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Improving Indoor Air Quality in Bexley, Ohio

To get the most comfort out of your home, you should be aware of more than the air’s temperature. We discuss common issues that can affect indoor air quality.

Improving Indoor Air Quality in Bexley, Ohio

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Scott Gowans


April 7th, 2023

Unless you or someone in your family has allergies or a respiratory problem, you probably don’t give much thought to indoor air quality (IAQ).

But maybe you should. There’s a lot more to indoor air than its temperature. You can change warmth or cool by adjusting your thermostat. But the quality of the air doesn’t change when the temperature does. For that, we need to take a deep dive into IAQ, and why it’s so important.

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies show that the indoor level of pollutants may be two to five times — and occasionally more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels.

What’s the big deal about indoor pollution? Plenty.

An IAQ problem can cause or increase long- and short-term health effects, such as

  • Coughing
  • Eye irritation
  • Headaches
  • Allergic reactions
  • Aggravate asthma and/or other respiratory illnesses
  • In rare cases, they contribute to life-threatening conditions such as Legionnaire’s disease or carbon monoxide poisoning.

On a sunny day, you can see the dust flecks hovering around. You can try dusting, but that doesn’t create clean air. Big particles of dust might go into the vacuum, but tiny particles will find their way out.

Opening the windows on a nice spring or fall day can usher in fresh air, but it may not reach all the rooms.

The incoming air may also contain outdoor air pollutants such as pollen and dust mites. Additionally, open doors and windows may affect the ability of your HVAC system to control temperature and humidity.

If you live in Bexley, Ohio, or somewhere else in Central Ohio, we’re offering some free advice. We do this because we want homeowners to be as knowledgeable about their heating and cooling systems as possible. That way, you can not only achieve comfortable conditions, but you’ll keep the air inside your home as healthy as possible.

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How to Control Humidity

For the greatest comfort, the temperatures recommended by ASHRAE (The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) range from 68.5F to 75F in the winter, and from 75F to 80.5F in the summer. ASHRAE also recommends that indoor relative humidity be maintained at or below 65%. (Experts recommend that humidity levels in your home be between 40 and 60%.)

You can feel it when that humidity level is too high or too low.

Humidity control affects more than you might realize. These things can include:

  • Bacteria can proliferate more easily in humid environments
  • Mold or mildew
  • The house feels hotter than the temperature indicates
  • A warmer interior may cause you to use your air conditioner more often, putting strain on the system

Whole-Home Dehumidifiers

In the midst of summer swelter when it hits 90 degrees in Bexley, your air conditioner will be doing well if it can lower the inside temperature to 70. We call that the 20-degree rule of thumb. If it’s 95, you’ll be very lucky to have an AC that can get the indoors to 75.

One solution is to invest in a whole-home dehumidifier. It doesn’t lower the temperature, but you’ll feel cooler with less humidity, which can help your energy bill.

You can use it ducted (it’s connected to your ducts), or it can stand alone. If it’s not ducted, we suggest using it on the lowest floor, often a basement.

If it’s ducted, it removes moisture from every nook and cranny of your home. If it’s not ducted, it can remove a whole lot of humidity from the basement. What’s the point of that? Cool air goes down, carrying moisture with it. Create a dry basement, and the rest of the house will follow suit.

Why not get a portable dehumidifier? There are two reasons:

Yes, the cost of a portable unit will be less, but a whole-home unit uses less energy. If you’re using a room dehumidifier regularly through the summer, you could be spending as much as $300 more per year than a whole-home unit.

The second argument against a portable unit is that it’s designed to help a single room. A non-ducted dehumidifier will do a much better job because of how well it dehumidifies.

 RELATED: Is a Whole-Home Dehumidifier Right for Me?

Whole-Home Humidifiers

In the winter, when the humidity drops to 15%, it can feel just as miserable as it does in the summer. Deserts have a humidity level higher than some winter days.

 Adding some moisture to the air can work wonders.

