Understanding Your HVAC System

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Tips for Winterizing your HVAC systemHVAC systems are a part of our everyday lives. But do you have a good understanding of what your HVAC system actually does and how it works? Do you know what HVAC stands for? Your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system’s primary jobs are to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, as well as maintaining the highest possible levels of air quality in your home. Understanding your HVAC system’s key roles and how it operates is important as a homeowner, allowing you to get the most out of your system without “breaking the bank”.

Heating

The bitter cold and snow has arrived in many parts of the country, so our HVAC systems are working hard to provide us with the heat and comfort we need throughout the cold days and frigid nights. Since this system is working overtime, knowing how your furnace works can help you to better troubleshoot problems if something does go wrong. According to the Department of Energy, heating accounts for around 45% of energy bills in the United States, so the more we know, the better.

It is the heating component of your HVAC system that provides the warmer climate for your home in the cold months. Most homes have a forced air heating system, but you may have a different type of system, such as a heat pump, broiler or active solar heating. Heating systems that utilize radiators and heat water are called boilers. Heat pumps function like an air conditioner, only working in reverse. Many furnaces run on natural gas, but not all of them. You may have an electric furnace or one that runs on heating oil or propane. No matter what the system your home has, all of them create heat at a central source and disperse the warm air throughout your home by different means.

  • Forced Air: With a forced air system, a furnace is used to heat the air, which is then distributed throughout your home through the duct-work and in-room vents.
  • Radiant Heating Systems: With radiant heating systems, a boiler or heating stove is used to disperse the heat throughout your home by way of hot water tubing or electric heating coils that are installed in the floors or ceiling.
  • Geothermal Heating: With geothermal heating, a heat exchanger is used to generate heat from the sun’s rays that are absorbed into the ground.

Ventilation

When working properly, your HVAC system should improve your home’s IAQ (indoor air quality) by removing dust, dander, dirt, and other debris and by controlling the humidity in your home via ventilation. When your home is properly ventilated, contaminated air and excess humidity are vented out of your home year round. Just like the heating element of your HVAC system, this can be done a multitude of different ways depending upon the age of your home and the system you have. Some ventilation is mechanical, while other times the system may rely on fans and windows, or use a combination of the two.

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

If your home does not have a forced air system, filtering your air can also be done by the use of air purifiers, humidifiers, air cleaners, and dehumidifiers. No matter what, having a good understanding of how your home is ventilated and properly filtering your air is an important step to figuring out any allergy or breathing issues you or your family may be experiencing throughout the year.

Air Conditioning

Lastly, but certainly not least, in addition to heating and ventilating your home, your HVAC system is also responsible for keeping you cool during the warm summer weather. As with heating and ventilation systems, there are many different types of AC units. Central air is the most popular and is used in conjunction with your forced air system. There are also window AC units, portable AC units and split or ductless AC units, all which use a similar process to cool your home.

Your AC system uses a refrigerant that, as it is circulated, changes from a gas to a liquid as it traps the heat from your home and expels it. The warm vapor refrigerant is passed through the compressor where it turns into hot refrigerant vapor and moves into the condenser. The air of the condenser fan cools the hot vapor and as it passes over the finned coils it turns into a hot liquid. As the hot liquid is passed through an expansion valve, a low pressure, cool liquid mist is created which runs through the evaporator coil. As this mist evaporates, it absorbs the heat from the air inside your home and is then returned to the compressor, starting the process over again. The heat that is absorbed is pushed outside by your AC system, therefore cooling the air in your home.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into your HVAC system. Now that you have a better understanding of how all the components work, you can be better prepared to maintain your system and/or know when to call a professional in for help.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit Every HVAC System

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.

The Four Main Types of HVAC Systems

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HVAC SystemsHVAC systems are relatively easy to operate for most people. When you want it cooler, you lower the temperature. When you want it warmer, you turn the temperature up a few degrees. But do you know how your HVAC system actually works? HVAC systems are something that are pretty standard on homes these days, yet most homeowners don’t know what type of system that is actually installed in their home. It may seem like something relatively unimportant, but if you don’t know about what type of HVAC system you have it may make seeking repairs or replacing the system more difficult. So, if you don’t know what type of HVAC system you have, let’s start by discussing the four most common heating and cooling systems or HVAC systems seen:

Single or Multi-Stage Heating and Cooling Systems

If you have a single stage heating or cooling system, your furnace and air conditioner has only a single level of heat or cold output. These types of systems are most popular in areas where there are extreme weather conditions – such as very cold winters and hot and humid seasons. They are designed to provide the most comfort possible in these drastic weather conditions; however, this also means that the HVAC unit is running at full capacity for the most part, even when its not actually necessary or needed.

