Indoor Air Quality – Celebrating Clean Air Month

Indoor Air Quality - Celebrating Clean Air Month

Indoor Air Quality – Celebrating Clean Air Month

May is Clean Air Month, but don’t expect to celebrate with fireworks! In 1972, the American Lung Association began sponsoring Clean Air Month with the following goals in mind:

  • Educate people about the impact clean air has on our lives
  • Encourage people to take positive steps to improve air quality—both globally and locally
  • Celebrate improvements made in indoor air quality over the years

To understand the importance of this celebration, take a quick trip down memory lane and remember some environmental crises of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.

  • Smog (a contraction of ‘smoke’ and ‘fog’) was a haze of pollution visible hovering over major US cities. A steep increase in asthma and emphysema resulted. Smog results from auto emissions and industrial pollutants.
  • Sulfur and nitrogen pollutants were collected in precipitation and fell as “acid rain,” damaging both flora and fauna nationwide. It also caused corrosion on stone and concrete structures.
  • The Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire 13 times—yes, you read that correctly. The river was covered with a thick soup of oil and waste. The largest, most notable fire was on June 22, 1969.

These crises led Richard Nixon to encourage the Clean Air Act of 1970 and established the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the air, water, and soil. This led to setting emission guidelines for automobiles and industrial waste and eliminating waste being dumped into rivers, lakes, oceans, and on land.

How Can You Celebrate Indoor Air Quality and Clean Air Month?

What can one family possibly do to improve air quality globally? More than you think!

  • Reuse, Reduce, Recycle. Small things do make a difference.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint with wise decisions.
  • Reduce energy use in your home
    • Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs
    • Watch for ENERGY STAR ratings on appliances
    • Heating and air conditioning account for 43% of your energy use, so keep your HVAC system clean and well maintained.
  • Replace toxic cleaning supplies with safer, greener choices
  • Improve your indoor air quality
    • Remove your shoes immediately upon entering your home. This reduces the amount of dust and dirt your spread inside
    • Vacuum and dust your house often to remove airborne contaminants
    • Run your air conditioner as needed. It removes moisture from the air; a home with high humidity is susceptible to the growth of mold and mildew.
    • Replace your HVAC air filter regularly—at least once every 3 months
    • Purchase an air purifier if needed to remove indoor contaminants.

How Can We Help You Celebrate Clean Air Month?

This month is a great time to celebrate indoor air quality. Let us help you make a difference in the clean air in your home,  call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Indoor Air Quality - Celebrating Clean Air Month

5 Reasons to Schedule Your AC Tune Up, Today!

5 Reasons to Schedule Your AC Tune Up, Today!

AC Tune Up For Warmer Springtime Temps

Spring is here! That is a short buffer time between cold weather and the hot and humid weather of summer. This is an excellent time to have your air conditioner serviced to make sure it is in great shape to keep your family comfortable and safe all summer long. You hear HVAC professionals say that all the time and you might wonder “Does it make a difference?” Since it might seem a little self-service for All Cool to say “yes,” we can give you an unbiased, expert opinion with nothing to gain from your response—the U.S. Department of Energy.1

Here are 5 motivations for you to schedule your AC Tune Up this spring

  1. Lengthen Your Warranty

If your AC unit has a warranty, it most likely requires an annual preventative maintenance service; check your documents. While a breakdown during the early years of service is unusual, keeping the warranty valid is important.

  1. Increase Useful Service Life

The #1 way to lengthen the service life of your air conditioner is to have it cleaned and serviced regularly. Service life claims vary, but here are a few general truths:

  • Furnaces generally last a few years longer than the air conditioner, but they are usually replaced at the same time.
  • Service life varies a lot, between 15 and 30 years. Again, the #1 difference-maker is regular maintenance.
  • Regular maintenance can add 5 or more years to service life compared to little or no maintenance.
  1. AC Tune Ups lead to Decreased Repairs

As air conditioners age, parts will wear out and fail due to functional stress. The leading cause of this stress on any AC unit is dust and dirt that infiltrates various components. The two major functions of AC preventative maintenance are 1) removing dust and dirt from remote places, and 2) inspecting for damage and wear. A well-maintained AC unit will experience fewer breakdowns and repairs over the service life since the wear is reduced and discovered early.

