Benefits of Attic Fans and Ventilation

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

Benefits of Improved Attic Ventilation

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

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

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

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

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

Types of Attic Ventilation

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

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters for Every HVAC System

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

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

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

The Importance of MERV Ratings

How Air Filters Work and MERV RatingsWhile we are still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it seemed to be a good time to revisit the importance of MERV ratings when it comes to the filtration in your home. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning) developed the MERV system in 1987 as a scale used to measure the effectiveness of air filters. The MERV ratings system makes it easier for consumers to compare the effectiveness of all the different air filters available.  The material used, quality and construction of air filters may differ; however, the MERV system sets expectations for the level of filtration provided from an air filter with a specific MERV rating. In simpler terms, this means that any MERV 8 rated air filter will have the same level of filtration another filter with a MERV 8 rating, no matter the material, quality, or construction.

Ranging from 1-16, MERV ratings score the performance level of a filter related to the removal of airborne particles from 0.3-10 microns in size. Microns are used as the measurement for airborne particles and a micron is 1/1000th mm…equal to 1/25,000ths of an inch. The human eye can see particles beginning around 20 microns but in the right conditions, it is sometimes possible to see particles as small as 10 microns. To put that into perspective, a dot (.) is just about 600 microns.

Comparing MERV Ratings

The table below shows a low-level comparison of MERV ratings. Check out our MERV Rating Comparison chart for a more in depth look at the differences.

System Protection Level Dust Control Level Allergy Concern Level
MERV 8 Good Good Mild
MERV 11 Better Better Moderate
MERV 13 Best Best Severe

MERV Ratings and COVID-19

What filter is best to protect your home from COVID-19?  The National Air Filtration Association reports that there is no straight forward answer to this question due to all the unknowns regarding the nature of SARS-CoV-19 containing particles and droplets.  What is known is that low-efficiency filters (less than MERV 8) are highly unlikely to make a difference.  Properly installed higher efficiency filters can remove particles of a relevant size depending on their installed capture efficiency, but current information does not allow for specific recommendations.

Buying Filters with High MERV Ratings

Logic would make it seem that you would want to buy a filter with the highest MERV rating possible, right? Oddly, that is not necessarily the case.

You now know that air filters with high MERV ratings means the filter is highly effective in preventing harmful airborne particles from circulating throughout your home. However, a high MERV rating filter could also be overly effective which, in turn, can prevent the air itself from being to circulate. This is a bad thing and the result may be poorer air quality in your home. Also, if the air is unable to circulate due to more resistance, your HVAC is doing more work than it should be. The result is an inefficient HVAC system, high energy bills, and it can even lead to costly repairs in the long run.

What MERV Rating Should I Buy?

This really all depends upon your individual HVAC system, but for a typical home the ideal MERV rating would be between 8 and 13. As far as protection from the coronavirus, you’d definitely want stay away from MERV ratings under 8. The most important thing when choosing an air filter, regardless of MERV rating, is that is compatible with your HVAC system. You may think that selecting high MERV rating filters will remove more of the harmful particles from your home, but too high of a MERV rating could actually reduce the air quality of the air you breathe in your home. Filters with higher MERV ratings also must be changed more frequently than those with a lower MERV rating.

Filters with MERV ratings higher than 16 are available, however, they are thicker and denser, and your typical residential HVAC system cannot readily handle them. And, as stated before, they can actually interfere with the airflow by restricting it. This in turn can reduce the effectiveness of your heating and cooling systems and can even result in damage to the HVAC equipment. You should consult with an HVAC professional to make sure that your HVAC system can handle filters with MERV ratings higher than 16 before buying and installing one.

If you still want the filtration of a MERV 16 but your HVAC system can’t handle it, there are additional units that can be installed along with your HVAC system that are designed for air filtration and purification. These air cleaners can provide an additional step “on top” of the regular filtering, thus cleaning your air even further.

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, your unit running at its maximum efficiency, and your energy costs down. US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! 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.

