Tag Archives: Air Conditioning

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.

AC repair – How to Choose the Right Company

There are many factors to consider when choosing an HVAC company to handle your AC repair. Choosing the wrong company can end up being be a very expensive mistake. Here is what you should look for in any company that you are considering for AC repair.

  1. Is the company licensed and bonded? This is critical because you will be covered if something happens to go wrong during the AC repair at your home in business.
  2. Does the company have a brick and mortar physical location or does it operate out of the owner’s home? We are not suggesting that you can’t get good AC repair service from people who are operating out of their homes, but the odds are much higher that you will have a better experience dealing with an AC repair company that is serious enough and big enough to have a dedicated location for its business.
  3. Is the company big enough to properly serve you? While there is such a thing as too big, you also want to make sure that the company has the resources to perform your AC repair. If a company has 1 employee, what is the likelihood that it will be able to perform your AC repair when you need it. Can one employee work all day and then be available to you in the middle of the night when you need an AC repair most? What about on Sunday? What about on Christmas day? Companies with more resources are able to schedule in such a way that they can always be there for you no matter when.
  4. Reviews! The beauty of the internet is that you can quickly find out what the general population thinks of any company whether it is an air conditioning company or not. Make sure you read up on any company before selecting who will perform your AC repair. Here is a link that you can use to check out Grogg’s Home Services.
  5. Warranties and Guarantees. Some companies offer none, others offer excellent warranties. Before you pay for service, please make sure that you are well covered.
  6. Financing. If your unexpected repair bill ends up causing a financial hardship for you, there are a few companies who offer financing on AC repairs. Grogg’s Home Services is one of them!

Is your HVAC system all Electric?

If your home is all electric and you heat your home with a heat pump, we have something that may be of interest to you. One of our manufactures has introduced an incredible new heat pump system. This unit uses a special type of inverter compressor technology that can produce incredible amounts of heat in amazingly cold temperatures. This system operates very well even when the temperature drops into the single digits. If you heat with electric then you know that when the auxiliary heat (heat strip) kicks on, your electric bill kicks way up with it. This new heat pump can keep that auxiliary heat strip off much longer saving you a ton of money. This new heat pump can also be paired with a gas furnace which can save you big money on your gas bill too.

Give us a call or click here to schedule a free in-home consultation or more information about this incredible system.

Excess Humidity

Moisture and excess humidity in your home can cause irreversible damage to your home, and even worse may put your health at risk. We have a solution! Our dehumidifier will drastically outperform the ones you buy in the store. On average ours removes 2 ½ more gallons of water per day than the average portable. When you control the humidity in your home you will feel cooler allowing you to raise the temperature inside your home by a degree or two which can save you money on the electric bill as well.

 One of the best things you can do for your and your home’s health is to control the indoor humidity.

A/C Efficiency

The performance of the air conditioner depends on efficient outdoor heat dispersal, which relies upon adequate air circulation into and out of the condenser coil. Nearby walls, fences or vegetation may interfere with the free flow of air into the unit. Decks or other overhanging structures above the unit may hinder the dispersal of exhausted air. These can degrade the air conditioner’s performance and efficiency and even affect its service life. Allow 1 to 3 feet of open horizontal space next to intake grilles of the outdoor unit to allow optimum air intake. To avoid excessive heat buildup inside the condenser coil and ensure proper heat dispersal, leave 4 to 6 feet of vertical clearance above the unit.

Stay Comfortable this Summer

The top things you can do in this hot weather to help your air conditioner keep you comfortable. (In no particular order)

  1. Keep window blinds closed as much as possible
  2. Keep windows closed. Opening windows in the evening just allows the humidity in the home to build back up
  3. Turn off the lights when leaving the room
  4. Check your home’s insulation. Especially in the attic
  5. Change your filter
  6. Get the a/c system serviced and cleaned
  7. Get a programmable thermostat (avoid wide temperature swings however)
  8. Wear light clothing around the house
  9. Reduce the temperatures of your baths and showers
  10. Make sure your attic has adequate ventilation

A/C Run Times

Now that it’s hotter outside, it’s normal for a central air conditioner to run without cycling on and off as often. Also, running with fewer cycles (turning on and off) is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, running longer can be positive because it:  Helps dehumidify your home, and can decrease wear and tear on your system from less starting and stopping. Ask yourself this: Are you staying comfortable? (home is reaching thermostat temp on very hot days and airflow from vents is normal) Are your energy bills about the same as they were last year? If you answered yes to these, there’s probably not a problem.