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5 Ways to Protect Your Home from Carbon Monoxide

By on Jul 28, 2018 in Indoor Air Quality |

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a natural byproduct found in fuel burned in cars or trucks, stoves, grills, gas fireplaces and furnaces. When it builds up in the air indoors, it can poison the people and animals who breathe it. This silent danger affects thousands of individuals every year, with more than 20,000 people visiting the emergency room due to carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s even the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States, with 400 people dying every year from CO poisoning. Safeguarding Your Home from Carbon Monoxide “It won’t happen to me” is a common thought regarding carbon monoxide poisoning. However, the statistics above prove differently. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, and many of those affected by it don’t realize it’s building up in the air until it’s too late. This is why it’s so vital you take measures to protect your home and family from being exposed to CO, including: Install a carbon monoxide detector. The easiest and most effective way to protect yourself against carbon monoxide poisoning is to install a CO detector in your home. They cost as little as thirty dollars but can be priceless in keeping your family safe. Place the detector in an area that will wake you up if it gets set off, and replace it every five years with a newer, more effective model. Understand the risks. Educate yourself about the dangers of carbon monoxide, and know the symptoms. Inhaling CO can cause serious health issues, and at lower concentrations you might experience dizziness, headache, weakness, nausea and vomiting, and chest pain. Keep vents clear. Check your vents outdoors and ensure nothing is blocking the airflow of your dryer, stove, furnace and fireplace vents. During storms, debris like leaves and dirt can build up around these areas, so make sure you’re inspecting them regularly to keep them clear, allowing an exit for any carbon monoxide that might otherwise collect in the air inside. Check your appliances. If appliances like gas dryers, ranges and ovens are not installed properly, carbon monoxide easily gets produced within your home. This goes back to making sure they are vented effectively, as well as ensuring pipes are fitted tightly to prevent leaking....

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May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

By on May 14, 2018 in Indoor Air Quality |

Asthma and allergies affect a combined 75 million people in the United States. However, these conditions often go untreated and overlooked, even though they are responsible for countless hospital visits, missed days of work or school, and even thousands of deaths.        In an effort to bring more attention to these conditions, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation has declared the month of May National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. May is the peak season for allergy sufferers, with the onset of an abundance of both tree and grass pollen permeating the air. Additionally, allergy symptoms can also trigger what’s known as “allergic asthma,” which is asthma triggered by allergens like pollen, pet dander, mold, or even heavy perfume. How to Alleviate Asthma and Allergy Symptoms in the Home During the month of May, it’s important to take steps to get asthma and allergy symptoms under control. If you or someone in your family suffers from either condition, you’re already well aware how difficult this time of year can be. Use National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month as a reminder to take some steps that will allow you to live a healthy, un-congested life. Here are a few things you can do to help alleviate asthma and allergy symptoms in your home this May and the months ahead: Get tested for allergies. If you or someone in your family seems to be miserable every time spring rolls around, but you’ve never actually gotten tested for allergies, it’s time to find out exactly what could be causing your symptoms. Make an appointment at an allergy center to find out exactly what’s causing your misery so you can get properly treated for them. Close the windows. After the long, cold winter it’s always nice to open the windows and let in some fresh air. However, you’ll want to avoid doing this for extended periods of time if you have allergies or asthma to keep those allergens out of your home. Avoid using fans, too, which can stir up allergens and make things that much worse. Invest in a high-quality air filter. It’s time to swap out that dirty air filter for a fresh one. Choose a higher-quality filter of the electrostatic variety...

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Green Spring Cleaning Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality

By on Mar 19, 2018 in Indoor Air Quality |

Spring arrives this week, and while many of us are looking forward to the warmer temperatures and blooming flowers, for those with seasonal allergies, springtime can present some challenges. It’s estimated that nasal allergies affect around 50 million people in the United States, and spring is one of the worst seasons for those sufferers. The budding trees, sprouting grass and weeds release pollen into the air to fertilize other plants, and when you’re enjoying the fresh air through open windows at long last, you might even notice this pollen coating all the surfaces of your home. 5 Spring Cleaning Tips for a Greener Home Spring cleaning has been going on for hundreds of years, dating as far back as the Middle Ages when the changing of the seasons represented a time to open up the home and sweep out all the dust and ash that collected over the winter. Today, spring cleaning usually involves thoroughly tackling high-traffic areas, getting rid of clutter and organizing, or even home remodeling projects. If you or someone in your family has allergies, however, it’s important to think of spring cleaning as an opportunity to improve the indoor air quality of your home to get some much-needed relief. And, many of the cleaning products available today are full of toxic chemicals and fragrances that may further exacerbate allergies. Make a few simple, green cleaning adjustments to your spring cleaning routine to allow everyone to breathe easier. Here are five green spring cleaning tips to keep in mind before you get started with your projects this year: Schedule air duct cleaning. Over time, the air ducts throughout your home can get contaminated with dust, pollen, dirt, animal dander and other debris that has a negative effect on your health, even if you aren’t an allergy sufferer. This is why it’s important to schedule an air duct cleaning that will improve ventilation in the ductwork, and thus, improve your home’s indoor air quality. Use steam and natural products. Steam and natural cleaning products work just as well as their conventional counterparts when it comes to thoroughly cleansing your home. Consider a vapor steam cleaner, and go the DIY route when it comes to your cleaning products....

