Are You Allergic to Your Home?

preventing home feverWith the amount of time we spend indoors increasing, so are our allergic reactions to indoor allergens. The allergens we are exposed to change daily, weekly and seasonally; however, we are exposed to indoor allergens year-round. That means that those affected by indoor allergens are suffering constantly. Back in 2011, a report was done by Allergy UK (a charity which supports people with allergies, chemical sensitivity and food intolerance) to better understand the effects of indoor allergies. Questioning 1,600 people, the survey looked at the “home fever” phenomenon, a range of reactions to dust mites and other allergens in the home. The most common symptoms of this “fever” are sneezing and runny noses. The most common symptoms of this “fever” are sneezing and runny noses, much like those of hay fever. However, unlike hay fever which is seasonal, “home fever” can present at any time of the year.

Home Fever Symptoms

One question the report asked the allergy sufferers questioned was what triggered their symptoms the most. The top answer was dust mites, followed by pets, cleaning supplies and mold, respectively. Symptoms that occurred 60% of the time in those surveyed were runny nose, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. In looking to find out if different areas of the home caused symptoms more than others, the survey found that the most common area participants experienced allergies was in the bedroom. This makes sense as the average bed can harbor around 2 million dust mites.

Overall, it is estimated that 10-20 percent of the world population suffers from similar indoor allergies.  Luckily, there are ways to control indoor allergens and home fever symptoms.

Bedding and Flooring

Washing your bed linens once a week and at a temperature hot enough to kill them (the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) is important. You can also vacuum your mattress to remove dead skin cells (aka dust mite food) and replace your current mattress every 7-10 years. Flooring is also the other primary factor that traps dust, dead skin cells and harbors dust mites. Regardless of the type of flooring that you have in your house, you’ll want to have a high-quality vacuum cleaner that sucks up the dust and dirt, efficiently trapping it so it isn’t released back into the air that you and your family breathe.

“Green” Cleaning Supplies

Many cleaning supplies or household cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals that cause irritation to eyes and throat, cause headaches as well as many other health problems. Some of these products even release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other dangerous chemicals. VOCs are found in cleaning products like glass cleaner, air fresheners, dryer sheets, bleach, among others, all of which have been shown to cause allergy and asthma-like symptoms. Switching to, or even making your own, green cleaning products containing natural and plant-based ingredients eliminate these “home fever” triggers.

Reduce Pet Allergens

No matter how much we love our pets, it’s a fact they are a large contribution to indoor allergens in our homes. To combat these allergens, try to create a specific area in your home for your pet that is easy to clean. Keep pets off furniture and beds and regularly wash any linens your pets use. You may also want to consider investing in a filter with a MERV rating of 8-13 to keep the air free from pet allergens – these filters can reduce pet allergens in the air substantially. Lastly, make sure to vacuum regularly and bathe your dog twice a week (using a pet shampoo that contains natural and plant-based ingredients).

Regulate Heat and Humidity

Dust mites and mold both thrive in moist, humid conditions so keeping your house at the humidity level and temperature makes a huge difference in allergy control. Keep your house nice and dry, using a dehumidifier if necessary. You can also remove humidity by opening your windows for one hour per day when the weather is dry and pollen levels are low. You also don’t want your home humidity level too low as this can cause allergens to circulate in the air. It is recommended to keep your home between 68°F-72°F with 40% humidity whenever possible.

Change Your HVAC Filter Monthly

All of the air that is used to cool or heat your home circulates through your HVAC system, eventually passing through the air filter. Make sure you choose the right air filter for your HVAC system and change it regularly to help reduce the allergens in the air that cause home fever. An air filter’s main purpose is to trap and hold all the different kinds of particulates and contaminants in the air that circulate through your heating and cooling system. Checked your filters at least once a month – if they are dirty, they should be changed with a fresh clean filter to minimize home allergens.

US Home Filter is Here for You

Reducing the dust in your indoor air is no doubt highly beneficial for everyone – family members and visitors. The air you breathe in your home can have a huge impact on allergy symptoms, asthma triggers, and your overall level of comfort. At US Home Filter, we take pride in helping our customers find the best filtration solutions to fit their 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 a custom size air filter built to your specifications, we will be happy to personally assist you with any of your filtration needs! 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.

Improving Air Quality in the Home During the Winter Months

winter indoor air qualityAs the cold air continues to blow and you bundle to keep warm, you may also be apt to keep all your windows and doors shut tightly as well. While this helps keep the heat in, it also leads to stagnant air and dry, stuffy indoor environments. Dust and other pollutants are also trapped, accumulating in the air you breathe and causing particular irritation to those suffering from asthma and allergies. Moisture levels within the home are also of concern. To alleviate this throughout the winter months, it is important to take the proper steps to improve the indoor air quality in your home as well as manage the amount of moisture in the air.

