IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

IAQ Concerns: New Flooring

New Flooring_Bartek Wojas.jpg

New flooring sure can spiff up the looks of your home, so how it impacts your indoor air quality (IAQ) is probably the last thing you're thinking about when deciding which type of flooring to use. But the unfortunate fact is that some types of flooring create health concerns for the sensitive. Be aware of the pollutants given off by the various types of flooring, as well as the chemicals used to clean and install them.

Read on for IAQ concerns for several types of flooring.

Hardwood

Hardwood is one of the most desirable floors. It looks beautiful and is durable and easy to clean. The only health concern is from the volatile organic compounds (VOC)s that might be used to clean and polish the hardwood. Be sure to check chemical cleaners for VOC content, and substitute natural cleaners whenever possible. VOCs are gasses given off by chemicals and manufactured products that can be irritants for a host of respiratory issues.

Laminates

Laminates simulate wood but are usually made of a photographic applique layer, on top of melanine resin and fiber board. The adhesives used to install the laminates may give off VOCs, as may the laminates if cut. Some laminates emit formaldehyde.

Vinyl

Vinyl floors hold up well to foot traffic, are versatile and easy to clean. Installation usually involves VOC-laden solvents.

Carpets and rugs

Carpets and rugs add a warm interface between feet and cold, hard floors. However, they can harbor pollutants such as pet dander, dust mites, dirt and mold. Even with vacuuming and carpet washing, you never get all the pollutants out. They also can hold moisture and contribute to mold and mildew. A better choice might be a hard flooring with washable rugs.

Tile

Tile is easy to clean, and though hard, can be softened for contact with feet with washable rugs. As long as harsh chemicals aren't used for cleaning, you shouldn't have any issues with off-gassing of VOCs.

For more on IAQ concerns and new flooring, contact Air Assurance. We provide Broken Arrow with HVAC repairs, installations and maintenance.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

The Best Dusting Techniques and Products to Improve Your IAQ

The Best Dusting Techniques and Products to Improve Your IAQ

The Best Dusting Techniques and Products to Improve Your IAQ

Dust is one of the most annoying problems we face inside our homes. No matter how thoroughly you clean your house, dust tends to reappear with surreal frequency. Fortunately, you can keep your home dust-free for longer by using some brilliant dusting techniques. 

Change Air Filters Regularly

Dirty air filters are a huge source of indoor dust. They collect dust particles and prevent them from being blown back into your home's air. However, failing to replace the filters frequently allows the particles to cycle through and circulate throughout your home. You can significantly reduce the buildup of dust by changing your filters every month during the high-use summer and winter seasons.

Use Microfiber

You can dust your home like a pro by using microfiber towels. Unlike other commonly used tools like feather dusters that spread dust from surface to surface, microfiber dusters successfully capture dust. Use soft fluffy microfiber cloths to clean delicate surfaces that easily scratch and flatweave cloths to clean hard surfaces like glass.

Dust from Top to Bottom

This is one of the best dusting techniques that most people usually overlook. When dusting the highest items, some dust falls onto anything that's below. Therefore, you want to start dusting from the highest to the lowest points of the room. That way, everything will be clean once you're done with dusting.

Install an Air Purifier

If you're serious about minimizing dust in your home, then an air purifier is a must-have. It uses advanced technology to capture more dust and pollutants from your household air than air filters. The less the dust in your air, the less it will collect on your items, giving you the huge benefit of dusting less often.These dusting techniques reduce indoor dust. As a result, they make your house much easier to clean and the air you breathe healthier. If you have any questions related to air quality, contact us at Air Assurance. We offer air purifiers, air cleaners, and several other indoor air quality solutions that help homeowners in the Broken Arrow area breathe easier indoors.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

Reduce the Effects of Spring Allergies in Your Home

Reduce the Effects of Spring Allergies in Your Home

Reduce the Effects of Spring Allergies in Your Home

Did you know that you can fight spring allergies using your HVAC system? It’s actually the best tool you already have to minimize the effects of all that pollen that bombards you during the pollen-producing months. Gauging pollen counts using flowers is misleading because most allergies are caused by tiny flowers found on grasses, shrubs and trees and not showy or heavily perfumed flowers.

Central air conditioners move a good deal of air. As a consequence, much of the pollen and other allergens pass through the air handler and ductwork every time the system runs. Keeping these components clean and dust-free is essential for reducing the discomfort airborne allergies cause.

