Home Humidity and Indoor Air Quality FAQs

Home Humidity and Indoor Air Quality FAQs

From working in an office to staying at home, it’s undeniable that people spend a great deal of time indoors. The problem, though, is that many of them overlook the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pollutant levels inside homes or buildings are two to five times higher than those outdoors. This increases the risks of short and long-term health problems. Read more

IAQ for the New Year: What You Need to Know

New Year IAQ

This coming new year, make it a priority to improve the air quality in your home. Not only will this be good for you and your loved ones, but it can also help improve the efficiency of your home’s HVAC system. Good indoor air quality is important for your health, so don’t neglect this essential characteristic of your indoor space.

Why IAQ Matters

Healthy indoor air quality, or IAQ, is critical to uphold in your home as restricted air flow indoors and/or airborne pollutants can create serious health concerns for you and your family. This is doubly important for those who suffer from asthma, allergies, or other respiratory issues. Read on to learn more about IAQ.

New Year IAQ

If you need help establishing the quality of your home’s indoor air, give the experts at Brody Pennell a call today at 310-836-0606. We can help evaluate and offer solutions that will improve the comfort of your home.



Home Comfort Tips for Pet Owners

Home Comfort Tips for Pet Owners

Many homes have pets, including cats, dogs, and sometimes one (or several!) of each. Pets bring a lot of pleasure to the people who own and love them, but they also can bring some not so great things, like pet hair, dander, and debris, which can affect your home’s air quality. Fortunately, these types of things can be easily controlled with a little planning and foresight, so you can easily enjoy healthy air quality with the pets you love.

Home Comfort Tips for Pet Owners

Here are just a few tips for animal lovers who want to breathe easy and enjoy healthy indoor air quality:

Keep your pet clean.

First thing is first: tackle the dirt and dander. Basic pet care requires that you bathe, brush, and give your pet access to good food and clean water, but ensuring good air quality can take a bit more effort for optimum results.

Bathe your pet regularly as recommended by your veterinarian to keep your pet’s hair and skin healthy and clean. Bathing can go a long way in ridding your pet of excess hair and dander. Dander—which is simply small flakes of skin shed by your pet—can cause concerns for those with dog and cat allergies, as dander, not pet hair, is the main culprit in pet allergies. Dander is so small that it often gets trapped in places that are difficult to clean, like air ducts. Each time your home’s HVAC system is turned on, the dander gets circulated throughout your ductwork and throughout your home.

Daily gentle brushing will reduce both excess hair as well as dander. When bathing your pets, use high quality moisturizing pet shampoos that will help keep their skin extra healthy, which will reduce your pet’s overall dander production.

Clean your home regularly.

The same advice goes with cleaning your home: go the extra mile when you share your home with pets. Along with regular cleaning such as vacuuming, dusting, and sweeping, be sure to keep your HVAC system clean as well. At the very least, change your filter whenever it gets dirty, checking at least once a month.

If you really want to go the extra mile, special air filters are available that can help control and prevent the distribution of pet dander. These filters are tailor made for homes with pets and can go a long way to keep your home’s air clean.

Regular maintenance is also imperative, so be sure to schedule an appointment (ideally every Spring and Fall) to have a professional perform maintenance your HVAC system. By having regular maintenance performed on your system, you can prevent small issues from turning into costly problems down the road.

Clean your air ducts.

It’s a good idea to start with a clean base when dealing with pet dander and debris, and your home’s ductwork is a great place to start. Duct cleaning can help you rid your home of existing dander, pet hair, and other dirt that may be lurking in your ductwork. Once your ducts are squeaky clean, it will be a breeze to maintain a happier healthier pet-friendly home when you implement the tips above. For a free estimate on ductwork cleaning from our professionals, give us a call: 310-836-0606

What are UV Air Treatment Systems?

What Are UV Air Systems

Did you know that there are areas of your HVAC system where mold and bacteria like to hang out? These organisms can start to grow in the indoor coil and drain pan of your air conditioning unit and impact airflow and efficiency. Not to mention, these organisms can also become airborne, negatively affecting the air that you and your family breathe.

A UV air treatment system is designed to kill the mold and bacteria that collect in the moist environment of your home or office HVAC system. Using the natural power of UV light, these systems help significantly improve indoor air quality while keeping your HVAC equipment running efficiently.

Benefits of Ultraviolet Air Treatment Systems

Whether they are hard at work in the office, relaxing at home, or running errands at various stores, many people spend the majority of their day inside. What they may not consider is that indoor air is often just as dirty (or dirtier) than the air outside. Every time you enter your home from outdoors, you may be tracking in mold, bacteria, dust, dander, pollen, and other organisms that can impact the quality of the air you breathe. Ultraviolet air treatment systems help improve indoor air quality by killing airborne bacteria and germs that pass through your ductwork.

