Category Archives: Air Purification

Guide: Air Purification

Guide: Air PurificationIf you’re reading this in February, you might want to know that the root word for the month comes from a Latin word, Februum, that refers to a Roman ritual for purification. So we’re thinking February is a fine time to start considering purification — of the air, that is — in your home.

Chances are, you give little thought to how polluted your indoor air may be. But studies show that in today’s airtight homes, the indoor air is many times more polluted than that found outside. Among the chief pollutants are these:

  • mold spores
  • dust
  • pollen
  • pet dander
  • dust mites
  • volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

As you plan your spring cleaning tasks, you might also want to give some thought to air purification. Here are a few tips on dealing with common air pollutants.

Get a Handle on Air Purification

The best way to keep air pollutants out of your home is by making sure they doesn’t get inside in the first place. To keep out some of the above, do the following:

  • Fix leaks asap so damp spots don’t form and encourage mold.
  • Take shoes off at the door.
  • Brush off clothes before entering the home, or change them soon after to keep pollen out.
  • Ensure your home is airtight around doors and windows to keep out dust.
  • Bathe pets frequently. Brush them outdoors.
  • Avoid warm, damp conditions, which will promote dustmites in carpets, rugs and textiles.
  • Air out VOC-laden products before they enter the home. Store chemicals in the garage. Buy natural products whenever possible.

Consider an Air Cleaner

Air cleaners are available in portable or whole-home models that work through your HVAC system. The latter do a better job of cleaning the air. Some of the types of air purification you can try:

  • good quality air filters, rated MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) 8-10
  • washable electrostatic permanent filters
  • ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) lights in the HVAC (for mold, bacteria)
  • activated charcoal filters (to remove smoke and other gases)

Want to learn more about air purification technology? Contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We serve Portland and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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Why Air Pollutants Get Inside

Why Air Pollutants Get InsideEven the cleanest homes can suffer from degraded air quality. The reason? Air pollutants enter our homes in manifold ways that most of us aren’t even aware of. Couple that with the fact that most homes of modern construction are airtight, and you have a recipe for poor indoor air quality.

Many people develop allergies to these pollutants, or else sensitivities that cause them to suffer from respiratory irritations. The pollutants may also aggravate conditions such as chronic bronchitis and asthma.

With cold weather months already here, we find ourselves indoors more often than not, read on and learn how to prevent air pollutants both at the source and once they are in your home. This will help keep your home a more comfortable healthy space to spend time in.

Common Home Air Pollutants

Here are some pollutants typically found in a residence, the means of entry and how to control them:

  1. DustDust blows in through windows, doors and crevices. To control, take off shoes at the door. Seal window and door frames with caulk and weatherstripping. Dust with microstatic cloths; vacuum with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter.
  2. Pollen–Pollen blows in through open windows, doors; it may also enter on clothing and pets. Brush off clothing or remove it on entering the home. Follow the same cleaning procedures as above. Sequester indoor plants when they are producing pollen.
  3. Pet dander–Dander is composed of flaky skin particles produced by pets as they shed. Brush them outdoors; bathe them at least once a week.
  4. Dust mites–These microscopic insects live in rugs, carpet, mattresses, pillows and upholstery. Keep relative humidity low in the home. Vacuum upholstered furniture with a HEPA filter. Wash linens frequently in hot water.
  5. Volatile organic compounds–VOCs are produced by the off-gassing of certain chemicals, ranging from household cleaning products, to paint, pressed wood products, dry cleaning solvent and textiles. Leave new articles outdoors a few days to air out. Keep chemicals tightly capped and out of the living space. Buy natural products whenever possible.

Also, use a good quality air filter in your HVAC system, which will do a better job of trapping pollutants than a cheap fiberglass filter.

