Benefits of Attic Fans and Ventilation

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

Benefits of Improved Attic Ventilation

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

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

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

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

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

Types of Attic Ventilation

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

US Home Filter is Here for YOU!

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

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

Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

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Taking care of your HVAC system to keep it running efficiently is an important item to include in your home maintenance plan every spring and fall. While there are some tasks that should be saved for a professional HVAC service company, there are several tasks that you can easily perform on your own to prolong the life of your system. Take a look at our Maintenance Checklist below for an overview of the types of things you can do to help take care of your unit as well as those items that should be completed by a qualified technician.

HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Indoor DIY Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

  • Clean the evaporator coil – The coil is usually located behind a door or panel above the blower motor. It is typically constructed in the shape of a letter A and covered with thin sheets of metal that are referred to as fins which are designed to best utilize the cooling effect of the refrigerant. Begin by using a soft brush to remove the outer layer of dust. Then spray with coil cleaner which can be found at your local home improvement store. Allow the cleaner to drip from the coil into the drain pan below. Clean the drain pan and ensure that the drain openly flows. This quick video
  • Clean the evaporator drain line – Warm, moist air travels through your evaporator coil. The heat is absorbed in the coil which cools it and circulates it back into your home. This process can create a humid environment which causes condensation on the coil that falls into a drip pan. A drain tube, usually about 1 inch in diameter, then carries the water into a floor or sink drain or sometimes the tube drains outdoors. A buildup of mold or algae can eventually cause a blockage. The drain tube can be cleaned by using a wet/dry vac, a plumbers snake, a garden hose, or by pouring distilled white vinegar through it.
  • Turn off water supply to the humidifier unit – Because of the humid environment created near the coil, it is recommended to turn off the water supply to your humidifier during the months when you are using your air conditioner. Some humidifier units are equipped with a Summer setting that will allow you to simply turn a knob to that setting to deactivate the humidifier for the season.
  • Change the air filterFacts About Standard Sized Air Filters – this is one of the easiest tasks you can do to keep your HVAC unit running at peak efficiency. Spring is the perfect time of year to change your air filter out since your system has likely been working hard over the previous winter months. Changing your filter now will give you a fresh start to the upcoming summer months, getting you started with a clean filter to allow your system to cool your home with ease. If spring allergies are a concern, we recommend our MERV 11 high-efficiency pleated filters to capture mold, pet dander, pollen, dust mite debris, and other contaminants.

Outdoor DIY Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

  • Clean the area around the condenser unit – You will likely have some debris that has collected around the base of the unit over the past few months. Leaves, stick, dirt, grass clippings, and other items commonly gather up against the unit. Sometimes, the exit for the ducting of the dryer vent will lead right into the side of the condenser unit. It is important to keep the condenser and the surrounding area clean and free from any type of debris.  Clear away any buildup of debris and trash as well as trim back vegetation and branches within a minimum of 2 feet around the unit.
  • Clean the condenser unit – Remove the outer cover or grate that covers the outdoor unit. A shop vac can be used to remove any debris on the outside of the unit. A garden hose can be used to spray the fins from the inside to wash away any built-up dirt on the fins. Coil cleaner may also be applied ahead of rinsing for caked-on debris.
  • Inspect and straighten fins – Condenser fins are positioned on the covering of your condenser unit outdoors. These function similarly to the fins on your evaporator coil by assisting with airflow and heat extraction. The fins are usually made of aluminum and are thin and easily damaged. When damage occurs, it disrupts an open path for air to freely flow and can adversely affect the efficiency of your unit since it will have to work harder. Here is a quick video with some easy instructions on repairing bent compressor fins.
  • Level the condenser unit – Having a condenser that is level allows your unit to function properly. Not only is it unsightly when the condenser pad is sinking off to one side, it also causes the lubricating oil to separate which can interrupt the flow of refrigerant through the system. It can also cause strain on the coolant lines leading to your home. A few simple items are usually all it takes to level the unit.

Hire a Professional

As we have shown above, there are a number of maintenance tasks that you can complete on your own to help take good care of your HVAC system. These items can all be done by a professional as well, if you don’t feel up to it. There are additional items that are important to have a professional take care of on a regular basis. It is usually best to schedule a technician to service the unit at least once a year, but ideally every six months. Preventative maintenance on your heating and air conditioning system goes a long way in prolonging the life of your unit. HVAC service companies may differ slightly in the tasks that are included in a tune-up or preventative maintenance service inspection, but you can generally expect the following to be addressed:

 

  • system inspection
  • check refrigerant levels
  • check coil and drain line/pan
  • look at compressor and motor
  • clean areas with buildup of dirt/debris
  • check air filter (may include replacement of filter)
  • replace worn belts, parts, or connections
  • test thermostat
  • test for leaks

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

At US Home Filter, we appreciate each and every one of our customers. We are here to help you choose the best solutions for your individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or if you are overwhelmed by choosing the right custom size air filter, we will be happy to personally work with you to help ensure you order exactly what you need!

