What kind of filter do I need, and how often should I change it?

August 11, 2014

This is a loaded question, but one that we get on a daily basis. The type of filter you need varies based on your situation. Someone who travels for a living and has no kids/pets may not have to change the filter very often simply because the system rarely operates. Where as, a home with a family of six, two dogs, and three cats, may require a higher grade filter that will need changed more often. 

I have a family of three (soon to be four) and two dogs. We have a 4″ MERV 13 pleated filter in our home. However, we are soon upgrading to a new air purification system that will contain a MERV 16 filter. My daughter and I have bad allergies and our dogs shed a lot. We typically change our filter every 4 to 6 months.

Don’t understand MERV? Don’t worry, most people don’t know what it is, and that’s ok. MERV is “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value” and it is how they rate filters.


What Kind of Filter Should I Get?

Again, this depends on your situation. I suggest that you have one at least MERV 8 or higher. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 1″, 4″, or 6″ filter, just make sure that it’s MERV 8 or higher. If someone in the home has bad allergies I would suggest a MERV 13 to 16. If you’re simply worried about dust, I would suggest a MERV 11 or higher. And, for those of you who don’t care, stick with the MERV 8. It will at least protect your heating and cooling system. Oh, and don’t waste your money on the cheap blue “hog hair” style filters. I know they’re only $.70 at your local hardware, but those “boulder catchers” won’t catch the allergens and debris that will clog up your secondary heat exchanger and your air conditioning coil.

“Someone told me not to install the more efficient filters because they’re too restrictive.”

This is true! They ARE restrictive if you don’t change them often enMERV 16 Filterough. A MERV 16 filter is the most restrictive and will likely need to be changed every 3 to 6 months. Yes, they are more expensive than the average filter, but you get what you pay for. I change our MERV 13 filter every 4 months. We can get 6 months out of it, but we keep the fan “on” on our furnace. Which leads me to another matter, your filter is only doing it’s job when the fan on your furnace is operating. You can’t filter the air when there is no air movement. If you keep your fan on auto, that’s fine, you will get more life out of your filter because you’re not using it!

Most people either go by the packaging on the filters to determine how often to change their filters, while others routinely change their filter monthly, seasonally, or just “when they remember”.

Here’s what I suggest…
Washable filters – Throw it away and get a pleated filter
1″ Filters – Monthly
2″ Filters – Bimonthly
3″, 4″, and 5″ Filters – Every 4 to 6 months

If you have any questions, feel free to call, email, or tweet us @ControlTechHVAC!

Written by Clay Winters, Design Technician @ Control Tech

Fall Maintenance

October 4, 2012

Its fall and this weekend there will be many people will be turning on the heat for long periods for the first time this season. From here to spring is a long road for furnaces, and a fall tune up is a great idea.  It will help keep a furnace running efficiently and find / fix any problems before they become major. In addition furnace warranties require annual maintenance. A good fall maintenance should include cleaning and checking of the furnace. Many companies advertise cheap prices for fall check ups, but they charge extra for the cleaning, so be sure to ask before you schedule.

A great idea is a maintenance agreement. Maintenance agreements allow you to save money by prepaying for clean and checks. They provide easier scheduling, priority service, and discounted repair. Check out our website: www.controltech.biz  for more information, or to schedule your fall maintenance.

Request-A-Tech Program from Control Tech

April 10, 2012

How many times have you called a company for service or maintenance, and they send out a new technician every time? You never know who you’re getting and/or who you’re letting in your home. At Control Tech, you can “Request-A-Tech”!

We often receive phone calls from our customers asking “Can you send the same guy that was out last time?”. Well… Yes! Of course! Most of our Service Technicians have been with Control Tech for 10-15+ years. You are welcome to request the same technician for your Scheduled Maintenance. We will put a note in our system to ensure he makes it out there. Now, if you have an emergency call, we cannot guarantee it will be your tech, but we will make every attempt possible.

Give us a call today and schedule your maintenance! Ask about our Scheduled Maintenance Agreements! We provide service to all of Central Indiana.

Control Tech Heating & Air Conditioning
Zionsville, IN 46077

-Clay Winters, Design Technician

The “life changing” furnace!

December 14, 2011

We often talk with customers about which furnace is the quietest, the most comfortable, and so on and so on. But, when you hear everyday how one particular furnace & experience is changing peoples lives & way of living; I find it best to share with everyone. Here is a testmonial I recieved from a customer in Indianapolis on the Lennox SLP98v furnace & Control Tech’s service.


Last month, Control Tech installed a new gas furnace in my home. During the course of the transaction, I was in contact with you, the office staff, service technicians and installers. I found all of you to be knowledgeable, professional, efficient and courteous. In particular, I appreciate the personal attention I received.

The Lennox SLP98v is so quiet, you can hardly hear it running and my sleep has improved because I’m no longer awakened by the sound of the furnace coming on and that first blast of cold air. Heating throughout the house is more uniform and the hot and cold “pockets” are gone.

