Indoor Air Quality: The Truth Behind the Myths

You may have heard of the term indoor air quality, also known as IAQ. It’s a huge factor that affects the overall conduciveness of your home or office to their occupants’ health. While there are many different approaches to improving IAQ, not all of them are equally effective. To get to the best IAQ for your home or office, you need to sift the facts from the myths. Read more

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality in the New Year

Did you know that indoor air can be up to 10 times more polluted than the air outdoors? This is because indoor air isn’t continually ventilated like outdoor air, so airborne pollutants can quickly accumulate and cause big problems for your health. If you want to avoid the health concerns that come along with poor indoor air quality (IAQ), use the tips below to improve your IAQ in the new year.


This Year, Resolve to Improve Your IAQ

If you’re like most people, you probably spend a good amount of time inside your house. Therefore, the quality of your indoor air really matters. Read on to learn how you can improve the quality of your home’s IAQ in 2018.


Improve Home Indoor Air Quality


Need Help Improving Your IAQ?

Call us today! With our IAQ testing services, we check the air in your home to find out what is causing poor indoor air quality. BY eliminating the pollutants at the source and using indoor air quality products, we’ll ensure that your home’s air gets clean and stays clean. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Our Top Tips for Keeping Your Home Comfortable

Do you often find it hard to get comfy? Air Quality Heating and Air Conditioning has been a trusted San Jose HVAC provider since 1999, so we know what it takes to keep your bay area home comfortable. We’ve put together some of our most popular articles on home comfort so that you benefit from what we’ve learned by helping families and individuals stay comfortable over the years.

San Jose Home Comfort Resources

Your home should be an oasis for comfort and safety. Use the resources below to help make your own home safer, healthier and comfier in no time:

Introduction to Carrier: 5 Home Comfort Products from the Experts

Carrier is a leader in heating and cooling systems and products, providing a variety of innovative home comfort solutions to meet every comfort need. This post covers some of the best home comfort products available and how they can help keep your home more comfortable throughout the year. This is a great article for anyone who is contemplating buying a new HVAC system.

Why is Changing My HVAC Air Filter So Important?

Most homeowners know that they should change their air filter when it gets dirty or clogged. However, many still don’t make an effort to keep up with regular HVAC air filter changes. This post goes into a bit more detail about why changing your HVAC filter is an important part of providing a healthy, safe, and comfortable home environment for you and your family.

All About Cor Thermostats

Smart thermostats have revolutionized the way that we think about home comfort. These devices learn your habits and comfort needs and respond by adjusting the temperature and other air quality factors to keep you comfortable. Not to mention, smart thermostats can also help you save more money on energy costs by running your HVAC system more efficiently. This post introduces you to the Cor thermostat from Carrier, an innovative device that will change the way you keep your home comfortable.

Home Humidifiers for Allergy Relief

Now that it’s winter time, you may notice more dry air than usual. Dry air not only affects your skin, but it can also cause breathing problems for those who have asthma or allergies. This post explains how home humidifiers can help those who suffer from allergies find relief. Not sure if this IAQ product is right for you? Read this post, and if you still have questions, give us a call: (408) 899-8878.

What Do UV Lights Really Do for Your Indoor Air Quality?

Did you know that UV lights can help improve your indoor air quality? This is just another air quality product that can help you provide a safer and healthier environment for your family. This post goes into more detail about how UV lights work and the indoor air quality benefits they provide. Read this post to find out if UV lights might be the right IAQ solution for you.

Breathe Easy: 4 DIY Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Humidifiers and UV lights are not the only way to improve your indoor air quality for better home comfort. This post offers 4 simple, do-it-yourself solutions for improving your IAQ and helping you and your family breathe a little easier year-round. This is a must-read for anyone who suffers from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues.

Want more tips for maintaining home comfort? We update our blog on a monthly basis with all kinds of informative content on HVAC, home improvement, comfort tips, indoor air quality, and home maintenance. Be sure to check back here regularly so that you don’t miss the chance to learn more about how to keep your home safe, healthy, and comfortable.

Breathe Easy: 4 DIY Tips to Improve Your Air Quality

Keeping the air inside your home clean and free of allergens is an important part of creating a comfortable home environment and protecting your family’s health. Though you may think that you are safe inside your home from air pollutants like mold, pollen, and chemicals, the truth is that this pollution can make its way into your house and impact your air quality, making allergies and asthma symptoms worse and even leading to respiratory problems.

