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HVAC Tips and Tricks Blog

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Welcome to the One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating Tips & Tricks Blog! Read the latest posts or explore our archives for ideas about how you can maximize your energy efficiency, extend the life of your HVAC system and make your home as comfortable as possible. You can also learn about current trends in climate control and emerging technologies in the heating and air conditioning industry.

In the average household, heating and cooling accounts for nearly half of all energy expenses. But with the right know-how, you can stretch your climate control dollar and even take care of some of your own routine maintenance. And since new HVAC systems and efficiency standards are emerging at an ever-increasing pace, it’s more important than ever before to stay on top of the latest opportunities to make cost-effective upgrades.

On the Tips & Tricks Blog, you’ll even find solutions for problems like reducing indoor allergens and cleaning up pet hair and dust – everyday annoyances that can be resolved with quick fixes related to your home HVAC system.

Bookmark our blog and check back regularly so that you know how to save energy, save money and get the most out of your HVAC equipment.



dirtyfilter

Dirty Filter? Trouble Lies Ahead

  • 05/31/17

Your HVAC system is like a respiratory system for your home. It breathes in and breathes out. And just like your own respiratory system, if it can’t breathe in sufficiently, it suffers and eventually suffocates.

The key to keeping this airflow moving is a clean filter. Unfortunately, HVAC filters are usually
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storm

Check Your Home for Damage After a Storm

  • 05/17/17

Spring is in full swing, and as usual, it’s bringing a barrage of stormy weather. Driving rain, high winds and occasional hail have pounded homes across North America and promise to keep up the trend for several more weeks.

Modern home construction is designed to stand up to the elements, so
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windowwash

Clean Your Windows and Screens Before the First Heat Wave

  • 05/10/17

It never seems to last long enough, but open-window weather is in full effect across much of North America. It’s the perfect time of year to give your HVAC system a break and let the natural breeze send fresh air coursing through your home.

Why not make the most of this
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Air conditioner tuneup

Is Your Air Conditioner Tuned Up for Summer?

  • 05/03/17

It can be tough to commit to spending money on a piece of equipment that is working just fine. But when it comes to something as important as your air conditioner, a little annual TLC is the best way to keep the cool air flowing -- and it's a great
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filtercloseup

What Do MERV Ratings Mean?

  • 04/26/17

Have you ever taken a close look at your HVAC filters when replacing them? If so, you may have noticed that each filter has a MERV rating -- and this number has important implications.

MERV stands for “minimum efficiency reporting value” and the MERV rating is a measure of how effectively
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fans

When Spring Cleaning, Don’t Forget the Fans

  • 03/22/17

Spring is here! Have you started cleaning yet?

With the frigid weather behind us, many homeowners are opening up the windows and getting into every dusty little corner of their homes, pursuing a fresh feeling for a fresh season. If you’re joining them, don’t forget to look up -- those
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Landscaped yard

Plant Shade Trees and Grow Some HVAC Savings

  • 03/08/17

There are all sorts of upgrades you can make to your home and HVAC system to make summertime cooling more efficient. But one of the most cost-effective changes takes place outside the home, and now is the perfect time to start planning for it. By planting a few trees this
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basement

Basement Air Leaks Will Hurt You Come Summer

  • 02/22/17

Last week, we examined how “stack effect” robs homes of their HVAC efficiency by funneling warm, treated air upward through multi-level homes and allowing it to escape through the attic. This week, we’ll take a look at “reverse stack effect”, which pushes cooled air out of a home through basement
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chimney

Don’t Let Stack Effect Send Your Warm Air Through the Roof

  • 02/15/17

It’s your furnace’s job to fill your home with warm air, but the rest of your home must do its part to keep that air inside -- otherwise you’re just paying to heat the great outdoors. And when it comes to meeting this challenge, multi-story homes may get a little
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cockroach

Don’t Let Your HVAC System Open the Door for Pests

  • 02/01/17

For an HVAC system to work well, there must be some exchange of indoor and outdoor air, which can provide an opening for the creepy-crawly critters of the great outdoors. While a well-maintained system has numerous safeguards to prevent them from getting inside, many unwanted house guests only need a
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Man working in attic

Six Superb Safety Suggestions for Working in the Attic

  • 01/18/17

Let's face it - no one really likes working in the attic. It always seems hot up there, the space is always cramped, and you're always nervous about falling through the ceiling.

