All About Mold

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What is Mold?  

Mold is a living organism, classified as fungi, that reproduces through the development of spores that are separated and distributed from a parent source or organism. When in the ideal environment, the spores or “seeds” will attach to a source of nourishment and a colony will be established. Mold spores are present nearly everywhere as there are many possible indoor and outdoor sources for mold. These microscopic organisms can be dispersed year-round. There are over 100,000 types of mold ranging in size from 3-30 microns!

Intriguing Facts About Mold

  • Although bleach is commonly recommended to kill mold, it should not be considered an effective form of mold removal because dead or dormant mold spores are just as toxic as living spores. Bleach will kill mold spores, but the mold must be properly removed.
  • Studies indicate that the use of Vitamin D supplements is helpful in the treatment and prevention of allergies to mold
  • Mold, although harmful in many cases, also has many beneficial properties such as: assisting in the decomposition of organic material, aiding in the production of medications, producing enzymes that help to make certain foods such as cheese, assisting in the production of alcohol, flavorings, and even plastics.
  • Molds are classified by hazard levels A, B, and C. An example of a hazard A mold is Aspergillus fumigatus. It is commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens and is considered to be highly unsafe and should be immediately remediated. A class C mold such as Wallemia sebi, is a type that can grow in your carpeting or mattresses. While it is not one to be considered a health concern, it is still capable of causing damage to the surfaces it lives on and should be removed for that reason.

Requirements for Mold to Grow

Mold requires a few basic conditions in which to grow. The 3 main requirements are:

  • Food – an organic material or a surface where organic material is present. Examples include: cotton, wool, leather, paper, wood, food, grease, leaves, dirt, insulation, drywall, dust, carpet, wallpaper, upholstery
  • Moisture – leaky roof or pipes, condensation on window sills, humidifiers, vaporizers, damp basements or closets, garages or outdoor storage sheds, drains, areas with standing water
  • Temperature – mold can grow and multiply in temperatures between 32 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, but the rate of growth is ideal and significantly increased when the temperature ranges between 79 and 90 degrees. When temperatures fall below freezing, mold will remain dormant and become active again once the temperature climbs back into range.

Accelerating the Growth of Mold

Mold will grow when the minimum requirements above are met, but there are certain conditions that increase the rate at which mold can multiply.

  • Humidity levels of 50% or greater – higher indoor humidity can allow moisture to develop on surfaces
  • Poor ventilation in bathrooms, laundry rooms, or kitchens. Proper air circulation can significantly reduce moisture in the air
  • Areas where piles have collected – leaves, damp clothing, food waste – ideal for holding moisture

Inhibiting the Growth of Mold

  • Reduce humidity – keep indoor humidity below 50%, keep air moving with fans or proper ventilation, and close windows when it is raining outside
  • Prevent moisture – when the conditions are met and moisture is available, mold will begin to grow in 24-48 hours. A prime example that you may have encountered is forgetting a load of laundry in the washing machine for a day or two. That awful smell is mold!
  • Use high-efficiency pleated air filters to help remove airborne mold spores which will eventually settle on surfaces and potentially begin to multiply. Mold can enter your indoor air through doors, windows, and can be transported on your skin, clothing, shoes, and pets. With proper circulation and a quality furnace filter or air conditioning filter, you can drastically reduce the number of mold spores floating in your air.
  • Add indoor room air cleaners if you have a sensitivity to mold. These can provide additional relief and protection from microorganisms such as mold that drift through your air.

Indoor Mold

Mold is commonly found indoors. The effects on people and animals can range from unnoticeable to debilitating. Indoor mold is typically identified by a musty odor and can be visible in the form of different colors depending on the type. As discussed, moisture is an absolute requirement for mold to multiply. Certain temperature ranges are ideal, but mold can grow at nearly any temperature but will become dormant below freezing. Common types of indoor mold are Cladosporium, Aspergillus, and Penicillium.

Outdoor Mold

We often think of mold as something that grows on surfaces such as food, leaky pipes, or wet basements. These can cause serious health issues in some cases, but also of concern are the outdoor airborne variety of mold particulates. These microscopic organisms are fungi that are related to mushrooms but have no roots, leaves, or stems. Outdoor mold spores can be present almost anywhere and are carried in the same way as pollen by air currents, insects, animals, people, leaves, grasses, weeds, and flowers. Outdoor mold begins to grow during the Springtime, with the highest concentrations occurring during different months depending on the region. Common outdoor molds types include Bipolaris, Ascospores, and Torula. Outdoor sources include wet branches, leaves, compost piles, grass clippings, and structures that are frequently shaded and damp.

