Barron Heating AC Electrical & Plumbing Blog: Archive for the ‘Air Purifier’ Category

Classic HVAC Tips for Pet Owners

Monday, March 25th, 2024

We love our furry friends! At this point, we likely have more customers with pets than ones without them. They’re our best friends, companions, and family members. That’s why it’s important that we consider them and their needs when we assess our home comfort.

Don’t worry our tips aren’t very complicated. These tips are easy, cheap, and good enough to make a serious improvement to your home comfort and your air quality.

If you’re concerned about comfort or your air quality in Bellingham, WA, then you’ll definitely want to keep reading to see what we have to offer. And don’t forget to call us for any services or system installations you might need!

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What is in your home dust?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

Have you ever noticed all of the “icky” debris from your vacuum when you empty the canister or change the bag?


Have you ever broken your vacuum cleaner bag as you were disposing it or looked at canister of debris before dumping it? This should provide an accurate picture of what type of air the typical homeowner is breathing in their homes.

Every home’s duct work leaks! Every time your furnace runs more things are sucked into your duct work. Things like dust, pet hair, cooking grease, cigarette smoke, and other debris that will stay in your duct work – until they eventually break down and are released back into the air stream for you and your family to breathe.

“Most homeowners simply have no idea of how much dust, dirt, and debris the duct system harbors, according to Brendan Reid, Founder of Comfort Institute and Senior Success Coach . Since the air ducts are out of sight they are often out of mind”. As a reminder, about 50 percent of household dust is from dead skins cells which we constantly are shedding.

Sealing your ductwork not only improves indoor air quality by reducing dust and allergens, but can make you more comfortable in your home by reducing hot and cold spots, rooms, and floors in your house. We suggest using the Aeroseal process, but other forms of duct sealing can be effective.

A few recommendations for breathing healthier air in your home are sealing your duct work before you purchase a new heating and cooling system, clean your duct work every 3-5 years, and have a good air filter that you change according to manufacturer’s recommendations. This combination will help reduce household dust and keep the system running efficiently.



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Less Dust and Cleaner Indoor Air

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Do you feel like as soon as you finish dusting…the dust seems to come right back?

A good deal of the dust in our homes comes from internal sources such as skin flakes, fabric fibers and pets. However, new research has found that in many homes a significant amount of the dust actually originates from outside the living space. The hot or cold outside air that leaks in through gaps and cracks often brings a lot of dust along with it. The air from outside always contains airborne particles such as mold spores, pollen, soot, tire rubber and agricultural dust. Think how dirty patio furniture can get after just a few days without rain.

However, that outside air leaking in around windows and doors is only a small part of the problem. Windows and doors usually represent less than 20% of a home’s air leaks.The air coming in there is often relatively clean in comparison to where the other 80% comes from. Building scientists have recently discovered that in the typical home, most of the incoming air first passes through dirty areas such as the attic, attached garage, outside walls, crawlspace, basement, or even from underground.

This incoming air is often contaminated with visible dust particles such as insulation fibers, pollen and mold spores. It may also contain invisible pollutants like carbon monoxide, automobile exhaust, carcinogenic radon gas, rodent allergens, pesticides and volatile organic chemicals. These can negatively affect your family’s health and safety. For more info, check out this video from Comfort Institute:

It’s a common complaint. Just a few days after a thorough house cleaning, that unsightly dust is back, settling on every surface in your house. Dust can also contribute to respiratory allergy suffering. What’s the answer?

Contact your home performance trained contractor and ask for an Infiltro meter blower door test to pinpoint where the bad air leaks are. This involves installing a computerized machine with a powerful fan in your front doorway, to temporarily pressure test your house. An air leak detector and infrared camera are then used to find the air leaks. Many are leaks you can repair as weekend projects. Others such as leaks in your air ducts, or through recessed can lights are better left to professionals.

Finding and fixing the leaks that let in bad air will make your home healthier and less dusty. Your home will also be more comfortable and have more controllable indoor humidity levels. Fixing these air leaks will even pay for itself through lower heating and cooling bills. In fact, duct leakage alone has been found to waste 20% to 40% of most system’s heating or air conditioning.

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IAQ 101 (AKA Indoor Air Quality Basics)

Monday, December 16th, 2013

The heat is blowing, the furnace is purring like a kitten, the family is warm wherever they are lounging in the house. Everything seems to be good, as far as the heating system is concerned… or is it?

