Humidifier Season is Here

Humidifier PadDid you even know there was a humidifier season? It occurs during the driest months of the year, which is October through March (for most of us). Humidifiers and humidifier pads, also known as humidifier filters, can be very beneficial during the cold, dry, fall and winter months. While our heaters are working hard to keep us warm, air filters and furnace filters clean contaminants from indoor air. Adding a humidifier unit to these elements will make your environment even more enjoyable when cold weather settles in.

Do You Need a Humidifier?

As the weather transitions from fall to winter, the air becomes increasingly cold and harsh. Heaters are being run constantly to keep us warm, but they are also depleting the moisture from the indoor air. This can cause many individuals’ discomfort as excessively dry air can result in a number of issues. The signs that your indoor air is too dry are:

  • Dry, irritated skin, eyes, nose, and/or throat
  • Inflammation of respiratory tract increasing risk of cold, flu, and infection
  • Increased static electricity – flyaway hair, clingy clothes, getting shocked
  • Brittle, warped, cracked wood surfaces, gaps or creaking in floors, loosened furniture joints or window frames

Benefits of Humidified Air

Luckily, these dry-air side effects are not ones you have to put up with. Increasing the level of humidity in your home can provide a significant amount of relief. What can you expect when moisture is added to your air?

  • Soft, supple skin
  • Relief from nasal passage and throat dryness
  • Less risk of sickness and infection
  • Improved healing times
  • Reduction in static electricity
  • Wood surfaces and flooring protection

Humidifier Types

There are two main categories of humidifiers: whole-house and stand-alone. Both perform the same function of adding moister to the air to increase humidity levels. 

Whole house: These humidifiers are installed in line with your heating system. They disperse moisture into the air in your home through the air vents during heating cycles.  

Stand-alone: As their name implies, these humidifiers are separate from the HVAC system. They come in various sizes, a tabletop unit for use in certain rooms, and larger console units that humidify larger areas in your home.  

No matter the type of humidifier, they all require a humidifier pad. The humidifier pad (or humidifier filter) is responsible for helping the HVAC unit distribute moisture evenly into your home’s air. They can also be called wick filters or evaporator pads. Humidifier pads should be changed every 2-3 months, or at minimum once per season.

The Ideal Humidity Level

During the winter season, humidity levels in the home should be between 30-40%, varying based on the outdoor temperature. Humidity levels that are too high will result in condensation on your windows and facilitate the growth of moisture. This also provides the ideal living environment that dust mites thrive in. On the flip side, humidity levels that are too far below the recommended range will cause dry air effects such as itchy skin and irritated airways. Humidity levels are easily monitored with a hygrometer, found at home improvement stores and are relatively inexpensive.

Don’t Suffer This Winter – Try a Humidifier!

Humidity is simply the level of moisture in the air. Utilizing a humidifier increases the level of indoor humidity, decreasing the level of dryness in the air. As noted above, there are many immediate improvements that come from the use of a humidifier. A stand-alone unit is less expensive and easier to set up than a whole house humidifier. If you’re unsure about committing to a whole house unit, a stand-alone unit is the way to start enjoying the results immediately!

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All Units

No matter which HVAC system you have, every unit needs a quality filter that fits properly to keep your indoor air quality clean and your heat 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 filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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

Selecting the filters that are 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.

Analyzing the Air We Breathe

analyzing the air we breatheRecently, many people began thinking about the air we breathe, especially indoors, and the quality of that air. On top of that, it’s also important to understand the process of breathing and what the air we breathe is made up of. This seemingly insignificant subject actually has a great deal of interesting data, including the important role that air filters play in the air quality of our indoor spaces. Spending a lot of time in the unhealthy indoor environment can result in symptoms like a tight chest, wheezing, sore throat, eye, and nose irritation and in some sever cases, dizziness, and nausea. Pleated air filters used in HVAC systems is a highly beneficial way to scrub the pollutants and allergens that cause those symptoms from indoor air. Here’s what you need to know about how we breathe, the makeup of that air and the benefits of air filters.

Did You Know?