This leads us to multi-stage heating and cooling systems. With multi-stage, you can vary the output of cold or heat. If you don’t live in an area with extreme weather conditions, but on certain days experience weather where you might need a little more cooling or a little more heat, you can adjust the output to match what is actually needed and this saves you money.

Zoned HVAC Systems

Zoned HVAC systems are heating and cooling units that are able to heat or cool separate parts of your home, aka”zones”. With this type of system there are zone valves or zone dampers inside the ductwork that you are able to control. By dividing your house into zones, you can drastically cut down your energy costs as you are only using the heating or cooling where it is needed. Why cool a zone in your house that is infrequently used?

Humidity Control Systems

Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are a necessity if you live is a dry or very humid climate. With zoned HVAC units, you are able to bring the humidity up or down to 50%, controlling the level of humidity in your home. 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.

Unfortunately, with forced-water heating systems, you cannot use humidifier and dehumidifier units. If  a humidifier or dehumidifier unit is installed into the air conditioning or furnace, you have to turn the system on in order to control the humidity levels. The other option is to install separate humidifier/dehumidifier systems that you can control separately from you heating and cooling system.

Heating HVAC Systems

Modern heating systems are able to convert almost all the fuel into heat, achieving nearly 97% efficiency. They can be categorized into two main groups:

Furnaces

Furnaces delivers heated air via ductwork and normally function on natural gas or propane for fuel, but all-electric furnaces are used too.

Forced water systems

A boiler is used as the heat source for a forced water heating system and the heated water is then delivered across the house either by circulator pumps or zone valves.

You can also use electric heat pumps instead of using furnaces and forced water systems to either heat or cool different parts of your home. A heat pump can be used to reduce costs if you feel like your furnace is using too much fuel. There are also hydronic heating systems or radiant floor heating units that involve installing pipes beneath the floor. A glycol solution or water is pumped into flexible tubes which then heat the floor. In order to use a hydronic heating system, a boiler or heat pump is required in order for it to work.

Cooling HVAC Systems

Most homes across the United States are cooled by way of air conditioning units. According to the Residential Energy Consumption Survey of 2015, 87% of homes in the United States use air conditioning equipment and the number continues to grow over time. Here are the four different types of air conditioners:

Window Air Conditioner

A window AC unit is the most commonly used air conditioner for single rooms. Components that make the window air conditioner work (the condenser, compressor, cooling coil and expansion valve) are all contained in one box and is typically installed on a windowsill, as its name suggests.

Mini-Split Air Conditioner

The mini-split air conditioner is comprised of 2 parts – an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. Indoor air handlers are mounted on the wall, ceiling or floor and this system is also capable of having multiple zones throughout the home. Contrary to a window AC unit, a wall slot is not required for installation, rather they only require a small hole through the wall where the copper line set is run and can be used to cool more than one room at a time, separately.

Packaged Air Conditioner

This type of air conditioner is best used for cooling large spaces in an office or in a home. The whole unite is outside and connected to the ductwork that runs through the building.

Central Air Conditioning System

The most versatile system, central air-conditioning systems can be used to cool various spaces such as entire hotels, offices, gyms, factories, movie theaters as well as houses. Included in the central AC system is one large compressor that is capable of producing tons of cool air.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

Regardless of the HVAC system you have installed in your home, it is important that every unit has a quality filter that fits correctly. Doing so ensures your indoor air is clean and your unit is running at maximum efficiency. Changing the filter in your HVAC system is as important as changing the oil in your car and, US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units! We can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available from standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filters, grille filters and humidifier filters, we’ve got you covered!

Order Now 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 our experienced staff is here to help answer any questions you may have. If you need personal assistance with selecting the right air filter for your needs, contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

 

What Does Energy Efficiency Really Mean?

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What Does Energy Efficiency Really Mean?As you’re shopping for new appliances or seeing commercials for them on TV, you probably see the term ‘energy efficiency’ a lot. From advertisements to product labels to promises of rebates or incentives, they all use the phrase; but do you know what it actually means to be energy efficient? According to BusinessDictonary, the definition of energy efficiency is “the percentage of total energy input to a machine or equipment that is consumed in useful work and not wasted as useless heat.” So in layman’s terms, something is more energy efficient if it uses the same amount of energy as a traditional type of the same product, but now it works better or lasts longer. It can also mean that it uses less energy than the traditional version, but still performs the same.

