Call Now: 1-800-651-8222

Air Quality

Proper humidity levels keep you healthier and more comfortable

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can do more than heat and cool your home. It can also keep the humidity at a comfortable level in winter and summer. It’s a delicate balance: if it’s too low, you’ll feel the effects of colds, respiratory infections, and asthma more, and some of the furnishings in your home will literally dry out. If it’s too high, you’ll be uncomfortable but mold and mildew will flourish. They love moisture!

Residential HVAC systems balance temperature and humidity. The best person to design a system appropriate for your climate and your comfort needs is a professional ACCA member contractor. He or she understands the science of your home and applies the principles contained in the ACCA design and technical manuals to the design, selection, and installation of an HVAC system that’s right for you.

ACCA manuals are the industry standard, often incorporated into local building codes and endorsed or recommended by the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and equipment manufacturers.

Relatively Speaking …
Relative humidity (RH) is the percent of moisture actually in the air compared to the maximum amount of moisture the air can hold at that temperature. Cold air can hold less moisture than warm air. At 70ºF, air can hold as much as 12 times the amount of moisture as 10ºF air. That’s why it’s usually more humid in the hot summer months.

Winter Humidification
Most heating systems just heat the air, changing the temperature, not the humidity. Cold air is dry, and forced-air systems and heat pumps pull outside air for heating. When 10°F outside air is heated to 70°F, the humidity level in your home will be the same as the outside air’s, around 7%. That’s […]

The Air You Breathe

What’s in your air and what can you do about it

Unfortunately, in today’s world, pollution is everywhere. And with the type of cleaning products, manmade goods, and activities undertaken within homes and buildings, indoor environments can become very uncomfortable. Even “fresh,” outdoor air has as many as 30 million dust or pollutant particles per cubic foot.

There are, however, measures you can take to lessen the effects of these particles in your home. Since the home is essentially an enclosed system, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) contractors are able to tackle pollution head-on by moving the air through a high-efficiency air cleaner.

What does an air cleaner do?
At its most basic level, an air cleaner filters out the particles that cause irritation, such as pollen, spores, dust, and other contaminates. In order for any air cleaner to work correctly, the particles need to pass through it. Hence, if the particles are not in the air stream (for example, they’re dust on furniture), an air cleaner won’t remove them.

However, a good air cleaner will:

Remove allergy-causing particles that pass through it.
Perform well consistently.
Be economical to maintain.
Handle a large volume of air efficiently.

How can an air cleaner help with allergies?
A good air cleaner reduces or removes the irritants that cause allergic symptoms. You may choose a portable air cleaner for smaller spaces or a whole-house air cleaner that works in conjunction with your forced-air system to provide cleaner air throughout your home.

What kinds of residential air cleaners are out there?
There are basically two: furnace-mounted, whole-house units and portable single-room units. Both types of cleaners have different models with varying methods of cleaning the air and capacities for doing so. Your dwelling may help determine the right unit […]

The Truth About Mold

There’s Good Mold and There’s Bad Mold

Molds are the “bleu” in bleu cheese and Roquefort. Molds improve our wine. They produce penicillin and antibiotics and are used widely in the food and beverage industry. Without mold and mold’s decaying mechanism, the natural environment would be overwhelmed with large amounts of dead organic matter.

Despite many harmless and beneficial molds, some molds can be toxic and pose health threats to humans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cautions that all molds can cause health problems under the right conditions. The word “toxic” refers to mold that produces hazardous compounds, or mycotoxins.

Often included in the list of toxic molds is Stachybotrys Chartarum, a greenish-black mold, which can grow on high-cellulose, low-nitrogen materials such as fiberboard, drywall, paper, dust, and lint – all of which are found in homes – when these materials become wet.

There is evidence that mold exposure can cause the following symptoms:

Allergic reactions, including irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat.
Flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and diarrhea.
Worsening of asthma.

How to Minimize Mold Growth
Mold is a natural byproduct of the fungi family that thrives when organic substances and water combine under certain circumstances. Mold reproduces via spores that can remain dormant, yet viable, for years. They “come alive” again in the presence of moisture.

HVACR mechanical systems are not generators of mold; their metallic surfaces do not provide the organic matter mold needs to grow. However, systems that are not well maintained could support mold growth. It’s important that your system:

Is designed and installed correctly.
Is properly and regularly maintained.
Controls the moisture in your building.
Uses good filtration methods to keep your air clean.

Preventing Mold

Consider augmenting your air conditioner with a dehumidifier. These systems pull the moisture from the […]

The average home is up to five times more polluted than the air outside

According to the EPA, the air inside the average home is up to five times more polluted than the air outside. Pollen, dust mites, dirt, and mold spores in your home’s air can cause minor health problems like eye and nose irritation, dizziness, and headaches. Indoor air pollution can also cause more serious problems like respiratory illness, as well as aggravate allergies and asthma. There are three ways you can improve the air quality in your home:

Source Control
You can eliminate many pollutants like dust and pet dander by careful household cleaning. Making sure your heating and air conditioning systems are well-maintained also helps remove pollutants before they reach your home, and cleaning air duct systems may be helpful in keeping your systems maintained.

Improved Ventilation
You can decrease the concentration of indoor pollutants by increasing the quantity of air circulating. Open windows and doors, and use window or attic fans. Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans move indoor pollutants out of the room, and increase the outdoor ventilation rate at the same time.

Air Cleaners
Well-maintained and efficient air cleaners can significantly lower the amount of pollutants in the air. Their usefulness varies considerably, depending on the type of cleaner (table-top models will probably be less effective than a whole-house system), and on the strength of the indoor pollution source.

Contact me to find out which methods are best for your home.