What Is a Micron: A Study of Particles

When shopping for air filters or purifiers, you will commonly see the phrase “Remove particles as small as (number) microns”. But what is a micron and what does that mean? How does it matter when it comes to your indoor air quality? You may also wonder if there are any benefits to filtering out particles that are 1 micron versus those that are 5 microns, 10 microns, etc. How important is it and how does it affect your and your family’s health?

What is a Micron?

The first thing that is important is to understand is what a micron is. As defined by Dictonary.com, a micron, also called a micrometer, is a unit of measurement that is the millionth part of a meter. One inch is equal to 25,400 microns. To put that into perspective, the average human hair is approximately 50 microns and the human eye is only able to see particles that are at least 5 microns in size. That being said, 98% of all the particles floating around in our indoor air are less than 1 micron in size.

Take a look at the following chart that shows particle size in microns to help give perspective on the size of different particles. As you can see, those particles that we most want to keep out of our indoor air (viruses, asbestos, tobacco, smog, gas) are all less than 1 micron in size.

Micron particle sizes

Will Air Filters Capture These Small Particles?

A standard air filter found in most HVAC systems are designed to capture particles that are 5-10 microns or larger. So, if a filter has a micron rating of 7, it has the ability to trap particles that are 7 microns and larger. That sounds shocking after looking at the image above, doesn’t it? However, there is still more to understand regarding an air filters effectiveness in removing particles of specific sizes. Here are two more important terms:

Nominal Micron Rating: This rating measures how efficient an air filter is at capturing airborne particles of a certain size, ranging from 50-98.6%. It tells you the smallest size particle that may get trapped. For instance, if you have an air filter that removes particles as small as 8 microns with a 50% nominal micron rating, then the filter will capture around 50% of airborne particulates 10 microns in size.

Absolute Micron Rating: This rating gives the size of the largest particle that will pass through the filter and means that the filter is capable of removing at least 98.7% of a specific size particle. It basically tells you the filter is able to better remove particulates of the specific micron size.

If your current home air filter has a micron rating of 5, it is leaving a great majority (98%) of indoor air pollution floating around your home. This includes:

  • Fungi (2-10 microns)
  • Bacteria (0.2-10 microns)
  • Viruses (0.005-0.3 microns)
  • Tobacco smoke (0.01-4 microns)
  • Cooking smoke (0.03-0.9)
  • Pesticides and herbicides (0.001)
  • Volatile organic compounds (measured in picometers – a million times smaller than a micron)
  • Most household dust (0.05-100)
  • Pet dander (0.5-100)

How Will This Affect Your Health?

The American Lung Association reports that airborne particles 2.5 microns or less (called fine particles) are considered an inhalation hazard as they can be “easily inhaled deeply into the lungs where they can be absorbed into the bloodstream or remain embedded for long periods of time.” They also reported in a recent study that the mortality risk increased by 17% in areas with high concentrations of fine particles. These small particles also greatly affect you or your loved ones that have asthma problems as they can trigger asthma attacks and can cause respiratory irritation, coughing and wheezing.

What Can You Do?

Now that you have all the information on microns, it makes sense that you need an air filter that can capture airborne particles that are smaller than 1 micron. But do they exist? On to the last thing you need to know about air filters: MERV ratings.

MERV Rating

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiently Reporting Value and it is this number that tells you the effectiveness of your selected air filter. MERV ratings are calculated by measuring the number of particles a filter can trap compared to the number the particles it’s trying to filter. This means that if there are two filters in the same room, the one with the lower MERV rating traps fewer particles.

Basically, a filter’s MERV Rating is the numeric value assigned to it for rating and comparing the filter’s efficiency and performance. The range for standard MERV values is typically from 1 to 16, with the number indicating how well the filter removes particles from the air. The higher the MERV number, the better the filtration.

MERV 1-4: Common standard filters. Basic filtration. Low cost.
MERV 6-8: Good filtration usually used in residential settings. Made of pleated paper or cloth.
MERV 9-12: Relatively high efficiency, middle of the road filters. Can trap particles of 1 micron or larger.
MERV 13-16: Highest efficiency, best standard filters available. Can trap particles as tiny as 0.3 microns or larger.

There are filters available with MERV ratings higher than 16; however, they are thick and dense, and a typical residential HVAC system cannot readily handle them. In fact, they can end up interfering with the airflow by restricting it. In turn, this could end up reducing the effectiveness of your heating and cooling system and result in HVAC equipment damage. If you want an air filter with a MERV rating higher than 16, you must make sure that your HVAC system can handle them before buying and installing one.

Last, but not least, and most importantly, air filters should be checked at least once a month. If they are dirty, they need to be changed with a fresh clean air filter. How do you know if your air filter is dirty? When removing the air filter from the handler, hold it up to a light source and you will be able to see if the filter is dirty or clogged – if you can’t see the light through the filter, then it’s definitely time for it to be changed.