 Here are some of the things you can expect when a whole-home humidifier is installed

  • Skin isn’t dry or cracked as often
  • Wooden floors won’t warp and crack with adequate humidity. Wooden furniture (and even pianos and guitars) won’t suffer.
  • Some home insurers will insure some wooden objects, such as flooring, only if a whole-home humidifier is installed.
  • Static electricity decreases
  • It will be easier to breathe, which means less persistent coughing
  • It increases your comfort
  • It can save you money on heating costs. If you feel warmer, you can lower your thermostat and be just as comfortable

How to Improve Indoor Air Pollution in Bexley, OH

Do you want to cut down on dust? Change your furnace filter.

It’s amazing how this little step that you can do yourself can help your entire house as well as the efficiency of your entire heating and cooling system.

Two factors need to be in place for a furnace filter to capture as much crud as possible. First, the ductwork needs to be able to deliver the proper amount of air.

A few things can hinder circulation. If you have furniture blocking the return air registers, the ducts won’t be able to push enough air toward the filter. The same thing will occur if your ductwork is improperly sized. If the return air ducts are too narrow, the air will struggle to get through. The less air that reaches the filter, the less it can do its main function.

The second condition that needs to be in place for a filter to collect dust and debris is the filter itself. It needs to be clean. Your entire heating and cooling performance depends on regular filter replacement. If it’s clogged, that dirty air hitting it will go around it, or it will create static pressure issues.

Follow the manufacturer’s specifications: Some filters need to be changed every 30 days, and some can go for a year. The best system is to check on them periodically. If they’re caked with dust and debris, it’s time to replace them.

Here at Fire & Ice, we’re big fans of Aprilaire’s whole-house air cleaners, which are filters that capture airborne viruses and help reduce respiratory irritants as well as allergy and asthma triggers. It also neutralizes odors from cooking, pets, and tobacco smoke.

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Another Way to Decrease Dust Is to Clean Your Air Ducts

Your ducts are probably the dirtiest place in your home. They are the perfect place for dust, mold, and mildew to grow because they can flourish undisturbed. (It’s also a great place for mice to hide, but we talk about that in another article.)

Air-duct cleaning can provide immediate relief.

Done properly, it can rid the ducts of dust, mold, mildew, pollen, sawdust, drywall dust, and more. It can also work wonders against cigarette smoke, cooking odors, and pet dander.

Maybe the previous tenants had a lot of pets or were heavy smokers. Or during new construction, sometimes sawdust and drywall dust end up lodged in the ductwork for years. A thorough cleaning job will work wonders for indoor air quality.

How to Minimize Viruses

Do you want to help rid your home of diseases? The Reme Halo kills coronavirus and many, many other harmful germs, including:

  • MRSA
  • Strep
  • Listeria
  • Norwalk
  • Bird flu
  • Tuberculosis

 The Reme Halo works in three distinct ways.

ONE: LED or UV purification

The Halo is installed directly inside the ductwork. When it activates, LED lights turn on, which destroys bioorganic matter.

There is also a version of the product that uses UV light instead of LED. It works identically.

TWO: Hydro-peroxide molecules

The Reme Halo also produces hydro-peroxide molecules that are dispersed throughout your entire home. These particles break up contaminants as they come into contact with them. This effectively neutralizes many viruses, both airborne and on surfaces.

THREE: Ionized particles

The machine also releases ionized particles, which are positively or negatively charged, and bond with airborne contaminants. Allergens, pet dander, and other particulates are neutralized through this process.

Yet another whole-home cleaner is the iWave, a needlepoint bipolar ionization generator designed to treat the air in residential HVAC systems.

It’s installed in the ducts. When air passes over it, ions produced by it reduce pathogens, allergens, particles, smoke, and odors, creating a healthier environment.

Breathing Easier in Bexley, Ohio

Whether you live in Bexley, OH, or somewhere else in Central Ohio, you should live comfortably and healthily. To achieve that, the indoor air should be as clean as possible.

Since the initial COVID-19 outbreak, many workers have made their homes into office spaces. So more and more homeowners are spending more and more time at home. Poor indoor air quality may become more noticeable and detrimental.

If you’re ready to talk to an HVAC salesperson about creating a better indoor atmosphere, we’d love to talk to you.

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