Did you know that the average household has 1.6 dogs, 1.8 cats, and/or 2.1 birds? Pets provide us with many benefits, take petting your dog for instance. Studies show that cortisol (the stress hormone) levels lower when you pet your dog or cat.
While having lower stress levels is great – endless sneezing fits from pet dander flying around is not. One out of every 10 people are actually allergic to their pets! And even if you don’t have a specific allergy towards your pet, breathing in high amounts of pet dander every day is not good for your overall health.
In this article we will share tips on how homeowners can improve their indoor air quality and fight allergies, bacteria particles, and smelly pet odors while living with their pets.
What is pet dander and how can it affect me?
Ever wonder what all is in those thousands of specks flying around in the air that become visible when the light shines through the window just the right way? We typically refer to these particles as dust. Indoor dust is comprised of tiny particles of animal hair, pet dander, textile fibers, paper fibers, human skin cells, human hair, and food particles, to name a few. Pet dander is the microscopic protein that your pet sheds from its skin. This dander floats around and makes its home in your carpet, clothing, furniture, and even your body’s airways when you breathe in.
Pet dander can cause a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, and shortness of breath. Coming into physical contact with pet dander can cause contact dermatitis, hives or triggers a person’s asthma.
How can I reduce the amount of dust and dander in my home?
Air Filters: The largest circulator of dust and dander in your home is your HVAC system. Which is why it is important to make sure you are using the right filters for your HVAC system and that you are changing them out often enough.
Air filters come with a MERV rating system which stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This rates the filter’s ability to collect and remove larger particles before they get circulated back into your home. 1 is the lowest MERV rating an 14-16 is the highest. Look for a filter that has a MERV rating of 13-16 for the best allergen particle removal.
The thickness of a filter is also something to pay attention to. A media filter is 4 inches thick and will perform better than a standard one-inch filter. If you aren’t sure what air filter is best for your HVAC system, call us at 281-356-8564 for help.
Around every 90 days you should replace your air filter to help maintain good air flow and keep particles and allergens out of the air you breathe. If you have multiple pets in the home or your air conditioning unit is working harder, like in the summer, you may want to replace your filter sooner than 90 days.
Media Filters: These filters take the reduction of dust and dander to the next level. They are installed directly into your return-air ductwork. Different brands have different benefits. We’ve outlined two of our favorite below:
Air Scrubbers: These are the ultimate defense in improving your overall air quality. Check out the benefits below and dive into a detailed article here.
What's the next step?
Our goal at Country Air is to keep you comfortable and healthy in your home. Call us today and we can help go over the best indoor air quality solutions for your home or office that also fits within your budget. Estimates are always free. 281-356-8564.
Being a homeowner comes with a lot of responsibility. Following through with routine home maintenance will help extend your home’s life and keep its value high. Keep this list handy and refer to it throughout the year to keep your home in tip top shape.
Country Air is here to help with any HVAC needs you may have throughout the year! We can help with any services on this list in bold. Joining our affordable Comfort Club Maintenance Plan will cover your yearly HVAC maintenance needs. Call us at 281-356-8564 or click here to sign-up today .
Does anyone sit around and think about their home’s heating system in Houston? No, not really. Only on the days Texas decides to turn into an artic tundra just to heat back up in the uppers 80’s the next. If you’re a Houstonian, you know what we are talking about!
The days that we do need our heating systems sure do come in handy though and because we are not used to extreme colds it isn’t fun if the heater randomly decides to quit.
At Country Air, our top priority is keeping our customers comfortable year-round, so here is a list we put together of furnace warning signs that may indicate you need service or replacement before the next winter storm.
5 Warning Signs Your Furnace Might Need Replacing
1. Your furnace is old. Some things that are old are good, like wine or grandparents. Old furnaces, however, are not. Electric furnaces typically last about 20 to 30 years while gas furnaces last about 15 to 20 years. Once their expiration date comes and goes, their parts become unreliable due to corrosion and ventilation can become restricted from dirt build up.
Cracks can also develop in the heat exchanger or flue pipes, which could cause carbon monoxide to leak into your home’s air. Pro tip: If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home. Make sure you get one right away. Carbon Monoxide is a deadly gas that you cannot see or smell!
