Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to Change Your Furnace Filter: A Guide to Clean Indoor Air

If the air quality in your home or business isn’t meeting your expectations, it’s probably time to replace the furnaces air filter. As we dive head first into winter, it’s crucial to ensure that your air quality remains top priority because after all, you’ll be spending a lot more time indoors.

By inspecting your furnace’s filter every one to two months, and regularly monitoring the air quality, you’ll keep the air in your residence or commercial building cleaner and save on maintenance costs for years to come. For healthier air flow, follow these simple steps to replace your furnace filter:

How to change a disposable filter

Before you begin, it’s crucial that you turn the furnace off. Generally, you can shut off the furnace via the cutoff switch, circuit breaker, or the switch on the fuse box.

  1. Locate the filter.  It may be in a ceiling or wall filter grid, or it may be in the furnace cabinet.
  2. Remove the contaminated filter from furnace or filter grid. The filter could be located inside the furnace or directly inside the return air vent. Most filters will illustrate the direction of airflow that points in the direction of airflow. To determine which way to install the new filter, mark the outside of the surface duct in coordination to the marking on the filter.
  3. Locate the filter size printed on the cardboard frame. Record the size of the filter for future purchases at local hardware stores, HVAC suppliers, or home improvement centers.
  4. Install new filter. On the frame of the new filter, locate the markings that indicate which side the filter should face to point in the direction of airflow. Gently slide the new filter in and reinstall the cover.

How to clean a reusable filter

Again, ensure the furnace is completely turned off.

  1. Locate the filter.  It may be in a ceiling or wall filter grid, or it may be in the furnace cabinet.
  2. Remove the blower door. In older furnaces, the filter may be located in the return air vent. For newer furnaces, the filter will be located inside the furnace or in a ceiling grid or wall grid.
  3. Vacuum the dirty filter. To remove excess dust and dirt, use a regular vacuum and move around the entire filter to minimize substances that will contaminate the furnace.
  4. Wash the filter. To ensure you don’t create more work, wash the filter outdoors using a hose to eliminate particles from the filters screen.  The direction of water flow should be opposite the direction of airflow. Before reinstalling, ensure the filter is completely dry.  This is very important.  Locate the markings on the filter that display which side of the filter must face the direction of airflow, and see if there are metal hoops that are designed to hold the filter in its proper position. Replace the blower door back on the furnace if necessary.

To ensure your furnace runs efficiently and the air quality in your residential or commercial building remains clean and healthy, replacing your furnaces filter at least every 1 to 2 months. Depending on the number of pets or allergies in your residence, replacing the filter may be needed more frequently. 

So the air quality in your residential or commercial building remains clean, check in with The Energy Experts of Pro Energy Consulting each month for more valuable information on these crucial topics.  

Energy-Reducing New Year’s Resolutions

2016 is officially upon us, and there’s no better time to implement healthier, creative routines to live more efficiently. While many resort to getting in shape, eating healthier, or quitting smoking, cultivating positive habits within your external environment can be equally beneficial. This new year, work towards a higher goal, one that creates a healthier environment and saves you money! At Pro Energy Consultants, we believe the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to reduce energy consumption in your home or office. Setting small goals is key. Start by determining two or three energy saving techniques to commit to in 2016, then build from there.

When you leave your home or office, turn off appliances like toasters, chargers, and other electronic devices that are no longer in use. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, when a desktop computer runs continuously, it eats through approximately $150 worth of electricity in the span of about five years. That’s three times more than if it’s put into “sleep” or “hibernate” mode! 

Taking advantage of LED (light-emitting diode) is one of the most energy efficient and cost effective methods to conserving energy in 2016. LED light bulbs are more cost effective light bulbs and are readily available at Walmart or Home Depot for as little as $5, and they use up to 85 percent less energy to deliver the same amount of light as traditional bulbs. To determine which energy-saving light bulbs work best for your residential or commercial building, see NRDC’s guide to more efficient and money-saving light bulbs

During the winter, set your thermostat to 68 degrees or less in the daytime, and utilize natural lighting as much as possible. At night, close the blinds or shades to reduce the amount of heat lost through drafty windows. Investing in an indoor window insulator kit will also help reduce the loss of heat.

When running the dishwasher, make sure that it’s entirely full and use the shortest cycle possible. Many newer dishwashers now have the option to run an energy efficient cycle, which is highly recommended. Air drying your dishes will also reduce the amount of energy consumed by your dishwasher. 

Reducing the use of your dryer can help lower utility bills drastically because they are one of the largest drains of energy. Did you know that 2 percent of the nations electricity consumption, second to refrigerators and air conditioners? Additionally, ensuring your lint filter is thoroughly cleaned after each use, and never drying heavy and light fabrics together, is also key to conserving energy. Traditional clotheslines are still the most energy-efficient method to drying clothes and fabrics. 

When purchasing a new washer or dryer, look for the ENERGY STAR label. These specific models use up to 20 percent less energy, thus saving consumers money over the dryer’s 15-year lifespan. 

Creating simple steps to reduce energy consumption will help you create positive habits that could last a lifetime, while helping preserve the environment for generations to come. To help maximize your energy efficiency, check in with the Energy Experts of Pro Energy Consultants each month for more valuable information and guidance.