Tag Archives: indoor air

Top 4 Allergens in Your Home and How to Get Them Out

Child struggling with allergies

More than 50 million people in the U.S. currently suffer from allergies. If you find yourself a victim to allergies you know spring is one of the hardest times of the year. The team at Getzschman Heating and Air Conditioning wants to help. We may be a heating and cooling company, but we also want to help you with your allergies,.

Are You Always Sick?

One way to prevent this sickness is by improving the air quality within your home. If you have health problems that improve when you leave your house and worsen when you return, this is a big clue. At least one third of your life is spent within your home (mostly when you are sleeping) so it may be time to take preventative steps towards improving your air quality indoors.

Everyday Irritants in Your Home’s Air

Everyone is familiar with air quality problems like asbestos, second-hand smoke, and radon. These issues are all dangerous, but they are not the only or the most common air pollutants. If you’re looking for everyday air quality issues, look for the following:

1. Bacteria and Viruses

Not all germs make you sick. However, there are various kinds of bacteria and viruses that will give you the flu or a cold and they can worsen other problems like asthma. If you or a family member continues to get sick, you may have an issue with too many germs in your air.

Additionally, many germs thrive in warm humidity. One way to prevent this is to make sure your home is well ventilated and the humidity is not over 50 percent. Buying a dehumidifier can help with the high levels of humidity.

2. Dust Mites

Microscopic bugs, known as dust mites, feed on dead human skin cells often found in dust. These dust mites aren’t dangerous but can trigger a reaction for those with asthma or allergies. This reaction may cause someone to get a cough, sneeze constantly, become congested, or have a severe asthma attack.

Reducing your home’s humidity level to below 50 percent can help get rid of dust mites. The best treatment is to get rid of places they can live, like upholstered furniture, curtains, and carpets. Additionally, brushing your bedding once a week with a damp cloth and hot water will help as well.

3. Mold

As mentioned above, extra humidity will spread germs and contribute to an increase in dust mites. But its most common effect is mold growth. Mold spores can cause nasal congestion, wheezing, coughing, sneezing, and sore throats. Just like dust mites, those with asthma or allergies may have particularly nasty reactions to mold.

Mold tends to grow in places with extra water, like your bathroom. You might also smell a musty odor. In order to eliminate mold, you need to eliminate the excess water, which sometimes is caused by leaky pipes and poorly ventilated bathrooms. Again, keep the humidity level in your home below 50 percent.

Fix any leaks in your home or in your plumbing, run an exhaust fan in your bathroom, and increase airflow and ventilation. Clean the places where you see mold growing often.

4. Building Materials

New or recently remodeled homes may have materials that emit fumes. For example, building materials made of pressed wood, like plywood, can emit volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. VOCs in your home’s air can irritate eyes, noses, and throats. You can even feel nauseous and have trouble breathing. Some VOCs, such as formaldehyde, can cause cancer.

VOCs can also be found in products like paint, paint remover, cleaning chemicals, glue and air fresheners. When purchasing these products, try to find the lowest VOC levels. Then get rid of the unused materials after your project is done.

Ventilation will also improve the air quality indoors. Allow proper time for materials like plywood to air out before using them. Once you bring the materials into your home, open a window and turn on a fan.

3 Solutions for Ridding Your Home of Allergens

At Getzschman Heating and Air Conditioning, we offer several ways to help rid your home of allergens:

1. Duct Cleaning

One ounce of dust contains nearly 42,000 living dust mites. Consider that up to 40 pounds of dust gets into your home every year, and up to 15 pounds of that can get trapped in your duct system. Get rid of that dust as well as pollen, fungi, and bacteria with our duct cleaning service.

Related Read: 7 Houseplants That Can Help You Breathe Easier

2. Air Scrubbers Remove Particles from the Air in Your Home

Once the dust and allergens are out of your home, you’ll want a way to keep them out. For this, we recommend the Air Scrubber Plus air cleaner. There are three classes of indoor air pollutants:  particles, mold-mildew-bacteria, and odors/chemical vapors.

Our Air Scrubber Plus system uses positively and negatively charged ions to make the particles attracted to each other. This attraction makes the particles clump together so they can be trapped by your air filter.

Related Read: 3 Reasons to Install an Air Cleaner in Your Home

3. UV Germicidal Lamps

Mold, mildew, and other biological contaminants can settle on surfaces inside your HVAC system and circulate through your home’s air. UV germicidal lamps emit rays of ultraviolet light that penetrate the cell walls of these contaminants and kill them. They work continuously even when your heating or cooling system isn’t on. Just one less thing to bother your allergies.

Timely Tips for Allergy Sufferers

Keep the House Closed Up Tight – Don’t be tempted to open the windows on a nice day. This will let more than just fresh air into your home.

Shower at Night – Your hair harbors all kinds of allergens. Showering at night will not transfer this to your pillow to breathe all night long. Go to bed with clean hair to ensure you don’t exacerbate your allergy symptoms.

Change Your Filter on Your AC Often – Keep the air as clean as possible by replacing your air filter at least once a month.

