Breath Clean Air and Feel Better

A few of the first indicators of poor IAQ (indoor air quality) are irritated nose, throat and eyes.

You’re most likely aware of the dangers of pollution, smog and allergens outside your home – but did you know that your indoor air has the potential to be even more dangerous?  This is because “EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be two to five times, and occasionally, more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels. In recent years, comparative risk studies performed by EPA and its Science Advisory Board have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health.”

Terrifying, right? – especially when you consider that the majority of your time and your family’s is spent indoors. For the elderly and children, hidden dangers like molds, dust mites, viruses, mildew and allergens increase the possibility or aggravate certain health conditions, and can be especially dangerous.

Things to look out for.

As we mentioned before irritated nose, eyes, and throat are some of the first indicators of poor indoor air quality. Because these symptoms can also accompany colds, the flu or viruses, it’s imperative to know when and where the symptoms begin.  You will know there is a problem if there is dust or dirt around heating or air vents and if there is dust on ceilings or you have stained walls.

Solutions

  • Do what you can to reduce indoor pollutants – that means keeping the smoking outdoors, keeping pets groomed, and using air-friendly cleaning supplies.
  • Invest in high rated Merv filters for your home comfort system. The more particles the filter can get out of the air, the better the air you’re breathing in.

Click here to schedule an appointment or call us today at 402-362-5702 to learn more about IAQ.UV lights

Whole-Home vs. Single-Room Air Cleaners

In the quest for cleaner, fresher air, two main types of air cleaners have become popular: single-room and whole-home.

How they work

Single-room air cleaners cover small areas

Single-room air cleaners are just like their name implies.  They’re small, portable, localized devices that are placed in individual rooms or areas to clean the air.  They usually incorporate a fan to move air, some kind of filter to remove particles, and often an electronic component that electronically charges the air to increase filtration.

Whole-home air cleaners are a more complete solution.

Whole-home air cleaners, on the other hand, are more of an “installed” solution, permanently integrated into the heating and air conditioning system in your home.  They rely on your furnace or air handler to move air through, instead of using their own fan.

Advantages of whole-home air cleaners

Whole-home air cleaners offer a serious advantage over single-room air cleaners because they affect all the air in your home.  Attaching an air-cleaning solution to your heating and cooling system will allow it to filter every bit of air in every room.HVAC Cabinet

Disadvantages of portable air cleaners

A single-area air cleaner may solve air quality issues in one room, but your home heating and air-conditioning system is still going to be circulating air from that room throughout your home. So whatever air issue you’re facing in that one area will eventually spread to every other room.

Whole-home options

If you’re going with an installed, whole-home air cleaner, you have several options.

  • Disposable filters: Most furnaces accept a 1” or 5” pleated or fiberglass filter that is thrown away when it becomes dirty.Filters filters
  • Washable filters: Usually made of foam or plastic fibers, these filters are washed when they become full of impurities.
  • Electrostatic filters: Remove impurities from the air by putting an electric charge on them as they pass through the air cleaner, causing dirt and dust to stick to a collection area for later vacuuming or washing.
  • UV lights: As air passes through your air cleaner, ultraviolet lights kill germs and bacteria so they can’t make you sick.

The only whole-home solution to everything.

A whole-home air cleaner makes sense.  And no whole-home air cleaner is more effective than the PureAir™ air purification system made by Lennox.  In fact, PureAir cleans the air in your home better than any single solution you can buy, using three different types of technology.  And it generates no ozone.

  • Filtration:  A CarbonClean 16 filter removes up to 95% of particles ranging in size down to 0.3 micron*, while its carbon component captures any latent ozone in your home.

    Carbon Clean Merv 16 filter

    Carbon Clean Merv 16 filter

  • UV lighting:  Removes OVER 90% of bacteria, fungi and germs ranging in size down to 0.01 micron*
  • Catalyst plate: Removes and destroys approximately 50% of household odors and chemical vapors in a 24-hour period**UV lights

New for 2015

PureAir was already the leading whole-home filtration solution, but for 2015, Lennox has added three new advantages.

  • Better filtration: Carbon Clean 16 filtration is now standard.
  • Tighter cabinet seals: With virtually no air leakage
  • More energy efficient:  The new PureAir uses less electricity than ever.

Get your air quality consultation today

We at J & R Heating can tell you more about the quality of the air in your home, and help you deal with the specific problems you face.  Schedule your consultation today.

Article taken from the Comfort Matters Blog.  You can find more useful tips here.

How to Get Rid of Air Pollutants

A Breath of Fresh Air

There’s nothing like taking a deep satisfying breath of fresh spring air.  Now imagine taking that same deep breath in your home and getting lungfuls of air that is stale, slightly scented or even sticky.  Wait, that doesn’t seem right, does it?  Unfortunately, it’s all too common in today’s super-sealed homes.  Before you get too squeamish, here’s what you need to know…

Cleaning Supplies

Pollutants.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollutants include: chemicals, such as those from cleaning supplies, paints, pesticides, dirt, and tobacco smoke; gases, such as radon and carbon monoxide; allergens, such as pet hair and dander; and mold and pests.  Whew, that’s quite a list!  Most of us can recognize at least a few immediately.  These indoor pollutants may cause headaches, itchy or burning eyes, nose and throat, not to mention allergies and respiratory problems.  This leads us to…

How to clean it.  Qualified HVAC professionals (like us!) have many tools to clean and purify your air depending on your home’s specific issues.  There are options for everything from systems that cycle fresh air into your home all the way to cleaning ductwork for immediate results.

