Air filters all have MERV ratings. MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value” and it rates your air filter on how well it traps contaminants in the air. The rating ranges from 1 to 16, and the higher the rating the more air pollution the filter is able to remove.
What Filter Do I Buy?
Air filters have all different ratings, and the one you choose to buy really depends on what type of air quality is in your home and the needs of you and your family. If you have family members in your home that have asthma or allergies and are more sensitive to the pollutants in the air then you may need an air filter with a higher MERV rating.
Typically you can work off the MERV scale by thinking of it as having a “good”, “better” and “best” type of rating when it comes to what air particles it blocks.
A MERV rating of 1-4 generally means it is a “good” air filter that will be able to keep out dust mites, dust and pollen. These are all relatively large air particles.
A MERV rating of 5-8 is considered to have a “better” filter quality and should be able to keep out dust mites, dust, pollen, mold and pet dander. This is a better air filter and fits the needs of most households.
The “best” quality air filter will have a MERV rating of between 9-13 and can block out all of the particles already listed but can additionally block sneezing and smoke particles. This air filter is perfect for those that are very sensitive.
Is MERV The Only Thing?
Other than the MERV rating of the air filters, there are a few other things to think about when choosing.
Always make sure you are getting the right size for your vents. Check the previous air filters dimensions to be sure, as you don’t want to go to the store only to stare at all the options and end up back there anyway.
There are mechanical filters and electronic filters. Most air conditioners use a mechanical filter, which uses synthetic fibers to trap air particles. Electronic filters are filters that use an electric charge to attract air pollution and then trap it. Mechanical filters are easier to keep up with and are cheaper than the electronic filters, and they also come in a wider variety of MERV ratings.
Keep or Throw Away?
Air filters can be reusable or disposable. Disposable filters are cheaper, however they have a more often reoccurring cost, unlike reusable filters. However if you are looking for less maintenance and don’t want to clean out to the filters periodically, then stick with disposable.
If your air conditioning system isn’t powerful enough for a higher MERV rating filter, then be careful not to use one. This will restrict the amount of air flow that is able to get through the filter and into your home.
If you have more questions about MERV rating, or just air filters in general feel free to contact us and we are happy to answer any of your questions!
Why Won’t My Toilet Flush?
We all know the sound. The desperate yell from the bathroom when the toilet won’t flush and no one knows why. So why won’t my toilet flush? Whether it’s “Dad! The toilet isn’t working!” or “Honey! Can you come fix the toilet!” we all know it can be a frustrating problem to have. The most common reasons that toilets won’t flush are due to clogs, water levels, problems with the flapper, blocked inlet holes and issues with the chain. Anytime HVAC and Plumbing has the solutions to your toilet problems, and we can give you some of the most common issues with your toilet and how to fix them.
Problem: Clogged Toilet
This may be the most common issue in most households, everyone deals with a clogged toilet at some time or other. Usually clogged toilets are due to either using too much toilet paper, trying to flush something that isn’t supposed to be flushed or putting too much of anything in the toilet. Sanitary and feminine products can also cause this issue and should generally not be flushed.
Its a common problem, and luckily it has a common solution; your every day toilet plunger. If you use the plunger as a suction cup and push hard enough it should suck out the clog and help loosen the toilet paper or other material and allow you to flush easily. If this doesn’t work, there are other common tools you can find at any hardware store that can help to release harder-to-fix clogs. If none of these work, then you can always call the experts.
Problem: Water Levels
The toilet needs the proper amount of water in the tank in order to flush with ease. When that level is too low, or too high, you may have issues with the toilet not flushing or even overflowing when you flush. Typically the toilet manufacturer will leave a mark inside the tank as to the ideal water level for your toilet (see picture below). The water level may have been manually adjusted to save water or parts of the tank could be misaligned.
Solution: Adjust The Level
Different toilets have different ways of adjusting the water level, but the majority have a float that monitors levels in the tank. The float could be a rubber ball type of device (see picture below). Either way, they both have to be adjusted with a screw like device at the top of the fill valve, if you turn that clockwise it will raise the float which will allow more water into the tank. If you have questions or need assistance, you can always call us at Anytime HVAC as well.
Problem: Flapper Problems
The flapper is a neat little tool that sits in the toilet tank attached to a chain and helps the correct amount of water to flow out when the toilet is flushed. When the toilet lever is flushed the chain lifts the flapper to let water out and then it goes back down to stop excess water from draining. If the flapper happens to be broken, deteriorated or bent in anyway then it could be the reason your toilet won’t flush correctly.
Solution: Replace Flapper
If the flapper is indeed broken or misshapen in a way that stops it from working, it will need to be replaced. You can find a replacement flapper at most hardware stores and they are relatively cheap. Before replacing the flapper, drain the tank completely and then replace the flapper on the end of the chain. There is a helpful instructional video that can show you step by step how to do this here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Suno4wxDNk0 If you would rather have a professional fix it for you, we can do that too.
