Improving the Air Quality in Your Home

Improving the Air Quality | Al's Cooling & Heating

According to the EPA, the air we breathe in our homes is often 2-5 times more polluted than the air outside, and an EPA study has determined that poor indoor air quality is one of the top 5 risks to public health.  But poor indoor air quality shouldn’t have a negative impact on your health.  Below are several quick tips for improving the air quality in your home.

Change your Air Filters

While it is often overlooked by homeowners, changing the air filter in your HVAC system on a regulator basis is the easiest way to improve the overall air quality of your home. The frequency at which you should change your air filter often depends on many factors, such as how often your unit runs, pets, the type of air filter, and the location of the HVAC returns in your house. A good rule of thumb is to change your air filter at least every 3 months and inspect its condition every month. It is also important to use a high-quality pleated filter with an appropriate MERV rating. While glass fiber filters are cheaper, they are not as effective at trapping small particles. The filter MERV rating tells you how effectively your filter traps particles; however, higher MERV ratings aren’t always better, as they can reduce the airflow in your unit. Selecting an air filter in the middle of the MERV range (8-13) is recommended.

Run the blower in your furnace/air-conditioner more frequently

If the blower in your HVAC system isn’t running, then the air filter in your unit cannot effectively clean the air in your home.  Often, homeowners have their system set to only run the blower when the unit is in heating or cooling mode.  New HVAC systems have more efficient DC (direct current) motors that make them less expensive to run than the AC (alternative current) counterparts that are in older HVAC systems.  Additionally, smart thermostats, such as the Ecobee, have minimum hourly fan run settings so that you can circulate air in your home (allowing the filter to work) even when there isn’t a demanded cooling or heating.

Install an air purifier in your HVAC system

While air filters can prevent larger particles from recirculating in a home, only UV-C germicidal light can kill micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria mold, and more. Products, such as the APCO-X, utilize proprietary EverCarbon cells in conjunction with UV-C light to safely reduce odor-causing VOCs and to sterilize biological contaminants, and eliminate mold growth on the air-conditioning coil. Many air purifier technologies create ozone, which is a known lung irritant. Selecting an air purifier that utilizes UV-C light to sterilize, means the product is ozone and chemical-free and is safe for your home.

Monitor Humidity Levels in the Winter

In the winter months, humidity levels in the airdrop, and in turn, so do the humidity levels in your home.  When the humidity in homes falls below 30%, we begin to feel the effects.  Lower humidity levels in the air make your home feel cooler and can lead to dry skin, dry sinuses, or a dry throat.  Using a humidifier will help increase the level of humidity in your home and make you feel more comfortable.  In addition to the health benefits, higher humidity can prevent damage and stress to hardwood floors, ceilings, walls, furniture and art. 

Advances in thermostat technology, have made it easier than ever to precisely control the humidity level in your house. Old humidistats have static humidity settings, and as outside air temperatures fluctuated, you could be left with damaging condensation inside your home. Now, with Smart Thermostats like the Ecobee, the thermostat will automatically adjust humidity levels in your house, relative to changes in outside air temperature, so that you can stay comfortable and prevent damaging condensation in your home.

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