Benefits Of Home Air Filters

How Air Filters Work and their benefitsThe list of benefits that come from the use of home air filters can be outlined easily; however, the list contains three very valuable benefits. You may not think about it often but having a full understanding of the true advantages of these relatively simply items will make you realize their importance. Air filters come in a vast number of sizes and several MERV ratings. No matter the size difference or the types available, all air filters are designed to fill these main purposes. The filter size you need is determined by the HVAC unit installed in your home, but there is flexibility in selecting the MERV rating that is best for you regarding desired level of dust control and reduction in allergens. So, what are these three top benefits of home air filters?

Top 3 Home Air Filter Benefits

#1 HVAC System Protection

The lack of maintenance is the most common reason for HVAC system malfunction or failure. Dust is often the culprit as it can build up on the integral parts of the unit. Once the dust has accumulated to a high enough level, there will inevitably be problems. These problems; however, can almost always be prevented by regular maintenance. One of the simplest ways to maintain your system and preserve its life is to use an air filter that fits properly and change your air filter regularly. By doing so, a proper rate of airflow will be circulated around your home so it can be heated or cooled to your desired temperature. This also provides your HVAC system with a protective barrier against dirt and debris; the original and primary reason for home air filter use. Air filters, although inexpensive in comparison to the cost of your HVAC unit, carry a high level of responsibility in keeping your system running efficiently and smoothly. Your air filter traps dust and dirt particles before they can reach and accumulate on the internal and moving components of the unit. The following parts can be contaminated with dust build-up when a poorly-fitting, low quality, or dirty filter is used:

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

#2 Reduction of Dust in Your Home

Your air filter works hard to minimize the dust levels in the indoor air you breathe by preventing dust and debris from collecting on the mechanical parts of your heating and air conditioning system. High-efficiency pleated filters provide a large surface area and a considerable amount of dust-holding capacity. Pleated filters trap and hold several grams of dust, preventing it from blowing through your duct work back into the air you breath and inevitably settling on the surfaces in your home. Battling dust that continues to reappear on bookshelves, tables, window treatments, and decor is a constant point of frustration. Although virtually impossible to eliminate, dust can be greatly reduced by your home’s air filter, assisting you in the fight against dust in your home. US Home Filter recommends a MERV 8 rating at the minimum on your home air filter to control average levels of dust. If you need greater protection from smaller dust particles (fine, suspended dust), then you would benefit from a higher MERV rating. As the MERV rating increasing, finer particles are captured and a higher percentage of dust and microscopic particulate matter (PM) is removed. It is this subject of filtering fine particles, even as small as attached bacteria and viruses, that leads us into the next benefit, a recently popular topic of discussion.

#3 IAQ Improvement

While system protection is the priority and dust reduction is a close runner-up, the importance of air filters related to our indoor air quality (IAQ) is the third on the list of benefits of home air filters. This has become increasingly important as the average person spends 90% of their time in indoor spaces where concentrations of pollutants are 2-5 times greater as compared to the outdoor levels. Wouldn’t you want the cleanest air in the areas where you spend the greatest amount of time? IAQ may be the most important factor in air filtration for those that have serious concerns such as severe allergies and sensitivities to certain particulates and contaminants, perhaps just as important as other items they use, such as allergy medication, to lessen the symptoms caused by allergens. A MERV 8 rating is enough for those that have mild allergies and sensitivities. We recommend a MERV 11 rated air filter when you experience a moderate level of allergy issues. If you are highly sensitive to particulates, pollution, contaminants and various allergenic elements, you should consider a MERV 13 filter which will scrub your air from the finest particles, keeping your air as clean as fresh as possible.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

No matter which HVAC system you have, every unit needs a quality filter that fits properly in order to keep your indoor air quality clean and your unit running at its maximum efficiency. 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.

