Whole-Home vs. Single-Room Air Cleaners

In the quest for cleaner, fresher air, two main types of air cleaners have become popular: single-room and whole-home.

How they work

Single-room air cleaners cover small areas

Single-room air cleaners are just like their name implies.  They’re small, portable, localized devices that are placed in individual rooms or areas to clean the air.  They usually incorporate a fan to move air, some kind of filter to remove particles, and often an electronic component that electronically charges the air to increase filtration.

Whole-home air cleaners are a more complete solution.

Whole-home air cleaners, on the other hand, are more of an “installed” solution, permanently integrated into the heating and air conditioning system in your home.  They rely on your furnace or air handler to move air through, instead of using their own fan.

Advantages of whole-home air cleaners

Whole-home air cleaners offer a serious advantage over single-room air cleaners because they affect all the air in your home.  Attaching an air-cleaning solution to your heating and cooling system will allow it to filter every bit of air in every room.HVAC Cabinet

Disadvantages of portable air cleaners

A single-area air cleaner may solve air quality issues in one room, but your home heating and air-conditioning system is still going to be circulating air from that room throughout your home. So whatever air issue you’re facing in that one area will eventually spread to every other room.

Whole-home options

If you’re going with an installed, whole-home air cleaner, you have several options.

  • Disposable filters: Most furnaces accept a 1” or 5” pleated or fiberglass filter that is thrown away when it becomes dirty.Filters filters
  • Washable filters: Usually made of foam or plastic fibers, these filters are washed when they become full of impurities.
  • Electrostatic filters: Remove impurities from the air by putting an electric charge on them as they pass through the air cleaner, causing dirt and dust to stick to a collection area for later vacuuming or washing.
  • UV lights: As air passes through your air cleaner, ultraviolet lights kill germs and bacteria so they can’t make you sick.

The only whole-home solution to everything.

A whole-home air cleaner makes sense.  And no whole-home air cleaner is more effective than the PureAir™ air purification system made by Lennox.  In fact, PureAir cleans the air in your home better than any single solution you can buy, using three different types of technology.  And it generates no ozone.

  • Filtration:  A CarbonClean 16 filter removes up to 95% of particles ranging in size down to 0.3 micron*, while its carbon component captures any latent ozone in your home.

    Carbon Clean Merv 16 filter

    Carbon Clean Merv 16 filter

  • UV lighting:  Removes OVER 90% of bacteria, fungi and germs ranging in size down to 0.01 micron*
  • Catalyst plate: Removes and destroys approximately 50% of household odors and chemical vapors in a 24-hour period**UV lights

New for 2015

PureAir was already the leading whole-home filtration solution, but for 2015, Lennox has added three new advantages.

  • Better filtration: Carbon Clean 16 filtration is now standard.
  • Tighter cabinet seals: With virtually no air leakage
  • More energy efficient:  The new PureAir uses less electricity than ever.

Get your air quality consultation today

We at J & R Heating can tell you more about the quality of the air in your home, and help you deal with the specific problems you face.  Schedule your consultation today.

Article taken from the Comfort Matters Blog.  You can find more useful tips here.

Avoid These Avoidable No-Heat Problems

Winter is still upon us and our technicians keep busy responding to emergency no-heat calls.  Our collective experience informs us that many of these problems are easily preventable.  Here are some simple actions you can take to keep from shivering inside your home on a cold winter day.

1.  If your furnace stops working, the first thing to check is your breaker or fuse box.  Make sure it’s not something as simple as a tripped breaker before calling us.  Of course, if your breaker trips frequently, you should call us.  There is a reason it’s tripping often and it could be a safety issue!

2.  Change filters frequently.  Excessively dirty filter can cause a furnace to unperformed and even shut down without warning.  Depending on the type of filters, common advice is to change filters once a quarter, but at this time of year when your furnace has been working full bore for a few months, don’t hesitate to do it more frequently, like once a month (If you own a pet prone to seasonal fur shedding, that also argues for frequent filter change-outs).

Also, make sure you insert the filters correctly.  Air filters with an arrow telling which way goes into the slot first.  An improperly installed air filter will not do its job efficiently.

3.  Check your thermostat.  Battery powered digital thermostats have a “low battery” indicator on the display.  When you see this warning, it’s time to replace the batteries immediately.  If no display is visible, the batteries may have worn out without your noticing.  Try replacing them and see if that activates the thermostat and your furnace.

Thermostats have gotten very sophisticated with programmable options that greatly increase the efficiency of your furnace.  A downside is that some can be a little complicated to read and operate.  Programmable settings sometimes get accidentally adjusted when you try to turn the heat up or down.  If your furnace stops heating, make sure the time and date are correct, the unit is set to “heat” and the fan is set to “auto”.  Turn the temperature higher to see if the fan comes on.  If not, check to see if the fuse or circuit breaker to the heat unit isn’t off.

If none of this brings the heat back on, then give us a call.  Also, the simplest thermostats to use for many of our customers are the new WiFi thermostats you can control from your smart phone.  Call or contact us for more information.

4.  Make sure your registers aren’t blocked.  This is more likely to result in low heat rather than no heat, but we’ve seen cases where nothing is wrong with the system except people moved furniture around or otherwise blocked the outlets from sufficiently circulating air flow.