US Home Filter is Here for YOU

Determining the size that your system requires and choosing the MERV rating that is best for you can be a little overwhelming, especially if you have never purchased air filters for your home or if you have a new unit or home to buy filters for. You can take a look at our air filter measurement guide to help you pick the right size or call us and we can easily assist you with ordering the exact air filter size you need and recommend the best rating for you depending on the level of filtration you want. 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! 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.

Pollen…it’s Coming!

spring allergy season is hereThe beginning of spring can be a time of awakening, a refreshing time, and welcomed relief from the harsh elements and gloomy winter weather. However, as the sun is shining and the weather is starting to warm up, spring is also the beginning of allergy season. Pollen is the most common and widespread wind-borne allergen that can be found almost everywhere, not only outdoors but indoors as well. It is estimated that as many as 35 million Americans are allergic to pollen. Those that have an allergy to pollen may experience seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever. There are three main pollen categories – tree, weed and grass – and you can be allergic to one or all of them. Those that suffer from pollen allergies in the southern United States begin to feel the effects as early as January while those in the north may not be affected until May or June. Trees are the earliest producers of pollen and cause the first signs of allergy symptoms in those that have a pollen sensitivity. In fact, the pollen count is so elevated in some areas of the United States already that even those without an allergy to pollen are feeling some of the allergy symptom effects.

Facts About Pollen

Pollen grains are the reproductive cells that come from flowers, grasses, trees, plants and weeds. From the start of Spring through the Fall, pollen grains are released by these plants and are carried by the wind in hopes of fertilizing other plants. Pollen is also spread by water, animals and bees. Some interesting facts about pollen:

  • Rather than producing bright, colorful flowers, plain varieties of trees, grasses and weeds are shown to be the largest contributor to pollen allergies. These produce the lightest pollen grains that are carried the furthest by the wind and can remain airborne for long distances.
  • Pollen counts are the lowest after a heavy rain. They are the highest in the morning and when it is dry, hot and windy.
  • One ragweed plant can release as many as 1 million grains of pollen each day
  • Particle size varies by plant, but the majority range from 10-100 microns. The producer of the smallest pollen grains, at .006 microns, is the Forget-Me-Not while the largest pollen produced, measuring as large as 150-750 microns, comes from Spanish Moss.

Spring Allergy Symptoms:

If you’re finding yourself sniffling and sneezing at the start of spring, or earlier if you live in the southern US states, it is most likely due to tree pollen. Symptoms include:

  • swollen, watery eyes, conjunctivitis
  • itchy eyes, nose, throat
  • dark circles under the eyes called “allergic shiners”
  • runny nose, sinus congestion, sneezing
  • coughing, sore throat
  • headache, fatigue

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends the following treatments:

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

Natural Spring Allergy Relief:

If you prefer to try natural remedies for your allergy symptoms, be sure to look into the following:

  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 to the outdoors on days with high pollen counts
  5. Keep windows in your home and car closed to reduce the amount of pollen getting inside
  6. Keep your HVAC system fan running to allow the air to be filtered continuously
  7. Dust, vacuum and mop at least once a week
  8. Remember to change your air filters!

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, reduce spring allergy triggers 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.

Particle Pollution

Particle pollution is not something on everyone’s radar, but it is very common and potentially very harmful to our health. The EPA defines particle pollution, also known as particulate matter or PM, as a “general term for a mixture of solid and liquid droplets suspended in the air. Particle pollution comes in many sizes and shapes and can be made up of a number of different components, including acids (such as sulfuric acid), inorganic compounds (such as ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, and sodium chloride), organic chemicals, soot, metals, soil or dust particles, and biological materials (such as pollen and mold spores)”.

Particle matter is created by a number of day-to-day activities, not only outdoors, but also in your home. From cooking dinner for your family at home to driving your car and the burning of fossil fuels at a local power plant, particle matter is released into the air almost continuously. These particles pose dangerous to your health as they can be inhaled into the lungs and penetrate deep into the body’s respiratory system, causing numerous health issues, especially in those suffering from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). PM has also been connected to eye and throat irritation as well as more serious conditions such as low birth weight, heart attacks and lung cancer. A 2017 study found that more than 8 million people per year die early from air pollution exposure.

Particle Size Matters

The EPA also reports that the size of the particle matters most when talking about particle pollution. It is the smaller particles (10 micrometers and under in diameter) that cause greater health risks than larger ones as these tiny particles can enter the lungs much easier when inhaled via the nose or throat. Some are so small, in fact, that they can even enter the bloodstream. The agency estimates that 13,000 deaths could be prevented annually in the United States by reducing fine particle pollution by 10%.

Particle pollution is divided into two different categories:

  • Inhalable coarse particles: These are typically found in industrial areas or near dusty roadways. Their diameter is smaller than 10 micrometers and larger than 2.5 micrometers. Grinding operations and dust from traffic that is stirred up are the main sources of this size of particle pollution.
  • Fine particles: These are found in haze and smoke. They can form from forest fires or when the gasses from cars or power plants meet the air which produces a chemical reaction.

