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Orange County Air Quality: What Homeowners Can Do to Keep Their Families Healthy?

Monitoring and improving your indoor air quality is an important part of keeping your family healthy. Orange County homeowners should do their best to get to know the area’s air quality, and take steps to improve indoor air quality so that their families can breathe easier year-round. Below, we’ve put together a simple guide with tips for keeping your indoor air clean and breathable.

5 Ways Orange County Homeowners Can Improve Indoor Air Quality

Not sure where to start when it comes to improving the quality of your indoor air? Here are 5 things that you can do to improve your indoor air quality:

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Not sure if your indoor air quality is where it should be? Contact us today to find out more about how you can improve the quality of your indoor air with IAQ HVAC products. After getting to know a little bit more about your home comfort needs, our HVAC experts can help you find and install the right IAQ products for your home.

McMaster’s Guide to Home Comfort in Southern California

Need some tips for ways to make your Irvine home more comfortable? We’ve got just what you need. Here are our top home comfort articles from our blog archives. They’re packed with some great information about how you can control your home environment for improved comfort year-round.

Irvine Indoor Air Quality

With all of the outdoor pollution we are exposed to each day, it’s important to make sure that we are doing all that we can to keep our indoor air safe to breathe for ourselves and our families. Here are just a few articles that can help homeowners better understand and work to improve IAQ:

  • Did you know that weather can impact the air inside our homes? In How Extreme Weather Can Affect the Air in Your Home, we talk about just that. High temperatures can cause an increase in pollen while prolonged wet environments may also result in mold growth. Use the tips in this article to stay safe in any environment.
  • Most homeowners know that they should regularly change their HVAC filter each month to keep breathing easy. However, not every home owner is on top of this important task. In Changing Your HVAC Filter: Why is it so important? we explain just why you should be. This is a great article to share with someone you know who hasn’t changed their air filter in awhile.
  • How clean is the air inside your home? There is no way to tell for sure without testing your IAQ. In our post, What is Indoor Air Quality Testing? we explain what IAQ is and how it can help you improve the quality of the air that you and your family breathe in on a regular basis. This is a must-read for any homeowner with allergy or asthma sufferers in their family.
  • You may or may not have heard about the power of UV lights and how they can keep your indoor air clean. We’ve written a blog post all about it. UV Lights: How They Can Improve Indoor Air Quality tells you just what you need to know about improving indoor air quality with UV lights.

Controlling Home Comfort in SoCal

There’s more to home comfort than clean air. Temperature and humidity control are also an important part of maintaining a comfortable home environment. Here are some posts with valuable information on how to maintain your home environment:

  • Programmable thermostats have become a popular device for homeowners across the country. But why all the hype? In our post, Programmable Thermostats: Do They Really Benefit Me? we explain how these devices can benefit you from both a home comfort and monthly energy budget perspective. This is a great read for those who have been considering a programmable thermostat.
  • Another type of digital device that is changing the way that homeowners stay comfortable is the smart thermostat. This device offers even more benefits to homeowners who want to stay comfortable while conserving energy. We give you all the details you need to know about these devices from the home comfort experts in Carrier Cor Smart Thermostats. This is a great read for those of you who like to stay connected through the internet of things.
  • Many Irvine homeowners find that as the seasons change, sometimes it is not hot enough for air conditioner or cold enough for heat. This can result in some home comfort challenges that are difficult to tackle. But have no fear! The McMaster team covers this and more in our post, The Goldilocks of HVAC: How to Ensure Just Right Home Comfort When It’s Not Too Hot and Not Too Cold. Use this article for information about how to stay comfortable in those in between moments.
  • Dog may be man’s best friend, but sometimes the furry members of our families can wreak havoc on our indoor air quality. Any Irvine homeowners with pets will want to read 5 HVAC Tips for Homes with Pets in order to get the information they need to keep their homes healthy and comfortable for every member of the family.

Staying Comfortable in Irvine, CA

Want to learn more about how to keep your Irvine home comfortable year-round? Check back on our blog each month for new and informative content about home comfort, home improvement, and HVAC. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter so that you never miss an update from McMaster Heating and Air Conditioning.

What is Indoor Air Quality Testing?

Indoor air pollution is common in homes and the causes vary widely—these include pets, poor ventilation, and mold, among many others. Indoor air quality testing is a helpful service that can benefit your home by helping you become aware of pollutants and irritants that you may not know even exist in your air.

