Category : asthma

A Helpful HVAC Glossary

HVAC services

When it comes to HVAC services, our experts are always talking in industry terms. However, we know you may not be familiar with what “HSPF” stands for or what a programmable thermostat does, so we’ve created a basic HVAC glossary to help. If you have a term that isn’t defined in this article, feel free to “ask the expert.”

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5 Ways Humidity and Moisture Can Damage Your Home

duct cleaning company

As a duct cleaning company, we understand how important it is for your home to be clean and your air quality to be healthy. In addition to changing your HVAC filters on a regular basis, we recommend installing a dehumidifier in the areas of your home that contain too much moisture and humidity. If these areas are constantly damp, it can lead to damages like:

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Why a Humidifier Is Beneficial in Cold Weather

heating and cooling contractors

Winter is in full force and to help combat its effects, our heating and cooling contractors suggest investing in a humidifier for your home.  A humidifier can not only improve your overall comfort, but it can also:

Cure dry skin.

Does it ever seem that no matter how many times you moisturize your skin, it just won’t stay moisturized? That’s all thanks to the dry, cold temperatures of winter. With a humidifier, however, the air in your home will stay moist and your skin won’t dry out as easily (which includes those chapped lips).

Make you feel warmer.

When there is moisture in the air, it feels warmer to your body (which is why a humid summer day feels much hotter than a dry summer day). By investing in a humidifier, you’ll not only feel warmer, but you’ll save money on your energy bills because you won’t have to use or turn up your heat as much.

Stop snoring.

Even though snoring is caused by obstructed airways, a humidifier can help moisturize those airways and the overall respiratory system to lessen the loudness and intensity of your snoring.

Prevent and shorten illnesses.

The small hairs in your nose are meant to trap harmful viruses and bacteria so that you don’t get sick. When the air you breathe is dry, the hairs in your nose can’t produce mucous and as a result, they won’t be able to trap particles. Adding moisture to the air can not only prevent you from becoming ill, but it can also shorten the length of your illness by soothing your symptoms.

Control static electricity.

You know it’s winter again when all of your clothes start sticking together or nearly everything you touch gives you a jolt. The drier the environment, the more chance for static electricity; invest in a humidifier and you won’t see as much of it.

Reduce sinus/asthma discomfort.

Aching sinuses, allergies, and asthma can be aggravating – especially in the winter. Add moisture to your air, however, and you’ll notice that your discomfort will be greatly reduced.


5 Benefits of a New Commercial HVAC System

Owning and/or running a commercial property is a lot of work, and the last thing you want to worry about is your HVAC system. If yours is old, outdated, or simply not working properly, talk to the experts at Oliver. We can help you choose a new HVAC installation that fits the size of your building and the size of your budget.

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When to Clean Your Air Ducts

Enjoy Fresh Air on a Regular Basis

When it comes to air ducts, there’s no set amount of time you should leave between cleanings; duct cleaning should be done on an “as-needed” basis and in general, is good to do every couple years.

How dirty your ducts get depends on many factors including: your home’s location, the size of your home, how many people live there, if family members smoke, if you have pets, etc.

The warm or cool air that blows out through your vents travels around your home and picks up airborne particles like dust, dirt, dander, mold, pollen, allergens, tar and nicotine (if members of your family smoke cigarettes). The air is then pulled back into your HVAC system and is recirculated over and over. As these particles travel through your home’s ducts, some get trapped and build up. Over time, the traveling air picks these particles up and before you know it, you’re breathing in more and more particles that could harm your health.

By cleaning your home’s ductwork, you’ll not only reduce your chances of illness, you’ll also improve the lifespan of your HVAC system and reduce your energy costs. In addition, to keep your home’s air even more clean, be sure to change your HVAC filter every one to three months (depending on the type).

At Oliver, we have a team of air duct cleaners that can remove harmful buildup and have you and your family breathing clean air in no time. If you’re not sure if your ducts need cleaning, give us a call today for a free over-the-phone estimate or schedule an appointment.


6 Ways to Avoid a Winter Cold

cold-medication

Once it starts to get cold outside, it seems as though everyone suffers from some sort of winter cold. If you’re someone who tends to get sick once the temperature drops, follow these easy ways to prevent those feelings of a cold:

Improve your air quality

If you’re living with indoor air that’s dusty, dirty, and full of airborne particles, you could easily increase your chances of a cold. Low indoor air quality can cause respiratory infections, worsened asthma symptoms, and common ailments like headaches and sleep problems. Call up our indoor air quality experts and set up an appointment for an air quality test today.

