Mold - Blog Posts by Tag

Considering Improving Your Home’s IAQ With UV Lights? Here’s What You Need to Know

Considering Improving Your Home's IAQ With UV Lights? Here's What You Need to KnowWhile your air filter cleans the air inside your house, UV lights actually sterilize it. Factors that degrade indoor air quality include inorganic particulates like dust or lint fibers that you can actually see floating around and settling on surfaces inside the house. A quality air filter, ideally changed every month, helps keep these particulates to a minimum. However, what about the stuff you can‘t see? Living microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, and mold spores are invisible to the naked eye. However, these airborne pathogens can cause health effects including allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.

Air filtration doesn’t neutralize microorganisms. In fact, these contaminants may thrive and breed inside HVAC filters, continuing to disperse throughout your house through the system’s normal air circulation. UV lights installed inside the ductwork decontaminate the system airflow by neutralizing common microorganisms. The technology is nothing new: the germicidal effect of ultraviolet wavelengths of light has been used for over a hundred years in hospitals to disinfect the indoor environment as well as sterilize surgical instruments. Many municipal water treatment facilities also utilize ultraviolet light technology to enhance disinfection of the public water supply.

Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision about adding UV lights to your HVAC system;

  • A UV light is typically a small tube like a fluorescent light bulb that is installed by an HVAC technician inside your HVAC ductwork. All air passing through the duct is exposed to the sterilizing effect of the light.
  • UV lights may also be added at certain system components that tend to breed toxic mold or bacteria, such as the A/C evaporator coil enclosed in the indoor air handler. Continuous exposure to ultraviolet light prevents growth of these contaminants.
  • Most UV light bulbs are rated at just 36 watts and thus consume little electricity.
  • UV light destroys microorganisms by neutralizing the reproductive process. These ultraviolet wavelengths are also present in natural sunlight and have no effect on humans.

Ask the professionals at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning for more information about the benefits of UV lights to enhance indoor air quality.

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).

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How to Start Improving Indoor Air Quality in Every Room

How to Start Improving Indoor Air Quality in Every RoomConsidering the fact that the average American spends around 90 percent of each day indoors, it’s important to think about the quality of your indoor air. Polluted air can cause allergic reactions, respiratory ailments and discomfort in the form of headaches, congestion or nausea. Common sources of indoor air pollution include pet dander, mold, volatile organic compounds, mold and dust mites. Improving indoor air quality in every room in your home is easier than you think. Following is a guide to get you started.

Bedrooms

  • Pets. Avoid sleeping with pets in the bedroom, keeping them out altogether if possible.
  • Air cleaners. A whole-home air cleaner can help you breathe easier whether you’re asleep or awake.
  • Bedding. Invest in allergen-proof pillows and mattress covers, and wash them and your bedding in hot water each week.

Kitchen

  • Appliances. Prevent mold growth in your refrigerator by wiping away excess moisture and periodically cleaning the seals around the door. Use the exhaust fan above your stove when cooking, and make sure it vents outside, rather than to the attic.

Living Room

  • Plants. Place aquarium gravel around the base of houseplants to reduce mold and dust.
  • Furnishings. Keep pets off of soft furniture to reduce dander.

Bathrooms

  • Ventilate. Use the exhaust fan when bathing or showering to reduce excess moisture and prevent mold and mildew.
  • Lose the mats. Toss old, moldy mats and shower curtains.
  • Walls. Choose tile over wallpaper or paint with enamel-based, mold resistant paint.

Whole Home Tips

  • Control humidity. One of the easiest ways to go about improving indoor air quality in every room is by keeping humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. At these levels, mold and dust mite growth are inhibited.
  • Keep things neat. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and dust with microfiber cloths to trap, rather than spread, dust.
  • Maintain. Change your air filter every four to six weeks, and schedule annual preventive maintenance each spring and fall.

For more tips on improving indoor air quality in every room in your home, call Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve homeowners in San Diego and surrounding areas.

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).

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How Can Professional Duct Cleaning Benefit Your San Diego Home?

How Can Professional Duct Cleaning Benefit Your San Diego Home?The wind in the San Diego, La Costa, and Oceanside areas does its part to keep the air outdoors clean, but maintaining good air quality at home takes some extra effort. In some cases, professional duct cleaning should be part of that effort. Having dirty ducts cleaned can benefit you in a number of ways.

Less dust in your air: A little dust isn’t harmful to most people, but when it reaches a certain level it can cause coughing and sneezing, not to mention add to your housework load. If your home seems unusually dusty, remove an air register cover and peek inside the duct. A buildup of dust and debris there suggests your whole duct system could use a cleaning. After remodeling is also a good time to schedule a duct inspection. Enough sawdust, carpet fiber, and other debris can accumulate in the ducts to make thorough cleaning necessary.

