The average American spends 90% of their time indoors, and it seems safe to assume that figure is even higher for Alaskans – especially during the cold, dark months of winter. That means air quality inside your home is really important. Pollutants are everywhere, but they become concentrated in enclosed environments, especially while warm air from your furnace is recirculating in your home.
It’s normal for air filters and air ducts to become clogged and dirty over time, filled with things like dust and pet dander. Rather than breathe the same filthy air all winter, fall is the time to schedule a professional clean. This is especially important if you’re a smoker, because your HVAC system can carry particles of cigarette smoke all through your home, affecting kids, pets, and other inhabitants.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 200 poisons, including carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. It doesn’t matter if you prefer through cigarettes, pipes, or cigars – the second-hand smoke contains carcinogens that can passively cause cancer in other people. If you’re a smoker, it’s essential that you choose a filter that is capable to removing cigarette smoke particles to protect your family.
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Step 1: Remove cigarette smoke particles with a new air filter
Modern air filters are incredible, and can remove microscopic particles from the environment. This includes mold, fungi, pollen, plant fibers, fiberglass, chemical vapors, pet dander, dust mites. Yes, cigarette smoke is on the list, as well as the toxins it contains, to help you breathe easier.
Here at HeatSource Mechanical, we recommend the Lennox PureAir Air Purifier. It delivers hospital grade, surgery-level filtration, and uses exclusive UVA light technology to trap contaminants. It removes 99.9% of particles, and has a customer rating of 4.5 out of a potential 5 stars. It’s great for family homes because it does everything: filters particles, kills germs, and fights odors.
Here are some customer reviews:
“Excellent investment for asthma and allergy sufferer. I have had this system in my home for about 5 or 6 years now. It’s been an excellent investment. It used to be that my asthma and allergies got worse when I got home at the end of the day, now my breathing improves at home. It’s especially useful to have now that we have seemingly annual smoke problems.” Fresno, California.
“Does what it says. I bought a laser particle counter that reads down to 0.5 microns. Prior to installing, air concentrations of those particles indicated ‘fair’ to ‘not good’ air with concentrations in the 1000s. Now, it’s nearly zero, and we are breathing good air. Have not found any other product that can do it like this. We have it paired with [a] variable speed blower, AC, and heater, which means the air is constantly circulating. So pleased.” Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“Awesome performance. I have had this system for about 7 months we got this system for our sick kid, who had a compromised immune system. It kept her out of the hospital longer. My wife [also] suffers from allergies and no longer has to take medications. I would recommend this system to any one that has allergies [or] respiratory problems.” Denver, Colorado.
Read more: Cigarette smoke and your HVAC system
Step 2: Schedule a professional air duct cleaning service
Okay, so your new air filter is sorted. In order to give it the best possible chance of working as it should, it’s time to clean your house. That means dusting all the surfaces in your home, vacuuming all your carpets, mopping all your floors, and running your bedding through the laundry.
Next, you’ll need to get your local HVAC experts to visit and professionally clean your air ducts. Cleaning your ducts isn’t just about removing contaminants so you and your family can breathe easier, it actually helps your furnace heat your home more efficiently by improving airflow. Contaminants build up in the duct system over time, which means that on top of recirculating things like cigarette smoke, it creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and mildew.
Your HVAC technicians will start by inspecting your duct system to determine how much cleaning is required. They will open up your vent covers and typically use either manual or motorized brushes to dislodge the dust and debris lurking inside and a powerful vacuum to remove it safely. This prevents the cigarette smoke and other toxins from coming loose and causing another mess inside your home. They may have to create a few holes to access hard-to-reach areas, but don’t worry. They’ll patch it all up and make sure it looks and functions as good as new before they leave.
And hey, while we’re here, we can also clean your clogged dryer vents. This can prevent disaster, because lint-clogged dryers are estimated to cause more than 15,000 fires in the U.S. every year.
Step 3: Upgrade your system to include a smart thermostat
Alaskans run heating systems continually, and due to the tight weatherization, there is no way for pollutants to escape. As we’ve already explained, this isn’t just limited to cigarette smoke, but all kinds of airborne pollutants. If you’re taking a hard look at your HVAC system, and the impact it’s having on your family’s health, you may also want to consider installing a smart thermostat.
We recommend the iComfort S30. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and IFTTT. It has lots of great features, such as active monitoring to ensure your system is always running at an optimal level, and a scheduling feature that means you can automate your temperature. Importantly, it can also monitor air quality, and alert you when levels change. It automatically turns on the filtration system to clean your home’s air back to safe levels.
So there you have it: three clear steps you can take this fall to remove cigarette smoke from your home and make sure your family is breathing the cleanest, healthiest air possible.
Want to beat the winter rush? Schedule an appointment today.