Cobourg, Ontario residents rely on the experts at Comfort Zone Heating & Air Conditioning to keep their homes comfortable throughout the year. However, we know that there is more to home comfort than heating and cooling. The quality of the air you breathe is also a concern. When the air is impure or the moisture levels are not right, it lowers your quality of life. Intentional family practices coupled with professional solutions will improve your indoor air quality.
Signs of Poor Air Quality
The symptoms of poor air quality depend on the types of impurities in your home. Allergens, such as dust mites and pollen grains, can cause a runny nose, sore throat, and coughing. Unlike a common cold, these symptoms do not disappear on their own. Severe allergy symptoms may also trigger asthma attacks in sensitive people.
High levels of volatile organic compounds create a different set of symptoms. In homes with an overabundance of these chemicals, residents may have headaches and disrupted sleep. People constantly breathing in VOCs may have a sense of lethargy and feel generally unwell.
Uncontrolled humidity is another issue. If the level of moisture is too high, the home will feel clammy and may have problems with mould growth. When it’s too low, your loved ones may complain about dry, itchy skin.
Factors That Affect IAQ
The local climate has an impact on the air quality inside your home. Because Cobourg sits beside Lake Ontario, we are prone to especially humid summers. Your air conditioner may be working hard, but moisture levels can still be an issue.
The same story is true for seasonal allergens. The pollen count may not be as high inside your house as it is outdoors in the spring, but it will still climb with the season. As people go in and out of your home, pollen grains will make their way into your indoor air.
The age of your home also impacts air quality. Newer homes benefit from better materials and tighter construction. This design improves the performance of your heating and cooling systems. However, it also slows the exchange of indoor and outdoor air. Without additional ventilation, these homes may see issues with high VOC levels.
Common Impurities: Dust and Other Allergens
If it’s in the air, it’s going into your lungs. The most common impurities in your indoor atmosphere are the things you can observe. The dust particles you see floating in a sunbeam are a combination of substances including:
- Pollen grains
If you have allergies, your immune system overreacts when these particles make their way into your lungs. These chronic cold systems are your body’s way of trying to break down and remove foreign substances.
Volatile Organic Compounds
VOCs are part of a modern lifestyle. They have several major sources.
- Cleaning products
- Beauty products
- Paints, glues, and adhesives
- Cooking oil droplets
- Cigarette smoke
Your body responds to these chemicals in different ways. Some will trigger your immune system in the same way as pollen. Others will break down in your liver or get sequestered in fat cells. This can make you feel tired and unmotivated. The best strategy for dealing with these chemicals is doing what you can to clear the air before you breathe them in.
At the microscopic level, mould spores, bacteria and viruses can also travel in the air. Often, they ride on larger dust particles, so reducing the amount of dust can help control their number. Air purification systems also use UV light to break down biological impurities.
Self-Help IAQ Solutions
The team at Comfort Zone Heating & Air Conditioning is happy to help you with advanced IAQ solutions, but there are many practices you can employ to reduce impurity levels. You can take steps to remove the impurities that are already inside and prevent new particles from getting in.
During the times of the year when the pollen count is high, some extra cleaning can make a big difference. Daily chores like sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming remove dust from your floors and other surfaces. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter will prevent smaller particles from escaping. If you don’t have time for extra cleaning, a robotic vacuum will clean your home while everyone is out for the day.
The goal is to remove the dust and not just transfer it from one area to another. A microfiber cloth is the best choice for dusting surfaces. These specially designed fabrics capture dust using static electricity.
Adequate ventilation is necessary to control VOC levels. Keep your ventilation fans running any time you use beauty or cleaning products. Using the exhaust fan above your stove will help with oil droplets and smoke particles in the kitchen. The constant flow of air moves these compounds outdoors. If a fan is not near, opening a window will improve the situation. When working with cleaning products, paints, and adhesives, we suggest using these substances in a well-ventilated area.
Personal practices can also help eliminate allergens and VOCs. Taking off your shoes and leaving them by the entryway or in a mudroom will keep your family members from tracking in excess dust. Smokers should take their habit outside to prevent contaminating the air for everybody else.
Upgrading Your Air Filter
After you have implemented some new family practices, the next step is looking at your current equipment. In a forced-air system, an air filter pulls larger dust particles and hair from the air stream. This level of filtration will not have a great impact on your air quality, but it prevents damage to your heating and cooling equipment.
Every home air filter has a minimum efficiency reporting value rating. The MERV rating indicates the size of the particles the filter captures. The higher the MERV number, the smaller the impurities removed. A hospital operating room might use filters with a MERV rating of 20.
You might think that the best solution is to install as powerful a filter as possible. However, filters with high MERV numbers can overwork your equipment as it tries to draw air through the tight spaces of the filter. One of our experts can help you choose a filter that balances air quality without lowering system performance.
Controlling the Humidity
Our indoor air quality solutions at Comfort Zone Heating & Air Conditioning include units that will maintain the right moisture level while allowing an exchange of stale and fresh air. A whole-home ventilation humidifier can prevent the itchiness that comes with the dry air of winter.
Professional Air Purification Solutions
Our air purification solutions remove a whole host of household impurities. These units draw air through powerful filters that remove the smallest dust particles. Carbon filters in the system will capture VOC molecules for fresher, better-smelling air. Adding a UV light to the system will render many biological impurities harmless.
An Experienced Team for Your IAQ Needs
Cobourg can depend on Comfort Zone Heating & Air Conditioning for the latest innovations in indoor air quality systems. We are also the team to call for installation, maintenance, and repair services of your heating and cooling equipment. For more information about our comprehensive home climate solutions, contact Comfort Zone Heating & Air Conditioning today.