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Is Indoor Air Quality Worse Than Outdoor?

While winter may be a wonderfully refreshing time for getting outdoors, things aren’t so cozy indoors. Today, we’ll be going over indoor air pollutants, allergens, and what you can do to freshen things up inside. By the end, you should have a basic plan for restoring the purity of your home’s air supply. You’ll certainly feel the improvement!

Is Air Quality Better Indoors?

A Woman Sneezes Into Tissue

Have You Started to Experience More Allergy Symptoms Inside Your Home?

Indoor air quality in winter is remarkably worse than any other time of the year. Why is that? Because homeowners work hard to insulate the house to prevent warm air from getting outside. After they complete their roof repair in Fresno, CA (or wherever they may be) and apply a fresh caulking and sealant around the house, air impurities get trapped inside without a way to get out. Thus they recirculate throughout the house, over and over again.

Is Indoor Air Quality Serious?

Air quality has ramifications for your health, appliances, and budget. So yes, it’s very serious. Unless you want to start spending extra money on medications and repair bills, your air needs to be carefully regulated. Thankfully, there are ways to reduce the strain on your air filter and bring fresh air back into the home!

Indoor Air Quality Issues

The first step to cleaning up the atmosphere in your home is understanding what sort of pollutants you’ll be dealing with. This will make it easier to plan your to-do list later on. There are 7 categories of pollutants.

What are the 7 Major Indoor Air Pollutants?

  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Radon
  • Secondhand Smoke
  • Nitrogen Dioxide
  • Mold Spores
  • Asbestos
  • Lead Particles

Any of these can be find within the home. The first four are gases; the last three are airborne particles. In winter, they become more concentrated due to the increased insulation. Take note we use the term “pollutants” rather than “allergens“. We’ll discuss allergens in a little while.

Common Issues

What is the Most Common Indoor Air Pollutant?

The most common threats to indoor air quality from our list above would be radon, mold spores, and carbon monoxide. While radon is a gas that is present in every home, it’s rarely in sufficient quantities to be harmful to humans. However, sufficient levels can cause lung irritation, persistent coughing, wheezing, and even cancer (with long-term exposure). 

Carbon monoxide is even more dangerous. When natural gas is burned within your home, one of the products is carbon monoxide. It has neither odor nor taste, but inhaling the gas interferes with natural breathing. This gas is particularly dangerous for those who are sleeping or otherwise incapacitated. Sufficient exposure may result in shortness of breath, blurred vision, lost consciousness, and even suffocation.

While mold spores may not produce the deadly consequences of these gases, they can provoke allergic reactions in those with sensitivities. Mold spores can be found lying dormant in almost any environment. Give enough time and moisture, they will rapidly reproduce and expand into surrounding areas. Potential symptoms of mold inhalation include lung & throat irritation, asthma, aches, problems maintaining focus, infections, and unpleasant smells.

Health Effects

Indoor Air Quality and Health

While some air pollutants have dangerous health ramifications (such as those we already described), most air quality problems just make living in your home fairly unpleasant. This is where allergens come into play, and there are certainly a lot of them. Some of the most common allergens include:

  • Dust mites
  • Bug debris
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Mold spores
  • Certain house plants

These substances can produce some undesirable physical responses, such as nasal congestion, threat irritation, throat problems, and eye irritation. If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, it may be time for a thorough cleaning. Speaking of which…

HVAC System

Indoor Air Quality and HVAC Systems

Your heating and cooling systems have a big impact on your home’s indoor air quality. How does your HVAC hardware affect quality? The fans, ducts, and vents that distribute cool (or warm) air also circulate allergens throughout the house throughout the house. A special filter manages to capture the vast majority of these impurities, but that only works as long as the filter is changed out regularly.

How Can I Improve Indoor Air Quality?

A Relaxing Indoor Environment

Cleaning the HVAC System (Including the Filter) Will Greatly Improve Indoor Air Quality.