Problem: Blocked Inlet Holes
Inlet holes are the small holes located around the upper rim of the toilet bowl and when the toilet is flushed, water pours out of these holes in order to flush the toilet. If any of these holes happen to be blocked or clogged then the toilet will not flush properly. This problem can be identified by watching these holes when the toilet flushes making sure that water is coming out of all of them.
Solution: Unclog Inlet Holes
This problem can be done on your own, but it will take a little work. If you are up to the task, you can try using a funnel or other tool to pour heated vinegar down the clogged hole using a mirror to look underneath. Let it sit and soak overnight, and try to use a tool (Allen wrench, twisted paper clip or hanger) to stick it in the hole and unclog it. Here is a video with instructions https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mzBc-oUxZI. If this seems more than what you’re wanting to do, you can always call us and we’ll be happy to help. **link
Problem: Chain Issues
If you’re toilet isn’t flushing, it could be a problem with your lift chain. The chain that is attached to the flapper and lifts it to let water in and out. Sometimes this chain could be rusted, broken or put at the wrong length. If any of these are the problem, the chain won’t properly lift the flapper to allow water out in order to flush the toilet.
Solution: Adjust or Replace Chain
The length of the chain may be the issue, which you can tell if you watch the tank as you flush the toilet and see that the chain is in good shape but isn’t lifting the flapper. If this is the case, simply adjust the length of the chain. If the chain happens to be broken or rusted to the point of not working, it will need to be replaced. You can buy a replacement chain at your hardware store.
Always remember, if any of these problems seem to big to handle or these solutions aren’t working, there could be a more complex problem under the surface with your plumbing. Let Anytime Heating, Cooling and Plumbing of Atlanta help you today, we’re only a phone call away!
When it’s springtime in Atlanta the pollen is high and it’s time to start thinking about how to prepare your HVAC system for Spring. Here are step-by-step instructions from AnytimeHVAC on how to prepare your air conditioning system for the spring time! It’s also always an affordable option to have Anytime HVAC technicians perform an inexpensive air conditioning tune up before summer starts! But if you follow these simple steps you will be one step ahead in how to prepare your HVAC System for spring!
1) Cut trees and shrubbery away from the unit. Your system has to be able to “breathe”. We recommend a minimum of 18” clearance around the sides of the unit and a minimum of 4’ above the top. (This is one of those cases where more is better)
2) Keep mulch and weeds away from the bottom of the unit. Products like “Round Up” are much better than using a weed eater. There are electrical wires that can be damaged by a weed eater if hit. Also mulch, mud, dirt, etc. can clog the bottoms of the coils where heat transfer takes place.
3) Putting out ant killer around the unit can avoid costly repairs. Ants enjoy the cooling of the compressor and the moisture. Quite often we get no cooling calls and find that ants have traveled through the contactor and caused issues.
4) Change the air filter and don’t go cheap. A good pleated filter can help to keep your indoor coils clean. Just like any filter, they do get clogged. We recommend replacing your 1” filter every 3 months (more often if you have pets). If you are wanting something that helps with pollen and allergies, we have air cleaners that provide a much better job than the typical 1” filter.
5) Have your system serviced by a competent technician. Quite often homeowners think they can just “do it themselves”. Maybe you can. Our technicians have the proper tools and expertise to check the refrigerant levels for optimum performance, check the electrical components to make sure they are not weak and failing, clean out the drain lines and test safety switches, chemically clean the outdoor coils, check the amp draw on all the motors and check the temperatures that the system is putting out to ensure that your system is operating at its peak efficiency. Oh yeah, and we replace that 1” filter with a new pleated filter as well.
These simple steps to prepare your HVAC system for spring will make for a more enjoyable season! At AnytimeHVAC we offer a full satisfaction guarantee and have technicians currently covering the Atlanta metro area including Alpharetta, Cumming, Peachtree City, Lawrenceville and the entire 26 county Metro Atlanta Area! We hope you enjoy your Spring and Summer this year. Anytime Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is here when you need us. 770-504-8881 or www.www.anytimehvac.com
Fighting The Unseen Enemy: The Right Way On How To Get Rid Of Mold In Air Ducts Successfully
Over time, the simple HVAC (heating, ventilating, air conditioning) system has evolved to meet all the varied needs of different homes across the United States. There are these straightforward single-stage heating and cooling systems, and then there are the more sophisticated multi-stage HVAC technologies that can save energy costs. Over the last several years, HVAC systems have evolved into different types including zoned systems, heating systems, humidity control and cooling systems. Irrespective of the purpose that these systems serve, Mold can establish colonies inside the ductworks. This article will show you the correct way on how to get rid of mold in air ducts.
