How often should you Change Your Air Filters at Home?

Hot summer days make us thankful to live in a place where we have access to heating and air conditioning!  However, we usually don’t consider the efficiency of our heating and air conditioning system until it breaks or we receive our monthly electricity bill.  The simplest task of regularly changing the air filters in your heating and air conditioning unit can save you some hard earned cash.

To keep your heating and air conditioning system in tip top shape, the air filters must be changed every three to four months; however, many HVAC specialists recommend replacing them every month for maximum efficiency.  New air filters keep your home comfortable and free of debris that spike many people’s allergies.  In fact, the stuff floating around in many homes can cause respiratory illness and infection.

Clean air filters keep the air you and your children breathe clean and allow the air to circulate more freely.  Dirty air filters actually decrease the amount of air circulation up to fifteen percent.  This causes your heating and air conditioning unit to operate less efficiently.  In fact, an extremely dirty air filter can cause a fan, coil, or motor to be dirty as well.  Dirty coils, fans, and motors affect the ventilation greatly and may completely prevent the system from working.  (The air filter’s job is to filter the air of contaminates and particles before they get to the inner components of your unit.) This leaves you and your family hot, miserable, and in need of a service call from your HVAC technician.  HVAC technicians are friendly but provide a sometimes costly service.  Thus, regularly changing the air filter may save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Choosing an air filter

Saving money and breathing clean air are both positives, but how do we choose the right type of air filter for our heating and air conditioning system?  Consider your family and your pocketbook when choosing the best air filter for you.  Also, be sure to select the correct size of air filter to provide heightened efficiency.

  • The most commonly seen filter is the fiberglass panel filter which can be purchased inexpensively.  In this model the fiberglass traps the larger dust particles.  These particles build up quickly and cause airflow issues; thus, fiberglass panel filters need to be changed extremely frequent.
  • The activated carbon air filter is not commonly used in homes, but rather in industry buildings as they help with smells and odors.  This, however, may be a good option for homes with smokers or many pets.  The charcoal base in the filter minimizes the smells and odors without just masking them.
  • Pleated air filters are well liked among homeowners as they provide more surface area in which to trap contaminates and debris.  The debris is trapped on the outside of the filter and lowers the air flow.  Pleated air filters are very versatile and come with odor control, allergy, and other options.

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Safest Places to Hide During Bad Weather!


With the horrific aftermath of recent natural disasters, many people have begun thinking about the safest places to hide in their own home.  Of course the best hiding place will differ based on your home.  For instance, mobile homes are highly susceptible to high winds ranging from thunderstorms to tornadoes.  If you live in a mobile home, your best bet is to get your family to a secure shelter because its structure cannot stand up to even the smallest of tornadoes or many severe thunderstorms.  However, if you live in a home with a concrete foundation you may have multiple safe places that can be utilized.  The best bet is to be prepared and have a plan that every member of the household is aware of.

When planning for a tornado or any other severe natural disaster, begin by inspecting your home for places that are not exterior walls, have no windows, and are highly structured.  Common safe places include bathrooms, beneath stairs, hallways, and closets.  If you, a neighbor, or family member has a safe room, basement, or storm cellar then consider it the primary plan.  Safe rooms, basements, and storm cellars may be costly but can save lives.

Bathrooms are a good shelter provided that they are not along an exterior wall and are window free.  Additionally, the plumbing in the surrounding walls and beneath the foundation adds some structural strength to a bathroom.  The old suggestion of getting in the bath tub with a mattress atop you is still a good idea provided your family fits in the bathtub.  If you have a two-story home, consider the space beneath a stairwell as it is structurally very sound, window free, and typically has no exterior walls.  A hallway or closet free of windows and deep inside the home may provide sufficient shelter provided that all doors are closed, lowering the amount of flying debris that will come your way.

Remember, the goal is to find a place that will fit your family and keep them safe within your own home.  If you cannot get completely underground, then get as low as possible and put as many barriers between you and the outside as possible.   Put your action plan in place as soon as a watch is issued.  If you wait for the warning, then you may be too late.  The above suggestions are a good place to begin; however, there is no such thing as a natural disaster proof safe place.

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