Dallas HVAC Contractors Know the Best Insulation for the Job

Tuesday 26 May 2015 13:27
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03_13_13Dallas HVAC contractors can easily advise you on the best type of insulation for your home. Energy efficiency in your home can be dramatically improved by increasing the amount of insulation in your walls, attic and floors.

Two common choices are fiberglass and cellulose insulation. While both types can be effective, in many cases, fiberglass is the better choice.
  • Fiberglass maintains its insulating qualities better: Insulation stops heat from moving from place to place, keeping it inside in the winter and outside in the summer. The effectiveness of insulation is measured by its R-value, which indicates how well it resists heat flow. Cellulose insulation tends to settle after installation, which means it loses thickness and, as a consequence, loses R-value. Fiberglass insulation does not settle or thin out, which means it retains its R-value and insulating qualities.
  • Fiberglass is better for fire safety: Fiberglass insulation is made from spun glass, sand or other inorganic material that does not burn easily, making it a better choice for fire safety. Cellulose insulation is made from ground up newspaper. Though cellulose insulation is treated with fire retardants, the underlying material is flammable.
  • Fiberglass is water- and moisture-resistant: Fiberglass insulation can get wet or damp if exposed to moisture, but the material does not ordinarily absorb or hold water that reduces its insulating abilities. Cellulose, being made of paper, can easily absorb water and lose its ability to insulate.
  • Fiberglass is not attractive to mold and insects: The inorganic material of fiberglass insulation is not a food source for mold or insects, so there is little chance of bugs or mold in fiberglass. Cellulose is a common insect food source and can be attractive to hungry bugs or mold spores.
Crawford Services, Inc. is one of the Dallas HVAC contractors that customers can rely on to provide a full range of sales, maintenance and repair services that keep home heating and cooling systems running at their best and most efficient. Contact us today for more information on home insulation and for expert help deciding if fiberglass or cellulose insulation is the best choice for your project.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Dallas Heating and Air Conditioning Professionals Know the Value of Air Filtration

Tuesday 26 May 2015 13:25
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Dallas heating and air conditioning services cover a wide range of issues, including temperature control, energy savings and indoor air quality. Because clean indoor air is such a major factor in home comfort, air filtration merits special consideration.

A good filtration system offers a number of benefits:
  • Longer HVAC system life – A minimum level of filtration is necessary to keep out dust, pollen and other airborne debris that could accumulate in the ductwork and system components. Certain components, such as the blower motor, are likely to fail early if not protected.
  • Greater system efficiency – A cleaner system runs more efficiently and therefore costs less to operate. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has found that dirty coils and blowers can reduce system efficiency by up to 40 percent.
  • Cleaner air – Medium- to high-efficiency filters capture smaller particles and remove them from the air. This means less pollen, pet dander, mold spores, dust mites and other irritants floating around to aggravate your allergies or asthma.
If you're looking for a good particulate filter, a Dallas heating and air conditioning expert can help you choose one. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) also gives you an easy way to compare the efficiency of these filters.

MERV 1 to 4 – These are the lowest-efficiency filters, usually disposable fiberglass panels or paper filters. Because they can only catch particles larger than 10 microns, their primary use is to protect your HVAC system. They do almost nothing to clean your air. If kept clean, however, these cheap filters will maintain good airflow in your system.

MERV 5 to 8 – These medium-efficiency filters help improve air quality. They trap particles down to 3 microns in size, including mold spores and pet dander. These are usually pleated (extended surface) filters.

MERV 9 and over – At the lower end of this range are the better quality medium-efficiency filters. Filters with a MERV above 12 are considered high-efficiency.

A word about HEPA filters

With a MERV between 17 to 20, High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are the most efficient of all. While they capture very small contaminants such as some viruses and smoke particles, they also slow airflow and can reduce system efficiency. Because of this, not every HVAC system can be fit with a HEPA filter. If you're considering buying one, consult with a Dallas heating and air conditioning technician to make sure the filter won't impair your system operation.

For even better indoor air quality, consider installing an electronic air cleaner to trap very fine particles and/or a UVGI air cleaner to neutralize biological contaminants.

