A Closer Look at UV Air Purifiers in Allergy Season

Yesterday we wrote about the arrival of allergy season and the specific challenges we face here in Southern California this year. Because this last winter was rainier than usual, we’re going to head into spring with more pollen in the air from plant blooms—and also a higher risk of mold growth. Air filters can handle the majority of pollens (provided you have professionals ensure the right type of filter is installed), but mold spores are a different issue. We recommend that homeowners look into the installation of UV air purifiers to help with the spring allergy season.

The Dangers of Mold Spores

A high mold count during allergy season (late February to early summer) is a significant danger. Many mold spores are harmless, but you can’t depend on luck that you’ll only encounter non-toxic spores. Harmful mold spores cause a wide range of health complications: nasal congestion, sneezing, eye and throat irritation, coughing and wheezing. In some situations, a severe mold allergic reaction can become life threatening.

UV Air Purifiers vs. Mold Spores

Mold spores are not easy to trap using filters, which is why UV air purifiers are often necessary. This type of air purifier is simple in operation: it consists of ultraviolet lights that send out a low amount of UV radiation. It’s not harmful to people or pets, but it is powerful enough to disrupt the cellular function of mold spores. The UV radiation either kills the mold spores cells outright or renders them inert and unable to reproduce.

There are numerous advantages to taking this approach with mold spores: it doesn’t place any restriction on airflow, nor does it make use of any chemical disinfectants that can lead to additional air quality issues. These UV lights must have a professional installation for them to function correctly, however.

To find out more about UV air purifiers or other indoor air quality solution installations in Fontana, CA or elsewhere in the Desert Communities and the Inland Empire, contact our specialists.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers indoor air quality as well as other comfort services. For exceptional customer service, please give our office a call.

Duct Replacement May Be What Your HVAC System Needs

Fall is an excellent time for making big changes to your HVAC system where necessary. For example, having a new heat pump or furnace put in, or arranging for the installation of air scrubbers and air purifiers that will keep the air circulating through the rooms free of harmful chemicals, viruses, and other contaminants.

But perhaps what your HVAC system really needs is to have parts of its old ductwork replaced. Not only might the ducts have suffered damage, they may have been poor quality in the first place!

The Effect of Poor Ducts on Your HVAC System

Ducts are mostly out of sight, making them easy to forget about. But ducts that are 1) damaged and leaking air, and 2) badly designed and installed are a huge impediment to keeping your home comfortable and energy bills under control.

First, let’s consider duct leaks. High pressure inside the ventilation system can lead to holes starting to appear along the ductwork, and the loss of conditioned air (either heated or cooled) through these holes means enormous energy waste. You’re paying to condition that air—but aren’t receiving any benefits from it. These holes also mean hot and cold spots around the house, and even the entrance of pollutant-filled air from between the walls and in the attic.

Second, inferior duct design is sadly a common occurrence in homes. This means ducts with too many turns and bends that place resistance against airflow, or which are badly insulated and placed in areas of the house where they can lose and gain heat. You may need to have entire duct sections replaced to get your HVAC system to a level where it is able to work its best throughout the year.

You only need to contact us, however, to get started. Our team offers duct repairreplacement, and sealing services. We’ll see you have the best ventilation system possible!

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves Moreno Valley, CA and the surrounding areas. Call today for exceptional customer service.

Cooling Down Weather—Is Your Home Insulation In Good Shape?

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningThis has been a hot October. Air conditioners put in serious overtime deep into fall to handle the major heat waves we’ve experienced. But we’re finally getting a break, with temperatures set to drop into the high 70s. For people in other parts of the country, it may sound bizarre to hear us call this cooling down, but life is different in the Southern California deserts.

Whatever else the temperatures are like in other places, you need to be focused on your heating and cooling needs. We’ve already discussed the need for heating maintenance (yes, even here, it’s important). Today we want to address another part of your house that may need improvement to help handle the change in seasons: the insulation.

Insulation and Making Sure Your Heater Has to Do Little Work

The job of insulation in a home is to slow down the movement of heat from one place to another. During cooler days, this means trapping as much heat inside your home as possible. In general, your home is warmer than the outdoors during colder weather: the heat created by human bodies, appliances, and lights all generate warmth. This warmth will rapidly escape to the outside if the insulation around the home is insufficient. When the house loses heat, you’ll feel a draft, and you may have to turn on the heating system to replace the lost heat.

If you have effective insulation, however, you can often enjoy the right warm comfort inside your house on cool days without needing to turn the heating system on. This is one of the big advantages of living in a warm climate: on most winter days, you’ll have sufficient warmth trapped inside the house that you don’t need any additional help from a heating system.