Call us today at 1-855-237-1673!

 

Spring and Summer Energy Saving Tips

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energy saving tips for spring and summerWe may not be feeling it quite yet, but the warmer weather will soon be upon us. With the spring and summer months bringing us those warmer temperatures, we will (eventually) be seeing our energy bills increasing as well. Peak energy demand is normally seen dramatically increasing during the afternoon hours of the summer months. The NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) predicts more than half the United States will have above normal temperatures over the next three months, therefore increasing the demand for energy across the nation. Below are a few tips that will help you keep your energy costs down while the weather is warming up and you’re trying to keep your home cool and comfortable.

Energy Saving Tips for Spring and Summer

1) Keep Hot Air Out by Checking for Leaks – It is imperative that the cool air created by your air conditioning (HVAC) system is kept contained. If the cooled air is able to escape through small leaks, it increases the system’s run time and the amount of energy that’s being used. You also don’t want hot air leaking into your home from the outside. Check for small holes in all of your window seals and weather stripping around your doors to make sure there are no gaps. If you do spot a crack, it can be easily filled with caulk, plus replace any weather stripping around your doors to make sure there is a good seal. Also make sure that your attic insulation is adequate to keep the hot attic air from radiating down to your living space. Remember – you’re not paying to cool the outdoors!

2) Lower Your Water Heater Costs – According to the Department of Energy, water heating accounts for about eighteen percent (18%) of your home’s energy use. Reducing this is easily accomplished by reducing your water heater temperature down to 120 degrees. This still provides adequately hot water for bathing and dishes and at the same time reduces your energy costs. You can also take shorter showers and invest in a low flow shower head.

3) Install Programmable Thermostats – A programmable thermostat will help you manage your energy usage for when the cooling system is needed most, plus takes the guess work and human error out of the mix. Always make sure that your thermostat has a fresh set of batteries. To save energy, it is recommended to set your thermostat at a warmer temperature when you are sleeping or not at home. According to energy.gov, you can save as much as ten percent (10%) a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. By setting slightly higher temperatures for when residents are away from the home, the unit will run less and save energy. Provided the home is properly sealed (see #1), cool temperatures should be maintained long enough so that when the system is programmed to turn back on and lower the temperature, it can do so quickly and efficiently.

4) Use Ceiling Fans – Did you know that by using ceiling fans while your air conditioner is running allows you to raise the temperature by four degrees and you won’t even notice the difference? It’s true! Make sure your ceiling fan direction is set to PULL AIR UP towards the ceiling, as cooler air wants to sink while the hot air rises. Don’t forget to turn the ceiling fans off when no one is in the room to further conserve energy and decrease consumption.

5) Keep Your HVAC System Running Efficiently – Schedule an annual maintenance checkup for your HVAC system to keep it running at peak performance in the height of summer. Things you can complete yourself include: vacuuming out the air intakes and ducts, clearing away any plants or weeds that may be growing around your HVAC unit and cleaning up any standing water. Most importantly – check and change your air filter on a monthly basis! This will prevent any unnecessary stress on your equipment that can result in breakdowns as well as higher energy bills.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

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

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

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

Green Cleaning Tips to Reduce Home Allergens

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Green Cleaning Tips to Reduce Home AllergensAllergies are everywhere and as the seasons change, new allergens emerge causing allergy sufferer’s a multitude of symptoms. In fact, as many as 50 million Americans have some sort of allergy – most of which are not caused by the change of seasons, but are from substances found in their own home. In a research study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology  it surprisingly stated that over half (51.5%) of all US homes had at least 6 detectable allergens and 45.8% had at least 3 allergens exceeding normal levels. These indoor allergens included mold and mildew, dust mites and pet dander among many others which can affect both a person’s nasal passages and eyes. Outdoor pollutants (pollen, outdoor mold spores) can also enter the home as well, thus increasing the unpleasant side effects that allergy sufferers often times experience. While experts agree that anti-histamine medications may help lessen the effects of these symptoms, removing or reducing exposure to the allergens proves to the be the best way to manage allergy conditions by prevention. In other words: Stop treating the symptoms and start treating the cause!

