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Thanksgiving is this week, and the focus is usually on creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for our family and friends; however, amidst the preparations, it's crucial not to overlook the quality of the air that they and we breathe. Maintaining clean and healthy indoor air is essential for the health and overall well-being of indoor occupants and guests, especially during gatherings when there may be increased activities and potential pollutants. We are going to provide some tips to ensure cleaner and healthier air this Thanksgiving and review how you can maintain your home’s indoor air quality during your celebration.

A Refresher on What Indoor Quality is

We have reviewed before what indoor air quality (IAQ) is and why it is important, but here is a brief refresher. Indoor air quality refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants (EPA). Poor indoor air quality has been linked to continued sickness, reduced productivity, and impaired learning and thought processes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rates poor indoor air quality as an area of major concern, noting that common contaminants, endlessly redistributed by a central air system, can contribute to allergy symptoms and sickness. What’s in your home’s air directly impacts the IAQ.

As mentioned above, your home’s indoor air quality is important, because it can directly impact the health and well-being of the people who are in your home. There can be short-term and long-term effects. Immediate effects typically are similar to those of colds and other viral infections, while some long-term effects may include respiratory diseases, heart disease, cancer, and more. Basically, poor indoor air quality can really make people miserable and put a damper on your holiday celebrations, which is why having cleaner and healthier air this Thanksgiving will give you something to be extra thankful for.

Tips for Cleaner and Healthier Air this Thanksgiving

The holidays are a time for increased indoor air pollutants. This is because of added cooking and baking, increased household occupancy, windows being closed due to the weather, and more people going in and out potentially bringing in contaminants with them. When it comes to maintaining indoor air quality and having cleaner and healthier air this Thanksgiving, there are some things you can do. Let’s review.

  • Keep Things Clean: Everything turns to dust one day. Before the Thanksgiving festivities begin, dedicate some time to clean your home thoroughly. Dust surfaces, vacuum carpets, and mop floors to eliminate dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens. Keeping your home clean and dust free and tidying the place where you live helps maintain indoor air quality and creates a healthier environment for everyone.
  • Ventilate: Another way to ensure cleaner and healthier air this Thanksgiving is to ventilate. When you are cooking or baking, turn on the exhaust fan. Also, even during colder months, it's beneficial to open your windows for a few minutes each day to allow fresh air to circulate. Proper ventilation helps remove stale air and toxins that may have accumulated indoors. Indoor air is typically several times poorer in quality than outdoor air, so let some of the outside in.
  • Replace Your Air Filters: We have reviewed before just how important changing your home’s air filter is, and this is especially true during the holiday season. An unchanged and dirty or soiled air filter means that the HVAC system is spreading unclean, airborne particles throughout your North Bay Area home. Check your HVAC system's air filters before Thanksgiving to ensure they are clean and in good condition. Dirty and obstructed filters can harbor dust, lint, allergens, and other pollutants, reducing indoor air quality.
  • Control Humidity Levels: Maintaining appropriate humidity levels is crucial for cleaner and healthier air this Thanksgiving. High humidity can encourage mold growth, while low humidity can cause dryness and discomfort. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you keep the humidity in your home between 30% and 50%. This will limit the growth of mold and the presence of dust mites that pollute the air. You can use a humidifier or dehumidifier to regulate humidity levels based on the weather conditions and your home's needs.
  • Minimize Strong Odors: Thanksgiving often involves cooking a delicious feast, which can produce strong odors and cooking fumes. While the aromas are delightful, some odors can irritate the respiratory system. Use exhaust fans in the kitchen to remove cooking fumes and keep doors closed to prevent the spread of odors throughout the house. Also, avoid having tobacco smoke indoors and reduce the use of synthetic fragrances.

As you prepare to celebrate the season, prioritize the quality of the air in your home to ensure a healthy and comfortable environment. By following the above tips for cleaner and healthier air this Thanksgiving and being mindful of potential air pollutants, you can create better indoor air quality for a memorable gathering. Enjoy the festivities while breathing easy and knowing that you've taken steps to maintain your home’s excellent indoor air quality.

