Indoor Air Quality: Fighting Winter Allergies

Indoor Air Quality: Fighting Winter Allergies

Fall and Winter Allergies and how to Maintain Indoor Air Quality

Most people associate seasonal allergies with Springtime pollen from trees and grasses, but many experience worse allergy symptoms in the Fall. When leaves and the temperature drops at the same time, Fall allergies trigger symptoms similar to Spring allergy symptoms:

    • – A runny nose and head congestion
    • – Itchy or watery eyes
    • – Wheezing or difficulty breathing
    • – Sneezing and coughing

We also associate cooler weather with an increase in common colds; you might have mistaken your allergy symptoms for the onset of a pesky cold. A couple of key differences between allergy and cold symptoms may help you distinguish between the two.

    • – A fever is quite common with a cold or flu but is not a symptom of allergies.
    • – If your symptoms persist longer than 10 days, it is a strong indication of allergy symptoms instead of a cold. Cold symptoms generally persist for 7 to 10 days.

With Fall allergies and reduced Indoor Air Quality, you may also experience:

    • – Severe congestion and a sore throat, as allergens irritate the linings of your nasal cavities and the back of your throat.
    • – Headache, also caused by the inflammation of nasal passages.
    • – Difficulty sleeping, as the inflamed sinuses swell and make breathing difficult. The lack of sleep may leave you exhausted, with less energy.

Indoor Air Quality: Fall Allergy Triggers

If you suspect Fall allergies instead of a cold, it is helpful to understand Fall triggers. As you might suspect, pollen from regional wildflowers that bloom in the Fall are a chief source of allergens. Some of the most common culprits include:

    • – Ragweed/Golden Rod
    • – Tumbleweed
    • – Sagebrush
    • – Lamb’s quarter
    • – Pigweed

Some wildflowers may bloom until temperatures drop to freezing or shorter days causes the plants to become dormant for the winter.

Another common allergen prevalent during the Fall is mold spores. Mold is a fungus essential to our ecosystem, since it breaks down organic matter, such as leaves, and reintroduces their chemicals into the environment, and can reduce Indoor Air Quality. Mold reproduces by releasing microscopic spores into the air, and spores can persist all Winter. Consider a pile of wet leaves along the tree line:

    • – While the leaves are wet and the weather is warm, mold reproduces and creates spores.
    • – Blustery, winding days will release the spores into the air.
    • – Raking the leave will also release spores.
    • – Every warm day will encourage mold growth and reproduction on wet surfaces.

Mold spores may be present throughout the Fall and Winter in South Texas.

The Keys to Maximizing Fall Indoor Air Quality—Clean, Clean, Clean

Pollen and mold spores will enter your home every time you open the door; they will also hitch a ride on anything you bring into the house, including your clothes, shoes, and skin.

Clean Your Home Regularly. During the heating season, we seal our homes up like a drum, trapping allergens inside with us. If you suffer from seasonal allergies:

    • – Vacuum carpets more frequently, dust surfaces, and mop floors.
    • – Bath pets frequently, weekly if possible to wash away dander and allergens trapped in their fur.
    • – Wash your clothes often, taking note of coats, gloves, and hats you might wear outside.

 Clean your HVAC system:

    • – Your furnace air filter is an essential barrier to recirculating airborne particles throughout the house. The filter should be changed at least every three months.
    • – Schedule annual preventative maintenance and cleaning of your furnace and air conditioner. An All Cool technician can remove dust from the interior portions of your HVAC system.

Need help with improving 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: Fighting Winter Allergies

 

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

Improving Indoor Air Quality with Ultra Violet Light

UV Light Use in Improving Indoor Air Quality

Ultra Violet/UV Light Use in Improving Indoor Air Quality

For decades, hospitals, laboratories, food processing plants, and water treatment facilities have used ultraviolet light (UV light) to disinfect biological contaminates. UV light is very effective in removing bacteria, viruses, mold, and mildew spores from the air and on surfaces. With technological advances, UV light is now available for residential applications and can significantly improve the indoor air quality in your home.

