Replace Your HVAC Filters to Keep Your Home Healthy

Replacing or cleaning the HVAC air filter will keep your home healthy throughout the year.

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) helps make your home healthy and comfortable. But it can’t do its job efficiency without a clean air filter.

On average, indoor air has two to five times more pollutants than the air outside. The filter removes dust, allergens, and other airborne contaminants from the air before the system circulates it throughout the house. As the filter becomes clogged with debris, it blocks the free flow of air to the system, which reduces the efficiency of your furnace or air conditioning system. Not only does this drive up heating and cooling costs, it makes the air inside your home less clean and healthy.

HVAC experts recommend cleaning or replacing the filter at least once per season, or three times a year. Here’s how you can do this simple maintenance routine yourself.

Step 1: Find the Filter

Depending on the type of HVAC system you have, you can find the filter in one of three places:

  • Window air conditioners have the filter directly behind the place where cool air comes out.
  • Central air systems usually have the filter behind the main vent that releases cool air. It’s often located near the thermostat.
  • Furnace or air handler filters are found in a slot behind a metal or plastic housing in the unit itself.

Step 2: Turn it Off

Before you remove the panel or grille covering the filter, turn off power to the system for your safety. You should never touch the filter while there is air flowing through it.

Step 3: Identify the Filter

Once you’ve found it, examine the filter to determine what kind of product you’re dealing with. Different systems use different sizes and types of filter, so you need to identify it before you can replace it. Write down the brand of filter, along with other identifying information on the frame, and measure it for size.

  • Fiberglass filters are common in older systems. They have a large frame that looks like a window screen. Depending on the season and the size of your home, you may need to replace it as often as every month.
  • Pleated filters are one-inch wide, rectangular units. Replace it every three months.
  • Media filters look like pleated filters, but are three to four inches wide. They don’t need to be replaced as often as pleated filters, but be sure to check it out every three to six months.

Step 4: Remove and Replace

Slide out the old filter along its tracks and immediately dispose of it in an outdoor garbage bag. Don’t leave it sitting in your regular garbage, as the dust can fall out and re-enter the air. Next, you can slide the new filter into place, paying attention to the arrows that indicate which side to put in first.

Step 5: Close it Up

Re-attach the protective grille or casing that keeps the filter safe inside the unit. At this point, you can turn the system back on.

 

Tips for Sleeping in Hot Weather

It’s all about the air flow.

Summer heat keeping you up at night? Here are a few tricks for making your room feel cool and comfortable on those muggy summer evenings.

Ensure Good Air Flow

If you’re having trouble falling asleep in the heat, lack of air flow is likely a factor. Fans and air conditioning won’t do much good if the room (or your bed) restricts the flow of cool air. Try placing a fan across from an open window to create a cross-breeze in the room. You can boost the amount of cool air in the room by hanging a cool, damp towel in front of the window, and placing a pan of ice in front of the fan.

Choose Breathable Materials

Choose sheets and clothing made from a light, breathable material like cotton. This helps promote ventilation and ensure the cool air can reach your body while you sleep. You may be tempted to sleep nude, but wearing loose, soft pajamas will actually help to wick moisture from your body.

Sleep Close to the Ground

Heat rises, so it helps to sleep as close to the ground as possible. On those particularly stuffy nights, you may opt for a college throwback and stick your mattress on the floor.

Forget Lotions and Moisturizers

Many popular body lotion products, especially those made from petroleum, can trap heat in your body. Avoid using these products before bed. Though they may feel refreshing at first, you’ll regret it once you wake up feeling sweaty and sticky.

Get a Cooling Pillow

Tired of flipping the pillow over to sleep on the cold side? Consider buying a cooling pillow. There are dozens of these products on the market, but Dr. Christopher Winter of the Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center recommends a bamboo pillow with a shredded latex filling. Be sure to read the reviews before you decide which one is right for you.

Take a Cool Shower

You’re likely to fall asleep faster if you can cool your internal temperature before you hit the bed. Showers can also help you relax and unwind, setting the stage for a peaceful sleep.

 

Keep Your Hockey Fix Going During the Summer With Hockey Movies

Yes, it’s July, and it’s hot and humid as all get out. The last thing most people are thinking about right now is winter sports. But what if hockey is your love and you just gotta have it all year round? Well, you can re-watch all of the games from last season that filled up your PVR or you can enjoy some hockey movies. There are not nearly as many hockey flicks as those centered around baseball, but here are three important ones readily available on disc and streaming.

FACE-OFF (1971)
Not to be confused with the John Travolta/Nicolas Cage actioner, this is an early Canadian drama about a hotshot (Art Hindle) on the Toronto Maple Leafs and the troubled relationship he has with a young hippie girl whose values are a world away from his. FACE-OFF isn’t very good, but it’s a must-see time capsule if you love the Leafs, as many of their best players from the time can be seen during the game sequences.

SLAP SHOT (1977)
Considered the height of vulgarity 40 years ago, this rollicking comedy is pretty tame by modern standards, but still very funny. Paul Newman plays the captain of a failing small town hockey team who encourages his players to be violent on the ice in order to boost ticket sales. Things soon get very out of hand. Spawned two direct-to-video sequels, neither of which are worth watching.

THE MIGHTY DUCKS (1992)
Another hockey movie that spawned a franchise, this Disney production stars Emilio Estevez as a lawyer who is forced to do community service after a drunk driving incident. In this case, that means coaching the worst pee wee league hockey team in the area. Essentially THE BAD NEWS BEARS on ice, this follows a familiar formula, but was a crowd pleaser and its PG antics make THE MIGHTY DUCKS a much more family-friendly choice than SLAP SHOT.

Paul Newman in SLAP SHOT. Courtesy Universal.

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