5 Simple Fixes for a Healthier Home Environment

Your home should be a comfortable oasis that you and your family can retreat to after a long day. Making sure that your home environment is healthy and safe for you and your family is a big part of creating a comfortable home. Use the tips below to help you create a healthier home environment:

  1. Cut out toxic chemical-based cleaners.

This is an easy fix that you can start implementing the next time you shop for cleaning products. Avoid purchasing harsh, chemical-based cleaners. Instead, choose gentle cleaners in place of those that contain harmful ingredients. For information on what cleaners to avoid, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Cleaners Hall of Shame.

If you feel so inclined, many non-toxic cleaners are easy to make at home. Try a mix of lemon juice, vinegar, and water for cleaning glass and other hard surfaces. Baking soda works well to scrub difficult areas, such as toilet bowls and sinks, and makes for a quick carpet refresher when sprinkled lightly over carpets before vacuuming. Other great ideas for cleaning with baking soda can be found here.  

  1. Fluctuate your home’s temperature.

Understandably, many people assume that keeping your home at a constant temperature at all times is the best practice for a healthy home environment. In fact, the opposite is true. Indoor spaces, such as homes and offices, that are maintained at a steady temperature can actually disrupt our body’s homeostasis. That’s because our own internal temperature is continuously fluctuating throughout the day, oftentimes in reaction to the changing external environment.

By maintaining an unvarying indoor temperature, we can actually trigger a sense of malaise. Instead, go ahead and indulge in that thermostat war with your significant other or housemate. After all, it’s good for you! If you live alone, be sure to switch up the temperature a few degrees every now and again and reap the benefits of this healthy home tip.

  1. Prevent mold in your home.

Mold can cause serious problems within your home. To prevent mold from emerging, quickly deal with spills and fix any leaks from interior plumbing or the outdoor elements as soon as you notice them. If you suspect that you’ve been dealing with a leak for a long period of time, call in a professional to inspect your home for mold. If mold is found, deal with it immediately.

Prevent future mold buildup by keeping all areas in your home, particularly basements and cellars, free from excess moisture. Depending on the moisture level in your environment, you may need to invest in a dehumidifier.

  1. Ventilation is important.

Many people don’t consider the importance of proper home ventilation, but having adequate ventilation in your home can seriously improve air quality. Just as we mentioned above, since it’s an enclosed environment, it’s easy for air pollutants to build-up within the home. Proper ventilation can help by moving the air through the home to rid your home of pollutants and bring in fresh air.

Most indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air, sometimes up to 10 times more polluted! So, let a little fresh air in every day and breathe easier. For 15 minutes each day, turn off your HVAC system, and slightly open all the windows in your home to let a little fresh air in and any stuffy air out.

  1. Don’t forget HVAC maintenance.

Having your HVAC system checked out regularly by professionals can help you improve the efficiency and increase the longevity of your heating and cooling units, no matter what type of system you own.  A trained HVAC technician will help you get to know your HVAC system, alert you to any issues with the unit, and repair any problems as the appear, as well as give you advice on how to keep your system running smooth all year long.

You can find more information about our maintenance plans here, or give us a call and we’ll be happy to answer any questions: (602) 400-0000

5 Infographics That Illustrate the Ugly Truth About Indoor Air Quality

With so much focus on the outdoor environment, natural resources, and conserving energy, indoor air quality doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves. However, you really should consider the quality of the indoor air you breathe, as it’s crucial to your health and well-being.

If you’re like most Americans, you spend the majority of your time indoors. The quality of the air you breathe during much of your day should be taken into consideration. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, studies show that indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times (and sometimes approximately 100 times!) higher than outdoor pollutant levels. That’s a statistic that should be taken seriously if you’re concerned about your health.

Below, we’ve compiled some helpful visual resources to give you a better understanding about indoor air quality.

Top 5 Indoor Air Quality Infographics

We’ve gathered together five of our favorite infographics that illustrate the unfortunate ugly truth about indoor air quality, and what you can do to improve the quality of your home’s indoor air.

  1. Think you know everything you need to know about Indoor Air Quality? This infographic, “11 Surprising Facts About Indoor Air Quality” could expose you to some unexpected truths about your home’s air quality.
  1. Allergens aren’t just a nuisance for those of us who battle with seasonal pollen. Air quality can also be compromised with other types of allergens found within your home. If you or a loved one suffers from allergies, you’ll want to check out this Infographic on “7 Allergens in Your Home That You Don’t Know About”.
  1. Indoor air quality isn’t just important to your comfort, it’s also crucial to your health. This infographic titled “The Health Effects of Poor Indoor Air Quality” covers the health consequences that you and your loved ones could suffer if exposed to poor quality air for long periods of time.
  1. This infographic boasts “Everything You Need to Know About Indoor Air Pollution”, and we’d say that it pretty much covers all the bases. This graphic outlines important stats, health risks, and ways to combat air pollutants within your home.
  1. If you’ve read through the infographics above and feel a bit nervous about the quality of your home’s air… have no fear, houseplants are here! This handy infographic outlines the best houseplants that will help improve your indoor air quality. From Bob Vila, check out “Best Houseplants for Indoor Air Quality” . Houseplants not only add a lovely green touch to any room they are displayed in, with just a little bit of TLC, they can really help reduce the amount of indoor pollutants within your home’s air by converting offensive gases into breathable oxygen.

