Tag Archives: health

Should You Be Concerned About the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home?

Girl pretending to blow on a chalk dandelion, simulating allergens in the air and the quality of the air in your home.

The effects of indoor air quality have been well documented. The complications of breathing in contaminated air range from short term effects – sneezing, coughing, headaches – to more severe, longer term effects – chronic fatigue, respiratory conditions and cancer. The biggest time of concern is during the winter when homes are sealed from the cold. Although here in AZ, summer can be an even greater concern because it’s too hot to open the windows.

How Much of a Concern is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a major concern, and federal scientists have ranked it as being one of the most important environmental issues in the country. EPA studies have shown that indoor air pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor pollutants. There are many reasons for this, including poor ventilation, the use of air fresheners, candles and cleaners that contain chemicals and more.

Believe it or not, one of the biggest culprits of indoor air pollution is funiture. Before 2006, furniture contained PBDEs, a type of flame retardant. However, even furniture purchased today might have other flame retardants that can be released into the air. These chemicals are sometimes used in children’s pajamas!

Small Steps to Improving Indoor Air Quality

In the end, IAQ is something that we should all be more aware of. We can’t avoid chemicals and pollutants entirely, but there are ways to make your home safer and healthier. Below are a few suggestions to start with.

  • Replace candles and air fresheners with essential oils. You can diffuse these oils for emotional and physical benefits, and they smell great, too.
  • Choose cleaners made from natural ingredients. They should be nontoxic, hypoallergenic, environmentally friendly and low on VOCs. Or, consider making your own household cleaners using basic ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar.
  • Change your air filters on time. Dirty air filters blow dirty air back into your home. Stock up on air filters so that you have them available to switch out, or ask our AC repair company in Gilbert about washable electrostatic air filters.
  • Open your windows daily. Fresh air acts as a filter for your indoor air. Better yet, get outdoors regularly and soak in the sun. This isn’t hard to do in sunny Arizona!
  • Be a smart shopper. Pay attention to the purchases that you make. Many laundry detergents, dish soaps and household cleaners are made in “clear & free” versions. Also be mindful of furniture, clothing and linens that you add to the home.

Consider UV Light Installation

If you are concerned that IAQ is affecting your family’s health, there’s another step that you can take. Ultraviolet lights can help you maintain a safer environment, and once installed, you don’t have to do anything extra. Our AC service in Gilbert offers ultraviolet light installation.

Here’s how the process works. UV lights are installed into your central air conditioning system, preventing the growth of harmful airborne particles such as mold, bacteria and viruses. Since these are stopped from being released into the air you breathe, your home’s IAQ is significantly improved. Also, the efficiency of your HVAC equipment is enhanced, resulting in better performance and a longer lifespan.

Let’s sum up the benefits to installing UV lights in your heating and cooling system.

  • Improve indoor air quality
  • Create optimal airflow
  • Destroy mold and bacterial on coils
  • Improve efficiency of HVAC equipment

If you have questions about how to improve IAQ in your home through UV light installation, better air filters or other measures, call Simply The Best AC. Our experienced techs will be happy to make suggestions and get you on the right track to a healthier home!

Photo Credit: Jack Moreh

What are the Pros and Cons to Electrostatic Filters?

Electrostatic filters

Electrostatic filters are also known as washable air filters. They are just one of the many air filters on the market today, and like others, they have pros and cons.

If an electrostatic air filter was recommended by your HVAC service in Gilbert, you probably have a lot of questions about how well they work and whether they’re right for you. If you have someone in the household with severe allergies or asthma, the air filtration system you choose is even more important.

What are Electrostatic Filters? Why Do People Like Them?

The appeal to electrostatic air filters is that they don’t need to be replaced. This is the claim, though it’s hard to believe that something that attracts dust and debris won’t need to be replaced at some point. At the very least, you can expect a much longer lasting air filter compared to conventional filters.

To keep these washable air filters cleaned and maintained, you are responsible for taking them out once a month and hosing them off. Once cleaned, the air filter can be popped back in. However, it is extremely important that the filter is washed each month. Failure to do so can result in a quickly dirtied system that leads to increased allergens and dirt coming out of the ductwork.

What are the Pros and Cons to Washable Air Filters?

Now that you know a bit more about electrostatic filters and how they work, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons and whether your household can benefit.

Pros

  • Good air filtration. Electrostatic filters do a good job of filtering out the air, though they are not as effective as pleated air filters. If you have someone in the home with asthma or allergies, the filter probably won’t be enough.
  • Efficient operation. Reusable filters have MERV ratings of around 5 or 6, which is what you will see with a pleated filter. However, cheaper brands might have a negative impact on equipment performance.
  • Cost effective. Washable air filters pay for themselves in about one year. They cost around $50-$60, which you probably already pay for conventional filters every 12 months.
  • Save time and hassle. Not only can you save on the cost of the filter, but also you don’t have to worry about going to the store, standing in line and purchasing air filters every few months.

Cons

  • Monthly maintenance. In order to be effective, electrostatic filters must be removed and cleaned monthly. If they’re not, they can stop working efficiently and put allergens and dirt into the air.
  • Less effective than HEPA filters. Electrostatic filters rely on static electricity, which is enough to filter out small, lightweight particles but not enough for larger dust particles or mold spores. They are not as good as HEPA filters or even a 1200 MPR filter.
  • Not a good choice for asthma sufferers. Since washable filters are not as efficient at removing particles and mold spores from the air, they are not ideal for people with allergies or asthma.

What’s the Verdict?

Is a washable air filter right for you? It could be. As long as you don’t mind doing the work each month, and there’s no one in your home with severe allergies or asthma, an electrostatic filter is a good choice for air filtration. However, if you’re not prepared to be diligent with monthly cleanings, or you need more efficient filtration, it’s best to go with a higher quality conventional filter.

If you have questions on the best air filters for your home, give Simply The Best AC a call and we’ll be happy to help you select an option for air filtration.

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/ToriCampbell