How does it Work?

Ultraviolet light is a narrow band in the electromagnetic spectrum with a high energy wavelength. UV light penetrates cell walls and alters the DNA structures in cells, making it impossible for cells to reproduce.

Sunlight contains ultraviolet light, so sunlight actually disinfects our atmosphere and outside surfaces to make our world a safer place. We create indoor spaces to live and work. We seal these spaces to keep us warm and safe, but enclosed spaces trap harmful biological contaminates.

Your HVAC filtration system actively removes harmful particles from the air you breathe. Adding UV light to your HVAC system can disinfect indoor spaces; the air filter can then trap these particles and remove them before they can cause damage.

Where is UV Light Installed?

The blower motor pushes conditioned air into your home and pulls air into the ductwork. The air filter traps 99% of particles before they reach the heating and cooling components of the system. After the air is filtered, it enters the evaporator coil; the coil contains many surfaces and during the cooling season these surfaces are covered with moisture. A dark, moist surface is the ideal area for mold, bacteria, and viruses to grow.

This is the ideal location to install UV lights in the HVAC system. Three UV lights are installed strategically to shine on every surface and shine continuously. The UV light prevents the growth of biological contamination before it can re-enter your home with the conditioned air.

Installation of ultraviolet lights will only take a few hours. The lights are completely concealed—have you ever seen your evaporator coil? Since they are concealed, they cannot harm people or pets. Expect to change the bulbs every 2 or 3 years or include them on the HVAC preventative maintenance visit.

Have questions about bettering the indoor air quality in your home?

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

UV Light Use in Improving Indoor Air Quality

Ultra-violet Light Use For Better Indoor Air Quality

Using Ultra-violet Light for Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality (IAQ) has become an increasing concern since early 2020 with the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. Homeowners and commercial building managers are seeking methods of removing pathogens from the air for two reasons:

  1. To make indoor spaces genuinely safer
  2. To reassure people that spaces are safe

Ultraviolet (UV) lights were shown to kill mold, viruses, and bacteria more than 100 years ago. In fact, in 1903, Niels Finsen was given the Noble Prize in Medicine for using Ultra-violet Light to effectively treat patients with skin infections. Ultra-violet Light continues to be used to disinfect food, water, and air in industries like food-processing, medical and laboratory facilities. The technology has been adapted for home use to enhance Indoor Air Quality in homes like yours.

How Do UV Lights work in bettering Indoor Air Quality?

The wavelength of UV light can easily penetrate the cell walls of mold spores, bacteria, and viruses and damage the genetic material found inside the cells. The damage disables the ability to perform vital functions, including the ability to reproduce. Sunlight includes UV light and helps clean these contaminants from the outdoor air. Since we seal indoor spaces to save energy, airborne microbes are trapped and find good conditions for reproducing, which can lead to illness.

Bad news for germs is good news for you! When applied properly, UV technology can take natural cleansing UV light and render harmful bio-contaminants into harmless particles that are easier to remove. UV light can help make your indoor spaces safer for you and your family.

Installing and Maintaining Ultra-violet Light in Your HVAC System

UV light systems are readily available through All Cool AC. Schedule an appointment and our technicians will inspect your home, your system and make customized recommendations for your indoor space. Installation usually includes one to three UV light bulbs inside your system.

A prime location for Ultra-violet Lights is near the evaporator coil. The AC unit creates very cold gases inside the coil tubes. As warm air passes over the coil, water vapor condenses to a basin below and the air is cooled before circulating throughout the house. The presence of moisture makes for ideal conditions for the growth of mold, bacteria, and viruses. A UV light near the coil prevents growth in this area.

An ideal secondary location for UV lights is in the return air ductworks before the air reaches the evaporator coil. The air drawn from the house to recirculate throughout the system is disinfected by the lights before it is released into the house through room vents. Usually, these lights are timed to come on as the blower motor runs.

