May is Clean Air Month! Here’s How You Can Participate

clean air month

Think the air you are breathing is clean? Think again.

Whether outdoors or inside, we are constantly exposed to airborne pollutants which can have negative effects on our health. That’s why we observe Clean Air Month every May, so we can learn how poor air quality affects our everyday lives. Read below to learn more about Clean Air Month 2017, and what steps you can take to improve air quality.

What is clean air month?

Clean Air Month has been observed every May since 1972, and is annually sponsored by the American Lung Association. The goal of Clean Air Month is to educate the people about the correlation between air quality and respiratory health, and encourage them to take positive steps to help improve air quality.

Why is clean air important?

Clean air has a natural balance of gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, and does not contain any pollutants or allergens. Clean air has no negative impact on our health or the environment.

Polluted air, on the other hand, can be very harmful. Short-term exposure to polluted air can lead to allergy-like symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, sore throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. It can also trigger symptoms from other diseases, such as asthma. Long-term health effects are even more severe, as research has linked pollution to various heart diseases, respiratory diseases, and certain forms of cancer.

Ten steps for cleaner air

Luckily, clean air is possible to achieve. These small steps can have a big impact on the air quality in your home:

  1. Vacuum, mop, and dust your home every week.
  2. Have any mold growth professionally removed.
  3. Keep your humidity levels below 50%.
  4. Avoid commercial-brand cleaning products and air fresheners, which are loaded with toxins.
  5. Add more of these houseplants around the home.
  6. Take your shoes off immediately upon entering your home.
  7. Make your home a “No Smoking” zone.
  8. Look for “low VOC” labels when shopping for paints and adhesives.
  9. Have your HVAC system professionally inspected and tuned up once per year.
  10. Invest in an air purification system.

If you live in Fairfax County, Virginia, trust the experts at the Air Treatment Company to help you maintain clean air in your home or office. We offer professionally-installed air purification systems, filters, sterilizing UV lights, and more. Contact us online to get started with a free estimate, or call (703) 938-0550.

Frequently Asked Questions About Germicidal UV Lights

 uv germicidal lamp

You know that ultraviolet rays are produced by the sun, but did you know this same type of light can be used to purify the air in your home? Read below to learn more about germicidal UV lights and how they can help improve your household air quality.

How do UV lights work?

Disinfecting ultraviolet lights emit UVC rays, which can penetrate bacteria, alter its DNA, and make it unable to reproduce. In fact, when these pathogens try to replicate, they die.

What kind of germs are affected by UV light?

Ultraviolet lamps are effective against virtually all forms of airborne microbes, including cold and flu germs, viruses, bacteria, fungus, and mold.

Where are UV lights used?

Sanitizing UV lights were first used in commercial applications such as hospitals, water treatment facilities, and food processing plants. However, they are becoming increasingly common for household use in recent years.

Is UV light harmful to people?

Prolonged, direct exposure to ultraviolet rays is harmful to all living organisms, including people. However, UV lamps are specifically designed with safety in mind, and with professional installation, do not allow for direct exposure.

Where in my home should I put the UV light?

With so much air in our homes, the most effective place to install a UV light is in our HVAC systems. This is the only place in our home which all conditioned air passes through, and is recirculated every 12-15 minutes.

How often do the lamps need replacement?

Ultraviolet lamps can last anywhere from 10,000 – 20,000 hours of continuous use; or up to one to two years.

What kind of maintenance is needed?

UV lights are very low maintenance, only requiring a periodic cleaning about once every three months. This should be done with a cotton cloth or paper towel using alcohol and rubber gloves.

How can I get a UV light in my Virginia home?

If you live in Fairfax County, trust the Air Treatment Company with all of your indoor air quality needs. We offer professional installation of disinfecting UV lights, air filtration systems, humidity control solutions, and more.

Ready to get started with a free consultation? Click here to contact us online, or call (703) 938-0550.

Spring Cleaning 101: Dust

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Did you know that the average four-person household generates about 40 pounds of dust per year? While there’s no way to eliminate this dust, there are ways to minimize it. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind while spring cleaning…

Use the top-down approach.

Dust is like snow, it falls from top to bottom. You should dust your home in this direction to avoid cleaning the same areas twice. Start with the ceiling fans, then move to the walls, countertops, and baseboards before cleaning the floor last.

Ditch the feather duster.

Opt for a microfiber cloth when dusting your home. They are electrostatically charged, meaning they attract dust particles and trap them for good. Feather dusters, on the other hand, are ineffective, scattering dust into the air instead of collecting it.

Don’t forget your carpets.