Indoor Air Quality Testing generally involves a collection of samples from your home’s air and building surfaces and may even involve computer generated air flow models of your home. This type of testing can help you discover whether these substances are lurking in your home:

Radon:

This invisible radioactive gas is probably the most problematic regarding indoor air quality and is responsible for many deaths each year. Radon can enter buildings as a “soil gas” or through contaminated drinking water. Homeowners can mitigate radon by increasing ventilation, improving water drainage systems, and sealing concrete slab floors.

Carbon Monoxide:

This indoor air contaminate is colorless, odorless, and highly toxic. Carbon Monoxide is a byproduct of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, such as from faulty HVAC systems, tobacco smoke, and even space heaters that use fossil fuels. These substances can cause many effects from Carbon Monoxide buildup, include headaches, nausea, and even death.

Pet Dander and Debris:

Pet dander and other debris are common in homes with pets, yet homeowners should be aware of the potential concerns regarding air quality. Pet dander, which is essentially tiny flakes of skin from your pet, along with pet hair, can cause buildup in your home and have a major effect on your home’s air quality. Dander and other microscopic debris can get trapped within your home’s ductwork and can circulate throughout your home each time your HVAC system is turned on.

Asbestos:

Although most buildings built after 1975 do not contain asbestos, older buildings may house some of this problematic material. Typically, the asbestos fiber found in these older buildings do not cause any health concerns until they are disturbed by remodeling or home improvement efforts, such as drilling, sawing, or other renovations. When the asbestos containing materials are damaged, tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air. This can cause significant concerns for your lungs, and unfortunately, most symptoms from asbestos exposure don’t surface until almost 20 years after a person’s exposure to asbestos.

Mold:

Mold can cause concerns for your home’s air quality and are almost always caused by excessive moisture. Mold’s growth can be inhibited by keeping a humidifier in your home and making sure that the humidity levels in your home stay below 50%. A thorough mold inspection could potentially require a bit of destruction to your home, since mold tends to hide in hard to see areas, such as behind drywall or within your home’s foundation. Mold should be taken seriously as it can affect your home’s air quality, and cause extra issues for family members who suffer from asthma.

All of these potentially harmful substances can be discovered (and subsequently controlled) through Indoor Air Quality testing. Your home’s air quality is important for your health and your comfort. Be sure to get your air quality inspected if you suspect any of the above concerns. If you need help finding the right indoor air quality products for your home comfort needs, contact us today.

5 HVAC Tips for Homes with Pets

Cats and dogs are beloved by many, and numerous people in the United States share their homes with pets. If you live with a furry or feathered friend, there are several things you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure that your home’s HVAC system is running smoothly, and that your home’s air quality is not compromised.

Control Pet Dander

Pet dander is made up of tiny, oftentimes microscopic, flakes of skin and is found on animals with fur or feathers. Most people who suffer with allergies to cats and dogs are not allergic to the pet’s hair, but instead the pet’s dander. Dander is produced by most pets and can seriously affect your home’s air quality. This can occur as the dander accumulates and is distributed throughout your home by way of your HVAC system.

The most important step in reducing pet dander in the home is prevention. Regular grooming of your pets is essential to their health and well-being, but it can also make a huge difference in the amount of dander they produce. Clean, well hydrated and moisturized skin will create less dander. Bathe your cat or dog regularly using a gentle, moisturizing soap (as recommended by your veterinarian) and brush your pet’s fur regularly. Adding these simple steps to your pet care routine can go a long way in preventing dander.

Change Your Filter

It’s good practice to change your HVAC system’s air filter regularly to ensure better air quality within your home. If you share your space with pets, change it twice as often as recommended.

Upgrade Your Filter

Even better than simply changing your air filter more frequently is to invest in your home’s air quality by upgrading to a HEPA filter. The benefits of switching to a HEPA filter are numerous. HEPA filters are made of densely packed layers of fibers which can capture ultrafine dust and dirt particles. This type of filter is ranked very high for its effectiveness and can remove approximately 99% of particles from your home’s air.

Clean Your Ducts

Having your home’s ducts cleaned can go a long way in dealing with pet dander. Dander, along with other dirt particles, can get trapped within your ductwork, which is a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Since your home’s air passes through this ductwork, the trapped dirt, bacteria and mold will get discharged throughout your home each time your HVAC system is turned on. Having your ducts cleaned can eliminate this recirculating dirt and dander.

