How to Reduce Your Home’s Humidity

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How to Control Indoor Humidity LevelsThe first day of summer is upon us and that means higher humidity levels not only outside, but inside as well. As humidity increases in your home, you’ll notice your skin may feel clammy, you’ll see foggy windows or smell a musty odor. After lingering for some time, high humidity indoors will cause mold, rotting wood and damp spots throughout the home. Even if there are no signs of your home’s atmosphere is too moist, it’s extremely important to measure and control your homes indoor humidity levels. Not only will it help reduce your heating and cooling bills, but did you know that studies have shown that how happy you feel is directly related to humidity levels? You can save money and feel better both mentally and physically. It’s a win/win!

How to Reduce Home Humidity Levels

Most important: Ventilation. This is especially important in the areas of your home that create the most moisture like the bathrooms and kitchen. Washing and drying machines, showering and cooking all affect the amount of moisture in the air, especially in bathrooms when people take long hot showers. If any of these rooms have vent fans installed, make sure you use turn them on and possibly leave them on longer than usual. If they don’t, and you find that your bathrooms are especially humid, you may want to consider having vent fans installed by an electrician.

If your home does not have a ventilation system or exhaust fans, cracking the window for a little while will help dry the air out, especially in bathrooms. Shockingly, it only takes four to six pints of water to raise humidity levels inside of a 1,000-square foot radius from 15% to 60% in a short amount of time. The amount of people in your home can affect the humidity in the air as well. A 1/4 cup of water is produced from one person’s breathing over an hour period of time. Open your windows and let the air flow dry your indoor air out.

Other tips to decrease humidity levels:

  • Make sure that your exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry rooms all vent to the outside.
  • Use fans to increase ventilation and air movement
  • Take shorter, colder showers
  • Run your air conditioning and keep drain lines and drip pans clean and unobstructed
  • Keep houseplants outside or all in one room as they release moisture vapor into the air
  • Do not over water your indoor houseplants

If maintaining the humidity levels in your home has become an issue or if you are living in a poorly ventilated building, you may want to consider using a dehumidifier. These are usually placed in basements or in bathrooms without windows or in rooms of a home that need the most moisture removal.

Types of Dehumidifiers

There are many dehumidifiers on the market – from whole-house systems to small, portable devices. No matter the size, they utilize one of three technologies: Desiccant, Mechanical/Refrigerant or Peltier.

Desiccant dehumidifiers work by employing desiccants to remove humidity. Desiccants are substances that naturally absorb moisture, like those little packets of silica gel you find in your electronics boxes or vitamin bottles. This type of dehumidifier is best for moderate humidity and lower temperatures. Since no water is produced by this dehumidifier, it can withstand freezing conditions.

Mechanical/Refrigerant dehumidifiers basically work just like your refrigerator or air conditioning system. As air passes by a cooled metal plate, the airborne moisture is condensed and drips into a water tank. This type of dehumidifiers can increase air temperatures slightly and are best suited for moderate-high humidity levels and moderate-warm temperatures.

Peltier dehumidifiers are quiet and efficient, however, they are somewhat less energy efficient than the mechanical/ refrigerant dehumidifier described above. They are typically used in smaller areas such as bedrooms, bathrooms, closets and also RVs and also trap the airborne moister which drips into a reservoir. An indicator light illuminates when the water reservoir needs to be emptied.

Proper Humidity Levels Are Essential!

According to the EPA, some of the biggest threats to indoor air quality stem from moisture issues. If humidity levels in the home are not properly maintained, a plethora of hazards become abundant. From dust mites to allergens, pathogens and noxious chemicals are all more abundant in humid conditions. Lowering the moisture content in the air can reduce allergens, wheezing from asthma and chronic coughs or shortness of breath. The ideal humidity levels for your home are <60% in the summer and between 25%-40% in the winter. In bedrooms, 50% relative humidity reduces dust mites and allergens if kept there year round. Maintain proper humidity levels in your home is essential – saving you money and keeping your family healthy and happy.

US Home Filter Is Here For You

Family owned and operated for four generations now, we know all about the importance of home humidity control and have a variety of humidifier filters! Over the years our experienced staff has help thousands of customers by answering the same questions that you may have.

At US Home Filter, we appreciate each and every one of our customers. We are here to help you choose the best solutions for your individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or if you are overwhelmed by choosing the right custom size air filter, we will be happy to personally work with you to help ensure you order exactly what you need and clear up any misconceptions! For personal assistance or questions about your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to help you in selecting the perfect filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

How VOCs Affect Your IAQ

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Volatile Organic Compounds VOCs and IAQOutdoor air contaminants aren’t the only the pollution you need to be aware of in order to stay healthy. Have you ever stopped to think about all of the chemicals that make up the structure of our indoor spaces? Carpet, upholstery, paint, adhesives, copy machines, cleaning agents, etc. are all a part of our everyday lives and they bring an abundance of unhealthy chemicals into the air that we breathe. These toxins include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), e.g. formaldehyde, which cause chronic and acute health effects at high levels.

VOCs in Your Indoor Air

The EPA states that Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Shockingly, VOCs are concentrated up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors and the vast number of products that emit VOCs is in the thousands. The items listed above that are part of our everyday lives as well as perfume and even newspaper print, are all products that contain harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, acetone, benzene and terpenes.

