VOCs

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.

HVAC system

HVAC Coil Corrosion: Should You Be Concerned?

HVAC Coil Corrosion: Should You Be Concerned?

HVAC systems are built to withstand years of use but they’re not invulnerable. Coil corrosion is one of the few problems that will undermine its useful life. Under normal conditions, the two copper coils HVAC systems use don’t react with their environments and stay intact. Under certain circumstances, however, they will oxidize and pit, eventually weakening.

Where the Coils Are

The air handler houses the evaporator coil that absorbs the heat in your home’s air and sends it out to the condensing coil, which sits in the outdoor condenser. The coils hold the refrigerant and are essential to the operation of air conditioners and heat pumps.

How Corrosion Happens

More often than not, the corrosion occurs as a chemical reaction with the coil from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contain fluoride, chloride, or acetic or formic acids. Product like plywood, cleaning solvents, detergents, adhesives, and some carpeting and fabrics contain these acids. Should they condense on the coil, tiny leaks can form.Excessive amounts of dust can also cause the coils to leak, especially outdoors, although it can happen in the evaporator coil. Clean air filters and annual professional maintenance prevent most coil leaks.

What Coil Leaks Do

The refrigerant in HVAC systems undergoes phase changes from a gas to a liquid and back again. Since the gas is under pressure, it will flow easily through the leaks.

Signs of a Coil Leak

An air conditioner or heat pump that isn’t working properly may have inadequate refrigerant brought on by coil corrosion. When the HVAC technician tests the system, he will check the refrigerant pressure. If it’s low, he will look for leaks.

Repair or Replace

The technician may be able to seal the leak temporarily, but eventually you’ll have to replace the coil or the entire HVAC system. If a coil isn’t available or the system out of warranty, it may be more cost effective to replace the entire system.

The best way to avoid coil corrosion is to keep your system clean and professionally maintained. For more information, 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 HVAC systems and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

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

Odor Eliminators in Your Ducts: Will They Work?

Odor Eliminators in Your Ducts: Will They Work?

Having clean ducts is crucial to maintaining a high level of indoor air quality. Not only can dirty ductwork emit certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be bad for your health and allergies, they can produce unpleasant odors throughout your home. You can eliminate stinky culprits from your ducts using special odor eliminators.What Is an Odor Eliminator?As the name suggests, an odor eliminator gets rid of any odors that it comes in contact with. In general, there are two types of odor eliminators. One type simply masks the smell by releasing a stronger smell into the air. This is the most simplistic approach to odor control because it doesn’t solve the more serious problem of having potentially dangerous compounds in your ducts.The second type of eliminator is much more sophisticated and is designed to neutralize the compounds causing the odor. These are tailored to each specific cause or application. The smell of molecules is a result of their specific composition. Odor neutralizers work by breaking down the molecules of the target compounds into smaller forms (with different compositions) that don't omit a smell.Odor Neutralizers for DuctsOver time there can be an accumulation of mold, mildew and VOCs in your HVAC ducts. Events like flooding are fairly common, and can cause rapid mold and mildew growth, which will emit a significant odor if left untreated.As mentioned above, you need the right product for the job, and your HVAC ducts are no different. There are special eliminators you need to get just for your ducts and HVAC system.These products are designed to go into various parts in and around your HVAC system (ducts, coils, basement, etc.) and neutralize common indoor air pollution compounds.Many of these products not only break down the offending compounds, acting as odor neutralizers, but they also contain chemicals with a strong smell that will mask any remnants of the target compounds.For more information about maintaining the HVAC system in your Tulsa or Broken Arrow area home, contact the experts 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). 

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