  1. Increase Efficiency

With stress-causing dirt and dust removed, your air conditioner will function better, from the compressor to the blower motor. With every AC cycle, your family will experience greater comfort, even during peak cooling periods.

  1. Decreased Energy Bills with an AC Tune Up

Now more than ever, reducing utility bills will benefit the household budget. A well-maintained AC, functioning more efficiently, will reduce the cost of cooling your home all season long.

Regular maintenance provides more benefits such as improved indoor air quality and cleaner surfaces, but hopefully, these five reasons will motivate you to care for your AC while it keeps you cool and comfortable this summer.

Need Questions About Springtime AC Tune Ups?

Let us know how we can help you with your AC Tune Up to better your HVAC system efficiency, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

5 Reasons to Schedule Your AC Tune Up, Today!

1 https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/maintaining-your-air-conditioner#:~:text=An%20air%20conditioner’s%20filters%2C%20coils,while%20energy%20use%20steadily%20increases

 

Choosing the Right HVAC Unit for the Best Indoor Air Quality

Choosing the Right HVAC Unit for the Best Indoor Air Quality

Exactly how much can your HVAC unit improve indoor air quality?

Living in the highly industrial and urban environment of the Houston Metro area we often worry about the quality of the air in our homes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we sometimes focus on outdoor air pollution and neglect our indoor air.

Additional EPA studies found that our indoor air can possess up to five to eight times the air pollutants and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) as the air outdoors. A majority of homeowners spend more time inside with poor ventilation which can create major health risks, especially for those with respiratory or cardiac pre-existing conditions.

Common Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Concerns

Seasonal allergens such as pollen seem to seep into our homes and pollute our indoor space. That yellow dust that seems to paint Southeast Texas finds its way through windows, doors, and every possible opening it can sneak into. In addition to our open doors and windows, pollen can be drawn into your HVAC system.

Considering factors beyond seasonal allergens, Houston’s industrial complex can add hazardous pollutants to our air. VOCs such as synthetic building and household materials, pesticides, cleaning agents, paint, air fresheners, and cigarette smoke can also reduce our air quality significantly.

Our homes can also harbor pet dander, dust mites, mold, and mildew, all of which can affect your health. This category of indoor air quality pollutant may be the most dangerous since they tend to go unnoticed and build up over the course of time.

No matter the source, each of these pollutants can be extremely dangerous for those who are chronically ill.

How Indoor Air Quality Can Be Improved with Quality HVAC Systems

All residential HVAC systems are equipped with an air filter that removes indoor air pollutants and VOCs. The air passes through the system to remove particles such as dirt, dust, bacteria, viruses, and pet dander. However, not all HVAC system filters are created equally.

We strongly encourage the use of High Energy Particulate Air Filter (HEPA) air filters. HEPA filters remove particles that are smaller than standard HVAC air filters. For a filter to be HEPA-rated it must effectively remove 99.97% of all particles that are 0.3 microns or larger.

Ultraviolet light purification systems can also be added to improve indoor air quality. These systems burn microbes that have entered your HVAC systems. UV-C light systems kill viruses, bacteria and other pathogens to improve indoor air quality.

How to Select the Right HVAC System for the Best Indoor Air Quality

If you are in the market for a new HVAC system, you must select a unit that can efficiently cool and heat your home, while providing the best indoor air quality. The first criteria is often a homeowner’s top priority.

Remember that a unit too small for the space will not adequately cool or heat the living space. If you select a system too large, it may not remove the humidity to the desired comfort level in your home.

For those that require superior indoor air quality, or that are just looking to breathe cleaner air, one of the HEPA Whole Home filter systems, and UV-C light purification systems previously mentioned are strongly recommended.

Purchasing an HVAC system that provides efficient heating and cooling and removes harmful toxins from the air to improve indoor air quality is the best buy for your money.

Need Help Choosing an HVAC System that Betters Indoor Air Quality?

