Indoor Air Quality

Humidity, Indoor Air Quality

Fall’s Top 5 Worst Indoor Air Quality Problems

Fall is upon us. The wonderful season of crisp, cool air and brightly colored leaves is a welcome relief from the record high temperatures this past summer granted us. Unfortunately, though, autumn is is not all pumpkins, spice and everything nice; fall presents problems with your home’s indoor air quality. No wonder October is National Indoor Air Quality Awareness Month! We’ve made a list of this season’s worst and most common issues your home might face with its quality of air.

Dry Air

The cooler temperatures of the season bring with it dryer air.  Not only can dry air be irritating to your nose, throat and skin it creates an environment where viruses and bacteria can thrive.  For optimal comfort and health, keep you home’s humidity between 30-50% during the winter.  If your humidity consistently falls below this range, consider investing in a whole-house humidifier.

Allergens & Contaminants

Indoor air can be marred by allergens and airborne contaminants such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites and mold spores.  Over time, these pesky pollutants accumulate in your home’s ductwork and can get recirculated in the air that you and your family breathe day in and out.  A whole-home air purifier not only helps to capture allergens but it also kills harmful viruses and bacteria.

Poorly Maintained Heating System

Everyone wants to believe that the air they are breathing is clean and healthy. Unfortunately, if your HVAC system hasn’t been properly maintained, that may not be the case.  A professional furnace tune-up and inspection will not only help your system run safely and more efficiently, it also ensures that it is clean and able to filter out allergens and particles before they get into the air that you breathe.  Proper maintenance includes changing your filter every 3 months along with having your system cleaned and inspected twice per year.

Inadequate Air Circulation

Indoor air is oftentimes less clean than outdoor air due to a lack of circulation. One option is to open a few windows to increase ventilation throughout your home.  You can also turn on the fan setting of your thermostat, this helps encourage air movement and boosts air filtration.   If a more advanced solution is needed, you can consider a whole-home ventilation system that automatically creates the perfect exchange of fresh outdoor air with stale indoor air, for the ultimate in comfort and health.

Carbon Monoxide

Every year around this time, you hear tragic stories about families who have been unknowingly poisoned by Carbon Monoxide.  The scariest thing about these situations is the fact that they can happen to anyone.  And the only way to protect yourself and your family is to regularly test your CO detectors and replace them every 5-7 years. A yearly furnace inspection can also help identify CO leaks or other hazardous conditions as they relate to your home’s heating system.

The whole-home options might seem like a pretty big investment to take on, but in reality they can save your money on your energy expenses and improve your health. We here at Luxury Heating and Cooling can help you make a decision about your home that will be best for you and your family. Join us in celebrating National Indoor Air Awareness Month by heeding this list and embarking on your own quest for crisp, clean fall air indoors!

Air Conditioning, HVAC Maintenance, Indoor Air Quality

HVAC Maintenance vs. Coronavirus: How to Stay Safe & Comfortable

Lives everywhere have been upended as the world reels from the coronavirus pandemic. Gatherings have been called off, businesses have been shuttered and people are advised to stay home whenever possible. As the government continues to preach social distancing on every available screen, it is understandable that you would be wary allowing another person into your home. However, that being said, the verity of the matter is: nobody sent a pandemic memo to your HVAC system, therefore unfortunately, it could still break down. Preventative maintenance is the answer; and we, on the other hand, are much more considerate than your HVAC system. We have taken steps to ensure your health, safety, and overall comfort in these difficult times.

As inconsiderate as it would be for your system to break down right now, these stay-at-home orders only mean more work for your system, thus maintenance has never been more crucial. Take the significant extra hours spent at home, add the soaring temperatures on the forecast, and a bonus side of allergy season to create the perfect scenario for disaster.

Fear not valued customer! Simple preventative maintenance will reduce the likelihood of untimely breakdown and repairs.

  • Fact: properly maintained equipment maximizes the life expectancy of your system, $100 now could save you thousands later, not to mention the headache that comes with an unexpected premature replacement.

Over and above the financial benefits of HVAC maintenance there are other advantages to getting ahead of the problem.

One being: it will improve the quality of the air circulated throughout your home. Any standard HVAC maintenance would change the furnace filter regularly; but did you know dust and debris don’t only collect on the filter?

  • Any moving part in your system can accumulate dust, meaning we could find particles inside your air ducts, the condensing unit and even inside the furnace itself.
  • Bad news: dust buildup means dust gets circulated into the air you breathe.

The next being: it will reduce your energy usage and costs.

  • Yes, I know I said “over and above the financial” but saving money can never be ignored. Maintaining your system will ensure it’s operating at peak efficiency, bringing down the amount of energy you use and, in turn, the amount you pay for it.

The health and safety of our customers is vital to us.

That’s why in these extraordinary times, we’re taking safety precautions to ensure that we can provide the same level of service that you’ve come to expect from us without breaking the need for social distancing. Each of our trained and certified technicians are following CDC guidelines for health and safety and they’ll arrive at your home with:

  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Disposable latex gloves
  • Face masks
  • Shoe covers

Open communication can also be constructive. Discussing any worries you might have with us beforehand can help get both parties on the same page and create a safe situation for everyone.

