Category Archives: Indoor Air Quality

indoor air quality tips for businesses by greater comfort hvac

Indoor Air Quality for Your Office

As much as we’d love for summer to be year-round, fall is upon us. Back to school, back to work, back to a routine!

Instead of spending lots of time outdoors enjoying the sun, you’ll probably be indoors (working hard, of course!) for the most part. This means that you’ll want to ensure your office has excellent air quality. Feeling comfortable is important, but breathing in clean, well filtered air is also just as important.

It’s easy to switch up the temp when you feel uncomfortable. However, improving air quality is a tougher problem to tackle. That’s why we have some tips in store for you! Continue reading

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landscape for shade

How to Landscape for Shade (And Lower Your Energy Bills)

Is your yard looking a little…well, boring? You might want to consider adding some shady dimension. In addition to jazzing up the look of your area, it will also keep you cool on those hot, sunny days.

However, landscaping a few shady spots outside your home can do more than just add beauty to your yard and cool you off. It’s also a sneaky way to save some money by fighting off sunlight and thus lowering your energy bill.

Here are a couple different landscaping tricks that can save you a few bucks. (Thank us later!)

1. Shade Your Outdoor AC Unit

If you place your AC unit directly out in the sun, it will heat up quickly. This constant heat will cause your system to work harder.

Luckily, some landscaping can help alleviate some heat from the sunlight. Because your unit needs sufficient room for airflow, you don’t want to suffocate your unit with bedding plants. However, it is a good idea to plant a tree or shrub nearby to add some shade (1).

2. Make the Breeze Come to You

Did you know that you can redirect outdoor airflow to cool down your home? Trees and plants can provide shade and usher in cool breezes. Shrubs planted underneath windows can bring air upward with the help of a nearby tree. Rows of trees and shrubs on each side of your home can allow cool air to enter your home as well (1, 4).

3. Add Some Greenery to Cover Your Roof and Walls

As you might guess, your roof absorbs the most solar heat because it takes in the most direct sunlight. But did you know that tall shady trees that block this sunlight can cut your energy bill by nearly 20% in the summer? That’s quite a bit!

The best way to do this is by planting tall trees on the south and west sides of your home. Deciduous trees with broad leaves and high, spreading crowns are an excellent pick if you’re looking to improve your energy bill for two reasons: they’ll shade your home in the summer, and they’ll allow sunlight to heat your home in the winter once the leaves fall. Win, win.

If you’re too impatient to wait for trees to grow, a great alternative is to opt for a pergola or trellis, draping it with fast-growing vines. Although this won’t provide as much shade for your roof, it will certainly provide ample shade for the walls of your home (and it will look nice!) (1,2).

4. Cool Off with a Splash

Okay, so this one doesn’t add any shade to your yard, but it does help cool down your area. Adding a water feature adds some fun dimension and can help lower your energy bill. If you have room for a fountain or pond, the evaporation from the water can actually help cool your yard (1).

5. Play Around with Bushes and Shrubs

In addition to adding a little style to your yard, bushes and shrubs strategically placed around your walls and windows can reduce some of the solar heat that creeps into your home. Try planting some alongside the walls of your house, switching up the heights and type each plant for lots of shade. Get creative with this! (3)

Give us a Call for Your HVAC Needs

We’re pretty well versed in the world of HVACs; that’s why there’s more where this article came from. In addition to helping you save on your energy bill through some neat landscaping tricks, we can help you save in lots of other ways.

If you have questions about your HVAC, or would like to schedule a regular maintenance visit, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Call the experts at Greater Comfort today to ensure that your home is as comfortable as possible this summer: 859-491-4915.

Sources:

  1. http://www.improvenet.com/a/top-5-ways-landscaping-can-lower-your-energy-bill-in-the-summer
  2. https://energy.gov/energysaver/landscaping-shade
  3. https://colmanair.com/landscaping-tricks-for-lower-electricity-bills/
  4. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/351-cool-your-house-with-smart-landscaping/#.WZEAejOZP6Y
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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your HVAC

Although summer is ending soon, you’re probably pretty appreciative of your AC right now. It helps you relax, keep you comfortable, and cool you down.