Since dust falls in a downwards direction, your carpets are one of the dustiest surfaces in your home. Vacuuming every week (every couple of days in areas with heavy foot traffic) and deep cleaning your carpet once per year can keep this dust to a minimum.

Use hypoallergenic covers in the bedroom.

Dust mites are known to hide out in our mattress, pillows, and bedsheets – where we spend about eight hours every day. Hypoallergenic covers keep these dust mites out, are easy to clean, and can even extend the lifespan of your bed.

Invest in an air filtration system.

Stray airborne dust particles can trigger sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and other allergic reactions. The best way to eliminate airborne particles is with a professionally-installed air purification system.

Have your air ducts cleaned.

Air ducts are notorious for harboring dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, and several other allergens. These pollutants can circulate throughout your home, compromising indoor air quality. This buildup can also limit airflow and increase the wear-and-tear on your HVAC system. For these reasons, experts recommend having your air ducts professionally cleaned every 3-5 years.

The Air Treatment Company offers a variety of products and services designed to keep your home clean and dust-free, such as our air purification systems. If you live in Fairfax County, Virginia, call (703) 938-0550 to get started with a free estimate.

Spring is Here, and So Are the Allergies

how to prevent spring allergies

Spring is in the air! Wait a second, maybe that’s just the pollen.

As the weather warms up around Fairfax County, Virginia, homeowners should keep these five tips in mind to keep their allergies under control…

Start Medicating Now

If you wait until you’re having sneezing fits to start taking your medication, it’s already too late. Start taking your daily allergy medicine now so it is working at full strength by the time peak pollen season comes around.

Dust Diligently

Pollen isn’t the only allergen. In fact, dust is just as likely to trigger an allergic reaction, and it’s much more prevalent in your home. Keep your sinuses clear by regularly dusting, washing your bed sheets, and vacuuming/mopping your floors.

Tune Up Your Air Conditioner

During the winter months, your air conditioner accumulates all sorts of dirt, dust, and other debris. This not only increases wear-and-tear on the system, it can also diminish indoor air quality. A professional A/C tune up will lower your energy bills, prevent breakdowns, and can improve your sinuses.

Keep Your Humidity Levels Under 50%

Maintaining a moderate humidity level doesn’t just keep you comfortable, it can also alleviate allergy symptoms by killing dust mites. Humidity control is also crucial for preventing mold growth, which thrives in warm and damp climates.

Invest in an Air Filtration System

Common indoor allergens include dust, pet dander, and mold. Pollen can even make its way into your home through your air ducts, open windows, or by sticking to your clothing. The most effective way to eliminate these contaminants is by investing in a HEPA air filter, which removes up to 99.97% of airborne particles.

Residents of Fairfax County VA can count on the Air Treatment Company to help them prepare for spring and all of its allergies. We offer a variety of professional HVAC services including air conditioning repairs and installations, humidity control solutions, and air filtration systems. If you live in Vienna, Reston, Mclean, or the surrounding area, give us a call at (703) 938-0550.

FAQs About IAQ

Indoor air quality FAQs | indoor air quality fairfax county | air treatment company

Whether you know it or not, indoor air quality (IAQ) affects you every day. If you are looking to learn more about indoor air quality, these frequently asked questions will help give you a better understanding:

What is indoor air quality?

According to the EPA, indoor air quality refers to the quality of air within our homes and buildings, especially as it relates to the health of building occupants.

Is indoor air pollution a serious problem?

Yes. So much so, in fact, that the EPA named indoor air pollution as a Top Five Risk to Public Health. A study they conducted in North America found that roughly 96% of homes had at least one indoor air quality problem.

What are the health risks associated with indoor air pollution?

Indoor air pollution can have many adverse affects on your health, both in the short- and long-term. Some side effects that indoor air pollution have been linked to include:

Short-Term:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Long-Term:

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory Disease
  • COPD
  • Lung Cancer

What causes indoor air pollution?

Indoor air pollution can come from a variety of places inside the home, many of which are seemingly harmless products. Common household sources of indoor air pollution include: pets; high humidity; air fresheners; cleaning products; paint; furniture; wood floors and cabinetry; carpets; and heating equipment such as stoves, furnaces, and fireplaces.

How can I improve my indoor air quality?

Luckily, it is possible to improve the air quality in your home. Cleaner, healthier air is just five steps away:

  1. Remove sources of indoor air pollution.
  2. Control your humidity levels.
  3. Improve the ventilation in your home.
  4. Add more houseplants.
  5. Install an air purification system.

Homeowners in Fairfax County, Virginia can count on the experts at the Air Treatment Company for all of their indoor air quality needs. Visit our website to see how we can help improve the air in your home, or call (703) 938-0550.

