Supply vs. Return Air Vents: What’s the Difference?

air vents supply vs returnYou are probably aware that your home was built with a network of ducts hidden behind the walls, but do you know their purpose? The ducts provide a pathway for air to cycle through every room in your home, to and from your HVAC system. This circulation process; however, would not be possible without the supply and return air vents you see throughout your house. But what is the difference between supply and return vents?

Supply & Return Air Vents

It’s easy to think that your AC and furnace simply blow heated or cooled air to the rooms in your house. But another very important part of the cycle of air is happening as well – sucking air out of the rooms. This is where the difference between supply vs return vents comes into play.

Supply Vents: These air vents blow conditioned air out. They are easy to identify as they are the ones you feel the cool air coming from. The air coming from these vents has traveled through your HVAC system, through the ducts and out of the supply vents. Supply vents are usually found high up on the walls in your home, or on the ceiling.

Return Vents: These air vents suck air from the rooms in your home back into your HVAC system. They are typically larger in size than supply vents and you will not feel air blowing out of them. Return vents are usually found closer to the bottom of the walls in your home, near the floorboard, but depends upon the location of your ductwork.

Ductwork and Vent Connection

The HVAC system in your house is meant to maintain a balance environment inside the ductwork. In order to do this, the amount of air the ducts blow out should be nearly equal to the amount of air that’s being sucked back into the ductwork. If there is an inadequate amount of supply and return vents, the pressure inside the ducts becomes unbalanced, causing your home to feel less comfortable. If you’re building a home or installing a new system, make sure precise measurements are taken of your home’s air flow needs before the HVAC system is installed.

How to Maximize Your Air Vents Performance

There are a few things you can do to make sure your supply and return vents are performing at their best, even if you have the correct amount in your home.

  1. Don’t block supply or return vents with furniture or other objects to optimize air flow
  2. Avoid closing the supply vents in any rooms of your house, even unused rooms, to prevent an increase in pressure inside of the ductwork.
  3. To save energy in unused or rarely used rooms, consider investing in a zoned HVAC system and section those rooms off into separate zones.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

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

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

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

Preventing Mold Growth in Your Drip Pan

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

Consequences of Drip Pan Mold Growth

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

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

Drip Pan Mold Growth Prevention

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

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

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

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

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

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

Reasons for Room to Room Temperature Imbalances

temperature imbalances in the homeHave you ever noticed that when you enter a certain room in your house, it’s always warmer than all the others? Or have a room that you know has the coolest temperature in your house? No matter what you set your thermostat to, those rooms are always hotter or colder than the others. Your living room may be the exact temperature you want, but your bedroom upstairs is freezing. It can be aggravating and uncomfortable and, while these temperature imbalances are frustrating, they may be warning signs of a much larger issues. So why does this happen and what can you do to fix it?

First, check for the following common issues:

  • Air Duct Problems: If your air ducts are crushed or kinked, certain areas of your house won’t get sufficient air. Air duct leaks can also cause uneven temperatures, among other issues.
  • Dirty Air Filters: Clean air filters allow air to flow through your home efficiently. If your air filters are dirty, it restricts airflow therefore affecting the amount of cool air circulating throughout your home.
  • Open Windows: Cool, air conditioned air can escape out of open windows leading to uneven temps in your home.
  • Closed Vents: If a vent remains closed in a room, it restricts airflow leading to a warmer temperature than in other rooms of the house.

If it’s not one of the problems above, the next likely cause is an unbalanced air conditioning and heating system. You’ll need an AC company to balance it.

Air Balancing for Temperature Regulation

If you’ve checked all the issues above and all are okay, the cause of your temperature variances is probably an unbalanced heating and air conditioning system. Air balancing is a service that HVAC companies provide where they adjust the amount of heated and cooled air each room gets in your home.

When a system is perfectly balanced, each room in your home would be the same temperature at the same time. If this is not the case in your house, then you have an unbalanced system.

Unbalanced HVAC System Causes

There are many different factors that can cause an HVAC system to become unbalanced. During the system’s installation, larger ducts and additional supply vents are used to push more air into the rooms that need it. Dampers are also installed which help regulate the air flow and even out the temperatures throughout your home. These are valves that allow you to adjust the amount of air getting to each room or area of the house. They are installed near the inside unit of the AC unit on the main ducts, typically in a closet or in the attic.

If your ducts and dampers are properly installed, your system should be pretty balanced; however, there are many factors that can affect this balance. Here are some of the most common things that cause your system to become unbalanced:

1) Multilevel Homes

If your home has multiple levels, it can be difficult to properly balance the air due to the nature of hot air rising as well as the long duct runs that are required to get air to every room. If this is the case in your home, you may want to consider a zoned AC system. With zoning, your home is broken up into different areas, each of which has its own thermostat and temperature control/sensor that automatically adjusts the dampers in your duct system. Zoning also allows you to set different temperatures for different rooms, enabling you to even out the temperature in your home.

2) Long Duct Runs or Uninsulated Ducts

A lot of times, duct work will run through unconditioned areas such as your attic. When the air passes through these warm areas it gains heat, therefore causing rooms furthest away from the air conditioner much warmer (with rooms closer to AC much cooler). This can also be caused by uninsulated ducts – which is a simple solution to this issue. Adding insulation to your ducts will keep the cool air in and the warm air out. A much more complex solution would be to restructure all of the duct work in your home to more evenly distribute the air throughout your home.

