It might not be something that you think about every day, but an air filter is one of the most important parts of your HVAC system. It captures unwanted air particles such as pollutants, dirt, and dust, which could otherwise easily spread throughout your house. Over time, these bad particles will build up on the filter, which can lead to inefficient flow and costly repairs.
If you want a cleaner house and reduce the risk of unforeseen repair costs, you should start thinking about regular inspection and replacement of your filter. However, most people might not know when to replace their air filter, so we created this short guide to provide a general starting point.
Take note that multiple factors can determine either extend or shorten the lifespan of each filter.
#1: Periodical Changes
A general rule of thumb is to change it at the start of every new season. If you live in a part of the country that doesn’t have all four seasons you can check your filters and change them as needed every 4-6 weeks. This ensures that your air filter is working properly and doesn’t accumulate too much buildup.
#2: Filter Materials
Another thing to consider is the type of filter used in your home. The most common variant is a mechanical air filter, which uses fibers to catch air particles before they enter your ventilation system. Specifically, most people will use disposable mechanical fiberglass filters because of its low cost. However, the cheap filter only captures a small portion of unwanted particles, so it’s best to check it every few weeks to see if it needs a replacement. You can also consider using pleated or washable filters, which are more expensive but highly effective and includes a longer lifespan. Clean it once a month by spraying with water from a hose to further extend a filter’s longevity.
#3: Home Size
The size of your home also dictates your filter’s overall durability. HVAC units in smaller homes require less energy to disperse clean air in each room, which means your air filter will last longer. However, those with larger homes with more rooms and additional floors will need a better filter because of the higher amount of energy required to bring in clean air. Using a budget filter for a larger house will only add more unclean air throughout your home.
#4: Daily Habits
A final set of factors to consider are your habits at home. Those who smoke on a regular basis might find that just opening a window isn’t enough to remove the cigarette smell and its harmful effects. A portion of the toxic output can still find its way through your air filter, which can harm others living in your house and further decreases your filter’s lifespan. If you have pets, you might spend more money on replacements due to the high volume of fur that will accumulate on filters.
Sometimes, you don’t even know there’s a problem with your HVAC until it’s too late. This often stems from the fact that we just don’t know the signs and are therefore blind to indicators of trouble. One of the most obvious signs that your HVAC is malfunctioning is the uncharacteristic sounds coming from the appliance itself.
Normally, you don’t even notice the sounds your HVAC makes because it’s just not very noisy, aside from usual hums or the whooshing of air through vents. Plus, let’s face it: if we’re not confronted with the consequences head-on, we assume all is right and dandy in the world. Ignorance is bliss, right? Wrong. If you hear anything disruptive, chances are it’s time for a serious inspection by a certified contractor in your area.
Here’s a list of the most common HVAC noises and what they mean so you can resolve the problem sooner!
Do you hear something coming from your system that sounds like the clamor of banging pots and pans? This “clanking” is abnormal and could mean parts are loose, like the blower motor fan or blades/pipes that are colliding. Clanking sounds are up there with more severe issues because of the costs associated with replacing broken or loose parts. If you hear these kinds of noises, shut off your system and call a technician immediately.
Hissing is typical when air leaks from your system. If you hear it in your walls, your ducts could be leaking, too. This isn’t only a nuisance, but it’s also costly because the air that should be circulating throughout your home is now retreating into your walls.
First, use your best judgment to measure the volume of the hissing. Loud hissing noises from your ducts generally signal duct repair beyond the scope of even the most seasoned DIYer. Minimal hissing could mean an issue starting in your air vents. Sometimes these hissing sounds happen when air filters are loose or not the right size, thus causing an opening in the seal. The air is then bypassing the filter by going around it instead of being pulled through the filter. This, on the other hand, is a relatively simple fix that a technician could walk you through so you know what to do if it occurs again.
If rattling noises are coming from your outdoor unit, it could mean debris (twigs, rocks, etc.) is caught inside. HVAC grates are made thin enough to block large obstructions, but occasionally things slip through. In this case, the best thing to do is turn off your system, cut the power to the unit, and remove the debris. Any visible damage to the condenser coils, compressor, or fan should be repaired by an HVAC technician. Internal rattling in your furnace or other components is treated similarly: turn it all off and call your HVAC technician, as these stoppages are harder to remove.
