Items filtered by date: June 2016
Tuesday, 05 July 2016 16:20

Fast Facts about Indoor Air Quality

Spray air fresheneBeing aware of indoor air quality issues is great all year, but it is especially good to keep in mind during these colder months when we keep our homes shut up tight to keep the heat in and the chill out. The air inside your home can be two to five times more polluted than the air outside your home. Considering that the average American spends 80 to 90 percent of their time indoors, indoor air pollution can have considerable impact on your health.

Fact #1: Air fresheners create indoor air pollution.
Air fresheners often contain phthalates that aggravate asthma and disrupt hormone function in children. Another common contaminant in air fresheners is terpene, a compound from some types of plants that when combined with ground-level ozone can create airborne acetone and formaldehyde - both of which are dangerous to breathe in.

Fact #2: Candles create indoor air pollution, too.
Unfortunately, many candles host the same chemicals as air fresheners with the added contaminant of smoke particulate, especially from candles made with paraffin wax. If you can't live without candles, opt for soy-based and bees wax-based candles scented with natural essential oils to reduce the dangers candles pose to indoor air quality.

Fact #3: Your couch may be poisoning you.
Flame retardants used on household furniture, designed to slow down the spread of flames during a fire and allow people to escape, could be slowly poisoning you and your family instead. Fire retardant chemicals called PBDEs commonly used on furniture prior to 2006 release toxins into the air over time, contributing to indoor air pollution.

Fact #4: Your printer may be poisoning you, too.
Ink from inkjet printers can contain industrial chemicals called glymes, a type of solvent, that are added to the mix of chemicals in your home's air when you print pages, photos and other projects.

Fact #5: Indoor air pollutants are more prevalent than you think.
All of the following contribute to the pollution inside your home: mold, pollen, dust, pet dander, radon (may leach into your home through the foundation), VOCs (chemicals in paints and some cleaners that can disperse into the air for weeks or even months after application), phthalates, terpenes, PBDEs and fine particulates like smoke from candles or tobacco products.

Fact #6: Indoor air pollutants can pass into the bloodstream when you and your family breathe them in.
Once inhaled, these pollutants contribute to a wide array of symptoms and illnesses which may include headaches, nasal congestion, asthma, severe or worsening allergies, nausea, dry eyes, fatigue, depression, lung infections, lung cancer, immune system dysfunction, neurologic dysfunction and stroke.

Fact #7: You can do something about the quality of the air inside your home!
Avoiding sources of indoor air pollution when possible is a great start. Some sources, such as radon, cannot be avoided and you may want to have your home tested for radon. You can invest in systems that improve indoor air quality such as air purifiers and filters, ventilators (safely cycle filtered air into your home and cycle out old stale air), and UV lamps (kill mold, bacteria and viruses in the air).

The effects of indoor air pollution can be more serious than most people realize. In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency ranks indoor air pollution in their list of top five environmental dangers. Carolina Comfort Systems is your resource for addressing the air quality inside your home. We'll help you choose options that leave you breathing easier - and cleaner.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 05 July 2016 15:17

Summertime Tune-up for Your HVAC System

Air conditioner with toolbox and tools. Repair of airconditione 000088333803 MediumAs hot as it is already, it’s hard to believe that the worst heat of the summer hasn’t even arrived yet. It hasn’t, and if your AC unit us struggling to keep your home cool now, then it’s time a summertime tune-up for your HVAC system.

Why Tune-up Your HVAC System

It seems like if your HVAC system is working just fine, right? It’s cooling your home and you haven’t noticed any problems. However, if you haven’t had your HVAC unit serviced in the last year, it might not be working as efficiently as possible. In fact, the best way to ensure that your unit is operating at peak performance levels is to have it serviced once in the spring and once in the fall, prior to the seasons when it will work the hardest – summer and winter.

Having your HVAC system tuned-up can decrease your electric bill by hundreds of dollars each year. An inefficient unit has to work harder to achieve the same results. Dirty, worn parts can not only decrease the efficiency of your unit, but they can also lead to larger, more expensive problems during the times when you need the unit to perform at its best.

