granted until it’s too late. Instead of waiting for your unit to leave you chilly through winter weather, schedule a checkup. A technician can clean your ductwork and take other preventative steps to make sure your unit is working as it should.
7. Help the Environment
If you’re worried about your green footprint, make sure your HVAC unit is working properly. Otherwise, it could consume more fuel than necessary, which can hurt the environment.
You can speak to your HVAC technician about a programmable thermostat or switching to a natural gas system. Both steps can help minimize your impact on the environment.
8. Peace of Mind
Investing in regular preventative maintenance for your HVAC unit will also give you peace of mind. If something goes wrong, you’ll know you’ve already taken steps to make sure your unit is working at its best. When sometimes does happen, it will end up minor compared to the larger problems you avoid through preventative maintenance.
9. Warranty Requirements
Most HVAC manufacturers require evidence you’ve scheduled your annual maintenance check before you can make a claim. By keeping up with your HVAC checkups, you have an insurance policy in place.
Clear the Air: 9 Reasons You Need HVAC Preventative Maintenance
Now that we’ve cleared the air, when was the last time you scheduled your HVAC preventative maintenance? By scheduling an annual checkup, you can prevent disasters before they strike.
That means celebrating the holidays without a hitch, too!
Ready for your checkup? Schedule your HVAC preventative maintenance appointment today!