How Often Should I Change the Air Filter?

change the air filter

With the constantly rising cost of energy, it’s crucial for many homeowners to try save energy and maximize equipment efficiency. Especially since heating and cooling account for nearly half of your home’s energy use. The United States Department of Energy reports that a simple way to do this is to change the air filter. This easy fix doesn’t sacrifice your home comfort and it can improve the efficiency of your HVAC equipment by 5% to 15%.

Now imagine that savings in dollars:
Say your average utility bills total $200 a month – that could mean a savings of $10-$30 a month and up to $360 a year!

Determining When to Change the Air Filter

Most people will change the air filter at the start of a new season. Some people, on the other hand, change it once a month – just to be on the safe side. What are the factors that determine how often you should change the filter?

  • What type of air filter do you have? Since each type has a different life span, use that to help determine how often to change the air filter.
  • What is the air quality like in the house? If the air does not seem as clear or fresh as it used to, or you are having issues with allergies or frequent colds, you may need to replace your filter more often or choose a different type.
  • Are there pets in the house? If you have pets in the home, you may want to consider changing filters more frequently or choosing a type that helps with pet dander.
  • How many people are in the home? The more people in the home, the more dust and dirt flies around – consider changing your filters more often.
  • Are you in an area with high construction or pollution? If the answer is yes to either of these, check your filters frequently and make sure to change them when they are dirty.

How Often Should Filters Be Changed?change the filter

Keeping all the above factors in mind, your filters should basically be changed when they are dirty. While this may seem like generic advice, it all depends on the living condition in your home, the type of filters used, and how often and how hard your HVAC equipment is used. In unusually hot summers or cold winters, the filters are going to need checking more often. A good rule of thumb is check them once a month.

Which is the Right Type of Air Filter for Me?

With the many advances in technology, homeowners have a lot more choices in energy-efficient equipment and accessories. Even something as simple as air filters come in many varieties. Here are the some of the types of air filters you may be able to use for your HVAC equipment.

  • Economy panel filters – These come in a pack of four or five and are relatively inexpensive. The downside is that you get what you pay for. These filters simply do not filter much at all and you will probably be replacing them once a month as well.
  • Pleated filters – Pleated filters, which can last from three to six months, are from 10% to 60% more efficient than conventional AC filters.
  • Electrostatic filters – These are both energy-efficient and cost-effective. They may cost a little more but can typically be washed and reused.
  • Electronic filters – These filters can get dirty quickly, but it typically does not negatively impact airflow. To clean them, you remove the cells, soak them in cleaner, rinse and reuse.
  • HEPA filters – Although HEPA filters are the most efficient, you will likely pay a premium for these filters.

Smart Home Party Technology Tips

smart home party

Smart home party tech can help you connect with guests

It’s that time of year again and the month you’ve been dreading. It’s your turn to host the family or neighborhood holiday party. The task at hand seems daunting and the future looks bleak. You’ll be worrying about this party all week. Then what to your wondering eyes should appear but these smart home party gadgets for holiday cheer. The solution to all of your party planning fears is right at your fingertips. Host a smart home party with help from these gadgets that you can use right from your smart phone.

Smart Home Party Tech Tips

First, let’s plan ahead a bit for the barrage of people that are about to flow through your front door. A smart lock can keep you from running back and forth to answer the door or entrusting your spouse to do it. Set up a temporary security code and share with guests ahead of time or simply grant access from your app when they arrive.

Now, you’ll need all of your energy to get through this day and that can only mean one thing – coffee! Worried about oversleeping? Use a smart gadget like a Wi-Fi coffee maker to infuse your home with the enticing aroma of a strong brew. Program it to start at a set time or turn it on from your mobile app from the convenience of bed. After you down your first or second pot, set it up for after dinner service.

Now that you’re caffeinated, it’s time to clean. But you’ve got a smart vacuum so put your little robot friend to work. Put it in auto mode or switch to manual for manual steering around tight corners. When it finishes, it will drive itself to the charging station and send you a message that the job is complete.

With coffee and cleaning checked off your list, it’s time to get cooking. Food prep is a breeze when you have a smart gadget like a Wi-Fi cooking thermometer. This handy device already knows the perfect temperature setting for your ham, turkey, or brisket so you won’t waste time looking up the correct internal temperature. It will even store your cooking history so you can duplicate the tender, juicy entrée again and again. Connect your smart thermometer to the mobile app, set up convenient alerts and timers and stop worrying about when the meat is done and finish setting up the decorations and entertainment.