But sometimes you need to get up there for a home improvement project, especially checking on your insulation. Because
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furnace2

Is This the Last Winter for Your Furnace?

  • 01/04/17

No matter how well you care for your furnace, it's not going to last forever. Components inevitably break down and all furnaces gradually lose their efficiency over time. If you wait too long, you'll find yourself spending more money on repairs and high heating bills than you would financing new,
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fans

Depressurize Your Home to Find Air Leaks

  • 12/14/16

Some household air leaks are so small you don't even know they're there, but when you add them all up, they can pose a major threat to energy efficiency. If you're concerned about this energy loss, you may be able to locate and seal the smallest of leaks with a
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insulation

Control Your Heating Bill With Changes Large and Small

  • 12/07/16

As we head into the coldest months of the year, you may be among the homeowners thinking about how to save money on heating costs. Fortunately, there are steps most homeowners can take to make their furnaces more efficient, their homes better sealed and their heating bills more controllable.

Whether you're
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cozy

Breathe Easy While Staying Warm Indoors

  • 11/30/16

A well-maintained furnace is the key to staying warm and comfortable all winter long. But just because your furnace is working doesn't mean your indoor air is especially clean - and if it's not, you could suffer adverse effects while taking refuge from the cold outdoor air.

Indoor air quality
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Finding Drafts Can Be Tricky Business

  • 11/09/16

Colder weather has arrived and furnaces are humming all over North America. If you’re like most homeowners, it’s warm and cozy throughout your home – except for where it isn’t. Drafts, the scourge of wintertime energy efficiency, are creating chilly spots and leaking away the air you paid to treat.

Repairing
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Thermal image of a home

Exhaust Fans May Contribute to Heat Loss

  • 11/02/16

In bathrooms and kitchens, overhead exhaust fans are used to pull unwanted airborne particles out of the room and into the atmosphere. When it's working properly, the exhaust duct is a one-way street to the outdoors. But during the cold weather season, exhaust fans may also making it too easy
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tstatlady

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Run the Furnace

  • 10/12/16

Many people enjoy the cool, crisp air of fall and relish in pulling all those sweaters and jackets out of storage. But with those warm layers, homeowners are often tempted to maximize their energy savings in early fall when it’s
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winter

There’s Still Time To Winterize Your Home

  • 10/05/16

You can already feel the chill in the air, but there’s plenty of time for some energy-savvy home maintenance before winter does its worst. Taking a weekend to prepare your home inside and out for heating season can make the
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furnace2

It’s Not Too Late for a Furnace Tune-Up

  • 09/28/16

As the leaves begin to turn colors and the sweaters come out of storage, you may be trying to hold off on firing up the furnace to save money. It’s one of the mildest times of the year throughout much
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Air pollutants and allergens

Foul Smelling HVAC Air Can Have Many Causes

  • 09/14/16

Your HVAC system's primary functions are to control air temperature and airflow -- not air odors. And from time to time, you may notice that the air flowing out of your vents smells a little off.

Certain odors are temporary and harmless, while others can be persistently irritating or may
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ACfan

HVAC Fan Settings Affect Your Air Quality and Utility Bills

  • 08/31/16

Whenever your air conditioner is running, so is your HVAC fan. But it’s up to you whether the fan should continue to run after your home reaches its target temperature -- and the choice is generally between cost and comfort.