Go Barefoot at Home – Don’t drag in all of the allergens on your shoes. They will embed themselves into rugs and carpeting. Remove your shoes when you get home.

Use the Re-Circulate on Your Vehicle’s AC – By recirculating the air in your vehicle instead of letting new air in, you will decrease the amount of allergens you are exposed to. And definitely keep the windows rolled up and the air conditioner on.

Lower the Humidity in Your House – Mold loves humidity. If you lower the humidity level to less than 60%, it will discourage mold growth.

Pay Attention to the Allergy Reports – If the pollen, ragweed, mold, etc. count is high, it’s best to limit your outdoor activities that day if possible.

If you suspect the air in your home is causing problems, give the indoor air quality team at Getzschman call and we can let you know all of your options for cleaner air. Call us at (402) 554-1110 or contact us online.

Is Your Air Conditioner Making Your Allergies Worse?

Air Conditioner Make Allergies WorseWhen you think about potential asthma triggers in your home, your home’s air conditioner is usually the last thing to come to mind. But the fact is that the air quality inside your home could be even worse for your asthma than the air outside.

Dirty Air Filters Spread Allergens

This is the case when you have dirty air conditioner filters. The air in your home is contaminated with dust, pollen, dander, mold spores, and other particles. Consequently, about 60% of asthma cases are caused by those particles. A good-quality air conditioner filter can help reduce these air contaminants. However, a dirty air conditioner filter has the opposite effect. Air conditioners filter harmful airborne particles from the air before blowing it around your house, yet when your air conditioner’s filter fills up, its efficiency decreases. Thus, air contaminants and asthma triggers are pushed with the air conditioner’s cooled air throughout your house, causing asthma flare-ups.

How Your Air Conditioner Can Reduce Asthma Symptoms

To prevent asthma attacks caused by particles in the air, there are a few precautions you can take.

Keep Your Windows and Doors Closed

Open doors and windows allow more harmful particles to enter your home. Your air conditioner will have to work harder to keep all the particles out of the air, and it may not be as efficient. Even for those who don’t have asthma, dirty air filters can cause unwanted symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, sneezing, red eyes, and respiratory tract infections.

Change Your Air Conditioner Filter Regularly

The more contaminants that are in the filter, the less efficient your filter becomes. Changing your air conditioner’s filter regularly will reduce the number of particles in your home’s air, reducing asthma flare-ups.

Get a High-Quality Pre-filter and Secondary filter

The pre-filter is the filter you change monthly. For families with a member who suffers from asthma, a secondary filter is usually attached. When looking for an air conditioner filter or a filter replacement, you should look for a filter that removes smaller particles from the air. HEPA filters are best for allergy sufferers as they filter out much smaller particles.

Regular air conditioner maintenance is essential for your family’s health, especially for those with asthma and respiratory problems. By using high-quality filters and changing them regularly, you can reduce symptoms and live healthier.

At Getzschman Heating and Air Conditioning, we provide a variety of indoor air solutions, including air filters, air scrubbers, and UV germicidal lamps. Need help? Give us a call at (402) 554-1110 and we’ll be happy to show you your options.

3 Clever Hacks to Hide Ugly AC Vents

Here in Omaha, air conditioning and heating are musts for a comfortable home. But, sometimes, the vents can detract from your beautiful walls and home decor. Never fear! The team at Getzschman Heating and Air Conditioning has gathered some of the best solutions for camouflaging ugly wall vents. Read on to see how you can make your home more beautiful.

1. Use a Rubber Doormat

Rubber DoormatThis may sound ridiculous, but you just have to buy the right doormat. You can get grate-style rubber doormats at almost any home improvement store or market. Many pretty scrollwork patterns exist. Make sure the mat is an open design to allow air to flow through it and into your home without obstruction. The doormats costs between $10-$20 dollars. If you’re not a fan of the black, you can paint it to match the rest of your home. Then, just hang it on two nails right above the vent. The finished product looks like an antique vent cover, and looks nice enough to be wall art!

If you find dirty vents while you’re sprucing up your covers, check out Getzschman’s air duct cleaning services. The service reduces allergy and asthma symptoms and leaves your home with better air quality.

2. Fake Fancy Air Vents with Spray Paint

Spray Paint Air VentsDon’t want to cover up your vents? Try spray-painting them instead! You can buy spray paint that looks like metal, such as gold, silver, bronze or even copper, to give it a more elegant look. A hot color currently is oil-rubbed bronze. The paint shouldn’t cost you more than $10.

This works for almost any type of vent, too, whether it’s a floor or wall vent. Just make sure you remove the vent cover first and take them outside or in a garage before you spray paint them. You don’t want those paint fumes in your home. Also make sure to lay the vent cover on some newspaper or plastic before painting, so you don’t get paint everywhere. Then, wait for the paint to dry before putting them back in the floor or wall so they don’t stick. This is also a great idea for old vents that might be chipping or rusting. It will bring them back to life, and save you some cash!

