IAQ - Blog Posts by Tag

How to Check the Status of Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

How to Check the Status of Your Carbon Monoxide DetectorsThe Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports 10,000 people become ill each year and 1,500 die because of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Fortunately, you can avoid it by installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home and checking their status to ensure they’re in good working order.

Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that’s produced by common gas or oil appliances such as a furnace, water heater, and oven. The trace amounts generated by these appliances are usually harmless. However, if your home is poorly ventilated or one of the appliances has a problem, it can cause the CO levels in your home to increase rapidly.

Medium exposure to carbon monoxide can cause drowsiness, throbbing headaches, confusion, and a fast heart rate. High exposure can cause convulsions, heart and lung failure, unconsciousness, brain damage and even death.

For all those reasons, it’s important to have carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Follow these guidelines to ensure your detectors are actively protecting your family.

Correct Installation

Install at least one CO detector on each level of your house. You should also have a detector near or in each separate bedroom. A detector will be falsely triggered if it’s too close to fuel-burning sources such as a natural gas furnace. Make sure your detectors are 15-20 feet away from such sources.

Test Each Detector

Ensure proper function by performing the following test – press the Test button that’s on the front of your detector and don’t release it until it sounds. If it doesn’t sound within 20 seconds, it may be lacking adequate power or may need replacement.

Change Batteries Regularly

Replace the batteries in your battery-operated detectors when you’re adjusting your clocks for daylight saving time, or immediately you get a low battery warning.

Having detectors that are regularly tested and maintained should be your first line of defense against CO poisoning. If you need help with installation or maintenance of your carbon monoxide detectors or any HVAC appliances, please contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve the San Diego area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “leena-robinson/Shutterstock”

Helpful Ways to Control Pollutants in Your Home

Helpful Ways to Control Pollutants in Your HomeYou know the value of air sealing your home, but energy efficiency has a down side: the better you are at keeping air and energy indoors, the better you are at keeping air pollution indoors, too. Your air is polluted every day by a number of sources, from cleaning products to cooking fumes, and from shed skin cells to emissions from your HVAC system. Thankfully, there are ways you can control pollutants so that you can breathe easy.

  • Keep your HVAC system serviced — Not only will regular servicing make sure that your system runs at peak efficiency, but it will also make sure it’s not releasing fumes or carbon monoxide into your indoor air.
  • Change your furnace air filter once a month — Your air filter can do a great job of catching particulate matter and removing it from your circulating air. But when the filter begins to clog with all the particles it’s catching, it impedes airflow – and when air’s not flowing, it’s not being cleaned.
  • Install ventilation systems — Having a whole-house ventilation system lets you bring in fresh air and get rid of the stale stuff. A heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator will make sure that you’re not getting rid of your heating or cooling dollars, too.
  • Cut down on your chemical use — Don’t go straight for the harshest cleaners you can find – consider gentler, more natural alternatives. Remember, if you can smell it, that means you’re breathing it. Do you really want bleach in your lungs?
  • Keep things clean — Vacuum regularly, and try not to let clutter build up. Clutter makes it much more likely that dust can gather in your home. And dust can support the growth of dust mites, which are among the most common allergens in the US.
  • Manage your humidityHigh humidity can lead to mold and fungus; low humidity can lead to excess dust. Use humidifiers and/or dehumidifiers to find the right balance.

If your San Diego home could use some help to control pollutants, get in touch with us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning!

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Jana Guothova/Shutterstock”

How Do UV Lights Improve Your Indoor Air Quality?

How Do UV Lights Improve Your Indoor Air Quality?UV (ultraviolet) lights have been used for decades to disinfect food, water, and air in food-processing plants, hospitals, water treatment facilities, schools, commercial buildings, and more. UV technology is also available for residential purposes to enhance indoor air quality in homes. Read on to learn how UV lights can help you breathe easier and healthier in your San Diego area home.

How UV Lights Improve Indoor Air Quality

UV light systems emit low levels of ultraviolet radiation to kill or control a host of germs, house mold, bacteria, and viruses. UV systems accomplish this by altering the cell structure of microorganisms which renders them unable to reproduce.

While outdoor air is cleansed by the sun and vegetation, the indoor air of many households is sealed up to save energy and becomes a stuffy breeding ground for harmful contaminants. A proactive approach to clean indoor air is necessary if you want healthful air to breathe in your home.

Installation and Maintenance

UV light systems consist of one to three UV light bulbs that are installed inside the air ducts. The best location for UV lights is near the evaporator coil. The evaporator produces a large amount of condensate. The moisture and darkness provide ideal conditions for the growth of mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms.

For the best results, install one UV light inside the A-frame type evaporator and two bulbs on the exterior tubing of the evaporator. As airflow streams through the tubing, it is disinfected by the lights. Additionally, UV light systems protect supply ducts from contamination, which helps prevent odors and re-contamination to the living spaces.

Installation only takes an hour or two. Since the lights are completely concealed inside the air ducts, they won’t harm people or pets. Maintenance is as simple as changing the bulbs every two or three years, which can be performed during HVAC preventive maintenance.

If you want to prevent the spread of mold and germs in your HVAC system and San Diego area home, contact the indoor air quality experts at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning today for more information about UV lights.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Plume Photography/Shutterstock”

Think Indoor Air Isn’t as Polluted as Outdoor Air? Think Again

Think Indoor Air Isn't as Polluted as Outdoor Air? Think AgainGiven the amount of vehicle traffic that contributes to bad air quality in San Diego, it’s easy to assume that indoor air pollution is minor compared to what’s outside. But in reality, the air you breathe indoors may be among the most toxic you encounter, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A recent nationwide study found that while 91 percent of survey respondents believe high air quality is essential for good health, 76 percent used products in their homes that degrade indoor air quality (IAQ). A full 57 percent didn’t change the HVAC system’s air filter regularly to alleviate airborne allergies or control airborne particulates.

Achieving healthy indoor air isn’t difficult or expensive, especially if you use your central cooling and heating system as part of a whole-house approach. Here are some tips to start with.

Improve Ventilation

Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bath to pull out excessive humidity. You can also use an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) as part of your HVAC system to exhaust stale indoor air and replace it with fresh air. ERVs capture the energy in the outgoing air and put it into the incoming air, making them an energy efficient approach to reduce indoor air pollution.

Reduce the Amount of VOCs in Your Home

Cleaning products, paint, new flooring, many cleaning products, dry cleaning and vinyl products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can lead to damaging health effects. Look for products with a clean air label or labeled as no or low VOCs. Ultraviolet (UV) lights inside the air handler and ductwork can neutralize the toxicity of VOCs and help control the spread of viruses and bacteria.

Change Air Filters Regularly

Change the HVAC system’s air filter on a regular basis to keep IAQ higher. A clean filter will trap more airborne particulates like pollen, dust and pet dander, reducing the severity of allergies and asthma.

For more information on indoor air pollution, contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We prouldy provide outstanding HVAC and IAQ services for homeowners in the San Marcos area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Risto Viita/Shutterstock”