Heating & Air Conditioning Resources & FAQs

With more than 40 years of experience in the cooling and heating industry we have discovered that many of the problems homeowners incur require a simple adjustment or check. We have developed this helpful information, so that you can gain useful knowledge regarding operation of your systems, explore the benefits of the latest in comfort system technology and energy saving tips for your home.


What is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?

Indoor Air Quality or IAQ is a measurement of the health and comfort of the air you breathe while inside your home, office or any other facility. What most people don’t realize is that the air we breathe inside can be 20 times more polluted than outdoor air.

The next few minutes may well be the most important you’ve ever spent to educate yourself to protect you, your family and your home from indoor air pollutants.

Quick History
When heating and cooling were first introduced, cleaning your air wasn’t even a consideration. In fact, the first air filters (predominately made of metal mesh, crude fiberglass and plastic coated hog hair) were installed just to keep the equipment free of the dust and lint from your home. IAQ wasn’t even on the horizon. Several factors that have helped in other ways have caused indoor air to become more polluted:

Houses are built better than ever — or at least tighter than ever. At first blush, you’d think that’s why you would want a really tight home. After all, you want the conditioned air to stay inside. In fact, that’s part of the problem. Cooked fish last week, painted bathroom last month, kids been sick, dog needs a bath and it’s all locked inside your home with you. It gets worse. Every time you turn on the bath fan, the kitchen hood, your clothes dryer and even some heating systems, your home actually starts sucking in unchecked damp or contaminated air.

Building Products
We keep bringing more and more man-made products into the home: plastics, drywall, formicas, plywood, particle board impregnated with arsenic dioxide, synthetic carpets, man-made fabrics & upholstery, faux finishes, and so on. These all emit gases — sometimes for years and years — the results of which can be off-gassing and odors that range from a mild irritant to a full blown major health issue.

Times have changed. We now spend over 90% of our entire lives indoors. When was the last time you left the windows open to air the house out? If you’re like the rest of America, our heat and air is on year round.

We surround ourselves with every conceivable toxin and repeatedly expose ourselves to noxious materials, including:

  • bug spray
  • paints
  • cigarette smoke
  • perfumes
  • glues
  • stain removers
  • household cleansers
  • adhesives
  • dry-cleaning
  • deodorants
  • air fresheners
  • pets
  • pet dander
  • exotic plants
  • moisture
  • cooking hoods that just circulate instead of removing smoke
  • biological contamination and mold

Identifying Problems

Health issues can help indicate indoor air quality problems, but they are not always caused by your air, so it is recommended that you see a doctor to get their professional opinion on the causes of any new health concerns. If health problems suddenly occur and coincide with a move to a residence, a substantial renovation, or if your home has recently been treated with pesticides.

Identifying the cause of indoor air quality problems is key to finding the proper solutions. Although symptoms such as colds, watery eyes or dry skin do not necessarily mean that you have an indoor air quality problem, it is important that you are aware of the type and number of potential sources present in your home.

Actions in the home can be considerable sources of indoor air pollution. Look for signs of problems with the ventilation in your home. Your home may not have sufficient ventilation if you have moisture condensation on windows or walls, stuffy air with strange odor, central heating and air cooling equipment that hasn’t been cleaned, and areas where you see mold. Visit www.epa.gov/mold for more information.

The Dangers In Your Home

The air in a typical home contains many unhealthy contaminants such as pollen, mold, smoke, animal dander, smog, and dust. These substances can be damaging to the lungs, irritate the eyes and sinuses, aggravate and cause allergies and asthma. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average person spends 90% of their time indoors, and 65% of that time is spent at home. With today’s tightly sealed energy efficient homes and the daily use of modern cleaners, sprays, and fabrics, the only way to keep your indoor air safe and healthy is to use an indoor air cleaner. So, who’s really at risk from these pollutants and contaminants? While EVERYONE can benefit from better IAQ, three distinct groups are most at risk:

1. The very young While medical science is remarkable, they still can’t cure the common cold – they know it’s germs & viruses, but just can’t knock it out. Too often, after a child has missed day after day at school and taking a variety of drugs (THAT DO NOT CURE THE PROBLEM – ONLY MASK ITS SIDE EFFECTS)

2. The older generation Between age deteriorating bodies, prior infections, AIDS and taking immunosuppressant drugs, our own immune system is constantly being challenged by undesirable side effects.

3. Those vulnerable Infants, immune-compromised patients, pregnant women, persons with chronic respiratory disorders, those recovering from surgical procedures or illness, and CONTACT lens wearers. In some individuals, infections can even invade bone and the membranes that enclose the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Those w/ domestic animals – dogs, cats, and birds are also at higher risk.


