Category: News and Tips

How To Change A Furnace Filter

While complex furnace maintenance should be left to professionals, there are many tasks you can complete to keep your system in excellent condition. In addition to sealing all air leaks around your home, scheduling periodic duct cleaning and inspections, and keeping the area around the unit(s) clear, you must change the air filter regularly. Here, review why routine filter changes are essential to HVAC maintenance and learn how to change yours.

Why Filter Changes Are Important

Without regular furnace filter changes, the part becomes clogged with hair, dust, pet dander, pollen, and other particles that impede airflow. The system subsequently works harder to keep your home comfortable, which increases energy bills. Internal parts also heat up at a faster rate because airflow is limited, causing untimely wear. Rather than increasing your carbon footprint and replacing your system prematurely, save yourself money and hassle by changing the filter regularly.

How often you should change the filter depends on your owner’s manual recommendations and factors such as the number of people and pets in your home. Most filters can be cleaned several times before they need changing to reduce your maintenance costs.

How To Change An Air Filter

Turn off your furnace and identify the service panel as it cools. If you cannot locate the service panel, refer to the diagram in your owner’s manual. Most filters are situated near the intake/outtake blower fan. Carefully remove the oil filter and immediately place it in a trash bag to avoid allowing excess dust and other particles to enter the air. Slide the new filter in and close the service panel before turning the system back on. Note the date of the replacement in a maintenance log to use for future reference.

Other Filter Tips

Ensure you always purchase the correct filter for your system to promote furnace function and efficiency, and to remove dust and pollen from the air. Your system may require a thicker filter or have the capacity to accommodate a thinner filter only. Refer to your manual for product suggestions or talk to your local HVAC contractor for recommendations if you still aren’t sure what to buy. Your contractor can also modify the system for thick filter use.

Never forget to change the filter! Get additional help with your furnace this winter and beyond. Contact Precise Air Systems today to learn about our services.

5 Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality During Winter

Winter weather typically involves closing all windows and doors, which means you and yours are breathing the same air every day. Maintain indoor air quality this winter by learning about easy ways to improve it. You’ll breathe easier and the air will smell fresher.

Check The Humidity Level

Ensure the humidity level in your home is healthy, or between 30% and 50%. While moisture in the air helps maintain a comfortable residence during winter and avoids issues such as dry skin and shocks from static electricity, too much humidity promotes mold and mildew growth. The fungal spores trigger allergic reactions among other respiratory problems that negatively affect indoor air quality.

Add More Plants

Filter indoor air naturally by adding more plants. Not only does the greenery remind you of the outdoors during the coldest, darkest months of the year, but it also absorbs a variety of contaminants. Spider plants are among the best natural air cleaners because they remove carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene.

Schedule Duct Cleaning

Get your ductwork cleaned to avoid circulating contaminants throughout your home. Ducts, unfortunately, become resting places for a variety of pollutants, including rodent excrement, pollen, insect remains, dust and dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores. Routine cleaning helps the air vacating your vents stay clean and fresh.

Vacuum & Dust Regularly

Maintain a clean home this winter with regular dusting and vacuuming, especially if you have carpeting on one or several floors. Carpets trap allergens within their fibers to pollute indoor air. Open the windows a little if the weather is relatively warm to infuse your home with cleaner air while you vacuum and dust, and consider wearing a dust mask when you clean to avoid sneezing and congestion. The less dust your home features, the fresher the air will smell.

A clean home also keeps insects and arachnids looking for shelter from the cold out of your home. Spiders, for example, love dusty corners.

Purchase An Air Purifier

Invest in an air purifier or consider a whole-house air purification system depending on your needs. Smaller air purifiers typically reach about 250 feet to remove contaminants. If you aren’t sure what will work best for your home, simply discuss options with your local HVAC contractor. Whatever system or product you select, remember to change the filter as recommended by the manufacturer.

Find the best air purifier for your home today at Precise Air Systems.

5 Signs To Call For Furnace Repair Now

Your furnace works hard throughout the winter, and like most appliances, provides numerous warning signs when it needs professional attention. If you can’t remember the last time your heating system was serviced or you’re experiencing issues after turning it on for the season, don’t wait to schedule repairs. Review some of the most common signs indicating the need for furnace repair to avoid cold winter days and nights at home. 

Odd Odors

Mild odors are normal when you first turn your heating system on due to dust burning off. However, odors that don’t dissipate after a short length of time tell you to turn the furnace off until technicians arrive. It could mean a relatively simple issue such as excessive dust that needs cleaning; however, it can also signal a gas leak or other serious safety issue. 

High Energy Bills

While there can be many reasons for a sudden spike in your energy bills this winter, you cannot discount the furnace. A home energy audit will help you determine what the issue is, such as drafts around doors and windows, or insufficient attic insulation. If you’ve exhausted all other energy vampire-related possibilities, your furnace is the likely culprit. 

Strange Noises

Furnaces may not be the most silent of appliances; however, those making excessive banging, clanking, grinding, or squealing noises are literally calling for help. There may be a loose or broken belt, an air leak, or loose components among other issues that need servicing before the issue gets worse…and your furnace gets even louder. 