Allergic Responses to Mold

We can all display reactions to mold, even if no allergy to mold has been formally diagnosed. An allergic response occurs when your immune system reacts unfavorably to the exposure of mold spores, either by contact or ingestion. The severity of these symptoms can vary depending on the level of sensitivity as well as the concentration of exposure.

  • watery, itchy, irritated eyes
  • runny nose, congestion
  • headache, cough, throat irritation
  • difficulty breathing, asthma, flu-like symptoms
  • Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (also known as Sick Building Syndrome)

The best treatment is to reduce the factors that help mold to grow and minimize exposure. Because of the size of mold particles, a MERV 8 pleated air filter will do a great job of capturing mold. For severe mold allergies, we recommend a higher rating such as our MERV 11 or MERV 13 air filters. Our MERV rating comparison chart can help you see which rating is the best choice for your needs.

At US Home Filter, we enjoy assisting our customers to help determine the best solutions for their individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or 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 toll-free at 1-855-237-1673!

What is the Best Air Filter for My Home?

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Which Air Filter is the Best for Your Home?Like most homeowners, if you’re in need of a new air filter you may just go to the nearest hardware store, Walmart or Costco and pick out a filter that fits your return air duct. However, doing so may not save you any money and, more importantly, not improve your health or that of your family. Just like all other home purchases that you make, there are many factors that go into choosing the right air filter – one that will perform efficiently and cost effectively. The more you know, the better able you are to make more discerning choices.

As we’ve talked about before, the first thing to understand are MERV ratings. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiently Reporting Value and it is this number that tells you the effectiveness of your chosen air filter. MERV ratings are calculated by measuring the number of particles a filter can trap compared to the number the particles its trying to filter. Basically, this means that if there are two filters in the same room, the one that traps fewer particles has a lower MERV rating.

Now that you know how to look for and understand MERV ratings, it’s important to note that this isn’t the only factor that’s involved in choosing the right filter for your AC unit. If you simply choose by selecting the filter with the highest MERV rating (higher efficiency is better than low efficiency, right?) then you may be purchasing an air filter that can make your HVAC system less efficient by blocking too much of the air flow. When this happens the system can’t heat or cool enough air to correctly control the temperature in your house. This would lead to higher energy bills and could even overheat your entire system.

So it’s all about the balance – the best choice is the filter that removes the most pollutants (MERV rating) while allowing your HVAC system to perform efficiently. Here are the four different types of filters, what their made of, their MERV and what you need to know to make the most informed decision. It may take some experimenting to find which filter works the best for your home’s HVAC system, but the more you know, the sooner you’ll find “the one”.

Fiberglass Filters

Made from spun fiberglass and often blue, these filters are one of the most popular. They usually have a low MERV rating between 1 and 4, catching 80% of particles 50 microns and larger and 25% of particles between 3 and 10 microns.  These filters do a great job of protecting your HVAC unit from large dust particles but will not trap mold, pollen or other small particulates, therefore they are not recommended for people with allergies.

Pleated Air Filters

Comprised of folded sheets of cotton or a polyester-blend fabric, pleated filters are folded accordion style allowing a larger fabric surface in a smaller area. The more pleats, the easier air can pass through the filter making it a higher-efficiency choice with a MERV rating from 5 to 8, trapping 80-95% of particles 5 microns and larger. If you find a cotton/polyester filter with lots of pleats and a MERV value of 6 or greater, it could be your ideal air filter solution as it removes a large number of pollutants AND keeps your HVAC system working at top-notch condition.

Pleated air filters also come in high MERV ratings from 11-13 which can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns. At this efficiency level, they are about 2″-5″ thick and fit into box-like housings that are mounted onto the air handler.

Disposable Electrostatic Filters

With a MERV rating of 10 or more, these filters are very effective at decontaminating the air inside your home. Electrostatic filters are made of multiple layers of self-charging, polyester-blend fibers that create their own static charge which attracts particulates out of the air. They are framed by a polyester mesh. As air passes through positively-charged outer material, particulate matter becomes charged and is then attracted to the negatively-charged inner material. Electrostatic filters can be on the pricey side.

