Benefits of Air Filter Subscriptions

It may be hard to believe, but the air filter for your HVAC system is its most important part. The filter traps the airborne particulates that could harm your air handler if they collected inside it. Having a subscription with Lion Home Service in northern Colorado makes it easy to remember to change the filter. Even better, you’ll always have the correct filter for your system.

Convenience

Home deliveries of just about everything that you use on a routine basis are a major convenience, especially for filters. Big box stores, home improvement centers, and grocery stores do stock some filters, but if they don’t have the type and size you need, then you’ll have to go somewhere else.

Indoor Air Quality

New filters are also a reminder to check and change the old filter, a household chore that’s easy to forget but so important for indoor air quality. A dirty filter distributes lots of airborne particulates that contain typical allergens, like pollen, mold spores, dust and dust mite waste, pet dander, and hair. If anyone in your family suffers from allergies, then a filter delivery subscription will help to ensure that your filter will be changed on a regular basis, which enhances everyone’s ability to breathe naturally.

Besides improving your indoor air quality, clean filters prevent a buildup of dust and debris inside the ductwork. Excessive debris in the ductwork can slow down the air flowing through them and drive up your energy bills.

Precision

When you sign up for a subscription for air filters, you’ll benefit from the expertise of the professionals. They will advise you on the best types of filters to use for kinds of dust and particulates common in the northern Colorado environment. They’ll also verify the best kind of filter the HVAC manufacturer recommends, and you’ll always have the right size.

Besides the considerable convenience an air filter subscription with Lion Home Service in Fort Collins, CO, gives you, your home’s HVAC system will run more efficiently and deliver cleaner air. You’ll also have more time to spend on activities your family enjoys. Call us today to see for yourself.

Cleaning your home’s air ducts every few years reduces dust and allergens

It’s not terribly pleasant to think about where dust comes from — an accumulation of dirt, dead skin cells, dandruff, pet dander, mites, smoke particles and other pollutants. This detritus circulates through the air in your home, where you and your family unavoidably breathe it in on a daily basis. And because dust is heavier than air, it settles into vents and ducts just like it does onto flat surfaces. Think about how often you dust your furniture, and how much dust would build up if you neglected this chore for weeks, months or years. Now ask yourself, when’s the last time you had your air ducts cleaned?

 

How dirty are your air ducts?

 

Air ducts act as the lungs of your home, and they affect the actual lungs of the residents. To function most efficiently, they need to be kept clean and clear. Too much dust can contribute to literal respiratory problems, particularly for anyone who suffers from asthma or allergies.

If you live in a newer home that wasn’t properly cleaned before you moved in, construction dust and debris have probably been collecting in your ducts and circulating throughout the house whenever the furnace or air conditioning kicks on. Or, if you’ve recently undergone a major remodeling project, it’s likely to have generated additional dust that’s settled into the system.

No matter how often you dust and vacuum, you’re usually just moving particles around, stirring them up into the air before quickly resettling. Cleaning out your air ducts and HVAC system every now and then gets to the real root of the problem, removing dust before it has a chance to circulate. Another benefit, air duct cleaning may help your HVAC system operate more efficiently by preventing clogs and improving overall air flow.

 

When to clean your air ducts

 

Indications that it may be time to clean out your air ducts can include heavy dust accumulation on your furniture, frequently occurring respiratory problems among the residents in your home, visible mold in vents or other HVAC components, and signs of mice or insects that can infest and contaminate the system.

It’s a good idea to have your air ducts and related HVAC parts professionally cleaned every two or three years; more often if circumstances merit. Because air duct cleaning requires specific tools and a thorough understanding of the mechanical duct/HVAC system, it can be a difficult task for homeowners to try to tackle on their own. Even the longest attachments on a regular vacuum won’t work for deep air duct cleaning. Professional cleaners use a negative pressure system to vacuum dust out with a hose and a spinning soft brush that dislodges the debris. Air duct cleaning also requires taking protective steps homeowners may not be familiar with, such as making sure the furnace coil is blocked off to prevent dust and dirt from pushing through, which can create extra stress on the blower motor and cause potentially expensive damage.

The cost of air duct cleaning depends on the size and complexity of your system, but the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that professional service for an average-sized home typically ranges between $450 and $1,000.

 

Air duct homework

 

In between air duct cleanings, the best thing you can do to keep dust levels down is to change out the furnace filter on a regular basis. If excessive dust is a problem in your home, don’t skimp on quality. The higher the MERV rating is, the more effective the filter will be.

Another helpful hint — pay close attention to areas of your home where excess debris may be entering the system. For example, flat vents on the floor next to a dog bed or kids who tend to kick off their shoes next to a vent as soon as they enter the house may be inadvertently introducing extra dirt into the ducts.

 

Filters make a big impact on air quality and furnace efficiency

Imagine what would happen if you tried to brew your morning coffee without using a filter. The end result would be full of coffee grounds, and the whole process would clog up your machine.

A furnace filter functions in much the same way as a coffee filter. These humble household heroes are important for two main reasons — they strain out debris from the air in your home, and they support your furnace by protecting its inner workings.

 

How clean is your air?

 

It’s not pleasant to think about, but household air is full of dust, bacteria, smoke, pet dander and pollen — all of which carry the potential to detrimentally affect the health of those who live in your home. Filtering out this debris can make a big difference in the quality of the air you and your family breathe every day.

