Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Category: Indoor Air Quality

Picture this–and it shouldn’t be too hard this Woman-Blowing-Nose-300x224time of the year: The temperature outside is soaring, and you have to run your air conditioner pretty much around the clock to stay comfortable. Okay, that’s fine. Your system is tuned up and ready to go. Of course, you also want to ensure that you are using your system efficiently while you live comfortably, so you double check to make sure that all of your windows are closed. This is the problem.

When you seal up your home in order to keep conditioned air inside, you are cutting off your supply of fresh air. Air conditioners dehumidify the air as they run, so sealing up your home to keep your AC bills down can really have a negative affect on your indoor air quality. Using an energy recovery ventilator in Timnath, CO can help you to avoid this issue.

How It Works

An energy recovery ventilator is as ingenious as it is simple in theory. Basically, the device is just a ventilator that also acts as a heat exchanger. It is integrated into your HVAC system, and allows you to use the air exiting your home to pre-condition the fresh air coming in. It also helps to balance humidity between the airstreams.

When you are using your air conditioner to cool the air in your home, it gets stale and dry. When venting this air out of the house, the ERV allows it to absorb heat from the fresh air coming in. This takes some strain off of your air conditioning system.

During the winter, the air outside is obviously very cold. When the ERV allows it into your home, the outgoing warm air preheats it. That means that you are recovering much of the energy that you paid for to heat that outgoing air, while also enjoying improved indoor air quality.

Schedule your IAQ services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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It is certainly possible. However, because of the very Indoor_Air_Quality_Filters_Duct_Cleaning_indoor_air_quality_Ultraviolet_Light_Light_Bulb_Lighting_Equipment_Vibrant_Color_Environment_400x600-200x300specific purpose of UV air purifiers, they are not necessary in every home. For those simply looking to remove pollutants like dust and dirt from the air that they breathe, ultraviolet germicidal lights are not going to be needed. These types of pollutants are removed by air filtration systems and electronic air purifiers. If you are experiencing problems with biological pollutants, however, then UV air purifiers in Fort Collins, CO can help.

Pollutant Removal vs. Pollutant Destruction

Air filters are very basic in their operation. As air passes through the filter, the pollutants in that air are trapped on the filtering media. Electronic air filters typically use an ionization chamber in order to trap charged pollutants on oppositely charged collector plates. Those plates are then removed from the system for easy cleaning. These devices are pollutant removal-based systems.

The issue with removing pollutants from the air, however, is that doing so does not stop living pollutants from continuing to multiply. Biological pollutants, such as viruses, mold, and bacteria, are living microorganisms. If you were just to filter these pollutants out of the air, then they would go on with their biological processes, including reproduction, even as they sat trapped by the filter or air cleaner.

UV air purifiers, on the other hand, are pollutant destruction-based systems. This means that they actually kill the biological pollutants, or at least upset them biologically and leave them incapable of reproducing. Plus, because these microorganisms are so tiny, they can generally pass right through any air filter that would be compatible with most residential HVAC systems anyway.

The UV light emitted by these devices is confined to the ductwork and is in no way harmful to pets or residents in the house. For biological pollutants that could make you and your family ill, though, it proves devastating. Schedule your IAQ services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning.

Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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In our previous post, we talked about the different types of air cleaners and air purifiers that you may benefit from using this spring, as allergens spike once more. Today, we want to talk about another source of subpar air quality, as well as general discomfort and considerable inefficiency. We want to talk about leaky ductwork.

If you use a forced-air air conditioning system, as most homeowners do, then you use air ducts in order to distribute cooled air throughout your home during the hottest time of the year. There is nothing wrong with doing this, obviously. The issue is that many homeowners fail to recognize that their air ducts are actually not in good working condition.

Why Is Leaky Ductwork a Problem?

Leaky ductwork allows air to escape out of your air ducts. This conditioned air will wind up in your home somewhere, so it is not going to be a total loss. However, it will not necessarily wind up where it is needed, and that can lead to higher energy costs as your AC tries to balance temperatures throughout your home. Plus, you are going to run into other issues like hot spots throughout the house, as well as reduced air quality.

