Tag Archives: indoor air quality

Are HVAC and IAQ Connected?

indoor air qualityYour home’s air is full of dust and other contaminants. They get into your home, triggering allergies and asthma. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to mitigate those contaminants, particularly if you’re running your A/C.

Here are a few tips for using your HVAC system to improve indoor air quality.

Change your air filter.

In addition to cooling the air, your HVAC system also filters out dust and other particles before circulating it through your home. Over time, though, the filter becomes clogged. Not only does this prevent it from cleaning your air, it also restricts airflow, wasting energy and wearing out your system. Check your air filter once a month and replace it every three to six months, to keep your air clean and your system working at peak efficiency.

Clean the condenser coil.

Another factor in lowering indoor air quality is humidity. Your HVAC system dehumidifies the air as it cools, but if dirt and grime are allowed to build up on the outdoor unit’s condenser coil, it can interfere with the dehumidifying process. The moisture in the air can then foster mold and bacteria. You can clean your condenser coil yourself using a brush and a hose, or get your HVAC technician to do it during your annual maintenance visit.

Open the windows.

The air in your home is many times more polluted than the air outside. One of the simplest ways of raising your IAQ is to open up the windows and let fresh, clean air into your house, to replace the dirty, polluted air.

Get a high efficiency air purifier.

An ordinary HVAC air filter can remove things like dirt, pollen, and pet dander from the air. A high-efficiency filter can remove much smaller particles, such as cigarette smoke, cooking oil, and even viruses and bacteria. However, for those high efficiency filters to work, you’ll need a dedicated air purifier that’s designed to keep your home clean and contaminant free.

For more tips on improving indoor air quality, contact us at Powers Heating & Air. We’re Peachtree City’s trusted source for quality HVAC solutions.

IAQ Tips for Painting Indoors

iaq concernsA fresh coat of paint can quickly breathe new life into your home’s interior. Make sure you aren’t compromising your health in the process, however. Indoor air quality suffers if you don’t take the right safety steps. Here are ways to diminish IAQ concerns when painting interior surfaces.

Use the Safest Paints

Many types of paint include harmful chemicals, called volatile organic chemicals or VOCs. These can have a direct impact on health.  When painting the interior, only choose paints that are intended for indoor use and, whenever possible, use paints that are labeled no or low VOCs.

Keep in mind, however, that even the safest paints can emit some harmful chemicals during their application and afterward. You can diminish the impact by ventilating your home.

Ventilation

Ventilating the home while painting can be as simple as opening exterior doors and placing a box fan in a window. The goal is to bring in as much fresh air into the home as you can while drawing the harmful elements outside. Make sure you aren’t just recirculating the bad air throughout other rooms in the home. Position the fan to blow air from the work area directly outside.

Keep Children and Pets in a Safer Area

There are many reasons to keep pets and children out of a renovation area, but IAQ concerns are among the biggest. Pets and kids are extra susceptible to health risks from paint fumes. Seal off the work area from the rest of the home by closing interior doors or using plastic sheeting and keep kids and pets out.

Dispose of Paint and Paint-Soaked Materials

Even a little bit of latex paint left in a can or on rags can impact air quality in your home. Contact your local  waste management office to learn how to safely dispose of these items. In most cases, dried latex paint can be disposed of with regular garbage.

For other tips regarding IAQ concerns, please contact us today at Powers Heating & Air. We’ve been serving the Peachtree City area for many years and look forward to helping you.

A Toast to Air Quality: Raising Awareness and Why It’s Important

A Toast to Air Quality: Raising Awareness and Why It's ImportantThe fact that Earth Day closely precedes Air Quality Awareness Week is no surprise. Both are linked by how important air quality is to a healthy planet and home environment. Bad air harms both. In nature, all life pays a price when air quality suffers.

Outdoor Air

Outdoors, the Peachtree City area is plagued with high humidity that makes the hot weather in the summer uncomfortable. As the weather heats up, ozone pollution builds and harms the very young and old. It’s a respiratory irritant and anyone with COPD should avoid exposure to it.

Particulate matter is another pollutant in our air that can have health consequences. Tiny particles can lodge deep into the lungs and over time, cause irritations or trigger more serious diseases.

Indoor Air

Exposure to contaminants inside your home may have a more serious consequence than those outdoors. Besides all these contaminants in the outside air that make their way indoors, you might have a mix of other pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold spores, dust mite waste and pollen.

