Topics related to energy efficiency.

Introduction

When it comes to the comfort of your home, there are few things more important than a properly functioning furnace filter. It keeps the air in your house clean, so you don’t have to worry about dust or other debris circulating throughout your abode. Regularly changing the filters in your furnace is essential for maintaining good air quality, but you should also make sure that you’re replacing them with the right size and type of filter. Changing out your filter regularly will ensure that it continues to work properly and protect against pollutants from entering into your home’s interior space.

Turn off the electricity to your furnace.

  • Shut off the power to your furnace.
  • If you have access to the breaker box, turn off that circuit breaker for a minute or two.
  • If there is an electrical fuse box in your home, pull out any fuses in that circuit and leave them out for a few minutes.
  • Open up the filter compartment of your furnace and remove the old filter (if applicable), making sure to put it somewhere safe where it won’t get dirty or damaged while replacing it with a new one later on!
  • Carefully remove as much dust and debris from the inside as possible by brushing around with a broom handle until all visible buildup has been removed from within before installing new filter(s). Be careful not to damage any other parts like wiring when doing so though!

Locate your furnace filter.

The first step to changing your furnace filter is locating it. You will find the furnace filter in one of three places:

  • In the air ducts (where warm air travels from the furnace through holes in the ductwork)
  • In a return vent for an individual room or zone within your home (these are often located near windows or doors)
  • In an air return (a large, box-like structure that collects and distributes cooled air throughout your home)

Remove the old filter.

  • Remove the old filter.
  • Unscrew the filter from its housing, and pull it out of the unit. You may have to clean off any dust or dirt that’s accumulated on either side of the filter before you remove it from its holder; this will make installation easier later on.
  • Install a new one—and don’t forget to clean it first!

If you skipped step 1, go ahead and do this now: install a new furnace filter with your hands or pliers (if necessary). If not done already, wipe down both sides of the new filter for easier installation next time around. Don’t forget about cleaning off any excess dust/dirt from both sides of your current furnace and its housing unit before proceeding to Step 3 below!

Check your owner’s manual for the right size and type of filter you need.

Check your owner’s manual for the right size and type of filter you need. If you don’t know where your owner’s manual is, check with the manufacturer or ask someone who works at a hardware store where they might keep records of which filters work best with their equipment.

Install the new filter with the arrows pointing toward the blower motor.

  • Make sure you have the right size filter. The filter should be slightly larger than your furnace’s air inlet opening.
  • Make sure you have the right type of filter. Use a pleated or high-efficiency particulate arrestor (HEPA) filter for best results, as they are specifically designed to trap dust and other particles that may otherwise circulate through your home or office. Some filters come with center grids while others do not; if you’re unsure which arrangement is best for your home, consult with an HVAC technician before purchasing replacements.
  • Make sure you have the right filters for your furnace. Don’t forget about any other heating systems in your home—you’ll also need replacement filters for those!

Replace the doors or panels on your furnace and restore power to your furnace.

  • If you have a gas or oil furnace, check the pilot light first to see if it’s working properly.
  • Turn on your circuit breaker and flip the main switch back on; this should restore power to your furnace.
  • Wait at least 15 minutes before trying to turn on your furnace again—this gives time for all of its components to cool down and allows them to operate properly again when turned back on.

Mark your calendar for when you need to replace it next time, using a highlighter or other marker that will remind you how long it’s been since the last replacement.

Mark your calendar for when you need to replace it next time, using a highlighter or other marker that will remind you how long it’s been since the last replacement.

  • Use a calendar. If there are no markings on your filter, use a pencil to mark the date of its last change in large letters on the top or side of the filter.
  • Make a note on your phone, tablet or computer. A reminder might say something like “Change furnace filter” along with today’s date, or just “Filter.”

Wash out any air registers in your home that are dusty, at least once a year, more often if you have pets or smokers in your house.

Changing your furnace filter is a great way to keep your home comfortable, but it’s also important to know when you should replace it. Here are the guidelines for how often you should change your filters:

Every month – if you have pets or smokers in the house

Every 3 months – if dust is noticeable on surfaces around your house (like floors)

Every 6 months – if mold has formed on walls or ceilings

Every 12 months – if there are cracks in the paint or woodwork of your home

Every 2 years – if you have allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems that might be exacerbated by dust and pollen particles in the air you breathe; if there is visible mold growth inside; if there are signs of distress on window sills etc., such as peeling wallpaper or wallpaper curling up at edges; or if homeowners hire professional cleaning services to clean their homes more than once per year

MERV ratings aren’t everything but changing your filters correctly is essential.

