Your HVAC Can Help Reduce Allergens

indoor air quality

Many homeowners think of things like replacing the filter in their HVAC system to reduce the spread of allergens throughout the home, but there are actually several different ways that the HVAC system can be used to reduce asthma and allergy symptoms.

Certainly the filter is the first line of defense against indoor air pollutants so it’s important to replace it regularly and buy a quality filter.  The professionals at Diamond Heating and Cooling can recommend one based on your specific situation, but in general it’s recommended to look for one with a higher MERV rating.  This rating will range from 1-20 with a higher number indicating a higher level of filtration.  It’s also important to choose a high-efficiency filter that is designed to help reduce allergens.  Most high-efficiency filters are rated from 14-16, and are designed to remove small particles from the air. The highest rated filters are HEPA filters which are rated from 17-20 however you’ll want to check with an HVAC technician though before installing a HEPA filter as they are only intended to be used on HVAC systems that can handle the additional stress that this type of filter will put on it.

Looking to do more than just change the filter?  There are some accessory items that can be added to your HVAC system to further improve the indoor air quality.  The most common first addition is an air purifier.  A whole-home air purifier is highly recommended for anyone dealing with severe allergies or asthma.  It is designed to improve the air in the entire home through purification and the use of a HEPA filter.

The next biggest cause of allergy symptoms is changes in humidity levels.  Maintaining the ideal humidity level inside your home is often the next step that allergy and asthma suffers will take.  A whole-home dehumidifier/humidifier can be added to your HVAC system to help achieve that ideal humidity level.  The final, and most expensive, option is the addition of UV lamps.  A UV lamp can be used with your HVAC system to help you go beyond just trapping allergens to actually killing bacteria, mold and other allergy triggers.

One final recommendation is to stay on top of regular HVAC maintenance visits.  Having a technician thoroughly clean your HVAC system, as well as the ductwork, is the absolute best way to stay ahead of allergens.  It’s generally recommended to have this done annually, and spring is usually the ideal time.

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Frequently Asked HVAC Questions

HVAC Questions

Homeowners often have a lot of questions regarding HVAC systems, energy efficiency, and energy savings. To address some of these questions, here’s a compilation of the five most common HVAC-related questions homeowners have:

  1. How Can I Save on Energy Costs?

There are a few ways to accomplish energy savings. Here are some surefire ways to save:

  • Change the furnace filters regularly
  • Schedule annual maintenance
  • Use a programmable thermostat

 

  1. What Size HVAC Do I Need? Should I Size Up?

Bigger is not always better when it comes to HVAC systems. A system that is too large can lead to issues later. To find the right size, technicians need to measure the home to find the square footage and heating/cooling needs.

  1. Should I Repair or Replace?

There’s a lot of variables that go into this answer, but here’s a basic answer: If the system is over the age of seven and has required frequent repairs, it’s best to replace the system. Continuously repairing the HVAC system gets expensive and homeowners could save money by investing in a newer system.

  1. How Often Do Filters Need Replaced?

Dirty filters are the most common cause of system breakdowns. Simply changing out the filter is the easiest way to combat this issue. How often that should be done depends on the system and type of filter being used. In general, filters should be changed every 1-3 months. More often during winter and summer when the system is working harder.

  1. How Often Does The HVAC System Need Serviced?

For the best efficiency and energy savings, both the air conditioner and furnace should be serviced once a year. It’s optimal to get them serviced before they will be used for the season.

Hopefully this list of frequently asked HVAC questions is helpful for homeowners needing some answers about HVAC systems. For any other questions, just give Diamond Heating and Cooling a call!

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.

Dealing with Fluctuating Temperatures

Idaho experiences a significant amount of fluctuating weather and temperatures around this time of year. This can be hard for the HVAC system to keep up with. Keep your home comfortable during temperature fluctuations and save energy by following these tips:

  1. Smart Thermostat

These thermostats are one of the best ways homeowners can save energy and money. They help to gain control over comfort, and have many benefits. Smart thermostats allow for automation of heating and cooling, optimizing efficiency. Often they come with a phone app too so homeowners can adjust the temperature from anywhere. Use it to analyze energy usage to figure out how to decrease it and more.

  1. Window Treatments

Having the right window treatments can help minimize warm or cold air loss during times of fluctuation. They keep the home more comfortable without using any energy in the process.

  1. Fans

Not everyone is ready to turn on the air conditioner yet, but with 80 degree days, the house can get a little unbearable. Delay turning on the AC with the help of fans. They might not actually cool the room down, but they can make it feel cooler in whichever room they are used.

  1. Check the Weather Reports

It can be useful each morning to check what the weather is expected to be that day. This gives homeowners a heads up on how to program the thermostat and if they need to adjust it later on. Remember to turn the temperature up while away so the AC doesn’t run unnecessarily.