DIY Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality

The good news is that there are a variety of things that you can do yourself within the home to help improve air quality and breathe easier:

  1. Install a high-quality air filter.

Not all air filters are created equal. Though you do have the option of buying the cheapest HVAC filter available, keep in mind that this may not be the best filter for capturing all of the dust, pollen, and other pollutants that make their way into your home. An electrostatic filter is a bit more expensive, but it works to filter out tiny particles as well as large debris. A high-efficiency HEPA filter is another option for households with infants, elderly family members, people with allergies, and others with compromised immune systems.

  1. Use low-emitting materials in your home.

It’s not just outdoor pollutants that can impact your indoor air quality. The paint, carpet, and furniture in your home can also emit harmful fumes. You can make home improvements yourself using low-emitting materials to decrease the amount of these pollutants in your home. When you re-paint, replace your carpet, or buy new furniture, look for certified products that are made with low-emitting materials.

  1. Keep things clean with natural cleaning products.

Another way to reduce these pollutants in your home is by cleaning regularly. Use a damp cloth or dust mop to dust surfaces throughout your home. Thoroughly vacuum furniture, drapes, rugs, and carpets once a week using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. This helps reduce dust and other allergens. Wash your bedding in hot water and dry thoroughly once a week. Also, if you have pets, make sure that you bathe them regularly to reduce pet dander throughout the home. While cleaning other areas of your home like the kitchen and bathroom, make sure that you are using natural cleaning products that don’t introduce new chemicals into the air.

  1. Purchase an air purifier.

An air purifier helps remove contaminants from the room and can be beneficial for those with asthma or allergies. You can purchase a stand-alone unit to use in your home to help further reduce pollutants and improve indoor air quality. There are also larger units that can be attached to the HVAC unit. You may want to consult with an HVAC professional to see which type of air purifier is right for you.

Your HVAC system plays an important part in maintaining healthy indoor air quality. If the system breaks down or is not running at full capacity, this can impact the air quality inside your home. If you are experiencing issues or just want to make sure that your HVAC unit is running efficiently, give us a call today for a tune-up.

HVAC Review: the Benefits of Variable Speed Technology

Whether the calendar indicates intense August heat or an approaching winter chill, your HVAC system needs to provide as much comfort as possible. It must also work efficiently, saving you the time and money it would take to repair or replace the system. There are several ways to ensure your HVAC system works optimally, and one of the best is the variable speed motor.

What Is A Variable Speed Motor?

As its name implies, a variable speed motor can run at any level between zero RPM and maximum speed. This allows you to heat or cool your home as much as you want, rather than relying on a single speed motor that starts or shuts down arbitrarily. Additionally, variable speed motors have an advantage over multi-speed ones. While multi-speed motors only operate on levels 1, 2, or 3 (low, medium, or high), a variable speed motor will operate to your exact specifications. The speed, temperature, and volume of the air is more dependent on what you want it to be.

Is A Variable Speed Motor Environmentally Friendly?

Yes; in fact, this is one reason variable speed motors are so popular. Despite our four distinct seasons, the weather can change incrementally every day. For example, the calendar might say it’s mid-September, but your house may feel slightly warm. If you run the air conditioning, you’ll only need to remove a small amount of heat from your house. A variable speed motor can remove the heat without wasting electricity and increasing your energy bills.

The circuitry in a variable speed motor is some of the most environmentally friendly available. With a variable speed motor, your HVAC system’s circuit board constantly communicates with compressors, blowers, and coils. Even after the motor is turned off, the circuit board will tell the blower to blow a little more air across your house until every bit of heat or cold has been used. Thus, your house will remain at the perfect temperature for longer. You won’t have to adjust the system as much, thereby saving energy.

How does VST Affect Air Quality?

Air quality is a big concern for most home and business owners. A variable speed motor is more likely to keep your indoor air clean and breathable. The fan on a variable speed motor continually “washes” the air, filtering out allergens like dust or pollen. As long as your HVAC system has a high quality filter, it won’t circulate these harmful substances back into the air.

Additionally, an HVAC system with a variable speed motor is able to clean more cubic feet of air more quickly than many standalone air cleaners. Standalone air cleaners are fine, but some of them only clean about 25-50 cubic feet of air per minute. In contrast, an HVAC system with a variable speed motor could clean about 1200 cubic feet per minute. Even with the motor on low, the air can be cleaned at a rate of 250 cubic feet per minute. That’s more than ten times the capability of some standalone air cleaners.