Speaking of decorations and entertainment, today’s smart home technology has you covered. How about a wireless speaker with a built-in light show? Need an easy after-dinner game to help rouse your guests from their turkey comas? Amazon Echo is the perfect smart home party gadget. Enable Alexa skills to tell jokes and even play games like 21 Questions or Bingo. (CNET.com has some fun suggestions. Read more here.)

Now your party is in full swing. Is it hot in here? Just adjust your home temperature with your Sensi W-Fi Programmable Thermostat mobile app to cool it off a bit. (Pro Tip: Use the Keypad Lockout feature to keep pesky guests from meddling with the thermostat.)

Finally the end of the night is drawing near, the last guest has departed and you’re exhausted. Not from the planning or the prep but from actually speaking to, catching up with and enjoying your friends and family. You are grinning from ear to ear, content with the praise and accolades of “next year has a lot to live up to!” and “best party ever!” ringing in your ears.

Happy Holidays to all and to all a comfortable, satisfying night.

Smart Home Gift Ideas for Mom

smart home gift

Discover the perfect smart home gift for her challenging role

Parents are tasked with a variety of challenges but smart home technology can help to both enhance their daily lives and ease some of the heavy burden. Explore the variety of home automation products that speak directly to some of the challenging roles and personas that many moms have to assume and get them the perfect gift this holiday season.

Smart Home Gift Ideas for Mom

The Hall Monitor

A connected security camera, video doorbell or smart lock can help mom to keep an eye on who is roaming her halls. Catch them in the act of leaving doors open (“Were you born in a barn!”), or going into off-limits rooms. (Especially important in this holiday season.) She can also peek in on the family for peace of mind when she has to stay late in the office or has an extended business trip.

The Caregiver

The caregiver role encompasses so much for both moms and dads. Parents are responsible for providing a safe and comfortable environment, nursing kids back to health and even looking in on their own aging parents. A smart home gift can help to to lighten some of this load so they might even be to able to occasionally extend the same level of care to themselves.

Sensi™ Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat is a smart home gift that can help mom to keep her family comfortable at all times. She can set schedules for each day to account for tutoring sessions, sports practices and school holidays. Remote temperature control allows her to easily adjust the thermostat when someone says they are coming home early. It also makes an ideal gift for parents who are caring for their own parents. The Sensi mobile app makes it easy to check in to make sure their heat is on and working in frigid winter temperatures. The added benefit of saving on utility bills can go a long way in lowering some of the financial stress that all parents face.

For the mom who is tired of fast food, a smart kitchen appliances like a Wi-Fi crock pot can adjust cooking times remotely if they are running late. New moms might appreciate a smart bottle holder that can monitor feeding habits, a Wi-Fi thermometer to take baby’s temperature without interrupting their sleep or even smart socks that can monitor infant heart rates.

The Entertainer

A helpful smart home gift like the Amazon Echo can give moms a variety of options to respond to the dreaded, “I’m bored!” cries from youngsters. Alexa can play music, read bedtime stories, play games, tell knock-knock jokes and a host of other things to keep kids entertained. There are even Alexa Skills that help moms in another role they play – The Professor – to encourage kids to practice spelling and learn valuable math skills.

(You can also control your Sensi thermostat…read more about that integration here.)

 

Control Your Sensi Thermostat with Wink Smart Home Platform

thermostat Wink

Sensi thermostat Wink compatibility gives you even more control over your home comfort

SensiWi-Fi Programmable Thermostat Wink integration now gives you control your favorite thermostat along with your lights, locks, garage door and other Wink-compatible smart home products from your Wink app.

Wink brings the best smart products together in a simple, easy-to-use app. The Wink HUB allows your different smart products to speak the same wireless language so that you can easily control them – and customize their interactions – from the Wink app.”

Source: Wink

Giving Sensi thermostat Wink control is easy. Simply open your Wink app, click “add a product”, then select Sensi thermostat under “Heating & Cooling” and follow the instructions.

Wink-compatible products and the Wink HUB are available at Wink.com, Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com, and your local The Home Depot store.

Click here for more information on home automation.