Posts Tagged ‘Air Filtration’

Carollwood HVAC Tip: Seasonal Air Quality Control

Friday, February 17th, 2012

For people who suffer from seasonal allergies in Carollwood, air quality is a key concern. Allergens in the air cause brutal bouts of sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and even sinus headaches. Even taking refuge indoors will often not assuage these symptoms, as indoor air is often comparable to outdoor air in terms of allergens and overall quality.

That is, unless you take care to control the seasonal air quality in your Carollwood home, which can not only help ease the suffering of allergies, but also soothe asthmatics, keep out pollutants and generally promote better overall health.

How do you go about controlling the air quality in your home? To start, try these simple tips:

  1. Vacuum carpets regularly. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and invest in some allergen suppressing bags.
  2. Keep your vents clean. This is also a good maintenance practice to lengthen the life of your ventilation equipment.
  3. Dust hard surfaces and wash bed linens weekly.
  4. Install HEPA filters in your ventilation system, such as in air conditioners or other air handler units. Use a higher rated filter to keep out more allergens and pollutants.
  5. Invest in and use an air purifier. Again, make sure to get one with a HEPA filter.
  6. Have your home tested for radon and carbon monoxide. Have smoke, carbon monoxide and radon detectors working properly at all times.
  7. Keep doors and windows closed tight, especially during allergy season(s).

By taking charge of the air quality in your home, you also take control of a measure of your family’s health. Some of these measures require at least a bit of an investment – for example, higher rated HEPA air filters are often more expensive and need to be changed more frequently – but the benefits to your well being and that of your family are clearly well worth it. If you have any questions about how to improve your indoor air quality, give Air National a call today!

 

Lithia HVAC Question: What Type of Air Cleaner Is Best for People with Pets?

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Lots of people have pets in Lithia, and they are a great addition to your family. However, pet ownership has one very obvious drawback: dander. The fur, dry skin cells and other debris that pets carry around flakes off their bodies and onto your furniture and rugs. The also means they inevitably wind up in your air, recirculated through your whole house via your HVAC system.

Or at least, that’s what happens if you don’t have an air cleaner or some sort of air filtration system. This leads many pet owners to ask, “what is the best air cleaner for me?”

With all the choices in air cleaners, the choice can seem daunting. If the goal is specifically to filter out pet dander, it becomes somewhat easier.

Pet dander is quite large in size relation to other indoor air pollutants, so many air cleaners are equipped to do the job. You can use an air cleaner with a standard pleated HEPA filter, or one that uses electrostatic technology. You will want to make sure that the HEPA filter is rated to handle pet dander. A MERV rating of 8 or more is recommended.

Once you have an air cleaner installed, make sure to change or clean the air filter frequently, in accordance with manufacturer instructions. A clogged air filter won’t help eliminate pet dander from your household air and can actually degrade the operation of your HVAC system’s air handler.

In addition to installing a high quality air cleaner with a HEPA filter, you can also help reduce the amount of pet dander floating around your home by keeping the place clean. Vacuuming often and dusting hard surfaces weekly keeps pet hair and dander from being drawn up into the HVAC system, which reduces wear on the air cleaner.

If you have any questions about getting an indoor air quality system installed in your house, give Air National a call today!

How Indoor Air Quality Controls Can Help People with Asthma: A Tip from Auburndale

Friday, November 4th, 2011

If you, your child or anyone else in your family suffers from asthma, you know that it can be brutal. The shortness of breath, the wheezing, and the chest tightness – it’s not just uncomfortable; it can be downright scary.

There is evidence to suggest that higher quality air can help keep asthma symptoms in check. While you can’t control air quality everywhere you go, you can be in charge of the quality of the air in your Auburndale home. Take a look at how controlling indoor air quality can help ease the suffering of asthma symptoms.

One study at Johns Hopkins found that indoor air pollution plays a large role in increasing asthma symptoms, especially among children. Without getting too technical, essentially the study explains that there are particles in the air we breathe, including indoors. Aside from the standard mixture of oxygen, carbon dioxide and other gases, air contains these solid and liquid particles, which are essentially pollutants. Common household tasks like dusting and cooking can generate more of these particles.