Auto vs. On

Most HVAC systems only have two fan settings: “auto”
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drip

Ductwork Condensation Can Damage Your Home

  • 08/24/16

Well-constructed homes are designed to keep unwanted moisture out -- but what if the source of the moisture is inside the home? Attention to detail in home construction and maintenance makes a big difference in preventing condensation on ducts and vents, which can do as much water damage to a
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Spray Foam Insulation Can Eliminate Air Leaks

  • 08/17/16

You probably already know that your home’s HVAC system accounts for the largest share of your household energy consumption. But you might not know exactly where you can perform the most effective efficiency upgrades to minimize that consumption and reduce
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filterchange

A Clean Filter Makes a Happy Air Conditioner

  • 08/03/16

Smart homeowners get their home HVAC systems inspected and tuned-up twice per year. That way, the pros can take care of the maintenance and let you know if there’s anything that doesn’t look right. But the HVAC technicians usually don’t
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acunits

Short Cycling is a Big Problem

  • 07/27/16

When an air conditioner cycles on and off in rapid succession, it’s a problem called short cycling. And it’s a big deal -- short cycling not only harms the energy efficiency of your home’s largest energy-consuming appliance, it puts excess
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Cat sleeping on radiator

Indoor Air Quality Technology Can Help Pet Allergy Sufferers

  • 07/20/16

It’s hard for most people not to love dogs and cats; they’re adorable, they offer unconditional love and can be all-around great companions. But for people who are allergic to pet dander, this can be a forbidden love.


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ACfan

Did You Tune-Up Your Air Conditioner for Summer?

  • 06/15/16

The summer heat has arrived, but the hottest weeks are yet to come. Is your air conditioning system cooling as effectively as it was this time last year? Was your first summertime energy bill comparable to last year’s? If the answer to either is no, the time to schedule an
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noisy

What Do Those Funny HVAC Noises Mean?

  • 05/11/16

When you turn on your air conditioning system for the first time each summer, you may remember how much you love the sound of that gentle whoosh as it kicks on and cools things down. But from time to time,
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storm

Storm Damage Attracts HVAC Scam Artists

  • 05/04/16

Most homeowners in areas that experience severe weather know they should be on the lookout for fly-by-night roofing repair companies. These often disreputable contractors follow the trail of destruction left by hail and high winds, performing substandard repairs before abruptly
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insulation

Attic Insulation Upgrades May Increase Home Resale Value

  • 04/27/16

When you think about remodeling or upgrading your home, you probably think about things like new kitchens or bathrooms, luxurious patios or sleek flooring materials. And while these can greatly improve how much you enjoy your living space, the cost
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earth

Make Your HVAC System More Efficient for Earth Day

  • 04/20/16

It’s almost Earth Day, and homeowners all over the country are thinking about the positive changes they can make this year to improve our ecosystem. If you’re looking for opportunities to shrink your carbon footprint and reduce greenhouse
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broke

Costs of the Most Common HVAC Emergencies

  • 04/13/16

You never know when an emergency will strike. Unfortunately, 25 percent of American households have no savings on hand to help them pay for an emergency HVAC repair, according to a recent report. And of the remaining population that does have cash set aside, half has less than
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tstatlady

How to Keep Your Hardwood Floor Warm

  • 03/30/16

Hardwood flooring is one of the most elegant features a home can have. Unfortunately, the wood can also be unpleasantly cold in the winter, and is prone to warping if you aren't careful about how you heat it. Read on for tips about how to get the most out of
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icyroof

Use Heat Mats to Prevent Ice Buildup on Your Roof

  • 03/16/16

Snow and ice on your roof can cause major problems during the winter. Too much snow can actually collapse a flat roof, and ice buildup around the rim of the roof can block gutters and cause water to seep into your home. That's why some owners find it worthwhile to
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smokedetector

Working Smoke Detectors Can Save Your Life

  • 02/10/16

For most residents of the United States, winter heating is essential. Whether you use a furnace, a boiler, a woodstove or a heat pump, families across the country need to create warmth in their homes in order to make it through the winter. Of course, indoor heating can
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insulation

