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Humidifier Benefits During the Winter Months

humidifier benefitsCold dryer air is upon us already. As the fall transitions into winter, the air becomes increasingly cold and harsh. While the heaters in our homes and offices are running hard to keep us warm, the moisture in the air inside is depleted, causing many people discomfort. Excessively dry air can result in numerous issues. How can you remedy this? A humidifier. Humidifier benefits are numerous as they put moisture back into the air, creating a healthy indoor environment for you and your family.

Why a Humidifier?

In a 2013 study, it was found that the ability of airborne viruses to cause flu infections was greatly reduced when humidity levels were increased to 43% or above. It was in low humidity environments that 70-77% of viruses retained their infectious nature, but that number dropped to only 14% when the humidity was increased to 43% or more. Another study completed in 2009 resulted in the same conclusion: humidity limits the transmission of the influenza virus.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Not only can a humidifier help you ward off winter illness, but you can also reap other benefits such as softer, glowing skin and the preservation of any real wood furniture you have. Here are some additional benefits to using a humidifier in your home.

10 Humidifier Benefits

  1. Reduced infection risk: Bacteria and viruses cannot travel well in moist air. Add a humidifier to your home and it could be the difference between remaining healthy this winter or getting the flu.
  2. Soft, vibrant skin: Cold, dry winter air sucks the moisture right out of your skin. This can cause numerous problems such as accelerated aging, dryness, flaking and dullness. Adding moisture back into your air with a humidifier can help fend off these damaging effects, and will help you keep your skin glowing and vibrant.
  3. Sinus comfort: We’ve all experienced that tight, dry feeling in our nose during the cold winter months. The dry air during the winter can also deplete the moisture in your sinuses, leading to possible nose bleeds and a lowered resistance to viruses and bacteria. Humidifiers do wonders for your sinuses…and throat!
  4. No more raspy morning voice: Have you ever woken up and a raspy, dry voice in the morning? This is another effect of dry cold air that is affecting your vocal cords. Sleep with a humidifier in your bedroom to keep your throat moisturized while you sleep.
  5. Heal faster: If you do end up with a sinus infection, a cold or the flu this winter, adding a humidifier to your home will shorten your suffering. You will heal faster and reduce sneezing and coughing symptoms if you keep your nasal passages and throat moist.
  6. Healthier houseplants: Just as dry air can affect us, it can affect our houseplants too. Plants begin to suffer in dry, winter air when their soil becomes dryer than usual, making the leaves look withered and sad. Not only do plants rely on moist soil, but they also rely on moisture in the air. Adding a humidifier puts the moisture back in the air, helping keep your houseplants (and you!) healthy.
  7. Preserve wood furnishings: Just like our hands, dry air can cause wood furniture, moldings and doors to split and crack. A humidifier adds the necessary moisture into the air that helps preserve the integrity of the wood furniture and accents in your home.
  8. Lower heating bill: Interesting fact – moist air feels warmer than dry air. Using a humidifier to add moisture into your air will make it feel warmer, reducing your urge to crank up the heat and helping you save on your winter heating bills.
  9. Fewer electric shocks: Your kids may not be a fan of this one but adding humidity back into your air will reduce that static electricity shock we all experience in the dry weather.
  10. Better sleep. Have a partner who snores or snore yourself? Dry air plays a role in that too with snoring increasing if our sinuses and throats are dry. A humidifier will put that moisture back into the air we need for our throats and sinuses and make your house feel warmer and more comfortable, encouraging a good nights sleep.

Humidifier Precautions

There are so many humidifier benefits that make them a great for your home, but they can become a source of bacteria and mold if they aren’t cleaned regularly. Here’s what you need to know to keep your humidifier and your air clean.

  • Use demineralized or distilled water. Tap water contains minerals that can build up and in your humidifier and increase growth of bacteria. Using demineralized or distilled water will save you a lot of work, not having to clean your machine as often.
  • Clean once a week. The longer you wait between cleanings, the harder it will be. If you regularly clean your humidifier, it will be quick and painless and keep your home happy. If you let it go too long it will be harder to clean and you risk mold and bacteria build up.
  • Change filters regularly! Not all humidifiers come with a filter, but if yours does, change it following the manufacturer’s directions. US Home Filter has a FULL selection of humidifier pads!
  • Keep humidity levels ideal. Just as not enough humidity can cause issues, too much humidity can be just as problematic. Home improvement and electronic stores sell hygrometers that will measure the humidity in your home. Ideally, you want to keep the humidity in your home between 40-50%.

