Reducing the Effects of Smoky Air

smoke

As the month of August begins, so does the air quality warning from fires surrounding the Boise area.. This time of year can be especially difficult on those with asthma, heart disease, and children, elderly residents, and pets. Here are some tips to reduce exposure to smoke-filled air as much as possible:

  • Seal the House

Shut all the doors and windows to seal up the house. Close any fresh air intakes from furnaces, fireplaces, or stoves. Set the air conditioner to recirculate as well. This will stop most of the outside air from coming in, lessening its effects.

  • Humidifiers

Using a humidifier can help remove the smoke from the air that might have already gotten inside. It also helps to keep the air moist, which is important during this time of year.

  • Limited Activity

Even those who don’t have breathing issues and health problems might find it hard to be outside for long periods of time. It’s best to limit psychical activity and stay as hydrated as possible while outdoors.

  • Car Windows

While driving, keep car windows rolled up. Make sure the air conditioner is on recirculate to limit the amount of smoky air coming into the car.

  • Air Cleaner

Consider investing in an air cleaner. Poor air quality due to smoke occurs almost every year in the Boise area, and being proactive is better than being reactive when it comes to indoor air quality. An air purifier is also beneficial year-round, especially in homes with family members who have asthma and allergies.

Talk to the team at Diamond Heating and Cooling about how we can help improve indoor air quality, not just during fire season, but all year long. Visit the website to learn more about the air cleaner we offer and how homeowners can get a free air filter during maintenance trips when they become part of the Silver Club.

3 Common Allergens to Worry About

Allergens

People worry about the outside air they breathe, but actually their main focus should be the air inside their home. With indoor air carrying 2 to 5 times more pollutants than outdoor air, poor indoor air quality is a concerning problem that should be addressed.

There are many allergens floating around both inside and outside, but some can be more troubling than others. Here are three of the most common allergens found in homes, and how to get rid of them:

  1. Dust Mites

Dust mites feed on human skin flakes and thrive in rooms with 40% humidity and above, and temperatures around 70 degrees. While they are commonly found in the bedroom, they can thrive anywhere in the house if it matches these conditions.

To eliminate as many dust mites as possible, wash all sheets, blankets, pillowcases, and bed covers in hot water. The water should be at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the dust mites. Use dust-proof covers on mattresses, box springs, and pillows to prevent their return.

  1. Mold

Mold loves wet, dark places in homes. The easiest way to keep mold spores from entering the air is to eliminate their chance of growing. Keep a fan on in the bathroom during and after showers, fix leaky appliances and faucets immediately, and use a dehumidifier when necessary.

If mold is found, call someone right away to get it looked at. Some mold can be toxic, causing even more serious health problems than an asthma attack or allergy flare-up.

  1. Pollen

While pollen has a huge impact outdoors, it can also have an impact indoors. Pollen can travel inside by clinging to clothing and shoes. Wiping down pets, keeping the windows closed, and using a media air cleaner can combat the issue of pollen inside the home.

Those with allergies or asthma shouldn’t have to suffer inside too. Take precautions to eliminate these three common indoor allergens and make breathing a little easier. Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about what they can do to help improve indoor air quality.

 

Relieving AC-Caused Sinus Congestion

AC Sinus

The weather in Boise and the surrounding areas is heating up. For those who haven’t turned on the air conditioner yet, the 90+ degree weather this weekend might push that button. The cool air from the air conditioner is a sweet relief, but it can also wreak havoc on the sinuses for some people.

The first week the air conditioner is running, it might trigger runny noses or congestion. It is a common and natural reaction to the cold, dry air in the home. The cool air can trigger nervous system reflexes in the nose. These glands begin to produce mucus, causing either a runny or stuffed up nose.

The congestion should only be brief while the body is adjusting to the new temperature and humidity of the air-conditioned house. However, those who suffer from allergies might have a harder time adjusting.

If the air conditioner filter is clogged with pollen, mold spores, and other allergens, they could be getting released into the air and irritating the sinuses even further. Therefore, it is extremely important to check and replace the filter a minimum of every three months.

If the sinus congestion becomes too much too handle, try these tips:

  • Salt Water

Flushing out the nose and sinuses with lukewarm salt water can decrease sinus infections, or relieve symptoms related to the air conditioner. This can be done with a nasal spray, irrigation kit, or a neti pot.

  • Humidifier

Since the sinuses are reacting to the dry air, investing in a humidifier can help. The humidifier creates moisture in the room that can relieve sinus congestion. Humidity in the home should be kept between 30 and 50 percent for comfort.

  • Drink Water

While it sounds so simple, water is key to sinus health. To keep mucus flowing smoothly, drink enough water. During warmer days, people usually need more water than normal to stay hydrated.

When the filter on air conditioner is clean, it can reduce sinus issues and allergies. However, the temporary runny nose and congestion that comes from turning the AC on might be unavoidable. Just keep some tissues nearby for the time being and try the tips outlined above.

For any air conditioner or indoor air quality issues this summer, call the team at Diamond Heating and Cooling.

Debunking IAQ Myths

Indoor Air Quality is something everyone should consider. Breathing in air full of debris, dust, and allergens, as well as dangerous pollutants is dangerous to a person’s health, and more so for those with allergies, asthma or other respiratory issues.

Not everything circulating online about indoor air quality is true, and wading through the myths can be difficult. We’ve outlined some of the more common myths related to indoor air quality, and what is actually true.

1. Indoor air is better than outdoor air

According to the EPA, indoor air is often 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Houses are sealed so tightly that there is less air exchange, keeping pollutants inside and circulating them throughout the house.

