Archives for Maintenance

Everything You Need to Know About Carbon Monoxide

CO detectorCarbon monoxide, or CO, is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. Often called the “silent killer,” if inhaled, especially in large quantities, carbon monoxide can cause serious illness and even death.

According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 2010 and 2015 more carbon monoxide poisoning caused more than 2200 deaths in the United States. The largest percentage of these tragic deaths occurred during the cold winter months of December, January, and February.

Common Carbon Monoxide Sources

Carbon monoxide is natural byproduct of any burning material. If you use fuel-burning appliances or have an attached garage, your home is more susceptible to increase levels of CO. Common sources of carbon monoxide in your home include:

Wood stoves and fireplaces

  • Water heaters
  • Gas stoves and ovens
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Space heaters
  • Power tools
  • Lawn equipment
  • Generators
  • Grills
  • Automobiles

Symptoms of CO Poisoning

Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble flu symptoms. Prolonged exposure can cause the initial symptoms to worsen, leading to confusion, loss of consciousness, and even death.

  • Common signs of carbon monoxide poisoning may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blurred vision
  • Fainting
  • Sleepiness

People who are sleeping or intoxicated are often at a higher risk of suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning because they may be unaware of developing symptoms. Irreversible brain damage and death can easily occur before rising CO levels are discovered.

Seek Medical Help

The initial symptoms of CO poisoning can be subtle and often easy to miss. Since carbon monoxide poisoning is a potentially life-threatening situation, if you suspect you are someone else may be at risk, get fresh air immediately and contact emergency medical personnel.
How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Fortunately, death from carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented. A few simple steps like regular inspections of heating equipment and chimneys, as well as using a carbon monoxide detector will help lower the risks of CO exposure for you and your family.

Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors.

Carbon monoxide detectors are required by law in many states. However, even if they are not mandatory in your state, having them installed could save your life. Place one within 10 feet of rooms used for sleeping. Special CO detectors are also available for boats and motor homes.

Be sure to check the batteries in CO detectors regularly. Most manufacturers recommend replacing batteries twice each year to ensure your detectors are always working properly.

If the alarm on your CO detector goes off, leave the house immediately and call your local fire department. Put one in the hallway near each sleeping area in your house.

Never Start Your Car with the Garage Door Closed

It is dangerous to leave your vehicle running in a closed garage. CO is a natural byproduct of burning gasoline and is emitted through your car’s exhaust system. CO levels can rise rapidly in an unventilated area like a closed garage. Always open the garage door before starting your car.

Follow Safety Guidelines When Using Fuel-Powered Appliances

To ensure your family’s safety, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using any fuel-powered appliances. Keep all fuel-burning appliances well vented for safety.

Some other safety precautions to follow include:

  • Never use a stove or oven to heat your living spaces.
  • Always use portable gas camp stoves outside.
  • Never use fuel-burning space heaters when sleeping.
  • Never use a generator in an enclosed space like a basement or garage.

Schedule Regular Maintenance for Your Heating System

Whether you use a fireplace, woodstove, or modern HVAC system to heat your home, regular maintenance is important for efficiency and safety.

If you use a fireplace or stove to heat your home, be sure to clean your fireplace chimney and flue before the first use of the season.

Your local HVAC professional can provide annual inspections of your HVAC system. Regularly scheduled inspection and maintenance are essential for proper and safe function. Also, a qualified technician can answer any questions you may have about the safety of your heating system or appliances.

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HVAC Maintenance Tips for Fall

Fall is in full swing and that means cold weather is right around the corner. On cold winter nights, there are few things you’ll appreciate more than your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system. However, if it isn’t running properly, your HVAC system can be a source of misery rather than comfort. Heating your home is the typically the largest energy expense for homeowners. That is why it is so important to keep your HVAC system running properly.

Fall is the Best Time for Regular HVAC Maintenance

Now is the perfect time to prepare for frigid weather ahead. Complete these fall maintenance tips to keep your HVAC system operating efficiently this winter. Not only will these tips save you money, they will also ensure you spend this winter in warm, cozy comfort.

Change Your Air Filters

Changing your air filters is the most important thing you can do to keep your HVAC system running properly. Thankfully, it is also the easiest thing you can do.