Basically, being energy efficient means using less energy but doing more, without the excessive waste. Let’s take the light bulb as an example. The traditional style of light bulbs wasted a lot of heat as they produced the light. Now, with energy-saving light bulbs, the same amount of light is created without the side-effect of excessive and wasted heat, therefore using less energy to produce the same amount of light. Voila – energy efficient!

This concept applies across all energy-saving appliances and products. An energy-efficient washing machine will wash your clothes just as well, if not better, using as much power or less than the older version, just as an energy efficient fridge still keeps your food fresh and cool using less energy than the older models did.

The term energy efficient can also be used in a broader sense. Take a building for example, instead of a single appliance or product. If one building uses the same amount of energy to create cool air as another building, the building that can stay cooler and retain more cool air, rather than only creating a small amount and losing it, is by definition the more energy efficient building.

Why Should We Be Energy Efficient?

Over the last few decades, energy consumption has extremely been steadily increasing. Our planet only has so much natural resources and, as we use those resources up, pollution contaminates the air we breathe and vital habitats are being destroyed. Becoming more energy efficient helps manage the growth of energy consumption, therefor limiting its growth rate. This all helps to safeguard our planet, saving natural habitats and ensuring that future generations have energy to use.

What is Energy Consumption?

Energy consumption is measured by looking at the amount of energy used up by a product, system or appliance. This can be measured by a person, a business or an entire country. Energy conservation means using less energy, very little energy, or even none at all. You can also estimate your home appliance and home electric energy use to see where you are using too much and what you can change to conserve energy. Energy.gov provides a calculator that does just this, allowing you to find the annual energy consumption of a product, as well as the cost to operate it.

Why is Energy Efficiency Important?

There are three main reasons energy efficiency is so very important and plays a vital role in our everyday lives.

  1. The Environment – As we use more energy, more carbon emissions are released into the atmosphere, depleting natural resources just as gas, coal and oil. By making sure we use energy as efficiently as possible, we reduce our dependence on these energy sources.
  2. The Economy – Oil and gas are two of the most important natural resources that our global economy is heavily based on. As these resources are used up and become scarcer and less available, while our reliance on them stays the same (or even increases), their cost increases resulting in both financial stress and energy deficiency in many areas of the world.
  3. Your Check Book – It’s not in anyone’s plans to pay more than necessary for necessities like water and heat, so to keep these costs down it is imperative to be energy efficient. The goal is to meet your energy needs, yet still pay as little as possible for that energy.

How Can You Be More Energy Efficient?

As with most things, becoming more energy efficient starts at home. Use the energy consumption calculator mentioned above for all of the electrical appliances in your home. Please note, however, that if you find something in your home isn’t energy efficient, it is NOT energy efficient to throw the product away and replace it immediately with a new energy efficient one. It is better to wait until they wear out and then replace them with new, energy-saving items.

Here are a few ways you can get started:

  • Use less electricity
    • Turn off appliances and lights not being used
    • Invest in rechargeable batteries
    • Shut your computer down when not in use
  • Switch to energy-saving light bulbs
    • These use up to 80% less electricity than traditional light bulbs and can last ten times longer
  • Cut down the cost of heating and cooling your home
    • Set your water heater to 120 degrees
    • Invest in a programmable thermostat
    • Set your AC to 78 degrees when you’re home and increase by 10-15 degrees when you’re away
    • Set your heat to 68 degrees when you’re home and lower by 5-10 degrees when you’re away
    • Insulate your roof and walls

US Home Filter Is Here For You

Family owned and operated for four generations now, we know all about the importance of energy efficiency. Improving air filtration is the most beneficial thing that can be done to keep your HVAC system energy efficient. Air filtration provides us with a means to attain the desired level of indoor air quality. Air filters have 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, cleaner air in our homes and businesses, and energy-efficient HVAC systems.

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.

 

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.

How to Reduce Your Home’s Humidity

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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.

How VOCs Affect Your IAQ

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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!

Thermostat Tips for Each Season

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programmable thermostatProgrammable thermostats help you manage your energy usage for when the cooling system is needed most, plus takes the guess work and human error out of the mix. However, a study done by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab showed that almost 90% of Americans say that they’ve rarely, or never have, programmed their thermostats because they don’t know how. Fortunately it’s not hard and its worth learning to do as it can save you a minimum of 10% each year on your heating and cooling costs. According to energy.gov, you can save as much as ten percent (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.