Protecting Yourself from Particle Pollution

Particle pollution is all around us, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the EPA’s Air Quality Index. This is reported daily on weather websites, apps and broadcasts and should be checked regularly.
  2. Change your plans to spend more time indoors. If you see the Air Quality Index is expected to be problematic, try not to plan any outdoor activities that cause heavy breathing (e.g. take a walk instead of a jog) and avoid busy roads with heavy traffic.
  3. Take extra care of those most susceptible. Babies, children, the elderly and those suffering from lung or heart conditions are most affected by particle pollution. Take extra care to be sure to protect those that fall in these categories.

The problem of particle pollution can be particularly dangerous indoors, as not only do outdoor particles seep inside but indoor activities can cause more particles, including fireplaces, candles, and wood-burning stoves.  In order to reduce the risks of particle pollution indoors, you want to make sure you are utilizing the best air filtration in your home. Make sure you are using an air filter that is made properly and fits correctly in your homes HVAC system. All filters are not created equal. Some do a good job of initially filtering out dangerous particles but quickly degrade, making them no longer effective. Others are made to be useful and effective long term while reducing harmful airborne particles. With your health on the line, it is a good idea to invest in an air filter that will work efficiently long term – after all, you can’t put a price on good health and safety.

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, trapping as many particle pollutants as possible. US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter in your HVAC system 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.

Are You Allergic to Your Home?

preventing home feverWith the amount of time we spend indoors increasing, so are our allergic reactions to indoor allergens. The allergens we are exposed to change daily, weekly and seasonally; however, we are exposed to indoor allergens year-round. That means that those affected by indoor allergens are suffering constantly. Back in 2011, a report was done by Allergy UK (a charity which supports people with allergies, chemical sensitivity and food intolerance) to better understand the effects of indoor allergies. Questioning 1,600 people, the survey looked at the “home fever” phenomenon, a range of reactions to dust mites and other allergens in the home. The most common symptoms of this “fever” are sneezing and runny noses. The most common symptoms of this “fever” are sneezing and runny noses, much like those of hay fever. However, unlike hay fever which is seasonal, “home fever” can present at any time of the year.

Home Fever Symptoms

One question the report asked the allergy sufferers questioned was what triggered their symptoms the most. The top answer was dust mites, followed by pets, cleaning supplies and mold, respectively. Symptoms that occurred 60% of the time in those surveyed were runny nose, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. In looking to find out if different areas of the home caused symptoms more than others, the survey found that the most common area participants experienced allergies was in the bedroom. This makes sense as the average bed can harbor around 2 million dust mites.

Overall, it is estimated that 10-20 percent of the world population suffers from similar indoor allergies.  Luckily, there are ways to control indoor allergens and home fever symptoms.

Bedding and Flooring

Washing your bed linens once a week and at a temperature hot enough to kill them (the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) is important. You can also vacuum your mattress to remove dead skin cells (aka dust mite food) and replace your current mattress every 7-10 years. Flooring is also the other primary factor that traps dust, dead skin cells and harbors dust mites. Regardless of the type of flooring that you have in your house, you’ll want to have a high-quality vacuum cleaner that sucks up the dust and dirt, efficiently trapping it so it isn’t released back into the air that you and your family breathe.

“Green” Cleaning Supplies

Many cleaning supplies or household cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals that cause irritation to eyes and throat, cause headaches as well as many other health problems. Some of these products even release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other dangerous chemicals. VOCs are found in cleaning products like glass cleaner, air fresheners, dryer sheets, bleach, among others, all of which have been shown to cause allergy and asthma-like symptoms. Switching to, or even making your own, green cleaning products containing natural and plant-based ingredients eliminate these “home fever” triggers.

Reduce Pet Allergens

No matter how much we love our pets, it’s a fact they are a large contribution to indoor allergens in our homes. To combat these allergens, try to create a specific area in your home for your pet that is easy to clean. Keep pets off furniture and beds and regularly wash any linens your pets use. You may also want to consider investing in a filter with a MERV rating of 8-13 to keep the air free from pet allergens – these filters can reduce pet allergens in the air substantially. Lastly, make sure to vacuum regularly and bathe your dog twice a week (using a pet shampoo that contains natural and plant-based ingredients).

Regulate Heat and Humidity

Dust mites and mold both thrive in moist, humid conditions so keeping your house at the humidity level and temperature makes a huge difference in allergy control. Keep your house nice and dry, using a dehumidifier if necessary. You can also remove humidity by opening your windows for one hour per day when the weather is dry and pollen levels are low. You also don’t want your home humidity level too low as this can cause allergens to circulate in the air. It is recommended to keep your home between 68°F-72°F with 40% humidity whenever possible.

Change Your HVAC Filter Monthly

All of the air that is used to cool or heat your home circulates through your HVAC system, eventually passing through the air filter. Make sure you choose the right air filter for your HVAC system and change it regularly to help reduce the allergens in the air that cause home fever. An air filter’s main purpose is to trap and hold all the different kinds of particulates and contaminants in the air that circulate through your heating and cooling system. Checked your filters at least once a month – if they are dirty, they should be changed with a fresh clean filter to minimize home allergens.