However, don’t wait until fall to change your filters. Some experts recommend replacing your filters monthly, while others suggest every three months. There are several factors that affect how often your filters need to be changed, such as whether you have pets.

Filters should be checked every month and replaced if they are dirty. To help you remember this important chore, you should choose and schedule a regular day each month to inspect your filters. One recommendation is to check your filters on the same day you pay your mortgage or rent.

Clean Your Vents

It is also a good idea to keep your vents clean. This will allow your HVAC system to circulate air properly and help keep your house clean as well.

In most cases, you can simply use your vacuum cleaner to suck up the dust that accumulates in your vents. However, if you vents are particularly dirty or clogged, you may need to call in the professionals.

Schedule Maintenance with a Professional Technician

Your HVAC system should be serviced annually to keep it working effectively and efficiently. Scheduling regular preventive maintenance for your HVAC system can improve its lifetime up to 48 percent.

Fall is the perfect time to schedule a regular maintenance visit with a service technician. He or she will inspect your system and prepare it to meet the demands of winter heating.

Here are some of the things you can expect a technician to do during a regular maintenance visit:

  1. Check and replace your furnace filter
  2. Inspect the exterior of your system for signs of wear
  3. Inspect and clean your system’s interior components
  4. Measure the power consumed by the system’s electrical components to check for unnecessary power usage
  5. Calibrate your home’s thermostat
  6. test for carbon monoxide leaks
  7. If you have a boiler, the controls, safeties, pump, and low water cutoff will be checked.

Is It Time to Replace Your HVAC?

A new HVAC system is an expensive investment. However, if your system is more than 10 years old, replacing it may actually save you money, at least in the long run.

If your system has some age, it may be running inefficiently, and an inefficient system wastes energy and money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing an old HVAC system with a newer model could reduce your home’s annual energy bill by as much as 40 percent. If you think it might be time to consider replacing your old system, call your local HVAC experts for advice and a price analysis.

Following these fall maintenance tips has numerous benefits for your HVAC system. Regular maintenance will keep you comfortable, improve your system’s efficiency, and save you money on your heating bills this winter.

If you have any questions or need to schedule a maintenance appointment, be sure to contact your local HVAC professionals.


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Important Questions to Ask Your HVAC Professional

Whether you are looking for a company to perform routine maintenance or replace your whole HVAC system, there are some key questions you should ask. It is always a good idea to talk to several companies and weigh your options before making such an important decision.

There is more to hiring a technician than finding who will give you the best price. After all, you don’t want to place your family’s comfort into the hands of just anyone. You want to make sure the job is done right, and therefore you want to make sure you hire someone qualified for the job.

What to Look for When Hiring an HVAC Company

It is best to put in the time to research before you actually hire an HVAC professional. Here are the questions you should ask every technician before hiring them to work on your HVAC system.

Are You Licensed and Certified?

Before hiring any HVAC company, be sure to check to see whether they are licensed and possess all necessary certifications. Most companies will have this information clearly posted on their websites.

You can also ask the company to show you license verification. If they cannot provide you with this information, don’t hire them to work on your system

If in doubt, check your state or local licensing board. Licenses should be public information. Many licensing boards have quick searches on their websites to allow you to check the license status of any company in your local area.

Also, any technicians the company sends to do maintenance or repairs should be properly certified. Check state and local codes to see the specific requirements for your area. When you schedule an appointment, ask the company about the specific technician that will be servicing your system. Make sure each individual is properly qualified for the work you are hiring them to perform.

Are You Insured?

Hiring a properly insured company is important just in case something goes wrong while the technician is working on your home. You don’t want to be sued for injury. Ask the company if they carry worker’s compensation and liability insurance. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

How Much Experience Do You Have?

Knowing how much experience a company has can provide you with peace of mind when hiring them. A company with a history of poor customer service, sketchy business practices, or sloppy work isn’t going to stay in business for very long.

However, just because a company hasn’t been in business for decades, doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified. In the absence of a long local history, consider asking about their education and other credentials.

Do You Have Experience with My Specific Unit?

This question is somewhat related to the previous one. Even though a company may have been in business for decades, if they do not have specific knowledge and experience with your system, they may not be the best company for the job.

Do You Have Customer References?

By hearing what previous customers have to say about the company, you can get a feel for the quality of work and service they offer. Most companies will have customer ratings or reviews on their website or social media pages.

