How often do you replace your HVAC filter? The air filter in your heating and cooling systems plays an important role in helping you keep your home comfortable while maintaining indoor air quality year-round.

One of the best things you can do to keep your HVAC system running smoothly and efficiently is to regularly replace or clean your HVAC air filter. That’s why we’ve put together a helpful HVAC filter replacement schedule as well as some tips for choosing the right filter. With these, you can make sure that you’re taking the best care of your HVAC system.

HVAC Filter Replacement Schedule

At Brody Pennell, we often get asked the question, “how often should I change my air filter?” In all honesty, the answer to this question depends on a number of factors. Below, we’ve put together a quick guide to HVAC air filter replacement, based on your lifestyle and home needs.

General HVAC Filter Replacement Schedule

As a general guide, you should replace your pleated HVAC air filter every 90 days. However, the more dirt, dust, allergens, and other debris the filter traps, the less efficient the filter will be. Therefore, you should as a rule check your HVAC air filter once a month and change more often if needed.

HVAC Filter Replacement for Families with Allergies

If someone in your home has asthma or allergies, they will be more sensitive to the airborne particles that float around your home. To help improve indoor air quality for those who suffer from asthma or allergies, change your air filter every 6 weeks. You may want to check on it periodically in between if you notice a change in indoor air quality.

HVAC Filter Replacement for Homes with Young Children

If you have babies or young children in your home, you will need to be more careful about your HVAC air filter changes. As a general rule, change your air filter every two months to maintain the quality of your indoor air. The same is true for homes with elderly family members that may also have compromised immune systems.

HVAC Filter Replacement for Pet Owners

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but pet hair and dander can negatively impact your indoor air quality. If you have pets in your home, you need to change your air filter every two months to ensure adequate IAQ. Typically, dogs and cats shed more in the beginning of spring and fall, so these are the best times to replace the air filter.

3 Tips for Choosing the Right HVAC Air Filter

Not all HVAC air filters are created equal. Use the tips below to find the right air filter for your home:

  1. Get to know your filter types.

There are many different types of air filters, and understanding the different types can help you make the best decision for your home:

  • Pleated air filters are the most common type of residential HVAC air filter and typically need to be replaced every 90 days.
  • Reusable filters can be cleaned, but they tend to have low efficiency ratings and require significant upkeep.
  • HEPA filters are very efficient. However, they are more expensive than your typical pleated filter.
  1. Pay attention to MERV ratings.

When you look at your options for air filters, you’ll want to consider efficiency. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating tells you how efficient the air filter is at trapping airborne particles. MERV ratings go from 1 to 20, with higher numbers indicating higher efficiency. Typically, standard air filters will have a rating between 5 to 8, indicating that they capture most indoor air pollutants.

  1. Don’t forget the filter resistance.

While it may seem smart to go with a higher efficiency rating when choosing an air filter, the most efficient filter is not always the best choice for your HVAC system. Depending on your heating and cooling system, some filters may have resistance levels that may prevent your unit from operating effectively. Take a look at your HVAC system manual or ask your HVAC technician about the best type of air filter for your system.

Los Angeles Indoor Air Quality

Still have questions about your indoor air quality? We’d be happy to help you find the right HVAC air filter for your air conditioning and heating system. Our team of HVAC experts can also help recommend the best indoor air quality products for your unique home needs.

To get started improving your IAQ, give us a call: (310) 896-4911.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average family in the United States spends about a third of its annual heating and cooling budget on air that leaks into or out of their home. This amounts to about $350 that is wasted on air leaks!

If you want to get more out of your HVAC system and stop wasting money on air leaks, you will need to make sure that your home is leak-proof. Sealing air leaks in your home is an energy saving strategy that will not only help you save money, but also run more smoothly and efficiently year-round. Below, we’ll give you some simple tips for sealing air leaks around your home.

How to Seal Air Leaks in Your Home

Reducing the air leaks around your home is an affordable way to cut down on your heating and cooling costs while also increasing home comfort. Here are just a few cost-effective ways to seal air leaks in your home:

  1. Caulk or weatherstrip doors and windows.

Most drafts in your home will occur around doors and windows, especially if you have an older home. It’s important to check for air leaks around these areas. If you find any issues, you can then use caulk or weatherstripping to seal the areas around doors and windows to prevent cool or warm air from escaping your home. For larger gaps around windows or baseboards, try using a foam sealant.

