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How Often Should I Change My Air Filters?  

Occasionally, the filters in your HVAC system will need to be replaced. Not only does regularly changing the filter improve the air quality in your home, but it also increases the lifespan of your HVAC system. More importantly, a dirty filter can even pose a safety risk in your home. But how do you know when it's time to change out your filters?

On average, it is recommended that you replace your filters every other month. However, your home's HVAC system may need more frequent changes. Read on for more information about the right time to change your air filters.

Factors Affecting Your Air Filters

There are several factors that can affect how often you should change your air filters, including:

  • Size of your home - Smaller homes with more people in them might need more frequent changes.
  • Time of year - If you are not using your HVAC system during milder months, you may not need to change the filters as often.
  • Number of pets in the home - Pet hair and particles will significantly affect the air quality in your home.
  • Air quality outside the home - If you live in an area with heavy pollution, it can affect your indoor air quality as well.

Every home is different, but over time, you will be able to tell how often you need to change the filters in your home.

Signs it's Time to Change Your Filters

Sometimes, you may need to change your filters ahead of your regular schedule. Some of the tell-tale signs to check your filters include:

  • Increase in energy bills
  • Presence of dust
  • Sneezing or allergy symptoms
  • Overheating in your HVAC system
  • Changing your air filters is an important part of HVAC system maintenance, and the experts at Westberry are here to help. Our services are available 24 hours a day, so if you have questions or need assistance with changing your air filters, contact us today!

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    How Many Times a Year Should HVAC Maintenance Be Performed?  

    After people have decided on a quality HVAC company to provide their building with the heating and cooling it deserves, many people are surprised to hear that maintaining an HVAC unit is an ongoing process. While some people might frown at the idea of getting their unit serviced regularly, it is important to remember that a heating and cooling unit is just like any other machine and will require preventative maintenance on a regular basis. The question is how often does HVAC maintenance need to be performed?

    Most technicians will mention that performing key maintenance once per year is acceptable, but twice a year is more beneficial. It is also important to pick the time of year that the service is performed. For example, it is important to schedule the service right before the unit is needed most to ensure that it is functioning at top capacity during times of high usage. The air conditioner should probably be serviced in the spring to ensure that it is ready for the warmer months when it will be required. The heater should be serviced just before the winter months so it can keep you warm and cozy as the temperature drops.

    What Benefits Does Preventative Maintenance Provide?

    Preventative maintenance will provide a number of key benefits for the HVAC unit. The system will be cleaned, the fluids will be changed and any damaged parts will be replaced. This will help to improve the efficiency of the equipment to lower utility bills as well as extend the life of an HVAC system to prevent unneeded expenses. It is always cheaper to prevent a problem from developing than to fix one that has already happened. Contact Westberry Heating and Air Conditioning today for more information or to schedule your spring preventative maintenance visit.

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    5 Most Common Causes for Air Conditioning Failure

    Even as residents seek to prevent complete air conditioning failure, they also wonder what steps in preventative planning best eliminate ineffective AC performance. The following

    5 HVAC tech tips straight from the pros will point out the most common reasons that A/C systems fail.

    1. Improper System Operation
    2. Improper system operation is the most common cause for air conditioning failure. Why? Because homeowners often overlook the importance of a controlled A/C environment.

    3. Poor System Drainage
    4. Poor system drainage can be linked to excessive outside humidity, clogged drain lines, and even poor system installation wherein the drain line is incorrectly leveled.

    5. Inadequate System Maintenance
    6. Failure to follow routine HVAC maintenance assures that your home will eventually experience an unnecessary air conditioning failure. Routine HVAC maintenance helps prevent system breakdowns and reduces unnecessary repair cost.

    7. Improper HVAC Installation
    8. How well do you know your service HVAC tech? Incorrect system sizing, system installation and electrical configurations affect the efficiency and performance of your installed heating and cooling equipment. Don’t live with leaky ducts, insufficient airflow or even some worse HVAC installation air conditioning failure.

    9. Faulty Sensors
    10. HVAC techs report defective sensors among the top five reasons behind poor AC performance. Faulty sensors result in erratic system behavior, including excessive system cycling.

    Protecting Your Home HVAC Investment

    Annual maintenance has been and will likely always be the best way to prevent unexpected air conditioning failure. It’s about keeping your AC at peak performance efficiency. Reduce the possibility of HVAC breakdowns. Check out the cumulative benefits of our Westberry Heating and Air Conditioning Maintenance Program. Contact us today!

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    How to Clean Your Air Vents  

    Cleaning your home air vents may not be the first thing on your mind when it comes to spring cleaning, but it is very important to maintain the quality of air in your home.

    Without regular cleaning, air vents can become clogged, limiting the air flow and increasing your energy cost.

    Cleaning Your Air Vents

    The first step in cleaning your air vents is gathering up the necessary tools for the project. To clean your air vents, you will need:

    • a screwdriver
    • paper towels
    • a tub full of soapy water
    • a vacuum with hose attachments

    After gathering your materials, follow the steps below to get your air vents looking like new.

    Clear the Area

    The first step is to clear the area in the vicinity of the air vents. Remove or cover anything that you don't want to get covered in dust or debris.