If you’d like to learn more about the variable speed motor or have other HVAC questions, contact Air Quality Heating and Air Conditioning online or via phone. We look forward to working with you.

What Do UV Lights Really Do for Your Indoor Air Quality?

The sealed indoor environments found in most modern households can easily contain more pollutants than the outside air. If left unchecked, these pollutants — which include mildew, mold and disease-causing viruses and bacteria — can significantly interfere with the health of your household. Fortunately, a newly developed tool, known as germicidal UV light, can help restore your indoor air quality by killing off the most common polluting microorganisms. Let’s look at how this technology works.

What Is UV Light?

UV light is a common term for ultraviolet light. Like the visible light that allows you to see, this type of light comes from the sun and forms part of the electromagnetic spectrum. We can’t see UV light, but we can feel some of its effects. In fact, this is the type of light responsible for giving you a tan (or a sunburn, in cases of overexposure). UV light comes in three subtypes, known as UV-A, UV-B and UV-C.

How Does UV Light Kill Indoor Air Pollutants?

When UV-C light comes into contact with bacteria, mold, viruses, fungi and mildew, it damages the cells inside these microorganisms by interfering with the normal function of their DNA. Basically, the light shuts down the building blocks of DNA and makes it impossible for each individual microorganism to reproduce and multiply.

UV Light and Your HVAC System

Unfortunately, your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system can act as an entry point and breeding ground for microorganisms that circulate in your indoor air. Two main potential problems spots are the evaporator coils that provide cool air and the ducts that carry air to and from the rooms in your home. If you install UV lights or lamps in one or both of these critical areas, you will substantially reduce the odds that mold, bacteria and other unwanted visitors will accumulate indoors in numbers large enough to trigger illness, asthma attacks or allergic reactions.

It’s important to note that HVAC specialists generally classify germicidal UV lights as a secondary line of defense in the ongoing effort to maintain the quality of your indoor air. You still need to keep your heating/cooling system in good working order and regularly change the air filters that form a crucial part of that system. However, UV lights may be the difference between acceptable and unacceptable air quality, especially if you suffer from asthma or allergies.

For more information on germicidal UV lights and other important HVAC-related topics, contact us and keep reading the pages of this blog.

The Basics About Legionnaires’ Disease And HVAC Systems

There is no doubt that HVAC systems bring enormous benefits to homes and buildings across the globe. They not only cool the premises but also help people stay comfortable throughout the day. Their presence enhances productivity and prolongs the life of vital equipment. However, they could also negatively impact air quality if not properly cared for. The health of the occupants may suffer with individuals contracting respiratory diseases. One of the most dangerous is Legionnaires’ Disease.


A Brief History of Legionnaires’ Disease

The bacterium responsible for the disease may have been present for over six decades but it only came to public consciousness in the 1970s when a tragic incident got massive attention. It was 1976 and the American Legion gathered in Philadelphia for their annual convention. Suddenly, 221 of those who attended became sick and doctors could not figure out what was happening. Thirty four of them eventually died which triggered a panic. After the mystery behind the illness was solved, the strain was named after this incident.


Common Signs and Symptoms

Legionnaire’s Disease, also called legionellosis, is a form of pneumonia. Persons who are exposed to the bacteria will experience chills, coughing, high fever, body aches, and a host of other symptoms. As we have seen from the 1976 outbreak, this disease can be fatal and is difficult to cure. The best way to fight it is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The bacterium thrives in warm water that remains stagnant, making cooling towers ideal habitats. They can spread inside an establishment through centralized air conditioning as well as other means.


How the HVAC Industry Can Help

The industry has studied how to prevent a recurrence of the outbreak. Experts have found the weaknesses that made systems of that era vulnerable to the bacterium. Since then, various manufacturers have made changes to their product design and installation protocols. There are also methods of operation and maintenance procedures that help owners avoid this illness from affecting their site. All of these keep people safe from harm.

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Facts You Need To Know About IAQ

Most people are concerned about air pollution, but their concern is typically focused on the burning of fossil fuels, industrial pollutants released into the air and other factors that add to poor outdoor air quality. Very few people actually think about the quality of air in their own home and how poor indoor air quality can affect the health and well-being of their family.