Washable Electrostatic Filters

Made of washable material, cased in aluminum mesh and framed in aluminum, these filters have MERV ratings of up to 10 or greater. To keep them working their best, they need to be washed about every three months and, as with all purchases, quality varies with cost. Higher quality washable electrostatic filters can last up to 8 years; however, some of them aren’t always high efficiency and its hard to tell the difference. After washing, the filters must dry completely. If they have even a little bit of moisture and placed back in the air exchange, they can grow mold and bacteria that is then circulated through your home.

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!

 

Winterizing Your HVAC System

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Tips for Winterizing your HVAC unitWinter is hitting hard this year – all the way down to even the southern states! That means that furnaces are on and running hard to keep us and our families warm and safe. But is your furnace ready for the challenges of this brutal winter? Here are 4 tips that will keep your HVAC running smooth and efficiently, keeping you and your family warm and cozy all winter long.

1. Clean or Replace the Air Filter

As we’ve mentioned before, keeping your air filter clean is a key part of maintaining your HVAC system, which is why it is so important to understand air filters and their function. Dirty, clogged air filters can make your furnace work harder than it needs to, driving up energy bills for no reason. They can even cause system malfunctions and equipment damage. Just as the southern states don’t want their AC to go out in the dead of summer, those of us that are braving this brutal winter don’t want to be without heat when it’s cold. Air filters should be checked at least once a month. If they are dirty they should be changed with a fresh clean air filter. US Home Filters has a vast selection of furnace filters to fit your needs! Make sure you have some on hand to make monthly maintenance stress free.

2. Clean the Air Vents

As we vacuum our home to get the dust and particles off the floor and carpet, its important to do the same to the air vents. As the air passes through your HVAC system, most of the contaminants and particulates are trapped in the air filter; however, some pass through and over time, leading to a build up in the duct work. Vacuuming out the air vents helps prevent blockages and indoor air quality problems, as well as maintain a consistent temperature in your home. 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. If this is the case in your home, its best to call a professional to clean your air vents. Otherwise, a quick vacuum should be sufficient to keep things running smoothly.

3. Add Some Insulation

You may not realize it, but insulation plays a large role in the efficiency of the HVAC system in your home. Insulation is the thermal barrier of your home, keeping heat out during the summer and in during the winter. The more heat you keep in your house, the less work your furnace has to do to keep the temperature inside your house consistent. Check your attic to make sure there is adequate insulation. There are many types of insulation – if you think yours needs to be replaced or added to, don’t hesitate to call a professional to check and make sure your home’s insulation is adequate and efficient. The savings on your power or energy bill over time in most cases can justify the cost of adding additional insulation to your home.

4. Check Your Thermostat

Always make sure your thermostat has a fresh set of batteries. To save energy, it is recommended to set your thermostat at a cooler temperature when you are sleeping or not at home. According to energy.gov, you can save as much as 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. Programmable thermostats are recommended as it takes the guess work and human error out of the mix – you set the time for the temperature to change every day and walk away – no having to remember to adjust before you leave for work or go to bed. This helps keep your thermostat set on the most efficient and energy efficient settings all season long.

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.

Understanding Air Filters and How to Choose the Right One

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How Your Air Filter Work and How to Choose the Right OneThe air filter in your home’s furnace, air conditioner or heat pump is a crucial component of the whole system. They may not look elaborate as they’re mostly cardboard and fiber, but air filters greatly affect the performance of your unit. Not only in regards to your indoor comfort, but they also have a major impact on the HVAC equipment itself. Here is a little more information on air filters, how they work, and why they are so important to maintaining your home’s heating and cooling systems. Hopefully, it will also aid you in selecting the right filter to best fit your particular needs!

How Air Filters Function and Work

Air filters are usually manufactured with one of the two following materials: spun fiberglass material or pleated paper/cloth. The material is then enclosed in a cardboard frame, then sized to fit all of the various HVAC systems that exist. The filter’s primary function is to trap and hold all the different kids of particulates and contaminants in the air that circulates through your heating and cooling system – most of which can directly affect your health and comfort. Some of these contaminants include:

  • Mold & spores
  • Pollen
  • Hair & Animal fur
  • Bacteria/Microorganisms
  • Dust and dirt
  • Fibers and lint
  • Metal, plaster or wood particles

The air filtration usually occurs when the disbursed air is “sucked” back into the HVAC system to be conditioned and then used again. During this process, the air is forced through the air filter and the spun fiberglass or pleated paper/cloth traps the particulates and contaminants from the air and removes them, thus not allowing the particles to be recirculated into the air you breathe.

