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Improving Your Air Quality With Regular HVAC Maintenance

TL;DR: Indoor air quality is often overlooked but crucial for health. With most Californians exposed to harmful pollutants, maintaining HVAC systems is essential. Regular tasks like changing filters and cleaning ducts are vital for better air quality. Recognizing signs of poor air, like allergies or excessive dust, prompts action. Additional steps like using air purifiers and incorporating plants can help. Seeking professional help from HVAC experts like Elevated Comfort ensures thorough maintenance. Their “Grandma Mac Club” offers complimentary services twice a year, prioritizing consistent upkeep for healthier indoor environments.

You might not always think about the air you breathe inside your home or office, but it can affect your health without you realizing it. Results from recent air monitoring show that over 90% of Californians are exposed to harmful air pollutants, so air quality surely deserves our attention.

One way to ensure what you’re breathing in is safe is to prioritize indoor air quality through HVAC maintenance. Your HVAC system can do more than just keep you warm or cool. It can filter out pollutants and circulate fresh air in your home. Investing a little time and money into keeping your HVAC in top condition can significantly improve the air quality in your living or working space.

This article will give you information on how regular HVAC maintenance can be a game-changer for indoor air quality and discuss the tools you need to create a healthier environment.

Signs Your Place Has Poor Air Quality

Just because the air outside isn’t the best quality doesn’t mean the same must be true for the air in your house. You have to recognize a few signs that indicate the air quality in your home isn’t up to par, so you know it’s time to improve it.

  • Health Symptoms. If you or your family members are experiencing increased allergies, respiratory problems, headaches, or dizziness, it might be time to assess your air quality. These symptoms can be especially telling if they improve once you leave the house. 
  • Dust. A noticeable amount of dust, even after regular cleaning, suggests that your air filters are clogged or that your HVAC system isn’t effectively removing particles from the air.
  • Unpleasant Odors. Smells that linger can also be a sign of poor ventilation or the presence of contaminants. 

 

How the HVAC System Affects Air Quality

Your HVAC system does more than keep your home at a cozy temperature. It can also maintain the quality of the air you breathe. It does that by constantly moving the air around, controlling the moisture, and filtering out harmful particles.

  • Good air circulation ensures that air doesn’t become stagnant. The HVAC system pushes the air throughout your house, ensuring that stale air doesn’t linger in one spot for too long. That dilutes the concentrations of indoor pollutants, which can come from cleaning products, cooking fumes, and even off-gassing from furniture.
  • Humidity control is another way your HVAC system affects indoor air quality. Too much humidity can speed up the spread of mold and spores, triggering allergies and respiratory issues. If the air is too dry, it can irritate your skin, eyes, and throat.
  • Filtering out indoor pollutants is one of the most direct ways your HVAC system improves air quality. Most systems have air filters that trap dust, pollen, pet dander, and other particulates. Upgrading to a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter can further improve your indoor air quality by capturing even smaller particles.

HVAC Maintenance Tasks for Better Air Quality

While you can’t control the air you breathe outside, you can ensure it doesn’t happen inside your house or apartment. Improving the air quality in your home starts with taking good care of your HVAC system, and you can achieve that with a few simple steps.

Changing or Cleaning the Air Filters

The maintenance schedule can vary depending on the type of filters your system uses, whether they are fiberglass, pleated, or HEPA. You must replace fiberglass filters every 30 days, while HEPA filters can last up to six months. 

When they become clogged, the air quality diminishes, and your system has to work harder. That can result in higher energy bills and additional wear and tear on the system.

Deep Cleaning the Ducts and Vents

You should do this every three to five years, depending on whether you have pets, smoke, or if anyone in the household has allergies. You’ll know it’s time for cleaning if you notice dust buildup around the vent areas, inconsistent airflow in different parts of the house, or an unexplained increase in energy bills.