It seems like whenever that furnace blower comes on, Jim starts sneezing. All winter long you’re dusting every week. Sometimes its hard to sleep at night with the dry throats and all the coughing and refilling glasses of water.

Here’s the kicker: you are not alone.

For decades homeowners have been settling for this relationship with their house, but it doesn’t have to be this way.Thankfully, after decades of research and testing, we now understand the important link between your home’s contents, heating system, construction materials and you. This is an exciting industry to be in when we can honestly say there are new affordable answers to problems that have been plaguing our every day health for as long as we can remember. Indoor air quality is totally within our control.

What is Indoor Air Quality?

Well, its the the contents of the air inside your home.

  • Its the humidity (moisture content) of that air.
  • Its the visible and invisible particles floating on the drafts.
  • Its the specks settling on your DVR and china hutch.
  • Its all the little living critters that inhabit your home
  • Its one of the primary causes and exacerbating factors of sinus and respiratory issues.

Some Myths about dust and air contaminants:

  • “We bring it inside with us.” – Not usually the case. Most houses generate the majority of their air contaminants by their very construction. Depending on design and the state of your duct system, different parts of a house exist in state of negative or positive pressure. These pressures can drive air out and suck air in to the living space. Whatever this air passes through comes with it: fiberglass insulation, dirt, pest droppings, molds and more.
  • “My house is leaky, mostly the doors and windows.” – Doors and windows make up about 20% of the air leakage in the average home according to energy experts with the Department of Energy. The majority of the air the house “breathes” is from the crawlspace and attic through mechanical, plumbing and electrical penetrations often hidden from direct view. Furthermore, those leaky doors and windows are generally sources of GOOD fresh air, directly from outside.
  • “All houses have to be dusted a couple times a month.”- Well, this is a touchy subject because how often someone dusts is related to how much they are bothered by the stuff. If you find you are dusting more often than you would like, you likely have opportunities to improve this situation. A house that’s been sealed up tight and ventilated right should be able to go a month or more without significant dust build up.

Whats the answer?

Our motto at Barron Heating is “Test, don’t guess”, so the first step is to have a Home and Duct Performance Assessment completed on your home. This test will identify where the air, heat and contaminants are moving and what the best methods of controlling them might be.

Common Prescriptive Solutions Include:

  • Air Sealing the duct system
  • Insulating the duct system
  • Air sealing attic floor and crawl space ceiling
  • Air sealing leaks from inside the home
  • Adding a fresh air duct to the heating system
  • Installing whole house ventilation (timer driven exhaust fans)
  • Installing an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)
  • Crawl space renovation and clean up
  • Insulating floors, walls and ceilings
  • And more… the answer is unique to your home!

Good luck and feel free to ASK AN EXPERT if you have any questions.

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Which is the Right Furnace Filter?

Friday, November 15th, 2013

We should start this post by explaining that within the three main categories of filters, there are many variations on features and installation restrictions. This is meant to be a basic overview to get you started to asking the first right questions before making your final decision.

Media Filters (Paper Filters, Pleated Filters, Washable Filters, Disposable Filters)-

  • Media filters are the first and most basic line of defense when it comes to air filtration. These are a no frills, low efficiency technology that takes care of the basic needs of removing the largest particles before they are deposited in the furnace or back into your home.
  • Most basic media filters range between effectively removing 2-15% of the largest particles from the air stream.
  • Media filters offer no “kill” solution for germs, bacteria, mold or viruses.
  • Media filters are usually disposable and should be replaced every three to four months in the average home.However, there are reusable media filters that can be washed. These filters are most often less effective than the disposable type.

Electronic Air Cleaners

  • Electronic Air Cleaners, or EACs, are the most common upgrade from the standard media filter.
  • EACs are powered and use electrostatic fields to attract particles to the surface of the main filter cartridges.EACs are equipped with washable prefilters that, along with the electrostatic cartridges, need to be cleaned every 3-6 months.
  • EACs are generally rated to effectively remove 75-85% of the largest particles from the air.
  • EACs are not considered to have a “kill” capability.

Air Purifiers

  • Air Purifiers are considered the most effective at cleaning the air stream in your ducts.
  • Air Purifiers will utilize a variety of technologies, layered within the unit, to remove and hold 90-99.9% of the particles in the air. Technologies may include: UV, media filtration, electrostatic, electric sterilization, among others.
  • Some Air Purifiers offer a “kill” capability that can effectively destroy viruses, bacteria, mold and germs.
  • Air Purifiers require an annual maintenance by a professional. Some require annual maintenance kits costing between $100 and $200.

