IAQ

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

How Dust Affects Your Indoor Air Quality

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What is dust and where does it come from? In Oklahoma, most of us have to deal with pervasive dust in our homes, so it's important to know its source and not only keep it from gaining entrance, but also to control the dust that wafts inside. Controlling dust will vastly improve your indoor air quality.

What Is Dust?

Many online sources claim that dust is us -- that is, most of it is made up of shredded human skin and hair. Turns out, that's untrue. Most human skin and hair particles are washed off during showers and go down the drain. Only a small percentage of the dust in our homes is human-derived.

Most dust blows in from the outdoors, particularly in homes that are less than airtight, or where the doors or windows are kept open, or from tracking the outdoors inside on our feet or on our pets.

The other dust particles are derived from pet hair and dander, decaying insect bodies, carpet fluff and clothing and textile fibers. Some dust may be made of pollen and soot.

Controlling Dust

The best way to keep dust under control is by frequent vacuuming with a HEPA filter. Be sure to vacuum carpets, rugs, furniture and baseboards. But do be aware that vacuuming can scatter dust particles into the air, so whenever possible, clean floors, such as tile or hardwood, with a damp mop.

Your HVAC system can play an important role in controlling dust, but to do so effectively, it needs frequent filter changing. Use a good quality, polyester, pleated air filter so it can catch the smaller particles that the cheap fiberglass filters can't catch. Filters should be rated 8-12 on the MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) scale.

An in-house air purification system may also help. Consult your HVAC specialist to discuss the best type for your home.

Keep doors and windows shut to keep dust out. Air seal minute cracks around doors and windows that may be allowing dust inside.

For more on preventing dust from compromising your indoor air quality, contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

IAQ Concerns: New Flooring

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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.

Ventilation

How to Properly Vent your Kitchen During Thanksgiving Preparation

How to Properly Vent your Kitchen During Thanksgiving Preparation

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your house fills it with the aromas of the turkey, dressing, and pies baking, along with all the heat the stove and oven generate. Taking a few minutes to assess your kitchen ventilation before the holiday arrives might help you stay more comfortable while you put this celebratory meal on the table.The combination of heat plus the steam that the cooking creates is a recipe for discomfort in the kitchen. It’s the same thing that happens in the summer when the humidity combines with warm temperatures that has you reaching for the air conditioner’s thermostat. Add it all the body heat your guests will generate, and things could get uncomfortable.Fortunately, by Thanksgiving, there’s plenty of cool air outside to use instead of the A/C. Getting inside is all a part of ventilation methods for getting rid of the humidity and the heat. To start, determine if:

  • Your kitchen fan exhausts outside or just recirculates the air. Look above the fan to see if there a vent pipe that leads up through the ceiling or goes out of a wall. If you see either, your fan exhausts air outdoors.

  • Does the kitchen have a window that opens? Sometimes builders put in fixed windows or windows can stick over time if they’re not opened periodically.

  • Is there a door leading outdoors or into the garage? A door that leads outdoors will give you ample kitchen ventilation.

  • Do you have a portable fan?

This list of ventilation options will provide the basis for your approach to Thanksgiving dinner. If your kitchen fan vents outside, increase its speed from low to high as the heat in the kitchen increases. Opening a nearby window or door will pull in cooler, fresher air. If your kitchen fan recirculates only, place your portable fan inside the doorway or window and exhaust the air outdoors.Home and kitchen ventilation matter even when it’s cold outside. If you find that it’s hard to ventilate your home, contact Air Assurance for expert advice. We provide HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

Heating

Do Fireplaces Efficiently Warm Your Home?

Do Fireplaces Efficiently Warm Your Home?

Fireplaces are much beloved for the coziness they bring to a room on a blustery winter night. However, they are also much reviled on several fronts. Fireplaces are inefficient, allowing most of the energy they produce to go up the chimney. Fireplaces can be unsafe, leading to fires in the chimney or from smoldering embers. Wood burning gives off smoke, and with it, unhealthful particles that can compromise your indoor air quality. Wood burning gives off massive amounts of carbon emissions, and is actually banned in some cities.Add to the list of disadvantages the fact you've got to store firewood, which can harbor rodents and termites.So should you buy a house with a fireplace? If you have a fireplace in your home, should you stop using it and replace it with a more efficient type of heating?Our best answer: It depends on how much any of the above disadvantages bother you. Read on for further considerations on fireplace warmth.