UV light installation is rather simple and takes an hour or two. Once installed, the UV light is contained within the ductwork so as not to harm people, pets, or plants. The bulbs will need to be replaced approximately every two or three years, and bulb replacement can easily be scheduled during your annual HVAC preventative maintenance visit.

Want more information about Ultra-violet Light Use in Indoor Air Quality? We Can Help!

If you are interested in Using Ultra-violet Light for Indoor Air Quality, call us at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

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Ultra-violet Light Use in Indoor Air Quality

 

 

 

 

Indoor Air Quality: Poor IAQ Can Trigger Respiratory Issues

Indoor Air Quality: Poor IAQ Can Trigger Respiratory Issues

Reducing indoor allergens that can trigger respiratory problems

If you suffer from respiratory illnesses such as asthma or severe allergies, each season carries unique indoor air quality struggles. During the summer and winter months, you are tempted to keep the windows and doors closed for comfort, but stale air and airborne particles recirculate.

The pleasant outdoor temps of spring and fall tempt you to open windows, but both are prime pollen and mold seasons. When you struggle to breathe, indoor air quality (IAQ) is a concern no matter the season.

“Most of the things that cause problems are odorless,” says Dr. Nicholas BuSaba, associate professor of otolaryngology at Harvard -Medical School. “So, in many cases, there’s nothing to alert you to the problem.” Symptoms and flare-ups might be the first indication of poor indoor air quality, followed by fatigue, sleepiness, and digestive problems.

Steps to Improving IAQ

If you live with asthma or allergies, there are measures you can take to improve indoor air quality and prevent the onset of flare-ups. It is not possible to eliminate all allergens, the key is to reduce the numbers and therefore your exposure to them. Here are a few strategies you can take to reduce airborne particles and breathe easier.

Clean Thoroughly

Having a regular house cleaning regime is an important step in removing particulates before they become airborne again.

  • Focus on obvious surfaces, such as furniture and accessories, but look for dust, dander, and pet hair in hard-to-reach areas as well. Use cleaning products manufactured to hold dust. Remove clutter that traps and holds dust.
  • Vacuum carpets and area rugs regularly, perhaps as often as twice weekly. Use a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter.
  • Wash bedding and drapes often, especially if you share your home with pets. Don’t forget the items dogs or cats frequently lie on. Use the hot water cycle on your washing machine—the water should be at least 130° Consider dust mite-proof covers on bedding and mattresses/box springs.

In-door Plants: A Positive or a Negative?

In-door plants add beauty and ambiance to your home and they are oxygen-producing additions. So, is there a problem? In general, plants help with indoor air quality, but the soil they reside in might be a source of mold spores and flowers a source of pollen.

Allergens affect individuals differently. This might be a problem you have not considered. Overall, if your respiratory issues are severe, consider whether the green is worth the risk of attacks.

Change filters often

Be aware of appliances around the house that have filters and clean or change them often. Vacuum cleaners have filters. Clothes dryers have filters. HVAC systems have filters. Every time you clean or change a filter, you are removing very fine airborne particles from your indoor space.

Manufacturers recommend changing the HVAC system air filter every three months, but if you suffer from a respiratory illness, change the filter more frequently.

How often? Perhaps monthly during spring and fall pollen season. Since airborne particles are also trapped in your ventilation ducts, plan on having them cleaned regularly.

Consider an Air Purifier for Better Indoor Air Quality

If indoor air quality is important because of respiratory illnesses and your home has unique problems related to airborne particles, additional technology might help. If you live near a construction site, near a busy thoroughfare, or on a dusty road, you might need more than just the HVAC air filter.

If your family pet makes your eyes water or the plant Granny gave you causes you to sneeze, consider an air purifier. Portable ionic air purifiers are affordable solutions to help capture irritants that may trigger your symptoms.

They come in attractive styles and can be placed near the source of the problem. You might consider a dehumidifier for troubling sources of humidity that can lead to mold and mildew growth.