Keep Humidity in Check

Winter is usually a time we think of as dry, leaving our skin begging for moisture. However, pumping up your humidifier is not necessarily the answer. Air that becomes too humid can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold and mildew, further worsening your indoor air quality. There are a few key places in the home that moisture can accumulate during the winter. Signs that there is too much moisture in your home are condensation on the windows, discoloration on the walls, ceilings and floors, white powdery stains on concrete floors and musty odors. If you see any of these warning signs, check your homes ventilation system to make sure air is properly flowing through your house. You can also limit the use of humidifiers and set up dehumidifiers in the damper areas of the home, such as in the basement. Making sure your home is properly insulated can also help regulate not only the moisture but the temperature as well, further preventing mold growth. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is recommended to keep your indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. Depending on the dryness of your air, you can use both humidifiers and dehumidifiers to stay in this range.

Steer Clear of Aerosols and Chemical Cleansers

Aerosol sprays, including deodorants, hairsprays and household cleaners, deposit chemical residues around your home, inhaled by you and your family as you breathe. Chemical cleansers filled with synthetic ingredients and especially those that include fragrance emit a large amount of chemicals into the air. To reduce these negative effects on your indoor air quality you want to limit the sources of volatile organic compounds found in these common household products. WebMD suggests the following:

  1. Choose fragrance-free or naturally-scented laundry products and mild cleansers (no artificial fragrances).
  2. Eliminate aerosol spray deodorants, hairsprays, air freshers and cleaning supplies.
  3. Let the fresh air in! Open windows to let the toxic chemicals out and fresh air in. If there is an allergy issue, keep rooms ventilated with a filtered A/C system.
  4. Sliced lemons and baking soda will give you that clean scent in your kitchen.
  5. Add some houseplants to your home. Spider plants, ferns and aloe vera act as living air purifiers, absorbing the chemical pollutants released by synthetic materials.

Check your HVAC System

Changing your air filter is one of the easiest and most important things a homeowner can do to maintain their HVAC system, which is why understanding air filters and their function is so important. Furnaces have to work harder than they need to when air filters are dirty and clogged. They also lead to poor indoor air quality as the pollutants and allergens that are no longer being trapped in the filter are released back into the air we breathe. Be sure to check your air filters at least once a month during the fall and winter and change them with a fresh clean air filter if they are dirty. This is also a good time to check your air vents. Your HVAC systems air filter will trap most of the contaminants and particulates in the air that passes through, however, over time some are able to bypass this and build up in the duct work. Vacuuming out your air vents will help prevent blockages and indoor air quality problems, allowing warm air to flow freely, easing temperature regulation throughout your home.

With the proper humidity control and the knowledge of how to spot mold, insulation preparation, and finding the best air filter for your home, you will be able to find a way to breathe clean indoor air and stay healthy all winter.

Selecting the Right Filter for Optimum Indoor Air Quality

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. Although not exactly rocket science, choosing the best filter to replace your old one can be a bit of a challenge. What MERV rating is best for my family? Is there an advantage to getting a higher-rated filter? Am I paying the right price? At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have.

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

If you have any questions about furnace filters (or any other questions about AC, 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.

 

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!

Standard Stock Size Air Filters

Facts About Standard Sized Air Filters“Standard stock size” air filters. What does this mean? Each air conditioning system or HVAC unit has a certain sized filter that allows the filter to perform both correctly and efficiently. The filters don’t need to fit with an “air tight” seal, but you should be able to easily install and uninstall your filter without a struggle. Your filter should be a bit smaller on each side of the filter housing slot, allowing you to slide the filter in and out with ease. For most systems you can use a standard sized filter within 5/8 of an inch smaller than the air filter housing. Most AC and HVAC units use standard sized filters, but some do require a custom size air filter to be purchased and installed. Why is the filter size important? According to EPA.gov, incorrectly designed or installed filter frames can cause air seepage, which significantly decreases filter effectiveness. Plus any air flow resistance caused by using a filter that is not correctly sized can result in unnecessary stress on you HVAC unit, potential damage to your AC system and increase your energy bills.

