Category Archives: Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Indoor Air Pollutants

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According to the 2021 American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report, Phoenix-Mesa is ranked number seven for the most year-round particle pollution and ranked number five for the most pollution from ozone. High pollution advisories, issued by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, are an ongoing concern for homeowners because high levels of outdoor air pollution can contribute to indoor air pollution. What are other factors that may contribute to poor indoor air quality?

Home Construction Materials

Houses built after the mid-1990s are constructed to be airtight. Product enhancements in construction materials, such as weather-stripping, window panes, insulation, door seals, and caulking mean homes are sealed from outside elements. Your house has very few cracks or crevices that allow indoor air to exit or outside air to enter. In the continuing effort to increase air conditioning and heating energy efficiency, these newer construction materials have contributed to decreased indoor air quality.

Indoor Air Pollutants

Common indoor air pollutants include cooking fumes from your stove and oven, mold spores from indoor plant soil, and outdoor allergens like pollen which make their way inside your house when doors are opened. Two other common indoor air pollutants are:

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – Construction materials, furniture, kerosene, flooring, new carpeting, electronic products, and many household cleaning solutions emit odors and VOCs into the air that can be hazardous to your health. Formaldehyde is of particular concern.
Formaldehyde is a strong-smelling, colorless VOC gas commonly used in manufacturing building materials, including particleboard, plywood, glues, adhesives, and insulation materials. Even some brands of home products include formaldehyde, such as towels, cleaning products, baby shampoo, diapers, makeup, nail polish, toothpaste, and air fresheners.

Pet Dander – Cat and dog owners know that pet hair and dander can cause strong allergic reactions. Using a HEPA vacuum and changing your air filters more often can help reduce indoor air pollution from animals.

Though the inside of your home will never be completely free from indoor air pollutants, Cool Blew professionals can provide you with additional information on how you can control indoor air pollution and create a preventive plan. We want to help keep your indoor air as clean as possible. Call us today at 623-872-2900.

Common Household Products That Can Pollute Indoor Air

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Who would guess that indoor air pollution levels in our homes can be two to five times higher than outdoor levels? In some some cases, indoor air quality can be much worse. Environmental Protection Agency studies have shown levels of indoor air pollution can be more than 100 times higher than outdoor air!

With many of us spending over 90 percent of our time indoors during the hot Arizona summer months, indoor air quality is a very real concern. And one of the biggest culprits of indoor air pollution is cleaning products. Household cleaning products, even those with labels that state “green” or “natural” may contain ingredients that can cause headaches, eye or throat irritation, aggravate asthma or COPD, and even promote cancer with long term use.

By U.S. law, manufacturers are not required to list all ingredients in consumer products. Doing a bit of research from reliable sources can reduce the chances of your indoor air being polluted. Look for products listed on the EPA Pollution Prevention website that contain ingredients safe for human and pet health.

“Safer Choice” labeled cleaning products have been EPA-reviewed for all chemical ingredients meeting pH standards to minimize potential for eye and skin irritation or injury. Alternatively, selecting household cleaning products derived from plant-based ingredients can also clean effectively and be safe around your house with family, children, and pets. Even warm water and soap can clean your home. Baking soda can be used for scrubbing. White vinegar and water can clean glass.

Ammonia and bleach are common over-the-counter cleaning chemicals, but they release harmful gasses which can lead to chronic breathing problems or even death if mixed. Carefully checking the product label will help you determine the safest cleaning products for your home.

Air fresheners are another source of indoor air pollution, especially those from aerosol sprays and plug-in solids. Many people think these are essential home cleaning products, but they often contain pesticides like Dichlorobenzene and Phthalates used in the production of PVC plastics.

The best way to maintain an odor-free home is to open windows to circulate fresh air. Opening a box or two of baking soda or using a diffuser to release essential oils can also help. Plants are an effective toxin-remover too. Placing air-purifying plants throughout your home will naturally clean your indoor air safely. They also will help remove pollutants, such as formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, carbon monoxide and benzene. Just make sure the indoor plants are safe and non-toxic to pets and children.

At Cool Blew, we believe everyone should be breathing clean indoor air. We’re here to answer all your questions. Call us today to learn more at 623-872-2900.

What’s the Air Scrubber Plus, and Do You Need One?

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Homeowners are often surprised to find out that their indoor air is up to five times more polluted than the air outside. Or, that the EPA has ranked indoor air pollution one of the of top five environmental dangers that we face on Earth.

While many of us are concerned about our impact on outdoor pollution, far fewer actually take time to improve their indoor air quality at home. But there’s good reason to do so. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to a wide range of health problems, including headaches, respiratory problems, frequent colds, sore throats, chronic cough, skin rashes, eye irritation, lethargy, dizziness, and memory lapses. Long-term exposure to poor indoor air quality can even increase the risk of developing some forms of cancer.

