How Do Humidifiers Help Relieve Allergy Symptoms

Does someone in your home suffer from severe allergy symptoms? If so, you may have heard about humidifiers and how they can help manage pesky allergy problems. In this article, we’ll discuss what humidifiers are, how they help relieve allergy symptoms and what options are available.

Let’s get started.

What are Humidifiers? How Do they Work?

Humidifiers are electronically powered devices that increase humidity in the air. Most humidifiers work by pouring water into a small container located inside the device. Once the humidifier is plugged into an outlet and begins running, it breaks up the water into small particles and releases them into the air.

Humidifiers can be small and used for a single room. They can also be installed for an entire home or building, although these are usually less effective.

How Do Humidifiers Help with Allergies?

Humidity plays a large role in allergy symptoms. An increase in humidity helps prevent symptoms from forming and treats them as they occur.

For instance, a common cause of allergic rhinitis is dry, inflamed nasal passages. When the passages become dry, they cause symptoms of nasal congestion and irritation. Medications that treat allergic rhinitis provide quick relief from dryness and inflammation. But a better and longer-term solution is to add more humidity into the air. Many people also notice that the increased humidity helps with eczema and other sensitive skin issues.

Is it Possible to Have Too Much Humidity?

If you choose to install a humidifier in your home, you must find a balance. Too much humidity can lead to other problems such as an increase in mold or dust mites, both of which can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. Your goal is to aim for an environment that is not too damp, but not too dry.

What Types of Humidifiers are Available?

To manage allergy symptoms, your best option is probably a point-of-use device. These humidifiers are designed to humidify the air in one or several rooms, and they feature a water tank that is filled regularly. The most common type of humidifier is called a cool mist humidifier. Other options include vaporizers, impeller humidifiers and ultrasonic humidifiers.

An important piece of advice is to keep the humidifier clean. If you allow water to sit in the unit, it can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which will then blow out into the air. Read the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to clean the unit and change its filter.

It’s spring, which means allergy season is here! Call Brewer Heating and Air Conditioning to learn more about installing a humidifier and improving the indoor air quality in your home!

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Why Is Changing My Air Filter So Important?

Air filters play a crucial role in your HVAC system’s ability to reliably heat and cool your home. They also play a crucial role in your ability to maintain year-round indoor air quality. However, unless you change the filter on your HVAC system regularly, you can miss out on these important benefits and potentially put your system and personal health at unnecessary risk.

Dirty Filters Make Your System Work Harder

While in use, all HVAC systems rely on a sustained flow of air to keep running smoothly and efficiently. Any undue restriction in airflow will make your system work harder than it normally would. In turn, HVAC components that work too hard experience a drop in efficiency and use more energy. In some cases, they may also break down after operating in a high-strain environment for an extended period of time.

One of the surest ways to make your HVAC system work overtime is failing to change out an air filter full of accumulated dust, pet dander, dirt or other airborne particles. That’s true because the return ducts on your system carry all interior air through this filter as part of the normal heating and cooling process. By sticking to a regular filter replacement schedule, you can avoid the vast majority of the potential problems associated with indoor airflow restrictions.

Dirty Filters Make Your Indoor Environment Less Healthy

Throughout much or most of the year, your HVAC system plays an unavoidable role in determining the quality of your home’s indoor air. When the system operates as designed in a sealed environment, essentially all of the air in your home travels through its connected ducting network. A clean air filter increases the quality of the air running through the system by trapping dust, pollen and other substances that produce allergic reactions and trigger the onset of asthma symptoms in individuals affected by that respiratory condition. Conversely, when a dirty filter reaches its maximum ability to hold airborne materials, allergy- and asthma-provoking substances can steadily accumulate in your indoor air.

Change Your Filter Regularly

The only way to avoid the problems associated with dirty HVAC air filters is to change your filter regularly. If your home is typical, count on replacing your current filter once every three months. Large families, households with members susceptible to allergies and/or asthma, households that rely heavily on HVAC use and households with at least two pets commonly do better with filter replacements scheduled every month. Replace a damaged filter or a damp filter without delay.

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The Benefits of Controlling Your Indoor Air Quality

Have you been feeling tired or run down lately? Do you have a cold you can’t seem to get over, unexplained itchiness, dizziness or headaches that seem to mysteriously come and go? If you are a business owner or manager, have your employees been complaining about these or similar types of ailments?

If your answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions you may have a “sick” building on your hands. In other words noxious indoor air pollution may be causing these symptoms to manifest, putting your family members or your workers in harm’s way whenever they enter your home or place of business.

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

When interior air goes bad there are two possible reasons. First, you may have an excess of pollutants contaminating your air space, such as dust particles, chemical traces, ozone emissions, fumes from external sources (nearby factories, highways, etc.), airborne bacteria or mold and fungi spores. Second, your home or business space may be poorly ventilated and air circulation may be inhibited as a result.

Of course in many cases—maybe even in most cases—excessive indoor air pollution is caused by a combination of both factors.

When air quality is compromised and ventilation can’t keep up everyone who lives or works in that space is caught in the crosshairs, with no possibility of escape. The average human being spends about 90 percent of his or her time indoors, so when the places we occupy the most are compromised by air pollution it can create quite the sticky wicket.