Let us know how we can help you with your HVAC replacement to better your indoor air quality, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Choosing the Right HVAC Unit for the Best Indoor Air Quality

5 AC Tune Up Tips to Save You Money

5 AC Tune Up Tips to Save You Money

5 Money-Saving Tips for Regularly Schedule AC Tune Ups

Spring is here! That is a short buffer time between cold weather and the hot and humid weather of summer. This is an excellent time to have your air conditioner serviced to make sure it is in great shape to keep your family comfortable and safe all summer long.

You hear HVAC professionals say that all the time and you might wonder “Does it make a difference?” Since it might seem like a little self-service for All Cool to say “yes,” we can give you an unbiased, expert opinion with nothing to gain from your response—the U.S. Department of Energy.1

Here are 5 motivations for you to service your AC this spring.

AC Tune Up Tip 1: Lengthen Your Warranty

If your AC unit has a warranty, it most likely requires an annual preventative maintenance service; check your documents. While a breakdown during the early years of service is unusual, keeping the warranty valid is important.

AC Tune Up Tip 2: Increase Useful Service Life

The #1 way to lengthen the service life of your air conditioner is to have it cleaned and serviced regularly. Service life claims vary, but here are a few general truths:

  • Furnaces generally last a few years longer than the air conditioner, but they are usually replaced at the same time.
  • Service life varies a lot, between 15 and 30 years. Again, the #1 difference-maker is regular maintenance.
  • Regular maintenance can add 5 or more years to service life compared to little or no maintenance.

AC Tune Up Tip 3: Decreased Repairs

As air conditioners age, parts will wear out and fail due to functional stress. The leading cause of this stress on any AC unit is dust and dirt that infiltrates various components. The two major functions of AC preventative maintenance are 1) removing dust and dirt from remote places, and 2) inspecting for damage and wear.

A well-maintained AC unit will experience fewer breakdowns and repairs over the service life since the wear is reduced and discovered early.

AC Tune Up Tip 4: Increase Efficiency

With stress-causing dirt and dust removed, your air conditioner will function better, from the compressor to the blower motor. With every AC cycle, your family will experience greater comfort, even during peak cooling periods.

AC Tune Up Tip 5: Decreased Energy Bills

Now more than ever, reducing utility bills will benefit the household budget. A well-maintained AC, functioning more efficiently, will reduce the cost of cooling your home all season long.

Regular maintenance provides more benefits such as improved indoor air quality and cleaner surfaces, but hopefully, these five reasons will motivate you to care for your AC while it keeps you cool and comfortable this summer.

Have Questions About AC Tune Up Tips?

Let us know how we can help with scheduling your AC Tune Up, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

5 AC Tune Up Tips to Save You Money

1 https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/maintaining-your-air-conditioner#:~:text=An%20air%20conditioner’s%20filters%2C%20coils,while%20energy%20use%20steadily%20increases

 

Indoor Air Quality Problem Areas

Indoor Air Quality Problem Areas

Improving Indoor Air Quality in Problem Areas

American construction techniques have succeeded in building homes with a better seal against outside air, reducing drafts, and improving energy efficiency. However, the trade-off is that sealed homes tend to receive less fresh air. The indoor air constantly circulates and is several times more polluted than outdoor air. While every room will have its share of pollutants, some rooms have specific pollutant problems. Here are five rooms with the potential for poor indoor air quality and some steps to reduce pollutants.

The Attic

Most attics are unused and unconditioned space; that is the HVAC system does not circulate through most attic spaces. An attic can contribute to poor indoor air quality since it will generally be the site for insulation. Some insulation can be harmful, such as fiberglass, but all insulation can contribute to airborne pollutants when disturbed. Expect attics to receive a lot of dust and pollen as well.

  • Use weather stripping to seal attic openings from the rest of the house.

The Garage

Your garage adds to indoor air pollution in two major ways:

  • Driving automobiles into the garage brings in car exhaust. Carbon monoxide is one of the poisonous gases emitted, so this is an important issue.
  • Unless necessary for security, wait a few seconds before lowering the garage door. This allows exhaust to ventilate to the outdoors. Do not let your car idle while in the garage.
  • Consider whether your situation could benefit from garage ventilation.
  • The garage also tends to be a storage area for herbicides, pesticides, paints, and cleaning products.
  • Store hazardous material safely, in secured containers and in a locked cabinet if possible.
  • Make sure the garage door is adequately sealed with weather stripping to prevent fumes and odors from entering the house.