Even the best companies may have an occasional bad review. Be sure to look at specific negative complaints to see if they are justified. While you are at it, check the positive reviews to make sure they are specific and genuine.

What is Your Satisfaction Guarantee?

Ask the company if they will refund your money if the service does not meet your satisfaction. For instance, if the repair only lasts for a short time. While some repairs can’t be completely guaranteed, especially on older systems, it is important exactly what the company is offering before they begin servicing your unit.

Get these guarantees in advance and in writing. Also, if you get a quote on repair costs, get everything in writing prior to the start of repairs.

Whether you’re purchasing your first system or you’re a seasoned homeowner looking for routine maintenance, it’s important to know what to expect. By asking these questions of your local HVAC company, you’ll know you are hiring someone qualified for such an important job.

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What to do When an Animal Dies in Your Air Ducts

It isn’t something most homeowners like to think about, but it is more common than you might think.. From time to time, small animals work their way into your home’s duct work. Attics, basements, and wall spaces are attractive places small animals to hide, and air ducts are perfect pathways for them to move around and even nest.

These animals can wreak all kinds of havoc on your air ducts. They often scratch and chew holes in the duct walls, allowing air to escape. These holes will negatively affect the energy efficiency of your system and drive up your heating and cooling bill.

Many small animals also leave behind feces in your air ducts. This can cause a breeding ground for mold and disease that could negatively impact your family’s health.

When an Animal Dies in Your Ducts

However, if one of these small animals dies inside your duct work, it can be an incredibly unpleasant experience. The smell of the rotting animal will circulate through your home every time the system kicks on.

Decomposition of the body will take about a week for small animals like rats or mice, although it may take even longer for a larger animal like a squirrel or possum, with the smell lingering for up to a month. Not only is the smell of a rotting carcass difficult to bear, it also attracts maggots and insects, and promotes mold, mildew and other fungi that are harmful to your health.

The good news is that the body can be removed and the area affected cleaned and sanitized. While this process is unpleasant, it is often a job you can easily do yourself. If you just can’t stomach it, however, you can hire a professional to take care of the problem for you. Consult your local HVAC professionals and explain the situation. Most companies will send out a technician to help you right away. If the case is serious, however, they may refer you to animal control.

Locating the Carcass

To locate the body of the dead animal, all you really need to do is follow your nose.

First, turn off your HVAC system, open your windows and allow your rooms to air out. Since your HVAC system circulates the air inside your home, it can distribute the rotting smell into every room in the house. By shutting off the system and allowing fresh air in, you can isolate the offensive smell to the area that is generating it.

After you have allowed your home to air out a bit, walk around the house and follow your nose, Find the room or areas of the home where the odor is strongest.

You may have to smell each individual air register and return in the affected area in order to closer pinpoint the location of the dead animal. The carcass will be closest to the vent with the strongest odor.

Removing the Carcass

Once you have located the dead animal, you can either call in the professionals or remove it yourself. If you decide to take matters into your own hands, you’ll need a screwdriver, flashlight, garbage bag, rubber gloves, paper towels, and disinfectant cleaner.

First, use a screwdriver to remove the register cover. Next, use your flashlight to look inside the air duct to see if the carcass is visible. If you are unable to see the body, you may need a telescoping inspection camera to maneuver the twists and turns of your duct work.

If you can see the carcass, but it is outside of your reach, you may need another tool to get to it. This might be as simple as a bent clothes hanger, or you might need a long hose attachment for a shop vacuum cleaner.

If the carcass is out of reach, you will need to hire a professional to assist you with removal. They will have specialized equipment to locate and remove dead animals from awkward, hard-to-reach places in your air ducts.

If the offending animal is within easy reach, carefully use a gloved hand to grab the carcass and place it in a plastic garbage bag. Immediately remove the dead body from your home. If the animal is large, like a raccoon or possum, you should contact your local waste disposal authorities to ask about specific policies regarding disposal of dead animals.

Cleaning Up The Mess

After you have removed the source of the smell, clean the area and all areas the carcass touched with disinfectant cleaner. If the animal was initially out of reach, this process will be slightly more difficult. Use a small mop with a long handle to reach all the affected surfaces of your duct work. This will help prevent the growth of dangerous mold and bacteria.