2. Air filters are for improving IAQ

The primary function of air filters is not to increase the quality of the indoor air but to protect the HVAC system. However, cleaner air is a byproduct of their filtration if the filter is properly sized, correctly installed, and replaced regularly. The higher the MERV rating of the filter, the better it is at filtering out debris and pollutants.

3. Noxious gases are noticeable

Many noxious gases are colorless, odorless, and tasteless, making them even more dangerous. Monitoring devices need to be in place to catch leaks such as carbon monoxide. This highly toxic gas can cause major health problems, and fires if a leak occurs.

Diamond Heating and Cooling doesn’t just care about air temperature; they care about air quality. That’s why they found a product to help allergy and asthma sufferers, and improve indoor air quality all around. It is called the Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner. It’s an electronic polarized media air cleaner that can filter out sub-micronic allergens that normal filters cannot remove.

Visit Diamond Heating and Cooling’s website to learn more about the Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner and read testimonies from local Boise customers.

Cigarette Smoke Traveling through the HVAC System

In some apartment buildings, the HVAC system is linked together. That means what’s in one apartment can leak into the neighbor’s ducts and cause allergies or asthma. One of the things that can leak in is cigarette smoke if the neighbors smoke indoors.

Airborne second-hand smoke can be bothersome and cause health issues, but it isn’t the only thing to cause apartment dwellers concern. The dust that accumulates on surfaces is partially remnants of smoke that was hanging in the air. That means it is full of carcinogens and other dangers that are lingering on the surfaces.

One way to combat this is by dusting regularly. However, dust can linger in vents for a lot longer than it stays on surfaces. When the vents are in use, they can blow all of the dangerous dust around the apartment.

Here are some solutions to get rid of as much of the lingering smoke and dust as possible:

  1. Air Sanitizers

This will help remove the smell of cigarettes, but not the contaminants. There are a few options like chemical sanitizers, or natural ones like baking soda.

  1. Changing Filters

The air filter traps the cigarette smell and contaminants. Because of this, a dirty filter in the HVAC system can spread contaminants into the apartment when it is in use. Change the furnace filter often to combat this issue. It may have to be done more frequently than every three months.

  1. Clean

Like stated above, dusting can help eliminate some of the contaminants. Regular vacuuming will also help eliminate carcinogens and other dangers from the carpet. Lastly, get the ducts cleaned. Dust and contaminants can reside there and spread when the HVAC system is in use.

Keeping the apartment dust-free and changing the filters often can help to reduce the amount of smoke inhalation due to smoking neighbors. Since most apartment dwellers do not have access to the air filters and duct work, mention Diamond Heating and Cooling to your landlord and have them also ask about the Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner to better filter out contaminants.

5 Benefits of Regular Air Filter Changes

It’s time to start prepping the HVAC system for fall and winter, which means scheduling maintenance and changing out the filter. At the very least the filter needs to be changed every three months, but when the system is being used more often, it might be worth it to switch out the filter every month. There are five major benefits of changing out the air filter:

  1. Longer HVAC Lifespan

Dirty filters can cause a lot of damage in HVAC systems. This damage can shorten the lifespan of the system drastically. By regularly changing the air filter, everything works more efficiently, keeping the system working properly for a long time.

  1. Lower Energy Costs

A clean filter helps the HVAC system run smoothly. If the system doesn’t have to work harder, like it does with a dirty filter, it doesn’t use as much energy. This brings down household energy bills, helping homeowners to save money.

  1. Healthy Air Quality

When the air filter is clogged with dirt and dust, it can make allergies and asthma conditions flare up. A clean air filter can help reduce allergies and asthma attacks in the home. Also consider investing in the Micro Power Guard, which is an electronic polarized media air cleaner that gets rid of sub-micronic allergens.

  1. A Clean HVAC

Once the air filter gets clogged up, it can pollute the entire HVAC system. This can lead to more frequent and expensive repairs.

  1. Peace of Mind

Having a clean filter, efficiently-running system, and good indoor air quality gives homeowners peace of mind. It’s a quick step that has numerous benefits.

Annual fall HVAC maintenance with Diamond Heating and Cooling can help keep the system running smoothly and fix any minor issues. However, homeowners can do their part by regularly changing out the furnace filter to limit problems.

Fall Allergy Facts

While most people deal with spring and summer allergies, there are some who have to deal with allergies during the fall season too. Those who are sensitive to mold and ragweed pollen might not welcome fall with open arms. However, ragweed and mold aren’t the only triggers present in the fall. Here are four lesser known facts about fall allergies:

  1. Hay Fever

Contrary to the name, hay fever has nothing to do with hay. Ragweed is a common cause of hay fever and it begins to pollenate in mid-August. Ragweed can continue to pollenate until a hard freeze depending on the area.

  1. Indian Summers

If the temperature stays unseasonably warm into fall, allergies are more likely to stick around longer. It is also a perfect environment for mold spores to be released and cause problems.

  1. Raking Leaves

This autumn chore can be worse for those with allergies. Raking leaves can kick up pollen and mold into the air and worsen allergies.

  1. School Allergens

Children with allergies might have a hard time readjusting to school. The classroom can be the home of irritants and allergy triggers such as chalk dust and class pets. Make sure children, as well as their teacher, know what to do for their allergies or asthma in a situation.

While it might be hard to limit allergens and pollen outside of the home this fall, there is a way to keep them out of the house. Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about installing the Micro Power Guard. It’s not just a filter, but an electronic polarized media air cleaner that can filter out sub-micronic allergens. Ninety-eight percent of airborne particles are invisible and below one micron in size, which store-bought filters aren’t capable of filtering out.

Visit Diamond Heating and Cooling’s website to learn more about this air cleaner and read testimonies about how it has reduced allergies and asthma attacks in the home.