6 Common Causes for Poor Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx

Causes for Poor Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx

A comfortable house is a great source of happiness. It ranks immediately after health and a good conscience. ~Sydney Smith

Coming home! Ah! Home can be such a retreat, a respite from a tough day at work or school. Gathering together with the people and pets that you cherish the most is special. Such a special place needs to be as safe and healthy as we can make it.

Studies reveal that several changes in building techniques and building materials make indoor air several times more polluted than outdoor. Couple that with how much we appreciate our homes—we spend the vast majority of our time indoors—homeowners should pay special attention to indoor air quality (IAQ).

Poor IAQ can irritate the sinus and eyes with symptoms similar to pollen allergies/hay fever. It can also lead to breathing difficulties, dizziness, and fatigue. Here are a few common sources of indoor pollutants and some steps you can take to improve indoor air quality.

  1. Be Careful with Allergens.

Allergens are a general class of pollutants that cause an inflammation reaction to the skin, sinuses, eyes, and throat. Often allergens are organic and sourced from living organisms. Some of the most common allergens include:

  • Dust and dander, small particles that flake off of living surfaces, including human and pet bodies
  • Pollen from grass, trees, and flowers. Pollen enters your home through small gaps, every time your door opens and can be carried in on clothes and shoes.
  • Mold spores are actively blowing about and enter your home in the same manner as pollen. Mold can also find moist, dark spaces in your home.
  1. Be Aware of Household Chemicals.

Chemicals find their way into our homes and contribute to indoor air quality. Drawing attention to some of these sources will help you make wise decisions.

  • Manufacturing items, including furniture, flooring, paints, and adhesives will give off volatile organic compounds (VOC) for several years after they are installed. There is nothing to prevent this, but remember they are contributing to your IAQ.
  • Often your garage also serves as a storage space for lawn care products, including mower/trimmer fuel, pesticides/herbicides, and fertilizers. Every time you open the garage door, small amounts of these chemicals enter your home. NEVER “warm” your vehicle inside your garage, since a large portion of the exhaust will find its way indoors.
  • Household cleaning chemicals also contribute to IAQ.
  1. Tobacco Smoke.

Smokers are aware of the health hazards tobacco smoke poses to themselves and to others as secondhand smoke. To reduce the impact of tobacco smoke on Indoor Air Quality, find a favorite spot outdoors to smoke and avoid smoking indoors.

After addressing the most common pollutants, let’s look at some top measures you can take to improve IAQ.

  1. Improve Ventilation.

Houses are built for energy efficiency, allowing very little air to enter through gaps and cracks. This allows the pollutants mentioned above to concentrate indoors. Planning improved ventilation can help you improve Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx.

  • Often extreme weather keeps our windows and doors closed for energy efficiency. But during every season, we experience a few days of relief, with very pleasant temperatures. On those days, pull the screen doors closed and open doors and windows to let in the fresh air. While fresh air is coming indoors, pollutants are migrating outdoors.
  • Be mindful of pollen and mold counts if family members have allergies.
  1. Change the Air Filter Regularly.

Your HVAC system has an air filter that removes most pollutants each time the blower circulates the air during a heating or cooling cycle. Every airborne particle trapped by the filter improves Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx. However, eventually, the dust and pollen clog the filter and reduce its effectiveness. Changing the air filter at least every 3 months will ensure most particles are removed and no longer circulate.

  1. Further Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx

Sometimes families find a need for improved indoor air quality; severe allergies, asthmas, and illness that makes breathing difficult require quality indoor air. These improvements might require professional help.

  • Dust and pollutants collect in the ductwork and may need to be removed by duct cleaning professionals.
  • If you suspect that a mold infestation has developed, removal will also require a mold mitigation specialist.
  • If pollen, dander, and mold cause severe allergic reactions or trigger asthma, talk to All Cool about an inline ultra-violet (UV) air cleaner. A UV air cleaner functions in this manner:
    • We are often warned that UV light damages human skin with prolonged exposure. UV light damages the cell walls of living organisms.
    • A UV inline air cleaner is installed inside the ductwork of your HVAC system. Enclosed in this space it cannot harm family members or pets.
    • The UV light will damage the cell walls of organic pollutants such as pollen, bacteria, and mold spores.
    • The dead cells are neutralized and more easily collected by the air filter.