Filter Efficiency and MERV Ratings

As with almost all of the products that we purchase, there are lower-end, mid-level and high-end choices available. Not all products are created equal and not all air filters will clean your air with the same efficiency. The higher the quality, the more contaminants that will be removed from your indoor air. Keep in mind that these higher quality air filters are usually a bit more expensive.

This is where the MERV rating comes into play. MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value” and is a numeric value 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 will remove material 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 your typical residential HVAC system cannot readily handle them. In fact 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 must make sure that your HVAC system can handle filters with MERV ratings higher than 16 before buying and installing one.

There are also 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.

Maintaining Your Air Filter

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. Dirty, clogged air filters can:

  • Cause HVAC system malfunctions and equipment damage.
  • Reduce airflow inside the HVAC system, making the fans work harder and wear out quicker.
  • NOT remove particulates and contaminants as effectively as they should, therefore releasing these back into your indoor air (or the air that you and your family breath).
  • Cause contaminates to built up in your duct work.
  • Cause the HVAC equipment to work harder, increasing your home’s energy usage and your monthly electric bill payments.

Air filters should be checked at least once a month. If they are dirty they should be changed with a fresh clean air filter. When removing the air filter from the handler, if you hold it up to a light source 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’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!

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

Air Conditioner Brands

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US Home Filter Carries Filters for All AC BrandsSo what is the best air conditioner brand? Who is known as the best  AC manufacturer? As with most purchases, “the best” means different things to different people and you have to understand the difference between price and value. New AC units are a major investment, so if you’re comparing and see an air conditioner that has a lower price, does that mean that it is not as good, not as efficient and of inferior design as compared to the more expensive units? Comparing AC units based on price, efficiency, durability and value can sometimes be a difficult thing to do. With all of the options and different brands out there, here’s a list of the top 3 air conditioner brands that are known to hold and retain their value:

Carrier

Carrier is know as a leader in both the residential and commercials air conditioning markets, with a solid reputation for reliability and durability. In fact, all the way back in 1902, William Carrier is often credited with inventing modern air conditioning by installing the very first system in Brookly, New York.  Carrier prides themselves for a century of delivering global solutions across a broad range of applications in heating, air conditioning, refrigeration and beyond.

Carrier has three lines of residential heating and air conditioning products:

  1. Carrier Infinity Series – Their top of the line units. High SEER models with all features.
  2. Carrier Performance Series – Their mid-level units. Moderate SEER, reliable and versatile.
  3. Carrier Comfort Series – Their base-model HVAC. Still very reliable at their lowest price point.

Deeming themselves the Weathermakers to the World, Carrier “has cultivated a history of proven innovation in the heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration industries, enabling global comfort and efficiency”.

Trane

Founded in 1885 in La Crosse, Wisconsin by James Trane (who immigrated to the Unite States from Norway), Trane has been a leading manufacturer of both residential air conditioners and commercial HVAC units. Purchased by Ingersoll Rand in 2008, Trane became a global organization that prides itself in delivering both quality and innovation to their customers.

Inspired by the cold Wisconsin winters, Jame’s son Reuben is credited with inventing the convector radiator in 1923 that established Trane as one of the industry leaders for innovation. Their CenTraVac® system is the industry standard for large commercial HVAC systems and is the most energy efficient in the world for use in large buildings. The company was awarded the prestigious “Best of the Best” Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the CenTraVac® system.

Their residential air conditioning units ans systems are known to be reliable and efficient, and they are considered “top of the line” by many experts. As the company tag line says: “It’s hard to stop a Trane.”

Lennox

Lennox is also known for being an international company providing a vast array of climate control products for air conditioning, heating and refrigeration. In fact, Lennox has become an intercontinental company, primarily focusing on providing the global marketplace with residential heating and cooling units, commercial heating and cooling systems, plus refrigeration equipment.

Originally founded in Iowa by Annie and Lewis Lennox in 1895, they initially patented and designed a coal burning furnace for heating, followed by numerous advancements in both heating and cooling systems. The company is known for producing superior products for both commercial and residential air conditioning use, plus furnaces, heat pumps and boilers.

Comparing Manufacturers

So he top 3 brands are probably Carrier, Lennox, and Trane. When it comes to pricing, they are also the highest. Yet when it comes to quality, there are perhaps several lesser-known brands available that basically match them “identically”. Many units are manufactured in the same facility with nearly the same or exactly the same parts. Often times the units all have the same internal working parts, just a different housing, outer appearance/color, or some minor changes to some of the non-moving parts. The only difference, in some cases, can simply be the brand-name that is placed on the unit. As a good example, let’s look at Goodman Air Conditioning and Heating Systems. Although “branded” as a Goodman, their AC units basically have the same internal components (what matters most) that are installed in a Carrier unit. Additionally, they are both made in the same facility. They just get different outer housing, labeling, and pricing. A Goodman unit costs several hundred dollars less than the one labeled as Carrier. So, in the end, a higher price will not always translate into a higher quality or better AC unit.

