In a small, busy kitchen, consider placing one refrigerator for the cook in the kitchen and a smaller fridge for snacks and drinks in a nearby pantry, den or auxiliary space for easy access by kids.
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Knowing when to replace or clean your HVAC filter is important because it can improve the air quality of your home and keep your HVAC system running smoothly. Additionally, when your system is functioning well -- not expending extra energy to circulate through a dirty filter -- it will cut your energy costs.
1. Check the filter.
The easy answer to this question is to change your HVAC filter when it gets dirty. Simply open up your access panel where the filter is installed, and see if it’s covered with dust and debris. If it is, it’s time for a new filter.
2. Refer to the instructions on the package of the HVAC filter.
Since most homeowners are not checking their filters on a regular basis, a good rule of thumb is to refer to the instructions on the package of the filter. Many last up to 90 days. With that said, filters get dirty at different rates. It depends on a number of factors, such as if the home has pets, if the air conditioning is in constant use and if your home is especially dusty. For instance, the filter will need to be changed more frequently if there is construction being done in your home.
3. Follow the U.S. Department of Energy’s guidelines for filters.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s website (Energy.gov), filters should be changed regularly every one or two months.
4. Set a filter-replacement reminder.
Many websites offer reminder services. Signing up will allow you to receive an email notification in order to remember to buy and change your HVAC filter. You can adjust the setting to your desired notification timing.
IMPORTANT TIP: When you do go to buy a new filter, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you find an air filter that has a Minimum Efficiency Rating Value (MERV) between eight and 13. The higher the number, the better the filter.
Lisa Siglag is the former editor of House Beautiful Kitchens and Baths and a freelance writer specializing in home design. She has written for Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful Home Remodeling and Decorating, Custom Home and Country Living. Her dining room is graced with white beadboard and pale-blue walls. Lisa's articles have previously appeared in Home Sweet Solutions.