Regular tune-ups can also increase the lifespan of your HVAC unit. With a good maintenance routine, the average HVAC unit can last from 12-15 years. However, units that are produced today can be as much as 40 percent more efficient than units made even 10 years ago. When in doubt, ask your HVAC technician to explain the benefits of a new HVAC system to you.

What Needs to Be Done?

Many people believe that they can do all of the maintenance necessary on their HVAC system to keep it running efficiently during the summer. There are some things that a homeowner can do, but other parts of a routine summertime HVAC tune-up should be performed by a licensed and registered HVAC technician. Some of the things that you can (and should) do yourself include:

  • Change your HVAC filter regularly. A clogged or dirty filter is not only inefficient, but it can also introduce dirt, mold, and other allergens into your environment. Change your filter every three months at a minimum, but once a month during the hottest and coldest parts of the year.
  • Clean the area around your outdoor unit regularly. Your HVAC unit should have a two-foot area around it that remains free of plants, leaves, and debris that can hinder airflow into and out of the unit. The unit should sit on a concrete pad, and nothing else should be placed on the pad with it.
  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats are far more efficient than thermostats that have to be manually adjusted. Once installed, you set a temperature pattern and leave the thermostat alone. It will take care of adjusting the temperature during peak usage times.

The inner workings of your HVAC unit should be left to a trained and certified technician. They can perform an HVAC tune-up that includes:

  • Cleaning and inspecting all of the moving parts including: belts, fans, coils, and hoses.
  • Checking coolant levels and ensuring there are no leaks.
  • Checking the insulation of lines.
  • Inspecting wiring and overall health of the unit.

If you haven’t done it already, it’s time for a summertime tune-up on your HVAC unit. Give us a call here at Carolina Comfort Systems. We can set you an appointment with a trained and registered HVAC technician who can perform a summertime tune-up for your HVAC system.

Published in Blog

Furnace or HVAC Filter clogged With Dust Pollen and Allergens 000019444888 MediumDid you know that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists indoor air quality in its top 3 health concerns? It’s hard to believe that the quality of your indoor air is lower than that outside during the summer allergy season, but it’s true. Microscopic pollen, pet dander, mold and mold spores, and dust mites call all exist inside your home any time of the year, and your HVAC system could be one of the culprits. Here are a few tips to help you improve indoor air quality:

  • Keep a clean house. Pollen, mold spores, pet dander, dust, and a variety of other indoor air pollutants travel indoors on skin, clothing, and items you bring inside. Be sure to dust, vacuum, sweep, and mop at least once a week. Twice is better if you have time, and if you can, avoid using harsh chemical cleaners. All-natural cleaners are easier on the environment and the indoor air quality.
  • Be sure to wash your hands, face, and hair after being outside for an extended period of time during the summer allergy season. Don’t forget to also wipe down your pets. Pollen and dust settle into pet fur, then when they shake inside it goes flying into your environment. Wipe them off completely every time you bring them in from outside.
  • Keep the humidity level in your home at the optimal level of 30-50 percent to improve your indoor air quality. High humidity encourages the growth of mold spores and dust mites. Low humidity can create other conditions that lead to illnesses and increased sensitivity to allergens. If your HVAC unit is running efficiently, then your home’s humidity should be at the right level. If it’s not, have your unit inspected by a trained service technician.
  • Have your HVAC vents and ducts cleaned regularly. Studies have found that heating and cooling vents are one of the greatest contributors to poor indoor air quality. Have a professional clean your HVAC vents and ductwork at least once a year to ensure dust, pollen, and other pollutants don’t collect in them.
  • Consider replacing your traditional HVAC unit with a ductless heating and cooling unit or a whole-house High Efficiency Particle Absorption (HEPA) HVAC unit. This is the best option for improving your indoor air quality, and worth the investment, especially if your existing unit is nearing the end of its lifecycle. Ductless and whole-house HEPA units can greatly improve indoor air quality, and reduce the cost of cooling your home during the summer allergy season.

Nothing you do is going to completely eliminate allergy-causing particles from entering your home, but taking the precautions listed above will help. Here at Carolina Comfort Systems, we can conduct an indoor air quality analysis and make recommendations on the best, and most efficient ways to improve your indoor air quality during the summer allergy season and all year long.

Published in Blog