Indoor Air Quality

Allergies & Asthma
  • 40 Pounds of dust are created annually in the average home.
  • Each ounce of dust contains about 40,000 dust mites, one of the most common household allergens.
  • Up to 72 trillion allergens find their way into homes every day.
  • 28 million Americans suffer from hay fever and other allergies.
  • 15 million Americans have asthma, including 1 in 13 school-age children.
  • In the last 30 years, the number of asthma cases has gone up 60%.
  • 54% of single-family homes with children have someone with a respiratory ailment.

Indoor Air Quality
  • The EPA’s list of environmental risks to public health cites indoor air pollution as #5.
  • 87% of American homeowners are not aware that pollution may be worse inside their homes that outdoors.
  • Children inhale 50% more air per pound of body weight than adults, so they are especially sensitive to air quality problems.
  • 30% of newly constructed and remodeled facilities have indoor air quality problems.
  • Tobacco smoke contains more that 4,000 compounds, many of which are strong irritants.

Glossary of Terms

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. A measure of a gas furnace's efficiency in converting fuel to energy ­ the higher the rating, the more efficient the unit. For example: A rating of 90 means that approximately 90 percent of the fuel is used to provide warmth to your home, while the remaining 10 percent escapes as exhaust.

British Thermal Unit. This is the amount of heat it takes to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. For your home, it represents the measure of heat given off when fuel is burned for heating or the measure of heat extracted from your home for cooling.

Cubic Feet Per Minute. A standard measurement of airflow. A typical system requires 400 CFM per ton of air conditioning.

The output or producing ability of a piece of cooling or heating equipment. Cooling and heating capacities are referred to on BTUs.

The heart of an air conditioning or heat pump system. It is part of the outdoor unit and pumps refrigerant in order to meet the cooling requirements of the system.

Condensor Coil or Outdoor Coil
In an air conditioner, the coil dissipates heat from the refrigerant, changing the refrigerant from vapor to liquid. In a heat pump system, it absorbs heat from the outdoors.

Found in ductwork, this movable plate opens and closes to control airflow. Dampers can be used to balance airflow in a duct system. They are also used in zoning to regulate airflow to certain rooms.

Pipes or channels that carry air throughout your home. In a home comfort system, ductwork is critical to performance ­ in fact, it's as critical as the equipment.

Evaporator Coil or Indoor Coil
The other half of your air conditioning system located inside your home in the indoor unit. This is where the refrigerant evaporates as it absorbs heat from the air that passes over the coil.

Gas Furnace Heat Exchanger
Located in the furnace, the heat exchanger transfers heat to the surrounding air, which is then pumped throughout your home.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. This rating is used in measuring the heating efficiency of a heat pump. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit.

Package Unit
A heating and cooling system contained in one outdoor unit. A package unit is typically installed either beside, on top of the home, or sometimes in the attic.

A chemical that produces a refrigerating effect while expanding and vaporizing. Most residential air conditioning systems contain R-22 refrigerant. R-22 is regulated by international controls under the Montreal Protocol and in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency. It is scheduled to be in production until the year 2020. It's used in approximately 95 percent of air conditioning equipment manufactured in the U.S. today.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. A measure of cooling efficiency for air conditioners and heat pumps. The higher the seer, the more energy efficient the unit. The government's minimum SEER rating is 10. (It's similar to comparing miles per gallon in automobiles.)

Seasonal Extreme Environmental Test Lab. This is Trane's torture chamber for heating and air conditioning systems, where five years of service are condensed into 16 torturous weeks. If a product doesn't make it through our SEET lab, it's not manufactured. We push our equipment to extremes because we'd rather test them in our lab than in your home.

Split System
The combination of an outdoor unit (air conditioner or heat pump) with an indoor unit (furnace or air handler). Split systems must be matched for optimum efficiency.

A thermostat consists of a series of sensors and relays that monitor and control the functions of a heating and cooling system.

A unit of measurement used for determining cooling capacity. One ton is the equivalent of 12,000 BTUs per hour.

A method of dividing a home into different comfort zones so each zone can be independently controlled depending on use and need.

Saving Energy in The Winter

  • Check the R-value of insulation in your home
  • Caulk or re-caulk around windows and doors to keep the cold out and the heat in
  • Check weather stripping
  • Check weather stripping around doors, windows and between heated and unheated areas of your home – such as garages, basements, attics, etc. A good check to see if stripping needs changing: close your door; if you see light coming through, the stripping needs changing.

Change your air filters
This should be done every month or so to help your unit’s air exchange and indoor air quality. Dirty filters can increase your system’s operating costs, damage equipment and reduce efficiency.

Keep the thermostat on your heating system at the lowest comfortable setting
Georgia Power recommends 68 degrees Fahrenheit. On the average, you add five percent to the operating time of your heating system for every degree it’s set above 68.

Going away for several days?
By setting the thermostat at 60, there will be less strain on your heating system when you return and it’s time to reheat the house. Also, having some heat in the house will prevent damage, such as frozen or burst water pipes, from outside freezing temperatures.

Heating or cooling system check
Have your Heating or cooling system check professionally checked to make sure it is running properly. This can prolong the life of your system, as well as reduce operating costs.

Gas heater or furnace
If you have a gas heater or furnace, make sure you get a carbon monoxide detector before using the unit.

Pilot light (gas furnace)
Also make sure your pilot light (gas furnace) is lighted before the winter season starts. If you are not sure about lighting it yourself, call a heating and cooling professional to do it.

Heating vents and registers
Keep heating vents and registers clear. Make sure draperies or furniture does not block them. The vent should also be cleaned regularly with a vacuum or broom.

Let the sun shine in
On sunny days open drapes or blinds to allow natural solar heat to warm the house. Keep drapes and blinds closed on cloudy days and at night. Use insulated or heavy curtains on windows facing the north side of the house.

Fireplace dampers
Make sure fireplace dampers fit tightly, and keep them closed when not using the fireplace. Add a glass fireplace screen, if possible

Cover bare floors
Carpeting adds to comfort and heat retention, especially if there is little or no floor insulation.

Use a humidifier to keep your home more comfortable
Adding moisture allows you to reduce the thermostat setting without feeling colder.

Window air conditioning unit
If you have a window air conditioning unit, remove it for the winter months to prevent heat from escaping through and around the unit. If it can’t be moved, put a cover over it to prevent drafts.