Facts About Standard Size Air Filters

  1. Retail locations typically only offer approximately 10 of the most common air filter sizes. US Home Filter makes over 80 standard stock sizes that local stores do not have the shelf space for, nor the inventory capacity to stock them all. We do manufacture and stock them all because that’s our business! So take a look at our stock filters, from 8x16x1 to 30x36x2 to 25x29x4 to 20x25x6. If we don’t have it, we can make it!
  2. Nominal Size: This is the approximate size, such as 16x25x1. All 16x25x1 filters are designed to fit standard 16x25x1 filter slots.
  3. Exact Size: This can vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. The die-cuts (filter frames), which are manufactured in bulk and purchased as a raw material for making air filters determine the exact size of the air filters. The exact size is always slightly smaller than the nominal size to allow the filter to properly fit in the slot or housing. For example, a stock size of 16x25x1 may have exact dimensions of 15-1/2 x 24-1/2 x 3/4. This is completely normal and is the standard in air filter manufacturing.
  4. Slight variances in exact size do not usually make a difference, but in certain applications they actually may. Sometimes you may find that the stock size at your local hardware store is just a bit too big to fit, yet you may be able to shop online and find the same stock size by a different manufacturer with a slightly smaller size that makes all the difference you need.
  5. There are thousands upon thousands of possible exact air filter sizes that can be used. Because of this, you will not always be able to locate your filter at a store or online as a regular stock size. In this case, you will be looking at ordering a custom size air filter. Custom filters are not made to a nominal size, with a smaller actual size as stock sizes are made. At US Home Filter, we will make your custom size according to your actual needs and specifications.

Hopefully this information helps you better understand what your AC/HVAC system requires for optimum performance. It’s also important to remember that using the correct size filter for your system protects your AC/HVAC unit from malfunctions and damage, allowing it to continue to perform correctly and keep your air cleaner and your family and home safer. Take a look at our air filter measuring guide for steps on figuring out the correct size filter for your system. If you’re still unsure, US Home Filter is here to help! Call us at 855-237-1673 or contact us online.

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.

Improving Winter Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Improve Your Homes Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)Winter is a time where you might expect some relief from allergens and the allergies that they cause. Actually, however, the colder months can prove to be very challenging for those with indoor air allergies caused by dust and the allergens that are contained within and associated with it. Pollutants, allergens, and other debris may be lingering in your air whether you see them or not. Your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ) can make a big difference, especially to those with allergies and respiratory issues. According to the EPA the air that we breathe in our homes, in schools and in offices can put us at risk for health problems. Improving your IAQ means that you are working to reduce allergens such as dust, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, and other impurities – all to help you and your family all breathe a bit easier.

Five Tips for Improving Your Winter IAQ

Circulation – This is actually a form of air replacement, which can surprisingly be most beneficial during the winter months when you typically keep your home closed up (for obvious reasons). Pick a warmer winter day and allow some clean, fresh air to circulate throughout the home. This can refresh your indoor air quality and allow the allergens that are “trapped” inside your house or home a chance to move outside.

Humidity – Many allergens, such as dust mites, mold, and bacteria thrive in overly-humid conditions. More humid air is often desired in the cold, dry months, but ideally you should try to keep the humidity level around 35%-50%. Be sure to replace your humidifier filters with fresh humidifier pads or filters about twice per season. Using bathroom exhaust fans is also highly recommended when enjoying hot showers to keep the moisture level down. Keep an eye on basements and storage areas as well, which are also ideal locations for potential moisture.

Smoke – This tiny vapor particle, in any form, affects your indoor air quality (IAQ). Examples can include smoke from tobacco, fireplaces, cooking, and even candles. While some of these can produce a desirable scent or cozy atmosphere, they are technically not contributors to improving the quality of the air you breathe. This does not mean that we should not enjoy and use our fireplaces less during those snowy days and nights, but it is something to be aware of as smoke particles can be bothersome to most respiratory conditions.

Air Filtration – Your furnace filters can be a huge help by going beyond the basic purpose of just protecting your system. This is your air filter’s main job, but you can actually benefit from the added level of defense it can provide in cleansing your air of impurities. Make sure you always keep on a regular schedule with changing your air filters. This will allow your system to function optimally and continuously provide new surface area for dust and allergens to collect on.

Regular Cleaning – Of course, we all know that maintaining a clean home will only help in keeping the level of contaminants and dust to a minimum. Once dust and debris have settled, it will be much more difficult for them to be picked up by your furnace filter unless the area is disturbed. This will re-disperse the dust, allowing another opportunity for it to be captured. Unfortunately, it will eventually settle again. Dust is an ongoing battle that must be controlled at the source. Regular vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning of surfaces is one sure way to help tackle these issues and improve your IAQ!

Call us at 855.237.1673 for help with your air filter solutions today!

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

Additionally, we know that selecting the air filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. What MERV rating is best for my family? Is there an advantage to getting a pleated filter? Am I paying the right price? 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.