Addicted to Spring Cleaning? We Are Too! 6 Reasons We Just Can’t Stop

Spring cleaning is an excellent way to prepare your home for warmer, sunnier days. Practically everybody is happier in a clean home, as reducing clutter is good for your mind, and eliminating dust and other debris, is good for your respiratory system. Even though Spring cleaning might be a huge project to take on, there are so many reasons ways that this task can benefit you.

Why Spring Cleaning is Important

Not so excited about Spring cleaning? We’ve rounded up our top reasons why spring cleaning is the perfect activity to get hooked on this season. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration to get started after checking out our reasons to get cleaning!

reasons-to-love-spring-cleaning

For more home-related articles, including tips and tricks that will enable you to get the most out of your home’s HVAC system, visit our blog.

How Air Conditioning Negatively Impacts Our Health

It’s no secret that most of us love our air conditioning, but that doesn’t mean these systems are without issue. In fact, there are several problems that have been linked with climate-controlled environments.

The Top 5 Health Issues Caused by Air Conditioning

Consider these five crucial issues that can have negative consequences on your day-to-day health.

  • Fatigue and Illness

Feeling cold can leave you feeling drained. Employees who work in heavily air-conditioned areas are prone to headaches and fatigue. That’s because approximately 80% of our energy goes to our BMR, or basal metabolic rate. This number is a measurement of the calories it takes to maintain body temperature and other bodily functions. The colder you are, the harder your body works to keep your systems running, which can lead to feeling exhausted.

Solution: Adjust the thermostat, if you can. It may feel silly to bring a sweater to the office on an 80-degree day, but if you can’t control the thermostat, bundling up while you are there can keep your temperature at a more normal level. Drinking a hot beverage, such as coffee or tea, can help, too.

  • Dry and Irritated Skin

One reason we love the A/C is because it removes the humidity from the air, but that also means our skin is exposed to less moisture. Spending hours in the air conditioning can cause widespread irritation and flaking, especially in people who already have dry skin.

Solution: Use lotion whenever possible, particularly on problem areas. Consider using a moisturizing body wash, as well, if you spend a significant portion of time in an air-conditioned area. And, for most issues, staying properly hydrated can be extremely beneficial.

  • Enhanced Symptoms of Chronic Illnesses

Spending time in overly air-conditioned environments can be especially taxing for those with chronic illnesses. Many painful symptoms are exacerbated by the cold. Arthritis sufferers, for example, may have more difficulty moving affected joints. This stiffness causes higher levels of discomfort and can make it more difficult to complete everyday tasks. Low blood pressure and neuritis are two other conditions aggravated by cold temperatures.

Solution: Look for warmer areas of the office to do your work, perhaps near windows which would offer more exposure to sun. Try silk undergarments; they offer a layer of warmth without bulk.  

Solution: Keep your AC consistent but not extremely cold. Try to temper yourself into warmer situations whenever possible.

  • Breathing Problems

The blowing air from air conditioners circulate germs and other microorganisms. This kind of contamination can lead to the spread of disease, particularly in office buildings. The constant presence of cold air also may irritate the mucous membrane and cause physical issues with breathing, too.

Solution: Change filters frequently, especially whenever someone has been sick. Keep your environment as clean as possible and have the system serviced regularly to prevent mold.

There are some definite concerns when using an AC system, but common sense and diligence can help you enjoy years of safe climate control. If you need help improving your indoor air quality, contact us today to discuss your IAQ options.

Got Allergies? Change Up Your Indoor Air Quality to Feel Better

When you hear the word “allergies,” you might think about the allergens and air pollution outside that can affect the air quality and impact our health. However, with all of the time that we spend inside our homes, offices, and other buildings, it’s important to also consider your indoor air quality as this can also have a significant impact on allergies.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Though you may not have much control over the air quality outside, you can take measures to better control the air quality in your home to reduce allergens. Here are just a few ways to improve indoor air quality to keep you and your family happy and healthy:

 

Vacuum or mop your floors regularly.

Allergens accumulate over time, so one of the best ways to reduce these irritants and chemicals in your home is by regularly vacuuming and mopping your floors. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and strong suction capabilities to make sure that these pollutants don’t end up getting blown back onto the floor. Also, be sure to vacuum high traffic areas often.

 

Stop outdoor allergens in their tracks.

Use large mats near every door that leads outside to help trap dirt, pesticides, and other allergens that enter your home. This helps keep pollutants from ending up on your floor or in other areas of the house. Wash these mats regularly to help keep your home clean.

 

Change your HVAC filter and clean your vents.

Your HVAC unit’s filter traps dust, dirt, and other irritants. It is important to clean or change these filters regularly to maintain healthy indoor air quality. You should also clean your HVAC unit’s vents regularly to ensure that the system is running smoothly and continuing to protect your indoor air quality.

 

Use natural cleaning products.

In addition to vacuuming and mopping regularly, you also want to make sure that other surfaces of your home where dust can accumulate are kept clean. Using natural cleaning products that are chemical-free help you reduce the toxins from cleaning chemicals which can be harmful to those with weakened immune systems like infants and the elderly.

