Air Conditioners and Health: Balancing Comfort and Wellness

Air conditioners have become an indispensable part of our lives, providing not only relief from scorching heat but also contributing to our overall well-being. Understanding the impact of air conditioners on our health is crucial in optimizing their benefits. This article delves into the key aspects of temperature regulation, humidity control, air filtration, and maintenance, shedding light on how they influence our physical well-being.

Temperature Regulation and Comfort

The primary function of air conditioners is to regulate indoor temperatures, creating a comfortable living environment. By effectively cooling the air, they help prevent heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Additionally, maintaining a cool temperature can enhance the quality of our sleep, enabling us to rest and recharge more effectively.

Humidity Control for Health

Air conditioners play a vital role in controlling humidity levels within indoor spaces. High humidity fosters the growth of allergens like mold, dust mites, and mildew, which can trigger respiratory issues and allergic reactions. Through dehumidification, air conditioners mitigate these risks, creating a healthier atmosphere that promotes respiratory well-being. However, it’s important to strike a balance, as excessively low humidity levels can cause dryness and discomfort, particularly for those with sensitive respiratory systems.

Air Conditioners

Air Filtration and Improved Indoor Air Quality

Air conditioners equipped with air filters significantly improve indoor air quality. These filters capture airborne particles such as dust, pollen, pet dander, and pollutants, preventing them from circulating within the living spaces. For individuals with allergies, asthma, or respiratory conditions, this feature is invaluable in reducing the presence of triggers and promoting easier breathing. It is crucial to adhere to regular filter cleaning or replacement schedules to ensure the filters’ effectiveness in maintaining optimal air quality.

Maintenance and Health

Regular maintenance of air conditioners is essential not only for their efficient operation but also for preserving a healthy indoor environment. Over time, air conditioners can accumulate dust, mold, and bacteria, which can lead to respiratory problems and allergic reactions. Routine cleaning, filter replacements, and comprehensive system inspections help prevent the buildup of harmful substances and ensure that the air conditioner functions optimally, minimizing potential health risks.

Are you looking to improve the well-being of both yourself and your family?
Call your friends at BNG Heating & Cooling to schedule an inspection or maintenance checkup. We’ll be able to spot any signs of trouble before they become expensive mistakes

Do I need a dehumidifier? Black mold on wall closeup

Do I need a Dehumidifier?

Humid summers are typical in the midwest. “It’s not the heat but the humidity!” is something you’ll hear often enough. When humidity levels reach 90% or even 100%, it can turn a pleasant picnic into a sweaty mess. We know what high humidity can do outdoors, but how does high humidity affect your home on the inside? Do I need a dehumidifier?

 

 

Mold and Mildew

High humidity makes for an ideal atmosphere for mold and mildew formation. Mold can not only cause mild to serious health issues like asthma and allergic reactions but left unchecked, mold can cause structural weakening of walls and ceilings. 

Paint and Wallpaper

 If you see peeling wallpaper and chipping paint, humidity may be the culprit. Exterior walls are especially susceptible to changing humidity levels. 

Furniture and Floors

 Wood floors and furniture can be affected by changing humidity levels. Stained furniture and buckled flooring can point to prolonged high moisture content. Expensive damage to tight-fitting wood frames around windows and doors can also occur in humid conditions. 

Walls & Brickwork

 Humidity can wreak havoc anywhere in your home that contains a moisture or vapor barrier. Drastic changes in moisture levels can cause cracking along drywall and brickwork inside the home, sometimes causing costly repairs. 

What Can I Do?

Preventing high humidity levels inside your home can be as simple as utilizing fans in moisture-prone areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and the kitchen. Maintaining a relatively consistent air temperature inside your home can also contribute to lower humidity levels. Also checking your crawl space and/or attic for any moisture buildup or leaks is important for humidity control.

Lastly, tools like in-home air quality monitors and smart thermostats are great ways to understand the indoor humidity levels in your home throughout the year. The Mayo Clinic recommends humidity levels between 30% and 50%. Whole-home dehumidifiers and humidifiers can keep your home at optimum humidity levels all year long.

Contact BNG and ask how a dehumidifier could improve your air quality today.

 

Self-Cleaning Air Purifier for Home Use

The average home has 6 different types of filters to clean or replace regularly. No need to add another to the list. You may be interested to know there is a self-cleaning air purifier available for residential use.

Many home owners have long enjoyed the benefits of having an air purifier because they can reduce allergens, smoke, static electricity, and pet odors. They can even kill mold, bacteria, and viruses. But in order to remain effective, some air purifiers need to be cleaned every 2-4 weeks. With more and more smart home products on the market, the automated dream home of the future is becoming a reality. But what’s the fun in having a self-cleaning home if you have to clean an array of devices? Well, at least we can check one off your list!

The Word’s First Self-Cleaning, No Maintenance Air Purifier

iWave-R is the world’s first self-cleaning, no maintenance air purifier of its kind. It fits virtually any residential duct A/C system. It has no need for maintenance, no replacement parts, and it cleans itself on a programmable cycle every 1, 3, 5, or 10 days. On average the product lasts the life of a new system, or 10-15 years.