Checking and Refilling Refrigerant Levels

The refrigerant in your HVAC system is what cools the air in your home. If the system has a leak and the refrigerant levels drop, it can lead to decreased cooling efficiency and release chemicals into the air that are harmful to breathe. Keeping an eye on refrigerant levels and addressing any leaks helps keep your air clean and your system running smoothly.

Scheduling Professional Inspections

An expert can spot issues you might miss, from minor leaks to components that are wearing out. During a maintenance visit, a technician will clean parts of the system you can’t easily access, check refrigerant levels, and ensure every component is in good working order. They can take a look at the filters and ducts and tell you if it’s time for a good clean.

Extra Tips for Improving Air Quality

In addition to taking care of your HVAC, you can do a few other things to improve your home’s air quality. They will leave your indoor air feeling and smelling fresh and reduce the load on your air-conditioning system.

You can place a couple of air purifiers, especially in rooms where you spend most of your time. These devices filter out pollutants, allergens, and even odors, providing cleaner air to breathe.

Another thing you can do is improve air circulation. Opening windows to let fresh air in and using exhaust fans can help reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants. This is particularly important in areas like the kitchen, where cooking vents can capture a lot of the particulates and gasses that cooking generates before they spread throughout your home. 

Incorporating indoor plants into your living space can serve a dual purpose. Not only do they add a touch of nature and beauty, but certain species are known for their air-purifying abilities. They can absorb some common indoor pollutants and release oxygen, leaving your indoor environment healthier.

When to Call an HVAC Professional

If you’re consistent with all the cleaning and maintenance tasks for taking care of the HVAC but still notice the air feels stuffy or has a persistent unpleasant odor, it might be time to call a professional. Or, if your HVAC system isn’t cooling or heating as it should, you could be dealing with refrigerant leaks or electrical issues.

These problems can affect air quality but are dangerous if not handled correctly. An HVAC professional can give your system a complete once-over, spotting and fixing any potential issues right away. Professional maintenance often comes with warranty protection, guaranteeing a job well done.

 

Get the Freshest Air in Santa Rosa, CA

Prioritizing indoor air quality through HVAC maintenance is how you make sure it’s clean and healthy. Simple actions like replacing filters regularly and keeping vents clear can help improve the air quality in your home. While your daily practices make a difference, sometimes calling the experts is best.

If you want to have the best indoor air quality and live in the area of Santa Rosa, California, look no further than Elevated Comfort. We’re a local family business that has been operating for 20+ years. If the air in your home is making it harder to breathe, we’re here to inspect, clean, or replace any part of your system.

You can join our “Grandma Mac Club” and get free HVAC service twice a year. So don’t wait; call us and let us elevate the quality of your home today!

 

FAQ’s

What services does Elevated Comfort offer?

Elevated Comfort specializes in comprehensive HVAC services, including installation, maintenance, and repair of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. They also provide air quality assessments and solutions to ensure a healthy indoor environment.

How often should I schedule HVAC maintenance with Elevated Comfort?

It’s recommended to schedule HVAC maintenance at least twice a year with Elevated Comfort. Their “Grandma Mac Club” offers complimentary services twice annually, ensuring your system remains efficient and your indoor air quality stays optimal.

What sets Elevated Comfort apart from other HVAC companies?

Elevated Comfort is a local family business with over 20 years of experience serving the Santa Rosa, CA area. Their dedication to customer satisfaction, attention to detail, and expertise in improving indoor air quality make them stand out in the industry.

I’ve noticed a decline in indoor air quality. What should I do?

If you’re experiencing issues with indoor air quality, such as increased allergies or persistent odors, contact Elevated Comfort for an assessment. Their team of HVAC professionals can inspect your system, identify any problems, and provide effective solutions to improve air quality and comfort in your home.

Fireworks and Indoor Air Quality: Tips for a Safe and Smoke-Free Celebration

Air Quality Tips for a Safe and Smoke-Free CelebrationFireworks are a quintessential part of any festive 4th of July celebration, especially in beautiful NorCal. As you gear up for a patriotic display of lights put on by your city, it’s essential to ensure the safety of your loved ones and maintain optimal indoor air quality. Elevated Comfort, the trusted HVAC and plumbing contractor in Santa Rosa, CA, brings you these essential indoor air quality tips for enjoying fireworks from afar while safeguarding your home from hazards.

