indoor air quality

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.

Air Conditioning

Is Air Conditioning Healthy?

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Air conditioning affects on health are overwhelmingly positive, particularly when you compare today’s living conditions to the past. While about 87% of American homes are air conditioned now, this wasn’t always the case. Up until the 1960s, residential air conditioning was rare and frequently not included even in newly constructed homes. As A/C has become a way of life, Americans have benefitted from more than just the comforting sensation of coolness on a hot day.

Here are some ways air conditioning affects on health have contributed to our higher standard of wellness.

Reduced heat hazards.

During summer heat waves in the past, uncontrolled indoor temperatures very commonly resulted in a high incidence of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke for individuals residing inside non-air conditioned homes. Extreme heat is especially dangerous for infants, small children and the elderly. The widespread emergence of home air conditioning has greatly reduced these health risks.

Healthy humidity control.

High indoor humidity is the source of potential health issues, including toxic mold growth that causes symptoms in susceptible individuals. Chronic moisture sources including high indoor humidity trigger dormant airborne mold spores into the active growth mode that causes illness in some residents exposed to it. The evaporator coil in your air conditioner continuously extracts water vapor from indoor air as part of the cooling process. This function inhibits indoor mold growth by keeping household humidity in the EPA-recommended range below 65%.

Cleaner indoor air quality.

Indoor airborne particulates—dust, lint, dirt and smoke particles—can be a source of irritation and allergic responses for many persons. As your air conditioner circulates cooling through the household ductwork, the air is also repeatedly cleaned by the system air filter. Particulate levels are kept lower and allergy-related symptoms are reduced. In a typical home air conditioning system, the entire air volume inside the house passes through the air filter multiple times eacg day. Remember to replace the air filter monthly throughout the cooling season to safeguard indoor air quality.

For more about air conditioning affects on health and maintaining optimum indoor comfort, contact the experts at Air Assurance.

Energy Efficiency

Will Closing Vents in Unused Rooms Help You Save Money?

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When you’re focused on finding ways to save on heating and cooling costs during fluctuating temperatures in Broken Arrow, you might be tempted to close vents in unused rooms throughout your home. While this practice might seem like a sure-fire way to reduce energy costs, the reality is that closing off vents can lead to some unintended consequences.

The following discusses just a few problems related to closing your vents.

Your Energy Costs Could Actually Increase

When you close vents in unused rooms, increased air pressure within the vents might make it more difficult for your HVAC system to blow air into your ducts. Restricted airflow can cause energy efficiency issues similar to clogged air filters.

Extra Strain Can Be Placed on Your HVAC System

If the airflow is restricted to the point that your air conditioner’s coils begin to freeze, the end result could be permanent damage to the compressor. Conversely, low airflow can cause the heat exchanger in your heating unit to overheat or possibly crack.

The Atmosphere in Your Home Could Feel Uncomfortable

The more vents you close, the harder your heater or air conditioner will have to work to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. The added pressure from closing vents will lead to unnecessary energy waste, too.

Mold and Mildew Problems Could Develop

Whenever you close the registers of your heating or air conditioner, lower surface temperatures in unused spaces could allow condensation to occur. This can result in mold and mildew growth behind the air vents within your ducts. If mold and mildew recirculate throughout your home each time you operate your system, it could pose a serious health risk to your indoor air quality and your family. Open your air vents to help keep things nice and dry throughout the system.

Schedule Service Today

From residential to commercial HVAC services, the knowledgeable team at Air Assurance in Broken Arrow covers it all. Whether you’re in need of air conditioning repair, plumbing service, or indoor air quality improvement, give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

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.

HVAC system

Understanding Airflow in Your Home

Understanding Airflow in Your Home

Understanding Airflow in Your Home

Most of us don’t give airflow much thought, but it’s a physical phenomenon surrounding us every moment. Inside our homes, the movement of air, or lack thereof, drives its air quality and the costs for keeping it comfortable. Even though it’s largely intangible, air has some of the same physical qualities as water. Air moves just as easily as water does, but instead of being affected by gravity, it’s affected by pressure that’s always trying to equalize itself. Where positive pressure exists, it moves into a negative space and vice versa. 

Why It Matters

A home’s energy efficiency depends on a few important factors. Insulation in the attic and walls makes a big difference, as does its degree of air infiltration. A leaky home will be hard to heat and cool because air is either moving in or out. You’ve probably experienced how a drafty room feels on a cold day. The draft probably came from a window, exterior door, or around the floor. Another way to encourage the movement of air from positive to negative is to close off a room in a home that has a forced-air HVAC system. Closing off the duct without stopping the return airflow will create a negative pressure gradient that will pull unconditioned outdoor air inside. 

Air Infiltration and Quality

While homes with low air infiltration rates cost less to condition, they may have air quality issues. The U.S. EPA reports that the air quality in many homes is among the worst that people encounter. Pollutants include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from products made from hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and radon, dust, pollen and dander. All homes need some fresh air ventilation. The most energy efficient way to introduce fresh air without driving up energy costs is with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) that uses technology to capture the energy in the outgoing air and put it into the incoming air. If your home isn’t as comfortable as you’d like or your air quality is low, you may have airflow issues.

