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Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality This Summer

Your home should be a tranquil domain that promotes health and relaxation. That’s why you need to take action to rid it of airborne contaminants that can negatively impact your family. Devine Bros. is here with some helpful tips on how you can improve indoor air quality this summer.

Ditch the Scented Candles

Who doesn’t love burning a good scented candle? The truth is with each use they actually release very harmful carcinogens into the air. For a relaxing fresh scent, opt for essential oils. Diffusing a mixture of lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree oils not only smells amazing, but will begin to remove airborne fungi from the air in less than one hour.

Dust and Vacuum Regularly

Cleanliness is happiness. We know it’s easy to let dusting and vacuuming fall to the wayside, but by neglecting these simple household chores you’re opening yourself up to indoor allergens. Try using a microfiber cloth when dusting. They trap particles while you clean so you won’t have to deal with flying dust particles.

Cultivate Houseplants

Whip out your green thumb! Houseplants naturally purify the air, help balance out humidity, and add more oxygen in your home. We recommend potting some Boston ferns, cactus plants, English ivy, lilies, reed palms, and/or tillandsias.

Regulate Moisture Levels

Humidity can be a tricky thing to regulate — but it must be done. Too much of it can have a negative impact on your home and family. Invest in a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from your home during those muggy summer days.

Need help assessing the indoor air quality in your home? If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding Fairfield County area, the experts at Devine Bros. have you covered! Contact us today for your FREE consultation: 203-866-4421.

Spring is Here, and Allergies Will Soon Follow

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Spring is in the air – or is that just pollen?

While spring is generally welcomed with open arms, the 50 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies may not be as receptive. Luckily, there are ways to minimize your symptoms without barricading yourself in your home.

Here’s a few tips to help keep your allergies under control this season:

  • Start taking your allergy medication now, so it is working at full strength by the time peak allergy season comes around.
  • Dust, vacuum, and mop your home regularly.
  • Wash your bed sheets every week in hot water. Consider using a hypoallergenic cover on your mattress and pillows.
  • Bathe your pets twice a month, and don’t let them sleep in your bed.
  • Take off your shoes when you enter your home and leave them at the door.
  • Keep windows closed when the pollen count is high. Use the air conditioner at home and in the car.  
  • Find and remove any mold or mildew in your home.
  • Change your air filters in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Have your air ducts professionally cleaned. They could be harboring dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, and other allergens.
  • Keep your humidity levels under 50% to kill dust mites.
  • Invest in a HEPA filter to remove airborne particles from your home.

Poor indoor air quality can worsen your allergies, and even lead to health problems down the road. How clean is the air in your home? If you live in Fairfield County CT, call Devine Bros. at (203) 866-4421 to schedule an air quality consultation.

How Indoor Air Quality Can Affect Your Heart Health

indoor air pollution can impact heart health

Today is February 1st, which marks the start of American Heart Month. Sponsored by the American Heart Association, this month is dedicated to cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women, but steps can be taken to reduce your risk.

While obvious factors such as diet and exercise can impact your heart health, today we will be focusing on a more subtle, but just as significant, influencer – indoor air quality.

What is indoor air quality?

Indoor air quality refers to the quality of air within buildings and structures, as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. While it is often overlooked, indoor air can be up to ten times more polluted than the air outside.

How does indoor air quality affect heart health?

Indoor air quality has been linked to an abundance of side effects, both short- and long-term. Short-term exposure to indoor air pollution can induce allergic-like reactions, including sneezing, coughing, runny nose, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and headaches. If you already suffer from heart problems, short-term exposure has been known to trigger heart attack, stroke, and arrhythmias.

The long-term health effects can be even more debilitating, or even fatal. Indoor air pollution has been linked to respiratory disease, certain forms of cancer, and even cardiovascular disease. Pollution is believed to have inflammatory effects on the heart, which can lead to problems such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and heart failure.

How can I improve my indoor air quality?

