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Ways Candles Can Affect Your Air Filters and IAQ

Ways Candles Can Affect Your Air Filters and IAQ

Even though they’ve been used for centuries and sold by the millions, paraffin candles aren’t good for indoor air quality. They emit chemicals when they’re burning that not only harm living things, but they’re also hard on your HVAC system. Paraffin is made from petroleum, which releases harmful substances into the air when it’s burned. Many of these are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause mild to serious physical reactions and conditions. They can cause respiratory or skin irritations or conditions as serious as nervous system damage or cancer. Among the harmful particles candles release, soot sits high on the list for being both harmful and annoying. Soot is classified as a dangerous particulate because it’s so small it can lodge deep in your lungs. It also collects on air filters for HVAC systems and other indoor surfaces. Soot clogs porous materials like the air filter and your lungs and prevents the free flow of air. Scented candles pack a double whammy. You’ll breathe the soot and VOCs in the candles along with the chemicals in the perfumes. Managing Air Quality There are safe alternatives to paraffin candles that won’t affect your indoor air quality. Look for those made from beeswax or soybean oil. They don’t emit VOCs or soot when burned. If you’d like scented candles, look for those that use essential oils made from herbs, flowers or other vegetation. It’s also helpful to buy candles from reputable manufacturers. It’s also possible to minimize the damage that paraffin candles do by: Burning them in a draft-free area. Trimming the wick so that the candle burns without smoking....
Air Filter Always Dirty? Reasons Why

Air Filter Always Dirty? Reasons Why

It’s normal to have a dirty air filter in your HVAC system every month or so. The entire air volume inside your house—including all the dust, dirt, lint and other particulates floating around in it—circulates through the filter multiple times each day. The filter should be checked and replaced every month during the cooling season and every month or two during heating season. A dirty air filter obstructs airflow, which in turns degrades system energy efficiency as well as cooling/heating performance. But what if your filter always needs replacement sooner than that “normal” interval? If your filter’s getting excessively dirty before it ought to be, it could indicate one of the following issues: Fan running non-stop. The thermostat fan setting offers two selections: “On” and “Auto.” In the “On” mode, the fan runs all the time, 24/7. Continuous air circulation quickly fills the filter media with dirt and dust, requiring more frequent filter replacement. In the “Auto” mode, the fan runs only when the air conditioner or furnace cycles on. Using the “Auto” mode usually results in filter replacement intervals in the recommended range of one to two months. High-efficiency filters. Filter efficiency is expressed by the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) numeral. The higher the rating, the thicker the filter and the more particulates it captures. For residential use, filters in the MERV range of 8 to 12 are recommended for filtration capacity and optimum airflow. If a high-efficiency filter with a MERV rating above 12 is installed, however, the thick filter media will accumulate dirt and dust particulates faster and need changing more frequently than the recommended...

Effective Reminders to Change Your Air Filter

Lowering your electric bills and increasing your home comfort might be as easy as checking and changing the air filter for your HVAC system. A clean filter promotes good airflow through the air handler that promotes energy efficiency and keeps the components inside it clean. With the right amount of air blowing through it, your home will cool faster, have less indoor humidity and better air quality. HVAC experts recommend that you check the filter monthly and change it when it’s dirty to prevent premature breakdowns. A dirty filter also pulls dust and dirt into the air handler, where it will cover the components and enter the ductwork. It’s easy to forget to check the filter since it’s out of sight, but these prompts might help you remember this important task: Tie it to your electric bill. During the summer, you can probably attribute half of your electric bill to cooling your home. After you examine the electrical consumption for the preceding month, check the filter. Remind yourself that keeping it clean will lower the amount of power your HVAC needs. Stack the filters in an obvious place. Find a place that you walk by or see daily to store a few replacement filters. Some people put them by the garage door, place them in a pantry, or a frequently used closet. Program your phone or computer with a reminder. Send yourself a message each month to check the filter. Change the thermostat. Many programmable thermostats use internal timers to track the time your HVAC runs. They tie timer to a warning light that goes on when the HVAC...

Fall is Here: Change Your Air Filters

The transition of seasons is always a good time to think about changing the air filter that plays such an important role in your home’s cooling and heating system. With Florida’s lengthy cooling season, air has circulated through your home’s forced-air HVAC system thousands of times, and an effective air filter eventually will get clogged with dust and debris. A dirty air filter will block smooth airflow in your home’s HVAC system, forcing the A/C or furnace to work harder to move air through the equipment and ductwork. This wastes energy and stresses the equipment. Similarly, with a clogged filter, dust will be more likely to collect on sensitive HVAC components, creating friction, impeding smooth operation and leading to more frequent breakdowns. An air filter working the way it’s intended not only prevents these situations but also helps improve indoor air quality. Get in the habit of inspecting the air filter monthly during the high-use summer season and during the winter if your heating system is often in operation. If you live in a particularly dusty area, or perhaps construction is occurring near or inside your home, you’ll probably want to inspect the air filter even more often. Determining whether you need to replace an air filter is easy. If it’s covered with dust and debris, or if you hold it up to a light and can’t easily see through it, you’ll want to change the air filter. When you decide to change air filters, don’t make the mistake of selecting the cheapest available replacement – a flimsy, flat-panel filter that cost a couple bucks at the grocery or...

How to Remember to Change an Air Filter

Believe it or not, the air filter for your home’s HVAC system is one of its most important parts. It keeps the indoor components clean, prevents excessive wear on the parts and maintains the system’s energy efficiency. However, you’re not alone if you forget to check and change it routinely. These tips might help you remember to check and change the filter on a regular basis. Neglecting it is the primary cause of high energy costs, premature part failure and reduced indoor air quality. When you get your utility bills. Since heating and cooling account for half your energy bill, your HVAC system and the weather probably cross your mind as you look at the gas and electric bills. If you’ve been running the system with a dirty filter, chances are they’re higher than they need to be. Check the filter on the day you receive the bill. Use automated reminders. Your phone may have an app that triggers a reminder once a month. Don’t clear the reminder until you’ve had a chance to look the filter over, especially during the peak cooling and heating seasons. Don’t hide the spare filters. Instead of tucking the new filters away in a closet or the garage, put them in an obvious place and change where you keep them monthly so the location doesn’t become a habit. Reward yourself. Since a dirty air filter raises energy bills, reward yourself for checking and changing it routinely. Give yourself permission to lower the temperature a degree or two indoors as a reward everyone will appreciate during the long, hot summers in Orlando. A dirty...
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