Signs You Need to Replace Your HVAC System

HVAC SystemReplace my AC or HVAC unit? How do I know? Summer is approaching which means that your HVAC system is going to be working overtime. Air conditioning systems are one of the largest investments we make for our homes, so of course you want to get the most out of yours, right? Even if you keep your HVAC system well maintained, plus clean and change your filter regularly, it’s going to have to replaced at some point. Older or damaged HVAC systems can result in increased energy bills and poor indoor air quality (IAQ). The good news? Newer HVAC systems are up to sixty percent (60%) more efficient than most of the older models – saving you money in the long run. But while installing a new HVAC system is a terrific (yet pricey) investment, most homeowners will only get a new system when the old one stops working. But is that really a good idea? Or are there signs to look for letting you know its time to be replaced?

7 Signs it’s Time to Replace Your HVAC System

1. Your System is Greater than 10 Years Old

Do you even know when your HVAC system was installed? According to the Department of Energy, air conditioning systems should be replaced every 10-15 years. Although durable, the major components of any HVAC system will begin to deteriorate after around 10 years (dependent obviously upon how often they’re used and how well they’re maintained). Systems that are over 10 years old also use a type of Freon (R-22) that is not only outdated, but also is extremely harmful to the environment. When a newer unit is installed, you will not only lower your energy bills but also help to reduce your carbon footprint on the environment.

2. Repair Costs are Greater Than Half the Cost of a New System

Many times as an AC unit is going and growing old, you’ll find yourself having to pay for frequent repairs to the system and eventually replacing some of the major components. When that starts happening, it’s time to see if replacing parts is really going to be saving you any money in the long run. If the repair costs are greater than half the cost of a new system, then it’s time to be “out with the old and in with the new”. Purchasing a new system will be a smart investment, saving you money in the long run, as well as reducing your immediate energy costs.

3. Your Energy Bills Keep Going Up

It is normal to expect increases and decreases to your energy costs as the seasons change, but each individual month should be relatively the same compared to the year before. If you have unusually high energy bills in a month where it’s not expected, it is a sign that your HVAC system needs to be serviced and possibly replaced – the older the system becomes, the less efficient it becomes. Regular maintenance (especially changing your air filters monthly), will increase the life of your HVAC system and keep it running efficiently as possible… but at some point you will need to upgrade it to a newer system. The good news is that installing a new air conditioner can cut down on your total energy bills by as much as 20%. Many people find that over a relatively short period of time their new AC unit has actually paid for itself!

4. Your House is Always a Little too Hot, or Else It’s a Little too Cold

An old HVAC system will have problems keeping your house at a consistent temperature. It could be a maintenance issue (e.g. a damaged or inaccurate thermostat, low fluid levels, cracked ducts, clogged filters, etc.); however, temperature inconsistencies usually mean that your AC system is either not powerful enough or that the duct work is not properly installed. Either way, keeping an HVAC system that is not working properly and efficiently is going to result in an uncomfortable home environment and much higher energy bills.

5. You’re Noticing More Dust in Your Home

In addition to providing you with cooled or heated air in your home, your HVAC system is also responsible for providing proper ventilation. When working properly, the system should improve your home’s IAQ (indoor air quality) by removing dust, dander, dirt, and other debris and by controlling the humidity. If you are noticing an increase in the amount of dust in your home, it could be a sign that your air conditioning system is no longer operating efficiently enough to remove it.

6. Unusual Smells & Odd Sounds

If you notice an unusual smell coming from your HVAC system, it could be just dust burning off; however, it could be something much more serious, such as melting wiring or mold in the ducts. If it is a more concerning odor, turn off your system immediately and get it inspected right away.

A properly working HVAC system should also be relatively quiet. If you hear noises that sound like grinding or squealing, this is also a sign that you need to have your system inspected immediately.

7. You Have Poor Indoor Air Quality

Your air conditioner is the biggest factor when it comes to your homes indoor air quality, especially during the summer. The air conditioning unit may be damaged if you notice mold, mildew, dust or unusual humidity levels and all may be signs that your system should be replaced. Always keep in mind that a  NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) research study concluded that over fifty percent (52%) of Sick Building Syndrome cases could be traced back to inadequate ventilation!

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.

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.

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!

