Preventing Air Pollution in your Home

A lack of proper air exchange can cause the air in your home to be up to five times more polluted than outside air. This can cause increased problems in those with asthma or allergies, and can result other serious health risks. Common sources of home indoor air pollution include:

  • Dust, pet dander, and pollen
  • Excess moisture from bathing and cooking
  • Smoke and fumes from fireplaces, candles, tobacco, and gas appliances
  • Harmful organic compounds released by some cleaners, adhesives, paints, and other products
  • Radon gas that can be emitted naturally by the ground in certain areas

Whole-House Ventilation Systems

One of the biggest trends in creating healthy indoor air is whole-house ventilation. There are two types of whole-house ventilation systems.

Heat Recovery Ventilators: HRV systems remove heat from the inside air before it’s exhausted to the outside, and use it to warm the incoming air.

Energy Recovery Ventilators: ERV systems manage both heat loss and the humidity in the air. An ERV system transfers some of the moisture in the humid air stream to the dryer air stream to recover the energy trapped in the moisture.

The bathroom is the biggest source of moisture in the home. The best line of defense against moisture in the bathroom is a quality vent fan. Install one in each bathroom; and use them during and for 15-20 minutes after bathing to remove excess moisture that can cause mold and mildew.

Also remember to change the air filter every one to three months. Install a high-quality air filter on your central heating/cooling system and replace it every one to three months to keep the system operating efficiently. Replace the air filter on your vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, which captures much finer particles than standard vacuum cleaner filters. Another option is to install a central vacuum system that exhausts the air outside your home. Use only cleaners, paints, adhesives, and building materials that are low in VOCs or contain no VOCs. Make sure new cabinets, furniture, and building materials such as plywood, particle board, and oriented strand board used in your home are not made with adhesives that contain formaldehyde. Some houseplants have been shown to actually absorb harmful VOCs from the air. Plants that provided the most benefit include philodendron, peace lily, snake plant, dracaena, and bamboo palm. If you ever notice an issue with the air in your home, make sure to contact us and we can inspect it for you.

 

Why Regular Inspections are Needed

 

The exterior condenser unit is the large box located on the side of the building that is designed to push heat from the inside of the building to the outdoors. Inside of the box are coils of pipe that are surrounded by thousands of thin metal “fins” that allow the coils more surface area to exchange heat.

  • Remove any leaves, spider webs and other debris from the unit’s exterior. Trim foliage back several feet from the unit to ensure proper air flow.
  • Remove the cover grille to clean any debris from the unit’s interior. A garden hose can be helpful for this task.
  • Straighten any bent fins with a tool called a fin comb.
  • Clean the evaporator coil and condenser coil at least once a year.  When they collect dirt, they may not function properly.

Condensate drain lines collect condensed water and drain it away from the unit.  They are located on the side of the inside fan unit.

  • Inspect the drain line for obstructions, such as algae and debris. If the line becomes blocked, water will back up into the drain pan and overflow, potentially causing a safety hazard or water damage to your home.
  • Make sure the hoses are secured and fit properly.

 

Air filters remove pollen, dust and other particles that would otherwise circulate indoors. Most filters are typically rectangular in shape and about 20 inches by 16 inches, and about 1 inch thick. They slide into the main ductwork near the inside fan unit. The filter should be periodically washed or replaced, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. A dirty air filter will not only degrade indoor air quality, but it will also strain the motor to work harder to move air through it, increasing energy costs and reducing energy efficiency. The filter should be replaced monthly during heavy use during the cooling seasons. You may need to change the filter more often if the air conditioner is in constant use, if building occupants have respiratory problems, if  you have pets with fur, or if dusty conditions are present.

 

 

 

Why Changing the Filter is Important

There are a number of different types of filters available on the market, each offering different benefits, but the fact remains that all types of filters need to checked, maintained and changed in order to function properly and safely.

First of all, a clogged air filter can cause extensive damage to your system. If you check your air filter’s condition regularly, you ensure the longevity of your system, saving yourself thousands in possible repair and replacement costs. Dirt and neglect are one of the leading causes of heating and cooling systems failing, yet such failure is completely avoidable.

Changing the air filter in your system ensures cleaner, fresher, healthier air. This is better for everyone in your home, particularly children and the elderly, and most especially for those suffering from allergies or asthma. A clean air filter means you are not constantly circulating dust, dust mites, pollen and other small particles in the air. Instead, your system will be able to purify the air, leaving it clean and healthy.

Besides protecting the HVAC system from unnecessary damage, cleaning out or changing a clogged air filter will also save you a significant amount on operating costs. In simplest terms, a dirty air filter uses much more energy than a new, clean air filter, which means a much higher electricity bill for you. You can, by keeping your air filter clean and in good condition, save up to 15% on utility costs.

An air filter that is clogged means a harder working HVAC system, thus it also means a lot of carbon monoxide and other greenhouse gasses by extension being released. Something as simple as changing an air filter regularly can go a long way in making a difference. If you need to know how often to change the filter, make sure to contact us and we can advise you on a schedule that is beneficial for you and your home.