For more information about controlling air pollutants in your home, contact Roth Heating and Cooling of Lake Oswego.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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How to Decide Between Air Filtration and Air Cleaning

How to Decide Between Air Filtration and Air CleaningIf you’re concerned about maintaining indoor air quality in your Portland area home, it’s important to understand the difference between air filtration and air cleaning. While all forced-air heating and cooling systems have some form of air filtration, not all households have dedicated air cleaning systems. If you have family members who are susceptible to allergies or respiratory ailments, you’ll want to consider an air cleaning system.

First it helps to understand how basic air filtration works in an HVAC system. In most households, this involves a cheap, flat-panel fiberglass (or other synthetic) filter that goes into a slot in your furnace compartment, usually where the ductwork attaches. Before air is drawn into the furnace or A/C for conditioning, the filter removes some proportion of the solid particulates in that air. However, the main purpose of a low- or standard-efficiency air filter is to protect HVAC components rather than clean indoor air.

This doesn’t mean that higher-efficiency air filtration can’t achieve cleaner and healthier air. High-efficiency HVAC filters can remove the vast majority of airborne particulates. This is accomplished with denser (or more) filtration media removing a wide range of contaminants, large and small. However, the denser filtration media also may restrict airflow. Adverse effects may include wasted energy, stressed system components, and uneven heating and cooling. A forced-air system can be modified to work with a high-efficiency filter, though this may be costly. Consider a whole-house air cleaning system instead.

A whole-house air cleaner is connected directly to your HVAC system, and like an air filter treats all of the air that circulates through that system. But rather than simply capturing airborne particulates with fiberglass or some other filtration medium, an air cleaner typically employs a combination of technologies to clean the air. These might include ultraviolet light, electrostatic attraction or HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arresting) filtration. A quality air cleaner can remove more than 99 percent of the particulates in your indoor air.

To talk to a trained technician about cleaning or filtering the air in your Portland area home, please contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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UV Lights: What You Need to Know

UV Lights: What You Need to KnowThe cool, rainy weather Portland often sees creates the perfect conditions for mold growth. Ultraviolet (UV) lights help keep that mold and other harmful microbes from taking hold in your home.

UV Lights Protect Your Health

Viruses, bacteria, and mold spores are present to some degree in every home. These tiny microbes circulate through the air you breathe, putting you at risk for illnesses such as cold, flu, and even strep throat. Mold spores trigger allergy and asthma attacks in those susceptible and place even healthy people at risk for respiratory infections.

UV light, the same type of light found in sunshine, neutralizes these microbes by breaking down the microbes’ DNA and rendering them incapable of reproducing. This quickly decreases the number of microbes floating around, leaving you with cleaner, safer indoor air.

The lights disinfect so effectively that they’re used in hospitals, scientific laboratories, food-processing plants, water-treatment plants, and other facilities where sanitation is critical.

Incorporating UV Lights into Your Home

The most convenient way to enjoy these benefits in your home is to have an ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) system installed in your heating and cooling system’s indoor unit. The UV light shines into the air passing through, neutralizing the microbes in that air and allowing the purified air to flow out to your rooms. Because all the air in your home passes through the system several times a day, you’ll have clean air in every room. This type of UVGI system also prevents mold from forming in your air handler and ducts.

Because both the intensity of the light and the lamp’s position affect a UVGI system’s efficiency, these systems should be professionally installed.

Handheld UV lights are also available. These give you a quick way to disinfect kitchen and bathroom surfaces. It’s also possible to install a UVGI system in a kitchen exhaust hood to break down grease particles as well as disinfect. These systems are used primarily in commercial kitchens.

If you’d like to start using UV lights to protect your health, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling anywhere in the Portland area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Plume Photography/Shutterstock”

Buying An Air Purification System? Let 4 Factors Guide Your Choice

Buying An Air Purification System? Let 4 Factors Guide Your ChoiceIn most homes, the filtration that an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system provides is sufficient to keep indoor air adequately clean. However, in some instances, you might need an additional air purification system because you or your loved ones suffer from respiratory problems, allergies, or other medical conditions. Continue reading