Don’t Suffer This Winter – Try a Humidifier!

Humidity is simply the level of moisture present in the air. We can utilize humidifier units to increase our level of indoor humidity, thus decreasing the level of dryness in our air. We have outlined many humidifier benefits that remove or drastically reduce some of the most annoying issues that we complain about when the air is too harsh and dry. A stand-alone unit is the least costly and easiest to set up, so if you are unsure about committing to a whole house unit, try this option first and start enjoying the results right away!

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

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

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HVAC Maintenance Tips for Fall and Winter

Fall and Winter HVAC maintenanceIt’s officially fall and for a lot of the northern states in the U.S. it’s already feeling like winter. That means that furnaces are on and running hard to keep our homes warm as the temperatures are dropping and snow is falling. During these cold nights, your HVAC system becomes the most valuable piece of equipment in your home. Yet if it’s not running properly, you’ll experience less comfort and higher energy bills. One of the largest expenses for a homeowner is heating your home and producing hot water,  so you want to keep your HVAC system running as efficiently as possible to ensure your energy bill remains as reasonable as possible. Is your furnace ready for the season’s challenges? Here are some tips to keep your HVAC running smooth and efficiently, keeping you and your family warm and your heating bills down.

1. Clean or Replace the Air Filter

Changing your air filter is one of the easiest and most important things a homeowner can do to maintain their HVAC system, which is why understanding air filters and their function is so important. Furnaces have to work harder than they need to when air filters are dirty and clogged, unnecessarily driving up energy bills. When the air flow is blocked, it can cause system malfunctions and even equipment damage. Check your air filters at least once a month during the fall and winter and if they are dirty, change them with a fresh clean air filter. US Home Filters has a vast selection of furnace filters to fit your needs! Make sure you have some on hand to make monthly maintenance stress free so you won’t be without heat when you need it the most.

2. Clean the Air Vents

The same day you change the air filters is also a good time to check your air vents. Just as we vacuum our home to get the dust and particles off the floor and carpet, the same needs to be done to the air vents. Most of the contaminants and particulates in the air that passes through your HVAC system are trapped in the air filter, but, over time, some are able to pass through and build up in the duct work. Vacuuming out your air vents will help prevent blockages and indoor air quality problems, allowing warm air to flow freely, easing temperature regulation throughout your home. If your ducts are clogged with an excessive amount of dust an debris, epa.gov recommends a thorough cleaning of the air vents. If this what you’re seeing in your HVAC system, it’s probably best to have your air vents cleaned professionally. If you see just a little bit of dust, a quick vacuum of the air vents can be done yourself to keep things running smoothly and efficiently in the fall and winter months.

3. Add or Replace Insulation

Insulation is the thermal barrier of your home, keeping heat out during the spring and summer, and in during the fall and winter, therefore playing a large role in the overall efficiency of your homes HVAC system. The more heat you are able to keep inside your home, the less your furnace has to work to keep the temperature consistent. First thing to check is your attic to make sure there is adequate insulation. If you aren’t sure if your insulation needs to be replaced to added to, don’t hesitate to call in a professional. There are many types of insulation and a professional will be able to help you select the right one and make sure your home’s insulation is adequate and efficient. The cost of adding or replacing insulation in your home is usually off set over time by the savings on your power or energy bill.

4. Install a Programmable Thermostat

It is highly recommended to have a programmable thermostat installed in your home. They take the guess work and human error out of the mix and maintain a consistent temperature throughout the day without question. They enable you to set a time for the temperature to change at the same time everyday – before you leave for work or go to bed – helping keep your thermostat set at the most efficient and energy efficient setting throughout the fall and winter months. If you already have a programmable thermostat installed, make sure it has a fresh set of batteries. To see the most energy savings, a cooler temperature is recommended when you are sleeping or not at home. According to energy.gov, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.