Fresh Air is the Best!

It is important in every season to open windows and doors to release stale air and contaminants and to fill the house with fresh air. Find a day with moderate temperatures and open up… A complete exchange of air happens approximately every 15 minutes.

Want more information about Indoor Air Quality? We Can Help!

If you are considering improving your Indoor Air Quality, call us at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

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Indoor Air Quality: Poor IAQ Can Trigger Respiratory Issues

The Ultimate Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Guide

Ultimate Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Guide

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Guide

Most people consider air quality a given, something we can always count on, both indoors and outdoors. A visit to an area with poor air quality or stepping into space with poor indoor air quality will make you appreciate the good fresh air.

This is a guide to help you understand the things that threaten Indoor Air Quality in homes and offices and the dangers the poor Indoor Air Quality Guide poses to health. It also covers solutions to help you remove problems before they affect health and comfort.

Indoor Air Quality Defined

Indoor air quality is defined by the depiction of concentrations of pollutants and thermal conditions that may negatively affect the health, comfort, and performance of a building’s occupants. (Sam Kubba PH.D., LEED AP, in Handbook of Green Building Design and Construction (Second Edition), 2017)

Just like your golf score, the lower the number of particulates in the air the better. The poor indoor air quality will lead to health issues, reduced productivity at work and at school, and trouble sleeping. When poor air quality permeates a building, it is often referred to as “sick building syndrome.” Good indoor air quality improves health, productivity, and sleep.

Have We got Your Attention?

When you hear the word “pollution,” normally outdoor pollution comes to mind. We read big headlines about spills (on land or water) and smog released into the air that has a negative effect on the environment and poses health risks to people who come in contact with the pollution.

Since people spend at least 80% of their time indoors, Indoor Air Quality is an important consideration for our everyday lives. Clean air is essential for good health! Common effects of poor Indoor Air Quality include headaches, allergy symptoms, and fatigue, but it can also lead to more serious, long-term health respiratory issues.

Poor IAQ will also complicate existing respiratory issues such as asthma, COPD, and cancer. It is important to identify sources of indoor air pollution.

Indoor Air Pollution Sources

Pollen. The top indoor air pollutant in homes and businesses is common pollens. More than 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. The chief offenders include:

Grass pollen—leading to what is commonly called “hay fever”

Tree pollen—from March to May different trees bloom and release copious amounts of pollen

Wildflowers—Ragweed, everyone’s favorite, is one of many common wildflowers that negatively affect folks in late summer and fall

Dander. Both pets and humans have small pieces of skin and hair that flake off and become airborne. Dander is smaller than dandruff and is too small to be noticed unaided. It is the chief diet of microscopic insects known as dust mites.

Since dander is microscopic, it becomes airborne and enters human respiratory systems, leading to allergies.

Dust. Most dust is microscopic—you only see approximately 1% of dust is visible in that sunbeam streaming through your window. Since 99% of dust is invisible, it is a much bigger problem than most realize, as dust transports viruses and bacteria throughout indoor spaces.

Fungus Spores. Mold, mildew, and mushrooms/toadstools reproduce via tiny spores, only 3 to 40 microns in size—only half the width of a human hair. Spores cause allergy symptoms in humans and some can result in serious illnesses. Air-borne spores also propagate the growth of mold and mildew inside your home.

Gases. Some homes have indoor combustion sources, such as fireplaces, gas furnaces, ranges, and candles. New furniture and carpet give off volatile organic gases (VOC). Internal combustion engines in the garage, including automobiles and lawnmowers, release carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, which makes its way into the house via doors and windows.

This collection of gases contributes to indoor air quality and can cause respiratory problems, even death.

Human Symptoms of Poor Air Quality

How can you tell whether poor air quality has affected you or your family’s health? The particulates listed above attack your respiratory system in very predictable ways, from minor annoyances to serious life-threatening problems. Symptoms include:

  • Dry, itchy eyes, nose, and throat
  • Sinus congestion, sneezing, and coughing
  • Sensitivity to allergies and shortness of breath
  • Headaches and fatigue
  • Dizziness and nausea

If these issues persist and just won’t go away, it could be some other sickness or it could be poor indoor air quality.