After the animal has been removed and the area cleaned, there are a few follow up steps to take. To ensure another animal doesn’t crawl up inside and cause more damage, your duct work should be thoroughly inspected.

You can schedule a regular inspection with a HVAC technician to find and seal any holes the animal has made in your air ducts.

You may also consider scheduling a professional duct cleaning. This service will clean any feces or other animal waste from your ducts, as well as further disinfect the surfaces, scrubbing away any lingering odors or bacteria.

While removing a dead animal from your ducts is usually easy, it is never pleasant. If you have any concerns or need help from a professional, contact your local HVAC experts immediately.

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Cooling Efficiency Guide for Homeowners

As rising summer temperatures begin to make their way across the country, it is time to consider the efficiency of your home’s cooling system. The cooling efficiency of your system is crucial to your family’s comfort this time of year. However, it also affects how much you will spend on utilities this summer.

Factors That Affect Cooling Efficiency

In order to get the most out of your cooling system and keep your summer utility bills under control, it is important to understand the factors affecting your system’s efficiency. Here are just a few things that could have long-reaching effects on cooling efficiency, comfort, and your summer cooling budget.

Setting Your Thermostat

One of the biggest factors in your cooling system’s efficiency is how you set your thermostat. Thankfully, this factor is also the easiest to control.

The closer you set your thermostat to the temperature outdoors, the less stress you put on your cooling system, and the more money you will save on your bill. This may not be practical when the temperatures peak mid-summer. To stay cool during blistering heat waves, find the highest comfortable temperature, and commit to it. Frequently changing the temperature of non-programmable thermostat can make a major impact on your cooling efficiency. If you want to customize temperature settings for different times of day or days of the week, t is best to invest in a programmable thermostat model.

During the hottest weather, experts recommend setting your home’s cooling system at 78 degrees Fahrenheit for those time periods when you and your family are at home. If the house will be empty for more than four hours, consider raising the setting so energy won’t be wasted cooling an unoccupied house.

Check the Airflow

A primary factor in cooling efficiency is airflow. If your system isn’t getting the proper airflow, it will have to work harder to keep the inside of your home comfortably cool.

Check to make sure there is proper clearance around your home’s external unit. Also, make sure the system is clear of debris and your ductwork is clean. Regular filter changes are also necessary to maintain airflow and keep your system operating at peak efficiency.

Air Leaks

Too much airflow can also affect your system’s efficiency. Make sure to seal leaky doors and windows. Winter drafts are uncomfortable, but during the summer heat, they can force your cooling system to work overtime.

Also, be sure to keep all exterior doors and windows shut once you turn on that air conditioner.

Regular Maintenance

Just like your vehicle, your cooling system needs regular maintenance. Schedule a check-up at least once a year with a local HVAC professional. A qualified technician will check for potential problems and make sure your system is up to the task of cooling your home.

The ideal time to schedule maintenance is in the spring before the heat of summer rolls in. The last thing you want is to have your system break down during the sweltering summer heat waves.

Consider an Upgrade

If your cooling bills remain high even after addressing these potential efficiency issues, it may be time to upgrade to a more modern and energy efficient system. Most cooling systems have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

If your system is nearing its 12 birthday, especially if you find it needs frequent repairs, it is a good idea to contact your local HVAC professional to discuss the benefits of upgrading your unit. He or she will help you weigh your options and make an informed decision about the cooling efficiency of your current unit, as well as what benefits a new model will provide.

When deciding whether to purchase a new system, you will need to check the Seasonal Energy-Efficiency Ratio, or SEER rating. In general, the rating should be at least 14.5. The higher the SEER, the more energy-efficient the cooling unit is.


Keeping your cool when you have a cooling efficiency problem can be hard, both literally and figuratively. However, if you address the factors listed above, you should stay cool all summer

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your cooling system and its energy efficiency, be sure to contact a qualified cooling expert in your area.

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Essential HVAC Tips for Pet Owners

pet ownersIf you are a pet owner, you understand how an animal companion can enrich your life. You probably also understand how much work a pet can be. Keeping a pet healthy and happy will help you both live longer.

When you adopt a pet as a family member, it can out a strain on your HVAC system. If you have a furry friend, whether canine or feline, indoors or outdoors, there are certain steps you should take to keep your pet safe and your system running smoothly.

