Home Improvement Tip: Upgrade Your Home Air Filters

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You may soon begin work on a home improvement to-do list. This can include no shortage of priority items such as making general upgrades around your home. In fact, we all have undergone some sort of home upgrades at some time in the past. Of all the items you can add to your to-do list, there is one critical improvement that is often overlooked. If you’ve read previous blogs on The Filtered Files then you may have guessed that I’m talking about furnace filters.

At the risk of sounding redundant, installing a more efficient and effective furnace filter can drastically improve the indoor air quality in your home. Consider the two main reasons you should upgrade your furnace filter.

1. Remove more contaminants from the air: This is big especially if you deal with seasonal allergies and/or asthma. While all furnace filters will (to some degree, at least) reduce contaminants from your air, it may not remove them to the extent that you need. Removing the common asthma and allergy triggers is critical for relief and for protecting yourself from respiratory ailments associated with poor indoor air quality.

2. Prevent contaminants from building in your HVAC unit: Over time, contaminants will begin to build in your HVAC unit and reduce its efficiency. Upgrading your filter will lessen the chances of this occurring so that contaminants are trapped in the filter pleats and not in your system.

While upgrading your furnace filter, be sure to pay careful attention to the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of your filter. When it comes to knowing what MERV ratings mean, keep in mind that the higher the rating, the more efficient the filter will be. For example, a MERV 13 will be more efficient than a MERV 11. Read Three Questions to Ask before Choosing Your Next Air Filter for more information.

home-air-quality-filterRecently, all of our customers were asked to upgrade their furnace filter to the Filtrete Ultra Allergen Home Air Filters. The reason was for the numerous health benefits that the Ultra Allergen Air Filter provides.  Pollen, bacteria, dust mites and pet dander are just some of the contaminants that this filter will remove from your indoor air. With better air flow provided than its competitors, this filter is not only efficient in your system (by allowing less air flow resistance) but is also more beneficial to your health.

If you’re going to upgrade your furnace filter, be sure that you are getting maximum protection from harmful pollutants. If the Ultra Allergen doesn’t sound like a good fit for you, simply type in your air filter size and search furnace filters for all available models for your home.

Out of the Home Improvement items you can add to your to-do list, I believe that upgrades are chief among them. In addition to furnace filter upgrades, consider switching to more water efficient models. Toilets, faucets and showerheads have all become more water efficient over the years and will provide a nice touch (as well as savings) to your home and wallet.  What’s on your to-do list around the home?

Cloudy Swimming Pool Water: What you Need to Know About Water Clarity

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Many of us don’t spend time thinking about the quality of our pool water until the swimming pool becomes cloudy. When that happens, we look for a solution to the problem that can often be avoided with the proper maintenance of your swimming pool, spa or hot tub.

Before I dive in any further, you need to know what water clarity is. Water clarification is defined as the removal of suspended particulate matter from swimming pools, spas and hot tubs. There are three reasons why water clarity is important.

1. Disease prevention: Cloudy water often contains viruses and bacteria which causes pinkeye, earaches and flu-like symptoms. Giardia and E. Coli (two of the most common bacteria) can cause diarrhea and even death in some cases.

2. Appearance: Cloudy, discolored and unsightly water makes swimming objectionable for many reasons. Would you want to swim in murky water?

3. Swimming safety: Accidents are likely to occur when swimmers entering the pool cannot see those already swimming. Worse yet, if someone is in trouble underwater and he or she can’t be seen due to cloudy water, the risk of drowning increases.

As a pool or spa owner, you are probably no stranger to water clarity issues. After all, it’s only natural that the pool/spa water will eventually become cloudy. Oftentimes, this cloudiness is caused by a lack of water sanitizers, such as chlorine. If chlorine isn’t the problem, then the issue could be suspended particulate matter such as:

  • Contamination from swimmers or bathers
  • Silt
  • Dirt
  • Algae
  • Organic matter
  • Bacteria and protozoa
  • Minerals and metals
  • Lotions and suntan oils

 

Water clarity issues are handled through a combination of filtration and chemical treatment. Filters clarify water by removing particulate matter (such as dirt particles, skin flakes and algae) suspended in the water. Most particulate matters vary in micron size, and when it builds up, the pool water becomes cloudy. The type of pool or spa filter you will need depends solely on the type of pool you currently own. You also need to take a few other things into consideration as well, such as the type of problems you will need the filter to fix.

