Category Archives: Filter Replacement

Gas Furnace Safety

Gas Furnace Safety – If you have a gas furnace, it is important to know that it may produce some carbon monoxide that is released outside your home through the furnace’s vent. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas that can cause flu-like symptoms, disorientation, confusion, and even death.

A clean, efficiently burning gas furnace produces very small amounts of carbon monoxide. While a dirty, inefficiently burning one can produce deadly amounts. Newer gas furnaces are equipped with many features that shut the furnace off when a problem is detected. Older furnaces may not have these safety devices.

  • Schedule your annual tune-up. One of the most important aspects of an annual furnace tune-up is that we check to make sure that your gas furnace running safely. We’ll look for any problems like a cracked heat exchanger or frayed wires that could lead to safety hazards in your home.
  • Test your carbon monoxide detectors. A carbon monoxide leak is one of the biggest safety threats that a malfunctioning furnace can pose to your home. That’s why it’s important to check that all of your home’s carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Test all of the detectors in your home and install a fresh pair of batteries in each unit.
  • Test your smoke alarms. Certain severe furnace problems can lead to fire hazards, which is why this is the time of year that you should also be checking your home’s smoke alarms. Test all of the smoke alarms in your home and install a fresh pair of batteries in each unit.
  • Keep the area around your furnace clean and unobstructed. You can help minimize the chance of fire hazards from your furnace by keeping the area around your system clear.
  • Change your air filter when it’s dirty. A dirty air filter will restrict airflow to your furnace. It will overwork your system and can potentially increase the risk of a carbon monoxide leak. A dirty filter will allow dirt to build up on your furnace’s components and  cause a number of  safety issues.
  • Never operate the furnace without the front-panel door properly in place. Doing so may create the risk of CO poisoning. Most forced-air furnaces have a safety switch that prevents furnace operation when the door to the blower compartment is not in place.
  • Do not close off more than 20 percent of the registers in your house. This can cause high resistance and unnecessary heat build-up in the furnace. In addition, vacuum dust, lint and animal hair from all registers.
  • Call Grogg’s Home Services if you suspect any problems. You don’t want to take any chances with a fuel-burning appliance like your furnace. That’s why it’s always best to be on the safe side and contact Grogg’s if you suspect that anything’s wrong with your system.

Air Filter MERV Ratings: What to Know

MERV Ratings: What to Know When You Shop for Air Filter Replacements

Whether the HVAC systems in your Parkersburg or Clarksburg area home include a furnace, air conditioner or heat pump, regular air filter changes are essential for keeping your system clean and operating efficiently, and to keep your energy bills in check. A dirty air filter is one of the most common causes of HVAC problems, and can lead to system failure. Understanding MERV ratings can help you choose the best filter for your system.

The Purpose of Your HVAC Air Filter

Your air filter serves two critical functions for your HVAC system:

  • It protects your system from dust, which can overheat the system and damage the essential components, leading to costly repairs.
  • It cleans your home’s air to improve your indoor air quality. Your air contains numerous particles, including mold, pollen and dust mites.

A dirty air filter allows dust to build up inside your system, leaves more contaminants in your home’s air, and restricts airflow to your furnace which can cause the equipment to overheat and fail.

How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?

The air filter may need to be replaced every month or every two or three months, depending on where you live, the size of your household and whether you have pets. It can also depend on the following:

  • the type of air filter you are using
  • the overall indoor air quality
  • how many pets are in the home
  • the number of people occupying the home, and
  • the level of air pollution and construction around the home

For basic 1″-3″ air filters, manufacturers usually direct you to change them every 30-60 days. If you suffer from light to moderate allergies, you could upgrade the air filter or change them even more often. Or, if you’re in a more remote area or less occupied home (vacation home) and there are fewer cars around, annually may be enough.

Here are averages that might help you know how often you should change the air filter at home:

  • Vacation home or single occupant and no pets or allergies: every 6-12 months
  • “Average” suburban home without pets: every 90 days
  • Add a dog or cat: every 60 days
  • Add more than one pet or anyone has allergies: 20-45 days

Air Filter Choices: MERV Ratings

Air filters vary considerably in quality. The MERV scale is a standard measure of the ability of a filter to remove particles from your home’s air. MERV ratings range from 1 to 20, with lower ratings denoting a lower-quality filter.

  • MERV 1-4 Filters: Filters with a MERV rating of 1 to 4 do little to trap harmful particles in your home’s air. They are flat instead of pleated, which means there’s less area for trapping a larger number of particles. Additionally, they only trap particles larger than 10 microns, such as pollen, dust mites and carpet fibers.
  • MERV 5-8 Filters: MERV ratings of 5 to 8 indicate a medium-quality filter that’s sufficient for most homes. They trap particles as small as 3 microns, which include mold spores, animal dander, and the highly allergenic droppings of dust mites.
  • MERV 9-12 Filters: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advises that filters with MERV ratings of 9 to 12 are almost as effective as true high-efficiency particulate absorption, or HEPA, filters when it comes to removing particles from indoor air that are hazardous to your health, which makes them ideal for homes with occupants who have COPD, allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions. These high-quality filters trap particles as small as one micron, including Legionella and humidifier dust. MERV 9 to 12 filters are the best filters that a residential HVAC system will accommodate without serious system modifications.
  • MERV 13-20 Filters: These exceptional filters, which can trap viruses, bacteria and carbon dust. A residential system will not accommodate filters with MERV ratings above 12 without modifications (unless it’s previously been retrofitted for a higher-efficiency filter). Grogg’s Home Services installs Merv 13 Aprilaire Filters almost 90% of the time when new equipment is purchased.

Balancing Air Cleaning With Air Flow

A dirty filter can damage your system by restricting the flow of air, but so can a clean filter that’s too dense for your system. It’s essential to check the specifications of your system before upgrading your filter to a higher MERV rating. You can also ask your HVAC technician for recommendations during your annual preventive maintenance call.

How to Replace Your Air Filter

In most systems, the air filter is housed in the blower compartment, between the air return and the furnace or air handler itself. Have a plastic bag handy to put the dirty filter in, since the particles it contains are very small and can become airborne quickly. Open the compartment door and slowly remove the dirty filter. Insert the clean filter with the arrows printed on the frame pointing in the direction that the air flows, which is away from the air return and toward the main unit.

For more advice about how to choose the best air filter for your Parkersburg or Clarksburg area home, please contact us at Grogg’s Home Services.