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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Your home’s heating and air conditioning air filter has two primary jobs. The first job is to remove particles and contaminates from the air. The second job is to act as a barrier that prevents particles from getting into your HVAC system’s motors, fans or coils. If your air filter isn’t able to do these jobs effectively, your health and your HVAC may system can both suffer.
If you go too long without changing your air filter, it will become much less efficient at trapping particles from the air and allow more contaminants to seep through its barrier into your HVAC system. Furthermore, a dirty filter will impede the air flowing through your system and force it to use more energy to heat or cool your home.
Dirty Filters Can Damage Your Health and Your HVAC System
When your air filter stops trapping contaminants from the air, your indoor air quality (IAQ) will suffer. Poor IAQ is linked to various health problems ranging from the minor discomfort of headaches and sinus irritation to debilitating illnesses like respiratory or cardiac disease.
The consequences for your HVAC system can also be serious. As dirt builds up on your air filter, your system’s efficiency may drop by as much as 15 percent. As a result, your energy use will increase and your energy bills will start to rise. Dirt will also begin to infiltrate your equipment, which can lead to damage in addition to affecting your system’s efficiency. Replacing an air filter is quick, easy and inexpensive, but replacing another part of your HVAC system can be a costly headache.
In general, you should change your system’s air filter every three to four months. Depending on your system, your air quality and your choice of filter, you may need to change it even more frequently to ensure the best performance.
Efficiency Vs. Air Flow
In addition to changing your air filter regularly, it’s also worthwhile to consider your choice of air filter carefully. You want your filter to strike a good balance between trapping as many particles as possible and allowing air to flow smoothly. Air filters that present a stronger barrier for contaminants are also more likely to slow your air flow, while filters that promote air flow may only trap large particles and allow small irritants to pass through.
Cost is also a factor in choosing an air filter. Expensive options are more likely to achieve good efficiency and air flow, while affordable options are more likely to compromise one or the other. Ultimately, no single filter will be the right choice for every home and every system. Don’t be afraid to experiment with several filters until you find the one that works best for you.
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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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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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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.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, most Americans spend as much as 90% of their time indoors. However, the air indoors can have up to five times more pollutants in comparison to the air outdoors. Of course, the former can be a great health hazard. The good news is it is not exactly difficult to improve indoor air quality. Here are some simple ways to achieve that goal.
Clean Dehumidifiers and Air Conditioners
Most houses in the US have air conditioners and dehumidifies. Over time, dust particles and other air contaminants will clog them and consequently compromise the quality of air you breathe. For adults and children allergic to dust, fresh air indoors can make a huge difference. Hire a professional HVAC technician to clean your air conditioners and humidifiers regularly.
During the summer, it is wise to open the windows to let fresh air circulate in your home. This will also help control humidity. Take note high levels of humidity tend to encourage mold growth as well as increase dampness. Once again, this can cause health problems such as wheezing and asthma attacks. To be on the safe side, keep the level of humidity inside your home between 30 and 50%.
Keep your Home Clean
Dust, pollen, pet dander, and dust mites can accumulate indoors on the surface of carpets and household furniture. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to keep your carpets and floors clean at all times. After that, use a mop to clear any dust particles that your vacuum machine might have left behind.
Do not Smoke Indoors
Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals according to the CDC. Out of these, 70 can cause cancer as well as reduce the quality of air indoors. If you have to smoke, do so outdoors. It is advisable to install air cleaners to get rid of chemical pollutants that might their way into your home. Other ways of minimizing the number of chemical pollutants indoors is by avoiding the use of solvent-based cleaners, wood burning stoves that produce carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, as well as never disturbing asbestos.
All said, whether you spend most of your time at home or at work, the quality of air you breathe can make the difference between good and ill health. Some of the steps that you can take to improve it include keeping your home clean, installing ventilators, and smoking outdoors.