Carbon Monoxide is a very toxic gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. This makes it very difficult for people to detect with our senses alone, but is easy to detect with a very affordable electronic Carbon Monoxide detector. These detectors are available at any home improvement store for around $20, and could save your life. Carbon Monoxide is a natural product of combustion- cars, gas cook stoves, and gas furnaces all produce Carbon Monoxide when they are burning fuel. We have all been told not to run gasoline powered engines in enclosed places and not to use a gas/ propane cook stove for heating, but what about your furnace? Your furnace is the largest gas fired appliance in your home, and therefore the biggest producer of Carbon Monoxide too. What can you do to protect yourself and your family?
1) Purchase and install a Carbon Monoxide detector in your home if you have gas/ propane burning appliances. These are now regarded to be just as necessary as smoke detectors in your home. Don't for get to change the batteries and test the alarms twice a year!
2) Have your furnaces heat exchanger inspected annually. The heat exchanger of a gas furnace is what separates the combustion gasses from the air you are breathing in your home. As long as the heat exchanger is in good shape, the two are not able to mix freely. If there is a crack or hole in the heat exchanger the combustion gasses, including Carbon Monoxide, are able to infiltrate your homes air. A Mountain Home Heat and Air service technician is able to inspect your heat exchanger to be sure it is safe for only $65 +tax. Your heat exchanger should be inspected every heating season to ensure that your furnace is operating safely and not contaminating the air in your home with deadly Carbon Monoxide.
If your home is all electric, you do not need to worry about the dangers of Carbon Monoxide being emitted from your HVAC system since there is no combustion taking place.
Air filters- Choosing air filters these days can be overwhelming. There is an entire aisle full of choices at Home Depot and Lowes. Here is what you need to know when choosing an air filter for your home. There are three basic types of disposable filters available:
Fiberglass- These are the cheapest filter available. They are usually only a dollar or two each and are blue, green, or sometimes white. You can see right through them and they do very little to actually filter the air in your home. HVAC Technicians often joke that these filters only stop trees, leaves, and small children.
Pleated- These are the top of the line filters. They will have ridges or a “wave” pattern to them. They can cost as much as $30 just for one filter and are often labeled as allergy relieving because of their supreme filtering capabilities. These are an excellent choice for folks who suffer from allergies to pollen and dust.
Poly- These filters are an excellent middle-ground between the others. The cost is just a few dollars a piece, and they do a very good job of filtering your homes air. They are usually white, but you will not be able to see through it. This is what I recommend for most people since they do a great job of filtering the air and don't cost a fortune.
Bottom line: An air filter is a case of “you get what you pay for”. Buy the best filter you can afford, but stay away from the fiberglass. Choosing a good filter will keep your HVAC system cleaner and running more efficiently. After all, this simple device is tasked with filtering all of the air in your home- the air you and your children breathe everyday.
R 410-A is here to stay. R410-A is the refrigerant that is replacing R 22 due to the federal ban and ozone depleting qualities. As R 22 is being phased out, it is getting more and more expensive, and it will only get worse. New units today are not even available with R 22 in them from the factory. Be sure to take this into consideration when deciding to repair or replace an old unit with R 22 in it. The current price for a pound of R 410-A is half that of R 22. For this reason it makes financial sense to replace an older R 22 unit when a leak develops or a major repair is needed, rather than repair it.