You may be wondering if your home or office needs an ultraviolet air treatment system. A germicidal UV lamp can help those who suffer from asthma, allergies, frequent cold and flu symptoms, headaches, runny nose, sore throat, itchy or watery eyes, and even fatigue. In fact, a single UV lamp model kills up to 70% of airborne bacteria in your air conditioning system while a coil irradiation model kill sup to 99.9% of surfaced mod on your cooling coil and other central AC components.

In addition to improving indoor air quality, these UV systems also protect your heating and cooling equipment and can improve the performance of your HVAC system. This is because particle buildup can restrict airflow and cause your system to work harder than it needs to when heating or cooling your home.

Carrier Germicidal UV Lamps

Carrier, a leader and innovator in home comfort systems, offers Germicidal UV Lamps as part of their Performance™ Series. These lamps kill mold and bacteria that start to grow on the indoor coil of your air conditioning unit. By eliminating these organisms, the UV lamps not only improve your home’s indoor air quality, but also increase system performance by allowing your system to run more efficiently. As a Carrier dealer, Brody Pennell can help you choose and install the Carrier Germicidal UV lamps that are a fit for your home comfort needs.

UV air treatment systems can be extremely effective at helping purify the air in your home or office, making it possible for everyone to breathe a bit easier. However, these systems are only effective if they are the right system for your home or office space and if they are installed properly in your HVAC system.

If you are interested in installing a UV air treatment system or any other indoor air quality product in your home, contact us today. Our HVAC experts will help you find the IAQ products and systems that are right for you and your home comfort needs.

Do I Really Need an Air Purifier?

Air Purifier Benefits

You want to keep your family safe and happy, and a big part of that is creating a home environment that is both comfortable and healthy. The indoor air quality of your home not only impacts your home comfort, but it can also play a significant role in your family’s health. An air purifier is one option that you may consider to improve indoor air quality and create a healthier home space.

What is an Air Purifier?

An air purifier is a device which helps to remove harmful particles from the air in your home. Using high-efficiency filters, these devices trap dust, dirt, pet dander, and other contaminants before they can circulate through your home air. An air purifier can be a standalone device used to clean the air in one room or they can be incorporated into your home HVAC system for whole house air purification.

These devices are often recommended for asthmatics and those who have breathing difficulties. For this reason, air purifiers are often used in hospitals to protect those with weakened immune systems. Air purifiers help to reduce the amount of allergens in a home or office setting, helping to improve the quality of your indoor air and help everyone breathe a little easier.

Signs You May Need an Air Purifier

For most homeowners, a standard air filter that is changed regularly can offer sufficient indoor air quality. However, others may need more protection Here are some signs that your home may benefit from an air purifier:

  • You or a member of your family suffers from asthma. Asthma attacks can be triggered by harmful particles in the air you breathe. An air purifier helps provide cleaner air for those who have asthma or other respiratory conditions.
  • You or a family member have severe allergy symptoms. Even the smallest number of particles in the air can trigger symptoms for those who suffer from severe allergies. An air purifier can help reduce the amount of pollutants so that allergy sufferers can breathe easier.
  • You or a family member have a weakened immune system. Those with weakened immune systems, such as young infants or elderly family members, may be more susceptible to developing respiratory issues. Air purifiers help reduce the chances of these family members being affected by air pollution.

Not everyone needs an air purifier and not all air purifiers are created equal. If you are thinking about purchasing one of these devices, you should speak with an experienced HVAC technician who can help recommend the best device for your home. Though it may be easy to install a standalone device, standard HVAC systems are not equipped to handle HEPA filters and will require an experienced HVAC tech to modify the system.

If you need help finding the right indoor air quality products for you, the HVAC experts at Brody Pennell are only a phone call away. Whether you are interested in better air filter options or you want a whole home air purifier, we can help you find the best systems and products to meet your home comfort needs. Contact us today for more information.

Humidifiers Can Help Relieve Allergy Symptoms


Humidifiers are devices used to raise the humidity, or water vapor content, of the air inside a room or building. You can use one of these devices to offset the effects of excessively dry air in your home. If you have allergies, a humidifier may be especially useful in relieving your unpleasant symptoms.

How Do Humidifiers Work?