MERV ratings aren’t everything but changing your filters correctly is essential. MERV ratings are based on particle size and not the type of filter.

You need to change your filters regularly.

Need help buying the correct furnace filters?

We found this site to be particularly useful when researching filter efficacy and efficiency. You can find it HERE.

Conclusion

Replacing your filter is one of the easiest ways to improve the air quality in your home. It’s also one of the most affordable and effective ways to keep your furnace running smoothly for years to come. If you’re not sure how often to change it, consult your owner’s manual or call someone who can advise you on whether it needs replacing now or later.

Guard Home Warranty

3 Arrows Property Inspection has teamed up with Guard Home Warranty – one of the largest home warranty companies in North America to offer FREE 30-day home warranties to all of our inspection clients!


What is a Home Warranty and how does it work?

A home warranty is a service contract that covers the repair or replacement of appliances and home systems that break down over time. From air conditioning systems to kitchen appliances, home warranty plans help cover damage and malfunction caused by everyday wear and tear. When something that is covered by a home warranty contract breaks down, the homeowner puts in a Service Request Ticket with us and then selects a licensed service provider of their choice to examine the problem. If it’s determined that the needed repair or replacement is covered by the warranty, we will authorize the contractor to complete the work. As a covered homeowner, you only pay a small service call fee, similar to a deductible.

What are some of the benefits of a Home Warranty?

Home warranties are a hedge against expensive repairs and the uncertainty that inevitably comes with homeownership. By budgeting a little every month for the coverage, you can be protected against large financial costs by having to repair or replace the major systems in your home like the furnace, water heater, electrical panel, etc. Good home warranties even cover appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators. A few years ago the compressor failed in my refrigerator and I was told by a local repairman that it would be over $900 to repair! Thankfully we had a home warranty that covered the repair and when it failed again, Guard Home Warranty came to the rescue and made it right by replacing the refrigerator.

No one wants to purchase a home only to have the air conditioning system (A/C) break in the middle of their first summer living there. Home warranties are designed to give you peace of mind about things like that.

Here’s how a Guard Home Warranty can help:

  • Protects you from unplanned expenses. A warranty could help you cover the cost of repairing expensive appliances and systems that break down when you don’t have the money to cover it yourself.
  • Saves you time and hassle. If a home system or appliance breaks, all you have to do is make a claim with your warranty company and they’ll handle the rest. You don’t have to waste time collecting contractor quotes or tinkering with repairs yourself.

Forbes magazine recently published an article about the benefits of home warranties. Perhaps they are a good fit for your home and your family! Scan the QR code to sign up today!

With the end of summer looming on the distant horizon (we aren’t excited either) there are some things we can do to help maintain and improve the value of our home.

1. Check your roof and your home’s exterior and make any necessary repairs.

Your roof system is the second most expensive component in a house (next to your foundation) and protects not only the structure but also the home’s contents. Start with inspecting around the eaves for loose debris that might have accumulated there. Whenever you see gunk or leaves, collect and remove it. Next, inspect your roof’s flashing or metal strips typically found around chimneys, vents, satellite dishes, and skylights. It can loosen during a harsh rainstorm or hailstorm, causing potential water leakage. Finally, inspect the covering itself – the shingles, tiles, or metal panels. Check for impact damage, loose sections or fasteners backing out. If you do climb up there – please be careful or hire a competent professional to check it out on your behalf.

2. Give your deck a once-over.

Check your deck system for any rot or age-related damage. Have them replaced. Pour water on your deck to see if the boards should be resealed. If the water beads into small puddles, it is okay. If it sinks into the wood, you should reseal it to protect against water damage. This is also a good time to check for loose fasteners or evidence the deck could be pulling away from the house.

3. Clean your grill

Gas grills: Close the lid, turn the heat up high, and let the grill cook for about half an hour. Then, let the grill cool. Use a grill brush to sweep the inside and wipe down the outside with a sponge and cleaner. Then clean out all the drip trays.

Charcoal grills: Empty the grill racks and wipe away any dust or residue. Use hot water, dish soap, a scrub brush or sponge to clean both the outside and inside of the grill. Be sure to let your dry all surfaces before using it next.

4. Give your lawnmower a tune-up

Keeping your lawnmower in top shape will help avoid performance issues and help increase reliability. The grassy buildup in your lawnmower can invite rust and clog the discharge chute, leaving clumps on your lawn. Routine cleaning can help ward off future problems, so take time this month to do a checkup. Disconnect the spark plug and remove the blade before dislodging debris with a putty knife and wire brush. Use a hose to spray away any remaining clippings.