    Shut off the Furnace

    While you don't have to turn the furnace off at the breaker, you will want to turn it off at the thermostat so it doesn't begin blowing while you are working.

    Vacuum the Vent

    Using your vacuum, you will want to clear as much debris as possible from the surface of the vent. Don't worry if you do not get it all, this is simply to remove as much loose debris as possible.

    Remove the Vent

    Next, use the screwdriver to remove the vent, being careful to place the screws somewhere you will be able to easily find them again. You may want to wear goggles if dealing with an overhead vent as a lot of debris may come out at this point.

    Vacuum inside the Vent

    Give a quick vacuum around the inside of the vent to clear the debris that had been stopped by the vent. You can also use some paper towels to wipe some of the debris that may be sticky.

    Wash the Vent

    Using warm soapy water, scrub the vent until all of the sticky debris is removed and then dry off the vent with a towel. Replace your vent and you are done.

    To help maximize your airflow, a professional air duct and vent cleaning may be your answer. Blogs Contact the professionals at Westberry Heating and Air for more information on how to keep your ducts and vents in tip-top shape.

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    Why is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?  

    It is more than an inconvenience to experience a furnace that is running but blowing out cold air in the winter. We understand you will want to find answers quickly when this happens, so here are some common causes to this problem:

    Your Thermostat is the Culprit

    If you check your thermostat and find that your fan setting has been set to 'on', you've found your answer. This is because the fan is going to come on at all times, even when the furnace is not generating warm air. To fix this is simple, just turn your fan option off, and that way, it will only run when the heat is on. You'll be toastier in no time.

    Your Air Filter Needs to be Changed

    When your filter is dirty, it can cause the air flowing out from the furnace to become blocked, and this can lead to your furnace overheating. When this happens, the furnace's limit switch will turn off the heat as a protective measure. The fan will cut on to cool off the furnace, and the result will be that cold air will blow out. The fix here is to switch out the filter. If this doesn't resolve the problem, contact your friendly HVAC specialists, as it could be something more serious that will lead to your furnace burning out completely.

    Duct Problems

    If there is a hole in the ducting system, the heat will escape, and cold air will blow out. Fixing the holes will keep this from happening.

    Whatever the problem, we are here to help. You can call us anytime, 24 hours a day to get service, as we understand that heating emergencies can happen at any time. We will be happy to talk with you and to answer whatever questions you may have. Contact us today!

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    How Does an Air Conditioner Work?  

    Many of us often take our air conditioning for granted. We don’t appreciate the mechanics of it and what exactly life would be like if Willis Carrier did not invent the modern air conditioner at the turn of the 20th century. Understanding how air conditioners work is helpful for troubleshooting any issues that may arise during operation.

    Refrigerators and Air Conditioners: Different but Alike

    Air conditioners work in the same way as refrigerators, just on a larger scale. Fridges are responsible for cooling a small, compact space while air conditioners can cool down large, multi-room buildings. The types of refrigerants used in the majority of air conditioning systems are R-22 and R-410A. These chemicals convert from a gas to liquid in order to remove the heat from the home.

    Three Part System

    Air conditioners consist of a condenser, an evaporator and a compressor. Air from the house is absorbed into the evaporator while the refrigerant located inside the system’s coils measures the amount of heat in the air and transforms the liquid into a gas. The process causes the hot air to cool down rapidly. The vapor goes into the compressor and compresses the gas to a highly pressurized state. The condenser is then responsible for returning the gas back to a liquid state with the cooled off liquid getting returned into the building. After getting pumped back into the house, the process will begin again to maintain your comfort level. A fan is attached to the evaporator to circulate the air throughout the home. Air conditioners also act as dehumidifiers since they remove moisture from the air.

    Even though this may be confusing, the experts at Westberry Heating and Air can help you maintain your air conditioner for optimum comfort. Contact us today!

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    Steps Every Homeowner Should Take to Keep Their HVAC System Running Effectively and Efficiently  

    Your HVAC system is the back-bone of comfort in your home. Without it, your family will be freezing out in the cold winters and burning up in the hot summers. It is therefore paramount that you keep it operating effectively and efficiently from season to season. How do you that successfully?

    Here are steps to help you out:

    1. Inspect and replace your filters regularly
    2. Dirty filters decrease air flow and cause your system to work harder than necessary in order to achieve the desired results. Inspect your filters once a month, especially during winter or summer when the HVAC system is mostly in use, and replace them if they appear dirty.

    3. Use a programmable thermostat
    4. You do not need to keep an eye on your home temperatures all the time. A smart or programmable thermostat can do most of the work for you. It will help the HVAC to adjust itself and cool the air to the right temperature and at the right times of the day.

    5. Schedule professional maintenance at least once yearly
    6. Your HVAC is a big investment. To receive optimal service as well as prolong its service life, you need to have a professional contractor check it out at least once a year. An expert will lubricate the system, identify any looping problems and make adjustments to improve the efficiency of the system.

    7. Clean your air return vents
    8. Air return vents often build up with dirt, dust and other forms of debris. Clean these vents periodically to prevent this dirt build up from bogging down your system and lowering its efficiency.

