When you took that big step and became home-owners you probably thought a lot about all the decorations you would add to the house to make it feel like home, the bbq’s you would host in the backyard, the birthday parties you’d plan, and the memories you’d make in the process. You probably didn’t think much about maintenance or your heating and air conditioning unit. However, over time, you’ve probably realized that they require a lot of attention. Your home’s air quality is directly affected by your heating and air conditioning unit. This becomes a problem when mold and bacteria start to form, blow into your home, and get inhaled into your lungs.
How Can You Improve Air Quality?
First things first, you always want to keep your heating and air condition unit properly cleaned and maintained. This will drastically help keep your air safe. But there are products you can add to ensure your home has the best air quality possible.
When it comes to Indoor air quality improvement, air purifiers are the best product you can buy. If you suffer from allergies or get frequent colds, an air purifier will help you breathe easier and sleep better. High-quality, in home air purification systems, kill up to 99% of germs, pollen, and mold captured. It also fights hard, and effectively, against many common pathogens. Installing an air purifier gives you peace of mind and the freedom to breathe deep, knowing that the air you breath is clean.
The thought of mold and bacteria growing on your air conditioning and heating unit, becoming airborne, and filling your house is unnerving. And while keeping your unit clean and installing an air purifier will definitely help eliminate that danger, going a step further isn’t a bad idea. UV lamps were designed to successfully prevent the growth of mold and bacteria in your home. If there is any mold or bacteria growing on or around your AC coil, the UV lamp will kill it, keeping you safe from any exposure.
We often think of air pollution as something that only occurs outside. If you’re like many people, you haven’t given much thought to the air quality inside your home. However, indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Follow these tips for indoor air quality improvement in your home.
Clean or Replace Air Filters Regularly
It’s important to use high-quality filters and to change them regularly. The air filter keeps the air cleaner, and keeps debris and dust out of the air ducts, and traps dust and allergens before they escape into the air that circulates in your house. Dirt and debris build up in the filters over time. Clean or change the filters every month that your HVAC system is in use. Not only do they keep the air your breath fresher and cleaner, but they also help eliminate the “dust smell” in your home.
Keep Your Floors Clean
Vacuum your floors at least once a week. Choose a vacuum cleaner that has strong suction, rotating brushes, and a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which captures allergens like dust mites or pet dander.
Mop your floors to pick up dust left behind by vacuuming. Select a reusable microfiber dust mop, which picks up more dirt and dust than a traditional mop.
Place a doormat at every entrance to your home. Consider asking visitors to remove their shoes when they enter, to minimize dirt and dust tracked in from outside.
Use Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
Many air fresheners, laundry products, or household cleaners contain synthetic fragrances, which emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. Such chemicals are rarely listed on the product label. Minimize the use of harsh cleaning products. Make your own cleaners, or purchase cleaning products without artificial fragrances.
Avoid Smoking Indoors
The smoke from cigarettes contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes a number of health problems. Ask smokers in your household to smoke outdoors.
Adjust the Humidity
Mold and dust mites flourish in high humidity. Have your HVAC system checked to ensure that it’s dehumidifying properly. Consider upgrading to a separate, whole-home dehumidifier.
Is your Air Conditioner Contaminating your Home?
If your home has central air conditioning or is heated, then you have air ducts and equipment that needs to be maintained. The ducts carry the air throughout your home and help you maintain a consistent, comfortable temperature. Your heating and air-conditioning systems constantly circulate air throughout your home. If your ducts are dirty or dusty, then your interior air quality could suffer. Dirty household air ducts or an unclean unit could contain allergens, mold and other contaminants; regular cleaning can prevent health issues from these harmful substances.
Your Air Conditioner Impacts your Air Quality
If you’ve never had your air conditioner checked by a pro – or it’s been so long that you can’t remember, that A/C could be contaminating your home. Over time, your air ducts can be compromised by dust, dirt, mold and other allergens. Family members who smoke indoors and even the family pet can contribute to air quality issues. Keeping your system in good repair results in indoor air quality improvement in a variety of ways:
- Fewer contaminants and even mold spores circulating through your home
- Less risk of asthma and allergy symptoms related to poor air quality
- Lowered system efficiency, making your home less eco-friendly and increasing your carbon footprint.
- Higher energy costs due to a less efficient HVAC system
Is it time for an Air Conditioner and Ductwork Checkup? Should your system be seen by a pro? The following signs should trigger a visit by a professional who can clean your system and ensure that it is operating at peak efficiency. Call us if you see:
- Increase in your energy bills
- Air conditioner is always running, but the home never seems cool
- Increase in allergy or asthma symptoms
- Mold, pet hair or dirt visible in filters or on system
- Sour or musty odors when the air conditioner is used (this could indicate excessive moisture in the system)
Regular maintenance and cleaning can extend the life of your system, lower your bills and even help you with some common indoor air related health complaints. If you are worried about your air quality and are ready to have your system diagnosed by a professional, we can help.