Outdoor humidity can vary from an extreme low of 0 percent to an extreme high of 100 percent. However, in most residences, indoor humidity falls into a narrower range somewhere between roughly 20 percent and 70 percent. A humidifier adds water vapor to indoor air through one of several methods. Most models use a system that increases humidity levels by gradually evaporating a supply of water into the air. Another type of humidifier, called a vaporizing model, adds moisture content to the air by creating steam. Both evaporating and vaporizing humidifiers use filters to stop the minerals found in water from passing into the air. Two less common types of humidifiers, ultrasonic models and impeller models, don’t filter out minerals. Some humidifiers cover a single room or area, while others can cover an entire household.

Impact on Allergies

Allergies produce some of their most unpleasant effects, including inflammation and congestion, by drying out the mucous membranes inside your nose. If your household has a low humidity level, use of a humidifier can potentially decrease the severity of these symptoms by increasing the amount of moisture available to your inflamed, irritated membranes. What’s more, when you relieve nasal inflammation and irritation, you make it easier for your mucous membranes to perform one of their chief functions by guarding your nasal passages against any other allergy-causing substances still circulating in the air.

Striking a Balance

If the air inside your home is too humid, you can actually increase your risks for problems triggered by mold and airborne dust mite waste, two other well-known sources of allergic reactions. That’s because both of these allergens prefer a relatively moist environment. For this reason, you must strike a balance between excessively low humidity levels and excessively high humidity levels. The precise levels that work best in a home may vary. However, for most households, indoor air humidity between 40 percent and 48 percent keeps mucous membranes sufficiently moist while keeping dust mites and mold in check.

For more information on ways to keep your indoor air healthy, make sure to return to the pages of this blog regularly.

The Benefits of Controlling Your Indoor Air Quality


Poor indoor air quality can lead to severe health issues. You don’t want your home to be a source of illness. Start monitoring your home’s air quality today.

If you are like the average American, you spend more than 90% of your time indoors. This means that you are breathing indoor air for a significant portion of your life, and it is vitally important that you consider and monitor the quality of that air. Have you been experiencing persistent headaches, congestion or fatigue? Many of these symptoms could be caused by your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ).

How Does IAQ Affect Your Health?

Living in a home with poor IAQ can have severe and persistent effects on your health. Some of the short-term health effects include:

  • Fatigue
  • Persistent headaches
  • Upper respiratory congestion
  • Dizziness
  • Irritation of eyes, throat and nose

In addition to these milder but persistent symptoms, poor IAQ can also have a severe long-term impact on your health. Exposure to certain pollutants can lead to respiratory disease, heart disease and even certain types of cancer. Poor IAQ is not simply a nuisance, it can become a legitimate health hazard.

What Controls Your IAQ?

There are many elements that affect your home’s IAQ, most importantly the performance of your HVAC system. The purpose of your HVAC system is to control your IAQ, but its performance can be inhibited by various elements, including microbial growth and moisture. Heat and humidity increase the probability of dust particles and other pollutants becoming trapped in your HVAC system and spread throughout your home. In order to prevent this, you need to ensure that your HVAC system is performing optimally.

Maintain Your HVAC System

There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that your HVAC system is performing well and maintaining a healthy indoor air quality:

  • Clean your HVAC system regularly
  • Replace your HVAC filter every month
  • Install an ultraviolet light in your HVAC system

Install an IAQ Monitoring System

While it is important to ensure that your HVAC system is performing optimally, it is equally important to monitor your IAQ regularly. There are a variety of software systems that have been designed to continuously monitor your home’s IAQ. These systems are able to monitor the temperature and humidity of your home as well as the presence of air pollutants and noxious gases.

These systems not only monitor the key elements of IAQ, they also set standards for each of these elements. This means that when an imbalance is detected, these systems trigger your HVAC heating or cooling systems in order to maintain your home’s optimum IAQ.
Maintaining your home’s IAQ can seem like a huge responsibility, but our team at Brody Pennell is here to do that work for you. Call us today to schedule an evaluation of your home’s HVAC system and start enjoying the benefits of breathing pure air!

Reasons To Replace Your Attic Insulation

airflow in the house

The importance of proper home insulation should not be underestimated. If old or worn out insulation is not replaced it could lead to several problems withing the home. Insulation used in the past is not as high quality as the ones used in these days, so insulation in older homes need to be checked regularly. If it is not looked into periodically, you could end up with a home that feels like a meat locker in winter and a sauna in summer. You could also end up with a huge electricity bill that you did not bargain for. This also affects your energy savings. So to be save rather than sorry, check your insulation all the time to make sure that it is running efficiently.

When you check your insulation, there are a few things you should look out for. You should check and compare room temperatures. If one room feels warm and another cold, then you definitely have inconsistent temperatures and this means that your insulation needs to be repaired or replaced, altogether. You should be extra careful when dealing with an older house as the insulation that was initially installed was not as high quality as the ones that we have these days. One sure way of knowing whether your insulation is too old to remain in the home is by putting on a pair of gloves and feeling the attic insulation. If it crumbles, then its definitely old and needs to go. If you notice more pests in the home than usual, you should check the insulation in the attic and the basement and this is usually where they like to hide. Pests enjoy a cozy surrounding and this is why they tend to get comfy in your home insulation. If they are detected, you must remove you insulation and have it replaced.