Pool-Water-Check-ScannerDoes your pool suffer from high levels of bacteria? Then the Watersafe Rapid Bacteria Pool Water Test will be best for you. Are you unsure about the water quality in your pool, spa, or hot tub? Then the Pool Water Check Meter (pictured above) is the perfect choice. This water testing meter checks the water quality in your pool and spa and includes a scanner and one bottle of test trips for your convenience.

Regardless of the type of filter you use, the filter must be in proper working condition to ensure sparkling and clean water. If the filter wears out, the filter will lose its ability to properly grab the small particles. To maximize your filters effectiveness, regularly clean and replace the filter according to manufacturer’s specifications.

If you are planning on going for a swim at a public swimming pool, keep in mind that most state health departments require that the main drain be visible from the pool deck at all times. If it is not clearly visible, do not get in.

Enjoy the spring and summer months, you’ve earned it. Keeping a watchful eye on maintenance and the water quality in your pool, spa, or hot tub will benefit you in the long term. We’re always here to help and assist in any of your pool/spa filter needs. If you have any questions, concerns, or are in need of friendly advice, leave a comment and our in-house filter experts will be glad to help you out.

Earth Day: Help the Environment and Go Reusable!

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IMAGE CREDIT: oliveventures.com

On April 22, 2014 the world will celebrate Earth Day, an annual day in which various events are held around the world to show support for environmental protection. One of the best ways you can protect the environment is by going reusable. Many have switched to using reusable bags and more, but what about making the switch to reusable water bottles? I may be preaching to the choir, but there are serious disadvantages to drinking bottled water. Reusable water bottles are more environmentally friendly and save you the long-term cost of paying extra money for plastic water bottles. There are three main reasons for you to start (or continue) using reusable water bottles.

Reduce waste: Did you know that the materials used to package bottled water takes hundreds of years to bio-degrade? It is believed that more than 80% of all plastic water bottles are simply thrown away and becomes litter. An estimated 2 million tons of discarded water bottles clog our nation’s landfills.

Save Money: The above graphic says it all when it comes to saving money. We pay much more for bottled water than we do for tap water. You are paying around 5 cents an ounce (when you consider the price per ounces in the average plastic water bottle) versus about a cent per gallon for tap water. Regardless of claims, the regulations surrounding plastic water bottles are less stringent than the regulations surrounding your local water supplier. The US public water system is monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which requires numerous daily tests for toxins and bacteria.

Be Healthier: Many plastic water bottles contain BPA (Bisphenol A) which studies have shown to be harmful to your health. It has been connected to cancer and hormonal issues. By switching to a reusable BPA-free water bottle, such as the Klean Kanteen water bottle, you are keeping your body protected from the harmful effects of BPA.

Many do not drink tap water because they question its safety or don’t like its taste. While these are concerns are understandable, there are solutions to this problem.

If you are weary about the taste or smell of tap water, carbon filters are the way to go. By reducing harmful bacteria and odors, you are left with filtered water that is free of smells, bad taste and chlorine. By installing a carbon filter inside your home (or even replacing your refrigerator water filter) you are reducing the amount of possible contaminates in your water supply and reducing bad taste and odor as well.

Stainless Steel Bottle

Reliable construction. Great fit for your house!

So are you ready to make the switch? If so, we suggest the Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel water bottle. Made from BPA free, food-grade stainless steel, this is an ideal alternative to bottled water. One of the best features of the Klean Kanteen bottles is found in its construction. These stainless water bottles will not impart or retain any odors or flavors. Unlike many plastic water bottles, the Klean Kanteen will not leech harmful chemicals into your drink. This water bottle is 100% recyclable, dishwasher safe, and is available in many sizes such as a 27 oz. capacity (pictured).

If you have already made the switch to reusable water bottles, congratulations! Urge your friends to do the same and drop the bottle! We offer a wide selection of reusable water bottles such as Vapur water bottles, and Brita water bottles. Browse through and choose which you prefer. In honor of Earth Day, let’s make an effort to go reusable! What is your favorite reusable water bottle? Don’t be shy and let us know in the comments below.