US Home Filter is Here for You

Reducing the dust in your indoor air is no doubt highly beneficial for everyone – family members and visitors. The air you breathe in your home can have a huge impact on allergy symptoms, asthma triggers, and your overall level of comfort. At US Home Filter, we take pride in helping our customers find the best filtration solutions to fit their 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 a custom size air filter built to your specifications, we will be happy to personally assist you with any of your filtration needs! 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.

Improving Air Quality in the Home During the Winter Months

winter indoor air qualityAs the cold air continues to blow and you bundle to keep warm, you may also be apt to keep all your windows and doors shut tightly as well. While this helps keep the heat in, it also leads to stagnant air and dry, stuffy indoor environments. Dust and other pollutants are also trapped, accumulating in the air you breathe and causing particular irritation to those suffering from asthma and allergies. Moisture levels within the home are also of concern. To alleviate this throughout the winter months, it is important to take the proper steps to improve the indoor air quality in your home as well as manage the amount of moisture in the air.

Keep Humidity in Check

Winter is usually a time we think of as dry, leaving our skin begging for moisture. However, pumping up your humidifier is not necessarily the answer. Air that becomes too humid can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold and mildew, further worsening your indoor air quality. There are a few key places in the home that moisture can accumulate during the winter. Signs that there is too much moisture in your home are condensation on the windows, discoloration on the walls, ceilings and floors, white powdery stains on concrete floors and musty odors. If you see any of these warning signs, check your homes ventilation system to make sure air is properly flowing through your house. You can also limit the use of humidifiers and set up dehumidifiers in the damper areas of the home, such as in the basement. Making sure your home is properly insulated can also help regulate not only the moisture but the temperature as well, further preventing mold growth. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is recommended to keep your indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. Depending on the dryness of your air, you can use both humidifiers and dehumidifiers to stay in this range.

Steer Clear of Aerosols and Chemical Cleansers

Aerosol sprays, including deodorants, hairsprays and household cleaners, deposit chemical residues around your home, inhaled by you and your family as you breathe. Chemical cleansers filled with synthetic ingredients and especially those that include fragrance emit a large amount of chemicals into the air. To reduce these negative effects on your indoor air quality you want to limit the sources of volatile organic compounds found in these common household products. WebMD suggests the following:

  1. Choose fragrance-free or naturally-scented laundry products and mild cleansers (no artificial fragrances).
  2. Eliminate aerosol spray deodorants, hairsprays, air freshers and cleaning supplies.
  3. Let the fresh air in! Open windows to let the toxic chemicals out and fresh air in. If there is an allergy issue, keep rooms ventilated with a filtered A/C system.
  4. Sliced lemons and baking soda will give you that clean scent in your kitchen.
  5. Add some houseplants to your home. Spider plants, ferns and aloe vera act as living air purifiers, absorbing the chemical pollutants released by synthetic materials.

Check your HVAC System

Changing your air filter is one of the easiest and most important things a homeowner can do to maintain their HVAC system, which is why understanding air filters and their function is so important. Furnaces have to work harder than they need to when air filters are dirty and clogged. They also lead to poor indoor air quality as the pollutants and allergens that are no longer being trapped in the filter are released back into the air we breathe. Be sure to check your air filters at least once a month during the fall and winter and change them with a fresh clean air filter if they are dirty. This is also a good time to check your air vents. Your HVAC systems air filter will trap most of the contaminants and particulates in the air that passes through, however, over time some are able to bypass this and build up in the duct work. Vacuuming out your air vents will help prevent blockages and indoor air quality problems, allowing warm air to flow freely, easing temperature regulation throughout your home.

With the proper humidity control and the knowledge of how to spot mold, insulation preparation, and finding the best air filter for your home, you will be able to find a way to breathe clean indoor air and stay healthy all winter.

Selecting the Right Filter for Optimum Indoor Air Quality

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. Although not exactly rocket science, choosing the best filter to replace your old one can be a bit of a challenge. What MERV rating is best for my family? Is there an advantage to getting a higher-rated filter? Am I paying the right price? At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have.

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

If you have any questions about furnace filters (or any other questions about AC, custom air filters, Whole House filters or Grille filters), we have 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 carry humidifier filters and pads for all major manufacturers (including Air King, American Standard, AprilaireGeneralAire and Honeywell). 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.

 

Furnace Filters

We are well into winter and our furnaces are working hard to keep our homes and families warm. This is also the time of year we get questions coming in from our customers regarding their furnace filters. The two main questions asked are:

  • Is a furnace filter the same thing as an air conditioning filter?
  • I just learned my furnace has a filter. How do I change it?

If you find yourself asking the same questions, read on to see the answers!

Is a furnace filter the same thing as an air conditioning filter?