The best place to start is in your air ducts! While it’s nigh impossible to eliminate 100 percent of allergens in your house, HVAC system cleaning can neutralize a large percentage. After cleaning out the ducts and vents (or having a professional do it), you can follow up with dusting, vacuuming, and mopping throughout the house.  If you haven’t changed the air filter in a while, consider switching to a high grade HEPA filter. This will reduce strain on your HVAC appliances, which won’t have to work once the clogged filter is gone.

These simple steps will greatly improve the cleanness of your air. Every once in a while, you can also open up the windows for an influx of fresh outdoor air. Keep in mind that more serious air pollutants may require professional cleaning services to remove completely.

Schedule Your Air Purification Today!

Is it about time to schedule a whole home air purification in Riverside, CA or another nearby city? Our team at Trabuco Hills Air would love to help restore your indoor air quality! Give us a call today at (951) 824-7172 and get a quote for your home.

How To Lower Winter Heating Bills

When it comes to winter heating and cooling, it can be hard to keep your home the perfect temperature. If you put your heat on too high, it can increase the cost of your heating bill, but if you put on the AC you run the risk of being too cold. A lot of people ask, “How can I save money on heating in winter?” it can be difficult to tell where a healthy medium is, but there are tips for reducing heating bills. So how can you lower your winter heat bills without having to sacrifice your comfort? Here are some helpful suggestions to keep you warm while saving money.

  • Open the Blinds: This only applies when the sun is shining, but you know you can get free heat by opening your shade and blinds and letting the sunshine in. Once night falls, you can close the blinds and curtains to keep your home warm.
  • Don’t Heat Vacant Rooms: If you have a room or rooms that you don’t use very frequently, you can close the vents in those rooms. This is a good way to save on heat as you’ll have better heat for the rooms you are using, plus you will save money.
  • Use a Ceiling Fan: This might seem counterintuitive but if you set your ceiling fan to spin clockwise, it will push warm air through a room. This will give you more winter heat without having to crank your heating system.
  • Insulate Your Home Better: Another thing that you can do is insulate areas where heat might be flowing out of your home. Many people ask, “But how can I insulate my house for winter?” the answer is that you can buy insulation or weather stripping from a store and cover spots where warm air is escaping.
  • Turn Down Heat at Night: Is it cheaper to keep heating on or turn it on and off? You shouldn’t turn it off at all, but you should turn it during the night. Lowering your heat for a couple of hours will save you money and you can keep warm by investing in warm bedding.

What Temperature is Too Cold for a House?

A Woman is Wearing a Big Coat To Stay Warm in a Cold Home

You Don’t Want Your Home’s Temperature To Be Too Cold Or You Won’t Be Comfortable.

While we want to save money during the winter, that doesn’t mean that we have to set our thermostats to freezing temperatures to decrease heating costs. If you want to set your thermostat to lower temperatures in the winter, you shouldn’t set lower than 64 degrees. We advise that you keep the temperature comfortable, as colder temperatures in your home mean respiratory problems, as well as increasing the chances of colds and the flu. So what should your heat be set at in winter? If you set your thermostat at 68 degrees throughout the day, you will be pretty warm and save money on your winter heat bill. Again, you can also decrease the temperatures at night; that doesn’t mean you have to set it at 64 degrees, but 66 degrees wouldn’t be so bad.

When a home is a little more on the drafty side, the question of “How do you keep a drafty house warm?” is a big priority. The best thing you can do is insulate your home properly, invest in blankets to use when you are in different rooms, close blinds, and curtains at night, use a portable heater in the room that you are in, or have your heating system inspected to make sure that it is working the way that it should. It may seem like this is a lot in order to stay warm, but it will keep you warmer and it will save you money on your winter heat bills in the long run.

Winter Heating Fire Safety

A Close Up of a Fire in a Fireplace

To Get Better Winter Heat, You Should Know the Safety Tips for Fires and Portable Heaters.

Nothing is better than lighting a fire in the fireplace when the temperatures start to drop. It makes you feel cozy and warm and definitely heats up a room rather effectively. However, if you decide to have a fire in the fireplace or use a portable heater, it is so important that you are careful. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, winter home fires kill 890 people a year, with 75% of home heating fires caused by chimneys. These statistics aren’t meant to scare you or give you anxiety but are used to illustrate how common this problem can be. We want homeowners to be able to enjoy fires in their fireplace, as well as their portable heaters, but we also want them to be safe.