Wash your hands

It’s always a good idea to keep your hands clean, and this couldn’t be more true once it gets cold. The winter months are full of cold, flu, and infection germs and they’re easily transferred from humans to surfaces. Make sure you wash your hands as much as you can to prevent these germs from making you sick.

Clean your ducts

Keeping your ducts clean is another way to improve your indoor air quality. Every time your heat or air conditioning kicks on, it can pull dust, dirt, pollen, mildew, fungi, bacteria and smoke into your duct system and spread them around the house. Don’t let dirty ducts be the cause of your winter cold – let us clean them for you so you can breathe easier.

Drink, drink drink

Doctors recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water every day in order to keep your immune system in good shape and your bodily defenses ready, so drink as much as you can to keep everything functioning properly.

Stay active

During the summer months, it’s easy to stay active with activities like swimming, biking, hiking, and more, but once it starts to get cold, many people cut their activity drastically. Make it a point to stay active this winter and keep your heart pumping – a hard-working heart strengthens your immune system and can help combat cold and flu germs.

Keep warm

When you’re cold, you depress your immune system and increase your chances for a cold, the flu, a cough, and more. Stay warm this winter by dressing warmly (especially on your head and feet where you lose a lot of your body heat) and making sure your heating system is in proper working order.


7 Ways to Reduce Your Home’s Indoor Air Pollution

air quality

As Americans, we spend about 90% of our time indoors. Yes, 90%. That means that we’re almost always breathing indoor air – and many times, it’s dirtier than the air outside. Indoor air can carry pollutants like mold, mildew spores, dust, pollen, dirt, dander, tobacco smoke, and more – all of which can affect your health and worsen illnesses like asthma or bronchitis.

Our duct cleaning experts are here to offer some simple ways you can reduce your indoor air pollution and breathe better:

Smoking

To prevent your family from inhaling carcinogens, smoke outdoors and as far away from your home as possible. Tobacco smoke is dangerous for your lungs and (like dirt and dust) it settles into furniture and carpets, so your family can inhale smoke long after you’re done with your cigarette.

Humidity

Mold and dust mites love moisture, so keep your home’s humidity level at 30%-50% and you’ll help prevent excess allergens. A dehumidifier is a great investment for reducing humidity. You can also do simple things like open a window when cooking or running the dishwasher, and vent your clothes dryer to the outside of your home.

Carpets

Dust and dirt can easily settle in your carpet, so make sure you vacuum it regularly. Use a vacuum cleaner that has at least 12 amps of power to make sure you’re getting a good clean. You can also find vacuums with an indicator that tells you when the dust and dirt have all been drawn out of the carpet.

Plants

There are several species of houseplants that naturally purify the air and filter out organic chemicals. Keep at least one plant in every room of the house and you’ll not only enjoy some live decor, but also cleaner air. Some popular choices are aloe vera plants, spider plants, weeping fig plants, azaleas, Chinese evergreens, and more.

Cleaning Products

Many homeowners don’t realize that cleaning products can have harmful chemicals (like ammonia, phosphates, bleach, chlorine, etc.) that are not only bad for the environment, but are bad to breathe in. To reduce air pollutants, look for natural cleaning products that are made from plants and have labels like “solvent-free,” “non-toxic,” and “phosphate-free.”

Mats

People can track in dirt and chemicals on their shoes, which can then settle into your carpet. Put large floor mats outside of every door for people to wipe their feet on. If you want to take it a step further, you can even have your family members and visitors take their shoes off before they come inside.

HVAC Filters

Your HVAC units have filters that trap harmful pollutants and prevent them from traveling through your home, so make sure you change your filters on a regular basis to keep your indoor air clean.

To reduce your home’s indoor air pollution even more, call our duct cleaning specialists! We’ll do a thorough job of removing dust and debris from your duct system to make sure that the air you breathe is as clean as possible.


How To: Heating Vent Cleaning

duct cleaning company

When you have dust and dirt buildup anywhere in your house, you can bet that the amount of airborne particles and allergens in the air is more than usual. That’s why it’s important to change your HVAC filter and clean your vents.

Your HVAC filter is designed to filter particles and allergens from the air as the air flows from your heater. Once the air reaches the room you’re in, it should be clean. When your filter is dirty, however, particles can flow through it and stick to the vents throughout your home instead. This means the more particles your vents collect, the more you’ll be breathing in.

