5 Tips to Help You Create a Comfortable Indoor Environment at the Lowest Price
We often take a comfortable indoor environment for granted, but when our home or office is uncomfortable, we notice. We also notice what it’s costing us when we pay our monthly bills. But there is a way to get the best of both worlds. Here are five tips to help you create a comfortable indoor environment at the lowest price.
1. Increase the Amount of Fresh Air in Your House
On a nice day, open the window. Most home HVAC units do not bring fresh outdoor air into the house but rather circulate the stale indoor air. This can lead to a condition known as sick building syndrome, a group of symptoms that ease when you leave the environment causing the illness. According to the Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, some causes of sick building syndrome include exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are commonly found in paint, cleaning agents, and even carpeting and upholstery.
Inadequate ventilation can cause symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and nosebleeds, which can lead to lost wages from taking a sick day to healthcare costs from a doctor’s visit. Adequate ventilation is defined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) as 20cfm/person.
2. Keep Your HVAC Unit Clean
Change your HVAC filter frequently. Experts recommend homeowners change their air filters every one to three months, depending on whether you have pets and how often you use your system. A dirty filter can become a breeding ground for bacteria, black mold, and other fungi. Black mold is notorious for causing health problems such as asthma, allergies, and Legionnaires’ Disease, a rare form of pneumonia that can be fatal. Keeping your HVAC unit clean can help you avoid respiratory illnesses.
3. Control the Humidity
Depending on where you live, you may want to invest in a humidifier or dehumidifier. The recommended rate of humidity for a home is 30% to 50%.
If you live in a dry climate, you’ll want a humidifier to prevent dry skin, dry eyes, and irritated nasal passages. A humid climate, however, calls for a dehumidifier to prevent bacterial infestation and mold growth. You can measure the humidity of your home with a tool called a hygrometer, available at most hardware stores and home centers.
4. Use Proper Spacing
Plan the space in your home appropriately to both save money by being energy efficient and your health by ensuring proper ventilation. For example, don’t put a heat-generating device such as a heat-producing light bulb near your thermostat. The thermostat will detect the heat and cause the AC unit to put out more cold air than needed, which can cause both an increased electric bill, wear and tear on the system, and health problems.
5. Keep Up to Date on Routine Maintenance
Make sure your HVAC unit is in peak condition by staying up to date on routine maintenance. You can get priority service and sometimes even discounts by opting in to an HVAC maintenance contract. An HVAC contract also ensures that you’re covered in the event something breaks.A comfortable indoor environment doesn’t have to be expensive and can actually save you money. An HVAC technician will be able to help you find the ideal environment for you.