"You wouldn't want to be breathing your car or truck's exhaust all day. Why settle for being surrounded by unhealthy air at home?
Shreveport, LA (Vocus/PRWEB) March 24, 2011
Coughing. Sneezing. Trouble breathing. Signs of a springtime allergies? Could be. But they may also be signs of a house overcome with dust, mold, and other types of common - yet potentially harmful - allergens.
"Eliminating elements within a home that can cause allergic reactions is just about impossible, but reducing them is not," says Ira Pruett, owner, Southern Air Heating & Cooling, a Shreveport-based HVAC contractor. "It's just a matter of making sure your home's heating and air conditioning system is well-equipped to continuously and effectively clean the air. Think of it this way - you wouldn’t want to be breathing your car or truck’s exhaust all day, would you? Then why settle for being surrounded by unhealthy air at home?"
That unhealthy air can spur common household allergens, most of which are caused by moist, humid air, explains Pruett. "Folks who live in Shreveport and the surrounding areas don’t need me to tell them that stepping out the door here during the spring and summer is like getting hit with a wet blanket. Mold, mildew, dust mites -- all of these grow and thrive in humid conditions, and Louisiana’s the perfect breeding ground. The most effective means of combating them is to make sure your HVAC system is successfully dehumidifying the air in your house." And while houses located in the southern part of the United States tend to face this challenge year-round, household allergens - and the conditions that cause them - manifest on a regular basis across the country, even in drier climates.
Most modern HVAC systems are designed to combat these conditions. They dehumidify a house by moving moist air over refrigerated coils. The system condenses the moist air and replaces it with dry air at the same temperature.
Making sure a home is weather sealed helps optimize the performance of an HVAC system by keeping humid air out. Weather sealing involves caulking, taping and weather stripping any potential gaps, be they in door frames, window frames, or otherwise. Preventing humid outdoor air from getting inside will go a long way toward keeping a home's air from becoming too moist.
"People like to subscribe to the old adage that it's good to 'let the fresh air in,' but trust me, the air outside your home is hardly fresh," said Pruett. "Weather sealing your house is a good idea for many reasons. Doing so maintains the efficiency of your home HVAC system because it keeps inside air from escaping. More importantly from a health standpoint, it helps to keep from creating damp conditions that can lead to mold and mildew growth."
In addition to dehumidifying and weather sealing (or, as it's also called, "weather stripping"), Pruett offers several other suggestions for positively maintaining your home's air and reducing the number of potential allergens:
- Keep the house thermostats set at optimal temperatures. "Do what's comfortable, but remember that mold spores grow at warmer temperatures, so you don't want it to be too warm." Pruett suggests setting a thermostat between 68 and 72 degrees - and keeping it there. "It's best to let the system run at a set temperature. This uses less energy, so it'll help save money."
- Monitor humidity levels. "Try to keep the humidify at or below 50," states Pruett. Doing so can help reduce mold. If need be, purchase an inexpensive thermometer or humidity gauge to keep track of humidity levels, and adjust thermostats accordingly. Cooling the air in a home can be particularly effective in reducing the amount of humidity. Dehumidifiers are also good options and work most effectively when located in an area more prone to collect moisture, such as a basement.
- Clean, clean, clean. "No need to overdo it, but a good, thorough house cleaning once a week will go a long way toward getting rid of dust mites, cat dander and other things that can cause allergies."
- Regularly check and replace your home's air filters. "Air filters are designed to circulate air, but in doing so, they collect dust, dirt, and other nasty things. It's a good idea to replace all of your home's air filters every couple of months at minimum."
- Schedule routine maintenance for your HVAC system. "You should have a professional come into your home a couple of times a year to make sure your system's running properly. They can tell you if everything's working OK or suggest some changes to make sure the system is doing what it can to improve air quality."
Improving indoor air quality does not require a great amount of effort. Following the aforementioned simple tasks will help ensure a house remains a healthy and comfortable place - even in the Louisiana humidity.
About Southern Air Heating & Cooling
Southern Air Heating & Cooling is a full-service heating and air conditioning contractor specializing in the repair and installation of HVAC systems. The company provides a wide variety of heating and cooling systems from major manufacturers. Their services include heating and air conditioning repairs, indoor air quality testing, duct cleaning, seasonal HVAC maintenance, and more. Formed in 1994, the company has offices in Shreveport and Ball, La. For more information, or to schedule service, visit http://www.southernairnow.com or call (866)336-5085.
1313 Southern Ave. Shreveport, LA 71101 Phone: (866) 336-5085 Fax: (318) 869-3543
6060 Highway 165 Ball, LA 71405 Phone: (866) 336-5085 Fax (318) 640-1731
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