Search for certified I Want SMART contractors here to quickly schedule an inspection or repairs!
The verdict is in: you’re purchasing a new air conditioner or HVAC system. Now you face a slew of questions: Do you know the brand and kind of appliance you’re buying? How about the installation team? What are the costs of installation and initial setup? How do you know if you’re getting the best deal or if you’re being overcharged?
Because there’s a lot more to consider than meets the eye, we’ve arranged the most important, non-negotiable details to nail down when you’re choosing an HVAC contractor or installation company. No matter what stage of the purchase process you’re in, these tips will surely be helpful in moving you forward. If nothing else, remember this: ask as many questions as you need to be answered BEFORE your air conditioner is paid for and installed!
Need an installation quote? Find & contact one of our contractors here!
#1: Certified Technicians
There’s no excuse for shoddy work. When going about selecting an HVAC contractor, make sure they’re qualified to do the job correctly and within your timeline. Check out their website, browse online reviews (from credible sources), and read how they plan to add value to your experience. “Added value” can mean different things to different people, but the company’s commitment to quality should be clear across the board.
#2: Easily Accessible
You should be able to quickly get in touch with the contractor you select. Especially in emergencies, you don’t want to be stuck with hazardous materials. Regardless of the circumstances, make sure you can call a number that reaches an actual person or that you can leave messages on their website if this is more convenient for you.
General food for thought: these days, an updated website goes a long way. It’s a hub for information, communication, and organization. “Updated” doesn’t have to mean expensive. To us, it means implementing tools and mechanisms that make it easier for customers to reach contractors. These aspects will be evident the second you arrive at the company’s website.
#3: Reasonably Priced
Each company claims to have the best service and prices. But does it? If a deal sounds “too good to be true,” it usually is, so buyer beware. It’s great if a company shows an appreciation and understanding of its customers with specials and rebates, but when those aren’t available, the work must justify the price.
At I Want Smart, transparency is vital. We believe genuinely good labor and exceptional service shouldn’t be cheap. This is why we go to great lengths to qualify contractors: to make highly valued, pre-approved work readily available to customers through our website.
#4: Great Customer Service
When everything is going wrong, it’s easy to appreciate someone swooping in to save the day right when you need it. However, when everything is going right, it’s the details that matter in making you, the customer, feel like you’re of value to a business. If they’re keeping you in the loop about specials, events, or relevant news, it’s a good sign that they’ve invested time in thinking about what is valuable in serving you.
As we mentioned before, a responsive website is critical: it’s a member of the customer service team. You’ll notice how a company handles leads by how quickly, politely, and efficiently they follow up with you, either via phone call or email.
#5: Fair and Honest Treatment of Customers
All of our previous points work together to hammer this one home. Excellent customer service, reasonable and transparent pricing, accessibility, and qualified workers all exist to create trust between customer and contractor. If just one of these categories goes by the wayside, the rest are inevitably weak. If the company adheres to a strict code of conduct, integrity, and indeed goes the extra mile for its customers, it’ll show.
Wish to work with good people who work to do good for others? Contact I Want Smart!
No doubt about it, winter takes a toll on your average, everyday furnace. After running all season for years on end, your furnace has almost certainly accrued some mileage. If the repair bills are starting to mount, or if you know they’re probably right on the horizon, it makes sense to start replacing your furnace and get everything taken care of for good right now. Here’s why.
1) You’ll save money.
As mentioned above, it’s best to get ahead of repair costs. Think of your furnace as a car. You can replace the tires, the muffler, and the brakes, but that’s not going to stop the other parts from eventually breaking down. If you’ve begun the process of having your furnace fixed in one way or another, it’s only a matter of time before you’re going to need it fixed more frequently. Get ahead of it and cut your losses before it’s too late.
And speaking of saving money…
2) We’re offering an exclusive rebate.
Schedule your furnace replacement before June 30th, and we’ll toss in a $200 rebate free of charge. Take note that this specific rebate is completely exclusive to SMART customers. Many other companies will try to sell you on the manufacturer rebates that are offered to pretty much everyone. Of course, we include those too, but we’re always looking to take it one step further in an effort to make it easier on you.
