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RISMEDIA, January 5, 2009-American Home Shield, one of the nation’s leading home warranty provider, wants to make sure homeowners take care of their most important investments, their homes. To help get the message out, the company is sponsoring a fun contest to encourage homeowners to share their amusing, clever home maintenance tips.

To participate, contestants can simply create a video, 90 seconds or less, that demonstrates entertaining ideas or tips related to changing furnace filters. Entries can include clever how-to videos or creative recycle/reuse options for our old, dirty filters.

The funnier and more creative, the better, but the video must contain real and useful information, such as:

– Changing air filters regularly helps prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system leading to expensive maintenance and perhaps early system failure.
– A clean, quality air filter can help reduce the amount of pollen, bacteria, pet dander, mold spores and other airborne particles that often cause allergy attacks, eye irritation and discomfort.
– Clean air filters will help remove dust and other particles from the air, resulting in less dust on furniture and indoor surfaces.
– Changing air filters regularly helps reduce the burden on your HVAC system and saves energy.

“One of our most important goals is to help homeowners remember to do the routine maintenance steps that help prevent unexpected and expensive breakdowns in their homes,” said Dave Quandt, senior vice president, American Home Shield. “Home maintenance tips can be a little dry, so we’re trying to make the subject more fun and rewarding.”

A home warranty is a service contract that covers the repair or replacement of many of the most frequently occurring breakdowns of home system components and appliances. More than 1.3 million American homeowners protect their homes with AHS warranties each year.

Deadline for submission is February 17. Winners can receive a year of home warranty coverage or a number of other prizes. For complete contest rules, home maintenance tips and some examples of clever maintenance videos, visit On the site, you’ll also find a 60-second video that AHS created to kick off the contest, featuring an animated, fictional scenario where the President-elect and his wife discuss the need to change the air filters in their new home, the White House.

Top 5 Tips for Chancing Your Air Filter:

1. Look for the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating the next time you buy an air filter. The MERV rating informs you of the efficiency you can expect from your filter. The scale ranges from a MERV 1 to MERV 16 (95%+ ASHRAE filter).
2. The MERV rating tells you in microns what size particles each type of filter can trap. Particles less than 35 microns are not visible to the naked eye. Pollen particles range from 10 to 100 microns in size; dust from 0.5 to 5 microns. Most harmful particles are less than 5 microns in size.
3. Electro-statically charged filters will trap smaller particles that many other types of filters because many of the smallest particles that would otherwise pass through are “magnetically” drawn to the filter.
4. Pleated filters provide greater surface area and therefore can trap more particles than flat filters.
5. Flat polyester or fiberglass filters should be changed every month. Pleated, electro-statically charged filters can be changed less often, perhaps every 2-3 months. As always, consult with your system’s manufacturer for tips and recommendations specific to your model.

For more information, visit