Indoor Air Quality Matters – Keeping It Fresh in Winter

Indoor Air Quality Matters – Keeping It Fresh in Winter

To conserve energy during the chilly Texas winters, many Dallas residents seal their homes tightly to keep heat from getting out. Chill-proofing your home saves money, but it’s bad for your health. Insufficient ventilation causes airborne contaminants to multiply in your home because they have nowhere to go, causing poor indoor air quality.

Threats to Winter Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air pollution originates from many different sources including poor HVAC equipment maintenance. It can cause dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea and irritations of the eyes, nose, throat and skin. Long-term exposure can cause health problems like respiratory disease. Below is a list of some common contaminants:

  • Building and furnishing materials
  • Mold and mildew
  • Viruses and bacteria
  • Dust and mites
  • Pet dander
  • Household cleaning agents
  • Carbon monoxide

Air Cleaning and Air Freshening Systems

Innovative indoor air quality products have been developed that can remove, trap or kill up to 99.98 percent of airborne contaminants:

  • Whole-house filtration systems trap harmful particles in high-particulate air filters.
  • Air purifiers like UV lights use advanced technology to zap contaminants as they circulate in indoor air. Air purifiers and UV lights also improve HVAC efficiency.
  • Whole-house ventilators bring fresh air inside and move stale air out. Energy recovery and heat recovery ventilators minimize energy loss, sustain consistent indoor humidity levels and reduce heating and cooling costs.
  • Bypass, power and steam humidifiers maintain optimal indoor relative humidity levels to prevent dry skin, skin rashes and eye, nose and throat irritations caused by dry indoor air.

Keeping Your Dallas Home Healthy

Have your HVAC equipment tuned up every year. Change the filters monthly and clean your home regularly with non-toxic products. Open windows for ventilation whenever possible and install an air cleaner or an air purifier.

To learn more about improving your indoor air, visit Willard Heating And Air Conditioning or call (972) 395-5139 to schedule HVAC equipment maintenance.

Why Attic Insulation Matters

Why Attic Insulation Matters

With increased environmental awareness in today’s world, you are probably looking for ways to make your Wylie, Texas, home a bit greener. One of the easiest ways you can lower energy consumption all year is with proper attic insulation.

Types of Attic Insulation

There are several types of attic insulation to choose from including batts, blown, and sprayed. Insulation batting comes in long rolls that are cut and placed between the floor studs in your attic. Batts installs quickly and easily, but can be difficult to cut precisely to ensure a good seal.

Blown insulation is installed by a service technician. It’s made from fiberglass, minerals, or cellulose and is blown in a layer along your attic floor. Blown insulation fills in gaps and crevices better than batts.

Spray foam insulation works well along attic ceilings when you don’t have any ducts or HVAC components in your attic. The spray sticks to the ceiling easily and fills in holes and cracks quite well.

How Insulation Works

During cold weather, warm air inside your home rises and can seep outside through your attic. During the summer, hot air can work its way inside without proper insulation. These air movements happen in attics easily and from your attic without the right insulation.

Insulation works to prevent air movement. Air caught inside insulation works to keep heated air from moving elsewhere. Insulation has an R-value, a number that indicates how well it keeps heat from moving through it. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation.

Reasons to Insulate Your Attic

Attic insulation reduces the amount of heat lost, thus reducing the amount of energy used to heat your home. Less electricity and gas used means a smaller carbon footprint.

A sealed attic prevents pollen, dirt, pests, and insects from coming inside. This keeps your indoor air quality healthier and keeps you feeling your best.

At Willard Heating & Air Conditioning, we have attic specialists that are your go-to experts for proper attic insulation. Call 972-395-5139 for a consultation or appointment today!

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How to Pick a New HVAC System for Your Home

How to Pick a New HVAC System for Your Home

Choosing a new furnace, heat pump, air conditioner, or thermostat for your Forney, Texas, home isn’t always as easy as it sounds. You need a unit that keeps up with your demand for heating and cooling, while also keeping costs to a minimum. Fortunately, you have plenty of options that will provide excellent comfort and other features you’ll enjoy. By knowing the terminology, benefits, and other information about HVAC systems, you can pick the perfect new HVAC system for your home.