 

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!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning Your HVAC Unit

Spring Cleaning your HVAC unitSpring is around the corner and “Spring Cleaning” has become a tradition in many households throughout the country. As you open up your windows, both letting the fresh air in and dusting off everything that has been in winter hibernation, it’s important not to forget your HVAC system! The weather will gradually get warmer, and when it does, you’ll want your A/C unit working at its peak performance. Proper maintenance of your HVAC system ensures that your unit is running efficiently and doing its job. When this is done, you’re able to maximize your use of energy which is not only good for the environment, but also good for your monthly power bills.

Steps To Take To “Spring Clean” Your HVAC System

Change Your Air Filter

We cannot stress enough the importance of a clean air filter, as you may have noticed from several of our previous blog posts (like winterizing your HVAC unit). Clean air filters keep the air in your home free from harmful pollutants that are potentially hazardous to your health and that of your family. Since all of the the air that circulates through your HVAC system eventually passes through the air filter, it’s so VERY important to keep your air filters clean and change them regularly. Dirty, clogged air filters can:

  • Cause severe HVAC system malfunctions and equipment damage.
  • Reduce airflow inside the HVAC system.
  • NOT remove particulates and contaminants as effectively as they should. (These are then released back into the air that you breathe).
  • Result in duct work build up and damage.
  • Cause the HVAC equipment to work harder, increasing your energy usage and therefore your monthly electric bill.

Air filters should be checked at least a minimum of once a month and if they are dirty they should be removed and changed out for a fresh, clean air filter. A helpful tip to know if your filter is dirty or not: hold it up to a light source – if you can’t see the light through the filter, then it’s time for a new one.

Air Duct Cleaning

During the fall and winter months, as the heat passes through your HVAC system, most of the contaminants are trapped in the air filter; however, some do pass through which can lead to a build up in the duct work over a period of time. To prevent potential air flow blockages and indoor air quality problems, plus keep the temperature in your home consistent, vacuuming out the air vents is highly recommended. According to EPA.gov, a thorough cleaning of the air vents is recommended if the ducts are clogged with an excessive amount of dust and debris or if there is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. If this sounds like your home, call a professional to clean your air ducts. Otherwise, a quick vacuuming may be sufficient.

Clean Standing Water By Your HVAC Unit

Moisture is one of the main requirements needed for mold to thrive and molds can grow and multiply in temperatures between 32 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If there are standing pools of water near your HVAC unit, the mold will grow and increase as the temperature rises and result in the moldy and musty smell to start blowing into your home. Standing water will also do swift and severe damage to whatever it touches, so its very important to get any areas cleaned up, preventing water damage to your HVAC unit and keeping the air in your home free from mold and mustiness. Here are some reasons you may find water around your HVAC unit:

  • PVC drain line is plugged
  • Filter is plugged
  • Drain pan has a leak
  • Condensation pump issues

Remove Plants And Weeds From Around Outside Unit

As spring approaches, plants and weeds start to grow and they also grow around your outside HVAC unit. Trimming back these plants is one of the easiest ways to keep your energy bills low. If plants and weeds grow too close to your HVAC unit, it can restrict air flow to your system causing higher bills and shorter equipment life. You should have at least 24 inches (or two feet) of distance between your landscaping and your air conditioning unit. This allows enough adequate air flow to the unit, keeping it cool and preventing your HVAC unit from possibly overheating. It also reduces overall electrical consumption. So be sure to add ground clearing around your AC unit to your spring cleaning list!

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.

 

Myths About Pet Allergies

Did you know that over 60% of homes in the US own at least one pet? It is estimated that about 161 million of these pets consist of cats and dogs, the most popular domesticated household pets. Americans do love their pets, but about 15% of us are allergic to them. So if you enjoy having a furry companion but suffer the side effects caused by a pet allergy, you are definitely not alone. If you are fortunate enough not to be affected by pet dander, you most likely have a friend or family member that is. There is quite a bit of resourceful information available on the subject of pet allergies. And like most other subjects, you can find some inaccurate information that causes confusion. Here are some of the most popular misconceptions about allergies to animals.

Myth #1 Animal Hair Triggers Allergic Reactions

It is a common belief that animal hair is the cause of an allergic response to animals. While pet fur can certainly add to the problem and steps should be taken to keep the home as hair-free as possible, it is most important to recognize the actual source of the allergen. The proteins secreted in the saliva and skin of warm-blooded animals, not just cats and dogs, is the root cause of the allergy. These proteins are transferred onto the animal hair and surrounding surfaces, especially during the grooming process. So while more hair will result in more surface for the protein to adhere to, the hair in and of itself is not the source of the allergy.