Groom Your Pet Regularly

Not only is routine grooming good for your pet, it is also good for your HVAC system. The hair your pet sheds can get sucked into your system, settle in your ductwork, and get blown back into your living spaces.

Grooming will significantly reduce the amount of airborne fur in your home. But regular bathing and brushing can also make you healthier. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, frequently bathing your furry friend helps eliminate microscopic pet dander, dust, and pollen, all leading causes of pet allergies.

Change Filters Often

Cleaning or replacing air filters is an essential part of HVAC maintenance. It helps keep dust and hair from bogging down your system. A clean filter is necessary to keep your system running efficiently and effectively.

How often you need to change your filters depends of the size of your HVAC system, the filter it requires, and how much dirt and debris needs to be filtered from the air in your home.

If you share your home with a pet, you will probably need to change your filters more often as pet hair and dander can quickly accumulate in your filters. Pet owners, especially those with multiple pets or pets that regularly shed, may need to change filters monthly to keep their system running at peak efficiency.

Consider upgrading to a HEPA filter.

For some homeowners, especially those suffering from allergies, frequent filter changes may not be enough. By upgrading to a HEPA filter, you can reduce airborne allergens by up to 99 percent. Drastically improving the indoor air quality of your home, a HEPA filter will more efficiently trap microscopic dust and dander and keep it from be recirculated into your home.

Vacuum Regularly

Vacuuming your home will also help reduce the amount of pet hair and dander that gets sucked into your vents. It is just one more step you can take to reduce the amount of hair that floats around your home and makes its way into your HVAC system.

If you suffer from pet allergies, consider purchasing a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Vacuum cleaner models with a built-in HEPA air filter clean the tiniest allergy-causing particulates from your home’s surfaces. This extra filtration is highly important for pet owners with allergies, asthma, or other breathing difficulties since pet dander irritates those conditions.

Protect Your Outdoor Unit and Your Pet

If your pets have free rein outdoors, you will want to take measures to protect your pet and your outdoor unit from each other.

Fido may think your outdoor unit looks like a great place to lift his leg, but pet urine can cause corrosion and other damage to the unit.

Pets may also dig or claw at the fins in your air conditioning condenser. This can cause expensive damage to the unit and could cause your pet unnecessary injury.

The outdoor unit also moving parts that pose an injury risk to your four-legged friends.

To protect dogs and cats from the condenser, and vice-versa, consider erecting a fence or planting dense shrubbery around the unit. This can discourage your pets from getting too close and give Fido other options for relieving himself.

Plants and shrubs can also be an attractive addition to your yard. Keep plants and shrubs at least three feet away from the condenser unit to ensure adequate airflow.

Secure Electrical Cords and Wiring

Since many pets, especially puppies, like to chew, be sure to enclose any exposed electrical wires and conduits. This will prevent electrical hazards to both your system and your pet.  Pets like to chew on electrical wires and cords, which is dangerous for them and can cause damage to the wires. Enclose electrical wires in conduits.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

An annual tune up for your HVAC system has many benefits. A well-maintained system will run more efficiently, lowering your monthly bills and saving energy. Also, a system kept in good operating condition will last longer. Regular maintenance will help pinpoint potential problems before they become expensive, emergency repairs.

Pets are a wonderful addition to any household. However, they do put added strain on your HVAC system. Pet hair, dander, and dirt can clog up vents and ducts causing your system to work harder than necessary. If you follow the essential tips above and schedule yearly maintenance, you can keep your system running smoothly and enjoy the company of a fine furry friend.

If you have questions about how your pet affects your HVAC system, or if you need to schedule routine maintenance, be sure to contact your local HVAC experts.

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Is it Time to Tune Up Your Air Conditioner?

licensed havac technicianIt is a relief when mild springtime temperatures finally arrive after a harsh, cold winter. When we first feel the moderately warm weather of spring, it is hard to resist the urge to throw open windows and air out the stuffiness of winter. However, comfortable spring weather doesn’t last forever. Before you know it, it will be time to crank up the AC.

Before we hit those hot summer highs, you want to make sure your AC is up for the challenge. Spring is the best time to schedule an AC tune up. Ideally, your unit should receive a thorough inspection and routine maintenance at least one a year.

If you avoid an annual tune up by a qualified AC professional, you will eventually pay the price. Regular maintenance is the best way to prevent expensive breakdowns and keep your energy bills from skyrocketing.

