IMPROVING YOUR INDOOR AIR QUALITY: DEHUMIDIFIERS

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

During the summer months, do you find the air inside your home feeling damp? Living in Minnesota, we know exactly what an overly humid summer day feels like, even from inside. Not only is it sticky and uncomfortable, but we also see a rise in our electricity bill from our HVAC system working overtime. Humid air can also damage floors, furniture, and walls making homeowners spend even more money down the line. A dehumidifier can fix all of this. Read our blog as we discuss how dehumidifiers can improve your indoor air quality.

Why do you need a dehumidifier?

Dehumidifiers are the key to better air quality in your home. Not only do they help maintain your comfort, but also help prevent the growth of mold in your home, which means improved health and safety for you and your loved ones. When there is less humidity in the air, it also allows you to raise the temperature a few degrees to save on cooling expenses. Installing a dehumidifier is sure to save you money and benefit your health in the years to come. The gains of a dehumidifier are infinite!

How do dehumidifiers work?

Dehumidifiers work in one of two ways, either by refrigeration or absorption. Let’s take a look at how both methods work.

  • Refrigeration: These dehumidifiers pull moisture over a cooling coil inside either a portable or whole house dehumidifier. The moist air condenses down, and any vapor is turned into droplets that collect in a pan or directly down a drain. Now free of moisture, the air passes over the hot compressor and warms back up to its original temperature before being blown back into the room.
  • Absorption: These dehumidifiers pull moist air in through a duct which then moves past a large rotating wheel. The wheel is made of water-absorbing material. Once the air meets the wheel, any vapor is absorbed into the material leaving only dry air to be blown back out into the room.

Dehumidifier types and models

Dehumidifiers are available in a variety of different models. If you are looking to dehumidify a small space, a portable dehumidifier is the way to go. Portable models are available in different sizes, yet they all function the same by collecting moisture in a container. Whole house dehumidifiers are similar, but they empty directly into a drain.

If you are looking to dehumidify your whole home, you can purchase a system that attaches to your HVAC system. Living in Minnesota, this is a staple for living comfortably. Excessive humidity can seep into your home decreasing the indoor air quality and becoming a breeding ground for mold growth. HVAC dehumidifier attachments allow your cooling system to work efficiently and keep your home’s air quality and moisture level at your desired level.

The professionals at WestAIR are ready to assist with all your home comfort needs. Contact WestAIR Heating and Cooling today to learn more about reducing humidity and improving your indoor air quality.

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Surprising Ways to Reduce Humidity in Your Home

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

If you’ve been noticing foggy windows, musty odors, or clammy air throughout your home, chances are, your humidity levels are high. Humidity can both rob you of comfort and threaten your health. We don’t want you to suffer through the stifling heat, so we’ve outlined some surprising ways to reduce humidity in your home.

But first, a word about relative humidity (RH): RH measures water vapor relative to the temperature of the air. RH illustrates the amount of water in the air in relation to the total amount of humidity that could be held at the current temperature. Weather forecasts report relative humidity because it affects how we feel the temperature. Humid air feels warmer; dry air feels cooler. The ideal indoor relative humidity for a home is between 40 and 60 percent. If your RH is lower or higher, follow these tips:

Go old school with laundry

Dry your clothing outside. If you hang wet clothing inside to dry, all the moisture will evaporate into the air.

Accessorize with plants

Invest in some household tropical plants like Boston ferns, English ivies, Peace lilies, Reed Palms, or Tillandsias. These plants absorb moisture from the air instead of through the roots.

Take cold(er) showers

Hot showers create steam. Plan to bathe after exercising or spending time outside in the heat. You’ll be less tempted to jump into a steaming shower, and the cool water will feel refreshing. If nothing else, run the exhaust fan during and after showering.

Eat more salads

Hot weather provides the perfect opportunity to cook outside on the grill or eat cold meals like salads and sandwiches. Avoid boiling water; instead, save the heavy pasta for cooler weather. Your body will thank you in more ways than one.

Check the drainage route

In high humidity, your air conditioner or dehumidifier will produce a lot of condensation that has to go somewhere. Regularly empty the drip pan and be sure the drain lines are working properly so the water doesn’t evaporate back into the air.

Replace your flooring

Carpet is known to retain moisture. If you’ve tried all the above methods to decrease humidity, but still have a problem with moisture, consider replacing the carpet with hardwood flooring.