If you'd like help choosing filtration options for your heating and cooling system, contact us at Crawford Services. In the Dallas area, we provide a wide range of value-driven HVAC solutions.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Indoor Air Quality in Your Dallas Home Can Be Improved This Spring With 7 Simple Strategies

Tuesday 26 May 2015 13:23
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05_07_13Maintaining indoor air quality is about more than keeping your Dallas area home smelling fresh. Your home's air quality affects you and your family's health, as well. To keep your home's indoor air clean and healthy, try these simple strategies:
  1. Maintain your air filters – Once a month, inspect your HVAC system's air filter to keep the equipment clean and efficient. Change the filter when it looks dirty. For cleaner air, use a pleated or electrostatic filter. If you're unclear about the right filter for your home's cooling and heating equipment, consult with a trusted HVAC specialist.
  2. Keep the dust down – Feather dusters and most cloths just spread dust, and chemical sprays can irritate your airways. Microfiber cloths pick up dust with no need for sprays. Better yet, they're also reusable.
  3. Close your windows at night – Pollen is most widespread late at night and in the early morning, so close your windows overnight if you have allergies. If you want to use your A/C overnight, consider installing a programmable thermostat and setting the system to turn off a few hours before dawn.
  4. Optimize your ventilation – The vents in your kitchen and bath clear out odors and reduce humidity, but they waste a lot of energy just to provide a small amount of ventilation. For a continuous flow of fresh air and better indoor air quality, an energy-recovery ventilation system will provide a more energy-efficient option for your Dallas area home.
  5. Control humidity – Relative humidity much higher than 50 percent will encourage mold growth. Airborne mold spores can aggravate respiratory problems. To keep your indoor humidity down, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier.
  6. Try a UV-light air cleaner – Ultraviolet (UV) light, the same type of light as sunshine, stops the reproduction of microorganisms such as mold, bacteria and viruses. A UV-light air cleaner fits in your HVAC system and improves indoor air quality by neutralizing microorganisms in the air passing through.
  7. Test for radon – Radon, a natural yet cancer-causing gas, can enter your home through the ground or well water. Contact the Texas Department of State Health Service's radon program for a test kit or call an HVAC expert to have your home professionally tested.
For expert advice on efficient ways to improve your indoor air quality, please contact us at Crawford Services. Our well equipped, experienced technicians provide reliable HVAC services in the Dallas area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Air Duct Cleaning Helps Keep Allergies at Bay in Your Dallas Area Home

Tuesday 26 May 2015 13:17
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05_09_13Air duct cleaning is an effective way to improve the air quality in your Dallas area home. All of the air that heats or cools your living spaces travels through the air ducts, which means that keeping this air distribution network clean and free of contaminants can reduce the effects of allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Material such as dust, dirt, lint, hair, fibers, insect or rodent nests, mold and other contaminants can accumulate in your ductwork. When your HVAC system is first turned on for the season, these particulates can be dislodged by airflow and sent into your home's interior. Large accumulations can continue to contaminate your air over a long period. Professional air duct cleaning will remove any built-up contaminants or sources of particulates.

Air duct cleaning has not been shown to prevent any particular health conditions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, the EPA recommends duct cleaning under three specific conditions:
  1. Mold is growing inside the ductwork or on your HVAC equipment and is visible on duct surfaces or system components.
  2. Ducts are inhabited by insects or small animals that have left behind nests, fur, feces or other contaminants.
  3. Ducts are fully or partially blocked by debris, which will restrict airflow and significantly reduce HVAC system effectiveness and efficiency. A sign of this might be debris blowing out of registers.
If your ducts are emitting large amounts of particulates, are producing unusual odors or seem to be clogged, a duct cleaning may be a wise choice. Air duct cleaning also lets an HVAC expert examine your duct system from end to end. This provides a chance to find any ductwork problems such as broken seals, loose connections, or detached sections that need repair.

Choose your duct cleaning contractor carefully and beware of overly positive claims about the benefits of duct cleaning. Check contractor references and qualifications and make sure the company will correct any damage to the ductwork the cleaning process may cause.

In Dallas and North Texas, Crawford Services, Inc. provides professional heating and cooling services for residential and commercial customers. Contact us todayfor more information on air duct cleaning or to schedule a duct cleaning appointment at your convenience.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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A Dehumidifier Can Balance Out Your Indoor Air When High Humidity Is a Problem

Tuesday 26 May 2015 13:15
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05_21_13A dehumidifier can help even when you don't have high humidity outside. Today’s airtight homes conserve energy but also accumulate water vapor. Most of this originates from household appliances, human activities or other sources within the home. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends maintaining indoor humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent for greatest comfort, interior air quality and heating/cooling effectiveness. Without a dehumidifier, that’s often a tough standard to meet in a well-sealed house with little natural ventilation. Some of the sources of high interior humidity include:
  • Showering, laundering and cooking.
  • Water vapor emitted by normal human respiration and perspiration.
  • Moisture migrating up from a moist basement or unconditioned crawl space or down from the attic.
  • Unvented natural gas appliances such as stoves and space heaters.
Consequences of excessive interior humidity include condensation damage such as structural rot and staining on walls and other surfaces. Increased occurrence of mold and mildew growth, as well as the proliferation of airborne mold spores, dust mites and the allergic reactions associated with these contaminants, may also occur. Other physical symptoms including a general feeling of discomfort and poor sleep may be noted by occupants, as well.