The Kitchen

Activities performed primarily in the kitchen can contribute to poor indoor air quality.

  • Cooking food with natural gas or propane will produce carbon monoxide and other toxins that need to be vented to the outdoors.
  • Stored food can also be a source of mold and bacterial growth.
  • The cleaning supplies associated with cleaning in the kitchen can also release hazardous gases into the rest of the house.
  • Use the stovetop vent on low power when cooking, whether you use gas or not. This will remove both toxins and odors.
  • Make a schedule to dispose of stored food before it spoils.
  • Use nontoxic household cleaners, such as vinegar or baking soda.

Bathrooms

The most humid room in your house will be your bathroom(s). Hot water from showers and baths creates steam which condenses on most surfaces. In addition, standing water is evaporating almost constantly. Moisture on surfaces can lead to the growth of mold and mildew.

  • Use the exhaust fan during baths and showers to remove the steam. Make sure to clean the fan grill to remove the wet dust that develops.
  • When weather permits, open a bathroom window during showers.
  • Wipe down surfaces often with a natural cleaner such as vinegar. Vinegar will inhibit the growth of mold and mildew.

Bedrooms

Many people will spend at least 1/3 of their day in the bedroom, so improving air quality in the bedrooms is a great advantage. If moisture in the bathroom is the issue, there are some simple solutions.  If dust and dander are the issues in the bedroom, the largest percentage of these particles are generated by humans and pets. Here are several ways to improve air quality in the bedroom.

  • Open windows whenever possible to add fresh air.
  • The carbon dioxide that is released while sleeping is significant, so moving the air is a great benefit. Learn to use ceiling fans to improve room ventilation.
  • Clean regularly. Dust. Vacuum. Change and launder bedding regularly.

Have Questions About How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality?

Let us know how we can help with improving your indoor air quality, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Indoor Air Quality Problem Areas

 

3 Ways AC Systems Improves Indoor Air Quality

3 Ways AC Systems Improves Indoor Air Quality

How Your AC System Improves Indoor Air Quality

Winter is almost gone; springtime is coming fast. Warmer temps bring the return to outdoor activities-yay! But when the trees and flowers break into bloom, it also brings an abundance of pollen, the trigger for seasonal allergies. Pollen gets everywhere, inside and out. If seasonal allergens trouble you, you should be pleased to know that help is available.

Your HVAC system is the first line of defense against pollen, and this is why:

  1. Air Filters—The First Line of Defense. Your air filter will trap a very high percentage of common pollen and mold spores.
    1. Common tree, grass, and flower pollen range in size between 20 and 30 microns—a micron is 1/1,000,000 of a meter.
    2. Air filters are rated on a MERV scale, an acronym for minimum efficiency reporting value, with values ranging from 1-16. Common HVAC air filters are rated at 12. MERV 12 filters will trap 90% of particles 3 microns or larger, so they are quite capable of removing most pollen and mold spores.1
    3. Changing your air filter regularly (at least every 3 months) is very important for many reasons. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, consider changing the filter more often, perhaps once per month when pollen counts are high.
  1. Evaporator Coils—Removing Excess Humidity. Humidity makes surfaces sticky, attracting pollen and promoting the growth of mold and mildew.
    1. The ideal indoor humidity ranges between 30 and 50 percent; during the summer months, indoor humidity tends toward the upper range.
    2. During the summer, the humidity in southern Texas is often much higher than the ideal for indoor air. The air conditioner evaporator coil removes 5 to 20 gallons of water per day.

Your air conditioner is working to improve indoor air quality and relieve seasonal allergies.

  1. The Blower Motor—Moving Fresh Air. The blower motor is responsible for pushing air throughout your home, moving the entire volume of your home every few minutes.
    1. Both filtration and the removal of humidity are accomplished because the air is moving.
    2. Moving air smells and feels fresher; moving air does not feel stuffy or stale.