Tips for Reducing Indoor Allergens In Your Home or Office

Go “Green” With Your Cleaning Supplies

According to The American Lung Association, many cleaning supplies or household products contain dangerous chemicals that can irritate the eyes or throat, cause headaches as well as other health problems, including cancer.  Some of these products even release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other dangerous chemicals. VOCs are found in cleaning products such as bleach, glass cleaner, detergents and air fresheners and have been shown to exacerbate asthma-related symptoms. To combat this, choose green cleaning products that contain natural and plant based ingredients. You can even make your own!

Reduce Pet Allergens

We love our pets, but it’s true, our four-legged fur babies make a huge contribution to allergens in our homes. In fact, up to 30% of all people with allergies have reactions to cats and dogs. Luckily, there are steps you can take to cohabitate with your pets without sneezing every time that they come into the room. First off, create a specific area in your home for your pet and make sure that its easy to clean. Keep soft furnishings to a minimum and make sure that they’re machine washable. You may also want to invest 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. We recommend our highest-rated MERV 13 pleated filters for your home or business if you are looking for the highest level of air quality and suffer from severe allergies such as those that can be triggered by your loving pets. Vacuum regularly and bathe your dog twice a week – don’t forget to find a pet shampoo that contains natural and plant based ingredients!

Control Your Heat and Humidity

Keeping your house at the right temperature and humidity level can make a huge difference in allergy control. Your house should be kept nice and dry, using a dehumidifier if needed. Dust mites and mold both thrive in moist, humid conditions. Another way to remove humidity is to open your windows for one hour per day (on dry days only), but be sure to check the pollen forecast first. On the flip side, if the humidity in your home is too low, other allergens can start to circulate in the air. Make sure to keep your home between 68°F-72°F with 40% humidity whenever possible.

Change Your HVAC Filter Regularly

The most important thing you can do to reduce allergens in your home is to choose the right filter for your HVAC system and change it regularly. The filter’s primary function is to trap and hold all the different kids of particulates and contaminants in the air that circulate through your heating and cooling system. All of the air that circulates through your HVAC system, to either heat or cool your home, will eventually pass through the air filter. This is why it is so VERY important to keep your air filters clean and change them regularly. Air filters should be checked at least once a month – if they are dirty they should be changed with a fresh clean filter to ensure home allergens are kept to a minimum.

US Home Filter’s 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!

Duct Cleaning – What You Should Know

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Air duct cleaning is something that has grown in popularity over the past several years. This service can be offered by a variety of companies including those that specialize in HVAC service and repair, cleaning services, restoration, or those that focus completely on cleaning air ducts. The ductwork in our homes and businesses is nicely tucked away, but many of us would be surprised to see what the inside spaces of the parts that make up this system may actually look like. There are diverse opinions either way regarding the necessity of duct cleaning, but those that suffer from allergies and have issues with excessive dust tend to be most receptive to the idea. Because it is a relatively recent process, no scientific studies have been able to prove that it will prevent illness and there are no findings available to show a measured improvement in air quality or a reduction in air particle counts. This article will outline the basics of ductwork, discuss what is involved with professional duct cleaning, and provide information that may help you decide if having your ducts cleaned is a good option for you.

What Is Duct Cleaning?

This typically involves a cleaning process which includes several components of your HVAC system. The list below identifies the items that are potentially included when having your ducts cleaned:

  • supply, return, and intake ducts and registers
  • grilles and diffusers
  • air handler, fans, and motor
  • housings, exchangers, and coils
  • drip pans

The methods used to perform cleaning can vary slightly, but standards have been established by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) to help ensure consistency across all providers of this service. Generally, you will first have an assessment of your ducts and HVAC system components listed above which will be similar to an inspection to determine the condition of your system and advise whether a cleaning is recommended or not. During the cleaning procedure, industry-specific tools are utilized to remove built-up dust and debris from the system and ducts that run through walls, under floors, and over ceilings inside your home – all in places that are nearly impossible for us to reach on our own. Then the loosened debris is vacuumed out, leaving behind a shiny, clean interior and the satisfaction of conquering those filthy ducts.

What Is Used to Clean Ducts?

There are various pieces of equipment, tools, and devices that duct-cleaning specialists will make use of when performing this service to your HVAC system.