There's also an energy-efficiency and cost component of air that's too moist during the cooling season. Humid air feels warmer than dry air, so in homes with muggy or clammy air, occupants are more likely to crank up the A/C. When the humidity is reduced, you can raise the temperature on the thermostat, without any loss of comfort, and save on your monthly electric bills.

Controlling high humidity levels at the source can be a challenge. Fortunately, a whole-house dehumidifier gets the job done even when the sources of humidity can’t be entirely eliminated. A whole-house dehumidifier installed inside your forced-air heating and cooling ductwork treats the entire volume of air in your home as it circulates through your ducts. Activated by a humidistat that continuously senses moisture levels in the air, the technology maintains the humidity level you set automatically with no further user input. The system is permanently plumbed into your household drain system so there’s no emptying of condensation pans or other chores associated with portable room dehumidifiers. Operation is quiet and there’s no footprint taking up space in individual rooms.

Crawford Services provides comprehensive HVAC and plumbing sales and service to Dallas area homeowners. Ask us for more details about the comfort and household benefits of a whole-house dehumidifier.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Published in Indor air quality

Air Filtration Maintenance: How to Care for Your Electronic Air Cleaner

Tuesday 26 May 2015 13:13
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06_06_13Air filtration with an electronic air filter is one of the most efficient and convenient methods available for improving your home's air quality. To do their job, these air cleaners need only basic maintenance. That primarily means keeping the pre-filter and collector plates free from the dust and pollen we see a lot of in North Texas.

Your owner's manual should tell you how often to clean your filtration system. Typically, your system will need cleaning every three months. Always check your owner's manual before choosing a cleaning method, since these systems can vary substantially.

Using a garden hose – For a quick, simple way to clean your pre-filter and collector plates, take them outside and spray them down with a garden hose. Use light water pressure to avoid damaging the collector plates. Vacuuming the pre-filter is another way to keep it clean so it continues to provide good air filtration.

In a tub – On some air cleaner models, the collector plates can be washed in a bathtub, laundry tub or other large container. Place the plates in the container and add enough very hot water to cover the plates. Then add 3/4 cup automatic dishwasher detergent per plate. Agitate the water to dissolve the detergent and let the plates soak for 15 to 20 minutes. To rinse the plates, soak them in pure water for another five to 15 minutes. Remove the plates to drain. If the draining water looks or feels soapy, rinse the plates again.

In the dishwasher – Use this method for the collector plates only (not the pre-filter) and only if your air filtration equipment's owner's manual recommends it. Place the collector plates in the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher as usual, but stop it before the drying cycle and remove the plates. If the plates go through the drying cycle, any remaining debris may become baked on.

Let the pre-filter and collector plates dry thoroughly before you replace them.

For expert guidance on caring for or upgrading your air filtration equipment, contact us at Crawford Services. We provide value-driven HVAC solutions for all types of homes in the Dallas area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Published in Indor air quality

The IAQ of Your Dallas Home Can Be Improved With UV Lights

Tuesday 26 May 2015 13:09
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06_18_13IAQ, or indoor air quality, is a significant health issue for an American population that spends most of its time indoors. In many cases, the air filter in your HVAC system or a more advanced air filtration device takes care of removing solid particulates such as dust, pollen, fibers, animal dander, and other contributors to allergies and respiratory problems. However, getting rid of particles is only one aspect of effective IAQ and contaminant control. Air also contains living organisms such as viruses, germs, bacteria, fungi and mold spores that can cause disease and severe physical discomfort. To keep these health hazards under control and ensure the best IAQ possible, it's a good idea to add ultraviolet (UV) lights to your existing HVAC system.

UV lights are extremely powerful disinfectants that can kill biological contaminants and micro-organisms in your indoor air. While ultraviolet light cannot be seen by the human eye, it's still highly effective. In current applications, UV lights are used in places where a clean, sterile environment is critical, such as hospitals, food production facilities and manufacturing plants. UV light is a form of radiation that is highly effective at eliminating the micro-organisms that can cause infection, disease and related medical issues.

In residential settings, UV light systems are installed in conjunction with your forced-air heating or cooling system. The light units are mounted within the ductwork so that all of the air circulating through your HVAC equipment can be exposed to the UV light. When micro-organisms are exposed to the UV light, it kills many of them outright. In the ones that aren't killed, the light causes severe damage to the organisms' DNA, the genetic material necessary for reproduction. With their DNA destroyed, micro-organisms cannot establish a population and reproduce in your home or in your body, where they cause disease and discomfort. When these biological contaminants are removed from your home's environment, your IAQ will be dramatically improved.