Spring HVAC Maintenance

An HVAC pro from Air Assurance will go through your system thoroughly, removing all the dust from the components. Besides breathing easier, you’ll also benefit from a system that runs with greater efficiency. When parts are clean and adjusted, they use less energy and aren’t as vulnerable to premature breakdowns.

Duct Inspection

When you schedule your A/C tune-up, ask about ductwork inspection to locate any leaks and to learn the overall condition of the ducts. The technician will use special equipment to measure the leakage and will look for signs of dust and debris inside the ducts. Leaks can happen any time and even ducts in newer homes can be debris-filled.

Ductwork leaks can worsen spring allergies because they pick up dust and pollen from the area where there is leakage. Sometimes ducts are places where insects and rodents live. They can either enter through the register covers or through tiny cracks in the ductwork. Their waste products can trigger allergic responses and the insects and animals themselves can spread diseases.

Air Filters

The filter is essential to air conditioners and keeping it clean goes a long way toward lowering the pollen indoors. Use the highest-rated filter recommended for your system and change it when it’s covered with dust.

Tending to your HVAC system will reduce the discomfort of spring allergies. To learn more, contact Air Assurance, providing HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

IAQ Concerns for Valentine's Day

IAQ Concerns for Valentine's Day

Some holidays raise more IAQ concerns (indoor air quality) especially Christmas and New Years. Even though it’s not as widely celebrated, Valentine’s Day is another celebration that can degrade IAQ as well.Between the gifts and the décor, this holiday could introduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your air that might be mildly irritating or cause serious reactions. VOCs are gases that come from anything made from a hydrocarbon.Found in household cleaning products, air fresheners, candles, makeup and hair sprays, a Valentine’s Day celebration could leave behind respiratory irritants and chemicals that could have a serious long-term impact.

Limiting IAQ Concerns

  • Instead of lighting paraffin candles made from wax, choose those made from beeswax or soy. If you want scented candles, choose those scented with essential oils rather than manufactured perfumes. The labels should indicate if they’re natural.

  • Skip the aerosol air fresheners or those that plug into the walls. They’re usually loaded with VOCs. Weather permitting, open a window to pull in fresh air or freshen the air naturally.

  • Look around your home. Sometimes odors indicate pet or kitchen odors that deep cleaning will remove. Use natural products like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide to clean rather than the perfumed commercial cleaners.

Since Valentine’s Day is the holiday of love, show yours to your family and friends by giving up the use of artificial fragrances in your home as much as possible. Many people associate scented products with freshness and cleanliness, but in fact, public health experts have plenty of IAQ concerns regarding them. Some cause respiratory irritations while others are responsible for more serious organ damage and even cancer. Young and old people are most at risk for VOC exposure from artificial scents. You can find unscented products throughout grocery store aisles. You can also use your HVAC system to address IAQ concerns year-round by adding air cleaners and UV (ultraviolet) lights.

To learn more, contact Air Assurance, providing HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

How Wood-Burning Affects Indoor Air Quality

How Wood-Burning Affects Indoor Air Quality

Wood burning for indoor heating has sure gotten a bad rap these last few years, and no wonder. Wood smoke is full of particulates that adversely affect the indoor air quality of a home, and that aggravate all kinds of respiratory problems, from allergies to bronchitis and asthma. It can even aggravate conditions leading to heart and lung failure.What's more, wood smoke is full of the carbon emissions that are contributing to the greenhouse effect; plus it creates a layer of smoke that can hover over cities in the winter time. Some municipalities have even had to ban the burning of wood to diminish the haze.Still, some people are mighty partial to having some kind of heating option in addition to their central HVAC system. Let's look at some choices that might not have as many potential problems as a wood-burning fireplace.

Other Heating Options

The majority of wood stoves sold have some of the same issues as wood-burning fireplaces. They give off carbon emissions and particulates that foul your IAQ, and are inefficient to use. However, a new generation of so-called catalytic stoves are a much better option. These stoves have a catalytic combustor that traps smoke and other combustion byproducts. A chemical coating in the combustor interacts with the smoke, igniting it at a much lower temperature than the 1100 degrees F that is normally required for wood stoves.The fact the ignition occurs at low temperature means the stove is more efficient, and that the amount of emissions given off is reduced. Wood also lasts much longer. These stoves do require maintenance to keep them clean so they continue to burn efficiently. Also, the parts can be expected to wear out within a decade or so.Non-catalytic stoves are easier to maintain, but release more emissions and have a higher burning rate so are less efficient.Pellet stoves are another option. They burn cleaner than non-catalytic wood stoves and fire places, but require some electricity to ignite the pellets.

