Thursday, April 11, 2013

Why The Highest MERV For Your Air Filter Isn't Always Best

There’s a learning curve that's involved for property owners when selecting the best hvac filters for their systems. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings, showing the actual efficiency air filters have for capturing particles of a certain size, are helpful. But they’re not the only element home owners must look into. Learn the ins and outs of MERV ratings, and why air flow and lifetime efficiency likewise determine your decision.

Using MERV

Manufacturers and independent businesses test air filters six times to assess how filters perform when they’re new, and also over time. MERV uses the first rating a filter scores, and then gives it the ideal rating between 1 and 16 (High Efficiency Particulate Air [HEPA] filters score between MERV 17 and 20).

Basic filters score between MERV 1 to 4, capturing large dust, and allowing acceptable airflow; MERV 8 to 12 capture even smaller sized particles while generally providing sufficient airflow; MERV 13 to 16 are high-efficiency hvac filters, trapping very small particles; however, they’re generally limited to commercial applications as a result of how they limit airflow.

Understanding efficiency

The MERV rating shouldn't be used in isolation to decide on an air filter. Keep in mind those six ratings? The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) tested numerous MERV-rated filters, comparing their performance over all six ratings, and their conclusions were interesting. They tested a MERV 8 and MERV 11 filter, determined the MERV 8 filter performed better over time.

Considering air flow

The explanation for these surprising findings involve airflow. With use, a MERV 8 filter has relatively higher airflow rates than a MERV 11 filter. As time passes, the MERV 11 filter gets to be more dense, reducing airflow, depriving the HVAC system for air, and decreasing its capability to trap particles. The MERV 8 filter didn’t perform as well at first, but it’s ability to trap particles improves with time. As the surface material fills with particles, it becomes more dense, but airflow capacity doesn’t decrease, comparatively speaking.

The conclusion with regards to choosing air filters? Home owners should consult an expert, like those at Sandium Heating & Air. We serve homeowners in greater South SF Bay Area.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Carrier Air Conditioning - Is It Right For You?

Air conditioners are a must for anyone living in a warm climate. As soon as the temperatures start rising, the air conditioning better be in condition or else tempers may flair. To be prepared for the warm seasons, make sure you have your air conditioning checked by a profession and make sure you have a good air conditioning unit. Sadly, these units do not last forever and will need replacement. When it comes to replacement, you may wonder which brand is best to purchase and who to select for installation.
There are several brands on the market--Carrier, Lennox, Trane, etc. Each have their good and bad selling points, as any product has. When selecting an air conditioner, it's important to read reviews and see what others are saying.
Let's say you select Carrier as the unit you want to purchase. Begin reading reviews about Carrier and see how well the unit works, especially the model you are considering, and research what people say about the product. You will find useful information all around you if you search.
Carrier units work great for some people and don't get the job done for others. Observe what the person is writing about and look for specifics. Note when a person is speaking about their desires and needs and when they are being more objective and talking about the unit. Some may complain that a Carrier unit is too cold, but you may enjoy that part of the unit. So, observe what is being said and make sure it's not a personal complaint, but a true complaint about the system.
As many have reported, the main problem with any unit, whether it's Carrier or not, is that bad installation will make a good unit become a horrible unit. It depends on who installs the unit and how good of a job they perform. So, it is equally important to search and read reviews of installation companies and make sure that your Carrier unit is installed properly. You can purchase the best unit on the market and have it installed incorrect, and be out of luck. It all depends on the installation.
It's time to begin your search. Ask your friends and family members what units they have at their house or apartment and start from there. Or select a brand like Carrier and begin searching through their models and begin reading reviews to see if they are a quality brand.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Is Your Heating Ductwork Sealed and Contained

Heating ductwork is an unseen part of your home but it has a great impact on the comfort level and temperature of your home. If your ductwork leaks air then you are not getting maximum airflow to all parts of your house. This can lead to some rooms being noticeably colder than others in the winter or hotter than others in the summer. An even bigger issue, though, is the extra energy costs and the energy loss that occurs with leaky ductwork.
You can check your heating ductwork for leakage in a couple of different ways. The most common method is to measure the airflow in each room to see just how much air is making it from the furnace out through the ducts. In older homes, it is not unusual to find that as much as 40% of heated and cooled air is lost through leaky ductwork. That is a huge number and one that makes going back and re-sealing ductwork seem appealing. The difficult part is how to go about accessing the ductwork in order to seal it. After all, it is located behind finished walls and is not readily accessible.
Heating Ductwork
There are two primary ways of sealing leaky ductwork. The first way is the most thorough way, but it is also the most expensive way - cutting through drywall to expose the ductwork and tape the joints securely. Many homeowners believe that sealing up leaky ducts with duct tape is a simple solution to their problems. However, this is not a good choice for sealing ductwork because it does not seal tightly enough. Instead, use specialty metal tape that does not get brittle over time.
The second way to seal leaky ductwork is to higher a professional company to spray an aerosol sealant into the ductwork. This method is quicker and easier than cutting through your drywall, and you don't have to go back and do drywall repairs afterwards. Regardless of the method you choose, properly sealed heating ductwork is one of the best things you can do for your home. It will keep you more comfortable in your home and save you money on energy.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Air Conditioning Filter: Essential Part of Heating and Air Conditioning