For homeowners who do research indoor air quality, many discover information about air scrubber technology and its benefits. But what exactly is it, and how does it work?

What Is an Air Scrubber?

Used by mold remediation specialists, renovation companies, and even the Pentagon after 9/11, air scrubbers leverage advanced air cleaning and filtration technology. At Cool Blew, we offer the most advanced system on the market – the Air Scrubber Plus with ActivePure® Technology.

The Air Scrubber Plus removes up to 99.9% of harmful contaminants in your home and has the seal of approval of the Space Foundation, in cooperation with NASA. The system does more than just improve air quality. It also cleans surfaces of your home, like countertops, doorknobs, and bathroom surfaces.

The Air Scrubber Plus fits into your existing HVAC system, installed directly into your forced air duct system. Airborne contaminants pass through a UV germicidal light which disrupts the DNA of airborne contaminants and pathogens throughout your home. Think you have an allergy to dust? Actually, it’s likely an allergy to dust mites, and the Air Scrubber Plus zaps them with UV light before they can cause you allergic symptoms.

And the system is effective in killing a wide range of viruses, including COVID19.
The system’s scrubbers also reduce gases, vapors, VOCs, and those unpleasant odors that we all have around the house from time to time. Using negatively charged ions, the Air Scrubber Plus is a formidable opponent against pet odor, smoke, and household product fumes. In other words, you won’t be needing air fresheners which only add chemicals into your indoor air.

At Cool Blew, we know how important indoor air is for the health and well-being of you and your loved ones. We stand by the Air Scrubber Plus with ActivePure® Technology and would be happy to provide more information on this quality product. Call today at 623-872-2900.

Do I Need a Home Water Filtration System?

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Perhaps your tap water tastes a little off. Maybe, you’re concerned about your water’s safety. If you’re worried about your water, you may be wondering if a whole home water filtration system might be right for your home. We have answers.

How does a whole-home water filtration work?

A whole-home water filtration system works by filtering in the water that comes into your home. Instead of a portable filter or one that fits on your tap, it actually catches contaminants at the inlet of your home. These contaminants may include chlorine and chloramine, as well as a wide range of chemicals and toxins.

Here in the Valley of the Sun, the water is hard, so many homeowners choose a filter that also makes the water softer by adding sodium or potassium which breaks down hard minerals.

Water Safety

Throughout the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for establishing water safety standards. These standards place limits on the amounts of contaminants that are allowed in public water supplies. By law, your water provider is required to send you a report each year that details concentration levels of any contaminants in water being supplied to your home. By reviewing this report, you can gain an understanding of your water’s quality and whether or not a filtration system is necessary.

Types of Water Filtration Systems

The most common types of water filtration systems include:

  • Activated Carbon System – This uses carbon granules to soak up chemical impurities in the water. While this type of system is effective and commonly used, it’s important to note that it will not filter out heavy metals or limescale.
  • Reverse Osmosis System – This type of system forces water through a fine filter at high pressure. When the water passes through the filter, impurities are left on the other side of the barrier.
  • Ion Exchange System – By exchanging magnesium and calcium ions for hydrogen or sodium ions, an ion exchange system is able to remove contaminants and minerals that create hard water. This is often considered the “Cadillac” of home water filtration systems.

Benefits of Home Water Filtration

Yes, there are many benefits that you’ll gain by investing in a water filtration system, including:

  • Improved taste of water
  • Protection from contaminants, chemicals and pathogens
  • Cleaner dishes, surfaces and clothing
  • Softer skin and hair
  • Cost savings from not having to buy bottled water and filters

Want to learn more about a home water filtration system? Call the experts at Cool Blew today.

How a New Air Conditioner Impacts Your Indoor Air Quality

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You only need to look outside and see the brown haze blanketing the Valley to know that Phoenix is prone to summer pollution. In fact, Phoenix consistently ranks as one of the worst cities in the nation for air quality. And this is only made worse by the raging wildfires that are currently plaguing our state. In other words, it’s important to maintain the quality of the air you’re breathing in your home and pay attention to the role your air conditioner has in supporting your indoor air quality.

Your home is an enclosed environment with only limited sources of ventilation, and its HVAC system is essential for circulating fresh air. Of course, general air conditioning maintenance, such as replacing your AC filter every month, helps to filter out allergens, pollen, pesticides, dust and other outdoor irritants. But is that enough? If your home has an older air conditioner, it may not be.