5. Have Your HVAC System Inspected

Having our HVAC system inspected annually ensures it is running properly. Fall is the best time to have your system inspected to make sure it’s prepared and running efficiently for the demands of winter. 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 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 in the fall and winter. US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter in your furnace is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filters, grille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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

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

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DIY How to Clean Your AC Coils

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DIY How to Clean Your AC CoilsMany times, when it comes time to perform an annual maintenance service on your HVAC system, components that are out of sight inside the system cabinet or air handler enclosure are often forgotten or overlooked. One of these important components are your AC unit’s evaporator coils. When the AC coils get dirty, the system loses efficiency and performance and can also result in a breakdown or damage to the system itself. According to energy.gov, having clean air conditioning coils is an essential part of maintaining your air conditioner. Before tackling the cleaning of your AC coils, it’s important to have some basic knowledge on how your air conditioner functions, plus the importance of the evaporator coils.

Why Evaporator Coils are Important

The evaporator coil’s primary function is to capture the heat from your home’s indoor air. While the evaporator coils do their job, the condenser coils (also commonly called the fan coils) release the trapped heat into the air around the outdoor unit. Both coils are typically made of copper and are encased by multiple aluminum fins that help improve the transfer of heat. They are located in separate areas of the HVAC system – condenser coils are in the outdoor cabinet of your system while the evaporator coils are located inside your home in the indoor air handling unit.

Evaporator coils play a vitally important role in the performance of the cooling function of your AC system by providing the cooling that is necessary to generate the cold air that keeps the indoor air of your home or business comfortable, even during the hottest of temperatures. They also play a role in the dehumidification that your HVAC system provides. Water condenses onto the coils as they become cooler, which is then removed from your indoor air. This water is then collected in the drain pan, safely flowing away from the system.

The effectiveness and performance of these two vital functions is greatly reduced when the evaporator coils get dirty. The coils are typically damp from the dehumidification process, so the dust, pollen and other particulates in the air will stick to the coils as the air passes by them. If the air filter is dirty, or no air filter is used at all, this can also increase the amount of contaminants that come in contact with the coil. When all of these factors come into play, enough dirt and dust can collect on the coils to affect their performance in a relatively short amount of time.

Problems that occur when the condenser and evaporator coils get dirty:

  • Ice buildup on coil
  • Increased wear on the system (leading to damage and malfunctions)
  • Lowered cooling capacity
  • Lowered heat transfer
  • Higher energy consumption
  • Higher temperatures and operating pressures

Dirty coils use up to 40% more energy than air conditioning units with clean coils, as well as reducing the cooling function by an estimated 30% or more. Not only will your AC unit continue to lose performance and efficiency, but your monthly utility bills will continue to sky-rocket if dirty coils are left to wreak their havoc. Evaporator coils should be checked regularly and cleaned as needed. Sometimes coils can be prone to easily collecting dirt and debris, therefore monthly cleaning may be necessary. A typical system, however, usually needs to be cleaned every 3 months during cooling season and at the very least annually during scheduled HVAC maintenance.

How to Clean Your AC Coils

The first step in cleaning your AC coils is obviously getting access to them. The evaporator coils are found inside your indoor handling unit behind the removable access panel. Before doing anything, make sure you turn the air conditioner off at the thermostat. You may want to shut off your circuit breaker just to be safe! Then, remove the screws or fasteners and loosen the panel, making sure to place the panel and screws aside where they wont get lost.

Next, use one of the following techniques to clean your AC evaporator coils:

1. Using compressed air. If there isn’t a large buildup of dirt on your coils, it can usually simply be removed with the use of compressed air to blow the dirt off the evaporator coil. You’ll want to direct the compressed air in the opposite direction of the normal air flow across the coil. Also, make sure that you use a consistent airflow across the coil, wear eye protection and use a shop vac to clean up the dirt and debris as it become dislodged.

2. Using a brush. This can be an effective technique for removing light amounts of dirt from the coils, also providing you more control on the pressure and areas that are being cleaned. With this method you’ll use the brush directly on the coils to sweep the dirt away, scrubbing if necessary for harder to remove dirt. You’ll want to use a soft brush, avoiding hard bristles or wire brushes as they can cause damage to the fins.

3. Using commercial cleaners. You’ll have choices when it comes to the selection of cleaners available for cleaning your evaporator coils. After selecting your preferred brand, follow the instructions that come with the cleaner. Let the cleaner sit and foam until both the foam and debris drain away. Reapply as necessary (or per the instructions) until the coils are free of buildup and are clean.