    If you need more information or have any questions, contact the experts at Westberry Heating and Air today!

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    What Do Technicians Typically Look for During a Scheduled Maintenance Visit?

    When you have an HVAC system, it is recommended that you schedule routine maintenance twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring.  Maintenance can be important for preventing serious problems from occurring by catching them in early stages, saving homeowners from larger expenses later.

    When a repairman comes for routine maintenance of the furnace they will:

    • Change the filter.  Filters should be changed at least four times a year and inspected every month.
    • Make certain the thermostat is operating accurately.  If it is not accurate, fixing it can help save homeowners money.  You might think you’ve set the thermostat at 68 degrees, but if it warms the house to 70 degrees because the thermostat is inaccurate, you will pay the difference.
    • Check connections, hoses, fluids, and other things that affect how well the motor runs.  This can help find leaks you wouldn’t normally know about.  Fixing them now saves money later.
    • Check the systems control to make certain things are operating carefully.

    When a repairman comes for routine air condition maintenance they will:

  • Make certain the condenser coil is clean and operating efficiently;
  • Make certain the thermostat is operating correctly and accurately;
  • Check the motor to make certain it is operating correctly and with the correct power to keep the air conditioner running correctly;
  • The tech will take a reading across the evaporator coil for correct temperature differential;
  • The tech will charge the air conditioner as needed.
  • Regular inspections of the HVAC unit can save money in the long run.  Problems, such as leaks in coils, water or other fluids leaking can cause damage to the system if left unattended.  Regular inspections can help ensure that those problems are caught before they do a large amount of monetary damage.  A leak caught within the first week or two can be corrected.  A leak that isn’t found until the unit stops running correctly could force the owner to purchase a new unit. For all of your HVAC needs, or to schedule a maintenance visit, contact the experts at Westberry Heating and Air Conditioning today!

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    How Do UV Lights Work?

    Just about everyone has observed the magic of UV lights, yet few of us truly understand how they work. UV lights, also known as “black lights”, produce long-wave radiation. These lights appear a dark shade of purple, yet the light they generate is from the ultraviolet range of the light spectrum.

    The Basics of UV Lights

    UV light is short for ultraviolet light. This light is a form of electromagnetic radiation similar to X-rays, radio waves and gamma-rays. Plenty of people link UV lights to black-light posters, yet UV light also has the potential to cause a sunburn or tan. Though the human eye can't see UV light, it is naturally emitted by the sun throughout the day. About 10 percent of the sun's light is UV light.

    UV light's electromagnetic radiation travels in waves or particles at varying frequencies. Its frequency is between 3 x 1016 cycles per second and 8 × 1014 cycles per second. UV light wavelengths are between 380 and 10 nanometers. This unique light is generated in the long-wave form with the assistance of mercury vapor. As a result, pigments and dyes look fluorescent when exposed to the light. As an example, black-light tubes contain mercury and are lined with a purple filer material to prevent visible light from entering the interior. This unique light creates quite the pronounced fluorescent glow when shone above white materials including human teeth and nails.

    Why UV Lights are so Popular

    Your HVAC technician may recommend using UV lights for your HVAC unit to help prevent mold growth in your air ducts or if your family suffers from allergies. Ultraviolet light can kill microbes in the atmosphere as they pass through your system, improving your indoor air quality. For those suffering from allergies at home, particularly if they live in hot, humid climates, UV lights may offer some relief.

    If you think UV lights may be just the solution you’re searching for, contact the professionals at Westberry Heating and Air Conditioning.

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    What Products Should I Consider to Improve the Indoor Air Quality in my Home?

    The fact is that generally, people spend the majority of their time indoors. Unfortunately, the air within our homes and buildings tends to be poor quality. In fact, the EPA ranks indoor air quality as one of the top five environmental risks to public health. If you are looking to improve your indoor air quality at home or the office, here are some products that might help:

    1. Air Filters: Air filters help filter harmful particles in your indoor air. If your air filters are dirty, they directly impact the quality of the air in your home or business and can aggravate allergies and asthma. Changing your air filters regularly is the first step to improving your indoor air quality.
    2. HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Vacuum Cleaner: Coming with disposable bags and microfiber cloths, HEPA vacuum cleaners facilitate surface dust removal on hard floors and carpets. These vacuum cleaners provide the highest level of filtration available and remove 99.97 percent of all harmful particles.
    3. House-plants: Studies have indicated that plants facilitate production of fresh, clean air. According to NASA research, plants remove up to 87 percent of volatile organic compounds from the air ever 24 hours as they go through the photosynthesis cycle.
    4. Humidifiers: Humidifiers help to improve your home’s indoor air quality, especially in cold weather months. If walking on your carpet gives you an electrical shock, the humidity in your home is probably too low. The ideal home humidity level is between 35 and 50 percent. A good humidifier can help you increase your home’s indoor air quality and maintain optimum comfort.

    Maintaining optimum comfort levels at home and at work is essential to your physical and mental well-being. For more information on how you can improve your indoor air quality and breathe easier, contact the experts at Westberry Heating and Air Conditioning!

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