Unfortunately, older homes often have inferior insulation with the incorrect R-values (a rating of how well the insulation stops heat movement of), leading to bad drafts during the winter and having to put more energy into running the heating system. This poor insulation isn’t good during our long summers, either, since it allows heat to rapidly enter the home and put more strain on the AC. If your house is drafty, it’s time to do something about it! Arrange for new insulation with our experts.

Duct Insulation

Ensuring the ducts in a home have proper insulation is also important. The escape of heat through duct walls can account for a significant loss of warmth in your home when you do need to run the heater. Insulating the ducts is beneficial for the air conditioning system as well, stopping heat from raising the temperature of the cooled air. You’re probably going to be using the AC again soon during a surprise heat wave, so having your ducts effectively insulated is important no matter the time of year.

If you are looking for a service to install new insulation in Cathedral City, CA, contact us. We also offer ductwork insulation to help make your HVAC system as efficient as possible.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities. We’re open 24 hours to see to your needs.

Start to Prepare for Allergy Season Early

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningWe may not experience major seasonal swings here in the warmth of Southern California, but that doesn’t mean we miss out on seasons all together. One season that we experience like the rest of the country is “allergy season.” Because of our climate, our allergy season can start as early as February!

There are ways you can get yourself ready for allergy season, aside from taking medication. One of the best ways is to improve your home’s air quality systems to get rid of the pollen and other pollutants that create runny noses, wheezing, sneezing, and the other general ickiness that comes along with this time of the year. With the help of indoor air quality professionals, you can enjoy a much healthier first half of the year.

What causes allergy season?

Good question! Why does allergy season start up in the early fall—and sometimes in the winter? The reason is the change in temperature at this time of year can lead to early pollination of the plants that trigger allergies. Wet conditions right before the warming trend will also promote this early bloom, as well as increase the growth of mold that releases toxic mold spores, a major source of allergy problems.

There are many types of plants in our area that can release allergens, such as sagebrush, Russian thistle, and tumbleweed. Allergies aren’t just limited to flowers! When you add in the wind blowing the pollen around, allergy season can be a miserable time for many people, not only those with sensitive allergies.

How can indoor air quality systems make allergy season easier?

Any IAQ system that reduces the number of pollutants circulating around your house is a big help. Thankfully, this is what most air quality systems do—but you have to ensure you have the right type installed to target problems.

  • Air filters are the most basic precaution to take against allergens. Filters stop pollen and dander from moving through them using a media, such as fiberglass strands, to trap them. There are many filters designed to counteract allergens, but you have to be cautious that your house doesn’t have filters that are so thick they will also stop airflow and possibly harm your HVAC system. (HEPA filters, found in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, are too powerful for most homes.) IAQ experts will match any filters to your HVAC system.
  • Air purifiers target the particles which may escape a filter. If it’s impossible to put a strong enough filter into your ventilation system to stop all the pollutants, then pairing the filters with an electronic air purifier should get the job done.
  • UV air purifiers are the best method to deal with allergy problems due to mold spores and microbes. These pollutants are hard to trap or eliminate using other methods, but the power of ultraviolet light kills them without placing any chemicals into the air.

Whether you need an air filtration system or an air purifier in Palm Springs, CA to help you get ready for the allergy season, you can depend on us and our indoor air quality services.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities.

Dealing with Allergies with Indoor Air Quality Solutions

Allergies can be a problem around the year in a place like Southern California. Although there are many medical ways to treat mild to severe allergy problems, one of the best ways to meet the problem is to improve your home’s air quality. Because modern houses don’t allow much fresh air to circulate through them, it’s easy for many allergens to become trapped indoors and continue to move through the HVAC system and rooms.

But how do you boost your air quality, aside from throwing open the windows and doors and letting in the immense outdoor heat? It’s actually simple: you only have to get in contact with our IAQ experts. They’ll find the right service or installation to reduce the allergen count in your home. Below are some effective methods:

Duct Cleaning

Why not remove the huge reservoir of allergens that collect inside your ductwork? It only takes about a year for a layer of dust to develop inside the ducts of your house, and an average of 40 lbs. of dust circulates through the ductwork every year in a six-room home. A thorough duct cleaning job from our professionals will eliminate all these pollutants. Plus it will help the HVAC system perform at maximum energy efficiency.

Air Purifiers

Many allergens are small and will slip through the mesh of standard air filters. To deal with these minute particles, one of the best options is to install an electronic air purifier. An air purifier doesn’t trap pollutants with mesh, but instead uses ionization to cause pollutants to be drawn down to a pair of plates.