Remember that direct exposure to UV light is necessary for it to be effective. You'll want to leave installation of UV light disinfectant systems to your local trusted indoor air quality expert. UV light is most effective against germs, bacteria and mold, though it has no effect on non-organic particles. An additional air filtration or purification system is recommended to achieve the highest possible level of IAQ.

Crawford Services, Inc. is a leading source of HVAC and indoor air quality services in the Dallas area. Contact us today for more information on improving IAQ and how UV light can dramatically boost indoor air quality by removing potentially harmful micro-organisms.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Indoor Air Quality Can Be Controlled in Your Dallas Home This Spring With 9 Tips

Tuesday 26 May 2015 13:04
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06_26_13Your home's indoor air quality can be affected by factors present in nearly every room in the house. By using one or more of the following nine techniques, you can substantially improve the air quality in your home this spring and beyond.
  • Maintain clean HVAC system filters: Your air conditioner contains a filter that removes particles from the airflow moving through the system. Dirty filters are less effective at removing these particulates and could make indoor air quality worse if material they've captured re-enters the airflow. Check your air filters at least monthly and change them when they're dirty.
  • Add an air purification system: An air purification system provides additional effective air filtration. A whole-house air cleaner or purifier will dramatically improve indoor air quality by removing tiny allergens, airborne contaminants and micro-organisms from your home's air.
  • Install a germicidal UV light: Ultraviolet (UV) light is an extremely powerful disinfectant. UV light systems are available that you can add to your existing air conditioning system. The lights destroy potentially harmful micro-organisms in your indoor air, such as mold, viruses and germs.
  • Take control of moisture: Reduce the amount of moisture in bathrooms, kitchens and elsewhere. Run ventilating fans to move moisture outdoors. Clean up spills quickly. Don't let wet clothes or towels pile up. Install a whole-house dehumidifier to reduce humidity levels throughout your home.
  • Change your kitchen sponges: Kitchen sponges used for cleaning are prime environments for bacteria and mold that can be transmitted to your home's indoor air. Replace kitchen sponges at least weekly.
  • Take off your shoes: Your shoes can carry significant amounts of dust, dirt and other particulates into your home. Practice the habit of leaving your shoes at the door when you come in.
  • Clean bedding regularly: Your blankets, sheets and other bedding can be a source of dust, dust mites, fibers and other airborne particulates. Wash bedding regularly with hot water to eliminate dust mites and clean away fibers, dust and other particles. Find zippered allergy-proof cases and coverings for your mattresses and pillows.
  • Dust regularly with microfiber cloths: Weekly dusting will eliminate considerable amounts of dust and dirt from your home environment. Use efficient microfiber cloths that pick up and remove dust without using cleaning sprays or chemicals.
  • Close the doors and windows: Probably the simplest way to improve indoor air quality is to keep your doors and windows closed, which prevents pollen, allergens, dust and other material from getting into your home and into your air.
In the Greater Dallas Metro area, Crawford Services, Inc. is a premier source of HVAC installation, service and maintenance. Contact us today for more information on maintaining high levels of indoor air quality this spring and every season.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Your Indoor Air Quality Could Use a Boost This Summer: 3 Add-ons to Consider

Tuesday 26 May 2015 13:03
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07_18_13Diminished indoor air quality is more likely to become a problem for you the more time you spend indoors this summer. Particulates in your home's air could aggravate allergies or respiratory conditions. Excess humidity could damage your belongings or even your home's basic structure. Disease-causing micro-organisms could invade your body and make you miserable. Here are three effective add-ons for your HVAC system that can improve indoor air quality.

1. Dehumidification. Humidity inside your home normally increases during the summer. Along with the weather-related increases, normal sources of indoor moisture such as cooking, showering and clothes washing will keep adding humidity to your indoor air. A tightly sealed home, while energy efficient, will be more likely to hold excess moisture.

Whole-house dehumidifiers substantially reduce moisture and improve indoor air quality. They are installed within the airflow of your forced-air cooling system. As the air that cools your home circulates, it also passes through the dehumidifier, where moisture is removed before the air continues on into your home.

Indoor relative humidity should be somewhere between 30 to 50 percent. Controlling your indoor humidity will decrease the physical effects often felt in humid environments, such as tiredness and aggravation of respiratory conditions. It will prevent the growth of mold, insects, mildew, bacteria and other pests that thrive on moisture. It also will reduce the possibility of moisture damage to books, papers, wood, furniture and electronics.

2. Filtration. Your air conditioner provides basic air cleaning through its air filters. That is why indoor air quality requires regular changes of the filters in your HVAC system. If you need or want a greater level of air filtration and particle removal, an air purification or filtration system will help. These devices are also placed within the airflow of your central air conditioning system. The higher-quality filters in these units capture and hold particulates such as dust, pollen, mold, animal dander, fibers and other solid contaminants.