5.  Keep up with maintenance.  By far the number one avoidable problem we find are systems that deteriorate and decline in efficiency due to lack of maintenance.  Every HVAC system undergoes normal wear and tear.  Regular maintenance checks are needed so you can repair or replace parts before they cause a breakdown.

Call (402)362-5702 and ask us about signing up for a service agreement that assures regular maintenance checks, along with discount pricing and other benefits.  We can help you prevent all of these issues and keep the heat on.  Remember, a furnace tune-up pays for itself with restored efficiency, breakdown prevention, and extended product life.

How often should I change my air filter?

Check it at least every month during peak use, and replace it when it looks dirty enough to significantly impair the air flow through it.  Some filters, such as media filters or electronic air cleaners, are washable; others are disposable and must be replaced.

J & R Heating carries a large supply of filters and if we don’t have your size, we can order it for you.  Mention this blog post for a 20 percent discount on your next purchase of filters.


Get additional tips and inspiration for relaxing in absolute comfort year round, while saving every month in energy costs.  Comfort Matters Blog.

If you have these symptoms when you enter specific buildings you may have BRI (building related illness): cough , chest tightness, fever, chills, and muscle aches.  For prevention and treatment tips read more on IAQ (Indoor Air Quality).

Give Your Home a Springtime Checkup

Spring cleaning isn’t just for closets, cabinets, and home offices.  It’s also for the systems that run your home.  To maintain an efficiently run home in the months to come, the first place to give attention is your…

Air conditioning and heating

The easiest, most effective step you can take is to check and replace your filters; most types need to be replaced monthly – or at a minimum every three months.

Here’s your simple guide: if the filter looks dirty, change it.  Dirty filters slow down air flow, which causes your system to work harder, wasting energy.  Also, a clean filter reduces the amount of dust and dirt that builds up in your system, which could lead to inconvenient repairs or failures.

Next, clear debris from around your outside unit, and sweep away dirt around the unit’s base.  Most importantly, be sure to schedule a professional tune-up to check your system’s performance and get it in tiptop shape for the cooling season.  Just give your local HVAC company a call.

Professional service includes clearing dirt and debris from the insides of the unit, as well as checking condensation lines and the condensation drain, which helps prevent clogs and backups of sludge forming in the line, harming efficiency.

For another step to improve your home’s efficiency, take a look at your…

Door and windows –

Inspect and caulk where needed to keep in cool air in summer, warm air in winter, and save money on energy bills year-round.  As part of your inspection, open and close all windows.  Test how tightly they close.  If there’s a problem, check the weather-stripping.

Snoopy goes green

Air Conditioning maintenance: A Quick and Simple Home Investment

Spring is almost here and routine air conditioning tune-ups are among the best home investments you can make.  That’s because tune-ups improve your system’s efficiency and increase its lifespan, saving you operating dollars and keeping you comfortable at the same time.  Not only that, you can avoid problems with mold build-up that can harm your breathing space.

It’s the same principle as routine dental cleaning and annual medical appointments.  Nothing’s wrong, and you want to keep it that way.  But some folks let the “ounce of prevention” opportunity pass right on by, thanks to a misguided impression that it’s just too much trouble.

Yet tune-ups are simple and quick and very much worth a very minor inconvenience that can save you a good bit of time and money in the long run.  Basically, a licensed professional will:

1: Clean evaporator and condenser coils, as needed, and straighten bent fins.

2: Check all the electrical components and controls.

3: Oil motor and shaft bearings.

4: Check the condenser.

5: Examine fan belts and replace if frayed or worn.

6: Calibrate the thermostat.

7: Check to see if the system is properly charged with refrigerant and that there are no leaks.

8: Check filters. (Ask your local HVAC dealer to see how often your filters need replaced)

Oh, and you can keep a watch on this on your own.  While many homeowners choose to shade their condensers with trees and shrubs to improve efficiency, you’ll want to watch to make sure vegetation doesn’t grow around the condenser and restrict the air flow.

Most tune-up tasks are too extensive for the average homeowner – because of the risk of electrical shock and potential for shorting in the electrical components.  But one of your techs can tend to these things in a very short time.  Also, there is additional maintenance that can be advantageous to your system.  When a tech comes to do your maintenance, ask if it would be beneficial to you to get some additional equipment maintenance.

Think of it as a way to save money while avoiding a whole lot more trouble later on.  Equipment failure in the heat of August is never as fun as a preventive measure taken in springtime!

Understanding MERV Ratings on Filters

Understanding MERV, or minimum efficiency reporting value ratings, on filters

A question we get asked a lot at J & R Heating is why do higher MERV rated filters cost more money.  To answer this questions it’s important to know that MERV ratings range from 1-16 and are used to rate the ability of a filter to remove particles from the air as it passes through the filter.  The higher the MERV rating means fewer dust particles and other airborne contaminants passing through the filter.  Oftentimes higher MERV rated filters will last longer.  J & R Heating carries the Lennox Pure Air system with a Merv 16 hospital grade filter and is listed as a Consumer Digest Best Buy.  For more information about filters, please contact us at jrheating.com.

What A PureAir Air Purification System does…

– removes particles including pollen, dust, and pet dander

– removes bioaerosols and microorganisms including mold, viruses, dust mites and bacteria

– removes and destroys household odors and chemical vapors

– listed as a “Best Buy in Whole-House Air Purification” in Consumers Digest