Air May Leak Out, But Allergens May Also Get In

With regards to indoor air quality, leaky ductwork is actually a major issue. Once pollutants have made their way into your air ducts, after all, that system of ductwork can then distribute those pollutants throughout your entire home. This can lead to serious issues with aggravated allergy and asthma symptoms.

What Can You Do?

Give us a call, of course! We offer air duct testing services that will allow us to determine if you do indeed have leaky ductwork in your home. If so, we can go about completing effective duct sealing in Loveland, CO. Contact us today with any questions that you may have.

Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning is here for your IAQ service needs. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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We’re not quite out of the woods yet as far DandelionInFieldas colder weather goes, but March is definitely the turning point when it comes to springtime. Now that February is behind us, you’re surely starting to eagerly anticipate the warmer weather and blooming vegetation that spring brings with it. Keep in mind, however, that spring can bring a number of problems with it as well. This is especially true for those of us with allergy and/or asthma symptoms.

Contrary to what some homeowners seem to believe, the air in our homes is not inherently of high quality. In fact, it is possible that the air in your home is more polluted than the air outdoors! If you want to breathe clean, healthful air in your home all year long, you may require professional indoor air quality products and services in Loveland, CO.

Dust, Dirt, Pollen, And Other Airborne Pollutants

Because you’ll be going in and out of your home more now that the weather is nice, and because there is more exposed dust and dirt outdoors in the spring and summer than there is in the winter, it is possible to track these pollutants into the house with you. Plus, blossoming vegetation means pollen that can go airborne outdoors and find its way into your home. The first line of defense against these airborne pollutants is an air filter.

The air filter in your HVAC system, unfortunately, is probably not going to cut it. These filters are of low efficiency, with a low MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value). Your system may be able to handle a more efficient standard filter, but using a designated filtration system that complies with your HVAC system is a better option. You may also opt to use an air cleaner, such as an electrostatic precipitator, to take a more active stand against these pollutants.

These electronic air cleaners feature ionization chambers that charge the pollutants in the air. Those pollutants are then trapped on collector plates that are oppositely charged. The plates can be removed by the homeowner for simple, convenient cleaning.

Biological Pollutants

Removing dust and dirt from the air is an effective way of dealing with such pollutants. However, not all pollutants can simply be removed from the air successfully. Living microorganisms, such as mold spores, viruses, and bacteria, are often too small for such an approach. They are also biological entities, meaning that they can reproduce. Destroying them and rendering them incapable of reproduction is really the only way to effectively deal with them.

Using UV air purifiers, like UV germicidal lights, will do the trick. Installed in your ductwork near the air handler, these lamps emit UV rays that disrupt such pollutants at a biological level. They are entirely safe for animals and people in the house. They should be used to supplement, but not replace, more traditional air filtration/purification systems, as they do not filter airborne pollutants out of the air.

Schedule your IAQ services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning, the company you can trust. 

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When you heat your home—or cool it, for that matter—you want to do so in the most efficient manner possible. Nobody wants to overpay for their comfort. That is why so many homes are constructed so tightly these days.

The problem is that, by sealing up your home extremely tightly, you can actually put your indoor air quality at risk. If your home does not have sufficient insulation, you may be able to cut down on unwanted heat transfer. Your air quality will likely fall as a result, however. An ERV helps you to enjoy both great efficiency and outstanding indoor air quality. 

Recover the Energy You’ve Paid For

Ventilating your home is important if you don’t want the air within to go stale and decline in quality. However, you obviously are not going to throw your windows open in the middle of winter to let the fresh air in. That would waste the energy that you’ve used to heat your home, right?

Well, when you use an energy recovery ventilator in Timnath, CO, you can bring fresh air into your home while recovering the energy that you used to heat it in the first place. The outgoing warm air basically pre-cools the incoming fresh, but cold, air. In the summer, the heat exchange just goes in the opposite direction. The incoming hot air has some of its heat removed by the outgoing cool air.