When dirt and dust get sucked into the furnace unit, they can weigh down the blower wheel and other moving parts, throwing everything out of balance and wearing out the overall system much more quickly. If you can’t remember the last time you changed out your furnace filter, chances are you’re overdue.

 

Get to know your filters

 

All furnace units include a filter with size and complexity depending on your individual system.

Disposable filters are the most popular variety, fairly inexpensive to replace and can readily be found at most hardware stores and home retailers. For any filter you’re buying, make sure to take note of the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating on the packaging. The higher the rating, the more efficient the filter will be. Low MERV ratings between 1 and 4 will filter out most garden-variety dust, mites, pollen and carpet fibers; moving up to a 13 to 16 rating at the top end of the scale will also remove harder-to-catch smoke particles, bacteria, germs and viruses.

Available in a wide range of sizes, disposable filters should be changed out every 30 to 90 days depending on the amount of dust and debris in your home. A good rule of thumb that’s easy for most homeowners to remember is to change your furnace filter at the start of each new season.

Washable filters don’t need to be frequently replaced like disposable filters — maybe once every three to five years, but they do require regular cleaning at the same 30- to 90-day intervals to do their job effectively. Electrostatic features in both disposable and washable filters electrically charge the air as it passes through to help trap more dust and debris.

If you have pets that shed heavily or family members who suffer from allergies, you may want to consider a high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter to sift out a greater volume of potential irritants from the air. However, keep in mind that these filters can sometimes be so dense, they actually wind up restricting the airflow into your furnace with negative impacts its functionality.

 

Which filter is right for you?

 

Deciding what kind of filter is best for your home depends on your specific needs and how much you want to spend. A simple disposable filter that you change out once a month can control the dust and debris in your household air quite nicely, but if you want to significantly improve your indoor air quality and/or the life of your furnace system, you might find it well worth upgrading to a higher-end product.

Basic disposable filters usually start around $20 and can run up to several hundred dollars for the most sophisticated models. Most average homeowners can expect to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 to $50 for a decent disposable filter that will meet their needs just fine.

Changing out your furnace filter isn’t a difficult task. Just locate the filter rack on your furnace system, remove the old filter and slide in a new one. Make sure the arrow on the filter is pointing in the same direction that the air flows into the unit, and you’re good to go until it’s time for the next replacement.

No more dry skin and ruined wood furnishings with an ideal humidity level

Maintaining proper humidity levels in your home offers a number of benefits including improved energy efficiency and indoor air quality, longer life for your hardwood flooring and furniture, and even added protection against airborne cold and flu viruses. The ideal humidity level usually ranges somewhere between 30% and 50%. It’s easy to find out exactly where yours clocks in by using a basic hygrometer device, available at hardware stores and big-box retailers.

Why do you need a humidifier?

Like the human body, your living space requires a certain amount of water to thrive and function at its best. If the air in your home is too dry, you may notice frequent static shocks, cracks forming in wood furnishings and floors over time and possible health issues such as dry skin, sore throats, chapped lips, respiratory problems and bloody noses. These problems can become more noticeable in the winter when your furnace kicks on for the season, because heat saps air of much-needed moisture. Daily living activities like showers, cooking and laundry do introduce some water vapor back into the atmosphere, but often not enough to keep homes and those who live in them comfortable during the drier months of the year.

Humidifiers can add moisture to the air of a room or an entire home to reduce these and other adverse conditions. Another tangible benefit to note — humidity helps the air in your home feel warmer than it actually is, which can help residents feel good about leaving the thermostat turned down and keep energy bills low.

Humidifier options

There are several types of humidifiers to consider on today’s market — whole-house models that attach to a furnace, free-standing portable units and small vaporizers that you can buy off the shelf at drug stores and retail outlets.

Whole-house humidifiers work in conjunction with your furnace to add moisture to the air throughout the entire home at regular intervals automatically whenever the furnace comes on. A more involved purchase than simply plugging in a portable unit, whole-house humidifiers must be professionally installed, and they can cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000 depending on the size and sophistication of the unit. If maintained correctly, whole-house humidifiers generally last 5 to 10 years.

By comparison, portable units and vaporizers are easy for homeowners to set up and move around themselves, relatively inexpensive and effective for adding moisture to individual rooms or small spaces. However, they don’t last as long as whole-house humidifiers, and portable units do require the use of a hose to discharge water into a nearby drain.

Maintenance recommendations

Homeowners don’t usually spend a lot of time thinking about their whole-home humidifier until it stops working. Some signs that may indicate a problem include noticeably drier air in the home, or water and moisture leaking around the unit.

The hardness of the water in your home plays a significant role in how well your humidifier works and can affect its shelf life over time. When hard water calcifies inside the unit, it leaves behind scale and debris that can reduce its operating power and efficiency. To keep whole-house humidifiers running smoothly, homeowners should plan to clean the unit and change the pad inside every two to three years, and as often as every year if the water in the home is especially hard. Water also runs through a metal or plastic grate in the unit where calcification can build up, leading to occasional replacement of that part as well.

Whether to tackle whole-home humidifier maintenance yourself or call a professional to do the job depends on the nature of the problems and your own skill and comfort level. Scheduling a professional service for your whole-home humidifier at the same time you have your annual furnace tune-up is an easy way to get ahead of any potential issues and keep both systems working in optimal condition for as long as possible.