A similar comparison can be made in other industries and products. It’s well known that Great Value peanut butter (sold by by Walmart) and the brand known as Peter Pan are both made by Con-Agra using the same main ingredients, with just minor differences in coloring/additives/oil, but getting different labeling, packaging, and pricing.

So the point is, that to get the best value AND quality when purchasing an air conditioning and/or heating system, it may be worth doing a little research first. Find out who the manufacturer actually is if you can and compare then compare the pricing to the “major brand”. Additionally, read as many product reviews as possible before making your decision. Keep in mind that the more reviews that you find on a certain brand or product is better, because it equates to more consumers actually taking their time to write the reviews. Plus, be wary if a product has nothing but only 5-Star reviews. You can’t please everyone and a brand, company or product that only has 5-Star reviews can raise suspicions (as unscrupulous retailers have been exposed recently for paying for good reviews and filtering out any negative reviews on certain review websites).

The Same Can Be True For AC Filters

Since 1928, US Home Filter has specialized in providing quality air filters and filtration solutions to a variety of customers. Manufactured at our facility located in Missouri (right here in the USA), we offer a vast selection of standard air filters, as well as custom size replacement air filters. Perhaps not as well known as some of our competitors, US Home Filters produces the highest quality of AC and heating filters available and sold for higher prices. No fancy packaging, plastic wrapping or unnecessary marketing materials. Simply the highest quality filters at the very best prices. Satisfaction guaranteed and free shipping in the contiguous USA!

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All Manufacturer’s Units

No matter which manufacturer you decide to go with, 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. Whether you purchase a Trane, a Lennox or a Carrier system, US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available!   Changing the filter in your air conditioning unit is as important as changing the oil in your car! US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units. So you don’t need to buy the brand name filters when US Home Filters makes them right here in the USA. Made in America by Americans. 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.

Standard Stock Size Air Filters

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

Facts About Standard Size Air Filters

  1. Retail locations typically only offer approximately 10 of the most common air filter sizes. US Home Filter makes over 80 standard stock sizes that local stores do not have the shelf space for, nor the inventory capacity to stock them all. We do manufacture and stock them all because that’s our business! So take a look at our stock filters, from 8x16x1 to 30x36x2 to 25x29x4 to 20x25x6. If we don’t have it, we can make it!
  2. Nominal Size: This is the approximate size, such as 16x25x1. All 16x25x1 filters are designed to fit standard 16x25x1 filter slots.
  3. Exact Size: This can vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. The die-cuts (filter frames), which are manufactured in bulk and purchased as a raw material for making air filters determine the exact size of the air filters. The exact size is always slightly smaller than the nominal size to allow the filter to properly fit in the slot or housing. For example, a stock size of 16x25x1 may have exact dimensions of 15-1/2 x 24-1/2 x 3/4. This is completely normal and is the standard in air filter manufacturing.
  4. Slight variances in exact size do not usually make a difference, but in certain applications they actually may. Sometimes you may find that the stock size at your local hardware store is just a bit too big to fit, yet you may be able to shop online and find the same stock size by a different manufacturer with a slightly smaller size that makes all the difference you need.
  5. There are thousands upon thousands of possible exact air filter sizes that can be used. Because of this, you will not always be able to locate your filter at a store or online as a regular stock size. In this case, you will be looking at ordering a custom size air filter. Custom filters are not made to a nominal size, with a smaller actual size as stock sizes are made. At US Home Filter, we will make your custom size according to your actual needs and specifications.

Hopefully this information helps you better understand what your AC/HVAC system requires for optimum performance. It’s also important to remember that using the correct size filter for your system protects your AC/HVAC unit from malfunctions and damage, allowing it to continue to perform correctly and keep your air cleaner and your family and home safer. Take a look at our air filter measuring guide for steps on figuring out the correct size filter for your system. If you’re still unsure, US Home Filter is here to help! Call us at 855-237-1673 or contact us online.

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.