Some filtration systems are available with activated charcoal filters that can remove fumes and odors in addition to particulates.

3. Ultraviolet (UV) light systems. UV light systems are a powerful weapon against biological contaminants and disease-causing micro-organisms. These units are designed to treat the air coming from your HVAC system with ultraviolet light. As UV light shines on micro-organisms, it either kills them outright or damages their DNA, which makes them unable to reproduce. Organisms that cannot reproduce cannot multiply and spread, preventing them from causing disease.

Crawford Services, Inc. provides HVAC services and indoor air quality solutions for customers throughout Dallas and the surrounding North Texas communities. Contact us today for more information on improving your indoor air quality this summer, and for the equipment and supplies that will help make your indoor air cleaner and fresher.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Published in Indor air quality

How Your IAQ Can Be Improved by an ERV

Tuesday 26 May 2015 13:01
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1_29_13The IAQ (indoor air quality) of your North Texas home is one of two major concerns when dealing with a sweltering summer. It may not be the most obvious summer problem, but the average home's IAQ is relatively poor, leading to allergies, asthma, and illness. The summer's high humidity makes your indoor air quality even worse.

The other concern is keeping your energy bills down while cooling your home. Fortunately, there's a solution that can help you deal with both problems simultaneously. It's called Energy Recovery Ventilation.

Your indoor air quality is likely much worse than the quality of the air outside. If the same air cycles through your A/C over and over again, eventually it becomes stale. So one of the keys to raising your IAQ is keeping a steady supply of fresh air coming in from outdoors, while expelling stale indoor air back outside.

An ERV, when operating during the cooling process, takes the heat from the incoming air and transfers it to the outgoing air. The two streams are run side by side, separated by a thin wall. As they pass by one another, a heat exchanger is used to condition the warm incoming air using the cool air that's leaving your home. That way, your air conditioner doesn't have to work as hard to cool your home to its desired temperature. The process is reversed in the winter, with the ERV removing heat energy from the indoor air as it flows outside.

An ERV can recover and reuse up to 80 percent of the energy from the air before it's expelled back outside. In addition, it can transfer some of the water vapor from the humid incoming air into the outgoing air, before the air conditioner dehumidifies it further, making your home feel fresher and cooler.

An ERV is a great way to lower your energy bills and raise your IAQ. The one drawback, though, is that it can be expensive to install, especially when compared with other systems. However, one type of ERV set-up can make use of your existing ductwork, saving on installation costs.

For more advice on raising your IAQ and lowering your energy bills this summer, contact our experts at Crawford Services, Inc. We proudly serve the HVAC needs of the Greater Dallas Metro area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Published in Indor air quality

Duct Cleaning: What are the Benefits?

Tuesday 26 May 2015 12:59
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Duct cleaning is always a topic of heated discussion among friends and neighbors.Will it really benefit you and your family? What is really being done?

Knowing how the duct cleaning process works is the first step in understanding the need for your home to have a professional duct cleaning service performed. Over time, dust, dander and allergens build up in your ducts. These same substances also cling to other places - like your cooling coil, heating coil, blower and heat exchanger.

02_19_13All of these airborne particles collect and inhibit the performance of your HVAC system. If you are going to have your air ducts cleaned, then it stands to reason that you want your home to have healthier air and that you want your climate control system to work more efficiently. Right?

Of course you do. Who wouldn't want to live better and save money? Duct cleaning should be viewed as an all-inclusive cleaning job, not just a duct cleanout. A certified and reputable company can come out to your home and give you an estimate that includes duct cleaning as well as internal HVAC component cleaning.

Just look at it this way. Your air ducts got dirty for a reason. Our homes have become tighter than ever before because we strive to be more efficient with our energy bills.Once dust, dander and other airborne pollutants invade our home, they stay there.Your HVAC system runs off a supply and return system, meaning air is pulled from the return ducts, conditioned for heating or cooling, then sent back into the home through the supply ducts.

The air in your home (along with all of the pollutants) is circulated throughout your home five to seven times a day on average. That means that all of the dust and debris that did not catch onto the internal HVAC system parts or onto the internal walls of the air ducts, goes back into your home then the cycle repeats itself.

The simple fact is, no matter how much time you spend in your home, there is no way to stop dust and debris from entering and getting trapped there. That means that it has to go somewhere. If it is not airborne and circulating, then it has attached itself to something, most likely inside your HVAC system. This is why duct cleaning becomes a must for homeowners. For some people, the dust is a fairly harmless nuisance. But, for those who have autoimmune deficiencies,asthma or chronic respiratory illness, duct cleaning can substantially improve their lifestyle.