Fireplaces as Backup, and Other Options

One of the best reasons to have a fireplace is it can be a backup source of heating in an all-electric house when the power goes out and your furnace won't come on. The fireplace will keep you from freezing, albeit inefficiently.Why else have a wood-burning fireplace? They're great for roasting marshmallows.Seriously, you may want to look into using that fireplace space for a catalytic wood stove. These stoves trap smoke and other combustion byproducts. A chemical coating on the catalyst interacts with smoke and ignites it at a lower temperature than the 1100-degree F temperature normally required, thus making it burn more efficiently. These wood stoves also release fewer carbon emissions and burn wood slower than non-catalytic models. The downside is they are more expensive than non-catalytic types, and the catalysts generally break down after 10 years or so.You might also look into a pellet stove. These are more efficient than a traditional wood stove or fireplace.

For more on fireplace warmth, and whether it's worth the trouble, 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.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Keeping Your Family Safe

Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Keeping Your Family Safe

In our climate, homes are often closed up for long periods to make heating and cooling efficient. If you have fuel-burning appliances or equipment like a furnace, water heater, kitchen range or clothes dryer, well-functioning carbon monoxide detectors are a necessity to protect your family's well-being when your home is closed up against the weather.

How CO Detectors Help Protect Against Exposure

Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of incomplete fuel combustion, and this lethal, invisible gas has no taste or odor. If inhaled, CO attaches to hemoglobin the bloodstream, which deprives the brain, organs and body cells of vital oxygen. Carbon monoxide detectors have sensors that can detect the presence of the gas and produce a loud alarm to warn you against:

  • Low level exposure that causes flu-like symptoms including fatigue, nausea, headaches and dizziness.

  • High concentrations of CO that can rapidly cause unconsciousness, coma, brain damage and death.

Keeping Your CO Detectors Working Properly is Key

The first step in protecting your family against accidental carbon monoxide exposure is to install detectors on each level of your home. To ensure that these essential safety devices are able to warn you when CO is present, you can't simply install them and forget them. Instead, you need to keep them working properly by:

Testing all your detectors monthly.

This usually involves pressing the test button and waiting for a high-pitched beeping sound that signals the unit is working.

Replacing the batteries in each device at least annually.

This necessary maintenance for plug-in detectors too, so the battery can keep the unit functioning during a power outage.

Replacing failing detectors as needed.

CO detectors lose their ability to sense CO gas after about five to seven years. New models give an audible warning to alert you when they need replacing.

Keeping your fuel-burning appliances and equipment well maintained.

Any combustion devices should have annual preventive maintenance that includes an inspection, cleaning and tuneup to keep them operating safely.

To schedule water heater or HVAC maintenance that can help your carbon monoxide detectors protect 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). 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”

Featured

Tackling Cold and Flu Season With Your HVAC

Tackling Cold and Flu Season With Your HVAC

Cold and flu season always coincides with winter, when you're running your HVAC system to keep your home toasty warm. Since the HVAC is operating anyway, why not use it to create a healthier winter living environment? By making some targeted system upgrades, you can tackle the contagions responsible for the flu, colds and other such illnesses. Here are four kinds of HVAC upgrades to consider:

1. Whole-Home Humidifier

It's been proven that the viruses and bacteria sent airborne with a sneeze or cough stay suspended longer when the air doesn't contain much moisture. This means that low humidity directly affects the spread of germs inside your home and increases your likelihood of coming down with common winter illnesses. Having a whole-home humidifier installed on the HVAC system can reduce your family's risk of exposure by adding much-needed moisture to the air.

2. Ultraviolet Light

Ultraviolet (UV) light is used to eradicate bacteria and viruses in many different settings, and it can help sanitize your home's air supply too. An HVAC technician can install a germicidal UV lamp on your heating system's air handler to zap contagions so they don't get recirculated every time the blower fan cycles on.