Top Causes of HVAC Issues

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

Issue #1: Dirt Buildup

HVAC System

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

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

Issue #2: HVAC Equipment Age

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

Issue #3: Improper Installation

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

Other problems that may occur with improper installation:

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

Issue #5: Lack of Maintenance

HVAC systems work hard to continually make your home comfortable. Scheduling a professional maintenance check and cleaning is essential to make sure everything is running correctly. The checkups can also find small problems and resolve them before they turn into major problems, causing equipment failure and damage. Looking for a heating and cooling contractor to inspect your HVAC system? The Department of Energy website offers instructions to help you find the right contractor for your needs.

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters for Every HVAC System

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

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

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

Energy Saving Tips During Covid-19

saving energy during COVID-19Not everyone may be feeling it yet, but the weather is warming throughout much of the country. As spring and summer bring in warmer temperatures, the more we rely on our Air Conditioners and HVAC systems to keep us cool and comfortable.  As a result, energy bills begin to increase as well.  The most dramatic increase in energy demand is during the afternoon hours of the summer months when the temperatures peak. The NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has again predicted that a majority of the United States will see above normal temperatures from July-September, increasing energy demands across the nation. In the mist of this, American families and businesses have transition to remote-work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With children out of school and parents working from home, the energy usage will be even higher than “normal” with everyone under the same roof. Below are a few tips to help keep your energy costs down while the temperature and the amount of time you spend indoors increases.

COVID-19 Energy Saving Tips

1) Check for Leaks – It is of the utmost importance that cool air created by your HVAC system is kept contained. You want to keep the cool air IN and the hot air OUT. If  cooled air escapes through small leaks, the systems run time and amount of energy it uses increases. Hot air leaking into your home from the outside also causes your system to work harder to cool the indoor air. Check for leaks by looking for small holes in your window seals and weather stripping around your doors. There should be no gaps. If you spot a crack, fill it with caulk and replace any weather stripping necessary to make sure there is a tight seal around the door. Attic insulation should also be checked to make sure there is an adequate amount to keep the hot attic air from seeping into your living space.

2) Lower the Water Heater Temperature – The Department of Energy reports that water heating accounts for approximately 18% of a home’s energy use. The good news is, this is easily reduced by lowering your water heater temperature down to 120 degrees. The water temperature will still be hot enough for bathing and dishes as well as reduce energy costs. Consider also taking shorter showers and installing a low flow shower head.

3) Install Programmable Thermostats – A programmable thermostat helps manage energy usage when the cooling system is needed most. Additionally, it takes guesswork and human error out of the mix. To maximize energy savings, set your thermostat at a warmer temp when you are sleeping or not at home. Energy.gov reports a savings of upwards of ten percent (10%) a year on heating and cooling bills when you turn the thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. When temperatures are higher the unit runs less and saves energy. When the system is programmed to go back to the normal setting, the cool temperatures should have been maintained long enough to lower the temperature quickly and efficiently (provided the home is properly sealed…see #1). Thermostats should also always have a fresh set of batteries.

4) Use Ceiling Fans – Shockingly, running ceiling fans while your AC is on allows you to increase the temperature by 4 degrees without feeling the difference! The ceiling fan direction should be set to PULL AIR UP toward the ceiling as cool air sinks and hot air rises. For maximum energy savings, make sure to turn ceiling fans off when no one is in the room to decrease consumption.

5) Keep Your HVAC System Running Efficiently – It is always a good idea to schedule an annual maintenance checkup for your HVAC system to ensure its running at peak performance when you need it most. There are also quite a few things you can do yourself to help keep your AC efficient: vacuum out the air intakes and ducts, clear away plants and/or weeds growing around the HVAC unit and clean up any standing water. Most importantly – change your air filter on a monthly basis! This prevents any unnecessary stress on your equipment that can lead to equipment 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 – especially when we’re all home due to COVID-19! US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter in your furnace is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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

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

How to Keep Your Home Comfortable During Quarantine

We’re all “stuck” inside more these days and with that, we need to make sure our home is as comfortable as possible. It’s tough spending this much time inside and not being able to socialize like we’re used to, but it is essential to make sure we keep ourselves, family and friends safe and healthy. Here are a few tips you can use to keep your home safe and comfortable during this time of quarantine while we’re spending more and more time inside.