Understand the Terminology

Buying an HVAC system without knowing the terminology is a lot like buying a car when you don’t know anything about engines or fuel economy. You might look for something with all the bells and whistles, but at its core, it might not be the right unit for your home.

Air Conditioner and Heat Pump Ratings

If you’re searching for an air conditioner or heat pump to tackle your cooling load during summer, you should familiarize yourself with SEER. Also known as a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, this rating, which typically ranges from nine to 23, is calculated by dividing the cooling output per season by the electric energy input over the same time frame. The higher the number, the more efficient the air conditioner is.

Because it both heats and cools, a heat pump has more than one rating. Like an air conditioner, it has a SEER rating for its cooling power, and it also gets a Heating Season Performance Factor, or HSPF. This is also known as a COP, or Coefficient of Performance. Similar to a SEER rating but for heating, the HSPF is the total heat output divided by the total electric energy input. The minimum HSPF mandated by the government is 7.7, but a solid choice usually goes up to about 10. For a quality heat pump, look for an HSPF of 10 with a SEER around 15.

Furnace Ratings

A furnace has yet another measurement of performance known as Annual Fuel Use Efficiency, or AFUE. To determine this rating, manufacturers take the total amount of useful, heating BTUs (British Thermal Units) per 100 BTUs. The minimum AFUE is 78, mid-range units have an AFUE of 83, while high-efficiency offerings have a rating between 90 and 97.

Get Quotes

Now that you understand the efficiency ratios for your HVAC components, it’s far easier to determine which unit works for your needs. The next step is to get a quote from reputable installation vendors, whether it’s for new construction or a total replacement in your current home.

Don’t settle on just one quote for your installation needs. Instead, ask around to see which vendor fits your budget. In many instances, you should contact us first, as our quotes are on par with the industry average. However, we always do the job one better. With our service, you not only get expert installation, but a calculation load to determine the proper size for your unit, as well as a commitment to energy efficiency that we build with your general contractor. The result is a unit that runs efficiently, while also keeping up with you needs.

Take a Look at the Warranty

Even if an HVAC unit has an excellent SEER, HSPF, or AFUE rating, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the perfect unit for you. One way to give yourself some extra peace of mind is to find a unit with an extended warranty. This protects you against the off-chance that it has a breakdown of some kind or needs a repair.

It’s also worth noting that your warranty usually requires you to get an annual tuneup or maintenance each year. Without this tuneup, you can unknowingly void the warranty of your HVAC unit, leaving you at the mercy of the system. If you’re the forgetful type, you may just want to sign up for our preventive maintenance program, which takes the guesswork out of tuneups.

Buying and installing a new or replacement HVAC unit for your home is no simple matter, with many costs and factors to consider. However, we make the entire process easy and quick for your convenience. Call Willard Heating and Air Conditioning today at 972-395-5139 for all your installation needs.

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Duct Design Mistakes You Can Avoid

Duct Design Mistakes You Can Avoid

Building a Highland Park, Texas, home is sometimes daunting. With so many decisions to make and so much to trust contractors with, new home construction can be overwhelming. However, it’s important to choose a reputable contractor to install your HVAC system and its ductwork, since heating and cooling account for most utility costs. When building a new home, you don’t want your HVAC contractor making any of these common ductwork mistakes.

Problems Caused by Bad Ductwork

Ductwork that’s installed incorrectly creates hot and cold spots throughout your home. You’ll experience stuffy, stale air because of poor airflow. Additionally, improper ducts allow air pressure differences that lead to slammed doors or distracting noises. Poor ductwork also causes your air conditioner to work harder and run longer. This undue stress leads to costly repairs and a shorter life for your air conditioner.

Ductwork that’s less than superior allows dust, allergens, and other pollutants to enter your home. It can lead to mildew and mold growth too, creating health concerns for you and your family. Inadequate ductwork installation also decreases energy efficiency by leaking cold air, which increases the workload for your system and raises your energy bill.

Common Ductwork Mistakes

Some ductwork installers will choose the wrong size ducts without considering the air conditioning system and its location, different cooling needs in different areas, or the materials used. Placing a new air conditioner too far from parts of the home will cause the system to work harder to get cooled air into all rooms, or the rooms will not be adequately heated or cooled.

