The beginning of spring is when people begin to anticipate better weather. They look forward to turning off their furnace and opening up their windows to breathe in fresh air, but April is also tax season. If you’re anticipating getting a tax refund this year, you might invest that money to improve your air quality and update your furnace.
Has Your Furnace Been Making Noises?
Your furnace will not last forever, unfortunately. We’ve been through five months of cold weather, now. Perhaps you’ve noticed that your furnace was struggling to keep up with your family’s demand for warm air. Maybe it made loud noises when it came on or failed to heat all of your house evenly. Now is a good time to have a professional come out to check on it before you turn it off and forget about it until next fall.
If your furnace is relatively new and functioning well, there are additions you can make to it to improve your indoor air quality and comfort during the colder months. All of the air in your house is drawn through your furnace system where it is filtered, mixed, heated, and redirected. It can also be cleaned and humidified as well. Let’s go through some of the furnace options available.
Add an Air Filter
The standard, disposable filter that people typically insert into their furnace will only catch dust and other large particles. It will not filter out fungi, bacteria, or smoke particles. There are several options for adding a more effective filter, the most common being an accordion-style media filter and an electronic air cleaner. For allergy sufferers, the media filter works well, trapping nearly all of the larger (6-micron) particles in the air and the majority of 1-micron particles. This type of filter needs to be replaced annually.
An electronic air cleaner uses high-voltage/low-amperage wires to negatively ionize all particles passing through the unit. It will trap more of the tiniest particles – 70% of .3-micron particles – which makes it 4-5 times as effective at filtering than a media filter. Instead of replacing a filter, the homeowner will need to wash the unit’s collection plates every month.
Add a Humidifier
Michigan is a wet, humid state for much of the year, but during the winter most homes need moisture added because the furnace’s constant output dries out the air, our skin, and our lungs. People are more likely to get sick in the winter if their air is too dry or to suffer from problems like asthma, bronchitis, and nosebleeds. Adding a humidifier to your furnace can help to increase comfort and decrease illness. Humid air also feels warmer than dry air, so you can save a bit on heating costs if you update your furnace with a humidifier.
Add a UV Disinfector
Ultraviolet light units are designed to kill airborne bacteria and mold that grows on air-conditioner evaporator coils. Neither of these are desirable to have in your home, for obvious reasons. Because UV disinfectors destroy mold, bacteria, and allergens, your air will be cleaner and smell better. In terms of maintenance requirements, the replacement light tubes on a UV light unit need to be replaced annually.
If you find yourself with money to invest this tax season, putting it into your home and increasing your family’s air quality is a very good use for it. If you have questions about furnace options, why not call us at Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating? We would be happy to talk to you about how you can increase your family’s comfort by updating or adding features to your furnace.