Furnace Filters - What are they and how do I change them?The answer to this question is YES if your house or home has central heat and air conditioning. It is also YES if your house or home has a separate cooling (HVAC or AC) unit and heating (furnace) unit as they both typically share the same air-handler. Since the air-handler is the exact area your air filter resides, both systems share the same filter. Air will flow through your air-handler whether you’re cooling your home in the heat of the summer or warming it during the winter months. It is important that the airflow not be constricted or impeded, or strain will be placed on your furnace/AC unit, causing less efficiency and can eventually lead to damage to your unit.

In many newer homes and houses and those that are located in climates that only require moderate cooling and heating, a heat pump may be installed which is your AC/heating unit. More efficient than traditional separated AC and furnace systems, the heat pump model uses the same compressor and the same air-handler. So, in this case, the answer to this question is YES once again! Your heating and air conditioning filters are one and the same.

During this time of your it is important to remember to replace or change your furnace/AC filter to make sure you continue to be prepared for the cold weather. Also commonly known as whole house air filters, you want your furnace filter to be clean in order for it to continuously provide you and your family with the freshest air possible without issue during the winter months.

I just learned my furnace has a filter. How do I change it?

This question is most often asked by homeowners who don’t have central air conditioning systems. In older homes, especially across the Northern states and sections of the US, many houses do not have a central heating and air conditioning system, rather they have individual wall-mounted AC units (or no air conditioning at all) and a separate furnace.

In these cases, here are the proper steps to change your furnace filter:

  1. First and foremost, turn the furnace off! Next, find where your filter is housed. It will either be located inside your furnace, or sometimes it is located inside of the air return vent. Before removing, take notice of the little arrow on the filter (before removing) which indicates the direction of the air flow. We recommend taking a non-erasable marker/pen and marking the air flow direction on the outside of your furnace to make sure you always remember the correct way to re-install future furnace filters. You can proceed to remove the existing filter.
  2. When removing the old filter, take a look on the frame of the filter for the size. If you happen to find that there is no filter in place, follow these measurement guidelines to make sure you purchase the correct sized filter.
  3. Purchase the right filter for your furnace. A quality filter will make sure that dust, pollen, and smoke are removed from the air, plus ensure that you and your family breathe the freshest air possible while your furnace is in use.
  4. You are now ready to install your new filter. If covered with a plastic wrapper, be sure to remove the wrapper before installation. Looking for the markings that indicate the airflow direction and simply slide the new filter in place. Close or replace any cover that was previously over it. To make sure you know when it’s time to change the filter again, it’s a good idea to write down the date you changed your filter in your records or even right on the filter itself.

Selecting the Right Furnace Filter

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. Although not exactly rocket science, choosing the best furnace filter to replace your old one can be a bit of a challenge. What MERV rating is best for my family? Is there an advantage to getting a higher-rated filter? Am I paying the right price? At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have.

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

If you have any questions about furnace filters (or any other questions about AC, custom air filters, Whole House filters or Grille filters), we have 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 carry humidifier filters and pads for all major manufacturers (including Air King, American Standard, AprilaireGeneralAire and Honeywell). 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.

 

 

 

Reasons for Room to Room Temperature Imbalances

temperature imbalances in the homeHave you ever noticed that when you enter a certain room in your house, it’s always warmer than all the others? Or have a room that you know has the coolest temperature in your house? No matter what you set your thermostat to, those rooms are always hotter or colder than the others. Your living room may be the exact temperature you want, but your bedroom upstairs is freezing. It can be aggravating and uncomfortable and, while these temperature imbalances are frustrating, they may be warning signs of a much larger issues. So why does this happen and what can you do to fix it?

First, check for the following common issues:

  • Air Duct Problems: If your air ducts are crushed or kinked, certain areas of your house won’t get sufficient air. Air duct leaks can also cause uneven temperatures, among other issues.
  • Dirty Air Filters: Clean air filters allow air to flow through your home efficiently. If your air filters are dirty, it restricts airflow therefore affecting the amount of cool air circulating throughout your home.
  • Open Windows: Cool, air conditioned air can escape out of open windows leading to uneven temps in your home.
  • Closed Vents: If a vent remains closed in a room, it restricts airflow leading to a warmer temperature than in other rooms of the house.

If it’s not one of the problems above, the next likely cause is an unbalanced air conditioning and heating system. You’ll need an AC company to balance it.

Air Balancing for Temperature Regulation

If you’ve checked all the issues above and all are okay, the cause of your temperature variances is probably an unbalanced heating and air conditioning system. Air balancing is a service that HVAC companies provide where they adjust the amount of heated and cooled air each room gets in your home.

When a system is perfectly balanced, each room in your home would be the same temperature at the same time. If this is not the case in your house, then you have an unbalanced system.

Unbalanced HVAC System Causes

There are many different factors that can cause an HVAC system to become unbalanced. During the system’s installation, larger ducts and additional supply vents are used to push more air into the rooms that need it. Dampers are also installed which help regulate the air flow and even out the temperatures throughout your home. These are valves that allow you to adjust the amount of air getting to each room or area of the house. They are installed near the inside unit of the AC unit on the main ducts, typically in a closet or in the attic.