Your air conditioner works by pulling outside air into your home, passing it through a filter, over a cold coil and then pushing it through vents. An older unit will struggle to complete this process successfully which can directly impact your indoor air quality. And if you have a less than clean evaporator coil and ductwork, your HVAC system can actually be contributing to diminishing your air quality. During the summer months, when you’re running your unit 24 hours a day and have windows and doors closed, what you’re breathing inside matters a lot. For those suffering from respiratory or immune issues, this can be a real problem.

At Cool Blew, we believe everyone should be breathing clean indoor air. Let us provide you with a free quote on a new air conditioner. We’re here to answer your questions and can even show you how the addition of an indoor air quality (IAQ) system can improve your air quality even more. Call us today to learn more at 623-872-2900.

Reduce Your Risk of Airborne Viruses with the Air Scrubber Plus

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It’s definitely a time of uncertainty with the ongoing spread of COVID19. Of course, it’s important for all of us to be doing our part in combatting the virus while protecting the health of ourselves and our loved ones. As we slowly begin to transition away from sheltering in place, it’s natural to begin thinking about ways to mitigate risks. For many of us, this may include wearing masks in public places, avoiding large gatherings and frequent handwashing.

Because researchers are now exploring the possibility that COVID19 may spread via airborne transmission, as well as droplet transmission, there has been growing interest in technologies that purify indoor air.

At Cool Blew, we’ve been impressed with the ActivePure technology used in the Air Scrubber Plus – a system designed to eliminate indoor air quality risks by reducing pollutants, VOCs, cigarette smoke, dust, pollen, mold, bacteria and odors. While this technology has not been specifically tested yet against COVID19, it has been shown to reduce viruses, including swine flu (H1N1), avian bird flu (H5N8), hepatitis A and norovirus.

The ActivePure technology, built into the Air Scrubber Plus, was developed for use on the International Space Station and has been shown to reduce up to 99.99% of harmful contaminants throughout a home. The system is simple to use and helps ensure that air ducts, as well as furniture, countertops, bathroom surfaces and more are cleaner and safer for you and your loved ones. In fact, the technology reduces over 90% of pathogens in 30 minutes – making it 50 times more powerful than normal HVAC filtration. This is why it is relied upon in Major League Baseball facilities, hospitals, schools and by many hotel brands.

If you’re concerned about the quality of your indoor air and reducing your risks of viruses, as well as other airborne and surface contaminants, call Cool Blew today for more information. We’re your go-to source for indoor air quality during these challenging times.

Optimizing Your Indoor Air Quality for Your Home Office

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With the shift to social distancing, many of us are now working from home. While workplaces are designed for employee productivity, most home offices lack the same characteristics. Among the most important aspects of a healthy and comfortable home office space is optimized home’s air quality.

According to a study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and SUNY, individuals who work in better air quality have higher cognitive functioning scores – compared to those working in airtight environments with poorer air quality. Most homeowners are surprised to learn that indoor air can be polluted by lead, formaldehyde, fire retardants, radon and even volatile chemicals used in common cleaners. Some of these pollutants are tracked into a home, while others appear with the addition of a new mattress, furniture, paint or carpet cleaning. Then, there’s the additional issue of dust mites, mold, pet dander and other indoor pollutants.

The key to improving indoor air quality is taking a multi-pronged approach to minimizing pollutants and optimizing humidity.

Vacuum

Allergens and chemicals accumulate over time, impacting air quality. One of the best front-line defenses against this is vacuuming carpets and floors which can reduce toxins and allergens. Choose a vacuum cleaner with strong suction, rotating brushes and a HEPA filter. For optimal results, vacuum two or more times each week and regularly clean the filter.

Mop

Mopping is also beneficial by picking up additional dust that the vacuum has left behind on floors. Use plain water, rather than soaps and cleaners and a microfiber mop which can capture the most dust and dirt.

Use Door Mats

Place a large floor mat at every door to catch chemicals and dirt on shoes before they are tracked through the house.

Maintain a Comfortable Humidity Level

By keeping humidity around 30 to 50 percent, you can minimize the growth of dust mites and mold while preventing air from becoming too dry. With our desert air, a humidifier may be beneficial in a home office to ensure a consistent humidity level.

Don’t Smoke

Making your home a no smoking zone is essential for good indoor air quality. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals and is linked to higher rates of respiratory disease, cancer, heart attacks and stroke. And in this time of a pandemic, avoiding smoke is more important than ever.

Call Cool Blew

At Cool Blew, we’re experts in indoor air quality management and recommend the Air Scrubber Plus – a new system designed to help eliminate indoor air quality risks by reducing air pollutants, VOCs, cigarette smoke, dust, pollen, mold, odor-causing bacteria and odors from pets and cooking. Call us today to learn more about this system and how it can enable you to breathe easier as you work from home.