When we breathe these chemicals into our bodies, we can be left with a variety of symptoms, such as nausea, headaches, dizziness, irritated eyes, nose and throat among others. High concentrations of VOCs have been shown to cause damage to the central nervous system, kidney and liver with long-term exposure being linked to cancer.

Keeping Your Indoor Air Clean

It seems logical that the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from VOCs is to keep them out of your home, however, that’s not always the easiest thing to do. The best thing to do is keep yourself informed on what products are available that do not contain VOCs. Carpets, paints and other home improvement products now come as “VOC-free”. You also want to avoid scented products such as air fresheners, laundry detergent and fabric softener sheets. One study examined the gases captured from washers and dryers that had used detergents and dryer sheets containing fragrance found 25+ volatile organic compounds, which included 7 hazardous air pollutants! Be weary of products with “natural” “organic” or “green” on the label as well – they can emit as many hazardous chemicals as standard ones.

Your next best defense against VOCs is good ventilation. If you do bring new items such as carpeting, furniture or curtains into your home that might not be VOC-free, keeping your windows open will allow the fumes these items give off to get out of your house. If you’re planning on painting, varnishing or using any strong glue that produces fumes, make sure you’re in a well ventilated area with plenty of air flow.

Using your home’s vent fans correctly also helps (i.e. in your kitchen and bathroom) but for the best indoor air quality, you may want to have a whole-house ventilation system installed. The ventilation system in your home should not only manage VOCs but also contaminants like mold spores, pet dander, and humidity while making sure there is proper air exchanges and ventilation. According to ACEEE (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy), “Efficient HVAC systems should ensure that occupants get adequate, filtered, fresh air. They should deliver the correct amount of air to the desired locations.”

How Can We Prevent Poor Indoor Air Quality?

Improving air filtration is the most beneficial thing that can be done to reduce the effects of poor indoor air quality. Air filtration provides us with a means to attain the desired level of indoor air quality. Air filters were originally intended to simply shield the components of your expensive HVAC system, thus protecting it from harmful dust build-up and extending its life. As the manufacturing process of air filters evolved over the decades, filtration media became more refined and specialized which allowed us to go beyond system protection into cleaning contaminants, allergens, and other bothersome particles from our air using high-efficiency pleated air filters. This has allowed a significant improvement in indoor comfort and cleaner air in our homes and businesses.

US Home Filter is Here for YOU

Choosing the best filters for your home or business can be overwhelming and confusing sometimes. You can take a look at our air filter measurement guide to help you pick the right size or, for personal assistance or questions about your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to help you in selecting the perfect filter. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA. Whether you need AC or furnace filters, a specialty Whole House filter, a Grille filter, or even a custom air filter size, we have a professional and helpful staff ready to take care of you!

DIY Allergy Relief Kit

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DIY allergy relief kitSpring has finally sprung which means that the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming… and the pollen is increasing. Spring also means that allergy season has arrived. An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. It occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to what is normally a harmless substance. It irritates four of the five senses – smell, sight, taste and touch – causing inflammation, disability and in severe cases, even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.

If you’re a seasonal or year round allergy sufferer, it’s a good idea to have an allergy relief kit at the ready to help relieve those irritating symptoms.

DIY Allergy Relief Kit

1. Skin Creams and Lotions

Itchy skin, hives and rashes are all allergic skin reactions. The best treatment for these to keep in your allergy relief kit are small tubes of moisturizer and hydrocortisone cream. Hydrocortisone cream is a topical steroid treatment that reduces inflammation and lotion can help further soothe the dry, itchy feeling.

2. Injectable Epinephrine

For those at risk for severe, life-threatening allergic reactions, it is extremely important to have injectable epinephrine (EpiPen/Twinject) in your kit. Those that suffer from these severe reactions will experience difficulty with breathing, swelling of the bronchial airways and a drop in blood pressure. If these symptoms aren’t treated immediately they can be life-threatening. Treating these severe reactions with injectable epinephrine can reduce and even stop the life-threatening allergic reactions some have to certain foods, medications, or insect stings.

3. Eye Drops

Itchy, watery, red or swollen eyes can be one of the most irritating and frustrating of all the allergic reaction symptoms. Allergy eye drops work by reducing histamine in the eye tissues. Over the Counter (OTC) antihistamine drops are extremely effective in reducing or even eliminating allergic eye symptoms such as itchiness, redness, wateriness and puffy, swollen eyes. There are also drops for red eyes (decongestant drops) that may also sometimes contain antihistamines.

4. Decongestants

Allergies have you stuffed up and congested? Then a decongestant is a must for your kit. Some allergens cause nasal tissues to swell during a reaction and decongestants relieve this swelling, countering the allergic reaction.

5. Nasal Sprays

If your nose is feeling dry during allergy season, you’ll want to include a nasal spray. There are two types: saline and decongestant. A decongestant nasal spray shrinks the blood vessels inside your nose while a saline nasal spray adds moisture to your nose. Decongestant nose sprays (such as Afrin) should not be used for more than a few days, as they can actually make the symptoms worse leading to chronic nasal congestion.

6. Antihistamines

A small pill available over-the-counter, antihistamines such as Benadryl and Claritin can provide quick relief for allergy symptoms, including nasal congestion, eye irritation, itching, and hives. Allergy sufferers immune systems produce a substance called “histamine” when exposed to the allergen and antihistamines block this substance. Be aware that the majority of OTC antihistamines may cause drowsiness, especially if they’re combined with alcohol. So be careful if you’re driving!