Keep Your HVAC Bills Low with Better Insulation

  • 01/21/16

The average American household expends far more energy on heat and air conditioning than any other home system. It’s an unfortunate fact of life, but it beats sweating bullets all summer long and freezing in the winter. There are a number of steps that homeowners can take to
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computer

Homeowners Are Finding HVAC Help on the Internet

  • 12/29/15

When you need help with your heat and air conditioning system, where do you turn? It’s best to have a preexisting relationship with a qualified HVAC company so you don’t have to scramble in an emergency, but real life doesn’t
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holidays

Give Yourself the Gift of Comfort for the Holidays

  • 12/15/15

The holidays are nearly here, and family and friends will soon be pouring in to help you celebrate. If you’re hosting the party for Christmas or New Year’s, you might consider the state of your home comfort equipment as you
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energyaudit

What to Expect from Your Home Energy Audit

  • 11/17/15

A residential energy audit is one of the best ways to cut back on your heat and air conditioning bills. When a qualified inspector comes to your home, he or she will identify various ways in which your home falls short when it comes to efficiency, and make recommendations for
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toxic

Leaky Fuel Oil Tanks Are a Health and Environmental Hazard

  • 10/27/15

Your heat and air conditioning system comes with a number of ongoing costs: fuel bills, repair, maintenance and so on. But for homeowners who heat their homes using oil, there's an extra cost that many may not be aware of – the oil tank could spring a leak
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chimney

Clean Your Chimney Before Winter Starts

  • 10/20/15

With the crisp fall breeze in the air, you'll need to fire up your home heating system before you know it. That also means you should have your furnace or boiler serviced before you turn it on for the winter. But there's another aspect of heat and air conditioning maintenance
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winterac

How to Protect Your Central Air Conditioning System in the Winter

  • 10/15/15

After enduring a long summer pumping cold air through your home, your central air conditioning system is finally enjoying a much needed respite this fall. Out of use shouldn't mean out of mind, however – there are some important steps you should take to protect your AC unit over the
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furnace2

Get Your Furnace and Boiler Inspected Before Winter

  • 10/08/15

The summer sure flew by in a snap. It feels like just yesterday you were lounging in your backyard pool, but believe it or not, it's almost time to turn on your furnace or boiler for the winter. Before you do, it's important that you have your equipment
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radiantfloor

Repair Tips for Your Radiant Floor Heating

  • 09/29/15

Radiant floor heating can provide many advantages over traditional furnaces and boilers. The home heating system, which uses panels under your floor to distribute warm air through your rooms, heats homes more evenly and efficiently than most conventional forced-air or radiator-based setups. Of course, like any component of your heat
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hurricane

Protect Your Air Conditioning System During Hurricane Season

  • 09/08/15

September is historically the most active month of hurricane season. With luck, we won't experience any massively destructive events this year. However, hurricanes can be unpredictable and residents of the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard need to be prepared for high winds and heavy rains affecting their homes and communities.
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freon

When Do You Need to Change the Coolant in Your Air Conditioning System?

  • 09/01/15

If you're lucky, you'll never have to change the coolant in your air conditioning system. The equipment is designed with a closed loop – if nothing goes wrong, the coolant should last for the life of your AC unit. However, there are occasions when the air conditioning system could leak
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badtechnician

You Can Be Liable for Unlicensed Heat and Air Conditioning Installation

  • 07/30/15

Purchasing a new heat and air conditioning system can create a huge boost to your home efficiency and a dramatic drop in your energy bills. New HVAC systems are more reliable, more effective and more efficient than ever. However, a word of caution if you are considering upgrades
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freon

Why Freon for Your Air Conditioning System is so Expensive

  • 07/28/15

Have you been shocked at a recent maintenance bill for your air conditioning system? The culprit may be in your coolant. If your air conditioning system uses Freon, there's bad news for your pocketbook: the cost to replace the chemical has been skyrocketing, so it will be an expensive fix
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filterchange