  • Inspection Tools – items used to assess the level of debris that has collected inside the areas of the system that can be treated. These items can additionally be utilized to maintain a watch over the progress of the cleaning procedure and to determine if the results meet the desired expectations. Examples of these tools include mirrors, periscopes with lights, and cameras.
  • Compressed Air Devices – used in conjunction with many pneumatic tools that require direct air pressure. This usually comes in the form of a compressor.
  • Vacuums – specific vacuum devices are designed for use in air duct cleaning. Portable and truck-mounted units are both acceptable and approved by the NADCA. Either type of unit will create a negative pressure in the ductwork to maintain control over the flow of debris. If there is a need to extract moisture from any areas, a wet vacuum may also be used.
  • Access Tools – used to create an open path to various areas that are otherwise unreachable. Entry points are made using drills and saws, as needed, to allow equipment to successfully remove debris and clean the system. Whenever possible, access is made through diffusers, return grilles, vents, and duct end caps in order to avoid creating unnecessary openings.
  • Imaging Tools – these are used as inspection devices and also throughout the process to evaluate the results. Handheld cameras, CCTV cameras, and even remotely-operated mobile cameras that move through the ventilation as the process occurs can all be used to provide a clear view of the work performed.
  • Chemicals – cleaners and disinfectants may be recommended in some cases. These would include such things as biocides to kill bacteria and mold and sealants to repair leaks. Any chemicals or sanitizers used must be registered by the EPA. The NADCA provides a guide that discusses the use of chemicals related to duct cleaning.

Avoiding Scams

Unfortunately, this is something you will need to watch out for. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to do your research before choosing a company. Here are a few pointers you will want to consider.

  • Cheap offers that, once in your home to perform the job, will convince you to do a “mold inspection” only to determine that you have a mold problem that they will offer to take care of for additional charges. This is commonly done to cover costs of coupon or discount deals. If you are concerned about mold, hire a reputable company that specializes in mold testing.

Consumer Checklist

Now that you are familiar with the basics of air duct cleaning and armed with a few helpful tips of caution, you will want to ensure that you have done the following before making a final decision.

Read information from different trusted online sources

Read independent reviews and recommendations for companies you are considering

Get more than one estimate and references from each company

Choose a verified member of the NADCA to perform the service

Create a preventative care list that includes yearly inspection of your heating and cooling system, regular changes of the system air filter, and steps that ensure you prevent moisture from getting into the system.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sick Building Syndrome and IAQ

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Sick Building Syndrome and Indoor Air QualityHave you ever heard the term “Sick Building Syndrome”? Just by the name alone, you can conclude that it has something to do with being in an unhealthy indoor environment. Sick Building Syndrome, or SBS, is a medical condition where people in a building suffer from symptoms of illness or feel unwell for no apparent reason. Those who spend the most time in the unhealthy environment are the ones most effected with symptoms such as tight chest, wheezing, sore throat, eye and nose irritation and in some sever cases, dizziness and nausea. But what makes a building ‘sick’? The causes of SBS are usually linked to flaws in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

Factors That Contribute to Sick Building Syndrome

Inadequate Ventilation

The amount of fresh air that is brought indoors is extremely important. Shockingly, a NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) research study concluded that over fifty percent (52%) of SBS cases could be traced back to inadequate ventilation. When central air conditioning and heating systems first began to be installed in buildings, building ventilation standards called for approximately 15 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of outside air for each building occupant. Then came the oil crisis in the early 1970’s which reduced the ventilation standard to only 5 cfm in order to save energy. And it did. However, the health of the building occupants suffered and people started getting sick in droves. Thankfully, 20+ years later, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) developed a ventilation standard that balanced adequate ventilation and energy efficiency to prevent sickness. Now we are back to a minimum of 15 cfm of outdoor air per person and 20 cfm per person in office spaces.

Carbon Dioxide

When there are high levels of CO2 (above 800 to 1000 parts per million) in the air the room can begin to feel ‘stuffy’. However, SBS symptoms can occur at a much lower concentration and anything above 1000 ppm can cause people to become quite sick. Thankfully, this level is very uncommon due to the proper ventilation system requirements as described above.

Chemical Contaminants from Indoor Sources

Have you ever stopped to think about all the chemicals that make up the structure of our indoor spaces? Carpet, upholstery, paint, adhesives, copy machines, cleaning agents, etc. are all a part of our everyday lives and they bring an abundance of unhealthy chemicals into the air we breathe. These toxins include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), e.g. formaldehyde, which cause chronic and acute health effects at high levels.