Improve the Air in your Home

 

If you think of pollution as something that happens outside, you might be surprised to learn that indoor air pollution can actually be worse than the grime and smog that occurs outdoors. In fact, those same energy-efficient, wonderfully-sealed windows that help keep pollutants out also help keep pollutants in. Dust mites, pet dander, chemicals from fragrances and cleaners, even chemicals from new paint, furniture and carpets can all accumulate to become harmful to your health, especially if you suffer from respiratory issues or allergies.

Warmer months bring higher humidity, and while we may go to great lengths to increase humidity during winter, too much humidity is bad for your health, too. Excess moisture in the air can lead to mold, which is a hazard even to the healthiest among us. For the very young or old, for those with compromised respiratory systems or illnesses, and for those who suffer allergies, mold can lead to serious respiratory complications. Increased moisture leads to an increase in bacteria, and it can also lead to the growth of dust mites.

If you have pets, summer is the time of year you probably find yourself following your four-legged friends around with a vacuum cleaner. During warmer months, pets shed more profusely, leading to an increase in airborne allergens like dander.

It’s a good idea to follow some simple precautions to keep air free of excessive pollutants, like making sure you keep pets groomed, vacuum often, and be sure to change the filters on your HVAC system regularly. You can also take advantage of HVAC technology to substantially reduce particles that contribute to indoor air pollution, respiratory problems and allergies, including UV lights and air purification systems.

The challenge inherent in air conditioning units is that the coil is perpetually wet, which can make it a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. To combat this, you can have UV lights installed inside your ductwork, the purpose of which is to disrupt the damp, dark environment loved by mold and bacteria. The UV rays also damage the physical structure of biological pollutants, preventing them from growing and multiplying, which is why hospitals use UV light to protect against infectious diseases. Another option is to use an air purification system, which will reduce airborne mold and bacteria particles. A good air purifier can eliminate as much as 99% of these harmful particles.

Some air purification systems use electrostatic precipitators to put an electrical charge on particles that are then trapped on collector plates that act as magnets. This works well for odors, too, because it can trap smoke particles that can pass through media filters. If you have any questions about your current HVAC system, or a new one, make sure to contact us.

Improving the Air in your Home

 

When you are indoors, you will want the air to be the best quality possible. Air that has been filtered in some way has been proven to be healthier for people who breathe it. A variety of respiratory illness symptoms have been directly linked to the quality of air breathed by the victim. An air filter is specifically designed to filter incoming air and trap many harmful known airborne substances. An individual who suffers from asthma, hay fever, and allergies find that using a special filter helps to relieve some of their breathing problems. There are numerous harmful particles that float around aimlessly in air, a filter added to an air handling system helps to trap these particles and prevents them from being breathed in. Adding an air purification device to boost the benefits of an air filter helps keep most of the air safe to breathe.

Many people have discovered that using air cleaners in addition to specialty filters in their air handlers provides an even higher quality of air. There are two types of air cleaners on the market today; one is known as an electrostatic precipitator and the other an ionizer. Both of these air cleaning devices make a great addition to the use of a HEPA filter in an air unit and have been known to provide tremendous results.

An electrostatic type of cleaner pulls air into its system and charges particles with either a negative or positive charge. The air is then passed through to a set of plates that hold an opposite charge and trap the particles by attracting them to the plates where they get stuck. An ionizing air cleaner basically does the same type of charging process, however charged particles are released into the air with the electronic charge and they become attracted to surfaces and stick to them. Generally the charged particles will fall to the floor or become attached to fabric surfaces such as curtains. Both types of cleaners have been proven to be extremely efficient at providing cleaner air for breathing.

People who suffer from breathing conditions such as COPD, emphysema, asthma, and other breathing conditions benefit the greatest from air purifying devices. These devices are designed to trap the very particles that irritate breathing conditions. Many people who have tried an air cleaning device experience far less breathing symptoms and find that their overall health can improve as a result. It is important to keep an air purifier clean for maximum results. In addition to keeping air purifying devices clean it is equally important to vacuum and dust on a regular basis as well. People with breathing problems that use air cleaners to clean the air in their home have a wide array of brands to choose from. If you are not sure which one is right for you, make sure to contact us.

Remembering to Clean the Filter for your Air Conditioner

 

The air filter’s job is to keep dust and debris out of your HVAC equipment. You would be amazed how much builds up on there in a very short time. Just think about the air quality outside, and the dust that you pick up every day. Imagine how much grime would accumulate if you did not clean for a month. That is how much debris is clogging your air filter, and much more if you have not remembered to change the filter in a while.

 

 

When the filter gets clogged, dust and dirt start getting into the air conditioner itself, causing wear and tear on the parts. This can mean even more wear and tear on the parts, the sooner they wear out and you are dealing with a breakdown. The clogged filter also prevents enough air from flowing through the system to keep it working properly.

 

 

According to research, you should check and change the filter every month during peak season. Make sure to check the filter so it is not clogged with dirt. If you do notice that filter is clogged, or if the HVAC system is not working efficiently, make sure to contact us so we can inspect it for you.