The first thing to do is figure out the right thermostat to fit your scheduling needs. The goal is to “set it and forget it,” which will enable you to get the most savings possible.

Four Types of Programmable Thermostats

7-day programming: This type of thermostat lets you program a different heating and cooling schedule for the entire week. It is by far the most flexible option, so if you have a busy schedule, this one is worth considering.

5-1-1 programming: The programming on this thermostat breaks apart the 5 weekdays from the 2 weekend days. You set one heating and cooling schedule for Monday through Friday, and then different heating and cooling plans for Saturday and Sunday individually.

5-2 programming: This follows the same programming functionality as 5-1-1 except Saturday and Sunday cannot be scheduled separately – they will have the same heating and cooling schedule.

1-week programming: Here you set one schedule and that heating and cooling plan will be used for the entire 7 day week.

With all of the programmable thermostat types above, you’ll also need to set a program for the heat in the cooler or chillier months as well as the air conditioning in the warmer months. You also want to be sure to figure out what type of equipment your HVAC system uses. If you choose a programmable thermostat that is not compatible with your equipment, you may end up actually causing damage and not see any of the energy savings that the correct thermostat could provide.

Update the Factory Settings

Typically, when you buy a programmable thermostat, it comes with pre-programmed settings. These settings are based on the typical American family, which may not fit your individual family’s needs. This may seem intimidating, but the best part is that you’ll only have to do this once.

Programming options are based on:

  1. Wake Time
  2. Sleep Time
  3. Leave Time
  4. Return Time

The Department of Energy suggests the following settings as an energy-saving rule of thumb:

Winter months: Set the thermostat to 68°F while you’re home and awake and lower it by at least 10° while you’re asleep or you’re away from your home.

Summer months: Follow the same strategy as the winter months, but keep your house warmer than normal when you are away and cooler when you are at home. For the hours you are home, set the thermostat to 78°F. For the hours that you are away, set the temperature as high as comfortably possible, keeping in mind that you also need to control the humidity. Note: The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.

Set-It-And-Forget-It Tips:

  • Turn off the heat or air conditioning 20-30 minutes before you leave your home
  • Turn on the heat or air conditioning 20-30 minutes before you come home
  • Reduce the heating or cooling temperature 1 hour before you go to sleep
  • Increase the heating or cooling ~30 minutes before you wake up in the morning

You may need to take a few days tweaking your program to get it exactly where it needs to be to suit your specific needs. Also, it’s important to note that a furnace does not have to work any harder to warm up your house after the temperature has been lowered while you’re out of the house during the day.

Consider a Wifi Thermostat

New Wifi-enabled programmable thermostats allow you to control your home’s temperature from where ever you may be. This is especially useful when you’re on vacation and you need to create a new program. Two of the newer Wifi-enabled thermostats available are:

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat: This thermostat has a large color interface that has a simple menu that literally walks you through the custom heating and cooling  programming steps. It’s also a smart device – learning when your home and also sending you personal notifications if the temperature isn’t right or if the power has gone out. Price: Around $200.

The Nest Learning Thermostat: This thermostat uses motion detection technology to create a custom heating and cooling schedule for your home. Price: Around $250.

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.

 

 

 

What Hypoallergenic Really Means

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What does the term hypoallergenic really mean?Hypoallergenic is a term seen everywhere these days. From pets to cosmetics and everything in between, there seems to be a new, hypoallergenic alternative available. But what does that mean? Targeted at allergy sufferers, hypoallergenic products make otherwise unusable or unattainable products seem appealing. With promises of fewer health risks and allergy attacks, these products provide the ability to do things one may not be able to do otherwise – such as owning the pet you’ve always wanted or wearing the perfume you love the smell of so much. But is this actually true? Can products, even animals, truly be hypoallergenic and safer for those who suffer from allergies?

What Is The Definition of Hypoallergenic?

Its important to first understand what the term hypoallergenic actually means.

According to the FDA, hypoallergenic products are those that manufacturers claim produce fewer allergic reactions than other products. Consumers with hypersensitive skin, and even those with “normal” skin, may be led to believe that these products will be gentler to their skin than non-hypoallergenic cosmetics. In literal terms, the word hypoallergenic actually means “less allergenic” or in more friendly terms, “allergy friendly”. Products labeled as such are reportedly ‘less likely’ to cause an allergic reaction because they are supposed to contain less allergens (the substances and particles that cause allergy sufferers to have a reaction).