3. Use a Piece of Furniture

FurnitureIf you have a piece of furniture that would sit nicely against the wall where your vent is located, simply remove the back and push it in front of the vent. Make sure it has doors that are vented to let the air circulate. If the doors aren’t vented, replace them with screened, louvered or decorative scrollwork doors. As long as the air can pass through the doors, it will remain functional and look fabulous!

We hope these tips will help you make your home both comfortable and charming. Let us know if you try any of these tips and send us a picture of how it turned out! We’d love to see it.

For your air conditioning and heating needs, call the technicians you can trust at Getzschman at (402) 554-1110.

Humidity and How to Control It in Your Home

humidity levels in home

It’s no secret that optimal humidity levels can make your home more comfortable, especially during the coldest and warmest parts of the year. Humidity can also affect your health and that of your family, both directly and indirectly. The team at Getzschman put together this humidity guide to help you stay healthy and feel comfortable year round.

Ideal Humidity Levels

Humidity is conveyed as a percentage that represents how much moisture is in the air at any given time. In your home, humidity is considered too high when it reaches more than 50% concentration. Your humidity levels may be too low if they fall below 30%.

Generally, the optimal humidity level in the summer is 40 to 50% and the ideal level in the winter is 30 to 40%. These differing ranges help account for seasonal temperature changes. Too much humidity in your home in the winter can lead to condensation on the inside of your windows.

 

High Humidity Health Issues

In many locations, including the Midwest, the summer months have the highest levels of humidity. Here in Nebraska, you may see outdoor humidity levels of more than 80% during the summer.

These higher humidity levels make it feel hotter both outside and inside. For example, imagine a summer afternoon with a temperature of 95°F. If the humidity were 30%, it would feel like 95°F outside. But if the humidity climbed to just 65%, the temperature would feel like a scorching 117°F. At Nebraska’s upper humidity range, the temperature could feel as high as 125°F.

High humidity can have a range of negative health effects, including:

  • Increased risk of heat-related conditions – Long periods of exposure to high temperatures and humidity can result in inefficient bodily cooling. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke can cause loss of salts and fluids, as well as dangerous symptoms like fainting.
  • Poor-quality sleep – Most individuals get their best quality sleep in a cool environment. When the temperature in your bedroom climbs, you may have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Over time, poor-quality sleep can contribute to irritability, lack of focus, and lethargy.
  • Worsening allergies – Pollen and dust mites thrive at higher humidity levels, which means that people with allergies to airborne particles or people with respiratory conditions may experience more intense symptoms. Additionally, humidity contributes to mold growth which can make indoor air toxic.

To beat the heat, it’s important to keep your indoor humidity within optimal levels over the summer.

 

Low Humidity Health Issues

In the winter, humidity levels drop. While Nebraska’s outdoor humidity generally stays above 40% in the winter, using your heating system reduces the overall moisture in your home.

If your indoor air becomes too dry, you may experience the following health problems:

  • Congestion and cough – Dry air irritates your body’s mucous membranes, such as those found in the nose and throat. When the membranes in your nose and sinuses become too dry, you may experience runny nose, congestion, and sneezing. When dry air affects your throat, you may experience soreness and coughing.
  • Dry skin – Exposure to dry air depletes the moisture in your skin. The dry your skin gets, the more likely you are to experience itchiness, cracks, and scaliness. If you have a skin condition like eczema, dry conditions may exacerbate your typical symptoms.
  • Itchy eyes – Dry air can reduce your eyes’ ability to produce enough tears to properly lubricate the surface of the eyeball. You may notice itchiness, excessive blinking, redness, or a gritty feeling. Dry eyes can increase your risk of eye injury since the symptoms of dry eye encourage you to rub at your eyes, which can lead to corneal abrasions and the introduction of foreign particles.
  • Persistent illness – Many individuals experience colds or the flu more often in the winter. This increase in illness frequency is due in part to low humidity levels. The flu virus, for example, lives longer on surfaces when the humidity is lower. Extremely low humidity levels increase your risk of illness and make it more difficult to recover from a seasonal ailment because you have to work harder to stay hydrated and get quality sleep.

In order to keep yourself and your family comfortable throughout the winter, you may need to dramatically increase your indoor moisture levels.

 

How to Control Humidity in Your Home

How do you know what the humidity level is in your house? You can measure the humidity level in your home easily with a hygrometer. These instruments measure water vapor in the atmosphere and are readily available at home improvement and other stores.

You can make small changes to the humidity levels in your home by making smart choices. For example, in the summertime, use ventilation and fans to disperse the moisture created by bathing and running appliances.

In the winter, you can increase humidity by taking hot showers and air-drying your laundry. However, if you notice negative effects caused by either high or low humidity, consider a long-term solution instead.

Use a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier to better control your home’s air quality and seasonal health conditions. Learn more about dehumidifiers in our blog “Dehumidifiers 101: What This Appliance Does and Why You Need One.”

 

Pay attention to the connection between your home’s humidity and the way you feel to ensure that every member of your household stays as healthy as possible, regardless of how the weather changes. If you need help controlling the humidity in your home, give the G-Force team at Getzschman a call at (402) 554-1110.