Protecting Your Indoor Air Quality During the Winter

The colder months of winter can keep you and your family indoors and limit the amount of fresh air in your home. Dust, dander and mold can become trapped inside, impacting the health of the air you breathe. When the doors and windows stay shut, you want to ensure that you are reaping the benefits of a good air filtration system and controlling the humidity. Here are some tips to help protect your air quality and the health of your family during the cooler winter months.

Change Your HVAC Air Filter

All the air in your home is circulated through your HVAC system. For many homes, the HVAC filter is the main source of air purification, making it a vital component to maintain. Not only can a dirty air filter lead to poor air quality, it effects the efficiency of your HVAC system. Make sure to change it as needed to maintain healthy air and limit stress on your HVAC system.

Clean Vents and Ducts

In addition to your air filter, your HVAC vents and ducts can collect dirt, mold and dust. Make sure to regularly clean the vents throughout the winter. Ducts should be cleaned every few years to remove any debris, mold or pest residue that may collect inside, impacting your air quality.

Monitor Humidity

If mold is a common problem in your home during the winter, you may need to monitor and control humidity levels. Have your humidity levels checked and if they are above 50-60%, discuss adding a dehumidifier with your local HVAC professional.

A few maintenance items can help protect your indoor air quality throughout the winter. Make sure to keep up with HVAC maintenance to ensure good air quality and a healthy home for your family.

Posted on behalf of:
Western Aire Heating & Cooling
Marietta, GA 30066
(770) 505-7426

Managing Indoor Air Quality in the Winter

When the cold weather of winter keeps doors and windows closed, the air in your home can become stale. The same air circulates through your HVAC system – while it goes through a filter, it is the same air over and over. Winter can mean more time spent indoors, which means air quality is more important than ever. Here are some ways to manage indoor air quality during the long months of winter.

Filter Changes

You need to keep up on changing your filter when it begins to get dirty, usually every one or two months for most filters. You may also want to improve the MERV rating of your filter – this will pull out smaller particles for cleaner air, but it can put a little more stress on your HVAC system.

Clean Vents and Ducts

More time spent indoors means more dust, dirt, dander and other substances. Make sure to clean the air vents and have your ductwork cleaned. Cold air outside can entice pests to find ways into your ducts, so an inspection for damage and a thorough cleaning should be done before winter begins.

Consider an Air Purifier and Humidity System

Beyond the standard air filter, you can go a step further and invest in an air purifier and humidity control. Depending on the part of the country where you live, you may need a dehumidifier or a humidifier during the winter to keep air at the right comfort level.

The air your family breathes is vital to their health. Talk to your local HVAC service professional about the options to protect your air quality in your home.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
5950 Shiloh Road East
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 475-9555

Finding the Right Moisture Balance for Air Quality

Home air quality is not just about filtering out allergens, dust and mold. Moisture has a big impact on the quality of air you breathe, whether it is too dry or too humid. Regulating your moisture balance in your air can be tricky; some homes may be too dry part of the year and too humid during other months. To get the right balance, you need to manage moisture and keep it at an appropriate level.

The right humidity level for homes tends to be right around 50%, within the 40-60% range. However, if you go above or below these levels, you may notice issues. Here are some of the problems that can occur when the humidity is too high or too low:

  • Too high. When humidity stays above 60%, your home could begin to have mold problems. You may notice musty smells, see mold on walls/windows/ceilings and notice water stains. Mold can be hazardous, especially for those with immune or respiratory issues, and cause expensive damage to your home.
  • Too low. When the air becomes to dry, which can happen when using air conditioning constantly, it can become uncomfortable. It can dry out nasal passages and cause other health issues.

To manage humidity, you can add a humidifier or dehumidifier to your HVAC system, or use portable models. Portable models are fine for individual rooms (like a basement that has mold issues) but are not efficient for whole-home air quality. Your local HVAC service provider can add either a humidifier, dehumidifier or both to your HVAC system to help you keep a perfect level of moisture in your home for health and comfort year-round.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
3870 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suite 340-129
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 475-9555

Keeping your Cool with a Dehumidifier

As most of the country continues to suffer under a heat wave, its understandable that the most common reaction is to simply crank down the thermostat.  This usually results in a cooler house, but there is more to being comfortable in the summer heat than just temperature. 

You have probably heard the old saying, “It’s not just the heat, it’s the humidity”.  You may have also heard residents of the southwestern states admit that “Yes its hot, but it’s a dry heat”.  Both of these time honored saying are based on the fact that moist heat is more uncomfortable than dry heat. 

The same principle applies to cooling your home.  A lower relative humidity can make your home more comfortable at a given temperature.  An air conditioner dehumidifies the air in your home as a secondary function to its primary job of cooling the air.  In many cases, your air conditioner is unable to reduce the humidity to a comfortable level, especially in the lower areas of the home or the basement.

In these circumstances, a freestanding dehumidifier or a whole house dehumidifier can help lower the humidity level in your home and actually allow your air conditioner to run less, yet keep you comfortable.

One problem with a freestanding dehumidifier is that creates a moderate amount of heat as it dehumidifies.  Some of the advantageous effects of lowering the humidity is offset by the increased temperature. 

residential HVAC contractor can help you select the proper dehumidifier system for your home.

Advantages of Whole House Dehumidifiers

Controlling the level of humidity in your home is good for your home and good for your health.  Proper humidity levels are more comfortable and can reduce the amount of time you need to run your heating and air conditioning systems.    In addition, high humidity levels facilitate the growth of mold, mildew and dust mites which are among the primary home allergens.  The mold and mildew that accompany high levels of humidity can aggravate allergies and cause problems for asthma sufferers.  Mold and mildew can also damage your possessions and, in severe cases, even cause damage to your home.

You can control mold and mildew and make your home more comfortable by controlling the moisture level in your home using a dehumidifier.  Dehumidifiers can either be small, portable units designed to dehumidify a room or a whole house dehumidifier that works in conjunction with your HVAC system. 

For dehumidification of a limited area of your home such as a basement, a portable dehumidifier can be an economical choice.  However, in most situations whole house dehumidifiers offer a number of advantages over portable units. 

For starters, a whole house dehumidifier does not take up any space in your living areas since they are attached to your furnace.  In addition, they require little maintenance other than regular cleaning.  Unlike portable units, they are designed to drain like your central air conditioner.   A portable dehumidifier needs to be emptied frequently. 

Portable dehumidifiers are controlled manually, but a whole house dehumidifier operates automatically.  Once it’s set, a whole house humidifier monitors the humidity level and controls it appropriately throughout your home, resulting in even, comfortable year round heating and cooling of all of your living spaces while eliminating that musty smell and controlling mold and mildew.