The toll this virus has taken on the world appears boundless. Whether it be your health, livelihood, savings, or sanity it seems no one was spared. Regardless, we understand times are tough and money may be tight. Yet, the fact of the matter is, right now, your home is your only refuge, and discomfort in your only place of refuge might just take the last ounce of your sanity. We are offering comfort, good indoor air quality and peace of mind in the form of simple, preventative maintenance. Book you maintenance appointment with us today.

Humidity, Indoor Air Quality

Defend Your Home and Declare War on Cold and Flu Season

It’s war, folks, and we’re right in the thick of it. The wrath of winter, truly, knows no bounds. Is it not enough for this dreadful season that it makes us stay indoors? It also wants to make us sick? Winter creates the perfect conditions for the cold and flu virus to survive and flourish. Hands down, winter wins for being the worst. Fear not (and excellent choice for clicking this link), there are several ways you can defend your home against viral invaders, hopefully helping to keep winter’s minions at bay.

Here are some tried-and-true methods to fight back against the malady madness:

1. Minimize Mold

Mold is sort of a background fighter in the cold and flu war. It’s not directly linked to the virus but plays a part by impacting your immune system, thus making you more susceptible to illness.

  • Mold thrives in moist areas: keep your bathrooms clean and continuously wipe down wet surfaces.
  • Promptly replace broken tiles or worn out caulking.
  • Keep an eye on your pipes. Even the smallest leak can fester into a mold’s paradise.

2. Have a Handle on Your Home’s Humidity

Consider investing in a hygrometer: this device measures your home’s indoor humidity levels. Your home should fall between 40-50% humidity during the winter months. There is a fine line here: too much humidity provides a favorable environment for mold and bacteria and too little helps along the little virus villains.
Ask an HVAC professional what your options are for whole home humidification.

3. Temperature Control

Adjust your thermostat. Viruses thrive in cold temperatures. Viral particles released into the air (via cough or sneeze) can survive for up to 48 hours! 2 days people! Keep that thermostat at a minimum of 68° to fight these hardy invaders.

4. Decontaminate!

This one is pretty obvious, but its importance warrants mentioning. Cold and flu viruses are relentless little beasts; they can hold on for up to 8 hours on hard surfaces. Sharpen your wartime swords by washing your hands, sanitizing your counters, phones, doorknobs, refrigerator handles, everything! A steam cleaner goes a long way in this battle.

5. Pick Those Filters and Pick Them Well

Dirty filters are bad news. They are both harmful to your HVAC system and your family’s health. A professional can assist, but as a rule of thumb, select a filter that has a MERV rating between 7 and 12. These filters are pleated and trap bacteria, dust, pollen and pet dander. You will do well to know that filters with higher MERV ratings trap more pollutants, but can also restrict airflow, thus putting more of a strain on your HVAC system. Consider these filters your first line of defense. It’s recommended to change filters every 2-3 months during the annual cold and flu war.

6. Leave Your Shoes at the Door

Don’t aide the virus monsters by trekking their allies into your home. Flu viruses and bacteria are known to reside in mud, dirt and debris. Keep a clean doormat on both the inside and outside of every door for good measure.

7. Launder Your Linens

Your home already has 2 strong allies in this war: your washer and dryer. Wash your linens, towels, rugs, and even your window treatments regularly in hot water.

8. Consider a Whole Home Air Cleaner

A whole home air filtration and purification system would be like a 5 star general in your war against the cold and flu virus. These systems work in conjunction with your home’s HVAC system to capture and destroy up to 99% of harmful airborne particles in your home. In addition, consider an ultraviolet light component. If there was a 6 star general rating, adding a UV light factor to this system would earn it.

The annual cold and flu war is a long one, and they put up a good fight. If you haven’t been beaten down already, you’re not out of the woods yet. Utilize these tools and declare war on these ruthless viruses. Good luck, soldiers.

Heating, Humidity, Indoor Air Quality

Combat the Harmful Effects of Dry Air

Winter can be a magical time of the year, glistening snowfalls, hot chocolates by the fire and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  But alongside winter’s cold weather temperatures, also come the less than desirable effects of dry air.  Few aspects of winter can be as annoying as battling cold and flu season or scaly skin and nasal congestion. Dry air can wreak havoc not only on your health and appearance but on your home as well.

Ideal relative humidity for comfort and health ranges between 40-50%.  However, it is not uncommon for the dry winter air to cause your indoor humidity levels to plummet to 20% or less.  Low humidity levels can cause a number of problems including:

Dry Skin & Cracked Lips
Dry skin and cracked lips are especially common in the winter months.  When there isn’t enough humidity in the air, the moisture in your skin evaporates more quickly.  By using a daily moisturizer after bathing, you can lock in moisture and your skin can retain its soft appearance.
 