  • An average adult inhales and exhales approximately 400 cubic feet of air everyday
  • We average 17,000 – 23,000 breaths per day
  • Oxygen makes up about 20% of our air and our body only requires 5% of that
  • If Earth were compared to an apple, the layer of atmosphere containing the air we breathe would be the skin of the apple

The Anatomy of the Air We Breathe

Air is a combination of multiple gases: 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% argon, carbon dioxide, and trace amount of other gases. There are particles and gases within the air that come from many sources, both nature and man-made. Much of what we breathe is filtered and exhaled, however, there is a host of contaminants that can directly impact our health and our surroundings. Whether the source is indoor or outdoor, naturally occurring or result from a man-made process, all particles are fall into two categories: aerosol or gas. Many types of particles can be captured with the air filters used in HVAC systems.

Aerosols – a suspension of a solid or liquid particle in the air which can be a solid, liquid, or compound:

  • Dust – a solid aerosol resulting from the reduction of a larger material or solid particle. Dust can be created by drilling into a surface (e.g. wood or concrete) or from natural occurrences (e.g. a volcano or sandstorm)
  • Mold – a bioaerosol derived from indoor and outdoor sources such as soil, plants, and moist surfaces such as walls, insulation, clothing, or carpet.
  • Bacteria and viruses- also bioaerosols with millions of varieties that are transported by air currents 
  • Fumes – created from vapor condensation from processes like combustion or welding
  • Fog – a liquid created during water vapor condensation
  • Mist – a suspension of liquid droplets that can include oils, paint, acids, and chemicals
  • Smoke – created from the burning or combustion of organic matter such as wood, coal, or tobacco
  • Smog – air pollution caused by industrial or chemical processes

Gases – a material that can expand indefinitely and fully occupy the space it is in. Gases exist in the form of molecules and include vapors and the gases that make up the composition of air. Gases can be odorous, toxic, and corrosive in nature. The presence of most gases will be recognized, but some (like carbon monoxide) are not detectable by the sense of smell. Gases may originate from chemical, manufacturing, and biological processes.

The Micron

Particles are measured in micrometers (also referred to as a micron), and have the abbreviation “μm”.  A micron 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. Particles measuring less than 1μm make up over 98% of the particles found in the outdoor atmosphere while only 0.005% consist of those measuring 20 μm.

The Role of Air Filters

Air filtration provides a way to attain a higher level of indoor air quality. Originally air filters were intended to simply shield the components HVAC systems and protect them from harmful dust build-up and extending its life. The manufacturing process of air filters has evolved over the decades and filtration media has become more refined and specialized. This allowed us to go beyond system protection into cleaning contaminants, allergens, and other bothersome particles from the air with the use of high-efficiency pleated air filters. The result was a significant improvement in indoor comfort and cleaner air in our homes and businesses.

For the best indoor air quality select the level of filtration based on the types of particles that you aim to capture with your air conditioning  and furnace filters. Choose a MERV rating that targets specific types of particles like pollen, mold spores and pet dander. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particle that can be captured. A general guideline for MERV ratings is:

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

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 to keep your indoor air quality clean and your heat 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 filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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

Selecting the filters that are 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.

What is the Best Air Filter for My Home?

Which Air Filter is the Best for Your Home?Typically, if you need of a new air filter you go to the nearest hardware store, grocery store or wholesale warehouse and pick a filter that fits into your HVAC system. Picking out a random air filter, however, may not save you money nor improve your home’s indoor air quality. Just like other purchases you make, there are many factors that go into selecting the right air filter for your home. The filter should perform efficiently and cost effectively.

Before making your selection, the first thing to understand are MERV ratings. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiently Reporting Value. It is a numerical value that rates the effectiveness of an air filter. MERV ratings are calculated by measuring the number of particles trapped in a filter compared to the total number the particles in the air trying to go through the filter. This means that if there are two filters in the same room, the filter that traps fewer particles will have a lower MERV rating.

MERV ratings aren’t the only factor involved in choosing the right filter for your AC unit. Selecting the filter with the highest MERV rating may lead to purchasing an air filter that potentially makes your HVAC system less efficient as it will block too much air flow. If this happens, the system is unable to heat or cool enough air to correctly maintain the temperature in your house. This means higher energy bills and the entire system could overheat.