If your ducts and dampers are properly installed, your system should be pretty balanced; however, there are many factors that can affect this balance. Here are some of the most common things that cause your system to become unbalanced:

1) Multilevel Homes

If your home has multiple levels, it can be difficult to properly balance the air due to the nature of hot air rising as well as the long duct runs that are required to get air to every room. If this is the case in your home, you may want to consider a zoned AC system. With zoning, your home is broken up into different areas, each of which has its own thermostat and temperature control/sensor that automatically adjusts the dampers in your duct system. Zoning also allows you to set different temperatures for different rooms, enabling you to even out the temperature in your home.

2) Long Duct Runs or Uninsulated Ducts

A lot of times, duct work will run through unconditioned areas such as your attic. When the air passes through these warm areas it gains heat, therefore causing rooms furthest away from the air conditioner much warmer (with rooms closer to AC much cooler). This can also be caused by uninsulated ducts – which is a simple solution to this issue. Adding insulation to your ducts will keep the cool air in and the warm air out. A much more complex solution would be to restructure all of the duct work in your home to more evenly distribute the air throughout your home.

3) Inadequate Return Vents

Return vents are what suck the warm air from the room, recycling it into the air conditioning system to be cooled and redistributed. If you have a large home that only has one return vent, it is not able to adequately grab the warm air from rooms that are far away, therefore there is a large amount of cool air mixing with warmer air, increasing the temperature in your home. One way to overcome this is to leave all the room doors in open, which can help with return airflow. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to add more return vents into your home.

4) Under or Over-sized Systems

Having an improperly sized AC system for your space can cause air balancing issues as well. If your AC system is too large, it shuts off quickly leaving certain rooms too cold or warm. If they system is too small for your space, it could potentially never be able to cool your whole home properly. If your home has an air conditioning system that is too large, use fans to help circulate the cooler are to those warmer rooms in the house. On the flip side, if your system is too small, consider installing an additional system or replace the current small system with a new bigger one that is able to cool your whole house.

5) Room Usage

How you use the rooms in your home may also cause an unbalanced system. For instance, a home office tends to be warmer due to the equipment running in it producing heat (e.g. computers, server, and other electronics). This can be solved by having an AC company regulate the airflow to those warmer rooms by adjusting the dampers in the air ducts, increasing the amount of cool air into the room.

6) Home Renovations and/or Additions

Adding rooms or remodeling can throw off your AC systems balance, especially when walls are added or removed. This could be an easy fix by just having the dampers adjusted in your ducts; however, you may also need to run additional ducts depending upon the renovations or additions that were done. In some cases, you may need to install a second air conditioner.

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 in the fall and winter. 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.

HEPA FILTERS

The HEPA Filter and the home environmentWhat Is a HEPA Filter?

The acronym HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and is a type of air filter. They were initially commercialized in the 1950s with the term HEPA becoming a registered trademark and later a generic term for high efficiency filters. The acronym can also stand for:

  • High Efficiency Particulate Absorber Filter
  • High Efficiency Particulate Arresting Filter
  • High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance Filter

In order to qualify as HEPA, a filter must meet the requirements set by the United States Department of Energy. These qualifications state that for a filter to qualify, it must remove 99.97% of particles that are greater than or equal to 0.3 µm (macrometer) in size.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has further rating classifications for HEPA filters relating to their local and total retention capabilities. The NIOSH categories regarding local retention are:

H13 > 99.75%
H14 > 99.975%
U15 > 99.9975%
U16 > 99.99975%
U17 > 99.9999%

HEPA Filters Uses

Today HEPA filters are used in many commercial applications, but they mainly used for medical purposes, and in high-tech industries like aerospace and integrated circuit manufacturing, as well as in both the automobile and aircraft industries. There are also HEPA filters used in water purification systems; however, in these applications the term HEPA air filter is moot as the filters are used for the removal of contaminates found in water and not the air.

There are products out there that will use terms such as “HEPA-type”, “HEPA-like”, “HEPA-style” or “99% HEPA” on their marketing materials but these do not, in fact, meet the requirements to qualify and they most likely have not been tested in independent laboratories.

HEPA Filters for Home Air Conditioning Use

It is uncommon and generally not recommended to use a HEPA air filter in a traditional home HVAC system. There are some homes that have been built to accommodate their use, however, a typical home air conditioning system would require costly modifications in order to handle the installation of a true HEPA system. The whole Air Conditioning system would need to be redesigned the typical home AC system’s duct work and air-handler would not be able to handle the increased air flow resistance of a HEPA filter. Not to mention the cost and size of HEPA filters would be exorbitant.  The good thing is that if you want a highly effective filter for your home, the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) reports that AC filters with a 7 – 13 MERV rating are as “likely to be nearly as effective as true HEPA filters”.