Why Spring is the Best Time to Schedule a Tune Up

Scheduling your air conditioner’s regular maintenance during the mild summer months is most practical. It will ensure your AC is ready to tackle the heavy usage necessary during the peak of summer.

It is also the best time to book regular maintenance with your local HVAC technicians. Once the summer heat becomes relentless, repair professionals are busy with emergency breakdowns, probably with homeowners who neglected to schedule maintenance in the spring.

The Benefits of Paying for a Tune Up Now

It may not seem necessary to schedule maintenance if your system was running smoothly at the end of last summer. However, paying for maintenance now will pay you back in the long run. Here are just a few of the ways regular maintenance pays eventually pays for itself.

Cut Utility Bills By Improving Efficiency

A qualified HVAC technician will clean, test, and adjust your whole system to ensure it runs at peak efficiency. As an air conditioner ages, especially if it is not well-maintained, it will lose efficiency. By ensuring your system is operating as efficiently as possible, you will be maximizing the system’s efficiency. An efficient AC is key to saving money on your utility expenses.

Prevent Costly Emergency Repairs

Preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid an unexpected breakdown. Emergency repair visits can be expensive. By scheduling a routine maintenance visit with your local HVAC technician, you’ll keep one step ahead of unexpected repair costs.

Fix Small Problems Before They Become Big Problems

Regular maintenance can help you catch potential problems early. Your air conditioner is a complex machine. Even the simplest, easy-to-fix problem can grow into a major disaster if it isn’t detected early. Even if your system appears to be running fine, a trained technician will be able to spot potential problems before they become big ones.

Extend The Life of Your Air Conditioner

Neglecting routine maintenance can take its toll on your air conditioner over time, shaving years off the life of your unit. If you schedule service annually, you can maximize the life of your system, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in replacement costs.

Plan for Replacement

Even a well-maintained air conditioner doesn’t last forever. By scheduling an annual tune up, you can talk to your HVAC technician about potential replacement. This may give you the time you need to save up or take advantage of time sensitive sales offers.


There are simple maintenance tasks you can and should do yourself. Replacing your filters is a good example. However, regular air conditioner tune ups are best left to qualified professionals.

Your air conditioner is a complex machine, and lot can go wrong if you attempt to complete some maintenance tasks by yourself. You could permanently damage your system, or worse you could be severely injured by accidental electric shock.

It is also a great opportunity to take advantage of a technician’s trained eye. He or she will have the training and experience to spot potential problems that you might overlook.

Be sure to contact your local HVAC technician to schedule your routine maintenance visit before the hot summer heat sets in.

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Disposable Versus Reusable Air Filters

filter MERV ratingYour air filter is one of the most important aspects of your HVAC system. A clean, quality filter will improve indoor air quality and improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.

Since indoor air is generally more polluted than outdoor air, good air filter is essential. Helping remove chemicals from cleaners, pet dander, dust, allergens, an effective air filter can help improve your indoor space and help you breathe easier.

There are two basic categories of HVAC air filters – disposable and reusable. Here are some pros and cons of each category. Use this information to help you choose the type of perfect air filter for your home.

Disposable Air Filters

The most common type of HVAC filter, disposable filters, are designed for one-time use. You will need to replace these filters must regularly to maintain sufficient airflow. Over time, these filters will become clogged with dust, dirt, hair, and other debris.

Disposable air filters come in a variety of filtration levels. The more filtration power a filter has, the smaller the particles it will remove from your indoor air. Filtration is indicated by a MERV rating. MERV stands for “minimum efficiency reporting value.” This number indicates how effectively the filter removes particles from the air as it passes through.

Most professional suggest replacing your disposable air filter monthly. Be sure to check with your system’s owner’s manual or an HVAC professional for specific requirements.

One of the biggest advantages of using a disposable air filter is the convenience. They require no special cleaning or washing. Simply pop out the old one and replace it with a brand new one.

Most disposable filters are typically composed of metal mesh, fiberglass filtration material, and a cardboard frame. Recycling these materials individually is not difficult. However, separating them can be a logistical nightmare for local recycling centers. Also, since fiberglass is non-biodegradable, it will take up space indefinitely in the local landfill.

Another drawback to conventional disposable filters is the cost. You will need to purchase replacement filters several times a year, which becomes expensive over time.

