Supply vs. Return Air Vents: What’s the Difference?

air vents supply vs returnYou are probably aware that your home was built with a network of ducts hidden behind the walls, but do you know their purpose? The ducts provide a pathway for air to cycle through every room in your home, to and from your HVAC system. This circulation process; however, would not be possible without the supply and return air vents you see throughout your house. But what is the difference between supply and return vents?

Supply & Return Air Vents

It’s easy to think that your AC and furnace simply blow heated or cooled air to the rooms in your house. But another very important part of the cycle of air is happening as well – sucking air out of the rooms. This is where the difference between supply vs return vents comes into play.

Supply Vents: These air vents blow conditioned air out. They are easy to identify as they are the ones you feel the cool air coming from. The air coming from these vents has traveled through your HVAC system, through the ducts and out of the supply vents. Supply vents are usually found high up on the walls in your home, or on the ceiling.

Return Vents: These air vents suck air from the rooms in your home back into your HVAC system. They are typically larger in size than supply vents and you will not feel air blowing out of them. Return vents are usually found closer to the bottom of the walls in your home, near the floorboard, but depends upon the location of your ductwork.

Ductwork and Vent Connection

The HVAC system in your house is meant to maintain a balance environment inside the ductwork. In order to do this, the amount of air the ducts blow out should be nearly equal to the amount of air that’s being sucked back into the ductwork. If there is an inadequate amount of supply and return vents, the pressure inside the ducts becomes unbalanced, causing your home to feel less comfortable. If you’re building a home or installing a new system, make sure precise measurements are taken of your home’s air flow needs before the HVAC system is installed.

How to Maximize Your Air Vents Performance

There are a few things you can do to make sure your supply and return vents are performing at their best, even if you have the correct amount in your home.

  1. Don’t block supply or return vents with furniture or other objects to optimize air flow
  2. Avoid closing the supply vents in any rooms of your house, even unused rooms, to prevent an increase in pressure inside of the ductwork.
  3. To save energy in unused or rarely used rooms, consider investing in a zoned HVAC system and section those rooms off into separate zones.

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.

Preventing Mold Growth in Your Drip Pan

Drip Pan Mold GrowthAs your AC system works hard to produce cold air, it is also producing gallons of water – between 5 and 20 gallons a day during the summer months! When air passes over the evaporator coil of your HVAC unit, the water vapor in the air condenses into liquid, draining off the coil into a drip pan beneath the air handler. This water, in turn, is channeled out of the drain line and into your home’s sewer system. Take a continuously wet drip pan and add in the dark, wet location of the air handlers (usually the attic or a closet) and the result is a perfect breeding ground for mold and microbial organisms.

Consequences of Drip Pan Mold Growth

As the mold continues to grow, over time it forms into a jelly-like consistency that can plug up the drain lines. As stated above your air conditioner can produce upwards of 20 gallons of water a day – so a drip pan that isn’t draining is a looming disaster. Unfortunately, this building problem often goes unnoticed, due to the air handler being located in a closet or attic, until it’s too late and an overflow occurs.  Keeping your AC drain lines open and running efficiently is critical to preventing water damage to your home’s structure and prized possessions.

An even more dangerous consequence of drip pan mold growth is the spread of mold throughout your home. From its breeding ground in the drip pan, millions of airborne mold spores are spread every hour. The microscopic particulates have the perfect opportunity to slip into your AC systems airflow and circulate through the HVAC ducts, contaminating your indoor air. Mold spores can cause health issues, asthma and allergies, especially affecting those with weakened immune systems. The NIH (National Institutes of Health) also links household mold to the development of childhood asthma.

Drip Pan Mold Growth Prevention

There are things you can do to prevent mold growth in your drip pan. If condensation or runoff are not being drained out of the system and there is any standing water, it needs treatment. Here are some things you can do to keep your HVAC free from these microbial dangers and running efficiently.

  • HVAC pan tablets can be placed in the condensation tray. These tablets prevent algae and other organisms from growing in the moist area.
  • Keep your home as free from dirt and dust as possible. Indoor and outdoor airborne bacteria and organic particles are food for the mold.
  • Change your air filter regularly! We’ve talked about the importance of this many times, but it applies to mold growth as well. A dirty, clogged air filter won’t capture the airborne contaminants, bypassing the filter and ending up in the drip pan as another source of food for the mold colony. Check your air filter’s manufacturer’s recommendation on how often the filter should be changed. During the hot season where the AC is working overtime, monthly filter changes are your best bet.
  • Get your system inspected by an HVAC technician to check for mold in the drip pan and drain lines. They will ensure the drain slopes are the right angle to keep the water flowing away from the drip pan and there are no areas where water can become trapped and collect.

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.

How Dirty Air Filters Affect Your Home

dirty air filtersHave you ever wondered why we emphasize the importance of changing your air filter regularly? You may be surprised by the answer. You may think that dirty air filters simply contaminate the air; however, that is not the complete answer. Air filters do much more than remove particles from the air and prevent them from returning into the air you breathe. They also block particles from causing damage to the inside of your air conditioner. When an air filter is dirty, it is unable to do its job efficiently. So, what are the real reasons you need to change your air filter once a month? Here are the top 4 ways a dirty air filter can affect your home.

#1: Dirty Air Filters = Feeling Less Comfortable

The air filter may appear to be a small component of your HVAC system, but it plays a big role. Clean air filters allow air to flow through your home efficiently. If your air filters are dirty, airflow is restricted, affecting the amount of cool air circulating throughout your home. When this happens, there isn’t enough air being put back into your home to keep you cool or warm. You may also start to notice hot and cold spots throughout your home and a feeling that the temperature you feel does not match the thermostat reading. If this is the situation in your home, a dirty air filter may be the culprit; however, discomfort is the least of your worries

#2: Air Conditioner Leaks

To cool the air in your home, air conditioning systems use a refrigerant that, as it is circulated, changes from a gas to a liquid. During this process, the heat from your home is trapped and expelled.  As the refrigerant is evaporated in the indoor evaporator coil, it absorbs the heat from air blowing over the coil. When the air filter is dirty, warm air becomes limited. This could cause the coil to freeze.

As the coil thaws, water could begin to leak into your home, causing structural damage. If you notice condensation or water around your HVAC system, a frozen coil is the culprit, and there may be other issues within the system as well. Changing your filter monthly prevents this from happening.

#3: Higher Energy Bills

An air filter that is not replaced on a regular basis will become clogged with large amounts of airborne particles. With further neglect, it will become completely blocked, forcing dust and mold back into your indoor air. Dirty air filters also restrict air flow putting strain on your HVAC equipment as the fan has to work even harder to try to bring in the right amount of air. As the system works harder, it uses more energy, therefore increasing your energy bills. Make sure you check your filter monthly and clean or replace it according to the manufacturer’s directions. Changing your air filter every 30 days is one of the easiest ways to lower your monthly utility bills!

#4: AC/Heating System Damage

HVAC systems were designed to take in a specific amount of air each time they cycle. When airflow is impeded, the system components have to work harder. More wear and tear on a system in a season may mean your HVAC system will fail you when you need it most. It is important that the airflow not be constricted or impeded, or the strain placed on your furnace/AC unit will cause less efficiency and can eventually lead to damage to multiple components of your unit.

Air filters do come at a price, but that cost is much less than an emergency call to your local HVAC company. Change your air filters regularly and have your HVAC system inspected annually to ensure it is running properly. Looking for a heating and cooling contractor to inspect your HVAC system? The Department of Energy website offers instructions to help you find the right contractor for your needs.

Selecting the Right Air Filters

Selecting 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.

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.