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,download our free Home Comfort Guide or 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

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

Painting Effects on Air Quality

Painting Effects on Air Quality

Unless you choose a paint that’s low on VOCs (volatile organic compounds) for your next hobby or home improvement project, it could have long-lasting effects on air quality indoors. Many paints and finishes contain harmful compounds that evaporate as they dry. The paint may dry, but the compounds will hang in the air for a year and longer.VOCs are a class of chemicals used in paints that are known carcinogens, and kidney, liver and nervous system disrupters. At their least harmful, they irritate the respiratory system and are eye irritants. Besides paints and finishes, VOCs are found in many other common products, including anything perfumed, makeup and most cleaning supplies.

Reducing VOCs When Painting

Even if you use a paint that’s low in VOCs, make sure you have plenty of fresh air ventilation in your home when you paint. Fall and spring are the best times to complete home improvement projects, including painting. The windows and doors can be open and extreme temperatures won’t interfere with curing or drying of any materials you use.Turn on the kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and open several windows to pull the air out of your home. You can also boost the ventilation by putting a fan in an open window when the exhaust fans are running.

What to Look For

When choosing paints and finishes, check the can’s label. It should state the volume of VOCs in it, or that it’s low in VOCs. Look for products with less than 250 grams per liter. Better yet, look for products that have no VOCs at all.The products with which you prep the walls may also have VOCs, like acrylic caulk, primer and adhesives. Flooring products also emit VOCs, including carpeting, laminates and vinyl flooring. Before making your selections, look for the low VOC designation.

Avoiding the bad effects on air quality paints is possible by choosing low VOC products and using adequate ventilation. For more information about improving your home’s air quality, 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 indoor air quality 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”

Air filters

How to Remember to Change Your Air Filter

How to Remember to Change Your Air Filter

Changing your air filter is one of the simplest things you can do to maintain your heating and cooling system. Unfortunately, it’s also the one thing that many homeowners forget to do. Forgetting about this small yet important task can have a negative impact on your HVAC system’s performance and your home’s overall indoor air quality.If you find yourself forgetting to change your air filter time and again, you can use these tips to give yourself a reminder when the time comes:

  • Put it on your chore list - One of the best ways to remember to change your HVAC air filter is to include it in your list of household chores. The chore list itself should be placed in a highly visible and commonly visited spot in your home. Your refrigerator door makes a perfect spot for a chore list.

  • Use your phone or computer to set a reminder - you can also use technology to help remind you of those all-important filter changes, along with other HVAC maintenance items. The vast majority of phones, tablets and computers have calendars with built-in alerts and notifications. All you’ll have to do is pick a date when you want to change your HVAC filter, add a brief message and set your audio or visual alert.

  • Keep spare filters in an obvious spot - Another thing you can do is place a brand-new air filter in a location where you’re bound to see it on a daily basis. This way, you’ll always have a reminder to change your filter. You can even slap a bright sticky note on the filter with the intended date of your next change.

  • Have someone else remind you - You can even have a friend, roommate, family member or other loved one reminds you of when it’s time to change your HVAC filter.

To learn more about air filters and other HVAC accessories, contact the professionals at Air Assurance, addressing the heating and cooling needs of Broken Arrow residents 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: “3402423/Pixabay”

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.

Fans, Featured, Ventilating, Ventilation

Areas of Your Home That Need the Most Ventilation

Areas of Your Home That Need the Most Ventilation

When it comes to home comfort and energy efficiency, ventilation – aka effective air exchange – plays a crucial role. Without adequate fresh air in a home, indoor air quality will suffer, with the environment becoming stale, stuffy and unhealthy.Learn what areas of your home will benefit from effective ventilating strategies, along with why whole-house mechanical air exchange may be necessary as well.

Nowadays, with energy efficiency increasingly stressed in building construction, working mechanical ventilation has become more important than ever. In the past, much of a home’s air-exchange needs were satisfied incidentally, with abundant air exchange through cracks and gaps in the home’s exterior envelope. That’s not the case any longer with the tight home construction of today.

The most common type of mechanical ventilation in a home is the bathroom exhaust fan. Most bathrooms are equipped with this fan, which not only de-fogs the room but also carries away unpleasant and noxious odors and contaminants.Next on the list is the kitchen, which almost always has a stovetop fan that carries away smells from cooking and food preparation, keeping them from spreading through the rest of the house.

One area where many homeowners neglect ventilation is the attic. Yet, effective air exchange is essential in the attic. Without it, during the summer, an attic can get superheated, and that heat eventually will transfer into the living spaces below. During the heating season, an attic without proper venting may help cause ice dams on the roof that can lead to extensive structural damage in a home.

In many homes, mechanical air exchange is necessary on a whole-house basis. Increasingly popular are balanced and supply-only systems, with the most common balanced system being Energy Recovery and Heat Recovery ventilating systems (ERV and HRV, respectively). Using parallel air streams, one blowing out and one blowing in, these systems ensure fresh air while also transferring heat and moisture (in ERVs) to help with home heating and cooling and humidity control.

We can help devise an effective ventilation strategy for your Broken Arrow area home. Please 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 ventilation and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “clker-free-vector-images/Pixabay”

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”