image of a homeowner replacing an hvac air filter to improve indoor air quality

Indoor air might look like it’s fresh and clean, but, if you look closely, it may have tiny particles mixed in with it. You might’ve noticed this in direct sunlight. These particulates are only micrometers in size, so they can go inside narrow entrances easily. We breathe these particles without noticing, and they go deep into our lungs. Unfortunately, these pollutants can cause your health to deteriorate.

The HVAC air filters in your heating and air conditioning system can help improve your indoor air quality. These air filters block the particulate matter from entering your home and the air that you breathe. However, they might not work as they should. This article will discuss the different reasons your HVAC filter is not improving your indoor air quality.

7 Reasons Your Filter Isn’t Improving Your Indoor Air Quality

Your home’s HVAC filter might be underperforming due to the following:

1. No HVAC Filter

image of an hvac air filter

Did you recently move? If so, the HVAC system is most likely in tiptop shape, and all the parts are accounted for. However, you might also have noted that there are excess dust and other particulates in the air. Check if the filters are in place in the HVAC unit. The previous homeowner might have forgotten to put the filter in. Without a filter, the contaminants pass through easily. This will lead to a lot of dust and dirt accumulation in your system’s coils, ducts, blowers, and home.

2. Incorrect HVAC Filter Installation

Having an HVAC filter alone is not enough to improve your indoor air quality if it is not installed correctly. Consequently, your high-quality air filter will not work as effectively. A small opening is enough for the particulates to go around the air filter. Therefore, despite having an air filter in place, the indoor air quality will still suffer. You can replace it as per the manufacturer’s recommendation. However, your home’s air quality will not improve unless you do something about installing the air filter properly. Contact your trusted HVAC technician to help you fix this issue.

3. Insufficient HVAC Unit Runtime

image of a gas furnace

Filters are static installations. Therefore, air needs to flow from one side to the other for it to work as it should. The HVAC system needs to have enough runtime to force an adequate amount of air through the filters.

An HVAC system that is too large can short cycle. This means that it reaches the set temperature quicker, so the system switches off immediately. The HVAC system does not run long enough for the filter to do its job correctly. Ensure that a professional HVAC technician installs the correct HVAC size for your home. Check the fan settings of your thermostat as well. Make sure that it is “ON” instead of “AUTO” so that it runs longer. If you are not satisfied with this, try a standalone air filter. Discuss your issues with an expert so you can further improve your indoor air quality.

4. Insufficient HVAC Airflow

Sometimes, your HVAC runs sufficiently, but there isn’t enough airflow. As a result, the filtration volume decreases. This issue is usually caused by undersized return ducts and dirty air filters. The latter happens when homeowners do not subscribe to a regular HVAC filter replacement schedule. Air cannot pass through easily if the filter is clogged. When this happens, airflow will decrease and air pressure will increase. System efficiency will also be affected negatively. Make sure to change the filters frequently so that it can do its job properly.

5. Low MERV Rating

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV, is the filter’s ability to capture particles. The higher the rating, the better it can trap certain types of particles. Therefore, you must pay attention to what MERV rating your filter has. Those with low ratings might be cheaper, but it also means that they are not as effective as those with higher MERV ratings. Consider this the next time you are buying filters. It is worth investing in filters with high ratings if it means you and your family breathe cleaner air when indoors.

6. Failure To Filter Outdoor Air For Mechanical Ventilation

HVAC systems will only work at its best if they are installed correctly. It won’t matter if you have a good HVAC brand if the installers make an installation mistake. For instance, the outdoor air duct might have been connected to the system’s return side. This bypasses the air filter. This mistake does not happen often, but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you. A highly trained and experienced technician can fix this problem immediately.

7. Incorrect Filter Placement

It is essential to know how your HVAC unit works and how the air flows. This way, you can determine the correct place to put your air filter. Incorrect or sub-optimal filter placement will lead to poor performance. This might seem like a little thing, but even the best HVAC make and model can underperform when it is in the wrong location.

Conclusion

The air filter is essential in achieving high indoor air quality. If you notice frequent respiratory issues like coughs and sneezes in your family, you might want to look into the air filter of your HVAC unit. It might have one or more of the problems listed above. Prevent any issues by hiring a reliable HVAC contractor to assist you. Make sure that your system receives regular checks and maintenance as well so that you breathe in clean indoor air at all times.