Outdoor Contaminants

Outdoor air that enters into a building can be a factor in indoor air pollution. While adequate ventilation is required, the type of air that comes inside is equally as important. If you’ve ever driven on a toll road, did you think about all the exhaust fumes the toll road workers are exposed to? Or the drive-through operator at a fast food restaurant with the window open while idling cars wait for their food order. Outdoor contaminants can also come into a building if the air intake vents are poorly located and polluted air is sucked into the building instead of fresh air.

Natural Toxins

Mold, bacteria, viruses and pollen are all examples of natural toxins and they can grow if your HVAC system isn’t properly taken care of. If there are standing pools of water near an HVAC unit, mold will begin to grow, especially as outdoor temperatures rise. If there is any water damage inside the building on the carpet, ceiling tiles or insulation, this can also be a cause of mold growth if not properly taken care of. Plants and weeds growing can also cause issues with restricting air flow into a building and pull more pollen and allergens into your indoor air.

How Can We Prevent Poor Indoor Air Quality?

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

US Home Filter is Here for YOU

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

Benefits Of Home Air Filters

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While the number of benefits that come from using air filters in your home can be outlined in a fairly short and straightforward list, it is a list that contains three very valuable points and will provide you with a full understanding of the true advantages that you can expect to experience from these relatively simple items. Air filters come in a vast number of sizes and several MERV ratings. Despite the extensive differences in size and the many types available, all air filters are designed to fill these main purposes. Although the size you need is basically determined by the size required by your unit and the space allowed for the air filter to be installed in, most will have the flexibility to determine which of the varied MERV ratings will be most suitable to fit their needs for the desired level of dust control and allergen reduction. We begin by discussing the original intended purpose for air filters and the actual reason why they were created.

Protecting Your HVAC System – Benefit #1

The most common reason for the malfunction or failure of a heating and air conditioning system is a lack of maintenance. Often, the culprit is dust which sometimes builds up on the expensive moving parts of the unit. Once the dust has accumulated to a high enough level, there will inevitably be problems. These problems, when associated with dust, can almost always be easily preventable by regular maintenance. One of the simplest ways to maintain your system and preserve its life on your own is to simply use an air filter that fits properly and change it when it has reached its capacity to hold dust and effectively allow a proper rate of airflow so your home can be heated or cooled to the desired temperature.  Providing your Heating and Air Conditioning system with a protective barrier against dirt and debris is the original and primary reason for using home air filters. Air filters, although inexpensive in comparison to the cost of your HVAC unit, carry a high level of responsibility in keeping your system running efficiently and smoothly. Your air filter traps dust and dirt particles before it reaches the internal and moving components of the unit. What parts are contaminated with dust build-up when a poorly-fitting, low-quality, or dirty filter are used?

  • fan blade
  • motor
  • coil
  • duct work and vents

Reducing Dust In Your Home – Benefit #2

By preventing dust and debris from collecting on the mechanical parts of your heating and air conditioning system, your filter is also working hard to minimize the dust levels in your home’s air. Using a high-efficiency pleated filter provides a great deal of surface area which translates to a considerable amount of dust-holding capacity. Pleated filters are capable of trapping and holding several grams of dust that would otherwise be blowing through your ducts and back into your air where it would inevitably settle on all those surfaces that we prefer not to continuously dust off. Battling dust that continues to reappear on bookshelves, tables, window treatments, and decor is a constant point of frustration. It is virtually impossible to fully eliminate dust because there are so many sources, but your air filter is a great supporter of your fight to reduce dust as much as possible. We recommend a minimum of a MERV 8 rating on your home air filter for those that need to control average levels of dust, but those that need greater protection from smaller dust particles (fine, suspended dust) would benefit from a higher MERV rating. As you increase the MERV rating you capture finer particles and remove a higher percentage of dust and microscopic particulate matter (PM). It is this subject of filtering fine particles, even as small as attached bacteria and viruses, that leads us into the next benefit which has become a very popular topic of discussion just in the past few years.

Improving Your IAQ – Benefit #3

Although system protection is the priority and dust reduction is a close runner-up, we cannot ignore the importance to many consumers of air filters as they relate and contribute to our indoor air quality (IAQ). This has become increasingly important as it is believed that the average person spends 90% of their time in indoor spaces where concentrations of pollutants are 2-5 times greater as compared to the outdoor levels. Of course we would likely desire the cleanest air in the areas where we tend to spend the greatest amount of time. For those that have serious concerns and have experienced the benefits of having their air as clean as possible, IAQ may feel like the most important factor in air filtration. Of course they likely desire to protect and preserve their system and minimize dust, but those with severe allergies and sensitivities to certain particulates and contaminants often appreciate a quality high-level filter as much as some of the other items they use, such as allergy medication, to lessen the symptoms caused by allergens. A MERV 8 rating is sufficient for those that have mild allergies and sensitivities. We recommend a MERV 11 rated air filter when you experience a moderate level of allergy issues. If you are highly sensitive to particulates, pollution, contaminants and various allergenic elements, you should definitely consider trying a MERV 13 filter which will scrub your air from the finest particles and keep your air as clean as fresh as possible.