3) Inadequate Return Vents

Return vents are what suck the warm air from the room, recycling it into the air conditioning system to be cooled and redistributed. If you have a large home that only has one return vent, it is not able to adequately grab the warm air from rooms that are far away, therefore there is a large amount of cool air mixing with warmer air, increasing the temperature in your home. One way to overcome this is to leave all the room doors in open, which can help with return airflow. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to add more return vents into your home.

4) Under or Over-sized Systems

Having an improperly sized AC system for your space can cause air balancing issues as well. If your AC system is too large, it shuts off quickly leaving certain rooms too cold or warm. If they system is too small for your space, it could potentially never be able to cool your whole home properly. If your home has an air conditioning system that is too large, use fans to help circulate the cooler are to those warmer rooms in the house. On the flip side, if your system is too small, consider installing an additional system or replace the current small system with a new bigger one that is able to cool your whole house.

5) Room Usage

How you use the rooms in your home may also cause an unbalanced system. For instance, a home office tends to be warmer due to the equipment running in it producing heat (e.g. computers, server, and other electronics). This can be solved by having an AC company regulate the airflow to those warmer rooms by adjusting the dampers in the air ducts, increasing the amount of cool air into the room.

6) Home Renovations and/or Additions

Adding rooms or remodeling can throw off your AC systems balance, especially when walls are added or removed. This could be an easy fix by just having the dampers adjusted in your ducts; however, you may also need to run additional ducts depending upon the renovations or additions that were done. In some cases, you may need to install a second air conditioner.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

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

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

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

HEPA FILTERS

The HEPA Filter and the home environmentWhat Is a HEPA Filter?

The acronym HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and is a type of air filter. They were initially commercialized in the 1950s with the term HEPA becoming a registered trademark and later a generic term for high efficiency filters. The acronym can also stand for:

  • High Efficiency Particulate Absorber Filter
  • High Efficiency Particulate Arresting Filter
  • High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance Filter

In order to qualify as HEPA, a filter must meet the requirements set by the United States Department of Energy. These qualifications state that for a filter to qualify, it must remove 99.97% of particles that are greater than or equal to 0.3 µm (macrometer) in size.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has further rating classifications for HEPA filters relating to their local and total retention capabilities. The NIOSH categories regarding local retention are:

H13 > 99.75%
H14 > 99.975%
U15 > 99.9975%
U16 > 99.99975%
U17 > 99.9999%

HEPA Filters Uses

Today HEPA filters are used in many commercial applications, but they mainly used for medical purposes, and in high-tech industries like aerospace and integrated circuit manufacturing, as well as in both the automobile and aircraft industries. There are also HEPA filters used in water purification systems; however, in these applications the term HEPA air filter is moot as the filters are used for the removal of contaminates found in water and not the air.

There are products out there that will use terms such as “HEPA-type”, “HEPA-like”, “HEPA-style” or “99% HEPA” on their marketing materials but these do not, in fact, meet the requirements to qualify and they most likely have not been tested in independent laboratories.

HEPA Filters for Home Air Conditioning Use

It is uncommon and generally not recommended to use a HEPA air filter in a traditional home HVAC system. There are some homes that have been built to accommodate their use, however, a typical home air conditioning system would require costly modifications in order to handle the installation of a true HEPA system. The whole Air Conditioning system would need to be redesigned the typical home AC system’s duct work and air-handler would not be able to handle the increased air flow resistance of a HEPA filter. Not to mention the cost and size of HEPA filters would be exorbitant.  The good thing is that if you want a highly effective filter for your home, the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) reports that AC filters with a 7 – 13 MERV rating are as “likely to be nearly as effective as true HEPA filters”.

The HEPA Filter For Home Use: The Bottom Line

With all of the false advertising out there, many people may think they have or can have a HEPA filter in their home. Unfortunately, there is no inexpensive or easy way to have actual HEPA filtration in the home as it is more than just an air filter, it’s an entire system. There is a particular configuration needed to run the system and the buildings they’re installed in have to have a positive-pressure seal. You’ll know this is installed when you hear a whooshing sound as the doors are open and closed, like in a hospital.

HEPA filters are also made to order in a sterile lab and individually tested for each customer. There are numerous other variables that come into play before production can even begin, such as factory testing requirements, media capacity, frame materials, gaskets and sealants. There is no HEPA filter created that can be sent by regular ground mail; each one must be sent with a private carrier. Their cost is well out of range for home use as well with each filter costing anywhere between $200 to over $1000, plus freight. For all these reasons, it is apparent that HEPA filters are not intended for home use. Although not impossible to have a HEPA system in your home, it is a specific and cost-prohibitive option that is not easily accomplished unless your home is built from the ground up and constructed under HEPA requirements.

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

If you have any questions about HEPA Filters (or any other questions about AC, furnace, custom air filters, Whole House filters or Grille filters), we have an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs. We carry humidifier filters and pads for all major manufacturers (including Air King, American Standard, AprilaireGeneralAire and Honeywell). We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Understanding Your HVAC System

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

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?

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

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

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

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!