To clean your vents, first turn off your heat. Then, attach a crevice tool to your vacuum hose and clean your floor, baseboard, and ceiling vents. After that, unscrew your vent covers and remove them. Wash them with mild soap and warm water, making sure to wash in between the slats. (To make things easier, you can use a small sponge paintbrush to get into nooks and crannies.)

While you let your vents dry, clean inside your ducts with your vacuum, making sure you remove as much dust, dirt, and cobweb buildup as possible. After you’re done, replace your vents and screw them back into place.

To top it all off, change your HVAC filter (especially if it hasn’t been changed in three months or more). You and your family will be breathing the cleanest air possible, which means you’ll be reducing your risk of a cold, the flu, upset allergies, or aggravated asthma symptoms.

You should aim to clean your vents at least twice a year and change your HVAC filter every three months or so. In addition, we recommend hiring a duct cleaning company (like us!) once a year to perform a thorough duct cleaning and keep your air fresh and healthy.


Duct Maintenance Now Means Lower Heating Bills Later

air duct cleaning

We know – it’s only September and we’re talking about heating bills, but in just a couple months, we’re all going to be turning up the heat when the temperatures drop. We know you’re not looking forward to paying high prices for your heat, which is why it’s a great idea to maintain your ductwork before it gets cold.

A Thorough Cleaning

At Oliver, we offer a thorough air duct cleaning that will remove the thousands of dust mites and contaminants that get trapped in your ductwork. Even if you have an energy efficient HVAC system, when your ducts are dirty, the warm air from your heater won’t travel as well and you’ll have to use more heat to make the house comfortable. Let our experts help. We’ll quickly and thoroughly get rid of any build-up in your ducts.

Proper Insulation

Insulation is what helps maintain the temperature of your home – it’s what keeps the warm air from escaping and what keeps the cold air from coming in. If your ductwork isn’t insulated properly, you’ll lose a lot of your heat and will end up paying more on your monthly energy bills. How much insulation you need depends on what area of the country you live in and what your current insulation situation is like. Talk to someone who can give you all the details.

Repairs

If you have ductwork with holes in the pipes or bad connections between pipes, you could be losing a good chunk of your heating efficiency (up to 20%). This means that you’ll not only be producing more carbon emissions, but you’ll also be paying for more heat than necessary. Repairs can be hard to detect yourself, so have a professional come to your home and inspect your ductwork.

Air Quality

As a bonus, clean, insulated, and repaired ductwork will mean a better quality of indoor air for you and your family. Clean indoor air means you’ll be breathing in fewer contaminants that could ultimately make you ill or make existing conditions (like allergies or asthma) worse.

So maintain your ducts now and come winter, you’ll enjoy a much more efficient heating system, healthier air, and lower heating bills.


Guest Blogger – Home Is Where the Health Is: Dust Mites and Your Health

Thanks to our friends at Thompson for putting together this great piece on dust mites!

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While they are too small to detect with the naked eye, dust mites can cause big health problems for people with asthma or allergies. These microscopic creatures thrive in warm, humid environments where there are dead skin cells from people and animals to feed on – in other words, they thrive in many ordinary households. In particular, they like bedroom carpeting and household upholstery. As many as 40,000 dust mites can thrive in one ounce of dust, with each releasing about 20 fecal pellets per day.

What Could Happen

So what’s the big deal? Out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong. Exposure to dust mites and their waste products can trigger asthma attacks and allergy symptoms in people with these conditions. According to the Alliance for Healthy Homes, exposure to dust mites in childhood may even cause certain children to develop asthma.

Dust mite levels often go down in the winter when humidity levels drop; however, many people with breathing problems use humidifiers in the winter, which can make humidity levels even higher than they are in the summer, thus worsening their dust mite and related health problems. Of course, too-low humidity levels can cause breathing problems as well. Indoor humidity levels should ideally be between 35 and 50 percent for optimal air quality and protection from mites.

How to Get Rid of Them

Some things you can do around the house to get rid of dust mites include weekly hot-water laundering of bedding, covering mattresses and pillows with allergen-resistant covers, and regularly vacuuming and steam cleaning carpets. In humid environments, it may be especially difficult to get rid of dust mites.

While doing things like laundering bedding frequently can help reduce dust mites, if anyone in your household suffers from allergies or breathing problems, a whole-house air filtration system is the best way to zap dust mites, as well as other allergenic particles, toxic compounds, and infectious agents that your family’s air supply may be harboring. Air filtration services can also be used to provide optimal indoor humidity levels.

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This post written by Thompson Electric, Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling. Check out more posts from the Thompson Home Is Where The Health Is blog here!