6 Ways to Minimize Allergies at Home

 

how to allergy-proof your home | indoor air quality fairfax county | air treatment company

Living with allergies can be unpleasant, especially when you can’t even find relief in your own home. Luckily, it is possible to alleviate indoor allergies; just follow these six tips from the Air Treatment Company:

 

Dust the right way.

Are you still using feather dusters to clean your home? Throw them away and upgrade to microfiber cloths, which trap dust particles instead of kicking them up into the air. You should also take a top-to-bottom approach when dusting your home: start at the ceiling and work your way down to the floor.

 

Invest in a HEPA air filtration system.

A High Efficiency Particulate Air (or HEPA) filtration system eliminates more than 99.97% of airborne particles in your home. This one simple device can help prevent illnesses, eliminate allergy symptoms, remove odors, and reduce dust.

 

Leave your shoes at the door.

If you wear shoes around the house, you could be tracking in all kinds of dirt, pesticides, and allergens. Keep two doormats at each entryway (one inside, one outside) and implement a strict no-shoes policy for your family members and guests.

 

Mitigate the mold.

Mold isn’t just unsightly, it is one of the biggest contributors to indoor allergies. Keep your eyes out for mold in damp, humid areas in your home, such as the bathroom, attic, and unfinished basements. If you spot mold growing anywhere in the home, your best bet is to have it professionally removed.

 

Have your air ducts professionally cleaned.

You may not pay attention to your home’s air ducts, but they are a common hiding spot for allergens such as dust, mold, pollen, and pet dander. Having your ducts professionally cleaned every 3-5 years can minimize the spread of these allergens throughout your home.

 

Take control of your humidity levels.

Areas with high humidity are a breeding ground for dust mites and mold. If you notice any of these warning signs of high humidity, consider investing in a whole-home dehumidifier. These products connect directly to your home HVAC system and can control humidity levels throughout your entire house, unlike portable models which are only effective for one room.

 

If you live in Fairfax County, Virginia, trust the experts at Air Treatment Company to help you clean the air in your home. We offer a wide range of products designed to improve air quality, including filtration systems, whole-home dehumidifiers, and more. Contact us online to get started, or call (703) 938-0550.

How to Test Home Humidity Levels

whole home humidifiers fairfax va | whole home dehumidifiers fairfax va | air treatment company

If you have ever been outside on a humid summer day, you already know the effects of high humidity. It makes the air stuffy, uncomfortable, and can even make the temperature feel hotter than it actually is.

What you may not know, however, is that humidity levels can become too low as well. This commonly happens during the winter months, when the frigid temperatures suck moisture right out of the air. This leads to an entirely different set of problems, including dry skin and irritated respiratory passages.

Humidity can affect our homes just as much as it affects our bodies, which is why it is important for homeowners to closely monitor their humidity levels. Ideally, the relative humidity in your home should be between 30-50%, depending on the season and personal preferences.

Keep an eye out for these signs around your home, as they can indicate excessively high or low humidity levels:

Signs of too much humidity

  • Condensation on your home’s windows, mirrors, and glass surfaces.
  • Wet spots on the walls and ceilings.
  • Mold and mildew growth (can be indicated by sight or smell).
  • Increased allergy symptoms among family members.
  • Uncomfortable, stuffy feeling in the air.

Signs of too little humidity

  • Dry skin, eyes, nose, or throat.
  • Chapped lips.
  • Increased static electricity.
  • Warping, cracking or splitting of wood surfaces, such as floors, cabinets, and furniture.

One way for homeowners to maintain consistent moisture levels is through the use of portable humidifiers and dehumidifiers. While these devices are an effective way to control humidity in one room, they are not suitable for whole-home regulation.

If your home suffers from humidity problems, consider investing in a whole-home humidity control system from the Air Treatment Company. These devices hook up directly to your HVAC system and do all the work, allowing you to set it and forget it.

If you live in Fairfax County, Virginia, call the Air Treatment Company to learn more at (703) 938-0550.

3 Healthy Ways to Make Your Home Smell Good

homemade air freshener ideas | air treatment company

When you think of air fresheners, you think of… well, fresh air. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Despite their name, air fresheners actually fill the air with dangerous toxins and chemicals. The NRDC conducted a study which showed that more than 85% of commercial air fresheners released harmful particles into the air, even those labeled as “all natural”.

If you want to keep your home safe for your family, your best best is to say goodbye to commercial air fresheners. Don’t worry, there are still ways to keep your home smelling fresh. These DIY recipes provide all of the great scents of air fresheners, and none of the potential health concerns.