If you’d like a more technical, in-depth analysis, please visit iWave online.

self-cleaning air purifier for home use

We offer professional installation for the line of iWave air purifiers including a three-year warranty. These purifiers are proven to combat mold and viruses, like coronavirus. Start breathing cleaner air today. Give us a call at (812) 858-4000 or contact us to learn more.

 

Disclaimer

The use of this technology is not intended to take the place of reasonable precautions to prevent the transmission of pathogens. It is important to comply with all applicable public health laws and guidelines issued by federal, state, and local governments and health authorities as well as official guidance published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including but not limited to social distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and the use of face masks.

 

Dangers of Blocking Air Vents

Why Is Your Home’s A/C Blowing Warm Air?

As we approach peak summer temperatures, it is more important than ever that your home’s air conditioner works properly. The only thing that can make an unbearably hot day worse is retreating inside to find warm air blowing out of your AC vents.

Here are some issues that can cause your home’s air conditioner to underperform in the summer:

Important: NEVER attempt to work around your home’s outside air conditioning unit while it is operating. Make sure you turn off the power to the unit before working in close proximity to it.

AC Condenser Unit

One common cause of underperforming air conditioners is simply neglecting your condenser unit, also known as the outside unit. Step outside and check out your condenser unit to see if any debris is blocking the unit’s fan. Sticks, dirt, grass, and a number of other things could be impeding one of many moving parts on the unit, so make sure you remove anything that might be causing a problem.

Low Refrigerant

If your ac unit is on the older side, wear and tear on the unit could cause your refrigerant to leak. Any issues regarding refrigerant levels is best left in the hands of a local heating and cooling professional. Contact BNG Heating and Cooling for an inspection if you fear your ac unit is suffering from a refrigerant leak.

Air Filter

Air filters need to be changed regularly so that they can do their job as best as possible. A neglected air filter can cause serious issues with your ac unit.

We understand that it can be tough to remember to regularly check on the air filter, but it is a task worth completing. If the internal components of your ac unit become dirty, you could be looking at a very costly repair down the road.

Contact BNG for an Inspection

If you’ve noticed that your air conditioner is blowing out warm air, you can always give us a call for an inspection. We are prepared to remedy any problem we discover to keep your home as comfortable as possible.

Pet Owners: Is Your Air Quality Under Control?

You love them, you really do. But sometimes your furry friend’s dander makes the air in your house less-than-optimal. Don’t sacrifice clean, conditioned air just because you love having your pets inside. Here are some steps you can take in order to have the best of both worlds:

1: Do what you can to keep pet dander at bay.

Keeping your home clean is one of the best ways to control your air quality when it comes to pets. Vacuum as frequently as you can, don’t let dust build up on surfaces, try to contain the hair by keeping your pets in certain parts of the house, and bathe your pet regularly (not just when they’ve gotten messy!).

2: Pay attention to pet hair getting caught in the air filters.

Even if you take care to keep clean in visible areas, you may be forgetting to clean your filters. When pet hair is trapped in your filters, all the air that is blown back into your house will be contaminated with dander. You’ll be reversing all the work you do to keep your house clean!

3: Invest in air purifiers.  

You can buy plants that naturally purify the air in your home or even invest in APCO whole-house air purification products—either way, taking a proactive step towards cleaner air may be the best way to counteract the impurities spread into the air by your furry friends. Want more tips? Check out this blog on air purification.

4: Keep your air conditioner going.

We know that some people prefer to turn the AC off when they leave the house, but when a pet (and its odors) stays inside while the AC if off, they’ll not only be uncomfortable but the air surrounding them will be trapped inside. Allow your AC to do it’s job of conditioning the air in your house, so that you don’t come home to an allergy and asthma hotbed.

5: Have your HVAC system regularly maintenanced.

An AC unit that is constantly fighting the effects of pet hair works harder than it would for a house without pets. To keep this from taking a toll on your system, it’s even more important that you have your system checked by professionals throughout the year (not just when it breaks down).

Want expert advice for your home’s air quality? Give us a call or go online to schedule your consultation—we know what it takes to keep your home air as clean and fresh as possible!

Filter Through Fall Allergies Indoors

We can’t wait for some relief from the summer heat, but with great seasonal change comes great allergen irritation for many people, some of whom may have never experienced allergy season before. Half of all allergy sufferers in the United States are diagnosed after age 18, and some will be diagnosed after contracting a bad cold or mono. If this is true for someone in your home, you may not know what to do to help relieve their suffering. Avoiding irritants and allergens is the best way to preventing fall allergy symptoms, and it’s easier than you think!

While you can be sure to avoid pets if you are allergic to pet dander, most fall allergy sufferers are allergic to ragweed, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Ragweed is most commonly found in the East and Midwest, but the pollen is so small it can travel thousands of miles in the wind making it a common allergen all over the country. You can’t filter the entire world, especially a world with pollen as pervasive as ragweed, but you can filter the air that comes into your home, which will provide just the relief millions of allergy sufferers need.