Interestingly enough, there are no Federal standards that govern the use of the term hyper-allergenic or its definition. It basically means whatever the company producing the product wants it to mean. There are also no regulations in place that require manufacturers that use this label to submit substantiation of their products hypoallergenicity claims to FDA. This provides a huge loop hole in promoting hypoallergenic products on the retail level, thus increasing the market value; however, dermatologists say it has very little meaning.

Hypoallergenic Cosmetics

So where did this relatively meaningless term come from? The term was invented in a 1953 cosmetics campaign to promote a new line of make-up and has no medical or scientific meaning. It has since blown up in the cosmetic world. Mascara making your eyes red and irritated? Lotion causing redness and itchy skin? Try this hypoallergenic formula! As it turns out it’s all just a marketing ploy to sell more cosmetics to those consumers manufactures would’ve otherwise lost a sale to. Over time, there have been many agencies and organizations that have tried to get some sort of regulation in place for the term, but so far the attempts have been unsuccessful in the US Court system.

The main reason for the lack of regulation for the hypoallergenic label is the perplexing nature of allergies themselves. What causes allergic reactions when comparing one person to another is not completely understood yet. Two people can have the same allergy, but react to it differently, so no allergies are exactly the same. This is why hypoallergenic products mean “less allergenic” and not “allergy free”. The cosmetics industry, nor federal regulations, can not ever guarantee that a particular product will never cause an allergic reaction in every individual person. Rather, it can only be taken to mean that the product would be less likely to cause a reaction when compared to another similar product with different ingredients known to cause allergic reactions in many individuals.

Hypoallergenic Pets

Another popular place you’ll see the term hypoallergenic is with pets. According to Wikipedia, the definition of “hypoallergenic pets” is: breeds of pet animals (e.g., some breeds of dogs) that are less likely to trigger allergic reactions in people who are sensitized to the pet species (e.g., in people generally allergic to dogs).

This sounds like the best bet for those who have pet allergies – enabling them to have a pet in their home where a fur-baby would otherwise never be possible. The breeds promoted as hypoallergenic are those that do not shed their hair, or shed very little hair, but this is not where the entire allergy stems from. The proteins that cause the allergic reactions are not only in the animal’s fur/hair, but are also in their mucous, urine, saliva and in the dander sloughed from the animal’s skin. A recent study also showed that the amount of allergens found in homes with supposed hypoallergenic breeds were no different than those found in homes with pets considered non-hypoallergenic.

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters to Help Reduce Allergens

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

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.

Benefits of Attic Fans and Ventilation

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attic fans and proper attic ventilationIt’s a fact that heat rises, and your attic is the highest spot in the house. Even on a moderately warm, eighty-degree day, your attic can be as hot as 100 degrees, which can be damaging to the major house components that are often located in the home’s attic space. Attic fans can make a significant difference in energy costs and in the lifespan of major components such as insulation, venting, plumbing and electrical wiring. That is why more and more new homes are being built with whole house fan systems that keep heat from building up in the huse’s dead air spaces.

Benefits of Improved Attic Ventilation

According to Energy.gov, ventilation is the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool buildings. Ventilation works best when combined with methods to avoid heat buildup in your home.

Today’s attic fans are integrated with the roof shingles and use very little energy (less than 300 Watts each). Since the attic acts as a “buffer zone” between the interior of your home and the outside world, its important to regulate the temperature in this zone to maintain a consistent temperature in your living space. In fact, attic fans can:

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

As another layer of protection from the heat and cold for your home, attic insulation is installed. Attic insulation hinders the upward movement of heat, retaining cooler air in during the summer months and keeping your home warmer in the winter months. You will also notice built in paper or aluminum foil forward facing on the insulation panels. These are air-vapor barriers that help to keep moisture that rises up from inside the home from penetrating the insulation.