US Home Filter offers FREE SHIPPING on any order!

Choosing the best filters for your home or business can be overwhelming and confusing sometimes. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we have an experienced and friendly staff to help answer any questions you may have. 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.

 

Spring Cleaning Your HVAC Unit

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Spring Cleaning your HVAC unitSpring is around the corner and “Spring Cleaning” has become a tradition in many households throughout the country. As you open up your windows, both letting the fresh air in and dusting off everything that has been in winter hibernation, it’s important not to forget your HVAC system! The weather will gradually get warmer, and when it does, you’ll want your A/C unit working at its peak performance. Proper maintenance of your HVAC system ensures that your unit is running efficiently and doing its job. When this is done, you’re able to maximize your use of energy which is not only good for the environment, but also good for your monthly power bills.

Steps To Take To “Spring Clean” Your HVAC System

Change Your Air Filter

We cannot stress enough the importance of a clean air filter, as you may have noticed from several of our previous blog posts (like winterizing your HVAC unit). Clean air filters keep the air in your home free from harmful pollutants that are potentially hazardous to your health and that of your family. Since all of the the air that circulates through your HVAC system eventually passes through the air filter, it’s so VERY important to keep your air filters clean and change them regularly. Dirty, clogged air filters can:

  • Cause severe HVAC system malfunctions and equipment damage.
  • Reduce airflow inside the HVAC system.
  • NOT remove particulates and contaminants as effectively as they should. (These are then released back into the air that you breathe).
  • Result in duct work build up and damage.
  • Cause the HVAC equipment to work harder, increasing your energy usage and therefore your monthly electric bill.

Air filters should be checked at least a minimum of once a month and if they are dirty they should be removed and changed out for a fresh, clean air filter. A helpful tip to know if your filter is dirty or not: hold it up to a light source – if you can’t see the light through the filter, then it’s time for a new one.

Air Duct Cleaning

During the fall and winter months, as the heat passes through your HVAC system, most of the contaminants are trapped in the air filter; however, some do pass through which can lead to a build up in the duct work over a period of time. To prevent potential air flow blockages and indoor air quality problems, plus keep the temperature in your home consistent, vacuuming out the air vents is highly recommended. According to EPA.gov, a thorough cleaning of the air vents is recommended if the ducts are clogged with an excessive amount of dust and debris or if there is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. If this sounds like your home, call a professional to clean your air ducts. Otherwise, a quick vacuuming may be sufficient.

Clean Standing Water By Your HVAC Unit

Moisture is one of the main requirements needed for mold to thrive and molds can grow and multiply in temperatures between 32 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If there are standing pools of water near your HVAC unit, the mold will grow and increase as the temperature rises and result in the moldy and musty smell to start blowing into your home. Standing water will also do swift and severe damage to whatever it touches, so its very important to get any areas cleaned up, preventing water damage to your HVAC unit and keeping the air in your home free from mold and mustiness. Here are some reasons you may find water around your HVAC unit:

  • PVC drain line is plugged
  • Filter is plugged
  • Drain pan has a leak
  • Condensation pump issues

Remove Plants And Weeds From Around Outside Unit

As spring approaches, plants and weeds start to grow and they also grow around your outside HVAC unit. Trimming back these plants is one of the easiest ways to keep your energy bills low. If plants and weeds grow too close to your HVAC unit, it can restrict air flow to your system causing higher bills and shorter equipment life. You should have at least 24 inches (or two feet) of distance between your landscaping and your air conditioning unit. This allows enough adequate air flow to the unit, keeping it cool and preventing your HVAC unit from possibly overheating. It also reduces overall electrical consumption. So be sure to add ground clearing around your AC unit to your spring cleaning list!

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.