When these particles get into the respiratory system, they can irritate the lungs, which triggers asthma symptoms. Since children spend about 80% of their time indoors, this is a very big deal.

To help this problem, there are ways to control and improve the quality of air in your home. One simple way to do this is to have filters with high minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) ratings in your heating and cooling system. MERV ratings describe how well filters catch particles of certain sizes and keeping them out of the air – and your lungs.

The particles identified in the Hopkins study were as small as 2.5 microns, which would require a filter with a MERV rating of about 12 to catch. Higher MERV ratings mean more efficient filtration, but they need to be replaced more often. If you or child has asthma, it’s worth it.

For severe asthma or allergies, consider even higher-rated filters, like HEPA filters, which sport a MERV of 17 or higher. These will catch nearly all allergens, irritants and other particles that can make you sick.

What Does an Air Handler Do? A Question from Brandon

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Your HVAC system is a complex system filled with vital components tasked with keeping your Brandon home comfortable. One of the most important of those component is the air handler – the device responsible for circulating the heated or cooled air produced by your system through the vents in your home and into each of your rooms.

The air handler is a metal box, usually consisting of a blower and the heating or cooling elements. It might also include dampers and sound attenuators along with an air filtration and humidity control system. The simplest air handlers are designed only to transfer the heated or cooled air to the various parts of your home, while the most advanced devices are designed to perfectly condition and clean that air as it is circulated.

Types of Air Handler

There are a few different types of air handler as well, depending on the size of the HVAC system and the nature of the heating and/or cooling used. Most homes, for example, use terminal units which consist of just an air filter, blower and coil. This very simple system is all you really need to heat and transmit air through your ductwork.

However, for larger systems, there are also makeup air units which use outdoor air instead of recirculated indoor air. There are also packaged and rooftop units which are designed to be placed outside. These devices are most commonly used for commercial applications when space is limited.

How the Air Handler Works

An air handler’s most basic component is a blower fan. This device is run by an AC electric motor and can be either single speed or variable speed depending on the size and scope of your air handler. The dampers on the fan will control the flow rate of the air going through the blower fan. Most residential blowers are part of the air conditioning or furnace system, while commercial systems often have multiple blowers to maintain steady airflow for a larger space.

Because an air handler passes all of the air that will go through your vents, it is the best place to install high quality MERV or HEPA filters to remove pathogens and contaminants. It is also a good place to install humidity control devices to either raise or lower humidity depending on the time of the year.

Your air handler is an incredibly important component in your home heating and cooling system. Without it, all that heated and cooled air you pay for each year wouldn’t reach you. So, make sure to keep your system in tip top condition.

How Often Should I Replace My AC Filter? A Question from Trilby

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Replacing the filters in your ventilation system regularly is an essential part of your Trilby home’s maintenance. It keeps the expensive HVAC machinery running smoothly, saves you money and helps safeguard the health of your loved ones.

How often is often enough to replace your air conditioner filter, though? The short answer is that it depends on your air conditioner, the type of filter and your family’s needs. Below are some guidelines to help you keep it all straight and stay on top of a filter changing schedule.

Rule of Thumb

As a general rule, you should be prepared to change your AC filter every three months when it’s in use. Your filter may require more frequent replacement, which will be discussed in a little more detail below. Although three months is the general rule, you should still inspect your AC filter every month and replace it whenever it’s visibly dirty. That dirt you see not only bogs down the air conditioner, but you may also wind up breathing it in.

More Specifically

There are different kinds of air conditioner filters. Where they vary is in efficiency, which is indicated on a scale called the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating. MERV ratings range from 1 to 16, with higher numbers being more efficient at filtering small particles from the air. The standard for homes has been MERV 10 for a while, but that will soon be changing to a more efficient standard.

Essentially, the higher air quality you want in your home, the higher MERV rating you want on your filter. However, a higher MERV rating also means more frequent replacement and higher cost, so choose a rating that is appropriate for your family’s needs. If there is a history of allergies, or you live in an area with poor air quality, you may want a MERV 14 filter. If not, you may be fine with a MERV 11 or 12.

