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Good Air Flow is a Breeze With These No-Cost Tips

Most homes have inadequate air flow, resulting in weakened or nonexistent cooling in many parts of the home. If you don’t assess the air quality in your home periodically, you could be losing as much as 30% of your heating and cooling costs – money thrown out the window. Luckily here are some easy tricks you can do at home, on your own time, to get the most comfort for the least cost.

Clean Your Vents Bimonthly

cleanairflowventYou’d be surprised how many dust particles build up in your ventilation system when you’re not looking. Since your air filter and vents aren’t easy to see, they’re often easy to ignore. And while most of us can go a few months without feeling the discomfort that a dirty vent can bring, your energy bill will feel it.

You can clean your vent covers at home with a static brush or pad, and should do so once every two months in order to avoid dust, mold, and pollen build up that comes as a natural consequence of running the unit. This doesn’t require any professional aid, though you should have a professional clear your vents at the beginning of the summer season.

Check For Mold, Moisture, and Health Risks

Nearly every home in Ontario suffers from some form of mold. Mold in small amounts can be harmless, but too much mold can cause:

  • Nasal congestion, runny nose.
  • Eye and mucus membrane irritation.
  • Dry cough or hacking.
  • Headache, dizziness, nausea.
  • Tightness of chest, lack of energy.

The number one cause of mold is moisture buildup. If you want and excellent place to check for potential mold – your bathroom is the best place to start, as there’s more moisture there than anywhere else. Also look for mold in your kitchen and basement, as moisture buildup can occur there as well.

Check For Duct Leaks With Soap and Water

furnace vent checkThis is a simple check that people have been using for years to check for gas leaks, and this life saving strategy can help identify air leaks in your home.

The Soap Test:

  • Turn off all units that would create an air flow.
  • Mix one part dish soap to six parts water.
  • Slather the solution liberally over any exposed ducts, such as the one connected to your AC.
  • Turn on your A/C or furnace to full blast and inspect the areas you coated.
  • If you see bubbles or frothing on your ducts – you have a leak.

Rather than have your home fully inspected when there’s no problem, the soap test can help you identify if you need professional aid at all, saving you time and money.

Test for Strength of Flow

airflowgarbagebagFor problem cases when you just can’t seem to find why your house is heating or cooling so poorly, you can try the Garbage Bag Test. The steps for it are as follows:

The Garbage Bag Test:

  • Again, turn off all air-moving units in your home.
  • Take the mouth of a garbage bag around a cardboard ring, coat hanger, or something rigid and oval-shaped.
  • Place the garbage bag over a vent exhaust.
  • Turn your furnace or central air unit on to max fan speed.
  • Watch how long it takes for the bag to inflate.

A good quality unit should inflate the bag fully in 2 to 4 seconds. Any more than 4 and your air flow is likely obstructed. Any more than 10 seconds and your air flow is definitely failing and needs professional help. Make sure to test if your air flow problems are just on one vent, or on all of them. This will tell you if the vent is clogged, of if there might be a problem with the unit itself.

We hope you put these tips to good use in the coming Summer. Heat and humidity can bring a host of discomforts, and promoting a clean air flow in your home is just another easy way to enjoy your summer hassle-free.