For more on fire places and indoor air quality, contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

Fall Indoor Air Concerns and How to Counter Them

Fall Indoor Air Concerns and How to Counter Them

As the weather gets cooler and you start spending more time indoors, you should think about how healthy the air in your home is. Fall allergens and other particles can lower your indoor air quality, which can put you and your loved ones at risk of developing health issues. Find out more about these concerns and how to deal with them.

Outdoor Allergens

Ragweed and other outdoor allergens can make their way into your home during fall. You might bring these in on the clothes you’re wearing, or you might spread them around if you walk around your home with your shoes on. These allergens can also get inside if you open your windows to let fresh air in. You can keep these allergens out of your home by changing clothes after coming in, taking off your shoes and keeping your windows closed during fall.

Dust

Dust can build up inside your home’s ductwork and on your HVAC system’s air filter over time. When you start using your heating system in fall, all of that dust can be blown into your home through your ducts and vents. You can lower your risk of having to deal with a lot of dust by having your ductwork cleaned and changing your air filter on a regular basis. You should also vacuum and dust your home frequently.

Pollutants

Pollutants are found in some household items, such as cleaning products and certain kinds of finishes. When you’re inside more during fall, you risk being exposed to these pollutants more often, which can result in respiratory problems and other health issues. Having an air purification system installed or making changes to your home’s ventilation can help reduce your risk of exposure to these particles. Working with an HVAC technician can also provide you with more ways to boost your indoor air quality by eliminating pollutants.

If you need additional information on improving your indoor air quality, please contact Air Assurance. We offer dependable HVAC services that can help make the air in your home healthier.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

Factors Affecting Home Comfort

Factors Affecting Home Comfort

Differing factors account for your home comfort in the summer and the winter. Let's take a look at some of the things you should be paying attention to now as the long, hot summer proceeds so that you can maximize your comfort without your utility bills going through the roof.

Humidity

Humidity is one of the major factors affecting comfort in the summertime. When your home's relative humidity exceeds 50-55 percent, you will experience difficulty cooling off, as moist air inhibits the evaporation of perspiration on our skin and its subsequent "wind chill" effect. Humid conditions in the home's interior may occur for a number of reasons, such as these:

  • Ceiling and plumbing leaks

  • Air conditioner not dehumidifying properly (dirty air filters and condenser coils may contribute to this)

  • Activities such as cooking, showering, clothes washing and drying

  • Poor or no exhaust ventilation

You can lower humidity by fixing leaks, changing filters and having coils cleaned, limiting moisture-producing activities and installing exhaust ventilation.

Temperature Control

If your air conditioner isn't in good working order, it may not increase your comfort to keep turning the thermostat down, down, down. Many factors can be at play when an A/C doesn't cool, among them:

  • A/C is wrong size.

  • Air filter is dirty.

  • Ductwork is poorly designed, or may be leaking air.

  • A/C refrigerant is leaking.

While you can change the filter regularly, fixing the other situations may be more challenging -- particularly getting the right size A/C. Whenever it's time to replace your A/C, make sure it's neither too large nor too small.

Air Quality

You may not be that aware of your home's indoor air quality, but a summertime accumulation of airborne pollutants, such as pollen, pet dander, chemical particulates, dust mites, dust and mold can actually make you sick. Switch to a good quality, pleated air filter (rated MERV -- minimum efficiency reporting value -- 8-12) in your HVAC system and vacuum often with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter.

For more on home comfort, contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow. We've provided quality products and service in the Tulsa area since 1985.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

UV Lights and Your Home's Air

UV Lights and Your Home's Air

UV lights provide one of the simplest and most effective tools to improve indoor air quality (IAQ). UV (ultraviolet) is a spectrum of sunlight that sanitizes the air and it’s particularly effective at preventing the proliferation of viruses, bacteria and mold spores. It works by attacking the outer shell of microscopic, organic particles. As a result, their altered DNA won’t be able to reproduce, which keeps them from spreading.

The lights have been used for decades inside hospitals and clinics to control the spread of infectious diseases and they’re also available for use in home HVAC systems. They’re placed inside the ductwork or in the air handler. Inside HVAC systems, they prevent the proliferation of airborne germs that would otherwise spread throughout the home.

These lights are also one of the few ways to manage volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that accumulate in the home when the doors and windows need to be closed. VOCs are byproducts of many ordinary household products made from hydrocarbons like cleaners, perfumes, new paint, exhaust from vehicles and yard equipment. Their side effects range from mildly irritating to serious. When exposed to UV lights, VOCs change and become less harmful.

