Category: Indoor Air Quality

09 Feb 2017
Air Filters

Air Filters Are Your Best Defense When It Comes to Indoor Air Quality

The air in the typical home is one of the top five environmental hazards, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Your Omaha home’s air contains particles such as bacteria, viruses, mold spores and pollen. There are many ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality, but your first defense against these particles is a clean HVAC air filter. You should check your filter every month and swap it for a clean one when you can no longer see through it.

Choosing an Air Filter

Understanding the minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, scale is essential to choosing a filter that will meet your indoor air quality needs. Air filters are given a rating between 1 and 20 on the MERV scale, with higher numbers denoting a better filter that will trap more and smaller particles in your home’s air.

  • MERV 1-4 filters are flat and inexpensive. Their primary purpose is to prevent large particles from entering your HVAC system, which can cause the premature failure of essential components. These filters trap particles larger than 10 microns and won’t do much to improve your indoor air quality.
  • MERV 5-8 filters are pleated to trap more particles and will remove those as small as 3 microns, including hair spray and mold spores. They’re sufficient for most residential air quality needs.
  • MERV 9-12 filters are of the highest quality for residential systems, trapping particles as small as 1 micron, including lead dust and Legionella. If anyone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, these filters will help alleviate symptoms.
  • MERV 13-20 filters are generally only used in commercial buildings and hospitals. Because of their thickness and density, they will impede the flow of air to residential systems, possibly causing overheating and other serious damage.

Check the specifications of your system to determine what type of air filter it will accommodate. It’s essential to balance airflow with air cleaning capabilities when choosing a filter.

For more expert advice about choosing and replacing air filters, please feel free to contact us at Fred’s Heating & Air. We’re proud to help Omaha area residents stay comfortable year round.

09 Feb 2017
Trane - CleanEffects

Boost Indoor Air Quality: Make Your Council Bluffs Home a Haven When It’s Hot

When heat and humidity levels start to soar in the Omaha and Council Bluffs area, daily tasks can seem extra energy depleting.

The body works harder just to stay cool during the summer, so it’s no surprise if you feel less energetic. When a person has a chance each day to cool off and enjoy better air, it helps significantly. Boost indoor air quality to make your home a place to revitalize.

Cleaning for better air

Mold, pollen and dust are three substances that trigger allergies in the home.

  • Scrub mold and mildew from all solid surfaces using detergent and water. If mold or mildew is growing on washable fabrics, wash them in hot, soapy water.
  • Control pollen and dust by closing doors and windows and by vacuuming and mopping at least once a week.
  • Check your air conditioner filter monthly and replace it when dirty or at least every three months.

Controlling humidity

Humidity makes the air feel warmer and facilitates mold growth. For the purest air indoors, keep humidity levels under control.

  • Use fans in addition to your air conditioner for continuous airflow in the home.
  • Use dehumidifiers. These pull moisture from the air and return dry air to the room. You may decide on portable ones for the rooms you use most or a whole-house humidifier.

Improving ventilation

Use ventilation systems to draw out stale air and return fresh, filtered air. A whole-house fan is one example.

Using natural or mechanical air cleaners to boost indoor air quality

Houseplants reduce chemical pollutants, while air cleaners that use HEPA filters reduce dust and other contaminants in the air.

For more information about ways to boost indoor air quality in your home, or any other issues related to home comfort, contact the pros at Fred’s Heating and Air. We’ve been serving the Omaha and Council Bluffs areas for 25 years and look forward to helping you.

09 Feb 2017
Dehumidifier

Install a Dehumidifier to Help Take the Sweat Out of Summer

Dehumidifiers are an essential part of keeping your Omaha or Council Bluffs home comfortable year round.

After all, air conditioning can only partly control the humidity of your home and only as a by-product as it cools air. But what are the benefits of dehumidifiers?

Dehumidifiers run alongside your heating and cooling system, pulling the air through the return ducts and removing moisture along the way. The dry air is then distributed back into your home. Dehumidifiers can work with your air conditioner if needed or on their own, effectively removing any uncomfortable or excess humidity in your home.

The Benefits of Dehumidifiers

Running a dehumidifier in your home can eliminate or greatly reduce the following household problems:

  • Difficulty sleeping because of stuffy rooms or clammy skin
  • Sticky or sweaty floors
  • Concern about mold growth and mildew
  • Musty smell or unusual odors in your home
  • The sight of condensation on your water pipes
  • Wet stains on your ceiling or walls
  • Allergy discomfort (Moist air encourages bacteria, dust mites and mold, which are the three most common household allergens.)