 

Myths About Pet Allergies

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Did you know that over 60% of homes in the US own at least one pet? It is estimated that about 161 million of these pets consist of cats and dogs, the most popular domesticated household pets. Americans do love their pets, but about 15% of us are allergic to them. So if you enjoy having a furry companion but suffer the side effects caused by a pet allergy, you are definitely not alone. If you are fortunate enough not to be affected by pet dander, you most likely have a friend or family member that is. There is quite a bit of resourceful information available on the subject of pet allergies. And like most other subjects, you can find some inaccurate information that causes confusion. Here are some of the most popular misconceptions about allergies to animals.

Myth #1 Animal Hair Triggers Allergic Reactions

It is a common belief that animal hair is the cause of an allergic response to animals. While pet fur can certainly add to the problem and steps should be taken to keep the home as hair-free as possible, it is most important to recognize the actual source of the allergen. The proteins secreted in the saliva and skin of warm-blooded animals, not just cats and dogs, is the root cause of the allergy. These proteins are transferred onto the animal hair and surrounding surfaces, especially during the grooming process. So while more hair will result in more surface for the protein to adhere to, the hair in and of itself is not the source of the allergy.

Myth #2 Hairless Pets Are Hypoallergenic

Nice thought, but no. If it is warm-blooded, grooms itself or sheds skin, it can trigger an allergic response. Again, less hair certainly means less surface to collect dander and the proteins that cause the allergy, but there is no specific cat or dog that is certified as allergy-free. The levels of proteins (for example, Fel d 1 in cats) is unique to every individual cat. So finding that one particular cat does not inflame your allergies does not mean that all cats of that breed will produce the same results.

Myth #3 Pet Dander Is Only Present In Homes With Pets

That would seem logical and wonderful at the same time, but is unfortunately untrue. In fact, according to an in-depth study of the presence of animal allergens in the environment, cat and dog allergens can be detected in all variations of indoor environments even when a cat or dog has never been there. So this includes new construction, schools, museums, offices, and vehicles to name a few. Why would a brand new home or a school test positive for levels of these allergens when an animal has never been inside them? Due to the sticky nature of pet dander it is introduced to all of these unsuspecting environments due to the transfer effect, meaning it is carried on clothing or objects that have come in contact with an animal in another setting and then deposited in a new setting. Of course, the level of concentration of these allergy-causing proteins will be much higher in a home with pets. The highest levels are found in homes with pets that are primarily kept indoors.

Myth #4 The Only Pets That People Are Allergic To Are Cats And Dogs

Sometimes when there is a known allergy to cats or dogs, it may seem like a great option to get another type of animal such as a ferret or hamster. The truth is that every warm-blooded animal out there, domestic or wild, can have dander. All dander has the potential to trigger an allergic reaction as the protein that causes the symptoms is secreted through the skin and saliva. In some animals, such as birds and reptiles, allergens are transmitted through feathers and droppings. So all animals, including fuzzy guinea pigs, farm animals, and wild animals, can produce allergic reactions.

Myth #5 Pet Allergies Aren’t That Big Of A Deal

It’s a pretty common belief that the only thing you have to worry about if you have pet allergies is itchy eyes and sneezing. That’s a belief held mostly by those who do not suffer from a pet allergy. It would be wonderful if all you got was a little sniffle after cuddling with your fat, furry cat. Most of us that are allergic to cats, dogs, and other animals experience a greater number of symptoms. Sometimes, the range of reactions can be quite bothersome and severe. Some individuals react only after close and prolonged cuddling with an animal while others can simply exhibit symptoms just by being in the same home with one. While the idea of cat or dog allergies can be minimized by some, this list of possible reactions certainly matters to those who experience it:

  • sneezing, runny nose
  • itchy, red, swollen, watery eyes
  • sinus congestion, coughing
  • disrupted sleep
  • difficult, labored breathing
  • tightness in chest, wheezing
  • allergic dermatitis
  • eczema, hives

Myth #6 Removing The Animal Will Provide Immediate Relief

Obviously, the less exposure the less intense the symptoms will likely become. But if the symptoms are still going strong after the pet has been removed, don’t be surprised. It can take up to several months before symptoms improve or disappear. It will require a high level of filtration and deep cleaning to remove the dander as it is capable of attaching to almost any type of indoor surface and over time becomes embedded in cloth surfaces such as furniture, bedding, carpeting, and window coverings.