There is no doubt about it FEMA, the EPA, ASHREA and the American Lung Association all agree… poor IAQ can manifest itself if threshold levels are exceeded:

  • Sick Building Syndrome – associated w/ odor, discomfort, allergies and disease
  • Respiratory problems – such as wheezing, and difficulty breathing
  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Eyes – infections, burning, watery, reddened, blurry vision, light sensitivity
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Sore throat
  • Nose and throat irritation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin irritation
  • Central nervous system problems (constant headaches, memory problems, and mood changes)
  • Aches and pains
  • Possible fever
  • Infertility and changes in reproductive cycles

America’s Most Wanted (AKA: The Bad Boys of IAQ)

Particle Count (stuff you can filter out): – It’s not what we can see that can hurt us, in fact with the human eye you can only see down to 20 microns, the size of a speck of dust. The irritants that we need to remove are the pollens and microscopic particles down in the .5 microns and smaller that affect our lungs and eyes.

#1 DUST/DUST MITES & their feces:

  • The cleanliness of the home or the presence of animals has nothing to do with the number of mites in a home. Their population is determined by the humidity of the home, the temperature, and the amount of fabric or upholstery in the home.
  • It is estimated that 80-90% of those suffering from allergies are also allergic to dust mites.
  • An average mattress, a year or more old, can hold as many as 1 to 2 million dust mites.
  • Dust mite protein, the number one indoor allergen, is the most common cause of perennial allergic rhinitis.
  • They survive by eating human shed skin, fingernails, hair, pollen, fungi, bacteria and animal dander.

Symptoms associated with DUST MITE allergy:

  • Stuffy nose, runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Dry cough
  • Aches and headaches

# 2 COCKROACHES & their feces:

If you are allergic to house dust, you may also be allergic to cockroaches.

An allergy to cockroaches is similar to an allergy to dust mites. The cockroach allergens stem from their shed outer coverings (cuticles), their saliva, and their eggs and feces. Cockroach allergens can be found in house dust and bedding.

  • The United States Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) states an important key to pest management is to free your home of places for pests to hide and to keep them from food and water. Pesticides are toxic for people as well as pests.

Symptoms associated with cockroach allergy:

  • Chronic severe bronchial asthma
  • Chronic stuffy nose
  • Constant sinus infection
  • Repeat ear infections
  • Skin rash


  • The cleanliness of the home or the presence of animals has little to do with mold in a home.
  • Not all molds (there are 1,000’s of types) are toxic and/or dangerous.
  • YOUR sensitivity to molds.
  • Left unchecked – mold allowed to grow can be an expensive health risk and impact your property value.
  • The CDC has identified that 70+% of all flu-type symptoms including respiratory disorders are actually allergies to molds.

Symptoms associated with MOLD contamination:

  • Usually, you can SMELL it – it’s stale, musty & unpleasant
  • Respiratory problems – such as wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Eyes – burning, watery, reddened, blurry vision, light sensitivity
  • Dry, hacking cough – Sore throat & nose irritation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin irritation
  • Central nervous system problems (constant headaches, memory problems, and mood changes)
  • Aches and pains

Organic dust toxic syndrome (ODTS), also known as grain fever, is fairly common. ODTS is not an allergic disease, but results from exposure to concentrations of organic dust that is contaminated with a variety of microorganisms, including mold.

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis also can be caused by exposure to mold spores from air-conditioning systems, humidifiers, and ventilation shafts. The symptoms of this disease are very similar to those of ODTS, however, the effects of hypersensitivity pneumonitis may become chronic, disabling, and life-threatening.

#4 VOC’s: Volatile Organic Compounds

  • Its all about building materials and deteriorating man made products – this deterioration results in OFF GASSING
  • Sources include paints / carpets / plastics / laminate flooring / chemicals / hygiene products / computer printers / fax machines / detergents / faux finishes / particle board / Formicas / sealers / fabrics / flame proofing / cooking / candles / etc —

Symptoms associated with VOC contamination:

  • The most common event is Eyes – burning, watery, reddened, blurry vision, light sensitivity
  • Respiratory problems – such as wheezing, and difficulty breathing
  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Eyes – infection from chronic inflammation, crusty or scratchy eyes from exposure
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Sore throat & Nose irritation
  • Lost time from work / school with associated SICK BUILDING SYNDROME

The easiest way to reduce exposure and the effects of VOC’s is to introduce the appropriate quantity of FRESH AIR…… but there-in lies the problem, fresh air even in the inappropriate quantities can overburden the HVAC systems with both heat & humidity and can even introduce worse contaminates that include pollen / diesel fumes / dumpster odors / bug spray / smog / local fire & smoke / pollution / red tide

Humidity: Too little and you’re faced with chapped lips, irritated nasal passages & your home starts falling apart.. too much and you’re faced with dust mite contamination and biological issues IE: MOLD growth.