  1. Close gaps around chimneys and flues.

There are often gaps between the wood framing and metal flues or brick chimneys that allow air to escape your home. The metal fireplace flues can also warp or break over time with repeated heating and cooling. You can close these gaps using aluminum flashing to cover the gaps and high-temperature silicone caulk to seal them into place. You can also seal the flue when not in use using an inflatable chimney balloon, which is made of durable plastic and can easily be removed and reused many times.

  1. Insulate around recessed lights.

Most of the recessed lighting in your home will have vents that open into the attic. This presents a direct route for warm or cool air to escape. If you have many of these fixtures in your home, this can result in a significant number of leaks. Look for lights labeled “ICAT,” which stands for insulation contact and air tight. Remove the current bulb, push the baffle up into the housing, and replace with an ICAT bulb.

Save More Energy at Home

Sealing air leaks in your home isn’t the only cost-effective way that you can improve energy efficiency in Los Angeles. There are a variety of energy saving appliances or gadgets like smart thermostats and energy efficient HVAC systems that will keep you and your family comfortable year-round while helping you cut down on wasted energy and save more money on your utility costs.

To learn more about what energy efficient HVAC products might be right for you, give us a call today: (310) 896-4911.

Hot LA Summer Activities

As temperatures start to heat up in L.A. this summer, you may be looking for cool ways to enjoy the season. Below, we’ve put together a list of our favorite fun Los Angeles activities to help you beat the heat:

  1. Catch a movie at Hollywood Forever.

What better way to spend a summer evening than enjoying a film with other movie lovers in the Hollywood Forever cemetery, the resting place of some of Hollywood’s greats. Watching cult classics at this Hollywood cemetery is an essential summer experience for every Los Angeles resident.

If this is your first time catching a movie at Hollywood Forever, be sure to bring folding chairs or blankets so that you can rest comfortably while watching the films. You can also bring picnic baskets full of fun snacks and adult beverages to enjoy while you’re there. To buy tickets, visit http://cinespia.org/.

  1. Take the kids to the pool.

When the beaches are crowded, what better way to beat the heat than to take the whole family to the pool? There are many kid-friendly pools in the Los Angeles area that are great for swimming and relaxing without the rowdy beach crowds.

If you’re looking for an aquatic playground that’s perfect for the little ones, check out Stoner Park Pool in West L.A. If you want to enroll the kids in swimming classes or are looking for a place to host a summer birthday party, check out Waterworks Aquatics in Pasadena.

  1. Bring the family to Kidspace Children’s Museum.

If you’re looking for a fun place to bring the kids this summer, check out Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena. In addition to summer camp programs, the museum also offers events and exhibits that are ideal for children ages 10 and under.

All of the exhibits are outdoors, so make sure that your children are dressed appropriately. You may even want to bring a change of clothes and towels for the kids as they have fun water and mud features that are perfect for cooling down when temperatures start to heat up.

  1. Indulge in a sweet treat at one of L.A.’s best ice cream shops.

When the temperatures really start to heat up this summer, it’s the perfect time to treat yourself and the family to a sweet treat at one of the best ice cream shops in Los Angeles. At Afters Ice Cream you can try one of their signature milky buns filled with delicious ice cream and topped with crazy toppings. They even have vegan ice cream flavors!

For something a little different, try Blockhead’s Shavery Company. Their “snow cream” is a combination of ice cream and Hawaiian shaved ice.  After choosing a base flavor, you can add all the fun toppings you want for a treat that’s sure to cool you down in the hot L.A. summer.

These are just a handful of the many fun activities happening around L.A. this summer that you can enjoy while trying to cool off. If you need help keeping your Los Angeles home cool this summer, don’t hesitate to call us. Our team is ready to help make sure your home is comfortable all summer long. Call us today: (310) 896-4911.

HVAC Contractor working on AC

When it comes to heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repair, we know that you have a variety of options for choosing an HVAC service provider. However, we have also been in the business long enough to know that not every HVAC technician or company is created equal. If your HVAC tech isn’t making you feel comfortable and empowering you to make the right decisions for your home comfort system, it’s time to replace him.

Choosing an HVAC Technician: Importance of Education

The one thing that sets a great HVAC technician apart from the other guys is customer education. A trustworthy HVAC contractor will give you the information you need to understand your HVAC system and any issues you may be dealing with. Not only will they be knowledgeable and experienced, but they’ll be able to show you what they’re talking about.