Inspect for yourself and see if your ducts have a dirty buildup in them. You might think that is an impossible task, but not really. Just take your camera phone and,with the flash on, stick it into your air duct and take a picture. If there is buildup of any kind, you will quickly understand why a duct cleaning service is needed. But, there are other reasons that duct cleaning is considered an important aspect tohealthier living. A good example of this would be air leaks in your ducts. As we all know, when you run your air conditioner, your condenser coil removes moisture from the air and discards it through a condensate drain. If there is a leak in your airduct, then there is going to be mold growth because the moisture is not making it to the condenser coil, thus leaving the structural members in the proximity of the leak exposed to a steady stream of moisture. Over time, this moisture will rot the wood and/or insulation and also accumulate mold. The mold can then circulate throughout your home.

It is very important to get any mold accumulations cleaned out of your air ducts as well as the wood and insulation. Sealing ducts like this would also be highly advisable. You are not only providing a safe haven for mold and rot, but you are losing any conditioned air you produce and forcing your HVAC system to work harder to provide optimal comfort.

Duct cleaning can also help ensure that rodents and insects are not dwelling in your air returns. These critters are public enemy number one when it comes to spreading disease. To sum it all up, it would be in your best interest to call an experienced and licensed HVAC company out to make sure that your home air is healthy for you and your family. Your health and financial well-being will be better off.
Published in Indor air quality

Good, In-Home Air Quality Could Benefit the Health of Everyone in Your Home

Tuesday 26 May 2015 12:56
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The air quality of your home is important for the health and comfort of everyone who lives there. Air quality is, naturally, at its least healthy during the winter months when we tend to keep ourselves locked inside, shutting out the cold (and fresh) air. Sealing your homeagainst the winter cold is good for keeping heat inside, but it can also provide harmful pollutants and indoor allergens with the perfect place to thrive.

air-duct-cleaningIndoor pollutants can cause a particular hazard to children, asthma sufferers, and the elderly, although the sad truth is that some of the adverse health effects from poor air quality in the home only appear many years later - and after much exposure. Because wespend much more time indoors than recent generations, these risks are increasing all of the time. Modern homes are also much more airtight thanks to things like double glazing and insulation. The factors that adversely affect air quality do vary considerably -- everythingfrom dust mites in our furniture and carpets to pet dander, even the paint on the walls.But, there are ways you can help improve the air quality in your home and to provide a healthy environment for your family.

• Keep it clean. It can be very tempting to put things off, especially in the winter months, when all we really want to do is to stay warm and cozy by the fire. Regular cleaning can help to reduce the irritants and allergens in the air. Dust surfaces with a damp cloth, rather than something like a feather duster which really just redistributes the dust back into the atmosphere. Pay particular attention to theareas which are out of sight and difficult to reach – ceiling fans and refrigerator tops are particularly easy to ignore.

• Pets. Your pets will probably spend much more time indoors during the winter time; after all, they want to stay warm, too! This will probably lead to more dust, dander,and fur, so remember to groom your pet regularly, give him plenty of baths, and don’t forget to give the dog bed frequent washes in very hot water. Another good tip is to not allow your pets into your bedroom.

• Circulation. This is another tip for improving the air quality in your home. Don’t be afraid to open the windows every now and then for a little bit of fresh air, even on a cool day. This is especially important when you’re cleaning, painting, or cooking. Exhaust / extractor fans are also important to take away the grease and odors while you cook.

• Clean your floors regularly. Instead of using chemicals, which can add to the problem, you should use a strong vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to prevent any dust which has been sucked up from being blown out again. Mopping the floor after vacuuming will take away the last traces of dust which have been left behind. And, plain water will do the job just fine, there’s no need for soaps or chemicals.

• Door mats. These should be placed on the outside of your home in order to keep as much dust and dirt outside as possible and improve the air quality in your property. This will make a significant difference in the amount of dirt that is walked into your home.

• Humidity level. Your home should also be kept to a healthy humidity level. Mold and dust mites thrive in moisture, so you should aim for the humidity to be kept around 30 percent, or 50 percent at the maximum level. A dehumidifier is a worthwhile investment to reduce the moisture in the air and help to control the allergens.

• Smoking. We don’t need to tell you that smoking is bad in so many ways, but another way to help to improve the air quality in your home is to make it a strict smoke-free zone. Cigarette smoke is packed with chemicals (around 4,000 of them) and a smoky environment has been proved to increase the risk of children developing many illnesses, including respiratory infections, ear infections, asthma,SIDS, cancer, and more.

• Fragrances. Don’t overdo the synthetic fragrances, which are designed to make your home smell good. Synthetic fragrances in air fresheners and other cleaning products are simply sending chemicals out into the air and affecting the air quality. This istrue for many products including fabric softeners, air freshener sprays and solids,detergents, dryer sheets . . . in fact just about everything which is designed to make your home smell nice may actually be harming the air quality.