Their Benefits

  • Lower disease transmission. When viruses and bacteria can’t reproduce, they can’t flourish and spread.

  • Affordability. The lights are an affordable way to clean the air, compared to other air cleaners and purifiers. They don’t require filters and don’t take up valuable space. They’re out of sight in the HVAC system.

  • They operate effortlessly and soundlessly. Depending on the dust load in your home, the lights only need cleaning every six months. They need to be replaced after a year of normal use.

  • Increase energy efficiency. When placed inside the air handler, the lights prevent the growth of mold and biofilms on the evaporator coil, the part of the air conditioning system responsible for removing the heat. A clean coil speeds the cooling process.

Installing UV lights in your HVAC system will improve IAQ 24/7. To learn more, contact the pros at Air Assurance, providing HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

The Differences Between Air Filtration and Air Cleaning

The Differences Between Air Filtration and Air Cleaning

Keeping your indoor air fresh and clean can be a challenge, especially during the winter months when you are more likely to keep doors and windows closed. There are two choice available for keeping particulates and other contaminants out of your indoor air: air filtration and air cleaning.

Air Filtration

Air filtration involves the removal of particulates such as dust, pollen, fibers, and other small pieces of debris from your indoor air. The air filters in your heating and cooling systems are designed to provide this type of filtration. Air circulating through your HVAC system passes through the filter where the particulates are caught and held in the material of the filter, often a type of spun fiberglass or pleated cloth.Higher quality filters with a higher MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating can capture smaller particles. More efficient types of air filtration systems are also available that can be added to your HVAC equipment. HEPA filters, for example, can remove extremely small particulates from your indoor air.There are some disadvantages to air filtration systems:

  • They can remove only those particulates that are pulled back into your HVAC system through the air return.

  • They cannot remove biological contaminants such as bacteria and viruses.

  • They cannot remove odors, fumes, and gases.

Air Cleaning

Air cleaning systems, on the other hand, are designed to remove not only particulates but also biological contaminants and odors. They usually combine a high-quality filtration system for removing physical particulates with additional elements that remove biological pollutants. These include:

  • Ultraviolet light: UV light can destroy bacteria and other potentially harmful microorganisms.

  • Activated charcoal layers: Charcoal is effective at absorbing and removing fumes and odors from air passing through a layer of it.

  • Electrostatic precipitators: These devices transfer an electrical charge to particulates which are then attracted to a collection plate, removing them from the air.

Air Assurance provides top-quality HVAC services to customers in Tulsa and the nearby communities. Contact us today for more information on air filtration and for expert help with deciding if a filtration or purification system is best for your needs.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about indoor air quality and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

Improve Your IAQ with the Right Indoor Plants

Improve Your IAQ with the Right Indoor Plants

There's nothing like indoor plants to help cheer us up through the gray days of winter. But it turns out that indoor plants aren't just good for decoration. They can actually improve the air we're breathing, particularly in the winter when the house is shut up to keep the heat in and it becomes stuffy and stale.Read on for how to improve indoor air quality with indoor plants.

How Plants Clean Air

Research from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration suggests that plants can help clean the air in a home by absorbing gases through the pores on leaves. Plants take in gases, which include carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis, but also formaldehyde, benzene and other so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs enter our homes through a variety of means:

  • textiles and carpet

  • household cleaning chemicals

  • pesticides

  • plastics

  • cigarette smoke

  • cosmetics

  • pressed wood products

  • dry cleaning solvent

VOCs can trigger numerous health problems, from asthma and allergies, to chronic bronchitis and even cancer.

Choosing Indoor Plants

While all leafy plants help purify the air, some do a better job than others. So here are three indoor species you might want to add to your home.

Pothos. (Epipresmun aureum). Pothos has been used as an indoor plant for many decades. It is highly toxic, so put it where children and pets can't reach it. Avoid overwatering and direct sunlight. It roots easily by putting cuttings in a glass of water.

Boston Fern. (Nephrolepsis exaltata). Another traditional favorite, Boston fern is a champion at removing formaldehyde, which is off-gassed by pressed wood products. They like to stay moist, so you may need to mist them and keep soil evenly watered. Also, feed weekly in growing season.

English Ivy. (Hedera helix) English ivy, which also removes formaldehyde, is less fussy than Boston Fern. It likes to climb so can be used in topiary and enjoys partial sun, as well as occasional misting and watering through winter.