 

Introduce house plants into your home.

House plants are not just for decorative purposes. Many different types of house plants can help you improve the air quality in your home. Through their normal photosynthesis process, these plants are able to reduce common household toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.

 

Control humidity in your home.

Keep humidity between 30-50% in your home to keep dust mites, mold, and other moisture-loving allergens under control. A dehumidifier can be used to reduce moisture in the air, and running your air conditioner can also help reduce allergens by filtering air from outside.

 

If you have questions about indoor air quality or how you can improve air health in your home, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We can clean your unit and make sure it is running smoothly to help protect you and your family from allergens and other pollutants.

Reducing Indoor Air Pollution Can Improve Your Health

For decades we’ve been hearing about the terrible health problems caused by exposure to air pollution.

But the emphasis has always been on outdoor air pollution, which is a bit shortsighted since most of us spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors. Indoor pollution is just as common as its outdoor counterpart, and under certain circumstances it can be just as hazardous, too.

Indoor pollution is everywhere. But it puts us at risk most frequently in our homes and in the workplace, the two locations where we spend the majority of our time.

Identifying the Causes of Indoor Air Pollution

There are two primary causes of indoor air pollution: poor ventilation and the presence of chemical contaminants or allergens.

Windows and doors are our main sources of ventilation. When they are kept closed most of the time it becomes difficult for air to circulate and excessive accumulation of indoor pollutants may be the result. Airtight insulation layers can also contribute to the problem, even as they help us reduce our heating and cooling bills.

Of course pollutants have to be present to accumulate, and most homes or apartments are chock full of potential sources of aerial contamination. Pet dander, cleaning chemicals, nearby industrial or agricultural operations, old peeling paint, airborne bacteria, mold on the walls, fumes from an adjacent garage, collections of old newspapers or magazines—the list of potential villains goes on and on.

What are the Health Effects?

Some of the potential health effects of compromised indoor air quality include:

  • Asthma attacks
  • Greater vulnerability to colds and the flu
  • Sudden onset of new allergies
  • Itchy eyes, throats or noses
  • Rashes or other types of skin conditions
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Unexplained feelings of fatigue and exhaustion

When these symptoms are experienced by multiple occupants in larger buildings this is often referred to as “Sick Building Syndrome,” or SBS. In some instances SBS has been linked to increased risk for cancer or other serious diseases, although thankfully nothing so extreme occurs in most cases.

Possible Remedies

If ventilation is a problem, the addition of extra windows, wall vents and screen doors can help improve air flow. In some instances home remodeling projects that increase open interior space can change air circulation patterns for the better as well. Fans are always recommended, and ceiling fans and whole-house fans in particular can make an impact when improved air movement is desired.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) monitoring systems are growing increasingly popular among those responsible for controlling air pollution in commercial or public facilities. These ingenious detection systems can identify air contamination problems and even help locate “hot spots” that might be the source of Sick Building Syndrome.

When they’re functioning properly HVAC systems have a constructive role to play in the reduction of interior air pollution. Semiannual maintenance cleanings, regular replacement of air filters (monthly or bimonthly, with filters that have MERV ratings of 11 or better) and the incorporation of a bacteria/mold/fungus-smiting UV lamp can all help reduce indoor air contamination by a fairly significant amount.

Take a Stand Now

Bad indoor air quality is the enemy of good health. All pollution is destructive regardless of where you encounter it, and if your primary sources of exposure are your home or your workplace you and/or your employer should take action to counteract this bleak situation as soon as possible.

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The Basics About Legionnaires’ Disease And HVAC Systems

HVAC systems have long been known to be a major culprit in the spread of Legionnaires’ disease. Anyone working in the HVAC industry should be familiar with this very important topic, and learn what they can do to help prevent this very serious disease.

Legionnaires’ disease, or Legionellosis, is caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophelia. This bacterium is a particular type of pneumonia that can result in people developing coughs, aches, chills, fever, in addition to a variety of other serious symptoms. The L. pneumophelia bacterium has been traced back to the 1960’s; however, in 1976, when 221 attendees at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia became ill, resulting in the death of 34 people, scientists began researching the cause of the disease. Finally, in 1976, the bacterium was identified and named.

Legionnaires’ disease is most commonly found in air conditioning systems and cooling towers, but can also be present in shower heads, hot tubs and other elements. Warm stagnant water in HVAC systems can provide the ideal environment for the bacterium to grow. When central HVAC systems are used, the bacterium is then dispersed into the air. Of course, with the bacterium airborne, people are exposed to it simply by being in the building and breathing the contaminated air.

While Legionnaires’ disease is often effectively treated with antibiotics, up to 30% of the people who contract this disease will die from it. The CDC reports that approximately 18,000 U.S. citizens are hospitalized each year with Legionnaires’ disease. Clearly, the best course of action is to prevent the disease rather than react to the disease once people become sick.