The HEPA Filter For Home Use: The Bottom Line

With all of the false advertising out there, many people may think they have or can have a HEPA filter in their home. Unfortunately, there is no inexpensive or easy way to have actual HEPA filtration in the home as it is more than just an air filter, it’s an entire system. There is a particular configuration needed to run the system and the buildings they’re installed in have to have a positive-pressure seal. You’ll know this is installed when you hear a whooshing sound as the doors are open and closed, like in a hospital.

HEPA filters are also made to order in a sterile lab and individually tested for each customer. There are numerous other variables that come into play before production can even begin, such as factory testing requirements, media capacity, frame materials, gaskets and sealants. There is no HEPA filter created that can be sent by regular ground mail; each one must be sent with a private carrier. Their cost is well out of range for home use as well with each filter costing anywhere between $200 to over $1000, plus freight. For all these reasons, it is apparent that HEPA filters are not intended for home use. Although not impossible to have a HEPA system in your home, it is a specific and cost-prohibitive option that is not easily accomplished unless your home is built from the ground up and constructed under HEPA requirements.

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

If you have any questions about HEPA Filters (or any other questions about AC, furnace, custom air filters, Whole House filters or Grille filters), we have 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 carry humidifier filters and pads for all major manufacturers (including Air King, American Standard, AprilaireGeneralAire and Honeywell). 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.

Understanding Your HVAC System

Tips for Winterizing your HVAC systemHVAC systems are a part of our everyday lives. But do you have a good understanding of what your HVAC system actually does and how it works? Do you know what HVAC stands for? Your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system’s primary jobs are to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, as well as maintaining the highest possible levels of air quality in your home. Understanding your HVAC system’s key roles and how it operates is important as a homeowner, allowing you to get the most out of your system without “breaking the bank”.

Heating

The bitter cold and snow has arrived in many parts of the country, so our HVAC systems are working hard to provide us with the heat and comfort we need throughout the cold days and frigid nights. Since this system is working overtime, knowing how your furnace works can help you to better troubleshoot problems if something does go wrong. According to the Department of Energy, heating accounts for around 45% of energy bills in the United States, so the more we know, the better.

It is the heating component of your HVAC system that provides the warmer climate for your home in the cold months. Most homes have a forced air heating system, but you may have a different type of system, such as a heat pump, broiler or active solar heating. Heating systems that utilize radiators and heat water are called boilers. Heat pumps function like an air conditioner, only working in reverse. Many furnaces run on natural gas, but not all of them. You may have an electric furnace or one that runs on heating oil or propane. No matter what the system your home has, all of them create heat at a central source and disperse the warm air throughout your home by different means.

  • Forced Air: With a forced air system, a furnace is used to heat the air, which is then distributed throughout your home through the duct-work and in-room vents.
  • Radiant Heating Systems: With radiant heating systems, a boiler or heating stove is used to disperse the heat throughout your home by way of hot water tubing or electric heating coils that are installed in the floors or ceiling.
  • Geothermal Heating: With geothermal heating, a heat exchanger is used to generate heat from the sun’s rays that are absorbed into the ground.

Ventilation

When working properly, your HVAC system should improve your home’s IAQ (indoor air quality) by removing dust, dander, dirt, and other debris and by controlling the humidity in your home via ventilation. When your home is properly ventilated, contaminated air and excess humidity are vented out of your home year round. Just like the heating element of your HVAC system, this can be done a multitude of different ways depending upon the age of your home and the system you have. Some ventilation is mechanical, while other times the system may rely on fans and windows, or use a combination of the two.

If you have a forced air system, air is passed through an air filter that traps volatile organic compounds (VOCs), airborne particulates, mold, dust and allergens. 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.

If your home does not have a forced air system, filtering your air can also be done by the use of air purifiers, humidifiers, air cleaners, and dehumidifiers. No matter what, having a good understanding of how your home is ventilated and properly filtering your air is an important step to figuring out any allergy or breathing issues you or your family may be experiencing throughout the year.

Air Conditioning

Lastly, but certainly not least, in addition to heating and ventilating your home, your HVAC system is also responsible for keeping you cool during the warm summer weather. As with heating and ventilation systems, there are many different types of AC units. Central air is the most popular and is used in conjunction with your forced air system. There are also window AC units, portable AC units and split or ductless AC units, all which use a similar process to cool your home.

Your AC system uses a refrigerant that, as it is circulated, changes from a gas to a liquid as it traps the heat from your home and expels it. The warm vapor refrigerant is passed through the compressor where it turns into hot refrigerant vapor and moves into the condenser. The air of the condenser fan cools the hot vapor and as it passes over the finned coils it turns into a hot liquid. As the hot liquid is passed through an expansion valve, a low pressure, cool liquid mist is created which runs through the evaporator coil. As this mist evaporates, it absorbs the heat from the air inside your home and is then returned to the compressor, starting the process over again. The heat that is absorbed is pushed outside by your AC system, therefore cooling the air in your home.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into your HVAC system. Now that you have a better understanding of how all the components work, you can be better prepared to maintain your system and/or know when to call a professional in for help.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit Every HVAC System

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.