#5 HUMIDITY (moisture in your air)

  • The age or quality of the construction of your home is not a barometer of the moisture control in your home. Moisture is introduced by showering, cooking, breathing, and atmospheric conditions (rain, snow)
  • Humidity impacts your “creature comfort” – the heat index reflects your body’s ability to normally evaporate moisture IE: 90 degrees @ 85% relative humidity “Feels like” 100 degrees
  • The EPA has established the ideal RH (relative humidity) ranges

Symptoms associated with poor MOISTURE control:

  • Usually you can SMELL it – it’s stale, musty & unpleasant
  • Condensation on your windows
  • Cracked peeling paint, wallpaper coming loose, wood furniture coming apart
  • Respiratory problems – such as wheezing, and difficulty breathing
  • Nasal and sinus congestion & irritation
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Sore throat & Nose irritation
  • Skin irritation
  • Central nervous system problems (constant headaches, memory problems, and mood changes)
  • Aches and pains

4 Strategies to Provide Better IAQ in Your Home

Determining the source of indoor air pollutants is essential to improving its quality. Controlling things such as humidity in your home can reduce a number of harmful pollutants such as mold, mildew, dust mites and bacteria.

Proper air filtration can remove virtually all of these contaminants via mechanical filters, which capture the elements. There are several sizes and designs that can be added to your system for a whole-house filtration.

Fresh outdoor air in your home is key to better air quality. Heating & Cooling systems do not have a way of bringing that air inside, therefore people resort to finding other methods of freshening

By using filters, fresh air, the newest technology of ultra-violet lighting and other bacteria eliminating products, you can remove toxins from your home

Now We Have New Rules & Goals

Restore and maintain your home to recognized acceptable levels – your home should be a sanctuary where you FEEL better and your body’s own immune system can recuperate. Start the remedy today – every homeowner can take immediate steps to improve the IAQ – in your home.

  • Wash clothes in HOT water – hot water kills bacteria and KILLS dust mites
  • Clean up, clean up, clean up – cockroaches & their feces rate in the top 3 contributors of indoor pollution… remove garbage every day & never leave in your home overnight.
  • Start a new family habit – CHECK your shoes at the front door, let’s keep the bad stuff out
  • Don’t smoke in the house – this includes burning candles
  • Keep pets outside
  • Use glue boards/traps to catch rodents & bugs and talc powder instead of bug sprays
  • Be sure the home is well ventilated if you’re painting or remodeling
  • Inspect and remedy all sources of unchecked moisture into your home… roof leaks, slow drips under basins, etc – even the smallest of leaks can generate expensive exposures.
  • Clean rain gutters & downspouts at least annually – overflowing gutters can introduce unchecked water & moisture into your home… mold & termites are soon to follow.
  • Turn on bath exhaust fans & let them run 5-10 minutes after you shower to remove moisture
  • Put antibacterial soap at all dispensers… get everyone in the habit to wash hands often
  • Remove & discard porous materials (examples: ceiling tiles, drywall, carpeting, wood products) if they get wet… Carpeting can be a difficult problem – drying does not remove the dead mold spores.
  • Cut back landscaping from the exterior of your home – sunlight & air circulation is the goal to preserving a dry home.
  • Take a look at the “drainage plane” of your home – be sure flower beds or sidewalks don’t trap water against the foundation of your home.
  • Be aware of irregularities in your home, ie. water running down the windows or damp musty odors coming from the AC vents – call your local licensed professional for corrective action.
  • Arrange for seasonal rigorous HVAC tune-ups to keep coils & drain pans clean.
  • Inspect irrigation systems – be sure the water isn’t spraying on your home from an errant sprinkler.
  • Visually inspect the interior and exterior of your home – remove any intrusive molds. (This step may have to be carried out by a licensed contractor). Use caution, as mold spores are easily released when moldy material is dried out. When cleaning these damaged materials, consider wearing a mask or using a respirator. Respirators can be purchased from hardware stores; select one for particle removal (sometimes referred to as a N95 or TC-21C particulate respirator). Respirators are not as effective removing bleach fumes, so minimize your exposure when using bleach or other disinfectants.
  • Upgrade to a central vacuum system – don’t stir them up ….take debris & dust mites OUT of your home.
  • Use a neutral pH eye wash & wash all fruits with vinegar to remove pesticides.
  • Use a CO sensor in your home / garage IF you have a generator

