Posts

How to Breathe Easy at Home This Summer

Summer is on its way and homeowners are preparing their air conditioning units in anticipation of the coming heat. While the units are a great help when it comes to staving off the heat, using them also means the air that you breathe is limited to what is inside your home. The following are really easy to follow tips on how to clean indoor air at home this summer while keeping an eye on your electric bill.

Clean Up

It is important to maintain cleanliness around the house to minimize dust, allergens and other gases which may contribute to hazardous indoor air. The following common household items can leave dangerous particulates which can accumulate over time:

– water heaters

– space heaters

– gas ranges

– ovens

– fireplaces

It is important to minimize the use of these items or use these in a well-ventilated room or area. Their fumes can stick to walls and furniture and stay in the house for a very long time. Wiping furniture and dusting walls with static dusters routinely help to get rid of the pollutants. If you have filters in your ventilation, these should be changed or cleaned regularly. The same goes for the filter in your air conditioner unit.

Air Conditioning

Turning on your air conditioning unit for several hours a day can actually be quite helpful in removing the pollutants in the air. Most of the air borne pollutants are water soluble. Modern air conditioning units remove the moisture in the air by sucking in the air and processing it through filters. Most, if not all, air borne pollutants get stuck in the filters. This is the reason why it is important to regularly clean or change the unit’s filter. Using a HEPA or high efficiency particulate filter for your air conditioner is one of the commonly suggested ways on how to breathe clean indoor air at home this summer.

In order to prevent a sky high electric bill, it is important not to keep turning on and off the unit. Intermittent use can cause heavier consumption of electricity. Turn on the air conditioner just before the weather turns really warm (if the heat is already full on, it may take longer for the cold to take effect) and leave it on around dusk when the temperature goes down. If you want to sleep with the cooling unit on, turn it on only when you are ready to get to bed and done with your nightly rituals.

Indoor plants

Another proven method of cleaning the air in your home is to add potted plants in some or all areas of your house. Aside from adding to the beauty and softness to a house, plants absorb a lot of different particulates and process the carbon monoxide that people emit into oxygen.

The Snake Plant, also known as Mother-in-law’s tongue, and Aloe Vera are very hardy plants. Both do not need a lot of care and can survive extended periods without direct sunlight. Aloe Vera is also a remedy for various conditions like thinning hair, superficial burns and wounds.

The Dracaena is another plant that really helps get rid of toxins and pollutants in the air such as, benzene, xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. It is also relatively easy to take care of and can endure not being in direct sunlight for a long time.

These tips on how to clean indoor air at home are very effective and should be considered by Kyle homeowners for the safety of the people who live in the house. If you’re looking to truly improve your home’s indoor air quality, AB&B carries high end IAQ products from the industry’s top provider of HVAC products, Carrier.

5 Simple Secrets to Totally Rocking Your Spring Cleaning

Spring is just around the corner, and this new change of season is the perfect time to start thinking about giving your home a much-needed deep cleaning. After snuggling up inside your Austin home this winter, you may find that you’ve started to accumulate a lot of stuff, including dust, dander, and whatever else you may have dragged in from the outdoors. Though you may dread the annual spring cleaning, we’ve put together some simple tips that will help make your cleaning a success.

Top 5 Spring Cleaning Tips

Are you ready to totally rock your spring cleaning this month? Here are just 5 simple tips that you can use to make sure your home is clean and healthy for you and your family:

spring-cleaning-tips

Want more fun home improvement tips? Each month we update our blog with great information on how to keep your home clean, healthy, and free of repairs. From helpful tips for HVAC efficiency to information on how to prepare for seasonal changes, we cover everything that Austin homeowners need to know about home improvement. Follow our blog to stay up-to-date with the latest from AB&B Air Conditioning and Heating.

 

 

4 Indoor Air Quality Tips for Pet Lovers

Do you have pets? Many homes do, and numerous people consider their pets a part of their family. It’s important for pet owners to be mindful of how a pet can affect your home’s air quality. Living with pets can be a great way to keep your mind and body healthy, but don’t forget about the quality of your indoor air!