Myth #2 Hairless Pets Are Hypoallergenic

Nice thought, but no. If it is warm-blooded, grooms itself or sheds skin, it can trigger an allergic response. Again, less hair certainly means less surface to collect dander and the proteins that cause the allergy, but there is no specific cat or dog that is certified as allergy-free. The levels of proteins (for example, Fel d 1 in cats) is unique to every individual cat. So finding that one particular cat does not inflame your allergies does not mean that all cats of that breed will produce the same results.

Myth #3 Pet Dander Is Only Present In Homes With Pets

That would seem logical and wonderful at the same time, but is unfortunately untrue. In fact, according to an in-depth study of the presence of animal allergens in the environment, cat and dog allergens can be detected in all variations of indoor environments even when a cat or dog has never been there. So this includes new construction, schools, museums, offices, and vehicles to name a few. Why would a brand new home or a school test positive for levels of these allergens when an animal has never been inside them? Due to the sticky nature of pet dander it is introduced to all of these unsuspecting environments due to the transfer effect, meaning it is carried on clothing or objects that have come in contact with an animal in another setting and then deposited in a new setting. Of course, the level of concentration of these allergy-causing proteins will be much higher in a home with pets. The highest levels are found in homes with pets that are primarily kept indoors.

Myth #4 The Only Pets That People Are Allergic To Are Cats And Dogs

Sometimes when there is a known allergy to cats or dogs, it may seem like a great option to get another type of animal such as a ferret or hamster. The truth is that every warm-blooded animal out there, domestic or wild, can have dander. All dander has the potential to trigger an allergic reaction as the protein that causes the symptoms is secreted through the skin and saliva. In some animals, such as birds and reptiles, allergens are transmitted through feathers and droppings. So all animals, including fuzzy guinea pigs, farm animals, and wild animals, can produce allergic reactions.

Myth #5 Pet Allergies Aren’t That Big Of A Deal

It’s a pretty common belief that the only thing you have to worry about if you have pet allergies is itchy eyes and sneezing. That’s a belief held mostly by those who do not suffer from a pet allergy. It would be wonderful if all you got was a little sniffle after cuddling with your fat, furry cat. Most of us that are allergic to cats, dogs, and other animals experience a greater number of symptoms. Sometimes, the range of reactions can be quite bothersome and severe. Some individuals react only after close and prolonged cuddling with an animal while others can simply exhibit symptoms just by being in the same home with one. While the idea of cat or dog allergies can be minimized by some, this list of possible reactions certainly matters to those who experience it:

  • sneezing, runny nose
  • itchy, red, swollen, watery eyes
  • sinus congestion, coughing
  • disrupted sleep
  • difficult, labored breathing
  • tightness in chest, wheezing
  • allergic dermatitis
  • eczema, hives

Myth #6 Removing The Animal Will Provide Immediate Relief

Obviously, the less exposure the less intense the symptoms will likely become. But if the symptoms are still going strong after the pet has been removed, don’t be surprised. It can take up to several months before symptoms improve or disappear. It will require a high level of filtration and deep cleaning to remove the dander as it is capable of attaching to almost any type of indoor surface and over time becomes embedded in cloth surfaces such as furniture, bedding, carpeting, and window coverings.

Myth #7 If You Have a Pet Allergy, You Must Get Rid Of Your Pet

Sometimes, this is the very unfortunate truth. But it is not absolutely the only choice in every situation. In certain cases you may be forced to rehome your pet, but there are times where it can depend on personal choice and being fortunate enough to find successful ways to reduce and manage the symptoms so you and your companion can remain together. Here are a few tips on balancing your allergy symptoms and keeping a pet:

  • use free-standing room air cleaners to add extra filtration to rooms where your pet is most often
  • use high-efficiency pleated air filters to keep your indoor air as clean as possible
  • make your bedroom a “no pet zone” to minimize the concentration of dander where you sleep
  • wash your hands often to prevent the transfer of dander to other surfaces as much as possible
  • saving the most fun part for last, when it comes to dander you cannot clean too much!

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 desire the cleanest air possible 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!