Now that you’ve been inspired to clean up your home’s indoor air, we can jump start the process by doing a tune up on your HVAC system. We also offer maintenance plans for effortless peace of mind. Don’t continue to breathe poor quality air… give us a call today, and find out how we can help you achieve better air quality in your home! 602-400-0000

Planning 2017 Home Renovations: What’s worth fixing, and what can wait?

Whether you are a brand new homeowner or you have been enjoying homeownership for many years, one thing that people often struggle with is knowing which home improvement projects are priority and which can wait. In the ideal world, we would be able to tackle every project on our home renovation list, but the truth is, there just isn’t enough time and money to do it all. Use our simple guide below to decide what needs to be fixed and what can wait until later.

How to Prioritize 2017 Home Improvement Projects

As you make a list of home improvement projects for the new year, it is important that you prioritize which projects need to be completed first and which projects can wait. Here are some tips for prioritizing your 2017 home improvement projects:

Access your home’s needs.

Each home is different, and so are its needs. If you have a newer home, you may only have a few ongoing maintenance concerns or have a list of cosmetic projects you would like to take on. However, if you have an older home, you may need to start replacing appliances and repairing other areas of the home. Consider how old your home is and what will need to be replaced soon. These projects should take priority when it comes time to budget and plan for home improvement projects.

Safety and comfort should come first.

When choosing between two home improvement projects, it’s important to consider which contribute the most to your family’s safety and comfort. For instance, going without a working HVAC system can start to cause health issues, not to mention it can become quite uncomfortable for all involved. Though that wallpaper in the bathroom may hurt your eyes, it is not as pivotal to the health, safety, and happiness of your family quite like an HVAC system that runs smoothly and helps control humidity and temperature year-round.

Consider your budget.

Budget is an important concern when prioritizing projects. Think about which projects you can afford and which will have to wait until you’ve saved a bit more. Taking on some of the work yourself is a smart way to stretch your budget. Though you’ll certainly want to call in a professional when it comes to the major repairs and replacements, there are some projects that you can tackle on your own, such as painting or landscaping.

In the end, homeowners should use their best judgement to determine which projects need to be completed first. Safety, health, and comfort should be your top concerns when prioritizing home improvement projects. Those projects that impact your ability to live a safe and comfortable life should be taken on first. Elements of your home like your heating and cooling system can have a significant impact on your quality of life and can even start to affect your family’s health. If you are in need of HVAC repairs that just can’t wait, call us today: (602) 400-0000.

Reduce Allergy Symptoms by Controlling Your Indoor Air Quality

Many people with allergies will avoid the great outdoors when the air is full of pollen and other allergens. However, indoor air quality is just as important to reducing allergy symptoms and preventing respiratory health problems. Allergens like dust, pollen, and animal dander can make their way into your home, triggering allergy symptoms, asthma attacks, and other respiratory problems. The key to reducing allergy issues indoors is preventing allergens from accumulating in your home by controlling your indoor air quality.

How to Reduce Allergens in Your Home

It takes some work, but reducing allergens in your home is possible. With these tips, you can be on your way to better controlling your indoor air quality and reducing allergy symptoms for you and your family:

Keep your floors clean.

One of the biggest offenders when it comes to trapping allergens in your home is your floors. People bring dirt, dust, and other pollutants into your home every time they step inside after being outdoors. To reduce allergy symptoms, it is vital that you keep your floors clean:

  • Vacuum using a machine with a HEPA filter. HEPA vacuum filters help reduce the concentrations of pollutants like pollen, pet dander, and dust that accumulate on your carpet. Vacuum high traffic areas more often, and don’t forget to use the favuum on walls, furniture, and other areas where dust collects.
  • Mop up the dust. Mopping helps you gather up the dust that vacuuming may have left behind. For best results, use a microfiber mop and dust cloth without any cleaning solution. If you have a traditional mop, use water instead of soaps or detergents, which can bring harmful chemicals into your home.
  • Trap allergens with a floor mat. Place a floor mat by every door that leads outside. This helps trap the dirt that people bring in on their shoes, which can be full of all kinds of chemicals and pollutants.

Monitor humidity levels.

Controlling humidity also helps you keep allergens under control as dust and mold love moisture. Your HVAC system can help keep humidity levels balanced and reduce allergens. To avoid moisture buildup, monitor indoor humidity levels and try to keep them between 30 and 50%. Use ceiling fans to improve air circulation and reduce moisture buildup. You can also use a stand-alone or whole home dehumidifier to help control humidity levels. You should also prevent any standing water by emptying the humidifier and window AC units as well as fixing any leaking plumbing.

Consider an air purifier.

Air purifiers are an excellent option for those with severe allergies or asthma. Like the dehumidifier, these are available in both a stand-alone and whole-house system. Most models have a HEPA filter that can be cleaned regularly to maintain effectiveness. The air purifier reduces allergens like dust and pet dander, making it easy for those with allergies and asthma to breathe easier. Some models even have an indoor air quality monitor that can help you stay diligent about keeping your home clean.

Are you looking for HVAC solutions that provide better indoor air quality? We would love to chat. Call us today to speak to an HVAC specialist about your options.