 

Improving Indoor Air Quality in Winter

energy saving in winter indoor air qualityHomes are built to be energy efficient, keeping the heat out in summer and keeping heat in during winter. When winter approaches, homeowners prepare by tightly sealing cracks and windows that could allow cold air into their home. This results in reduced ventilation due to the improved air sealing and insulation. It also prevents any fresh air from entering the home, increasing the concentrations of pollutants and allergens in the home. Add in the fact that more time is spent indoors (hobbies and projects come inside), the increased use of scented candles and cleaning products, and your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ) is greatly reduced. Trapping air inside your home leads to unhealthy conditions, which is why ventilation and other systems are so important to refresh indoor air and improve your home’s winter indoor air quality.

5 Tips for Improving Winter Indoor Air Quality

According to the EPA, the air that we breathe in our homes, schools and offices can put us at risk for health problems. By improving your winter indoor air quality, you are working to reduce allergens such as mold spores, pollen, dust, pet dander and other impurities. So, what can you do to improve the indoor air quality in your home? Here are 5 tips that will keep you and your family comfortable and breathing a bit easier this winter.

Circulation: Circulation is a form of air replacement and is surprisingly beneficial during the winter months when you tend to keep your home sealed up. On a warmer winter day, allow some clean fresh air to enter and circulate throughout your home. This refreshes your indoor air quality, allowing the “trapped” allergens inside your home a chance to move outside.

Humidity: Adding humidity to the air is often the norm during the cold, dry months by use of humidifiers. However, many allergens, such as dust mites, mold, and bacteria thrive in overly humid conditions. It is important to keep the humidity level in your home in check, ideally around 35%-50%. If the humidity is too low, viruses maintain their infectious nature, too high and allergens multiply. Replace your humidifier filters with fresh humidifier pads or filters twice per season. Use bathroom exhaust fans to keep the moisture level down and keep an eye on basements and storage areas as well. These are ideal locations for potential moisture.

Smoke: Smoke from tobacco, fireplaces, cooking and even candles affects your winter indoor air quality (IAQ). Many of us love the scent of our favorite candle or sitting in front of the fireplace on a cold night, especially during the holidays, but they do not improve the quality of the air you breathe. This does not mean you shouldn’t enjoy these things during those snowy days and nights, but that it is something to be aware of as smoke particles can be bothersome to anyone who suffers from respiratory conditions.

Air Filtration: Furnace filters are a huge help to improving winter indoor air quality beyond their basic purpose of just protecting your HVAC system. Filters add another level of defense by cleansing your air of impurities. Change your air filters regularly to allow your system to work optimally AND provide a new surface area to trap and collect dust and allergens.

Regular Cleaning: Maintaining a clean home will help keep the level of contaminants and dust in your home to a minimum. Once dust and allergens have settled, it is more difficult for them to be trapped by your furnace filter. When you clean, the area where the dust has settled is disturbed, re-dispersing the dust into the air, allowing for another opportunity to be captured. Unfortunately, dust always settles again and keeping it at bay is an ongoing battle. Regular cleaning of surfaces, dusting and vacuuming is the way to help tackle these issues and improve your IAQ!

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

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

Winter Energy Saving Tips

save energy and winter indoor air qualityFor many, winter is the most wonderful time of the year. It is a season filled with holiday cheer, gatherings with friends and family and holiday magic that only happens when the temperature drops. This is also the time of year when your energy bill tends to climb as the air cools and need to keep yourself and your loved ones warm and cozy indoors. The good news is, there are things you can do to limit the increase on your energy bill and stay comfortable inside. Here are a few effective tips to save energy this winter season that will hopefully make the cold a little more bearable.

Tips to Save Energy in the Winter

Open curtains and blinds during the day – Keeping your blinds and curtains open during the day, especially those on windows that let the most sunlight in, allows the sun to naturally warm your home. In turn, your heating unit won’t need to kick on as often as it would have to if the curtains were drawn. To continue to save energy after the sun goes down, make sure to close the curtains and blinds to help insulate the windows and keep the heat in.

Insulate windows – Unless you have heavy insulating drapes that fit tightly on your window, closing curtains is not the most effective way to keep the cold air out. A more popular, cost effective method is to install clear plastic film around the window frame, creating an airtight seal. The film can be attached directly to the frame or onto the wall. After attaching, simply use a hair dryer to shrink the plastic to seal out the cold air that can seep in through your windows.