Outdoor air that makes its way into the house will be cleaned, cooled, and dehumidified for your comfort.

Tools to Remove Even More Allergens. While your HVAC system is working hard to remove pollen, pet hair, and mold from your environment, you can add accessories to enhance their removal. If a family member has breathing problems or respiratory illnesses, adding these tools can make breathing easier.

  • UV-C Lights. Every summer, we are reminded to apply sunscreen to protect our skin from UV or ultraviolet light. We know that UV light damages cells. That works to your advantage to improve indoor air quality during allergy season. UV lights can be installed inside the ductwork of your HVAC system. As living airborne particles move through the duct, the direct UV light damages those living cells, making them inert, so they can be more easily trapped. UV light will neutralize pollen, mold and mildew spores, dust mites, bacteria, and viruses.
  • Humidifiers/dehumidifiers. No two homes are exact duplicates—people try, but it never works. Some houses need a little boost to remove excess humidity; an environment can develop for the growth of mold and mildew. Laundry rooms, heavily used bathrooms, or perhaps a basement might receive too much moisture. For those homes, a small portable dehumidifier is available. Other homes fall well below that ideal humidity level and can dry eyes, noses, and throats. For those homes a small portable humidifier is available.

Have Questions About How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality?

Let us know how we can help with improving your indoor air quality, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

3 Ways AC Systems Improves Indoor Air Quality

HVAC Spring Cleaning To Reduce Allergens

HVAC Spring Cleaning To Reduce Allergens

Your HVAC Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring cleaning may have ancient origins in religious practices, but it became a necessity during the early days of westward expansion. Long winters were difficult and settlers burned multiple fuels to illuminate rooms and keep the house warm. Depending on the location, the fireplace might burn wood or peat, a stove might burn coal or oil, and candles, lamps, and lanterns used kerosene or whale oil.

By the time spring arrived, soot and dust-covered most surfaces. Windows and doors could be opened once again, letting fresh air in as all of the soot and dust accumulation were thoroughly cleaned from every surface.

Springtime remains a favorite time to thoroughly clean the house from top to bottom. Winter weather keeps the house closed up for long periods; warmer temperatures and open windows inspire homeowners to clean and declutter. Spring is a great time to clean, so All Cool is encouraging you to conduct an HVAC Spring Cleaning and make indoor air quality a special project this year. We’ll go room-by-room with recommendations to make a safer place to live and breathe.

Allergen Reducing HVAC Spring Cleaning Checklist

1 Foundation Levels. Let’s start with the basement, crawl space, or foundation of your home. All three are susceptible to seeping water and the damage it can cause. Water can lead to

    • Mold growth
    • Water damage
    • Wood rot
    • Increased humidity

Check your foundation level for current water problems and make repairs without delay; the problem will neither go away nor get better with time. Check for standing water near foundation walls. Channel stormwater from your downspouts a minimum of three feet away from the house. This can be achieved with splash guards or flexible extensions.

2 HVAC Closet. Often, your central heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is surrounded by a mechanical closet that will need attention. As the air circulates with every heating and cooling cycle, airborne particles, such as dust and dander are trapped by the air filter. Cleaning around your HVAC system is important for several reasons.

    • Dust is the enemy of your HVAC system, causing mechanical stress and energy inefficiency
    • Airborne particles are the leading cause of seasonal allergies and other breathing illnesses

In addition to cleaning the dust and debris from the closet, change your air filter every three months and call your HVAC professional to schedule an annual preventative maintenance visit. This ensures that it functions efficiently, safely, and cleanly.

3 Laundry Area. We are such creatures of habit! Often, we clean and dry our clothes at the same time that we clean the house; no wonder the laundry room gets neglected. Confined spaces also make it hard to clean. Take some time to thoroughly clean some real messes.

    • Make sure to clean the dryer vent. A dirty vent, clogged with lint, will make your dryer run hotter and can lead to a house fire.
    • Make sure water supply hoses and the drain hose are properly connected without leaks. Wet surfaces in hidden spaces can promote the growth of mold, with spores that can lead to serious illness.
    • Spilled laundry products are generally sticky and collect dust and dirt.

