Keeping Air Ducts Clean

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

In a previous blog, we discussed air duct cleaning and maintenance. Because these duties help provide better indoor air quality, we wanted to mention them again and reiterate their importance to your home and health. Learn more about some reasons for keeping air ducts clean and ways to do so.

Indoor Air

Wherever you go, it only makes sense that you want to breathe the cleanest, healthiest air possible.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American spends 90 percent of their life indoors. As such, it’s important for your home’s air to be free of as many contaminants as possible. This is especially important since the accumulation of indoor air pollutants is exponentially higher than regular outdoor concentrations.

Some effects of poor indoor air include respiratory issues and disease, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Oftentimes indoor air pollutants can increase the intensity of issues like asthma and even cause eye, nose, or throat dryness and irritation. Protect yourself and your family by keeping air ducts and your home’s air clean.

Duct, Duct, Dirty Duct?

Your HVAC system often pulls in outside air to condition and distribute through the home, so dirt, dust, and other allergens find their way in. Since the ductwork throughout your home is hidden, you probably don’t give it much thought. And because it’s hidden, it’s more difficult to access and clean.

So how do you know if your ductwork is hiding something unhealthy? Look for telltale signs, such as:

  • Dust. If you continually notice dust even after you’ve cleaned, check your vents. Remove the register cover to see if the ductwork is lined with dirt or dust, too.
  • Cost increase. Are your utility bills noticeably higher compared to the same time last year? Your HVAC system may be working harder (and less efficiently) because of restricted airflow. This could be from dirty ducts or dirty air filters. A trusted technician can perform an inspection and determine the cause. 

Keeping Air Ducts Cleaner

Routine home maintenance can help keep your air ducts cleaner and your indoor air fresher.

Check and change HVAC filters. This could be every 30 days or every few months, depending on how often your system runs, if you have pets, or if you have younger children or allergy sufferers in the home. Check the filter on a regular basis and change it as needed.

Have your HVAC system inspected at least once a year to ensure it is operating at peak performance. This will also allow you to catch and fix any smaller issues before they become potentially bigger problems. Routine maintenance can extend the life of your heating and cooling systems, saving you money in the long run.

Complete household chores each week. This includes dusting hard surfaces and flooring, vacuuming carpeted areas (and vent covers), and running bedding through the wash. Also, vacuum and wash pet bedding as needed, and consider a high-quality HEPA filter vacuum to further reduce indoor air contaminants.

A few upgrades will also go a long way toward improving air quality at home.

  • Rid your home of dry air with a whole house humidifier. Dry air can make skin to feel tight and itchy or cause nose or throat discomfort. The wood inside your home can also be negatively affected by dryness. Adding moisture to the air can increase your overall home comfort.
  • Remove odors and pollutants with a UV light air purification system. A BreatheCLEAN UV air purifier works with your current HVAC system and removes contaminants to provide continuous protection.

Small changes to daily, weekly, and yearly routines can help with keeping air ducts clean while increasing overall indoor air quality. If you think your ductwork should be checked, rely on the experienced professionals at WestAIR Heating & Cooling.

Contact us today to learn more about our duct cleaning or other services.

This entry was posted in Duct Cleaning,Health Tips,Humidifier,Humidity,HVAC Maintenance,Indoor Air Quality,Spring,Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Tips for Winter Indoor Air Quality Maintenance

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Women enjoying a hot beverage from the warmth and comfort of her home during winter.

With the recent snowfall and chilly temps, there’s no denying that winter is almost here. Time to prepare! As heating season makes its way to Minnesota, we must remember to keep the air in our home clean as well as warm. Use this guide to winter indoor air quality maintenance to keep your family cozy, healthy, and happy throughout the season.

Poor Winter Indoor Air Quality: Causes and Effects

When cold weather hits, we seal our homes to prevent the warm air produced by our furnaces from escaping. While this helps increase comfort and energy efficiency, it also traps dust, pollen, and other airborne contaminants inside the home that then decrease indoor air quality. Common signs of poor winter indoor air quality include:

  • Dry, itchy, or watery eyes
  • Cold or flu symptoms: coughing, sneezing, nausea
  • Heightened symptoms of asthma and other respiratory illness
  • Fatigue and trouble concentrating
  • Irritation of the nose and throat, particularly dryness
  • Headaches

Tips for Winter Indoor Air Quality Maintenance

Escaping the bitter cold of Minnesota winters means spending more time inside our home, making clean indoor air crucial to our comfort and health. Thankfully, homeowners can improve and maintain air quality with these helpful tips.

  1. Clean regularly – Don’t let dust, mold spores, and other pollutants build up around the home. Dust hard surfaces and vacuum (using a vacuum with a HEPA filter if possible) at least weekly. Use non-toxic cleaners free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are a major contributor to unhealthy air.
  2. Maintain a clean filter Air filters keep dust and other debris from entering and harming your HVAC system, but must be maintained in order to prevent these irritants from making their way back into the air. Remember to change air filters monthly or clean if resuable.
  3. Schedule annual service maintenance – Ensure your heating system runs at peak performance and provides clean, warm air with professional maintenance service from a WestAIR HVAC expert.
  4. Have your ductwork cleaned – Dirt, dust, pet hair and dander, and other irritants settle inside your air ducts over time. Schedule duct cleaning service before winter is in full swing, and plan to do so annually.
  5. Enhance ventilation with an air exchanger – Sealing the home in winter leads to recycled, stale air inside. To resolve this, air exchangers deliver a continuous flow of fresh, filtered outdoor air while simultaneously exhausting unhealthy indoor air.
  6. Control humidity with a whole house humidifier – Humidity plays a crucial role for indoor air quality. Dry winter air can cause nose, throat, and skin discomfort, as well as damage wood fixtures and furniture over time. Installing a whole house humidifier will help maintain proper humidity levels in your home.
  7. Consider additional clean air solutions Air cleaners work with your current system to remove excess dust and other irritants that decrease indoor air quality. Ultraviolet (UV) light purification systems utilize UV rays to eliminate odors harmful airborne pathogens like viruses, bacteria, mold, and VOCs.

