In southwestern Florida, the mild weather of spring is often the best time for outdoor activities—before the oppressive heat and humidity of summer makes air conditioning necessary. But if you have allergies, spring weather brings allergens and marks the start of several months of suffering. To make yourself more comfortable during the spring, there are several things you can do around the house to minimize the effects of springtime allergies.
Replace the Air Filter Often
The air filter in your HVAC system helps to remove pollen and other allergens from the air, and it should be changed at least every three months. During spring, it is a good idea to replace it at the beginning of the season and check it monthly thereafter, replacing it as necessary. Consider upgrading to filters with a higher MERV rating to remove more allergens, or consider installing a HEPA or electrostatic filter for even better overall filtration. It is also beneficial to have your HVAC system serviced, during which the evaporator coil, the air handler and other components will be cleaned, minimizing the amount of dust and allergens in the air.
Use Proper Ventilation
When the weather is mild, it is tempting to open the windows and let fresh air in. If you have springtime allergies, though, this invites pollen and other allergens into your home. To reduce your allergy symptoms, consider using the air conditioner more often, which filters and cools the air, or consider installing a whole-home ventilation system, which supplies plenty of fresh air while also filtering it to remove allergens.
Vacuum your home often using a machine that features a HEPA filter to minimize dust and allergens, and dust at least weekly using moist cloths or electrostatic wipes. Minimize clutter—especially in the bedrooms, closets and living areas—to reduce the amount of surface area that collects dust, and store items that you do not use often in sealed bags or containers to minimize dust accumulation.
To learn more about preventing springtime allergies, talk to our air quality experts at Conditioned Air, serving the Southwest Florida region.
Because most people spend significant amounts of time indoors—especially during the excessively humid summers in Southwest Florida—the indoor air quality of your home is an important factor in your overall health and comfort. Pollutants such as dust, pollen or other substances can cause or contribute to symptoms like runny noses, congestion, itchy eyes, coughing and sneezing, especially for those who already suffer from breathing conditions such as asthma or allergies. Indoor air quality testing can help to determine if there may be a problem with your home’s air quality, and what steps are required to mitigate it.
How Indoor Air Quality is Tested
The indoor air quality testing procedure typically includes a blower door test, which places your home under negative pressure using a large fan placed in an exterior opening. A professional HVAC technician can then find the sources of air infiltration, determine how often per hour the air in your home is exchanged, and use specialized equipment to sample the air for pollutants. Depending on the equipment used, the technician can test for:
- Pet dander
- Carbon monoxide
- Volatile organic compounds or chemical vapors
The samples often have to be sent off for laboratory testing, and after the technician receives the results, he or she can recommend solutions such as upgrading your air filters, installing air purifiers, cleaning your air ducts or installing a ventilation system.
What to Expect From the Tests
Indoor air quality testing can help pinpoint the source of a suspected air quality issue, and with professional help, you can work to improve the quality of the air in your home. Except for carbon monoxide and radon, there are no explicit rules about the allowable amounts of air pollutants, only guidelines. Indoor air quality testing should only be used as a guide to improve air quality in general, and not as a specific diagnosis of a problem.
To learn more about indoor air quality, talk to our HVAC experts at Conditioned Air. We serve many areas in Southwest Florida, including the communities of Naples, Ft. Myers and Sarasota.
With the mild weather of spring, energy efficiency is not necessarily a top concern for many homeowners, but there are still a few things that you can do to cut energy costs. With these simple spring energy saving tips, you can shave a few dollars off your utility bill and prepare for the hot and humid summer that will soon arrive in the Southwest Florida region.
Have Your HVAC System Serviced
After a long winter, the HVAC system in your home is due for a thorough inspection, some cleaning and a bit of routine maintenance. By having your system serviced now, you can make sure that your cooling system is running efficiently and is ready for the summer heat. During the service visit, your HVAC technician will inspect the system, clean the condenser and evaporator coils, change the air filter, clean and adjust the blower fan, check the refrigerant levels and inspect the electrical system. This can increase cooling efficiency by up to 15 percent, saving energy and reducing cooling costs. You should also check the air filter yourself at least once a month, and replace it when it becomes dirty or clogged.
Take Advantage of Natural Ventilation
With mild weather of spring, it is the perfect time to open up the windows in your home and take advantage of natural ventilation, especially during the mornings when it’s cooler. By reducing the use of your air conditioner during nice weather, you can save significant amounts of energy and reduce your utility costs.
Avoid Heat Gain
You can keep your air conditioner off for longer periods by controlling the amount of heat introduced into your home, saving significant amounts of energy. Use curtains or blinds to shade south or west-facing windows during the afternoon to prevent the sun from heating your home, and avoid cooking, washing dishes, or using heat-generating appliances during the hottest parts of the day to keep your home cooler.
For more spring energy saving tips, talk to our professionals at Conditioned Air today, proudly serving the Ft. Myers, Sarasota and Naples areas.