Clean Up Your Furnace Filter’s Act

Want in on a dirty little secret? A less-than-pristine furnace could be costing you, big time. Furnaces with dirty filters or ducts waste energy and money, shorten the life of your furnace, and pollute your indoor air. The good news? Cleaning up your furnace’s act starts with changing the filter regularly.

Clean vs dirty filtersIt is recommended that you change your filters at least every 3 months, but the more people and pets you have in your home, the more you should think about changing your filters. Additionally, if you have a family member with allergies, it is recommended to change them more often.


HVAC
Why are they important? 

100% of the air in your home passes through a filter, typically twice every hour. Since clean, quality air filters keep the air in your home fresh, the people inside stay healthier. A quality air filters captures the harmful bacteria typically found in sneezes, coughs, viruses and molds, as well as pollutants like dust and car fumes.

Clean filters also keep your HVAC system healthy–they enable it to run more efficiently, keep repair costs to a minimum, and reduce monthly energy bills. About half of your monthly energy bill is attributed to HVAC, and keeping clean air filters is the single most effective way to improve HVAC efficiency. Clogged filters make the HVAC work harder as it conditions your home, which raises your energy bill. (And if there are no filters, the coils will clog, which is even worse for your system!)

How to do it

1. Your furnace filters will either be located in your return vents or some HVAC systems have two filters located within the actual furnace.

2. Note the filter size. This is usually printed on the cardboard frame. We recommend stocking up on new ones when you go to the hardware store so that you don’t have to run to the store each time you want to change your filter.

3. When installing your new filters, make sure to note which direction they should be installed in. To ensure proper airflow, the arrow on the edge of the filter should be pointing towards the blower motor.

Pro Tip

If you’re asking yourself when was the last time you changed your air filters don’t worry, it’s easy to forget. Your air filters are out of sight and therefore out of mind. So how do you ensure that you remember to change your filters? Try scheduling a monthly reminder to help you remember to check your filter monthly and change it when it’s dirty. The next time you go to the store, pick up a few extra filters so you don’t have to make the trip again in three months.

A loan for energy projects paid through your energy bill

This is way more exciting than it sounds

If you’re going to save money when you make home energy upgrades, wouldn’t it be nice to apply those savings directly to your financing payments? Well, it turns out someone out there is really trying to make saving energy as easy as possible.

This is exactly what you can do with Craft 3‘s On-Bill Repayment program. You can pay for an energy-saving project through monthly payments on your utility bill. Currently, you can take advantage of this program if you are a customer of Pacific Power and are making qualified energy upgrades that will reduce your electricity costs.

We caught up with Sara Holman, owner of Baby Cakes Diaper Service, to hear about her experience with the on-bill repayment program. She is currently making loan payments through her Pacific Power bill for two energy-saving projects.

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Expiring tax credits for efficiency products and solar

Excellent motivation to jump on your energy-saving to do list before the end of the year

Almost forty years ago Oregon was a leader in the energy efficiency movement when the state created the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) program. The Oregon Department of Energy has overseen this program with the intention of encouraging Oregon residents to adopt more energy efficient devices from appliances to heating systems to solar panels.

The RETC covers 25 different products but there are a few in particular that we have our eye on because of their potential to save large amounts of energy and their excellent return on investment. Here’s a rundown of a few products that will be affected and how you can get a project started before the tax credits expire.

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The Powerhouse on Union Street – Green Tour Site # 1

A Creative Path To Zero Energy for Two Small Homes

The accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on this property is a powerhouse. Literally. The solar panels on the roof of this small one bed, one bath ADU, produce a “net positive” amount of energy. This means that it at the end of the year, this home nets a positive amount of energy and even nets enough energy to power the main house.

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Improving Indoor Air Quality: Creating a truly healthy home

Conversations about indoor air quality have long been part of building an energy efficient home. Now, increasing concerns about mold, radon, carbon monoxide, other allergens, and wildfire smoke are driving more attention to indoor air quality.

One way to improve indoor air quality is to build an airtight shell which will reduce how outside contaminants enter your home. This is a must when building an efficient home and ensures all the cracks and crevices for outside air, or even pests, to get into your home are sealed up.

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Ductless Heat Pump Program Expands to Rentals and Multifamily Housing

We’ve been working with local residents over the last two and a half years to help them save money on energy bills and make their homes more comfortable. This year, The Energy Challenge is extending a key ductless heat program to rental and multifamily housing markets.

“While the name doesn’t lend itself to rousing a lot of excitement, the technology is quite spectacular,” said Lindsey Hardy, Program Director of The Energy Challenge. “They are super-efficient and so easy to install that they’re a no-brainer for an upgrade from any other kind of electric heating.”

New this year, The Energy Challenge is working with local contractors to introduce the technology to more multifamily properties with older, inefficient heating systems. Many successful projects have recently been completed around Bend, and building owners and tenants have been very happy with the results.

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Getting Your Ducts in a Row

There’s More Than Meets the Eye When it Comes to Your Ductwork

Did you know you can save energy and improve health by having well-maintained ducts?

According to the US Department of Energy, “Typical duct systems lose 25 to 40 percent of the heating or cooling energy put out by the central furnace, heat pump or air conditioner. Duct repairs could be the most important energy improvement measure you can do.” Often in the Bend area, the older the home, the higher the leakage numbers.

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Programming your savings

When used correctly, programmable thermostats can be a boon for energy savings during heating and cooling seasons.

General guidelines are that you should be scheduling your thermostat to be lowered when you are at work and at night.The Department of Energy recommends that you set your thermostat to 68°F while you’re home and 60 – 62°F while you are away and at night. A great goal is to hit a setback point for 8 hours or more. The real question is: How low can you go? (General rule of thumb is stay above 55 to avoid pipes freezing).

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Staying warm when you drop the temps

Just because you’ve set your thermostat back a few degrees, doesn’t mean that you should have to sacrifice comfort.


If you do it right, you may find that you feel even warmer after you lower your thermostat by making a few easy changes. 


Run ceiling fans in reverse (clockwise in the winter) to create an up-draft and pull cool air up. You want to pull cool air up to force the warm air back down because warm air will naturally rise. This will then redistribute warm air, helping you to feel warmer.

  • If you have a remote, the forward button is usually set for summer settings, and the back button for winter.
  • If you have a horizontal toggle switch, you usually need to flip to the right for winter and to the left for summer.
  • If you have a vertical toggle switch, switching up usually means pulling air up for winter.

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