Contact Tower Energy For Your Heating & Cooling Needs

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Tower Energy provides excellent HVAC services throughout Hartford County, Connecticut. We hire professionally certified and highly trained technicians who provide superior heating and cooling services, including repairs, tune-ups, installations, and replacements. All our techs are equipped with the proper skills, tools, experience, and knowledge to conduct accurate and prompt HVAC services.

Our company guarantees affordable cooling and heating service prices in the area. Our maintenance services will help increase your home’s comfort and energy-efficiency, as well as reduce your monthly cooling bills. If you need to replace or repair your current system, we can help you find the best make and model that will best fit your home and budget. All our services are backed with a guarantee. Your satisfaction is our priority. Schedule a service appointment and call Tower Energy today. We offer free, in-home consultations.

Contact us now or call us at (860) 677-7347 to find out more.

man in gas mask depicting indoor air pollution

Despite how clean you manage to keep your home, there are always ways to make it even cleaner and safer. Indoor air quality may not be something you have ever thought about. However, now might be a good time to focus more on it. Various household products that you use may be causing more problems than not. You might be surprised to know that many of the products you have trusted for years are actually not as safe as you think they are. It is important to learn how some commonly used household products can produce indoor air pollution and what alternative options you have.

Indoor Air Quality

Also referred to as IAQ, indoor air quality is the condition of the air within or surrounding a structure. This includes a commercial building or a home. IAQ is associated with the health and comfort of the people in that structure. When indoor air quality is good, the air inside is safer and easier to breathe.

Indoor air quality is particularly important for a home, especially when there are young children present, elderly residents, or people who have compromised immune systems. If there are high levels of pollutants and/or moisture in the indoor air, it could cause increased risks of health problems including respiratory issues and allergies. This is why both homes and commercial buildings need to adhere to IAQ standards.

If you want to eliminate issues with indoor air quality, it is important to understand how pollutants enter the air inside your house. You could actually be using household products that are bringing down the cleanliness levels of your indoor air.

Household Products That Affect Indoor Air Quality

Household Cleaning Products

cleaning products and indoor air quality

Many cleaning products on the market are made with chemicals that can negatively affect both your health and the environment. Cleaning products that contain anything from ammonia, bleach, powerful synthetic fragrances, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) lower the indoor air quality in a residential space. These chemicals can result in a strong reaction, especially if you mix them with other chemicals.

Solution: By choosing household cleaning products that are made with eco-friendly ingredients and avoiding those that are formulated with harmful chemicals, you can naturally improve your indoor air quality. If possible, research more about how to clean with natural ingredients like baking soda or vinegar.

Paint

paint and VOCs

The fact that you can smell fresh paint means that you are probably breathing in something that is bad for your health. Many of the varieties of paint that are still in use contain VOCs. These contaminants are full of carbon compounds, which can easily transform into vapors. When these intermingle with the air, the reaction with other elements creates ozone. This can amplify air pollution. As the paint dries, it continues to release VOCs into the air, and this is the pollution that you breathe in.

Solution: Choose paint that contains low or zero VOCs to keep your indoor air clean. Your lungs will thank you for it.

Products In Aerosol Spray Form

Aerosol Sprays

You can purchase many products that are designed as aerosol sprays. These include hairspray and other hair treatments, shaving cream, deodorant, and fragrances. Even aerosol cooking oil spray is suspicious because of chemicals that are added. This includes artificial flavors, propellants like butane, isobutane, and propane, and a variety of foam-preventing silicone.

The problem with aerosol sprays is that they are formulated to send out tiny liquid droplets into the air. Sometimes, this liquid consists of harmful ingredients that are not safe to use. About 30 years ago, people exposed aerosol sprays as polluting substances that were also harmful to the environment.

Solution: If possible, avoid using aerosol sprays, or limit their use to avoid sending irritants into the air. You can find many products in other forms that are safer to use and have little to no effects on your home’s IAQ.

Household Air Fresheners

We have all reached for a can of air freshener to eliminate a bad odor, but did you know that air freshener also contains ingredients that are harmful? Certain air fresheners can release over 100 various chemicals. Many of those chemicals can be harmful to health or even toxic. These chemicals can also have reactions with other substances in your indoor air and that can result in more dangerous compounds being produced. Consequently, some people may cough or sneeze after inhaling even a small amount of air freshener. If the spray touches the skin, it could also cause irritation, redness, and itchiness.