Reduce Dust – Breathe Cleaner Air

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Controlling the level of dust indoors is a continuous struggle for nearly everyone. Dust originates from numerous sources and persistently collects on almost any surface. Despite ongoing efforts and diligent cleaning, it always seems to return before you know it. It is constantly introduced into your home’s environment through a variety of entry points and methods. The most effective way to minimize dust is to tackle it at its source. While you can noticeably reduce the amount of grime, dirt, soil and filth that originates from these sources, dust will still be very difficult to completely eliminate.

Outdoor sources: dirt, wind, sand, gravel, streets, sidewalks, garages/driveways, construction, industrial areas

Indoor sources: clothing, dryers, skin flakes/dander, ventilation, carpeting, furniture, linens/drapery, electronics, pets, attics, basements, closets, storage areas, remodeling projects

What exactly is dust?

Dust is matter that consists of various fine particles of assorted ingredients. It is classified as a solid particle that is formed by the reduction of a larger particle: indoor and outdoor debris, soot and ashes, food crumbs, dander and skin flakes, mold and mold spores, dust mites and their debris, insect particles, household fibers, lint, hair and fur, and pollen.

Large particles over 10 microns will settle onto surfaces very rapidly, often within just a few seconds. Because of the faster rate of fall, this type of dust is nearly impossible to be filtered by your HVAC air filter as it will rarely have a chance to be pulled into the duct-work by your return air vents. Some particles are so fine that they function like gases and have no rate of fall whatsoever. These particles, usually less than 1/10th of a micron, will remain suspended in the air only affected by nearby currents or movement. Small particles in the range of 1.0 – 10.0 microns will take several minutes to make their way to the nearest table, shelf, or floor. Particles in this size range will make up the majority of those that are able to be collected by your furnace filter or AC filter.

Dust Facts

  • The average household accumulates about 40 pounds of dust each year
  • Dust mites are a primary trigger for those with dust allergies
  • Persistent cold and hay fever symptoms are often due to an allergy to dust
  • Household dust is the main contributor to indoor allergies
  • The particle size of atmospheric dust varies greatly between .001 – 40 microns
  • Dust allergies tend to flare during the months of July and August when the dust mite population increases, but can also present problems during the cooler months when we typically spend more time indoors.

Dust allergy symptoms

  • ongoing cold symptoms
  • itchy, red, watery eyes
  • runny nose, frequent sneezing
  • cough, headache, fatigue
  • symptoms that worsen when sweeping, dusting, changing bedding/linens, or vacuuming

Dust and other airborne particulate matter can cause these symptoms in those that have a sensitivity or allergy to the type of particle being inhaled. Some allergens, such as soot, ash, lint and pollen, are proven to cause reactive symptoms even when there is no known allergy to that substance. Contaminants and allergens can trigger these reactions in non-allergic individuals simply because they are classified as irritants. This irritation or onset of symptoms will arise when the particles are inhaled. Our respiratory tract allows entry of these particles to different levels based on the size of the particle. The levels can be divided into three areas:

 

  • Inhalable – particles that are less than 100 microns and can be breathed in through the nose and mouth 
  • Thoracic – particles that are less than 10 microns and can pass the larynx, trachea, and enter into the bronchial region
  • Respirable – particles that are less than 4 microns reach the gas exchange region in the lower airways

Keeping Dust Under Control

  • Use a vacuum with HEPA filtration
  • Frequently clean all of your hard surfaces. Remember air vents, fan blades, books, shelves, door and window frames, vases, artwork, pictures, wall hangings, collectibles, electronics
  • Clean and seal ventilation and ducts
  • Use an air filter with a higher MERV rating to capture the finest dust particles. A MERV 13 pleated air filter is recommended for those with the most severe allergies and excessive dust issues
  • Allowing your system fan to run more frequently to recirculate the air so your air filter can remove the most dust and prevent more from gathering on surfaces
  • Consider reducing the number of cloth items such as drapes, pillows, upholstered furniture, and carpeted surfaces or include them in the list of items that should be cleaned or vacuumed regularly
  • Think about using simple, smoother decor that is less ornate and detailed which will not be as prone to harbor dust and will be easier to keep clean
  • Add entry rugs or mats to all doorways leading in and out of the home to better collect and contain incoming debris from shoes and pets
  • Keep walkways, decks, patios, and garage areas swept to lessen the amount of dirt that can be tracked into the home

Minimizing Dust Improves Your IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

Nobody wants to breathe dirty air. There’s no doubt that improving the quality of air in your home is highly beneficial. The air you breathe can have a significant impact on allergy symptoms, asthma triggers, and your overall level of comfort. You air transports allergens and contaminants, allowing them to be inhaled or to settle on surfaces where they can spread to other areas. Using high-efficiency pleated air filters is a great added level of defense in helping to clean your air from allergens and dust. Using a minimum of a MERV 8 rating will help to collect large amounts of dirt and debris, not only protecting your HVAC system, but going above and beyond by capturing common allergens such as pet dander, dust mite debris, pollen, and mold spores. Upgrading to a higher level such as MERV 11 or MERV 13 is recommended for those who desire a greater percentage of dust collection and trapping the smallest allergens.