I’m very pleased with the product and Control Tech and will be recommending both. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you and I thank you.


Terry K. (Indianapolis, IN)


When I arrived to his home (before we began looking at options) he said “I’ve been on Lennox’s website, and I want the SLP98v.” I still gave three options as we always do; and he was still set on the SLP98v. I told him he wouldn’t regret this choice. Not only do we install quality equipment; we employ quality technicians to make sure all of the “fine tuning” is given special attention. He also stated, when we were talking at his home, that he loves how the temperature is even throughout the home. With his old furnace, he used to have to turn the thermostat up to keep the bedroom warm, but the rest of the home would be extremely hot. Now, with the variable speed blower motor, the temperature is consistant throughout.

If you would like more information; please contact me.

Clay Winters (@ControlTechClay)
Design Technician
Control Tech Heating & Air Conditioning
Zionsville, IN

What is Variable Speed?

December 9, 2011

We often get the question “Why should I go with a variable speed blower motor over a standard single speed blower motor like the one I currently have?”… The answer is simple; more energy-efficient (uses 10 times less energy than your current single-speed motor), helps with uneven temperatures, better air filtration & dehumidification, & is much quieter!

Instead of the temperature spikes you would see from your current system (when in “Auto” mode – or like driving a car in the city… start stop, start stop… etc) you see a more consistent temperature because the system is constantly moving the air. Your current system will call for heat; the furnace will warm up, the fan will come on; it will heat until it satisfies the thermostat, then the heat shuts off; and the fan will continue to run until the system has cooled down. When it kicks back on; you typically notice a cold blast of air.

With a variable speed blower motor, it will constantly be moving the air, so you won’t have to worry about those cold blasts when it kicks on. It’s a much more comfortable solution for your home and people who don’t have it; just don’t know what they’re missing until they have it! Plus, when you run the variable speed blower motor continuously; it’s easier on the motor. It’s like a car with 100,000 highway miles (variable speed motor) VS a car with 100,000 city miles (single-speed motor). The car with 100,000 highway miles is going to be in much better shape than the car with 100,000 city miles that has been driven hard.

If you would like more info; please give us a call at 317-873-3737 or send me a Tweet @ControlTechClay

-Clay Winters
Design Technician
Control Tech Heating & Air Conditioning
Zionsville, IN

‘Tis the season!

August 26, 2011

It’s that time of year again!… Or is it?… It’s time to start thinking about the winter and whether or not your furnace is going to make it through! I know it’s been one of the hottest summers we’ve had in a long time and most people are reading this going “are you kidding? Why would I be thinking about heat right now?”. The bottom line is; if we have as cold of a winter as they are predicting, everybody is going to be calling at the same time to get an estimate on replacing the furnace. Because, as most of you know, it never fails; your furnace will go down at the same time as everybody in Central Indiana.

Furnaces have really come a long way. They used to just be that “box inside”; but now they are so much more. What with variable speed blowers, multi-stage heating, extremely quiet operation, and so on. You’re getting much more than “box” that blow heat through your home. You are getting the “brain” of your home comfort system. The furnace controls the volume of air, heat, and dehumidification that is delivered to your home. Variable speed blowers are a no brainer when you are replacing your furnace. They are able to ramp up or ramp down depending on the temperature levels in the home. In the winter you can get “cold blasts” of air with your typical “single-speed” blowers; variable speed blower eliminate this because they are constantly circulating the air in the home and keeping a “more average” temperature. It’s kind of like cruise control for your system.

When you hear people talk about multi-stage, two-stage, and single-stage heating; they are referring to how many levels of heat the furnace has. The best way to explain this is; a single-stage furnace will put out 100% of its capacity 100% of the time. A two-stage furnace has a low setting and a high setting for heat. On mild days, a two-stage furnace runs at a lower capacity (1st stage) to take the chill off. When 1st stage can’t keep up; it goes in to 2nd stage. Multi-stage or “variable capacity” furnaces work much like the cruise control system of high-performance automobiles, automatically making adjustments as necessary to allow maximum fuel efficiency. They typically start at 35% of capacity and can ramp up or ramp down in 1% increments.

There are so many options out there. Make sure you contact the professionals at Control Tech when you are ready to make a decision. Keep in mind most estimates require 60 to 90 minutes to properly size a system for your home! We can’t make a 20 year decision in 15 minutes! When you call; please ask for me or mention this article!

-Clay Winters, Design Technician @ Control Tech, 317-873-3737, www.ControlTech.biz
Follow me on Twitter! @ControlTechClay

Control Tech gets some new “additions” to the family!

June 22, 2011

For many years, Control Tech’s “Comfort Consultants” relied on driving their personal vehicles for work. In June 2011, we decided to change this. We have added 4 Chevy Cruze’s to our line-up. We felt as though this would give our customers a better piece of mind when they opened their front door and were greeted by one of our Comfort Consultants; they were able to see a clearly marked Control Tech vehicle in the background. Much like the products we provide; these vehicles are fuel efficient and sleek. As always, we strive to be the best at what we do and we continue to improve ourselves every day.