The answer is BALANCE. The best choice is a filter that removes the most pollutants (MERV rating) and allows your HVAC system to perform efficiently. The following are the four different types of filters, their material makeup, their MERV rating and additional information that will help you make a decision.

Fiberglass Filters

Made from spun fiberglass and typically blue in color, these filters are one of the most popular types. They’re MERV rating is between 1 and 4 (low) and they trap 80% of particles 50 microns and larger/25% of particles between 3 and 10 microns. They do a great job of protecting your HVAC unit from large dust particles; however, they do not trap mold, pollen or other small particulates and 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 that allows for a larger fabric surface in a smaller area. The pleats make it easier for the air to pass through the filter making them more efficient. These air filters have a MERV rating between 5 and 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, this could be an ideal air filter solution. With these ratings, the filter removes a large number of pollutants AND keeps your HVAC system working at max efficiency.

Pleated air filters are also found with high MERV ratings from 11 to 13, trapping particles as small as 0.3 microns. At this efficiency level, they are approximately 2″-5″ thick and fit into box-like housings mounted onto the air handler.

Disposable Electrostatic Filters

Boasting a MERV rating of 10+, these filters are very effective at decontaminating indoor air. Electrostatic filters are composed of multiple layers of self-charging, polyester-blend fibers that create a static charge which attract particulates out of the air. They are framed by a polyester mesh that is positively charged. As air passes through the outer material, particulate matter becomes positively charged which is attracted to the negatively-charged inner material. Electrostatic filters are usually more expensive than fiberglass or pleated air filters.

Washable Electrostatic Filters

These filters are made of washable material, cased in aluminum mesh and framed in aluminum and MERV ratings of up to 10 or higher. For max efficiency, they need to be washed about every 3 months and their quality varies with cost. Higher quality washable electrostatic filters can last up to 8 years! There are some, however, that aren’t high efficiency and its difficult to determine the difference. After the filters are washed, they must be dried completely. Even the littlest bit of moisture left on a filter that is placed back in the air exchange can grow mold and bacteria that is recirculated back through your home.

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 to keep your indoor air quality clean and your heat 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 filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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

Selecting the filters that are 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.

 

Can HVACs Spread COVID-19?

COVID-19 and HVAC SystemsWe are in the dead of summer across the country, which means our home’s HVAC systems are in full swing, cooling our indoor air. The United States is also in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. With more time being spent in our homes, have you ever wondered if our indoor air can circulate and spread the COVID-19 virus? There are a few things to understand first before coming to a conclusion on the topic: how the coronavirus is spread and how HVAC systems work. Here’s what you need to know.

How COVID-19 is Spread:

The spread of the virus is still being heavily researched; however, right now droplet transmission is thought to be the primary method. When an infected person coughs, sneezes or even breathes, particles of breath or spit carrying the virus comes out of the persons mouth or nose. These particle droplets then spread into the air, up to 6 feet (if not more) and can transmit the virus by coming into contact with another person’s mouth, nose, or eyes.

Another possible way the virus is spread is through aerosol transmission. This happens when an infected person sneezes or coughs and the tiny COVID-19 infected particles linger in the air and are carried around in air currents, spreading the virus further. There isn’t concrete evidence on to what extent aerosol transmission spreads the virus, but it is does occur and mainly in closed indoor areas.

This leads into the chance that air conditioning could potentially transmit the virus. Your HVAC system continually circulates the air throughout your home and could, potentially, suck in the virus particles expelled from an infected person and then blow these particles back out into the indoor air, much further than just the room you’re in. Other infectious diseases like smallpox, measles, SARS, chickenpox, tuberculosis and influenza all have been shown to spread through improperly used HVAC systems.

How HVAC Systems Work

HVAC systems don’t bring fresh air in from outside, rather they recirculate air in the home. When working properly, HVAC systems should improve your home’s IAQ (indoor air quality) by removing dust, dander, dirt, and other debris and by controlling the humidity in your home via ventilation. When your home is properly ventilated, contaminated air and excess humidity are vented out of your home year-round.

With forced air systems, air is passed through an air filter that traps volatile organic compounds (VOCs), airborne particulates, mold, dust, and allergens. Improving air filtration is the most beneficial thing that can be done to reduce the effects of poor indoor air quality. Air filtration provides a means to attain the desired level of indoor air quality.