Ductwork with numerous or sharp turns decreases the amount of cool air circulating throughout the house. Also, ducts that aren’t properly supported or sealed leak cold air into walls or spaces that don’t need air conditioning.

Builders turn to our service technicians to ensure every new home has the best ductwork possible. We’ll work with your contractor, or with you, to develop the most efficient ductwork design for your home. Give Willard Heating and Air Conditioning a call at 972-395-5139 today.

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How Regular Heater Maintenance Helps Keep Carbon Monoxide at Bay

How Regular Heater Maintenance Helps Keep Carbon Monoxide at Bay

Before long, homeowners in Dallas, TX, will have to fire up their furnaces to keep the chill at bay. Unfortunately, one of the risks of using your furnace is experiencing a carbon monoxide leak. By having your furnace regularly inspected and maintained, you can lower your family’s risk of ever becoming victim to this silent killer.

Carbon Monoxide Is Deadly

Carbon monoxide, often abbreviated as CO, is a natural byproduct of combustion. Common household appliances that use natural gas, oil, or propane as a fuel source create carbon monoxide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 5,000 people succumbed to unintentional, non-fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning between 1999 and 2010. That’s an average of 430 people who die each year from a preventable issue.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when CO molecules build up in the bloodstream when a person breathes in the gas. The carbon monoxide molecules start to outnumber oxygen molecules cutting oxygen to the brain and vital organs.

Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. People and animals don’t have any idea that it’s in the air until symptoms present. Early symptoms of exposure like a headache, nausea, and fatigue often get overlooked because they also resemble cold and flu symptoms.

As exposure progresses, symptoms will increase, as well. Other signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include shortness of breath, drowsiness, vision changes, memory problems and confusion, and also impaired judgment. Sometimes, victims will experience chest or abdominal pain, hallucinations, fainting, problems walking, and seizures.

If one or more people in your home, or even pets, show these symptoms, get outside right away! Call emergency personnel to take you to the hospital. Victims of carbon monoxide poisoning may recover with permanent brain injuries causing memory loss, concentration issues, or other neurological problems.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A simple way to keep your family protected is to buy and use a carbon monoxide detector. These devices will sound an alarm if it detects the gas in the air. Place detectors near your natural gas, oil, or propane fueled appliances in an outlet near the floor. Carbon monoxide is heavier than air and will accumulate near the floor first.

Don’t use charcoal in your home, even in the fireplace. Don’t burn charcoal or use gas-powered motors found on generators, lawnmowers, or cars in a garage or basement. Never use any of these in an attached garage, even if the door is open.

Be sure to have your natural gas, oil, or propane fueled appliances inspected and maintained regularly. While you can give them a once-over, you won’t know exactly what to look for. Technicians will check ventilation for cracks or blockages like birds’ nests and make sure your systems pilot lights burn safely. They will also closely inspect all combustion elements, including the heat exchanger, to make sure everything is in working order to keep your family safe.

The Importance of Regular Maintenance

Not only does regular maintenance help prevent carbon monoxide leaks, it has many other benefits, as well. Well-maintained furnaces use less energy, reducing heating costs. Regular inspections identify small, inexpensive problems before they have chances to turn into large, potentially catastrophic issues. There’s almost nothing worse than shivering on a frigid night because your furnace broke down. Regular tuneups keep the chance of severe breakdowns or system failures lower. Like a well-oiled machine, a tuned up furnace will last longer than a unit that never gets maintained.

Your Heater Maintenance Professionals

Our technicians perform many tasks during a furnace tuneup. We’ll make sure that all ventilation is clear, check connections for fire hazards, inspect elements for wear or damage, and also clean all parts and wiring. We’ll also complete any maintenance that helps your heater run safely and more efficiently.

We offer four levels of preventative maintenance plans and all include regular tuneups and discounts on repairs by trained service members without overtime charges. We’re glad to outline the levels for you and to help you find one within your budget. Give Willard Heating and Air Conditioning a call at (972) 395-5139.

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7 Pests That Can Wreck Your HVAC System

7 Pests That Can Wreck Your HVAC System

Chilly fall temperatures are only weeks away for the Garland, Texas area, and pests will be searching for places to stay snug and dry. Unfortunately, one of those places may be inside your HVAC system. There are several pests that can wreak havoc on your home.