A Chilly Home

When you crank your thermostat, you’re supposed to enjoy a toasty home. If you keep turning the thermostat up or still feel cold in your home despite normal temperature settings, the ductwork could be to blame. Air leaks in between ducts compromise residential warmth. If you use a ductless system or know your ducts are sealed, your thermostat could be reading the settings wrong. These and other issues, such as internal furnace problems, need professional care as soon as possible. 

Continual Running

Unless you have a variable speed furnace that runs the majority of the time, your furnace may have a faulty limit switch or part that commands the air handler to switch on and off. The wrong thermostat setting, such as an “on” fan setting, can also cause continuous running issues. 

Keep your heating system operational this winter with services from Precise Air Systems, and consider a replacement if your furnace is older or experiencing repeated repair issues. 

5 Products That Affect Indoor Air Quality This Winter & Beyond

When the weather outside is frightful, subsequent closed windows and doors make indoor air quality maintenance even more important. Help your maintenance efforts this winter by learning about common products that decrease air quality while considering air purification options from your local HVAC contractors. 

Commercial Air Fresheners

The air fresheners you place around your home from assorted retail and grocery stores frequently contain a variety of toxic chemicals that pollute indoor air. These chemicals also coat the interior of your nose and can eventually affect your ability to smell. Stick to natural air fresheners from reputable brands or make your own using dried herbs such as lavender. Bowls of potpourri featuring assorted dried herbs function as decor pieces in addition to releasing aromatic scents. 

Commercial Candles

Like commercial air fresheners, the candles you find at most stores contain a variety of toxic chemicals that do nothing for indoor air quality. They may smell pleasant, but the addition of chemicals to the air can increase respiratory problems such as asthma and assorted allergies. Stick to natural candle options instead, including those made from soy and beeswax. 

Cigarette Smoke

It can be tempting to smoke indoors on frigid days; however, all you’re doing is polluting your indoor air with dangerous chemicals including ammonia, acetone, carbon monoxide, butane, and formaldehyde among many others. Cigarette smoke also stains walls, upholstered furniture, assorted decor, and clothes. Consider quitting as part of a healthy new year and if you must smoke, do it outside or in a well-ventilated, detached garage. 

Commercial Cleaning Products

Bleach, ammonia, and other toxic chemicals found in many commercial cleaning products won’t help your indoor air quality. Switch to inexpensive, all-purpose, non-toxic options instead such as white vinegar and baking soda. Use them on a variety of surfaces or combine these products to create a fizzy cleansing mixture that makes scrubbing showers and tubs easier. The mixture also helps unclog drains when it’s allowed to stand for about 30 minutes before flushing with hot water. 

Paint & Paint Thinner

Those cans of paint and paint thinner sitting in your attached garage or basement workshop slowly put off-gas, releasing VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that damage indoor air quality. Keep these items in a detached, well-ventilated shed and look for environmentally-friendly versions to breathe easier at home. 

Discuss your indoor air quality needs with the air purification experts at Precise Air Systems today. 

How To Keep Your HVAC System From Working Overtime This Holiday

Your HVAC system works extra hard during winter, especially during the holiday season when friends and family are visiting and allowing drafts in via windows and doors. Help your energy bills stay reasonable this Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s with these management tips that help you through the holidays: 

Seal Air Leaks

Use the classic incense or candle trick to determine if there are air leaks around your doors and windows. Hold either (lit) object up to the window or door seal–if it flickers, there’s a draft. Work with caulk and weatherstripping materials to seal air leaks and subsequently keep warm air in. Also, use door draft stoppers and seal your fireplace if you will not be using it this holiday, as leaving it open is the same as keeping a window open. 

Keep Drapes & Curtains Open On South-Facing Windows

Open all the drapes, blinds, and curtains on south-facing windows to let sunlight in. The heat of the sun warms your home naturally so your HVAC system doesn’t “stress” so much. You’ll also save money on electricity because you won’t need to turn on as many lights during the day. 

Insulate Your Attic

Prevent rising warm air from escaping your home and forcing your HVAC system to work extra hard. Quality attic insulation traps hot air to maintain a comfortable home while also preventing ice dam formation. These “dams” form when hot attic air melts snow on your roof and refreezes along the edge, creating heavy sheets of ice that promote roof wear, tear, and leaks. 

Invest In A Programmable Thermostat

Purchase a programmable thermostat if you don’t have one already to control how much heat your home receives. Create heat “zones” instead of letting the HVAC system run at full blast all day and night. For example, is it necessary to heat that guest room you won’t be using until Christmas or the dining room if you and your family mainly eat in the kitchen? 

Don’t Forget To Schedule Professional Maintenance

Call your local HVAC contractor to inspect your heating system before cold weather gets underway and you’re dealing with a system blowout in the middle of the holidays. The contractors will repair any minor issues, lubricate applicable parts, and clean the entire unit. They’ll also replace the filter to promote efficient airflow and suggest a cleaning schedule to keep your system in excellent condition. 

Call the experts at Precise Air Systems today to schedule your HVAC system tune-up.