All of the above conditions can reduce your family’s comfort, with some even becoming hazardous to your health. Too much humidity can also cause structural damage to your home’s wood floorings, cabinets and furniture.

Health

Are you aware that dust mites and, subsequently, their waste products are among the best known causes of triggering allergies and asthma? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established guidelines that advise keeping your home’s humidity between 30 and 50 percent in order to avoid an infestation.

Energy Savings

Running a central dehumidifier alongside your air conditioner means you could actually save energy. How? By effectively removing moisture as well as heat, you’ll never have to overcool your Omaha or Council Bluffs home again in order to remove excess moisture from your rooms.

For more information or advice on the benefits of dehumidifiers for your Omaha area home, contact the experts at Fred’s Heating and Air today.

09 Feb 2017
Dehumidifier

Mold Growth Can Be Prevented by Staying Aware of Indoor Humidity

With the humid weather commonly found in Omaha, mold is a problem many homeowners must deal with. One way to help eliminate this problem is to be aware of your home’s indoor humidity levels.

Toxic molds, which damage your indoor air quality, require a warm, damp environment in which to grow, and if you can prevent that environment from occurring in your home, you can help prevent the growth of molds.

To combat mold, you must first understand how moisture enters your home. Humidity can enter your home through moisture:

  • From the outside air
  • From the people in your home who breathe and perspire
  • From water running in your home
  • Brought in on wet shoes or clothing
  • From house plants and even moist firewood

In order to know if you have a moisture problem, you must monitor it. Experts recommend that Omaha area homeowners maintain a humidity level of around 60 percent in the summer to keep your family comfortable without giving too much room for mold to grow and less than 40 percent in the winter to prevent condensation problems.

If you notice that your home’s too moist or not moist enough, Fred’s Heating and Air can help with the installation of a humidifier or dehumidifier. For over 25 years, we’ve been helping homeowners in Omaha and Council Bluffs keep their homes comfortable year-round. Let us help you identify ways you can improve the indoor humidity levels in your home to discourage mold growth as you strive to help your family live a comfortable, healthy life.

09 Feb 2017
HVAC - Comfortable Home

HEPA Filtration: The Ultimate Indoor Air Quality Tool for Your Omaha Home

Allergy season is upon us and will get worse before it gets better for Omaha residents. Adding HEPA filtration to your heating and cooling system can deliver huge relief to those that suffer from a wide variety of breathing difficulties.

How does HEPA work

HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air. It’s a home filtration system designed to remove at least 99.97 percent of all foreign particulates from the filtered air that are 0.8 micrometers and larger in diameter. The main component of a HEPA system is the filter itself, where all of the work of removing the contaminants occurs. HEPA filtration is most often used by medical facilities and computer manufacturer clean rooms, but can also be employed in businesses and homes that require extremely high indoor air quality.

HEPA filtration can only remove the airborne contaminants from the volume of air that passes through the filtration system. There are also particles in your carpets and on the floors that can become airborne and exacerbate breathing problems. For this reason, some experts recommend using a portable HEPA filtration system in rooms where those with breathing difficulties are more likely to spend time and that also have less than ideal airflow through the heating and cooling system.

In Omaha, allergens can get out of hand during the spring and summer months, but there’s help. Make sure you change your home’s air filter regularly — whether it’s a HEPA filter or not. Check it monthly and replace it whenever it begins to look dirty.

For more information about HEPA filtration or how best to handle allergens in your Omaha area home, give Fred’s Heating and Air a call. One of our NATE-certified HVAC technicians will come out and give you a no-obligation estimate.

09 Feb 2017
Pure Air in Home

A Comprehensive Ventilating System: Essential for the Airtight Omaha Home

Allergy season is upon us and will get worse before it gets better for Omaha residents. Adding HEPA filtration to your heating and cooling system can deliver huge relief to those that suffer from a wide variety of breathing difficulties.

How does HEPA work

HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. It’s a home filtration system designed to remove at least 99.97 percent of all foreign particulates from the filtered air that are 0.8 micrometers and larger in diameter. The main component of a HEPA system is the filter itself, where all of the work of removing the contaminants occurs. HEPA filtration is most often used by medical facilities and computer manufacturer clean rooms, but can also be employed in businesses and homes that require extremely high indoor air quality.