4. Using mild detergents and water. If you prefer not to use a commercial cleaner, a mild detergent and water works just as well sometimes to clean the coils. Mix a simple detergent and warm water in a spray bottle or garden sprayer. Spray the solution onto the evaporator coils and give it a few minutes to soak in and loosen the dirt and debris. Wipe away any loosened material with a soft brush or cloth and reapply as needed.

5. Heavy-duty cleaning. If your evaporator coils are heavily soiled, you may need to use heavy duty cleaning chemicals and equipment like a steam cleaner or pressure washer. It may also mean you need to take apart more of your AC unit than just a regular cleaning, such as the removal of the coil, cutting of the refrigerant lines, and then reassembly afterwards. If this is the case for you, you’ll want to consult with a professional HVAC contractor who can assess the job and will have the correct equipment, training and supplies to clean the coils and restore your AC system back to normal without incurring the risks of damage.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

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

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

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

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How Often Do You REALLY Need to Change Your HVAC Filter?

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dirty air filters vs clean air filtersOne of the most important things you can do on your own to take good care of your HVAC system is to simply change your air filter on a regular basis. This keeps everything working properly and also helps to keep your energy bills low. Unfortunately, it is a task that is easily forgotten by many homeowners for months at a time, leading to higher energy bills and future maintenance issues. But how often should you change your air filter? How often should you change your furnace filter? Well, it depends. Here are some general rules and recommendations to help you figure out what time frame is best for your HVAC system.

How Often to Change Home Air Filters

It is a general recommendation that you should change your air filter in your home every 30 days when using less expensive fiberglass filters. High-end pleated filters can last as long as 6 months, but these typical guidelines assume average use and don’t take into account the size and type of filter.

As a general rule, you’ll want to replace pleated air filters and furnace filters in your home every 90 days. The longer the filter is in place, the more dirt, dust and allergens are trapped clogging the filter and decreasing their efficiency. If you answer yes to any of the questions below, you’ll want to replace your filter more often than may be recommended. Find out below if perhaps you should be replacing your filter more often than you may think.

Does anyone in your house have allergies and/or asthma?

According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA), “indoor air quality is just as important as outdoor air quality. Outdoor air can contain harmful pollution. But indoor air can actually be worse than outdoor air.” If there is an asthmatic or allergy sufferer in your home, they are much more sensitive to airborne particulates than those that don’t suffer. If you answer yes to this question, you’ll want to change your filter every 6 weeks to keep your indoor air quality at its best.

Do you have any pets?

If you are a cat or dog owner you know all too well that odor can build up after time and that shedding is at its worst during the change of seasons. If you’re a pet owner, you’ll want to change your air filter every 2 months, especially when winter turns to spring and summer turns to fall.

Do you have younger children?

When you have young children in your home, you want to keep your indoor air quality at its best. To keep your air quality under control and your home clean, you’ll want to replace your filter at a minimal interval of every 2-3 months.

Things That Can Affect the Lifespan of your HVAC Air Filter:

1. How often you use your heating and cooling system

If you live in a mild climate and only use your AC or furnace a few hours a day, one filter could potentially last you a whole season or up to an entire year. On the flip side, if you’re running your HVAC system on a nearly constant basis, the filter will need to be changed every few weeks (especially if you are using fiberglass filters).

2. The size of your house

If you live in a “smaller home”, your air conditioners and furnaces are required to pump less air for the same amount of temperature change, which could mean fewer filter changes. However, the smaller the appliance used to cool the small space often come with smaller filters, therefore you may need to change the filter as often as a filter in a larger home.

3. The air quality in your home

Your air filter’s and furnace filter’s replacement cycle is also affected by the air outside and within your home. If you have poor air quality outside or pets inside, you’ll need to replace your air filter more frequently.

How to Tell When You Need to Change Your HVAC Air Filter

All of the air that circulates through your HVAC system, to either heat or cool your home, will eventually pass through the air filter. This is why it is so VERY important to keep your air filters clean and change them regularly. Dirty, clogged air filters can:

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

Air filters and furnace filters should be checked at least once a month. If they are dirty they should be changed with a fresh clean air filter. When removing the air filter from the air-handler, if you hold it up to a light source you will be able to see if the filter is dirty or clogged – if you can’t see the light through the filter, then it’s definitely time for it to be changed.

