What to Check Before Turning on the Heat

turning the heat on for the first timeAs the temperature drops, you may switch on the heat without a second thought. However, after your heater has sat unused for most of the year, it’s not the best idea to just turn it on and expect it to work right away. In fact, there are a few important things that should be checked before you even turn the heater on for the first time to avoid system malfunctions and costly breakdowns. Here are the things to check before turning on your heat to ensure your home is safe and your furnace is well maintained.

Pre Heat Checklist

1. Change your air filter.

First and foremost, before you even try to turn on your heat, make sure your air filter is new and clean. We’ve talked numerous times in the past about the importance of changing your filters. How often you should change them depends on numerous factors like the type of filter, pets and allergies; however, in general filters should be changed every 1-3 months.  If you are unsure, monitoring your AC filter for a month. If it’s dirty at the end of the month you know you need to change it monthly.

2. Check for obstructions near the unit.

This one is easy to forget as many heaters are located in areas we don’t regularly go into (e.g. the garage or attic) and share space with many other things. Make sure that your heater isn’t surrounded by flammable materials or chemicals to prevent any dangerous situations. The unit should be free from clutter on all sides, so it has ample room to operate properly.

3. Check your supply and return vents.

Go around to each room in your house and make sure they are open. Closed registers, even in unused rooms, don’t save money. In fact, they make your unit less efficient. If there is any dust or debris stuck to the grates, wipe them down or vacuum away the dust.

4. Is there a funny smell?

Once the clean air filter is in place, you’ve checked your furnace’s surroundings and the return and supply vents, you can now turn on your heat. You may notice a funny smell coming from your registers. This is actually burning dust that has settled on the heating components when they were not in use. Opening a few windows will get rid of the odor, or it will go away on its own after a while. If you’re still smelling the burning odor, check your filters and ducts for dust – they may need to be cleaned. If you see any fire or smoke, turn it off right away, extinguish the fire and call 911.

5. Check the current carbon monoxide detector reading.

If your home doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector, we recommend purchasing and installing one. The alarm on the detector will go off if the reading is above 30. If this happens, turn off your furnace and call a technician right away. Open up the windows and don’t turn the heat on again until a technician has checked the system. You may even want to leave the house all together if the reading is above 30.

6. Is the furnace making strange noises?

If your furnace is making unusual noises or seems to be struggling to operate, it may mean that it needs a tune up. Check the breaker if it is not blowing warm air and make sure the unit is receiving power. Some heating systems rely on electric heat pumps that run a defrost cycle when the temperature goes below 40 degrees. Once the cycle is complete, the heat should turn on again.

Once you have checked #1-3 before turning on your heater for the first time, and followed #4-6, you should have a good idea if your furnace is running correctly or not. All appliances have the potential to be dangerous so take the appropriate steps ahead of time to be safe. A thorough check early in the season will take care of any issues that may be present before it gets too cold out, keeping your family safe and warm.

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 heat running at its maximum efficiency this Fall and Winter. 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 Leaves Affect HVAC Systems

Leaves and HVAC SystemsFall is officially here, and with that we get to experience the cooler weather and see the amazing change of colors around us. As beautiful as the leaves are as they turn from greens to oranges, yellows and reds, we also know that they will eventually be falling to the ground below. Unfortunately, falling leaves also bring with them new potential hazards to your homes HVAC system. It’s hard to believe that something so simple can wreak such havoc on an HVAC system; however, if you don’t protect your unit diligently, it could be in trouble.

The Problem with Fallen Leaves

The portion of your HVAC system that lives outside your home is a cabinet that contains the condenser coil and compressor. These components’ job is to expel latent heat that has been collected from inside your house. In order to do this, the cabinet also houses a powerful fan that draws cool air in from the sides and bottom of the unit. The warm air is then dispersed out through the top of the cabinet.

As you can see, air flow and circulation are critical for your outdoor HVAC cabinet to work properly. When leaves fall to the ground and accumulate at the bottom of the unit, they can block this crucial airflow, causing difficulty for your HVAC system to expel the latent heat.  As your HVAC has to work harder, it is no longer working efficiently. This leads to increased energy consumption, higher bills and potential damage to the condenser coil and compressor.

