Colder temperatures over the weekend prompted many residents throughout the area to turn on their furnaces for the first time this year. East Moline resident, Harry Arvanis, turned on his furnace S…
Host David informs you of How Often You should Change Your home’s Air Filter.
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Many people agree that Fall is the best time of the year. Great temperatures to be outdoors, beautiful colors in nature and pumpkin spice flavor. However, as the air gets a little cold, respiratory problems can become a nuisance, specifically for those who suffer from asthma and allergies.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, over 25 million people in the United States suffer from asthma. When asthma attacks occur, the chest tightens and the sufferer has a shortness of breath or wheeze. It can happen unexpectedly, and may be triggered by specific things in your everyday environment, or even allergies.
Pollutants and allergens such as ragweed, mold, pet dander and cigarette smoke are common triggers of both asthma and allergies. Therefore, it is essential to clear the home of as many impurities in the air as possible. While there are many methods of doing this, most people already have a tool to help—their furnace. Discover how your heating and cooling system can relieve your asthma symptoms.
- Furnace Filters Make the Difference
The purpose of a filter in the HVAC unit is to maintain your indoor quality by capturing dust and other pollutants. Furnace filters are essential for asthma and allergies, because the filter captures the pollen, mold, pet dander and common airborne allergens—keeping it out of the air. Cleaner indoor air can make a big difference in how easy it is to breathe indoors for those with respiratory conditions. This is why it is important to change your air filters frequently.
- What Filter Should You Use?
Choosing an air filter to help prevent asthma symptoms requires research because each filter has a rating called a MERV. First, you want to use a filter that fits your system. Getting a precise measurement and MERV rating is important, so the filter can function efficiently. The higher the rating, the more efficient the filter is at capturing allergens and airborne pollutants. Consider a filter with a MERV rating of 11 or 13 for the best results.
As you can see, it is vital that you choose the right furnace filter and change them regularly. Not only will doing this keep the air that flows through your home cleaner and healthier for you and your family, but it may also reduce heating and cooling costs too.
The hot weather sneaking up faster than you expected in some parts of the America, your air conditioning unit might not be ready to go quite yet. In a desperate attempt to escape the heat, you may have powered on your air conditioner anyway only to notice one of many frustrating problems. Air conditioning units in need of service will not cool or filter air properly. Luckily, many AC unit issues are easily repaired by simple maintenance tasks, such as replacing the air filter, cleaning the lines or an annual checkup.
Why does my AC smell?
Does the air coming out of your AC unit smell musty or moldy? If so, the air filter may be filled with dust, pollen and other debris. If the filter is not changed soon enough, these contaminants cause mold to grow on the surface of the air filter. You can easily restore the air quality flowing through your home by replacing your dirty air filter with a brand new one. Since pollen counts vary in each region, check your AC filter monthly to find the best replacement interval.
My AC is not blowing cold air
Are you not feeling cold air from your air conditioning? If you notice that your air conditioning ducts are not producing the normal blast of cold air, you must find a fix fast to prevent damage to your AC unit. Your air conditioner operates best when the blower can constantly push cooled air through the ducts. Otherwise, the chilled air remains in the system, causing the internal components to freeze and stop working. The most common causes of weak airflow are a clogged air filter or faulty fan switch. If a filter change does not instantly fix the problem, you may need additional diagnostic tests performed by a licensed HVAC professional.
I think my AC has a leak
Does your air conditioner unit constantly leak water while it is running? If so, the AC drain lines could be clogged. With regular AC use, dirt and debris fill up these lines, eventually causing a total blockage. When this happens, the water flows back through the lines and overflows the drain pan. Fixing this problem involves a thorough cleaning of the drain lines to remove the debris causing the blockage. You will also need to dry the drain pan to prevent mildew growth inside the AC unit.
Obtaining HVAC Services
As you start preparing your air conditioner for the summer, reflect on your repair abilities to determine if the services would be best handled by a professional. Although changing an AC filter is usually a fairly straightforward task, additional diagnostic tests can help you avoid overlooking problems before the heat of the summer arrives. Otherwise, you could end up waiting in the summer heat for your service professional to repair your AC unit.
You want to be comfortable this summer without spending a lot of money on air conditioning? While maintenance tasks such as changing the air conditioner filter and hiring a professional to tune up the AC unit make a difference, something as simple as the temperature setting plays a huge part in how much you pay to air condition your home. Follow these tips to achieve the perfect balance between energy savings and home comfort.
Daytime Air Conditioning Temperature
While you ultimately must decide what temperature you feel comfortable at, the US Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 78 degrees on summer days. At this temperature, you can feel completely comfortable if you dress for the season and run the ceiling fan to create a wind chill effect. When air moves quickly over your skin, it makes you feel up to 4 degrees cooler, meaning a 78-degree room with a fan running feels as comfortable as a 74-degree room with no airflow.
When you’re gone all day, you have the potential to save even more if you set the temperature 7 to 10 degrees higher. The DOE estimates that keeping your home at 85 degrees for eight hours a day during peak cooling times can save you 5 to 15 percent on your cooling bills.
Nighttime Air Conditioning Temperature
Setting your thermostat at night during the summer is a bit trickier. If you can sleep soundly in a warm room, Energy Star recommends setting the temperature 4 degrees higher than your daytime setting. However, many people prefer sleeping in a cool room, which may result in turning the thermostat down rather than up at night.
Opening the windows while you sleep is a good solution if you live in a cool climate. Then, closing the windows in the morning before it gets hot traps cool air inside and gives your air conditioner a head start.
Programmable Thermostat and Zoning
To prevent arriving at a hot house when you get off work, install a programmable thermostat and set it correctly. An automatic setback when you leave each morning prevents you from forgetting to turn the temperature up, and automatic recovery 30 minutes before you arrive home allows you to enjoy energy savings without sacrificing comfort.