Need Help with Your Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx?

Let us help you with improving your indoor air quality Katy Tx by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Indoor Air Quality Katy Tx

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

Covid-19 and Residential Indoor Air Quality

Covid-19 and Residential Indoor Air Quality

Everything You Need to Know About Covid-19 and Residential Indoor Air Quality

In March 2020, the whole world became more aware of how respiratory illnesses spread when Covid-19 began to attack our world and disrupt our lives. Scientists and medical professionals encountered a new, highly contagious illness and we all have been learning best practices “on the fly.”

The current understanding is that the virus transmits via aerosol droplets; we were reminded to cough or sneeze into our elbow or a tissue, wash our hands frequently, and stay home when we are ill. Later we were introduced to face masks, social distancing, and the term “indoor air quality” (IAQ).

Significant instruction centers around public spaces; we are encouraged to wear face masks inside, continue to be socially distant, and limit indoor gatherings. Current research has not uncovered the perfect, fail-safe solution to prevent viral transmission and ensure public safety.

Instead, we are encouraged to use many different methods together to improve Residential Indoor Air Quality. The personal safety measures are inexact since we all follow them imprecisely.

Owners of public indoor spaces take extra precautions to keep guests and employees as safe as possible. These measures give us more confidence in returning to activities such as working, worshipping, and shopping and are not based on choices made by occupants.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) offers guidelines for improving all IAQ; remarkable improvements in ventilation, air filtration, and air cleaning devices are creating safer indoor spaces.

  • By increasing the exchange of outdoor air, we can dilute the “dirty” indoor air.
  • High-quality air filters can remove 99.7% of all airborne particles.
  • Air purifiers can neutralize and remove viruses and other pollutants.

Applying these same principles, ASHRAE has provided guidelines for residential Residential Indoor Air Quality in regards to Covid-19.

Here are Residential Indoor Air Quality recommendations1 for keeping your home safe: 

  • Operate your HVAC system within normal comfort levels.
    • Temperatures should range between 68-780F and relative humidity should stay between 40-50%.
    • If you turn the system off, make sure to open windows for plenty of ventilation.
    • The lack of ventilation or the circulation of air leads to poor Residential Indoor Air Quality.
  • Improve Residential Indoor Air Quality by adding fresh, outdoor air as often as possible.
  • Increase air movement. Ceiling fans increase energy efficiency; moving air feels cooler and allows you to raise the air conditioner settings by as much as 100F. It also increases air circulation, preventing the air from being stagnant.
  • Improve the quality of your air filter. Before Covid-19, most homeowners did not put much forethought into air filtration. Air filters were cheap and needed to be changed routinely every three months.
    • Back in 1987, ASHRAE completed research and set standards for the manufacturing of air filters.
    • Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) is the rating standard to help consumers determine quality. The higher the MERV number, from 1 to 20, the smaller the open. Smaller openings trap more of the airborne particles and remove them from circulation.
    • MERV 13 and higher are recommended for removing particles the size of viruses.
    • A denser air filter will reduce airflow, so check with your HVAC manual for air filter tolerances. Call your HVAC professional if you need further help balancing the need for cleaner air and sufficient airflow.
  • Consider air purifiers. If your HVAC system cannot handle a MERV 13 air filter, explore air cleaners or purifiers to improve IAQ.
    • Ultra-violet lights can be installed inside the ductwork. Ultra-violet light will neutralize (kill) microbes, mold spores, and pollen, including viruses. The inert (dead) cells will be trapped by the air filter.
    • Air purifiers have multi-level filtration and remove particulates, including viruses. Both whole-house and portable, room-sized air purifiers are available.
  • Use exhaust fans as needed. Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans provide valuable ventilation when needed and contribute to air circulation.
  • Keep your HVAC system running smoothly with regular maintenance. Not only does preventative maintenance keep your system in operation as long as possible, cleaning the interior components removes deposits of potentially harmful particles, including viruses and prevents them from recirculating throughout your home.