Luckily, there are many ways to improve the air quality in your home. Some of them include:

  • Investing in a HEPA air filtration system
  • Adding houseplants such as the snake plant, peace lily, and english ivy.
  • Not smoking inside your home (or ever).
  • Using homemade, all natural cleaning products.
  • Avoid using aerosol air fresheners or burning candles.
  • Improving the natural ventilation in the home.
  • Dust and vacuuming your home regularly.
  • Use low-VOC paints and adhesives.

How is the air quality in your home? Find out with a free consultation from the experts at Devine Bros. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding Fairfield County area, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

5 Easy Tricks to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

dirty air conditioner filter and dirty finger

Indoor air pollution is nothing to sneeze at – no pun intended. With several known health effects resulting from exposure to household pollution, establishing good air quality should be at the top of every homeowner’s priority list. Here are five things you can start doing today to reduce air pollution in your home.

Trick One: Invest in an air purification system.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to begin cleaning up your air is by investing in a purification system. Not just any old purifier will work, though. Buy a filter with the HEPA label – these products have undergone rigorous testing and have proven to remove 99.97% of airborne particles.

Trick Two: Improve the natural ventilation in your home.

Indoor air is usually more polluted than outdoor air because airborne contaminants are found at higher concentrations inside. One way to combat this is by increasing the natural ventilation in your home. This can be done with the use of exhaust fans, and by leaving your windows open when the weather permits.


Trick Three: Stop using commercial air fresheners.

Despite what the label says, air fresheners don’t clean your air. In fact, they fill it with toxic chemicals – even the ones marked as “all natural”. Instead, use one of these homemade recipes to make your own air freshener, or just light a match to overpower strong odors.

Trick Four: Dust the right way.

Dusting your home isn’t as simple as you may think. For best results, you should always use a microfiber cloth; they are specially designed to attract dust, while traditional feather dusters just spread it around. Also, when dusting a room, always start at the top and work your way down to the floor to avoid double-dusting.

Trick Five: Decorate your home with houseplants.

Houseplants aren’t just for looks, they can actually improve your air quality! A study from NASA found that certain houseplants can naturally remove harmful particles from the air. Click here to learn more about how houseplants can reduce indoor air pollution.

How clean is the air in your home? If you don’t know, consider scheduling a free indoor air quality consultation with the experts at Devine Bros. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, call us today at (203) 866-4421.

Myth or Fact: Indoor Air Pollution

Hand with marker writing the word Facts Myths

How much do you know about indoor air pollution? Read the four statements below and see if you can correctly determine whether they are true or false…

Myth or Fact? – The air in the average home is more polluted than a major city.

Fact! When we hear the word “pollution”, we automatically think about the air outside, but the air in our home can be even worse. In fact, it is not uncommon for household air to be over 10 times more polluted than outdoor air.

Myth or Fact? – Indoor air pollution has no real health effects.

Myth. Indoor air pollution has been proven to cause to several side effects, ranging from mild to severe. Immediate effects of indoor air pollution are similar to allergies and can include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and headaches. Long term effects are much worse, as indoor air pollution has been linked to lung cancer and COPD.

Myth or Fact? – It is too difficult to improve indoor air quality.

Myth. Improving your air quality isn’t done overnight, but it is possible. Installing a HEPA air filter in your house is a great first step, but you must also work on limiting common sources of indoor air pollution.

Myth or Fact? – HVAC Equipment can contribute to indoor air pollution.

Fact! Since your heating and cooling systems supply your home with a large portion of its fresh air, it only makes sense that they can significantly impact air quality. Air filters should be changed every month, your air ducts should be professionally cleaned every 3-5 years, and your heating system should be annually inspected by a licensed technician.

Trust the experts at Devine Bros. to keep your air clean and your home healthy. We offer home heating, cooling, and air quality services to homes in Norwalk, New Canaan, and Westport, Connecticut. If you live in Fairfield County, give us a call today at (203) 866-4421.

6 Simple Steps to Cleaner Indoor Air

Home is supposed to be our safe place, but it could be where we are in the most danger.

