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FURNACE AND AIR CONDITIONING EXPERT

Frequently Asked Questions

FILTRATION

How do filters work?

There are 4 ways a filter captures airborne particles. Below you will see the airborne particle in red. the filter fibers/media in black. and the air stream/flow as an arrow. The air stream will continue as the filter media stops the particle.

Sieving: This is when the particle matter is physically too large to pass through the filters fiber spaces.

Impaction: This method works on those large. heavy particles that are in the air stream. Since these particles are heavier than the air stream that carries them. as this air stream slows down due to it hitting the filter media the heavy particle continues in a straight line (like a slingshot) and collides with the filter media were it is trapped and held.

Diffusion:This method works on the smallest particles. Essentially as these particles move through the air stream they collide with the fiber and are collected by the filter fibers.

Interception: This process works on mid-size particles that are too large for diffusion and too small for impaction. As these particles pass through the filter media they are captured or intercepted when they touch the filter fiber.

How do I know when to change my filter?

The general rule would be to change a lower efficient filter less often than a higher efficient filter. A lower efficient filter will allow more air and more particulates to pass through the filter. Such low efficient filters take longer to load (get dirty), and take a longer time to slow down airflow. Those filters with a lower MERV rating have a lower efficiency percentage for capturing particles. In most instances the loading process will take much longer than 30 days.

A higher efficient filter will initially allow less air to pass as well as less particulate matter, but it will load (get dirty) faster than a lower efficient filter. Higher efficient filters will need to be replaced more often than a lower efficient filter. In some instances a 120-day filter will have to be changed every 30 days, and a 30-day filter can be changed every 90 days or longer. But if you are looking for good airflow and good particulate capture ability AirMaxx can help you find that happy medium between good airflow and good efficiency.

What filter is best for our home or business?

Depending on what you are trying to achieve there are many filtration options that would allow sufficient airflow and capture particle matter at a high rate. AirMaxx has basic testing procedures that can be performed in order to determine what filter or filtration system would best suit your needs without impacting system performance.

I heard that a pleated filters would restrict airflow, is this true?

All filters restrict airflow and even more so as they become loaded. You should not base airflow problems solely on the filter. There are other factors in your ventilation system that could be causing an airflow problem besides the filter. By using a lower efficient filter you could be masking the real problem. AirMaxx can perform standard HVAC test to determine what could be the root of the cause.

I have seen advertising on 90% vs 20% efficient filters, what does that mean?

Whenever you see a percentage of efficiency for any filter you must ask at what size particle (micron) is this percentage. Filters are tested on how many particles they capture at what size. This means that all filters will eventually have a 90% plus efficiency rating at some point in time. The real question is if it is 90% efficient, then what is the micron size that they are testing the filter at.The fact is that the smaller the size particle the lower the percentage of efficiency, and the larger the size particle the higher the percentage, this holds true for all filters. We can also say that the dirtier the filter the higher the percentage and the cleaner the filter the lower the percentage. Unfortunately some manufacturers advertise percentages of dirty filters in order to boast a high percentage, while others give the percentages of large size particles because these are easier to capture and they will result in a high percentage of efficiency.

Call AirMaxx at (815) 254-5127 for phone consultation on filter efficiency facts.

ODORS

I have a strange odor in my home, how can I find the cause?

Odors are one of the most difficult problems to address. First you must prepare a checklist of possible causes, such as water leaks, dry sewage lines, deceased rodents or family pets and identify if outdoor weather conditions impact the odor. AirMaxx has tests that we can perform to try to identify what the odor is and location of its source. Additionally we have products that will naturally remove odors from your environment, just give us a call (815) 254-5127.

FURNACES

What does 80% or 95% efficient mean?

The percentage shows how much of the furnaces heat (BTU/H) stays in your house vs how much goes out. All furnaces produce 100% of BTU/H at different capacities based on the load calculation for your home. If it is an 80% efficient furnace that means of the 100%, 80% stays in the home and 20% goes out of the home. Almost like leaving a window open while the heat is on. If the furnace is a 95% efficient furnace that means of the 100%, 95% stays in the home and only 5% goes out of the home. With a higher efficient furnace you save more money.

How does a 2-stage furnace work?

