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Saturday, 12 December 2020 18:42

Furnace Filters and Indoor Air Quality

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Furnace Filters and Indoor Air Quality

Furnace Filters and Indoor Air Quality

When it comes to choosing the right furnace air filter there are many options available. The efficiency of furnace filters is measured on the MERV scale, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, which rates filter efficiency on a scale of 1-20. On the low end of the cost scale and MERV scale with a rating of 1-3 are disposable fiberglass filters. Made of 1-inch thick fiberglass, these filters are designed to prevent larger particles of dust, lint, and other debris from damaging your furnace.

Filters are tested and rated for for their ability to trap pollen, dust mites, mold spores, dust, pet dander, bacteria and tobacco smoke. Here are how effective the different MERV ratings are at removing various contaminants from the air. Here are

MERV 1-4 : Filters out pollen and dust mites.

MERV 5-8 : Removes mold and dust.

MERV 9-12 : Traps lead dust and most bacteria

MERV 12+ : Filters out all bacteria and tobacco smoke

When choosing an air filter for your HVAC system it may seem like a good idea to buy the filter with the highest MERV rating, since you want to have the cleanest air possible, right? In most cases, you should use a filter in the 5-8 range. The reason is that filters with a high MERV rating will have the smallest pores for air to pass through. This can make it harder for the HVAC system to push air through the filter, reducing system performance. To avoid restricting the air flow, filters with a higher MERV rating should be changed more frequently (at least every three months) to prevent damage to the HVAC system.

Ultimately, if your home's air is dirty enough to require a higher MERV rating, or you're changing air filters more than once a month, you may be better served by having a whole home air filtration system. A furnace air filter is really just designed to keep your HVAC equipment clean to prevent wear and tear. A whole house air filtration system is designed to actually clean the air inside the home.

How Good Is My Furnace Filter For Cleaning the Air In My Home?

Disposable pleated furnace filters are probably the most popular option. These filters are made from polyester or cotton paper and remove smaller particles like mold spores and mites, but should be changed frequently to avoid clogging and reducing airflow to the furnace. Pleated filters have a MERV rating of 6 and cost more than fiberglass filters.

The most effective furnace air filters are disposable or permanent electrostatic filters. With a MERV rating of 10 or higher, they offer highly effective filtration and are recommended for homes where allergies or upper respiratory conditions are a concern.

Have questions about furnace filters and indoor air quality? Call MR Plumbing and Electric we're here to help.
Wednesday, 02 December 2020 17:32

Preventing Drain Disasters During the Holidays

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Preventing Drain Disasters During the Holidays

Preventing Sewer and Drain Problems

Sewer and drain problems occur more frequently during the holiday months when kitchens are often at full capacity and guests are in the home. Kitchen sink drains and disposals, clogged toilets and backed up sewer lines are just a few of the common plumbing problems we see more of during the holiday season.

Here are some steps you can take to avoid sewer and drain disasters during the holidays.
  1. Dispose of Grease Properly - Deep frying a turkey? Remember to never dispose of grease down the drain (including a floor drain). Instead, put the used grease in a sealed container and leave it in a cold place to let it solidify. It can then be disposed of with the garbage.
  2. Watch What You Put Down the Disposal - Certain type of food waste are difficult for disposals to grind and can cause the unit to jam.  These include, banana peels, potato skins, bones, egg shells, coffee grounds are a few examples. As a rule, avoid putting starchy or fibrous food waste down the disposal.
  3. Use the Disposal Properly - Run plenty of warm water to prevent oil and grease from accumulating. To prevent odors, run a few handfuls of ice through the disposal to remove food residue that can cause smells.
  4. Maintain Your Sewer & Drain Lines - If you notice that drains are emptying slowly and toilets are backing up, schedule an appointment with MR Plumbing to have the lines cleaned. Having regular sewer line inspections is also a good idea. Using small cameras, we can find potential problems like tree root intrusion or cracks that could lead to a sewer line failure.
  5. Use Strainers -  Ensure your kitchen and bathroom drains have a strainers when possible to prevent debris like hair from building up in the drain pipe.

Have sewer and drain problems?

First, try physically clearing the clog with a plunger. We recommend avoiding the use of chemical drain cleaning products. They can be hazardous to use and can damage plumbing fixtures. The safest, most effective way to clear your clogged drains is to Call MR Plumbing. We're here to help anytime, even during the holidays.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020 22:12

Gas Heat Pump Or Furnace?

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Heat Pump Versus Gas Furnace - What's The Better Choice?

With heat pumps gaining in popularity in some parts of the U.S., many homeowners are asking if a heat pump is a good option for their home heating and cooling needs. Here is an overview of how heat pumps work and how they differ from traditional gas furnaces.

The Differences

The main difference between a furnace and a heat pump is that a heat pump can be reversed to either heat or cool a home. A heat pump consists of two parts: an indoor unit called an air handler and an outdoor unit that is similar to a central air conditioner – called a heat pump. A compressor circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the indoor and outdoor units.

Depending on the season a heat pump exchanges the cool air with warm air, or the other way around. Even air that's seems cold can have heat energy. When it's cold outside the heat pump extracts the heat and transfers into the home. When it’s hot outside, it reverses the flow to work like an air conditioner, removing heat from your home.

When considering a heat pump it's important to understand that, unlike a gas furnace which creates heat, a heat pump can only exchange heat, and will be unable to deliver a high level of warm air that is required to heat homes in cold climates like the Chicago area.

Have home heating questions? Call MR Plumbing and Electric. We're here to help.
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