3. Energy Recovery Ventilator

Controlled ventilation is a great way to exchange stale, unhealthy indoor air with fresher air from outdoors. An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) can do this effectively, and because it also exchanges heat and moisture between the airflow streams, it conserves energy and helps maintain vital humidity as well.

4. Air Purifier

If your HVAC system has standard filtering capabilities, it can only trap larger particles to protect sensitive components from potential damage. Having your HVAC pro install an air purifier on the heating system can boost its air cleaning capabilities, so it tackles illness-inducing viruses and bacteria and improves your indoor air quality. The most effective of these devices can eliminate up to 99.7 percent of microscopic bio-contaminants down to 0.3 microns in size.

To learn more about HVAC system upgrades to combat cold and flu season in 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). For more information about TOPIC and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

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.

Air filters

It's Time to Change Your Air Filters

It's Time to Change Your Air Filters

The air filter makes a significant contribution to your HVAC system's performance and efficiency. You should pay attention to your filters and prevent them from becoming too dirty. So when should you replace them? Here's a look at why you should change air filters after summer:

Heavy Summer Air Conditioner Workout

You rely on your A/C system a lot to keep you comfortable in the summer. The increased operating hours imply a great volume of air flows through your system throughout the season.Along with the air comes airborne particulates – such as dust, dirt, dust mites, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and pet dander – that are trapped by the air filter. With the good summer workout that your air filters get, it makes sense to replace them after summer.

Prevent Damage to Internal HVAC Components

Your air filter keeps contaminants in the air from getting inside your HVAC system, where they can harm critical motors and capacitors. When it's dirty, it captures these contaminants less effectively.When dirty air clogs up your filter, it could potentially pollute your whole system. As a result, your system could need additional repair and service that wouldn't be necessary had you changed your filter on schedule.

Improve Indoor Air Quality

Mold spores and pollen are generally more widespread in the warmer months than in the winter. A filter that's full of trapped mold spores and pollen can act as a breeding ground for the microorganisms and degrade your indoor air quality.Changing air filters after the summer helps reduce the allergy triggers inside your home.

Dirty filters reduce your home's air quality and your HVAC system's overall efficiency, so make sure you replace them regularly. For more information on when and when to change air filters, please contact us at Air Assurance. Broken Arrow residents have counted on us for quality heating, plumbing, and air conditioning services 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 air filters and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

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”

Humidifiers

Easy Ways to Prevent Mineral Buildup in Your Humidifier

Easy Ways to Prevent Mineral Buildup in Your Humidifier

If you’re dealing with common problems associated with dry air in your Broken Arrow home, then chances are you’re already using a humidifier. Humidifiers are an indispensable tool in restoring indoor moisture and tackling dry air-related issues, including skin irritation, dry throat and even static electricity buildup.Unfortunately, mineral buildup caused by lime scale and calcium deposits can prevent your humidifier from working as effectively as it should. The following shows how you can prevent mineral buildup in your humidifier and tackle existing buildup, as well.

How to Prevent Mineral Buildup

Here are a few tips you can use to stop mineral buildup in its tracks:

  • Empty your humidifier’s water reservoir after each use. Allow water to remain stagnant inside of the reservoir can allow mineral buildup to occur. It can also encourage the growth of mold and bacteria, which could spread throughout the humidifier. It’s important to empty the reservoir and wipe it down after your done using your humidifier.

  • Always use distilled water with your humidifier. Distilled water is specifically processed to remove dissolved minerals and other impurities, making it less likely to encourage mineral deposit buildup inside of your humidifier. Tap water, on the other hand, is filled with impurities that could prevent your humidifier from working properly.

  • Keep your humidifier clean and disinfected. This preventative step is important for keeping mineral buildup at bay. You should clean your humidifier on a regular basis to prevent mineral buildup as well as mold and bacteria growth.

How to Treat Mineral Buildup

In most cases, mineral buildup can be treated with undiluted white vinegar. Simply allow the vinegar to soak where mineral deposits occur for a few minutes, then wipe the area with a clean cloth. You can also use mild soap and water to clean up minor deposits.

Contact the professionals at Air Assurance and learn more ways to prevent mineral buildup. We proudly serve homeowners 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 mineral buildup 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.