For more on indoor plants and improving your indoor air quality, contact Air Assurance. We serve Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about indoor air quality and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Free-Photos/Pixabay”

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

Fall IAQ Concerns and Considerations in Oklahoma

Fall IAQ Concerns and Considerations in Oklahoma

Fall offers some relief from the scorching summer heat. Unfortunately, it comes with its own set of indoor air quality (IAQ) concerns. These problems can adversely affect your comfort, health, and wallet by lowering your HVAC system's efficiency. Here are the main air quality concerns to watch out for this fall along with the steps you can take to address them:

Airborne Particles

Pollen, mold, and dust mites are some of the airborne particulates that can trigger allergies in the fall. A standard HVAC filter will only remove the larger particles and contaminants from the air in your Oklahoma home.Switch to a high-quality air filter that will trap smaller particles, for example, a pleated filter. Make sure you change your filter regularly. If the filter doesn't help you enough, consider installing an air purifier to remove pet dander, mold spores, pollen, and other harmful contaminants from your indoor air.

Temperature Fluctuations

Fall is a season in which a temperature roller coaster is expected. With cold mornings and sunny afternoons, you'll find yourself tampering with your manual thermostat several times in a day. That can overwork your heating and cooling system, reducing its performance and your IAQ.The best way to solve this problem is by installing a smart thermostat. You can program it for different temperatures during the day. A Wi-Fi enabled model can adjust itself according to the weather forecast. Many smart thermostats can also switch smoothly between heating and cooling.

High Humidity

Although temperatures drop in the fall, the high humidity that was in the air during the summer doesn't automatically evaporate. Excess indoor humidity encourages mold growth and can cause respiratory problems.Run exhaust fans as you cook and shower to reduce moisture levels. Running your A/C can also help. If you have a severe humidity problem, consider purchasing a whole-house dehumidifier.

Scheduling professional maintenance each spring and fall will boost your HVAC system's ability to keep your home's air clean. To learn more about air quality concerns, contact us at Air Assurance. We proudly serve the Broken Arrow area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about IAQ and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

What's Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality?

What's Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality?

Human activities such as cooking, cleaning, or building can increase or decrease the contaminants and particulates in your indoor air. However, there are other factors beyond your control that will influence the air quality inside your home. Here are some of those factors:

Accumulation of dust:

Dust is present in every home and is nearly impossible to eliminate completely. Dust consists of small fragments of dirt, fibers, and even dead skin cells. You can clean often and take other steps to reduce the presence of dust, but it will almost always be present.

Humidity:

Indoor humidity is measured by the amount of moisture in the air. Too little humidity can cause skin and eye irritation and other physical discomforts. High humidity can also be uncomfortable while increasing the chances of moisture damage to objects in the home. High moisture also makes it more likely for mold to develop.

Contaminated outdoor air:

If the amount of contaminants in the outdoor air is high, some of these contaminants will make their way into your home. These contaminants can include dust or dirt from roadways, pollen from flowers, odors from outdoor sources, and fumes from vehicles. A home with a tight envelope will keep out many of these contaminants, but some are still going to get in.

Pets:

Indoor pets can have a substantial effect on indoor air. Cats and dogs produce dander, which can be an allergen. Small pieces of pet fur are common on furniture, rugs, clothing, and other surfaces. The odor of litter boxes or pet accidents can also reduce indoor air quality.

Chemicals and fumes:

Some objects in homes, such as carpets or furniture, can emit chemical odors long after they've been purchased. If you have any types of chemicals stored indoors, such as cleaning supplies or pesticides, they can potentially leak and produce irritating odors.

Air Assurance provides Tulsa residence with expert HVAC services that maximize indoor comfort and household air quality. Contact us today for more information on how to keep your indoor air clean and free of contaminants that can affect your comfort and respiratory health.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about indoor air quality and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

How Volatile Organic Compounds Can Affect Indoor Air Quality

How Volatile Organic Compounds Can Affect Indoor Air Quality

You may not know it, but your home is host to a wide variety of airborne particulates that can cause physical distress, from allergies to headaches, nausea and more. Among the worst of these particles are volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. VOCs are organic chemicals that turn to vapor at room temperature.Both manmade and naturally occurring, they are everywhere, and while you can't get rid of them totally, you can do a lot to control them and improve your indoor air quality.

Sources of VOCs

One of the best ways to control VOCs is to keep them from entering your home. So here are some of the sources for VOCs, which you may want to think about eliminating or containing in your home.

  • paint

  • adhesives and glue

  • carpets and textiles

  • dry cleaned clothing

  • cleaners

  • pesticides

  • stored fuels

  • disinfectants

  • aerosols

  • perfume

  • pressed wood products

Putting the Lid on VOCs

Here are some ways to contain or keep VOCs out of your home.