 

Improve the Air in Your Home with a Clean Filter

 

It is important to have the best quality in your home. This will help the overall health and breathing of you and your family. Many people seem to assume that air pollution is a problem that only happens outside. Oftentimes the indoor air quality can actually be worse than outdoor air quality due to improper ventilation.

 

 

One factor that impacts the quality of indoor air is the cleanliness of the ductwork through which it must pass. Duct cleaning is not something most people do as a normal part of their regular household chores. If you want to help your health, make sure to periodically have the ductwork cleaned professionally.

Additionally, some houseplants can help improve indoor air quality. Any plants will help by giving off oxygen, but some plants do far more by also absorbing high levels of pollutants. Aloe Vera is one of the top five household plants for cleaning the air. Since it is a desert plant, it requires relatively little water or other attention, making it an excellent choice for anyone whose primary goal in purchasing a plant is to clean the air.

 

Make sure inspect the filter regularly. Filters are designed to capture dust and other pollutants that might be in the air of your home. Overtime, the filters will become clogged with this. If you are not sure how often to clean or replace your filter, make sure to contact us, and we can advise you of the correct schedule. This can help to keep the air in your home the best it can be.

 

Fall Maintenance Tips for the HVAC System

Fall Maintenance

 

Now is the best time to get your HVAC unit ready for winter. It is recommended to contact us so we can inspect the system for you. This way you can ensure the parts are working efficiently and at top performance levels. These can include the filter, ductwork, thermostat, as well as the furnace unit itself.

Replacing the Filter

After a long, hot season, all that wear and tear leads to dirty air filters as well as worn belts and pulleys. Leaving them in this condition all winter is dangerous. Dirty filters can introduce contaminants to your system. And worn belts and pulleys can break when you start your system again and cause further damage.

Check the Coils

Lines and coils are clogged with debris or coated with moisture and dust, which decreases the efficiency of your unit and can even lead to a breakdown. It will be harder to remove the grime by spring, so it is recommended to clean it now.

Clean the Ductwork

If the ductwork is dirty, you could be contaminating your home throughout the winter. If you can see dirt and dust, there will probably more further down the ductwork. If it is clogged with dirt and dust, it will not operate efficiently. Make sure to contact us and we can inspect the ductwork for your home.

Protect the Outdoor unit

It is important to cover any outdoor or rooftop units when they are not in use. This will protect them from the harsh elements. But make sure you do not wrap it completely air-tight. The moisture that is trapped inside the unit will cause rust and corrosion with time. It is better to use a cover designed for your air conditioner, which keeps out the rain, snow, and nesting pests, but also allows moisture to escape.

If you notice something out of the norm with your HVAC unit, make sure to contact us. We can inspect the HVAC system for you. We can also properly clean and maintain all the components, and also spot looming problems before they cause breakdowns. We can also recommend improvements that will make your system run more efficiently, reducing energy costs, and keeping your tenants or employees comfortable all year long.

 

Tips to Improve your Air Quality

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Overall, you will spend a majority of time in your home. This makes sense then that you will want the air quality to be the best it possible can be. Having good, clean, quality air circulating in your home can help improve the health of those in it.

 

Since there are contaminants and pollutants swirling around the atmosphere that can cause allergies and respiratory conditions, it is important to have one or more preventive tools in your home. By doing so, you can help improve the indoor air quality.

 

The first thing is to make sure the ductwork is clean. Dust particles tend to accumulate over time in your duct system. We recommend having the ductwork inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. This can help ensure that the indoor air quality being distributed through your home is in the best condition possible.

You might also want to invest in a dehumidifier. Densely humid air can also cause breathing problems. Dehumidifiers can help to remove excess moisture in the air and improve your breathing within minutes. If you are not sure what type of dehumidifier to purchase, make sure to contact us and we can advise you on the correct one for you home and lifestyle.

Knowing if your Air Conditioner is Efficient

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If you are looking to get a new air conditioner for your home, it is extremely important to choose a room air conditioner of proper cooling capacity. A unit with too much cooling capacity will be inefficient and expensive to operate. A unit that is too small will not do a satisfactory job. To determine the best sized air conditioner for your room, make sure to contact us.

 

There is also a close relationship between cooling capacity and dehumidifying the air. An oversized unit will quickly cool the air without remaining in operation long enough to dehumidify it, and a cold, clammy feeling will result. After determining the size unit needed, consider its operating efficiency. An efficient room air conditioner uses less electricity, so it costs less to operate.

 

You can help keep your home cool during the summer by following a few tips. You can use the fan setting to increase the circulation in your home, rather than using the cooling option. Even though air conditioners can also dehumidify, having a dehumidifier in the basement can prevent excess moisture from going through the home.

 

It is also important to check and change the filters on the air conditioner. The filters are needed because they will help remove dirt and dust from the air in your home. Having a clean air filter will help improve the air flow for the unit. If you notice that the air conditioner is no longer efficient, make sure to contact us.