House Symptoms of Poor Air Quality

In addition to health symptoms, your home may exhibit signs of poor Indoor Air Quality. Home symptoms include:

  • Excessive dust. Dust normally collects on surfaces, but when excessive dust can be seen, it may indicate poor Indoor Air Quality. Significant dust will also collect on your cold air return.
  • High Humidity. Ideal indoor humidity should be kept between 35 and 50%. Less than that will cause dry, itchy skin and respiratory illness; more than that leads to mold problems.
  • Mold or mildew growth. If your HVAC system is not removing water vapor from the air as designed, mold and mildew can grow in unexpected places.
  • Unpleasant odors. Foul odors from mold/mildew, chemical smells, or an earthy “dirt” smell may be an indication of poor Indoor Air Quality.
  • Poor air distribution. Hot or cold spots around the house can indicate system problems. Air that does not circulate as needed may allow air to grow stale.
  • Poor HVAC performance. A failing HVAC system contributes to poor Indoor Air Quality by not distributing fresh air properly or not filtering particles adequately.

Improving Indoor Air Quality

Understanding the causes, symptoms, and warning signs of poor Indoor Air Quality, what can be done to improve the quality of air in your home? Here are the top ways to maintain clean indoor air in your home:

  • Change your HVAC Filter. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, air conditioning system and it provides warm or cool fresh air. This system’s job is to circulate the fresh air throughout the house. While it is circulating, the air passes through a filter.

    If the filter is operating correctly, dust and other particulates build up and the filter will appear “dirty.” The air filter should be changed at least every three months. Other factors, such as multiple pets or serious illness in a family member might require filter changes.

You will also find filters in other household appliances and these filters will need to be cleaned or replaced as necessary. Look for filters in vacuum cleaners, clothes dryers, and kitchen vents.

  • Clean your air ducts. As the ventilation system moves air throughout your house, it also travels through a series of ducts, both to and from the blower component. Dust, dander, and other particles accumulate overtime on the sides of the ducts.

    Proper maintenance for your HVAC system includes periodic cleaning of the ductworks; an annual cleaning is recommended. Without this cleaning, the particles continue to recirculate throughout the house repeatedly.

  • Your carpet is acting as a filter. Carpets and rugs are actually good at catching dust and other particles, acting as an air filter. Cleaning your carpets regularly, at least weekly, will improve IAQ in your home. If you live near a dirt road, a construction site, or a busy highway, your carpets may need to be cleaned more frequently.
  • Control indoor humidity. Your AC system also removes water vapor from the indoor air, you may see the water dripping from the condenser unit. As mentioned earlier, dry air may cause skin or respiratory dryness, but moist air encourages mold and mildew to grow.

    This growth will most likely be found in the ductwork, where it comes in contact with both moisture and organic material, such as dust.

  • Indoor plants can help. Small indoor house plants, such as ferns and lilies, will act as nature’s air filter and through photosynthesis, convert a portion of the carbon dioxide into oxygen. Even a few plants can make a difference, so give it a try.

    Larger plants like bamboo, aloe vera, agave, and lantana give an indoor air quality boost and add beauty to your home.

  • Boost IAQ with an air purifier. If someone in your family has a serious health concern if your home environment suggests that you need more than a regular air filter or for your peace of mind you are considering improving Indoor Air Quality, investigate whether an air purifier might be in order.

    Following is a list of the types of filters and purifiers available and the use for each. Some air purifiers are capable of removing 99% of the dust, dander, pollen, and mold spores circulating through your system.

Types of Filters and purifiers

  • Filters. The first line of defense in your HVAC air purifying system is your air filter, usually a paper filter with openings as small as 5 to 10 microns. Since we are not used to thinking in those measurements, a human hair is between 20 and 70 microns in diameter. This filter is generally positioned to filter air before it enters the blower chamber and gets recirculated.