As you can see, improving the air quality in your home really does have many benefits for all members of the family.
Published in Indor air quality

Spring Cleaning: What About Indoor Air Quality?

Tuesday 26 May 2015 12:54
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Improving indoor air quality can be an important part of spring cleaning – and there’s much moreto it than washing chair covers and giving the windows a polish. One of the best ways to improve the indoor air quality of your home is to have your HVAC regularly serviced by an approved, trained and licensed technician. Not only will the air quality of your home significantly recover through this service, but it will also help to improve the efficiency of your AC system, while cutting down on energy bills and even increasing the longevity of your system.

If your HVAC system is regularly maintained it will help to reduce the dust within your home (big plus) and reduce the poisonous carbon monoxide gases from the exhaust – improving indoor air quality is a winning solution in many areas.

Improving the indoor air quality of your home falls into three basic categories;

• Reducing the amount of pollution in your home.

• Ensuring that your home is properly ventilated.

• Utilizing some of the proven products available on the market for improving the indoor air quality of a property

Here are just a few spring cleaning tips to help make and keep your home spic and span - with good air quality.

• Have your HVAC system regularly inspected and maintained, and make sure that the filter is replaced as often as necessary. If the air filter in your HVAC system is clean, it will work more efficiently to trap things like viruses, bacteria, pollen and dust. These are the main culprits that can significantly harm the quality of the air in your home and lead to poor health and allergies.

• Take off your outdoor shoes at the door and switch to indoor shoes or slippers. The soles of outdoor shoes carry lots of different contaminants from outside into your home and can spread them all over the house given the chance. Change your shoes at the doorstep to help to prevent this from happening.

• The constant humidity within your home is an important factor in making sure that your indoor air quality is good. If humidity is kept between 30 – 50 percent, it will help to prevent any mildew or mold from growing in your home. If necessary invest in a portable dehumidifier for a little extra help, unless you have a whole house dehumidifier – use whatever is necessary depending upon the size and age of your property and your location.

• Make sure that you wash your bed sheets every week using hot water – it may soundrevolting, but beds contain 2 million dust mites on average (yuk). And, that’s not the worst of it - their cast-off skin and droppings are a major cause of allergic reactions.

• Regular dusting in the home can help to improve the indoor air quality of your home, but don’t just swirl the dust around in the air for it to resettle as soon as your back is turned.

Use a microfiber cloth or electrostatic cloth, which actually picks up the dust and doesn’t just redistribute it.

• As soon as you have dusted, it’s time to vacuum – make sure that the fan on yourthermostat is switched to on while you vacuum to get rid of many of the dust particles which are produced as you vacuum. The exhaust of your vacuum can produce quite a lot of dust –so leave the fan on for a few minutes after you’ve finished to catch the last of the culprits.

• De-cluttering your home can help to make a big difference to your indoor air quality. Knick-knacks don’t just collect dust, they also discourage some homeowners from dusting as regularly as they know they know they should. It is much easier to control the dust within your home if there are not any additional ornaments or needless clutter all over the place.

• “Au natural” cleaning can also help to improve the indoor air quality in your home. The problem with many modern household cleaners and chemicals, including air fresheners and candles, is that they themselves may contain chemicals which can severely detract from the air quality in your home. Many supermarkets provide natural cleaning supplies; you will also find plenty of natural cleaners in your refrigerator and kitchen cupboards if you just know where to look. Vinegar is a master at cleaning the home - mix with water and pop it into a spray bottle and you can safely clean, disinfect and deodorize many areas of the home (don’t worry, the smell disappears as the vinegar dries). Other fabulous natural cleaning products include lemon juice, which is terrific for hard water deposits and soap scum – do remember that lemon juice has bleaching properties so test out a small area before putting it onto your favorite furnishings. Baking soda is another terrific natural cleaning product which can help to maintain good indoor air quality in your home. Simply put some into a box and pop it into the fridge and / or freezer and it will absorb nasty odors. If some part of your home needs to be deodorized turn to the baking powder – smelly sneakers, laundry baskets, trash cans. .

• Deodorizing candles might seem like a good idea, but they really are not. Try to avoid using things like burning candles, smoking and burning incense inside the house.

There is a good range of products available which can help you to determine and improve the indoor air quality within your home. Radon gas detectors, carbon monoxide gas detectors and HEPA air filters can all help to keep your family safe and your home clean and healthy. The use of Ultra Violet lights is also effective in dealing with the invisible microbes – they are so small that you can’t see them, but the damage they can do to the comfort and health of your family is enormous.