At US Home Filter, we take pride in helping our customers find the best filtration solutions to fit their individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or a custom size air filter built to your specifications, we will be happy to personally assist you with any of your filtration needs!

 

Improving Winter Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

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Improve Your Homes Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)Winter is a time where you might expect some relief from allergens and the allergies that they cause. Actually, however, the colder months can prove to be very challenging for those with indoor air allergies caused by dust and the allergens that are contained within and associated with it. Pollutants, allergens, and other debris may be lingering in your air whether you see them or not. Your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ) can make a big difference, especially to those with allergies and respiratory issues. According to the EPA the air that we breathe in our homes, in schools and in offices can put us at risk for health problems. Improving your IAQ means that you are working to reduce allergens such as dust, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, and other impurities – all to help you and your family all breathe a bit easier.

Five Tips for Improving Your Winter IAQ

Circulation – This is actually a form of air replacement, which can surprisingly be most beneficial during the winter months when you typically keep your home closed up (for obvious reasons). Pick a warmer winter day and allow some clean, fresh air to circulate throughout the home. This can refresh your indoor air quality and allow the allergens that are “trapped” inside your house or home a chance to move outside.

Humidity – Many allergens, such as dust mites, mold, and bacteria thrive in overly-humid conditions. More humid air is often desired in the cold, dry months, but ideally you should try to keep the humidity level around 35%-50%. Be sure to replace your humidifier filters with fresh humidifier pads or filters about twice per season. Using bathroom exhaust fans is also highly recommended when enjoying hot showers to keep the moisture level down. Keep an eye on basements and storage areas as well, which are also ideal locations for potential moisture.

Smoke – This tiny vapor particle, in any form, affects your indoor air quality (IAQ). Examples can include smoke from tobacco, fireplaces, cooking, and even candles. While some of these can produce a desirable scent or cozy atmosphere, they are technically not contributors to improving the quality of the air you breathe. This does not mean that we should not enjoy and use our fireplaces less during those snowy days and nights, but it is something to be aware of as smoke particles can be bothersome to most respiratory conditions.

Air Filtration – Your furnace filters can be a huge help by going beyond the basic purpose of just protecting your system. This is your air filter’s main job, but you can actually benefit from the added level of defense it can provide in cleansing your air of impurities. Make sure you always keep on a regular schedule with changing your air filters. This will allow your system to function optimally and continuously provide new surface area for dust and allergens to collect on.

Regular Cleaning – Of course, we all know that maintaining a clean home will only help in keeping the level of contaminants and dust to a minimum. Once dust and debris have settled, it will be much more difficult for them to be picked up by your furnace filter unless the area is disturbed. This will re-disperse the dust, allowing another opportunity for it to be captured. Unfortunately, it will eventually settle again. Dust is an ongoing battle that must be controlled at the source. Regular vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning of surfaces is one sure way to help tackle these issues and improve your IAQ!

Call us at 855.237.1673 for help with your air filter solutions today!

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

Additionally, we know that selecting the air filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. What MERV rating is best for my family? Is there an advantage to getting a pleated filter? Am I paying the right price? 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.

Custom HVAC and Air Filters

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Custom Replacement Air FiltersCustom air conditioning and furnace filters are necessary when you cannot find a standard stock size air filter to fit your filter housing, track, slot, or vent properly. We discussed measuring your air filter housing slot in our last post about how to figure out if your air filter is too small for your unit. Once measured, if you are unable to find a standard sized air filter within 5/8th-in smaller than the housing slot, your unit requires a custom sized air filter. Custom sizes are not stocked on shelves or available at local stores. With literally tens of thousands of possible size combinations, there is simply no way to keep each size in stock. However, you can select the exact size you need by building a custom air filter from US Home Filter where we keep 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!

Unfortunately, while there are many standard and commonly used sizes, the HVAC industry as a whole has not standardized air filter sizing. The majority of the time, air filter sizes are determined by the manufacturer of your unit and the size is generally determined based upon the finished size of the unit itself, rather than what would be known as a common air filter size that you can easily find at a local store. This can prove to be quite an inconvenience for many.

