Are you worried about the air quality in your home? Indoor air pollution is a major concern and an issue that impacts every home. In fact, statistics from the EPA show is typically three to five times higher indoors. Most homes also have issues with allergens like mold spores, pet dander and dust mites. The good news is that there are a number of options that can help to overcome these issues, and today we’ll look at some of the ways you can support the air quality in your home this fall.
Upgrade Your HVAC Air Filter
The primary purpose of an HVAC air filter is to capture dust so that it doesn’t get inside the furnace and air handler. This is also important for preventing your HVAC system from spreading dust around the home as it runs. If you use a more efficient, higher-rated filter, it will also capture lots of airborne allergens and pollutants like mold spores, pollen, pet dander, dust mites, exhaust fumes, etc. Higher-rated filters are a great way to keep your home’s air quality better so you can breathe easier and avoid allergies and illnesses.
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV rating shows you how efficient the filter is. Residential HVAC systems should always use at least a MERV 5 filter, but this will mostly only trap dust and other larger particles. Using a filter that is rated between MERV 10 and 12 is always better for avoiding air quality issues as these higher-rated filters can trap much smaller particles including the majority of allergens and even many chemical pollutants and contaminants.
No matter what type of filter you use, it is important that you replace or wash it at least every three months. That said, replacing or washing the filter every month or two is always better for preventing air quality issues. This is because the filter will slowly start to clog up over time to where it becomes less and less effective.
Schedule a Heating Tune-Up
If you use a gas furnace to heat your home, it is essential that you have a technician service and inspect it every fall. An annual heating tune-up will help make your furnace more effective and also improve the energy efficiency of your heating system. Furnace maintenance is also essential for preventing carbon monoxide issues.
Contrary to popular belief, a gas furnace normally doesn’t produce carbon monoxide as long as it is burning cleanly. The issue is that the burners often get clogged with soot and debris over time, which can prevent the gas from fully combusting and burning cleanly so that the unit does start producing some carbon monoxide.
Having your furnace serviced and the burners cleaned every year will go a long way toward preventing this and ensuring that the gas burns cleanly. The technician will also inspect the unit’s heat exchanger for cracks and damage and make sure that the exhaust flue is venting the combustion fumes outside the home properly. This is also essential for your safety as a cracked heat exchanger or a clogged or damaged exhaust flue will also greatly increase the risk of carbon monoxide leaking out into your home.
Consider Installing a Dehumidifier to Tackle Humidity Issues
Running your air conditioning system always helps to keep the humidity level in your home lower since ACs remove both heat and moisture. However, the fact that autumn and winter tend to be the most humid parts of the year in Sacramento means that many homes in our area often have issues with higher indoor humidity levels once fall arrives and they shut their AC systems off.
High indoor humidity itself isn’t that big of a deal in terms of air quality, but it can lead to issues that will greatly decrease the quality of the air in your home. Specifically, high indoor humidity often leads to moisture condensing on windows or inside of your walls and ductwork. When this happens, the condensation can quickly allow mold and mildew to start growing resulting in mold spores circulating throughout the air. High humidity also tends to attract more pests, which will also contribute to worsened indoor air quality.
A whole-home dehumidifier can be a huge help if your home often feels overly humid. These units are typically used alongside a central AC system, but they can also be used when the AC is off simply by turning the fan or blower on so it runs constantly. You can also connect the dehumidifier to a humidistat so that it only runs as needed when the humidity level in the home is above a certain level. This makes it easy to manage the humidity level in the home to help prevent mold and air quality issues.
Replenish Your Home’s Air With a Whole-House Fan
Indoor air is always more polluted than the air outside the building. Most people keep their homes closed tight throughout most of the year, which leads to the air quickly becoming stale and the amount of pollution increasing. Whole-house fans can be great for overcoming this issue as they will work to draw the stale, polluted air into the attic where it can then be vented outside. At the same time, the fan will pull air in through any open windows so you can have a steady stream of clean air coming inside.
Whole-house fans obviously shouldn’t be used on cold winter days since they only work with at least one window open and would bring lots of cold air into the home, but they are great for ensuring the home stays cool in the late summer and early fall when you may not want to run your air conditioning. Even if you’re not looking to cool your home, you can still just run the fan for a short period to eliminate most indoor air pollution. Whole-house fans are extremely effective and will completely replenish or exchange the air in your entire home in under five minutes.
In addition to improving the air quality in your home, a whole-house fan is also a great way to reduce your energy bills during the warmer months. As long as the temperature outside is not much higher than your desired indoor temperature, a whole-house fan will cool your house far more effectively and more quickly than your AC system while using much less energy. When the fan is running, it will create a nice cooling breeze so that your home stays comfortable and your air quality increases.
Sacramento’s HVAC Experts
Atticman Heating and Air Conditioning, Insulation is a locally owned HVAC company that offers professional heating and air conditioning services to customers throughout the Sacramento area. Our certified technicians specialize in heating maintenance and can ensure your furnace is burning cleanly to help you avoid carbon monoxide issues. We can also help if you’re looking to upgrade your home with a whole-house fan or if you have a fan that needs any repairs or maintenance. For more information on the ways you can improve your home’s air quality this fall or to schedule any heating or AC service, give us a call today.