Changing Filters is Essential to Air Conditioning Maintenance

  • 07/21/15

Air conditioning is a lifesaver in the summertime. There's nothing like a blast of cold air to bring relief from oppressive heat and humidity. Your AC unit won't keep you cool forever all on its own, however. It's important to perform regular air conditioning maintenance to keep your system running
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U.S. Department of Energy seal

Department of Energy Investing in Heat and Air Conditioning Technology

  • 07/09/15

There will always be a demand for better, more efficient heat and air conditioning technology. The less energy we consume to heat and cool our homes, the more money we save. Plus, we can reduce our impact on climate change by burning fewer fossil fuels to meet our home comfort
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changefilter

Routine Cleaning is Crucial to Air Conditioning Maintenance

  • 07/02/15

With the summer cooling season now underway, air conditioners across North America are humming along to provide precious household cooling. Millions of people rely on AC in the summer, but the cooling units won't work forever without a little care and attention. With regular cleaning, you can ensure that your
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HVACsavings

Eliminate Air Conditioning and Heat Bills with Micro-Trigeneration

  • 06/18/15

There's a new technology poised to change the way Americans produce and pay for electricity. Instead of bringing in power through electrical lines, homes are popping up with their very own backyard power plants. These units, called micro-trigeneration systems, use natural gas to create electricity, saving the consumer money on
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basement

Save Energy by Fixing Basement Leaks

  • 06/04/15

You probably already know to check your attic for leaks and add insulation to keep hot air from escaping your home. But did you know that you can lose almost as much energy through the basement?  Cellars and underground spaces often get overlooked in the quest for energy efficiency, but
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Earth Day

Earth Day heating and cooling tips

  • 04/22/15

Happy Earth Day! This year, why not do your part to protect the planet by looking for ways you can save energy in your HVAC system? Heating and cooling account for the single largest energy input in the average family's home, so it's the area in which cutting back can
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Dirty air filter

Protect your family from indoor air pollution

  • 04/07/15

Car exhaust. Smog. Industrial pollutants. Pollen. Sometimes, the air in the great outdoors doesn't sound all that friendly. If you hear about pollution and think you're better off just breathing in the air in your house, you're not alone. Unfortunately, this is a common misconception. As it turns out, indoor
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Cat sleeping on radiator

Radiator maintenance tips to keep you warm this winter

  • 01/22/15

The dead of winter is no time for a radiator malfunction. But steam heating systems do not always comply with man's wishes, and sometimes you find yourself with a malfunctioning or broken radiator at the worst time. If your house isn't heating properly, or if you hear banging in the
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Carbon monoxide detector

Carbon monoxide safety tips

  • 01/12/15

Every year, more than 400 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning and another 20,000 visit the emergency room, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The danger is greatest in wintertime, because your furnace and other fuel-burning appliances can emit the odorless, colorless and tasteless gas,
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Home under heavy snowfall

Heavy snowfall can pose a danger to your home

  • 12/29/14

Winter arrived early this year, with over six feet of snow already falling in Buffalo over a three-day period at the end of November. While snow can be a blessing for children who get to stay home from school and play all day, for the rest of us it means
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Windows protect against cold weather

Your windows can help lower your heating bills

  • 12/08/14
The mercury is dropping and families are gearing up for another long winter. While it’s uncertain whether this year's winter will be as brutal as the polar vortex-fueled conditions that much of the country faced last year, people in colder parts of the country can still look forward to snow,
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Heating and cooling system maintenance

10 common furnace and air conditioning mistakes

  • 11/13/14
Saving money is always an attractive proposition, but think twice when those savings involve a do-it-yourself job on your heating and cooling system. It’s inadvisable to try and fix most HVAC issues yourself; you may end up causing more damage, leading to more expensive repairs. There are some basic maintenance
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Disposable fiber glass furnace filter

Finding the right furnace filter

  • 10/20/14

It's important to know how to properly maintain your heating and cooling system. You should call an HVAC professional for any repairs and to perform a yearly checkup on your system, but there are some simple things you can learn to do yourself, like changing the furnace filter.  Filters have
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