Many people ask, “How can I make my room warmer without a heater?” While you really don’t have to stop having fires burn in your chimney or portable heaters, if you want to make your home warm without a fire or portable heater, you can open your windows to let sunlight in, close curtains at night, insulate your home, use weatherstripping on areas that are letting warm air out, close off any rooms that aren’t being used, and use rugs to insulate floors. However, you can still have a fire burning or use a portable heater and still keep your home safe from accidental fires. FEMA has great resources for how to keep your home heated safely and how to use a portable heater safely. Having these resources will make you feel safer and more knowledgeable on how to protect yourself and your home.

If you are wanting better heating efficiency in Riverside, CA, you will need to call a professional. With a water softener installation, you will need an expert plumber and the same goes for when you need winter heat efficiency. To get the best heating efficiency for your home, call Trabuco Hills Air at (951) 824-7172.

What Causes an AC To Stop Working?

An Air Conditioner Unit That is in a Backyard.

Know About Common AC Problems and How They Should Be Addressed.

As homeowners, we depend on our air conditioner a lot. We use it to keep us comfortable and cool during warmer seasons, so having an AC that is in good condition is very important. But like many systems in our homes, air conditioners can be susceptible to some issues. One of those issues is when the air conditioner stops working. This can be due to many reasons, either your AC wiring is defective, you have a frozen coil, the fan is damaged, or there isn’t enough refrigerant. Fortunately, a seasoned HVAC professional is able to determine what your AC problems are with proper diagnostic services. Whether you need emergency plumbing service or air conditioning service, the most important thing is to call a professional who knows what they are doing. Below are some common AC problems and the solutions for them.

Common AC Problems and Solutions

  • Not Enough Cool Air: One of the biggest AC issues that we face as homeowners is when the air conditioner is on and working, but isn’t producing enough cool air. Some reasons that this might be a problem is that the filter is dirty, the thermostat is in a different setting than it usually is. With help from a technician, the filter can be cleaned or the thermostat can be repaired.
  • The AC is Blowing Hot Air: This is the opposite of what you want your air conditioner to do. The best solution for this is to have the air filter changed and to see if something is wrong with your AC’s outside unit.
  • Strange Noises Coming From Your AC: Different noises are going to indicate different problems for your air conditioner. For example, a rattling noise means there are issues with the panels. Have an HVAC technician take a look when you hear any type of noise.
  • The AC Won’t Turn Off: When your air conditioner is continually running, this can be a problem. Sometimes it will have to do with your thermostat and other times there are problems with the refrigerant.

If you need air conditioning service in Riverside, CA, please call Trabuco Hills Air at (951) 824-7172.

How Often Should You Change Your Air Filters?

A/C

Do You Know When To Change Your Air Filters?

Air filters often get overlooked and not taken as seriously as they should be. It is important that you know when you last changed your filter so that you can find out when it needs to be changed again. Air filters are put into your air conditioning to filter out things like dirt, pet hair, and any allergens in your home. If you have allergies or a sensitivity to dirt or pet hair, it is even more important to make sure that you change these more often. Every air filter comes in different sizes to fit different machines. If you don’t know what size filter you need to get, you can always give us a call and we can try to help the best we can, or you can check what the previous filter size is and buy that same size. There are also different kinds of filters, some you can wait longer to change, some made especially for a home with pets, and others that need to be changed fairly often. Like we mentioned above, all systems are different and you have to decide what works best for you.

When To Change a Filter

Summer Home – If you do not occupy your home very often, for example, a summer home, would only need to be changed out every 6-12 months because there isn’t much going on.

Home With No Pets – If you have no pets in your home but you live there full time, it is only necessary to change your filter every 90 days.

Pets – A home with one pet can go around 60 days and a home with more than one pet should be changed once a month or so.

Give us a call if you have a question about your A/C and need to replace your air filters in Riverside, CA by dialing (951) 824-7172.