The basic function of a furnace is to put back the heat that you are losing from your home. This is calculated in terms of BTU/H (British Thermal Units per Hour). A two-stage furnace says that sometimes it is not that cold outside so you do not need to produce the maximum heat (BTU/H). A 2-stage furnace with a capacity of 100,000 BTU/H input will basically split this up into 2 capacities. If it is mildly cold outside a 2-stage furnace will use only 70,000 of its full 100,000 BTU/H capacity. This means that you are producing 30,000 LESS BTU/H, but in turn the system will have a longer runtime in order to better distribute heat to all rooms.

How does a single stage furnace work?

These furnaces produce all the BTU/H that they are rated for regardless if your home needs it or not. Seeing that the average furnace will last 17 to 20 years, one should really perform their cost savings analysis before making a one-time furnace purchase. The cost difference between a basic 2-stage furnace vs a basic single stage furnace is an approximate $400 one-time initial cost. You can’t control gas prices but you can now control gas usage, and how much you save over a 17 to 20 year period.

How does a variable speed blower motor work?

A variable speed blower motor is an intelligent motor that uses less energy than a standard multi-speed motor. By sheer design it gives better control of your indoor humidity and can use up to 75% less energy than your standard multi-speed motors. GE is the only manufacturer of this type of motor, so all brands of furnaces that use a variable speed motor use GE’s.

HUMIDIFICATION

I have a whole house humidifier and it’s still dry.

Humidification in your home must be first measured before anyone can determine if there is a problem. How much humidity, at what temperature, and within what time frame will greatly impact humidification in your home. Suitable placement of the humidifier on the ventilation system will impact proper airflow for adequate humidification and placement of the humidistat will impact accurate readings. The difficultly is not installing the humidifier, but knowing how to install it for optimal operation. For example your neighbor can have the same size home and same humidifier as you, but why are you still feeling dry whereas your neighbors no longer have dry noses, sore throats, cracking wood floors, warping wood cabinetry, and all the other problems that occur from the late of humidity.

AIR DUCT CLEANING

I just moved into a new home and have lots of dust, will air duct cleaning help?

A high percentage of our customers are homeowner that have recently moved into a newly build home.

In general does air duct cleaning work?

We recommend air duct cleaning for those who are dusting more often than normal and individuals that are symptomatic to airborne particles. Air duct cleaning will only work if performed properly.

How do I verify a good duct cleaner from a bad duct cleaner?

Do your homework, before just picking the lowest or highest priced air duct cleaner, understand that you are contracting an air duct cleaner to clean as much of your air duct system as possible. There are many business owners that direct their technicians to clean only in a couple feet of the homeowner’s ductwork. Some companies charge per vent and just clean the vent openings, while other companies say they clean the main trucks, but do not.

Call different companies and use the Internet as a source to gather information, before committing to any duct cleaner. The more you understand the concepts and best practices the better armed you will be at making a good decision. Personally I would stick with a heating and air conditioning company for your air duct cleaning needs, since that was the professional trade that installed the ductwork in your home. You would not call a carpet cleaner to fix you car, so why call one to clean your ducts.

AIR PURIFICATION

Is a small room air cleaner better than a whole house air cleaner?

The benefit of a room air cleaner would be to target a specific indoor environment at select times.  The benefit of a whole house air cleaner is to use the existing ductwork to filter the entire homes air.  Only use air cleaners with a filter media, and stay away from room air cleaners and whole house air cleaners that create more surface dust.  Most of your commonly sold units are designed to create more surface dust so that you are able to sweep it up.  We do not sell or market these systems.

What does ionic mean and how does it work?

Ionic air cleaners create ions in your home’s air that seek out dust particles and attach to those particles.  So what happens after they attach, they add additional weight to the dust thus dropping it to the ground or any other surface in the home.  Ionic air cleaners are know to create grayish black dust balls on your walls.  A by-product of creating ions is ozone, which is a nuisance to some people and animals.  If you look carefully it is even listed as a warning in some of these manufactures instruction manuals.

How often should my dryer vent be cleaned?

Every 3 to 10 years

Will a clogged dryer vent cause my clothes to take too long to dry?

The dryer vent is designed to exhaust the hot, moist air outside of your home. If a vent is clogged the air will not exhaust outside and cause the dryer to become extremely hot. Studies have shown this to be the cause of fires, increase gas and electricity usage due to longer drying times.

Questions? Call us at (815) 254-5127 or Click Here