Whether you personally deal with allergies or not, odds are that a loved one in your family probably does. Itchy, watery eyes, congestion, sneezing, difficulty breathing – allergies are no fun. Spring and fall can be especially difficult for those of us that deal with seasonal allergies, and making a few adjustments to your HVAC system can turn your home or office into a place of relief, all year round. It might surprise you to know that EPA studies report that indoor air can actually be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air, so making sure that your HVAC system is circulating clean air is critical for everyone. Here are some tips to help keep your space as free from allergens and irritants as possible.
No matter what time of year, you should change the air filters in your HVAC system. They help cleanse the air and make the system run efficiently. A filter that is overdue to be changed clogs up the air flow, making the system work harder, and it can’t trap floating particles as well as a new filter. Depending on the quality of the filter you use, it should be changed about every 3 months. Filters are very easy to change, and you can even sign up for a subscription. No need to keep track of when to change the filter, just change it when a new filter is shipped to your door.
Other factors to consider include the indoor and outdoor environments. You may need to change the filter more often or purchase a higher quality filter. Indoor air can be more polluted because it lacks the natural filtration system and space that outdoor air has. Plants, clouds, and the water cycle all help to filter pollutants out naturally. Air that is inside has much less space to move through, and no natural systems to clean it. We also use a lot of chemicals in our homes, whether we realize it or not. Cleaning supplies, wood burning fireplaces, and hair products may all be releasing chemicals or irritants into your home. Once in the air, they circulate throughout the space, and become something you breathe in. Think about these questions:
- Does someone in the home smoke?
- Are there animals in the home?
- Do we live in an area with a heavy pollen season?
- Do we live in a heavily populated area or near heavy traffic?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may want to consider upgrading to a HEPA filter. HEPA means “high efficiency particulate air” filter. According to the EPA “this type of air filter can theoretically remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm).” The size specified is the most penetrative, worst kind of particle. Other size particles are trapped even more efficiently. If you are interested in HEPA filters, contact 360 AirTech to discuss what option would fit your home best.
This tricky irritant can sometimes be hard to see because it loves to grow in places that we can’t see. Parts of the HVAC can be prone to growing mold because they hold moisture and humidity. Hiring a trained HVAC technician to complete regular maintenance will reduce the chances of mold growing in your system because they are trained to detect and correct mold problems within the system. Left untreated, mold spores can circulate throughout your home which can cause symptoms similar to hay fever.
Carbon monoxide is very difficult for humans to detect. It is odorless, tasteless, and invisible. Small amounts of the gas can cause weakness, dizziness, headaches, and nausea. It can also cause people to develop symptoms similar to allergies. So while you may be thinking that you are just suffering from seasonal allergies, it could actually be a much bigger problem. It is important to know if there is a carbon monoxide leak in your home – large amounts of it can be deadly. Installing a carbon monoxide detector can save lives.
Most HVAC specialists recommend having regular maintenance completed twice a year: once before turning on your air conditioning, and once before switching over to heat. Not only do these visits extend the life and efficiency of your HVAC system, they can also reduce the amount of allergens, irritants, and pollutants in your home. Technicians are trained to look out for signs of mold, filter issues, and anything else that might reduce the cleanliness of the air in a space.
Give 360 AirTech call today to discuss your next maintenance visit, and how you can improve the health of your home or office.