10 Tips for Good Air Quality

To avoid common air quality problems within the home, follow a few simple steps:

  1. Select HVI (Home Ventilating Institute) “certified” ventilation products for your home to ensure airflow, sound and energy performance expectations are met or exceeded.
  2. Operate the bathroom exhaust fan when bathing and showering to limit moisture buildup. Operate your fan for 10 to 60 minutes after you finish your bath or shower to remove most of the moisture in the room.
  3. Turn on range hood fans when cooking to expel moisture, odors and contaminants released while cooking.
  4. Increase ventilation rates during family gatherings and parties. Use of intermittent or “spot” ventilation will help keep the air fresh, even during periods of increased activity in the home.
  5. Ensure that continuous ventilation is provided in addition to the intermittent ventilation systems. The entire house needs continuous ventilation to see that general air quality is maintained in all areas.
  6. Ensure that clothes dryers are exhausted directly to the outside, and make sure that filters and hoods are cleaned regularly to maintain maximum airflow.
  7. Plan routine seasonal maintenance for heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment to ensure all systems are working properly and performing as intended.
  8. Change filters as instructed. Inspect, clean or replace furnace and ventilation system filters according to manufacturers’ recommendations. Consider installing high-efficiency particulate filters for better performance.
  9. Clean your home regularly to prevent dust, dirt and pet hair accumulation. Dust and dirt particles can become airborne, adding to the contaminants in the air.
  10. Use products that emit the lowest levels of chemicals. Many cleaning products can release toxic or irritating chemicals when used. New or recently installed building materials and furnishings can also emit significant harmful contaminants.

For additional tips and information (www.hvi.org)

Benefits of Better Indoor Air Quality

  • Cleaner air free of allergens and pollutants
  • Advanced air flow through air filtration
  • Dehumidification during the warmer months
  • Elimination of micro-organisms that cause colds and illness

IAQ Products

The air inside your home has been proven to contain more pollutants than even the largest cities in the country. Many companies have developed equipment that can remove virtually all of the allergens in your home air, such as dust, pet dander, smoke or bacteria.

We proudly offer and install a wide selection of indoor air quality products that are cutting edge, including: air purification systems, air cleaners, filtration systems, humidity-control systems and ventilation systems. Remove those unwanted & harmful airborne pollutants and continue to breathe easy.

Air Cleaners
These add-on systems for your home’s cooling and heating systems help clean the air throughout your entire home. They work to eliminate pollutants that produce bacteria and allergens. Ideal for allergy sufferers and people who simply wish to breath cleaner air. A professionally installed air purifier can help rid your home of dust, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, pollen, bacteria and viruses, smoke and more!

Air Filters
There are several choices for air filters. The differences between each is the amount of pollutants they remove from the air.

Box or 1″ Pleated
Although not specifically designed for improving indoor air quality, they do assist in protecting the integrity of your equipment. They require no electrical hook-up. It is recommended that they be replaced every month.

These air cleaners remove particles by electrically charging them and then attracting those particles to an oppositely charged plate. The allergens and pollutants are then trapped in the filter and do not get released back into the air. Electrostatic filters are considered highly efficient, affordable to operate and easy to maintain.

HEPA High Efficiency Particulate Arresting
Considered to produce the best results, the HEPA filter requires a separate blower and replaceable media. However, it effectively removes a larger percentage of pollen as well as many asthma and allergy causing pollutants. The core to the HEPA air cleaner technology is a paper filter that has very small holes that limit the size of any particle than can pass though.
Speak to your technician to determine which filters are best for your needs.

Energy Recovery Ventilation
Several manufacturers make Energy Recovery or Fresh Air Ventilation systems that remove stale, used air from the home, while bringing in clean crisp air from the outdoors without a loss in cooling efficiency. These systems can also be zoned to allow you to choose which rooms receive priority ventilation.

A whole house dehumidification system can control the moisture in the air and results in a more comfortable home environment. Managing the in-home humidity levels can minimize the spread of airborne pollutants and allergens. Moisture in the home can cause various problems such as mold, mildew, dust mites, and bacteria.

UV Lights
Excellent for reducing bacteria, fungi, and microbial growth on wet indoor cooling coil surfaces. Ideal when used with other indoor air quality products.