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Once a month is typical. Some houses need filter changes more often and some may require less often.
We advise everyone to check the filter at least once a month. Even if you use a 3-month filter it may need to be changed sooner.
Maybe. Most high efficiency filters cause a restriction in airflow. Unfortunately most air conditioning systems are not designed with an extra restriction in the ductwork calculations. Restricted airflow can cause the unit to freeze up in the cooling mode or overheat in the heating mode. Not enough airflow in a unit is an energy waster and will cause higher utility bills.
Once a year is good. Twice a year (spring and fall) is better.
Wow, that’s a million dollar question. If you’re determined to have your ducts cleaned, you must first fix the problem that caused the ducts to get contaminated. Most duct cleaning agencies do not have the skills or abilities to correctly diagnose the cause of the problem. The only ducts that can be cleaned are metal on the inside (insulated on the outside). Fiberglass duct board should not be cleaned neither should metal ductwork that is insulated on the inside. Check out the EPA website on duct cleaning. http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airduct.html.
Probably not. Black marks or “marking” as we call it is normally caused by something in the space. For example kitchen registers will almost always have some degree of marking. It comes from the grease vapors in the air that get caught up in the swirling air close to the register and get attached to the ceiling surface. Bathroom registers will have some degree of marking if the exhaust fan is not used to remove steam from showers or hot baths. Marking close to a door that leads to the outside is common. Clean the area with normal soap and water and see if it comes back quickly. Marking that is heavy or is on all of the registers in a home is typical of a unit with low air flow or with a mechanical problem. Marking around lights or fixtures attached to the ceiling is normally attic air infiltration. A Certified Mold Assessor can properly diagnose and advise how to fix that.
Four to six years on the Gulf of Mexico. Eight to ten years a mile inland and twelve years on average in areas that do not get salt spray from the Gulf.
Add an answer to this item. Rarely, most units should have been correctly sized before installation. If your unit struggles to keep up in the summer or winter when it is operating, then the best thing to do is have a heat load calculation performed on your home along with a duct pressure test.
If your Air Conditioning Contractor cannot perform a heat load calculation, you should be looking for a new one.
If you think you have mold, have a certified mold assessor check your home or office. There currently is not enough information to judge what types of mold are harmful or what quantity or length of exposure can have an effect on a person. Each individual is affected differently. Some are much more sensitive than others.
Air sampling is a troubleshooting tool. It is used when mold is suspected but cannot be seen or located or used after the mold problem has been fixed and the space remediated. If mold growth is visible there is probably no need for air sampling. Sampling will just indicate that there is mold in the space.
Rinse it off regularly. We recommend once a month at least. More often if the condenser (outside portion of the air conditioning system) doesn’t get rained on.