HVAC Systems and COVID-19

Now that you know how the coronavirus is spread and how an HVAC system operates, the conclusion would be that yes, theoretically virus infected particles in the air could, in fact, be sucked into the AC unit and circulated around your home. However, definitive answers about this topic are not readily available as there has only been a little bit of research on the topic.

The main thing is to make sure your HVAC system is working properly and efficiently – especially regarding ventilation. During the summer months when we go indoors to find comfort in the air-conditioned rooms, there is less ventilation and more opportunity for the disease to spread. And it’s not really the air conditioner’s fault. It’s more about when inside a home or building, you are not socially distancing and re-breathing air that others around you just exhaled. Combine that with doors and windows being shut to keep the cool air inside, there is virtually no fresh air flowing and everyone is breathing and re-breathing the same indoor air. The good news is this is mainly more of a concern in public indoor places. When you’re at home, contracting COVID-19 via air conditioning units or through air currents is no more probable than the virus being spread by close contact with contaminated surfaces.

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 – especially when we’re all home due to COVID-19! 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 filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! You can order directly online and have the air filters shipped to your door, safely distancing during this COVID-19 pandemic. Make it even easier and sign up for automatic shipments! You’ll never run out of air filters when you need them most. Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

All About 16x25x1 Air Filters

The 16x25x1 air filter is available at most retail stores as it is one of the more common air filter sizes. The importance of taking care of your home’s air filter is quite often overlooked, but keeping on top of it comes with many benefits, like:

  • Increasing overall comfort
  • Improving indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • Increasing your HVAC equipment’s lifespan
  • Decreasing energy bills
  • Increasing efficiency of heating and cooling

How does your 16x25x1 filter work?

16x25x1 Air Filters Clean Indoor Air

16x25x1 air filters

According to the EPA, one of the top five environmental health risks is indoor air pollution. Factors that cause a decline in indoor air quality include multiple sources that allow airborne particulates and matter to get indoors, poor ventilation, increase in temperatures and off-balance humidity levels. There are sources throughout your home that attribute to indoor air pollution. Smoke from cooking, air fresheners and candles, carpet, furniture, cigarette smoke and even printers contribute to indoor air pollution.

Can You Improve Your Indoor Air Quality?

Yes! HVAC systems allow air that is coming indoors to circulate throughout the home. It is during this circulation that air is forced to pass through the air filter. The 16x25x1 filter traps the particles and particulates in the air therefore passing clean air back into the home. These particles and pathogens include:

  • VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
  • Hair
  • Pet dander
  • Dust
  • Dust mites
  • Vapors, odors, gasses
  • Organic waste
  • Carpet and fabric fibers
  • Smoke and emissions
  • Microbiological growth

The main way to protect your homes IAQ is to reduce the sources that are contributing to indoor air pollution. As a result, the 16x25x1 air filter can effectively capture the pollutants and return clean air back into your home. Most importantly, your homes air filter needs to be changed regularly to ensure the cleanest indoor air possible.

Air Filters Protect Your HVAC System from Damage

Air filters not only protect indoor air quality, but also protect HVAC equipment from damage. Regular maintenance of a HVAC system includes changing dirty air filters with a new, clean one. The particles that cause indoor air pollution can also destroy your AC system. If dust and debris build up on the motor and wires, and water collecting around the evaporator coils/condensate lines lead to mold growth. Holes and/or leaks within the equipment also allow for debris to enter the system. Any of these factors can cause expensive repair costs and even permanent damage to the whole system. Using a clean 16x25x1 air filter saves you from damage to these pricey components:

  • Thermostats
  • Flame sensors
  • Blower motors
  • Fire exchangers

16x25x1 Air Filters Help Improve Energy Efficiency

According to the Department of Energy, replacing dirty filters with clean air filters can reduce energy consumption up to 15%. Combine that with the fact that heating and cooling systems are responsible for nearly half your energy usage, there is a potential savings of 7.5% each month.

For example, let’s say your home’s energy bill is $100/month. If you regularly replace your air filters, there could be an energy savings of ~$7.50 monthly! Energy bills in the $200, $300, $400 range are looking at even more savings – up to $30/month. Regularly maintaining your HVAC system with clean air filters is definitely worth it, but there are other ways it saves money as well.