By educating you as a homeowner, the HVAC technician is showing you why they need to do the work. This gives you the information you need to make the right decision about your home comfort system. Be sure to ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have. If your HVAC technician can’t address these questions or concerns, it may be time to replace him.

Get to Know Your HVAC Contractor

Whether you are getting a new HVAC system installed or calling an HVAC tech to diagnose and repair your heating and cooling system, it’s important for you to know that you can trust your HVAC company. Though many homeowners may be tempted to go with the company that offers the lowest price, they may soon find out that this doesn’t always get you the quality service you need for long-lasting home comfort.

To avoid HVAC company scams, make sure that you are working with a reputable HVAC company. Choose an HVAC company that has a history of reliable service and complete customer satisfaction. This is the type of company that will be there for you when something goes wrong with your HVAC system. That type of peace of mind is priceless for homeowners!

Brody Pennell: We Want to Help You!

At Brody Pennell, our ultimate goal is to be helpful. That involves going beyond just installing or fixing your HVAC system. Our entire team is dedicated to educating and building relationships with our customers. We aim to empower each and every one of our customers to make the best decisions for their home comfort.

As part of this dedication to quality service, every member of the Brody Pennell team is Trust-Certified. This means that they are trained to the highest standards, bonded and insured, and committed to 100% customer satisfaction. Not only are our HVAC technicians NATE-certified, but they wear ID badges, shoe covers, and have passed stringent drug, background, motor vehicle, and technician training exams.

When you meet with a Brody Pennell HVAC technician for the first time, you know that you’re dealing with a knowledgeable professional who is there to serve you. You should never be afraid to ask questions about your system or service options. We want you to know what is going on with your HVAC system and help you make the best decisions for your home comfort.

For more information about choosing an HVAC company, check out our guide for choosing the right contractor.

If you need help right away, don’t hesitate to call us: (310) 896-4911.

selling home tips

Selling a home can be ceaselessly tedious. From keeping your home meticulously clean for showings, to dealing with buyer’s demands, it’s nice to have certain aspects of your home that you can rely on. Your HVAC system should be one of those aspects that you don’t have to worry about when selling your home. A faulty HVAC system can be a major red-flag to buyers and prevent them from feeling comfortable committing to your home.

If you’re selling your home, your older HVAC system could hold you back in these ways.

Creating the right buying experience

Touring a house that could potentially be your forever home needs to be a perfect experience. From the curb appeal to the financial details, everything has to be in-line to shell out a hefty down payment and commit to a 15 or 30 year loan. This is why realtors recommend a home be spotless for showings.

Part of showing your home in its best light is how buyers feel inside the home. If they feel uncomfortable, they may cut the showing short and eliminate your home from contention immediately.

Let buyers feel as though they have already moved in by creating a comfortable atmosphere with a reliable HVAC system.

Minimizing monthly costs

It’s not just the down payment and future mortgage that buyers are focused on when making an investment in a new property. Energy can be one of the largest bills in a household. If a buyer sees that the HVAC system is outdated, they’ll know that they’re going to pay an extra 10, 20, 30 or maybe even 40% on monthly energy costs.

Replacing your old system with a new energy efficient system can convince buyers to not only purchase your home, but maybe even feel comfortable paying more than asking price to secure the perfect place if they know the extra mortgage expenses will fit into the smaller energy bill.

Unquestionable quality

Homebuyers are set to make a major purchase. One that could be the most significant decision of their lives. To say that they are going to be highly scrutinous of the homes that they are shown, is an understatement.

Don’t leave any room for doubt about how well you maintained your home and property. Just as you would meticulously clean your home before a showing, make sure your larger appliances that are staying with the house are just as presentable. This is especially the case for your HVAC system. If you are the type of homeowner that takes good care of your HVAC system or invests in a quality HVAC system, it’s a good sign to buyers that you’ve taken good care of your home in general.

Leave nothing to question by purchasing a quality HVAC system or maintaining your quality Carrier HVAC system before putting your home on the market.

Consider an upgrade

If your HVAC system is over 10 years old, it’s going to become a point of contention for home buyers. They will know that sooner than later this will become a major expense for them. By taking on the cost of a newer system, you can ensure that you get the proper asking price for your home.

Ultimately you will want to weigh the pros and cons of making this investment to ensure a great resale value for your home, but more often than not, sellers receive a great return on the investment of a new HVAC system. This is especially the case in tougher selling markets or for homes that have otherwise had a rough time selling.