The EPA has ranked indoor air quality as one of the top environmental health risks that people face today. In fact, the EPA has found that indoor pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor levels. Some of the factors that lead to poor indoor air quality include the use of chemicals for cleaning, burning certain types of candles, poor ventilation and using air fresheners in the home.

The number of people being diagnosed with asthma continues to rise. Unfortunately, poor indoor air quality can exacerbate asthma, leading to a decline in quality of life. The elderly are often most vulnerable to respiratory problems caused by poor IAQ because they tend to spend large portions of their day indoors.

Many air fresheners contain a group of noxious chemicals known as phthalates. These chemicals are known to interfere with reproduction, aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions and can even disrupt hormone function in young children. Another common household item that can contribute to poor indoor air quality is the use of candles. Many candles, especially those that are scented and made with paraffin wax, have been shown to contain dangerous toluene and benzene, two known carcinogens.

Indoor air quality can be improved by taking a few simple steps to help purify the air. Proper ventilation is absolutely essential. Additionally, you can purchase furniture and other household items that are organic and not treated with harmful chemicals. When dusting, wipe tables and other items with a damp cloth rather than dry dusting and letting the particles become airborne again. Of course, spending time outside and making sure you get plenty of fresh air can also help limit your exposure to harmful pollutants.

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Should I Be Concerned About Carbon Monoxide In My Home?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, such as coal, gas, oil and wood. It can enter your body when you breathe in air, and it can kill you quickly without warning. Every year in the United States, around 500 people die as a result of accidental CO poisoning, many in their own homes.

CO poisoning is deadly as its signs and symptoms are not always obvious, especially during low-level exposure. The most common symptoms are headache, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath and tiredness, all of which are similar to those of other conditions, including food poisoning and influenza.

The best way to protect against CO poisoning in your home is to be aware of carbon monoxide dangers, and to identify appliances that could emit CO. Most cases of CO poisoning in the home result from improperly installed or poorly ventilated gas appliances and flues, so it is vital to ensure your appliances are installed and regularly serviced by a reputable engineer. If you have a chimney, instruct a licensed chimney sweep to check and sweep it at least once a year. A blocked chimney can cause CO to build up inside your home.

One of the most important ways you can protect yourself against CO poisoning is to install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home. This will provide you with an early warning if there is a CO leak in your home.

If you suspect CO may be escaping from your appliances, or your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, immediately stop using any appliances that use fuel, open all windows and doors to ventilate your home and leave your home immediately. Call the emergency services straight away and do not return home until the emergency services have given you permission. Visit your doctor and inform them that you have been exposed to CO in your home. Prompt medical attention is important, even if you feel well.

The effects of CO poisoning can be devastating but they are easily preventable. By taking some simple precautions, you can avoid falling victim to this silent killer.

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Indoor Air Quality Is Affected By High Winds Across The Country

With homeowners all across the country trying to manage the dirt, dust and allergens kicked up by recent high winds, it is not surprising that HVAC professionals are getting more calls than ever for air conditioning service. Unfortunately, these high winds have left many HVAC systems vulnerable to the dirt and debris, which can be extremely damaging to the internal components of your heating and cooling equipment. As key components are forced to work through the grit and debris that has infiltrated your cooling system, problems can occur resulting in breakdowns that require expensive repairs and possibly the need for equipment replacement.

One of the best ways to handle the damaging effects that these high winds have brought is to ensure your HVAC equipment is properly cleaned and maintained by a professional HVAC technician. Your heating and cooling technician will be able to clean your air conditioner, filter and even internal components in order to ensure it is operating at its peak of efficiency and performance.

In addition to providing maintenance designed to protect your equipment, a professional HVAC technician will also be able to address indoor air quality issues. With the winds causing problems with dirt, dust, pollen and other allergens, there is no doubt that home air quality also suffers. Not only will these airborne irritants get into your home’s heating and cooling systems, but they find their way into the air your family breathes. Unfortunately, these irritants can cause health problems for your family, especially when mold, pollen and other allergens are circulating through your home’s ductwork.

While professional maintenance and HVAC vent cleaning can certainly help prevent problems with your air conditioning system, it is also important to have indoor air quality tested. Cleaning or changing HVAC filters will definitely help keep contaminants from circulating through the air in your home, but there are also other home air quality solutions that can help protect your family from harmful substances, such as an air filtration system. When you want to ensure your family and HVAC equipment are protected from problems caused by high winds, be sure to contact your HVAC professional for HVAC vent cleaning and AC maintenance.