Spring cleaning  time is certainly upon us, so please bear in mind these tips before you sta
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An Air Purifier Will Keep the Allergies Out This Spring

Tuesday 26 May 2015 12:52
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indoorairqualityAn air purifier is definitely the most effective method for keeping your home and your family allergen free this spring. Whole house air purifiers trap particles as the air passes through the filter in the air conditioning, central heating system or the forced air heating system in your home.

Portable air purifiers are also available which, although not as efficient as a whole house air purifier,do provide a good alternative to properties which do not have central heating or air conditioning.

Portable Air Purifier or Air Cleaning Units

Houses which do not have central air conditioning or heating systems can have the option of a whole house unit which is free standing and may typically involve installation in the attic with ducting to each individual room, or alternatively portable room air filters which can be moved from room to room as required.

Most portable air cleaning units use HEPA filters which utilize pretty powerful fans (more powerful than is possible with a general furnace application) or ion air purifiers which utilize electrostatic precipitators. These do not need to have the powerful fans which make them much quieter than the HEPA filters.

Some portable air purifier units can be incredibly noisy, which is one big disadvantage. The reason for the noisiness is simple – these units require a lot of wind in order to push the air through the finest filters on the air purifier unit. One possible solution is to switch the unit on to high during the daytime when there is more background noise around and turn to low during the night when all is quiet.

The price of portable air cleaning units varies quite widely depending upon the type of unit youchoose. You can pay as little as $150 or as much as up to $1500. Those which utilize replaceable HEPA filters often have an added yearly expense of around $40 to $100 for the specialized filters.

The way to determine whether you have a suitably sized air cleaning unit for the room is to check the CADR – the clean air delivery rate – which should be around 2/3 of the area of the room. A room measuring 300 square feet would need a CADR of at least 200.

Whole House Air Purifier Unit or Filters

Whole house air purifiers are the most efficient and most popular type of air purifier – built into the ductwork of the air conditioning or forced air heating systems and trapping particles as they pass through the filters. There are four different types of these whole house air purifier units:

Flat Filter Units

If your property has a forced air type furnace already installed, then you do have some sort of air filtration system in place already. The system will be fitted with a fiberglass filter which does need to be changed every month; in fact, you can change it even more regularly if you remember – the more the better. If the filter gets clogged up with dust it will stop the furnace from working efficiently and can cause it to overheat. The filters are actually designed to protect the furnace from the damaging effect of large dust particles and can also help to make your home a dust free zone for longer periods of time.

Electrostatically charged pleated filters can attract allergens such as pet dander and pollen and need to be changed every couple of months for the best results. Don’t worry, it won’t break the bank, they will only set you back about $15.

Extended Media Air Purifier Filter

This type of air purifier looks a little like a pile of furnace filters all on top of one another and measures around 8 inches. These boxy “accordions” are significantly more effective than thetypical filters made from regular fiberglass. One drawback is that you need a professional to install them; the larger box structure must be plumbed into the existing ductwork in your property with adaptations made as necessary. Once you’ve had this type of air purifier filter installed, you can replace them yourself. Installation costs may be as much as $600 but once the large work has been done, they only cost around $60 per year to replace.

Electric Air Purifier Filters

Now we’re getting high tech! These units are sometimes known as electrostatic precipitators and,just like the extended media filter, must be incorporated and plumbed into existing ductwork. These rather ingenious devices help to keep the allergies out of your home by passing high voltage currents through the air, putting an electrical charge onto the particles. A collector is positioned with an opposite charge to gather up the particles in a similar way to a magnet. These are super efficient and even work on smoke particles which may be too small for other types of media filter.

Some experts quote this type of air purifier as up to 30 times more efficient than a traditional fiber glass filter. Yes, they really are that good. Another advantage of this type of device is that there are no filters to replace although the aluminum plates which collect the particles will need a wash every few months with soapy water. This type of air purifier unit costs between $600 and $1000 for purchase and installation, and operates using a 120 volt electric outlet.

Ultraviolet Air Purifier Filters

If you are as worried about germs as you are about pollen, pet dander and other allergens, then this could be the air purifier for you and your family. Ultraviolet filters are typically built in components onto an air conditioning or heating system, although they can be purchased as add-ons for between around $500 and $800. Hospitals use this type of air filtration system, particular in tuberculosis wards as the UV light can zap the airborne viruses and bacteria. In order for the system to zap the bugs, however, the bugs must pass through the filtration system; there is no protection against germs if someone sneezes right next to you, no matter how expensive or efficient the ultraviolet air purifier is.

Choosing the right air purification for your home often requires additional navigational help from an HVAC specialist. But, the extra up-front expense can save your family a lot of money and sick days as they filter out the allergens and viruses that often make you sick, or at the very least sneezy and uncomfortable.
Published in Indor air quality