7. Medical Information

If you have allergies that are so severe that they are life threatening, you should consider wearing a medical alert bracelet. For those with less severe allergies, include a medical information card in your DIY Allergy Relief Kit that includes your type of allergies, emergency contact information, insurance information and your doctors name and phone number.

8. Bronchodilators

For asthma sufferers, allergies can cause asthma attacks. Make sure your allergy kit includes an inhaler if you are prone to asthma attacks or bronchospasms.

Natural Allergy Relievers

If you prefer try natural remedies for your allergy symptoms, be sure to look into and add the following to your DIY allergy relief kit:

  1. Raw, Local Honey
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. Probiotics
  4. Stinging nettle
  5. Neti Pot
  6. Quercetin
  7. Essential Oils

Additionally, the following lifestyle changes can also bring extra allergy relief to sufferers.

  1. Wash clothes and bedding once a week
  2. Shower before bed to wash off any pollen on your skin or in your hair
  3. Wipe your pets down after they’ve gone outside
  4. Limit your exposure on days with super high pollen counts
  5. Keep windows shut to reduce the amount of pollen getting inside

Once your DIY Allergy Relief Kit is complete, make sure to go over the contents with your doctor and make sure you haven’t left anything important out. The kit should be small enough to carry with you in your purse or briefcase so that you always have it on you. You could also make multiple kits and keep one at home, one at work and one in the car. Just be sure to check the items left in the kit every once in awhile and remove/replace expired or missing medication. Don’t forget to store a kit in your carry-on when you travel!

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters to Help Reduce Allergens

Family owned and operated for four generations now, we may not be doctors, but we certainly know about allergies and air filters! Over the years our experienced staff has help thousands of customers by answering the same questions that you may have.

At US Home Filter, we appreciate each and every one of our customers. We are here to help you choose the best solutions for your individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or if you are overwhelmed by choosing the right custom size air filter, we will be happy to personally work with you to help ensure you order exactly what you need and clear up any misconceptions! For personal assistance or questions about your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to help you in selecting the perfect filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Thermostat Tips for Each Season

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programmable thermostatProgrammable thermostats help you manage your energy usage for when the cooling system is needed most, plus takes the guess work and human error out of the mix. However, a study done by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab showed that almost 90% of Americans say that they’ve rarely, or never have, programmed their thermostats because they don’t know how. Fortunately it’s not hard and its worth learning to do as it can save you a minimum of 10% each year on your heating and cooling costs. According to energy.gov, you can save as much as ten percent (10%) a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.

The first thing to do is figure out the right thermostat to fit your scheduling needs. The goal is to “set it and forget it,” which will enable you to get the most savings possible.

Four Types of Programmable Thermostats

7-day programming: This type of thermostat lets you program a different heating and cooling schedule for the entire week. It is by far the most flexible option, so if you have a busy schedule, this one is worth considering.

5-1-1 programming: The programming on this thermostat breaks apart the 5 weekdays from the 2 weekend days. You set one heating and cooling schedule for Monday through Friday, and then different heating and cooling plans for Saturday and Sunday individually.

5-2 programming: This follows the same programming functionality as 5-1-1 except Saturday and Sunday cannot be scheduled separately – they will have the same heating and cooling schedule.

1-week programming: Here you set one schedule and that heating and cooling plan will be used for the entire 7 day week.

With all of the programmable thermostat types above, you’ll also need to set a program for the heat in the cooler or chillier months as well as the air conditioning in the warmer months. You also want to be sure to figure out what type of equipment your HVAC system uses. If you choose a programmable thermostat that is not compatible with your equipment, you may end up actually causing damage and not see any of the energy savings that the correct thermostat could provide.

Update the Factory Settings

Typically, when you buy a programmable thermostat, it comes with pre-programmed settings. These settings are based on the typical American family, which may not fit your individual family’s needs. This may seem intimidating, but the best part is that you’ll only have to do this once.

Programming options are based on:

  1. Wake Time
  2. Sleep Time
  3. Leave Time
  4. Return Time

The Department of Energy suggests the following settings as an energy-saving rule of thumb:

Winter months: Set the thermostat to 68°F while you’re home and awake and lower it by at least 10° while you’re asleep or you’re away from your home.

Summer months: Follow the same strategy as the winter months, but keep your house warmer than normal when you are away and cooler when you are at home. For the hours you are home, set the thermostat to 78°F. For the hours that you are away, set the temperature as high as comfortably possible, keeping in mind that you also need to control the humidity. Note: The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.

Set-It-And-Forget-It Tips:

  • Turn off the heat or air conditioning 20-30 minutes before you leave your home
  • Turn on the heat or air conditioning 20-30 minutes before you come home
  • Reduce the heating or cooling temperature 1 hour before you go to sleep
  • Increase the heating or cooling ~30 minutes before you wake up in the morning

You may need to take a few days tweaking your program to get it exactly where it needs to be to suit your specific needs. Also, it’s important to note that a furnace does not have to work any harder to warm up your house after the temperature has been lowered while you’re out of the house during the day.

Consider a Wifi Thermostat

New Wifi-enabled programmable thermostats allow you to control your home’s temperature from where ever you may be. This is especially useful when you’re on vacation and you need to create a new program. Two of the newer Wifi-enabled thermostats available are:

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat: This thermostat has a large color interface that has a simple menu that literally walks you through the custom heating and cooling  programming steps. It’s also a smart device – learning when your home and also sending you personal notifications if the temperature isn’t right or if the power has gone out. Price: Around $200.