When choosing the right filtration equipment for your system, I suggest first considering how you have experienced the air in your home and what value you place on improving its quality. If you or anyone else in the home have suffered from respiratory ailments, allergies or chronic sinus irritations, you may want to consider that improving your filtration may relieve some of the symptoms or lessen their severity.

If you really have never been concerned with dust or indoor air quality, the basic media filter will do the trick for simply protecting your heating equipment. Whatever filtration type you have installed, be sure to check and change or clean it regularly, at least every 3 to 4 months. A dirty filter can seriously effect your heating system’s ability to operate efficiently and distribute conditioned air around the home.

A last consideration regarding your filtration choice is that your home may be experiencing air contaminant infiltration from a source that will not be addressed by your duct filter. You may need to look into other features of the structure to find the most valuable opportunities for upgrading indoor air quality. These issues are only discovered through a Home and Duct Performance Test (a service offered by Barron Heating and AC).

Good luck and don’t forget to ASK AN EXPERT if you have any further questions.

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Asthma Triggers and Information

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Asthma is a serious lung disease.

* During an asthma attack, the airways get narrow, making it difficult to breathe.
* Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing.
* Asthma can even cause death.


If you have asthma or a child with asthma, you are not alone.

* About 17 million Americans have asthma.
* Asthma is the leading cause of long-term illness in children.

The air that children breathe can make a difference.
* Asthma may be triggered by allergens and irritants that are common in homes.
* Help your child breathe easier: consult a doctor and reduce asthma triggers in your home.

Clear Your Home Of Asthma Trigger

Below are five common asthma triggers found in homes and what you can do to reduce you and your child’s exposure to them.

  • Not all of the asthma triggers listed here affect every person with asthma.
  • Not all asthma triggers are listed here.
  • See your doctor or health care provider for more information.

Secondhand Smoke

Asthma can be triggered by the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar and the smoke breathed out by a smoker.

  • Choose not to smoke in your home or car and do not allow others to do so either.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are too small to be seen but are found in every home.

Dust mites live in mattresses, pillows, carpets, fabric-covered furniture, bedcovers, clothes, and stuffed toys.

  • Wash sheets and blankets once a week in hot water.
  • Choose washable stuffed toys, wash them often in hot water, and dry thoroughly. Keep stuffed toys off beds.
  • Cover mattresses and pillows in dust-proof (allergen-impermeable) zippered covers.

Pets

Your pet’s skin flakes, urine, and saliva can be asthma triggers.

  • Consider keeping pets outdoors or even finding a new home for your pets, if necessary.
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom and other sleeping areas at all times, and keep the door closed.
  • Keep pets away from fabric-covered furniture, carpets, and stuffed toys.

Molds

Molds grow on damp materials. The key to mold control is moisture control.

If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of excess water or moisture.

Lowering the moisture also helps reduce other triggers, such as dust mites and cockroaches.

  • Wash mold off hard surfaces and dry completely. Absorbent materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, with mold may need to be replaced.
  • Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water.
  • Keep drip pans in your air conditioner, refrigerator, and dehumidifier clean and dry.
  • Use exhaust fans or open windows in kitchens and bathrooms when showering, cooking, or using the dishwasher.
  • Vent clothes dryers to the outside.
  • Maintain low indoor humidity, ideally between 30-50% relative humidity. Humidity levels can be measured by hygrometers which are available at local hardware stores.

Pests

Droppings or body parts of pests such as cockroaches or rodents can be asthma triggers.

  • Do not leave food or garbage out.
  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Clean all food crumbs or spilled liquids right away.

Try using poison baits, boric acid (for cockroaches), or traps first before using pesticidal sprays.
 If sprays are used:

  • Limit the spray to infested area.
  • Carefully follow instructions on the label.
  • Make sure there is plenty of fresh air when you spray, and keep the person with asthma out of the room.

Also… House dust may contain asthma triggers. Remove dust often with a damp cloth, and vacuum carpet and fabric-covered furniture to reduce dust build-up. Allergic people should leave the area being vacuumed. Using vacuums with high efficiency filters or central vacuums may be helpful.

When your local weather forecast announces an ozone action day, stay indoors as much as possible.

Posted by Wes Diskin

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