US Home Filter 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!

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.

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How to Reduce Your Home’s Humidity

How to Control Indoor Humidity LevelsThe first day of summer is upon us and that means higher humidity levels not only outside, but inside as well. As humidity increases in your home, you’ll notice your skin may feel clammy, you’ll see foggy windows or smell a musty odor. After lingering for some time, high humidity indoors will cause mold, rotting wood and damp spots throughout the home. Even if there are no signs of your home’s atmosphere is too moist, it’s extremely important to measure and control your homes indoor humidity levels. Not only will it help reduce your heating and cooling bills, but did you know that studies have shown that how happy you feel is directly related to humidity levels? You can save money and feel better both mentally and physically. It’s a win/win!

How to Reduce Home Humidity Levels

Most important: Ventilation. This is especially important in the areas of your home that create the most moisture like the bathrooms and kitchen. Washing and drying machines, showering and cooking all affect the amount of moisture in the air, especially in bathrooms when people take long hot showers. If any of these rooms have vent fans installed, make sure you use turn them on and possibly leave them on longer than usual. If they don’t, and you find that your bathrooms are especially humid, you may want to consider having vent fans installed by an electrician.

If your home does not have a ventilation system or exhaust fans, cracking the window for a little while will help dry the air out, especially in bathrooms. Shockingly, it only takes four to six pints of water to raise humidity levels inside of a 1,000-square foot radius from 15% to 60% in a short amount of time. The amount of people in your home can affect the humidity in the air as well. A 1/4 cup of water is produced from one person’s breathing over an hour period of time. Open your windows and let the air flow dry your indoor air out.

Other tips to decrease humidity levels:

  • Make sure that your exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry rooms all vent to the outside.
  • Use fans to increase ventilation and air movement
  • Take shorter, colder showers
  • Run your air conditioning and keep drain lines and drip pans clean and unobstructed
  • Keep houseplants outside or all in one room as they release moisture vapor into the air
  • Do not over water your indoor houseplants

If maintaining the humidity levels in your home has become an issue or if you are living in a poorly ventilated building, you may want to consider using a dehumidifier. These are usually placed in basements or in bathrooms without windows or in rooms of a home that need the most moisture removal.

Types of Dehumidifiers

There are many dehumidifiers on the market – from whole-house systems to small, portable devices. No matter the size, they utilize one of three technologies: Desiccant, Mechanical/Refrigerant or Peltier.

Desiccant dehumidifiers work by employing desiccants to remove humidity. Desiccants are substances that naturally absorb moisture, like those little packets of silica gel you find in your electronics boxes or vitamin bottles. This type of dehumidifier is best for moderate humidity and lower temperatures. Since no water is produced by this dehumidifier, it can withstand freezing conditions.

Mechanical/Refrigerant dehumidifiers basically work just like your refrigerator or air conditioning system. As air passes by a cooled metal plate, the airborne moisture is condensed and drips into a water tank. This type of dehumidifiers can increase air temperatures slightly and are best suited for moderate-high humidity levels and moderate-warm temperatures.

Peltier dehumidifiers are quiet and efficient, however, they are somewhat less energy efficient than the mechanical/ refrigerant dehumidifier described above. They are typically used in smaller areas such as bedrooms, bathrooms, closets and also RVs and also trap the airborne moister which drips into a reservoir. An indicator light illuminates when the water reservoir needs to be emptied.

Proper Humidity Levels Are Essential!

According to the EPA, some of the biggest threats to indoor air quality stem from moisture issues. If humidity levels in the home are not properly maintained, a plethora of hazards become abundant. From dust mites to allergens, pathogens and noxious chemicals are all more abundant in humid conditions. Lowering the moisture content in the air can reduce allergens, wheezing from asthma and chronic coughs or shortness of breath. The ideal humidity levels for your home are <60% in the summer and between 25%-40% in the winter. In bedrooms, 50% relative humidity reduces dust mites and allergens if kept there year round. Maintain proper humidity levels in your home is essential – saving you money and keeping your family healthy and happy.

US Home Filter Is Here For You

Family owned and operated for four generations now, we know all about the importance of home humidity control and have a variety of humidifier filters! Over the years our experienced staff has help thousands of customers by answering the same questions that you may have.

