Tag Archives: air filters

Roundup: Top Air Filters for Fall Allergies

Roundup: Top Air Filters for Fall AllergiesPortland ranks high among the worst places for airborne allergies, primarily from trees, weeds, and pollen. Fortunately, the best air filters for your HVAC system reduce the irritations that the widespread proliferation of ragweed pollen causes.

Look for its MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating. The scale runs from 1 to 16 and higher numbers indicate the filter traps smaller particles. Some manufacturers have simplified the scale and label their filters as “good, better, and best.”

Filters with MERV ratings from 1 to 4 are equivalent to the “good” designation. Those rated between 5 and 8 are better, and the highest for residential purposes range between 9 and 12.

Pollen particles are small and will pass through filters with MERV ratings 7 and below. Higher MERV rated filters will capture a higher percentage of these particles. Choose a filter with a better designation or whose MERV rating is 9 or higher.

Words of Caution

Before upgrading the filter for your HVAC system, consult your owner’s manual for the highest rated filter you can use with it. Denser filters slow the air flowing through the air handler and putting a filter inside it that exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendation will raise energy bills and may cause system problems.

Many of the best air filters for allergy relief are pleated. They capture more particles because of their greater surface area and denser weave. Because they’re more effective at trapping particles, they need to be checked and replaced more often than lower rated filters.

Running your system with a dirty filter pulls dustier air through the ductwork, which defeats the purpose of using your HVAC system to control pollen and other airborne allergies. Unless the pollen is trapped at the filter, it can continue to circulate through your home’s air wherever else it lands.

Ductwork, carpet, furniture, and window coverings all hang onto these particulates and when they’re disturbed, your allergies may flare up again.

The best air filters can ease your suffering through allergy season and longer. For more information, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing trusted HVAC services for Portland-area homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Summer is Over: Change Your Air Filter

Summer is Over: Change Your Air FilterThe end of summer means it’s time to change air filters before the heating season starts. If you haven’t used your furnace since spring, why do you need to put in a new filter? Here are some important reasons for changing your air filter after summer:

Dust and Debris Buildup

Dust and debris can build up on your furnace filter, especially if it shares the same ductwork as your air conditioner. Putting in a new HVAC filter removes this buildup and prevents it from being blown around your home, which would lower your indoor air quality. A brand new filter helps keep the air in your home clean and healthier to breathe.

Improved Efficiency

A dirty air filter means that your HVAC system has to work harder to cool or heat your home. This can end up causing damage that shortens the life span of your system. Changing air filters helps keep your HVAC system running as efficiently as possible. This has the added benefit of reducing your monthly energy bills, since your HVAC system uses less power overall.

When to Change Air Filters

How often do you need to change your air filter? This depends on certain factors, such as whether or not you have pets in your home. If you have pets, you should check and change your filter every one or two months. If you don’t have pets, you should be able to wait and change it every three months.

Reminders to Change Your Air Filter

It’s easy to forget to change your air filter, especially during summer. You can set a reminder for yourself on your phone or tablet, so you’ll remember. Another way to remember is to buy an extra filter and place it close to your HVAC system as a visual reminder. Consider putting a note on it with the date that it needs to be changed. This should help you remember to check your air filter and change it as needed.

For information on maintenance services and plans for your HVAC system in your Portland home, please contact Roth Heating and Cooling.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Know These Things About Washable Air Filters

Know These Things About Washable Air FiltersWhile it’s almost always better to choose products that are reusable instead of disposable to keep the planet healthier, it’s not so with most washable air filters for your HVAC system. The air filter you use for your system affects its energy consumption, dependability and durability.

The differences between reusable and throwaway filters might be hidden to the eye, but over time, your HVAC system might show the signs, which include:

  • Higher repair costs. Reusable filters aren’t as dense as disposable filters, which let smaller particles enter your air handler. They may only catch animal fur and human hair, along with lint and larger dust particles.

    The remaining particulates, including dust mite waste, mold spores, animal dander and pollen will pass through. When these smaller particles get inside the air handler, they’ll land on the parts and act as insulation.

    Heat builds on the parts, which is one of the most common causes of reduced component life and system breakdowns.

  • Poor air quality. Since the smaller particulates will circulate through the air, your indoor air quality will suffer when exclusively using washable air filters in your home. Family members who suffer from allergies or asthma will experience more discomfort.
  • Mold growth. Reusable air filters have to be washed to remove the particles on them. If they’re replaced with any kind of moisture inside them, they can support mold growth. Some types of mold are harmless, but others may precipitate a health problem in sensitive individuals.

When you’re choosing an air filter, check your owner’s manual or contact us contractor for the best type to use. One the filter becomes too dense it will slow the airflow through the system too much, and one that’s too porous, like reusable filters, won’t trap small particles that eventually will harm the equipment.

The money and materials you save using washable air filters may not have a positive effect on the environment or your budget if they result in higher costs associated with repairs or your health. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing trusted HVAC services for Sherwood area homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Sonia Sorbi”

Here’s How to Understand HVAC Air Filter Ratings

Here's How to Understand HVAC Air Filter RatingsChoosing the right filter for your HVAC system can be a time-consuming and confusing task if you’re not well versed in industry acronyms and filter ratings. This brief primer can help clarify what they mean, so you can select the best HVAC air filter for your needs.