Check the fireplace – Traditional fireplaces create a warm, inviting atmosphere we all enjoy, but they need to be properly maintained to save energy in your home. The chimney and fireplace should be inspected once a year, kept clean and sealed. Many people don’t realize that while fireplaces may warm you in the room you’re in, they also suck the heat out of home making it feel colder in other parts of the house. When not in use, close the flue but only AFTER the fire is completely out and there are no smoldering ashes. Closing the flue too soon after the fire is out can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. If you want your fireplace to actually heat your home, call a professional to have it fitted with glass doors and an exchange system that pushes warm air into the home and pulls cold air into the fireplace.

Add insulation – Adding additional insulation to the external walls, basement and attic increases the heat retention in your home. You can install it yourself or hire a professional. A additional layer or two of insulation can save you a lot on your heating bills over the life of your home.

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

Install a programmable thermostat – Programmable thermostats help manage energy usage when the heating system is needed most, plus they take the guess work and human error out of the mix. Always make sure that your thermostat has a fresh set of batteries. As stated above, for the most energy savings, set your thermostat at a lower temperature when you are sleeping or not at home.

Check your heating vents – Take a walk through your home to check that all vents are unblocked and have space to push warm air out. It’s inevitable that over time, furniture and toys may shift or be placed in areas that block vents. If the warm air is being blocked from getting out, your HVAC system will have to work harder to get your home to the temperature set on your thermostat.

Clean and maintain the heating system – An annual cleaning and inspection of your HVAC system can do wonders for the unit’s performance when it’s working hard to heat your home. A dirty system causes your unit to work harder, costing you more money, and can also lead to equipment failure. Continue to change your air filters monthly, or according to the manufacturer’s directions. The Department of Energy also reports that replacing dirty filters with clean air filters can reduce your energy consumption up to 15%. With your heating and cooling system being responsible for nearly half of your energy usage, you’re looking at a potential savings on your energy bill of around 7.5% every month.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

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

Air Cleaners and Filter Publications

Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality and Air CleanersIt is a proven fact that the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is by removing the sources of pollutants and ventilate with clean air from outside. Filtration, in conjunction with ventilation, is the best way to control these indoor air pollutants. The two main ways of doing this is by using a portable air cleaner and/or changing the air filter in your furnace or HVAC unit.  Portable air cleaners, also called air sanitizers or air purifiers, filter the air in one single room or small area. HVAC or central furnace filters filter air throughout your home. While HVAC filters and portable air cleaners can greatly reduce indoor air pollution, they are not able to remove all pollutants from the air you breathe.

The best way to protect your family from indoor air pollution is to understand filtration and how it works. That way you can make an education decision on what filter is best for your home. Did you know the EPA provides downloadable resources regarding home air cleaners and HVAC/furnace filters?

Portable Air Cleaners, HVAC and Furnace Filter Publications

Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home

This guide focuses on indoor pollutants and the importance of clean air in the home. It is specifically for consumers and includes information on the difference between and how to select portable air cleaners, HVAC and furnace filters. It explains that portable air cleaners, also known as air sanitizers or air purifiers, are designed for single room filtration while central furnace and HVAC filters are designed for whole home filtration. The guide also has an extensive common questions and answers section on air cleaning and filtration.

Residential Air Cleaners – A Technical Summary

This publication comes from the EPA, Office of Radiation and Indoor Air, Indoor Environments Division. Like the Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home, it also focuses on residential air cleaners, not those that are used in commercial or industrial settings. The document provides a much more in depth look at the types of indoor pollutants, the different air-cleaning technologies and devices available, metrics to compare them and their effectiveness in removing pollutants indoors. There is also study results on the effects air cleaners can have on your health.