    Most dust is larger than 5 microns, so this filter traps the lion’s share of larger particulates. Some filters are disposable and some are washable/reusable. Some filters will have an activated charcoal layer. The voids on the surface of the charcoal trap gaseous odors, such as volatile organic compounds (VOC), fumes, and food odors.

The next step is HEPA filters, or High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters, with openings as small as 0.3 micrometers in size. HEPA filters are capable of trapping mold, bacteria, and some viruses.

ULPA, or Ultra-Low Penetration Air filters have an even smaller opening and achieve standards needed in industrial clean rooms and the nuclear power industry. ULPA filters remove particulates as small as .12 micrometers, which is 99.9995% of air particulates.

For best results, you will need to use a regular air filter and a HEPA/ULPA filter in tandem.

  • Ionizing Purifiers. The in-duct ionizing purifier can be added to your HVAC system. An ionizing purifier emits negative ions, giving particulates, like dust, an electric charge. You experience ionization when you rub a balloon on your hair and stick it to the wall. Electrically charged particles stick together, become larger, and are more easily trapped by filters.The ionizing purifier also has metal plates with a positive electric charge to attract negatively charged particles. Ionizing purifiers have the added benefit of removing smoke and odors from the air. Negative ions make people feel refreshed, like the air after a thunderstorm.
  • Ozone Generators. Ozone generators turn oxygen (O2) into ozone (O3). Ozone is effective in removing particulates from the air and is commonly used for smoke abatement after a fire. The treatment is remarkable and leaves a room or furniture smelling great.However, ozone must be generated in large concentrations to be effective and a large concentration of ozone is toxic to humans. Low concentrations of ozone are not very effective at removing particulates. While it has useful applications, ozone is not recommended for ongoing home use.
  • Ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet radiation neutralizes microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, and mold spores. The light is installed inside of the ductwork prior to the air filter. The neutralized organic material is more easily trapped in the filter and no longer poses a threat to your family.

Does your home need an Air Purifier?

An enhanced air filter in your HVAC system removes approximately 99% of airborne pollutants if you change your filter as required and keep your ductwork clean with an annual cleaning. That leaves 1% of all particles, but some home environments require special care.

  • Families with severe allergies—An air purifier can help reduce the amount of pollen or other allergens and provide greater comfort.
  • For families with respiratory illnesses or a compromised immune system—exposure to recirculating infectious microorganisms needs to be eliminated.
  • Families with other nearby environmental pollution sources—air purifiers can make home a refuge.

This information is provided for the purpose of helping you determine whether your home would benefit from an air purifier. Allcool has extensive experience installing the following products and considers them the best products on the market for the Houston area. We recommend them to your family should you need enhanced air purification in your home.

Whole House Exact Fit Media Air Cleaners by Ruud

  • This enhanced filter system was designed to fit any Ruud central heating system, making the air in your home cleaner and more comfortable.
  • Exact Fit System – Cabinets are an exact-fit system solution to your Ruud residential air handlers and gas furnaces providing quick installation by your HVAC professional.
  • Each cabinet includes one MERV 8 media filter. A 4” Deep-Pleated Filter maximizes the surface area of the filter and lasts up to one year before replacement.
  • Traps and Filters – Reduces major pollutants, such as dust and pollen, from the air passing through your HVAC systems.
  • Finish – Steel gray paint matches Ruud equipment.
  • 5-Year Limited Warranty* – We stand behind our warranty and make it easy for our customers to work with us.

