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Air Quality Advice

We spend 90% of our lives indoors and the average person inhales over 3,500 gallons of air each day. Don’t you think it is time to pay more attention to the air we breath? Some issues created by poor indoor air quality (IAQ) are:

  • Allergies
  • Fatigue
  • Asthma
  • Irritated Skin
  • Headaches
  • Discomfort
  • Lung Irritation
  • Home Damage
  • Higher Energy Costs

Unfortunately, there is no easy “cure-all” solutions (despite what the Sharper Image may tell you). Indoor air quality often requires multiple solutions for multiple problems. Have Harker Heating & Cooling design a system that suits your needs. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to help with your home’s indoor air quality issues:

Problem #1

Symptoms:

  • Odors – emitted from litter boxes, trash cans, dirty hampers, cooking, smoking, paints and solvents.
  • Gases and vapors – emitted from new carpeting, building materials, cleaning supplies, candles, pesticides, personal care products, glues and adhesives.
  • Stale and stuffy air – a result of today’s energy efficient “tight” building techniques.

Problem: Poor Ventilation

Primary Solution: Install a Energy Recovery Ventilator

Things you can do to help:

  • Store volatile chemicals and cleaning products outside the home.
  • Keep litter boxes away from heating and cooling system vents.
  • Change your furnace filter according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Have your fireplace and/or wood stove periodically cleaned and inspected.
  • Clean dryer vents on a regular basis.
  • Open windows and doors, as weather permits, to replace indoor air with fresher, outdoor air.
  • Before new carpeting is installed, ask your retailer to unroll and air out the carpet in a well-ventilated area. Open windows while carpet is being installed.
  • Utilize exhaust fans in bathrooms and ventilation hoods above stove tops.
  • Ventilate crawl spaces, attics, hobby and work spaces.

Problem #2

Symptoms:
  • You experience chronic physical symptoms such as sore throats, dry/itchy skin, nose bleeds or sinus irritation.
  • Your home’s wood floors are shrinking and cracking. Joints in wood furniture are becoming loose or failing.
  • Wallpaper is peeling, while your paint or plaster is starting to crack.
  • Annoying and sometimes painful static shocks are common occurrences.
  • Your thermostat is cranked up, as is your energy bill, but you still feel cold.
  • Your piano and other musical instruments are falling out of tune.
Problem: Dry Air
Primary Solution: Install a whole-home humidifier

Problem #3

Symptoms:
  • Your skin often feels clammy, sweaty or sticky.
  • Musty-smelling odors are invading your living space.
  • Wood floors, trim or wood furniture is warping or rotting, paint is peeling.
  • Condensation, frost or ice have formed on the inside surface of your windows. Water pipes are “sweating”.
  • Damp spots, or worse, mold and mildew, have formed on ceilings or walls.
  • Your allergies or asthma have gotten worse due to the growth of mold, mildew and dust mites.
  • Your house is a breeding ground for termites, cockroaches and other pests.
Problem: Too much humidity
Primary Solution: Install a whole-home dehumidifier
Things you can do to help:
  • Use ventilation fans in kitchens and bathrooms when in use. Ensure that your fans are venting directly outside.
  • Cover dirt floor crawlspaces under your house with plastic to act as a vapor barrier.
  • Check to make sure your dryer is vented to the outside. Don’t dry wet clothes on drying racks in the house. Air-dry them outdoors if possible.
  • Ensure air conditioning drip pans are clean and drain lines unobstructed.
  • Fix any water leaks in pipes, toilets, showers, etc.

Problem #4

Symptoms:

  • Airborne pollutants – dust, dust mites, pet hair, dander, pollen, particulates from clothing and furniture.
  • Biological contaminants – bacteria, viruses, mold spores, mildew.
  • Odors and vapors – tobacco smoke, cooking grease
Problem: Poor air filtration
Primary Solution: Install a whole-home air cleaner
Things you can do to help:
  • Open windows when weather and other conditions permit.
  • Bathe pets regularly and keep pet beds and litter boxes away from vents.
  • Change your furnace filter according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Run your heating and cooling system blower when vacuuming and dusting to circulate polluted air through your furnace filter.
  • Keep relative humidity between 30 and 60 percent.
  • Make sure kitchen, bathroom and other exhaust fans vent to the outside.

 

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