UV Lights

One major source of allergic reactions in a house is mold spores and other organic pollutants. The best way to target these unhealthy nuisances is to have UV germicidal lights installed. The UV radiation destroys organic cells without using any chemicals.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves Palm Desert, CA and all the Inland Empire and Desert Communities. Contact us today for options to improve your indoor air quality.

4 Things You May Not Know About Your Indoor Air Quality

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningPoor indoor air quality is a common problem for both homes and residential buildings. But it’s also poorly understood. People often don’t realize they have air quality issues until they develop serious symptoms related to whatever is floating around in their air.

Below we’ve put together a list of four things you may not have realized about your home’s indoor air quality. The purpose isn’t to alarm you—although a few of these facts may be unsettling—but to get you to take action to solve the problems before they worsen. Issues with indoor air quality in Palm Springs, CA can be solved with the assistance of IAQ professionals who work with air filters, air purifiers, duct sealing, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, duct cleaning, and more.

ONE: Indoor Air Pollution Is a Top 5 Environmental Danger

According to the U.S. EPA, indoor air pollution is one of the top 5 health hazards people in the country face daily. The EPA estimates that the air quality in homes is around 3 to 4 times worse than the air outdoors. The reason for this is the many sources of air pollutants located inside a home which do not escape to the outdoors because of poor ventilation. Chances are high that your home has air quality that could be improved.

TWO: Indoor Air Quality Has Increased Pediatric Asthma Rates

Young children are at the most risk of poor indoor air quality, and asthma is the most common condition resulting from their exposure to it. Studies have shown a steep rise in pediatric asthma rates, many of which can be traced to indoor air pollutants.

THREE: There Are Pollutant Sources Everywhere in a House

One of the most frustrating parts about poor indoor air quality is that it’s difficult to stop at the source. Second-hand smoke is an obvious danger to air quality, but it’s easy to identify and reduce. But there are many common items in homes that emit airborne pollutants, and it’s almost impossible to get rid of all of them—especially when you consider that one source is the building material of the house itself! Other indoor air quality pollutant sources include hobby supplies, paint and varnishes, cosmetics, household cleaners, and byproducts from cooking.

FOUR: There Is No Single Solution to Improving Indoor Air Quality

There’s no magical device for a home that will eliminate all the pollutants circulating through it. Usually it takes a combination of air quality systems to handle the job. Air filters are an excellent place to start, since they remove the larger particles from the ventilation system. But a home can’t have a filter that’s too strong or it will put restrictions on airflow and possibly damage the HVAC system. Air purifiers are an excellent backup to catch the particles that escape filters. UV air purifiers are an option to deal with mold spores, germs, and microbes. A home that has leaky air ducts will need them sealed to stop extra pollutants from entering into the ventilation system. The best way to solve your IAQ problems is to work with experienced HVAC professionals who will see you have the ideal combination of air quality systems.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities. For exceptional customer service, please give our office a call.

Signs That You Should Install a Whole-House Humidifier

Dry air inside our homes can be a common problem in Yucaipa, CA, both during the long warm season and the shorter cool season. When your home suffers from low humidity, the best solution is to contact an indoor air quality professional and arrange for the installation of a whole-house humidifier to balance the humidity levels. Portable humidifiers are a good choice if you only need to increase the humidity in a single room, like an infant’s, but they are ineffective when it comes to the rest of the house. With the help of a professional, you can have the humidity raised to pleasant and healthy levels without the danger of making the home too humid (and initiating a whole new set of problems.)

How can you tell that your home will benefit from a humidifier? Here are some of the signs to watch for:

  • Sharper edge to cool temperatures: Dry air can make it a bit high heat more tolerable, but it has the reverse effect on colder days. Low levels of moisture make it easy for heat to escape from your body, causing the temperature feel worse. If you think you are turning your heating system on more than you should for a Southern California home, look into getting a humidifier.
  • Static electricity epidemic: If you encounter static shocks every time you touch a doorknob, find that your laundry and bed sheets cling to each other, and notice your hair sticking onto your comb, the problem may be very dry air.
  • Dried sinuses and an increase in colds and flus: One of the principle problems that dry air causes is that it dries up sinuses and makes it easy for illnesses to spread from person to person. When you notice an increase in sickness in your home is that accompanied by dried-out sinuses and skin chapping, consider a whole-house humidifier to solve the problem.

Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning offers installation of humidifiers (as well as dehumidifiers) throughout the Inland Empire and Desert Communities.

Is It Time for Regular Duct Cleaning?