Seal Your Ducts

If your air ducts have cracks or leaks, this will allow pet dander an easy entryway inside the ductwork, which can majorly affect the quality of the air that passes through your home. After you have your ductwork cleaned, consider also having the ducts sealed to prevent further dirt from accumulating in your home’s ductwork.

We at McMaster can help with all of your indoor air quality needs. Check out our offered services, and give us a call today to learn more on how we can help improve your home’s air quality!

The Goldilocks of HVAC: How to Ensure Just-Right Home Comfort When It’s Not too Hot & Not too Cold

Though you may have had your AC on at full blast over the summer, temperatures in Irvine and other parts of Southern California tend to be more moderate in the fall. When the weather outside is not too hot and not too cold, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Like Goldilocks, you are left trying out different things until you find the comfortable home environment that’s just right for you.

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Indoor Climate Control for Moderate Weather

Typically, homeowners will use their HVAC system to help create a more comfortable home environment. But it can be difficult to find just the right indoor climate when the weather outside is not too hot or too cold. Use these tips to help you find a home comfort level that’s just right for you:

Use a programmable thermostat to make sure the temperature is just right.

One of the best ways to make sure that your home climate is just right is by using a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to adjust temperature settings on a schedule to ensure that you are saving energy while you’re away, and your home is the perfect temperature when you return. Smart thermostats get to know your temperature preferences and also allow you to adjust other environmental elements like humidity levels. This can help ensure that you are conserving energy while also keeping your home comfortable year-round.

Keep air circulating throughout the room by turning on your ceiling fans.

Though fans cannot take the place of your HVAC system as they don’t actually cool the air down, they can help with air circulation. Adequate air circulation helps regulate temperature, control moisture levels in your home, and reduce the level of allergens that accumulate in your home and have the potential to impact your family’s health. The better the air circulation is in your home, the easier it is to get comfortable. If you decide to turn off your air conditioner and open your windows to let fresh air in, use the fan to help circulate this cooler air around your home.

Use curtains, drapes, and blinds to help control the heat levels entering your home.

One affordable and effective way to help make the temperature inside your home more moderate is by using blinds, shades, curtains, drapes, and other window dressings to help control the amount of heat and light that enters your home. On sunny days, you can close the blinds or shades to keep some of the heat out, helping you to maintain a more moderate indoor temperature. When the weather is slightly cooler, you might open the curtains to let more sunlight in.

Make sure your home is well-insulated.

Insulation also helps you maintain a comfortable home climate. Poor insulation can lead to air loss, which wastes energy and increases electricity costs. Proper insulation can help keep the warm or cool air in your home from escaping through cracks and leaks, which offers you a more moderate and consistent home temperature that is not too hot and not too cold.

Are you having a hard time getting comfortable? There may be a problem with your HVAC unit. Call us today for an inspection or tune-up.

Improve Indoor Air Quality Today

There’s little doubt that the high winds plaguing homeowners all over the country have created a problem with dusty HVAC equipment. Unfortunately, as the dust and debris accumulates on your heating and cooling equipment, internal components are put under unnecessary stress. The grit and dirt that finds its way into your machinery can be extremely damaging, leading to premature breakdowns and a variety of HVAC repair issues. Of course, with quality AC maintenance and cleaning, it is possible to rid your expensive equipment of this damaging dirt and ensure it is ready to provide reliable cooling even during the hottest days of summer.

While the increase in winds has brought damaging dust and grit to your home’s HVAC system, it has also taken its toll when it comes to home air quality. The airborne irritants, especially mold and other allergens, can be extremely unhealthy, especially for individuals who are suffering from respiratory ailments or allergies. Minimizing the irritants in your home is an important factor in improving the health of your family and a professional HVAC vent cleaning is an easy and affordable way to improve indoor air quality.

Whether you are worried about indoor air quality or you want an effective way to protect your HVAC system, eliminating the dirt and debris that high winds have brought to your home is definitely important. Fortunately, a trained HVAC technician will be able to provide reliable air quality testing as well as a thorough HVAC vent cleaning in order to ensure the quality of air in your home is at its best. Now is the time to take action in order to best protect the health of your family. Of course, with professional AC maintenance, your HVAC technician will also be able to eliminate damaging dirt from your HVAC equipment, providing an important level of protection.