We often hear about how polluted the air outside is, but the air in our home’s is often worse – up to ten times worse! Indoor air pollution can cause serious health problems, so follow these six steps to keep your air clean.

Lose the shoes.

Wearing your shoes around the house doesn’t just dirty up your floors and carpet – it can also track in harmful pesticides. Place doormats outside all of your entrances and implement a strict “no shoes” policy for your guests.

Clean up your cleaning products.

Despite the fact that they are labeled as “cleaning” products, commercial cleaning agents are loaded with harmful chemicals. Opt for a cheaper, safer alternative by cleaning your home’s surfaces with a baking soda-vinegar solution; it’s just as effective!

Make your home a no-smoking zone.

Most people are aware of the dangers of first- and second-hand smoke, but scientists have recently discovered that the carcinogens released by cigarette smoke can stick on your walls and furniture for months.

Control your humidity levels.

High humidity levels do more than make you uncomfortable. More times than not, excess humidity leads to mold – a toxic fungus that can cause allergic reactions and respiratory infections. Minimize moisture in your air by running the bathroom exhaust fan after every shower and using a dehumidifier when necessary.

Have your heating equipment inspected each year.

As winter approaches, take the time to schedule a professional inspection for your heating system. As furnaces operate, they produce a fatal gas known as carbon monoxide. This is usually safely vented to the outside, but a block in your system could have deadly consequences.

Change your HVAC filters.

Furnaces and air conditioners both utilize air filters that must be cleaned or replaced on a monthly basis. Not only do dirty filters contribute to indoor air pollution, they also reduce energy efficiency and increase wear-and-tear on your unit.

As Fairfield County’s leading HVAC professionals, don’t trust anyone but Devine Bros. to help you clean up the air in your home. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, call us for a free indoor air quality consultation at (203) 866-4421.

5 Reasons to Change the Air Filter on Your HVAC System

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When was the last time you changed the air filter on your HVAC system?

Just like a car, your furnace and air conditioner both have air filters that need to be cleaned or replaced periodically. It’s an easy task to forget, but it is important to the health of your HVAC system. Here are five reasons you need to be keeping up with filter maintenance:

  1. Extend the lifespan of your equipment. A dirty air filter allows dust, dirt, and debris to enter your HVAC system. This forces your unit to work harder, increasing wear-and-tear and ultimately shortening its lifespan.

  1. Improved energy efficiency. When your HVAC system goes into overdrive due to a dirty air filter, it consumes more energy than usual. You can easily see the difference a clean filter makes when you open your utility bill.

  1. Maintain good indoor air quality. The point of the air filter is to collect common airborne allergens such as dust and pet dander. A dirty filter cannot effectively trap these contaminants, leaving them free to circulate throughout your home.

  1. Enhanced comfort. When your HVAC system is operating at maximum capacity, it can heat or cool an area more efficiently. This translates into a more comfortable home with minimal temperature fluctuations.

  1. Prevent breakdowns and repairs. Did you know that four out of every five HVAC system breakdowns are caused by a dirty filter? Changing yours on a monthly basis is recommended if you don’t want to rack up a hefty repair bill.

Trust the professionals at Devine Bros. to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape. As Fairfield County’s home heating and cooling experts, we offer a variety of services to help keep you comfortable all year long. From furnace repairs to central air installation, and everything in between, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

What’s Hiding In Your Home’s Air Ducts?

Inspecting a Home Air Vent for Maintenance

When was the last time you took a look inside your home’s air ducts? If it’s been a while (or never), here are a few things you might find hiding in them…

Dust

Did you know that the average three-bedroom home generates more than 40 pounds of dust per year? Some of this dust settles on your furniture, but a lot of it collects in your air ducts. This accumulation of dust can hinder air flow and reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Animal Dander

Not to be confused with pet hair (which can also collect in air ducts), dander is small flakes of skin. Virtually every animal sheds dander, including cats, dogs, birds, and rodents. Dander possesses a unique, jagged shape that allows it to stick onto our furniture, clothes, and inside our air ducts. It can even be found in homes without pets.