Reusable Air Filters

Reusable HVAC filters, although less common than their disposable counterparts, are growing in popularity. Rather than tossing these filters in the garbage when dirt and dust begins to build up, you simple was reusable filters and reuse them.

Reusable air filters cost more initially than disposable. However, after the upfront cost, the only investment is the time it takes to wash them. A reusable filter, when properly maintained will save you significant money over time.

With a reusable filter, you never have to worry about running to the hardware or home improvement store to buy a replacement. As long as a little dirt and dust doesn’t scare you, maintenance is as simple as flushing the filter with water and then allowing it to dry before replacing it. To ensure your reusable filter is sanitary, you can also a purchase a specialized filter cleaner that you can easily purchase online.

Reusable HVAC filters do require an amount of patience. Replacing the filter before it has had sufficient time to dry attract mold into your HVAC unit. This will affect your air quality, wreak havoc on your system, and could potentially cause health problems.

If you are the impatient sort, consider purchasing two reusable filters. Then simply alternate the filters, replacing with a dry one each time cleaning is required.

The Bottom Line

If you have concerns about indoor air quality, you may want to stick with a disposable HEPA filter. Reusable filters do little to combat cigarette smoke, pet dander, or cleaning chemicals. Consumers with allergies, asthma, or chemical sensitivity may want to stay with high-quality disposable filters.

However, if saving money or going green are high on your list of priorities, a reusable HVAC filter may be exactly what you’ve been searching for.

If you have any questions about what type of HVAC filter is right for you, contact your local HVAC specialist for more details.

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Spring Cleaning for Your Air Ducts

Spring cleaning is a tradition shared by many cultures around the globe. When the trees begin to bud and the birds start singing, many people feel an urge to shake off the dreariness of the winter months by clearing cobwebs and giving their home a good scrubbing.

You shouldn’t neglect your heating and cooling system while you are sweeping and dusting and sprucing up your home’s interior. Keeping your air ducts clean can help control airborne dust, reduce seasonal allergies, and help your cooling system run more efficiently.

Signs Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning

The easier it is for air to flow through your home’s ductwork, the easier it is for your cooling system to deliver cool, comfortable air to your living spaces. If there are any major blockages in your air ducts, it could hinder air flow, straining your system and increasing your energy bill.

Air duct cleaning may not be warranted in every home. However, if you see any of these signs, it may be time to give your ductwork a good cleaning.

Rodent Droppings or Insect Carcasses

If you see dead bugs or rodent feces in your air ducts, they probably require immediate attention. Not only will byproducts enter your home, potentially causing health problems for you and your family, they could also be a sign that insects have nested in your ducts. Rodent droppings usually mean there are rodents present, and these critters can cause serious damage to your air ducts if not kept in check. If you see these contaminants, you should call an exterminator first, and then contact a professional to help clean your ductwork.


Mold can be a serious problem for your health and for your HVAC system. Excess moisture trapped in your air ducts will cause mold to develop and grow. Excessive moisture could be damaging your entire HVAC system. Consider any signs of mold a serious issue. If you detect a musty smell coming from your air vents, contact a professional to inspect your system.

Excessive Allergy Symptoms

If you or a member of your family suffers from excessive allergy-related issues, you may want to consider having your air ducts professionally cleaned, especially if you have taken other steps to decontaminate your home without success.

Dust and Dirt

If you notice significant amounts of dust and debris in your vents, it could be a sign your ducts need to be cleaned.

Will Cleaning My Ducts Make a Difference?

For most homeowners, complete professional duct cleaning is unnecessary. In some cases, the process can loosen packed down dust and debris may cause even more particles to enter your home.

Unless your ducts are contaminated with mold or harmful pests, or your ducts are significantly clogged with dust, negatively affecting the efficiency of your system, you probably don’t need a thorough, professional cleaning. Instead, a few do-it-yourself chores and regular system maintenance should be more practical and effective.

Before you call a company to professionally clean your home’s ductwork, try completing these simple tasks.