Understanding Fireworks Smoke and Its Effects on Air Quality

Fireworks are a dazzling sight to behold, but they release various pollutants into the air, affecting your indoor environment. Understanding the impact of fireworks smoke on indoor air quality can help you take necessary precautions.

Firework-Related Pollutants

Harmful substances, such as sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and heavy metals, are present in firework smoke. These pollutants can cause respiratory issues, eye irritation, and other health concerns.

The Importance of Air Filtration Systems

Installing an air filtration system can significantly improve your indoor air quality, especially during firework displays. Consider these options to reduce firework-related pollutants:

  • High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters: HEPA filters are capable of capturing even the tiniest particles, ensuring cleaner air for you and your family.
  • Activated Carbon Filters: These filters excel at removing odors, chemicals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, mitigating the impact of firework smoke.

Dealing with Wildfire Smoke

NorCal’s susceptibility to wildfires adds an extra layer of concern for indoor air quality. Follow these steps during firework displays and wildfire incidents:

  • Stay Updated: Keep an eye on local air quality reports and weather updates to make informed decisions about outdoor activities.
  • Seal Gaps and Cracks: Prevent smoke from entering your home by sealing gaps around windows, doors, and other openings. Weatherstripping and caulking can be effective solutions.
  • Use Air Purifiers: Portable air purifiers with HEPA filters can help remove smoke particles from indoor air, providing a cleaner and healthier environment.

Your Partner for a Safe and Smoke-Free Celebration

Fireworks and Indoor Air Quality for a Safe and Smoke-Free CelebrationWith Elevated Comfort by your side, you can revel in the joy of 4th of July fireworks while safeguarding your indoor air quality. Remember, prioritizing safety and maintaining clean air is crucial for your family’s well-being. Implement the tips shared in this article and consult Elevated Comfort for professional HVAC maintenance and air quality solutions. Let your patriotic celebration be safe, sound, and smoke-free!

Contact us today for expert advice on maintaining optimal indoor air quality and comprehensive HVAC services.

7 Signs You Need Professional Air Duct Cleaning

Anyone who’s ever had their air ducts cleaned knows that it’s a seriously dusty job. Not just a little dusty, but enough dust to make you sneeze and cough for days afterwards. If you’re seeing signs that professional air duct cleaning might be in your near future, read on. We’ve put together a list of seven signs that you need to call in the pros. Keep an eye out for any of these indicators, and don’t wait too long – the sooner you get your air ducts cleaned, the better!

When Is It Time for Professional Air Duct Cleaning?

7 Signs You Need Professional Air Duct CleaningThe most common indicator that you need professional air duct cleaning is air quality problems that cause  respiratory issues, such as sneezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing. If you or anyone in your family is having these kinds of problems and you can’t seem to find the source, it might be time to call in a professional. Another sign that you need air duct cleaning is if there’s visible mold growth inside the ductwork. This is a serious problem because mold can cause respiratory issues and other health problems. If you see mold, don’t try to clean it yourself – call a professional immediately.

If your heating and cooling system seems to be working overtime, that could be a sign that your ductwork is full of dirt and debris. When the system has to work harder to move air through the ducts, it uses more energy and your utility bills go up. If you have any concerns about the air quality in your home, it’s a good idea to get your ductwork cleaned by a professional. Air duct cleaning is a relatively quick and easy process that can make a big difference in the quality of the air you breathe. Let’s take a deeper look at these seven reasons for professional air duct cleaning.

Hire a Professional Air Duct Cleaner for Double-Digit Homes

If your home is more than 10 years old, it’s likely time for a professional duct cleaning. The older your home is, the more likely it is that your ducts need to be cleaned. Over time, dust and other debris can build up in your ductwork, making it more difficult for your heating and cooling system to do its job. A professional air duct cleaning can remove all the dirt and debris from your ductwork, improving the quality of the air you breathe and making your heating and cooling system run more efficiently.