Need help with improving your Residential Indoor Air Quality?

Let us know how we can help with your Residential Indoor Air Quality, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Covid-19 and Residential Indoor Air Quality

Tips to Have a Mold Free HVAC System in Your Home

How to Have a Mold-Free HVAC System

How to Have a Mold Free HVAC System

If the problem of mold keeps reoccurring, please consult with a mold remediation professional.

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) are designed to heat and cool, freshen, clean, and dehumidify the air in your home for your protection and comfort. When the system ceases to provide one or more of these functions it can lead to a mold infestation.

A serious mold infestation is hard to eradicate and can be very harmful to your family; do not wait—call a professional.

Since it is so serious, let’s consider some ways to make sure mold does not become a problem inside your home. Let’s start with your HVAC system.

Humidity Regulation is the Key to a Mold Free HVAC System

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission determines the ideal humidity for indoor air is between 30 and 50% humidity; expect between 30-40% in the winter and between 40 and 50% in the summer months.

Mold needs three things to grow: moisture, organic matter (it’s not picky), and a dark place, with little to no sunlight. Keeping the humidity low throughout the house restricts the places mold can grow. The indoor air should not feel “sticky,” even on summer days with high humidity outdoors. Use bathroom exhaust fans when showering. If it does feel “sticky,” call your HVAC professional.

Preventative Maintenance Promotes a Mold Free HVAC System

The second thing mold needs are organic material. Mold can bloom on wall paint, chalk, or wooden doors, but it can also feast on collected dust and dander. Matter of fact, the mold pollen will most likely travel together with dust, just waiting for moisture to activate it.

Make sure that you change air filters regularly, every three months at a minimum. Have an HVAC professional service your unit regularly, annually is recommended. Make sure your ductwork is cleaned as needed.

A preventative maintenance inspection can remove dust and repair components that contribute to water leaks. Prevention is much more effective—and safer than remediation.

Mold Removal

Even with these measures, it is not uncommon to find small quantities of mold. So how can you safely remove it?

  • If the affected area is larger than 9 square feet, the problem is large enough to call a mold remediation professional. Smaller areas can be cleaned with proper preparation and technique.
  • Mold spores can be harmful to your respiratory system; be very aware of the danger. Take the precaution of wearing a mask and gloves before cleaning or scrapping mold away.

Find the right cleaning supplies to keep a Mold Free HVAC System

Mold elimination products are readily available. They generally consist of harsh chemicals, so make sure you wear a mask and have good ventilation for the fumes.

If you are looking for an environmentally friendly cleaning solution, start with soap and water; sometimes that is all that is needed. Another easy remedy is baking soda and water; it kills even black mold and acts as a bleaching agent. Since you are near the mold, always wear a mask.

If you have asthma, allergies, or other breathing issues, it is best for you to stay away and let someone else take care of the problem.

Throw Out Food Items

As mold grows on food, it is reproducing well beyond what you see. Some molds produce a toxin, known as mycotoxins, which will make you very ill. If you see mold on a food item, consider it lost and dispose of it; it is not worth the risk.

Interested in a Mold Free HVAC System? 

Let us know how we can help with your indoor air quality concerns and creating a Mold Free HVAC System, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

How to Have a Mold-Free HVAC System

UV Light Sanitizers for Your HVAC System

UV Light Components for Your HVAC System

What an Air Purification System Can and Can’t Do

Reduce Indoor Air Pollutants with an Air Purification System

During this current pandemic, we see countless numbers of ads about the different sanitizing products on the market. Some are effective, while others are not. The most proven method of removing indoor air pollutants is using UV light sanitizers within your HVAC system. Although a UV light system inside your HVAC system cannot prevent contaminants from entering your home on your person or through open doors or windows, it can kill mold, bacteria, and some airborne viruses. This can be a great addition to regulate your indoor air quality within your HVAC system. This is especially critical for those with compromised immune systems, sensitivity to allergens, asthma sufferers, or children.