  • Baking soda mason jar. Millions use baking soda to deodorize their refrigerators . Did you know it can also deodorize the air in your home? Pour half a cup of baking soda into a Mason jar and add in some of your favorite scented oils. Poke some holes in the lid and voila – an easy air freshener you can use in each room of the home.
  • Orange cinnamon air freshener. Heat up water in a saucepan. When it begins to boil, turn it down to a simmer. Add in a couple of cinnamon sticks and a few orange slices, and soon your whole home will smell delicious.
  • Light a match. Lighting a match can overpower tough bathroom odors without polluting your air.

If you live in Fairfax County, Virginia, trust the experts at Air Treatment Company to help clean up the air in your home. We offer a variety of products and services to help you maintain good indoor air quality, including purification systems, UV lights, humidity control solutions, and more. Call us at (703) 938-0550 to get started with a consultation.

How UV Lights Can Improve the Air Quality in Your Home

uv hvac light installation | indoor air quality fairfax va | air treatment company

In 1903, scientist Niels Finsen won a Nobel Prize for the use of ultraviolet light to treat tuberculosis. More than 100 years later, those same principles are being applied to help clean the air in your home.

How do UV lights work?

Many years ago, it was discovered that the ultraviolet rays from the sun had disinfecting properties and could actually kill some forms of bacteria – such as mold, fungus, mildew, and viruses. Many of these germs are present within our homes, especially inside of our air ducts, where the dark, humid conditions provide the perfect conditions for contaminants to grow and spread.

Thanks to advances in technology, UV rays are now generated and emitted through special light bulbs. These bulbs have been used in hospitals and water treatment facilities for sterilization purposes, and now they are available for home use in our HVAC systems.

An HVAC ultraviolet light is installed inside of your ductwork, typically near the evaporator coil or the return air duct. This lamp emits a continual light that is capable of penetrating the DNA of harmful microorganisms. This light flows through your entire air duct system, helping to eliminate harmful particles. In fact, after just 45 minutes of use, as much as 50% of the harmful airborne particles in your home may be destroyed.

How can UV lights help?

  • A UV light reduces allergies. It is estimated that more than 60 million Americans suffer from allergies. Luckily, UV lamps can kill some of the most common allergens in our home.

  • A UV light controls mold. Mold commonly grows inside of air ducts, and even if it grows somewhere else inside of your home, it can use your ducts as a transportation system to spread. A UV light can help minimize mold growth and stop it from permeating throughout your home.

  • A UV light can improve energy efficiency. A buildup of mold and bacteria in your air ducts can restrict air flow, increase wear-and-tear on your HVAC system, and drive up your energy bills.

If you live in Fairfax County, Virginia, trust Air Treatment Company for all of your indoor air quality needs. We have a variety of products and services designed to make your home a healthier place, such as UV lamps, humidity controlling devices, air purifiers, and more. If you live in Fairfax, Arlington, Vienna, or the surrounding area, give us a call at (703) 938-0550.

5 Ways to Tell That Your Home Has Poor Air Quality

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Poor indoor air quality is nothing to sneeze at – no pun intended. Despite the relatively low attention it garners, indoor air pollution is present in more than 90% of North American homes. Here are five signs that you may be dealing with poor indoor air quality in your home:

Sign #1: Presence of bad odors.

Do you have any long-standing odors in your home? Scents of mildew that will not go away indicate mold growth, which can be very dangerous for the health of your family and home. Other scents, such as those produced in the kitchen or bathroom, that linger for long periods of time could be a sign of poor ventilation.

Sign #2: You suffer from allergy symptoms in your home.

Short-term symptoms of indoor air pollution are very similar to allergies, and include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes, sore throat, headaches, nausea, fever, and fatigue. These symptoms are common to experience outdoors, but if you get them in your home, it could be a major problem.

Sign #3: The onset of these symptoms is sudden.

If these symptoms suddenly occur when you are in your home, this is further cause for concern, especially if they disappear after getting some fresh air.

Sign #4: Symptoms are widespread among family members.

If only one person is suffering from these symptoms, it could be allergies or an illness. However, if multiple family members experience the same symptoms (especially in the same areas of the home), you are likely dealing with an indoor air pollution problem.

Sign #5: There is a high level of dust in your home.

Some dust in the home is one thing, but an excessive amount could be the result of dirty air ducts and/or the lack of an air filter.

Do you notice any – or all – of these signs in your Virginia home? It’s very likely you have an air quality problem. Luckily, the experts at Air Treatment Company are here to help! We offer a variety of air purification systems, dehumidifiers, and other products designed to clean up your home’s air. If you live in Fairfax County, or the surrounding area, give us a call at (703) 938-0550.