  1. Cap all chemicals tightly. Store them in cabinets, or better, away from the living space, in the garage.

  2. Air out carpets, textiles, drapes, pressed-wood products and dry-cleaned clothing for a few hours or longer before bringing these items into your home.

  3. Buy natural products whenever possible. Avoid pressed wood or particle board, as they give off formaldehyde. You can also look for alternative items with low VOC emissions.

  4. Open windows when working with cleaners and other chemicals.

  5. Install a dedicated ventilation system. Most homes are airtight these days, so it's sometimes challenging to get as much fresh air as you need. We can't always open the windows in Broken Arrow, due to dust and cold winds, so to add fresh air to your home, you may want to install a dedicated ventilation system.

  6. An air purifier with an activated carbon filter can do wonders to absorb not only odors but some VOCs in your home.

Curious about other tips on controlling volatile organic compounds in your home? Contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow. We have been providing quality service since 1985.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about VOCs and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Stephanie Lirette/Shutterstock”

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

Is Your Home the Culprit for Your Allergies?

Is Your Home the Culprit for Your Allergies?

Spring allergies can leave you with a runny nose, itchy eyes, and other unpleasant symptoms, but it’s not just the outdoors you have to worry about. Pollen and other outdoor allergens can make their way into your home through windows and on your clothes. You can also have dust and other indoor allergens in your house all year round. Use the following information to reduce allergens in your home if you have allergies.

Get Rid of Dust

Dust mites are the main reason why you might sneeze when you’re exposed to dust. These tiny critters feed on dust particles and trigger allergic reactions. You can reduce the amount of dust in your home by vacuuming and dusting on a regular basis. You should also place dust mite covers on your pillow and mattress to protect you while you’re sleeping.

Change Your HVAC Filter

If your HVAC filter hasn’t been changed in awhile, it’s most likely covered in dust and debris. This filter helps keep the air in your home clean while your HVAC system is in use. Replace your old filter with a new one to reduce the amount of allergens in your home.

Place Doormats at Each Entrance

Putting doormats at each entrance in your home helps prevent you and other family members, as well as guests, from bringing allergens in on your shoes. Put one doormat outside each entrance and another doormat just inside each entrance. You should also have anyone who comes into your home take off their shoes to avoid spreading allergens around.

Invest in an Air Filter

Air filters can boost the indoor air quality in your home throughout the year. You can get filters that are used in one room only or invest in a whole-house filter that covers your entire home. These filters can help cut down on the amount of allergens that are in your home.

If you need help reducing the amount of dust and other allergens in your home, please contact Air Assurance. We offer indoor air quality services for customers in the Broken Arrow area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about spring allergies and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality, UV Lights

Considering UV Lights to Improve IAQ? Here's What You Need to Know

Considering UV Lights to Improve IAQ? Here's What You Need to Know

Using ultraviolet light to sterilize air and water is nothing new. It's been a proven means to control living organisms such as mold, mildew, fungus, bacteria and viruses for several decades in hospitals and in industrial and research settings. UV lights can also be installed in your home's HVAC system as a means to control these pollutants whenever they threaten your indoor air quality.

How UVGI Works

Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) technology is pretty simple. Focusing light from the ultraviolet section of the light spectrum, UVGI bulbs destroy the reproductive ability of living microorganisms by penetrating cell walls and disrupting their DNA. UVGI air cleaners basically consist of strong light bulbs, installed near the evaporator coils of the HVAC system, and in the ducts. The bulbs shine on the damp areas of the evaporator coils, where condensation may lead to a buildup of mold and mildew. They may also be focused on the surfaces of the ducts, where they sterilize the return air as it passes into the system, killing microorganisms before they can be redistributed into your home's supply air.

Facts About UVGI

  1. Before you install UVGI technology, be sure you address any excessively moist conditions in your home. High humidity is usually caused by leaking plumbing, leaks in attics or flooding in basements. Fix these problems so that you can maintain balanced humidity in your home. If you suspect mold or mildew (a musty smell and the visual presence of mold are key), UVGI lights should be used in conjunction with efforts to reduce high humidity.

  2. UVGI lights have been shown to be effective at reducing microorganisms that aggravate allergies, asthma and other respiratory issues.