Zoning is also useful for keeping the bedrooms in your home cool at night without cooling the entire house. With zoning, you control the temperature in individual areas of your home with multiple thermostats. When you zone the bedrooms separately from the living area, you ensure you stay cool and comfortable while keeping your energy bills low.
Thermostat settings aren’t the only things that need attention when preparing your air conditioner for summer, now is also the time to replace the AC filter for more efficient air conditioning.
Who enjoys sweltering in the summer heat? If you want to ensure that your air conditioner continues to blow cool air in the depth of the summer months we layout 6 smart ways to tell if your AC unit is overworked.
Your AC might be overworked if…
Improper Settings are on your thermostat
You can help your air conditioning unit work efficiently by keeping the thermostat set at a steady temperature. For the best efficiency, you should set the dial to a temperature that feels comfortable, but not too cold. The Department of Energy suggests that having a fan on and setting the temperature at 78 degrees is the perfect energy- saving method. Otherwise, the AC unit would have to kick on and off repeatedly all day to keep the temperatures low.
Wrong Unit Size
When you purchase a new air conditioner, it is necessary to match its size to the square footage of your home to avoid overworking the system. An improperly sized air conditioner will work to hard and too long as it attempts to cool the space. This will cause it to develop premature wear and damage that often leads to failure of internal parts.
Dirty/ Wrong Size Air Filter
As the AC filter clogs with dirt and debris, the efficiency of the system plummets, causing you to pay extra money for less cooling power. In addition, the air conditioner blower has to work even harder than normal, which can lead to internal damage. For best results, change your filter every one to three months on average, but check it monthly during high pollen counts or excessive dust. In addition, the wrong air filter size can cause your AC unit to be overworked. Always check the make and model of the unit and purchase the correct filters size accordingly. If your old filter does not have labels with the size, grab some tape measure or ruler and see our page on “How to Measure Your Air Filter”.
Clogged Drain Lines
Over time, the drain lines in air conditioners get clogged with debris. Once the drain lines are clogged, the air conditioner cannot adequately remove moisture from the air to cool it to optimal temperatures. As apart of your seasonal cleaning, try to clear out the drain lines to keep your AC unit efficiently producing cool air. If you are unsure of the location of your drain line, consult a HVAC consultation they may be able to show the location of your drain line.
If your air conditioner ducts are not properly insulated, the cooled air may rise in temperature before it enters the room. Since wildlife like squirrels and raccoons can remove this material from the ducts, be sure to double check the insulation on a regular basis to avoid accidentally overworking the cooling system.
Closed Vent Flaps
The AC unit utilizes exterior vent flaps to release warm air and moisture left over from the cooling process. When the vent flaps are turned to the closed position, the warm air remains in the case and kicks the system into overdrive. When this happens, you may notice that the air coming out of your interior vents feels warmer than usual.
Reducing Stress On Your Air Conditioning Unit
By paying close attention to the six areas listed above, you can make sure your air conditioning unit produces adequate amounts of icy cool air without causing excessive damage to the internal parts. When you are preparing the air conditioner for summer, for example, you can double check all of these problem areas to ensure your system is ready to go before powering it up full time. You will be rewarded with an AC system that maintains comfortable temperatures in your home without fail.
Preventative care methods like a yearly check –up of your AC unit is more likely to detect any recurring problems. AC units are very expensive and should lasts an average of 20 years, proper care throughout your ownership will keep your unit in the best shape possible.
Your home needs lighting, heating, cooling, water heating and other amenities to stay comfortable and cozy. All of these items consume energy, but is there a way of saving money on these?
If you’re hoping to keep heating and cooling costs down, there’s one easy thing you can do: choose the right air filter for your AC. Your efforts can lower the energy consumption of your furnace and air conditioner by 5 to 15 percent, according to the US Department of Energy, at the end of a year is a lot of money saved in your pocket.
Choose the Right Air Filter
When choosing a type of air filter for your house, consider the MERV ratings, which indicates how efficient the filter is in removing smaller particles from the air:
- The lowest efficiency filters are MERV 1-4. These one-inch-thick throwaway filters restrict airflow very little and keep energy costs down, but they only remove the largest airborne particles, letting small particles go through without any effort and re-circulating to the air you breathe.
- Pleated filters in the MERV 5-8 range remove dust, lint, pollen, dust mites, mold spores and fine powder from the air without substantially blocking airflow. These are great for residential air filtration, but they’re not recommended for people with respiratory issues.
- High-efficiency filters from MERV 9-16 are better suited to remove allergens and particle matter, and many of these filters can trap bacteria and viruses to help sustain a healthier indoor air quality.
- The highest efficiency filters from MERV 17-20 are reserved for cleanrooms and electronics manufacturing facilities.
Change the Filter Frequently
Once you have a good filter in place, it’s easy to forget about it. However, you must change it once every 30 to 90 days (or according to the manufacturer’s recommendation) to prevent it from becoming clogged with dust, hair and other debris. When this happens, airflow is restricted and the furnace or air conditioner is forced to work harder, driving up your energy bills.
At the same time, as the filter becomes clogged, bits of debris make their way through the filter. Over time, this can cause the A/C to accumulate a layer of debris, impairing cooling efficiency.
To solve both of these problems, set up an alarm, check your filter monthly and change it when it appears dirty, waiting no longer than three months between changes.
Other Ways to Maximize Heating and Cooling Efficiency
To lower heating and cooling costs even more, follow these tips:
- Seal air leaks in your ductwork to save upwards of 20 percent on your heating and cooling bills.
- Keep air vents unblocked by furniture to ensure good circulation.
- Hire a professional to conduct a routine heating and cooling inspection once a year.