Humidifier Benefits During the Winter Months

humidifier benefitsCold dryer air is upon us already. As the fall transitions into winter, the air becomes increasingly cold and harsh. While the heaters in our homes and offices are running hard to keep us warm, the moisture in the air inside is depleted, causing many people discomfort. Excessively dry air can result in numerous issues. How can you remedy this? A humidifier. Humidifier benefits are numerous as they put moisture back into the air, creating a healthy indoor environment for you and your family.

Why a Humidifier?

In a 2013 study, it was found that the ability of airborne viruses to cause flu infections was greatly reduced when humidity levels were increased to 43% or above. It was in low humidity environments that 70-77% of viruses retained their infectious nature, but that number dropped to only 14% when the humidity was increased to 43% or more. Another study completed in 2009 resulted in the same conclusion: humidity limits the transmission of the influenza virus.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Not only can a humidifier help you ward off winter illness, but you can also reap other benefits such as softer, glowing skin and the preservation of any real wood furniture you have. Here are some additional benefits to using a humidifier in your home.

10 Humidifier Benefits

  1. Reduced infection risk: Bacteria and viruses cannot travel well in moist air. Add a humidifier to your home and it could be the difference between remaining healthy this winter or getting the flu.
  2. Soft, vibrant skin: Cold, dry winter air sucks the moisture right out of your skin. This can cause numerous problems such as accelerated aging, dryness, flaking and dullness. Adding moisture back into your air with a humidifier can help fend off these damaging effects, and will help you keep your skin glowing and vibrant.
  3. Sinus comfort: We’ve all experienced that tight, dry feeling in our nose during the cold winter months. The dry air during the winter can also deplete the moisture in your sinuses, leading to possible nose bleeds and a lowered resistance to viruses and bacteria. Humidifiers do wonders for your sinuses…and throat!
  4. No more raspy morning voice: Have you ever woken up and a raspy, dry voice in the morning? This is another effect of dry cold air that is affecting your vocal cords. Sleep with a humidifier in your bedroom to keep your throat moisturized while you sleep.
  5. Heal faster: If you do end up with a sinus infection, a cold or the flu this winter, adding a humidifier to your home will shorten your suffering. You will heal faster and reduce sneezing and coughing symptoms if you keep your nasal passages and throat moist.
  6. Healthier houseplants: Just as dry air can affect us, it can affect our houseplants too. Plants begin to suffer in dry, winter air when their soil becomes dryer than usual, making the leaves look withered and sad. Not only do plants rely on moist soil, but they also rely on moisture in the air. Adding a humidifier puts the moisture back in the air, helping keep your houseplants (and you!) healthy.
  7. Preserve wood furnishings: Just like our hands, dry air can cause wood furniture, moldings and doors to split and crack. A humidifier adds the necessary moisture into the air that helps preserve the integrity of the wood furniture and accents in your home.
  8. Lower heating bill: Interesting fact – moist air feels warmer than dry air. Using a humidifier to add moisture into your air will make it feel warmer, reducing your urge to crank up the heat and helping you save on your winter heating bills.
  9. Fewer electric shocks: Your kids may not be a fan of this one but adding humidity back into your air will reduce that static electricity shock we all experience in the dry weather.
  10. Better sleep. Have a partner who snores or snore yourself? Dry air plays a role in that too with snoring increasing if our sinuses and throats are dry. A humidifier will put that moisture back into the air we need for our throats and sinuses and make your house feel warmer and more comfortable, encouraging a good nights sleep.

Humidifier Precautions

There are so many humidifier benefits that make them a great for your home, but they can become a source of bacteria and mold if they aren’t cleaned regularly. Here’s what you need to know to keep your humidifier and your air clean.

  • Use demineralized or distilled water. Tap water contains minerals that can build up and in your humidifier and increase growth of bacteria. Using demineralized or distilled water will save you a lot of work, not having to clean your machine as often.
  • Clean once a week. The longer you wait between cleanings, the harder it will be. If you regularly clean your humidifier, it will be quick and painless and keep your home happy. If you let it go too long it will be harder to clean and you risk mold and bacteria build up.
  • Change filters regularly! Not all humidifiers come with a filter, but if yours does, change it following the manufacturer’s directions. US Home Filter has a FULL selection of humidifier pads!
  • Keep humidity levels ideal. Just as not enough humidity can cause issues, too much humidity can be just as problematic. Home improvement and electronic stores sell hygrometers that will measure the humidity in your home. Ideally, you want to keep the humidity in your home between 40-50%.

Don’t Suffer This Winter – Try a Humidifier!

Humidity is simply the level of moisture present in the air. We can utilize humidifier units to increase our level of indoor humidity, thus decreasing the level of dryness in our air. We have outlined many humidifier benefits that remove or drastically reduce some of the most annoying issues that we complain about when the air is too harsh and dry. A stand-alone unit is the least costly and easiest to set up, so if you are unsure about committing to a whole house unit, try this option first and start enjoying the results right away!

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 carry humidifier filters and pads for all major manufacturers (including Air King, American Standard, AprilaireGeneralAire and Honeywell). 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.