It might seem counter-intuitive that a product that is designed to make the air ‘fresher’ can actually cause problems with indoor air quality. However, it is not shocking. Air fresheners are actually made with fragrances, propellants, and various kinds of additives that all lend a hand in reducing IAQ.

Solution: Use natural ingredients to get rid of bad odors and improve indoor air quality.

Candles In The Home

paraffin wax candles

Many people think that candles are innocent, but they can also be harmful to your health. Fortunately, not all candles are harmful — only those that contain paraffin wax. Paraffin wax is a by-product of coal oil, shale, or petroleum. By themselves, they are most likely harmless. However,  when they are lit they begin to disperse carcinogenic compounds into the air. A particular study showed that the fumes emitted by paraffin wax candles were connected to lung cancer and asthma.

Solution: Do not use paraffin wax candles often. If you use candles on a regular basis, try to find ones made with natural ingredients like beeswax.

Dry Cleaning Clothes

image of dry cleaning

Dry cleaning uses an organic solvent to remove dirt, bad odors, and stains. The solutions used in dry cleaning can pose risks, especially for those who have pre-existing medical conditions that involve the heart, lungs, liver, or kidneys. PERC (perchloroethylene) is the most alarming type of ingredient used in dry cleaning. This is a variant of VOC and it can be particularly problematic if exposure to the chemical occurs for a prolonged period.

Solution: If you must have your clothes dry cleaned, be sure to unwrap them outdoors. Let them sit outside for some time so that the dangerous chemicals can disperse. Furthermore, Choose a trusted dry cleaning company and don’t be afraid to say something if you notice that your dry-cleaned clothes have a strong smell.

Conclusion

To manage indoor air quality properly, it is important to be actively aware of the various products that could result in IAQ issues. Keeping your indoor air safe is good for your personal safety and health. It is also necessary to properly maintain the environment. Little steps can produce big differences. Being actively involved will make sure that your home and the people who live in it are kept safe and comfortable.

Call Tower Energy To Learn How To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

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Tower Energy provides outstanding cooling and heating services in Hartford County, Connecticut, and the surrounding areas. Our team consists of the best NATE certified specialists who can offer you exceptional HVAC installations, repairs, replacements, and tune-ups. Each team member has years of experience and superior knowledge to service your HVAC properly.

Tower Energy guarantees heating and cooling costs that are the most competitive in the area. Our services can elevate your comfort levels, improve your indoor air quality, and improve your energy efficiency, all while bringing down your cooling and heating costs.

If you are in need of HVAC repairs or a replacement HVAC system, we can recommend the perfect choice for you that also fits with your budget. Our work is backed with a satisfaction guarantee. For a free in-home estimate or to schedule an appointment, give Tower Energy a call today.

Contact us now or call us at (860) 677-7347 to find out more.

image of a baby in front of humidifier for indoor air quality

Winter brings with it the holidays and other joyous things. Unfortunately, winter also means low temperatures and snow. Not to mention the dry indoor air we have to cope up with as well. It might not seem like a big issue, but dry air can affect your home’s indoor air quality and comfort. It can also affect your health when neglected for too long. Often, homeowners do not take notice of the dry air in your home until after dry air symptoms pop up. In this article, we will talk about dry air, how it affects your home’s air quality, and a few solutions to dry air issues.

Why Is There Dry Indoor Air During The Winter?

A dry air environment is when the level of water vapor in the air is almost non-existent. Water vapor in the air is a natural occurrence. However, changes in the temperature can affect the amount of moisture in the air. If it is cold, then the air won’t be able to retain water vapor. It is no wonder that we experience dry air more during the winter season.
Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor or moisture in the air. The humidity level inside your home will also determine its comfort level. The most common reasons for dry indoor air are:

Insulation Issues

A right balance of water vapor in the air means you maintain the indoor air quality standards in your home. One of the likely reasons for an imbalanced moisture level is that your home does not have proper insulation. Your heater reduces the moisture levels inside your home. However, the balance can be maintained if there is an appropriate level of humidity inside your home. Any holes, gaps, or cracks in your home will pull in the dry air from outside and disrupt the balance.

image of a home's insulation for heat loss

Lost Humidity Is Not Replaced

The moisture inside your home is reduced every time you turn on your heating system. This also occurs whenever you switch on cooling appliances like air conditioners. The air will remain dry if the water vapor that is lost when you turn on your HVAC system is not replaced.