Recent Renovations? You Need Professional Air Duct Cleaning

If you’ve recently had renovations done to your home, a duct cleaning is a good idea. Construction dust and debris can get into your ducts and cause them to become dirty. A professional duct cleaning will remove all the dirt, dust and debris from your ductwork, leaving it clean and fresh. This is especially important because leftover construction debris can contain different, more dangerous particles than run-of-the-mill dust.

Pet Dander Dangers and Sick Building Syndrome

If you have pets, you should have your ducts cleaned every year. Pet hair and dander can build up in your ducts over time and cause allergies or asthma symptoms. In addition, if you have a cat that scratches furniture or urinates in your home, these particles can end up in your ductwork and cause an unpleasant smell. If you work in an office, you may have heard of sick building syndrome (SBS). This is when people who work or live in a building experience health problems that are thought to be caused by the environment they share. If the ducts in your home or office are full of dust and debris, it’s possible that this could be contributing to SBS symptoms.

Professional Duct Cleaning Reduces Asthma

Need Professional Air Duct CleaningIf you have allergies or asthma, regular duct cleanings are recommended. Allergens and asthma triggers can collect in your ducts over time and cause problems for people with respiratory allergies or asthma. Dust, pollen, mold spores, and other airborne contaminants can build up in your ducts over time, causing the air you breathe to be less clean. A professional duct cleaning will remove these triggers from your environment, providing relief for allergy and asthma sufferers.

Smoke and Soot Demand Pro Duct Cleaning

Duct cleaning is also important if you smoke or have a fireplace. Smoke and soot from cigarettes or fires can accumulate in your ducts over time and cause air quality problems. A professional duct cleaning will remove these contaminants from your environment, improving the air you breathe. Dirty ducts can also be a fire hazard. Soot and debris can build up in your ducts and block the flow of air. This can create a fire hazard in your home. A professional duct cleaning will remove this risk by removing the soot and debris from your ducts.

Get Professional Duct Cleaning for Better Energy Bills

Duct cleaning can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Dirty ducts can lead to decreased airflow and increased energy usage.  A professional duct cleaning will remove the dirt and debris from your ducts, allowing your system to run more efficiently. This can lead to lower energy bills for you while your system enjoys a well-earned break and your family thrives in a healthier environment.

Duct Maintenance Matters

Duct cleaning is an important part of preventive maintenance for your home. By having your ducts cleaned on a regular basis, you can help keep your home healthy and comfortable year-round. In addition to improved airflow and energy efficiency, regular duct cleaning can also help extend the life of your heating and cooling system. You should have your ducts cleaned at least once every few years. While duct cleaning is important, it’s only one part of maintaining a healthy home. Be sure to also keep up with other preventive maintenance tasks like changing your furnace filter regularly and scheduling annual tune-ups.

Why Choose Elevated Comfort for Professional Air Duct Cleaning?

Professional Air Duct CleaningCleaning the ducts in your home or office is not a do-it-yourself job. It requires special equipment and training to do it properly. Duct cleaning professionals have the right equipment to clean all types of ductwork, including flexible ducts used in many modern buildings. They also know how to use this equipment safely and effectively to avoid damaging your ducts or harming themselves. Elevated Comfort technicians have decades of combined experience to put to use for you, so get your free estimate today!

Sick Building Syndrome: How to Recognize It and What to Do About It

If you’ve been feeling sick lately and can’t seem to shake the feeling, you may be experiencing sick building syndrome. SBS is a condition that affects many people who spend time in indoor environments. The good news is that there are ways to reduce the incidence of sick building syndrome. In this blog post, we will discuss what sick building syndrome is and how you can recognize the symptoms. We’ll also provide information on air quality services from Elevated Comfort that can help reduce the symptoms of SBS.

What Is Sick Building Syndrome?