Protecting Your HVAC System in Fall

Protecting your outdoor HVAC unit is essential for preparing your home for fall and winter. Every home will likely have leaves, sticks, dirt, grass clippings, and other items gather up against the unit. The most important thing is to keep the condenser and the area that surrounds it free from any type of the debris. Make sure you:

  • Clear away any buildup of debris and trash from around the unit
  • Trim back vegetation and overhanging branches (within a minimum of 2 feet around the unit) to prevent leaves from falling though the vent fan.
  • Rake your yard regularly to keep it free from fallen leaves and other debris.
  • Make sure you inspect and keep the HVAC cabinet clean. If any leaves or debris are found inside, use an air compressor to blow them out.
  • Protect your HVAC unit with a cover when it’s not in use.

Energy.gov reports that heating and cooling accounts for more than half the energy use in a typical US home, so it’s important to keep it working as efficiently as possible!

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 this Fall. 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.

The Importance of MERV Ratings

How Air Filters Work and MERV RatingsMERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Developed in 1987 by ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning), the MERV system is a scale used to measure the effectiveness of air filters. With the MERV ratings system in place, consumers are able to easily compare the effectiveness of the different air filters available. Although there may be some differences in the material, quality and construction of air filters, the MERV system provides clarity in what level of filtration can be expected from an air filter with a specific MERV rating. This basically means that any MERV 8 rated air filter will filter the same as another with a MERV 8 rating.

Ranging from 1-16, MERV ratings score the performance level of a filter related to the removal of airborne particles from 0.3-10 microns in size. Used as the measurement for airborne particles, a micron is 1/1000th mm which is equal to 1/25,000ths of an inch. Typically, particles are visible to the human eye beginning around 20 microns; however, in the right conditions, it is sometimes possible to see particles as small as 10 microns. To put that into perspective, a dot (.) is just about 600 microns.

Comparing MERV Ratings

The table below shows a low-level comparison of MERV ratings. Check out our MERV Rating Comparison chart for a more in depth look at the differences.

System Protection Level Dust Control Level Allergy Concern Level
MERV 8 Good Good Mild
MERV 11 Better Better Moderate
MERV 13 Best Best Severe

Buying Filters with High MERV Ratings

Logic would make it seem that you would want to buy a filter with the highest MERV rating possible, right? Oddly, that is not necessarily the case.

You now know that air filters with high MERV ratings means the filter is very effective in preventing harmful airborne particles from circulating throughout your home. However, a high MERV rating filter could also be overly effective which, in turn, can prevent the air itself from being to circulate. This is a bad thing and the result may be poorer air quality in your home. Also, if the air is unable to circulate due to more resistance, your HVAC is doing more work than it should be. The result is an inefficient HVAC system, high energy bills, and it can even lead to costly repairs in the long run.

What MERV Rating Should I Buy?

This really all depends upon your individual HVAC system, but for a typical home the ideal MERV rating would be between 8 and 13. The most important thing when choosing an air filter, regardless of MERV rating, is that is compatible with your HVAC system. You may think that selecting high MERV rating filters will remove more of the harmful particles from your home, but too high of a MERV rating could actually reduce the air quality of the air you breathe in your home. Filters with higher MERV ratings also have to be changed more frequently than those with a lower MERV rating.

Filters with MERV ratings higher than 16 are available, however, they are thicker and denser and your typical residential HVAC system cannot readily handle them. And, as stated before, they can actually interfere with the airflow by restricting it. This in turn could actually reduce the effectiveness of your heating and cooling systems and can even result in damage to the HVAC equipment. You should consult with an HVAC professional to make sure that your HVAC system can handle filters with MERV ratings higher than 16 before buying and installing one.

If you still want the filtration of a MERV 16 but your HVAC system can’t handle it, there are additional units that can be installed along with your HVAC system that are designed for air filtration and purification. These air cleaners can provide an additional step “on top” of the regular filtering, thus cleaning your air even further.

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, your unit running at its maximum efficiency, and your energy costs down. US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! 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.

