In a time when many of us are working from home, homeschooling our children and spending our free time indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, breathing clean air inside our homes is more important than ever. The heating, air conditioning and plumbing professionals at Stark Services know firsthand the importance of creating a healthy living environment, and they want to ensure consumers are doing all they can to breathe the cleanest indoor air possible.
With spring (and allergy season) just around the corner, here are six easy ways to improve the air quality in your home.
1. Ventilate your house
Proper ventilation is a simple way to reduce pollutants inside your home and instantly boost your air quality. You can do this by opening your doors and windows (weather permitting), running your bathroom or kitchen fans that exhaust outside your home, and when air conditioner season approaches, run it with the vent control open. Be sure to also properly ventilate whenever you use a product that can potentially release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, such as paint, cleaning supplies, pesticides and air fresheners. A more efficient and automatic solution is to have an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) installed into your HVAC system. An ERV automatically ventilates your home without losing warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer.
2. Reduce asthma and allergy triggers
If you or a loved one has asthma or allergies, all it can take is one trigger to cause an asthma attack or breathing difficulties. In addition to consulting your doctor to identify triggers and create a treatment plan, consider the following to reduce asthma and allergy triggers and potential attacks: Don’t smoke indoors, clean and dust regularly, wash linens and blankets regularly with hot water, and enforce proper pest control by sealing cracks and leaks and cleaning up after meals. It’s also a good idea to use allergen-proof covers for your pillows and mattresses. Additionally, there is a wide range of air filtration options for your HVAC system, including medical-grade, high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA filters. Most HVAC air filters are rated by their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV. The higher the rating, the better the filter is at removing particles and pollen from your indoor air. A HEPA filter, for example, ranges from 17 to 20 MERV, which is the highest rating.
3. Adjust humidity and moisture
High levels of humidity in your home can create excess moisture, increasing the likelihood of developing mold. One simple way to prevent mold growth is to dry any areas of your home damaged by water within 1-2 days. Additionally, you can purchase a moisture or humidity gauge online or at most home improvement stores to ensure your home’s humidity is at an ideal level (between 30%-50%). To reduce humidity, simply crack open your window if it is not humid outside. If you need to increase your home’s humidity during colder months, use a humidifier or a vaporizer. A more efficient and automatic solution is to install a whole home humidifier in your home to ensure you have the proper humidity level during the cold winter months.
During the summer months, a dehumidifier can help remove humidity from the home, making it more comfortable. But, the best solution for humidity removal during the hot summer is to have a properly sized air conditioning system along with an adequately designed duct system in your home.
4. Clean your home’s air with a UV light air purifier
Today's airtight homes can not only trap inside odors from cooking and pets, but also can contain potentially harmful airborne viruses and bacteria. UV air purifiers work within your home's ductwork to reduce airborne particles while ultraviolet light helps eliminate viruses and surface contaminants such as mold on air conditioning coils.
5. Check for combustion pollutants
Carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are two common indoor pollutants, both of which can cause severe and potentially fatal symptoms and are often linked to gas stoves, furnaces, leaking chimneys, and unvented kerosene and gas heaters. You can reduce exposure to these pollutants by using outside-venting appliances whenever possible, enforcing proper ventilation where fuel-burning appliances are used, and ensuring that such appliances are properly installed, utilized and monitored. Further, it is highly recommended that you install a carbon monoxide detector, many of which also double as smoke detectors.
6. Maintain your HVAC system regularly
Maintaining your central heater and air conditioner is an easy way to make sure you’re breathing the cleanest air possible. You can do this by visually inspecting your outdoor HVAC unit each season, regularly replacing your HVAC’s filter and scheduling an appointment with a professional HVAC expert to perform routine preventive maintenance, which will not only increase the air quality in your home, but also prolong the life of your HVAC system.
If you find that your home’s air quality needs improvement, Stark Services is here to help.
Our Experts can help improve air quality in your home. Visit Stark Services online to schedule a consultation appointment.