Types of Pests Found in HVAC Systems

Small mammals nesting in or near your HVAC units can cause serious problems. Raccoons building shelters inside your homes air ducts will cause damage to the ducts and create problems with indoor air quality. Rabbits nesting near the outdoor units can cause power shortages or surges when wires get frayed. Nesting materials reduce efficiency by crowding the outdoor unit.

Rodents like rats and mice search for warmer places to nest in autumn. Rats that nest inside air ducts cause pollution from droppings, nesting materials, and rotten food. Mice may nest inside your outdoor unit causing an electrical fire or system failure. Rodents are notorious chewers and will chew through insulation and sealants along ducts and wiring outside.

Insects like spiders and cockroaches can invade your home through unsealed ducts, windows, and doors. These bugs cause indoor air quality problems, and treating for infestation leads to more air issues when pesticides come into play. Outside, anyone working or playing near your HVAC system that’s home to a nest of wasps or hornets runs a risk of being stung.

Regular Maintenance and Pests

When one of our skilled technicians inspects your HVAC system, he will check for signs of pests like nests and droppings. We see places in your home that no one else probably ever will, and we know exactly what to look for to help keep pest infestation at bay.

To keep your Garland, Texas HVAC system pest free and running in tip-top shape, call Willard Heating and Air Conditioning at 972-395-5139. We’re glad to discuss any of our preventative maintenance options or help with any other concerns you may have about your HVAC system.

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Benefits of Installing a Home Automation System

Benefits of Installing a Home Automation System

Installing a Home Automation

Home automation systems were just figments of our imaginations not long ago. Having an automated house that links to your smartphone gives you access to leading technology for your Dallas, Texas, home’s heating, cooling, and security. There are many benefits to installing a home automation system that links to the services we offer.

Benefits of Home Automation

When you choose us for this high-tech advancement, you’ll enjoy a Nexia Home Automation System that partners perfectly with our Trane heating and cooling technology. Nexia rises above other home automation because it’s not merely a product with a connecting app, but instead, Nexia has its own app that brings all connected products inside your home together and makes them manageable from any connected device.

You’ll experience many benefits by installing a Nexia home automation system including an easily expandable system and innovative platform that works with today’s most tech-savvy brands. It costs less to subscribe to Nexia than other customized systems, and all technical support representatives are in the U.S.

How Nexia Helps Keep Your Home Safer

Nexia alerts you when sensors detect motion around your home’s exterior, if someone puts in a door code or leaves doors unlocked, and if anyone enters the wrong door code or tries to open a door.

The system will alert you to temperature changes and the presence of carbon monoxide, smoke, or a water leak. Nexia will also remind you to change the batteries to keep your locks, sensors, and HVAC filter connected and protected.

What Nexia Can Do for You

Having Nexia helps you maintain control over your home from almost anywhere in the world. You can track and change temperatures, turn lights and appliances on and off, and access security cameras remotely.

Questions About Nexia?

If you have questions about Nexia and whether or not it’s right for your Dallas home, call Willard Heating and Air Conditioning at972-395-5139. Our service professionals will gladly help you choose the best HVAC units and home automation systems.

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3 Reasons Why Attic Insulation Is Best Left to Professionals

3 Reasons Why Attic Insulation Is Best Left to Professionals

Attic insulation substantially improves the energy efficiency of your home. However, applying insulation in your Dallas, Texas, home as a DIY project can be overwhelming. Installing attic insulation involves determining the right type of insulation, proper execution, and complying with laws concerning insulation, which makes it a complex project, best handled by experienced professionals.

Determining the Type of Insulation

Insulation efficiency is rated in terms of R-value, which is a measure of its resistance to heat flow at a given thickness. Higher R-value offers better insulation, but the right R-value for each project needs to be determined based upon the location and the type of insulation.

There are basically three types of insulation which come in a variety of forms. Roll insulation is usually a fiberglass material that looks like cotton candy. Batt insulation, on the other hand, is available as pre-cut panels designed to fit between the joists. The third type is blown-in insulation which comes in spray foam and loose fill forms.

In addition to heat insulation, also consider factors like sound proofing and fire prevention when choosing your insulation material.