In the process, the humidity of the air streams is also balanced. This serves to further boost the quality of the air in your home. No longer must you choose between fresh, clean air, comfort, and your budget. ERVs work year round to strike the balance between these factors.

Schedule your indoor air quality services with the professionals at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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Now that winter is settling in for another cold season, many homeowners are really scrutinizing their heating systems. This is understandable. After all, you are not going to live comfortably throughout the heating season if you are unable to successfully heat your home. However, there are other considerations to make.

Your indoor air quality in Laporte, CO is equally as important as the temperature in your home. Subpar indoor air quality can not only leave you living in discomfort, but it can negatively affect your health as well. Following are two examples of air purifiers that you may want to consider using in your home.

Electronic Air Purifiers

Many homeowners are just fine using air filters in order to clean the air that circulates throughout their homes. For any number of reasons, though, basic air filtration may not be enough. That is when air purification comes into play.

With an electronic air purifier, you can take a more proactive approach to removing pollutants from the air in your home. There are different makes and models of electronic air purifiers, but the most common include devices such as electrostatic precipitators. These air purifiers give pollutants in the air an electric charge as they pass through an ionization chamber. The pollutants are then trapped on oppositely charged plates, which are easily removed and cleaned by the homeowner.

This is fine for pollutants like dust and dirt, which can simply be removed from the air. Biological pollutants, however, should not just be removed. They should be destroyed.

UV Air Purifiers

Biological pollutants include viruses, mold, and bacteria. These pollutants are living microorganisms, so it is not really enough to just remove them from the air in your home. They are generally too small for effective filtration, but that’s not the only problem.

Because they are living microorganisms, these pollutants can reproduce. If you trap them on a filter or in an electronic air purifier, they can continue to reproduce. Using a UV air purifier, on the other hand, such as ultraviolet germicidal lights, allows you to destroy the pollutants. You can disrupt their biological processes and render them incapable of reproduction. This is a much more effective way of dealing with these pollutants.

Generally speaking, a multi-pronged approach to improving indoor air quality is usually the best. Schedule your IAQ services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning.

Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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There are a number of challenges that homeowners face during the winter season. Successfully heating their homes is a big one, obviously, as is keeping the walkways free of snow. However, you also need to remember to keep the air in your home sufficiently humid, as well.

During the winter season, there is less humidity in the air than there is in the summer time. That means that you are starting out with drier air in your home. Recirculating heated air throughout the house over and over is not going to help matters. Adding humidity to the air with a whole-house humidifier in Loveland, CO, however, can.

 

The Benefits of the Whole-House Humidifier

Chances are that you’ve at least seen portable humidifier units, even if you have not used one yourself. These units may be fine for humidifying a single room, such as the baby’s nursery. When it comes to humidifying an entire house, though, the whole-house humidifier is superior in every way.

  • Convenience. You won’t have to continually refill a water tank when you use a whole-house humidifier. These systems integrate directly into the HVAC system, and are fed with a designated water line.
  • Efficiency. A whole-house humidifier is not only more effective than a portable unit, but you’ll be able to humidify the whole house more efficiently than you would when using multiple portable units, or one that you move around and run non-stop.
  • Control. It is easy to maintain the precise humidity level that you desire in your home when you use a whole-house humidifier. You won’t have to worry about injecting too much humidity in your home, which can cause its own set of problems.

Very dry air can cause a lot of trouble. Itchy skin, splitting wooden floorboards, and chipping paint are just a few that you may notice. When you do see these problems, remember that we can help. Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning is happy to provide you with outstanding whole-house humidifier services.

Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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The heating season really is upon us. If you use a forced-air heating system in order to keep your home warm and cozy during the coldest time of the year, you may need more than routine heating maintenance to enjoy the best heating experience possible. You may need whole-house duct cleaning in Fort Collins, CO.

If you think that you can clean out your air ducts on your own, you need to reconsider. It is a procedure that only trained professionals with the proper equipment can complete. Through the end of November, we are offering homeowners throughout the area 10% off of their duct cleaning services

Is Duct Cleaning Really Worth It?