The Nest Learning Thermostat: This thermostat uses motion detection technology to create a custom heating and cooling schedule for your home. Price: Around $250.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

No matter which HVAC system you have, every unit needs a quality filter that fits properly in order to keep your indoor air quality clean and your unit running at its maximum efficiency. US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter in your furnace is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filters, grille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

Order now from US Home Filter and receive FREE SHIPPING on your order!

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs.We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

 

 

 

What Hypoallergenic Really Means

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What does the term hypoallergenic really mean?Hypoallergenic is a term seen everywhere these days. From pets to cosmetics and everything in between, there seems to be a new, hypoallergenic alternative available. But what does that mean? Targeted at allergy sufferers, hypoallergenic products make otherwise unusable or unattainable products seem appealing. With promises of fewer health risks and allergy attacks, these products provide the ability to do things one may not be able to do otherwise – such as owning the pet you’ve always wanted or wearing the perfume you love the smell of so much. But is this actually true? Can products, even animals, truly be hypoallergenic and safer for those who suffer from allergies?

What Is The Definition of Hypoallergenic?

Its important to first understand what the term hypoallergenic actually means.

According to the FDA, hypoallergenic products are those that manufacturers claim produce fewer allergic reactions than other products. Consumers with hypersensitive skin, and even those with “normal” skin, may be led to believe that these products will be gentler to their skin than non-hypoallergenic cosmetics. In literal terms, the word hypoallergenic actually means “less allergenic” or in more friendly terms, “allergy friendly”. Products labeled as such are reportedly ‘less likely’ to cause an allergic reaction because they are supposed to contain less allergens (the substances and particles that cause allergy sufferers to have a reaction).

Interestingly enough, there are no Federal standards that govern the use of the term hyper-allergenic or its definition. It basically means whatever the company producing the product wants it to mean. There are also no regulations in place that require manufacturers that use this label to submit substantiation of their products hypoallergenicity claims to FDA. This provides a huge loop hole in promoting hypoallergenic products on the retail level, thus increasing the market value; however, dermatologists say it has very little meaning.

Hypoallergenic Cosmetics

So where did this relatively meaningless term come from? The term was invented in a 1953 cosmetics campaign to promote a new line of make-up and has no medical or scientific meaning. It has since blown up in the cosmetic world. Mascara making your eyes red and irritated? Lotion causing redness and itchy skin? Try this hypoallergenic formula! As it turns out it’s all just a marketing ploy to sell more cosmetics to those consumers manufactures would’ve otherwise lost a sale to. Over time, there have been many agencies and organizations that have tried to get some sort of regulation in place for the term, but so far the attempts have been unsuccessful in the US Court system.

The main reason for the lack of regulation for the hypoallergenic label is the perplexing nature of allergies themselves. What causes allergic reactions when comparing one person to another is not completely understood yet. Two people can have the same allergy, but react to it differently, so no allergies are exactly the same. This is why hypoallergenic products mean “less allergenic” and not “allergy free”. The cosmetics industry, nor federal regulations, can not ever guarantee that a particular product will never cause an allergic reaction in every individual person. Rather, it can only be taken to mean that the product would be less likely to cause a reaction when compared to another similar product with different ingredients known to cause allergic reactions in many individuals.

Hypoallergenic Pets

Another popular place you’ll see the term hypoallergenic is with pets. According to Wikipedia, the definition of “hypoallergenic pets” is: breeds of pet animals (e.g., some breeds of dogs) that are less likely to trigger allergic reactions in people who are sensitized to the pet species (e.g., in people generally allergic to dogs).

This sounds like the best bet for those who have pet allergies – enabling them to have a pet in their home where a fur-baby would otherwise never be possible. The breeds promoted as hypoallergenic are those that do not shed their hair, or shed very little hair, but this is not where the entire allergy stems from. The proteins that cause the allergic reactions are not only in the animal’s fur/hair, but are also in their mucous, urine, saliva and in the dander sloughed from the animal’s skin. A recent study also showed that the amount of allergens found in homes with supposed hypoallergenic breeds were no different than those found in homes with pets considered non-hypoallergenic.

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters to Help Reduce Allergens

Family owned and operated for four generations now, we may not be doctors, but we certainly know about allergies and air filters! Over the years our experienced staff has help thousands of customers by answering the same questions that you may have.

At US Home Filter, we appreciate each and every one of our customers. We are here to help you choose the best solutions for your individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or if you are overwhelmed by choosing the right custom size air filter, we will be happy to personally work with you to help ensure you order exactly what you need and clear up any misconceptions! For personal assistance or questions about your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to help you in selecting the perfect filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Air Filter Misconceptions

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Air Filters MisconceptionsIn the United States, the most common way to stay comfortable indoors is through forced heating and cooling systems. As we’ve emphasized in the past, air filters are a crucial component to the overall function of your HVAC system. Air filters must be replaced regularly in order to keep your heating and air conditioning units working efficiently. It is also important to get the right air filter for your system. When searching for the right replacement filter, there are a number of things to consider. You may think that the brand of the filter matters, however, the best choice is the filter that removes the most pollutants (MERV rating) while allowing your HVAC system to perform efficiently. The following are some sommon misconceptions about air filters that will help you better understand their importance.