New Guidance for Residential Air Cleaners

Written by members of the ASHRAE (The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), this guide is mainly for professionals, but is also a resource for non-professionals who want to learn more about residential indoor air quality (IAQ). Like the publication above, it is a much more in-depth look at the effective ways to clean indoor air, what steps to take if those ways are not possible or don’t work, as well as information on portable air cleaners and central HVAC systems.

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 in order 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 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

How Your Air Filter Work and How to Choose the Right OneThe air filter in your home HVAC unit is a critical component of the whole system. Made from mostly cardboard and fiber, they may not seem elaborate, but air filters greatly affect your unit’s performance. Not only do they play a big role in indoor comfort, but they also have a major impact on HVAC equipment. Here is what you need to know about air filters, how they work, and why they are so important in maintaining your home’s heating and cooling systems. Hopefully, it will also aid you in selecting the right filter to best fit your needs!

How Air Filters Function and Work

Air filters are typically manufactured with one of these two materials: spun fiberglass material or pleated paper/cloth. The material is enclosed in a cardboard frame, then made into different sizes to fit all the various HVAC systems available. The filter’s primary function is to trap and hold all different kinds of particulates and contaminants in the air that circulate through your heating and cooling system. Most of which affect your health and comfort. A few 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 occurs when the disbursed air is “sucked” back into the HVAC system where it is conditioned and then used again. During this process, air is forced through the air filter. The spun fiberglass or pleated paper/cloth traps the particulates and contaminants, removing them from the air. These particles are now no longer able to be recirculated into the air you breathe.

MERV Ratings and Filter Efficiency

As with almost all products we purchase, there are lower-end, mid-level and high-end choices available. Not all products are created equal. 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 cost a bit more.

This is where the filter’s MERV rating comes into the picture. MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value”. It 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; the number indicating how well the filter will remove material from the air. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filtration.

MERV 1-4: Common standard filters. Basic filtration. Low cost.
MERV 6-8: Good filtration and typically used in residential settings. Made of cloth or pleated paper.
MERV 9-12: Middle of the road filters with relatively high efficiency. Can trap particles of 1 micron or larger.
MERV 13-16: Highest efficiency, best standard filters available. Can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns or larger.

There are filters available with MERV ratings higher than 16; however, they are thick and dense, and a typical residential HVAC system cannot readily handle them. In fact, they can interfere with the airflow by restricting it. This reduces the effectiveness of your heating and cooling systems and can even result in damage to the HVAC equipment. 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 provide an additional step “on top” of the regular filtration, cleaning your air even further.

Air Filter Maintenance

All the air that circulates through your HVAC system, to heat or cool your home, will eventually pass through the air filter. Therefore, it is extremely 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 (the air that you and your family breathe).
  • Cause contaminates to build 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, 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 can’t see the light through the filter, then it’s time for it to be changed.

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 in order 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 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.

What to Check Before Turning on the Heat

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

Pre Heat Checklist

1. Change your air filter.

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

2. Check for obstructions near the unit.

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

3. Check your supply and return vents.

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

4. Is there a funny smell?

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

5. Check the current carbon monoxide detector reading.

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

6. Is the furnace making strange noises?

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

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

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

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

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

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

How Leaves Affect HVAC Systems

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

The Problem with Fallen Leaves

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

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

Protecting Your HVAC System in Fall

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

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

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

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

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

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

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

Preventing Mold Growth in Your Drip Pan

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

Consequences of Drip Pan Mold Growth

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

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

Drip Pan Mold Growth Prevention

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

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

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

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

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

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

What Is a Micron: A Study of Particles

When shopping for air filters or purifiers, you will commonly see the phrase “Remove particles as small as (number) microns”. But what is a micron and what does that mean? How does it matter when it comes to your indoor air quality? You may also wonder if there are any benefits to filtering out particles that are 1 micron versus those that are 5 microns, 10 microns, etc. How important is it and how does it affect your and your family’s health?

What is a Micron?

The first thing that is important is to understand is what a micron is. As defined by Dictonary.com, a micron, also called a micrometer, is a unit of measurement that is the millionth part of a meter. One inch is equal to 25,400 microns. To put that into perspective, the average human hair is approximately 50 microns and the human eye is only able to see particles that are at least 5 microns in size. That being said, 98% of all the particles floating around in our indoor air are less than 1 micron in size.