5. Upgrade old windows and doors. Replace damaged screens.

Windows should shut properly to maintain temperature control. Check the caulking or sealant around indoor and outdoor windows and replace if necessary. Also check for water stains on with windowsills as well.

6. Schedule a cleaning for your HVAC system

Reaching out to your HVAC contractor now could help increase air conditioning efficiency and nip any heating issues before it gets too cold outside. Ensure that the fan is functioning well, the coils are clean, there isn’t faulty wiring that could cause a fire and pay particular attention to the noises the appliance is making. If it doesn’t sound correct – it probably isn’t! Don’t forget to change your filter. Here is a great website digging a little deeper into HVAC maintenance.

7. Power wash the outside of your home.

The Tennessee heat and humidity can cause mold and mildew to grow faster on your home’s exterior, particularly if you have vinyl siding. Use a power washer with a mildew remover compatible with your siding.

8. Prune your flowers, bushes, and trees. Add new additions to your garden.

If you were unable to get to your home’s garden during the spring, it’s not too late! The summer is a fantastic time to work on your green thumb, to beautify the appearance of your home. Consider adding mulch to the garden beds, which create a clean appearance. Mulch reduces weeds and locks in moisture, keeping plants healthier during the hot temps. Also, prune flowers, bushes, and trees, so they’re away from your home’s exterior, roof, and central AC unit.

9. Check your home’s insulation.

This is particularly important for homes more than 15 years old. You can find insulation issues pretty much anywhere throughout your house, from the front door to the attic, to cracks in your garage door (especially if the garage is attached). With higher cooling costs in the summer, now is time to seal any insulation gaps you may encounter. Adding insulation is a great low-cost method of lowering your heating and A/C bills.

10. Inspect your attic and crawlspace

Check both the crawlspace and attic for evidence of pests, insects, water damage, mold, or mildew. Turn off the lights to check for any sign of peeking daylight. Sunlight visible through gaps in flashing could allow insects or water intrusion. Crawlspaces are particularly prone to humidity-related issues as well.

Be an all-season homeowner with these useful tips. Maintaining your home during the heat of summer is just as crucial as other seasons. If you would like a professional inspection of your home to help guide you in maintaining your home, please book an inspection today!

Thomas Recke, ACI

ASHI Certified Inspector

Owner of 3 Arrows Property Inspection

attic

Care for Your Attic & Your Attic Will Care For You!

Your home is most likely one of the largest investments if not THE largest in your lifetime. Maintaining your investment is important to both you and your bottom line. Taking care of your attic is critical in ensuring the long-term comfort and longevity of your home. Learning what to look for and how to properly maintain your attic is simple when part of a regular homeowner maintenance plan. Here are a few helpful tips.

Keep it Cool!

Attics are HOT in the summer. Tennessee attics have it even worse with our elevated humidity and hot temperatures in the spring and summer months. Ensuring proper ventilation is key and will help prolong your attic structure and components (sheathing, framing members and even the shingles) and help keep your cooling bills under control Check to make sure your soffit vents (if present) are free of obstructions and screened off to prevent rodent and insect entry. If your roof is more than 15-20 years old, additional ventilation can be added or even a mechanical vent fan to help force air changeouts too.

Fix Gaps and Openings

A leaky roof encourages rodent and insect intrusion and nesting, water damage and rot and it can also help introduce allergens into your living space. Check your attic for any gaps, which can cause a host of structural problems elsewhere in your living space if left untreated. Additionally, have a professional come out frequently to inspect your roof for damaged or missing shingles.

Keep It Insulated

Insulation is critical to help your home conserve energy and maximize comfort. Proper insulation can also extend the lifespan of your roof covering or shingles. Although you may already have insulation, it could be damaged, compacted or old, so make sure to inspect it periodically. If necessary, add some more insulation – you should always have at least 10 inches of fiberglass or cellulose or even a bit more like 12 to 16 inches would be beneficial. Here is a great article from This Old House.

Locate and Remove Pests

Rodents and pests are always on the lookout for a new home. Careful preparation can help make sure you don’t have any unwanted free loaders! If you believe you may have critters living in your attic void, call a team of professionals to safely and effectively remove them.

Identify and Remove Asbestos

Some insulation materials from the early 1900s can contain asbestos. You can learn more at the EPA’s informational website. If your house was built in the early 1900s and you believe you might have asbestos insulation, give us or a qualified contractor a call to check it out. Since asbestos exposure can be a big problem, eliminating it from your home will ensure your family’s safety.

As always, 3 Arrows Property Inspection is here to help. If we can be of service in anyway, please give us a call and let us know what we can do.