Mold infestation usually comes with a musty odor. If there is mold in your HVAC system, you should be able to smell the strange musty odor in multiple adjacent rooms. If the mold problem is quite severe, you should be able to spot the growth around the ducts, in the vents and the other parts of the ductwork. The spores are too small for spotting without specialized equipment, and you will not see any other overt signs until the infestation is rampant. In most cases, people have to rely on their sense of smell to detect the presence of this stealthy intruder in their homes.
What causes mold infestation in the HVAC air ducts?
A warm location with high water vapor content is particularly prone to mold buildup within the ducts. Water vapor can form within the duct system when cold air passes through, and when there is high water vapor content in the outside environment, the water droplets usually collect instead of evaporating. It forms the most conducive environment for mold growth. The nutrition for the mold usually comes from dust, dirt, dead skin cells, pollen, and animal dander that collects over months inside the duct along with the water.
What are the signs of mold in air ducts?
Here are a few definitive signs of mold growth within home HVAC systems:
- A strong mildew-like or musty smell throughout the house or at least in a few adjacent rooms.
- Your nose, throat, and eyes feel irritated when you switch on the air conditioning or step inside an air-conditioned room.
- You are experiencing allergic symptoms including a runny nose, rashes, and watering eyes.
- You or your family is suffering from unexplainable headaches that go away when you step outside.
- You feel nausea, fatigue, and dizziness only when you are home.
- You can see the mold growing within the intake vents and around the air ducts and drip pans.
Therefore, if you live in a warm climate and your home smells musty all the time, you have the perfect reason to suspect a mold infestation within the central air conditioning system. You should never wait for the visible signs of infestation to manifest before taking action. You may not be able to see specific sections of your HVAC ductwork from the outside. In that case, you should ask for professional help.
How can homeowners tackle the problem of mold and how to get rid of mold in air ducts?
Sometimes, the mold problem is not overwhelming, and homeowners prefer to deal with the issue on their own. It calls for some robust DIY mold removal techniques. The EPA recommends the employment of professional mold removing services when the suspected mold cover spreads over ten sq ft. If the infestation in your heating ducts is not as severe, you can try removing the growth with ingredients that you can find at your local Home Depot. Here is information on how to get rid of mold in air ducts.
Removing Mold from Your HVAC System:
Selection of the cleaning solution is the first and the most crucial step that decides the fate of the HVAC system inside your home and ultimately if you are successful in how to get rid of mold in air ducts. The cleaning agent you choose can either remove mold or let it fester secretly. Therefore, you need to be cautious when selecting a DIY solution for your mold problem.
You can use a mix of the following to create your own mold removing solution:
- One tablespoon household detergent
- Half tablespoon
- Baking soda
- One cup
Alternatively, 1 part bleach in 16 parts water should do the trick on non-porous substances.
You can also buy commercial mold removal solutions. You should try an EPA approved mold removal product for your safety and the best effects.
Time to armor up:
You need a mask, thick industrial grade gloves, coveralls, and safety goggles. You are not just protecting yourself from the mold but also from the chemicals that you might be using to clean them.
Next Steps of how to get rid of mold in air ducts:
- Start by turning off the heating/cooling vents.
- When you can reach the spot, start scrubbing the moldy areas thoroughly with a wet rag or a light brush.
- Repeat the process for a visibly extensive mold infestation.
- Dispose of the rags in airtight trash bags. Use six mil or thicker trash bags for discarding them.
Once you have finished cleaning the visible mold, it is time to make sure that it never comes back! You need to look for EPA registered mold growth inhibitors for this process. These can successfully prevent mold from growing again after the clean-up. Without the application of inhibitors, the fungus is most likely to come back in the same area within a few weeks.
It sounds like a time-consuming task when it comes to the process of how to get rid of mold in air ducts and it surely is. You should be especially careful to dry the area after the cleaning. It is also a process that involves high health risks. Experts will always recommend that you leave the task of how to get rid of mold in air ducts to professionals who have the right equipment to ensure maximum safety to you and your family during the process.
Mold the stubborn intruder: What is the cause?
In most cases, homeowners can most efficiently remove the mold form visible areas. However, molds spread through spores, and the presence of a small colony can lead to a re-infestation in no-time. Mold problems in HVAC systems and subsequent air ducts occur due to humidity and water accumulation in the system. Unless you find out precisely what is responsible for the growth in the first place, you might find yourself fighting a losing battle.