Is Your Indoor Air Quality Making You Sick?
Are you constantly coughing and sneezing, or suffering from dryness and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat? Do you wake up feeling exhausted? Do you attribute your symptoms to allergies? Did you know all of these signs can indicate poor indoor air quality in your home? You can have a simple diagnostic test of the air quality in your home or workplace, and we can help you choose the right products to install to make your home healthier.
According to William J. Calhoun, MD and professor of medicine at University of Texas, “Indoor air quality can be worse than outdoor air quality in almost every case,” he states in an article about air quality on Web MD. Even the cleanest home can be full of fumes from gas-fired appliances, allergens from pets, or dust mites, Dr. Calhoun states. It’s better to have the air quality checked than suffer the ill effects of polluted indoor air.
The use of an air purifier filter or UV lamp can greatly improve the indoor air quality of your home or workplace, making it a more peaceful and healthy environment for your whole family.
We can install an Air Purifier that will inactivate up to 99% of pathogens captured. Our top of the line Air Purifier is effective against 13 pathogens including influenza, the common cold, measles, and more. It can be retro-fitted into nearly any existing ductwork.
A UV lamp fights hard against mold and bacteria, minimizing the chance of dangerous spores lurking in your home. It operates silently, and our Carrier UV lamps come with a 10 year warranty. It’s a simple way to eliminate the chance of bacteria growth on your air conditioning unit.
The Importance of Indoor Air Quality Improvement
Considering indoor air is between two and five times more polluted than outdoor air, you can understand the importance of indoor air quality improvement. Since you probably spend at least 90% of your time indoors (sleeping, working, going to school), this should greatly concern you. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) believes 72% of chemical exposure occurs in your home, which is probably the area you think is the safest, but which is in fact, the most hazardous.
What makes your indoor air so unhealthy? There are several things including:
- Chemicals used in furnishings, building materials and cleaning products.
- Mold caused by moisture problems emits particulates causing negative health effects. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to eliminate mold spores. All you can do is reduce them by promptly repairing moisture problems before mold develops.
- Particulates emitted from various products in your home (e.g. furnishings, building materials, various other home and office products, dirt, dust) trigger allergies and respiratory issues. This is why you want welcome mats in place and you also want to change your air filters regularly.
- Poor ventilation is found in most of the buildings people spend most of their time in. While these buildings are tightly sealed and insulated to keep outdoor air from getting in, indoor air is continually recirculated. This is a great way to lower your energy costs, but it has a negative effect on your air quality.
Save the Environment and Your Health
As a result of recent health and safety research, people are now more aware how important indoor air quality improvement is for their well-being. Advances in technology have brought about several new products which make the air we breathe much safer and healthier. Before modern times, we didn’t even know that air-borne bacteria were a threat to our health. Now, bacteria and viruses are a well-known issue; and it is even standard for places such as hospitals to install air purification systems in their HVAC units to combat these invisible pathogens.
Upgrade Your Air Filter
The most basic way to improve your indoor air quality is to install a better air filtering system. There are two new products that can do this. One is a media filter, and the other is an electrostatic air filter. A media filter is a highly efficient woven fiber filter that is generally between three to five inches thick. It’s meant to replace all of the one-inch filters throughout the home, and is only changed once or twice a year. An electrostatic filter is washable, and uses electric current and static electricity to catch microscopic particles and forms of bacteria as air passes through it.
Replace Your Ductwork
A duct network is highly susceptible to dust accumulation as well as microorganisms, especially the old fiberglass box-type ducts. Whatever particles may have gotten through your old air filters are now clinging to the inside of the duct system. Really, the only way to completely clean it is to replace it altogether. You can even ask your technician to install one of the new eco-friendly ductwork systems. These ducts are even more efficient at trapping the temperature inside them, preventing heat from leaking in or out of them, ultimately saving you money on your utility bill and reducing your carbon footprint.
Consider Ultraviolet Devices
Hospitals have used UV-C Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation for decades. Now, a form of this technology is cost-efficient enough for residential use. So what is it? Basically, UV-C is a spectrum of light that kills microorganisms. In the HVAC industry, a technician installs one or several bulbs emitting ultraviolet light on the inside of the air handling unit to prevent the growth and spread of harmful viruses and bacteria. There is even a model that goes inside the ductwork to constantly purify and sanitize the air.
If you or anyone in your home suffer from allergies, stuffy nose, or asthma, these could be symptoms of poor indoor air quality in the home.