Benefits of proper humidity

With lower humidity levels, you could raise the thermostat setting a few degrees and still be comfortable. High humidity may cause headaches and asthma symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, or a chronic cough. Proper humidity levels are easier on your respiratory tract and can:

  • Reduce your cooling costs.
  • Minimize wear on your HVAC system.
  • Prevent dust mites, mold, bacteria, and mildew.
  • Eliminate foul odors.
  • Help you sleep better.

If you are still having trouble, consult with the professionals at WestAIR Heating & Cooling. We offer high-efficiency air conditioners to keep you cool in the muggy season and countless air quality accessories to reduce humidity. Schedule service to have a technician visit your home and recommend the right solutions for your family’s total indoor air comfort.

Contact us for more information.

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How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality In some cities, air pollution and smog create major health concerns. But the air inside of your home could contain more contaminates no matter where you live. Changing your living habits and investing in superior equipment will make major improvements to your indoor air quality.

Cleaning

If your home contains carpet, use a high-quality vacuum with a HEPA filter to reduce household dust, pet dander, and chemicals. Experts recommend vacuuming at least two times a week. For homes without carpet, sweeping and mopping effectively captures dirt and pollutants. Dry microfiber mops successfully grab dust and allergens as well but don’t require any chemical cleaners. Putting extra care into your cleaning routine will not only improve the look of your home but also the air quality. Think of all the chemicals, fecal matter, and allergens that cling to your shoes or clothing when you enter a building. Taking your shoes off or using a large matt to wipe your shoes can help reduce pollutants as well.

Reducing Toxicity

One of the worst culprits of compromised indoor air quality is cigarette smoke. The smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and can increase the risk of asthma, lung cancer, and stroke. Radon poses as another risk for lung cancer, especially in the Midwest where the gas concentrations are high. Radon gas comes from the natural decay of uranium in the ground and leaks through your home’s foundation. Call a professional if your house has not been tested for radon. Toxic particles can come from the products you use to clean, too. Fragrance and household chemicals emit VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). You can find VOCs in higher concentrations indoors, and they come with serious health risks. Reduce these chemicals by switching to natural or mild soaps or cleaners. Essential oils, vinegar, and baking soda can become effective DYI cleaners, too.

Air Support

Adding plants like dracaena, peace lilies, and spider plants improve indoor air quality and attractiveness inside your home. Air purifiers or air cleaners are even more effective at creating fresh and clean air. An air cleaner can capture 98% of airborne particles circulating through your home. We recommend these heating and cooling add-ons for people with asthma, allergies, or chronic illnesses. Depending on the MERV or HEPA rating, filters capture dust, pollen, mold, pet dander, pollutants, viruses and bacteria in the air. Dust mites and mold also thrive in moisture, so investing in an air exchanger or dehumidifier to use in the summer months will help as well. If your house smells musty or already shows signs of mold, you should invest in a dehumidifier.

Would you like better indoor air quality?
Contact WestAIR Heating and Cooling for more information on dehumidifiers and air cleaners.

 

 

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How to Reduce Indoor Humidity

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

How to Reduce Indoor Humidity In the Midwest, we feel the weather to the extremes – below zero and dry in the winter to 90+ degrees and humid in the summer. For those summer months, many of us cool our homes with some sort of air conditioning, but the humidity still sticks around the house. Extra moisture makes the air feel warmer and damages your walls, floors, furniture, and cabinets. You can effectively reduce indoor humidity with three different products, but which one will work best for you?

Portable Dehumidifier

These units plug into any room and are suitable for homes with poor air circulation or no ventilation. Spaces like the basement, kitchen, or bathroom become susceptible to mold. Dishwashers, dryers, and showers add extra heat and moisture to your home. Portable dehumidifiers are the smartest solution for rooms that smell of must or feel damp and stale.

Whole House Dehumidifier

This system works best for old houses that use ductwork for heating and cooling. Older houses are prone to leaks and mold. If you often find condensation on your walls or you’ve had problems with mold before, you should consider a whole house dehumidifier. If you or a family member has asthma or chronic respiratory issues, humidity can aggravate your symptoms. Install a whole house dehumidifier to reduce moisture and improve your health.

Air Exchanger

An air exchanger has two channels of air flow, ventilating your home with fresh, filtered air.  One channel pulls outside air into the home, while the other pushes stale air out. This exchange removes humid air or pollutants. The air exchanger works seamlessly with your heating & cooling equipment to improve air quality. If you own a newer home and want a constant supply of fresh air, consider adding an air exchanger to your HVAC system.