In 2012, Duke University conducted research providing evidence that UV light sanitizers can significantly reduce mold, bacteria, and virus transmission when combined with standard cleaning solutions. Although commercial based cleaners are not used in most homes, UV light sanitizers can be added to many existing HVAC systems.

The common method of adding these components is done in two ways:

Coil Sanitization

UV Light Components for Your HVAC SystemYour HVAC’s indoor coil can be fitted with UV C components to remove mold and other contaminants. Your coil removes liquid from the air to dehumidify your home. As air flows over the moist indoor coil, dust, debris, pet dander, and other pathogens stick to the coil. The coil can have mold and fungus grow if it is not cleaned regularly. If neglected those same allergens can enter your indoor air.

Coil sterilization light can remove irritants from your coil. The UV light sanitizers will direct its focus on the coil itself to kill everything before it gets into your indoor air quality. With a professionally installed UV light sanitizer, pollutants are removed 24/7 since the light remains on at all times. When a UV light is paired with a quality HVAC air filter, you will be provided some of the best indoor air quality possible.

Air Sanitization

Air sanitization products are a step beyond HVAC system coil sanitization. The air sanitization components use activated carbon to remove odors and chemicals from indoor air. Hazardous fumes from carpet, furniture, household cleaners, and industrial solvent concerns make your HVAC system an excellent candidate for this technology advancement.

In this world of pandemic crisis, we are all looking for the best solution to indoor air quality. We want to protect our family, our home, and our pets from pollutants, contaminants, and pathogens. Although HVAC UV light sanitizing components are not foolproof, they will take your indoor air quality protection to the next level. They are a great solution to remove bacteria, viruses, chemical irritants, pet dander, dust, and debris. These are all common irritants for those with chronic respiratory issues, sensitivity to chemicals, and asthma.

UV Light Sanitizer Questions

If you have questions about UV light sanitizers for your HVAC system, call All Cool A/C today at 281-238-9292. We look forward to working for you in the near future.

Tips for Improving Air Quality in Your Home

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Improving Your Air Quality

  • Choose a Better Air Filter:As a budget-conscience consumer, you may find yourself reaching for the least expensive air filter for your cooling system. You may save a few pennies, but that cheap filter can directly lead to poor air quality inside of your home. In many cases indoor air quality can be worse than outdoors. Consider upgrading to a pleated filter that is designed to trap the smallest of particles. You will find many that are specifically made to combat various contaminants that include cigarette smoke, allergens and pet dander. While the kind of filter that you usedoes matter, it is equally important that you change the filter as often as it is needed. Take a look at it every month, and change it if it looks dirty.
  • Keep Your Home Clean:With most households being dependent on two incomes, it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with all of the necessary housekeeping duties. However, if you can make time to regularly vacuum your home with a bag-less vacuum cleaner that utilizes a HEPA-type filter, then you can drastically improve the air quality inside of your home. You will find that dust and dirt debris can really gather around windows and doors, so dusting them regularly will also help.
  • Have Your Ducts Properly Sealed:Those looking for AC repair in Katy may want to consider allowing us to clean and seal your air ducts. Our cleaning system will remove all of the dirt that has collected within the ducts, and you will be left with sparkling, clean ducts that are like new. Additionally, the sealing process serves to greatly reduce the amount of dust and debris that may be sucked back in through the return line. It also leads to more-even air flow, better air quality and lower utility bills.
  • Install an Indoor Air Purifier:If you live on or near a dirt road, have a smoker in the house, own several pets or have children with asthma or allergies, then you may significantly improve the quality of the air inside of your home by utilizing an indoor air purifier. You may choose from several types that different technology and we can help you. Those who need the very best air quality due to health problems may choose an indoor air purifier that utilizes the existing forced-air system to purify all of the air throughout the home. Others may choose smaller purifiers that may use water as the filter or those that use a technology that is referred to as electro-static-participation.

Contact Us Today

If you have concerns about your indoor air quality, you can count on us here at All Cool A/C and Heating to take care of any maintenance or repair that your cooling system may require. Our friendly and qualified technicians are available to provide Katy air conditioning service as well as service to Sugar Land and the surrounding area. Just give us a call today at 281-238-9292, and we will come to your home to provide the services you need.