The DIY solutions are only suitable for minor mold problems. These are more effective for isolated cases that do not involve the entire ductwork. For example, if your master bathroom or your storage room smells musty, you can try to scrub the particular duct or vent that aerates these rooms. It is very common for some places to gather mold in the ductwork more than the others. Bathrooms are often more prone to mold infestations since there are higher humidity levels, and water almost never dries up completely. There is a high chance of recurring mold growth in the bathroom, and research shows that over 70% of toilets and showers in the urban areas have sneaky mold problems.
Steps to prevent mold problems in your HVAC system and air ducts:
There are times when home remedies are not enough, and you need to resort to more drastic methods. Mold infestations can be quite stubborn, and not tending to them can lead to more significant expenses. If you have had recurring mold problems in the past couple of years, you should consider the following prevention measures:
- Replace the HVAC system filters.
- Reduce condensation within the ducts by insulating the air ducts.
- Do not forget to clean the drip pans regularly. The collection of water in the drip pan can nurture mold colonies.
- Seal condensation and leaks. Keep the entire duct system dry. However, be careful while approving the use of sealants. The EPA does not recommend the use of sealants except under circumstances where other alternatives are unviable.
- Invest in a good dehumidifier and switch it on near the moldy areas. The resulting low water vapor content in the air will help in the faster evaporation of water from the ductwork and prevent further growth of mold.
- Check the ducts regularly. If necessary, get professionals to inspect your HVAC system at regular intervals for any sign of recurrence. Molds are persistent. They are likely to come back at a conducive spot even after rigorous cleanup regimes.
Why should you consider removing mold from your HVAC system and air ducts?
Having fungus in the corner of a damp room is entirely different from mold growing inside the HVAC system. When mold grows within the central heating, cooling, and ventilation system, there are high chances that every room connected to the vents receives generous amounts of mold spores. As soon as you switch your heater or air conditioner on, the microscopic particles start floating and blowing out with air into the room.
Mold is not just icky or gross. It elicits allergic reactions in most people. It can lead to unwarranted asthma attacks in children and the elderly. The effects are usually immediate. However, there are records of people suffering from rashes, inexplicable breathing troubles and irritation in the eyes. The adverse impacts on health are so expansive that experts are still carrying out studies to find out the various effects of mold on human health.
Aside from allergies, molds can cause several unexplainable reactions in humans and their pets. Almost all of them are the results of inhaling mold and spores. Additionally, duct cleaning reduces the amount of floating dust, skin cells and animal dander in the indoor air. It automatically results in fewer allergies. An HVAC company that can offer mold removal and duct cleaning services can give your home healthier air that is free from strange musty smells, harmful spores, and persistent allergens.
Indoor air quality – the key to a healthy life!
In most homes, the air quality is worse than it is outside. In fact, in the winter or high humidity seasons, the pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher in concentration than the outside air. The contaminants and irritants come from several regular activities including scratching our skin, smoking, cooking and walking around wearing outdoor shoes.
Mold is one of the leading concerns among all homeowners and the EPA. It is notorious for emanating spores that can cause severe allergic reactions. Neglecting persistent allergies can also lead to anaphylaxis. In fact, the EPA and professional HVAC maintenance services consider mold to be a health hazard since it can also release particulates and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in the indoor air.
The smart homeowner’s checklist for a mold-free home
- Always ask for mold testing first. Professional mold removal and prevention services offer laboratory analysis of samples taken from air ducts. At times, the collection of dust and cobwebs can look like mold. The only way to confirm an infestation is to run a conclusive test.
- Get to know your HVAC system. Find out the primary material of your ductwork. It can be fiberglass, flex duct or metal sheet. The cleaning methods and the charges usually vary depending on the duct material type.
- The air duct cleaning services should always follow the National Air Duct Cleaning Association’s standards for the procedure. They should use EPA registered/approved products and processes for the effective removal of mold.
- Ask for references and client testimonials from service providers. A reputed HVAC mold removal service provider should be able to provide more than enough satisfactory and genuine client reviews and recommendations from their previous stints.
- Request frequent and periodic inspection of ducts and vents to prevent mold buildup. Mold problems can be recurrent. Ask for professional HVAC tips that can help you keep your indoor air clean in the future. Services should include yearly inspection of the cooling and heating systems along with placement of moisture prevention systems within the HVAC.
Keeping your home clean is easy, but keeping the air inside your house fresh is more than challenging. It is a huge responsibility to ensure that the air you and your loved ones are breathing is free of harmful particles, VOCs, and mold. With the persistent humidity, warmth and water buildup, it is easy for fungus to find a home within your abode. You must be vigilant to keep this uninvited guest out of your home to ensure the proper health of your family and pets.
For over a decade Anytime Heat, Air, and Plumbing has been the leading service provider in metro Atlanta and the surrounding areas near you for HVAC services such as air duct cleaning, a/c and heating system repair and installations. For any other information on how to get rid of mold in air ducts please contact us for a free consultation.
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