If you want to ensure that the air you and are family are breathing every day is safe, Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing can help. We can assess your current IAQ situation by performing a fast and easy air quality test that measures the level of particulate concentration in your air. We will then make recommendations based on our findings.

Let our comfort specialists help you breathe in clean indoor air. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.

The holiday season officially begins month. It is a time for joy, celebrations, and spending time with your family and friends; however, it's also a time when homes' energy consumption tends to spike, leading to higher utility bills. The last thing you should have worry about during this season of thankfulness and togetherness, is how much your HVAC system usage is going to cost you. Are there some HVAC upgrades you can and should make to lower your holiday bills? Below we review some effective HVAC upgrades that can help you lower your holiday bills and make your home more energy efficient in the process.

HVAC Upgrades to Lower Your Holiday Bills

During the holiday season, as more people are in and out of the home, the North Bay Area outside temperatures start to drop, and you are looking for an extra cozy indoor environment, energy costs can rise significantly. The average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of this going to heating and cooling costs (EnergyStar). As we approach Thanksgiving, we enter into the time of the year where more and more energy is being consumed, meaning your costs go up.

If you want to feel extra grateful this holiday season, making some HVAC upgrades to lower your holiday bills, may be just what you need to take things to the next level. We have reviewed before how an energy efficient HVAC system can save you money, but did you also know that with the right HVAC improvements, you can ensure a cozy and energy efficient holiday season while keeping your energy bills in check?

Here are some HVAC upgrades you can make to lower your energy costs this season.

  • Utilize a Programmable Thermostat: Having the right and a functional thermostat, can save you around 10% a year on heating and cooling costs. One of the simplest and most effective upgrades you can make to your HVAC system is installing a programmable thermostat. These devices let you to set specific temperatures for different times of the day, allowing you to reduce heating or cooling when you're away or asleep. By optimizing temperature settings, you can save energy and reduce your holiday utility bills without impacting your home and family’s comfort.
  • Improve Your Air Ducts: Leaky air ducts can cause significant energy waste and uneven heating throughout your home, as well as higher costs. Over time, gaps and cracks in ductwork can develop, leading to conditioned air escaping before it reaches your living spaces. Have a professional inspect and seal any leaks in your ductwork. Fixing duct issues can improve your system’s efficiency, save you money, and extend the lifespan of your heating and cooling system. This is also a great time of the year for professional duct cleaning. Duct cleaning comes with many benefits: leaks, gaps, loose connections, and other problems can be spotted before they are much larger issues, improved indoor air quality, boost in efficiency, eliminates unpleasant odors, and more.
  • Ensure You Have the Right Insulation: A well-insulated home can significantly reduce heat loss during the colder months of the year and heat gain during the warmer months of the year. Check your home's insulation, especially in attics, walls, and crawl spaces. Consider adding weather stripping around windows and doors to prevent drafts. Upgrading insulation can enhance the efficiency of your HVAC system by minimizing energy loss, allowing it to work more effectively and efficiently.
  • Schedule HVAC Maintenance: One of the best HVAC upgrades you can make to lower your holiday bills and beyond, is to invest in a regular HVAC maintenance plan. Proper maintenance is key to the efficient operation of your HVAC system. By scheduling regular maintenance with a professional technician who can inspect, clean, and tune up your system, you can ensure that your HVAC system is running optimally, preventing potential breakdowns, maximizing energy efficiency, and providing uninterrupted indoor comfort. A well maintained system will not only reduce your holiday bills but also extend the lifespan of your HVAC equipment. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

This holiday season, by making some HVAC upgrades, you can lower your holiday bills, while enjoying a comfortable and cozy home. When it comes to your home’s heating system, the team at Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing is here for you. We have duct cleaning services, offer heating tune-ups, are experts in heating repair, have HVAC maintenance plans, and can install a new energy efficient HVAC system for you. We are your team for all of your heating needs in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa Counties.

Contact us today.

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