3) Right now, there’s lower demand.
We’re pretty proud of our turnaround time at all times of year, but if there was ever a time to pounce on our deftness, it’s now. Many people wait until they’re huddled around their ovens in the dead of winter to schedule an appointment. Of course, that’s probably not the best way to go about it.
A small tip, if you have a pilot light, you’re way past due. Odds are your unit is at least 25 years old, which means you’ll soon be hit with hefty repair bills if you haven’t been paying them already.
So don’t wait until it breaks. Keep your house temperature regulated, keep your energy costs down, and take advantage of the timing with our exclusive rebate. Replacing your furnace after winter is SMART.
This New Year, leave poor HVAC technicians in the past.
SMART HVAC contractors outclass, outsmart, and outwork the competition, and we’re excited to keep that tradition rolling in 2016. In fact, we’re so excited about our loyal consumer base that we’re offering large rebate offers on top of our quality service (more on those later).
Here’s why you should start the New Year on the right foot – by turning over a new leaf with the SMART HVAC contractors of your choice.
Satisfied Customers Agree
We can sit here all day talking about how great we are, how we provide the best quality of work, and how you’re certainly getting the best value – but let’s face it – our customers know best. Here’s what some of our patrons had to say:
“What a great company! I was referred by a neighbor who praised the work of SMART HVAC contractors. He was right about everything. Of course it was an incredibly hot day in Chicago. The AC would switch on, but no cool air. The temp in the house was around 86 degrees!”
“This is a top notch company. Great service, great products and no gimmicks! Also, several great rebates! If you need a new furnace/AC, you can’t go wrong with iwantsmart.com!”
“I run a mid-sized property management company, and iwantsmart.com is the best resource to find the best HVAC technician. They are knowledgeable, timely, honest and reasonably priced. What more can you ask for? Their best characteristic is that they can be taken at their word. Highly Recommended!”
We’re Easy to Find
SMART’s qualified HVAC technicians can be found all over Chicagoland. And with over 25 locations to choose from, you’re never too far away from our esteemed service. Check out our locations page to find the nearest SMART location near you. We’ve included a map, a link to their website, their contact information, and even directions on how to get there. Why make it difficult?
Experience & Value
With over 50 years of experience serving Northeastern Illinois, we’ve had plenty of time to perfect our craft and optimize our ongoing educational courses. We’ll make sure you can sleep peacefully at night knowing that your HVAC system is running smoothly and efficiently.
Since we’ve been at this for so long, we’d like to reward our loyal customers. To do so, we’re offering unique rebates on a variety of services. These current offers last throughout half of the upcoming year, though you can rest assured that we’ll have additional deals in the future as well
View our rebates HERE!
There are plenty of reasons to choose a SMART contractor, but have you heard about how we give back to the community? When an opportunity to sponsor a Jr. League baseball team from the east side of Joliet came up, I Want SMART jumped on it. Belmont Little League has advanced to the Illinois State Tournament to continue their fight to play Michigan for the Little League World Series on Friday, July 24th. With the high costs of hotels, food and gas to get the team there they had to put a slight hold on going. I Want SMART knows the importance and impact that this type of experience has on kids and that’s why it was a given to make a donation to the team. With the help of I Want SMART, Belmont Little League was able to get to the tournament and fight for a win against Michigan!
Let us know if you would like to help donate to this cause or if you have another cause you would like I Want SMART to donate to.
Summer is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities with your pet, from hiking to playing Frisbee to going for a sunset run. However, every pet owner should be aware of the many health risks associated with too much heat exposure. Exposing your pet to excessive sun and high temperatures without proper defense can lead to sunburned skin, heat stroke, exhaustion, dehydration, and in extreme cases death. Protect your pet’s well-being with these top four summer-savvy tips.
Turn up the AC
Animals are unable to cool themselves properly in excessive heat and humidity, so it’s important as a pet owner to provide a cool and comfortable living space for your pet. Heat stroke can set in at temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and above. Before leaving the house, check the forecast and set the thermostat to an appropriate temperature. By keeping the air conditioning running while you are out, it will ensure your pet’s body temperature stays at a safe level.