While you can avoid driving during certain hours when there are pollution advisories, there are things you can do indoors to improve your air quality far beyond Air Quality Awareness Week, like:

  • Change the air filter for your HVAC system and have Powers Heating & Air service it for the summer.
  • Don’t idle your car or gas-powered yard equipment inside if you have an attached garage.
  • Avoid products with VOCS when you can by choosing products low in VOCs or alternatives without any. You can also use them as long as you have enough fresh air ventilation. VOCs come from home improvement and cleaning supplies, anything with perfume like candles, air fresheners and soaps,

When you practice these habits, the health risks they pose diminish. Over time, the amount of pollutants inside your home will fall and your air quality will improve.

Let Air Quality Awareness Week be your springboard to better air quality inside your home. If you’d like more information, contact Powers Heating & Air, providing trusted HVAC services for Peachtree City homeowners.

Homeowners: Learn How Vaping and Electronic Cigarettes Can Affect Your Indoor Air Quality

Homeowners: Learn How Vaping and Electronic Cigarettes Can Affect Your Indoor Air QualityIt’s been long established that smoking indoors quickly degrades indoor air quality, but for now, the research doesn’t indicate that electronic cigarettes have the same ill effects.

What Are E-Cigarettes?

When someone “smokes” these cigarettes, it produces a smoke-like vapor, which is why their use is commonly called vaping. The e-cigarettes use a battery to heat a liquid that contains nicotine to the point where it produces a steam-like vapor. The nicotine inside the cigarette is part of the vaping liquid and it’s part of what users inhale.

Their byproducts have been the subject of a few studies to see what effects they have on air quality. Findings from a study conducted in Maryland that measured the changes in air quality in a crowded, small room without adequate ventilation. The participants were all vaping and the air quality did deteriorate.

The byproducts of vaping include VOCs (volatile organic compounds), nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide, particulate matter and nicotine. Each of these emissions was high enough to affect the health of participants.

A contrasting study conducted in a well-ventilated meeting room in an office building where several participants were vaping found that the air quality did not reach levels considered hazardous to health. The room had adequate ventilation and relatively few people were vaping.

Implications for Your Home

If your home was tightly constructed and has few air leaks, you might want to consider increasing the amount of fresh air ventilation to improve indoor air quality. One of the best ways to do so is to install an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) that pulls in fresh air at the same rate it exhausts stale, contaminated air. ERVs don’t increase cooling and heating costs appreciably because they remove the energy of the outgoing air and put it into the incoming air. You can also prohibit smoking in your home entirely.

Protecting your indoor air quality translates to better health for everyone in your home. The experts at Powers Heating & Air can help you learn more. We provide HVAC services for Peachtree City homeowners.

Sporting Equipment May Raise These IAQ Concerns

Sporting Equipment May Raise These IAQ ConcernsYour home gym gives you a convenient way to exercise and improve your health. To reap the full benefits, you likely took extra care choosing sporting equipment and make the effort to fit in regular workouts. Another priority should be the air quality of your exercise area, because of the adverse effects it can have on health.

Reasons for IAQ Concerns With Home Gyms

IAQ can be a serious issue in home gyms for two main reasons. First, these workout areas are often situated in seldom-used spots where air circulation may not be ideal – like a garage, basement or spare room. Second, during workouts, the body instinctively inhales deeply and more rapidly to draw in sufficient oxygen. When combined, these factors can amplify your exposure to unhealthy contaminants, pollutants and allergens like:

  • Mold and mildew growth that flourishes in warm, humid conditions.
  • Microscopic dust mites that live on shed skin cells.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by rubber equipment components and exercise mats, carpets, and stored items such as cleaning supplies, paints and solvents.
  • Gasoline fumes from equipment and vehicles.
  • Rodent, insect and other types of pest droppings.

How to Boost Your Exercise Room IAQ

If you have concerns about the air quality in your home gym, here are some strategies you can implement to improve it:

  • Wipe down the equipment and vacuum your workout area regularly to help control allergens and contaminants.
  • Invest in a dehumidifier if needed to keep mold and mildew growth in check.
  • Open nearby windows whenever possible to expel stale air and bring in fresher outdoor air.
  • To clear out airborne VOCs, bacteria, mold spores, dust mites and other contaminants year round, consider having an air cleaner unit added to your HVAC.
  • If your gym area is currently situated outside of your home’s conditioned living space, move it inside.
  • Keep your HVAC equipment and ductwork in good condition by scheduling semi-annual maintenance, and change the system’s air filter regularly to promote good air balance and circulation.

For help dealing with IAQ concerns in your Peachtree City home, contact us today at Powers Heating & Air.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.