There have been numerous outbreaks of Legionnaire’s disease since 1976 and many of these cases have been traced to an HVAC system. Europe has implemented what they call, “Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L8” as a means of trying to effectively prevent Legionnaire’s disease. It is clear that prevention requires managing all phases of the HVAC system. From initial design and installation to proper operation and routine maintenance, focusing on HVAC systems can help prevent Legionnaire’s disease.

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

People who suffer from allergies and asthma have sealed their homes for years in order to keep outdoor air pollution from contaminating their indoor breathing air. They dust more and keep their windows closed to limit spores and allergens that aggravate their breathing problems. The Environmental Protection Agency has released recent information, though, that informs us that indoor air quality has actually reached higher levels of pollution that outdoor air quality levels.

The amount of fungi, bacteria, viruses, mold and other micro-organisms growing in homes are increasing and their spread is on the rise. This growth results in part from the way today’s houses are insulated to keep air in when they are built and how air flow patterns are created through them. According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, these pollutants in indoor air plus in and on HVAC surfaces such as insulation, ductwork, drain pans, air vents and filters are harmful and pose several health risks for the homes’ inhabitants.

An environmentally safe and friendly solution is available in the form of UV Lights. UV Lights help because they produce ultraviolet radiation that destroys a great many of these air pollutants. Installing germicidal UV lights will break down the RNA and DNA of these micro-organisms, getting rid of them in upper-room air and playing a major role in prevention of secondary allergies. An in-duct ultraviolet germicidal irradiation system that uses short UV waves; or a germicidal ultraviolet air disinfection system using lamps directly shining onto the heat pump or A/C evaporator coils or lamps in the ductwork also kill many of the fungi, mold and viruses where they grow. Painting these surfaces with a catalyst solution that reacts to the ultraviolet rays from the lights converts germs to substances that are harmless. The EPA highly recommends this process because it greatly reduces indoor air pollution.

Because many studies show that germicidal UV Lights are very effective in breaking down polluting organisms in homes, they play a major role in reducing allergy suffering and controlling the micro-organisms that aggravate asthma. Many airborne pollutants and pathogens can be removed by a homeowner’s use of germicidal UV Lights and air disinfection systems to clean up polluted inside air. For more information on how to have the quality of your home’s interior air professionally assessed, call us today and for all your heating and air conditioning needs.

High Winds Across The United States Affecting Indoor Air Quality

A HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) system is an important system that is designed to improve the humidity and air temperature within a room or house. A HVAC system that is properly designed and functioning can provide thermal comfort by distributing adequate amounts of outdoor air to achieve desirable ventilation needs of a home’s occupants.

It helps to isolate and remove contaminants and odors through filtration, pressure control and exhaust fans. However, high winds have been undermining the performance of many AC systems around the country, in turn affecting the indoor air quality. High winds transport dust and debris into homes, through the AC system. With time, the accumulated dust and debris damage the AC system if the problem is not addressed early enough.

IAQ problems
An ineffective HVAC system can promote the growth and spread of micro-organisms, such as thermophilic actinomycetes and Legionella pneumophila. Therefore, it is important to keep the cooling tower clean using a chlorine treatment that can get rid of these health hazards. Indoor air pollutants trigger various reactions among different people, such as headache, shortness of breath, fatigue, sinus congestion, sneezing, cough, nausea, dizziness, skin irritation and eye, nose, and throat irritation.

Leaving mold spores in the AC system can easily compromise the indoor air quality. Therefore, it is advisable for property owners to develop and implement an effective plan that can help prevent the growth of mold in the system. Unfortunately, the majority of home owners seek to destroy mold using biocides, fungicides and cleaners. Such efforts may kill the mold, but not eradicate the problem. Part of an effective AC management plan involves preventing the growth of mold and evaluating the situation by involving professional assistance.

Efforts of cleaning the system
Professional HVAC Vent Cleaning tries to clean dust and debris transmitted by high winds out of HVAC components and machinery, which goes a long way in preventing broken parts and eventual expensive repairs. Rinsing the exterior condenser coil of the system helps to get rid of dust covering the condenser. A dust covering can lower the system’s performance, resulting in the AC running inefficiently.

High-efficiency filters are recommended as a cost-effective measure of improving IAQ, while reducing energy use. Manufacturers’ recommend changing the AC system’s filters at least once every 3 months. However, for areas prone to high winds and dust, filters need to be changed at least once every month. Filters tend to trap more dirt and dust brought about by high winds, which could readily travel into the ductwork and get transmitted into the home. It is also common for filters to get clogged with lots of dust, making it practically impossible for air to pass through. With the absence of a steady flow of clean-filtered air, the HVAC system uses air derived from leaks along the ductwork, coming from a hot, dirty attic.

HVAC system assessment
HVAC system assessment seeks to perform duct cleaning, maintenance and home air quality Testing. When dust storms blow, the dust often enters the attic of the home through the attic vents. The dust eventually gets into the living space through leaks between the attic and the home or through leaks in the AC system’s ductwork. Hiring a licensed HVAC professional can help seal the ducts and ensure the seals do not generate static pressure that damages the system.