Types of Air Filters and How Often to Change Yours

With the rising cost of energy, more people are on the lookout for new ways to conserve energy and lower their utility bill at the end of the month. But you’d be amazed by how much more efficient your home heating and air conditioning can function by simply changing the air filter.

But when should you change your air filter? Some people will change their filter between seasons, and others will go so far as to change the filter each month. In reality, how often you should change your air filter is based on a variety of different factors.

First and foremost, if your air filter is dirty, then it needs to be changed – regardless of how much time has passed. Granted, your general living conditions and the type of filter – as different types of filters have different life spans – also factor in. But it is recommended that you check it on a regular basis during the winter and summer, when your system is likely working harder than usual.

You should also consider the air quality of your home. If the air feels less fresh, it might be worth checking the condition of your air filter. Having pets in the house or a large number of residents can also cause your filter to more easily become clogged with dust, dirt and dander.

There are five different types of home air filters:

  • Economy Panel Filters
  • Pleated Filters
  • Electrostatic Filters
  • Electronic Filters
  • HEPA Filters

Knowing what type of air filter your home uses is half the battle, as each one has a different lifespan. But as a general rule of thumb, make a habit of checking your air filter at least once a month. If you are unsatisfied with the performance of your air filter or notice an increasing lack of fresh air quality, consider changing to a different type of air filter.

Improving Energy Efficiency Through Your Attic

During the cold winter months, heating your home is imperative. What you might not realize is that heat rises in your home, ultimately escaping through the attic. This is counter to the goal of keeping your home warm, and can add to your energy bill at the end of each month. Not to mention during the summer months, when the sun is bearing down on your roof and passing additional heat into your home, requiring you crank up the air conditioner in response.

Taking the steps to improve your attic space can help slow the transfer of heat through your roof, and ultimately save you money on your energy bill.

Sealing the air gaps in your attic. Don’t neglect air sealing in your attic simply because it isn’t a habitable space.  The sealing on your interior walls and floors can be less effective than the exterior walls. Are there ducts in your attic? Those should also be inspected and sealed, as well.

Improving the insulation in your attic. Your attic is exposed to a substantial amount of heat from the roof. By insulating the attic walls, you’re able to slow both heat gain and heat loss. Not sure what type of insulation to use? Consult your local HVAC technician for advice on what to purchase.

Properly ventilating your attic space. Even if your attic is not a habitable space, proper ventilation is important. Increased humidity in your attic due to poor ventilation can degrade the insulation or lead to mold and fungus. An attic with good ventilation will also help keep your home cooler during the summer months by expelling the warm air.

Even if you feel you are satisfied with your energy bill each month, it never hurts to consider making upgrades to your attic. Your home environment could be improved, at the very least.

Reducing Your Business’ Energy Bills

We all know the feeling. When that utility bill ends up on your desk at the end of each month, you open it with a sense of dread, wondering how much of your bottom line will come at the cost of utilities.

But it would be safe to assume that, as a smart and savvy businessperson, you’re likely keen on finding and hearing new ideas for how you can keep that utility bill low.

Here are a few tips that could help accomplish that for you and your business:

Check with your utility company about conducting an energy audit. Several companies will offer to audit your building to determine if you are using energy efficiently. This will be help identify areas where you could improve your energy use and potentially lower your bill.

Use energy efficient light bulbs. You would be amazed at how much you could save by simply upgrading to more efficient light bulbs in your office building.

Standardize more efficient practices.  Ensure that whoever closes up the office at the end of the day is doing their due diligence. Turn off the printers, computers, fax machines and even the coffee makers when they are not being used overnight.

Use power strips for all personal electronics. When you use a power strip to plug in cell phone chargers, radios and other personal items, be sure that they’re plugged into a power strip that can be turned off. This will save on energy during the night, as well.

Reduce the amount of paper used in your building. Think about it. The less paper you print, the less energy your printers are required to use. Not to mention the cost of additional paper and printer supplies when their uses become excessive.

These are just a few tips that can be helpful in reducing your energy bill and improving your bottom line.

Gas vs Electric Fireplace

Choosing a fireplace is a huge decision. Sometimes you have no choice in the matter, because of what is included in the home you’ve purchased. But when you have the opportunity to choose between a gas fireplace and an electric fireplace, you are undoubtedly going to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each one before making your final decision.

Electric fireplaces have become popular in recent years. The convenience of being able to go to the store and return home with a fireplace in a box is a hard temptation to resist. They are essentially a simulation of an actual fire-burning fireplace, functioning more as an elaborate space heater.

These type of fireplaces are most popular with home owners who have children or pets, as it reduces the risk of either coming close to being burned by an actual flame.

