Modern heating and cooling technologies have advanced rapidly over the last few years, offering higher-quality, more energy-efficient options for Berryville, Virginia, homeowners. When it comes to indoor air quality, it’s nice to know there are many innovative products you can invest in to ensure your whole family breathes easier. These are a few of our favorites.
Controlling moisture and humidity in the home is one of the key strategies for maintaining clean, breathable indoor air. Excess moisture is often found in basements, bathrooms, entryways, around windows, and in areas of the home that are not properly sealed. Without moisture control, excess humidity can lead to mold and mildew growth, musty smells, and even water damage. High humidity also encourages dust mites to thrive which is detrimental to family members with asthma or allergies.
Dehumidifiers are great for controlling moisture, but portable units can be bulky and take up a lot of floor space, especially if you need one in multiple rooms throughout the house. That’s why we recommend having a whole-home dehumidifier installed.
A whole-home dehumidifier is a single, low-maintenance unit that provides fresh air ventilation and convenient, quiet operation. You won’t even know it’s there. Modern units automatically sense humidity levels, allowing them to better control your home’s indoor air quality.
Our favorite Aprilaire whole-home dehumidifiers even feature Wi-Fi thermostats for complete indoor air quality control, so you can check on your home’s humidity levels from your mobile device, or control other Aprilaire products for maximum air ventilation.
Alternatively, seasonal dry air can really do a number on your respiratory system. Many homeowners experience dry air during the winter months, which is exacerbated by closed windows and a turned-up thermostat blowing dry heat. Dry indoor air can lead to sinusitis, excessive nosebleeds, and even snoring because it causes the sinuses to dry out. Dry, flaky skin and increased susceptibility to viruses, including the flu, are also dangers of not having adequate humidity. Over-dry air can also trigger asthma and allergy symptoms.
Keeping your home’s humidity at an ideal level can seem like a tricky balancing act, but a whole-home humidifier can help. Just as with a whole-home dehumidifier, a whole-home humidifier is installed with either a new or existing HVAC system. Some systems can even be used with baseboard or radiant heating. The humidifier introduces much-needed humidity in the form of water vapor into the heating ducts, all the while monitoring and controlling the levels via the thermostat.
Too many homes rely on tiny holes or cracks in the roof, around windows, and in the walls to provide some sort of ventilation. Poor ventilation can cause issues with dampness, mold, mildew, odor, rust, and condensation. Lack of indoor ventilation has also been linked to respiratory diseases, including pneumonia, asthma, allergies, and nasal congestion. Distributing fresh air evenly throughout the home is key to avoiding these unpleasant side effects.
Investing in a mechanical ventilator gives you more control over your home’s airflow because it doesn’t rely on leakage. Air leaking into the house can come from a number of undesirable areas, including a crawl space, garage, or attic, but mechanical ventilation eliminates this problem.
A mechanical ventilator improves indoor air quality by removing moisture, allergens, and pollutants. In turn, it boosts indoor comfort with proper filtration, air conditioning, and dehumidification of the outdoor air entering the home. Your HVAC technician will be able to calibrate the ventilation device in order to achieve the proper balance between indoor air dilution and energy efficiency, saving you money while boosting your home’s air quality.
Ultraviolet devices installed in HVAC systems have been proven to eradicate mold and other harmful biological organisms, making them an essential addition for anyone concerned about indoor air quality. With conventional heating and air conditioning systems, condensation forms around the evaporator coil, which can be a breeding ground for mold spores, viruses, and bacteria. UV lamps are designed to sterilize the air handler’s interior, getting rid of these nasty pests before they have a chance to enter your home.
In addition to coil sterilization, air sterilization options are also available. These types of UV lights sterilize moving air as it flows through the air ducts. Coil sterilization units, however, remain the most reasonably priced and widely available versions, but the current options are just a glimpse into the types of indoor air quality products that might be available in the future.
Whole-Home Air Purifier
If you or a loved one suffer from asthma or allergies, you’ve probably had experience with a portable air purifier. These essential products remove harmful particles from the air to help boost a room’s breathability, but they’re limited to their immediate area. That’s why investing in a whole-home air purifier is a smarter option.
Whole-home air purifiers are installed as part of your home’s HVAC system and help control the purity of your indoor air. Air purifiers remove pollen, pet dander, pet hair, mold spores, and bacteria, leaving the air breathable and more comfortable.
As with other whole-home products, these air purifiers require maintenance just once a year, which can be performed during your annual HVAC service. When you consider that portable air purifiers need to be cleaned and have their filters changed every one to three months, you can start to see the convenience of this investment.
Zoned Temperature Control System
Ask each family member what the ideal thermometer setting is and you’ll likely receive a different answer from each one. Central HVAC systems have long been the go-to option for keeping indoor air comfortable, but what if someone in the home has different temperature needs? How do you handle heat rising and upstairs rooms that are warmer than the ground floor?
A zoned temperature control system allows you to control the temperature in individual rooms rather than from a single, central thermostat. Zoning your home helps solve the problem of uncomfortable, inconsistent temperatures, and is actually more energy-efficient than central systems. You can enjoy conditioned air delivered precisely where you need it, when you need it.
If your home consists of more than one level, is built over a concrete slab, has a room with expansive glass, or features large open areas such as a loft of vaulted ceilings, you’ll want to consider zoning your heating and cooling system for maximum comfort and improved air quality.
Maintaining an ideal temperature throughout the home is key to keeping allergens in check and boosting indoor air quality. That’s why investing in a programmable thermostat is a must.
The more you have to fidget with your thermostat, the more likely you are to reduce your HVAC system’s energy efficiency. Programmable thermostats allow you to enter multiple settings based on when you’re at home or away, allowing the HVAC system to automatically adjust according to your family’s schedule. This can ensure your home is perfectly comfortable before you even arrive home, which is a must when you’re trying to achieve perfect indoor air quality.
If opting for an Aprilaire Wi-Fi thermostat, you’ll have access to an exclusive indoor air quality control feature that gives you complete control of your home’s IAQ. Even if you’ve programmed your thermostat to a particular schedule, the Wi-Fi thermostat allows you to override the program at any time. What’s more, if you have whole-home Aprilaire systems installed, you can receive service reminders and automatically clean your home’s air with one touch of the LCD screen.
Even if you can’t afford to add a whole-home air purifier, dehumidifier, or other IAQ product, you can achieve more breathable air simply by opting for a quality air filter. HVAC air filters often get neglected, but it’s important to change them every one to three months because they quickly become clogged with dust, pollen, pet dander, and other debris. If you’re not sure which air filter you need, ask your HVAC technician for recommendations.
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