With respiratory illnesses dominating headlines and 60 million Americans suffering from asthma and allergies, the quality of the air we breathe in our homes and indoor environments has never been more important to consumers.
As HVAC providers, we have the ability to advise homeowners, builders, and property managers on ways to improve their indoor air quality, and provide solutions that improve the health of indoor environment.
As a trusted partner, we can explain the importance of IAQ, walk them through the options, and give them information to confidently address their indoor air quality. Focusing on the education processes and not the sale, we can create lifelong customer relationships that will be fruitful for years to come.
Here are four tips you can share with your customers to help them understand how they can improve their indoor air quality:
Control Air Pollutants at the Source
Some sources of air pollution come from within our own homes – like pet dander and dust mites. It’s possible to lessen the impact of these at air pollutants with regular cleaning and reducing the amount of clutter in a home. For example, use a HEPA-quality vacuum cleaner to vacuum rugs, carpets, furniture, and pet bedding frequently. Protect against dust mites by placing covers on your mattresses, pillows, and box springs, and washing your bedding in hot water at least once a week. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends a washing machine water temperature of 130°F or hotter, as well as drying the bedding on a hot cycle to kill dust mites.
Use Controlled Ventilation
When the sources of indoor air pollutants can’t be fully eliminated, consider supplying clean, fresh air to the indoor environment while exhausting stale and polluted air back outside. Opening a window may allow for air exchange, but it doesn’t filter the air or block the allergens or asthma triggers that could intrude your home.
The best way to ensure adequate fresh air is being supplied to the home is to keep windows and doors shut and use a filtered mechanical ventilator to bring fresh air in and expel stale and polluted air back outside (such as an in-line ventilator like the QF130V in conjunction with a bathroom exhaust fan, or an energy recovery ventilator like the Envirowise ERV).
Install a Whole-House Air Cleaner
Adding a highly effective air cleaning system to your central HVAC system can help remove airborne particles that would otherwise recirculate through the home. It is best to filter air through a central air cleaning system connected into your HVAC ductwork to assure clean air is provided to every room. Properly designed and balanced HVAC systems can cycle the entire volume of air in the home through the filter every eight minutes, which can bring extra peace of mind knowing that tiny airborne intruders that enter the home aren’t allowed to stay for long!
But not all air cleaners or air filtration systems are created equal. Look for an air filter that has a high efficiency removal rate (such as MERV 11 or higher), or consider a whole home air cleaner like Trane CleanEffects,
Balance the Humidity in Your Home
Maintaining a humidity level of between 35 and 60 percent in the home is key to mitigating IAQ problems. Mold, dust mites, and other air pollutants tend to thrive outside of that range, and our bodies’ natural immune systems can be comprised when the air gets too dry. Air that is too wet or dry can also cause quality issues for the home such as warping or cracking wood furnishing and floors.
The best way to control humidity in the home is by monitoring humidity levels through a reliable HVAC thermostat, and managing it with a whole home dehumidifier and/or humidifier depending on the climate, season, and building construction.
It is possible to lower your home’s humidity by running the air conditioning unit, but when temperatures are mild the HVAC may not run enough to remove moisture from the air. This is where a whole-home dehumidification system can make the difference. In drier climates or during dry seasons, add humidity through a whole-home evaporative or steam humidifier which ties into the HVAC ductwork system and adds the appropriate amount of moisture to maintain ideal humidity levels throughout the entire home.
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