Take a look at the following chart that shows particle size in microns to help give perspective on the size of different particles. As you can see, those particles that we most want to keep out of our indoor air (viruses, asbestos, tobacco, smog, gas) are all less than 1 micron in size.

Micron particle sizes

Will Air Filters Capture These Small Particles?

A standard air filter found in most HVAC systems are designed to capture particles that are 5-10 microns or larger. So, if a filter has a micron rating of 7, it has the ability to trap particles that are 7 microns and larger. That sounds shocking after looking at the image above, doesn’t it? However, there is still more to understand regarding an air filters effectiveness in removing particles of specific sizes. Here are two more important terms:

Nominal Micron Rating: This rating measures how efficient an air filter is at capturing airborne particles of a certain size, ranging from 50-98.6%. It tells you the smallest size particle that may get trapped. For instance, if you have an air filter that removes particles as small as 8 microns with a 50% nominal micron rating, then the filter will capture around 50% of airborne particulates 10 microns in size.

Absolute Micron Rating: This rating gives the size of the largest particle that will pass through the filter and means that the filter is capable of removing at least 98.7% of a specific size particle. It basically tells you the filter is able to better remove particulates of the specific micron size.

If your current home air filter has a micron rating of 5, it is leaving a great majority (98%) of indoor air pollution floating around your home. This includes:

  • Fungi (2-10 microns)
  • Bacteria (0.2-10 microns)
  • Viruses (0.005-0.3 microns)
  • Tobacco smoke (0.01-4 microns)
  • Cooking smoke (0.03-0.9)
  • Pesticides and herbicides (0.001)
  • Volatile organic compounds (measured in picometers – a million times smaller than a micron)
  • Most household dust (0.05-100)
  • Pet dander (0.5-100)

How Will This Affect Your Health?

The American Lung Association reports that airborne particles 2.5 microns or less (called fine particles) are considered an inhalation hazard as they can be “easily inhaled deeply into the lungs where they can be absorbed into the bloodstream or remain embedded for long periods of time.” They also reported in a recent study that the mortality risk increased by 17% in areas with high concentrations of fine particles. These small particles also greatly affect you or your loved ones that have asthma problems as they can trigger asthma attacks and can cause respiratory irritation, coughing and wheezing.

What Can You Do?

Now that you have all the information on microns, it makes sense that you need an air filter that can capture airborne particles that are smaller than 1 micron. But do they exist? On to the last thing you need to know about air filters: MERV ratings.

MERV Rating

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiently Reporting Value and it is this number that tells you the effectiveness of your selected air filter. MERV ratings are calculated by measuring the number of particles a filter can trap compared to the number the particles it’s trying to filter. This means that if there are two filters in the same room, the one with the lower MERV rating traps fewer particles.

Basically, a filter’s MERV Rating is the numeric value assigned to it for rating and comparing the filter’s efficiency and performance. The range for standard MERV values is typically from 1 to 16, with the number indicating how well the filter removes particles from the air. The higher the MERV number, the better the filtration.

MERV 1-4: Common standard filters. Basic filtration. Low cost.
MERV 6-8: Good filtration usually used in residential settings. Made of pleated paper or cloth.
MERV 9-12: Relatively high efficiency, middle of the road filters. Can trap particles of 1 micron or larger.
MERV 13-16: Highest efficiency, best standard filters available. Can trap particles as tiny as 0.3 microns or larger.

There are filters available with MERV ratings higher than 16; however, they are thick and dense, and a typical residential HVAC system cannot readily handle them. In fact, they can end up interfering with the airflow by restricting it. In turn, this could end up reducing the effectiveness of your heating and cooling system and result in HVAC equipment damage. If you want an air filter with a MERV rating higher than 16, you must make sure that your HVAC system can handle them before buying and installing one.