MERV — The Key to HVAC Filter Efficiency

HVAC air filters are rated using the minimum efficiency reporting value or MERV scale. This numerical rating goes from 1 to 20, and it measures a filter’s ability to capture particles in a certain size range. The higher the number, the better a filter performs.

HEPA — What Does it Mean?

Another frequently-heard air filter term is HEPA, which is an acronym for high-efficiency particulate arrestance. These filters top the MERV scale with ratings from 17–20. They’re capable of capturing as much as 99.97 percent of undesirable particles as small as 0.3 microns. However, they’re not used in residential HVAC systems because they also severely restrict airflow.

How to Choose the Right Filter

If you’re unsure about which filter to use, it’s best to follow your manufacturer’s guidelines on the MERV rating range for your equipment, or ask your HVAC technician. As a general guide, here’s how different types of filters rate:

  • Flat fiberglass — These inexpensive filters have MERV ratings from 1–4. They’re best used to keep harmful particles out of the HVAC system. They can only trap about 80 percent of particles 10 microns and larger so they don’t really boost air quality.
  • Pleated — Considered “medium-density” because of their greater surface area, these filters go from MERV 5–13. The higher-rated versions are better at improving air quality because they can trap up to 95 percent of particles down to 3.0 microns in size.
  • Higher-efficiency — These fiberglass filters range from MERV 14–16, but if you want to use one, you’ll need to discuss modifying your HVAC system with a knowledgeable contractor because they can hinder vital airflow and cause significant equipment damage.

For expert advice about which HVAC air filter is ideal for the system in your Portland-area home, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Palto/Shutterstock”

What’s With the Heat Pump? When There’s Trouble, Try These Tips

What's With the Heat Pump? When There's Trouble, Try These TipsIn addition to home heating, heat pumps are designed to provide efficient home cooling, too. That’s one of the big perks of using a heat pump in your Portland home — cooling and heating in one system. However, if your heat pump is on the fritz, and the only perk you want is for it to work, use these troubleshooting tips to try and cool things off.

Troubleshooting Tips

The first step of heat pump troubleshooting is locating the issue — sometimes by process of elimination:

  • Controls — You’ve already checked the thermostat half a dozen times, but check it once more and make sure it is in COOL cycle, and the temperature setting is below room temperature reading.
  • Power — If the heat pump is not powering on, check the circuit panel for a tripped breaker. Also, check the limit switch located near the indoor air-handling unit. The limit switch looks like a regular light switch.
  • Poor airflow — Perhaps you feel a little cool airflow from the vents, but pressure is not normal. Check the air filter to see if it is dirty. If the filter is clogged, airflow is restricted. Check all the vents in the home to make sure they are fully open and not obstructed by curtains or furnishings.
  • No cold air — If there is ample airflow from the vents, but it is not cool, check the evaporator coil for ice accumulation. The coil is located at the indoor air handling unit. Airflow restrictions (e.g. dirty air filters) and electrical problems are typically at the root of the frozen coil problem.
  • Noises — If your hear grinding or scraping noises, turn off the system before it comes to a grinding halt. There is likely a compressor or blower motor problem. Call in the professionals. Ductwork may be the reason rooms are not receiving cool airflow. Rattling and clamoring are sure signs of loose and disconnected ducts. Metal tape (not cloth “duct” tape) and mastic sealant are the tools used for duct sealing.

For more details about these heat pump troubleshooting tips, please contact the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “alexwhite/Shutterstock”

What an HVAC System Check Should Include

What an HVAC System Check Should IncludeIt’s likely that your heating and cooling system is one of the most expensive and vital parts of your home. An HVAC system check will keep it running as efficiently and durably as possible. When HVAC technicians go through your equipment, they should cover these steps: Continue reading

Whole-House Air Filtration and Cleaning: 4 Types of Technology That Might Improve Your IAQ

Whole-House Air Filtration and Cleaning: 4 Types of Technology That Might Improve Your IAQWhile Oregon’s outdoor air is cleaner than air in many other states, it still infiltrates your Portland area home loaded with various particulates – everything from common dirt and dust to mold and bacteria. In an airtight home, these particulates can accumulate and worsen indoor air quality. You can counter this airborne invasion with whole-house air filtration and cleaning inside your furnace’s ductwork. Four main types of whole-house air filtration and cleaning are commonly available. Continue reading

Low- vs. High-Efficiency Air Filters: Which Should You Choose?

Low- vs. High-Efficiency Air Filters: Which Should You Choose?You want the cleanest air possible for your Portland area home, but improving your indoor air quality isn’t as simple as installing the most efficient air filter you can find. The choice of low- vs. high-efficiency air filters depends on your home situation and your heating and cooling system design. Continue reading

Air Filters: Build Your Knowledge of How to Choose and Use Them

Air Filters: Build Your Knowledge of How to Choose and Use ThemChoosing which air filters to use in your home, as well as when and how to change them, is an important part of ensuring optimal A/C efficiency. Here are several factors for choosing and using air filters correctly in your Portland home: Continue reading

As Seasons Change And Windows Close, Air Filters Are Important

As Seasons Change And Windows Close, Air Filters Are ImportantDuring the rainy, wet winters in the Portland area, airflow throughout your home might not be as good as it is during the spring, summer, and fall, when you have your windows open and fresh air circulating. That’s why as the seasons change and your shut up your windows for the winter, it’s a good idea to purchase high-quality air filters to keep your indoor air fresh. Without air filters, dust and debris will build up in your air, which can make your Portland-area home’s air less than fresh and healthy. Continue reading