  1. Change your air filters. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines to help you choose the proper filter for your system. Change filters regularly to keep your system clean.
  2. Clean around your condenser unit. Keep the area around your outdoor condenser free from tall grass, trash, and other yard debris. The system needs clear space to maintain proper air flow. Also, a qualified HVAC technician will perform regular maintenance and cleaning of your whole unit, including the condenser.
  3. Keep indoor vents clear. When you are cleaning your home’s interior, be sure to vacuum dust and any debris away from indoor supply vents. Also, make sure your vents are clear of furniture, draperies, and clutter. This will help ensure your system can maintain proper air flow.
  4. Use interior fans and dehumidifiers to reduce humidity. Be sure to use exhaust fans when showering. Also, consider a basic dehumidifier to help keep mold from developing and spreading in your home and HVAC system.
  5. Have your home checked annually by a qualified HVAC technician. He or she will perform regular maintenance to keep your system running smoothly and effectively. Regular maintenance will also detect any potential problems that may be developing.

If you notice poor airflow or excessive dust in your home, you should request an evaluation of your stem by qualified local HVAC technician. Properly installed air ducts seldom need professional cleaning. However, be sure to hire an experienced technician to do the job properly when it becomes necessary.




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7 Important HVAC Maintenance Tips for Pet Owners

pet hairThere are few things more fulfilling than the love and loyalty of a pet. There are many health benefits to pet ownership, including lower blood pressure, less anxiety, and longer life expectancy. However, owning a pet can be a big responsibility.

While there are many advantages to owning a pet, keeping one in your home can also be a lot of work. Keeping our furry friends safe can take some effort. Also, keeping the hair and pet dander from taking over your home can seem like a full-time job.

Your HVAC system plays an important role in keeping your family, including your pets, comfortable and happy. When it comes to maintaining your HVAC system, there are some special steps pet owners need to make to keep their pets safe and their system running smoothly.

Replace HVAC Filters Regularly

If you have a pet, you may need to replace your HVAC filters more frequently. Pets shed hair and pesky dander all over your floors and furniture. That hair and dander also makes its way into your filter. As hair and dander build up on your filter, it can restrict air flow, causing your HVAC unit to run less efficiently. The result is more energy consumption and a higher utility bill.

Be sure to check your filter frequently and replace when necessary. If you find you need to replace your filter often, consider switching to a reusable filter. Reusable filters can be easily cleaned with a simple garden hose and then reinstalled until they need to be cleaned again.

If you or other members of your family suffer from pet allergies, you should consider upgrading your filter to one with a high MERV rating. A filter with a MERV rating of 8 or higher is often recommended for homes with pets. These filters are more effective at filtering airborne allergens.

If you have questions about which filter to use, a qualified HVAC professional can advise you on the best filter for your system and situation.

Keep Your Home Clean

One way to prevent your filters from getting clogged with pet hair, is to keep regularly clean your house. Simply vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting will help keep pet hair from settling in your vents or collecting in your filter.

Bathe and Groom Your Pet

One important way to control pet dander is to brush and bathe your pet regularly. This will help prevent your pet from scattering hair, dirt, and dander throughout your home. If you don’t want to make a weekly trip to the groomer, consider investing in a good pet brush. Brushes specifically designed for pets will help keep shedding under control.

Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance

No matter how diligent you are about cleaning and pet hair, some will inevitable find its way into your system. It is important to have a technician perform regular cleaning and maintenance to keep your system running efficiently.

Also, have your technician regularly inspect your system duct work. If there has been significant accumulation of hair and dirt in your ducts, a thorough duct cleaning may be warranted.

Get Rid of Exposed Wires

While your technician performs regular maintenance on your HVAC system, have him take care of any exposed wires. Make sure he secures any dangling or exposed wires to protect them from curious pets.

Fence In Your Condenser Unit

If your pets are often left unattended in your yard, it is particularly important to fence off your outside unit. Make sure any barrier you install allows sufficient airflow around the condenser unit, but protects your system from potential pet damage. Claws and urine could potentially cause damage to the fins or other sensitive parts of your system.

Adjust Your Thermostat

It may be tempting to keep your thermostat set at a comfortable 72 degrees to keep Rover or Kitty comfortable when you are away. However, pets are safe and happy with a much wider temperature range than their human companions. You can save money and energy by adjusting your thermostat when only your pet is at home.


Following these important tips will help keeps your pets safe, extend the life of your HVAC system, and save you money. If you are considering regular system maintenance, special duct cleaning, or need help choosing a filter or programmable thermostat, be sure to contact your local HVAC professionals.

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