Proper Execution

An attic is a difficult place to work and often requires specialized equipment for safe access. Improper insulation installed without professional tools and skills results in heat loss and wasted energy. It is also important to make provisions for air circulation and lighting. Insulation professionals use wind baffles or venting chutes for airflow and radiant barriers for lighting. Additionally, there may be issues like air leaks, mold growth, and exposed electrical wiring that need to be fixed before taking up insulation.

Laws Concerning Insulation

Removal and disposal of old insulation must be done as per the applicable laws. Installation of new insulation must be within the framework of energy efficiency regulations and prevailing building codes in Dallas and Texas. Permits may be required for carrying out major insulation involving structural changes.

Considering all these complexities involved, it is well worth hiring a professional insulation company for a long-lasting, efficient installation. Contact Willard Heating and Air Conditioning for attic insulation in Dallas, Texas, and surrounding areas. Reach us at 972-395-5139 round-the-clock without any overtime charges.

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Maximize Vent Positioning for Optimal Air Flow

Maximize Vent Positioning for Optimal Air Flow

Many homeowners believe that closing vents in unused spaces is an efficient way to minimize energy use. After all, there’s no point in letting air flow into the guest room when no is staying there, right? Unfortunately, adjusting HVAC vents isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Making the wrong move could cause energy bills to skyrocket in your Rockwall, Texas, home.

The Danger of Closed Vents

Closing vents in your home isn’t an efficient way to manage airflow. Your HVAC system is designed to send a certain amount of air through the house, based on its square footage. It will continue blowing the same amount of air, whether your vents are open or closed. If you close too many vents, air pressure will build up in the ductwork. This causes your HVAC system to work harder than necessary at getting air through to the house.

A room with closed vents and a closed door will also have a pressure difference. It will suck air in around the doors and windows as best it can, diminishing your energy efficiency and possibly impacting your home comfort by creating uneven hot and cold spots.

Closing Off Rooms Safely

If you feel strongly about maintaining different temperatures in various parts of the house, the best option is to install a zoned heating or air conditioning system. This features multi-stage systems, variable speed blowers, and multiple thermostats that will efficiently manage air flow and temperatures throughout the house.

Positioning Your Vents Properly

The best option with any ducted heating and cooling system is to keep your vents open at all times. This allows optimum air flow for the highest possible energy efficiency. If you want to direct air away from a wall or corner, you can adjust the fins so they’re slightly slanted toward the room that you’re in. Avoid closing the vents entirely.

If you’re not getting the heating or cooling that you want, simply adjusting the vents may not offer the dramatic results that you’re after. Contact Willard Heating and Air Conditioning at (972) 395-5139 to explore more effective HVAC options for your home.

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Understanding HVAC Short Cycling at Your Office

Understanding HVAC Short Cycling at Your Office

You already know that the HVAC system cooling your business in Dallas, Texas, is a central factor in overall efficiency of your company. Keep it running well, and your employees will stay comfortable and productive. Ensure that the system cleans the air as it should, and you’ll all stay healthy.

But without you even knowing, your system could be falling victim to one of the greatest threats to HVAC efficiency and, as a result, your profits: short cycling. By understanding short cycling and the dangers it poses to your HVAC, you can take steps to ensure your profits continue to rise.

What Is Short Cycling?

As your system is running, it goes through several heating or cooling cycles. The first cycle, where the system is ramping up to heat or cool your office, drains the most power and places the most strain on the system. “Short cycling” is when the system spends most of its running time in this startup cycle then turns off before completing the other cycles. This means that the system will continue to turn on and off throughout the day.

Short cycling can be caused by a variety of issues. A system that’s too large for the heating and cooling needs of the building will get the office to the set temperature before the system completes its cycles, resulting in short cycling. Ice forming on the evaporator coils as a result of leaking refrigerant or a dirty filter can also lead to short cycling.

Why Is Short Cycling a Problem?

Since short cycling forces the system to quickly turn on and off, it’s regularly draining more power than necessary. Constantly using so much power in the startup cycle also places greater strain on the system, which will inevitably raise utility bills and reduce the efficiency of the system.

You have plenty of things to worry about without your HVAC system adding to your problems. Don’t let short cycling keep you from the profits you’ve worked so hard to gain. If you’re concerned about your air conditioner short cycling, call Willard Heating and Air Conditioning at 972-395-5139.

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