Seven Air Filter Misconceptions

Air Filters Just Keep Dust off the Equipment

Granted, as this was the original purpose of HVAC air filters, they’ve come to serve an even more important purpose: filtering out airborne contaminants and particulates from the indoor air we breathe. In other words – improving your Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)!

Air Filters Don’t Need to be Replaced as Often as Recommended

If air filters are not cleaned or replaced regularly, they become ineffective which can lead to a multitude of problems. A neglected air filter that is not cleaned/replaced on a regular basis will become clogged with large amounts of airborne particles until it is completely blocked and the dust/mold is forced back into our indoor air. Dirty air filters also restrict air flow putting strain on your HVAC equipment, therefore increasing your energy bills. Make sure you check the your filter monthly and clean or replace it according to the manufacturer’s directions. For the best results, change your air filter every 30 days!

Pet Owners Don’t Need to Change the Filter More Often

If you own a pet, you may need to change the air filter up to twice as often, especially if you have multiple long-haired breeds. Pet hair and dander is an allergen found all over and throughpout homes with pets and can build up quickly, thus reducing the efficiency of the air filter. Try using free-standing room air cleaners to add extra filtration to rooms where your pet is located most often and high-efficiency pleated air filters to keep your indoor air as clean as possible.

All Filters are the Same

When choosing between air filters, the first thing to understand are MERV ratings. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiently Reporting Value and it is this number that tells you the effectiveness of your chosen air filter. MERV ratings are calculated by measuring the number of particles a filter can trap compared to the number the particles its trying to filter. Basically, this means that if there are two filters in the same room, the one that traps fewer particles has a lower MERV rating. However, if you simply choose by selecting the filter with the highest MERV rating, then you may be purchasing an air filter that can make your HVAC system less efficient by blocking too much of the air flow and eventually causing equipment damage, plus higher energy bills. The best choice is the filter that removes the most pollutants (MERV rating) while still allowing your HVAC system to perform as efficiently as possible.

High-Efficiency Filters Can be Used in any HVAC System

If you insist on using high-efficiency air filters, it may require some HVAC system modifications in order to increase the fan output to compensate for the restricted airflow. As stated above, if you choose a filter with the highest MERV rating (meaning the highest efficiency) that isn’t meant for your particular HVAC system, you could be making it less efficient by blocking too much of the air flow. Air filters with a MERV 8 filter could require this modification if your furnace came with a MERV 4 or lower filter.

All Filters are the Same Size

Each air conditioning system or HVAC unit has a certain sized filter that allows the filter to perform both correctly and efficiently. The filters don’t need to fit with an “air tight” seal, but you should be able to easily install and uninstall your filter without a struggle. Your filter should be a bit smaller on each side of the filter housing slot, allowing you to slide the filter in and out with ease. For most systems you can use a standard sized filter within 5/8 of an inch smaller than the air filter housing. Most AC and HVAC units use standard sized filters, but some do require a custom size air filter to be purchased and installed. Why is the filter size important? According to EPA.gov, incorrectly designed or installed filter frames can cause air seepage, which significantly decreases filter effectiveness. Plus any air flow resistance caused by using a filter that is not correctly sized can result in unnecessary stress on you HVAC unit, potential damage to your AC system and increase your energy bills.

Buying One Air Filter at a Time

Air filters may seem like something that you don’t need to keep in stock at your house, but if you stick to changing it monthly, the day sneaks up on you. Therefore – it’s wise to stock up. Buy a whole box of air filters. That way, you have a stockpile available when the time comes to change the filter. It’s easier to keep up on this task if you don’t have to make a trip to the store in order to change the filter.

We’ve outlined a few of the most common misconceptions when it comes to air filters. That being said, remember that one of the most important things you can do on your own to take good care of your expensive heating and air conditioning system is to simply change your air filter on a regular basis. The air filter in your unit is often one of the least expensive and easiest items to change. Additionally, replacing a dirty or clogged filter can have an immediate positive effect on the operation of the unit and its ability to keep the air in your home at the desired temperature without causing unnecessary strain on the moving components. A clean, fresh filter right before the approaching hot summer months will get you off to a great start!

US Home Filter offers FREE SHIPPING on any order!

At US Home Filter, we appreciate each and every one of our customers. We are here to help you choose the best solutions for your individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or if you are overwhelmed by choosing the right custom size air filter, we will be happy to personally work with you to help ensure you order exactly what you need and clear up any misconceptions! For personal assistance or questions about your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to help you in selecting the perfect filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Tree Pollen Signals the Onset of Spring

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The beginning of spring can be a refreshing time, a time of awakening, a welcomed reprieve from the harsh elements and gloomy winter weather. But for many of us, springtime is also the beginning of allergy season. Those with pollen allergies begin to feel the effects as early as January in the southern US states. Those in the north may not be affected until May or June. Trees are the earliest producers of pollen and will provide the first signs of allergy symptoms to those that have a pollen sensitivity. In fact, the pollen count is currently so elevated in some areas of the United States that even those without a known allergy to pollen can feel some of the effects of allergy symptoms.