When to Choose Custom Size HVAC and Air Filters

Custom Air FiltersWhile there are many standard and commonly used air filter sizes, the HVAC industry as a whole has not standardized air filter sizing. Most of the time, air filter sizes are determined by the manufacturer of your HVAC unit, based off the finished size of the unit itself, instead of the standard size air filters available. This can be quite an inconvenience for many homeowners. Some will recommend your focus should be on the type of air filter you use. While this is important, when choosing custom size air filters, your main concern should be determining the exact size you need. The type of filter you use is irrelevant if it does not fit properly. If you’ve measured your air filter housing slot and are unable to find a standard sized air filter within 5/8th-inch smaller than the housing slot, then your unit requires a custom sized air filter.

Custom air filter sizes are not stocked on shelves or found at local stores. There are tens of thousands of possible size combinations for filters so there is no way to keep each size in stock. However, you can get the exact size you need by building a custom air filter. US Home Filter keeps a vast array of standard sizes, including many uncommon hard-to-find sizes, in stock and can make any custom size air filter that you may need!

The Purpose of Air Filters: Why Size Matters

An air filter’s main purpose is to keep the air we breathe as clean as possible. They also prevent atmospheric dust and other airborne particles from building up on heating and cooling system’s fan motor, coil and drip pans. If your air filter isn’t clean, your furnace or AC system cannot operate properly, leading to costly repairs and replacements. It is imperative to ensure your air filter fits your unit properly so the air can move THROUGH the filter, not around it. If you have the wrong sized air filter in your unit, dust, allergens and pollutants will not be filtered from your indoor air, as the air is bypassing the filter, entering into the ventilation and returned back.

This is where custom air filters can be extremely beneficial. Once you have determined the filter size you need, it is important to change your custom air filters on a regular basis. By doing so, you will have a constant flow of clean air coming into your home, avoiding respiratory difficulties, allergies, and illness.

Custom Air Filters Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

According to the EPA, indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks. Making sure your air filter fits properly within your system and regularly cleaned is imperative to keep your furnace or AC system operating properly and preventing indoor air quality. This is where custom sized air filters are essential. As we stated before, the air should move through the filter, not around it, so those indoor air pollutants are caught in the filter.

After you’ve figured out the exact dimensions you need for your custom air filters, then you can choose the type of filter you want/need. This selection will depend on your budget as well as the level of filtration you want. At US Home Filter, we have a step by step process that does just this, helping you find correct air filter dimensions for your HVAC system and we deliver your custom air furnace filters straight to your door!

US Home Filter is Here for You!

A properly fitting air filter is necessary to keep your home safe and the air you breathe clean. It also increases your system’s performance and longevity, decreasing energy bills. There are hundreds of air filter sizes and US Home Filter is here to help you get the correct filter as easily and efficiently as possible. No need to spend hundreds of dollars re-engineering your HVAC system when you can make the exact custom size filter your AC needs. Take the frustration out of ordering custom air filters with affordable prices and quick lead times. Prices start at only $9.49 per filter in our MERV 8 rating! We make all our custom air filters in our own manufacturing facility right here in the USA! See our measuring guide to help choose the right custom air filter size for your application.

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

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!

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.

Fall Energy Saving Tips

Fall is right around the corner and with it comes the beautiful fall colors and also cooler weather. The fall season is also a great time to save money on your heating and cooling costs. Check out the following tips to reduce your energy bills this fall.

8 Tips to Save Energy This Fall

fall energy saving tips1. Turn down your thermostat.

It’s a simple thing to do, but very cost effective. You will save around 2% on your heating bill for every degree you lower your thermostat! According to the Department of Energy, you can easily save energy in the fall by setting your thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. They recommend turning your thermostat back 7°-10° for 8 hours a day to see the largest energy savings.