  3. UVGI systems are fairly easy to install and use, although installation can be a bit pricey.

  4. Ultraviolet light bulbs should be changed annually, as they are only effective when the light is strong.

  5. Never look directly at a UV light. Although they do not burn hot, the light can damage the retina.

For more information on UV lights, contact Air Assurance. We've been serving Broken Arrow and the surrounding area since 1985.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about UV lights and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Featured, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

Controlling Dust in Your Home

Controlling Dust in Your Home

Winter is a season when dust problems are amplified as homes are closed up for the cold. Controlling dust can feel like a full-time job in your Broken Arrow home, but there are some steps you can take to make it a little easier to keep the space clean. Here are some tips for controlling dust in your home.

Change the Air Filter

When was the last time you changed the air filter in your HVAC system? One of the air filter's main jobs is controlling dust, so take some time now to swap it out with a clean one. If you've changed it recently and are still having troubles with dust, consider installing a more efficient model. Check with an HVAC professional to see which models are recommended for your home.

Clean the Ducts

If your ductwork is lined with dust, it's going to get circulated through your home. Consider having it professionally cleaned to remove that dust, then trust the air filter to do the job of keeping further dust at bay.

Install an Air Cleaner

In high-dust households or in families where dust allergies cause significant problems, an air purifier is a great asset. These clean the air in a specific room, or they can be installed in the HVAC system directly for whole-house purification. Air cleaners trap dust particles and other allergens to help your family breathe freely.

Clean up Clutter

Clutter, including piles of toys or clothes on the floor, is a breeding ground for dust. Cleaning them up will help keep dust from settling in or on them, so you will have less dust circulating through your home.

Dust Smart

Don't rely on a feather duster to eliminate dust. Instead, use a microfiber cloth, which will trap dust better than a feather duster. Also, consider dampening the cloth slightly before dusting most surfaces.

Are you looking for more ideas for controlling dust in your Broken Arrow home? Contact the Air Assurance team for expert tips to help you keep your home's air less dusty.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about controlling dust and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “hans_pixabay”

Featured, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

Air Cleaner or Air Purifier: What Should You Choose?

Air Cleaner or Air Purifier: What Should You Choose?

Homes today are more airtight than ever before, so the air your family breathes can be significantly more polluted than what's outdoors. You might be thinking about having an air cleaner or an air purifier installed, but you're unsure which option is better. To help you decide, here's some helpful information about both of these methods of improving air quality.

Air Cleaners 101

There are two basic types of air cleaners on the market today:

  • Electronic air cleaners that ionize particles to draw them out of the air supply. Ozone is a byproduct of the ionizing process, and it's a known lung irritant that worsens respiratory problems.

  • Mechanical air cleaners use a filter medium to trap undesirable particles and allergens floating in the indoor air supply.

Whole-home mechanical air cleaners are installed on the HVAC ductwork so your home's air supply travels through the filter before it's conditioned and distributed. There are a number of makes and models available that offer different degrees of filtration to get rid of particles like:

  • Ash, soil and dust.

  • Plant pollens.

  • Dust mites.

  • Pet dander.

  • Mold and mildew spores.

  • Tobacco smoke.

Air Purifier Basics

Air purifiers also improve air quality, but they work differently than filtered air cleaners. Instead of capturing particles in a replaceable filter, air purifiers rely on ultraviolet (UV) lamps to eradicate airborne pollutants and contaminants. As with air cleaners, there are whole-home purifiers available that are integrated into the ductwork so all of the return air entering the HVAC system gets zapped and purified before it's heated or cooled and distributed through the supply ducts. The unit's UV germicidal lamps remove odors and kill mold, mildew and biological contaminants like viruses and bacteria.

Do You Need An Air Cleaner or Air Purifier?

Before you decide, have your air quality assessed by a knowledgeable professional to learn whether you need an air cleaner, purifier or a system that combines a filter and UV light.If you need expert advice about whether an air cleaner or air purifier is the best choice for your Broken Arrow home, contact us at Air Assurance.Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Maklay62/Pixabay”

Featured, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality, Mold

Keep Your Home Free of Bacteria and Mold

Keep Your Home Free of Bacteria and Mold

Mold and bacteria growth in your home is more than just an annoyance — it's a health risk. Both of these issues can make your family sick, and that's why you need to take the time to understand the cause of these problems and the best prevention measures to take.

What Causes Mold and Bacteria Growth?

Growth of mold in your home is not a sign of a dirty home. Spores for a number of molds are naturally in the air, no matter how clean a home is, and if they find a dark, warm and damp area, they will take root and start to grow. If you have an area in your home that is constantly damp, such as the area around a water leaked, the air conditioning system or in your bathroom where moisture in the air is almost always present, molds will start to grow.Bacteria is also naturally present in your home. It comes in on your shoes, food and even skin. This, unlike molds, can be combated by cleaning. However, if you are not cleaning the air as well as the surfaces in your home, you may still have a bacteria concern.