Other factors to take into consideration to improve indoor air quality:

  1. Housekeeping: Regularly sweep, dust and vacuum floors and carpets, as well as blinds and vents. The circulating air from the AC blows particles around the house, worsening IAQ.
  2. Indoor air pollutant sources: Drapes and carpets in the home contribute to decreased air quality more than in homes with hardwood floors and open windows. Leaks and holes let unwanted pollution in if the home is not properly insulated. Limiting the sources of indoor air pollutants as much as possible will put less stress on your 16x25x1 air filter and improve indoor air quality.
  3. Pets: Like human dandruff, dander is an animal’s dead skin cells. Pets can track in all kinds of pollen, debris, and dander from outside as well. If possible, keep pets off furniture and out of bedrooms. Regular washing of blankets and floors will help keep the dander at minimum.
  4. Allergies: Seasonal allergies and/or asthma sufferers need indoor air clean to be comfortable and remain healthy and comfortable. Air filled with dust and other pollutants aggravates respiratory sensitivities.

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 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 filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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

Selecting the filters that are 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.

Moldy vs Musty

musty or moldy?It’s a fact that every home has its own unique odor or smell. A home’s “smell” reflects the nature of the home’s environment and those that live there. There are other factors too that also play a role in the odor in a home and some of them can be cause for concern. Environmental factors such as heavy rain and seasonal changes can bring with them that “musty” smell, but when does that smell mean you should be worried about a bigger problem? The first thing to know is the difference between a “musty” smell and a “moldy” smell.

Musty or Moldy? What’s the Difference?

If you get a whiff of a musty or moldy smell, you know that something isn’t right. These smells are caused by the presence of mold or mildew, both of which are fungi and thrive in moist places but there are differences between the two.

Mold, as a substance, is typically thicker and has the ability to penetrate deep into the material it grows on, therefore can cause more structural damage. It can grow many places, but is primarily found on building materials like flooring, walls, ceilings and home contents like clothing, books, and cardboard. Mildew, on the other hand, is a powdery or downy substance that grows on surface of things, most often plant materials like flowering or decorative plants and fruits and veggies.

The main way to tell the two apart is how strong the odor is that you smell. Musty odors are not as strong as moldy odors. Either way, smelling a musty or moldy order should alert you to the possibility of mold growth. It is important to take the appropriate steps quickly not only to prevent damage to your home, but also prevent a lingering musty odor that you just can’t seem to get rid of.

Musty Smell and Mold Growth Prevention

  1. Investigate Possible Sources of Moisture Buildup: Check for any water leaking from the plumbing, roof, and walls and make sure all air conditioning units and drain lines aren’t clogged/leaking. Also look for condensation around exterior walls and windows and examine your fridge/freezer drip pans and door seals. Wastebaskets and trashcans should also be looked at to make sure there is no liquid waste lingering behind, as well as any materials that may have gotten wet in the past (like carpet, cardboard, magazines, books, newspapers, etc.)
  2. Avoid Moisture: High humidity levels, general dampness, and recurring condensation can all cause a musty smell. Stay on top of higher moisture areas since dampness is a breeding ground for mold growth and it’s most likely beginning to form once you notice the musty smell.
  3. Clean Leaks Right Away: Everything must be thoroughly dry within 48 hours, otherwise mold will begin to grow in the areas that are still damp.

The Consequence of Mold Growth

An even more dangerous consequence of mold growth is the spread of mold throughout your home. From its breeding ground in the drip pan and other areas of your home, 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.

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 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 filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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

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

Benefits of Attic Fans and Ventilation

attic fans and proper attic ventilationHeat rises by nature and the highest hottest spot in your home is the attic.  Even on a relatively warm, 80-degree day, your attic can reach upwards of 100 degrees. These extreme temperatures can be damaging to the major components in your home such as insulation, venting, plumbing and electrical wiring that are often located in the home’s attic space. The good news is, attic fans can make a significant difference in energy costs and in the lifespan of major components mentioned above. Because of this, new homes are being built with whole house fan systems which prevent heat from building up in the dead air spaces of the house.

Benefits of Improved Attic Ventilation

Energy.gov reports that ventilation is the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool buildings. Ventilation works best when combined with other methods that avoid heat build up in your home.