HEPA filtration can only remove the airborne contaminants from the volume of air that passes through the filtration system. There are also particles in your carpets and on the floors that can become airborne and exacerbate breathing problems. For this reason, some experts recommend using a portable HEPA filtration system in rooms where those with breathing difficulties are more likely to spend time and that also have less than ideal airflow through the heating and cooling system.

In Omaha, allergens can get out of hand during the spring and summer months, but there’s help. Make sure you change your home’s air filter regularly — whether it’s a HEPA filter or not. Check it monthly and replace it whenever it begins to look dirty.

For more information about HEPA filtration or how best to handle allergens in your Omaha area home, give Fred’s Heating and Air a call. One of our NATE-certified HVAC technicians will come out and give you a no-obligation estimate .

09 Feb 2017
HVAC - Comfortable Home

Home Ventilating Systems: Know The Difference Between An ERV And An HRV?

If you’ve spent a lot of time and energy making sure your home is well insulated, you might think you can sit back and relax. Unfortunately, your work isn’t quite done. Every well-sealed home needs to be ventilated. Although exhaust fans, such as those you have in your bathroom and kitchen, are a necessity, it can pay to have a home ventilating system — either energy recovery ventilation or heat recovery ventilation. So what’s the difference between an ERV and an HRV?

An HRV exhausts stale air out of the house while drawing in fresh air. The heat from the warm air stream is recovered and added to the cool air stream. In the winter, that means the HRV recovers some of the heat that would have been sent outside. In the summer, the heat is added to the exhaust air.An ERV functions similarly to an HRV, but in addition, it permits some of the moisture in the more humid airstream to be added to the dryer air stream. In the winter, that means some of the moisture from the exhaust air is transferred to the incoming air. The process reverses in the summer.

You might wonder why you need a home ventilating system. Here are three ways ventilation can improve your home comfort.

  • It eliminates unpleasant odors.
  • It provides fresh air.
  • It helps to eliminate indoor-air pollutants.

So which kind of system is better for you? You might assume that homeowners in the Southeast would automatically opt for an ERV, because the extra moisture isn’t needed, and homeowners in Nebraska and Iowa would need an HRV, because using a furnace in the winter can dry out the air.

But this is where you professional HVAC contractor comes in. After assessing your home, he can recommend the specific system that’s right for your home. Much of that recommendation will rest on the humidity in your specific home, because levels vary from home to home, even in the same region. It will also depend on exactly how tight your home is.

As you can see, deciding between the two systems isn’t an easy job. The professionals at Fred’s Heating and Cooling can provide you with invaluable guidance. We serve homeowners in Omaha and Council Bluffs, and we’re experts when it comes to making homes in our area both comfortable and energy efficient.

09 Feb 2017

Will A Whole-House Humidifier Take Care Of Extremely Dry Air? You Bet

A whole-house humidifier is the front line of defense against winter dryness in your home. Although Midwestern winters can get very sloppy, the air inside your home can actually be relatively dry. That’s partly because the heated indoor air is already dry, but also because cold air leaking into your home through windows, doors and other small gaps mixes with the warmer indoor air, and the ultimate effect is lower relative humidity.

How do you know the air is significantly drier? Maybe your skin is itchy, or family members are experiencing nosebleeds. Have you noticed more static electricity, and have your prized wood floors cracked in spots? Dry air feels colder, which might have already caused you to turn up the thermostat. For every added degree on the thermostat, your heating costs increase 4 percent.

Room humidifiers treat only limited areas, but dry air affects your entire home. A whole-house humidifier helps to keep your whole home comfortable. Here’s how it works:

  • Installed directly into your heating and cooling ducts, a whole-house system draws water from a supply line attached to your plumbing, converts it to water vapor and injects it into the ducts. Because all the air in a home circulates through the ducts many times daily, the entire air volume is humidified.
  • The whole-house approach incorporates a digital humidistat to control humidity levels. Just as a thermostat senses room temperature, a humidistat monitors the relative humidity in the air and activates the humidifier as required. Any desired level can be dialed up on the humidistat, which displays a continuous readout of relative humidity on a LCD screen.
  • Because whole-house humidifiers operate by converting water into vapor, there’s no reservoir of standing water providing a breeding ground for mold and requiring frequent cleaning and disinfecting.

For more than 25 years, Fred’s Heating & Air has provided home-comfort sales and service to Nebraska and Iowa residents. Give us a call, and let us tell you more about the benefits of a  whole-house humidifier.