What Measures Can Prevent These Problems?

If you find that your family members are having respiratory concerns in your home, or if you notice signs of mold, such as visible mold spots or a musty smell in the home, then it's time to take measures to stop these problems. First, make sure your home is cleaned well to prevent bacteria growth. Next, take measures to stop unnecessary moisture. Exhaust fans in bathrooms, professional water damage repair when you have a leak and prompt attention when you have standing water are all important measures you can take. Finally, consider installing an air purifier to remove bacteria and mold from the air.

If you have further questions about mold and bacteria and your Broken Arrow home, the team at Air Assurance is here to help. Give our home comfort specialists a call today to discuss your concerns.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “ClkerFreeVectorImages/Pixabay”

Featured, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

What Houseplants Can Improve Air Quality?

What Houseplants Can Improve Air Quality? | Air Assurance

Improving the indoor air quality in your Broken Arrow home means you’ll have healthier air to breathe. This can reduce breathing problems and other respiratory symptoms that air pollutants can cause. One of the easiest ways to make the air in your home cleaner is by getting a few houseplants to help remove indoor air pollutants. Certain kinds of plants are great at removing formaldehyde, benzene, and other pollutants that get into the air in your home from wood finishes, furniture and other household objects.

Garden Mums

These colorful flowers get rid of several pollutants that can make the air in your home unhealthy, including formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia, and xylene. Mums are easy to care for, and you can move them to an outside garden when they’re done blooming.

Bamboo Palm

These plants are ideal if you have a home with higher ceilings, since they can grow to be up to 12 feet high. Bamboo plants help filter out a few pollutants that are commonly found in homes, such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, providing you with improved indoor air quality.

Boston Fern

These plants do best in environments with higher levels of humidity and indirect sunlight. Boston ferns help remove xylene and formaldehyde from homes, as long as they’re kept in moist soil.

Lady Palm

Lady palms, which are easy to grow, add a touch of elegance to homes. These tree-like plants help clear the air of ammonia, which can get into your home from dyes, cleaning products, and some types of textiles.

Golden Pothos

These vines grow fast, making them ideal for indoor hanging baskets. Golden pothos, which have dark green and gold leaves, can get rid of formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide.

Wax Begonia

These vividly colored flowering houseplants, which come in pink, red or white, need plenty of sunlight. They’re known for removing benzene and toluene, an air pollutant that comes from certain kinds of adhesives and waxes.

If you need help improving the indoor air quality of your Broken Arrow home, please contact Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “imnoom/Shutterstock”

Featured, IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

Oklahoma Allergy Season Tips

Oklahoma Allergy Season Tips

From ragweed to cotton, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma has its share of allergies. When allergy season hits, the itching eyes, stuffy nose, and tickly throat can be almost unbearable. Here are some allergy tips to help you reduce your suffering.

1. Upgrade Your Air Filter

The air filter in your HVAC system traps allergens to keep them from circulating in your home. Filter effectiveness is measured in Minimum Efficiency Recording Value, or MERVs, which range from 1 to 20. If you upgrade your existing filter to a high efficiency one with a MERV rating between 14 and 16, you will have fewer allergens in your home.

2. Remove Debris Around the Outdoor Unit

Plants and other debris around your outdoor unit can impact your indoor allergen levels, because the outdoor unit pulls air through that debris and into your home. Keep the area around your outdoor unit clean and clear.

3. Dust the Registers and Vents

Registers and vents that are dusty blow dust and pollen through your home. Dust these first, then dust the remainder of your home, to remove the dust and other indoor allergens that could be making your allergies worse.

4. Check for Mold

If you have never had your HVAC system checked for mold, schedule an inspection. Mold exasperates allergies and can cause other respiratory concerns. If you do have mold, have it professionally removed to ensure your family can breathe safely.

5. Consider Duct Cleaning

If you are using an efficient filter, have cleaned outside your system and have checked for mold, but you are still struggling with allergies, consider duct cleaning. Removing allergens from the ducts will prevent them from being spread around your home.

One of the best allergy tips, however, is to have your HVAC system professionally inspected and serviced at the start of the allergy season. In Broken Arrow, Air Assurance provides comprehensive HVAC service, including inspections. Contact them today to schedule your HVAC system inspection this allergy season.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Serhiy Kobyakov/Shutterstock”