Contact WestAIR Heating and Cooling to learn more about reducing humidity, improving indoor air quality, and installing an air exchanger in your home.

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Air Duct Cleaning & Maintenance

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Air Duct Cleaning & Maintenance by WestAir Heating & Cooling

Clean air ducts help keep dirt, dust mites, and mold out of the air of your home. Turning on a contaminated or clogged heating and cooling system can cycle these potentially harmful particles into the air you breathe and decrease indoor air quality. How do you know if you need an air duct cleaning service?

Check with your local HVAC technician to find any visible mold or excessive dust and debris inside your ducts, or if there has been a recent infestation of rodents or insects.

Keep your ducts clean by practicing proper home habits.

• Change your furnace and air conditioner filters regularly.
• Check to make sure you use the right air filters that fit your equipment.
• Make sure your HVAC equipment is efficient and regularly maintained.
• Dust and vacuum your home regularly. Vacuuming can increase the amount of dust in the air, so it’s worth upgrading to a high efficiency (HEPA) vacuum cleaner.
• Seal off supply and return registers during home renovation or construction.
• Maintain your humidifier to prevent mold inside the home.
• Repair leaks and water damage promptly.
• Make sure ducts are sealed properly and insulated in attics and crawl spaces.
• Invest in an Aprilaire Air Cleaner to reduce the amount of dust circulating around your home. Air cleaners trap 98 percent of visible dust and irritating particles, and 97 percent of airborne pollen. Attached to your furnace, the filters remove matter through the blower fan and return clean air back into the rooms of your home.

Air duct cleaning is not an annual service, but might be needed after some time, especially if you have pets, smoke, sensitive allergies, respiratory needs, or live in a humid environment.

At WestAir Heating & Cooling, we use a specialized Rotobrush cleaning system to clean air duct systems. This “source removal” cleaning method utilizes powerful vacuums and brushes to dislodge any debris that stick to the surface.

If you think you might need your ducts cleaned or worry about your indoor air quality, contact us for more information.

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The Benefits of a Whole House Dehumidifier

Posted on by WestAIR Heating & Cooling

Whole House Dehumidifier

We’ve all heard the saying: “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity!” And summer in Minnesota proves it with hot, sticky, oppressive days. When the air inside your home feels like the air outside, it may be time to consider a whole house dehumidifier from WestAIR Heating & Cooling.

SIGNS OF EXCESS HUMIDITY

When there’s too much humidity in your home, not only can you feel it, you can see it and smell it as well. You may need a whole house dehumidifier if:

  • Condensation appears on the inside of windows, on mirrors, or on cold drinks.
  • Your home has become an insect breeding ground.
  • Mold and mildew are present.
  • Wood furniture, wood floors, and trimwork warp or rot.
  • Skin feels sticky in the summer (or clammy in the winter).
  • Rooms smell musty.
  • You experience excessive sweating at normal indoor temperatures.

Excess humidity also provides an environment where dust mites thrive. These and other contaminants, like mold and mildew, can aggravate health problems, including asthma and allergies.

A whole house dehumidifier, working in connection with your heating and cooling system, removes the right amount of humidity from your home to alleviate these issues. At the same time, it prevents the air from becoming too dry, which can also be problematic. WestAIR installs the industry’s top whole house dehumidifiers from Aprilaire.

SPORTABLE DEHUMIDIFIER RECALL

Homeowners have used portable dehumidifiers for decades, most often in basements or cellars, which tend to be more humid. While a portable dehumidifier may seem to temporarily improve a sticky situation, a portable unit is unable to remove humidity throughout the home. In addition, portable humidifiers can pose a safety risk.

At the end of 2016, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 5.6 million portable dehumidifiers. The recall included more than 60 brands of dehumidifiers sold at various retail outlets, including Menards, Lowe’s, and Home Depot, due to a potential fire hazard. The units were built over a ten-year period, from 2003 to 2013. Three years prior, 12 brands of dehumidifiers were recalled.

2013 Recall
2016 Recall

If you own a portable dehumidifier, we encourage you to check to see if your unit is included in these nationwide recalls.

Contact the indoor air quality experts at WestAIR Heating & Cooling to discuss the benefits of whole house dehumidifiers for your home and your family.

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