As the kids head back to the classroom, your HVAC system heads into another season of dealing with the Delaware and Pennsylvania area’s chilly fall and winter weather. Make the transition easier on your family and your system with a few basic steps.
Do Some Fall Cleaning
Your HVAC system sees heavy use in summer, so the air filter will pick up debris faster than during the off seasons. A dirty filter impairs airflow, reducing your system’s energy efficiency and subjecting the components to harmful strain. Check the filter, and if you find a layer of dust, put in a new filter. Inspect your filter monthly and replace as necessary.
Trim back any shrubbery or weeds around your A/C’s outdoor unit to at least 18 inches away from the unit. Use a stiff brush to remove debris, such as grass clippings and pollen buildup, from the exterior aluminum fins. Remove the top of the unit and use a hose to wash remaining debris from the fins from the inside out. Finally, cover the unit with plywood to keep snow out. Plastic coverings encourage rust.
An annual professional furnace inspection improves your furnace’s efficiency and protects you from carbon monoxide poisoning. Schedule for early fall. Fall is a slow period for HVAC companies, so you’ll have a better chance of getting a convenient appointment time.
Choose Energy-Efficient Temperatures
Update the settings on your programmable thermostat to suit your family’s fall schedule. If you’ll no longer need cooling this year, set your system to “heat.” If no one will be home from work or school until early evening, set your thermostat for an energy-saving temperature, such as 55 degrees, for the time when no one’s home. For the rest of the evening until bedtime, choose a more comfortable temperature, such as 68 degrees.
If keeping your home clean and safe for your family is important to you, using ultraviolet (UV) lights can help. Having clean indoor air can protect your family from illness and breathing difficulties. No matter how much you clean each room, however, your air will never be completely clean unless you tackle your ductwork.
Air that moves through your ducts not only carries dust, but also bacteria, germs, fungi and mold. These can take up residence in your ducts and grow, so as new air passes through your ducts, these microorganisms travel into your living space. Duct cleanings can help with this problem, but they shouldn’t be done frequently. Using ultraviolet lights to clean the air in your ducts, however, can help eliminate the microorganisms growing in your ducts in between cleanings.
Using ultraviolet lights can protect you and your family from bacteria, germs, mold and other microorganisms. The UV lights cause mutation in DNA, which weakens the microorganisms and keeps them from reproducing. They die off quickly, preventing them from getting into the air you breathe. The microorganisms pass through your ducts in the air coming from your HVAC system, blowing past the ultraviolet lights. When the ultraviolet light reaches the microorganisms, they are killed or disabled so that they will no longer cause problems.
Although ultraviolet light wavelengths can be dangerous, they can only cause problems if you are directly exposed to them. We are protected from the sun’s ultraviolet rays by the ozone layer, which absorbs the most harmful levels of these rays. Ultraviolet lights used to clean ducts are installed directly in the ducts, keeping them away from any direct contact with your family. They are a safe, effective way to eliminate sources of illness and breathing difficulties in your home.
For more information about using ultraviolet lights and Indoor Air Quality, contact the pros at Sobieski Services.