It’s so humid in here!

May 25, 2011

It’s that time of year when we start getting calls about the home feeling clammy, yet the air conditioning is working fine. People start spening all kinds of money on portable dehumidifiers in the local big box stores. The problem is; they usually only take care of a small area or room in the home. What if you could dehumify your entire home for a fraction of the cost that it would cost to buy a bunch of portable dehumidifiers?

We provide several options for dehumidification; most of which can be installed directly into your duct system to dehumidify the entire home. Otherwise, some of the units can be used as a stand alone and remove up to 135 pints per day which is 50% more water per kilowatt hour than the leading portable dehumidifiers!

There are several ways to help dehumidify your home by simply installing the proper furnace and air conditioner when it comes time to replace them. The first item that will help reduce the humidity in your home is a variable speed blower on your new furnace. First off, when the fan runs at a lower speed, it has a better chance to pull moisture out of the air since it is moving the air at a slower speed. Plus, the longer the system runs, the more moisture is removed. Second, a variable speed blower only uses as much energy as a 75 watt light bulb to run, while a traditional “single speed” blower uses 700-750 watts to run; so there is huge energy savings! Lastly, with a variable speed blower, it does a better job of filtering the air since the particles are constantly moving at a slower speed the filter is able to catch more of the particles and dust; which can dramatically improve the indoor air quality in your home.

When you are looking at getting a new air conditioning system; consider what is called a “2-stage” air conditioner. It’s like having two systems in one! These air conditioners will run at 67% of it’s full capacity 80-85% of the time when you need cooling, but the temperature outside is moderate. Then, it can run at 100% of capacity on those “hottest” days of the year. The great thing is, when it runs in the lower stage; it only consumes 1400 watts of electricity. In comparison, it’s like running a hair dryer. When it has to run at 100% of capacity on those hot days; it consumes approximately 2200 watts of electricity. Keeping in mind, a typical “single-stage” air conditioner runs at approximately 2200 watts all the time.

The bottom line is, the slower we move the air, the better the dehumidification. Also, the more efficient your system is, the more money in your pocket!

Call Control Tech today with any questions or interest in a dehumidication system or a new high-efficiency heating and air conditioning system! 317-873-3737

So… How Much is a New Air Conditioner?

April 13, 2011

This question may be on your mind this spring or summer. Especially if yours is not cooling and its 95 out. Well, before I answer, I’d like to ask a few questions. What is your average heat gain in the summer? What is your peak heat gain? What are the dimensions of the indoor and outdoor units? What is the size of the suction line? The vapor line? The distance between indoor and outdoor units? The wire size? Breaker size? Where does the condensate exit? Do you know internal friction rate of your duct system? What is the latent load requirements of your home?

Ok I could go on, but the idea is there are several things that need to be taken into consideration when selecting a new air conditioner or comfort system. That is why a visit from a trained professional to look over your home is necessary. In the old days it was sometimes acceptable to just put in a box that gives you cool air in the summer and another box that gives your warm air in the winter. With high energy costs and expensive materials, it is more important than ever to have a system that keeps your home comfortable, your energy cost low, and runs reliably for many years. The new way is to give you a customized comfort system, matched to your home and your needs; installed by people who understand the reasons for doing things a certain way.

So, back to my question, how much is an air conditioner? Send us an email or give us a call! (Clay) clay@controltech.biz 317-873-3737

Free Energy!

March 31, 2011

Where would you keep your thermostat if the utility companies decided not to bill you this year?

If you are like me, you’d probably keep it a bit warmer over the winter and a bit cooler over the summer. You and your family might take longer showers. You might get a garage heater, or a snow melt system for the driveway and the porch. You might not be so concerned if the kids leave the lights on or come in and out the door all day.

Have you or anyone you know ever gone on a stay-cation lately due to high gas prices?

Energy cost can have a dramatic effect on our lifestyles and habits. That is one of the great hidden benefits of a high efficient comfort system. Geothermal & solar offer extreme reductions in the amout of energy it takes to heat and cool your home and provide hot water. So extreme in fact that you can change your habits and still see huge reductions in the monthly bills. For the more conventional person, gas furnaces come in efficiencies up to 98%. Compare that to the old 80% furnace in most peoples homes and you can keep it warmer and still save. Heat pumps and air conditioners are the exact same way. You and your family can be more comfortable and keep a bit of your hard earned dollars in your pocket instead of the utility company’s.

 You can also make a difference to the planet. Installing a geothermal system in a 2,000 square foot home is the equivalent of planting about 20 trees per year; reducing your carbon footprint. You might not get a Nobel prize but I think we would all like to be good stewards of our Earth.

Many people will have to replace thier air conditioners this summer due to failure. That is an obvious opportunity to investigate a high efficient comfort system. I will be out there to replace your air conditioner and get you cool, but I will also want to tell you how much more comfortable you can be with a high efficient system. Even if your current system is not that old, you can see how much you’ll save with our new energy savinigs calculator below.