Home Comfort Quarantine Tips

quarantine tips to keep your home comfortable

Consider installing a bidet.

It’s the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020. TP is hard to find anywhere! The good news is, there are other options – one of them being adding bidet on your home toilets. Although not exactly main stream in the United States, bidets are the norm in other countries. They are hygienic and reduce or even eliminate the need for toilet paper – this is essential when there are multiple people home all day during a quarantine! The other good news is that there are multiple options. You can have a bidet installed by a plumber, or there are bidet attachments you can add to your toilets yourself. They come in a wide variety of types and price points and use very little water. Just look at all of the bidet options on Amazon!

Clean and disinfect regularly.

It’s important to realize that there is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning removes germs and/or dirt from surfaces, wiping away pathogens but not killing them. This includes things like dusting, vacuuming, mopping and wiping countertops. While cleaning still lowers the spread of infection, disinfection is the next essential step. Disinfection is the use of chemicals to kill germs on surfaces via the use of CDC-approved, EPA-registered disinfectants such as Clorox bleach, Lysol sprays and toilet bowl cleaners, and Purell disinfectant wipes. It is important to disinfect surfaces that have greater amounts of contact such as doorknobs, light switches, remotes, phones, desks, chairs, sinks, handles and toilets.

Let fresh air and sunlight in.

When you find yourself inside more, like during a quarantine, ventilation is critical. Get fresh air circulating throughout your house. Open doors and windows as much as possible. Higher ventilation is key in reducing the risk of viruses. Vitamin D from sunlight also plays a critical role. It aids in the body’s ability to absorb calcium from the gut, maintains bone health, brain function, a strong immune system and reduces inflammation. Studies have also shown that low levels of Vitamin D are associated with higher risk of respiratory diseases like COPD and asthma and is also linked to decreased lung function. Vitamin D is produced in the skin by exposing the body to just 10-15 minutes per day of sun. If you can’t get outside or have limited access to the sun, eating foods like oily fish, eggs, vitamin D fortified cereals or dairy products and a taking a daily 400 IU vitamin D supplement can help prevent a deficiency.

Invest in UV light air purification.

Another option to protect your home from viruses and other germs, not only during a quarantine but always, is to add a UV light air purification to your home. A UV light air purification system usually combines a traditional filter with a UV lamp. A traditional HVAC or furnace filter’s main purpose is to trap dust and other particles from the air, not allowing them back into the air you breathe. When you combine a traditional with a UV lamp, both the removal of particulate matter from the air and the killing of germs and bacteria is maximized.

UV light air purification is by no means a replacement for the regular disinfection in a home or office. However, when used in conjunction with traditional cleaning methods, UV light air purification enhances any system in place that reduces the spread of diseases.

Change your filters monthly.

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

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

Air filters should be checked at least once a month. If they are dirty, change them out with a fresh clean air filter. To check if your air filter is dirty, remove it from the air filter and hold it up to a light source. If you can’t see the light through the filter, then it’s time for it to be changed.

US Home Filter 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 trap pollutants (including viruses), keep your indoor air quality clean and your unit running at its maximum efficiency. This is especially important during a quarantine! US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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

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

Thermostat Tips for Each Season

programmable thermostatAs we get closer to Spring, fluctuations in the weather may have you switching from heat to air conditioning within the same week depending upon where you live. Constantly monitoring and adjusting the temperature inside your home can become cumbersome during these months. The good news is, there is a way to make it easier on you, and save you money: a programmable thermostat.

Programmable thermostats help you manage your energy usage for when the cooling or heating system is needed most, and they take the guess work and human error out of the mix. Shockingly, a Lawrence Berkeley National Lab study showed that nearly 90% of Americans say that they’ve rarely, or never have, programmed their thermostats because they don’t know how. The good news is it’s not hard and its worth learning to do as it can save money on your energy bill. According to energy.gov, you can save as much as ten percent (10%) a year on heating and cooling costs 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,” enabling you to get the maximum amount of savings.