AccuClean™ Whole-Home Air Cleaner

  • Removes up to 99.98 percent of allergens from the filtered air
  • Catches particles down to .1 microns in size (ULPA)
  • Eight times more effective than the best HEPA room appliance
  • 100 times more effective than a standard one-inch throwaway filter
  • Delivers cleaner air and more of it
  • Reusable filter can be cleaned by vacuuming

REME HALO Whole Home In-Duct Air Purifier

  • The REME HALO® in-duct air purifier utilizes RGF’s proprietary Reflective Electro Magnetic Energy technology.
  • Installed into the supply plenum of your existing HVAC air ducts, the REME HALO® in-duct air purifier produces ionizing plasma that is distributed through the air handler, through the duct system, and into the conditioned living space.
  • The REME HALO® ionizing plasma sweeps through your home, actively purifying pollutants at the source.
  • The charged plasma induces particles to coagulate or stick together making them bigger and easier for your filter to catch.
  • Easily integrated with your existing HVAC system. The unit doesn’t take away any living space and operates silently
  • Two (2) quick release features for easy, no tool, cell replacement

Pure UV CleanCoil Germicidal UV Light

  • CleanCoil eliminates 99% of viruses, bacteria, and mold by cleansing airflow as it passes through the ductwork of your central air system.
  • Powerful UV-C technology eradicates harmful mold and bacteria when installed near the evaporator coil, prolonging the life of your HVAC system for long-term savings and fewer maintenance visits.
  • CleanCoil distributes UV energy uniformly in all directions through the duct to cleanse the air
  • Reduces allergies and helps prevent illness
  • Prevents the growth of mold and bacteria on system components
  • UVC serves as a chemical-free solution
  • Extends life and efficiency of HVAC system for long-term savings

Air Purifiers and COVID-19

The Covid-19 pandemic left us in our homes for months and since the virus is new, many questions have been raised concerning safe ventilation and air purification.

Because the virus is new, answers came slowly and information has been very confusing. After a year, a little testing has given us some insight into effective mitigation for this virus.

If someone in your home has Covid-19, an air purifier will not prevent the spread of the virus from each sneeze or cough. The virus travels in water droplets and lands on surfaces. However, the virus is approximately 0.125 microns in size and travels in droplets larger than 1 micron.

The enhanced filtration and air purification described above have demonstrated to easily and effectively remove air-borne viruses including Covid-19. Both the CDC and MD Anderson Center encourage enhanced filtration and air purification measure for homes with a particular need to mitigate Covid-19.

 

 

 

Do I need an air purifier?

Do I need an HVAC air purifier?

HVAC Air Purifier: When to Decide if it is Right for You

Most people do not give indoor air quality much thought when our biggest concerns are dust and pollen. For the first time in 100 years, the world is experiencing a pandemic that has people concerned. The EPA tells us air inside can be at least 2 to 5 times more contaminated than outdoor air. Businesses and homeowners are both equally concerned about making the air in indoor spaces as safe as possible.

This might be an ideal time to consider new technology for ensuring safe indoor air; an HVAC air purifier. An air purifier removes particles from indoor air more effectively than regular HVAC filters. Air purifiers can remove tiny particles that can be harmful to humans, particles as small as mold spores, bacteria, and viruses. Many air purifiers are installed inside of HVAC systems ductwork.

Are the benefits of HVAC air purifiers worth the cost?

Air filters effectively remove dust, pet dander, and pollen. Air purifiers can remove bacteria, viruses, and volatile organic compounds (VOC). They can also neutralize smoke from tobacco or fireplaces and odors from kitchens and bathrooms. So, how can you know if an air purifier is cost-effective for your need?

Clean air might be important enough to consider an air purifier if:

  • You have a need for Covid-19 mitigation in the workplace for employees and/or customers
  • You or a family member have breathing difficulties due to allergies, asthma, or other chronic respiratory illnesses
  • Your business experiences significant VOC, business such as printing, dry cleaning or auto body repair or from new furniture or carpet

If your current HVAC filter is insufficient for your air quality needs, you might consider an air purifier.