To decide what your family’s best option is for fresh, clean air, give us a call.  We’ll take a look and, best case scenario, your air will already be pristine and mountain fresh – no harm done.  If not, you’ll get practical solutions to help your family breathe easier this season.  Either way, you win.  Just let us know – we’re here for you.

Although adorable, pets can cause air pollution.

Although adorable, pets cause indoor air pollution…but so do humans so keep them around.  🙂

Symptoms of Indoor Air Pollutants Chart

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could point to one single culprit in the battle against IAQ (Indoor Air Quality)?  Sadly, it’s not that easy.  The truth is that there are so many potential sources that it’s impossible to pinpoint just one.  Pets, chemicals in carpets, household cleaners, building materials, damp basements, furniture and many more things contribute to poor IAQ.  Your best bet to improve your IAQ is to first identify the air pollutants.  The most effective way to clean your air is by eliminating the sources of indoor air pollutants.  Take a look at the chart below to pinpoint the air pollutants that are causing your symptoms.

Indoor Air Quality Checklist for Your Home

Take a few moments out of your day and answer the questions on this checklist.  You may be suffering from the effects of poor indoor air quality and not even know it.  If you answer yes to any of the bullets on the checklist you should try the Healthy Indoor Air Quality Solution Finder.  What is recommended for you may surprise you.  I found out that I could really use a humidifier because my skin is incredibly dry and I get nose bleeds all the time.

  • Are there small children, elderly people, or bedridden people in the house?  The elderly, children, and sickly people who are exposed to indoor air pollutants for long periods of time are more susceptible to problems caused by poor IAQ (indoor air quality).
  • Do you or any of your family members have respiratory problems or allergies?  Allergies and respiratory problems are symptoms that can occur due to poor air quality.
  • Do you feel a difference from when you are outdoors to when you are indoors?   To determine whether or not your symptoms are related to IAQ it is important to try to isolate when you experience those symptoms.  If your eyes and throat are irritated when you are at home, but you feel better when you are out, the air in your home may play a role in the physical symptom.
  • Have you installed new carpet in your home recently?  New carpet can hold chemical emissions.  Normal household items you may think of as harmless can actually emit contaminants into the air.
  • Do you have indoor pets?  Pet saliva and dander are considered to be biological contaminants and contribute to poor IAQ.
  • Does someone in your family smoke in the house?  Did you know that over 40 of the compounds found in smoke are known to cause cancer, and many other are strong irritants?
  • Does your home contain fireproofing or asbestos insulation?  When materials that contain asbestos are damaged or if the start to disintegrate, they will release microscopic fibers into the air.  Another indoor air pollutant to look out for is radon.  Radon and asbestos are the most publicized indoor air pollutants and are also both carcinogens.
  • Is your home to humid or dry?  Improper humidity levels and high temperatures can increase concentrations of indoor air pollutants.  

Join our mailing list for more information on improving indoor air quality.

How We Can All Reduce Pollution…Today

Most people would probably associate words like “city” and “traffic” with air pollution.  But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, what we do inside our homes can be polluting the air both indoors and outside.  So, consider the following tips for reducing air pollution.

  • Recycle.  Local recycling centers accept electronics, paper, organic…you name it!  Charities will accept any of those that are still usable.
  • Properly dispose of common household items.  Many items around the house can be very harmful to the environment if not disposed of or stored properly.  Make sure your paints, pesticides and solvents are stored in airtight containers.
  • Inspect your appliances regularly.  Inspecting heating and cooling systems can help reduce the emissions or harmful gases into the air both inside and outside your home.  Have a professional (like us!) check your home comfort system in the fall and in the spring.
  • Look at things in terms of your physical health.  Exposure to air pollution can aggravate asthma, lead to potential lung damage, and cause coughing or shortness of breath.  That’s not fun for anyone.

To learn more about controlling the air pollution in your home, check out our indoor air quality systems.  We’ll help you – and your family – breathe easier this season.

Don’t You Deserve Poison-Free Cleaning?

If you’ve ever sneezed, coughed or gone to bed with a migraine after a long day of cleaning, you won’t be surprised that many household products contain toxic chemicals. You’ll find them in cleansers and disinfectants, wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, air fresheners – and lots of other sources we use on a daily basis.

Product labels will give you “safe handling” procedures, and you would be wise to follow any precautions they give you. Also, wear plastic gloves to protect your skin and allow for plenty of fresh air (open a window or door) while you’re using them, and by all means keep them out of reach of children and pets.

Better yet, many cleaning chores can be performed with simple and safe products. For example:

•Baking soda can be used to clean and polish aluminum, chrome, jewelry, plastic, porcelain, silver, stainless steel and tin; deodorize refrigerators, carpets and drains; extinguish grease fires; soften fabrics; and remove stains.

•Cornstarch can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs and starch clothes.

•Lemon juice can be used to clean glass and remove stains from aluminum, clothes and porcelain.

•Vinegar can dissolve mineral deposits and grease; remove traces of soap, mildew or wax buildup; clean brick or stone; polish some metals; shine windows without streaking; clean coffee pots; and deodorize.

•Borax can deodorize, inhibit the growth of mildew, boost the cleaning power of soap or detergent, remove stains and can be used with attractants such as sugar to kill cockroaches.

•Isopropyl alcohol serves as a good disinfectant.

Using fewer cleaning chemicals is one way to help prevent indoor air pollution. Give us a call to perform a free indoor air quality inspection and we’ll show you other preventions and how filtration and other new innovations can protect the air your family breathes.