This year has presented us all with new and unique challenges. But no matter how unpredictable 2020 has been, we know we can always plan for harsh winter weather here in Minnesota. We’re already seeing the temps drop and snow fall, so don’t wait! Use these winter indoor air quality maintenance tips to enjoy clean, comfy air inside your home this heating season.

For all your heating and cooling needs, trust the HVAC experts at WestAIR. Contact us today to learn more.

This entry was posted in Duct Cleaning,Furnace,Health Tips,Heating,Humidifier,Humidity,HVAC Maintenance,Indoor Air Quality,Tips,Winter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dry Indoor Air + Humidification

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Dry indoor airWinter is already uncomfortable enough with the freezing temperatures, so why not make the most of your cozy indoor living space where you can escape the dry and brittle cold air? Lower temperatures mean lower humidity levels because cold air can’t hold as much moisture as warm air. Here are two simple reasons your dry indoor air needs humidification:

Your comfort

Overly dry air can make your skin and respiratory problems flare up, from asthma and allergies to eczema and acne. If your home air is too dry, it could cause bloody noses, chapped lips, and itchy skin. Your respiratory system is lined with moist membranes in your nose and throat that prevent bacteria, viruses, dirt, and dust from getting into your lungs. If they are dry, they won’t keep particles out effectively, making you more vulnerable to sickness.

In addition, dry air increases static electricity, which produces painful shocks and zaps when you walk around on the carpet or touch metal surfaces. It will also make your hair more difficult to maintain and cause your clothes to stick to you uncomfortably.

Your belongings

Dry air will pull moisture from hardwood floors, furniture, and even the walls, doors, and general frame of your home, making it contract and shift. As the frame shifts, doors may be hard to open and close, or gaps may form between the ceiling, walls, windows, and door frames.

Books, artwork, and even the paint or wallpaper on your walls can get brittle, warped, or wrinkled in dry air. If you have musical instruments, they may lose their shape and tune. Humid air feels warmer, so moderate levels of humidity can allow you to set the thermostat lower and give your heating system a break. That way, you can live comfortably and save money on your heating bill and maintenance. But be careful: excess moisture may cause mold, bacteria, and mildew growth in poorly ventilated areas of your home.

You can keep an ideal, comfortable humidity level between 40 and 60 percent with a whole home humidifier. WestAIR Heating & Cooling offers whole house humidifiers that will keep every room of your home comfortable, even in the dry winter. Our humidifiers will automatically work with your HVAC system to distribute moisture throughout your home’s entire duct system. We offer programmable thermostats that come with a built-in humidity sensor so you can test and regulate home humidity and avoid going overboard.

Contact us to learn more about your heating and indoor air quality options.

This entry was posted in Energy Savings,Furnace,Health Tips,Heating,Humidifier,Indoor Air Quality,Tips,Winter and tagged , , , ,

Why You Need a Whole-Home Humidifier

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

whole-home humidifier
Did you know that the most comfortable indoor air humidity level is 40 to 60 percent? Cold air does not hold water vapor well, making it drier as it gets colder. Dry air could be the reason you get nose, throat, and skin discomfort in the winter.

What makes it worse?
Turning on your heat.

Heated air with low humidity also dries out the wood in your home, shrinking the wood framing around doors and windows. The shrinking causes gaps to occur and allows cold air in. Any moisture will drain outdoors, leaving you with cracked and dry skin.

Unfortunately, you can over-humidify your house as well. Too much humidity in the winter can damage windows as ice forms. If this happens, moisture will most likely be present in walls and attics, causing sheathing and woodwork to rot over time. This not only damages your house, but the mold can make you sick.
What do you do then?

The solution needs to keep your home’s humidity at a happy medium. The percentage of optimum humidity changes as it gets colder.

Outside Temperature
Max Humidity
20 – 40 40%
10 – 20 35%
0 – 10 30%
-10 – 0 25%
-20 – -10 20%
Below -20 15%

*Based on an indoor temperature of 70 degrees F

You can improve your humidity levels and your heating bills by caulking and sealing your windows and doors. Next, you can maintain indoor humidity levels with a home humidifier. When your home’s humidity falls below the optimum level, a whole-home humidifier from Aprilaire goes to work, adding moisture to your dry air. This dry air is forced through the water panel evaporator and is distributed throughout your home, eliminating that parched, dry air lurking in your home. Aiprilaire offers humidifiers that are energy efficient, reduce airborne viruses, and protect wood floors or furniture.

Eliminate the damage and discomfort caused by dry air. We’re currently offering $25 off the installation of an Aprilaire Whole-house Humidifier. Offer ends December 31st. Call us today!

This entry was posted in Humidifier,Winter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

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