Static Shock
Spending a winter season in Northeast Ohio, makes you accustomed to the jolts of static electricity that happen when you touch a door knob, flip a light switch or open your car door.  When air has the proper level of water vapor / humidity, electrons are free to travel and less likely to collect.  Drier, less humid air doesn’t allow electrons to pass through it as easily – causing them to build-up and collect on surfaces.  When you come in contact with those surfaces and are wearing something that is carrying the opposite charge – ZAP!
Dried Out Sinuses
Ever wonder why you are more prone to headaches, sinus pressure, nasal congestion, sore throat and nosebleeds during the winter?  It’s because dry air pulls moisture from your mouth and nose causing them to become dried out and highly irritable.
 
Increased Risk of Sickness
As gross as it may sound, the mucus membranes in your nose help to trap foreign bacteria as well as viral invaders. When your nose dries out, the mucus membranes aren’t as effective at capturing harmful contaminants, making you more susceptible to catching the common colds, flu, infections and more.
 
Damage to Home & Furnishings
When air doesn’t have enough humidity, it pulls moisture from anything and everything it can. Suddenly your home structure, furniture, wood flooring and musical instruments all become at risk for serious damage.  Dry air can cause furnishings to crack, window and door frames to shrink and gap, and wood floor panels to shift and creak.

You may think that dry air is just an aspect of winter to suffer through and get used to.  But balancing humidity levels year-round is easier than you think. A whole-home humidifier works in conjunction with your home’s HVAC system to circulate air that has the right amount of moisture to maintain maximum comfort and optimal health.

Contact our indoor air specialists for more information about our whole-home bypass and steam humidifiers and find out which one is right for your home.

Energy Savings, Heating, HVAC Maintenance, Indoor Air Quality

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Days are getting shorter and nights are getting colder, which means fall is officially here. Get your home winter-ready while putting your mind at ease with our maintenance checklist.

Clean Gutters

Make sure your gutters are clear of any leaves, sticks and other debris.

Weather-Stripping

Drafty windows and doors can account for as much as 10% of your heating bills.  Weather-stripping is an easy and affordable way to make your home more comfortable and efficient.

Turn Off & Drain Outdoor Plumbing

Don’t forget to detach garden hoses, turn off water supply, as well as drain outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems.

Change Filter

Changing your furnace filter every 3 months, not only improves your indoor air quality, but also helps to reduce your home’s energy expenses and prolongs the life of your HVAC system.

Prepare Your Furnace for Winter

Reduce the likelihood of expected heating breakdowns and repairs by having your furnace cleaned and inspected yearly.  Annual maintenance also helps to maximize the performance and efficiency of your system.

Clean the Fireplace and Chimney

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure you have it cleaned and inspected before use.

Take Safety Precautions

The batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every 6 months.  Also keep in mind that the average life expectancy of a smoke alarm is 8-10 years and 5 years for CO detectors.

Trusted for over 70 years, Luxury Heating Company is your one-stop shop for all of your indoor comfort needs.

Air Conditioning, Ductless Split Systems, Energy Savings, Heating, Humidity, Indoor Air Quality

6 Reasons Modern Homeowners Are Choosing Ductless Air Conditioning

A traditional air conditioning system is comprised of two components, an air conditioner or heat pump that is located outdoors and a heating source such as a furnace that is located indoors. The two units work in tandem to circulate cool air through your ductwork, distributing it to every room in your home.

The question is, what if you don’t have ductwork?   What if you have ductwork but want to renovate or build an addition and there’s no practical way to connect to it?  A ductless split system is the perfect solution.

Ductless split systems, also referred to as ductless mini splits, differ slightly from more traditional systems in that they don’t have a centralized indoor unit. Depending on the size of the space you are cooling (or heating), a single outdoor unit can connect to up to 6 indoor units.  Each indoor unit tasked with heating and/or cooling a single room or zone of your home. This modernized, cutting-edge technology makes conditioning even the most complex spaces – easy, minimally-invasive and cost-effective. Find out why more homeowners are choosing ductless air conditioning systems below.

Minimally Invasive

No major construction, extensive remodeling or loss of space – a mini split system only requires a small hole that drilled through the wall.  Your home’s architectural value remains in-tact, making them the perfect solution for any application including historical homes that lose their value with major alterations.

Energy Efficient

Save up to 40% on your energy costs.  Ductless split systems use what’s called inverter technology to increase and decrease cooling demand with precision. Because the demand is matched so closely with the systems output, it can operate with the ultimate in energy efficiency while delivering the ultimate level of comfort.

Ultra-Quiet

Ductless split systems might be powerful, but with their whisper quiet performance, you won’t even know they are there.

Cool in the Summer & Heat in the Winter

Double the power, double the comfort. Not only do ductless split systems provide exceptional cooling during the summer, but they also provide a reliable and efficient source of heat during the winter.  Their ability to provide year-round comfort make them a great fit for additions and renovations, all-season rooms, basements and more!

Tailored Comfort

Why heat or cool a room when it’s not being used? Why bundle up in the winter or shed layers in the summer if you don’t have to? Ductless split systems focus on heating or cooling spaces individually, allowing for an unprecedented level of comfort customizable to meet the needs of everyone in your home.

Enhanced Air Filtration

Ductless air conditioning systems contain washable filters that can last up to 10 years.  They enhance your home’s air quality by removing contaminants such as pollen, dust, dander and other allergens.