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5 Reasons to Change that Dirty Air Filter

By on Mar 5, 2018 in Cooling, Heating, Indoor Air Quality |

The air filter is an extremely important component of your heating and cooling system. It works hard to clean the air circulating through the system, and consequently, into your home, trapping contaminants like dirt, dust, pollen, animal dander, mold spores and more, all which could be detrimental to you and your family’s health. What Happens if You Don’t Replace Your Air Filter Despite its importance, neglecting to replace the air filter regularly is one of the top causes of problems with HVAC systems. The sad thing is that the reason most homeowners don’t change their air filters? Simple forgetfulness! Save yourself costly repairs and stay healthier by setting a reminder, whether in your phone, on your computer, placing a sticky note on the fridge, or whatever method is effective for you, to change it on a monthly basis. Here are the top five reasons to set this reminder to change your dirty air filter: Reduce energy consumption. Simply put, when the air filter is dirty and clogged, your HVAC system has to work harder to heat or cool your home. A unit with a dirty air filter has to run more often to keep the air at the ideal temperature, and this means it will consume more energy to do so. You’ll end up paying more in your monthly utility bills simply because you haven’t changed the air filter when you should. Improve indoor air quality. It’s important to keep the air in your home as clean as possible. This is especially true if anyone in your family suffers from allergies or asthma. A dirty air filter will cause allergens to quickly build up in the ductwork, where they can linger for months. This can in turn even cause mold to grow, getting released into the air when the system runs. Keep your HVAC system running effectively, longer. A new heating and air conditioning system is a major investment, and you can not only protect that investment but also allow the system to work so much better by keeping it properly maintained. Regularly swapping out the dirty air filter is a critical element in keeping the HVAC system working effectively for as long as possible. Increase airflow throughout the...

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What’s Causing that Dirty Air Filter in Your Home?

By on Jan 22, 2018 in Indoor Air Quality |

Forgetting to change the air filter in your HVAC system on a regular basis is a common problem among homeowners. It’s an easy task to forget about, quite honestly, because it’s not something you’re looking at on a daily basis. However, not changing the air filter regularly can have serious consequences on your furnace and/or air conditioning unit, not to mention how it can negatively affect the indoor air quality of your home. 5 Reasons You Have a Dirty Air Filter There are a variety of reasons your air filter can get clogged up quickly, making it necessary to replace it at least every three months. These reasons include: Contaminants in the air in your home. Obviously, the air filter’s purpose is to keep your home free of as many contaminants as possible, but sometimes it becomes difficult to keep up. For instance, if you have furry, shedding pets. Fur and dander is constantly floating through the air, and your filter works hard to trap as much of it as it can. Or, perhaps you’ve been putting off giving your home a good dusting and vacuuming, or you’re working on a home remodeling project, so there are extra contaminants in the air. Extreme weather conditions. When your system is running more often than normal, such as during frigid winters or hot, humid summers, your air filter gets clogged up faster. This is because the more your system runs, the more air there is flowing through your home, and the more contaminants, too. Choosing a lower-quality air filter. It can be tempting to purchase a cheap filter for just a few bucks, but if you aren’t swapping it out monthly, you’ll notice it will get dirty much faster than a high quality filter. A standard fiberglass filter definitely needs to be changed every 30 days, unlike a thicker, pleated filter that can last 60-90 days. Dirty or dusty vents and/or ducts. Check around the vents in your home; you might notice there’s more dirt or dust buildup near them than other areas. This is a common occurrence in many homes, but this buildup will go directly into the ducts, and ultimately collect in your air filter. You keep the fan...

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Top Remedies for Better Indoor Air Quality in the Fall

By on Oct 23, 2017 in Indoor Air Quality |

Now that fall is here and there’s a chill in the air, you’ve probably already resigned yourself to the fact that your windows and doors will be closed up tight for the next several months. While this keeps your home cozy and warm throughout the cold Cleveland winters, it also can have a slightly detrimental effect on your and your family’s health. Why? Well, airing out your house by opening the doors and windows provides a chance to lower concentrations of any toxic chemicals, carbon dioxide and any other “bad stuff” to escape out into the great wide open. Improving Indoor Air Quality in Your Home Don’t despair! There are still a few things you can do throughout the fall and winter to ensure the indoor air quality of your home is the best it can be. Your options include: Purchase a better vacuum. If your current vacuum tends to spit out more dust and dirt than it picks up, it’s time to invest in a new one. There are plenty of affordable vacuum cleaners on the market today that include a HEPA air filter, stronger suction, and faster rotating brushes to make sure you’re getting rid of as much grime on your floors – and thus, keeping it out of the air – as possible. Make sure to use the attachment brush from time to time to clean moldings, walls and carpet edges. Ditch the synthetic air fresheners. Those plug-in air fresheners do make your home smell lovely, but some of them contain synthetic fragrances that can emit harmful chemicals into the air. In fact, one study revealed that some popular air fresheners release as much as 100 volatile organic chemicals into the air in your home! The same goes for some candles, or even cleaning products and detergents. Look for natural or fragrance-free cleaning options. And, if you’re looking for a way to make your home smell nice, try simmering some cinnamon, cloves and apples on your stove. Let plants go to work. One of the simplest ways to improve indoor air quality? Pick up some houseplants and let them naturally purify the air in your home. For example, Bamboo Palms are highly effective at removing chemical...

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