The air conditioning filter is one of the most important air conditioning parts in the air conditioning system. Without it, your air conditioning system would be dirty and the air you breathe would be filled with pollutants. All air conditioning parts, from the ductwork to the air conditioning refrigerant, need the air conditioning filter to be clean and replaced to ensure you're getting the very best in central air conditioning.
If an air conditioning filter is left dirty, over time, it can lead to higher energy costs and short
equipment life due to all the air conditioning parts relying on each other. One can not work without the other. Overall, your heating and cooling will not be as effective and you will need to invest in more air conditioning repair and air conditioning maintenance.
An air conditioning filter should be changed every month or every two months for home air conditioning systems and every couple of weeks for certain commercial or industrial air conditioning since it's running almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Doing this as a routine in your monthly chores and not waiting until you see dust matted on the air conditioning filter will ensure you and your family the very best health as well as a smooth running air conditioning system . Dust particles can not always be seen so even if you see a little dust on the air filter , clean it as you normally would.
Since there are a variety of air conditioning filters , how quickly one gets blocked versus another depends on the brand - most air conditioning filters are sized 1 ½ to 2 square feet for each ton of capacity for a home or commercial property.
You can judge a filter's ability to clean by using MERV ratings - Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value - which is a rating of how efficient an air conditioning filter is from 1-12. The higher the rating, the more effective it is at removing particles such as animal dander, pollen, dust, mold and other allergens, and the better the protection for your air conditioning equipment . Most air conditioning filters screen out particles measuring from 3 to 10 microns in size.
The common types of air conditioning filters are:
Conventional fiberglass disposable filters (1" and 2"): These are common in most homes and small industrial air conditioners and commercial air conditioning systems. Since they are disposable and have an adhesive coating that traps the dust, you should not clean the filters . This may damage the filter's ability to remove particles by damaging the adhesive coating and/or the underlying mesh work. They are both not as effective as other types of filters even though they are lower in cost.
Pleated fiberglass disposable filters (1" and 2"): The 1" are generally used in many residential and commercial settings and are made of materials that can vary in the effectiveness. Usually, they are more densely woven to increase the efficiency of removing dirt. These have a larger surface area to lead to increased trapping of particles as compared to conventional filters. They must be specified for your air conditioning system or this can lead to increased demand on your air conditioning components. Thereby, a mismatch can be counterproductive on the health of the air conditioning system and possibly lead to higher air conditioning maintenance and service cost. You should check with the air conditioning manufacturer as to the appropriate type of pleated filter for your system. A filter spray can also be applied after the cleaning and drying of the air conditioning air filter .
Electrostatic filters: Different in design and performance, since there are so many varieties, it is rather difficult to determine which is the most efficient. They are commonly advertised as allergy-free air conditioning filters. These filters also come in the 1" and 2" sizes. Air that moves through the filter creates a static charge that collects any dust in the filter. They may require more cleaning and more blower power.
Electronic filters : Connected to an electrical power source and usually wall mounted, electronic filters come with a pre-filter that can collect larger particles and only need to be cleaned every six months.
Carbon filters : These filters contain carbon that can control any odor problems you might have within the air conditioning system . They can also be useful in homes with pets.
Air Conditioning Filter Installation
When placing the appropriate air conditioning filter in to the system, the filter should be placed in the correct direction as indicated by the arrow located on the side or face of the filter. Air should flow in the proper direction which is in the same direction as the arrows. This allows the filter to work appropriately, as the air exits the filter in the most reinforced part of the filter.
The air conditioning filter should fit tightly. A perfect seal is necessary to prevent unfiltered air from entering and damaging your air conditioning system. Without a perfect seal and appropriate sizing, the filter is useless. Additionally, the non-conventional filters may have a higher efficiency and may not fit your system. This should be checked with an air conditioning company, contractor, or air conditioning supply company.