It’s important that you’re knowledgeable about your heating and cooling system, no matter the time of year. You might think that you know all there is to know about your HVAC system, but there’s probably a few things you don’t know.

We’ll clue you in on some key info info…with a few fun facts sprinkled in, of course. Continue reading

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Have A Pet? How Pets Can Impact Your Heating and Cooling System

Of course we all love our furry little friends, but sometimes they make it harder to keep our homes nice and tidy. Their hair gets all over the furniture, they track mud onto the carpet, and sometimes, they have accidents. But hey, at least they’re cute!

You probably didn’t know that your animal can not only put a strain on the cleanliness of your home, but also affect your HVAC system. We’ll fill you in on what happens to your HVAC system, and how to take proper care of it if you do have a pet. Continue reading

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Have Pets? Follow These Tips for a Healthy Home

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7 out of 10 households have a pet of some kind in their home (1). Whether it be a dog or a cat, we know you want to keep your furry companions happy and healthy in your home.

You also want to be able to keep your family members just as happy and healthy as your pets! You want to be sure that the pets you have in your home aren’t negatively impacting the air quality within your home. That’s why we’ve compiled these 5 tips for you to follow to make sure the air is ideal for you, your family, and your pet. Continue reading

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This is How to Prep Your Home & Furnace for a New Baby

 

making-the-home-ready-for-babyA new baby means lots of baby-proofing choices to think about: baby gates for the stairs, safety locks on the cabinets, electric plugs for the outlets, moving dangerous items out of reach. What are some other ways you can make your home the most inviting, nurturing, healthy, and safe place as possible to raise your new bundle of joy?

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How Your HVAC Impacts Your Quality of Sleep

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Let’s face it – a good night’s sleep is invaluable. And the last thing you want negatively impacting a good night’s sleep is an HVAC system that isn’t up to par. If your lack of sleep is related to your HVAC system, there is good news – there is a fix! Check out the ways a smoothly running HVAC will keep your slumber sound.

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This is What You Might Not Know About Air Filters

everything to know about air filtersHeating and air conditioning can be…well, complex. Want to know one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your air quality? The answer: simply by using air filters.

Originally, filters were built into HVAC systems to keep the moving parts of the furnace free of dust and debris. But, fast forward to today, and air filters are primarily used to improve the quality of the air that flows through your home. Continue reading

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Make Sure Your Family Has Clean & Pure Air in 2016

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During the holiday season, we often have close friends and family come and visit us. It’s also the perfect time of year to give consideration to your air purification and cleaning system.

We may think of allergies as being worse in other seasons, but just as many contaminants and pollutants build up in the fall and winter months inside our home.

In fact, indoor air quality is an issue we should be aware of throughout the year.

Indoor Air Quality: Not Just for Those With Allergies

One of the biggest myths about indoor air quality is that only those people with severe allergies have to be worried about pollution inside the home. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In winter, as people turn on their heating systems and as people utilize their fireplaces, we can see an uptick in indoor allergens.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental health risks we have today—and that’s consistent throughout the year. Also according to the EPA, some of the indoor air pollutants we have can include:

• bacteria
• dust mites
• mold
• bacteria
• viruses

What’s more is that the source of these pollutants can vary greatly. We see pollutants enter the air from adhesives, paint, varnishes, products we use on the body, cleaning products, pesticides and building materials. Pollutants are broken down into two categories: particulate matter (like dust, smoke, pollen, dander, tobacco) and gaseous pollutants (like gas cooking stoves, paints or vehicle exhaust.)

Air cleaning systems can clean out particles and gaseous pollutants. Still other air cleaners actually destroy (or convert) pollutants via UV light technology. Increasing ventilation in the home also support removal of pollutants in our air.

Air Cleaning Technologies: What to Know

You may wonder: what are some of the questions you should be asking when it comes to selecting your air cleaning technology? Here are a few of the questions to consider:

• Does this air filter remove large particles, and if not, what can be used in combination with it to ensure large particles in the air can be removed and/or destroyed?
• Does this filtration system apply to gases in the home?
• Will this be effective in dealing with bacterial and/or mold in the air?
• Can you verify that none of these systems produce any lung irritants?
• How do you describe the performance of this air cleaner—and why is this superior to other solutions?
• Do these cleaning systems/devices handle odors in the air as well?