2. Close your flue and check for leaks.

If you have a home with a fireplace, make sure you close the flue when the fireplace is not in use. During the fall and winter, fireplaces are a great way to stay warm and cozy, but open flue dampers actually draw warm air out of your house. If the flue is open all day, you will be losing heat out of your chimney that could be staying in your house keeping it warm. If your flue is closed and you still think you might be losing heat, check for leaks. To do this, light a match and hold it by the seal of the fireplace’s damper. If the flame gets drawn up toward the flue, you probably have a leak. Contact your local, licensed and insured chimney company to get your flue sealed.

3. Invest in a humidifier.

We’ve talked numerous times in the past about the benefits of humidifiers. But, did you know that you can see upwards of 20% in energy savings from using a humidifier? With a humidifier in your home, you are able to set your thermostat lower. Moist air is warmer than dry air, so with the use of a humidifier you will achieve a warmer indoor temperature at a lower setting.

4. Clean air registers, baseboard heaters, radiators.

Dust on the warm air registers, baseboard heaters, radiators or in ducts acts as insulation and wastes heat. Make sure you vacuum them regularly. You also want to move any furniture, draperies or carpeting that may be blocking them. If anything is put over or in front of the register or radiator, it blocks the amount of heat that can be emitted into the room. This causes your system to run harder and longer, thus costing you more money.

5. Get an HVAC tune-up.

Not only can this save you money on your heating bill, it also provides ease of mind as any potential danger will be detected. Tuning-up your HVAC system is the best way to avoid sudden emergency repairs when you need your heating and cooling system the most.

6. Change ceiling fans airflow.

If you have ceiling fans in your house, another way to save energy t this fall is by changing the direction of the fan’s airflow. Hot air rises, so in the fall and winter the blades should be spinning in a clockwise direction. This will push the warm air that rises up to the ceiling down to the floor, redistributing the heat.

7. Utilize your blinds and drapes.

On those cold but sunny days, keep your blinds and drapes open. This will allow the naturally occurring solar heat to warm your home during the day. As the sun sets, close the blinds and drapes to keep the warm air in and prevent the heat from escaping.

8. Change your air filters!

The Department of Energy also reports that replacing dirty filters with clean air filters can reduce your energy consumption up to 15%. Your heating and cooling system is responsible for nearly half of your energy usage alone which means you could potentially save around 7.5% on your energy bill each month.

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 Clean Air Filters Save You Money

dirty air filters vs clean air filtersAir filters may seem like a bit of an investment, especially when some can cost upwards of $20 each. A lot of times, when we purchase higher priced items, we expect them to last longer. The general recommendation is to change your HVAC filter at least once every 3 months, which can equate to anywhere from $40-$80 per year, per HVAC unit in your home. But can clean air filters actually result in saving money? The answer is yes, and here’s why.

Clean Air Filters = Energy Savings

The Department of Energy reports that replacing dirty filters with clean air filters can reduce your energy consumption up to 15%. When you take that and combine it with the fact that your heating and cooling system is responsible for nearly half your energy usage, you could potential save 7.5% each month.

This means that if your energy bill is $100/month, you could save $7.50 on each monthly bill just by changing your air filter! Is your energy bill in the $200, $300, $400 range? You’re looking at even more savings – upwards of $30 every month. So, is it worth regularly maintaining your HVAC system with clean air filters? In this scenario, yes, but there are ways it saves you money as well.

Clean Air Filters and HVAC System Health

Think of your HVAC system as the virtual lungs of your home, working to filter out dust and debris from the air you breathe. Just as when our lungs aren’t able to do their job when in poor health, clogged air filters aren’t able to either and become the leading cause of heating and cooling system problems.

Dirty air filters put strain on your HVAC system and end up using more energy to cool or heat your home. Just like you change the oil in your car every 3,000 miles to keep your car running smoothly, regularly changing your home’s air filters is your first line of defense in protecting your HVAC system.

If your furnace is working harder, the more likely it is to break down or need repairs. HVAC repairs can be very costly, especially if you end up needed a whole new system. Major component repair can cost anywhere between $300-$700, if not more, with a new unit running close to $4,000. So, think of it like this – by spending $40-$80 per month and changing your air filters regularly, you are saving money on energy bills and preventing an even more costly breakdown to your HVAC system.

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, your unit running at its maximum efficiency, and your energy costs down. 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.

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.