Air filters are a vital component of your home’s HVAC system. Although an air filter has a simple appearance, typically a rectangular box with fiberglass or pleated cloth, they serve an important purpose. Air filters help maintain the integrity of your HVAC system while also removing contaminants from the air.
Filter Buying Tips
Buying the most inexpensive air filter isn’t always a viable option. For instance, 18x20x1 filters made from low-cost disposable fiberglass typically only remove large particles such as lint and dust. A disposable pleated 18x20x1 filter will catch more particles including spores and mites. Pleated filters are more efficient than non-pleated version due to the simple fact that there’s more surface area. However, these efficient filters don’t have to cost a bundle. Discount filters are available for purchase online.
Besides the pleated surface of the air filter, consider the suggested schedule to change the filter. Air filters that only last a month are typically not a wise investment. Basic filters stop efficiently working after 30 days and require replacement. Instead, opt for higher rated versions that will last up to 90 days with normal use.
To help decide on the best air filter for your household, you will use what is known as a MERV rating. In simplest terms, the higher the MERV rating of the filter, the more contaminants will be removed. MERV ratings for residential air filters range from 1 to 16. Each homeowner needs to carefully consider the nature of his or her household before making a selection. For instance, a MERV 8 rating is typically acceptable if you’re looking for Filtrete filters to prevent dust buildup or you wish to target pet odors. Merv 11 air filters target pet dander, pollen, dust mites, spores, and more to better manage allergy symptoms. MERV 13 air filters can promote healthy living by also removing harmful bacteria from the air, tobacco smoke, and smog.
Installing an air filter in your home couldn’t be easier. Simply turn off the furnace before installation. Then, remove and discard the old filter from the designated spot. Slide in the new filter before turning the furnace back on. Remember to check the filter for any arrows that indicate the proper air flow direction.
Wood Burning Appliance Safety Tips
The smell of wood burning in the wintertime creates a feeling of relaxation. However, burning wood indoors can present dangers as well. For the safety of your family and pets, always follow best burn practices.
Wood burning safety starts from what you choose to build a fire with. Wood needs to be seasoned and dry. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, wood should be seasoned for at least six months and have moisture content below 20 percent. Fires can be started with newspaper or dry pieces of kindling. Wood burning appliances are not intended to act as burn barrels for your trash. Never burn the following indoors:
- Cardboard Pieces
- Pressure-Treated Wood
- Moldy Wood
- Food Containers
To stay safe, keep all flammable items away from the fire. Doors for the appliance should remain closed once the fire is built. Before lighting the fire, make sure a fire extinguisher is nearby and all detectors are functioning properly.