Attic fans are now integrated with the roof shingles and use very little energy (less than 300 Watts each). The attic essentially acts as a “buffer zone” between the interior of your home and the outside world, so its important to regulate the temperature in this zone, therefore maintaining a consistent temperature in your living space. Attic fans can:

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

Another layer of protection from the heat and cold for your home is  attic insulation. Attic insulation works by hindering the upward movement of heat, keeping cooler air in during the summer months and warm air in during the winter months. It also contains built in paper or aluminum foil that is forward facing on the insulation panels. These are air-vapor barriers keep moisture that rises up from inside the home from penetrating the insulation.

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

Types of Attic Ventilation

  1. Non-Mechanical Attic Ventilation – Also called “gable vents”, this type of ventilation is found in many older homes (pre-1980). They are screened and louvered vents that are located up near the roof peak in the side walls of the attic. They are quite efficient at keeping the highest airspace in the attic cooler; however, in areas where there is no air movement, they can often cause hot spots. If your home is equipped with gable vents, you’ll want to consider installing a fan as well which will eliminate the hot spots and keep things cooler. The other option is to use soffit vents and ridge vents, both of which provide adequate non-mechanical venting. Unfortunately, most roof designs do not allow for adequate non-mechanical ventilation alone for optimal performance.
  2. Solar and Electric Attic Fans – Solar powered attic fan or roof vent does significantly improve air flow in the attic space but is not as powerful as an electric fan. Without an attic fan, temperatures in your attic can reach upwards of 150 degrees during the hottest seasons. The fan creates steady air-flow through the attic space; however, if too much air flow is exchanged between outside and the attic, moisture from rain and snow can permeate. In areas of the county with high humidity/wetness, a humidity control system in your attic is recommended as well to prevent moisture issues. The two most common types of electrical/solar attic fans are roof top and gable end. Electric fans are more powerful and cost efficient while solar powered models are most costly but leverage green electric power. Whichever you choose, the attic fan(s) you install should have a programmable thermostat and a firestat, which shuts the fan off in case of fire. Avoid plastic options and go for all metal as well as models that that have solid screens to keep pests out of your attic.
  3. Whole House Fan Systems – Whole house systems keep dead spaces from heating up and pull cool air throughout the home. For those that live in milder climates where the temperature stays below 82 degrees, they can being used as an alternative to traditional home air conditioning. This is also the case for older homes where its too expensive or difficult to install a central air. One potential downfall for whole house fan systems is noise but the system should run quietly and efficiently if it is engineered correctly. Fans with more blades will be quieter than those with fewer blades and the fan should be mounted with foam or rubber strips to reduce vibration and sound.

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No matter which type of HVAC system your home has, every unit needs a quality air filter that fits properly to maximize your indoor air quality and keep your unit and ventilation system running efficiently. US Home Filter can provide you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter in your furnace is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter offers filters to fit all heating and air conditioning units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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Types of Mechanical Ventilation

mechanical ventilationWhether you are fixing up an old house or building a new one, proper ventilation is of the utmost importance.  Whole-house mechanical ventilation is the automatic controlled rate exchange of indoor air for fresh outdoor air via the use of fans. The main purpose of ventilation is to improve indoor air quality (IAQ). When mechanical ventilation was initially introduced, it was limited to controlling moisture an odor in specific areas like kitchens and bathrooms through exhaust fans. At the time homes had enough natural ventilation due to leaks in the building enclosures and additional ventilation was not necessary. Fast forward to present day and the standards have changed. Over the past 10-15 years, regulations have become stricter regarding ventilation, codes have been updated, energy efficient programs are in place and there is an overall desire to reduce energy consumption.

Whole-house Mechanical Ventilation Benefits:

  1. Improved indoor air quality and comfort due to a steady supply of fresh outdoor air
  2. Regulated amount and source control of outdoor air
  3. Reduction of indoor air contaminants like allergens and odors
  4. Decreased moisture accumulation and control of relative humidity during the cold months

Types of Mechanical Ventilation

Energy.gov lists 4 types of whole-house ventilation systems: exhaust-only, supply-only, balanced and energy recovery. Each system uses a combination of fans, ducting, dampers, and controls, and they each have different pros, cons, and costs accompanying them.