At US Home Filter, we appreciate each and every one of our customers. We are here to help you choose the best solutions for your individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or if you are overwhelmed by choosing the right custom size air filter, we will be happy to personally work with you to help ensure you order exactly what you need and clear up any misconceptions! For personal assistance or questions about your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to help you in selecting the perfect filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

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How VOCs Affect Your IAQ

Volatile Organic Compounds VOCs and IAQOutdoor air contaminants aren’t the only the pollution you need to be aware of in order to stay healthy. Have you ever stopped to think about all of the chemicals that make up the structure of our indoor spaces? Carpet, upholstery, paint, adhesives, copy machines, cleaning agents, etc. are all a part of our everyday lives and they bring an abundance of unhealthy chemicals into the air that we breathe. These toxins include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), e.g. formaldehyde, which cause chronic and acute health effects at high levels.

VOCs in Your Indoor Air

The EPA states that Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Shockingly, VOCs are concentrated up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors and the vast number of products that emit VOCs is in the thousands. The items listed above that are part of our everyday lives as well as perfume and even newspaper print, are all products that contain harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, acetone, benzene and terpenes.

When we breathe these chemicals into our bodies, we can be left with a variety of symptoms, such as nausea, headaches, dizziness, irritated eyes, nose and throat among others. High concentrations of VOCs have been shown to cause damage to the central nervous system, kidney and liver with long-term exposure being linked to cancer.

Keeping Your Indoor Air Clean

It seems logical that the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from VOCs is to keep them out of your home, however, that’s not always the easiest thing to do. The best thing to do is keep yourself informed on what products are available that do not contain VOCs. Carpets, paints and other home improvement products now come as “VOC-free”. You also want to avoid scented products such as air fresheners, laundry detergent and fabric softener sheets. One study examined the gases captured from washers and dryers that had used detergents and dryer sheets containing fragrance found 25+ volatile organic compounds, which included 7 hazardous air pollutants! Be weary of products with “natural” “organic” or “green” on the label as well – they can emit as many hazardous chemicals as standard ones.

Your next best defense against VOCs is good ventilation. If you do bring new items such as carpeting, furniture or curtains into your home that might not be VOC-free, keeping your windows open will allow the fumes these items give off to get out of your house. If you’re planning on painting, varnishing or using any strong glue that produces fumes, make sure you’re in a well ventilated area with plenty of air flow.

Using your home’s vent fans correctly also helps (i.e. in your kitchen and bathroom) but for the best indoor air quality, you may want to have a whole-house ventilation system installed. The ventilation system in your home should not only manage VOCs but also contaminants like mold spores, pet dander, and humidity while making sure there is proper air exchanges and ventilation. According to ACEEE (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy), “Efficient HVAC systems should ensure that occupants get adequate, filtered, fresh air. They should deliver the correct amount of air to the desired locations.”

How Can We Prevent Poor Indoor Air Quality?

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

US Home Filter is Here for YOU

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

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Energy Efficiency and IAQ

Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air QualityThere ‘s a very good chance that you’re reading this indoors right now. In fact, indoors is where the average American spends 90% of their time. When you think about air quality, you may immediately think of outdoor pollution, pollen and allergy seasons; however, the EPA reports that air pollution levels are upwards of two to five times higher inside than they are outside. Not only does indoor air pollution affect us greatly, it can also increase energy use and costs, thus lowering our overall energy efficiency.

What is Indoor Air Pollution?

HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) is the largest source of energy consumption in the USA. In fact, the EPA reports that HVAC usage alone consumes 43% of all energy used in the United States. As a homeowner, the goal is to reduce HVAC usage and lower the overall energy costs at the same time. This can be done numerous ways, such as adding some additional insulation and sealing any small holes with weather stripping and caulk. You’ll see energy costs go down when you are letting less warm air out and cold air in during the winter – or vice-a-versa in the summer.