Coronavirus and your HVAC System

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You can’t turn on your TV without seeing news about the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. While plenty of people are stocking up at the local grocery stores on items like toilet paper, bread and water, there are some things we can all do at home to help minimize the spread of viruses while improving the overall quality of indoor air during cold and flu season.

One of the big questions surrounding coronavirus is how significant of a role airborne transmission plays in its spread. Currently, the general consensus is that it’s predominately spread through large droplet transfer – meaning droplets are too large to remain airborne for long. In other words, transmission is primarily happening through coughing and sneezing within a fairly close range of other people.

However, that doesn’t mean that your HVAC system can’t play a role in prevention. In fact, it can have a significant impact on keeping you healthy, so that your immune system is prepared if and when it is exposed to the virus. The following steps can help fight illness and improve your air quality.

Replace Air Filters

Air filters are a first line of defense against bacteria, viruses, pollen and other particulates that can circulate in your ductwork and indoor air. During cold and flu season, it’s always a good idea to replace your system’s filters at least once a month.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Your HVAC system should ideally be cleaned and serviced twice a year to ensure it’s working optimally. Filters, belts, condenser and evaporator coils and other parts should be tested and cleaned. With good maintenance, dust, pollen and other airborne particles can be removed from your system to prevent air quality issues.

Clean Air Ducts

Like your air conditioner furnace or heat pump, your ventilation system also needs regular maintenance. Ductwork should be cleaned and serviced to remove dust, mold and microorganisms that can collect there.

Partner with HVAC Professionals

Your indoor air quality isn’t something to take casually now – or really any time of the year. Poor quality air can have a big impact on the health of both those with chronic conditions, as well as healthy individuals. A qualified HVAC contractor is the best choice for analyzing your system, ensuring its working effectively and keeping air quality at optimal levels.

How Your HVAC System Can Help You Tackle Seasonal Allergies

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With temperatures warming up, Arizona is in bloom. While wild flowers and leafy trees are a beatiful addition to our desert landscape, they are also shedding tremendous amounts of pollen. For allergies sufferers, this means sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, wheezing and coughing. While allergy medication can help curb symptoms of seasonal allergies, it’s important to not forget about the role your home’s HVAC system has in the air that you breathe. Depending on how you maintain your system, your symptoms could improve or be exacerbated.

Your HVAC Air Filters

Although replacing your HVAC air filters is important all year long, this easy maintenance task is especially vital during hay fever season. A clean filter serves as a first line of defense to maintain the quality of your air. Consider changing your filter at least once a month through late spring.

Filters

If you or family members suffer from significant allergy symptoms or respiratory conditions, like asthma, consider adding a HEPA filter that can remove even more of the particulates that lead to symptoms. Talk to one of our technicians about this option.

Ductwork

Your HVAC ducts can be harbors for dust and dirt over time. This means that when you turn on your air conditioner or heater, particulates are blown into the air – directly impacting the quality of your indoor air. Having ducts cleaned can significantly improve symptoms for many homeowners and their loved ones. It’s also an opportunity to determine if you have any leaks that hinder the performance of your system.

Enjoy the Spring

Here in the Valley, spring is primetime for enjoying great weather. Don’t let allergic symptoms prevent you from making the most of the season. Call Cool Blew today for a spring HVAC system tune-up and to answer your questions on how to improve your indoor air quality.

Humidity and Your Home

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Low indoor air humidity can be a challenge in the winter months for homeowners. Dry air can impact nasal passages, mucus membranes, throats, eyes and skin. It can also dry out wood, paint and other surfaces.

In ideal circumstances, indoor humidity should hover between 40 and 50 percent. Yet, keeping it at that level can be a challenge unless you’re taking steps to regulate the humidity. One option is a room humidifier. This is a small freestanding appliance that plugs into a standard outlet. They can be placed on the floor or on a table or countertop to deliver humidity directly where you’re located without wasting energy on empty spaces.

Today’s humidifiers come with a host of features including cool and warm mist, timers and features to trap contagions. They are inexpensive, portable and easy-to-use. However, they do require regular maintenance to keep them clean. Stagnant air left in a humidifier can become an ideal breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

An alternative to a room humidifier is a whole house humidifier which is an evaporative unit that is part of your HVAC system. Attached directly to your home’s ductwork, it blows vapor through the air ducts evenly throughout each room of a home. Whole house humidifiers also monitor your indoor humidity by measuring the moisture in the air and can operate either manually or automatically based on settings.

Unlike portable humidifiers, whole home humidifiers require little maintenance. There is no risk of lingering moisture so there is no way for mold or bacteria to grow. They are also highly energy efficient and quiet.

Both room humidifiers and whole house humidifiers tackle the same issue of dry air but in slightly different ways. However, both have the ability to increase your home comfort. Learn more about indoor humidity from the experts at Cool Blew.