This winter is bringing air quality issues to Vancouver and surrounding areas. That’s because winter weather conditions are leading to poor dispersion of air pollutants, causing emissions from local sources such as vehicles, fireplaces, wood stoves, and outdoor burning to significantly impact fine particulate matter levels present in Vancouver neighborhoods, according to the Vancouver Courier.
As a result, it’s recommended that residents minimize wood burning activities and the use of fireworks until weather conditions improve in the spring. Additionally, those with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the bulletin is lifted. Exposure is particularly a concern for pregnant women and infants, the elderly and anyone who suffers from diabetes and lung or heart disease.
Here at R&B Plumbing, we take air quality very seriously. While you can’t do much about the outdoor air quality here in Vancouver, you can do something about the air within your own home. Here are some suggestions on how to improve your indoor air quality.
Keep Your Ducts Clean
Duct cleaning is a popular home maintenance item and many people will invest in the cost. R&B believes that with good prevention before the air enters the ducting, and a little domestic vacuuming a few feet down the vents from the vent covers, you can save that money. What’s more important is ensuring that your furnace filters have been changed on a regular basis. Clean filters will be able to capture those particulates before they are blown into your vents in the first place. And more importantly, before that air enters your heating system. The filters are actually on your air intake to protect the mechanics and combustion of the furnace.
Clogged furnace filters will put undue stress on your heating system in two ways. First, they interfere with and restrict air flow and second, the air can be drawn through the path of least resistance which is around the filter. This means that dirty air is entering the furnace.
The number one thing you can do to improve your indoor air quality this winter is change your furnace filter. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and it’s effective.
Reduce Toxicity with iWAVE
One of the biggest culprits of compromised indoor air quality is smoke from cigarettes. This smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, leading to an increase in risk of asthma, lung cancer, and stroke.
Be mindful as well of the toxic particles that can come from the products you use to clean and disinfect your home. Household chemicals and fragrances give off VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds – I didn’t know what it meant either!), which come with serious health risks.
While you can certainly reduce the use of these chemicals by switching to natural or mild soaps and cleaners, you can also add a relatively inexpensive and simple air cleaning unit onto your heating system. It’s called the iWave Air Purifier (https://www.iwaveair.com) and it’s a whole house solution. It works by creating ions that grab and hold onto airborne pollutants so they can be easily captured by your (brand new, just changed!) furnace filter.
Provide Air Support
Consider adding plants like dracaena, peace lilies, English ivy, chrysanthemums and spider plants to your home in an effort to improve indoor air quality. These plants have detoxifying properties. Plus, they look beautiful and can spruce up the appearance of your home at the same time.
Air cleaners, or products like the Carrier Infinity Home Filtration system, are also effective when it comes to creating fresh and clean air. Did you know that air cleaners can capture 98 percent of airborne particles that circulate through your home?
You can also choose various heating and cooling add-ons for those who suffer from asthma, allergies, or chronic illnesses. Depending on what the specific MERV or HEPA rating is, special filters capture dust, pollen, mold, pet dander, viruses, pollutants, and bacteria in the air. Be aware that dust mites and mold love moisture, so it may be wise to invest in an air exchanger or dehumidifier to keep these materials at bay.
Your home’s humidity should be between 30 and 50 percent, so ensure you keep your home’s levels within this range at all times. There are many types of appliances and air quality systems available on the market today to improve the quality of the air you breathe within your own home, all at a variety of price points to meet any budget.
Combine with Efficiency
Another challenge in the winter, are all the doors in windows stay closed making the inside just a little bit stale. For the best in air quality and heating efficiency consider the HRV. (https://www.carrier.com/residential/en/us/products/indoor-air-quality/ventilators/) A Carrier series heating recovery ventilator is a great way to bring fresh air into your home and not make extra work for your furnace to heat it. They can be installed to work with existing ducting or become a part of your addition or renovation project.
Contact R&B Plumbing and Heating
We offer a number of improvements that can increase the health of your air quality, from a simple furnace filter to an entire air filtration system. Contact us today and let our experienced staff connect you with an air quality system that works best within your budget and with your home’s heating requirements.