Optimize the Air You Breathe at Home This Winter
Will you search for pollutants and mitigate their effects? Is increased ventilation on your radar? Why not just clean and humidify the air?
If you employ all three strategies, you will experience cleaner air during the heating season.
Our heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals at AiRCO Mechanical are ready to improve the indoor air quality inside your Round Rock home. We can pinpoint your needs and recommend an affordable solution that restores comfort to your living space.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are two to five times higher than outdoor concentrations.
Indoor air quality is an important consideration year-round. It becomes even more significant during the winter when cold temperatures curtail outdoor activities and limit our ability to open windows for fresh air. As your heat pump or furnace kicks into high gear, the air feels drier and less comfortable. Pollution from household products, cooking, combustion, and other sources remain in the air.
Controlling the source of contaminants in your Round Rock home starts with you.
Consider the Source
Look around your living space. Have dust bunnies gathered under your bed? Do you notice pet hair clinging to drapes, rugs, and furniture? Has dirt and dust clogged your heating system air filter or covered your air vent grilles? It may be time to roll up your sleeves and tackle a little house cleaning.
Particulate matter, smoke, molds, pet dander, and off-gassing from household cleaners, paints, and other chemicals, can worsen indoor air. Forced-air heating systems can stir up pollutants and even help distribute them throughout your home. Remove the contaminants to clear the air and keep them from entering your lungs and your air ducts.
Here are a few tips to controlling the source of indoor pollution:
- Vacuum heavy-use areas a few times each week, including floors, drapes, lampshades, and furniture.
- Remove clutter to reduce dust.
- Wash bedding weekly to kill dust mites.
- Dust blinds, baseboards, shelves, and tables. Look for cobwebs near ceilings and in corners. Refrigerator coils and ceiling fans are dust magnets too.
- Use welcome mats outside each exterior door and trade your shoes for slippers inside your home.
- Consider moving paints, pesticides, and other chemicals to your garage or shed.
Get Fresh Air
On warm, sunny winter days, you may be able to open windows without losing heat inside your home. If the atmosphere outdoors is smoky or polluted, opening windows will worsen air quality indoors.
A better choice for introducing fresh air into your living space is through a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy-recovery ventilator (ERV). These whole-house systems exhaust stale indoor air and bring fresh outdoor air into your home. They transfer the heat in the exhaust to the incoming air, minimizing energy loss. They also filter the outdoor air before it enters your home.
HRVs and ERVs use a heat exchanger, fan, controls, and ductwork to bring fresh air into your home. An ERV sends some water vapor along with heated exhaust air. Both the heat and moisture transfer to the incoming fresh air, helping to keep the humidity level more consistent indoors. An HRV transfers heat only.
AiRCO Mechanical can help you determine which system works best for your lifestyle and budget. Our expert technicians repair, install and maintain HRVs and ERVs.
Clean and Humidify
Keeping the humidity level between 35 and 50 percent provides the perfect balance of moisture in the air indoors. Lower humidity levels can cause chapped lips, dry skin, nosebleeds, in addition to warping wooden floors and furniture.
At AiRCO Mechanical, we recommend a whole-house humidifier to add moisture to your indoor air. We also work with various manufacturers of whole-house purification and filtering systems that clean your indoor atmosphere. Ask us about adding a Lennox, Reme Halo®, or i-Wave-Rair purification system to reduce allergens, particles, odors, vapors, and germs.