Gas fireplaces are the real deal. These are the type of fireplaces that you think of when people talk about curling up next to an open fire with a good book or a cup of hot cocoa. Ceramic logs are used to hide the burner and spread the fire, achieving the classic look of a real wood fire.

One of the knocks against gas fireplaces is that they require a chimney. Gas fireplaces burn natural or propane, producing a small of carbon monoxide that must be vented out. But the addition of a gas fireplace can also add value to your home, should you decide to sell later on down the road.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. Your best course of action is to decide which one best fits your own personal living situation. You should also consider your personal finances, as both require very different financial commitments with regard to the initial costs and upkeep.

Heating Oil vs. Natural Gas

The debate between heating oil and natural gas has been waged for decades now, with impassioned arguments on both sides, each one certain that their choice is better than the other.

Often, your biggest concern is the total cost. Natural gas prices are determined at the beginning of the month, and do not change until the next. Their pricing swings appear much more stable than in comparison to heating oil costs. On the flip side, heating oil prices change twice daily, so the price could even change between your phone call and when your order is processed.

Heating oil is already considered by some experts to be a very expensive way to heat your home, so fluctuating prices is not going to inspire much confidence with homeowners.

In terms of performance, you know what you’re getting from both options. Heating oil and natural gas are both designed to keep your home warm, and both accomplish that goal. But what about convenience and reliability? Natural gas is pipelined into your home, so you’re never short on supply whenever you need it. Heating oil, on the other hand, is delivered via truck. If that truck is not able to deliver your home for whatever reason, you have no alternative.

It is difficult to declare one option as better or superior to the other without being subjective. It is important to research both and then find the alternative the best fits your own personal information. Something else to keep in mind is that there are programs available to help you cover the installation cost of a natural gas heating system.

Keeping your home warm is important. So be sure that you consider the pros and cons of both options before committing yourself to either one. The differences between the two could be significant.

Why Invest in Natural Gas?


Natural gas is fast becoming one of the largest sources of power generation in the United States, for residential and commercial heating and cooling systems, in particular. Presented as an effective alternative to coal and oil because it is significantly less toxic for the environment, natural gas is typically used to power gas turbines or steam turbines.

As natural gas continues to emerge as a viable resource, opportunities to invest will become more and more prevalent. Natural gas production in the United States is considered to be one of the most stable and intelligent investment opportunities on the market.

If you are interested in investing in the future of natural gas, there are a wide range of opportunities available to you in the marketplace.


Exchange-traded products are an investment avenue for people seeking initial exposure to natural gas investment options. The United States Gas Fund (UNG) is a popular option for this particular investment, with a focus on front month futures contracts.

Teucrium Natural Gas Fund (NAGS) and the United States 12 Month Natural Gas are also options. Each one utilizes futures contracts to gain exposure to natural gas.


Under the symbol NG, natural gas futures contracts are traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The current market for these types of contracts is very liquid, with a bevy of activity throughout the week, generally. The Department of Energy releases their natural gas storage report on the Thursday of each week, and this often results in the heaviest trading of the week.


Stocks are for those who would rather avoid futures contracts, and seek more indirect expose to natural gas through investment opportunities. It is a matter of finding publicly traded companies that have operations focused on natural gas.

Investing in natural gas is a solid opportunity for future growth. Taking the time to explore it is well worth it, and could be hugely beneficial in the future.

Advantages of a Gas Fireplace

When the freezing temperatures of winter descend upon your home, being able to fire up the fireplace can be a blessing. Whether you’re curling up next to the fire with a good book or simply enjoying the comforting warmth of the flames, there is nothing quite like a fireplace in your own home.

But is your fireplace a natural gas burning fireplace? Natural gas fireplaces cost less to run, and are better for the environment and your home.

Not yet sold on the benefits of a natural gas fireplace? Allow us to provide you a few of the advantages that are afforded to owners of gas burning fireplaces.

  1. Logs are not required, so the supply of heat is uninterrupted.
  2. Forget about buying or chopping firewood.
  3. Without logs, there are no ashes to clean up or sparks from the fire.
  4. Save up to 25% or more on your energy bill.
  5. Turn your gas fireplace on or off with the simple flick of a switch.
  6. There are no harmful fumes or particles being released into the air.
  7. Gas fireplaces use a venting system, so chimneys are not required.
  8. Wood burning fireplaces have been banned in certain states.
  9. Installation of a natural gas fireplace is cheaper and often easier than the alternative.
  10. Best of all, natural gas fireplaces are the stylish choice! They can add value to your home and even provide a visual boost, as well.