Ironically, one frequent cause of indoor air pollution is sustainable building practice. We would assume green construction standards are automatically health-promoting, but in the name of energy conservation modern structures are built to be as airtight as possible and this requires more ventilation than is sometimes included.

What Can Be Done?

If indoor air pollution is caused by poor ventilation, partially or in whole, improving your ventilation is essential. This may mean putting in more windows, installing more fans ( ceiling fans, vent fans or whole-house fans), knocking down walls or removing doors that inhibit air flow and so on.

Commercial enterprises often install indoor air quality (IAQ) monitoring systems that can help them detect problems and devise solutions before “sick building syndrome” becomes a real problem.
In homes HVAC systems play a big role in determining air quality. To improve your system’s performance, you should:

  • Have it checked and professionally cleaned once or twice a year.
  • Replace your system’s air filter monthly.
  • When you choose a new filter, get one with a MERV rating of 11 or greater (it will remove 80 percent or more of even the tiniest particles).
  • Think about adding an ultraviolet lamp to your HVAC system to eliminate bacteria, viruses and other microbial nasties that can circulate far and wide through your ductwork.

You Need a Breath of Fresh Air

Indoor air pollution can and will make you sick. It may be impossible to eliminate it entirely, but with a proactive approach you can make substantial improvements in the breathability of your home or business space.

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Debunking Indoor Air Quality Myths

Although the advancement of HVAC systems in buildings and homes is simply exceptional, over the past few years, concerns about the quality of air indoors have been rising. It is important to ensure that the quality of air inside your home or building is good. Poor air quality can lead to a number of issues including allergies, irritation of eyes, and so many others. The most important thing though is to know how to detect any toxic gases. A lot of detection measures exist but there are so many IAQ myths that are related to them. Here are some of the major air quality myths you should be aware of:

Ozone Is Not Good For Our Health

Although this is something you may have heard so many times, it’s really far from the truth. Ozone is designed to filter harmful chemicals and odors; that does not mean it is safe. Ozone is known to release a number of harmful chemicals and gases that may affect the health of so many people. Although Ozone is ideal in filtering air, it is not safe for humans.

Sensors Don’t Need To Be Replaced Once They Are Installed

When sensors have been newly installed, they will work very well. However, every sensor has its own life expectancy and sometimes when that expectancy is outlived, they become ineffective and ultimately fails. In that case, you need to understand how long your sensors are supposed to last and make sure you have replaced them accordingly after that time lapses.

There Is No Need to Worry About Indoor Air Quality

A lot of people don’t feel the need to worry about indoor air quality but that is simply a misconception. A lot of people spend up to 90% of their time indoors and they stand the biggest risk of being affected by contaminants in indoor air.

There are simply so many IAQ myths out there; however, you should keep in mind that keeping the air in your home pure is very important. Follow our blog for more information on heating, cooling, and keeping your home energy efficient.

High Winds Across The United States Affecting Indoor Air Quality

Cleaning the dust and debris from high winds out of the AC system components and machinery pays off handsomely, both in dollars saved and in comfort. In addition to improving the indoor air quality, cleaning prolongs the life of the air conditioner and lowers the necessity for frequent expensive repairs. Lately, the United States has experienced high winds from coast to coast. In addition to carrying dirt particles and allergens, the high winds have had a negative effect on home AC and HVAC systems. Allergens and dust mold can cause serious health problems; therefore, it is important to address the issue of HVAC vent cleaning immediately.

Home Air Quality
A musty or moldy smell in a home is an indication that the AC evaporator coils need cleaning. Located within the air stream of the furnace or air handler, the coils accumulate dirt and dust particles that are circulated within the ductwork of the AC system. In windy conditions, more dust and dirt accumulates on the coils.

When one turns down the thermostat, the system starts to circulate. As warm air moves over the cold AC coils, condensation occurs. As a result of this condensation, any dust and dirt particles that blow through the system will stick to the wet metal. As the condensate continues to build up, it will flow into the drain pan carrying with it some of the collected debris. However, if the homeowner neglects to check and unclog the drain area, the condensate water accumulates and remains in the pan below the coils, thereby providing a fertile breeding ground for mold.

Mold needs water and organic compounds to thrive. Dust and dirt particles have enough organic compounds to enable the growth and spreading of mold, especially in very windy conditions. In addition to the coils, excess water or moisture migrates with the airflow throughout the ductwork; regrettably, the mold spores will get spread throughout the house in the process.

Typical duct cleaning involves blowing out the evaporator coil to get rid of all the dust and debris. It also involves cleaning the supply ducts, return ducts, and other components of the furnace. In addition to offering AC vent cleaning and maintenance services, many HVAC contractors provide IAQ testing services. Most contractors strongly recommend that homeowners should test their homes for pollutants ranging from radon and rodents to VOCs and NO2.

According to the EPA, one of the first indicators of an air quality problem is an increase in health problems. Identifying the potential sources of air pollution by taking a careful survey is very important. Although there is not one comprehensive IAQ test, a homeowner may opt to choose a test based on a specific question such as whether the air in the home has unhealthy levels of mold spores.