While taking steps to make your home “airtight” to conserve energy does work, it also traps indoor air inside of your home. Recirculating within this “trapped” air can be pollutants and contaminates from paints, cleaning supplies, etc. among other airborne particles. When there isn’t proper ventilation in place, the contaminants from these products can result in “sick building syndrome” where a person’s health is adversely affected due to the amount of time spent indoors. The most important thing to remember is that it’s essential to balance the energy efficiency with your indoor air quality by making sure there is proper air exchanges and ventilation. According to ACEEE (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy), “Efficient HVAC systems should ensure that occupants get adequate, filtered, fresh air. They should deliver the correct amount of air to the desired locations. Typically, inefficient systems are not only energy-inefficient, but also ineffective at doing their intended function.”

Steps to Improving Your IAQ

1. Change your furnace filter and air filters regularly. Clean air filters are extremely important to not only maintain a fully functioning system, but also for capturing those indoor airborne pollutants effectively.

2. Take care of your home’s HVAC system. Scheduling a professional inspection twice a year and regularly changing your air filters (as mentioned above) ensures your HVAC system operates at full efficiency and rids your home of any harmful pollutants.

Common sources of indoor air pollution include:

  • Combustion – Heating your home with oil, gas, kerosene, coal or wood can generate pollutants such as smoke, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – Man-made items such as carpets, furniture, cabinetry, building materials, and paint within a home can release VOCs.
  • Household Chemicals – Personal care products (hairspray, cosmetics), glues, cleaning products, and air-fresheners can all be respiratory irritants.
  • Natural Sources – Environmental contaminants such as pollen, mold, mildew, dust and pet dander are all natural sources of indoor air pollutants.

3. Ensure your home is properly ventilated. It is important to vent contaminated air and excess humidity out of your home year round. Kitchens and bathrooms should have operational exhaust fans that vent contaminated, moisture-laden air from your home.

4. Add a touch of green life throughout your home. Houseplants are very effective at cleaning indoor air as they remove contaminants from the air and emit fresh oxygen. For max efficiency, add one houseplant per every 100 square feet of home.

Additional Steps to a More Energy Efficient Home

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or LEDs.
  • Install and use a programmable thermostat.
  • Wash clothing in cold water.
  • Use ceiling fans to supplement heating and cooling system operation.
  • Replace older appliances with ENERGY STAR-qualified models.
  • Unplug unused electronic devices or place them on a power strip that can switch off multiple appliances simultaneously.

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.

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Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

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

HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Indoor DIY Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

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

Outdoor DIY Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

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

Hire a Professional

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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Green Cleaning Tips to Reduce Home Allergens

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

Tips for Reducing Indoor Allergens In Your Home or Office

Go “Green” With Your Cleaning Supplies

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

Reduce Pet Allergens

We love our pets, but it’s true, our four-legged fur babies make a huge contribution to allergens in our homes. In fact, up to 30% of all people with allergies have reactions to cats and dogs. Luckily, there are steps you can take to cohabitate with your pets without sneezing every time that they come into the room. First off, create a specific area in your home for your pet and make sure that its easy to clean. Keep soft furnishings to a minimum and make sure that they’re machine washable. You may also want to invest in a filter with a MERV rating of 8-13 to keep the air free from pet allergens – these filters can reduce pet allergens in the air substantially. We recommend our highest-rated MERV 13 pleated filters for your home or business if you are looking for the highest level of air quality and suffer from severe allergies such as those that can be triggered by your loving pets. Vacuum regularly and bathe your dog twice a week – don’t forget to find a pet shampoo that contains natural and plant based ingredients!

Control Your Heat and Humidity

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

Change Your HVAC Filter Regularly

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

US Home Filter’s is Here for YOU

Determining the size that your system requires and choosing the MERV rating that is best for you can be a little overwhelming, especially if you have never purchased air filters for your home or if you have a new unit or home to buy filters for. You can take a look at our air filter measurement guide to help you pick the right size or call us and we can easily assist you with ordering the exact air filter size you need and recommend the best rating for you depending on the level of filtration you want. Whether you need AC or furnace filters, a specialty Whole House filter, a Grille filter, or even a custom air filter size, we have a professional and helpful staff ready to take care of you!

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Duct Cleaning – What You Should Know

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

What Is Duct Cleaning?

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

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

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

What Is Used to Clean Ducts?

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

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

Avoiding Scams

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

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

Consumer Checklist

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

Read information from different trusted online sources

Read independent reviews and recommendations for companies you are considering

Get more than one estimate and references from each company

Choose a verified member of the NADCA to perform the service

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

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