Pollen

If you suffer from spring allergies, you know that pollen is something you want to avoid at all costs. However, what you may not know is that this pollen could also make its way into your home via your air ducts. If your HVAC system has a fresh air intake pulling in air from the outside, it is giving pollen easy access to your house.

Mold

The combination of darkness, moisture, and food (read: dust and pollen) make your air ducts the perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold isn’t just damaging to your house, it can also trigger allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and respiratory infections.

These are just a few examples of what you might find lurking in your air ducts. Once these pollutants make their way into your ductwork, they can use it as a transportation system to spread throughout entire your home and compromise your indoor air quality.

If you live in Fairfield County, have your home’s air tested by Devine Bros. today. Call us today to schedule an air quality consultation at (203) 866-4421.

The Importance of Household Ventilation

Box fan in window

Armed with caulking guns and weatherstripping, homeowners everywhere are making it their mission to seal the air leaks in their home. While this can reduce heating and cooling costs, eliminating any and all ventilation actually does more harm than good.

The air quality experts from Devine Bros. break down why ventilation is important, and what you can do to improve yours.

Why ventilation is important

You may not know it, but the air in your home isn’t clean. In fact, it is likely that your home’s air quality is worse than even the most polluted of cities. Allergens, chemicals, and volatile organic compounds are found in abundance in most residential homes, and if your house is airtight, these pollutants have nowhere to escape.

Here are a few reasons why ventilation is important in the home:

  • Improves indoor air quality

  • Prevents mold by decreasing moisture levels

  • Minimizes odors from food and garbage

  • Removes heat generated from bodies and appliances

  • Brings fresh oxygen into the home

How to improve ventilation in your home

Improving the ventilation in your home is as easy as opening your windows when the weather permits, but here are a couple of other things you can try:

  • Keep the doors in between rooms open.

  • Use bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans when you shower or cook.

  • Utilize fans as much as possible to facilitate air flow.

  • Have a ventilation system installed.

If you live in Fairfield County, Connecticut, the experts at Devine Bros. can help you get your home’s ventilation up to par. Our HVAC system installations can improve air flow, while simultaneously heating or cooling your home. Call us at (203) 866-4421 to learn more.

5 More Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

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Though it doesn’t get much mainstream media coverage, indoor air pollution is a serious problem in the United States. In fact, about 97% of the homes tested by the EPA had at least one problem with their air quality.

Indoor air pollution can come from a variety of sources, many of which are seemingly harmless products. We have already covered five surprising sources of indoor air pollution – which included things such as cleaning products and candles – and we will now introduce five more.

#1: Paint

Lead paint was outlawed in the 1970s due to its toxicity, but it is still present in older homes. Even new paints still release volatile organic compounds as they dry. Make sure to buy low-VOC paint and always apply it in a well-ventilated area.

#2: Heating Equipment

The heating equipment in your home – such as your stove, furnace, and fireplace – all produce carbon monoxide as they operate. This colorless, odorless gas is fatal in high doses, so it is important to ensure it is properly vented to the outside.

#3: New Furniture & Pressed-Wood Products

Many brand new upholstered furniture and pressed wood products emit formaldehyde, a carcinogen with many negative health effects. This includes couches, chairs, cabinetry, wood flooring and wall paneling.

#4: HVAC Ducts

Pollutants such as dust, pollen, mold, and pet dander tend to accumulate in your air ducts. Once they are inside, they use these ducts as a transportation system to spread throughout your entire home.

#5: Pesticides

If you keep any pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides in your home, you are putting your health in danger. In fact, the suffix -cide means “to kill”. While these products are designed with the intention to kill fungus and pests, the effect they have on human health can be equally as dangerous.

If you live in Fairfield County, Connecticut, contact Devine Bros. for a free household air quality assessment. Our experts will come into your home, use professional testing devices to determine the quality of your air, and make expert recommendations based on their findings. Call (203) 866-4421 today to schedule your visit.