How Dry Indoor Air Affects Your Health & Home

Prolonged exposure to dry indoor air can cause a few issues to both your health and home. A few of the common effects of dry air are:

Respiratory Issues

Dry air constricts your airways. When this happens, you will have difficulty in breathing. This is especially an issue for people who suffer from chronic respiratory problems like asthma. Some of the symptoms include feeling a tightness in the chest, coughing, and shortness of breath.

woman using an inhaler due to poor indoor air quality

Dry Skin And Other Problems

Dry air tends to suck the moisture out of your skin as well. This might lead to skin issues such as itchiness and flaking. Your hair is also affected id there is very little humidity in the air as it can lead to having dry hair that is prone to breakage. People who have the flu may also notice their symptoms worsening if exposed to dry air. They might experience dry, itchy eyes and chills, among other symptoms.

Damage To Wooden Components And Structures

If you find any cracks on the paint or if your wallpaper is peeling off, it might be because of the dry air. Books, musical instruments, paper or wooden sculptures, and paintings can also get damaged by the dry air.

Anything made of wood inside your home is at risk too. Dry air can cause deformity on any wooden surfaces in your home, including doors, furniture, window frames, and floors. It can also make wooden cabinets, doors, and windows difficult to open and close. This is because they tend to dry out when exposed to dry air for long periods.

What Homeowners Can Do To Remove Dry Air

Dry indoor air can be damaging to your health and home. Fortunately, dry indoor air can be preventable. Some of the things you can do to keep the humidity level balanced include:

Fix The Air Drafts

Check around your house for any gaps, holes, and cracks. Use fillers, putty, or foam sealant to fix them. Weatherstripping your doors and windows is also recommended. Make sure that the insulation in your home is intact and sufficient. Otherwise, add more for better insulation.

image of person sealing air drafts

Use A Humidifier

A humidifier adds moisture in the air. It is an essential device for when you need to keep the humidity level balanced inside your home. There are five types of humidifiers, some of which are portable and perfect for single rooms. However, if you want to make sure that your whole home receives the much-needed moisture, consider installing a central humidifier. This ensures that you receive comfort while still being cost-efficient.

Get Your HVAC System Checked

Regular HVAC tune-ups are vital to ensure that your heating equipment works properly for a very long time. It is recommended that you get your HVAC system maintained at least once a year before the winter months arrive. A professional HVAC technician can help you with all your heating and cooling needs, even identifying issues before they turn into larger problems. An HVAC system that is in tiptop shape will prevent indoor air pollution and maintain a home environment that is comfortable and safe for you and your family.

Conclusion

The winter season is a time for joyous occasions. Don’t let the dry air dampen the mood. Dry indoor air can cause quite health and comfort problems for you and your family. However, you do not have to suffer through it as there are many ways to fix it. Taking the right approach into improving your indoor air quality and getting your home winter-ready will go a long way.

Call Tower Energy For Fast & Affordable Home Comfort Services

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If you need top-quality heating and cooling services, look no further than Tower Energy. We have the NATE certified technicians that can repair, maintain, install, and replace any HVAC make and model. We guarantee that our professionals have the skills, knowledge, and experience to service your HVAC equipment properly.
Rest assured that Tower Energy can assist you with all your HVAC needs. We offer the most competitive service costs in the area, and a guarantee backs our work. Our HVAC services prioritize indoor air quality, energy efficiency, comfort, and more. Call us and schedule a free, in-home estimate today.

Contact us now or call us at (860) 677-7347 to find out more.

healthy indoor air quality at home

Air pollution is typically associated with dirt from factories, car exhaust, and many other factors that lower the quality of outdoor air. However, contamination can also occur indoors, which many people fail to realize.

It is necessary to give indoor air pollution attention since the average person usually spends most of his or her time indoors. You have many ways to enhance the quality of indoor air for the sake of your loved ones. This article highlights what indoor air quality entails, causes of indoor air pollution, and how to improve your indoor air quality.

What Does Indoor Air Quality Entail?

We can define indoor air quality as the condition of the air we breathe when we spend time within a structure. The health and wellbeing of different people can be affected by the quality of the air. Air quality can affect their comfort and mood. Alarming studies show that there is more contaminated air indoors than outdoors. Researchers blame current structure construction practices.

Construction practices now build more airtight structures with the hope of meeting higher energy efficiency standards. However, as we lower energy consumption, we end up losing fresh, natural ventilation. Consequently, irritants that are trapped inside the home build up over time to dangerous levels. Ducts recirculate dust, dirt, dander, and other pollutants at ever-increasing rates.