Exhaust-Only Ventilation

Exhaust-only ventilation typically consists of a fan that exhausts indoor air. They work by depressurizing your home, exhausting indoor air, and drawing outdoor into the house through leaks in the building’s enclosure and intentional passive vents.

The pro of an exhaust-only ventilation system is that they are relatively inexpensive and simple to install; however, the con list is quite long. They only work well in cold climates with low humidity and can also draw contaminants into the house via the attic, crawl space, garage, etc. Exhaust-only systems can also pull humid outdoor air in which could condense, making them unsuitable for warm, humid climates. Lastly, they can increase your heating and cooling expenses.

Supply-Only Ventilation

Supply-only ventilation systems pressurize your home using a fan that forces outside air inside. The indoor air then leaks out of the building through exhaust ducts and any other intentional vents if they exist in the structure.

Like exhaust systems, supply ventilation is also low in cost to install; however, they are better at reducing outdoor contaminants from entering the home and allow for dehumidification of the air. This means they can be used in warm or hot/mixed climates. Outdoor air that is drawn in is from a single location, controlling the air quality coming into the building. However, they can cause moisture problems in cooler climates and are not very energy efficient, increasing your heating and cooling bills.

Balanced Ventilation

Balanced ventilation systems do not pressurize or depressurize your home. If properly installed, they bring in and exhaust almost equal amounts of fresh outside air and polluted inside air.

The good news is, balanced systems are good for all climates; however, they are typically more expensive to install as they require 2 duct and fan systems. This also means they use more energy than a supply or exhaust system. Like the other two systems, they do not temper or remove moisture from the air before it comes into your house.  As with supply ventilation, to avoid cold drafts in the winter, outdoor air may need to be mixed with indoor air before delivery into your home.

Energy Recovery & Heat Recovery Ventilators

Energy recovery ventilation systems control the ventilation of the home, reducing energy loss. In the winter, they are more efficient at heating the air by transferring heat from the warm air inside the outgoing air to the incoming cold air. During the summer months, the air inside cools the incoming warm air supply. Due to this, heating and cooling costs are reduced.

The only downfall is that energy recover systems that are installed in cold climates must have additional Also, energy recovery ventilation systems operated in cold climates must have tools installed to prevent freezing and frost accumulation. Frost buildup on the heat exchanger can cause equipment damage and reduce the effectiveness of the ventilation.  This type of system also requires more maintenance than the aforementioned systems. It is important to have them cleaned regularly to prevent deterioration and mold/bacteria growth on the heat exchanger surfaces.

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters for Every HVAC System

No matter which type of HVAC system your home has, every unit needs a quality air filter that fits properly to maximize your indoor air quality and keep your unit and ventilation system running efficiently. US Home Filter can provide you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter in your furnace is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter offers filters to fit all heating and air conditioning units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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

Selecting the filters that are exactly 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.

Sick Building Syndrome and IAQ

Sick Building Syndrome and Indoor Air QualityThe term “Sick Building Syndrome” is not readily known. Just by the name alone, you can imagine it has something to do with being in an unhealthy indoor environment. Sick Building Syndrome, or SBS, is a medical condition where people in a building suffer from symptoms of illness or feel unwell for no apparent reason. Spending a lot of time in the unhealthy environment result in symptoms such as tight chest, wheezing, sore throat, eye, and nose irritation and in some sever cases, dizziness, and nausea. But what makes a building ‘sick’? The causes of SBS are usually linked to flaws in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

Factors That Contribute to Sick Building Syndrome

Inadequate Ventilation

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

Carbon Dioxide

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

Chemical Contaminants from Indoor Sources

The amount of chemicals that make up the structure of our indoor spaces is quite overwhelming. Carpet, upholstery, paint, adhesives, copy machines, cleaning agents, etc. are all a part of our everyday lives, bringing an abundance of unhealthy chemicals into the air we breathe. These toxins include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), e.g. formaldehyde, which cause chronic and acute health effects at high levels.