Last, but not least, and most importantly, air filters should be checked at least once a month. If they are dirty, they need to be changed with a fresh clean air filter. How do you know if your air filter is dirty? When removing the air filter from the handler, hold it up to a light source and you will be able to see if the filter is dirty or clogged – if you can’t see the light through the filter, then it’s definitely time for it to be changed.

US Home Filter is Here for YOU

Determining the size that your system requires and choosing the MERV rating that is best for you can be a little overwhelming, especially if you have never purchased air filters for your home or if you have a new unit or home to buy filters for. You can take a look at our air filter measurement guide to help you pick the right size or call us and we can easily assist you with ordering the exact air filter size you need and recommend the best rating for you depending on the level of filtration you want. Whether you need AC or furnace filters, a specialty Whole House filter, a Grille filter, or even a custom air filter size, we have a professional and helpful staff ready to take care of you! For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Particle Pollution

Particle pollution is not something on everyone’s radar, but it is very common and potentially very harmful to our health. The EPA defines particle pollution, also known as particulate matter or PM, as a “general term for a mixture of solid and liquid droplets suspended in the air. Particle pollution comes in many sizes and shapes and can be made up of a number of different components, including acids (such as sulfuric acid), inorganic compounds (such as ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, and sodium chloride), organic chemicals, soot, metals, soil or dust particles, and biological materials (such as pollen and mold spores)”.

Particle matter is created by a number of day-to-day activities, not only outdoors, but also in your home. From cooking dinner for your family at home to driving your car and the burning of fossil fuels at a local power plant, particle matter is released into the air almost continuously. These particles pose dangerous to your health as they can be inhaled into the lungs and penetrate deep into the body’s respiratory system, causing numerous health issues, especially in those suffering from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). PM has also been connected to eye and throat irritation as well as more serious conditions such as low birth weight, heart attacks and lung cancer. A 2017 study found that more than 8 million people per year die early from air pollution exposure.

Particle Size Matters

The EPA also reports that the size of the particle matters most when talking about particle pollution. It is the smaller particles (10 micrometers and under in diameter) that cause greater health risks than larger ones as these tiny particles can enter the lungs much easier when inhaled via the nose or throat. Some are so small, in fact, that they can even enter the bloodstream. The agency estimates that 13,000 deaths could be prevented annually in the United States by reducing fine particle pollution by 10%.

Particle pollution is divided into two different categories:

  • Inhalable coarse particles: These are typically found in industrial areas or near dusty roadways. Their diameter is smaller than 10 micrometers and larger than 2.5 micrometers. Grinding operations and dust from traffic that is stirred up are the main sources of this size of particle pollution.
  • Fine particles: These are found in haze and smoke. They can form from forest fires or when the gasses from cars or power plants meet the air which produces a chemical reaction.

Protecting Yourself from Particle Pollution

Particle pollution is all around us, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the EPA’s Air Quality Index. This is reported daily on weather websites, apps and broadcasts and should be checked regularly.
  2. Change your plans to spend more time indoors. If you see the Air Quality Index is expected to be problematic, try not to plan any outdoor activities that cause heavy breathing (e.g. take a walk instead of a jog) and avoid busy roads with heavy traffic.
  3. Take extra care of those most susceptible. Babies, children, the elderly and those suffering from lung or heart conditions are most affected by particle pollution. Take extra care to be sure to protect those that fall in these categories.

The problem of particle pollution can be particularly dangerous indoors, as not only do outdoor particles seep inside but indoor activities can cause more particles, including fireplaces, candles, and wood-burning stoves.  In order to reduce the risks of particle pollution indoors, you want to make sure you are utilizing the best air filtration in your home. Make sure you are using an air filter that is made properly and fits correctly in your homes HVAC system. All filters are not created equal. Some do a good job of initially filtering out dangerous particles but quickly degrade, making them no longer effective. Others are made to be useful and effective long term while reducing harmful airborne particles. With your health on the line, it is a good idea to invest in an air filter that will work efficiently long term – after all, you can’t put a price on good health and safety.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

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

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

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