Programmable Thermostat Types

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.

Programmable Thermostat Tips

Update the Factory Settings

When you purchase a programmable thermostat, it usually comes with pre-programmed settings. These settings are based on the typical American family, which may or may not fit your family’s needs. This may seem intimidating, but the good news is that you’ll only have to do this once. Again, set it and forget it!

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. When you are asleep or away from home, lower the temperature by at least 10°.

Summer months:
This follows the same strategy as the winter months – just flip flopped. You’ll want to keep your house warmer than normal when you are away and cooler when you are at home. While you are home, set the thermostat to 78°F. When 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
  • 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

It may take a few days of tweaking your program to get it exactly where it needs to be to fit your needs. Also, it’s important to note that lowering the temperature while you’re away does not cause your furnace to work any harder to warm up your house when you arrive back home.

Consider a Wifi-Enabled Programmable Thermostat

Wifi-enabled programmable thermostats allow you to control your home’s temperature from anywhere. 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! The thermostat learns when your home and also sends you personal notifications if the temperature isn’t right or if the power has gone out. Price: Ranges from $70-$200 depending upon features and model selected.

The Nest Learning Thermostat: This thermostat uses motion detection technology to create a custom heating and cooling schedule for your home and will automatically adjust itself to your comfort level. It now also includes Farsight technology. When this technology spots you across the room, Farsight will light up and show you the target temperature or the time, in a digital or analog clock view. The Nest Thermostat also alerts you on you systems safety status. 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.

Winter Energy Saving Tips

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

Tips to Save Energy in the Winter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

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

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

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

Protecting Your Home from the Flu

preventing home fever and fluFlu season is here and avoiding the flu virus can be tricky. In addition to getting a yearly flu vaccine, health officials urge everyone to wash their hands regularly as it may be the best way to stop the virus from spreading. The CDC also recommends the following everyday actions to prevent the spread of germs:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people if possible
  • While sick, limit contact with others
  • If you have flu symptoms, do not go back to work or school for at least 24 hours AFTER your fever is gone
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Your home (and office) has multiple surfaces that are popular areas for viruses and germs to land. Children’s toys, doorknobs, sinks and telephones are all areas to clean and disinfect regularly. The germiest thing in the home, though, is the remote control. The flu virus spreads though touching something a sick person has touched or sneezed on. The remote control is touched by everyone in your house at some point, especially when sick. Disinfect your remote controls! Unfortunately, you may still find yourself exposed to the flu virus be it by co-workers or school-aged children. The good news is that there are further steps you can take to protect your home from the virus taking root in your house.

Tips to Flu-Proof Your Home

Humidify Your Home

A 2013 study found that the ability of airborne viruses that cause flu infections was greatly reduced when humidity levels were increased to 43% or above. In fact, low humidity environments resulted in 70-77% of viruses retaining their infectious nature, and that number dropped to only 14% when the humidity was increased to 43% or more. A 2009 study resulted in the same conclusion: humidity limits the transmission of the influenza virus. The fact is bacteria and viruses are not able to travel well in moist air. Adding a humidifier to your home could be the difference between remaining healthy this winter or getting the flu.

However, even with all the humidifier benefits, they can become a source of bacteria and mold if they aren’t cleaned regularly. To make sure the humidifier is working for you and not against you, be sure to:

  • Use demineralized or distilled water. Minerals found in tap water can build up in your humidifier and increase growth of bacteria.
  • Clean once a week. The longer you wait between cleanings, the harder it will be and there’s a higher risk of mold and bacteria build up.
  • Change filters regularly! Not all humidifiers have filters, but if yours does, change it following the manufacturer’s directions. US Home Filter has a FULL selection of humidifier pads!
  • Keep humidity levels ideal. Too much humidity can be just as problematic as not enough humidity. You can measure the humidity in your home with a hygrometer, available at home improvement and electronic stores. The ideal humidity range for your home is between 40-50%.