Never leave your pet in a parked car on a hot day without the air conditioning running. Experts advise owners to leave pets at home in the AC, rather than risk putting the animal at harm. Even with leaving a window cracked, the temperature inside your vehicle can reach dangerous levels.
Prepare for power outages
Chicago has seen heightened levels of rain this summer and a few intense storms. In case of a potential power outage, owners should create a disaster plan to keep pets safe from overheating and other temperature-related complications. This plan can include having a battery-operated desk fan on hand, chilling freezer packs to place in their beds, standby home generator, and keeping drapes and curtains closed. It’s important to keep air circulating, even during power outages.
Plenty of water available
Dehydration is one of the main things that can plague a pet during the summer. Owners should ensure pets have adequate amounts of fresh and clean water readily available to them.
Keep them indoors
While your pet might want to run around outside, you should limit their exercise outdoors to times during the day when the sun is not at its hottest. Early in the morning or in the evening is the optimal time, as the outdoor temperature will have naturally cooled down. Other than that, they should be kept inside.
It’s vital to keep your pet safe and hydrated when humidity or temperatures reach dangerous highs. I Want Smart is committed to helping families—including your furry best friends—stay safe, comfortable and cool during the summer months.
Keep your family and pets cool this summer and contact an I Want Smart technician near you for a consultation, installation, maintenance check or repair.
I Want SMART formed with one linear goal in mind—to connect the residents of Illinois with the best talent in HVAC services. Our contractors lead the industry in nationally recognized certification, having trained at a state-of-the-art, U.S. Department of Labor accredited facility.
HVAC is one of the most complex systems in your home. The staff at I WANT SMART understands the safety implications associated with HVAC systems that are not installed or serviced correctly. From potential carbon monoxide poisoning to an electric control failure in your AC unit, safety is absolutely critical. Our technicians are true experts in their field, professionally trained to handle the complex nature of heating, cooling and ventilation. Every single contractor is held to the highest industry standards and expected to deliver the best-in-quality service.
SMART understands the importance of having a properly functioning HVAC, especially when dealing with the erratic weather patterns of Chicago climate. We care about the communities in which we live. So to help keep prices down, we offer competitive pricing packages. In addition, several rebates are offered throughout the course of the year. So be sure to keep an eye out.
When you’re ready to hire an HVAC service provider for maintenance, repairs or a new installation, look no further than the professionals at iwantsmart.com
The heat of Chicago’s summer is rapidly approaching, with the latest outlook from the Climate Prediction Center calling for hotter-than-normal temps. As temperatures start to climb, now is a good time to look at installing a new air conditioner.
When choosing a cooling system, it’s important to look at both function and costs. Newer models of AC units are built to be quieter and more powerful than their older counterparts, which can offer greater long-term value and return on investment. It’s important to remember that each grade higher in the cooling system comes with a corresponding cost. So how much does it really cost to install a new air conditioner?
There are several types of cooling systems to choose from, including window units, split systems, central air and portable units. When starting the process, first take a look at the size of your home, as this is a main determinant in the type of air conditioning system that you will need. The general rule is that every 500 or 600 square feet requires one ton of cooling; this number can vary based on individual contractors practice and the envelop tightness of your home.
For a smaller home, a window air conditioning unit would be a cost-effective cooling solution. Average costs of installing a window unit range between $150 and $300, depending upon the size. Although a more reasonable price, window units are going to be a lot less powerful compared with central air.
If your home is larger with multiple rooms and floors, you will probably need to have a central air conditioning system installed. The costs will depend on the Equipment and any additional items you might need installed, such as ductwork and the technician’s installation rates. On average, most homeowners spend between $3,500 and $7,000, according to data reported by HomeAdvisor members.
So if your AC isn’t ready to combat this year’s heat wave, SMART has you covered. We offer a residential rebate program that pays a cash rebate whenever you hire a SMART contractor from our site to replace part or all of your heating and cooling system. Save a total of $400 with the installation of a new air conditioner and furnace replacement.
Make sure you are prepped and ready for the summer heat with a cooling system that meets your needs. Take advantage of SMART’s rebate program that has given over 3 million dollars and counting in rebates back to local homeowners just like you.