The list of benefits goes on and on! Hopefully these will help make your decision between a gas or wood burning fireplace that much easier. A natural gas fireplace is an attractive addition to your home, and is even a safer option for children and pets.

In the midst of cold winter months, this could be just what your home needs right now!

Safety Measures for Carbon Monoxide Build-ups

You can’t see it.

You can’t smell it.

You can’t taste it.

You might never even know it is there, but carbon monoxide is a very real threat to your health. The build-up of carbon monoxide can cause illness or, in some cases, even death. It all depends on the concentration and the amount of time you have been exposed to the gas.

There are small amounts of carbon monoxide in the air when certain natural resources are burned, but typically not enough to cause harm. Carbon monoxide can be more lethal if the heating system or chimney in your own is not functioning properly, allowing a build-up of gas.

In the event of a carbon monoxide build-up in your home, the effects can often feel like symptoms of the flu. Headaches, feeling tired, dizziness and stomach illness are all commonly associated with people exposed to large amounts of carbon monoxide.

Keep your home safe from a carbon monoxide leak with a few important safety tips:

  1. Check the fuel-burning appliances in your home. Ensuring that your gas or oil furnace, water heater, gas range, space heater and other appliances are functioning properly is an important preventative measure and help avert a potential build-up of carbon monoxide.
  2. Install carbon monoxide detectors. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends placing detectors in every area of your house. These allow for early detection of a carbon monoxide build-up and will alert you if the gas levels are dangerously high. It is also important to regularly check the batteries in the detectors.
  3. Be smart about what you keep in your garage. Vehicles, lawnmowers, snow blowers and other gasoline-powered engines should not be allowed to idle in the garage, especially if that garage is attached to your home. Doing so can be hazardous.

If you believe a carbon monoxide build-up has occurred, open all of the doors and windows, call an emergency service provider and leave your home until help arrives.

Natural Gas Conversion

Natural gas is efficient, safe and reliable. As one of the cleanest-burning fuel sources available, natural gas can be an appealing alternative energy source, both in terms of cost and environmental benefits. In addition to reducing carbon emissions and improving the air quality, heating with natural gas typically costs less than heating with electricity or propane.

Converting your home to natural gas is the first step towards safeguarding the future with an improved environment. The process for doing so has been streamlined over the years, allowing for a more seamless transition that could end up saving you money in the long run.

The transition is much simpler if there is an existing gas service, at which point the gas supply would need to be evaluated to determine whether it is adequate for your heating needs. If that is not the case, installation will be required, for which you’ll be provided an estimate.

The cost for a natural gas conversion varies from customer to customer. The two main costs will be the work done within your property and the installation of gas facilities that will connect to your property. The exact costs for the total services will be outlined in an estimate from your provider.

Licensed plumbers or contractors handle the installation of new natural gas equipment in your home, which will be followed by an initial safety inspection before gas service can be activated.

There are also steps that can be taken to convert your gasoline vehicle to natural gas. If you are interested in doing so, conversion systems are available for certain vehicles.

Ultimately, the process of converting your home to natural gas can appear daunting at first. But natural gas is an investment. By converting, you’re not only improving the efficiency of your home, but you’re also being more environmentally conscious.

When Your Gas Oven Won’t Heat


Gas ovens are not difficult to operate. Once you have turned the temperature knob to the desired setting, all you have to do is wait a few minutes for it to pre-heat before sliding your dish into the oven. But if your meal is left uncooked even after your cooking time has expired, there could be an issue with the oven’s heating mechanism and you’ll want to address it.

Do not attempt to identify the problem yourself if you smell gas while the oven is shut off. If that is the case, contact a professional repair service immediately. With that said, there are a few troubleshooting methods to consider should your gas oven fail to heat.

First, test the burners on the stovetop. If no flame is produced, check the supply valve, unless your stove operates on LP gas and the tank level needs to be checked instead.

Next, open the door of the oven’s broiler section and check the oven’s inner workings. The oven burner and ignition system are located in the upper portion of the broiler chamber. Take a moment to inspect the burner tube for obstructions or holes from corrosion or overheating.

You’ll also want to determine the type of ignition system and then test it. Use a flashlight and identify whether your stove is a pilot light system or a glow ignition system. For a pilot light system, hold a match to the flame aperture for at least 10 seconds. If the flame goes out, the issue could be with the thermocouple.

For pilot ignition systems – or if the pilot light is functioning – turn on the oven and watch the burner tube. If the burner tube creates no flame or a weak flame and fails to heat, the safety valve could be faulty.

For best practices, refer to your owner’s manual for exact instructions on how to inspect the oven. If there are concerns at all for your safety, your best option is to call a professional.