Outdoor Contaminants

The outdoor air that enters a building is also a factor in indoor air pollution. Although adequate ventilation is a requirement, the type of air that comes inside is just as important. Think about all the exhaust fumes toll road workers are exposed to. Or the drive-through operator at a fast food restaurant who has the window open while idling cars wait for their order. Outdoor contaminants can also get into a building if the air intake vents are poorly located and polluted air and not fresh air is sucked into the building.

Natural Toxins

Mold, bacteria, viruses and pollen are all examples of natural toxins that can grow if your HVAC system is not properly maintained. Mold will grow in any standing pools of water near an HVAC unit, especially as outdoor temperatures increase. Water damage inside the building’s carpet, ceiling tiles or insulation can also be a cause of mold growth if not properly taken care of. Plants and weeds growing around the HVAC unit also cause issues as air flow into the building is restricted, pulling more pollen and allergens into the indoor air.

How Can We Prevent Sick Building Syndrome?

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

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters for Every HVAC System

No matter which type of HVAC system your home has, every unit needs a quality air filter that fits properly to maximize your indoor air quality and keep your unit running efficiently. US Home Filter can provide you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter in your furnace is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter offers filters to fit all heating and air conditioning units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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

Selecting the filters that are exactly 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.

Top Causes of HVAC Issues

A working, efficient HVAC system is a must for two important reasons: 1. comfort level and 2. energy bill. To get the most efficient, low-cost, and longest life out of your HVAC unit, all parts of the system must be fully functional.  If your energy bill is rising and your home is not as cool and comfortable as you would like, here are the main causes HVAC issues and reasons why the unit isn’t working as it should be.

Issue #1: Dirt Buildup

HVAC System

Before thinking it is something huge that is going to cost you lots of money to fix, check and make sure your system is clean. If you’ve recently notices a reduction in its efficiency, it may just be a buildup of dirt and grime. When the buildup occurs, your HVAC unit is unable to heat or cool your home as evenly and quickly as it should.  You may also notice an increase in allergy and asthma symptoms in yourself or your family as your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ) has also been greatly reduced.

The first and MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do is make sure you are using a clean air filter.  Air filters should be checked at least once a month (some every 3 months depending upon the manufacturer’s directions). If they are dirty, change them out with a fresh clean air filter. To check if your air filter is dirty, remove it from the air filter and hold it up to a light source. If you cannot see the light through the filter, then it’s time for it to be changed. Another area to check are the heat pump condenser coils. Coils that are dirty cause a decrease in air flow capacity and greatly reduce the efficiency of your unit.

Issue #2: HVAC Equipment Age

If you’ve noticed that your home has become less and less comfortable over the past few years, your HVAC unit may be close to the end of its lifespan. It would be nice if HVAC equipment lasted forever, but unfortunately that is not the case. Even with perfect maintenance and upkeep, you may only get a few more years on the lifespan of your unit. Most units last about 10-15 years, and luckily, the newer models are much more efficient. If you feel like your unit may be on its last leg, get it checked out by a professional and consider replacing the system.

Issue #3: Improper Installation

If your HVAC system isn’t installed properly it will not run efficiently. When this is the case, your energy bills will skyrocket, and your home isn’t as cool or warm as you expect it to be. Always hire a licensed, insured professional to install your equipment.

Other problems that may occur with improper installation:

  • Short circuit: the electric voltage is key for the unit to run properly. If it is not correct it will cause a short in the circuit.
  • Poor results: the size of your unit is also important. If a unit that is too small for the size of your home is installed, there will be problems getting the house to feel comfortable and result in uneven cooling and heating.
  • Uneven cooling and heating: If you notice temperature differences throughout your house, the ducts may have not been installed correctly. When this is the case, the ducts develop air leaks which cause drastic temperature changes from room to room.

Issue #5: Lack of Maintenance

HVAC systems work hard to continually make your home comfortable. Scheduling a professional maintenance check and cleaning is essential to make sure everything is running correctly. The checkups can also find small problems and resolve them before they turn into major problems, causing equipment failure and damage. 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.

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters for Every HVAC System

No matter which type of HVAC system your home has, every unit needs a quality air filter that fits properly to maximize your indoor air quality and keep your unit running efficiently. US Home Filter can provide you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter in your furnace is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter offers filters to fit all heating and air conditioning units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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

Selecting the filters that are exactly 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.