Interesting Facts About Tree Pollen

  • It is the earliest seasonal allergen of the year
  • The most common allergenic tree is oak
  • Tree pollen is similar to proteins found in some varieties of nuts, fruits, and vegetables, making it more possible for someone that has tree allergies to also have some food allergies as well
  • 53 different allergens associated with trees have been established by the World Health Organization and International Union of Immunological Societies (WHO/IUIS) allergen nomenclature subcommittee.
  • Changes in weather can affect the onset, length, and severity of pollen season

When To Expect Tree Pollen Season In Your Area

As indicated in the chart below, tree pollen season rolls out as early as January in the southern states and can last into June. This season begins kicking in a little later the as you move up the map. As you can see, the best region for those with tree pollen allergies is in the northern states where tree pollen is typically only active for about four months out of the year. In the South, where the weather tends to become warmer earlier in the year, you can expect tree pollen to be in force for a full six months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which Trees Cause The Most Problems

Tree pollen allergy is surprisingly a fairly broad subject once you begin to study it. For the most part, we can divide allergenic trees into four orders that have been determined to be the most potent sources: Fagales, Lamiales, Proteales, and Pinales. Each order has a pattern of geographical distribution. Allergenic trees are present in almost every part of the world. With pollen allergens being viewed as a significant health factor responsible for allergic rhinitis and asthma, it is no surprise that there have been and continue to be numerous in-depth studies regarding this subject. Below we will outline the basic details of each order of allergenic tree and the typical location of each within the US region.

Geographic distribution of allergenic Fagales, Lamiales, Proteales, and Pinales species. The distribution data were extracted from maps provided on www.eol.org. Photographs of florescences of members of the Fagales (birch Betula verrucosa), Proteales (plane tree Platanus acerifolia), Lamiales (lilac Syringa vulgaris and olive Olea europaea), and Pinales (mountain cedar Juniperus ashei and Japanese cedar Cryptomeria japonica) were obtained from Fotolia.
  • Fagales
    • can have the form of a tree or shrub
    • sometimes contain cylindrical or spiked flowers
    • prefer temperate climates
    • mostly located in eastern and extreme western US
    • Birch, Alder, Hornbeam, Hazelnut, Beech, Chestnut, and Oak
  • Proteales
    • deciduous trees that grow laterally
    • flowers appear in a ball form
    • located primarily in Arizona, New Mexico, and California
    • American Sycamore, California Sycamore, Arizona Sycamore, Western Sycamore, American Plane, and Buttonwood
  • Lamiales
    • flowering trees or shrubs
    • widely scattered across the United States
    • includes over 23,000 species, with four species that have been noted to have allergenic proteins
    • European Ash, Common Privet, Olive, and Lilac
  • Pinales
    • all trees in this order produce cones
    • the most prevalent group spread throughout most of the US
    • out of seven families within this order, only one genera (Cupressaceae) has been identified as allergenic
    • False Cypress, Japanese Cedar, Arizona Cypress, Mediterranean Cypress, Japanese Cypress, and Junipers

Dealing With the Symptoms

If you find yourself sneezing and sniffling at the start of spring, or even earlier if you are in one of the southern US states, it is probably due to tree pollen. In general, the symptoms of a pollen allergy are referred to as hay fever. These troubling symptoms include:

  • runny nose, sneezing
  • stuffy nose, congestion
  • itchy, watery, red eyes
  • puffy or swollen eyes

The treatments recommended by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America include:

  • Antihistimines
  • Decongestants
  • Nasal corticosteroids
  • Leukotriene receptors
  • Cromolyn sodium nasal spray
  • Immunotherapy

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters to Help Reduce Allergens

No matter which type of HVAC system your home has, every unit needs a quality air filter that fits properly in order to maximize your indoor air quality and keep your unit running efficiently. US Home Filter can provide you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter in your furnace is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter offers filters to fit all heating and air conditioning units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

Order now from US Home Filter and receive FREE SHIPPING on your order!

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signs You Need to Replace Your HVAC System

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HVAC SystemReplace my AC or HVAC unit? How do I know? Summer is approaching which means that your HVAC system is going to be working overtime. Air conditioning systems are one of the largest investments we make for our homes, so of course you want to get the most out of yours, right? Even if you keep your HVAC system well maintained, plus clean and change your filter regularly, it’s going to have to replaced at some point. Older or damaged HVAC systems can result in increased energy bills and poor indoor air quality (IAQ). The good news? Newer HVAC systems are up to sixty percent (60%) more efficient than most of the older models – saving you money in the long run. But while installing a new HVAC system is a terrific (yet pricey) investment, most homeowners will only get a new system when the old one stops working. But is that really a good idea? Or are there signs to look for letting you know its time to be replaced?

7 Signs it’s Time to Replace Your HVAC System

1. Your System is Greater than 10 Years Old

Do you even know when your HVAC system was installed? According to the Department of Energy, air conditioning systems should be replaced every 10-15 years. Although durable, the major components of any HVAC system will begin to deteriorate after around 10 years (dependent obviously upon how often they’re used and how well they’re maintained). Systems that are over 10 years old also use a type of Freon (R-22) that is not only outdated, but also is extremely harmful to the environment. When a newer unit is installed, you will not only lower your energy bills but also help to reduce your carbon footprint on the environment.

2. Repair Costs are Greater Than Half the Cost of a New System

Many times as an AC unit is going and growing old, you’ll find yourself having to pay for frequent repairs to the system and eventually replacing some of the major components. When that starts happening, it’s time to see if replacing parts is really going to be saving you any money in the long run. If the repair costs are greater than half the cost of a new system, then it’s time to be “out with the old and in with the new”. Purchasing a new system will be a smart investment, saving you money in the long run, as well as reducing your immediate energy costs.