Winter preparation tends to be a somewhat… mellow… affair here in the deserts of Southern California. Yes, we can expect a bit of rain, and some nights when it gets cool enough to turn on the heater for a stretch. Hey, we can even enjoy a nice fire in the fireplace! But it is nothing like Minnesota or many other parts of North America.

So, with less of the really hard work of winter preparation to take care of, there are some tasks that may not have occurred to you that are great to schedule at this time: professional duct cleaning is one of them.

Air Duct Cleaning Frequency

Cleaning the air ducts in a home has often gotten a bit of a bad rap because disreputable door-to-door offers that are really nothing more than at too-expensive fast vacuuming job. But duct cleaning from licensed professionals is another matter entirely: a complete deep cleaning that can give you a great performance from your HVAC system and even improve your air quality. It’s absolutely worth it to go to experienced HVAC professionals.

But how often? We recommend every three years—although your frequency may increase if there is a great amount of dust in your home. When you call on our team, they can help you arrange for a regular schedule of cleaning that works ideally for your house.

If you have never arranged for air duct cleaning in your house before—and this is a common occurrence since people rarely give much thoughts to the hidden ductwork—then you’re overdue for cleaning! We can almost guarantee it. Call us and we’ll see exactly what you need done.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers high quality air duct cleaning as well as other air duct services in Palm Desert, CA and elsewhere in the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities.

Consider an APCO Air Scrubber for Your Indoor Air Quality

One of the most important services we provide for homeowners in the Inland Empire and Desert Communities is installing air filters and air purifiers that improve air quality. Most homes can benefit from some type of filtration or purification system, and our experts are skilled at finding the right type of filter/purifier to deal with the pollutants circulating through the HVAC system and the rooms of your house.

A type air purifiers that we often install is the APCO Air Scrubber. The APCO (Advanced Photocatalytic Oxidation) system is integrated into the air ducts of a home, where it uses a combination of UV light and activated carbon to clean air of germs, viruses, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde.

The benefits of an APCO Air Scrubber

The Air Scrubber isn’t the ideal match for all homes, which is why you should always consult with a professional regarding your different options. However, there are numerous advantages of an APCO Air Scrubber that make them an excellent choice for many households:

  • Ozone-free: Too many air purifiers work through the creation of harmful ozone. But the Air Scrubber not only doesn’t produce ozone, it actually removes ozone from the air.
  • Odor elimination: If you have pets, an Air Scrubber is an excellent way to eliminate common odors associated with them. The Air Scrubber affects numerous other odors by changing the odor-causing VOC molecules into water vapor and carbon dioxide.
  • Protect the air conditioner: The Air Scrubber will help prevent mold from developing along the coils of your air conditioner. This will not only help control odors, it will help maintain air conditioner efficiency.
  • Healthier air: The Air Scrubber will dramatically improve health conditions in your home by destroying mold, viruses, bacteria, chemicals, and numerous allergens.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers air purification systems for Redlands, CA. Call our offices for exceptional customer service.

Do You Have Enough Air Filtration in Your Home?

Your air conditioning and heating system comes standard with an air filter that helps to clean the air, keeping contaminants from recirculating through your ducts. But these weren’t originally designed with health in mind. Air filters serve another key purpose: protecting your HVAC equipment from damage. While all filters are effective enough to block large debris from the AC unit, not all filters can reduce some of the main allergens common to most homes. If your indoor air quality is at stake, you may consider an electronic air filter or a UV air purifier as a supplementary device.

Call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning to talk about your Yucaipa air filtration system’s effectiveness and to decide whether a new electronic unit can benefit your home.

Electronic Air Cleaners Supplement Your HVAC Filter

Your home filter has some level of effectiveness, but likely not very much. Filters are rated for effectiveness, and most home filters are given a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) of about 1 to 7. The scale goes up to 16, and a higher MERV rated filter will remove more particles. In the best case scenario, your MERV 7 filter is able to remove dusting aids, dust mites, and pollen from the air, but not other contaminants like legionella, small bacteria, and mold spores. Larger filters are not recommended as they can block airflow to your HVAC unit.

Electronic air cleaners work with your HVAC system to charge the particles that pass using negative and positive ion charges. The particles are given a charge so that they can collect on metal plates in the device with an opposite charge. You’ll generally need to clean these plates every few months, but they should be able to eliminate many hazardous particles from the air.

Consider a UV Air Purifier for Additional Protection

UV air purifiers are installed at the air handler in order to protect against microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. These can lead to illness in your family members, especially those with compromised immune systems. The UV rays are strong enough to kill and sterilize these organisms, and may also eliminate mold and unpleasant odors from a home.

At Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning, we’re experts on installing air filtration systems in Yucaipa and we can help make your home a better environment for you and your family.