What Is Sick Building SyndromeWhen a number of people in a building have nonspecific symptoms that are not caused by a specific identifiable factor, the structure is said to be suffering from sick building syndrome. These symptoms should be temporally linked to being in the building, go away when the person isn’t there, and afflict numerous individuals within the structure. Building-related illnesses with a specific identifiable cause for the signs should not be confused with sick building syndrome.

According to a 1984 World Health Organization committee report, up to 30% of new and rebuilt structures throughout the world may be the source of excessive indoor air quality (IAQ) complaints. This issue is frequently transitory, but some buildings have persistent issues. When a building is operated or maintained in an irregular way opposed to its original design or stated operating methods, difficulties arise. Indoor air problems can sometimes be attributed to poor building design or occupant behaviors.

How to Recognize Sick Building Syndrome

How to Recognize Sick Building SyndromeThe symptoms of sick building syndrome can vary from person to person, and may also depend on the specific environment in which the person is working. However, there are some general symptoms that have been identified:

  • allergy-like symptoms, like sneezing
  • body or joint aches
  • breathing troubles
  • burning sensations in the airways
  • chills
  • difficulty concentrating
  • dizziness
  • dry, itchy skin or rashes
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • forgetfulness
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • nausea
  • runny nose
  • throat irritation
  • tightness in the chest

Particularly affected by SPS are people who have preexisting respiratory conditions, like asthma, COPD, or allergies. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical help. However, you can also take some steps to improve the air quality in your building and reduce your exposure to sick building syndrome.

Prevent SBS with Indoor Air Quality Services

Prevent SBS with Indoor Air Quality ServicesElevated Comfort can help you maintain the indoor air quality of your property. Our qualified, experienced air quality technicians can:

  • Install an air purifier
  • Increase ventilation with exhaust fans or an HVAC system upgrade
  • Clean or replace filters on your HVAC system regularly
  • Eliminate sources of indoor air pollution, like smoking and pets

If you are experiencing sick building syndrome, it is important to take steps to improve the air quality in your building. However, if the symptoms persist or become worse, it is best to seek medical help.

IAQ Specials from Elevated Comfort

For more information on sick building syndrome and how to prevent it, contact Elevated Comfort. We offer a variety of services to improve indoor air quality, including air purification, ventilation upgrades, and filter replacement. We can help you create a healthy environment for you and your family, customers, staff, and visitors with our spring air quality specials. Call or click today to learn more!

Indoor Air Quality Services Northern California Can Trust

If you’re like most people, you spend the majority of your time indoors. And unfortunately, indoor air quality can be a lot worse than outdoor air quality. That’s why it’s important to have indoor air quality services that you can count on. At Elevated Comfort, we provide indoor air quality services to Northern California cities like Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, and Mill Valley. We also service the surrounding areas of San Anselmo, Larkspur, Windsor, Novato, Petaluma, San Rafael, Healdsburg, and Corte Madera. We know how important it is to keep your indoor environment healthy and free from pollutants. Contact us today to learn more about our indoor air quality services!

What Affects Air Quality?

Best Indoor Air Quality Services Northern California Can TrustThere are many things that can affect indoor air quality, such as pets, smoking, and construction. Pets produce dander, which is a major contributor to poor indoor air quality. Smoking produces toxins that get released into the air and can cause respiratory problems. Construction can also release toxic fumes into the air if there isn’t proper ventilation. While these three examples address indoor air quality factors that come from inside the home or business, they are not the only things that can compromise the air quality in your property.

Other external factors can affect indoor air quality, too. These include airborne allergens like pollen and pollutants like carbon monoxide and smog. These environmental factors make up a significant portion of air quality problems in Santa Rosa and the surrounding areas. Unlike the internal factors mentioned above, though, these external air quality issues can be monitored with a tool called the Air Quality Index, along with meteorological and allergen monitoring available on news and weather programs.

Common Airborne Allergens and Pollutants

There are two primary categories of airborne contaminants that can have a negative impact on the quality of air inside your property: allergens and pollutants. Allergens are particles that cause an immune response in sensitive individuals, whereas pollutants are harmful chemicals that affect everyone, regardless of allergy sensitivity (though people with allergies will often be more severely affected than those without).

Pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander are among the most common allergens that can be carried in the air. Concentrations of these particles are often higher at certain times of the year than others. For example, mold thrives in humid conditions, so seasons with heavy rains can produce more mold spores than drier seasons. Chemical pollutants, like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, smoke, and soot, may travel as solid particles (soot, smoke) like many allergens or may be the result of fumes (CO, CO2). These categories also occasionally overlap, with household and commercial cleaning agents, air fresheners, and disinfectants causing allergic reactions and other health concerns when their fumes are concentrated without proper ventilation.

How Allergens and Pollution Affect Indoor Air Quality

Airborne allergens and pollution fill the air outdoors and cause significant health hazards when their concentrations are on the rise, but how does that translate to indoor air quality? When your air circulation system, like your air conditioner or your furnace, draws air into your property from outside, those particles and contaminants travel on the air and are circulated inside your property. However, unlike outdoor air quality, indoor air can’t be cleaned by heavy rains or a strong wind that removes or disperses the particles.

This can lead to a phenomenon known as Sick Building Syndrome. Symptoms of sick building syndrome often affect the entire household or the entire staff of a business simultaneously, rather than spreading from one to another, but increased frequency of respiratory infections is also an indication of poor indoor air quality. Other symptoms include the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sinus congestion
  • Headache
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Dry or irritated skin, eyes, nose, or throat
  • Allergy hypersensitivity
  • Fatigue

Understanding the Air Quality Index

Best Indoor Air Quality Services Northern CaliforniaCalifornia air quality data is separated into districts, with the vast majority of Elevated Comfort’s service area falling into the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. From there, the data is broken down further into zones, and then into cities and city segments. This data segmentation is important because one side of a city could have significantly higher levels of airborne pollutants than the other due to weather patterns and other factors.

The AQI, or Air Quality Index, gives residents a scale for the overall air quality, divided into six health ranges spanning 0-500 and assigned a color based on the severity of the potential health hazards and how many residents could be expected to have a negative reaction. For example, if the AQI is orange, people with asthma should limit outdoor activities but those with healthy lungs may be unaffected by more time outside. If the AQI is purple, though, everyone should limit outdoor activities and those with asthma should avoid them altogether.

How Is Indoor Air Quality Measured?

To measure the indoor air quality of your property, whether it’s commercial or residential, you’ll need a volatile organic compound (VOC) sensor. This is a specialized tool that can detect allergens and other chemical pollutants in the air. Once you have used the VOC sensor to identify the source of the contaminants, you can take whatever steps are necessary to reduce their impact.

Other tools that can help you monitor the air quality in your property include carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide meters, an accurate thermostat to monitor temperature, and moisture or humidity sensors. These sensors can help you learn what your specific air quality needs are before contacting a qualified contractor like Elevated Comfort for air quality services in Santa Rosa and the surrounding areas.

What Are Indoor Air Quality Services?

At Elevated Comfort, we offer two main categories of services that relate to air quality: IAQ and Air Duct Cleaning. IAQ services include the installation, replacement, repair, and maintenance of equipment like air purifiers and air cleaners, which remove VOCs and other harmful particles from the air in your property. Air duct cleaning, repair, and replacement remove buildup in your air ducts that can lead to dust and other particles circulating whenever your heating or cooling system is in use, as well as repairing air leaks and replacing damaged ducts to avoid contamination from external sources.

Affordable Indoor Air Quality Services Northern CaliforniaElevated Comfort Helps You Breathe Easier

The indoor air quality in your home or business is more important than you may think. While the symptoms of indoor air pollution may seem like a minor annoyance, they can actually lead to much bigger health problems down the line if left untreated. At Elevated Comfort, we provide indoor air quality services that Northern California cities like Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Mill Valley, and more! Call today to schedule your IAQ services from an experienced, local HVAC contractor.