Some will recommend to put your main focus on the type of air filter you use. While that is an important factor, when you are faced with choosing a custom sized air filter your first and foremost concern should be in determining the exact size you need. The type of filter you use is irrelevant if it does not fit properly.

Custom Filters Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

According to the EPA, indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks. Ensuring your air filter fits properly within your system and regularly cleaned is imperative to your furnace or air conditioning system operating properly and preventing costly repairs and replacements. This is where custom sized air filters are essential. The air should move through the filter, not around it, so those indoor air pollutants are caught in the filter and not returned into your home and the air you breathe. At US Home Filter, we have a step by step process to determine the appropriate air filter dimensions for your heating and/or cooling system and we deliver your custom air furnace filters straight to your door.

Once you have figured out the exact dimensions you need for your custom air filters, then you can select the type of filter you need based upon your needs. Your needs will likely depend on how much you prefer to spend balanced with what level of filtration you desire. It is also extremely important to change your custom air furnace filter on a regular basis. This allows for a constant flow of clean air into your home which will help you and your family avoid respiratory difficulties, allergies, and illness and keep your family safe and comfortable. It will also allow your system to work efficiently increasing its performance and longevity and decreasing energy bills.

In conclusion, a properly fitting air filter is necessary to keep your home safe and the air you breathe clean. 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.

 

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.

Is My Air Filter Too Small?

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How to determine if your air filter is the correct size for your unitIs the air filter I have too small for my unit? We hear this question from a lot of our customers. Each air conditioning system or HVAC unit has a certain size filter that allows the filter to perform correctly by protecting your heating/ac system. The filters don’t need to fit with an “air tight” seal, but you should be able to easily install and uninstall your filter without a struggle, plus the filter shouldn’t be so small that it moves freely within your unit. Your filter should be a bit smaller on each side of the filter housing slot, thus allowing you to slide the filter in with ease. Most AC and HVAC units use standard sized filters, but some do require a custom size air filter.

Some Signals that Your Air Filter is Too Small:

1. The air filter moves around too much inside the filter housing slot.
2. When your unit turns on, you hear noises such as knocking, whistling, or rattling.
3. Once installed, the air filter does not completely cover the vent or duct opening.
4. You notice that the air filter does not seem to get dirty.

Consequences of Using an Air Filter That is Too Small:

1. The filter can be sucked into the ventilation if it is much smaller than it should be.
2. Dust, allergens and pollutants will not be filtered from your indoor air, as the air is bypassing the filter and entering into the ventilation and is returned back.
2. The filter will be unable to protect your AC/HVAC unit and the unfiltered air will collect on internal components of your system, such as the coil and fan, which can lead to expensive repairs.

If you are questioning whether or not your filter is too small, here are a few suggestions on how to check:

Measure the air filter housing slot, but only the usable space where the filter can fit into. Make sure to take into consideration any overlaps or recessed edges that may obstruct installing or uninstalling the filter. For most systems you can use a standard sized filter within 5/8-in smaller than the air filter housing. If you are not able to find a standard sized filter within that parameter, you will need to order a custom sized air filter.

There are also air conditioning/HVAC units that are open-ended, meaning you don’t close a door or panel over the air filter housing. In these cases, you have more flexibility in selecting your filter size, as you can choose one that is longer than the size of the opening. This also gives you a pseudo “handle” that sticks outside the opening that allows you to grab onto for ease of removal when it’s time for the filter to be changed.

An excellent resource to help you is the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guide To Air Cleaners in The Home.

How to Choose Your Air Filter Size for Each Unit Type:

1. If your unit has wall and ceiling vents that do not have clips or brackets that secure the filter you want to find the closest fit possible (within 1/8-in. smaller than the opening) that prevents movement or noises as mentioned above.
2. If your unit has wall and ceiling vents that has clips or brackets that secure the filter you can select a filter size within a 1/2-in. smaller than the opening.
3. If your unit has a standard filter slot (typically located near the blower unit) you can select a filter size within 1/8-in – 5/8-in. smaller than the two longest sides. As mentioned above, you can also choose a longer filter as there is no door or cover that needs to be closed over the filter.
4. If your unit has a filter cabinet or drawer/large housing compartment you will need to select a specialty Whole House Air Filter (filter depth should be over 4 inches). Look  for the part number or model number on the door/panel/housing or the reference number on the air filter to find the actual filter size.

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

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