Your HVAC expert can help you find air cleaning technologies that, when combined, can work effectively and be a solution that has longevity.

What Kind of Air Cleaners or Purifiers Should My Home Have?

Mechanical filters use a media filter made of carbon, fiberglass or another porous material to capture particles as air passes through them. The highest rated media filters (HEPA) can capture up to 99.9% of all contaminants 0.3 microns or larger. Many mechanical air filters can be measured in terms of MERV, or minimum efficiency reporting value. On a scale of 1 to 20, this allows people to compare the efficacy of air filters across brands. Ask us for more specific information or about specific filters you have. In general, there will be three factors we will take into consideration:

• Size of Pollutants: Air testing is highly recommended to determine which allergens and pollutants pose the greatest risk in your home. Common allergens like dust and pollen can be captured by many filters, but smaller particles like mold spores or smoke particles cannot.
• Whole House Options: This option means your whole house is effectively working to remove and destroy contaminants, making sure that allergens and pollutants do not circulate back into your home’s air supply. For homes without air handlers, there are standalone options or single–room options available.
• Multi–Stage Air Cleaning: Air cleaners and purifiers come in many forms, so it is best to decide if you want to have a single device or multiple devices that can clean air effectively.

When it comes to installation, your experienced and professional HVAC will guide you so you meet install requirements and so you know what kind of maintenance your system requires. Give us a call today at 859-491-4915 to learn your options on how you can find allergy relief and more pure air through air cleaners in your home.

Sources/References

  • http://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/guide-air-cleaners-home
  • http://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/guide-air-cleaners-home#indoor-air
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Whole-Home Air Cleaners vs. Single-Room: Which is Right for Your Home?

cincinnati ac repair and air quality

You want a home that’s sealed so that you see the benefit of maximum energy efficiency, but at the same time, you want ventilation and the ability to properly filter out bacteria and air particles that can be damaging the health of your family.

You want a home that’s sealed so that you see the benefit of maximum energy efficiency, but at the same time, you want ventilation and the ability to properly filter out bacteria and air particles that can be damaging the health of your family.

Can you have both? The answer is yes, which is part of why home owners often ask us about two kinds of air cleaners: whole-home and single-room cleaners.

Single-Room vs. Whole-Home

Single-room air cleaners are what they sound like: cleaners that cover small areas within the home. In many cases single-room cleaners have a fan of some kind and an electronic component to charge the air to increase your filtration. Their benefits include the fact they are small and can be moved easily. Although they only cover a small range, they are effective in what they do for individual rooms.

One drawback to a single-room cleaner is that just because one room has air that is made more clean, doesn’t mean you are able to filter the air that exists in the rest of the house. While one or two rooms might have air that is healthier for your family in the short-term, the rest of the house can still have pollutants, dust mites, pet dander or other particles that can simply work back into the room you are working to clean.

The Benefits of Whole-Home Air Cleaners

Whole-home air cleaners, on the other hand, are integrated into your heating & air conditioning system. They utilize your furnace or your air handler to clean the air throughout the home. This means that not just one room is fully cleaned: you can know that the entire home air that has been filtered through the system.

Disposable filters, washable filters, electrostatic filters, and even UV lights are a few of the variety of options you have to remove impurities in the air utilizing your heating & cooling system.

The other benefits include:

  • The ability to remove or deactivate up to 99 percent of capture particles including most dust, allergens and particles in the air throughout the entire home
  • Protection for your entire HVAC thanks to reduced airborne particles
  • Higher efficiency: maximum airflow without sacrificing overall efficiency for your system
  • Help eliminate or relieve allergy symptoms or asthma due to pollutant’s within the home
  • Minimal maintenance or upkeep, especially compared to filters that are not modern

Did we also mention they operate quietly? Most whole-home air cleaning systems can be incorporated into any existing heating and cooling system (new build or retrofit) and you have lots of options to get started.

Ask us today so we can find a solution that best fits your needs, now and in the future!

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