Indoor Air Quality
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Cleaning up your home for spring is an excellent way to get together with family members to make your home a more hygienic, allergy–friendly, and clean place to live. Aside from polishing the furniture, organizing closets, dusting those hard–to–reach places, your heating and cooling systems also require your attention. Below are some tips to help you prepare for the summer months. For further information, get in touch with a professional.
- Replace your batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The first step to home safety is ensuring that your safety devices are in working order and that they are there to help you if and when you need them. Batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide should be replaced every six months. Inspect them at the end of winter.
- Change your AC filter. Air filtration is an important part of your cooling system. It prevents dust, pollen, dander and other allergenic particles from entering your home. It also protects the components of your central air system by preventing the build–up of dust and other materials on motors, compressors, coils and fans. Don’t know how? Give your local air conditioning expert a call.
- Schedule a heating and cooling maintenance plan. Ensuring the comfort level of your home is often as simple as scheduling routine maintenance with a heating and cooling professional. Not only will it help you to avoid any air conditioner breakdowns during the peak heat of the summer, but it will also give you some peace of mind, knowing that your indoor air is being handled by a team of professionals.
- Wash all of your windows. This is a chore, of course, but it makes all the difference when that first warm sun hits your home. Not only will the outdoors appear to be crystal clear, but you may also be able to look closely at any parts of your home that may be leaking air. Your heating and cooling systems are only as good as your home’s ability to keep its temperature. Washing the windows will not only make your home more attractive, but it will also give you a sense of your home’s energy–efficiency.
- Dust vents and fans. If there’s a thin layer of dust on the grilles of your home ductwork, it’s probably time to do something about it. Dust not only irritates the respiratory system, it can also create problems for your heating and cooling system. If you think dust is becoming a problem for your home, call a heating and cooling professional today.
Virtually all heating and cooling systems in your home involve some kind of filtration process. In many of your major units, such as the furnace or central AC units, it is crucial that your air filters remain free of excessive debris, dust and any other materials that may have found their way in. Indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental health risks. When controlling or eliminating the pollutant source and clean outdoor air are not always possible, the next step is proper air filtration.
Your filters are made of various fibrous materials, from synthetic media to poly/cotton blends; and often produced with particular surface textures, such as pleats in order to maximize their effectiveness. They may be installed in the ductwork of a forced air conditioning system to clean the air in the entire house. Mechanical air filters are the most common in residential applications: they work by capturing them on filter materials. HEPA (high–efficiency particulate air) filters are popular for homeowners, but it’s important to balance indoor air filtration with energy–efficiency. The installation of an improper filter may unnecessarily cut down on the passage of your cooled air. Understanding the right air filter for your home system can be difficult, but your local air conditioning technician can help.
In considering the importance of air filtration, you may come across something called MERV, which is an acronym for "minimum efficiency reporting value." This scale rates the effectiveness of air filters, and allows for accurate assessment of home health and comfort, reducing costs and increased energy efficiency in all aspects of heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Higher MERV ratings correspond to a larger percentage of captured particles on each pass. . For example, an air filter with a MERV rating between 1 and 4, like those often found in window AC units, should be able to capture pollen, dust mites, sanding dust, and other particles. In high–end commercial applications, air filters with MERV 9–12 can capture bacteria, lead dust and milled flour.
Air filters are often the first step to ensuring your air conditioning system’s longevity. When air filters become clogged, they can cause your AC system to overwork itself. In these cases, the filter has become not so much a screen for capturing particles as an obstruction in its own right. Routine inspection, cleaning and replacement of your air filter should be part of every homeowner’s spring tune–up. Contact your local air conditioning professional today.