Learning About MERV Ratings

To get the most out of your HVAC system, everyone says to look at MERV ratings. What exactly is MERV and why does it matter? Here’s the rundown:

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It’s essentially measuring the effectiveness of the air filter in question. A filter can have a MERV rating ranging from 1 to 16. The higher the rating, the fewer dust particles and other contaminants can pass through it.

When filters are tested for a MERV rating, they use common particles like pollen, dust mites, carpet fibers, mold spores, pet dander, and more. Most residential systems can remove airborne contaminants like those listed above with a filter that has a MERV rating of 7-12. Filters with a rating of 13-16 are generally used in hospital-type settings.

The higher the MERV rating, the less particles that can get through the filter. This means the most efficient filter must have the highest rating, right? Not exactly. Filters with higher MERV ratings have smaller pores, which lets less air through. It can create resistance in airflow that the HVAC system can’t handle. The system will then have to work harder to pump air through the filter, lowering the efficiency and increasing the energy bill.

Every HVAC system is different. Find out what MERV rating the system can handle and still allow for maximum airflow. This will help homeowners get the most out of the HVAC system and get the cleanest air possible.

It’s also worth noting that filters with higher MERV ratings need to be changed more frequently than those with lower ratings. Because these filters are catching more contaminants, they are more likely to get clogged and restrict the airflow. Be sure to check the filters frequently and change them often for the best results.

Not sure which filter is best? Talk to the technicians at Diamond Heating and Cooling when they come out for an annual HVAC check-up. They’re happy to help and educate their customers.

Creating Humidity Indoors

IndoorHumidityAir conditioners keep the house at a comfortable temperature, but what about humidity? Often as the air conditioner absorbs heat, through its evaporation process it can also absorb moisture from the air. Humidity plays a very important role in comfort and if it is too low, it can cause issues such as respiratory issues, dry skin, and more.

It’s recommended to keep indoor humidity at 35-50% so that the air isn’t dry, but it isn’t so humid that mold and mildew start to grow. Here are a few ways humidity can be increased to a comfortable level:

  1. Plants

Plants produce moisture that is absorbed into the air, creating humidity. Having several potted plants around the house is a very effective way to increase humidity. As a bonus, some types of plants can purify the air, making it easier for everyone to breathe.

  1. Humidifiers

One of the most common ways to increase humidity is with a humidifier. Whether it is a single room or whole house humidifier, it will help add the necessary moisture.

  1. Standing Water

Place bowls or vases of water throughout the home. The water evaporates into the air adding to the humidity. These should be placed on high surfaces so children or pets can’t knock them over. Create a cute display with rocks and floating flowers to make them decorative.

  1. Boil Water

Boiling water on the stove adds humidity as the water vaporizes. To help it circulate around the house, keep fans on low and turn the AC fan on as well.

  1. Water Fountain

Decorative water fountains are aesthetically pleasing and create a soothing sound. They can also help introduce humidity into a room.

Diamond Heating and Cooling wants everyone to be comfortable while inside this summer. Homeowners who experience air conditioner problems should call Diamond Heating and Cooling to get the problem evaluated and fixed in an efficient manner.

Cleaning Away Allergies and Asthma

Spring is on its way, which means allergies are too. However, two-thirds of allergy sufferers have probably been experiencing symptoms throughout fall and winter as well. With the windows closed and the house sealed off from fresh air during the colder months, irritants have been building up.

Airborne allergens don’t disappear when the weather is cold, they stick around in the house in the carpet, on surfaces, and more. One way to combat this is with a deep clean of the house.

  • Clean furnishings such as blinds and curtains, upholstery, throw pillows, and other items that don’t usually get washed or vacuumed as often. Dust and allergens can cling to their surfaces and get stirred up causing problems for allergy sufferers. Sheets, pillow cases and other bedding should be washed weekly in hot water. This can reduce the presence of dust and dust mite waste.
  • Vacuum carpet weekly to remove allergens that sit in the fibers. Also consider having the carpet professionally cleaned to remove everything trapped deep down inside.
  • Wipe down hard surfaces with soap and water such as walls, counters, tables, and other flooring as well. It’s easier to see when dust and other particles settle on these hard surfaces than soft surfaces.

After a thorough cleaning of the home, talk to the air experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling about their solution for allergies. To filter out sub-micronic particles from the air and increase Indoor Air Quality all year long, they recommend investing in a Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner.

It’s not just a filter, but an electronic polarized media air cleaner. The difference? It can filter out particles as small as .3 microns. This is important because 98% of airborne particles are invisible and below one micron in size. Normal filters can’t remove particles this small.

Avoid suffering from allergies all year long with the help of Diamond Heating and Cooling. Give them a call and experience the Diamond difference.

3 Tips for Cleaner Winter IAQ

house-plant

In winter, homes are sealed up as tight as possible to be energy-efficient and stay warm. However, this limits the amount of fresh air in the home, raising concentrations of both allergens and pollutants. For those who suffer from allergies or asthma, it could mean more breathing problems.

There are many ways to clean the air inside of the home to reduce allergies and asthma attacks. Here are a three tips:

  1. Living Plants

Plants produce oxygen, while cleaning and purifying the air. They are an inexpensive way to improve indoor air quality, while adding some beauty to the space as well. For homes with pets, they need to make sure those plants are pet-friendly. Here is a list of plants that are not toxic to pets:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Yucca
  • Bamboo
  • Snake Plants
  • Ferns

Sufficient air cleaning can be accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet in the home. Different plants filter certain elements out of the air, so getting a mix of plants will be most effective.