You know that you need to have your heater tuned-up each and every year if you hope to get the best performance that it has to offer. Many homeowners wonder if duct cleaning is really worth the investment, though. In truth, it really is a case-by-case basis.

There are certain signs that may indicate that it is time for professional duct cleaning. First of all, if you’ve been in your home for a few years and have never had your ducts cleaned, it’s safe to assume that the time has come. There are a lot of factors that could influence how frequently you need to have your ducts cleaned, but every 3–5 years is a good guideline.

If you’ve noticed that your indoor air quality is on the decline, that too can mean that the time has come to have your ductwork cleaned. If there are pollutants built up in your air ducts, and you are forcing heated air through those ducts, it only stands to reason that those ducts may start to deposit pollutants in your living space.

An increase in heating costs could also be the result of dirty ducts. Air filters can clog up faster, and pollutants can build up on sensitive components within the system itself. When that happens, inefficiency can set in.

If you’re ready to have your ducts expertly cleaned while also saving some money, give Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning a call. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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When most people think of the summer season, they think of hot, humid air. However, we actually run the risk of drying out the air in our homes excessively during the summer season. How can this be possible? The answer, which comes as a surprise to some, is simply by running our air conditioners in order to cool our homes.

If you’ve never considered that your AC could be dragging down the air quality within your home, you need to give the situation some attention. If you determine that the air in your home is too dry, using a whole-house humidifier in conjunction with your air conditioner may be necessary. Contact us to learn more about using such humidifiers in Fort Collins, CO.

How Does My AC Dry Out the Air?

Your air conditioner is not a dehumidifier and, if you have issues with excessive humidity, you cannot expect your air conditioner to resolve the problem. However, it is true that air conditioners have a dehumidifying effect on the air. As heat is drawn out of the air passing over the evaporator coil, moisture too is drawn out. This moisture collects on the coil as condensation, and is removed from the home via the condensate drain line. When you run your AC constantly throughout the summer, and the same air is cycled through the process again and again, it can dry out.

A Whole-House Humidifier May Be Necessary

Is wallpaper splitting and paint chipping in your home? Static electricity very high? Suffering frequent sore throats, or even bloody noses? Then the air in your home is likely way too dry, then. Using a whole-house humidifier is the best way in which to add the right amount of humidity, and not too much, back into the air. You can use the same system with your heater during the winter to keep the air humidified, as well.

Schedule your AC and IAQ services with the professionals at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. We’re Big enough to serve, but small enough to care.

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When you think of keeping your home comfortable and everyone within that space happy throughout the summer season, your mind probably instantly jumps to your air conditioning system. During the hottest time of the year, your air conditioner is going to put in a lot of work in order to keep your house cool, after all. However, you really cannot afford to overlook the importance of your indoor air quality during the summer months, either. Too often, homeowners sacrifice the indoor air quality in the name of efficient cooling. This need not be the case, however, so long as you use an energy recovery ventilator.

What Does an ERV Do, and Why Should I Invest in One?

An ERV, or energy recovery ventilator, is your means by which to bridge the gap between great comfort and great indoor air quality, without draining your budget in the process. The moniker “energy recovery ventilator” is as about as descriptive as possible. An ERV is a ventilator that, through an energy recovery process, helps you to cut down on energy loss during the ventilation process.

When temperatures soar outside, you seal up your home and run your air conditioner. The issue with doing so is that your home really should have some natural ventilation going on. This helps to prevent the AC from drying out the air too much, and just keeps the air in your home fresher. With our modern focus on efficiency, though, we eliminate as much of this ventilation as possible.

An energy recovery ventilator solves the problem. It will vent old, stale air out of your home. This air is cool, and you’ve paid to cool it, though. That is why the ERV will use that cool air to absorb some of the heat of the incoming air, recovering the energy that you paid for to cool the air. In fact, it can do the opposite in the winter, as well, bringing in fresh, cold air and pre-warming it with warm, but stale, outgoing air. ERVs can also balance humidity in the passing streams, further protecting your comfort and indoor air quality.

Contact Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning today to schedule ERV services in Timnath, CO.

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