There are many DIY materials and tools that you can use to get your home insulation back into shape, however, there are things than only professionals know and understand. If you want to avoid the effort and time spent replacing your insulation, hire a reputable and experienced contractor who will get the job done right, the first time around. Follow us or more interesting info on how to save money on your insulation.

What Is IAQ (Indoor Air Quality)

home air circulation

Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the purity levels of air in enclosed buildings. The composition of indoor air can mean the difference between good and bad health, as well as the comfort, of a building’s inhabitants. High IAQ should be devoid of pollutants such as microbial organisms, manmade or naturally-occurring gases, combustion products, and dust. A report by the EPA indicated that most American homes had poor IAQ that led to breathing complications and lung cancer among other health complications.


Components that compromise high/ pure IAQ

Particles and microbial organisms

Dust, pollen, mite, viruses, mold, fungi and mildew constitute particles and organisms that can saturate the air. The presence of these particles and organisms in the air not only make breathing difficult but may also cause respiratory and other illnesses to people and animal who breathe this air. Long term exposure to these pollutants can cause long term illnesses and death.


Naturally-occurring materials

Natural air, comprising oxygen and a small percentage of carbon dioxide and other gases, can be highly polluted by the presence of other naturally-occurring or synthetic gases. Radon is one of the most harmful (to humans and animals) naturally-occurring gases on earth, and it can seep into buildings through floor or wall cracks. A high concentration of this gas, over 4pci/L, is regarded as highly toxic and a primary cause of lung cancer.


Synthetic materials and combustion products

Other major IAQ pollutants include asbestos, combustion products, and Refrigerant/ formaldehyde. Combustion products comprise emissions from burning fuels, the most harmful ones being carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke. Smoke contains numerous toxic gases, including CO, and can cause humans and animals a myriad of heath complications. If and when breathed, smoke irritates the respiratory system and causes headaches, nausea, loss of consciousness, and even death. Formaldehyde and asbestos are just as harmful to humans and animals. Asbestos are emitted from numerous construction material whereas formaldehyde is found in bonding and adhesive agents.

IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) refers to the quality of enclosed air. Primary IAQ pollutants include formaldehyde, particles, combustion products, and microbial organisms. Whereas some of these pollutants are easy to detect (through the five senses) and eliminate, other pollutants can only be detected and removed by special equipment and products. Building owners and inhabitants are advised to ventilate their buildings adequately, as well as install equipment and products that can detect and get rid of these pollutants. Follow us for more articles that guarantee your HVAC systems run efficiently.

Should I Be Concerned About Carbon Monoxide In My Home?

Eco Friendly House

You may not know it, but in the United States alone more than 20,000 people are accidentally poisoned by carbon monoxide every year and about 500 of these people die. When our homes are filled with this odorless, tasteless gas, we are not safe from Carbon Monoxide Dangers because it goes undetected unless carbon monoxide detectors are installed at specific intervals.

JAMA recently published a study that shows drywall is no match for carbon monoxide. The gas goes right through walls and ceilings to reach everyone in the home. Although 25 states require homes to have carbon monoxide alarms installed, 10 of these exempt residences with no indoor source for producing carbon monoxide. Some toxicologists worry that this may result in a false sense of security and cause even more deaths from accidental exposure.

Suppose you live in an apartment and one of your neighbors decides to use his charcoal grill inside his unit. The carbon monoxide produced will not only affect the neighbor, but once it is inside it can go anywhere in the building. That leaves everyone at risk for Carbon Monoxide Dangers. Unless you have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home, you and your family might get sick or even die.

To demonstrate the problem, let’s take a look at what happened to Mecklenburg County North Carolina in 2002. North Carolina had an ordinance requiring carbon monoxide detectors only in homes with carbon monoxide producing appliances. All-electric homes were exempt if they had detached garages. However, when an ice storm hit that year most power in the area was cut off and some residents turned to their own devices to heat their homes and cook. Without the right detectors installed, generators placed incorrectly, inappropriate cooking and heating equipment caused 96.2 of all the carbon monoxide poisoning that took place during that time.

It didn’t take long for the Mecklenburg County officials to change things and the following year all homes were required to install battery backed-up carbon monoxide alarms.

For more information about Carbon Monoxide Dangers and other matters relating to the home, follow us and read more great articles about heating, air conditioning and home needs.