  1. Cleaning

Airborne allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and mold can be minimized with regular cleaning. Dust and vacuum so allergens cannot pile up on surfaces. Wiping down the walls is something homeowners might not think to do regularly, but walls and ceilings also attract things like pet dander or other pollutants.

  1. Change the Furnace Filter

The furnace filter needs to be changed regularly. However, if a normal filter isn’t doing the job, ask Diamond Heating and Cooling about the Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner. It isn’t just a filter. The Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner is an electric polarized media air cleaner that can filter out submicronic allergens, which make up 98% of airborne particles.

Winter doesn’t have to be a time for runny noses and sneezing. Keep the air clean with the tips above. Visit Diamond Heating and Cooling’s website to learn more about allergies solutions.

5 Signs the Furnace Filter Needs Changed

The furnace filter needs to be changed regularly to keep everything running smoothly. However, it can be difficult to remember the last time it was replaced. If this happens, keep an eye out for these five telltale signs the furnace filter needs to go:

  1. Overheating Unit

A common sign that the filter is overdue for a change is an overheated unit. If the unit begins to get too hot or is expelling hot air when it shouldn’t, the furnace filter is past it’s prime. If left to overheat for too long, the unit could start experiencing problems and possibly breakdown.

  1. Dust

Another sign is the accumulation of dust on surfaces in the home, especially near the vents. Clogged furnace filters have a harder time removing dust and pollutants from the air.

  1. Allergies

Homes with allergy and asthma sufferers might notice more symptoms if the filter is clogged. It’s important to maintain good indoor air quality in homes that experience allergies and asthma, so they might need to change their filter a little more often than others.

  1. Increased Electricity Bill

Has the energy bill gone up over time for no reason? Compare electricity bills over three months to see if that’s the case. If so, a dirty air filter might be the problem.

  1. White Sheet Test

Hang a white sheet 5 to 8 inches away from a vent for about an hour. The grayer the sheet becomes over this period, the dirtier the filter.

If all else fails, just take a look at the furnace filter. If it looks dirty, it is. Changing it a little early won’t hurt the HVAC system either. One method of remembering when the filter was last changed is to write the date on it when it is put in. This way there’s no guessing.

Fall Allergy Facts

While most people deal with spring and summer allergies, there are some who have to deal with allergies during the fall season too. Those who are sensitive to mold and ragweed pollen might not welcome fall with open arms. However, ragweed and mold aren’t the only triggers present in the fall. Here are four lesser known facts about fall allergies:

  1. Hay Fever

Contrary to the name, hay fever has nothing to do with hay. Ragweed is a common cause of hay fever and it begins to pollenate in mid-August. Ragweed can continue to pollenate until a hard freeze depending on the area.

  1. Indian Summers

If the temperature stays unseasonably warm into fall, allergies are more likely to stick around longer. It is also a perfect environment for mold spores to be released and cause problems.

  1. Raking Leaves

This autumn chore can be worse for those with allergies. Raking leaves can kick up pollen and mold into the air and worsen allergies.

  1. School Allergens

Children with allergies might have a hard time readjusting to school. The classroom can be the home of irritants and allergy triggers such as chalk dust and class pets. Make sure children, as well as their teacher, know what to do for their allergies or asthma in a situation.

While it might be hard to limit allergens and pollen outside of the home this fall, there is a way to keep them out of the house. Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about installing the Micro Power Guard. It’s not just a filter, but an electronic polarized media air cleaner that can filter out sub-micronic allergens. Ninety-eight percent of airborne particles are invisible and below one micron in size, which store-bought filters aren’t capable of filtering out.

Visit Diamond Heating and Cooling’s website to learn more about this air cleaner and read testimonies about how it has reduced allergies and asthma attacks in the home.

Increasing Indoor Air Quality

 

Indoor Air Quality can have a huge impact on health and wellness. It can cause or contribute to infections, lung cancer, and chronic lung diseases like asthma. There are products and other items that can pollute indoor air unbeknownst to homeowners.

Below are some of the air pollution offenders:

  • Asbestos
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Building and paint products
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carpets
  • Cleaning supplies and chemicals
  • Cockroaches
  • Dust mites and dust
  • Floods and water damage
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead
  • Mold
  • Per dander
  • Radon
  • Residential wood burning
  • Secondhand smoke

The experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling would like to educate and help homeowners integrate these three major components to ensure good indoor air quality:

  1. Filtration

This refers to the filter for the HVAC system. There are many filters available to reduce the pollutants in the home. Diamond Heating and Cooling can help homeowners choose the right filter for their system and needs. Homeowners should also remember to change the filter every three months to keep the system running efficiently.

  1. Germicidal

Germicidal air purifiers can make a huge difference in indoor air quality. Using ultraviolet light, natural silver, and sterilizing heat they eliminate airborne pathogens from the home. Many of them have been tested and proven effective against germs that can cause the flu, colds, strep throat, staph infections, and even tuberculosis.

  1. Oxidation

Advanced Oxidation creates an airborne plasma consisting of friendly oxidizers. The process is basically like misting the air with an atomized or very fine mist of hydrogen peroxide. This helps to destroy harmful microbes in the air.

If indoor air quality is causing colds, asthma attacks, or other health issues, give Diamond Heating and Cooling a call. They can help reinforce a home’s air filtration to reduce respiratory issues and sickness.