4 Scrubbing the Kitchen. The kitchen sees a lot of action and that results in significant messy situations. Since you prepare food in the kitchen, it probably gets cleaned often. During your spring cleaning, take some additional steps to keep everyone safe.

    • This is a good time to empty shelves and dust. You may need to declutter a little as well.
    • Move appliances when possible to clean behind, beside, and underneath.
    • Use a vacuum cleaner to clean the refrigerant coils on your refrigerator and/or freezer.
    • If your oven needs to be clean, be careful to use non-toxic cleaning supplies.

5 Bathrooms get cleaned regularly, but we can recommend a few HVAC Spring Cleaning steps further.

    • Springtime is a good time to give tile and grout some extra attention. Proper care and sealant can prevent the growth of mold, which is both dangerous and unsightly.
    • Remove the cover to the exhaust fan and clean the dust that might have accumulated.
    • Remove items from drawers and shelves, dust and declutter.

6 Bedrooms. Most people sleep for 1/3 of their lives, so make sure to give special attention to spring cleaning in each bedroom. Of course, you are changing/washing your bedding regularly, but remember to:

    • Vacuum the mattress often. The mattress will collect dirt and dust, just like every other surface. During sleep, you come into close contact with the mattress, so make sure it is clean.
    • Clean closets and drawers, dusting and vacuuming as needed. This is a perfect time to declutter here as well.
    • Clean ceiling fans thoroughly, both the motor and the blades.

7 Living Rooms. Every other space, including living rooms, playrooms, office spaces, and man caves, needs special attention as well.

    • Dusting and vacuuming are essential. Any dust you remove from a surface will be removed from your home for good.
    • Clean lighting. You will be surprised at how much accumulates here. It might just brighten the room.
    • Don’t forget closets and drawers, declutter as needed. Except for the “junk drawer.” Don’t declutter the junk drawer, since you never know when you might need one of those items.

Have Questions About Your HVAC Spring Cleaning Checklist?

Let us know how we can help with reducing allergens with proper HVAC system maintenance, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

HVAC Spring Cleaning To Reduce Allergens

5 Steps HVAC Systems Can Ease Allergies

5 Steps HVAC Systems Can Ease Allergies

Easing Your Allergies in 5 Easy HVAC System Steps

The trigger for allergies happens when a normally harmless substance is considered by the body as foreign; the body creates antibodies to attack the substance and works to remove it from the body. Five of the ten most common allergies are caused by airborne particles—pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold, and perfumes/household chemicals. These allergens cause itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing, and wheezing.

Your HVAC system was designed to help reduce airborne particles, including most of these allergens, from homes and businesses. When you reduce the number of particles, you reduce the allergic response. If you or your family suffer from seasonal allergies, there are a few things you can do to enhance the normal filtration function and remove more allergens. Here are five easy steps to take to remove allergens using your HVAC system.