2. Your heating bill is much higher than normal. This could be an indication that your furnace is having to work overtime to keep up with your temperature desires. An aging furnace will not run as efficiently as newer system which will always result in higher energy bills, and that is no fun around Christmas time!
3. Odd noises. No kids, that’s not Santa on the roof, just the furnace on the fritz! Many times, odd noises coming from your furnace can be fixed with a repair from the experts but sometimes it could mean something more. If you hear anything strange call an HVAC pro right away.
4. Furnace flames should be blue. Gas furnaces are most common so if you have one give your flame a peek and if you see it yellow or orange in color that is a sign that something is up.
5. The air in your home isn’t right. It either feels too dry or too humid. Both are problems and could mean that you have the wrong sized furnace for your home. Moisture build-up in your system can lead to other problems like mold and mildew growth which affects the air quality in your home and your family’s health. An HVAC expert can tell you if your furnace is the right size for your home.
Pro Tip: Get your furnace inspected and maintained yearly, this will catch problems before they get worse and allow your system to run efficiently which saves you money on energy bills and extends the time in which you must replace your unit.
If you need help with your furnace, give the experts at Country Air a call at 281-356-8564. We wish you all a happy, warm, and safe Christmas!
Your home is a safe space. A place to relax, be yourself and enjoy precious time with your friends and family. You take extra measures to make sure your home stays safe like adding a security system, keeping up with routine maintenance and spraying for pests, for example. But have you ever thought about how the air you breathe in your home could be negatively affecting your family’s health over time?
What is indoor air quality?
Indoor air quality refers to the quality of the air in a home, school, office, or other building environment.
According to the EPA, Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations (1).
These pollutants can include:
How does poor indoor air quality affect your health over time?
Individuals with pre-existing conditions may have a harder time with poor indoor air quality conditions but even a healthy individual may experience symptoms like increased allergies after being continually exposed to poor indoor air conditions.
Symptoms could include (1):
How to improve the air quality in your home or office.
Luckily, there are several ways to combat poor air quality conditions in your home or office.
Consult a professional.
A licensed HVAC company will be able to go over all the indoor air quality improvement options available and see which one will best suite your family’s budget and needs.
We offer a wide range of options here at Country Air and are always happy to answer your questions and give free estimates. Give us a call at 281-356-8564.
Sources: 1: Indoor Air Quality | US EPA
A sigh of relief: it always feels good to check that last item off your spring-cleaning to-do list, but check it twice, did you remember to clean your dryer vent?
It’s not something you probably think about much but cleaning your dryer vent is an important part of routine maintenance in your home.
How to know when it is time to clean your dryer vent:
What does a professional dryer vent inspection and cleaning include?
Here is a step by step of what to expect a professional service to provide:
How frequently should the lint trap vent and dryer vent be cleaned?
Your parents probably taught you to clean the lint trap after every load – and they were right! Be sure to pull out all visible lint before you dry a new load and vacuum out any hard-to-reach areas. As far as cleaning the dryer vent, we recommend once per year or more often if:
You have a large family.
More people in the family = more loads of laundry. The more loads of laundry, the more lint and debris that build up in the vent. If you notice signs that your dryer vent needs to be cleaned, even after getting it done in the same year, it’s a good idea to go ahead and have it done again.
You have pets.
Pet hair – it’s everywhere! Especially in your dryer vent after wearing it on your clothes all day. Since dryer vents get clogged more quickly with fur babies present, it’s a good idea to get your dryer vent cleaned more often.
You wash a lot of bedding.
Ever notice how full the lint trap is after washing your favorite blanket? Bulky laundry tends to shed a lot more than your normal weekly load of clothes, so if you do dry a lot of blankets, your vents might become clogged faster.
What are the benefits of regular dryer vent cleanings?
Can I clean my dryer vent myself?
Of course! Your local hardware store can provide you with the tools you need to thoroughly clean your dryer vent. But – if the hassle and the mess is something you don’t want to deal with, call a professional like Country Air to come help you out. We offer free quotes and competitive pricing for dryer vent cleaning. Call us today at 281-356-8564.