In High School, my parents wanted me to get a part time job to help pay my own car insurance.  In the Spring, I was lucky to find one with night and weekend hours at the hardware store in town. I have to admit, I didn’t know the difference between a screwdriver or a monkey wrench when I started but over time I learned. I would listen closely to the other sales associates when they spoke to customers and gave them advice on projects they were working on. We had always lived in a rented place so my parents never did any sort of repairs, they just called the landlord and things got fixed.  I was amazed at the number of regular people who did basic household repairs themselves. We even had an older woman come in for a new circular saw because she was building shelves for her living room. Looking back, I think the most valuable lesson I learned while I worked there was the difference between air filters from HVAC units. When we were setting the display for the filters one day I noticed something on the tags that really confused me. Each filter had a MERV rating. This stands for the Minimum Efficiency Rating Value.  It is important because this rating lets the consumer know what level of filtration to expect from the filter they are buying. If you purchase a filter with a lower rating, dust particles, pet dander, and other allergens may not be removed as you would like. I also found that the higher the MERV rating, the more expensive the filters seemed to be. A HEPA filter is more costly than a standard fiberglass one. If you are a person who suffers from allergies, it is well worth purchasing a higher grade filter. I have carried this knowledge with me all these years and always install the highest quality filter in my own HVAC unit to this day.

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