Maryland Homeowners: Your Guide To Cleaning Your Furnace Filter

Whether or not you’re hosting a Ravens Super Bowl party this year (knock on wood), ensure your home’s air quality is in top shape. With the heat cranking this winter in Maryland, it’s especially imperative to clean your furnace filter. This handy element works hard for your heating furnace and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to increase productivity and filter out unwanted debris. Clean and replace your filter regularly to extend the life of your system and reduce energy costs. In winter, they need to be checked monthly and possibly cleaned and replaced. Here’s everything you need to know about how to get it done. The first thing you’ll want to do is turn your HVAC system completely off. Then, locate your service panel. This is typically easily removed by hand but some systems will require a screwdriver. Locate your air filter (it’s near the intake/outtake blower) and check its dust level. Is it hard to see through? If you have a reusable filter, rinse away the dust particles in your sink. If it’s disposable, jot down the size of the filter, toss the old one, and replace it with a fresh product before turning the system back on. If you&#...

California’s horrific wildfires of 2017 and 2018 caught most people off-guard, but they did not surprise

California’s horrific wildfires of 2017 and 2018 caught most people off-guard, but they did not surprise astute observers of state wildfire policy and management. Critics had warned for many years that worsening conditions across the state were increasing the risk of a “perfect storm” of cataclysmic wildfires. The failure to heed those warnings has prompted the Independent Institute to award a group of public agencies—led by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire)—its eighth California Golden Fleece® Award, a dishonor given quarterly to California state or local agencies or government projects that swindle taxpayers or break the public trust. Although Cal Fire has blamed Pacific Gas & Electric Company for causing the state’s deadliest wildfire, we find Cal Fire and other state and federal agencies to be at fault for allowing fuel conditions to persist that enabled so many wildfires to reach epic proportions. Multiple government officials and agencies contributed to the unprecedented destructiveness of the 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons by pursuing, for decades, misguided priorities and perverse incentives. This includes impeding sensible and effe...