Reduced exposure to mold spores: Mold favors warm, moist locations so ducts with moisture problems are prone to mold growth. The tiny reproductive spores this fungus produces circulate via your ductwork through your home. Once in your air, they can trigger asthma attacks and allergy symptoms, as well as increase your risk of respiratory tract infection. Check inside your ducts for patches of brown, white, orange or other discoloration, which is likely to be mold that can be removed through professional duct cleaning. Moisture inside the ducts also warrants a call to a technician.

Protection from pest debris: Mice, bats, cockroaches, wasps and other pests that commonly invade ductwork leave behind debris that can end up in your home’s air. This debris aggravates asthma and allergies as well as spreads harmful bacteria. If you find droppings, hair, nests or dead bugs in your ducts, contact a heating and cooling technician. The technician can advise you on whether or not to call an exterminator or simply have the ducts cleaned if the pests have long since vacated.

For more information on professional duct cleaning, contact our professionals at Sherlock Heating & Air.

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: “Csehak Szabolcs/Shutterstock”

Got Allergies? Watch Out for These Common Indoor Triggers

Got Allergies? Watch Out for These Common Indoor Triggers Our homes are often filled with indoor allergy triggers that can make the lives of certain household members miserable. To alleviate this problem, we suggest you watch out for these specific triggers in your home:

  • Dust mites: These microscopic insects love bedding and other soft furnishings. Your bedroom is full of them, so one way to tackle this issue is to wash your bedding in hot water once a week and encase your box spring, mattress and pillows in allergen-proof coverings.
  • Pet dander: Pet dander can be a huge irritant. If you’re planning to adopt a pet, choose either one that doesn’t produce dander or select a breed that’s known to shed less hair. For people who already have pets, be sure to wash them regularly and keep them off your furniture.
  • Pollen: You may think you’re safe if you have no plants in your home, but pollen often gets tracked in on our clothes and shoes. The best strategy is to change your clothes when you get home, stick them in a hamper and remove your shoes.
  • Mold: This pollutant likes to grow in areas of high moisture, so make sure you’re keeping susceptible areas, such as your bathroom and basement, as dry as possible. You may also want to install a UV light system in your HVAC system.
  • Cigarette smoke: The best advice we can give you is to do yourself a favor and quit. If you’re struggling, you can alleviate problems by smoking outside.
  • Cockroaches: We’re not trying to gross you out, but cockroach saliva and waste can get into your air and act as an irritant. It’s a good idea to hire an exterminator on a regular basis, especially if you spot one in your home.

For more expert advice on indoor allergy triggers, or if you have other home comfort concerns, contact the professionals at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve San Diego and all surrounding areas with more than 100 years of combined experience.

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: “Stephanie Lirette/Shutterstock”

5 Ways Excess Humidity Can Damage Your San Diego Home

5 Ways Excess Humidity Can Damage Your San Diego HomeIn addition to the discomfort it can cause, excess humidity can also wreak havoc on your health and home. Here are five ways humidity damage can occur, and the steps you can take to prevent it from happening:

Trouble Below

Basements and crawlspaces are notoriously damp and are often humid, cool and dark. This, combined with moisture from the ground, can lead to condensation on walls, floors and other surfaces, leading ultimately to mold and mildew issues. Steps should be taken to minimize humidity levels, including:

  • Opening foundation vents to let it remain dry.
  • Keeping basement doors and windows closed on humid days.
  • Insulating basement walls using rigid foam insulation.
  • Using a professionally installed whole-house dehumidifier to remove excess moisture.
  • Installing a solid, thick moisture barrier in crawlspaces.

Flooring Issues

Carpeting and even hard flooring is susceptible to mold if excess humidity is present. Signs of excess humidity may include a musty smell, as well as damp carpeting and padding. A correctly sized and professionally installed air conditioning system can help control humidity levels, while keeping your home cool and comfortable.

Attic Concerns

Ventilation is the key to preventing moisture buildup in your attic space. A solar or electric powered fan can help create air movement to keep your attic cool and dry.

Wall Trouble

Walls may become spongy, and paint may bubble and peel if moisture pockets form within your walls as a result of excessively humid conditions. Sealing leaks around doors, windows, baseboards and wall outlets can help, as can beefing up wall insulation levels.

Storage Problems

Consistently high humidity levels can take their toll on stored items, such as food and clothing. Canned items may become rusty or leak, and dry foods may attract moisture and become stale. Allow air to circulate in closets by leaving doors open, removing unwanted items and leaving space between clothes. You can also store food in an air conditioned space.

For more information on the hazards of excess humidity, call the experts at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. We proudly serve homeowners in San Diego and the surrounding areas.

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: “Flat-Design/Shutterstock”