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

Types of Attic Ventilation

  1. Non-Mechanical Attic Ventilation – This is seen in many older homes (pre-1980) and called “gable vents”. They are screened and louvered vents that are located up near the roof peak in the side walls of the attic. They are quite efficient at keeping the highest airspace in the attic cooler; however, they often cause hot spots where there is no air movement. If you have a home with gable vents, consider installing a fan as it will eliminate the hot spots and keep things cooler. There is another option of using soffit vents and ridge vents which can provide adequate non-mechanical venting. However, most roof designs do not allow for adequate non-mechanical ventilation alone to be optimal.
  2. Solar and Electric Attic Fans – Not as powerful as an electric fan, a solar powered attic fan or roof vent does greatly improve air flow in the attic space. Temperatures in your attic can reach upwards of 150 degrees without an attic fan. The fan creates steady air-flow through the attic space; however, if too much air flow is exchanged between outside the attic, moisture from snow and rain can infiltrate. If you live in high humidity/wet area, you may want to consider installing a humidity control system in your attic as well to prevent moisture issues. The two most common types of electrical/solar attic fan used are roof top and gable end. Electric fans are more powerful and cost efficient while solar powered models are most costly but leverage green electric power. Whichever you choose, the attic fan(s) you choose to install should have a programmable thermostat to control and a firestat, which shuts the fan off in case of fire. You should avoid plastic – all metal are the ones to purchase along with models that have solid screens to keep pests out of your attic.
  3. Whole House Fan Systems – These systems keep dead spaces from heating up and pull cool air throughout the home. In some cases, for those that live in mild climates where the temperature stays below 82 degrees, they are being used as an alternative to traditional home air conditioning. The same is true for older homes where its too expensive or difficult to install a central air conditioning system. One potential downfall for whole house fan systems is noise; however, if the unit is engineered correctly, the system should run quietly and efficiently. Look for fans with more blades as they will be quieter than those with fewer blades and make sure to mount the fan with foam or rubber strips to reduce vibration and sound.

US Home Filter is Here for YOU!

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!

Call us toll-free at 1-855-237-1673!

Spring and Summer Energy Saving Tips

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energy saving tips for spring and summerWe may not be feeling it quite yet, but the warmer weather will soon be upon us. With the spring and summer months bringing us those warmer temperatures, we will (eventually) be seeing our energy bills increasing as well. Peak energy demand is normally seen dramatically increasing during the afternoon hours of the summer months. The NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) predicts more than half the United States will have above normal temperatures over the next three months, therefore increasing the demand for energy across the nation. Below are a few tips that will help you keep your energy costs down while the weather is warming up and you’re trying to keep your home cool and comfortable.

Energy Saving Tips for Spring and Summer

1) Keep Hot Air Out by Checking for Leaks – It is imperative that the cool air created by your air conditioning (HVAC) system is kept contained. If the cooled air is able to escape through small leaks, it increases the system’s run time and the amount of energy that’s being used. You also don’t want hot air leaking into your home from the outside. Check for small holes in all of your window seals and weather stripping around your doors to make sure there are no gaps. If you do spot a crack, it can be easily filled with caulk, plus replace any weather stripping around your doors to make sure there is a good seal. Also make sure that your attic insulation is adequate to keep the hot attic air from radiating down to your living space. Remember – you’re not paying to cool the outdoors!

2) Lower Your Water Heater Costs – According to the Department of Energy, water heating accounts for about eighteen percent (18%) of your home’s energy use. Reducing this is easily accomplished by reducing your water heater temperature down to 120 degrees. This still provides adequately hot water for bathing and dishes and at the same time reduces your energy costs. You can also take shorter showers and invest in a low flow shower head.

3) Install Programmable Thermostats – A programmable thermostat will help you manage your energy usage for when the cooling system is needed most, plus takes the guess work and human error out of the mix. Always make sure that your thermostat has a fresh set of batteries. To save energy, it is recommended to set your thermostat at a warmer temperature when you are sleeping or not at home. According to energy.gov, you can save as much as ten percent (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. By setting slightly higher temperatures for when residents are away from the home, the unit will run less and save energy. Provided the home is properly sealed (see #1), cool temperatures should be maintained long enough so that when the system is programmed to turn back on and lower the temperature, it can do so quickly and efficiently.

4) Use Ceiling Fans – Did you know that by using ceiling fans while your air conditioner is running allows you to raise the temperature by four degrees and you won’t even notice the difference? It’s true! Make sure your ceiling fan direction is set to PULL AIR UP towards the ceiling, as cooler air wants to sink while the hot air rises. Don’t forget to turn the ceiling fans off when no one is in the room to further conserve energy and decrease consumption.

5) Keep Your HVAC System Running Efficiently – Schedule an annual maintenance checkup for your HVAC system to keep it running at peak performance in the height of summer. Things you can complete yourself include: vacuuming out the air intakes and ducts, clearing away any plants or weeds that may be growing around your HVAC unit and cleaning up any standing water. Most importantly – check and change your air filter on a monthly basis! This will prevent any unnecessary stress on your equipment that can result in breakdowns as well as higher energy bills.

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.