Types of Air Purifiers

Different air purifiers have been developed to meet specific needs. Consider these examples:

  • HEPA air filters are high energy particulate air filters. HEPA filters have openings as small as .3 microns, trapping 99% of all airborne particles. Since the openings are so small, more force is needed to force air through the filter. Not every system can accept a HEPA filter without causing HVAC performance issues.
  • Activated Carbon filters use naturally occurring carbon with very small pores. The small openings trap gases, such as VOC and smoke. These filters are also used in fire restoration applications.
  • HVAC ultraviolet light air purifiers are inserted inside system ductwork. Ultraviolet light kills microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. Ultraviolet light is often installed in tandem with HEPA filters.
  • Electrostatic air purifiers are also installed inside the HVAC ductwork. Electricity flows through a network of fibers, creating static electricity in the air. Particles are collected by the static in the fibers and the filter will need to be washed frequently to remove collected particles This purifier will remove microorganisms from the air in ducts.
  • Ionizing air purifiers use electricity to charge some airborne particles. These ionized particles attract other particles, causing them to stick together. The large charged particles are trapped by the HVAC filter.
  • Portable filters of various sizes can also be acquired as standalone units for spaces with intermittent air quality challenges.

Want more information about HVAC Air Purifiers? We Can Help!

If you are considering an HVAC air purifier to better your indoor air quality, call us at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Connect with All Cool AC and Heating on Facebook.

Do I need an HVAC air purifier?

 

 

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.

Indoor Air Quality: How Spring Affects Our Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality: How Spring Affects Our Air Quality

Spring has sprung! Pollen, mold, mildew, and dust are circulating in our air making for extremely poor indoor quality. If not maintained, these Springtime pollutants can have a big negative effect on you and your family’s health.

Indoor Air Quality Adverse Effects

  • – Itchy Eyes
  • – Congestion
  • – Body Aches
  • – Runny Nose
  • – Coughing
  • – Sneezing
  • – Fatigue
  • – Headache
  • – Dry Skin

Indoor Air Quality: How Spring Affects Our Air QualityAllergens such as pollen are in abundance in Spring and the leading cause of congestion and allergy flare ups. One of the reasons this contaminants flourishes during Spring is our tendency to “air out” our homes by opening the windows. This allows the pollen allergens to have full access to our sinuses.

Spring showers leaves dampness and moisture where mold and mildew find easy conditions to grow rapidly.

Throughout the entire year, your HVAC system pulls dust and debris into your ductwork settling to be recirculated as your air conditioning system works. This cycle of circling the dust in and out of the house will continue until the ducts are thoroughly cleaned. During Spring, outdoor pollutants and allergies have your sinuses and breathing labored, additional dust and debris from your ductwork can send your health spiraling downward.

What is the Roll of Your HVAC Systems for Healthy Indoor Air Quality?

Your heating and air conditioning systems filters and cleans your indoor air, maintains humidity levels, and provides comfortable temperatures. If properly maintained, HVAC systems will help filter that springtime pollen out of your home and will minimize the risk of mold growth by monitoring humidity levels.

Your HVAC Air Filter is a Crucial Component to Indoor Air Quality

A common problem for many homeowners is your AC unit “freezing up.” This is when your HVAC system is overworked. Its effectiveness becomes compromised and electricity usage can increase drastically.

Leading Causes of A/C Freeze Ups

Your HVAC evaporator coil drops too low, your system will begin to ice up. Hot airflow has become obstructed. Rather than moving hotter air from your home, the evaporator’s coils begin the transference of ice-cold air.  Such an occurrence is an example of poor system airflow.

Here are the leading causes of poor airflow:

  • – Clogged or dirty air filters
  • – Lack of refrigerant level
  • – Curtain/drapery/furniture obstructions for air returns
  • – Dirty or clogged coils
  • – Poorly functioning or malfunctioning system fans

Repair It Now or It Will Cost You

If you notice that your HVAC system is performing poorly, running excessively, your utility bill skyrockets, noises or smells are coming from your air conditioning unit, call for service immediately. Fixing an air conditioning system quickly as issues are noticed, will reduce expensive repair down the road.