Ultraviolet Air Cleansing

Another option to protect your home from the flu virus and other germs is to add a UV light air purification to your home. A UV light air purification system usually combines a traditional filter with a UV lamp. A traditional HVAC or furnace filter’s main purpose is to trap dust and other particles from the air, not allowing them back into the air you breathe. When you combine a traditional with a UV lamp, both the removal of particulate matter from the air and the killing of germs and bacteria is maximized.

UV light air purification is by no means a replacement for the regular disinfection in a home or office. However, when used in conjunction with traditional cleaning methods, UV light air purification enhances any system in place that reduces the spread of diseases.

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 or humidifier pad needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs. We carry humidifier filters and pads for all major manufacturers (including Air KingAmerican StandardAprilaireGeneralAire and Honeywell). We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Air Cleaners and Filter Publications

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

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

Portable Air Cleaners, HVAC and Furnace Filter Publications

Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home

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

Residential Air Cleaners – A Technical Summary

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

New Guidance for Residential Air Cleaners

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

US Home Filter Offers AC Filters for Every HVAC System

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

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

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

MERV, MPR or FPR?

merv vs mpr vs fpr ratingFilters can be complicated to understand. Some HVAC systems have the recommended type of filter written on a label that is stuck right on the side of the unit. Other systems leave it up to you to decide what filter you want to use. With all the different sizes available, thicknesses, and types, it’s easy to get confused. On top of it, there are acronyms on the filters that are also part of a filter’s rating system. We’ve talked before about MERV ratings, what they mean and how it relates to the filter you buy. But there are two other acronyms that appear on some filters as well: MPR and FPR. This confuses things even more. What do they stand for? How do you make sense of them all when comparing filters? Is one more efficient than another?

MERV vs. MPR vs. FPR Rating

MERV FILTERS

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Developed in 1987 by ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning), the MERV systems provides standardized ratings consumers can use to compare the effectiveness of the different air filters available. It provides clarity to what level of filtration can be expected from an air filter with a specific MERV rating. In other words, this means that any MERV 8 rated air filter will filter the same as any other filter with a MERV 8 rating.

MERV ratings (ranging from 1-16) score the performance level of a filter in regards to the removal of airborne particles from 0.3-10 microns in size. A micron is the measurement used for airborne particles. One micron is 1/1000th mm which is equal to 1/25,000ths of an inch. The human eye can see particles beginning around 20 microns; however, in perfect conditions, it is at times possible to see particles as little as 10 microns. To put that into a visual, a dot (.) is just about 600 microns.

The MERV system is the only nationally regulated and independent filtration system.

MPR FILTERS

MPR stands for Microparticle Performance Rating. This rating is exclusive to filters that are manufactured and sold by the home improvement brand 3M in partnership with Filtrete. These filters serve the same function as all other filters – cleaning the air being brought into your HVAC system of allergens, dirt and debris before returning the air back into your home.

MPR ratings (ranging from 300-1900) also gauge the size of the particles they will remove from the air, but only from 0.3-1 micron in size. Filtrete (3M) filters are the only filters that carry the MPR rating and there is currently no independent third-party testing available for comparison to MERV rated filters.

FPR FILTERS

FPR stands for Filter Performance Rating. This rating is also exclusive, but to filters that are manufactured and sold by the Home Depot. Unlike MERV and MPR ratings, the Home Depot does not supply a size range for the particles these filters will remove. Instead, filters are assigned an FPR number (such as FPR 10) for the particle removal measurement.

FPR ratings range from 4-10, with FPR 4 being economy filters and FPR 10 being premium filters. The Home Depot does provide a guidance chart to compare the contaminants the filters will remove; however, FPR ratings to not clarify what a large particle is versus what what a small particle is. Home Depot brand filters are the only filters that carry the FPR rating and there is currently no independent third-party testing available for comparison to MERV rated filters.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

The biggest difference between these ratings is the makers of the filters themselves. Just remember, the most important thing when choosing an air filter, regardless of rating, is that it is compatible with your 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, your unit running at its maximum efficiency, and your energy costs down. US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filters available and all are labeled with the nationally regulated MERV rating. US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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

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