  1. Remove Existing Allergens.
    1. Stop new allergens from getting in by keeping windows and doors closed during allergy season. Weatherproof your doors and windows; it will make your home more energy-efficient, more comfortable, and will reduce drafts that bring in pollen and mold spores.
    2. Take your shoes off at the door to prevent depositing pollen throughout the house.
    3. Diligently clean hard and soft surfaces often during allergy season. Airborne particles, including pet dander, get deposited around the house and can be removed with a dust cloth or a vacuum cleaner.
  2. Upgrade Your Air Filter.
    1. Every HVAC system will have an air filter, designed to pull dust, dirt, and dander from the circulating air. Generally, air filters are made from paper or fiber with very small holes to let air through, but small enough holes to capture airborne particles.
    2. Air filters are rated by the size of the opening, with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV rating. Common air filters have a 6 MERV rating, but your HVAC system can handle an air filter with an 11 to 13 MERV rating. If seasonal allergies are a problem, an 11 MERV-rated filter or higher will take out dust and pet hair like other filters, but it will also collect microscopic pollen and mold spores.
    3. Air filters need to be changed to work efficiently. The collected particles will clog the filter and reduce the air flowing through the entire system. The rule of thumb is to change your air filter every three months, but each home is unique, and you will need to inspect it periodically to see if that is enough. Set a schedule with reminders to change your air filter on time.
  3. Consider Air Purification Additions.
    1. Ultraviolet light will neutralize living, organic matter, including pollen, mold, bacteria, and viruses. The lights are installed in the ductwork to kill off these allergens and prevent growth. The air filter picks them up more readily when they are inert.
    2. Ionization filters use static electricity to attract particles that the air filter might miss.
    3. Consult with your HVAC professional to explore whole house and portable room air purifier options.
  4. Keep Allergens Out of Ductwork.
    1. The powerful HVAC blower motor keeps most dust and airborne particles moving; even particles that might be deposited in ducts will be picked up and circulated during the next cycle.
    2. The Environmental Protection Agency does not recommend regular duct cleaning, since so little is deposited inside of ducts.
    3. There are a few reasons to have ducts inspected and cleaned. These reasons include:
      1. Discovering mold growth. If mold is growing in one area of the house, the spores are being carried through the ducts. As part of the mold mitigation, the ducts will need to be cleaned.
      2. If mice, rats, squirrels, or other pests have made a home in the ductwork, the mess they make will need to be cleaned as part of the removal process.
    • If an unusual amount of dust is collecting on surfaces, it may indicate a buildup that needs to be cleaned.
  1. Mold Will Follow Humidity.
    1. Mold can grow when organic material, including dust, and moisture is abundant.
    2. Areas where moisture can accumulate unnoticed include bathrooms, kitchens, laundry areas, basements, and leaky attics. Mold can also grow in areas that have previously experienced flooding.
    3. Inefficient or failing air conditioners can also lead to moisture and mold growth.
    4. Moisture accumulation normally requires repair and potential mold mitigation. If moisture continues to be a problem, portable room dehumidifiers are available to remove excess moisture from the air.

Have Questions About Easing Your Allergies in 5 Easy Steps?

Let us know how we can help with reducing allergens with proper HVAC system maintenance, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

5 Steps HVAC Systems Can Ease Allergies

7 No-Cost Ways To Reduce HVAC Energy Costs

7 No-Cost Ways To Reduce HVAC Energy Costs

Reduce HVAC Energy Costs in These Simple Ways

The lion’s share of your HVAC Energy Costs pays for heating and cooling your home, about 53% according to the Department of Energy (DoE).  Since this is a reoccurring bill if you set a goal of reducing the cost by 10% per month, the final month of your billing cycle will be free. If you can reduce your bill without the expense, that is an added bonus. Is it possible? Let’s consider some energy-saving steps with no cost or little cost to you that might help you reach that goal.

Before exploring the DIY projects, remember they do not replace a system check by your HVAC professional; the DoE, manufacturers, and industry professionals recommend annual preventative maintenance checks in the Spring and Fall to extend the life of your system.

 The key to saving energy is to understand how your HVAC system functions and take steps to make it function more efficiently. These principles work for both the furnace and the air conditioner since some of the components are used during both functions.

January 10th is National Cut Your Energy Cost Day and we thought we would pass on ways to reduce HVAC Energy Costs. Here are seven no-cost suggestions for HVAC maintenance that can help you reduce your HVAC Energy Costs.