Factors Causing Poor Air Quality

A variety of factors that relate to lifestyle cause indoor air pollution. For instance, many households keep pets for security, companionship, among other benefits. These animals tend to generate a lot of dander and fur that can trigger allergies. Also, walls, covered in paint, can release volatile organic compounds.

Additionally, dust and dirt particles can get inside through footwear and HVAC units. Furthermore, persistent moisture can favor the growth of mold and mildew. Also, household chemicals we use can aggravate indoor air quality issues.

Effects Of Poor Quality Indoor Air

All homeowners ought to be attentive to the matter of air pollution, lest they suffer consequences of poor indoor air quality. Members of different families may begin exhibiting different signs of respiratory conditions such as asthma, constant coughs, and breathing difficulties. Besides, they can also experience digestive issues and chronic fatigue. The worst possible case of unclean indoor air is contracting cancer.

respiratory issues

Ways HVAC Ductwork Affects Indoor Air Quality

The cooling and heating system uses ductwork to circulate air. If the network has pollutants, then the circulation will be full of contaminated air.

The contaminated air will affect people in the household unless they take some corrective measures. Therefore, you need to raise the indoor air quality standard in your home.

How Can My HVAC System Better My Indoor Air Quality?

1. HVAC Air Filters

HVAC systems have air filters that trap pollutants from the air. However, when dirt particles accumulate on the surfaces of the filters, they eventually interfere with airflow which leads to inefficiency. To prevent this from occurring, you should clean them periodically and replace them. A monthly inspection ought to determine if it is time for a replacement.

dirty hvac filter

2. UV Lights

The UV light can cause harmful effects to people, but you can harness them for health benefits as solutions to indoor air pollution. Ultraviolet light destroys viruses, mold, bacteria, and other pathogens. The UV light can fix unwanted pathogens merely through a short exposure. It can be quite beneficial to install UV lamps strategically across your HVAC system. You can learn more by talking to your HVAC contractor.

3. HVAC Dehumidifiers And Humidifiers

It is essential to control the level of humidity because it can drastically affect your indoor comfort. During winter, indoor humidity can fall, and dry air may cause serious respiratory issues. A humidifier can be used to control the problem. When the humidity rises in summer, it creates the perfect conditions for pathogens, mold, and other tiny harmful organisms. You can use a dehumidifier to control and fix the problem.

Modern HVAC systems control the amount of moisture in your house. If you possess an old HVAC unit, you need to replace it with a modern model that has the feature of controlling indoor humidity. Talk to your HVAC Company for more details.

4. HVAC Ductwork Inspections

As already mentioned, ducts channel indoor air where necessary. They pump air in every room of the house to keep everyone comfortable. The ductwork should be inspected often to keep the system clean and ensure it is free from pollutants.

A leak in the ductwork system can be a route for pollutants to enter the HVAC system. Consequently, the HVAC system distributes these pollutants in the air that people breathe indoors. You require regular maintenance of your ductwork if you have a forced-air HVAC system. Ensure you schedule an inspection of the ductwork with your trusted HVAC contractor today.

ductwork inspection

5. HVAC Tune-Ups

Regular maintenance of your cooling and heating system helps it to operate energy-efficiently and problem-free. Professional HVAC tune-ups spot any issues relating to the quality of residential indoor air and offer immediate solutions. Furthermore, homeowners will as well comply with conditions of warranty to keep the system valid. You should facilitate the regular tune-up inspection at least one time every year for both your cooling and heating units.

Contact Tower Energy For All the Needs of Your Home Comfort

All people need to care about improving the quality of indoor air in their homes because it can affect their health, comfort, and overall wellbeing. Therefore, you need to be vigilant and seek the help of relevant professionals for you to enjoy clean indoor air and live stress-free.

Tower Energy provides top-notch cooling and heating professional services in the locality. We employ prolific NATE certified technicians to offer you unmatched HVAC tune-ups, installations, repairs, and replacements. Our techs have sufficient experience and knowledge to service all your HVAC systems precisely. We always prioritize indoor air quality, energy efficiency, comfort, and more.

Do you wish to improve your indoor air quality? Be sure to call Tower Energy for consultation free of charge. We will offer the best solutions to your home and within your budget. Our work is flawless, and we guarantee your satisfaction. You can call us today to know what Tower Energy can offer you.

Contact us now or call us at (860) 677-7347 to find out more.