3. Your Energy Bills Keep Going Up

It is normal to expect increases and decreases to your energy costs as the seasons change, but each individual month should be relatively the same compared to the year before. If you have unusually high energy bills in a month where it’s not expected, it is a sign that your HVAC system needs to be serviced and possibly replaced – the older the system becomes, the less efficient it becomes. Regular maintenance (especially changing your air filters monthly), will increase the life of your HVAC system and keep it running efficiently as possible… but at some point you will need to upgrade it to a newer system. The good news is that installing a new air conditioner can cut down on your total energy bills by as much as 20%. Many people find that over a relatively short period of time their new AC unit has actually paid for itself!

4. Your House is Always a Little too Hot, or Else It’s a Little too Cold

An old HVAC system will have problems keeping your house at a consistent temperature. It could be a maintenance issue (e.g. a damaged or inaccurate thermostat, low fluid levels, cracked ducts, clogged filters, etc.); however, temperature inconsistencies usually mean that your AC system is either not powerful enough or that the duct work is not properly installed. Either way, keeping an HVAC system that is not working properly and efficiently is going to result in an uncomfortable home environment and much higher energy bills.

5. You’re Noticing More Dust in Your Home

In addition to providing you with cooled or heated air in your home, your HVAC system is also responsible for providing proper ventilation. When working properly, the system should improve your home’s IAQ (indoor air quality) by removing dust, dander, dirt, and other debris and by controlling the humidity. If you are noticing an increase in the amount of dust in your home, it could be a sign that your air conditioning system is no longer operating efficiently enough to remove it.

6. Unusual Smells & Odd Sounds

If you notice an unusual smell coming from your HVAC system, it could be just dust burning off; however, it could be something much more serious, such as melting wiring or mold in the ducts. If it is a more concerning odor, turn off your system immediately and get it inspected right away.

A properly working HVAC system should also be relatively quiet. If you hear noises that sound like grinding or squealing, this is also a sign that you need to have your system inspected immediately.

7. You Have Poor Indoor Air Quality

Your air conditioner is the biggest factor when it comes to your homes indoor air quality, especially during the summer. The air conditioning unit may be damaged if you notice mold, mildew, dust or unusual humidity levels and all may be signs that your system should be replaced. Always keep in mind that a  NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) research study concluded that over fifty percent (52%) of Sick Building Syndrome cases could be traced back to inadequate ventilation!

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

No matter which HVAC system you have, every unit needs a quality filter that fits properly in order to keep your indoor air quality clean and your unit running at its maximum efficiency. US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filters, grille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

Order now from US Home Filter and receive FREE SHIPPING on your order!

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs.We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Energy Efficiency and IAQ

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Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air QualityThere ‘s a very good chance that you’re reading this indoors right now. In fact, indoors is where the average American spends 90% of their time. When you think about air quality, you may immediately think of outdoor pollution, pollen and allergy seasons; however, the EPA reports that air pollution levels are upwards of two to five times higher inside than they are outside. Not only does indoor air pollution affect us greatly, it can also increase energy use and costs, thus lowering our overall energy efficiency.

What is Indoor Air Pollution?

HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) is the largest source of energy consumption in the USA. In fact, the EPA reports that HVAC usage alone consumes 43% of all energy used in the United States. As a homeowner, the goal is to reduce HVAC usage and lower the overall energy costs at the same time. This can be done numerous ways, such as adding some additional insulation and sealing any small holes with weather stripping and caulk. You’ll see energy costs go down when you are letting less warm air out and cold air in during the winter – or vice-a-versa in the summer.

While taking steps to make your home “airtight” to conserve energy does work, it also traps indoor air inside of your home. Recirculating within this “trapped” air can be pollutants and contaminates from paints, cleaning supplies, etc. among other airborne particles. When there isn’t proper ventilation in place, the contaminants from these products can result in “sick building syndrome” where a person’s health is adversely affected due to the amount of time spent indoors. The most important thing to remember is that it’s essential to balance the energy efficiency with your indoor air quality by making sure there is proper air exchanges and ventilation. According to ACEEE (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy), “Efficient HVAC systems should ensure that occupants get adequate, filtered, fresh air. They should deliver the correct amount of air to the desired locations. Typically, inefficient systems are not only energy-inefficient, but also ineffective at doing their intended function.”

Steps to Improving Your IAQ

1. Change your furnace filter and air filters regularly. Clean air filters are extremely important to not only maintain a fully functioning system, but also for capturing those indoor airborne pollutants effectively.

2. Take care of your home’s HVAC system. Scheduling a professional inspection twice a year and regularly changing your air filters (as mentioned above) ensures your HVAC system operates at full efficiency and rids your home of any harmful pollutants.

Common sources of indoor air pollution include:

  • Combustion – Heating your home with oil, gas, kerosene, coal or wood can generate pollutants such as smoke, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – Man-made items such as carpets, furniture, cabinetry, building materials, and paint within a home can release VOCs.
  • Household Chemicals – Personal care products (hairspray, cosmetics), glues, cleaning products, and air-fresheners can all be respiratory irritants.
  • Natural Sources – Environmental contaminants such as pollen, mold, mildew, dust and pet dander are all natural sources of indoor air pollutants.