  1. Clean supply vents and cold air returns. Clean leaves and debris from around the outdoor air conditioner condenser. Remove the air filter and install a new, clean filter. Dust, dirt, and debris are enemies of your system. They work into areas that restrict airflow and reduce the flow of electricity.
  2. Uncover vents. Quite often, the flow of family life, vents, and returns get covered by mistake. Covered vents restrict airflow and make the blower motor work harder. Make sure that floor vents and wall returns are uncovered.
  3. Check your thermostat. Adjusting the thermostat setting by 5 to 8 degrees for at least eight hours per day will save energy. With a programmable or smart thermostat, you can program the adjustment during overnight hours, while the family is sleeping, and/or during the day, while the house is empty.
  4. Go solar. Using solar power does not require solar panels; it does take an awareness of the sun’s movement. Opening and closing blinds or curtains strategically can warm or cool the house, according to the seasonal need.
  5. Schedule cooking and cleaning. Large appliances generate heat and scheduling their use can help you save energy. Remember to run the dishwasher, washer, and dryer during the coldest part of the day. This will reduce the heating and cooling load and save money year-round. Using the oven during cold weather and avoiding using it during hot weather will also reduce energy needs.
  6. Insulate and weatherproof. This is perennial advice since it is an easy DIY project that can be felt. Blocking the outside air from entering your house saves energy, but it also feels good. Approximately 80% of your energy is lost through the attic, so it is in your interest to make sure you have adequate insulation.
  7. Inspect ductwork. While you are inspecting the insulation, check to make sure exposed ducts are sealed properly and well insulated. If you observe a problem that you cannot fix, be sure to call a professional.

Have Questions About Reducing Your HVAC Energy Costs?

Let us know how we can help with reducing your HVAC Energy Costs, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

7 No-Cost Ways To Reduce HVAC Energy Costs

HVAC Ventilation vs. Energy Conservation

Balancing Energy Conservation and HVAC Ventilation

Balancing Energy Conservation and HVAC Ventilation

The oil embargo in 1973 forever changed attitudes about the way Americans used energy. At the time, it was quite common for office buildings to leave all of the lights in the building on 24/7—even over the weekend.  When the Middle East oil supply was turned off, conserving energy began in earnest.

Energy efficiency became a major focus, from the power plant to the household appliance. We cool and warm our homes using energy-saving principles.1

In recent years, another concern is grabbing the headlines: Americans are saving energy to impact climate change. The goal is to reduce energy production from processes that burn fossil fuels, reducing the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere.

Both reducing energy and reducing your carbon footprint result in increased energy efficiency and reduced cost for heating and cooling.

One of the principles of energy efficiency includes closing windows and doors and sealing gaps that allow outside air to leak into our homes. However, it is important not to sacrifice one principle—ventilation—for another principle—energy efficiency.

Here are some reasons to remember about HVAC Ventilation:

Unwanted Gases

With each breath, we convert oxygen into carbon dioxide. One of the chief reasons to build ventilation into the HVAC Ventilation system is to constantly remove carbon dioxide and replace it with fresh air. The lack of fresh air would lead to headaches, fatigue, and restlessness.

Many everyday items release gases called volatile organic compounds (VOCs); most of these off-gases result from the manufacturing process. VOCs are given off my furniture, flooring, and paint. However, ventilation is important to remove VOCs from the home, since they can cause irritation of the eyes, throat, and lungs.

Long-term exposure can result in damage to the liver and the nervous system. Removing VOCs from your indoor spaces is another important need for ventilation.

Excess Moisture in Your HVAC Ventilation

Normal human activity produces significant amounts of moisture. Cooking, cleaning, bathing, and even breathing release moisture into the air. For these reasons, it is common to find exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms.

Your concerns about energy efficiency might lead you to reduce the use of exhaust fans or avoid using them altogether. However, they provide a needed function, removing moisture that can lead to mold, mildew, or bacteria growth. The exhaust fan will draw outside air inside to replenish the supply, reducing the amount of moisture in specific locations.

Microbes

For the last two years, we have been educated concerning the reasons behind the increase of colds and flu during wintertime; we even call it “cold and flu season.” When cold weather arrives we:

  • Spend more time inside and
  • Using energy-efficient principles, we close our homes and office spaces to stay warm.

This concentrates the number of airborne viruses in a given space.

Health officials encourage periodically bringing fresh air into indoor spaces to dilute the number of microbes. Current models encourage running ceiling or HVAC Ventilation fans to increase the air exchange rate. If you intentionally open up your house during the occasional warm winter day, you can combine both HVAC Ventilation and energy efficiency methods.

Need help with HVAC Ventilation?

Let us know how we can help with improving your HVAC Ventilation, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Balancing Energy Conservation and HVAC Ventilation

1 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/27/science/arthur-rosenfeld-dead-energy-efficiency.html