Don’t continue to pay monthly expenses on your old home at the expense of an old HVAC system. Give Brody Pennell a call and we can work with you to find the right system, at the right price for the right financing to help you sell your home, without affecting your credit for your new home purchase. Speak to an LA HVAC expert today @ (310) 896-4911.

air conditioner smells

Smell can be a key indicator of major HVAC system malfunctions. Irregular smells are great ways for home and business owners to self-diagnose certain issues. If you aren’t confident in your ability to properly identify an odd scent coming from your vent or unit, you’ll want to call an HVAC expert right away to ensure that you or your system are not at risk. If you can identify one of these odors, adhere to the advice given to prevent any health or system concerns.

Rotten Garbage

There can be many reasons why a foul smell is coming from your ductwork. As the longest standing Carrier dealer in LA, we have seen it all. From old food left from a builder in new construction homes, to dead animals, we have found any number of things in ductwork that can fester and create an unpleasant smell. While it’s not inherently dangerous, you’ll still want to give an HVAC tech a call to have whatever is causing the odor out of your ducts right away.

Mildew

Your air conditioner acts as a natural dehumidifier, so it is fairly common for it to collect more water than it can hold over time. To prevent this unpleasant mildew smell, regularly replace your filter and have your system maintained. This will ensure that any signs of mold or mildew are cleared away and that your system is clean and dry.

Cigarette Smoke

If a current or former resident was a smoker indoors, the smoke would have been sucked up into the evaporator coil. Once this potent smell has been absorbed by the coil, it can blast the smell back into the home. All that is required is a thorough cleaning of the evaporator coil to prevent this problem further.

Stinky Feet

Similar to mildew collection, stagnant water caught within your HVAC system can create a foot odor smell. Simple maintenance can eliminate excess water and clean your system to rid your ducts of this unpleasant smell.

Sewage

Raw sewage is not only an unpleasant smell, but it can also be an indication of a serious threat. If you are smelling sewage from your vents, there is a good chance that one of your sewage pipes has burst near your ductwork. This will leak toxic and combustible methane gas into your home. Do not expose yourself or others to the gas if at all possible and call both a plumber and HVAC contractor to ensure both systems are in working order.

Rotten Eggs

Inherently natural gas is odorless, this can make it a silent killer because it is very dangerous to our health to inhale. Gas companies have added a harmless chemical, mercaptan, to natural gas to help homeowners identify lethal leaks. If you notice a sulfur, rotten egg, smell, exit your home or building and call your gas company immediately.

Burning

If it smells like something is burning inside your home, don’t assume one of your neighbors are barbecuing. Rather, shut your system off immediately and check to see if the smell gets worse near the unit. If so, it could be a sign that your AC fan or compressor is malfunctioning. Have your system serviced before flipping it back on.

Exhaust Fumes

This smell is of course going to be more associated with gas powered equipment, such as a vehicle. That’s what makes it easier to identify for homeowners when this smell arises. If you start to smell exhaust fumes through your vents or around your unit, it could be an indication that your engine is leaking fluids. If this is the case, call an HVAC tech immediately.

Gunpowder

If you’ve ever been to an old war reenactment or are a old gun enthusiast, you’ll know that gunpowder has a distinct smell. For those unfamiliar with gunpowder, it is a sulfuric, metallic smell that is not dissimilar to firework smoke. If this scent is coming from your vents, it could mean major problems for your system. It is a sign that your circuit board or fan motor has shorted out. To avoid further system damage or risks, call an HVAC technician immediately for servicing.

If you have any other questions that you want answered, or to address any of these mild or serious HVAC system issues, give Brody Pennell a call @ (310) 896-4911.

Understanding Energy Ratings

If you’ve ever gone shopping around for new heating and air conditioning units, you would be familiar with the SEER and EER ratings that all products carry. For most people, these numbers often go unnoticed, but they can be a great help if you’re looking to become more energy-efficient and reduce your energy consumption.

The Effects of Humidity

Humidity is the level of moisture, in the form of water vapor, present in the air. It’s one of the most important aspects of ensuring comfort in a home but it is also one of the most overlooked. Homeowners tend to focus more on other factors such as temperature when planning out or choosing heaters or air conditioners.

How do geothermal heat pumps work

Geothermal heat pumps work similarly to the other types of heat pumps available in the market, with the main difference only coming from the source of the heat. As the name suggests, this type of system makes use of the heat coming from the earth to help control the temperature of your home.