With spring and summer hitting hard, many people are shutting up their homes and offices to switch on the air conditioner in an attempt to avoid heat and allergies. Unfortunately, dust, allergens and other issues can also be hiding in the ventilation systems - polluting the indoor air, as well. Here are a few tips to help reduce allergy problems and improve overall air quality.
- Eliminate Mold Dangers: The combination of condensation and organic matter in your air conditioner and ducts can be the perfect habitat for mold. Clean out your a/c unit and ducts with a 50/50 bleach water solution to reduce the risk of mold and other allergens dispersing through your home or office.
- Open the Windows: 10-15 minutes of outdoor air can significantly improve air quality inside. Systems designed to introduce fresh outside air are a good solution for winter months and closed office spaces. It is also important to vent bathrooms, kitchens and large appliances such as stoves, furnaces and water heaters to the outside.
- Handle Spotty & Uneven Cooling: Varied temperatures are a normal occurrence for window air conditioners, but not something you should be experiencing from a central cooling system. Uneven cooling is typically a sign of improper airflow caused by some sort of blockage, usually resolved by a duct cleaning. However, if inspection of your air ducts does not reveal an obvious block, a component failure could be at fault.
- Use a Quality Air Filter: Air filters come in several different grades - from basic dust blocking to complete bacteria and insecticide protection. These filters are rated 1 to 16 using the MERV system (minimum efficiency reporting value). The higher the rating, the more particles the filter is capable of capturing - and the cleaner you are able to keep your indoor air.
- Additional Air Purification: In home air purifiers can add an extra boost to indoor air quality, using ultra-violet light to kill living organisms in the air such as spores and mold.
- Managing Humidity: A dehumidifier helps reduce moisture in the air - which can control allergens such as mold and pollen. The ideal humidity for a home is 30-50%.
Working to reduce allergens in the spring and summer months can improve winter health, as well. Making sure your air conditioner, furnace and ventilation system are tuned-up, cleaned and in proper working order is a big step to better indoor air. If you need assistance or have questions about what steps you should be taking to improve your air quality, the professionals at Hawthorne Plumbing, Heating and Cooling are ready and willing to help.