High efficiency filters may need to be changed as often as every month, whereas less efficient ones will be closer to that three month range. No matter what kind of filter you are using, you will have to change it more often if you live in a particularly dusty area, as well as in the summer months when the AC unit is being used more.

How Do I Reduce Dust in My Home? A Question From Apollo Beach

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Dust is everywhere. There is no way to stop it from occurring, so instead we turn to cleaning and filtration to keep the amount of dust circulating through the air to a minimum. Luckily, there are quite a few things you can do, even without installing new equipment, to reduce dust levels in your Apollo Beach home.

Duct Cleaning

First on the list is regular duct cleaning. You dust your furniture and your floors, so why not clean out your ductwork? Properly cleaned ductwork is very important because of just how much stuff can build up in there over time. Imagine regular air flow in an enclosed space that never gets cleaned. How much dust and debris do you think could build up over the course of a year? Hint: it’s enough to keep a steady flow of dust in your indoor air.

Professional duct cleaning is important and should be done once every year or two depending on how often you use your home comfort system. However, you should also clean in and around the vents and ducts in your home where you can reach. This can be done weekly and will help immensely to reduce dust.

Filtration

Most air filters equipped with high quality HEPA filters work extremely well to remove dust from the air. Because HEPA filters can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns, they won’t just remove dust, but pollen, pet dander and even mold. Mold especially is a problem that occurs in far greater frequency in homes without filtration.

Simple air filtration is an affordable solution to a lot of different contaminants, so it’s a good fit for any home. However, there are more powerful systems as well that will reduce both dust and pathogens like bacteria – these purifiers use ionization to draw particles from the air electronically.

Humidity

Humidity imbalance can cause dust problems as well. Low humidity leads to more dead skin and dust in the house, while high humidity causes the development of dust mites. Properly regulating your humidity to slightly less than 50% will create a perfect environment in which less dust is created and circulated in your home.

The best way to reduce dust is to take a three pronged approach to indoor air quality. Cleanliness is always first on the list, but after that don’t neglect the value of filtration and proper humidity control. When used properly, these three things will ensure dust never bothers you again.

Sick Building Syndrome? Could Your Port Richey House Have It?

Monday, August 8th, 2011

When you buy a Port Richey house, you assume that it’s safe to live in. You assume that the construction is sound and the air quality is good so that you never need to worry about things like excessive illness due to contamination. However, the World Health Organization estimates that nearly 30% of homes built in the 1980s subjected homeowners to Sick Building Syndrome – a situation where indoor air quality causes symptoms and feelings of illness without a clear cause.

That number has dropped in the last 25 years as many homes have been remodeled and retrofitted to stay comfortable year round, but without proper air quality control, a home with poor ventilation and filtration may still be unsafe.

How Do I Know We Have Sick Building Syndrome?

There are quite a few potential symptoms of poor air quality and SBS in your home. Chest tightness and coughing is a primary factor and can lead to fevers and chills. Often, recovery from the illness has nothing to do with your health, but with the conditions of your home – you may not feel better until repairs are completed or you leave the house.

Other symptoms of sick building syndrome include headache, eye and nose irritation, dry skin, nausea and dizziness, fatigue and trouble concentrating. And throughout it all, your doctor likely won’t be able to determine the cause of your discomfort.

What Causes This

The most common reason for sick building syndrome is poor ventilation. In the 1970s, the ventilation requirements for new homes were reduced by 66% to help save energy. However, air quality measures were not included to ensure people stayed healthy. That has since changed as ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers raised the recommendations back to the pre-1973 levels and even increased them in some cases.

There are other things as well you should look out for including indoor chemical exposure to carbon monoxide from exhaust fans, nitrogen dioxide, and formaldehyde. Outdoor sources can make you ill as well. Smoke, exhaust, and various gases from outside your home can enter your indoor air and cause illness to your family if they aren’t properly filtered out.

Finally, there are things like mold, bacteria and pollen which are always issues for indoor air. Proper purification and filtration will help with each of these problems, but only if you monitor and test for them regularly.