Myth #7 If You Have a Pet Allergy, You Must Get Rid Of Your Pet

Sometimes, this is the very unfortunate truth. But it is not absolutely the only choice in every situation. In certain cases you may be forced to rehome your pet, but there are times where it can depend on personal choice and being fortunate enough to find successful ways to reduce and manage the symptoms so you and your companion can remain together. Here are a few tips on balancing your allergy symptoms and keeping a pet:

  • use free-standing room air cleaners to add extra filtration to rooms where your pet is most often
  • use high-efficiency pleated air filters to keep your indoor air as clean as possible
  • make your bedroom a “no pet zone” to minimize the concentration of dander where you sleep
  • wash your hands often to prevent the transfer of dander to other surfaces as much as possible
  • saving the most fun part for last, when it comes to dander you cannot clean too much!

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

 

 

Deadly Diseases Preventable With Air Filters

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preventing diseases with air filtersAre deadly diseases and other illnesses actually preventable by your AC filter? To answer that important question, let’s first answer another important question: What is air pollution? According to the Environmental Pollution Center, “air pollution can be defined as the presence of toxic chemicals or compounds (including those of biological origin) in the air, at levels that pose a health risk. So basically air pollution equates to the the presence of biologics or other chemicals or compounds in your breathable air that can cause humans harm. Air pollution has become an unintended consequence of our everyday lives with the increase of cars, trucks, factories and, in turn, has greatly affected the health of people worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that as of March 2012, around 7 million people died as a result of air pollution exposure, thus making the air that we breathe the world’s single largest environmental health risk. This includes air pollution outside of our homes, as well as inside. Let’s take a closer look at the potentially catastrophic consequences to ourselves and to our families when the air in our homes is polluted.

What Are The Top Three Health Consequences Of Indoor Air Pollution

Stroke

Every year, approximately 15 million people suffer a stroke worldwide and 33% of these are attributed to being caused by indoor air pollutants in our homes. Studies have shown that there is a direct connection between particulate matter (nitrates, sulphates, organic chemicals, metals, soil or dust particles, and allergens such as fragments of pollen or mold spores) and increased admissions to hospitals as well as death from strokes and transient ischemic attacks (TIA). TIA are also known as ‘mini-strokes’ which can lead to full ischemic strokes later.

Heart Disease

Air pollution is believed to have inflammatory effects on the heart, causing chronic cardiovascular problems. For those already struggling with heart disease, the effects of air pollution have an even greater effect as just the exposure can increase the heart rate and blood pressure. When the small particulates commonly seen in polluted air enter into a person’s blood stream they begin to irritate the lungs and blood vessels around the heart. Lowering your exposure to air pollution reduces this inflammation and improves the health of the lining of the blood vessels.

Lung Cancer

Once again, according to the World Health Organization, lung cancer is the cause of approximately six percent of all fatalities that are attributed to indoor air pollution. It has been proven many times by research studies that household dust may contain toxic, cancer inducing compounds and chemicals is both significant varieties and quantities. A recent study reported that an estimated 45 toxic chemicals were commonly found in the dust of many US households and homes. An almost unbelievable ten of these harmful chemicals were found in approximately ninety percent (90%) of all the the homes that were tested. Children are obviously the most vulnerable members of the household, since the majority of all dust collects at the ground level. The study also documented that the most common chemicals seen were actually a variety of flame retardants that are directly linked to lung cancer and can additionally cause further adverse reactions and effects on an individual’s central nervous system.

The Role of Air Filters

Knowing these obviously scary facts, it is clear how important it is to reduce exposure to air pollution within our homes. Not only for our selves, but for our families, neighbors and friends. Reducing your exposure to these potentially harmful toxins and chemicals saves lives. There is not a lot we can do about outdoor air pollution exposure, but we CAN control the amount of pollution we are exposed to in our homes. Using high-quality air filters in your HVAC system greatly reduces the number of pollutants you are exposed to in your home, therefore leaving you and your family healthier.

Air filtration provides us with a means to attain the highest level of indoor air quality possible in our houses and homes. Air filters were originally intended to simply protect your HVAC system, but as filtration media became more refined and specialized filters also now clean contaminants, allergens, and other bothersome particles from our air using high-efficiency pleated air filters. This has resulted in a significant improvement in our ability to provide the cleanest air to breathe in both our homes and businesses.

If indoor air quality is important to you, begin by selecting the level of filtration based on the types of particles that you aim to prevent entering your home’s “breathable air” with your air conditioning filters and furnace filters. You can choose a MERV rating that targets specific types of particles such as pet dander, mold spores, or pollen. The higher the rating, the smaller the particle that can be captured. A general guideline for MERV ratings is:

  • MERV 8 – for mild allergies and average dust particles
  • MERV 11 – for moderate allergies and smaller dust particles
  • MERV 13 – for severe allergies and the finest dust particles

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.