  1. Open the Windows

Open the windows for a few hours at night or in the morning during cooler hours instead of using the AC. Then shut them before leaving for the day and turning the AC on. The naturally cool air means the air conditioner won’t have to run as often until later when the day heats up.

Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about getting the air conditioner serviced or a new one installed before summer hits Boise and the Treasure Valley.

Celebrating Earth Day

EarthDay

April 22 is Earth Day, which is all about bettering Earth through reducing energy usage, planting trees, and more. When it comes to energy usage, the HVAC system is the biggest energy user in the home. To celebrate Earth Day and make an impact, check out these tips:

  1. Skip the Car

Every now and then, walk or ride a bike to the grocery store or elsewhere. Using a single gallon of gas sends about 19 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. This is almost double the amount of carbon dioxide spit out when using the central air conditioning for a day. If it’s feasible, skip the car and choose a different mode of transportation.

  1. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Use Earth Day as an excuse to get that programmable thermostat. Not only will it make life easier, but it will cut down on energy usage and decrease the energy bill as well. That’s less carbon dioxide being put into the environment.

  1. Volunteer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a page for events and volunteer opportunities. There’s a whole list of Earth Day Activities for the area. Whether it’s cleaning up a park or doing a walk for a “green” charity, it will feel good helping the community.

  1. Schedule AC Maintenance

The better the HVAC system runs, the less energy it will use. As Boise and the Treasure Valley nears warmer weather, the time to get the system checked before turning it on is dwindling. Call Diamond Heating and Cooling now to set up an appointment.

  1. Plant a Tree

Planting trees has been a tradition on Earth Day for quite some time. Trees, plants, and bushes put oxygen into the air and absorb some of the carbon dioxide in the air as well. Celebrate by beautifying the yard with some new landscaping this Saturday.

Make an impact this Earth Day and call Diamond Heating and Cooling for any HVAC needs.

Installing a High Efficiency System

Homes with HVAC systems that are more than 10 years old should consider an upgrade. This is especially true for those that have experienced frequent repairs and uneven heating or cooling throughout the house. Replacing the current system with an Energy Star-rated model before it fails can bring a lot of benefits.

  1. Lowered Utility Bills

Replacing an old system that is inefficient, with a new high efficiency model could save homeowners at least $115-$200 annually according to Energy Star. Homeowners could also qualify for tax credits for investing in energy efficiency.

  1. Less Maintenance

Older HVAC systems tend to have more problems that can lead to costly repairs even with regular maintenance. Investing in a newer model will cut down on repairs and maintenance costs.

  1. Comfort

Higher efficiency systems heat and cool a home and with less effort. Homeowners will experience evenly distributed heating, more consistent temperatures, and steady air flow throughout the entire house. Comfort is important, especially during the winter and summer months.

  1. Environmentally Better

Models with high efficiency have a minimal impact on the environment compared to their older counterparts. They use less fuel to operate, which helps to conserve energy.

  1. Increased Value

Buyers are starting to take more notice of the HVAC systems in houses they are considering for purchase. They tend to be willing to pay more for a home with a high efficiency system, correctly programmed thermostat, proper insulation, and sealed ductwork. When homeowners are thinking about selling, a high efficiency heating and cooling system will help bring a better price for the home.

Diamond Heating and Cooling wants everyone to be warm this winter and not have to deal with a system that’s breaking down. Talk to them today about finding and installing a high efficiency system to start experiencing the benefits above.

Choosing a New Furnace

The leaves are starting to change color, the mornings are starting to get crisper, and it’s starting to feel a little more like fall. That means preparing the furnace before the cold weather hits. If the furnace is too old though, it might be time to replace it.
When choosing a new furnace, keep these things in mind:
Fuel
It might be easiest to stick to the same type that is currently heating the home, but there are many types of fuel available. Today, natural gas is the dominant source because of its availability, inexpensiveness, and cleanness. There’s also oil, electricity, and even wood.
Economy
Because costs for each fuel type will vary by location, this should be checked out before choosing a fuel type. Some will have fees associated with them, and some don’t burn as cleanly as others. Making a pro/con list for each type could help for those who are indecisive.
Efficiency
Furnaces now have Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratings. Finding one with a high-rated efficiency will help to lower operating expenses.
Size
To find the right size of furnace for the home, the heat output needs to be matched with the size of the house. Too big of a furnace will waste fuel and money. Too small of a furnace won’t generate enough heat. Diamond Heating and Cooling can help homeowners find the right size of furnace.
Location
Where the furnace is located could be impacted by the size of the furnace. Another consideration is the venting or exhausting of carbon monoxide fumes.
When looking at new furnaces, talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling. They will help homeowners find the right furnace and install it. If the furnace does not reach the desired temperature range, they will replace the system at no charge.