3. Ensure your home is properly ventilated. It is important to vent contaminated air and excess humidity out of your home year round. Kitchens and bathrooms should have operational exhaust fans that vent contaminated, moisture-laden air from your home.

4. Add a touch of green life throughout your home. Houseplants are very effective at cleaning indoor air as they remove contaminants from the air and emit fresh oxygen. For max efficiency, add one houseplant per every 100 square feet of home.

Additional Steps to a More Energy Efficient Home

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or LEDs.
  • Install and use a programmable thermostat.
  • Wash clothing in cold water.
  • Use ceiling fans to supplement heating and cooling system operation.
  • Replace older appliances with ENERGY STAR-qualified models.
  • Unplug unused electronic devices or place them on a power strip that can switch off multiple appliances simultaneously.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

No matter which HVAC system you have, every unit needs a quality filter that fits properly in order to keep your indoor air quality clean and your unit running at its maximum efficiency. US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filters, grille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

Order now from US Home Filter and receive FREE SHIPPING on your order!

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs.We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Benefits of Attic Fans and Ventilation

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attic fans and proper attic ventilationIt’s a fact that heat rises, and your attic is the highest spot in the house. Even on a moderately warm, eighty-degree day, your attic can be as hot as 100 degrees, which can be damaging to the major house components that are often located in the home’s attic space. Attic fans can make a significant difference in energy costs and in the lifespan of major components such as insulation, venting, plumbing and electrical wiring. That is why more and more new homes are being built with whole house fan systems that keep heat from building up in the huse’s dead air spaces.

Benefits of Improved Attic Ventilation

According to Energy.gov, ventilation is the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool buildings. Ventilation works best when combined with methods to avoid heat buildup in your home.

Today’s attic fans are integrated with the roof shingles and use very little energy (less than 300 Watts each). Since the attic acts as a “buffer zone” between the interior of your home and the outside world, its important to regulate the temperature in this zone to maintain a consistent temperature in your living space. In fact, attic fans can:

  • Reduce upper floor room temperatures by an average of 10 degrees
  • Lengthen the life of roofing materials and major home components
  • Save up to 30% on home air-conditioning costs

As another layer of protection from the heat and cold for your home, attic insulation is installed. Attic insulation hinders the upward movement of heat, retaining cooler air in during the summer months and keeping your home warmer in the winter months. You will also notice built in paper or aluminum foil forward facing on the insulation panels. These are air-vapor barriers that help to keep moisture that rises up from inside the home from penetrating the insulation.

Attic and roof ventilation are important components to regulating temperature and moisture levels in the home as the weather conditions and seasons change. When it’s cold outside, air can leak in around attic access panels, ceiling light fixtures, exhaust fans, etc., which brings outside moisture into your home’s attic space. Something as simple as going into the attic to get something from storage can significantly increase the moisture level in your home as all that warm moist air rises up through the open access panel.

Types of Attic Ventilation

  1. Non-Mechanical Attic Ventilation – This is seen in many older homes (pre-1980) and called “gable vents”. They are screened and louvered vents that are located up near the roof peak in the side walls of the attic. They are quite efficient at keeping the highest airspace in the attic cooler; however, they often cause hot spots where there is no air movement. If you have a home with gable vents, consider installing a fan as it will eliminate the hot spots and keep things cooler. There is another option of using soffit vents and ridge vents which can provide adequate non-mechanical venting. However, most roof designs do not allow for adequate non-mechanical ventilation alone to be optimal.
  2. Solar and Electric Attic Fans – Not as powerful as an electric fan, a solar powered attic fan or roof vent does greatly improve air flow in the attic space. Temperatures in your attic can reach upwards of 150 degrees without an attic fan. The fan creates steady air-flow through the attic space; however, if too much air flow is exchanged between outside the attic, moisture from snow and rain can infiltrate. If you live in high humidity/wet area, you may want to consider installing a humidity control system in your attic as well to prevent moisture issues. The two most common types of electrical/solar attic fan used are roof top and gable end. Electric fans are more powerful and cost efficient while solar powered models are most costly but leverage green electric power. Whichever you choose, the attic fan(s) you choose to install should have a programmable thermostat to control and a firestat, which shuts the fan off in case of fire. You should avoid plastic – all metal are the ones to purchase along with models that have solid screens to keep pests out of your attic.
  3. Whole House Fan Systems – These systems keep dead spaces from heating up and pull cool air throughout the home. In some cases, for those that live in mild climates where the temperature stays below 82 degrees, they are being used as an alternative to traditional home air conditioning. The same is true for older homes where its too expensive or difficult to install a central air conditioning system. One potential downfall for whole house fan systems is noise; however, if the unit is engineered correctly, the system should run quietly and efficiently. Look for fans with more blades as they will be quieter than those with fewer blades and make sure to mount the fan with foam or rubber strips to reduce vibration and sound.

US Home Filter is Here for YOU!

At US Home Filter, we enjoy helping our customers solve filtration issues and we are here to answer your questions about your indoor air quality and allergy concerns. We recommend our highest-rated MERV 13 pleated filters for your home or business if you desire the cleanest air possible and suffer from severe allergies such as those that can be triggered by your loving pets. Whether you need AC or furnace filters, a specialty Whole House filter, a Grille filter, or even a custom air filter size, we have a professional and helpful staff ready to take care of you!

Call us toll-free at 1-855-237-1673!