Fortunately, you probably don’t have to replace your entire HVAC system to get the relief you deserve. There are smaller fixes that can add up to a comfortable, allergy-free fall.

Your Toolbox

When creating your healthiest home environment, BNG recommends first taking care of all necessary maintenance to your overall HVAC system, since it controls the airflow in and out of your home.

High Efficiency Particulate Air Filters, or HEPA Filters

These bad boys can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns (which is the equivalent of 1/1000 of a millimeter), which means pollen, mold spores, animal dander, and fumes don’t stand a chance.

Dehumidifier

Dust mites, a common year-round indoor allergy trigger, thrive in high-humidity environments, so a nice summer breeze blowing through your living room is like Disney World for these microscopic pests. A dehumidifier is just the thing to ensure your home is ready for a mite-free fall. Make sure to keep your dehumidifier clean, though, because allowing any mold to grow defeats the purpose entirely.

Your existing AC system

Did you know your AC system can act as a great dehumidifier during warmer months? Filters in your AC system are critical for preventing many indoor allergens, and your existing central AC or heating systems can be fitting with electrostatic filters, which trap smaller particles than the average filter, although they don’t work as well as HEPA filters. If you have one family member that particularly suffers from fall allergies, consider separating units for their bedroom or most frequented areas. Since filters work the best within a specific square-foot range, targeting one area with a HEPA filter or dehumidifier will be the best for reducing allergens.

If you’re ready to upgrade your filters and find a little relief this allergy season, give BNG a call. You can also read our post on why we always recommend preventive maintenance for your existing HVAC systems before making any major changes. We have locations in Boonville, Newburgh, Evansville, and Richland.

Pure Air At Last (Part 3)

So we covered death rays and holey carbon, now lets talk about how these two work together with the last component of the APCO In-duct Air Purifier system, titanium dioxide (TiO2). TiO2 is also present in the activated carbon. This is important because as you might expect, if the carbon keeps catching all the VOCs eventually it would run out of room for catching new odors. This is where the TiO2 comes into play. The chemistry for this part gets a little complicated, so we are going to do a bit of hand waving in this post. If you are interested in finding out exactly how catalytic converters work Wikipedia is the place to go.

Basically the TiO2 in the activated carbon uses the energy from the UV light and converts all of those volatile organic compounds into harmless carbon dioxide and water. This means that the only part that ever needs maintenance is replacing the UV lamp about every two years, which is why the rest of the device has a lifetime warranty. Replacing the lamp when needed means that for the rest of your life odors and viruses in any home with the APCO system installed are eliminated. It’s better for your home, better for you, better for your kids, and better for your guests. Who could ask for more? Call us today to get an APCO In-duct Air Purifier system for your home.

Pure Air At Last (Part 2)

Last time we talked about solar death rays fighting off hordes of bacteria, mold and viruses. This time lets discuss smells; all the bad ones that slowly build up in your home. Smells are powerful. Research has shown that smells are the sense that is most strongly tied to memory. Do you want your home to be remembered because it had an odd odor? We didn’t think so. The second technology used by the APCO In-duct Air Purifier system is…(drum roll)… carbon. Activated carbon has several uses, but in the APCO it removes odors.

Activated carbon is used for all kinds of things: cleaning water, filtering chemical solutions for analysis, treating overdoses and poisonings, and as in the APCO removing chemicals from air. Now, brace yourself, incoming chemistry. Ready? Here we go. Activated carbon is full of micro pores. These tiny holes give 1 gram of activated carbon over 500 m^2 of surface area. More surface area means that there is more area for chemicals to react to. And carbon is very good at reacting with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When the VOCs react with the carbon in the APCO they get stuck and removed from the air. Since the VOCs cause the smells, and the VOCs are stuck in the carbon; the smells are gone. Whew…chemistry over. Did you make it? Glad to hear it. Next time we’ll talk about why the carbon can keep catching the VOCs.

Pure Air At Last (Part 1)

Let’s talk about air. Not just air, but clean air. BNG has always offered a wide variety of products to clean and purify your air. We would like to introduce a new product, the APCO In-Duct Air Purifier from Freshaire UV, winner of the AHR Expo Innovation Award for 2011. The APCO purifier uses three different technologies to clean the air in your home and so there will be three blog entries to address it.

 

First APCO uses UV lights, or as they are known to mold, pollen, viruses and bacteria: solar death rays! The UV light hits the bacteria or virus that is airborne and destroys its genetic material. Since the virus or bacteria can no longer replicate it can’t affect you. New York City is spending 2.2 billion dollars on a UV purification system for their water, so the technology works. Also, we offer a surprisingly large discount from the 2.2 billion dollar price tag New York is paying.  That about covers it for solar death rays…we mean UV lights. Solar death rays sounds a lot cooler though.  Next time we’ll talk about stink or getting rid of it.