How to Maintain Healthy Indoor Air Quality as a Pet Owner

One of the most important things to consider in regards to keeping pets and your home’s air quality and is that pets produce dander. What is dander, you ask? Dander is simply extra small particles of skin that flake off from your pet. Contrary to popular belief, pet hair (what makes our fuzzy friends so fuzzy) is not the cause of most pet allergens and air quality problems. It is actually dander that does the most damage. The best way to combat dander is to prevent it from getting out of hand in the first place. These tips can help:

  • Be sure to bathe your pet/s as recommended by your veterinarian. Clean, healthy, skin will prevent excess dander from forming on your pet and accumulating around your home. Also, brush your pet regularly to remove dander and keep their coat healthy. And, don’t forget fresh water. Even though giving your pet unlimited access to fresh water is a given, be sure their water is plentiful, clean and of excellent quality. This will go a long way to ensure that your four legged friend is getting proper hydration, which helps keep their skin soft, meaning less dander in your home.
  • Keep your HVAC System running smoothly by getting regular maintenance performed on your home’s HVAC system. This is essential for excellent air quality and is doubly important for homes with pets, since dander and pet hair can accumulate not only in the air filter, but in other sneaky spots as well. A professionally trained technician can help inform you of any potential concerns before they become a serious problem.
  • Change your HVAC system’s air filter–often! We recommend changing your air filter according to the manufacturer’s directions. Since filters vary, you’ll want to gauge how often you change it depending on what type of filter you have. Check your filter about once a month and change the filter once it appears dirty. If you have a multiple pet household, consider upgrading to a HEPA filter or switching to an air filter that can help control pet dander.
  • Another way to ensure excellent air quality is to have your ducts cleaned by our professionals. Pet dander, dust, and other debris can accumulate in your home’s ductwork. This dirt recirculates through your ductwork (and your home) each time you run your system.

Give us a call today and learn how we can help improve the quality of you and your pets’ home!

 

 

Why Controlling Indoor Air Quality is So Important to Your Health

Have you ever heard of sick building syndrome? Sick building syndrome is often suspected when occupants of a particular edifice repeatedly suffer from mysterious signs of illness, such as dizziness, chronic fatigue, headaches, upper respiratory infections and unexplained eye/skin/nose/throat irritation.

Normally this term is reserved for commercial or business buildings, but the principle behind it can just as easily apply to homes or apartments. If you and your family are frequently becoming sick, your ‘home sweet home’ may actually be the source of the trouble.

Causes of Indoor Air Contamination

The possible sources of indoor air pollution are many, especially in commercial buildings. Noxious chemicals used in cleaning solutions, dust and dirt blowing through un-cleaned HVAC duct systems, exhaust fumes from adjacent factories or roadways, mold or fungus spores, pet dander, ozone emissions from printers or photocopiers, crumbling insulation, peeling paint—the list of potential culprits is endless.

Meanwhile inadequate air flow can significantly exacerbate the problem; in fact if your ventilation is poor even relatively small amounts of indoor air contamination can cause big trouble. Modern energy-efficient building techniques also contribute to the problem, since airtight construction and insulation practices often ramp up ventilation challenges significantly.

Finding Smart Solutions

The first step to curing a sick home or business is to clean it thoroughly from pillar to post, preferably without the use of chemical cleaning products (try water mixed with a mild soap or vinegar as an alternative).

The functioning of your HVAC system is a major determinant of your indoor air quality. To make sure it is working efficiently, take the following precautionary actions:

  • Have the whole system, including the ductwork, professionally cleaned by an HVAC technician at least once every year.
  • Replace your system’s air filter on a monthly or every-other-month basis.
  • Install air filters with a high “minimum efficiency reporting value” (MERV). An MERV filter with a rating of 11 will catch four-fifths of all airborne particles sized one micron or greater.
  • Add an ultraviolet lamp to your HVAC system. It will vanquish bacteria, mold, fungi and other microbial agents that can circulate through your ductwork.

Improving your ventilation is also vital and this is an aspect of the problem you should not overlook. Adding windows, wall vents, ceiling or whole-house fans, or removing walls or doors that might be inhibiting air flow are some of the solutions you should consider.

While the above actions will certainly help, a more aggressive approach to the problem is likely to produce even better results. Air quality improvement products such as air purifiers, cabinet air filters, UV lamps, energy recovery ventilators and heat recovery ventilators will banish most contaminants and leave you breathing the freshest, purest air you’ve ever experienced indoors. If you’re in central Texas you can purchase these products directly from AB & B, an authorized dealer of high-quality Carrier and Infinity air quality maintenance products.

Breathing Freely and Safely

Indoor air contamination can be a significant threat to your health. If your home or business is showing signs of sick building syndrome the time to take action is now, since doing nothing will only make the problem worse.

At AB & B we know how dangerous indoor air pollution can be and we have the expertise to help you eliminate this problem. So if you live in Cedar Creek, Kyle or the surrounding area and need help improving your indoor air quality, contact us today and let’s get the conversation started.

Follow us right here for more great insights about heating, cooling and air quality management.